Just The Facts of The U.S. Travel Ban

Confusion has been swirling in the aftermath of President Donald Trump’s immigration orders. To clear up some of that confusion, here are the basic facts behind the travel ban and what has happen since it was signed into effect.


  • On January 27, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order banning immigration from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen to the United States for 90 days.
  • The ban also blocked refugees from entering the U.S. for four months.
  • The order demands a review of the Visa Interview Waiver Program, which lets traveling citizens from 38 foreign countries renew their travel authorization without participating in in-person interviews.
  • Since September 11, 2001, no one from the seven targeted countries has carried out a terrorist attack against the United States. However, there are three non-lethal incidences in which perpetrators are connected with Somalia and Iran.
  • Immigrants from the seven countries listed in Trump’s ban were also given travel restrictions by a law signed into effect by the Obama administration in December of 2015.
  • Immediately after the order was signed into effect, mass protests erupted at airports across the United States. Lawyers stepped in to do pro bono work for travelers impacted by the new ban.
  • On January 28, 2017, federal New York Judge Ann M. Donnelly blocked part of the order. The following day, a Massachusetts judge issued a temporary restraining order against the executive order. That same day, Trump attempted to defend his order.
  • On January 30, 2017, the State of Washington filed a complaint against Trump, the Department of Homeland Security and its secretary John F. Kelly, and Acting Secretary of State Tom Shannon. The State asked for relief from parts of Sections 3 and 5 of Trump’s executive order.
  • On the same day, Attorney General Sally Yates was fired by Trump for refusing to defend the executive order.
  • In early February of 2017, federal district judge James L. Robart ruled in favor of the State of Washington and blocked some restrictions set forth by the executive order, allowing thousands of immigrants to enter the United States.
  • A week after Trump’s travel ban was partially blocked, a three-judge federal appeals panel unanimously turned down the bid to reinstate Trump’s executive order, citing that the ban would not improve national security and that there is no evidence to suggest anyone from the seven blacklisted countries had committed acts of terrorism in the United States.
  • On February 21, 2017, news broke that President Trump once again plans to unveil a revised version of his executive order to ban immigrants and refugees from predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States. This was confirmed by Secretary Kelly, who claimed that the new order will be a more streamlined edition of its predecessor.
  • Kelly stated that the new executive order will not restrict those with Green Cards or visas from re-entering the United States. It also will not impact foreign travelers coming to the United States at the time the order is enacted. Instead, there will be a brief phase-in period for those individuals coming into the U.S.
  • It is currently unclear as to whether the revised executive order will actually be a ban on Muslims. Trump has previously claimed that preference will be given to Christians fleeing religious persecution.

How to Find Your Immigration Lawyer

Finding a lawyer at the best of times is difficult, but when immigration and citizenship is involved it can seem so much harder. Here are some tips to get you started:


This is key when you are in the market for any lawyer, obviously, but it is so important it bears listing first and foremost. Law practice is complex, and laws are added, amended, changed, or made obsolete every day. It is important that they not just understand the law as they knew it when they passed the bar, but the law as it stands today, with all the changes that have taken place. Also key is making sure that your lawyers is trained in the specific laws of your state, as many laws vary based on location. If your lawyer doesn’t have the right information he or she can’t provide you with the best legal representation.



Your State Bar, National Immigration Law Center, American Immigration Lawyers Association are all good places to start. Your local state bar will be able to connect you with licensed lawyers in good standing, and point you in the direction of specialty practice if you have specific needs. NILC is a non-profit organization devoted to assisting low-income individuals with immigration services they can afford. AILA is a national association of attorneys and legal experts who can teach and/or practice immigration law, so this is a good place to begin a search and feel good that you are finding someone well-versed in immigration policy. An AILA membership is not required to practice immigration law, so membership can show that they have dedicated themselves specifically to the practice.



Ask friends, coworkers, family, or anyone else you know if they know an immigration lawyer. Even if they haven’t been through immigration processes themselves, they may know someone who has, or have heard of a success story in your area. People love to talk about good experiences, and love to talk about bad ones even more. Word of mouth, online reviews, and references from clients of the lawyers are all helpful when beginning your search. When you interview your lawyer, make sure to ask them for references from former clients, a reputable lawyer should be happy to introduce you.


Speaks Your Language:

Literally and figuratively. It is important that you fully understand your lawyer and that they understand you. Multi-lingual immigration lawyers exist is most places, and it is important to make sure that they are fluent in the language you speak natively. It is also important that you speak with them in person, trust them, and feel comfortable putting your future into their hands, so make sure that your personality and goals as client and lawyer are a good match. Honesty is key, and so is communication. Make sure that they are willing to educate you on your case so that you full understand their responsibilities, and your own.



Make sure that you understand the fees and costs. Some attorneys charge hourly fees while working on your case. Some charge a fee per task, set in advance. Some charge one single fee for the entire case, beginning-to-end. Make sure that you understand the pricing of your lawyer, and that you compare prices of more than one attorney to ensure you get one that fits your budget.

Immigration Raids to Continue in US



In a political climate rife with contentious and emotional immigration debate, with coverage from everyone from NPR, to USA Today, to BuzzFeed covering the presidential election and the centralized issue of immigrating, U.S. Immigration has announced earlier this month that officials plan sweeping raids throughout May and June in an effort to deport immigrant families who have entered the country illegally.


According to statements from the Homeland Department the raids are part of a plan implemented in January of removals and targeting “convicted criminals and others who constitute threats to public safety and national security, as well as recent border crossers.” The department described the recent border crossers as those who were caught at the border after Jan. 1, 2014, “have been ordered removed by an immigration court, and have no pending appeal or pending claim for asylum or other humanitarian relief” under U.S. laws.


They have said that in all but emergency cases the Department of Homeland Security would avoid arresting migrants at “sensitive locations,” such as schools, hospitals, and places of worship. They are removing families that the administration says did not show up for their court appearances or those who have refused to comply with orders to leave the country. They also said that the raids are in response to a surge of undocumented immigrants from Central America. From CBS News: “Apprehensions at the southwest border are up, with 32,117 family units (a child with an adult family member) for fiscal 2016 through March, compared to 13,913 for the same time period in 2015. Similarly, in fiscal 2016 through March, 27,754 unaccompanied children were apprehended at the border, compared with 15,616 last year in the same period.”


However, all of this is ignoring the fact that the focus here is undocumented mothers and children. The Department of Homeland Security is is making targets out of women and children who should be protected rather than deported. These mothers and children from Central America are not coming here to work, they are coming here to flee the brutal and violent situation in their home countries. Instead of seeing these Central American immigrants as refugees or asylum seekers, we are currently treating them as undocumented workers smuggling themselves over the border. In fact, there are more and more cases of women walking across the border openly and appealing a case to stay to the Border Patrol agents.
From CNN: “Defending the raids, on Friday White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, “If this serves to discourage people from considering to make this journey, that would be a good thing.” Still, nothing can change people’s minds when they are literally fleeing for their lives. The women and children targeted by the Obama administration are from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, three countries that regularly rank among the world’s most dangerous nations. In these countries, forced gang conscription, sexual violence and homicides are a fact of daily life; one El Salvadoran dies every hour due to violence.”

Federal Authorities Make a Fake College To Catch Visa Scam

visa-applicationA fake university was recently created order to catch people suspected of running a visa scam. The university was called the University of Northern New Jersey, and while it was not real, it had a very convincing website. It claimed to offer “exceptional” education for students from other countries wishing to study in the U.S.

The federal authorities were behind this project, creating the phony university’s website in order to arrest 21 people on charges of conspiring to assist over 1,000 foreign people in fraudulently keeping or obtaining student or work visas. There is, however, one unexpected twist. The defendants who were arrested knew that the school was phony and so did the foreign people who allegedly pretended to be students at the university in order to remain in the U.S.

What they didn’t know was who was behind the fake school. This university was set up by undercover agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Most of the foreign “students” who benefitted from the visa scam were already in the U.S. on student visas. They have been identified and while they will not be prosecuted, they could face deportation.

The 21 people arrested were considered recruiters, employers, and brokers. These 21 people were charged with “conspiracy to commit visa fraud and to harbor aliens for profit”. The latter of the two charges carries up to 10 years in prison. Most of these defendants are in the U.S. legally, residing in New York, New Jersey and California. One lives in Georgia and another lives in Illinois.

The University of Northern New Jersey’s website was very elaborate, with appealing photos, a message from the “president”, and links to academic programs. The website stated that the “president” was a man named Dr. Steven Brunetti, Ph. D. The site even had a school seal which appeared to have been based on Princeton University’s seal, but the fake institution’s colors were green and bluish-purple instead of Princeton’s orange and black. The university even listed an address. This address was that of a real building about 15 miles outside of New York City in Cranford. The University’s site was taken down on the afternoon of Tuesday April 5, 2016.

You may be wondering how exactly the undercover agents caught the middlemen that are currently under arrest. The 21 people who are now arrested paid the undercover agents who were running the school to create paperwork that made it appear as if the foreign people were enrolled at the University of Northern New Jersey. This way, the students would be able to keep their visa status without going to class. Overall, the middlemen paid the undercover agents thousands of dollars.

This is not the only example of a fake school being created for visa-related purposes. Immigration officials have looked into hundreds of possibly fake schools in recent years. Some of these investigations have already led to charges. Officials at one school in Georgia and two schools in California have received prison sentences due to these investigations. One of these officials even received 16 years in prison for visa fraud in addition to other charges. This case differs from the other cases because the federal authorities created their own phony institution, but it reveals a phenomenon that is occurring throughout the country.

A History of the United States Immigration Policy

Abogado Aly Immigration History“What do the American people want immigration to do for the United States”[1]? According to George Borjas, one of the leading labor economists who specialize in immigration issues, this should be the fundamental question in the modern immigration debate. Technically, everyone who now lives in the United States has some ancestor that immigrated to the United States from abroad and there was a point in time where there was no immigration policy. As the United States became wealthier and wealthier, an immigration policy became necessary to keep overpopulation and major wealth divisions from happening. Typically, when policy makers of the world focus on the immigration debate, they seem to use economics as their main basis for policy change. This is how immigration policy is implemented in most countries. If immigration were to make the native people economically worse off, why wouldn’t a country impose a strict immigration policy? On the other hand, if immigration were to make the native population economically better off, why wouldn’t a country impose a more lose immigration policy? This paper will describe the political forces in Canada and the United States that led to their different historic approaches to immigration, and then analyze their respective current policies in both political and economic terms.

The United States is a nation of immigrants. During the colonial era, from 1607 to 1820, a little less than one million people arrived and settled in the United States which comprised of about 600,000 Europeans, about 300,000 African slaves, and a small mix of Scots, Irish, Dutch, Germans, Swedes, and French.[2] This was considered the first wave of immigration to the United States. The second wave occurred from the years between 1840 and 1870 where about 15 million immigrants entered the country. Most of the immigrants came from Ireland (because of the Irish Potato Famine) and Germany while some Spanish speakers were coming through the southwest region and Chinese laborers were coming to California (because of the California gold rush).[3] The third wave of immigration, during the years between 1880 and 1920, was really when immigration opposition began and the need for an immigration policy became apparent. During the third wave, there were about 25 million immigrants. Most came in from England, Ireland, and Germany; but this time around, there was an abundance of immigrants coming in from southern and eastern Europe: Italy, Poland, Greece, Russia, Hungry, and other smaller nations.[4] Immigration public policy was marginally discussed by the mid-19th century. There were minimal attempts to keep criminals and other extreme undesirables out, but other than that, immigration did not affect people’s lives enough for there to be public discussion about it.


[1]George J Borjas, Heaven’s Door: Immigration Policy and the American Economy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1999) xvi.

[2] John Isbister, The Immigration Debate: Remaking America (West Hartford, CT: Kumarian, 1996)32.

[3] Isbister 32.

[4] Isbister 32.


Immigration Reform Needs Some Work

Abogado Aly Immigration ReformIn 2013, the Department of Homeland Security deported 368,644 immigrants from the United States at a rate of 1,010 people a day.

In the past, President Obama has trained Homeland Security to only target criminal immigrants who are a threat to the public and national security. This is not the case; however, since the number of immigrants deported last year would be an astonishing amount of felons. There were multiple immigrants deported for a simple traffic violation or misdemeanor. In New York, immigrants have been turned in for open container violations or sleeping in the subway. Because of this, the private detention centers that Homeland Security uses to house potential deport is pact to the brim with immigrants waiting for their removal hearings. Despite the ridiculous amount of mistreatment and poor conditions, the US Government has shown no sign in easing up on these allegations.

A recent study by a policy organization at Syracuse University discovered that persecutions for illegal reentry, which are classified as a felony, are rising even though prosecutions for illegal entry, which are classified as a petty misdemeanor, are falling. This is exactly why it was so disappointing to hear that the White House was going to delay their review of Homeland Security’s deportation policies for two months because Obama is trying to impress the Republicans at the House of Representatives.

The federal government also has a Secure Communities program that immediately captures people fingerprints at the time of their arrest, regardless of weather or not they have been convicted or charged with any crimes. This makes it a lot harder for the US government to capture real immigrant felons when they are relying on a database of 32 million individuals who may or may not be criminals.

Detainers are asked to keep immigrants incarcerated after their state or local charges have been revoked or their sentences expired so that the ICE has time to transfer them straight to federal custody. In the past couple of years, the City Council has passed laws that keep the Correction Department from honoring detainers except if the target person is a felon, committed a serious misdemeanor, seen on a terror watch list, has been previously deported, or meets other criteria. Today, lawyers estimate that the city enforces about 2/3 of ICE’s detainer requests.