Archive for the ‘Immigrant Advocacy Legal Assistance’ Category

Yemeni Immigrants Reunited with Families in U.S.

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PRESS RELEASE

Yemeni immigrants unlawfully barred by Trump’s executive order reunited with families in U.S.

After a nine-day ordeal sparked by President Trump’s January 27 executive order on immigration, Tareq and Ammar Aquel Mohammed Aziz, ages 21 and 19, have finally joined their father in the US. As was disclosed on February 3 in a federal court in Virginia, the brothers are two of the estimated 60,000–100,000 people whose valid visas were unlawfully revoked by the executive order, which took effect as the brothers were flying to the United States to live with their father, Aquel Aziz, who is a U.S. citizen residing in Michigan. After arriving on January 28, the brothers were coerced into signing an administrative form withdrawing their application for admission to the United States, and their valid visas were cancelled. Subsequently, they spent more than a week in legal limbo stranded at airports in Addis Ababa and Djibouti. The Al Murisi family of Yemen, who were traveling with their five children, endured a similar ordeal.

The Aziz brothers and Al Murisi family were aided by a team of lawyers from the Legal Aid Justice Center (LAJC) in Virginia and the law firm Mayer Brown, which mobilized quickly after learning that the immigrants were denied entry in the US. The lawyers – Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg from LAJC, and Andy Pincus and Paul Hughes from Mayer Brown – obtained an injunction from a federal judge in Virginia staying the executive order before negotiating the boys’ return to the U.S.

“With the critical assistance of Mayer Brown and CrowdJustice, which has helped raise needed funds, the Aziz brothers and Al Murisi family have finally been permitted to arrive in the United States,” said Sandoval-Moshenberg of the LAJC. “While it’s highly gratifying to have played a role in bringing these families together again, we know other families are facing uncertainty and fear as a result of this executive order and encourage them to seek assistance.”

“The executive branch overreached in this unnecessary and unlawful order,” added Hughes of Mayer Brown. “Thanks to the concerted efforts of dozens of determined lawyers and judges throughout the country, however, the rule of law has been vindicated, and two families from Yemen have been made whole.”

Contact:
Tim Wallace
Director of Development
Legal Aid Justice Center
Phone: 434.529.1853 (office) and 773.426.5948 (mobile)

Virginia Files Motion to Intervene in Aziz v. Trump

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Today, the Commonwealth of Virginia announced that it is intervening in the litigation the Legal Aid Justice Center and Mayer Brown LLP have brought on behalf of the Aziz bothers, and others similarly situated, who are lawful permanent residents or immigrant visa holders and who were denied entry to the United States over the past weekend on the basis of the recently-issued Executive Order.

“Virginia’s decision to intervene provides further evidence of the serious constitutional and statutory flaws in the immigration Executive Order,” said Mayer Brown partner Andrew Pincus.

“Virginia’s intervention in our lawsuit confirms the enormous practical repercussions of the Executive Order,” added Mayer Brown partner Paul Hughes.

“Virginia has chosen to intervene in order to protect the rights of all Virginia residents, especially members of its universities,” said Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg of the Legal Aid Justice Center.

For details about the Dulles detainees and to support our efforts in this case, please go here: https://www.crowdjustice.org/case/dullesdetainees/

Resources:

New Complaint Alleges Detainees Unlawfully Coerced

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PRESS RELEASE: Legal Aid Justice Center and Mayer Brown File Amended Complaint Alleging Detainees Unlawfully Coerced to Sign Forms and Seeking Return Of Aziz Brothers And Similarly Situated Individuals.

In an amended complaint filed on Monday, January 30, lawyers representing two Yemeni brothers contend that their clients were unlawfully coerced to sign I-407 forms, which purported to document “Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status.” The Yemeni brothers, who were taken into custody after arriving at Dulles Airport hours after President Trump signed his executive order on immigration, were told that refusing to sign the administrative form would leave them unable to enter the US for five years. In fact, as the amended complaint explains, there is no such penalty for refusing to sign the form.

“We believe the agency unlawfully coerced our clients, two Yemeni brothers, and others into signing administrative forms to waive their immigration rights,” said Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg, Legal Director of the Immigrant Advocacy Program of the Legal Aid Justice Center, who is co-counsel to the Yemeni brothers with Mayer Brown partners Paul Hughes and Andy Pincus. “Their signatures were not voluntary.”

“This amended complaint reveals a disturbing pattern of conduct by U.S. officials,” added Hughes.

The brothers, Tareq Aqel Mohammed Aziz and Ammar Aqel Muhammad Aziz, arrived at Washington-Dulles International Airport on the morning of Saturday, January 28, 2017, en route to live with their father, a U.S. citizen residing in Flint, Michigan. They were traveling on duly issued United States immigrant visas, and were entitled to lawful permanent resident status in the United States. Upon arrival at Dulles, U.S. officials handcuffed Tareq and Ammar and took them into custody. Officials informed the brothers that, if they did not sign a I-407 form, they would be put into official removal proceedings and ultimately barred from entering the United States for five years. These representations were not correct – US officials had no basis to deny them entry to the United States or to order their removal. Moreover, officials did not provide Tareq and Ammar with access to counsel.

Tareq and Ammar were subsequently placed on a plane to Ethiopia (where their flight to Dulles had originated). At present, they are waiting in Addis Ababa International Airport, hoping to return to the United States. They do not wish to return to their original country of Yemen, which is in the midst of a civil war.

On the evening of Saturday, January 27, 2017, Judge Brinkema of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia issued a temporary restraining order requiring officials at Dulles to provide access to legal counsel for lawful permanent residents detained at Dulles and to forbid further activities to send individuals outside of the United States. The Court issued this order on behalf of both Tareq and Ammar, as well as John Does 1-50, who were similarly situated.

Senator Cory Booker personally delivered a copy of the TRO to airport officials. He has sworn out an affidavit, which is attached to the amended complaint. The amended complaint details concerns about whether Dulles officials properly complied with the requirements of the TRO.

“Legal Aid Justice Center and Mayer Brown are committed to ensuring that Tareq and Ammar are able to exercise their legal right to return to the United States and join their father,” said Andrew Pincus of Mayer Brown.

For details about Dulles detainees and to support this case, please go here: https://www.crowdjustice.org/case/dullesdetainees/

Contact information:

Tim Wallace (Legal Aid Justice Center) 773-426-5948

John Tuerck (Mayer Brown) 312-701-8280

 

Click here for a copy of Amended Complaint 

 

About the Legal Aid Justice Center

The Legal Aid Justice Center (LAJC) fights injustice in the lives of individual Virginians while rooting out exploitative policies and practices that keep people in poverty. LAJC uses impact litigation, community organizing, and policy advocacy to solve urgent problems in areas such as housing, education, civil rights, immigration, healthcare and consumer finance. LAJC’s primary service areas are Charlottesville, Northern Virginia and Richmond/Petersburg, but the effects of their work are felt statewide.

 

About Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown is a global legal services organization advising clients across the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Our presence in the world’s leading markets enables us to offer clients access to local market knowledge combined with global reach. We are noted for our commitment to client service and our ability to assist clients with their most complex and demanding legal and business challenges worldwide. We serve many of the world’s largest companies, including a significant proportion of the Fortune 100, FTSE 100, CAC 40, DAX, Hang Seng and Nikkei index companies and more than half of the world’s largest banks. We provide legal services in areas such as: banking and finance; corporate and securities; litigation, arbitration, and other dispute resolution; antitrust and competition; US Supreme Court and appellate; employment and benefits; environmental; financial services regulatory and enforcement; government and global trade; intellectual property; real estate; tax; restructuring, bankruptcy and insolvency; and wealth management.

Mayer Brown comprises legal practices that are separate entities (the “Mayer Brown Practices”). The Mayer Brown Practices are: Mayer Brown LLP and Mayer Brown Europe-Brussels LLP, both limited liability partnerships established in Illinois USA; Mayer Brown International LLP, a limited liability partnership incorporated in England and Wales (authorized and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and registered in England and Wales number OC 303359); Mayer Brown, a  SELAS established in France; Mayer Brown Mexico, S.C., a sociedad civil formed under the laws of the State of Durango, Mexico; Mayer Brown JSM, a Hong Kong partnership and its associated legal practices in Asia; and Tauil & Chequer Advogados, a Brazilian law partnership with which Mayer Brown is associated. Mayer Brown Consulting (Singapore) Pte. Ltd and its subsidiary, which are affiliated with Mayer Brown, provide customs and trade advisory and consultancy services, not legal services. “Mayer Brown” and the Mayer Brown logo are the trademarks of the Mayer Brown Practices in their respective jurisdictions.

LAJC Informed CBP Will Comply with Order

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For Immediate Release

Legal Aid Justice has been informed that U.S. Customs and Border Protection have modified their practices in response to the federal court temporary restraining order.

The Legal Aid Justice Center and Mayer Brown filed suit Saturday on behalf of immigrants detained at Dulles airport as a result of President Trump’s Executive Order banning people from seven countries from entering the U.S.  Our named plaintiffs were two young lawful permanent residents from Yemen who sought to enter the U.S. to be with their U.S. citizen father.  Upon arriving at Dulles, they were detained, denied access to legal counsel, and ultimately placed on a flight to Ethiopia.

We filed suit Saturday, and Judge Brinkema of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia entered a temporary restraining order prohibiting the further removal of such individuals and requiring that LPR persons subject to enhanced screening be allowed access to counsel.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has recently confirmed that it has modified its practices with respect to LPR persons in response to the federal court’s temporary restraining order. We are monitoring CBP’s new practices to ensure rigid adherence and to determine if they comply with the judicial directive.

The Legal Aid Justice Center and Mayer Brown are continuing to advocate on behalf of LPRs entering the United States, as well as those who were denied entry to the United States over the past few days.

The lawyers representing the individuals are Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg of the Legal Aid Justice Center, and Andrew Pincus and Paul Hughes of Mayer Brown LLP.

Contact information:

Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg 434 218-9673

Andrew Pincus 202-320-9125

Paul Hughes 240-441-2240

For details about Dulles detainees and to support this case, please go here: https://www.crowdjustice.org/case/dullesdetainees/

About the Legal Aid Justice Center

The Legal Aid Justice Center (LAJC) fights injustice in the lives of individual Virginians while rooting out exploitative policies and practices that keep people in poverty. LAJC uses impact litigation, community organizing, and policy advocacy to solve urgent problems in areas such as housing, education, civil rights, immigration, healthcare and consumer finance. LAJC’s primary service areas are Charlottesville, Northern Virginia and Richmond/Petersburg, but the effects of their work are felt statewide.

Dulles Temporary Restraining Order Granted

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Press Release for Immediate Distribution

A federal judge tonight issued a temporary restraining order barring the Department of Homeland Security from removing from the United States 50-60 individuals currently detained at Dulles Airport who are legal permanent residents, but were refused admission into the country because they are citizens of the seven countries identified in President Trump’s executive order, issued yesterday.  DHS had refused to allow the individuals to speak to family members or lawyers and had stated that it planned to send all of them out of the United States.

The judge’s order also requires DHS to permit these individuals to speak to lawyers.

The lawyers representing the individuals are Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg of the Legal Aid Justice Center, and Andrew Pincus and Paul Hughes of Mayer Brown LLP.

Contact information:

Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg 434 218-9673

Andrew Pincus 202-320-9125

Paul Hughes 240-441-2240

For details about Dulles detainees and to support this case, please go here: https://www.crowdjustice.org/case/dullesdetainees/

About the Legal Aid Justice Center

The Legal Aid Justice Center (LAJC) fights injustice in the lives of individual Virginians while rooting out exploitative policies and practices that keep people in poverty. LAJC uses impact litigation, community organizing, and policy advocacy to solve urgent problems in areas such as housing, education, civil rights, immigration, healthcare and consumer finance. LAJC’s primary service areas are Charlottesville, Northern Virginia and Richmond/Petersburg, but the effects of their work are felt statewide.

Temporary Restraining Order

US Settles Lawsuit Alleging Wrongful Deportation

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United States Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Alleging Wrongful Deportation

Washington D.C. – After more than two years of litigation, the U.S. government has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by Leonel Ruiz on behalf of his minor daughter, E.R. The suit alleged that in 2011, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), unlawfully detained Mr. Ruiz’s then 4-year-old daughter – a U.S. citizen – when she arrived at Dulles Airport in Virginia, deprived her of any contact with her parents, and sent her back to Guatemala rather than allowing her to join her parents, who awaited her arrival in New York.

According to the complaint, during the twenty hours E.R. was detained in CBP custody with her grandfather, she was given nothing to eat other than a cookie and soda and nowhere to nap other than the cold floor. She was finally able to return home to the United States nearly three weeks later, but only after her father hired a local attorney to fly to Guatemala to retrieve her.

“With ever-increasing numbers of U.S.-born children of mixed-status families, this will continue to be a problem unless CBP formally trains its officers on how to better handle issues around returning U.S. citizen children,” said Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg, director of the Legal Aid Justice Center’s Immigrant Advocacy Project, which also provided pro bono representation to E.R. “CBP’s role is to facilitate lawful entries into the United States, not to throw up barriers and roadblocks.”

Full Release (American Immigration Council)

Media Coverage

Virginia Students Sue for In-State Tuition

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The Legal Aid Justice Center filed a lawsuit in Arlington County Circuit Court on Tuesday, December 17, 2013, on behalf of seven immigrant students from Virginia, all of whom have been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status by the federal government. Although these students grew up in Virginia and graduated from Virginia high schools, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) has determined that they are categorically ineligible for in-state tuition rates at Virginia’s public colleges and universities. The students are asking the court to overrule SCHEV’s interpretation of the law, and recognize that DACA recipients should be eligible for much cheaper in-state tuition rates – just like other Virginia high school graduates.

Press Release (PDF)

Orellana et al. v. State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (Official Complaint)

Press Coverage:

Washington Post

WCAV CBS19 Charlottesville Newsplex (with video)

WVTF Public Radio (with audio)

WAMU 88.5 FM (with audio)

Falls Church Patch

Univision DC (with video)

Annandale Blog

 

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