In what appears to be a new instance of politically motivated prosecution in Russia, the Associated Press reported that Russian investigators have detained internationally renowned director Kirill Serebrennikov on charges of embezzling government funds provided for his productions. Despite his productions having garnered state funding, Serebrennikov has been a target of many Russian politicians for his social views and activism.
On August 22, 2017, Stephen Dinan of The Washington Times reported that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had exercised its authority under section 243(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to trigger visa sanctions against four countries found to be recalcitrant in accepting the return of their nationals. In accord with the statute, the DHS notified the U.S. Department of State (DOS), which will have responsibility for imposing the visa sanctions.
Members of AILA have reported that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has been denying Form I-131, Application for Travel Document applications for advance parole for applicants who traveled abroad while their applications were pending. This includes circumstances where the USCIS previously allowed the advance parole application to proceed.
In important news, the parties in Dilley Pro Bono Project v. ICE reached a settlement in proceedings before the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The settlement agreement helps ensure that pro bono attorneys for detainees at two U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities will be able to facilitate telephonic mental health examinations for their clients in a timely manner.
On August 16, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a notice in the Federal Register (FR) titled “Termination of the Central American Minors Parole Program.” As the name indicates, the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, Elaine Duke, terminated the Central American Minors (CAM) Parole Program. The termination is effective immediately.
On August 14, 2017, the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) announced that it swore in nine new immigration judges to fill vacancies on seven immigration courts. The nine new immigration judges brings the size of the immigration judge corps to 334. The EOIR stated in the news release that it is using a new streamlined hiring process to reach the maximum authorized number of 384 immigration judges.