Harlan York, the #1 Immigration Attorney.   Your best choice for an Immigration Lawyer if you live in NYC (Manhattan, Harlem, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island).


Last week the latest immigration policy news went public that President Obama is likely to enlarge the number of undocumented immigrants eligible for protection from deportation.

Much like the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which gave about 600,000 undocumented immigrants (who arrived here before age 16)  two year work permits and protection from removal, there are two immigration policy plans being contemplated:

  1. Any immigrants with U.S. citizen children might be able to qualify for the ability to work legally. That population reaches approximately 5 million immigrants.
  2. Parents of the aforementioned 600,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals could receive work permits.  While not as high as the 5 million in Option 1, we are still talking about a very big group.

It is pretty ironic that 34 years ago Ronald Reagan – the great conservative icon – said the following words on immigration policy during his campaign for President:

“Rather than talking about putting up a fence, why don’t we work out some recognition of our mutual problems?  Make it possible for them to come here legally with a work permit. And then, while they’re working and earning here they can pay taxes here. And then when they want to go back, they can go back. Open the borders both ways.”

Meanwhile as the liberal Obama seems to echo the conservative Reagan in the above context on immigration policy, there is another element that is totally inconsistent.

As has been widely reported, Obama is the Deporter in Chief.  The Deportation President.

More than 2 million removals in his time presiding over our immigration policy.

A story from the website Vox shows a microcosm of this harsh, inhuman immigration policy.

Vox details what can be seen at the Artesia detention center in New Mexico, which houses a significant group of the Central Americans recently caught at the border fleeing horrific conditions in their home countries.

  • There are barely any attorneys present to represent these asylum seekers.
  • And the few lawyers there are being given about two weeks to file an asylum claim, severely compromising effective representation.
  • Those lawyers are also being given limited access to the Central American detainees.
  • To make matters worse, immigration judges are not conducting the asylum hearings in the typical fashion, but rather they are limiting lawyers’ roles during the trials.

It would sound totally fabricated if this news was not being provided by Laura Lichter, former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

The Artesia Immigration Policy is consistent with Obama’s public posture to deport these people ASAP.

Lichter goes on to say the following about Artesia and its immigration policy:

  • Lawyers cannot meet with clients as they wait for hearings.
  • Judges and asylum officers are denying “textbook” asylum claims
  • Judges won’t tell anyone about the legal basis for their decisions
  • Asylum officers are asking questions detainees can’t understand, like “Are you a member of a particular social group and if so, what is that group?”
  • Immigration is not allowing detainees to leave if they pass asylum screenings despite routine immigration policy that allows for them to be freed, under the guise of their being a “national security risk.”

Pretty pathetic, especially as the only difference between the border crossers stuck in Artesia and those being considered for legal protection in a few weeks is when they entered the U.S.

Written by: Harlan York

Immigration Attorney Harlan York is Former Chair, Immigration Section, NJ State Bar Association and Former Co-Chair, NY State Bar Association CFLS Immigration Committee. Mr. York appeared on National Television on CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose and Primer Impacto on Univision, as well as Telemundo, NBC, and PBS. He was honored as First Ever Immigration Lawyer of The Year in NJ by Best Lawyers.

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