Immigration News:If Even The Chief Justice Can Misunderstand Immigration Law, How Can We Expect States To Enforce It Properly? Removal Orders And Work Authorization
But if a §1373(c) inquiry reveals that someone is a United States citizen, that certainly answers the question whether the individual is authorized to work. The same would be true if the response to a §1373(c) query disclosed that the individual was a lawful permanent resident alien or, on the other hand, had been ordered removed.
Another way that someone who has been ordered removed can obtain valid employment authorization based on a pending application stems from an anomaly created by the BIA’s decision in Matter of Yauri, 25 I&N Dec. 103 (BIA 2009). In that case, the BIA recognized that USCIS often has jurisdiction over an application for adjustment of status filed by someone who has been ordered removed as an “arriving alien” (for example, after entering on advance parole based on a different application), but said that it would generally refuse to reopen such a removal order while the application for adjustment was pending before USCIS. That is, the BIA said that if, for example, someone enters on advance parole because of a pending employment-based adjustment application, then enters into a bona fide marriage with a U.S. citizen, and then is placed in removal proceedings following the denial of their employment-based adjustment application, an application for adjustment of status based on the marriage would go forward with USCIS independently of the removal proceedings before the Immigration Judge and BIA (in which the person would not be allowed to apply for adjustment of status based on the marriage as relief from removal). If someone who had already been ordered removed as an arriving alien more than 90 days ago applies for adjustment of status with USCIS, then according to Matter of Yauri, USCIS has jurisdiction to grant them adjustment of status notwithstanding the removal order, but in the meantime while the adjustment application is pending, the BIA generally will not reopen the removal order. Someone with a pending adjustment application as an arriving alien under Matter of Yauri, therefore, can have been ordered removed by an immigration judge and the BIA, and yet have a perfectly valid application for adjustment of status pending before USCIS, based on which they may have employment authorization under 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12(c)(9). The peculiarity of a pending application before USCIS, valid employment authorization, and an outstanding removal order all existing at the same time (even absent federal court involvement or some similar complication) may be an argument against the BIA’s refusal in Matter of Yauri to reopen removal orders based on applications for adjustment by an arriving alien, but as long as the rule of Matter of Yauri remains, this possibility will remain entirely plausible despite the applicant’s best efforts to resolve his or her situation.
In addition, there is a section of the regulations that explicitly contemplates the issuance of employment authorization to certain people who have been ordered removed simply because the order of removal cannot be executed, even when withholding of removal to a particular country has not been granted due to the threat of persecution or torture. Pursuant to 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12(c)(18):
An alien against whom a final order of deportation or removal exists and who is released on an order of supervision under the authority contained in section 241(a)(3) of the Act may be granted employment authorization in the discretion of the district director only if the alien cannot be removed due to the refusal of all countries designated by the alien or under section 241 of the Act to receive the alien, or because the removal of the alien is otherwise impracticable or contrary to the public interest. Additional factors which may be considered by the district director in adjudicating the application for employment authorization include, but are not limited to, the following:
For this reason, as well, one who has been ordered removed may nonetheless be authorized to accept employment.
It was therefore incorrect for the Court in Whiting to say that it “answers the question whether the individual is authorized to work . . . . if the response to a §1373(c) query disclosed that the individual . . . had been ordered removed.” An individual may have been ordered removed, and yet nonetheless be authorized to work pursuant to 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12(a)(10), 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12(c)(8), 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12(c)(9), 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12(c)(10), or 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12(c)(14)—and even this is not intended as an exhaustive list of the regulatory provisions authorizing employment that may be applicable to someone against whom an order of removal has been entered. Disclosure that an individual has been ordered removed simply does not foreclose the possibility that the same individual is authorized to work.
The fact that even the Chief Justice of the United States could make this mistake may shed some light on why the prospect of state officials attempting to implement immigration law strikes many attorneys who work in the immigration field as highly inadvisable. Immigration law, both in the area of employment authorization and in other areas, is highly complex, and can confuse even specialists or legal generalists of the highest caliber. It seems reasonable to say, without fear of insult, that the legal education and acumen of most state law-enforcement officials as it relates to matters of federal law is often not going to meet the high standard required of a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Thus, implementation of immigration law by such state officials is likely to lead to frequent errors.
This article was originally published on www.cyrusmehta.blogspot.com on June 04, 2011.
David Isaacson is an Associate at Cyrus D. Mehta & Associates, PLLC where he works on immigration and nationality law matters. Mr. Isaacson's practice includes asylum cases, other removal proceedings such as those based on criminal convictions or denied applications for adjustment of status, and federal appellate litigation, as well as a variety of family-based and employment-based applications for both nonimmigrant visas and permanent residence. He also assists clients in citizenship matters and late legalization matters. He received his J.D. in 2004 from Yale Law School, where he served as a Senior Editor of the Yale Law Journal. Following law school, Mr. Isaacson clerked for the Honorable Leonard B. Sand of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Prior to joining the firm, he worked in the Litigation Department at the law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell, where he devoted a significant amount of time to pro bono immigration matters involving asylum, the Child Status Protection Act, INA section 245(i), and the immigration treatment of adopted children.
The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.