Montana’s congressional delegation split on DACA ruling

June 19, 2020Shahid Haque

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports:

Montana Democrats supported the Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday that President Donald Trump’s push to end legal protections for about 700,000 young immigrants may not continue. Republican members of the state’s congressional delegation disagreed with the decision.

Trump sought to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which allows “Dreamers” to continue to work and be protected from deportation. DACA was created in 2012 under the Obama administration and Trump included terminating DACA as part of his presidential campaign.

The court voted 5-4 to uphold the program, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining four more liberal justices in the majority.

There were 70 DACA recipients in Montana as of the end of 2019, according to data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
. . .

Thursday’s decision was a pleasant surprise to Shahid Haque, a Helena-based immigration attorney with Border Crossing Law Firm who has several clients in the Gallatin Valley.

“Unless Trump and the administration writes new reasons to get rid of DACA and change reasoning for that, the policy should be here to stay,” Haque said.

Immigrants who entered the country illegally as children could apply for a two-year protection under the program.

Since 2017, no new DACA applications were allowed. Recipients of the protections were still allowed to renew, but Haque said many of his clients couldn’t establish long-term plans in fears of deportation as they were unsure of potential law changes. Many, he said, were ordered to be deported and the Supreme Court’s ruling could alter their appeals process.

Montana Supreme Court: Local police can’t make immigration arrests

March 30, 2020Shahid Haque

Montana joined several other states by making it clear that local law enforcement officials may not arrest and detain immigrants under federal immigration detainers.

The Montana Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the state had violated its own laws when a law enforcement officer in Lincoln County detained a man for possible immigration violations after his arrest on suspicion of burglary.

Agustin Ramon, a French and Mexican national, had attempted to post his $25,000 bail but was denied based on a federal immigration detainer request. He was detained for 48 hours after his two-day incarceration, then spent the next two months in jail in Lincoln County.

Ramon filed a lawsuit against Lincoln County sheriff Darren Short, represented by the ACLU of Montana, the ACLU and the Border Crossing Law Firm. While a state court judge sided with the county, Ramon eventually found success with the Montana Supreme Court.

Read the full article here.

Finding home: UM soccer coach’s journey to U.S. citizenship

October 24, 2019Shahid Haque

We recently spoke with Dante Filpula Ankney of the Montana Kaimin about UM soccer coach Chris Citowicki’s immigration journey.

Citowicki’s application to become a citizen did not come without hardships, but it was comparably easier than what other immigrants have experienced in the United States.

Obtaining citizenship has become harder for all immigrants under President Trump and his administration, according to Shahid Haque, an immigration lawyer and founder of Border Crossing Law Firm in Helena.

In fact, during President Trump’s first year in office, there was an increase of petitions filed to become citizens, but the number of people who were actually granted citizenship decreased by more than 40,000, according to the 2017 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics.

At the same time, the number of deportations by ICE increased by over 15,000, according to the 2017 ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Report.

Also in Trump’s first year in office, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program would be repealed, and President Trump instituted an executive order that stopped travel to the U.S. for six Muslim majority countries, as well as all refugees for 120 days.

“You are facing an agency that is looking to deny your case if they can,” Haque said, “and are happy to deny your case if they can.”

According to Haque, marrying a U.S. citizen is one of the easier pathways to attain a green card and become a U.S. citizen. However, applicants are put through interviews that scrutinize the legitimacy of the marriage throughout the process.

When the interview finally took place, he and his wife were separated into different rooms. Citowicki recalls being nervous and unsure of the birth dates of his wife and two kids.

“Oh, my God I hope our answers match on each side,” Citowicki said.

Both Citowicki and his wife agreed that waiting for the green card approval was the most stressful part of becoming a citizen. Those seeking citizenship must have a green card for five years prior to the citizenship process, according to Haque.

After having a green card for more than five years and meeting all other qualifications, it should take 10 1/2 to 16 1/2 months at Helena to become a citizen after filing your paperwork according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Citowicki had renewed his green card once before and would have had to renew it again in 2022 if he didn’t become a citizen. Luckily, he did.

Many immigrants today have trouble obtaining a green card to set themselves up to become a citizen. According to Haque, it is not easy for immigrants to attain citizenship in the U.S. right now, and it’s even harder for refugees.

Refugees are people seeking asylum in another country because they have been displaced by possible persecution, war, or natural disaster in their own country. They have to register with the U.N. outside of their country to become a refugee, according to Soft Landing Missoula’s website.

According to Haque, it is difficult to prove that you are even a refugee in order to seek asylum, let alone start the process to become a permanent resident after you are given asylum.

Immigrants are like Citowicki: people choosing to enter a country on their own accords. They enter the U.S. through a visa that defines the amount of time you are allowed to stay.

Visas, green cards and citizenship all result in a lot of paperwork and headaches for applicants. One small misstep, one missing document, and your case could be denied. That is why, Haque said, an attorney is helpful, though not necessary.

Citowicki said he and his wife spent $5,000 to $6,000 on attorney fees to become a citizen, most of which was spent in the process of getting a green card.

In the end, from taking the first step at an Ontario, California Airport to the ceremony at Great Falls, Citowicki’s process to becoming a citizen took a year and a half.

His personal views on immigration are molded from his experiences growing up — living in a refugee camp as a child, bouncing around the world to find a home.

“People need to be given opportunities to start their lives again if they are coming from a place that isn’t treating them well,” Citowicki said, “and America gives you the opportunity to do that. It’s what this country has been doing forever.”

Please check out the whole article here.

Separated from his wife and children by ICE, an undocumented man tries desperately to return home.

January 2, 2019Shahid Haque

The New Republic reports on the case of our client:

On October 10, Audemio was transferred back to Montana, where he passed through an ICE office in Helena en route to the Cascade County jail. At the ICE office, a Jefferson County investigator and an ICE agent interviewed him, with Blanca Chapa translating via speakerphone from Idaho. They kept Audemio in handcuffs, as if he were the suspect and not the victim. Describing his rape, Audemio broke down and cried. He asked for the attorney he’d hired with help from the Mexican Consulate in Boise, Idaho, but the officers told him his attorney was unavailable.

This was not true. In fact, Shahid Haque, a Helena, Montana-based immigration attorney, was in the building, but was not allowed to see Audemio until after the interview ended. Amid the ensuing media coverage of Audemio’s case—the alleged sexual assault of a deportee while in government custody was newsworthy—there was speculation that Audemio made up the rape story for the purpose of securing a U Visa. Haque told me Audemio didn’t even know what a U Visa was when he reported the incident. At the time, his most urgent concern was getting the HIV prophylactics that had been prescribed for him in Idaho.

A week later, Haque secured Audemio’s release on the order of supervision. In the following months, Audemio repeatedly offered to assist in the investigation—to look at mug shots or a lineup, to comment on testimony from his cellmates—but he would not hear from the investigators again. Still more concerning, when Haque acquired the security camera footage through a court order, he found there were gaps on the night of the assault totaling nearly three and a half hours, including a two-hour block from 2:13 to 4:10 a.m. that coincided with Audemio’s estimation of when the rape occurred. Jefferson County Attorney Matthew Johnson—who fought Haque’s efforts to obtain the evidence, on the grounds that releasing it would jeopardize the pending investigation—said the gaps resulted from motion-sensitive cameras turning off when there was no activity in the cell. “When the video skips,” Johnson said in an email to Haque dated November 7, 2013, “it is because there was no movement for a period of time.” This was a red flag: The video from Audemio’s pod cuts out for the first time at 10:30 p.m., while people are still milling around and very much awake.

Read the whole article here.

Video Statement on ICE Subpoenas for Montana State Employment Data

February 8, 2018Shahid Haque

Yesterday, an employee of the Montana Department of Labor quit in protest over the fact that his employer was about to give out confidential employment information to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), so that they could use that to raid businesses in search of undocumented immigrants.

ICE has used these tactics in the past, to fish through quarters unemployment insurance reports, containing the names, social security numbers, and wages of employees, to try and find undocumented workers.  I wrote about these concerns long ago.

In this video I law out some of the important background information on this issue.

Urgent: Stop ICE from deporting a Mexican national who was sexually assaulted in their custody!

August 2, 2017Shahid Haque

ICE is moving to immediately deport Audemio Orozco-Ramirez, a Mexican national who was sexually assaulted in their custody!  Please sign a petition to help stop it.

By Shahid Haque, Immigration Attorney

On the morning of August 2, 2017, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) agents arrested Audemio Orozco-Ramirez, the victim of a sexual assault that occurred in ICE custody in October 2013.  Mr. Orozco-Ramirez is a Mexican national and father of seven children (six of whom are U.S. citizens, and one with valid immigration status under DACA), and has been living in the United States for over 20 years.  In a shift from its normal protocols, ICE is taking steps to transport Mr. Orozco-Ramirez directly to Utah to stage his deportation.

Mr. Orozco-Ramirez’s 2013 sexual assault happened while he was in ICE custody in Boulder, Montana, and garnered statewide media attention, especially in light of missing surveillance video from the night of the rape.  After this sexual assault, ICE released Mr. Orozco-Ramirez from custody under an “Order of Supervision.”  This allowed Mr. Orozco-Ramirez to return to his family and legally work, as he has done for almost four years now.  He has been checking in with ICE every month since then.  This morning, after his routine check-in, Mr. Orozco-Ramirez was arrested and ICE is now taking steps to immediately deport him.

In July 2015, Mr. Orozco-Ramirez filed suit against the Jefferson County detention facility that was under contact with ICE to house immigration detainees, and last year he won a $125,000 settlement against the county stemming from this assault.

Mr. Orozco-Ramirez should be entitled to a “U visa,” a special visa created by Congress to assist the victim of a serious crime who cooperates with law enforcement in the investigation of the crime.  If ICE would only certify that Mr. Orozco-Ramirez cooperated in the investigation of this crime, his deportation would be stopped.  However, despite Mr. Orozco-Ramirez’s requests to ICE, they have not taken any formal action to approve or deny this “U visa” certification.

Since his assault in 2013, over 400 people have signed a public petition asking ICE to stop Mr. Orozco-Ramirez’s deportation.

Please sign this petition and contact the officials in DHS who can put a stop to this!

[Petition is removed.]

ICE Contact: Laurence Carroll, Supervisory Detention and Deportation Officer

(406) 495-2170

Shahid Haque was awarded the ACLU’s Jeannette Rankin Civil Liberties Award

March 10, 2017Shahid Haque

From the ACLU website:

Shahid Haque was the 2017 Jeannette Rankin Civil Liberties Award recipient.  Below is the speech he gave at the award reception on March 4:

“It’s been a privilege to play a role in the lives of over a thousand immigrants and their families here in the State of Montana.  It’s been my honor to advocate for a group of people who never cease to amaze me with their strength, resilience, generosity, and hard work.

My job has been to help my clients navigate a system that is so exceptionally difficult and complex, just to achieve something so basic: just keeping families together, helping them live their lives in this state that they chose and love (despite the fact that sometimes their state doesn’t seem to love them). Through that work, it’s been a unique pleasure to shape, in some small part, the makeup of the State of Montana.

Since I’ve been doing this for almost a decade, I’ve gotten to see my clients at all kinds of different stages in their lives. I’ve often started representing clients when they were facing their worst and most vulnerable moment, when they are facing deportation from their home. You see people who aren’t criminals in handcuffs and a jumpsuit, maintaining their dignity as the proud fathers and mothers they are, hoping that they find their way out of this system that has swallowed them up. In those moments, you form a strange bond as your client places their trust in you to guide them through the Kafka-esque absurdity of our immigration court system and hopefully get them out.

On other occasions, I’ve begun representing clients under much happier circumstances. I’ve been part wedding planner, getting to know my clients as they start their new lives together as a married couple. I love hearing how my clients met, and what brought them together. That process is no less absurd, as we deal with endless technicalities and paperwork, and look for ways to document and prove the validity of two peoples’ love for one another to a government adjudicator.

No matter how our attorney/client relationship begins, I’ve enjoyed the fact that I’ve known many of my clients for approaching a decade now. I’ve seen the relief they feel when they get a piece of plastic we call a green card, which means they get to stay here.  Over the years I stay in contact with my clients because even after they get their permanent residence, I help them with  citizenship (years down the road), and I’ve often helped them petition for their parents to join them.

I’ve started to notice and appreciate the way the cycle of immigration continues, and how much it matters in a state like Montana, where so many people have never gotten to know someone from another country. I’ve realized that some of the xenophobia we see in Montana is based on a lack of exposure, and that with exposure comes understanding.

I’ve had many proud and happy moments as an immigration attorney, many of them involve asylum cases for people feeling from persecution in their home countries, for victims of domestic violence, for families who face exceptional hardships.

But despite my efforts, there have also been far too many people I haven’t been able to help, because our immigration laws are so arcane and restrictive, and only provide limited avenues for relief.

So I’d like to dedicate this award to all the undocumented people who have no path to alleviate their fears and are waiting and biding their time for laws to change, who live their lives here knowing that they stick out and that all it will take is one bad cop or one vindictive neighbor to risk being separated from their families. These people who check in with me every time they hear about a new policy designed to make them even more afraid, even less secure. They have been bearing this burden for far, far too long, but they are doing it with so much more grace than I could ever muster.

I want to dedicate this award to all of them, because it represents my promise to them, to keep fighting for them however I can, and to try and be a voice their concerns when they can’t do it themselves.

This year, more than any other year, immigrants in Montana are scared. They are going to need your support, in whatever form you can give it. This year, I invite you to join me in standing up to celebrate and support the immigrants living in every community throughout our state.

Thank you for his honor.”

Firm Prevails: Montana Supreme Court strikes down entirety of anti-immigrant law!

May 11, 2016Shahid Haque

Thanks to the efforts of the Border Crossing Law Firm, the Montana Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision striking down the entirety of an anti-immigrant law, which was placed on the 2012 ballot by the Montana legislature and approved by 80% of voters.  The law, known as LR-121, would have denied a wide variety of state services to so-called “illegal aliens,” including crime victim services, infant hearing screenings, and the ability to attend a public university.  It would have also required that state agencies report these applicants to immigration authorities.  The law defined “illegal aliens” so broadly that it included numerous Montanans who are in this country with valid legal status.

Before the law went into effect, the Border Crossing Law Firm challenged it as an unlawful state-level regulation of immigration that would have wrongly denied state services to non-citizens with valid immigration status.

MIJA was represented on a pro bono basis by attorneys Shahid Haque of the Border Crossing Law Firm, P.C., and Brian Miller of Morrison, Sherwood, Wilson, & Deola, PLLP during this over three-year lawsuit.

In 2014, a district court granted summary judgment in MIJA’s favor, and found that most of LR-121 was unconstitutional.  However, the district court allowed one provision, mandating reporting to immigration authorities, to stand.  The State of Montana appealed the district court decision to the Montana Supreme Court.  In its unanimous decision, the Montana Supreme Court went one step further than the district court and invalidated the reporting provision as well, rendering the entirety of the law unconstitutional.

“The law was a discriminatory attempt to drive immigrants out of the state, and would have unjustly targeted immigrants with valid federal immigration status,” Mr. Haque said.  “The Montana Supreme Court has sent a clear message that the state has no business attempting to create its own immigration enforcement schemes.”

“The legislature ignored its own legislative services division’s warnings that the law was unconstitutional, and wasted state resources defending this unconstitutional law,” Mr. Miller said. “The court’s decision protects vulnerable immigrant populations from discrimination by state agencies in the provision of important services.”

The Border Crossing Law Firm, P.C. is proud to continue its advocacy for immigrants in Montana through successful legal challenges to the state’s unconstitutional conduct.

Representing Immigrant Victims of Domestic Abuse

June 16, 2015Shahid Haque

(Originally published in the Montana Lawyer, June/July 2015 Issue)

Representing Immigrant Victims of Domestic Abuse:

Abusive spouses’ manipulation of the system and misguided police enforcement cause additional troubles for immigrant survivors of abuse.

By Shahid Haque

Attorney, Border Crossing Law Firm, P.C.

Every immigration case implicates matters of family unity or separation, and can dramatically impact a client’s livelihood and quality of life.  Immigration matters involving domestic violence and abuse are often the most challenging — but also the most important — types of cases for immigration practitioners.  In my practice, I have assisted dozens of immigrant victims of domestic abuse, including both male and female victims.  In this article, I will discuss some of the common characteristics of these abusive relationships and the difficulties these victims can experience — particularly when law enforcement works against the victim instead of providing support.

How Our Immigration System Provides Opportunities for Abusive Spouses

Immigrant victims of domestic abuse may enter the country on a marriage or fiancé(e) visa, enter the country illegally, or “overstay” a visa. The victim may be married to a U.S. citizen, a permanent resident, or another person who is undocumented. All of these factors play into the type of relief that may be available to the victim.

Abusive U.S. citizens often use their spouse’s immigration status as a way to exert undue control. Often the immigrant spouse is isolated from society, unable to easily leave home because he or she lacks a driver’s license, prevented from using a phone or computer to connect to friends and family, and prohibited from forming friendships with others. The abuse may manifest as physical violence or extreme emotional cruelty. The abuse is often furthered by threats of deportation if the immigrant spouse ever reports the abuse.  Often, there are children in the household, and the abused spouse doesn’t dare report the abuse to police because of the risk of being deported and leaving the children in the hands of the abuser.

There are many ways that an abusive spouse can use someone’s immigration status as a constant threat.  This type of control is possible because our immigration system provides unfortunate opportunities for U.S. citizens to manipulate their partners’ ability to obtain legal immigration status. For instance, when a U.S. citizen applies for a fiancé(e) visa, the partner enters on a visa that expires unless they get married within 90 days.  Sometimes the U.S. citizen deliberately refuses to get married, leaving the immigrant partner undocumented and unprotected by our immigration laws, but dependent on the abuser.

Even when a couple gets married, the U.S. citizen spouse can still wield control over the immigrant spouse. When a couple has been married for less than two years, the immigrant spouse only gets a two-year “conditional” green card. During that time, immigrant spouses could lose their status if they get divorced or separated, giving the abuser undue control during that time period. Just before the “conditional” green card expires, the couple is expected to jointly file a petition to prove that the marriage is ongoing and is genuine. If an abusive spouse intentionally misses that deadline, the immigrant spouse can be at risk of being removed (i.e. deported) from the U.S. An immigrant can request a “waiver” of the requirement to file a joint petition after the two-year period, but faces a high burden of proof to show the marriage was genuine, and many abused spouses are either unaware of this or afraid to do so.

I have seen many instances in which a U.S. citizen spouse has forced the immigrant spouse to work despite simultaneously refusing to fix the spouse’s immigration status, which puts the immigrant spouse in the position of working without government authorization — often at low wages and without proper workplace protections. It also places the immigrant spouse at higher risk of being detected and arrested by immigration authorities.

Police Need to Be Vigilant and Understanding About Immigrant Victims of Abuse

It is critically important that police be aware of these dynamics and work to protect immigrant victims of domestic abuse. However, sometimes police and immigration officials have worked against abuse victims and helped the abusers. This is due, in part, to the manner in which immigration violations have been “criminalized” in our culture. Despite the fact that most immigration violations are civil in nature, local police have incorrectly viewed them as being serious crimes, and have overlooked the more serious issues of abuse that should be their focus.

A few years back, a female client of mine was strangled in public and police were called to the scene. The male abuser was convicted of partner/family member assault. Although they had been married for many years, and she had no impediment to getting a green card through marriage, the husband refused to follow through with a petition. He had not held a job for years, and he had forced his spouse to purchase a fake green card to obtain employment to support both him and their children.  But, after his conviction, he “tipped” immigration authorities that she was undocumented and had a fake green card.

Immigration authorities took the bait. They launched an investigation and a few months after the abusive spouse’s tip, they had arrested my client, taken her into custody, and issued a final order of deportation against her. They apparently did not take note of the fact that at the time the abusive ex-spouse “tipped” them, he had already pleaded guilty to Partner/Family Member Assault, had a permanent restraining order against him, and the Missoula County Attorney’s office had just brought misdemeanor and felony charges against him for violations of the order of protection. To make matters worse, the U.S. Attorney’s Office brought charges against her in federal court for possession of a fake green card, and she pleaded guilty. Now, that conviction is posing an obstacle to getting immigration relief as an abuse victim.

Types of Relief Available

The options available to immigrant victims of domestic abuse vary considerably depending on the circumstances, and have detailed requirements. Without delving into the minutiae of each type of relief, the following are some of the possibilities.

The Violence Against Women Act provides opportunities for the spouse of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to “self petition” for lawful immigration status when he or she is the victim of physical abuse of extreme emotional cruelty.  The petition must be filed while still married or within a year of divorce.  “Good moral character” is a requirement, and is sometimes a real obstacle.  In the example referenced above, U.S
. Citizenship and Immigration Services agrees that my client was the victim of abuse, but is asserting that her criminal conviction for possession of a fake green card shows bad moral character.  We continue to fight her case and argue that they have their priorities wrong.

When the victim of abuse cooperates with law enforcement in the prosecution of an abusive spouse, he or she may also pursue a “U” visa.  This application must be certified by a Judge, prosecutor, or law enforcement officer.  While many law enforcement officers are reluctant to certify due to unfamiliarity with the U visa, this visa provides a pathway to permanent residency and citizenship, and should be seriously considered.

Victims of human trafficking, whose situations may differ considerably from abused immigrant spouses of U.S. citizens, may pursue a “T visa” under the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act.

In some rare instances, an immigrant victim of domestic abuse can pursue asylum.  Refugees who flee from their home countries to escape persecution on account of race, religion, political beliefs or particular social group can ask for asylum in the U.S.  It is a difficult form of relief to win due to its high burden of proof.  However, we recently won asylum for a woman from Mexico who fled the country to escape her husband’s severe violence and cruelty. We were able to demonstrate that she was viewed as the property of her husband, that she had reported the abuse to police and been ignored, and that she had fled multiple times only to be captured and returned to her husband. Under these rare circumstances, the immigration judge agreed that the abuse amounted to persecution on account of her “particular social group” and that she had a reasonable fear of returning to Mexico.

“Mail Order” Brides?

Sometimes, we hear of immigrant victims of domestic violence referred to as “mail order brides.” Except in the rarest instances, the term is really a misnomer, as it is not representative of most relationships or the manner in which most immigrant spouses came to the United States. In addition, it has some offensive and sexist undertones. First, it implies that the legal burden to get a visa for a spouse is easy. That is certainly not true, as one who goes through normal immigration channels to obtain entry on a fiancé(e) or marriage visa has to prove a genuine relationship, and this can often be difficult. In our practice, we have often dealt with legitimate marriage petitions that get wrongly denied because they don’t fit into traditional stereotypes.

The term also implies that the women who enter the U.S. as immigrants are complicit in wanting to enter into fake marriages just for the visa. In my experience, the immigrant spouse has typically wanted to enter into a genuine and legitimate relationship, but the relationship ends because of abuse or misconduct by the U.S. citizen.

While there are instances in which women have literally posed in magazines, been trafficked into the country, and ultimately sold into marriage, the broad usage of the term goes much farther than this limited scenario. Language is important because it shapes perspective and policy. The term is currently being used to malign legitimate relationships that may appear “suspicious” to someone based on their own preconceived ideas, but is actually just a form of stereotyping. Therefore, I encourage readers to either limit the term to the small instances where it would be correct, or simply stop using the term.

Concluding Thoughts

If you are interested in helping immigrant victims of domestic abuse, opportunities are often available to assist. Please feel free to contact me. We hope to create a list of volunteer attorneys we can turn to for assistance with these important cases.

Shahid Haque is an immigration attorney and founder of the Border Crossing Law Firm, P.C., and also serves as President of the Montana Immigrant Justice Alliance, a non-profit group advocating for the rights of immigrants. He will be teaching immigration law at the University of Montana School of Law starting in the Fall semester.

Attorney General Tim Fox is Wasting Taxpayer Dollars on Ideologically-Driven Challenge to President Obama’s New Immigration Policies

December 3, 2014Shahid Haque

Today, Attorney General Tim Fox joined in a lawsuit to challenge President Barack Obama’s recent executive action on immigration, which will protect hundreds of Montana children from being separated from their undocumented parents.

Shahid Haque, an immigration attorney in Helena, believes that “it is disappointing that the Attorney General is once again wasting taxpayer dollars and his office’s limited resources by pushing his own ideological agenda.  The Attorney General’s office already used up considerable resources in its failed attempt to defend Montana’s anti-immigrant referendum, which was stricken as unconstitutional earlier this year.  Now, he is wasting even more taxpayer dollars by joining in a baseless lawsuit with the apparent goal of tearing Montana families apart.”

While the lawsuit claims that Montana will suffer from allowing undocumented Montanans to come out of the shadows and get work permits, Mr. Haque challenges this assertion. “The reality is that the State of Montana will benefit from keeping Montana families together.  No one wins when U.S. citizen children are separated from their parents, and that is the primary thing that President Obama’s executive action is meant to address.”

The precedent for this type of executive action began with President Reagan and has continued with every President since then.  Over a hundred law professors and scholars of varying political beliefs have all agreed that President Obama’s executive actions are lawful.“

While hundreds of Montanans will benefit from President Obama’s executive action, Montana is one of the states with the least number of foreign born residents, both documented and undocumented.  There is no reason, apart from ideological bias, for Attorney General Tim Fox to be joining in this frivolous lawsuit,” Haque added.

Advocating for immigrants.

The Border Crossing Law Firm is a full-service immigration law firm, offering help with visas, green cards, citizenship, and deportation proceedings. We have been committed to the immigrant community for two decades, representing thousands of immigrants and their families across the country.