AGs and Immigrant Communities: Areas of Jurisdiction
The following webpage provides a variety of resources which highlight the role state attorneys general play in protecting immigrant communities. This role often emerges as a result of areas of law where state attorneys general exercise broad common law and/or statutory jurisdiction to conduct investigations and affirmatively prosecute cases in the public interest. In addition, state attorneys general play a central role in upholding and defending state laws, agency rules and policies that directly impact immigrant communities, such as laws pertaining to in-state tuition for undocumented individuals or state statutes which condition the grant of a professional license on an individual establishing a "lawful presence" in the state. State attorneys general may affirmatively bring cases to enforce these laws, defend challenges to the legality/constitutionality of such laws or issue non-binding formal or advisory opinions, at the request of a state agency or state official, on the appropriate interpretation or course of action in light of both state state and federal law.
ATTORNEY GENERAL OPINIONS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT BULLETINS
AN EXPANDING ROLE
IMMIGRATION SERVICES OR "NOTARIO" FRAUD
In many Spanish-speaking countries, a notario is an attorney vested with special credentials, including the ability to represent individuals before the government. Many often confuse traditional notarios with U.S. notary public, those who are permitted to certify documents but aren't permitted to give legal advice. Perpetrators of notario fraud often take advantage of this confusion. Consequently, this has been an area ripe for fraud against immigrants originating from Mexico and Central America. Notarios advertise legal assistance--especially with immigration paperwork--but then do not provide the advertised services. Victims are often left worse off by the loss of significant sums of money and, in some instances, the filing of false paperwork which exposes notario fraud victims to the possibility of deportation. Notario fraud often increases in the wake of proposed immigration laws or new rules promulgated by the Department of Homeland Security. The President's Executive Actions and resulting litigation over the policy, has led to more confusion over the laws, and thus, an increased likelihood that individuals eligible for such relief may turn to notarios for help. State attorneys general can help combat notario fraud through consumer outreach programs to educate the public, as well as by prosecuting notarios under state consumer protection statutes or immigration services fraud statutes and by issuing consumer alerts warning of potential scams.
- California -
Press Release, State of California Department of Justice, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Issues Consumer Alert on Scams Targeting Immigrants and their Families, (Nov. 25, 2014).
State Attorney General Warns of Scams in Wake of New Immigration Policy, ABC7 News.com, (Nov. 27, 2014).
- Illinois -
Press Release, Illinois Attorney General’s Office, Madigan Warns of Fraudulent Immigration Services Providers, (Nov.21, 2014).
CONSUMER ALERT: Attorney General Madigan Warns of Fraudulent Immigration Services Providers, eNews Park Forest, (Nov. 21, 2014).
- Nevada -
Press Release, Nevada Office of the Attorney General, Attorney General Masto, Secretary of State Miller Warn Nevadans of Immigration Services Scams, (Nov. 24, 2014).
Nevada Officials Warn of Immigration Scams, ABC Kolo8News.com, (Nov. 25, 2014).
- New York -
Press Release, New York Office of the Attorney General, A.G. Schneiderman Warns Immigrants To Avoid Becoming Victims Of Potential Scams As President Announces Executive Action On Immigration Policy, (Nov. 21, 2014).
A.G. Schneiderman Warns Immigrants To Avoid Becoming Victims Of Potential Scams As President Announces Executive Action On Immigration Policy, LongIsland.com, (Nov. 25, 2014).
- General Resources -
Suzanne Gamboa, Legal Experts Warn Immigrant Families: Beware of 'Notario' Scams, NBC News, (Nov. 30, 2014).
American Bar Association, Fight Notario Fraud Attorney Resources webpage
- American Bar Association Commission on immigration website provides resources for attorneys, news and updates to the general public.
EXAMPLE OF IMMIGRATION FRAUD CASES
- Arizona -
Press Release, Arizona Attorney General's Office, Adkisson Pleads Guilty for Defrauding Immigrants, (April 28, 2004).
- California -
Press Release, State of California Department of Justice, Attorney General Lockyer Files Lawsuits Against Unregistered "Immigration Consultants," (January 10, 2003).
- New Mexico -
Press Release, New Mexico Office of the Attorney General, Immigration Consultants on AG's Radar...Cease and Desist: Violation Results in a 2nd Lawsuit, (June 1, 2011).
- New York -
Press Release, New York Office of the Attorney General, A.G. Schneiderman Announces $2.2 Million Restitution Fund For Victims Of Immigration Scam, (July 21, 2014).
Press Release, New York Office of the Attorney General, A.G. Schneiderman Secures Landmark Agreement That Permanently Shuts Down Two Of The Nation’s Largest Immigration Services Organizations For Defrauding Immigrants, (May 21, 2013).
- Texas -
Press Release, Texas Attorney General's Office, Attorney General's Office Shuts Down Fraudulent Notarios and Unauthorized Immigration Consultants in South Texas, (May 29, 2013).
- Washington -
Liz Jones, Washington Attorney General Cracks Down on Immigration Scams, KUOW.org (August 19, 2015).
STATE AG TASK FORCE TO COMBAT IMMIGRATION SERVICES FRAUD
Press Release, New York State Office of the Attorney General, A.G. Schneiderman And Mayor De Blasio Announce Joint Task Force To Combat Immigration Services Fraud, (April 2, 2015).
- "The task force, led by the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs, together with the Office of Attorney General, will dedicate enforcement resources and conduct a public awareness campaign to stop predators from taking advantage of immigrant communities in advance of the full implementation of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration."
RESOURCES ON NOTARIO FRAUD
Protecting Immigrant New Yorkers Task Force, Protecting Against Immigration Fraud (January 2016)
- The Task Force members include the New York Attorney General's Office, various New York City government agencies, the Federal Trade Commission, local branches of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, local district attorneys offices, and advocacy organizations such as Make the Road New York and Catholic Charities Community Services.
Georgetown Law School Community Justice Project, Notario Fraud Remedies, A Practical Manual for Immigration Practitioners (May 2013)
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PLYLER v. DOE
Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982).
- Landmark Supreme Court case which held that states cannot deny or obstruct undocumented school-age children from enrolling in a public school on the basis of their immigration status. The Court invalidated an amendment to Texas Education Law which denied state funding to schools educating undocumented children and requiring those schools to deny enrollment to such individuals. In a 5-4 decision, the Court found that although the students were not "legally admitted" to the United States, they were still afforded protection under the Fourteenth Amendment and the state of Texas could not demonstrate a compelling interest for the regulation.
- Law Review Articles -
Udi Ofer, Protecting Plyler: New Challenges to the Right of Immigrant Children to Access a Public School Education, 1 COLUM. J. RACE & L. 187 (2012).
- ABSTRACT: Thirty years ago, the Supreme Court ruled in Plyler v. Doe that undocumented children have the same right to access a public school education as children who are United States citizens or immigrant children lawfully admitted to the United States. Yet today, undocumented children still face numerous obstacles when attempting to access a public school education. Moreover, new questions have arisen about the right of children on nonimmigrant visas to enroll in school. The Article considers several examples of school districts preventing immigrant children from enrolling in schools, and argues that children on nonimmigrant B visas should not be denied enrollment. Finally, the Article concludes by recommending numerous steps for the federal government to take to ensure that school districts provide equal access to an education to all immigrant children.
Michael A. Olivas, The Political Efficacy of Plyler v. Doe: The Danger and the Discourse, 45 U.C. DAVIS. L. REV. 1 (November 2011).
- Articles -
Emma Chadband, After 30 Years, Plyler v. Doe Legacy Under Attack, NEAToday, (June 19, 2012).
Public Education for Immigrant Students: States Challenge Supreme Court’s Decision in Plyler v. Doe, American Immigration Council, (June 15, 2012).
Michael A. Olivas, Plyler v. Doe: Still Guaranteeing Unauthorized Immigrant Children's Right to Attend U.S. Public Schools, Migration Policy Institute, (September 9, 2010).
ENSURING ACCESS TO PUBLIC SCHOOL EDUCATION
- Investigations and Cases -
Garance Burke and Adrian Sainz, AP Exclusive: Migrant children kept from enrolling in school, AP.com (May 2, 2016)
Access to education a challenge for NY immigrants, Fox News.com (May 1, 2016)
Report: immigrant students blocked from enrolling in schools, AP.com (April 11, 2016):
Press Release, A.G. Schneiderman Secures Agreement with Westbury Union Free School District to Ensure Equal Educational Opportunities for Students Regardless of Immigration Status (Feb. 29, 2016).
- This is the 22nd school district to date that the New York AGs office has investigated and found barriers to equal educational opportunities for undocumented children (see press releases and reports below). According to the AGs press release, "the district agreed to, [among other things] retain an ombudsman who will provide new internal oversight over enrollment and academic placement policies within the district, to retain an independent monitor to ensure that the district enrolls and places students in compliance with the law, and to offer compensatory educational services to students who experienced enrollment delays or academic diversion in the three years between 2012 and 2015.The agreement with Westbury School District."
Press Release, New York Office of the Attorney General, A.G. Schneiderman Files Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Utica City School District Regarding Enrollment Barriers Face by Immigrant and Refugee Students (Nov. 18, 2015).
John O'Brien, State attorney general investigates claims that refugee students in Utica being segregated, Syracuse.com, (April 23, 2015).
Press Release, New York Office of the Attorney General, A.G. Schneiderman Secures Agreements With Twenty School Districts To Ensure Equal Educational Opportunities For Students Regardless Of Immigration Status, (February 19, 2015).
- The New York State Attorney General’s Office, in conjunction with the state’s Department of Education, conducted a joint review of twenty school district’s policies and procedures for enrolling undocumented students. The investigation began as a result of reports and complaints to the attorney general’s office regarding unlawful inquiries into students’ and/or parents’ immigration status. The investigation determined that twenty school districts throughout the state had violated the law, by requiring information which would likely hinder or effect enrollment of undocumented students, in violation of the U.S Supreme Court’s decision in Plyler v. Doe. As a result of the investigation, school districts entered into assurances of discontinuance with the attorney general, agreeing to amend enrollment materials by removing any “inquiries into citizenship, immigration status, or any other inquiries that might chill or discourage student enrollment on the basis of immigration status.”
Press Release, New York State Education Department, New York State Board Of Regents Passes Emergency Regulation Concerning School Enrollment Following Joint Review By State Education Department And The Attorney General’s Office (Dec. 14, 2014).
- "The New York State Board of Regents [...] adopted a revised version of New York State Education Commissioner’s Regulation 100.2(y). The emergency regulation seeks to address barriers faced by unaccompanied minors, undocumented youth and others, while making uniform enrollment determinations made by school districts statewide. The emergency regulation helps ensure equal educational opportunity for all students seeking to enroll in New York State schools regardless of immigration status. The New York State Education Department (“SED”) proposed the revised regulation to the Board [...] following the initiation of a joint compliance review, with the Attorney General’s Office, of school district enrollment policies and procedures."
- Reports and Guide Documents -
Georgetown Law Human Rights Institute, Ensuring Every Undocumented Student Succeeds: A Report on Access to Public Education for Undocumented Children (April 11, 2016).
A year-long research project conducted by Georgetown Law Human Rights Institute and Women’s Refugee Commission, which examines how school districts in four states (Florida, New York, North Carolina and Texas) have fared in ensuring access to public school education for undocumented children. Researchers conclude barriers to enrollment still exist. For example, the Report finds that undocumented children, who may fulfill all documentation requirements for enrollment, are still discouraged to do so through “testing, grade placement, and prospects of graduation.” The Report also looks at the impact of ICE raids on undocumented children seeking public school education. According to researchers, undocumented children report increased anxiety at the prospects of returning home from a day at school to find that their parents have gone missing. The Report offers several key recommendations to federal, state and local officials.
Garance Burke, Report: immigrant students blocked from enrolling in school, AP.com (April 11, 2016).
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) and The National Education Association (NEA), Legal Issues for School Districts Related to the Education of Undocumented Children (2009).
- Booklet provides responses to frequently asked questions on the topic of access to education for primary and secondary school aged undocumented children. Topics include secondary benefits such as extracurricular activities, inquiring about immigration status, reporting undocumented children to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and other educational services from local agencies
COMPENDIUM OF CASES AND LAW
Michael A. Olivas, State and federal cases involving Higher Education and Immigration, 2004-2014 and all cases citing Sections 1621/1623 (by current citation), University of Houston Law Center: Institute for Higher Education Law and Governance
Michael A. Olivas, State and Federal Immigration-related Litigation and Legislation Concerning Higher Education, 2004-2015, University of Houston Law Center: Institute for Higher Education Law and Governance.
- A renowned expert in the field of immigration and higher education law, Professor Michael A. Olivas is the William B. Bates Distinguished Chair of Law and Director of the Institute for Higher Education Law & Governance at the University of Houston Law Center. The aforementioned resources are a compendium of state legislative amendments and litigation in the areas of immigration and access to education, including in-state tuition, financial aid and college admission. The collection also touches on professional schools and professional licenses. Please note that the compendium is not a complete list of all legislative amendments and recent litigation.
- Representative Cases -
State of Arizona v. Maricopa County Community College District Board (Ongoing, Docket #CV2013-009093)
- In 2013, former Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne sued the Maricopa County Community College District Board for providing in-state tuition to state DACA recipients. In 2006, Arizona citizen approved Proposition 300, a referendum which precludes individuals who cannot prove legal residence from receiving in-state financial assistance. The State asserts that DACA recipients are not lawfully present and thus cannot receive the benefits of in-state tuition.Upon taking office, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich vowed to continue prosecuting the matter. On May 5, a Superior Court judge in Maricopa County Arizona ruled that an Arizona statute does not bar benefits to immigrants within the state, and under federal law, DACA recipients are considered lawfully present. In November 2015, the Arizona Attorney General's office filed an appeal with the Arizona Court of Appeals.
- Allison Rodriguez, Appeal filed on Dreamers tuition, ABC15.com (Nov. 19, 2015)
- E.J. Montini, Judge sides with college 'dreamers' on in-state tuition, The Arizona Republic (May 6, 2015).
Martinez v. The Regents of the University of California, 50 Cal. 4th 1277 (2010).
Olvera et. al. v. University System of Georgia's Board of Regents et. al., A14A2352 (Ga. Ct. App. March 19, 2015)
Day v. Bond, 500 F.3d 1127 (10th Cir. 2007)
- Law Review Articles -
Stephen L. Nelson, Jennifer L. Robinson, Kara Hetrick Glaubitz, States Taking Charge: Examining the Role of Race, Party Affliation, and Preemption in the Development of In-state Tuition Laws for Undocumented Immigrant Students, 19 MICH. J. RACE & L. 247 (2014).
- Part I of this Article details both the legislative and legal history of undocumented immigrants’ access to education in the United States. Part II then describes the current U.S. state laws in effect regarding in-state tuition for undocumented immigrant students at state-funded colleges and universities. Part III further explores the development of laws and policies with a keen focus on potential correlations between (1) the racial composition of state legislatures and the passage of in-state tuition policies; (2) the race of governors and the passage of in-state tuition policies; (3) partisan composition of state legislatures and the passage of in-state tuition policies; and (4) party affiliation of governors and in-state tuition policies. Part IV describes the concept of preemption and discusses the extent to which preemption has impacted the state statutes identified in Part II of this Article. Finally, Part V discusses the practical and normative implications of this research.
Stephen L. Nelson, Kara Hetrick Glaubitz, Jennifer L. Robinson, Reduced Tuition Benefits for Undocumented Immigrant Students: The Implications of a Piecemeal Approach to Policymaking, 53 SANTA CLARA L. REV. (2014).
- This Article examines and informs on the policy intersection of education and immigration through the lens of in-state tuition benefits for undocumented immigrant students. The purpose of this Article is not to advocate or otherwise further a particular position in this policy arena, but rather to identify, describe, and discuss the implications of the current piecemeal approach to policymaking across the United States with respect to this particular issue. Section I of this Article examines the history of undocumented legal access to primary and secondary education. Section II of this Article describes federal legislation addressing the issue of instate tuition for undocumented immigrant students. Section III of this Article identifies and discusses legislation — have gone a step further, altogether barring undocumented students from enrolling in public colleges and universities. Section IV of this Article describes the history of litigation in state and federal courts over the issue of legislation relating to in-state tuition for undocumented students. Section V of this Article details the current state of public opinion on this issue. Finally, Section VI of this Article explores the piecemeal approach to policymaking identified within this Article and discusses several implications of this approach to policymaking.
Wendi Adelson, Appendix: Fifty-State Survey: DACA Recipient Status, 18 CHAPMAN L. REV. 387, (2015).
- The following is a fifty-state survey outlining each state’s policies on granting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients driver’s licenses, in-state tuition, and occupational licenses. In gathering this information, the author referenced the National Immigration Law Center’s information on driver’s licenses and in-state tuition, as well as each individual state’s supreme court precedent on admitting undocumented individuals to the state’s bar. Please note that any “N/A” designation was assigned by the author for any state policies that were unable to be located at the time the survey was compiled and thus are “not addressed” by applicable state legislation. All information contained in this document is on file with the author.
- Reports -
National Conference of State Legislatures, Tuition Benefits for Immigrants, (July, 2014).
- Provides a complete run-down of state by state tuition benefits to undocumented students, including states which offer in-state tuition, financial aid, and student related benefits through the state university system.
Congressional Research Service, Unauthorized Alien Students, Higher Education, and In-State Tuition Rates: A Legal Analysis, (December 2011).
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According to the Pew Research Center, "[u]nauthorized immigrants make up 5.1% of the U.S. labor force. In the U.S. labor force, there were 8.1 million unauthorized immigrants either working or looking for work in 2012. Among the states, Nevada (10%), California (9%), Texas (9%) and New Jersey (8%) had the highest shares of unauthorized immigrants in their labor forces."
STATE AG CASES AND REPORTS
- California -
Press Release, California Office of the Attorney General, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Settlement with Car Washes that Underpaid Workers and Violated Labor Laws (January 10, 2012).
- Lawsuit brought by former California Attorney General Jerry Brown alleged that workers of eight car washes denied workers minimum wage and overtime, failed to pay wages owed to those who quit or were terminated, denied rest and meal breaks, and created false records of time worked. As per the policy of the California Attorney General's office, workers were not asked about the immigration status.
- Illinois -
Press Release, Illinois Attorney General’s Office, Madigan Lawsuit Alleges Immigrant Worker Abuse by Employment Agencies and Chinese Buffet Restaurants (Nov. 13, 2015);
Press Release, Illinois Attorney General's Office, Madigan Investigating Immigrant Worker Abuse at Chinese Buffet Restaurants in Illinois (August 24, 2014).
- A joint investigation by the Illinois Attorney General's Office and the state's Department of Labor into alleged discrimination and wage-hour violations carried out by Chinese buffet restaurant owners in Illinois against immigrant workers.
- Massachusetts -
Press Release, Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, Roslindale Grocery Store Cited $300,000 for Failing to Pay Overtime and Sunday Wages, Hindering Investigation (Sept.18, 2015).
Ling-Mei Wong, Mass. attorney general fights for worker rights, Sampan, (Oct. 10, 2015).
- New Mexico -
Milan Simonich, NM attorney general says wage theft is rampant, but never prosecuted, Las Cruces Sun-News (August 22, 2013).
- New York -
Press Release, New York Office of the Attorney General, A.G. Schneiderman and U.S. Department of Labor Announce Four Papa John’s Franchisees to Pay Back Workers for Wage Theft (Oct. 15, 2015).
STATE AG GUIDES
New York State Attorney General's Office, On the Job: Employees Rights in the Workplace.
- Guide emphasizes that wage and hour laws apply to all workers regardless of immigration status and that it is the policy of the New York State Attorney General's Labor Bureau not to ask individual complainants about their immigration status.
ARTICLES AND REPORTS
Joseph S. Guzman, Note, State Human Trafficking Laws: A New Tool to Fight Sexual Abuse of Farmworkers, 46 COLUM. HUM. RTS. L. REV. 3 (2015)
- ABSTRACT: Sexual abuse of undocumented female farmworkers is a disturbing and widespread occurrence. Federal and state antidiscrimination laws and federal and local criminal prosecutions are the existing law enforcement schemes used to combat this problem. This Note argues that a new and underutilized mechanism may be employed to supplement these efforts: state human trafficking laws. Such laws allow state attorneys general to fill the enforcement gap between uneven federal enforcement and weak local enforcement. And it is valuable to have overlapping enforcement regimes to protect against shifting preferences on the state, local, and federal levels. Moreover, by bringing such claims, prosecutors can classify these crimes as what they truly are: human trafficking violations.
Peter Romer-Friedman, Note, Eliot Spitzer Meets Mother Jones: How State Attorneys General Can Enforce State Wage and Hour Laws, 39 COLUM. J.L. & SOC. PROBS. 495 (2006)
- Part V of article discusses how state AGs have defended the substantive rights of immigrant workers
Jennifer S. Brand, Adding Labor to the Docket: The Role of State Attorneys General in the Enforcement of Labor Laws, National State Attorneys General Program, (February 2007).
- 2007 article which sets out a detailed plan for state attorneys general to enhance enforcement of state wage and hour laws, including violations of the law as they pertain to undocumented workers. Ms. Brand, a former NYS Attorney General Labor Bureau Chief, served as a research scholar for the State AG Program in 2007.
Wage Theft Across the Board, New York Times, (April 21, 2014).
- NYT Editorial detailing the issue of wage theft, and urging a more robust national response. The editorial highlights the efforts of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and mentions wage theft targeting undocumented workers.
Franco Ordoñez and Mandy Locke, Immigrants are most susceptible to worker misclassification, McClathchy DC, (September 5, 2014).
- McClathchy investigation of payroll records and interviews with hundreds of workers found immigrants are most vulnerable to worker misclassification, particularly in southern states such as Texas and North Carolina where there is a large number of immigrant workers and a lack of unions.
Wade Goodwyn, Construction Booming In Texas, But Many Workers Pay Dearly, NPR, (April 10, 2013).
- According to NPR article, approximately one-half of the 1 million construction in the state of Texas are undocumented. Because of the fear of detention and deportation, many undocumented workers do not report misclassification, wage theft and safety abuses to authorities and reporters.
Brady Meixell and Ross Eisenbrey, An Epidemic of Wage Theft Is Costing Workers Hundreds of Millions of Dollars a Year, Economic Policy Institute, (September 11, 2014).
- Report looks at the economic impact of wage theft in 2012 and details the range of cases brought by state attorneys general in this area. Some of the cases include undocumented immigrants reporting activity to advocacy organizations, who, in turn, submit workers complaints to their state attorney general.
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U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report (2014)
California Attorney General's Office Report, The State of Human Trafficking in California (2012).
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As of May 29, 2015, DACA recipients can obtain driver's licenses in every state. The last remaining state - Nebraska - passed Legislative Bill 623 through an override of the governor's veto. Arizona DACA recipients were initially denied licenses, but that policy was struck down as violative of the Equal Protection Clause by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In some states, driver's licenses are technically available but there are significant barriers to obtaining the licenses. For example, in Colorado, only one DMV office will issue driver's licenses to DACA recipients. Furthermore, as of February 2015, DMV appointment in the state are booked through the next year, so DACA recipients began to schedule appointments in March 2016. Although DACA recipients receive licenses in all 50 states, undocumented immigrants who are not DACA recipients receive licenses in fewer than 10 states.
- Representative Cases -
League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) v. Bredesen, 500 F.3d 523 (6th Cir. 2007).
Arizona Dream Act Coalition v. Brewer, 757 F. 3d 1053 (9th Cir. 2013).
Joe Duggan, As Nebraska lawmakers debate immigrant driver's licenses, 'Dreamers' get day in court, Omaha.com, April 27, 2015.
- Reports -
American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, Driver Licensing for Undocumented Immigrants in 2013: How States are Reacting and the Effects on the Motor Vehicle Community, (August 27, 2013).
- Articles -
Chapman Law Review, Spring 2015: 50 State Survey on DACA Recipients' Eligibility for Driver's Licenses
National Immigration Law Center, Access to Driver's Licenses for Immigrant Youth Granted DACA, (January 22, 2015).
Joe Duggan, Driver's Licenses for 'Dreamers' Gain Support in Legislature, Omaha.com, (April 6, 2015).
Yihyun Jeong, Ariz. legislators begin 'dreamers' license debate, AZCentral.com, (January 2, 2015).
Jack Healy and Julie Turkewitz, Colorado Pulls U Turn on Licenses for Illegal Immigrants, New York Times, (February 11, 2015).
State attorneys general often provide advice and counsel to state professional licensing boards. Occupational professions licensing range from medical, dental, and teaching licenses to cosmetology, massage, and athletic trainer's licenses. Many state statutes condition licenses on "lawful presence." State attorney generals will play an increasingly important role in interpreting that term in official opinions as well as in litigation.
- Representative Cases -
In Re Griffiths, 413 U.S. 717 (1973)
- "Connecticut's exclusion of aliens [legal permanent residents] from the practice of law violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Classifications based on alienage, being inherently suspect, are subject to close judicial scrutiny, and here the State through appellee bar committee has not met its burden of showing the classification to have been necessary to vindicate the State's undoubted interest in maintaining high professional standards."
LeClerc v. Webb, 419 F.3d 405 (5th Cir. 2005)
Kirk v. New York State Dept. of Educ., 562 F.Supp.2d 405 (2008)
- Invalidating New York State law prohibiting nonimmigrant aliens from receiving veterinary licenses.
Dandamudi v. Tisch 686 F.3d (2nd Cir. 2012)
- Applying strict scrutiny, Second Circuit invalidated New York State law prohibiting nonimmigrant aliens from receiving pharmacist licenses.
Adusumelli v. Steiner, 740 F.Supp.2d 582 (2010)
In re Garcia, 58 Cal. 4th 440 (2014).
- Case involved an undocumented immigrant, Sergio Garcia who graduated from law school and sat for and passed the California Bar Exam. The California Committee of Bar Examiners, the entity which administers the state’s bar exam, submitted Mr. Garcia’s name for admission to the State Bar, finding that notwithstanding his current immigration status, Mr. Garcia had met the requisite qualifications for admission. Upon the Committee’s filing of motions for candidate admission, the California Supreme Court took the opportunity to review Mr. Garcia’s application for admission and offer an opinion on the issue of admission and the practice of law by undocumented immigrants who graduate law school and pass the bar examination.
Florida Bd. of Bar Examiners re Question as to Whether Undocumented Immigrants are Eligible for Admission to The Florida Bar, 134 So. 3d 432 (Fla. 2014)
- The Florida Board of Bar Examiners (“Board”) filed a petition with the Florida Supreme Court requesting an advisory opinion on whether undocumented immigrants are eligible for admission to The Florida Bar? In a 27 page Per Curium opinion, the Florida Supreme Court found that “unauthorized immigrants are ineligible for admission to The Florida Bar. Applicants are required to demonstrate that they are legally present in the United States.”
- Articles -
Martin Flumenbaum, Brad S. Karp, Applying Strict Scrutiny to Laws Discriminating Against Nonimmigrants, 248 N.Y.L.J. 37, (August 22, 2012).
Justin Storch, Legal Impediments Facing Nonimmigrants Entering Licensed Professions, The Modern American: Vol. 7: Iss. 1, (Spring 2011).
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AN EXPANDING ROLE
STATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL AND NATIONAL IMMIGRATION POLICY
Letter from State Attorneys General to Congressional Leaders Re: Immigration Reform, (December 4, 2014).
- A letter from a bipartisan coalition of state attorneys general urging Congress to pass comprehensive legislative reforms to address our immigration system.
Letter from 76 Former State Attorneys General to Congressional Leaders Re: Immigration Reform, (April 21, 2013).
Eric Schneiderman, Steven Choi, New York needs immigration relief, N.Y. Daily News (July 10, 2015)
Ken Paxton, The President Must Respect the Rule of Law, National Review Online (March 11, 2015).
Bob Ferguson, Why pro-immigration states are fighting back, Washington Post (March 12, 2015).
Unconstitutionality of Obama’s Executive Actions on Immigration, Hearing Before the H. Comm. on the Judiciary, 114th Cong. 13-18 (2015) (testimony of Adam Paul Laxalt, Attorney General, Nevada).
Maxwell Tani, Some Governors And Attorneys General Are Split Over The Legality Of Obama's Immigration Policies, The Huffington Post, (February 13, 2015).
Maureen Hayden, Six years in, Greg Zoeller juggles conflicting roles, News and Tribune (Indiana), (December 22, 2014).
Colleen Quinn, Incoming Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey says she will 'embrace' any immigration reforms President Obama orders, MassLive.com, (November 20, 2014).
Washington and California Attorneys General Amicus Brief in support of Plaintiff-Appellees in J.E.F.M, et al., v. Loretta Lynch, Attorney General, et al. No. 2:14-cv-01026-TSZ, (9th Cir. Mar. 11, 2016).
Press Release, California Attorney General's Office, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Convenes Immigration Advocates, Law Firms to Provide Legal Support to Children Seeking Refuge in the U.S. (Dec. 16, 2015)
LAW REVIEW ARTICLES
John Goodwin, Note, Legally Present, But Not Yet Legal: The State Attorney General’s Role in Securing Public Benefits for Childhood Arrivals, 46 COLUMBIA HUM. RTS. L. REV. 340 (2014).
- ABSTRACT: This article analyzes how six different states have responded to the Obama administration’s “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” policy, which grants qualified undocumented immigrants permission to stay in the United States for a renewable two-year period. While beneficiaries of this policy do not have legal citizenship status, they are considered “legally present” by the federal government, which prevents their deportation and allows them to obtain work authorization and a social security number. At the state level, legal presence is universally sufficient grounds to obtain a driver’s license, and often is sufficient to be eligible for in-state tuition rates at public colleges. Ultimately, this article argues that state attorneys general, as enforcers of the public interest, are uniquely situated to secure these public benefits for legally present individuals in states where other executive branch officials have attempted to deny them.
Addison Thompson, Note, The Office of the State Attorney General and the Protection of Immigrant Communities: Exploring an Expanded Role, 38 COLUMBIA HUM. RTS. L. REV. 387, (Winter 2007).
- This Note addresses the role that attorneys general play in improving the lives of immigrants, while advancing security interests, through application of state law and coordination with their counterparts in Mexico. While commentators have often described state-sponsored immigration initiatives as necessarily xenophobic, this Note will discuss ways in which both Republican and Democratic offices of the state attorney general have positively impacted the lives of recent immigrants--both legal and "illegal."
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