News of Interest

I am certain the government will appeal this decision, but in the meantime, a great many detainees will benefit.

>>. Federal District Court for MA Holds Government Bears Burden of Proof in Justifying Noncitizen’s Detention at INA §236(a) Bond Hearings; requires immigration court to consider alternatives to detention; and to consider affordability of bond in excess of $1500.00.

In a class action lawsuit, the U.S. District Court for the process requires the immigration court to evaluate a noncitizen’s ability to pay in setting bond above $1,500, and to consider alternative conditions of release, such as GPS monitoring, that reasonably assure the safety of the community and the noncitizen’s future appearances. Finally, the court held that, effective December 13, 2019, the government must produce to class counsel certain information regarding each member of the post-hearing class in order to facilitate individual habeas petitions challenging their continued detention. (Brito, et al. v. Barr, et al., 11/27/19). [ I am certain the government will appeal this decision, but in the meantime, a great many detainees will benefit.]

>>. In a second victory, the Federal 1st Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that AU PAIRS must be treated the same as domestic workers in Massachusetts. That means they are entitle to be paid the MA minimum wage as opposed to the federal minimum wage ($12.75 versus $7.25) and are entitled to breaks, time off, etc. Eleanor Shore is smiling today!! (Capron, et al. v. Attorney General of MA, De 2, 2019).

>>. MASSHEALTH ELIGABILITY: The New England Chapter of AILA recently posted the following tip:
Immigrants who do not yet have an immigration status may be able to qualify for comprehensive MassHealth benefits if they can show that:
1) USCIS acknowledges their presence in the United States, and
2) they aren’t in active removal proceedings. An I-797 Notice of Action is among the most common documents that a non-citizen can use to prove USCIS acknowledgment of their presence in the U.S. It doesn’t matter that the I-797 says “This Notice Does Not Grant Any Immigration Status or Benefit.” In fact, the I-797 does not even need to show that the individual applied for a particular status. A notice showing a biometrics appointment or receipt of an I-130 Petition is enough to allow a non-citizen with a low-income to qualify for comprehensive MassHealth benefits. {An I-797 is Issued by USCIS to communicate receipt of payments, rejection of applications, transfer of files, fingerprint biometric, interview and re-scheduled appointments, and to re-open cases.

USCIS uses numerous types of Form I-797 to communicate with applicants/petitioners or convey an immigration benefit. Form I-797 is issued by USCIS and is not one filled out by an applicant}

>>. Trump Administration Attempts Bar on Immigrants Lacking HEALTH INSURANCE, but Judge Issues TRO In early October, Donald Trump issued a proclamation blocking the admission of individuals applying for immigrant visas who cannot demonstrate their ability to acquire health insurance within 30 days of their entrance into the United States. Any applicants who receive an immigrant visa after the order was to go into effect on November 3rd would need to demonstrate when applying for a visa that within 30 days of entering the United States, they would have insurance in place. Individuals who were issued immigrant visas prior to November 3rd but entering after that date are not covered by the proclamation.

Under the executive action, approved health insurance coverage includes coverage under any of the following plans:

• an employer-sponsored plan, including a retiree plan, association health plan, and coverage provided by the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985;
• an unsubsidized health plan offered in the individual market within a State;
• a short-term limited duration health policy effective for a minimum of 364 days — or until the beginning of planned, extended travel outside the United States;
• a catastrophic plan;
• a family member’s plan;
• a medical plan under chapter 55 of title 10, United States Code, including coverage under the TRICARE program;
• a visitor health insurance plan that provides adequate coverage for medical care for a minimum of 364 days — or until the beginning of planned, extended travel outside the United States;
• a medical plan under the Medicare program; or
• any other health plan that provides adequate coverage for medical care as determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services or his designee. For individuals over the age of 18, Medicaid is not considered acceptable health insurance coverage.

The Trump Administration is basing the action on Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act which permits the President to bar the entry of people deemed to be detrimental to the interests of the United States. This is the section of the law used to justify the travel ban. Critics are already arguing that extending this provision beyond physical security issues is impermissible and a court challenge is expected soon.

A Federal Judge has issued a TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER on the policy, which prevents its implementation for at least 28 days as of its issuance on November 2. (Thanks to the international Law Firm of Hodkinson Law Group for this information)

>>. TRAC REPORTS: Civil Immigration Litigation in October 2019 Ties All-Time High. The latest available data from the federal courts show that during October 2019 the government reported 367 new civil immigration lawsuits were filed. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University covering monthly filings since October 2007, this number ties the previous all-time high when 367 suits were also filed back in December 2016. In general, immigration litigation has been rising. Lawsuits are up 15.4 percent over the previous month when the number of civil filings of this type totaled 318. For the full report see:

>>. AILA reported that after a federal judge limited the Asylum Ban 2.0 from being applied to thousands of asylum seekers who were unlawfully prevented from accessing the U.S. asylum process. ProPublica subsequently reported that the immigration judges (IJs) adjudicating these cases had not been notified about the court order. After the article was published, DOJ shared guidance with IJs that ProPublica reporter Dara Lind made available via Twitter. For the full article see:
(That is not only incredible, but in my opinion a gross miscarriage of justice. Thank goodness for a free press.)

>>. Bill Okerman has sent along the following article Why the DOL Should Keep its Hands Off of Worker Centers published on Dec 6th by OnLabor that has direct impact on the Worker’s Center in Framingham. SEE:

In the Community

>>. Cynthia Ganung reports: The Jan. 9, 7:30pm Book Discussion is about the book We Are Here to Stay by Susan Kuklin which tells the stories of eleven undocumented young adult immigrants. This book discussion is sponsored by the Trustees of the Needham Free Public Library, the Needham Human Rights Committee and Needham Diversity Initiative.

>>. Georgina Arrieta-Ruetenik ( posts the following regarding the winter hours and location of the continuing post card campaign: WHERE: First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church, Parlor Room (downstairs, past the double doors, the first room on the left), 23 Dedham Avenue, Needham, MA 02494. Plenty of parking spaces are available, behind the church, in the Great Plain Ave. CVS parking lot.] WHEN: Wednesday, December 4, from 5:30 – 6:00 PM. [From Wednesday, December 4, 2019 – April, 29, 2020 (except Dec. 25, 2019 and Jan. 1, 2020), we will gather indoors for postcard writing to federal, state and local government officials and legislators.]

>>. Thursday, January 9, 2020, 7:30 – 9:00 PM, at Temple Beth Shalom. Speakers from Unitarian Universalist Mass Action (part of the Safe Communities Coalition) and Agencia Alpha, an educational, social service and advocacy organization for the immigrant community in Boston will present an overview of current legislation and will share their stories about the impact of federal immigration policy in their lives. A Q&A session will follow the speakers. There will be an opportunity for participants to engage in an advocacy action during this event.

If you are aware of any event that would be of interest to the Task Force membership, please send me a brief description of the event along with a contact person for further information.

Next meeting

Our next meeting will be held on Monday, __DECEMBER 9th__, at 7:15pm in the Congregational Church Library, 1180 Great Plain Ave. Parking is behind the Church. The Agenda is attached.

Gerry Rovner, Chair
Needham Area Immigration Justice Task Force