ICE Arrests at Courthouse

Recently, two district attorneys in Massachusetts have joined several nonprofit groups to sue the federal government to halt immigration agents from making arrests at courthouses in the state of Massachusetts.

The arrests at courthouses in the state of Massachusetts are what attorneys everywhere have feared may happen to undocumented immigrants. Arrests by ICE agents at courthouses limits the ability of immigrants to access the justice system. This move is unprecedented and violates a core American principle, that every person has the right to their day in court.

With the threat of arrests waiting for immigrants on the courthouse steps, attorneys fear that immigrants may fail to either pursue and/or defend their claims in a wide variety of lawsuits that span beyond immigration such as criminal, family, personal injury and other civil matters.

District Attorneys have voiced their concerns about ICE making arrests on the courthouse steps because may hinder the prosecution of criminal cases. Specifically, district attorneys fear that it may cause key witnesses to become uncooperative and not participate in the prosecution of a case. This applies to both the defendant in the criminal matter and independent third parties.

The parties in Massachusetts have asked their local U.S. District Court to issue an injunction preventing the arrests of undocumented immigrants on the courthouse steps.

President Trump Issues Memo on Asylum

On April 29, 2019, President Trump issued a memorandum directed to the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security on asylum-seekers. The stated purpose of the memo was to enhance border security and restore integrity to our immigration system. In the President’s memo, he calls on the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish new measures within 90 days. Continue reading

Telling It Your Way – United States v. Figueroa-Coello

In United States v. Figueroa-Coello, a district court’s decision was overturned by the Fifth Circuit for failing to allow a criminal defendant a chance to present his side of the story during a sentencing hearing. Jose Santos Figueroa-Coello, an immigrant from Honduras and Mexico, was found guilty of illegal reentry into the United States. Mr. Coello was sentenced to 27 months. Although Mr. Coello’s attorney made a formal statement at the sentencing hearing, Mr. Coello was not afforded the same right. The Fifth Circuit found that Mr. Coello has the right to make a statement on his behalf at his sentencing hearing because counsel may not be able to provide “the same quantity or quality of mitigating evidence.” The Fifth Circuit believed that Mr. Coello’s statements were substantially different than his counsel’s statements and that they should be heard at his sentencing hearing. Continue reading

Varsity Blues: The College Admission Scandal & A Look into White-Collar Crime

To the average person, it’s not always totally obvious what white-collar crime looks like. Unfortunately for Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli, the media is providing us with a pretty good idea of what white-collar crime looks like. White-collar crime is generally a non-violent economically motivated crime. Often, white-collar crime is perpetuated by businesses or organizations. The most common examples of white-collar crime are fraud, money laundering and embezzlement. To be fair, neither Lori Loughlin nor her husband Mossimo Giannulli have been convicted of any crime. They have, however, been indicted on several charges.  They were most recently indicted on charges of money laundering. Continue reading

A Rise in Workplace Immigration Raids by ICE

The largest workplace raid in a decade by ICE agents took place on the morning of April 3, 2019, in Allen, Texas. After three hundred arrests, it was clear, an enormous audit operation had been launched by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigators.

Since 2017, US immigration and custom officials have overseen a massive 400% surge in the number of workplace immigration raids. These raids are aimed at finding and arresting undocumented immigrants. In 2018, ICE’s Homeland Security Investigators opened approximately 6,848 worksite investigations, which represents a a massive surge compared to the 1,691 workplace investigations opened in 2017. Continue reading

El Paso Immigration Courts

Recently in the news, we’ve been seeing more and more coming out about the immigration courts practices in El Paso, Texas. Violations of due process and a culture of hostility have been levied against the immigration courts in El Paso.

Violations of due process can occur from the moment of detainment up until the deportation of an immigrant. The claim brought against the immigration court in El Paso is that one of the courts is limiting evidence over 100 pages long. Most importantly, the court is limiting the evidence for asylum applications. “Coincidentally”, El Paso has the lowest rate for the granting of asylums in the United States. Nowhere else in our judicial system is evidence limited by the page amount. This is particularly worrisome when you consider more complex cases. Naturally, more complex cases require more detailed evidence. Because of the blatant violation of due process rights an advocate group has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review, yesterday. Continue reading