Protecting The Employment Rights Of Immigrants & Refugees

In light of President Trump’s recent January 27, 2017 Executive Order (EO), Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States, which restricts immigrants and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States, The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy has compiled the following resources for free distribution to those who seek information about the EO, have employment-specific questions regarding the rights of immigrants and refugees, or need a referral for additional immigration or refugee legal assistance.

The Institute thanks all of those on the ground working to defend America’s core values of liberty, freedom, and justice. At a time of uncertainty, anxiety, and disruption, providing people with access to appropriate legal resources is essential. The list below is by no means a comprehensive one. If you know of additional resources that should be added to this list, please email Elizabeth Colman, The Institute’s Paul H. Tobias Attorney Fellow, at ecolman@employeerightsadvocacy.org.

Update: On Thursday, February 9, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied the Department of Justice’s emergency motion to stay a temporary restraining order (TRO) placed on the EO by a federal district court. For now, under the court order, implementation of the travel ban has been halted.

 

Trump Administration January 27, 2017 Executive Order

The National Immigration Law Center hosted a webinar on January 26, 2017 on President Trump’s immigration-related executive orders.

The Asian Law Caucus has drafted important Know Your Rights information on the Executive Order.

The Yale Law School Worker And Immigrant Rights Clinic has posted for public use all of the documents filed in Darweesh et al. v. Trump et al. (described below).

The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild issued a practice advisory, Trump Administration Executive Order Outlining New Enforcement Priorities.

The American Immigration Council’s practice advisory, Challenging President Trump’s Ban on Entry, provides information about how the Executive Order is being implemented, offers resources and practice tips for attorneys whose clients are affected by it, and outlines legal challenges that have been filed to date.

U.S. Customs and Border Enforcement (CBP) posted new FAQs regarding the Executive Order.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association issued an updated practice alert on how the Executive Order is being implemented. Note that it does not yet take into account the CBP FAQs that were just issued (see above).

Refugee Center Online (RCO) provides information that is translatable into over a dozen languages that explain to refugees how the Executive Order will affect them.

The Immigrant Justice Network issued a preliminary summary and analysis regarding changes to interior immigration enforcement.

 

Cases Filed In Opposition To The Executive Order

The list of cases challenging the Executive Order continues to grow. Below is a list of some of the cases filed. The University of Michigan Law School is currently maintaining a special collection of Civil Rights Challenges to Trump Immigration/Refugee Orders. This collection included the court filings for each case.

Farmad v. Trump
2:17-cv-00706 (C.D. Cal.)

Summary: Plaintiffs filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus along with an ex parte application for a temporary restraining order requesting plaintiffs be allowed into the U.S. On January 29, 2017, a notice of release of the individual named plaintiffs led to withdrawal of the request for emergency relief.

Issues: Claims include equal protection (disparate treatment based on religion), establishment, and free exercise clause violations; as well as violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.

Court Action: Pending at the time of publication. Check status.


Vayeghan v. Kelly
17-cv-0702 (C.D. Cal.)

Summary: Filed on behalf of an Iranian citizen with a U.S. visa, as a petition for writ of habeas corpus seeking immediate release from detention and a civil complaint seeking declaratory and injunctive relief.

Issues: The complaint argued that detaining a lawful U.S. visa holder solely pursuant to the Executive Order violates Fifth Amendment equal protection and due process rights, the First Amendment Establishment Clause, the Administrative Procedure Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the Immigration and Nationality Act. The ACLU of Southern California is representing the plaintiff.

Court Action: At the same time the complaint was filed, the plaintiff also filed an ex parte application for a temporary restraining order to stay his removal (deportation). However, before the court could review the application, the plaintiff was placed on a flight to Dubai to be sent back to Iran. The plaintiff filed an amended application on January 29, 2017, and Judge Dolly Gee granted the temporary restraining order that same day. Per the order, the plaintiff is to be transported back to the U.S. and permitted to enter the country. Check status.


Louhghalam v. Trump
17-cv-10154 (D. Mass.) 

Summary: Habeas challenge brought by two lawful residents detained upon return to Boston.

Issues: The complaint claimed that the plaintiffs were detained solely due to an Executive Order issued by President Donald Trump on January 27, 2017 suspending entry into the United States of nationals of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. It further alleged that in denying lawful permanent residents entry back home after a brief visit abroad, the Executive Order violates Fifth Amendment equal protection and due process rights, the First Amendment Establishment Clause, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The complaint was filed as a petition for a writ of habeas corpus (to seek immediate release of plaintiffs from detention) and a civil complaint seeking declaratory and injunctive relief.

Court Action: A 7-day temporary restraining order requiring pre-executive-order airport screening procedures be followed. Check status.


Darweesh v. Trump
1:17-cv-00480 ( E.D.N.Y.)

Summary: Class action challenge to immediate deportation of USCIS approved visa holders, and otherwise authorized entrants from the seven target countries.

Issues: The class members argued that their continued detention based solely on the Executive Order violated their Fifth Amendment procedural and substantive due process rights, and exceeded the government’s authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act. The Executive Order’s singling out of 7 majority-Muslim nations for disfavored treatment unconstitutionally discriminated against Muslims, giving rise to equal protection religious discrimination claims [disparate treatment]).

Court Action: A nationwide stay of removal of all class members. Check status.


Aziz v. Trump
1:17-cv-116 ( E.D. Va.)

Summary: Plaintiffs, lawful permanent residents, sought a temporary restraining order to compel the defendants to allow them access to counsel and to prohibit the defendants from deporting them for seven days.

Issues: The same day, the plaintiffs also filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus seeking immediate release from detention and a civil complaint seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. The complaint argued that detaining the plaintiffs solely pursuant to the Executive Order violated Fifth Amendment equal protection and due process rights, the First Amendment Establishment Clause, the Administrative Procedure Act, the Immigration and Nationality Act, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Court Action: A 7-day temporary restraining order was issued requiring detainees at Washington Dulles International Airport be allowed access to counsel and not be deported. Check status.


Sarsour v. Trump
1:17-cv-00120 (E.D. Va.)

Summary: Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief.

Issues: Violation of the establishment and free exercise clauses, violation of Fifth Amendment procedural due process and equal protection, and violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.

Court Action: Pending at the time of publication. Check status.


Ali v. Trump
2:17-cv-00135 (W.D. Wash.)

Summary: Class action brought on behalf of currently pending immigrant visa applicants, as well as individuals from the target countries who will file for immigrant visas.

Issues: The complaint argues that the Executive Order violates the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1361 (mandamus), and Fifth Amendment equal protection and due process rights. The complaint seeks class certification, declaratory relief, and injunctive relief.

Court Action: Pending at the time of publication. Check status.


Doe v. Trump
17-cv-00126 (W.D. Wash.)

Summary: On January 28, 2017, plaintiffs represented by the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project filed an Emergency Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, and a motion for a temporary restraining order.

Issues: The habeas petition alleged violations of Fifth Amendment procedural due process, of Fifth Amendment equal protection, of the INA and Administrative Procedure Act.

Court Action: A stay of removal (deportation) and enjoining the defendants from deporting the plaintiffs prior to further court orders. Check status.

 

Employment Rights Of Immigrants & Refugees

The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy offers free of charge the written materials and accompanying audio recordings from its March 2013 seminar entitled, “United We Stand: Effectively Representing Immigrants In Employment Cases.”

The United States Department of Labor has guidance on the laws and regulations concerning immigration and employment.

The United States Department of Justice has published a fact sheet on Employment Rights and Resources for Refugees and Asylees, and has a dedicated webpage for immigrant worker information.

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has published information on immigrants’ employment rights under federal anti-discrimination laws.

The National Immigration Law Center has many resources focused on immigrant workers’ rights.

Legal Aid At Work (formerly Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center) offers this fact sheet for undocumented workers.

The Michigan Immigrant Rights Center has a fact sheet on Employment Discrimination Protections for Refugees and Asylees, and provides free access to their extensive Advocate Library.

The Pennsylvania Refugee Resettlement Program has dedicated part of their website to Legal Issues in Refugee Employment.

 

Legal Assistance & Resources For Immigrants & Refugees

The National Council of La Raza, which has 267 statewide and local affiliates that directly serve the Latino population across America, offers many Post-Election Resources.

American Civil Liberties Union has drafted many Know Your Rights resources germane to immigration rights.

Urban Justice Center – International Refugee Assistance Project provides legal services and protection to refugees in need.

The American Immigration Council issued this Practice Advisory on Inspection, Entry, and Admission (October 2015).

The Asian Law Caucus (ALC) provides significant Know Your Rights information on Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) issues. For times of free legal clinics please visit their 100 Days Of Justice website. Resources on the site include the following (some of the resources are specific to California):

  • Deportation Defense Guides:Deportation Defense” guides in English, Spanish, and Chinese.
  • TRUTH Act Pocket Guides: Downloadable pocket guides on the California TRUTH Act, which became effective on January 1, 2017. The TRUTH Act requires that local law enforcement inform immigrants of their right to remain silent prior to any interview by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). You can also find downloadable pocket guides on the California TRUST Act, which has been law since 2014. The TRUST Act places limits on when local law enforcement can hold immigrants in local jail for extra time for immigration enforcement.
  • Statewide “ICE Out of CA Hotline”: Community members can call the ICE out of CA hotline at 1-844-878-7801 to report a raid in California or if they or a loved one was transferred from a local jail to ICE.
  • California Values Act: This is a pending state bill (2017 legislative cycle) that limits use of state and local resources and personnel for immigration enforcement. A bill analysis can be found on the California Legislative Information website. Creedo has started a petition in support of the bill.
  • Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim & South Asian (AMEMSA) Resources:
    ALC’s National Security & Civil Rights Program provides free direct legal services to AMEMSA communities.
  • “Know Your Rights” In Person Trainings For AMEMSA Communities: ALC’s National Security & Civil Rights staff can provide you and your community with “Know Your Rights” trainings. ALC has conducted specific trainings for the community at local Mosques, Gurdwaras, community centers, festivals, and other community meetings. Please call Community Advocate Jehan Hakim for more information (Tel: (415) 848-7706).
  • Know Your Rights For AMEMSA Communities When Interacting With The FBI: ALC has materials for AMEMSA communities in English and Arabic on how to be safe when interacting with FBI.
  • Know Your Rights For Children In AMEMSA Communities: In line with ALC’s work to pass the Safe Place to Learn Act (AB 2845), which provides resources to address school bullying for AMEMSA youth in California, the Council on American-Islamic Relations publish guides for youth rights, safety, and bullying at school.
  • The International Rescue Committee, founded at Albert Einstein’s request in the wake of World War II, specializes in ushering refugees to safety.
  • No One Left Behind helps Afghan and Iraqi combat interpreters with Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) resettle safely in the United States.

The International Refugee Rights Initiative provides many resources on refugee rights and has compiled a United States of America Pro Bono Directory for those seeking free legal aid.

Immigration Law Help may be able to help low-income immigrants find an attorney.

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