Monday, February 24, 2020

Federal Court Stops DHS From Arresting US Citizens’ Foreign Spouses During Marriage Interviews


I have frequently said in recent years that it is hard keeping up with all the immigration changes brought by the Trump administration.  Immigration Impact reported on a challenge to one of the administration's new enforcement approaches. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been targeting U.S. citizens’ foreign spouses when they apply for legal immigration status. A federal judge in Maryland put a halt to this practice.

For the past few years, couples attending interviews about their marriages sometimes faced a terrible surprise: DHS officers were waiting to arrest and deport the noncitizen spouse after the interview. The interview is a standard part of the application process. After the recent ruling, DHS cannot do this in Maryland.

In Sanchez v. McAleenan, U.S. District Court Judge George Hazel ordered DHS to stop arresting, detaining, or deporting certain noncitizens seeking green cards based on their marriages to U.S. citizens in Maryland.  DHS also must release noncitizens already in custody based on the challenged practice.

This case focuses on a central question: can DHS deny these spouses the opportunity to apply for lawful permanent resident status while in the United States?  Stay tuned!


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