Law360 (September 1, 2020, 3:59 PM EDT) — The Trump administration has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on a split Ninth Circuit ruling that detained asylum-seekers are entitled to bond hearings, arguing that the lower court incorrectly concluded that the asylum-seekers have a constitutional right to the proceedings.The federal government said that unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. don’t have a constitutional right to bond hearings, regardless of whether they seek asylum and establish that they have credible fear of returning to their home countries, such as the immigrants in this case.The high court has ruled in numerous cases that unauthorized immigrants don’t have due…

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Law360 (March 6, 2020, 9:30 AM EST) — The Trump administration finalized its policy on Friday to collect DNA from detained migrants, allowing the government to move toward expanding its existing pilot program that began at the border early this year.The rule, which takes effect in April, will require the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to collect DNA samples from hundreds of thousands of detained migrants each year and input them into the federal government’s criminal database, which could then be searched against DNA information found at crime scenes.“Today’s rule assists federal agencies in implementing longstanding aspects of our immigration laws,” Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen said…

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WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced a proposed rule to deter aliens from illegally entering the United States and from filing frivolous, fraudulent or otherwise non-meritorious asylum applications in order to obtain employment authorization.
The proposed rule will better allow USCIS to extend protections to those with bona fide asylum claims. USCIS also seeks to prevent certain criminal aliens from obtaining work authorization before the merits of their asylum application are adjudicated.
The proposed rule stems from the April 29, 2019, Presidential Memorandum on Additional Measures to Enhance Border Security and Restore Integrity to Our Immigration System, which emphasizes that it is the policy of the United States to manage humanitarian immigration programs in a safe, orderly manner and to promptly deny benefits to those who do not qualify. Nothing in this rule changes eligibility requirements for asylum. Instead, this rule strengthens the standards that allow an alien to work on the basis of a pending asylum application.
“Our immigration system is in crisis. Illegal aliens are gaming our asylum system for economic opportunity, which undermines the integrity of our immigration system and delays relief for legitimate asylum seekers in need of humanitarian protection,” said Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli. “USCIS must take steps to address pull factors encouraging aliens to illegally enter the United States and exploit our asylum framework. These proposed reforms are designed to restore integrity to the asylum system and lessen the incentive to file an asylum application for the primary purpose of obtaining work authorization.”
As directed by the presidential memorandum, USCIS proposes to:

Prevent aliens who entered the United States illegally from obtaining work authorization based on a pending asylum application, with limited exceptions; and

Automatically terminate employment authorization when an applicant’s asylum denial is administratively final.

Additionally, USCIS proposes to:

Clarify that an asylum applicant’s failure to appear for a required appointment may lead to dismissal of their asylum application and/or denial of their application for employment authorization;

Prevent aliens who fail to file their asylum application within one year of their latest entry as required by law from obtaining work authorization; and

Render any alien who has been convicted in the United States of any federal or state felony, or convicted of certain public safety offenses involving child abuse, domestic violence, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, ineligible for employment authorization.

Unresolved arrests or pending charges may result in the denial of the application for employment authorization as a matter of discretion.
For more information, read the notice of proposed rulemaking that publishes in the Federal Register on Nov. 14. The comment period ends on Jan. 13, 2020.
For more information on USCIS and our programs, please visit or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), Instagram (/uscis), YouTube (/uscis), Facebook (/uscis), and LinkedIn (/uscis).

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NEW BERN, N.C. –Marlilyn Godshall of Wilmington, North Carolina, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting fraudulent statements.  United States Magistrate Judge Robert B. Jones, Jr. sentenced Godshall to 12 months of probation.
Homeland Security Investigations initiated an inquiry with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Fraud Detection and National Security  into Godshall based on a fraudulent marriage between her daughter, Melissa Godshall, a United States citizen, and Levan Lomtatidze, a citizen of the Republic of Georgia.  A lead suggested that Melissa Godshall was married to Lomtatidze but also shared an address with her real boyfriend, Robert Kennerley.
“Taking wedding vows to scam our immigration system is a federal crime.” said USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli. “USCIS has no tolerance for those who seek to defraud our immigration system. I commend the professionalism of the USCIS staff that worked with HSI to investigate these marriage fraud claims, and I also thank our law enforcement partners for their efforts to bring these perpetrators to justice.”
During the course of this investigation, HSI agents discovered that Melissa Godshall and Kennerley were panhandling for money on the side of the road in Granville County, North Carolina, when Tojiddin Rahimov, a naturalized United States citizen from Tajikistan, approached them and asked Melissa Godshall if she would be willing to marry a foreign-born national for money.  Melissa Godshall agreed to engage in the marriage to Lomtatidze in exchange for $12,000, housing, and a vehicle.  Lomtatidze and Melissa Godshall got married in Granville County, North Carolina.  Kennerley and another individual witnessed the marriage ceremony. 
HSI agents confirmed that Lomtatidze, Melissa Godshall and Kennerley entered into a rental agreement for a house located in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Lomtatidze, as part of the payment for the sham marriage, paid for the rent.  Thereafter, Godshall and Lomtatidze submitted fraudulent applications to USCIS requesting Lomtatidze’s adjustment of status as a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) in the United States.  Lomtatidze and Melissa Godshall were interviewed at the USCIS office in Durham, North Carolina.  Both attested under oath they were married in good faith.  Because of the interview, USCIS approved the request and Lomtatidze was granted “conditional” resident status in the United States. 
On September 18, 2017, Godshall prepared a statement in support of Lomtatizde’s application for “unconditional” permanent residence. Godshall purported the marriage to be legitimate while knowing the marriage was entered into for the purpose of evading the application of immigration laws.
Later, Lomtatidze and Melissa Godshall submitted to USCIS the application requesting Lomtatidze’s removal of conditions on his resident status, including Godshall’s statement in support of the petition, attesting Lomtatidze and Melissa Godshall were still married in good faith.
On August 27, 2019, Lomtatidze was sentenced for conspiracy to commit marriage fraud by United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan.  He was also ordered deported from the United States.  On the same date, Melissa Godshall was sentenced to four months in the custody of the United States Bureau of Prisons, consecutive to any other term of imprisonment.
On June 19, 2019 and July 11, 2019, Kennerely and Rahimov pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit marriage fraud.  They are presently awaiting sentencing.
The Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force (DBFTF) in the Eastern District of North Carolina led by Homeland Security Investigations and the USCIS’s Fraud Detection and National Security investigated the case.
For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), Instagram (/uscis), YouTube (/uscis), Facebook (/uscis), and LinkedIn (/uscis).

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