Comment: Asylum VS. Detention
Today's Immigration Daily carries various items of interest, including a primer from American Immigration Council on asylum in the US. Also find an article on the reprehensible conditions in border patrol facilities, a blog containing a petition to free hunger striking mothers in deportation jail, and more.
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Men at the Casa Grande facility sleep on concrete floors and benches. One man drinks water directly from a jug shared by the other detainees.
Each year, the Border Patrol—a division of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)—holds hundreds of thousands of individuals in detention facilities near the U.S. southern border. These facilities are meant to hold individuals for a short time while they undergo initial processing and until a decision is made about the appropriate next step in their cases. The holding cells are typically small concrete rooms with concrete benches and no beds. In other words, they are not designed for overnight custody. However, they are routinely used in this way.
Late yesterday, the American Immigration Council, the National Immigration Law Center, the ACLU of Arizona, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, and Morrison & Foerster LLP publicly filed damning evidence, including expert testimony and video stills, illustrating the unconscionable and unconstitutional conditions detained individuals are subjected to while in Border Patrol custody in the Tucson Sector. The shocking images from the video stills show small children crawling on dirty, trash strewn floors, individuals huddled in Mylar sheets in an attempt to stay warm, others sleeping on concrete floors and benches
On August 8, 2016, the U.S. Department of State (“DOS”) released the September 2016 Visa Bulletin, and the Chart A – Application Final Action Dates for Chinese EB-5 visa applicants remains frozen at February 15, 2014 for an unprecedented fourth straight month, creating a 30.54 month backlog.
The September 2016 Visa Bulletin also continues the cut-off date of January 1, 2010 for EB-1 Chinese and Indian visa applicants, although this is expected to be current again in October 2016. The cut-off date of February 1, 2014 for EB-2 visa applicants from all other countries should also recover in October 2016, the beginning of the 2017 Fiscal Year (“FY”). Here are some observations:
Cut-Offs Expected at End of Fiscal Year. The backlogged EB-5, EB-1, and EB-2 priority dates were expected. It is normal to establish cut-off dates at the end of each FY (September 30) to accommodate the annual quota. However, it is expected that EB-1 will be current for India and China in October, and even EB-5 should move forward slowly when the new supply of immigrant visas becomes available. However, since the EB-5 Regional Center Program is still scheduled to sunset on September 30, 2016, the cut-off dates for the I5 and R5 visas may be listed as “unavailable” for October 2016, unless Congress extends the EB-5 Regional Center Program before the October 2016 Visa Bulletin is published during the second week of September. There is no certainty when legislative action to extend the EB-5 Regional Center Program will occur, although we are hearing there will be either a 60 day, or maybe even a one-year, extension. Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division, U.S. Department of State, indicated on August 12, 2016 that he is unable to make any predictions at this time as to where EB-5 China cut-off dates will fall in the next FY. He expects to have better information by late September to mid-October 2016.
Chart B – Date for Filing Remains Closed. USCIS announced on August 10, 2016 that it would not open Chart B – Date for Filing for September 2016, which would allow certain persons to file Form I-485 Application for Adjustment of Status (“Form I-485”) if in the U.S., in lawful status, and otherwise eligible to adjust. The filing of a Form I-485 may protect an EB-5 child beneficiary in the U.S. from “aging-out.” Although there is no certainty USCIS will open Chart B for filing adjustments in October and/or November 2016, as it did in 2015, we expect an announcement from USCIS regarding the October Visa Bulletin on or about September 12, 2016. This will be the last chance for some to file I-485 adjustment applications and may present the