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Amid administrative uncertainty, the law remains

The way the founding fathers set things up, there are checks and balances to government. Congress holds the purse strings. The Executive branch handles administration. The Judicial branch interprets the laws and makes sure they're applied equally to all.

Many would agree that government dysfunction is more the norm than the exception these days. Particularly in the area of immigration, the greatest amount of checking and balancing seems to be occurring between the Executive and Judicial branches. Congress isn't very productive.

In recent weeks, some of the most noteworthy headlines related to immigration have involved lower courts picking away at current administration practices. Earlier this month, a three-judge panel of the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that unaccompanied immigrant children in detention are entitled to hearings before a judge and to have legal representation. Meeting with Homeland Security officials aren't enough for due process.

On another front, the Trump administration and courts are going back and forth over immigration restrictions. Also, indications that the State Department might move the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration over to the Department of Homeland Security triggered an outcry. One of the agency's jobs is to help resettle people displaced from their homelands to third countries.

Critics, including lawmakers, former diplomats who served previously in both Republican and Democratic administrations and humanitarian organizations sent a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson saying that DHS lacks the scope of international expertise required to handle the bureau's duties and that the move to DHS would hurt international relief needs. Top State Department officials say nothing has been decided and say it's too early to be concerned.

Amid such uncertainty, it seems that the law and the courts offer the only clear avenue for relief for those seeking to resolve individual or family immigration challenges. And so they should consult a skilled attorney for help.

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