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Trump’s Refugee Ban Ends as White House Preps New Screening Rules

PBS reports that President Trump’s March 6, 2017, Executive Order, which included a four-month worldwide ban on refugees entering the United States, expired today. Refugees seeking entry to the United States will now face what officials have described as a more stringent and thorough examination of their backgrounds, in line with the Trump “extreme vetting” policy for immigrants. AILA has also provided updated Talking Points on President Trump’s September 24, 2017, proclamationrestricting travel to the United States by foreign nationals from certain countries, including information on litigation blocking certain aspects of the proclamation

Question: I have won asylum as of about two years ago. Is there anything I need to do?

Answer: If you have come to the U.S. as a refugee or been granted asylum in the U.S. — whether from the Asylum Office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or by an Immigration Judge in court — you are now allowed to live in the U.S., accept U.S. employment, and travel and return (with a refugee travel document in place of a passport).

Additional rights will become yours with time, such as that to apply for a U.S. green card after one year, and to apply for U.S. citizenship four years after that. Learn more about how to protect and make the best use of your refugee or asylum status here. However, you MUST apply for the Green Card after the one year grant. It is not automatic and will not happen unless you apply.

Question: Can I bring my spouse and children into the U.S. now?

Answer: Once you have been granted asylum, your immediate family members (spouse and children)—whether they are in the U.S. or outside—are entitled to a “derivative” grant of asylum. If your spouse and children were included in your asylum application and are physically present in the U.S., they will automatically receive asylum at the same time as you.
If they are overseas, or were not included in your application, you can file USCIS Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition to obtain asylum for them. Use a separate form for each family member.

For your spouse to be eligible for asylum, the two of you must have been legally married (that is, with a government-issued certificate) before you were granted asylum. For your children to be eligible, they must be unmarried and younger than 21. Thereafter, once you qualify for the Green Card or residency, they will as well.

Court Finds BIA Erred in Denying Chinese Christian Petitioner’s Motion to Reopen Based on Changed Country Conditions

The Tenth Circuit granted the petition for review and remanded, holding that a significant increase in the level of persecution constitutes a material change in country conditions for purposes of INA §240(c)(7)(C). The court found that the BIA abused its discretion by denying on factually erroneous, legally frivolous, and logically unsound grounds the petitioner’s motion to reopen based on the significantly increased persecution of Christians in China in 2014 and 2015.

Court reverses Asylum Denial

Court Reverses BIA’s Determination That Salvadoran Petitioner Failed to Show Persecution on Account of Her Family Membership
The Fourth Circuit granted the petition for review and remanded, holding that, in affirming the IJ’s clearly erroneous factual finding that ignored critical evidence in the record, the BIA abused its discretion. The court found that the Salvadoran petitioner’s familial relationship to her father was “at least one central reason” that the MS-13 gang targeted and threatened the petitioner.

Trump Administration Rejects Study Showing Positive Impact of Refugees

The New York Times reports that Trump administration officials, under pressure from the White House to provide a rationale for reducing the number of refugees allowed into the United States next year, rejected a study by the Department of Health and Human Services that found that refugees brought in $63 billion more in government revenues over the past decade than they cost. In the period between 2005 and 2014 “this report estimated that the net fiscal impact of refugees was positive,” contradicting a central argument made by advocates of deep cuts in refugee totals.

ACLU and Center for Gender and Refugee Studies Reach FOIA Settlement Agreement with ICE

The ACLU and the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies reached a settlementagreement with ICE in a suit brought regarding delays in the production of information requested via FOIA on ICE’s detention of asylum seekers who are found to have a credible fear of persecution. Among other things, ICE agreed to provide an informal description of the documents withheld in their entirety and written justification for such withholding.

Question: What if I know somebody in question is not married, but still being beaten by her husband and has escaped to the U.S. Can she apply for this kind of asylum?

Answer: In this case, there is actually an unpublished case that allows this to go forward. However, even without this case, it is possible. You will have to define the social group differently. In this case, I can see some group similarly referencing women that are being beaten, but are in ‘common law’ marriages and/or who have kids that have suffered, etc.

Question: What if my country has laws against domestic violence? Will I not be able to apply?

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