Venue Shopping: Manipulating the System or Playing by the Rules?

While the concept has been around for years, venue shopping has recently been brought to light by a federal judge’s ruling in Texas. The judge ruled against President Obama’s immigration executive action after lawyers filed a lawsuit in Brownsville toward this end. Why the favorable ruling? The lawyers’ decision to file in Brownsville was more calculated than it might first appear.

There are currently two judges in Brownsville’s district court. One, who received the immigration case, is an appointee of George W. Bush actively opposed to the President’s immigration policies. The other, an appointee of President Bill Clinton, assumes a contrary stance. The lawyers filed in Brownsville knowing that they had a fifty-fifty chance of their case going to U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, Bush’s appointee. Venue shopping is the reason behind their decision.

What is venue shopping and is it wrong?

Venue shopping occurs when a lawyer carefully picks a court in which to file their case where the chances of a judge ruling favorably are strong. This is especially common in politically sensitive cases, as the overall goal is to move them up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

According to experts, venue shopping is frequently used amongst conservative groups and those looking for a huge reform, similar to the lawyers in Brownsville. One professor of law noted that it is a lawyer’s responsibility to show that a case has a relationship to the court it was filed in. This is furthered through venue shopping.

While venue shopping may appear like an underhanded tactic, the opinions on the matter seem to be split. An immigration attorney in Arizona simply said that rather than manipulating the system, the lawyers in Texas played their cards right. How venue shopping will affect future cases, however, remains to be seen.

America’s Broken Immigration System & the President’s Plans to Fix It

Immigration has been one of America’s biggest conundrums for years. Finding the perfect balance of prioritizing citizenship and deportation seemed like an impossible goal-until recently, that is. On November 20, 2014, President Obama addressed the nation in what quickly became one of his most watched speeches. Citizens and noncitizens alike listened in for the long-awaited changes to our very broken immigration system.

But why do so many consider the country’s immigration system to be broken? Even more importantly, will the President’s plans be enough to deliver lasting change?

Slow Breakdowns Lead to Massive Problems

It may not have been very apparent as the months and years went on, but immigration laws that once passed with flying colors have slowly regressed overtime. Specifically, the issue of border control. According to recent findings, one apprehension at the border cost just $238 in 1990. More than 20 years later, that same form of apprehension costs $10,431.

While the Border Control’s budget has swiftly increased, statistics make it clear that the apprehensions being made are rapidly decreasing. The problem of priorities is very evident at the border and President Obama plans to fix that.

Furthermore, immigrants are finding it nearly impossible to become a resident of the United States, let alone a naturalized citizen. These are the people contributing to society just as much as anyone else and yet they cannot legally experience the benefits of being a U.S. citizen. Denials of naturalization petitions are growing more common, particularly in relation to the number of people filing them.

It is also extremely difficult for someone without a relative already in the U.S. to get permanent residency, even if they have noteworthy skills and abilities. In fact, denial rates for L-1B visa applicants have taken increased by leaps and bounds since the 1990s.

The Problems Are Evident – Now What?

President Obama essentially established five different areas for reform within the immigration system. If all goes according to plan, up to five million immigrants could be positively impacted by these changes.

The following changes are intended to fix America’s broken system:

  • Expanding the eligibility pool for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, as well as increasing work authorization from two years to three
  • Establishing a Deferred Action for Parents of Americans & Lawful Permanent Residents Program for those who meet the requirements
  • Creating more jobs for lawful immigrants
  • Allowing more people to use provisional waivers of unlawful presence
  • Encouraging citizenship education and positive awareness for lawful permanent residents

Although some of these announcements have since gone into effect since President Obama’s speech, others are still being developed. Regardless, it is critical that you find out how these changes impact you and what they could mean for the future of your family. For personal legal representation and assistance as you pursue the life you deserve, contact Foley Law Offices. As a Boston immigration attorney with more than 20 years of experience, I am eager to represent you!