April 30, 2015- Immigration attorneys from the greater Houston area and beyond learned recently about the ramifications of the latest court decisions and changes in the law at a daylong seminar held at the University of Houston Law Center.
The event, called “Criminal and Immigration Bars to Humanitarian Relief,” was presented April 10 by members of the Washington, D.C.-based National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild.
Among the topics discussed in the continuing legal education (CLE) event were Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), both programs initiated by President Barack Obama. The original 2012 DACA program is still available to eligible applicants, while the expanded DACA and DAPA of 2014 are currently enjoined.
UHLC Professor Geoffrey Hoffman, director of the school’s Immigration Clinic, helped organize the event with NIP staff. He also participated in the opening panel discussion with Dan Kesselbrenner, executive director of the NIP and a nationally recognized authority on contesting deportation and the immigration consequences of criminal convictions, and NIP legal director Sejal Zota.
During a break, Kesselbrenner said the NIP has held a series of such events across the country, but that Houston and Texas were particularly important locales for two reasons: the controversial detention at federal facilities of hundreds of undocumented people, including unaccompanied minors, who arrived at the U.S.-Mexican border; and a Brownsville federal district judge’s ruling, now on appeal, against some of Obama’s immigration executive orders.
“The CLE was a great success with over 100 in attendance,” Hoffman said. “The UHLC Immigration Clinic greatly appreciates the National Immigration Project and their 44-year history of expertise and advocacy. The topics discussed were especially important given these timely issues of humanitarian relief.
“I was honored to be part of the planning and organizing for this event along with the NIP staff members,” Hoffman said.