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Showing posts from May, 2009

The Unauthorized Practice of Law–Finally Getting Shot Down

Today, New York Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo, turning his attention rather momentarily away from Wall Street, issued more than 50 subpoenas to individuals and businesses in New York City, as part of a widening investigation into immigration fraud by unauthorized practitioners and businesses, including “non-profit” businesses. The New York Times reported today some details of the investigation and provides some short glimpses into the hardships caused by these predators.To Attorney General Cuomo I say thank for doing what Attorney Generals around the United States (and, heck, the Attorney General OF the United States), should have been doing for years. Its about time that the law enforcement authorities took seriously the damage these predators cause on one of the most vulnerable sectors of our society–new immigrants.Even that bastion of the letter of the law following government agency–the USCIS, does not actively investigate and prosecute the very people violating its own regulatio…

Sotomayor and Immigration Reform

Is it possible? Is there really link between President Obama’s bold nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, with possible movement or non-movement on Immigration Reform this fall? The folks over at http://www.electoral-vote.com/ note that there may be a link:“A side effect of the Sotomayor nomination is that it may allow Obama to delay dealing with immigration reform for a while since Latino voters will be feeling good about him for a while just due to this nomination. On the other hand, if Obama (or more realistically, Rahm Emanuel) wants to enjoy the spectacle of the GOP tearing itself to bits, reintroducing the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill would be a good first start. The Tancredo wing the the Republican party will go all out to block it because it provides a path to citizenship for over 10 million illegals currently in the U.S. But an all out fight against these people–many of whom have friends and relatives who are citizens (and voters) will further alienate Latinos from the Repu…

Understanding the Injustice that is the Widow Penalty?

Many of you may have seen a 60 Minutes report on what is being called the Widow Penalty. The following gives some background into the immigration process and how the widow penalty comes into play.When a U.S. citizen marries a non-citizen, the citizen is able to file a petition for that non-citizen to receive “immediate relative” status and be processed for permanent resident (green card) status. The immigration process always takes many months to complete. First, the couple files the necessary paperwork, and then waits patiently for the government to process the application. Generally during the processing the non-citizen spouse will receive work authorization and travel permission. Then, if an applicant is given resident status prior to the second wedding anniversary, the permanent resident status is called “conditional” and referred to as “Conditional Permanent Resident” (CPR) status. This status is generally the same as permanent resident status, with the condition that the couple …

Immigration Checks at Local Jails. What Does this Mean?

According to recent reports, the Obama administration is expanding a program that was initiated by President Bush designed to check the immigration status of virtually any person booked into local jails. This crackdown on illegal immigrants who commit criminal offenses illustrates Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano’s commitment to focus enforcement measures on immigrants who commit criminal offenses, as opposed to those who are merely here in the United States illegally, but are otherwise abiding by the laws of this country.My three cents…First, the program will unfortunately lead to immigration detention of foreign nationals who commit such grave offenses (said in a sarcastic tone) as speeding or driving without a license. Once arrested on these minor offenses, the local jail will necessarily perform a background check and determine that the person may not have status and then pass along the information to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and place the person in removal…

The H-1B and L-1 Visas – the Attacks Continue!

It seems unrelenting these days. Attacks by anti-immigrationists on the two of the most useful non-immigrant visa categories, the H-1B and L-1 visas. The most recent attacks are based either on junk science or no science at all. Recently we received at the AILA National Office a letter from Professor Ray Marshall. AILA had issued a statement critical of the AFL endorsed Ray Marshall “plan” regarding immigration reform. This “plan” was highly supportive of the destructive Grassley-Durbin Anti-H-1B legislation. We were critical of this “plan” (and the Grassley-Durbin legislative proposal) because both the plan and the legislation are without merit and based on a lack of understanding of how our current employment based non-immigrant and immigration system currently works, what motivates employers to use the H-1B and L-1programs, and the tremendous historic and future benefits of these program.A key part of Mr. Marshall’s letter reads as follows:“Although we have grossly inadequate data …

Female Genital Mutilation – A Basis for Asylum

After I got my undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. I moved to San Diego, learned how to surf and worked with the San Diego Counsel on Literacy. While I was in San Diego I heard the executive director of the Tahirih Justice Center, Layli Miller-Muro, talk about applying for asylum based on female genital mutilation at the San Diego Baha’i Center.Now, prior to this talk I had no idea what asylum or female genital mutilation was all about. But after Layli was done talking about it I could not believe what I was hearing was actually true and that it went on in certain parts of the world.Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the removal of part, or all, of the female genitalia. FGM may refer to clitoridectomy (removal of the clitoris), excision (removal of the labia minora), or infibulation (removal of the clitoris, labia minora and majora, and stitching together). The procedure is usually performed in un…

Take this Immigration Quiz!

Admit it. Every now and then you veg out in front of the computer cruising the Internet. At least I do. Tonight was just such a night. But I ran into this immigration quiz. The purpose of this quiz is to point out how far we have come, or perhaps how far we have not come in our understanding of immigration. Go ahead, take the quiz!

287(g) – Highly Flawed in North Carolina

In his article posted March 26th, 2009, Gregory Weeks of the News and Observer points out a lot of the flaws with the current implementation of the 287 (g) program here in North Carolina.“The program sounded very good on paper. According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the purpose of 287(g) authority is to identify undocumented immigrants who commit “violent crimes, human smuggling, gang/organized crime activity, sexual-related offenses, narcotics smuggling and money laundering.”In other words, we want to find the very worst offenders, get them off our streets and then out of the country once they have served their time. If done properly, this protects everyone from serious predators.In 2006, Sheriff Jim Pendergraph made Mecklenburg County the first sheriff’s office on the East Coast to provide local law enforcement with 287(g) authority through ICE. There are a total of eight agreements across the state today.From the beginning, doubts were raised about the program…

Why Don’t You Come Legally – the Immigrant Visa Disaster

Okay, we all know there are no visas available until October 1, 2009 for any third preference employments immigrant. It stinks. It makes no sense in how we grow the economy and bring in “legal” workers. And, we know there is a 5-9 year wait in this category.We know that there are between 8-50 year waits for the assortment of family based immigrant visas (do the math for Mexican Brothers and Sisters–its not pretty). But we resign ourselves to fixing this disastrous, undocumented immigration causing problem as part of CIR.But, in today’s Visa Bulletin we get this terrific surprise. India EB-2 has retrogressed to January 2000!What the Heck? You mean if I am from India, and I have an ADVANCED DEGREE, and my work is in the NATIONAL INTEREST, that I have to wait 9 YEARS before I can even apply for permanent residence? No wonder these advanced degree, economy growing, job creating immigrants are deciding to go home. VivekWadwha, whom AILA is honoring with its Media Leadership Award at our An…

ICE and Ankle Bracelets – Better than No Detention at All?

Thursday, May 7th, 2009ICE DRO (Detention and Removal Officers) were trolling the Immigration Courtrooms this week in Atlanta looking for respondents who were appearing for their hearings, but whom had previously not been detained by ICE, and thus had no bond or restraints on their liberty. You ask, what would ICE be doing looking for people who actually appeared at their immigration court hearing? They would slap Ankle Bracelets on them! Yes, you heard me right. The people MOST likely to appear for future hearings are being placed under ICE supervision, restraining their liberty AND costing the American Taxpayers X dollars a day. Lest you think this is ridiculous, read this next part. Apparently, ICE in Atlanta (other cities have reported this same type of activity) have contracted with a private company to supply the “anklets” and to do the monitoring! And you thought outsourcing ended with the Bush Administration!The officer administering the program (who was very polite and respe…