HIAS PA Issues Digest #12: Philadelphia wins Sanctuary City case and more

Twelfth Edition                                                                       November 17, 2017

HIAS Pennsylvania Immigration Issues Digest 

Judge Rules in City of Philadelphia’s Favor in 
Fourth Amendment City Case


Trump Administration Ends Temporary Protected Status for Nicaraguans, and Threatens to End Others

Approximately 2,500 Nicaraguans will lose their legal status and be subject to deportation if they do not leave in the next 14 months. These individuals have been in the United States since 1998 when Hurricane Mitch hit Central America. TPS has been extended until now because Nicaragua never really recovered from the hurricane and since then Nicaraguan society has not been stable: violence and corruption has continued to cause significant enough danger to prevent the return of Nicaraguans that were here.   The Department of Homeland Security indicated that it was considering ending TPS for approximately 57,000 Hondurans in six months. These statements worry advocates that approximately 200,000 Salvadorans and 50,000 Haitians will lose their TPS status when it comes up for review early next year.

What does this mean?

Temporary Protected Status is offered to individuals who are unable to safely return to their home country at the time of a disaster or conflict. The status is similar to DACA in that it provides no path towards citizenship, only work authorization and protection from deportation. As the government states, it is true that the status was meant to be temporary. However, the realities are that natural disasters and human made conflicts have created unlivable and dangerous conditions for far longer than anyone anticipated. As a result, TPS has been renewed for several years for many tens of thousands of immigrants. those immigrants work, pay taxes and contribute to their communities every day and create lives in the U.S., marrying and having U.S. citizen children. The headlines about TPS merit reaction and response but not only to extend TPS but also to reform our immigration system to allow those who have and want to contribute to the great American experiment a possible path towards citizenship.

How can you help?

Donate to support HIAS Pennsylvania’s legal services to ensure that individuals with TPS are screened for other paths towards residency in the U.S.  It’s been a hard year for immigrants and we need your support to keep the door open and our communities thriving.

HIAS National joins fight against
newest version of Refugee Ban

HIAS National joins Jewish Family Service of Seattle and Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley in a class action to fight against the newest version of the Refugee Ban, which bans refugees from 11 countries for 90 days and indefinitely suspends the follow-to-join program, which reunites spouses and children with refugees already in the United States.

What does this mean?

The newest refugee ban mainly targets Muslim-majority countries, just like the original travel ban. Moreover, the suspension of the follow-to-join program is especially problematic. HIAS Pennsylvania has helped many refugees and asylees reunite with their family whom they have become separated from in the course of fleeing for their lives. Now, refugees and asylees have to wait even longer to reunite with their families—even if it is just a child of four years. Not only is this a hardship, it’s a barrier to successful self-sufficiency and integration. By keeping husbands and wives, parents and children apart, the government is promoting depression, isolation, and anxiety, and making it more difficult for refugees and immigrants to be successful as they attempt to start over and raise children in single parent households. Stopping this program is shameful and dangerous.

What can you do?

While the litigation is moving forward, you can continue to contact Congress and pressure them to focus on legislation that will ensure that the program gets put back in place. This, as with the other issues discussed in the digest, is just one more reason that comprehensive immigration reform, which keeps the doors open and limits the power of the Executive to destroy and disrupt vital programs like the refugee resettlement program, is critical now.

9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Allows
Travel Ban to Partially go into Effect

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals partially allowed the Travel Ban to go into effect. However, like the Supreme Court, the court limited the ban to those people from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Chad who do not have a family relationship or a “formal, documented” relationship to a U.S. based entity like a university or employer. 

What does this mean?

The current iteration of the Travel Ban has many of the same issues as previous versions, with the added issue that it is indefinite. The Supreme Court declined to hear arguments on the March Travel Ban, but it is likely that this recent case will return there.

Roller-coaster of Emotions and Anxiety Continue for DACA Recipients

Two weeks ago, HIAS Pennsylvania learned that the renewal application of one of the many DACA recipients we had assisted had never arrived at USCIS. Preparing ourselves to confront the Post Office to ensure the package made it to USCIS, we were dismayed to hear through a NY Times article that more than 70 DACA renewal applicants were denied due to delays from the post office.  Today the NY Times announced that USCIS has reversed its position and will review the applications that were received late provided that it can be proven that the delay was caused by the post office. Hopefully, our client will be able to renew.

What does this mean?

In Chicago, the US Post Office has admitted that it was at fault for the delays, and now that USCIS has agreed to reconsider their denials, DACA recipients around the country impacted by post office delays will have their status’ clarified in short order. But the occurrence was a grim reminder about the fragility of not only DACA recipients but all immigrants who seek stability and permanence for themselves and their families. Our partners and neighbors, friends and co-workers may be struggling in the shadows, continuously anxious that their lives and their family’s lives will be shattered in an instant by bureaucratic indifference or, in the current climate, through intentional attack.

What can you do?

Congress has the ability to make DACA permanent and provide security for these individuals. DACA recipients are fighting hard to make DACA legislation a reality. Help them by continuing to contact your Senators and Representatives urging them to pass a clean DACA bill.

HIAS Pennsylvania News

HIAS Pennsylvania’s afterschool program is highlighted in Next City, focusing on how immigrants are revitalizing the Oxford Circle neighborhood of Philadelphia.



HIAS Pennsylvania Senior Staff Attorney Ayodelle Gansallo was honored by both the Philadelphia Bar Foundation and SEAMAAC for her legal work.

Jeanne Schubert Barnum was honored by her law firm Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis for her pro bono work with HIAS Pennsylvania and the Center for Child Advocates. Read about it in the Legal Intelligencer.


HIAS Pennsylvania Managing Attorney Philippe Weisz speaks out on CBS3 against the Trump Administration’s attack on the Diversity visa. Philippe Weisz is also quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer article about the possible end of TPS for Haitians.