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Family Immigration

Family Immigration

The ongoing discussion on family detention is finally making some progress in the sphere of immigration laws. Tonight, ICE provided the additional information regarding the release of mothers and children from family detention, stating: Going forward, ICE will generally not detain mothers with children, absent a threat to public safety or national security, if they have received a positive finding for credible or reasonable fear and the individual has provided a verifiable residential address.” This is a result of determination by the DHS that, reconsideration is appropriate for custody decisions of arriving families who have established eligibility for asylum or other relief under our laws thereby utilizing the finite resources available. Thus U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will be evaluating cases of residents housed at agency’s family residential centers.

DHS will be releasing eligible family units after a review has been conducted. Such eligible individuals will generally be released on Orders of Recognizance or Orders of Supervision, subject to appropriate conditions. Additionally, each head of household will be considered for enrollment in Alternative to Detention Programs (ATD). Initial ATD enrollment will include Full Service – GPS monitoring. The field office monitoring the family member’s case will determine the appropriate ATD level(s) throughout the life cycle of the immigration court proceedings.

This follows ICE’s announcement in May 2015, and first round of reforms that have been put in action. They include:

  • First, ICE has begun reviewing the cases of any families detained beyond 90 days to evaluate whether detention during the pendency of their immigration case is still appropriate. Priority is being given to the review of the cases of families who have been in these residential centers the longest.
  • Second, ICE has discontinued invoking general deterrence as a factor in custody determinations in all cases involving families.
  • Third, ICE is appointing a Federal Advisory Committee of outside experts to advise Secretary Johnson and Director Saldaña concerning family residential centers.
  • Fourth, they are undertaking additional measures to ensure access to counsel, attorney-client meeting rooms, social workers, educational services, comprehensive medical care, and continuous monitoring of the overall conditions at these centers.
  • Additionally, ICE has determined criteria for establishing a family’s bond amount at a level that is reasonable and realistic, taking into account ability to pay, while also encompassing risk of flight and public safety.

On the other side of family immigration, on July 8th, 2015 the BIA in Matter of Huang, 26 I&N Dec. 627 (BIA 2015) held that the beneficiary of a visa petition who was adopted pursuant to a State court order that was entered when the beneficiary was more than 16 years old, but with an effective date prior to his or her 16th birthday, may qualify as an adopted child under section 101(b)(1)(E)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1101(b)(1)(E)(i) (2012), so long as the adoption petition was filed before the beneficiary’s 16th birthday and the State in which the adoption was entered expressly permits an adoption decree to be dated retroactively. Matter of Cariaga, 15 I&N Dec. 716 (BIA 1976), and Matter of Drigo, 18 I&N Dec. 223 (BIA 1982), modified.