Thursday, August 23, 2012


Nathan Deal, the Republican governor of Georgia was hoping to jump on the bandwagon of Arizona's wicked witch of the West Jan Brewer, to deny driver’s licenses to DACA recipients (those who qualified under the Dream Act Deferred Action or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).
The Georgia Attorney General issued an opinion letter to the Governor yesterday saying that under Georgia law, a driver's license must be issued to DACA recipients.
The AG letter states that OCGA 40-5-21.1(a)(5) specifically includes deferred action status as an eligible category "notwithstanding any other provision of this title, an applicant who presents in person valid documentary evidence of ... approved deferred action status ... may be issued a temporary license, permit, or special identification card."
The AG letter concludes that "While I do not agree with the actions of the President in issuing the directive, it has been implemented by the Department of Homeland Security, USCIS, and state law recognizes the approval of deferred action status as a basis for issuing a temporary driver's license or identification card".

This is great news to all DACA applicants in Georgia!

If you think you qualify for DACA or knows someone who does, please contact our office at 770-913-0800 for help.


The 11th Circuit also issued a ruling in the Alabama HB56 anti-immigration law. The court made a clear ruling that the k-12 schools provision violated the equal protection clause and the U.S. Supreme Court case of Plyler v. Doe so no reporting of undocumented school children or any of their family members.
In addition, the court struck down the provision making contracts unenforceable if the person is knowingly undocumented as an impermissible regulation of immigration.
Similar to the Georgia HB87 ruling, the harboring provision was struck down, finding the federal harboring scheme is a comprehensive field wherein states may not legislate.
The criminal provisions of Section 30 (Ala. Code 31-13-29) were upheld by the Eleventh Circuit, and are now in effect. This provision was amended by the legislature this spring, and so now applies only to: “applying for or renewing a motor vehicle license plate, applying for or renewing a driver's license or non-driver identification card, applying for or renewing a business license, applying for or renewing a commercial license, or applying for or renewing a professional license.” Applying is now a class C felony in Alabama.

Monday, August 20, 2012


The 11th Circuit has issued its ruling in the HB 87 case. The Court has upheld the injunction against Section 7 (Transporting, Harboring and Inducing), which now is a permanent injunction, so it cannot be a crime in Georgia to harbor or transport someone who is here illegally.
The 11th Circuit has not upheld the injunction against Section 8 (Show me your papers provision) similar to the U.S. Supreme Court case. This is not bad news in itself because just like the Supreme Court decision, the 11th Circuit reiterated that if some actual harm is shown in the future (for example, a longer than normal traffic stop to check a person's immigration status), Section 8 would be preempted by federal law.
Judge Charles Wilson wrote: “The illegal-immigration issues that our country faces today are, no doubt, exceptionally important to both the state and federal governments. As a federal court, we do not sit in judgment of the policy decisions of state legislatures, and we are usually reluctant to conclude that states are forbidden from enacting statutes related to activities within their borders. However, when state laws intrude into areas of overwhelming federal interest and erode the discretion implicit in the sovereignty of the country, we must recognize the supremacy of federal law. Here, section 7 of H.B. 87 cannot be reconciled with the federal immigration scheme or the individual provisions of the INA. As a result, we affirm in part the district court’s order preliminarily enjoining enforcement of section 7. We reverse in part the portion of that order enjoining section 8. This case is remanded to the district court for further proceedings.”
So, basically, if all the state statute requires is that state officers’ conduct an immigration inquiry “during the course of an authorized, lawful detention or after a detainee has been released, the provision likely would survive preemption—at least absent some showing that it has other consequences that are adverse to federal law and its objectives.”
So, the challenge to the law can still be done in the future if it is proved problematic in practice.
Read the decision at:

Monday, August 13, 2012


Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren told anyone who would listen that its 287(g) program does not racially profile people. Yay, right.
The facts show that the program does actually discriminate by targeting minorities. Since January 2006, 287(g), which is used in 24 states, has been credited with identifying more than 279,300 suspected illegal immigrants, mostly a local jails, according to ICE. Warren estimated that the Cobb county sheriff’s office has identified and transferred more than 11,000 inmates to ICE.
However, most of these inmates are people who were charged for minor traffic offenses. The more severe problem is that these people with minor traffic offenses and immigration violations are held in jail together with murderers and other severe crime inmates. This is such an abuse of human rights.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


In a great new initiative from a Georgia county, in the midst of all the anti immigration policies in the state, it is refreshing to see that DeKalb County officials are acting in a better, humane way towards immigrants. They have announced a new initiative aimed at the county's refugee and immigrant students called PHLOTES to the Top project and it will increase accessibility to educational, social and workforce services for K-12 students and their families to increase literacy, graduation, job readiness and home-ownership rates.
DeKalb is one of the state's most diverse school districts and has nearly 17,000 students whose primary home language is not English. The program will be implemented in the fall in the Clarkston school cluster and will be expanded in the future to include additional high school clusters.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Georgia's attorney general has added some birth documentation to a list of identification documents government agencies in the state can accept for certain transactions as 'secure and verifiable' identification as required by HB87 in Georgia.
The law requires applicants for public benefits — including professional licenses and food stamps — to provide at least one state or federally issued 'secure and verifiable' document. Three documents were added to the list, issued by the U.S. State Department: certification of report of birth, certification of report of birth abroad, and consular report of birth abroad. Also added was an original or certified copy of a birth certificate bearing an official seal and issued by a state, county, municipal authority or territory of the U.S. No form of identification was removed from the list.
Some Republican politicians tried unsuccessfully to pass legislation to amend the list issued last year by the attorney general to remove foreign passports. The legislation said that to be considered 'secure and verifiable,' foreign passports would have to be accompanied by federal immigration documentation proving someone is in the country legally. The attorney general left foreign passports on the list with no additional qualifications or requirements. Government employees who administer public benefits can be fined or put in prison for not complying with this provision of the law.

Friday, August 3, 2012


Here is my summary from today’s USCIS teleconference on DACA (DREAM Act Deferred Action):

1.                   In a change from the prior announcement, people currently in removal proceedings will use the USCIS process when it is implemented on August 15, 2012, rather than go through ICE. Only individuals in detention will go through ICE to make a deferred action request.
2.                   Information provided as part of the deferred action request process is protected from disclosure to ICE or CBP for purposes of removal proceedings unless the requestor meets the criteria of USCIS' November 2011 NTA memo (for example on criminal grounds). Information provided on the form will be kept confidential, including information relating to applicants’ family members or legal guardians. The information will be shared with other government agencies for any necessary law enforcement purposes.
3.                   If a departure from the U.S. was due to removal, voluntary departure, etc., the absence was not brief, casual and innocent and would interrupt the continuous residence that is required since June 15, 2007. Short absences before August 15, 2012, reasonably calculated to accomplish the purpose of the trip, would not be interruptive.
4.                   Only people who are currently not in status and were not in any lawful status on June 15, 2012 are eligible.
5.                   A "significant misdemeanor" is one for any crime for which the individual was sentenced to more than 90 days in custody, or a conviction for domestic violence, sexual abuse, burglary, firearm violation, drug distribution or trafficking (but not possession), or DUI, regardless of the sentence. Significant Misdemeanor Offense is one for which the maximum term of imprisonment under Federal Law is more than 5 days and less than one year (regardless of sentence). This is very restrictive.
6.                   Minor traffic offenses, such as driving without a license, are not considered misdemeanors that count toward the "3 or more" standard.
7.                   The Form I-765 will be required, along with another form that will be made available on August 14 or 15. Total fees, including biometrics, will be $465. Fee waivers will be very limited, and must be requested and approved before submitting a deferred action application without a fee.
8.                   Whether a person has reached age 15, and whether the requestor meets the education requirements, will be determined as of the date the request for deferred action is filed, NOT the June 15, 2012 date.
9.                   Interviews are not required unless the USCIS is suspicious of the misrepresentation or fraud issues with the case.
10.               Anyone who gives false information or misleading info or docs AND falls under 212(a)(2) WILL be put into removal proceedings.
11.               Applicants will use a form developed for this specific purpose (version of I-821 TPS form).
12.               Mail DACA request together with an application for an employment authorization document and all applicable fees to the USCIS lockbox. Will be processed at all 4 USCIS service centers.
13.               Advance Parole Travel Authorization will be available after the approval of the Deferred Action and when humanitarian grounds requiring the travel.
14.               Affidavits proving presence will be severely limited except as to proving gaps in other evidence, such as to cover casual and innocent departures from the U.S. during the five year application period.
15.               USCIS can change their minds or rescind these rules at any time.

If you have any questions regarding your qualification, please call our office at 404-935-0056.