Thursday, November 29, 2018

Asylum Decisions and Denials Jump in 2018


Fiscal year 2018 broke records for the number of decisions (42,224) by immigration judges granting or denying asylum. Denials grew faster than grants, pushing denial rates up as well. The 42,224 decisions represented a 40 percent jump from decisions during FY 2017, and an 89 percent increase over the number of asylum decisions of two years ago.

This increase largely reflects asylum applicants who had arrived well before President Trump assumed office. Given the backlog in the Immigration Court only one out of five asylum decisions involved cases that took 12 months or less to decide. The one exception was for those who were unable to find an attorney to assist them. For those without representation, over half (55.8%) had cases begun in the same year. For those who were represented, only about one in ten (12.9%) were in cases that had taken 12 months or less to decide.

In 65.0 percent of these decisions this past year asylum was denied[1]. This is the sixth year in a row that denial rates have risen. Six years ago the denial rate was just 42.0 percent. See Figure 1. (For year-by- year figures, see Appendix Table 1 at the end of this report.)

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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Biggest Shift Between Obama and Trump is Their Rhetoric

I was quoted in Business Insider:

Matthew Kolken, an immigration attorney based in Buffalo, New York, said the "biggest shift" between Obama and Trump on immigration is in their rhetoric.

"The Trump administration wants everyone to know that he's harsh on immigrants," Kolken told INSIDER. "Obama was the exact opposite. His rhetoric was very lofty, and favorable to immigration reform."

But children still ended up in detention centers under Obama, Kolken said, and "harsh measures" were used at the Southern border.

"Is the Trump administration in practice worse than Obama? Yes, but we're not talking about night and day, it's shades of grey," Kolken said. "The bottom line is that Trump is bad on immigration and Obama was bad. Neither one of them have done any favors to immigrant communities."

Kolken said Obama's dubious immigration practices were more under the radar because he wasn't using the same "racist and xenophobic rhetoric" as Trump.

Obama "always said the right thing and Trump can't ever say the right thing," Kolken added.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Green Card Holder from Palestine Naturalized After Suing Trump Administration

We just turned a green card holder from Palestine into a U.S. citizen after suing the Trump administration in District Court. Our client filed for naturalization through other counsel in 2015. He was previously charged with marriage fraud. After not being scheduled for examination for more than two years, he contacted us to see what could be done. After several inquiries to USCIS were ignored, we filed a Petition for Writ of Mandamus and Declaratory relief in District Court. A few weeks after serving the petition on the U.S. Attorney, our client was scheduled for a naturalization exam. One month later, our client was approved for naturalization and has now been sworn in as a U.S. citizen.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Deportation Prevented Resulting in a Green Card

I just received the green card for a Colombian national overcoming a previously denied petition to remove conditions on lawful permanent residence. His wife is a United States citizen and sponsored him for his green card. The immigration judge granted the petition removing conditions, overcoming the previous USCIS denial, thereby stopping his deportation.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Another Cancellation of Removal Win

Another cancellation of removal grant issued by the Immigration Court in Buffalo, N.Y. on behalf of my client, a citizen of Mexico. My client is the father of two United States citizen children, and is a valued employee of a Colorado based company that depends on his highly specialized services.

The government vigorously opposed our request for cancellation of removal, but thankfully, the Court saw fit to favorably exercise discretion on my client's behalf. His Green Card should arrive in the mail in the coming weeks, and his children no longer have to worry about whether their father will come home to tuck them in at night.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Cancellation of Removal Granted Over Government Opposition

Cancellation of removal granted for a citizen of Mexico who is the husband and father of United States citizens. The weight of deportation has been permanently lifted from his shoulders, and his Green Card should be arriving within the next few weeks.