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The Weekly Round-Up: DACA to Be Reinstated and Large-Scale Employer Raids in the Midwest

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Federal Judge Orders Government to Begin Accepting New DACA Applications

Late last week, United States District Judge John Bates, presiding in Washington, D.C., ruled that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must begin accepting all applications for protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which had been suspended since 2017.

The Obama Administration initiated the DACA program in 2012 to halt removal from the United States of noncitizens without documentation who had entered the country as children and had no criminal records.  The program also provided employment authorization, renewable in two-year increments.  Last year, President Trump rescinded the DACA program.  Soon afterward, a federal court ordered USCIS to continue accepting DACA renewal applications.  In April, Judge Bates ruled that he was likely going to reinstate the DACA program in full, but allowed the government three months to provide additional evidence as to why the program should stay closed to new applicants.  Last Friday he ruled that the government had not presented sufficient evidence or arguments to change his mind, and held that the program must be reopened to new applicants.

This ruling potentially opens the door for thousands of new applicants.  Between 2012 and 2017, approximately 700,000 to 800,000 people were approved for DACA.  After President Trump shut down the program in 2017, he called on Congress to pass legislation providing permanent relief for those who had received DACA, but as of today, Congress has not acted.

The government has until August 23, 2018, to appeal Judge Bates’ decision.  The NMM Immigration Blog will continue to cover this case as it develops.

DHS Conducts Massive Employers Raids in Nebraska and Minnesota

The Department of Homeland Security raided about a dozen different employers in Nebraska and Minnesota, arresting 14 employers and well over 100 employees, who were placed into removal proceedings.  Tracy Cormier, special agent in charge of this operation, said she was aware of no larger criminal immigration raid ever conducted by the Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) unit.

As reported in the Washington Post, between 350 and 400 law enforcement officers at the federal, state, and local levels coordinated to carry out the raids.  Agent Cormier explained that the arrests were based upon evidence that “these businesses were cheating these workers and cheating taxpayers and cheating their competition.”  She claimed that businesses created fake names and social security numbers to help undocumented individuals to work, while at the same time taking advantage of these workers by threatening them with deportation.  This fits in with the Department of Homeland Security’s promise to increase workplace raids by 400%, targeting both employers and employees.

Immigration advocates, however, saw the raids as intimidating to immigrant communities.   As further noted in the Washington Post, American Civil Liberties Union Attorney Rose Godinez stated that the “ACLU condemns this ongoing campaign of misery that targets immigrants, disrupts local businesses and separates families.”  Jeff Sheldon, Communications Director of Nebraska Appleseed, an immigrant rights group, said that the raids are “going to leave widespread fear and damage in the community.”

If you are an employer or employee and would like to discuss your legal rights and obligations, please consult with an experienced immigration attorney.

If you have questions about topics covered in today’s weekly round-up or other immigration matters, contact me at wcmenard@nmmlaw.com.