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Showing posts from March, 2009

USCIS Is Poorly Managed–So says DHS!

There was shocking news this week about the USCIS–management shortcomings have undermined USCIS efforts to eliminate the millions of backlogged cases: http://www.govexec.com/story_page.cfm?articleid=42356&dcn=e_gvet!Let’s be serious, literally millions of immigrants have experienced the shortcomings that the DHS Office of the Inspector General points out in this report. Immigrants have been abused by officers in Adjustment and Naturalization interviews because of poor oversight of rogue officers, cases have been long delayed because there is no effective follow up by managers on case completion, and nothing short of a federal court lawsuit seems to move the USCIS to adjudicate long overdue cases.Perhaps this report, in a new fresh administration, will spur some changes and follow up in the USCIS, under the direction of a new Director. We can only hope.

Power of Attorney – What You Should do to Prepare Yourself if You are Arrested or Deported

If you are here illegally, you SHOULD MAKE A PLAN for what you would like to have happen to your children and your property in case you are arrested or deported. Designating someone to be your agent and giving them power of attorney can be a scary thing. You must pick someone you trust particularly because their powers become effective the moment you sign the power of attorney forms. That means that they can go into your bank accounts and sell whatever property you have here in the United States. (You can offset this by keeping the documents locked in your house and tell your agent where the forms are once you are arrested.) You must also make a plan and give your agent a lot of guidance when it comes to exactly what you would want to happen to your children and property. Give them a list of emergency contacts. Make sure that the agent knows who their pediatricians, baby-sitters and teachers are. You should talk to your agent about filing the documents with your local Registry of Deed…

An Immigrant Pays Her Debt to Society…and is Rewarded!

If an immigrant commits a crime in the United States, they are often times precluded from obtaining citizenship, permanent residence status, or even the ability to remain in the U.S. at all.Even when it is within the discretion of a judge or an officer to grant an application and allow a person to remain here, they can deny that request in an instant.On the other hand, an immigrant is sometimes fortunate enough to be treated similar to a U.S. citizen who commits a crime.That was the case this last week when an immigrant we represented committed two crimes and was convicted of two misdemeanors.She was a lawful permanent resident at the time and applied for Cancellation of Removal for Lawful Permanent Residents during her immigration court removal proceedings. This was a case where the justice system properly penalized an immigrant, similar to that of a citizen.Granted, she spent more time in prison than she should have for the crimes she was convicted of, but she was eventually forgive…

The “New” Standard for Voluntary Departure–Stay in Jail AND Pay Your Own Ticket Home!

Matter of M-A-S, 24I&N Dec. 762 (BIA 2009), a new case was decided by the Board of Immigration Appeals (“Board”) on March 19, 2009, holds that, “[a]n Immigration Judge may order an alien detained until departure as a condition of a grant of voluntary departure”. In this case, the respondent was denied his claim for asylum and as a condition of voluntary departure was ordered detained until his departure. What’s worse is that the respondent appealed this decision to the Board and has been detained for almost a year awaiting adjudication of his appeal!The respondent argued that only DHS, not an Immigration Judge, has the authority to refuse bond and grant voluntary departure under safeguards. Voluntary departure under safeguards, by definition, means that an individual is given permission to voluntarily depart the United States, but they will not be released from detention before doing so. They will remain detained until they are removed under the order. They are not permitted relea…

Celebrity Immigration/ Adoption Fever

As a follow up to yesterday’s post, I thought it would be interesting to see which celebrities adopted from where and what they had to do to emigrate their child to the United States. This may also help you if you are trying to decide which country to adopt from: Madonna and Malawi: See yesterday’s post. The country of Malawi will not finalize an adoption unless you have been evaluated by a social worker there for two years. The US will not grant a visa to your adopted Malawian child unless you are willing to live in Malawi for two years or like Madonna, you can afford to fly the social worker to your place of residence multiple times over an 18 month period.Angelina Jolie, Julie Andrews and Jim Caviezel have all adopted from Vietnam: The United States has granted over 1500 immigrant visas to adopted Vietnamese children over the past two years. However; due to the high incidence of fraud, adopting from Vietnam can be a complicated process. Prospective adoptive parents submit their pap…

The Immigration Soul of the Republican Party!

As we speak there is a debate raging on thewebsite of the National Review–that bastion of Republican and Conservative thought. This debate is between the inward thinking, anti-immigrationists lead by Mark Krikorian and Rep. Lamar Smith and the forward thinking and pro-immigrant Richard Nadler. Nadler’s recent articlerebutting what he calls the Big 5 Anti-immigratoinists and their immigration reform plan–mass deportation–is fantastic. He calmly and with a great deal of emperical evidence show that this ridiculous plan is a deal breaker for Republicans and Hispanics into future generations. I have been echoing this from the ground for some time, but Nadler takes it a step futher. He says that:our candidates will lose Hispanic vote share — to the point where our performance among Hispanics mirrors that among African Americans. If conservative Republicans continue to advocate the mass removal of resident illegals, our business support will erode — not to levels typical of a congression…

If Madonna Can Do It - Why Can’t I?

Quiet as it’s kept; celebrities like Madonna and Angelina Jolieare not above the law when it comes to international adoptions. Despite the way it appears, they do not pick up a son or daughter during a flying visit to a far off land. So how do they do it? The short answer is that they do it the same way as the rest of us. Every adoption starts with a pre-approval phase which involves a form called I-600A or I-800A, depending on whether or not the child’s country of origin is a signatory tothe Hague Convention(an international law governing adoption.) Once this is completed, a child will be located; the court work completed and the visa application (either I-600 or I-800) will be filed at the U.S. Embassy.Many international adoptions only require the physical presence of the adoptive parent in the child’s country for three or four days- an interview day with a social worker, a court date, a day to file the application with the embassy and an interview day. Unfortunately, these days rar…

Illegal Immigrants, The Economy and The Border

The LA Times Reports that apprehensions of undocumented migrants are down significantly this year, and appear to have dropped to levels not seen since the 1970s. In fact, the Yuma Sector of the Border Patrol reported not a single arrest for 2 days in December 2008. This from a Sector that was featured on that ridiculous show “Homeland Security” featuring migrants caught last summer. Apparently, there was no guarantee of catching anyone today!One has to ask: Is this a result of all the money the Bush, and now Obama Administrations have poured into border security and deterrence? Or, is there something much bigger at play here? What comes to mind immediately when these raw statistics are rehearsed is that old James Carville saying from the 1992 election: “Its the Economy Stupid.”The reality of the economic impact on the sharp reduction of undocumented immigration is played out in the last paragraph of this article when it becomes clear that while there are still folks wanting and even t…

Where, O Where Have My High Skilled Immigrants Gone?

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation released a study today that indicates placing limits on foreign workers in the U.S. is not the answer to the country’s rising unemployment rate and may undermine efforts to spur technological innovation. You have to ask yourself, “Is anyone surprised by this?” I mean come on. What kind of person actually believes that by STOPPING advanced degreed university graduates from coming to the United States the United States will be better off? I mean, besides the folks in Congress!The study by Harvard professor Vivek Wadhwa titled America’s loss is the world’s gain: America’s New Immigrant Entrepreneurs, Part IV, researchers surveyed highly skilled immigrants who had studied and/or worked in the United States and subsequently returned to their home countries.“A substantial number of highly skilled immigrants have started returning to their home countries in recent years, draining a key source of brain power and innovation,” said Robert E. Litan, vice pres…