Public Comments

MIRC Written Testimony on Michigan House Oversight Committee Hearing on Unemployment Insurance Agency

August 17, 2021

MIRC's written testimony on issues surrounding the Unemployment Insurance Agency and the issues. MIRC's focus is on the intersection between immigration status and UI eligibility. Specifically, section 27(k) of the Act which is the "permanently residing under color of law" (PRUCOL) should allow a lot of the clients that we represent to get their UI benefits but the agency wrongly denies those benefits. The agency claims that the UI benefits are denied because Employment Authorization Card (EAD)'s may have expired, however, an EAD is not a statutory requirement for UI eligibility. 

Identifying Barriers Across U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Benefits and Services; Request for Public Input (RIN 1615-ZB87, USCIS-2021-0004)

May 19, 2021

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sought comments from the public on how U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can reduce administrative and other barriers and burdens within its regulations and policies, including those that prevent foreign citizens from easily obtaining access to immigration services and benefits. This effort will help DHS identify process improvements for USCIS, with benefits for state, local, and tribal governments, for businesses (including small businesses and startups), for educational institutions of all kinds, for nonprofits, and for individuals. MIRC staff provided DHS guidance and comment on how to reduce administrative and other barriers and burdens within it’s regulations and policies.

Opposing Proposed Rule on Motions to Reopen and Reconsider; Effect of Departure; Stay of Removal

December 28, 2020

The Executive Office for Immigration Review is tasked with administering our nation’s immigration laws with fairness, and the ability of IJs to reopen and/or reconsider cases is paramount to the equitable administration of justice. The harsh and inflexible standards set by this Notice of proposed rulemaking will ensure that countless immigrants will be deported despite being clearly eligible for the relief; these unachievable standards will only permit the rare (read: unicorn) case to be reopened or reconsidered. Michigan Immigrant Rights Center objects to EOIR’s 30-day comment period to respond to this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). MIRC disagrees with the imposition of the fugitive disentitlement doctrine being applied to immigration law.

MIRC opposes the “standardization” of factors for determining whether these motions should be granted. MIRC opposes applying this “standardization” to motions to reopen and terminate.

MIRC opposes the heightened standard applied to ineffective assistance of counsel claims for reopening and reconsideration. MIRC vehemently opposes the NPRM in its entirety. It must be withdrawn altogether.

Opposing Proposed Rule on Good Cause for a Continuance in Immigration Proceedings (November 27, 2020) RIN 1125-AB03; EOIR Docket No. 19-0410

December 23, 2020

The absurd and inflexible standards set by this Proposed Rule will ensure that countless immigrants will be deported despite being eligible for relief simply because the IJ was powerless to grant a continuance. We are not aware of what ideal within the canon of our nation’s values such an outcome aims to reach. Michigan Immigrant Rights Center disagrees that “good cause” lacked legal precedent and opposes the arbitrary and capricious decision to make such standards harsher thereby infringing upon due process. The Proposed Rule unjustifiably eliminates access to collateral relief for individuals in removal proceedings, including survivors of violent crime and severe forms of human trafficking. MIRC strongly opposes the reduction in allotted number of continuances and potential length of continuances. MIRC vehemently opposes the Proposed Regulation in its entirety. It must be withdrawn altogether.

Affidavit of Support on Behalf of Immigrants RIN: 1615-AC39; USCIS No. 2644-20; DHS Docket No USCIS-2019-0023

November 2, 2020

Michigan Immigrant Rights Center opposed the proposed changes where the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposes to amend its regulations governing the affidavit of support requirements under section 213A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA or the Act). Certain immigrants are required to submit an Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA (Affidavit) executed by a sponsor who agrees to provide financial support to the sponsored immigrant and accepts liability for reimbursing the costs of any means-tested public benefits a sponsored immigrant receives while the Affidavit is in effect pursuant to section 213A(a)(2) of the INA. DHS proposes to clarify how a sponsor demonstrates the means to maintain income as required under section 213A(f)(6) of the Act such as revising the documentation that sponsors and household members must submit to meet the requirements under section 213A(f) of the Act. DHS proposes to modify when an applicant is required to submit an Affidavit from a joint sponsor, who may be a household member for purposes of executing a Contract Between Sponsor and Household Member (Contract), and who is considered as part of a sponsor's household size. DHS also proposes to update reporting and information sharing requirements between authorized parties and USCIS.

Professional Conduct for Practitioners-Rules and Procedures, and Representation and Appearances, RIN 1125-AA83; EOIR Docket No. 18-0301

October 30, 2020

Michigan Immigrant Rights Center opposes this proposed rule that would amend Department of Justice (“Department” or “DOJ”) regulations to allow practitioners to assist individuals with drafting, writing, or filing applications, petitions, briefs, and other documents in proceedings before the Executive Office for Immigration Review (“EOIR”) by filing an amended version of EOIR's current forms (Form EOIR-27 and Form EOIR-28) noticing the entry of appearance of a practitioner. Those amended forms would also function as a notice of disclosure of legal assistance for practitioners who provide legal assistance but choose not to represent aliens in immigration proceedings, and also a notice of disclosure of preparation by practitioners. The proposed rule would further clarify that the only persons who may file a document with the agency are those recognized as eligible to do business with the agency and those aliens who are filing a document over which the agency has jurisdiction. Also, the proposed rule would make non-substantive changes regarding capitalization and amend outdated references to the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (“INS”).

Procedures for Asylum and Withholding of Removal, RIN 1125-AA93 or EOIR Docket No. 19-0010

October 20, 2020

Michigan Immigrant Rights Center opposes this proposed rule that The Department of Justice (“Department” or “DOJ”) proposes to amend the Executive Office for Immigration Review (“EOIR”) regulations governing asylum and withholding of removal, including changes to what must be included with an application for such relief for it to be considered complete and the consequences of filing an incomplete application, changes establishing a 15-day filing deadline for aliens applying for asylum in asylum-and-withholding-only proceedings, and changes related to the 180-day asylum adjudication clock.

Collection and Use of Biometrics by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

October 12, 2020

MIRC opposes this proposed rule that amends the Department Homeland Security (DHS) regulations concerning the use and collection of biometrics in the enforcement and administration of immigration laws by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). First, DHS proposes that any applicant, petitioner, sponsor, beneficiary, or individual filing or associated with an immigration benefit or request, including United States citizens, must appear for biometrics collection without regard to age unless DHS waives or exempts the biometrics requirement. Second, DHS proposes to authorize biometric collection, without regard to age, upon arrest of an alien for purposes of processing, care, custody, and initiation of removal proceedings. Third, DHS proposes to define the term biometrics. Fourth, this rule proposes to increase the biometric modalities that DHS collects, to include iris image, palm print, and voice print. Fifth, this rule proposes that DHS may require, request, or accept DNA test results, which include a partial DNA profile, to prove the existence of a claimed genetic relationship and that DHS may use and store DNA test results for the relevant adjudications or to perform any other functions necessary for administering and enforcing immigration and naturalization laws. Sixth, this rule would modify how VAWA and T nonimmigrant petitioners demonstrate good moral character, as well as remove the presumption of good moral character for those under the age of 14. Lastly, DHS proposes to further clarify the purposes for which biometrics are collected from individuals filing immigration applications or petitions, to include criminal history and national security background checks; identity enrollment, verification, and management; secure document production, and to administer and enforce immigration and naturalization laws.

Public comment opposing Proposed Rules on Administrative Closure, Appellate Procedures, and Decisional Finality in Immigration Proceedings, Federal Register No. 2020-18676, EOIR Docket No. 19-0022, A.G. Order No. 4800-2020, RIN 1125-AA96

September 24, 2020

MIRC submitted a public comment opposing new rules proposed by the Department of Justice that would further politicize the Immigration Courts and would strip immigrants of crucial tools for avoiding deportation. These proposed rules turn an already unfair, prejudiced, limited-review 'court,' into an adjudicative machine with little to no due process.

(c)(8) EAD comment--Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Request Comment on Asylum Application, Interview, and EAD for Applicants

January 13, 2020

MIRC opposes this proposed rule because the proposed rule will completely eliminate access to work authorization for many asylum seekers, significantly delay access to work authorization for all asylum seekers, and will add a substantial adjudicative burden on United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) at a time where processing times are growing longer across the board. It will discourage asylum applicants from taking critical action on their asylum cases, such as making reasonable requests to reschedule their hearings or supplement their applications. It will force asylum seekers to cope with forced unemployment by utilizing community resources, by subjecting themselves to exploitation in the shadow labor market, or by abandoning valid claims and returning to life-threatening conditions in their home country. The children of asylum seekers, many who are born in the US during the years-long wait for an asylum hearing, will suffer substantial collateral damage as a result of their parent's inability to work. Lastly, the proposed new rules will add to USCIS' adjudicative burden with respect to I-765 applications, strain legal service and social service organizations, and will limit asylum-seekers' ability to effectively pursue their claims, making asylum adjudications burdensome for asylum officers and immigration judges.