Musings on Immigration

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Immigration Wants to be Your Friend

Recently U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a memo to its immigration officers explaining how to do “unannounced cyber site-visits” on petitioners and beneficiaries of applications filed with the agency. That's right, Immigration wants to be Your Friend! Now Immigration intends to look at your social network to check up on you, and possibly use what they find against you in an effort to deny your application.

The memo advises immigration officers on how to set up profiles on social networking sites (e.g.. Facebook, Myspace, Hi5, Buzznet, etc.), and search for petitioner and beneficiaries on cases they are reviewing. This virtual visit, as detailed by USCIS, “provides an excellent vantage point for [immigration fraud investigators] to observe the daily life of beneficiaries and petitioners who are suspected of fraudulent activities.” You also need to understand that USCIS supposes that every petition presented to them is fraudulent, so USCIS will be doing their “research” on many different types cases.

Clearly, immigration applicants should use extreme caution (and common-sense) when setting up a profile on any social-networking site. Here are a few guidelines;

  • Don’t make your social page public;
  • Don’t accept requests from people you do not know;
  • Don’t put yours or your spouse’s personal information on social networking sites; and
  • Don’t address your personal, relationship issues, in the world of social media.

Immigration Officers have free reign to ask (almost) any question to a petitioner or a beneficiary at an interview. Adjudicators can come to your house and check on the "bona fides" of your relationship. Now adjudicators will also “follow” you on-line; but, do you really want to be their “friend”?

What is going on in Nevada with Immigration ?

We are two weeks out from the election, and silly season is in full bloom, from a candidate in Delaware who does not understand the Constitution, to a candidate in Kentucky, who may or may not have worshiped Aqua Buddha, to perhaps the wackiest candidate of all in Nevada, Sharon Angle (the first "Asian" in the Nevada State Legislature).

This week two significant things happened that bring home how the immigration "thing" remains a strong undercurrent to this election.

First, Sharon Angle told a group of Hispanic youth at a Hispanic youth group meeting over the last weekend (trying to defend her anti-Latino/anti-immigration ad), that some of them "looked Asian" to her so how was she to know who was Hispanic anyway:





Second, a Republican funded and led group, Latinos for Reform, has run an ad in Nevada urging Latinos not to vote (for Democrats) because Democrats have not delivered on their promise of immigration reform.





While is it true that the Democrats blew their chance (perhaps their only chance) to pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform, urging people not to vote as a solution to who they voted for before (clearly Latinos for Reform could not urge Hispanics to vote for Sharon Angle) smacks of voter suppression. The last thing the Republicans need to be seen doing right now is suppressing the Latino vote.

As these two cases in Nevada demonstrate, once again the Immigration issue raises its ugly head. You would think that politicians of both parties would be tired of dealing with the consequences of not dealing with immigration reform. Yet, neither party appears willing to compromise and do what is right for America. The truly sad part here is that the issue of immigration politics is publicly degrading an entire race of people. Using words like "illegal" to really mean Mexicans, regardless of immigration status denigrates people, real people, and cheapens the debate.

Senator Hatch Offers Another Non-Solution to the Immigration Mess

This week Senator Hatch (R. Utah) offered an anti-immigration bill to the Democratically controlled Senate. This bill, known as the "STRENGTHENING OUR COMMITMENT TO LEGAL IMMIGRATION AND AMERICA’S SECURITY ACT" (truly an ironic name) is nothing more than the same political gamesmanship that Senator Hatch claims that Senator Reid engaged in by seeking passage of the DREAM Act.

Senator Hatch says his bill would do the following:
  • Require eligible states, counties and cities to participate in the Secure Communities or 287(g) programs or forego compensation for incarceration expenses;
  • Specify that illegal aliens may only be paroled or granted deferred action on a case-by-case basis; mass paroles and deferrals would be prohibited;
  • Preclude applicants who are members of known criminal organizations and gangs from getting visas to come to the U.S.;
  • Require the Homeland Security Secretary to create a mandatory exit procedure for foreign visitors to the U.S.;
  • Eliminate the Diversity Visa Program unless Congress signs off on changes to combat fraud and eliminate abuse in the program;
  • Require the Health and Human Services Secretary to submit an annual report to Congress outlining the total dollar amount of welfare benefits received by households of illegal aliens in every state and the District of Columbia;
  • Place limits on states’ ability to receive federal funds to provide Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program coverage to children and pregnant women who are not U.S. citizens;
  • Amend the criminal code to clarify that defendants who possess or use false or others’ identity in the commission of a felony are punishable for aggravated identity fraud, regardless of whether or not they know the victim;
  • Require the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to notify social security holders within 60 days after “no-match” letter is sent to the employer– if the employer fails to contact the IRS and correct the conflicting information;
  • Require the Treasury Secretary, Federal Trade Commission Chairman and Social Security Commissioner to conduct a study on the most cost-effective ways to protect the credit of individuals, especially children;
  • Stiffen penalties for drug offenses such as cultivating marijuana on federal land and using booby traps, poison and other hazardous substances to cultivate or manufacture illegal drugs on federal land;
  • Direct the National Drug Control Policy Director to formulate a Federal Lands Counterdrug Action Plan for preventing the illegal production, cultivation and manufacture of controlled substances on federal lands.
So, what is the real story? First, are these changes in the law necessary to "solve the immigration problem"? And, second, why did Senator Hatch really write and present this bill?

First, to tell you the real story, let's go over each point individually:
  • Require eligible states, counties and cities to participate in the Secure Communities or 287(g) programs or forego compensation for incarceration expenses;
  • The theory here is that the police should be mini-ICE agents and anyone who has contact with the police in a criminal related matter needs to be cleared through the immigration process--How much is this costing, and how is paying? What about the police departments, like Salt Lake City's which views these programs as one which HURTS community policing and actually creates the opportunity for more crime against immigrants, who now will be afraid to call the police? This is a bad idea which solves no immigration problem and creates larger community problems.
  • Specify that illegal aliens may only be paroled or granted deferred action on a case-by-case basis; mass paroles and deferrals would be prohibited;
  • Ooo, scary, President Obama might grant amnesty to everyone by fiat, but 1. He cannot legally or politically do it. 2. He has said he won't do so. This is an issue created by the anti-immigrationists with no real basis in reality. Preclude applicants who are members of known criminal organizations and gangs from getting visas to come to the U.S.; Don't you think this is already prohibited? Of course it is. They call this "pandering."
  • Require the Homeland Security Secretary to create a mandatory exit procedure for foreign visitors to the U.S.;
  • There is already a mandatory procedure. Senator Hatch now wants a complicated and outrageously expensive procedure. We already tried what he wants and the REPUBLICAN Congress stopped it. Why? it is technically and financially impossible at the present time. But, hey, why don't we just put an RFID chip in everyone when they come into the U.S. and we can track them everywhere they go?
  • Eliminate the Diversity Visa Program unless Congress signs off on changes to combat fraud and eliminate abuse in the program;
  • There is NO evidence of fraud and abuse in this program! The Department of State, which runs this program is enormously strict and hyper-vigilant in its implementation of this program every year. There are plenty of reasons to restrict or eliminate this program, but fraud and abuse is not one of them!
  • Require the Health and Human Services Secretary to submit an annual report to Congress outlining the total dollar amount of welfare benefits received by households of illegal aliens in every state and the District of Columbia;
  • Okay, good idea. Are you going to lobby for spending the money do conduct this study? Oh wait, there has already been such a study, in Arizona of all places. Guess what? Illegal immigrants were NOT receiving welfare benefits and cannot legally get them anywhere in the U.S. This is another non-issue created and fed by the anti-immigrationists to gin up anti-immigration sentiment.
  • Place limits on states’ ability to receive federal funds to provide Medicaid and Childrens' Health Insurance Program coverage to children and pregnant women who are not U.S. citizens;
  • Wait, so someone is a permanent resident, and you Senator Hatch want to deny pre-natal coverage and punish them? For what reason? You want unhealthy children born in the United States? Really? Perhaps you have gone over to the dark side. Who wrote this Bill for you?
  • Amend the criminal code to clarify that defendants who possess or use false or others’ identity in the commission of a felony are punishable for aggravated identity fraud, regardless of whether or not they know the victim;
  • This is in direct reaction to a Supreme Court decision. If you want to make this a separate deportable offense, just say so, and say it is unforgivable. You have done it for many other laws. Doing so, however, does not make it good public policy. Even without this change, anyone convicted of identity fraud is still going to be deported. The question is can they be forgiven or not. Mercy is something America has always been known for. Perhaps you have forgotten that.
  • Require the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to notify social security holders within 60 days after “no-match” letter is sent to the employer– if the employer fails to contact the IRS and correct the conflicting information;
  • Right now there is no communication between the IRS and the immigration services. Why? Because it violates the Privacy Act. And, because the IRS wants the money and does not care where it comes from. It this a good public policy decision? Good question. What will it accomplish? Unclear other than to give the impression that it will end identity theft. Which it won't.
  • Require the Treasury Secretary, Federal Trade Commission Chairman and Social Security Commissioner to conduct a study on the most cost-effective ways to protect the credit of individuals, especially children;
  • Good idea. You funding it? Why not just ask the GAO to do this--like you do for other studies! Why do you need a law to request this study?
  • Stiffen penalties for drug offenses such as cultivating marijuana on federal land and using booby traps, poison and other hazardous substances to cultivate or manufacture illegal drugs on federal land;
  • Really? These are not already against the law?? How much time is too little for jail time? And, what does this have to do with "Legal" immigration. Wait, I have not seen ANY positive immigration reforms or changes here--the title of this bill clearly falls under The Deceptive Trade Practices Act!
  • Direct the National Drug Control Policy Director to formulate a Federal Lands Counterdrug Action Plan for preventing the illegal production, cultivation and manufacture of controlled substances on federal lands.
Good idea. Why have you not done this before?, Even more so, why do you need a LAW to do this. Write the Director a letter and ASK that they do it now!

What are the chances that this bill ever has a hearing or sees the light of day?? Zero.

The final question is: why did Senator Hatch write and present this bill? The answer is three words: Senator Robert Bennett.




Charles Kuck Speaks at the Utah Chamber of Commerce!

A wonderful morning at the Utah Chamber of Commerce!

http://www.slchamberblog.com/top-immigration-attorney-discusses-utahs-next-steps-10001393.htm