Tag: deportation

Lawyer Discovers Link Between Federal Judge and Her Private Prison Stock Owning Husband

On May 12, 2008, nearly 400 workers were arrested at a kosher slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa, in the largest workplace immigration raid in US history.

Typically undocumented immigrants arrested during raids were charged with civil violations and deported.  But, most of the workers arrested in the Postville raid were charged with criminal fraud for using falsified work documents or Social Security numbers.  Approximately 270 people were sentenced to five months in federal prison in what was termed “a judicial assembly line.”

Allegations of prosecutorial and judicial misconduct flooded in, sparking congressional hearings.

Judge Linda R. Reade, the chief judge of the Northern District of Iowa, supervised the court proceedings, claiming they were “fair and unhurried.”  But, Reade’s husband apparently owned stock in two private prison companies.  Five days before the raid, Reade’s husband bought additional prison stock.

When Reade was appointed to the federal district court by President George W. Bush in 2003, her husband owned stock in the companies now known as CoreCivic and GEO Group, the country’s largest prison companies.  Approximately 150 facilities are operated by the two companies and 150,000 inmates are housed in the facilities.

In February 2011, Reade’s husband sold his prison stocks, collectively worth between $30,000 and $100,000.  During the time between 2003 and 2011, the stocks rose in price 434 percent and 642 percent, respectively.

Former Deputy Attorney General Philip Heymann found Reade’s husband’s prison investments when looking into the legal case of the meatpacking plant manager arrested during the Postville raid, Sholom Rubashkin.  Reade sentenced Rubashkin to 27 years in prison for financial fraud in 2010, dropping all immigration charges against him.

Emails and memos from ICE show that Reade met with immigration officials multiple times in the months leading up to the bust.  An ICE memo claimed that Reade learned of approximately 700 anticipated arrests and “indicated full support for the initiative.”  Reade denied expressing personal support for the raid despite the memo.

Parents Awaiting Two-Month-Old Son’s Operation Arrested by Border Patrol

We see a lot of appalling conduct at our office when it comes to how cruel federal immigration officials can be.  But this next case may be at the top of the list regarding callous disregard of any human emotion on the part of Customs and Border Patrol.

Oscar and Irma Sanchez’s two-month old son, Isaac Enrique Sanchez, was diagnosed with pyloric stenosis, a condition causing vomiting, dehydration, and weight loss in infants.  Enrique’s condition was curable, but no pediatric surgeon in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas was capable of performing the surgery on his stomach.

Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas, was the Sanchez family’s only hope.  But, the hospital that was only a few hours away via highway would mean that the Sanchezes would have to pass a Border Patrol checkpoint.  The Sanchezes were undocumented.

A Border Patrol officer showed up in the Harlingen, Texas hospital and offered to arrange officers to escort the Sanchezes through the checkpoint, but the Sanchezes would be arrested and put into deportation proceedings once they arrived at the hospital.  Oscar and Irma Sanchez agreed, their son’s best interest in mind.

The Sanchezes’ situation is a part of the controversy over ‘sensitive locations.’  During the Obama administration, the Department of Homeland Security abided by a policy that immigration agents should avoid arrests at hospitals, schools, churches, and public demonstrations unless there were special circumstances.

Immigrant advocates are afraid that the Sanchez family’s experience demonstrates the Trump administration’s way of handling enforcement actions in sensitive locations.  The Sanchezes had no criminal records and were desperate to help their son.

At Driscoll Children’s Hospital, the officers never left the Sanchezes alone.  They even asked Mrs. Sanchez to leave the door open while breast-feeding Isaac and escorted Mr. Sanchez to the bathroom.

Customs and Border Protection claimed that they are required to monitor subjects in custody “at all times” and attempted to do so “in the least restrictive manner possible.”

Oscar Sanchez says that, “Everywhere we went in the hospital…they followed us.”

For more information, click here.

Firm Attorney Andrew Bloomberg Notches 3 Wins This Week

Sometimes in immigration wins come in strange forms.

This was certainly true this week for three cases that firm attorney Andrew Bloomberg is handling.

Back in March, we were approached by a couple two weeks before their marriage-based green card interview.  The immigrant, who we will call Robert, had just been arrested and charged with a crime which, if he had been convicted, would likely have led to not only to the denial of his green card application, but very possibly to his deportation.

Andrew prepped the couple on how to talk about the arrest at the interview in a way that was honest, but did as little damage as possible.  The couple attended the interview with Andrew and readied themselves for the inevitable request for evidence from USCIS.

Andrew also got in touch with Robert’s criminal defense attorney to work with him in trying to get an outcome to the case that would have the least possible immigration consequences.  The criminal case dragged on and Andrew had to get an extension of the request for evidence deadline.

Finally, last month, it seemed like Robert had the opportunity to plead guilty to a much less serious offense.  Andrew was on the phone with the criminal defense attorney and the client while the plea was being written, and we were able to convince the prosecutor to change the document in the Courthouse to make it better for our client – details always matter in immigration, and particularly when criminal convictions are involved.

When the plea was finalized, Andrew submitted it to USCIS with an explanation of why it shouldn’t impact Robert’s green card application.  Less than a week later, we got word that Robert’s green card had been approved.  Robert pleaded guilty – but by doing it in the right way, he won his green card.

Also in the last few weeks, we were hired separately by two families whose undocumented loved ones had been arrested and taken into custody by ICE.  Both families live in California, but their loved ones were taken into custody in Missouri.

In deportation proceedings, timing can be everything – in addition to the hardship of being incarcerated, proceedings for detained individuals move very, very fast.  We believe that both of these clients have defenses available to them, but the defenses require the gathering of lots of complicated evidence.

Trying to get them released on bond was important not just to get them out of jail, but to gain time to build defenses.  Both clients had some criminal issues over the years, which often makes it very hard to get immigration bond.

Andrew worked with the families to gather supporting evidence of their rehabilitation, and their ties to the community, and submitted this to the Immigration Court along with a short memo on why bond should be granted.

In telephone proceedings at the EOIR in Kansas City this week, Andrew argued that our clients were not threats to the community or flight risks, and the Immigration Judge granted both bonds over the objections of the Government attorney.

While these clients are still in deportation proceedings, they can be with their families and there is much more time to build the strongest possible cases to keep them in the United States.

Congratulations to Andrew.  We are lucky to have you at the firm!

Salvadoran MIT Janitor Taken Into Custody Days Before His Son was Born

Francisco Rodriguez-Guardado, a Salvadoran janitor at MIT, was taken into custody by federal immigration officials for deportation a few days before his first son was born.  “They tell me he has my eyes,” Rodriguez-Guardado says.

Supporters of Rodriguez Guardado include U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey of Massachusetts, faculty at MIT, and his labor union. The ACLU has filed briefs in support of Rodriguez-Guardado. He does not have a criminal record, volunteers at his church, and runs his own carpet cleaning business.

Arrests of non-criminal undocumented immigrants has increased 145 percent from the first half of last year.

Rodriguez-Guardado entered the U.S. undocumented in 2006, fleeing El Salvador after a work colleague had been murdered by a gang member.  Rodriguez-Guardado was a technician at an engineering firm and owned a car wash in San Salvador.

In 2009, Rodriguez-Guardado was denied asylum in 2009 and had an appeal rejected in 2011.  He was ordered in June by ICE officials to make travel arrangements back to El Salvador.

On July 13, he was arrested because, according to ICE spokesman Shawn Neudauer, the plane ticket he booked was not “timely.  Rodriguez-Guardado had booked the plane ticket for after his son’s expected birth date.

Rodriguez-Guardado has credited his Christian faith with preparing him to accept what comes next.  He is in an inmate prayer group and frequently reads his Bible.  “We follow what God wants for us,” he says.  “If they want us to move from here, it’s because there is something better for us someplace else.”

If Rodriguez-Guardado is not allowed to stay in the United States, he is considering trying to move to Canada or Costa Rica rather than going back to El Salvador.  He says, “Believe me…if El Salvador was a safe and peaceful country, I would have never thought of coming here.”

For more information, click here.

President Trump is Ending DACA

Hey everybody, it’s Jim. I wanted to shoot this video to go over some of the thoughts that I have on the President’s decision to terminate Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. I want to explore what the decision to end DACA means and how that’s going to affect people who are currently benefiting from Deferred Action. Molly, can you let me know, can you hear me, what I’m saying? I don’t know if my microphone’s working. I have a new microphone. So if someone could give me a thumbs up or let me know that the microphone’s working, I’d appreciate it.

We’re going to talk through what Deferred Action is and was and … Thanks, Nick. All right, hot mic. So we’re going to talk about what Deferred Action is, what it isn’t and sort of what’s happened. I’m going to be doing a little bit of reading, and I apologize for that, but I just want to be sure that I’m thorough in talking this through to everybody.

Back in 2011, 2012, the Democrats and the Republicans in the Senate passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill that would have provided a path to citizenship for the 12 million undocumented people in the United States who have been in the United States for a long time and who entered without inspection. This law was introduced by Senator Durbin and Lindsey Graham and some other people. It was a bipartisan bill that the Senate passed overwhelmingly, and they sent it to the House for approval or for a vote. There was every indication that the House had the votes to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

But some immigration hardliners like Steve King from Iowa refused to let it come to the floor for a vote, because they knew it was going to pass, and so no immigration reform happened under President Obama’s watch. What happened instead, frustrated with the Congress’s inability and refusal to process or to pass legislation bringing about comprehensive immigration reform, President Obama adopted a program called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. This was put into place in the summer of 2012, and basically what happened is that immigrants, undocumented people who came to the United States as young people, who came as children, who’d been in the United States and who were either getting their GED or had finished high school and were studying and not gotten into any kind of criminal trouble, basically what happened was that those people had their deportation actions deferred. And that’s sort of where the “Deferred Action” comes from.

President Obama and the Attorney General, Eric Holder, and some other people, Janet Napolitano, people at the Department of Homeland Security, came to the conclusion that they weren’t going to be able to deport 12 million people. And so what they decided to do was to come up with priorities. They wanted to focus on people who had been arrested, people with criminal convictions, people who had entered the United States over and over and over, and so they did that. They adopted an Executive Order back in the summer of 2012 that said listen, we’re not going to deport these young people, we’re not going to put them at the top of our list unless they’ve committed some kind of crime. In fact, what we’re going to do is we’re going to give the ability to obtain work authorization and to have their deportations halted.

That sort of has been in place. It’s important to remember that this was not a piece of legislation. This was not something that was passed by Congress. This was just an Executive Order. And so with an Executive Order, that can always be undone by the next president. And that’s exactly what happened today. As a candidate, Donald Trump ran on a campaign to do away with Deferred Action. He and some other immigration hardliners viewed it as an unconstitutional abuse of power. Many legal scholars have refuted that, and most legal scholars have said that this was within the President’s ability to prioritize who he wanted to deport, and that President Obama’s actions were completely legal.

Lately, there have been rumblings from some states, some southern states and some other anti-immigrant attorney generals around the country, that they were going to file litigation to challenge the legality of Deferred Action. Enter stage left Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Jeff Sessions was one of the most anti-immigrant members of the Senate before he became President Trump’s Attorney General, and he has now allegedly concluded that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is unconstitutional, and he’s like, “Oh no, I can’t defend this Executive Action in court, so President Trump you have to do something.”

What has happened today after much to-do, President Trump has finally come about and announced that he’s going to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. There is an estimated 800,000 people, more than 800,000 young men and women who are law abiding people, who have been in this country for a very long time, who know no other country in which they live, and the program is going to come to an end in six months unless Congress acts. So the President has dropped a little poison pill, I believe, on the Congress, on Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. Don’t forget, he’s very frustrated with these people, and now he has taken a very, very hot political topic and dropped it in the lap of Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, who he’s been fighting with for a long time.

Let’s get into the meat of it. Let’s talk about what the announcement today covers on September 5, 2017. This means that those young people are eventually going to have their temporary protected status and their work authorization go away. The first thing to keep in mind is that as of today, September 5, 2017, if you have not applied for Deferred Action and if you are eligible, it is now too late. Some really smart immigration attorneys have been filing these DACA applications over the last couple weeks for the people that waited to the last minute, but the program is now ended. So they will not be accepting any more Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival applications.

For those people who have already been granted Deferred Action, the question is then what happens to them? What happens to their work cards, what happens to their deportation cases, and there’s so many angles to this that we’re going to be shooting video all this week, and then we’re going to post it out to all our social media channels, because we want to get out the word as to what’s going to happen to these people. For the people who already have Deferred Action, if it expires before March 5, 2018 … in other words six months from today … if it expires by March 5, 2018, if you already have DACA and it’s going to expire, you can apply for a two-year renewal, but your application must be received one month from today. It must be received no later than October 5, 2017.

In our office, we’re going to be going over all of our Deferred Action applications, all of our beneficiaries, and we’re going to shoot those applications over for renewal for the people that are eligible. If you have Deferred Action and it expires after March 5, 2018, you’re not going to be eligible for that extension, and your DACA and your work authorization will expire on the date that’s shown on that red work authorization card that you have.

If you have a new DACA application that was filed before today, it is going to continue to be processed. They are not going to stop processing Deferred Action applications that were on file prior to September 5, 2017.

Now, one of the great things about the Deferred Action program, and one of the things that really has driven the hardliners crazy, is that with Deferred Action, not only could you get work authorization, and not only could you get your deportation halted, you also had the ability if you needed to get back to your home country to apply for something called “advance parole.” Advance parole is permission before you leave the United States to return to the United States, and it allows you to go out of the country. And if you have a qualifying relative, that is if you’re married to a US citizen, now that you’ve come back you can apply for a green card, for lawful permanent resident status through that advance parole and through that Deferred Action that you’ve been previously given. And it allows you to be properly inspected so that you can adjust your status.

We did this for a good number of clients, where we had people who had obtained Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival, they had a reason to go back home, some kind of family emergency. They’d go back to their home country, and when they return, they come through customs on that advance parole, and now they’ve been properly inspected and they’re allowed to adjust their status. In fact, we had one approved this very morning. We had a case that we’d been sweating. We weren’t sure what was going to happen with Deferred Action. We thought that it might be going away, and one of our long time clients who has had Deferred Action for quite some time and is married to a US citizen got the word today that he’s going to get his green card.

The question is are people who have Deferred Action and who have already obtained advance parole, are they going to be able to leave the United States or are they going to be able to come back to the United States and adjust their status. And the answer to that question is yes. If you’re outside of the United States and you’ve been granted advance parole, the good advice would be to come back as soon as you can, but you are going to be able to do that maneuver that we mentioned and, hopefully, obtain your lawful permanent resident status. That will still be considered a good entry for purposes of adjustment of status.

The USCIS as of today will no longer process those advance parole applications, so some of our clients do have pending advance parole applications. Those will not be granted. As far as people who have final orders of deportation and are in deportation proceedings, we’re going to cover that in tomorrow’s video, but as of now I think it’s safe to assume that those people are going to have their cases what are called “re-calendared”. They’re going to be sent back to Immigration Court, and they’re going to have to be responsive to the charges of deportation, and if they’ve already been ordered deported I suspect that eventually, and probably sooner rather than later, ICE is going to start effectuating those orders of removal. So we’ll see if that’s paused or not. I’m not sure exactly if that’s going to happen yet, but we’ll see.

One thing to keep in mind with all this is you should not be relying on the advice of strangers, you should not be relying on the advice of notarios. You want to make sure that you are using an immigration attorney, preferably one who’s in the American Immigration Lawyers Association, lawyers who specialize in immigration. There are a lot of people in times of crisis like this who try to take advantage of people, and there are many, many, many good immigration attorneys around the country. I encourage you to talk to one of them.

We are going to continue to fight for our clients, and we’re going to continue to press Congress to take action. That will be the topic of another video later this week, but for now, if you have questions about the ending of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, if you have any questions about what your particular situation is, be sure to give us a call at (314) 961-8200. You can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com. Make sure to like our Facebook channel, our YouTube channel so that you find out all of our future updates as to what’s been going on. We are sorry to say good night to you on this very sad evening.

You’ve gotta keep hope alive, as Reverend Jackson said. We’re going to keep fighting. We have friends in Congress, and there have been a lot of good signals that have come out of Congress that this might be changed legislatively, and that would take away a lot of the arguments that Trump, Sessions, and Kris Kobach have for doing away with Deferred Action, and we’re hopeful that even in this dark hour that things will turn around and that we’ll be able to find a good solution for a lot of the great quality people that we’ve met and we haven’t met who’ve all been benefiting from this Deferred Action program. There’s absolutely no reason these children, these young people, these quality individuals should be sent back to their home countries, and we pray and hope and will strive to make sure that that doesn’t happen.

Peace out.

Couple awaits word on whether they will be deported to Mexico

Oakland nurse and mother of four, Maria Mendoza-Sanchez, and her husband have lived in the United States for over two decades, but they do not have legal status.  Under a federal deportation order, the couple and their youngest child, Jesus, 12, will be flying to Mexico City on Wednesday, August 16.

Mendoza-Sanchez received a call on Tuesday afternoon from Senator Dianne Feinstein.  Praying that Sen. Feinstein’s call would bring good news in the 11th hour, Mendoza-Sanchez answered the phone with hopes that her family could remain intact.

Unfortunately, Sen. Feinstein apologetically told Mendoza-Sanchez that immigration authorities had denied the request for a stay and there was nothing more she could do.  Mendoza-Sanchez, her husband, and Jesus, a United States citizen by birth, will have to leave the United States and make a new home in Mexico.

Their three daughters, ages 16, 21, and 23, will stay behind in the United States.  The two older daughters will raise their younger sister, ensuring she completes her final two years of high school.  The two younger daughters are U.S. citizens and the oldest daughter is protected by DACA status.

Immigration attorney, Carl Shusterman, represents the family.  He termed Tuesday’s denial of the stay request a “tragedy.”  ICE officials refused to make an exception for Mendoza-Sanchez and her family because, “if they did, they would have to make an exception for other people, too.”  

Maria Mendoza-Sanchez is a nurse at Highland hospital in the oncology and cardiology wing.  Her husband, Eusebio Sanchez, is a truck driver.  Neither Mendoza-Sanchez nor her husband have a criminal record.

According to an immigration expert, the denial of the stay reflects a shift in the government’s deportation approach.  When cases received high levels of media attention and local political involvement in the past, ICE would shy away from the negative publicity and alter their response.  Santa Clara University School of Law professor, Pratheepan Gulasekaram, says that ICE “is sending a message with this removal…Everybody is potentially a target.”

For more information, click here.

The Unlucky Undocumented: How Being in the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time is Getting Immigrants Deported

People often ask us how life for immigrants has changed since Donald Trump became President.

We tell them that one major change is the fact that Immigration and Customs Enforcement now routinely sweeps up immigrants during raids even when those immigrants were not the targets of the raids.

For these people, they just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In these scenarios, ICE is raiding a house or work place to find a particular undocumented immigrant, but come into contact with additional, previously unknown undocumented immigrants.

And that is how they get caught.

As explained in this recent piece from Time magazine, “[u]nder the Trump Administration’s new enforcement priorities, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are instructed to detain and deport anyone who is in the country illegally, which means even so-called “non-targets” may end up in custody after a raid.”

As an example, Time cites a four-day operation in late July 23017 in which ICE arrested 650 people.  Of those, 457 were not targets of the raid.  This means that 70% of the immigrants were unlucky and got caught in the middle of a raid meant for someone else.

President Barack Obama had stated, defined priorities detailing who ICE should be looking for – namely criminals and people who had already been deported from the U.S. who were now back in America.  President Trump did away with those stated priorities.

ICE spokeswoman Danielle Bennett explained to Time that since the priorities have been eliminated, no classes or categories of removable undocumented immigrants are exempt from deportation.

“I think that our agency now feels that we can make arrests. They’re in compliance with federal law, there aren’t the restrictions,” she said. “It allows more flexibility for the officers to make decisions from their personal dealings with the person.”

As of now, based on raw statistical data, about 44% of those being deported under President Trump do not have criminal records.  This is a slight increase over the 42% of those deported during the Obama era.

Undocumented Dad Nabbed by ICE while Dropping Daughter Off at School Gets Another Chance

Last week, the Board of Immigration Appeals vacated a deportation order entered against Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez.  Romulo’s case drew nationwide attention after a YouTube video surfaced of his daughter weeping after his arrest by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

In February, Avelica-Gonzalez was taken into custody by ICE while he was dropping off his daughters at school.

Here is the video taken in the moments after the man was taken into custody.

He has been held at the Adelanto Detention Facility in San Bernardino County since he was taken into custody.

Romulo has lived in the U.S. for 25 years, but had no way to obtain lawful permanent resident status in the States.  He has two misdemeanor convictions – one for receiving stolen car tags and one for driving under the influence.

Avelica-Gonzalez has four children who are U.S. citizens, according to National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON). He was working as a cook at the time of his arrest.

“He should not be imprisoned just for trying to live a better life and stay with his family,” Avelica-Gonzalez’s 13-year-old daughter, Fatima, said in a prepared release.

Fatima is the daughter who videotaped her father’s arrest.

Avelica-Gonzalez’s immigration lawyer has successfully gotten those convictions vacated and the Board of Immigration Appeals then granted his request for an emergency stay of deportation while it reviewed his case.

His legal team has requested that ICE release Romulo while the deportation case proceeds.  A new bond hearing is set for August 30, 2017.

ICE has a long-standing policy instructing agents to  avoid conducting enforcement activities at so-called “sensitive locations” such as churches, hospitals and schools, unless absolutely necessary. But Avelica-Gonzalez’s arrest at his daughter’s school sparked renewed concerns that ICE is loosening that policy — an accusation that federal officials have denied.

With regards to the latest BIA decision in AVelica-Gonzalez’s case, Department of Justice spokesman Kenneth Gardner said officials had no official comment about the decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals. “The decision speaks for itself,” Gardner wrote in an email.

As Trump Eases Enforcement Priorities, Undocumented Immigrants Feel the Squeeze

If you want to understand what it feels like when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) comes to get an undocumented immigrant, read this article in Newsweek.

As a candidate for President, Donald Trump promised to round up the “bad hombres.”  His Attorney General has routinely called for stricter enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws.  John F. Kelly, the head of Homeland Security, has similarly promised that until Congress changes our immigration policies, his agency would enforce the laws on the books to the fullest extent possible.

Enter Jonatan Palacios, an undocumented man from Honduras.  Back in 2008, he was ordered deported by an immigration judge.  ICE recently found Mr. Palacios and took him in to immigration custody.

In an interview with Newsweek, Palacios said “I was so panicked.  I was trying to think through every little detail. Eventually, there was nothing else we could do and I just got out of the car, gave Lillie a hug and went with them.”

Immigration lawyers across the country explain that since Trump came into office, ICE has moved sharply away from the Obama-era policy of deporting criminals first.  Now, all undocumented immigrants are at risk.

Under Obama, agents were required to follow a specified list of priorities. Under Trump, ICE can investigate any undocumented immigrant they deem to be a “risk to public safety or national security” —a deliberately vague mandate, say immigration experts, that gives individuals in the agency a lot of leeway to make their own choices.  For better or worse.

This is contrary to candidate Trump’s promise to focus on “bad hombres.”

It should also spark a debate about what our nation’s immigration process should look like.

Do we really want to deport millions of people who have lived in the U.S. without proper authorization for years and years but who have committed no crimes?

Or, given the limited financial resources that ICE and other law enforcement agencies have, do we want to prioritize those who violate the laws?

In addition, the current approach under Donald Trump appears hostile, mean-spirited and destined to break up thousands of families.

 

 

Indian Doctors Face Deportation Due to Paperwork Error

Two Indian physicians who reside in Houston, Texas, face imminent deportation from the United States due to a paperwork error.

Dr. Pankaj Satija is a neurologist who helped found the Pain and Headache Centers of Texas.  His wife, Dr. Monnika Ummat, have resided in the U.S. for many, many years.  Dr. Ummat is also a neurologist.  She specializes in treating epilepsy at Texas Children’s Hospital.  They are the parents of 2 U.S. citizens, 7-year-old Ralph and 4-year-old Zoeey.

The pair faced removal last week after immigration officials refused to extend Dr. Satija’s and Dr. Ummat’s temporary permission to stay in the U.S.  The decision by Homeland Security may cause dozens of Texans who suffer from neurological disorders to be without their doctors.

“I have 50 patients today and 40 patients tomorrow,” said Dr. Satija. “I’m just concerned they’ll be left in a lurch. They could land up in the emergency room.”

The Houston Methodist Hospital System sponsored Dr. Satija for a green card (lawful permanent resident status) in 2008.  Dr. Ummat would be eligible to adjust status as his spouse.  But because the couple are from India and because USCIS has a nearly decade-long backlog for Indian professionals to adjust status, they have not yet received their LPR status.

The couple regularly renewed their travel documents and work authorizations.  But last year, their permission to travel abroad was extended for only one year instead of two years, which had typically been what they received.  Later snafus by Customs and Border Patrol contributed to the confusion.

The couple never noticed the problem.  Then Dr. Satija’s brother called from India to tell him that their father had been admitted into intensive care and was gravely ill.  The entire family flew to India.

When they returned to the U.S., they learned that they had left the U.S. on expired advance parole documents (the formal name for the travel documents).

CBP allowed the couple to enter the U.S. on deferred inspection, which means they were allowed in but would have to explain how they believed they were entitled to stay at a later date.

When they brought their paperwork back to CBP, they were initially told that everything would be okay.  But the next day, they were told “[s]omebody up there has decided you have to leave the country in the next 24 hours.”

According to the Houston Chronicle, in two expansive immigration memos the Trump administration issued in February, it directed the nation’s three main immigration agencies to “sparingly” use the practice of parole, though it hasn’t yet detailed the new regulations.

At the end of last week, DHS did agree to give the couple another 90 days to try and sort out the situation.

This story demonstrates a few themes we talk about at the Hacking Law Practice on a regular basis.

First, it is absolutely ridiculous that we have an immigration system that takes nine years for a pair of super-qualified doctors from India to get lawful resident status.

Second, it is absurd that we are even talking about the possibility of deporting these people who serve sick Americans every day of their lives.

Third, immigrants are awesome and help this country every day.