Generally no, crossing the border at a U.S. point of entry to seek asylum is not illegal. In fact, the proper procedure for seeking asylum at the border is to approach a U.S. and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer and claim that a person has "fear" of returning to one's home country. Crossing the U.S. Border to seek asylum is not only protected by international treaty, but it is protected by U.S. laws enacted by our U.S. Congress over a period of decades of immigration policy. Unfortunately, U.S. CBP Officers have been violating the law and turning away asylum applicants. (More here.)Read More
On July 26, 2016, police arrested dozens of individuals holding vigil at the Philando Castile memorial in front of the Minnesota Governor's Mansion in St. Paul, MN. Nearly two years later, these cases are finally now going to trial. Today, Ramsey County Assistant Chief Judge Robert A. Awsumb dismissed all charges, including public nuisance and unlawful assembly, against three of these protesters. Judge Awsumb dismissed these charges after the City of St. Paul's Attorney's Office put on its case-in-chief, calling police officers to testify about the incident. Judge Awsumb found that merely being present at a protest was insufficient to sustain the charges without evidence of individual culpable conduct.Read More
Central America has, for several years now, been the source of a great surge of migrants seeking political asylum or related immigration benefits in the United States. On June 11, 2018, Attorney General (AG) Jeff Sessions issued a potentially deep-cutting legally-binding decision on policy that may greatly affect the ability of potential asylees to succeed in seeking a place in this country. Asylum and related immigration-seekers have been fleeing extreme gang violence in levels that have prompted the U.S. government to build large-scale immigration detention facilities, and have given rise to the Attorney General's recent statement indicating he will separate children from parents crossing the border.Read More
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued policy guidance stating that people in the United States as students and exchange visitors (F-1, M-1, and J-1) will begin accruing "unlawful presence" after passing the expiration of their program. This runs contrary to a long-standing policy that gave some leniency to students and young people seeking to learn about our country. It's effect reduces options for talented young people, who we traditionally have encouraged to contribute to our country's culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. It's legality is, unsurprisingly, questionable.Read More
An important message for those of you planning enter or pass through the US on a non-immigrant visa, including visitor and student visas: The U.S. Department of State has recently changed its policy in the Foreign Affairs Manual (“FAM”) regarding the formerly known 30/60 day rule. The amendment provides broader grounds for immigration officers to find that foreign nationals misrepresented their intentions when they come to the United States on a non-immigrant visa. This is an important consideration for anyone coming to the United States on a temporary visa. Any finding of fraud or representation could possibly result in serious consequences, up to and including permanent grounds of inadmissibility.Read More
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has remained the law of the land regarding federal election financing. 588 U.S. 310 (2010) It is such a deeply flawed decision and its promulgation by Justice Anthony Kennedy stands in wild derision of precedent and reasonable jurisprudence and raises a troubling question of the heavy influence on Justice Kennedy by factors outside our democracy and proud legal tradition. Streff Legal examines why this decision should have been overruled years ago and has no basis in US jurisprudence.Read More
The Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA), an association of roughly 15,000 Minnesota Lawyers, has adopted an official position on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) repeal. The MSBA position represents a strong showing by Minnesota Lawyers in support of DACA recipients, often called "Dreamers." The DACA program has been an amazing and well-deserved immigration benefit for almost 800,000 individuals who came to the U.S. while under 16 years of age, and meet certain criteria, including that they have no significant criminal history. The DACA program, implemented by the Obama Administration, has provided work authorization and protection from removal (deportation) using powers granted to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by Congress. President Trump, in a statement issued by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday, September 5, 2017, made the decision to end the DACA program, placing these hundreds of thousands of Dreamers in a precarious legal situation.
The MSBA position is based on a recommendation from the MSBA Immigration Law Section Council and the MSBA Diversity and Inclusion Council, which are sub-groups of the MSBA. Both sub-groups debated the wording of the proposed statement and came to a consensus. This blogger, who serves as Secretary of the Immigration Section Council, was honored to present the proposed statement to the MSBA Assembly, the MSBA's legislative body, in its meeting today, Friday, September 14, 2017. The discussion about the policy position included the argument that compassion and consideration of "equities" (positive vs. negative factors) are built into our legal system.Read More
The National Lawyer's Guild (NLG) Local Minnesota Chapter has released the statement below opposing the appointment of current Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras to the Federal 8th Circuit Bench.
Senator Al Franken Voices Strong Opposition
Senator Amy Klobuchar Officially AmbivalentRead More
Welcome to those of you planning to travel to the US!! Maybe for the first time? Maybe not? (Or maybe you're helping someone come to the US for a visit.) Here is a guide that will help new US visitors, or even veteran visitors who feel that Immigration Officers act like you’re wearing out your welcome.Read More