Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from April, 2009

Senator Specter and Immigration Reform

Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) (Wow, that looks weird), just changed parties, and this changes the dyanmic somewhat for immigration reform this year. While Senator Specter has always been considered a friend of immigration and immigration reform, he has long been under pressure from more conservative Republican Senators to not support a legalization plan as part of CIR package. That pressure to remain closer to the “new,” more conservative Republican party approach (as opposed to the Reagan era Amensty approach), is now gone.Does this mean we will definitely have immigration reform now, particularly if Norm Coleman ever gives up his challenge to Senator-elect Franken? No, but it certainly paves the way for at least one more vote for a CIR package.Probably even more important is the boost this gives to those who believe, like us, that CIR is essential to renewed economic growth. Senator Specter spoke to our Spring AILA Conference (was it that which pushed him over the edge?). He let us k…

An Immigrant Writes About the “State” of Immigration

Hi Mr. Charles,

I am writing to you today less as your company’s client but more as an immigrant to USA conversing his concerns to the president of AILA.
As our nation has taken a U-turn in the overall direction on the topics of major national agenda and foreign policy unfortunately one single area where we have not seen any activity is broken immigration system in USA. Especially in the state of Georgia where legislations such as 287 g one of the most strict nationwide immigration laws passed during the Bush administration period don’t make it any easier for immigrants to live peacefully in this state. I am legal immigrant to USA from the day I laid first step on this soil and still I feel threatened by such legislations who single out immigrants using local police authorities. Police force is given by law an tremendous authority to protect the people of America, allowing immigration enforcement in the hands of local state wide law enforcement authorities with minimal training provide…

Real ID - A Real Mess

Thanks to the Real ID Act, it is impossible for most undocumented people to get driver’s licenses. This has created a real mess. Denying driver’s licenses to millions of undocumented immigrants has not only forced thousands of unlicensed and uninsured drivers onto our roads, making our roads more dangerous for everyone, it also has meant that vital information about all these people who are living here is not in our DMV database – the largest law enforcement database in the country. If I get into a car accident on the way to work, I want the person who hit me to have a license because I want them to have insurance. If a crime is committed against me, I hope that the criminal has a license because it will make it easier for the police to find that individual. Society doesn’t gain anything by refusing drivers licenses to the undocumented. Yes, it makes their lives a little bit more difficult but it doesn’t help the rest of us. Does the inability to obtain a license make it more likely t…

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status

In 1990, Congress created the Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. This provision of the law allows minors who are unaccompanied to apply for their own green cards without first having a sponsor. To be eligible for a green card in this category, the person must be under 21 and be unmarried, have been declared a ward of a juvenile court judge which has ruled that the child is eligible for long-term foster care or has placed the child in the custody of a state agency.Also, the juvenile court judge must find that it would not be in the child’s best interests to be returned to their home country.The decision reached by a court regarding the child is final and binding on the USCIS. It’s important to remember that although the child must be found to be eligible for long-term foster care- he or she does not have to be placed in foster care. Many children present in the United States are residing with aunts, uncles, cousins or other relatives. These children do not need to be placed into foster…

Adoptive Moms Jailed in Egypt

To their defenders, all they were trying to do was provide orphans with a better chance in life. To the prosecution, they were involved in forging documents to try to adopt children illegally and smuggle them out of the country.Two American women are currently sitting in an Egyptian jail awaiting trial for human trafficking. How did they end up there? Both women found orphans in Cairo orphanages and then both women made a fatal error. Instead of following the correct procedure (which includes getting permission from the orphanage to remove the child from Egypt and obtaining a rarely granted Guardianship Order); the women obtained fraudulent birth certificates for the children and presented these to the embassy.US citizens often have the misconception that the consular staff is there to assist in bringing their relative to the US. In fact, the consular staff is charged with determining who is eligible for a visa and who is not. Every country has its own laws governing how children can …

Immigration and the Pulitzer Prize

Today, Ryan Gabrielson and Paul Giblin of the East Valley Tribune in Mesa, Arizona were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for their series of articles of the infamous “Sheriff Joe” of Maricopa County. The Tribune won the most prestigious award in journalism for revealing how a popular sheriff’s focus on immigration enforcement endangered investigations of violent crime and other aspects of public safety.You can read their articles, a five part series titled “Reasonable Doubt” at: http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/page/reasonable_doubtDo not miss this opportunity to gain a greater appreciation for how one man’s goal of eradicating undocumented immigrants turned the largest county in America into a more dangerous place to live. As a graduate of Arizona State University in Maricopa County, and as a former resident, I am grateful that the East Valley Tribute had the courage to publish these articles. Congratulations again to Ryan Gabrielson and Paul Giblin!

IMMIGRATION REFORM – COMING THIS FALL? REASONS FOR OPTIMISM

President Obama has always insisted that immigration reform is a top priority for the president’s first term. The president’s position on was recently reiterated by White House spokesman Nick Shapiro who said that “the president has consistently said that he wants to start the discussion later this year because our immigration system is broken … but the economy comes first.” The big “but” is what generally concerns all those who are pushing for reform. However, another spokesperson for the president informed the press that the president intends to try to take comprehensive immigration reform to the floor later this year, probably in the fall. Cause for hope. Additional reasons for hope include the following:
First, the president considers himself to be a great “multi-tasker.” (See the president’s rebuffing of candidate McCain who proposed that the debates cease so they could focus on the economic crisis). This goes to the fact that the president can work both on the economy and the bro…

The Four Rules to Live By in Adjustment of Status Interviews

When I meet with couples to prepare for an adjustment of status interview, I begin by explaining that there are four rules, that if followed will help the interview go off without a hitch. Though I usually charge for this valuable information, I have decided against my better judgment to share the four rules (I call them the platinum rules) for adjustment interviews that all clients should live by at adjustment interviews.1. If you do not know the answer to a question the officer asks, or do not remember the answer, say that you do not know or remember – do not guess at the answer. If you are wrong this could lead to trouble in that the officer may think you are lying if your answer contradicts a prior answer, or the truth. Officers will not likely hold it against you if you simply can’t remember. Having a bad memory is not a ground for denying your application.
2. Do not help each other answer the questions. Without fail, the man in the relationship will forget an important date, plac…

Why Is the Georgia Legislature Always Attacking Immigrants?

The Georgia State Legislature’s 2009 session just ended on Friday, and none too soon. Thanks to the efforts of sensible State Senators who truly understand the unwelcoming message that SB 67 (English only driver’s license exams) would have sent to foreign investors in the Georgia economy (e.g. Kia Automotive), we have one less anti-immigration law taking effect later this year.But, that means several pieces of poorly written, improperly considered, and incredibly costly anti-immigration legislation still did manage to pass through the Georgia Legislature and is headed to the Governor’s desk for signature. Clearly it is time for Governor Perdue to do what is right for Georgia and veto these bills. Now is not the time to kowtow to immigrant bashers and sign these pieces of legislation:SB 20, which provides that no local government, whether by initiative, referendum, or any other process, shall enact, adopt, implement or enforce any “sanctuary” policy. A Georgia community enacting a…

The “New” Form I-9 and the Problems Created by USCIS in Not Fixing It!

Today is the first day that the “new” Form I-9 must be used by all U.S. employers. The problem? The new Form I-9 is virtually the same as the “old” Form I-9, but the new Form I-9 disallows an entire segment of the authorized legal work population from using documents they previously used to verify their employment eligiblity from now doing so. The USCIS displayed a callous indifference to the ability of thousands of people, legally authorized to work in the United States, to obtain and retain employment.The Form I-9 was revised as the result of a 1998 change in statute pertaining to employment verification (Yes 10 years ago!). The new Form I-9 fails to account for many situations where people are actually authorized for employment: Omitted is the interim work authorization given by regulation to individuals who are waiting for USCIS to complete its slow process of renewing a work-authorized status. People given haven in the U.S. under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) have no way und…