Thursday, December 17, 2009

Immigration Reform PSM

"Too many families are being divided on a day to day basis due to massive deportation of various individuals. The time has come for an immigration reform that will satisfy both sides of the debate."

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Brief filed with the Board of Immigration Appeals

I just filed a brief with the Board of Immigration Appeals requesting that the Board overturn an Immigration Judge’s denial of my client’s Green Card application. The Immigration Judge found that my client was not statutorily eligible to apply for his Green Card and hinged its ruling on baseless speculation that my client had potentially made a false claim to United States Citizenship when filling out an I-9 Employment Verification form.

The Court’s evidentiary findings were not supported by the record, and my client was deprived of a fundamentally fair hearing because the Court’s impartiality was reasonably questioned during the course of the proceeding.

I argued that the Court displayed a bias against my client so much so that an objective, disinterested observer fully informed of the underlying facts would entertain significant doubt that justice would be done absent recusal.

The Government has thirty days to submit a reply brief. I am hopeful that they will not oppose my request to overturn the Immigration Judge’s ruling.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Customs & Border Protection in Buffalo Advises Travelers to Prepare for Busy Holiday Weekend

Buffalo, N.Y. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection is reminding travelers planning trips across the border into the United States to make sure they have the proper documents this weekend in conjunction with the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. As a result, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials want to remind the traveling public that there are a number of steps that can be taken to facilitate their arrival into the United States.

Travelers are reminded to check traffic at all local border crossings within the Buffalo/Niagara region and select the crossing that is least congested. The most significant delays that occurred last Thanksgiving holiday weekend were on Sunday between the hours of 10 a.m. through 2 p.m. at all three Buffalo/Niagara region border crossing points.

Travelers can easily obtain current border traffic conditions by calling the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission’s toll free number at 1-800-715-6722.

Travelers should prepare for the inspection process before arriving at the inspection booth. Individuals should have their crossing documents available for inspection and they should be prepared to declare all items acquired outside the U.S. In compliance with full implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which commenced June 1, 2009, all travelers, including U.S. and Canadian citizens, will need to present documentary proof of citizenship. These documents include a Passport, U.S. Passport Card, trusted traveler card (NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST) or an Enhanced Drivers License. Children under the age of 16 can present an original or copy of their birth certificate. CBP will remain practical and flexible in its approach to full implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative and will continue to educate and inform the traveling public. Please visit the WHTI Web site for additional information. ( getyouhome.gov )

Frequent cross-border travelers are encouraged to participate in the NEXUS program, which allows pre-screened, low risk travelers to proceed with little or no delay into the United States and Canada. Application forms are available on the Canada Border Services Agency Web site at and travelers can apply on. Additionally, NEXUS information is available toll-free at 1-866-NEXUS 26 (1-866-639-8726). ( www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca )

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds

Friday, November 20, 2009

BIA Decision: Clarification of Voluntary Departure Requirements

The Board of Immigration Appeals has just issued a decision entitled Matter of Catherine VELASCO, 25 I&N Dec. 143 (BIA 2009).

The Board has ruled that:

(1) The voluntary departure regulations at 8 C.F.R. § 1240.26(c)(4), Nt. (2009), which took effect on January 20, 2009, and superseded Matter of Diaz-Ruacho, 24 I&N Dec. 47 (BIA 2006), do not apply retroactively.

(2) Where an Immigration Judge granted voluntary departure prior to January 20, 2009, and the alien failed to timely post the voluntary departure bond required by section 240B(b)(3)of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229c(b)(3) (2006), the former regulatory scheme, as interpreted in Matter of Diaz-Ruacho, remains applicable, and the penalties imposed by section 240B(d)(1) for failure to depart within the voluntary departure period do not apply.

(3) Pursuant to 8 C.F.R. § 1240.26(c)(3)(ii), Nt., a voluntary departure order entered by an Immigration Judge on or after January 20, 2009, will not be reinstated by the Board of Immigration Appeals in its final order on appeal unless the alien provides the Board, within 30 days of filing the appeal, sufficient proof that the voluntary departure bond was timely posted with the Department of Homeland Security.

Brief Filed with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals

I just finished my brief in support of a petition for review that we filed with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. I argued that the Board of Immigration utilized an improper standard when adjudicating my client's Motion to Reopen, and that the record reflects that there was reasonable cause for my client's failure to appear at his exclusion proceedings.

When adjudicating my client's motion the Board departed from the “totality of the circumstances” standard for determining reasonableness, considered facts not in the record, and cited a time limitation as a basis for the denial, specifically referencing the thirteen year period between the entrance of the exclusion order and the filing of the Petitioner’s motion to reopen as a basis for the Board’s denial.

I also argued that my client was not required to file a bar complaint against his former lawyer who had been disbarred from the practice of law.

The Government now has an opportunity to respond to our brief, and then it will be a waiting game. I'll keep you posted.

Join Us: Text "Reform" to 69866 for Just, Humane Immigration Reform!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

H-1B Cap Count

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has reported that as of November 13, 2009, approximately 55,600 H-1B cap-subject petitions had been filed with USCIS.

USCIS has approved sufficient H-1B petitions for aliens with advanced degrees to meet the exemption of 20,000 from the fiscal year 2010 cap.

Any H-1B petitions filed on behalf of an alien with an advanced degree will now count toward the general H-1B cap of 65,000.

USCIS will continue to accept both cap-subject petitions and advanced degree petitions until a sufficient number of H-1B petitions have been received to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn.

AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 09042065 (posted Nov. 18, 2009)

Secretary Napolitano Discusses Immigration Policy

2012 Dobbs-Menendez Match for Senate Seat in N.J.?

The New York Times has reported that former CNN talking head Lou Dobbs has not denied speculation that he may consider challenging first term incumbent Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) for his seat in 2012. If this were to happen it will be essential for immigration reform activists to get behind Senator Menendez in 2012 when he is up for re-election.

Senator Menendez is a key figure in the fight for comprehensive immigration reform, and is the co-sponsor of The Military Families Act, a bill that will authorize the adjustment of status for immediate family members of persons who served honorably in the Armed Forces of the United States during the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Immigration Lawyer - Brad Bernstein's take on the Lou Dobbs 'Step-down'

BIA Decision: Standard for Adjudicating Motions for Continuance

The Board of Immigration Appeals has just issued a new decision entitled Matter of Rajah, Interim Decision #3662, 25 I&N Dec. 127 (BIA 2009)

The case involves a native and citizen of Morocco that came to the United States on December 13, 1994 as a visitor. The Respondent was granted six months of visitor status, but did not depart the United States when his status expired. Meanwhile the Respondent was able to find unautorized employment in the United States in order to support himself.

The Respondent’s employer ultimately filed a labor certification on his behalf on April 30, 2001, which would render him eligible to apply for adjustment of status under former 245(i).

On April 22, 2003, almost ten years after his arrival, immigration court proceedings were instituted against the Respondent charging him with removability for overstaying his visitor status. The Respondent’s first hearing before the Immigration Judge was on May 30, 2003.

The Respondent requested and obtained multiple continuances of his case (thirteen) during an 18-month period. The proceedings were continued to enable him to obtain counsel to represent him, to allow the Department to respond to his motion to terminate proceedings, and to enable the Respondent to provide the Court with a status update on the pending labor certification.

Finally, on December 16, 2004, the Respondent sought another continuance based on the pending labor certification, but the Immigration Judge denied his request, and the Board of Immigration Appeals dismissed the appeal. The case then was reviewed by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals who remanded the case back to the Board of Immigration Appeals for the Board to set “standards that reflect various situations of those seeking such continuances.” See Rajah v. Mukasey, 544 F.3d 449 (2d Cir. 2008).

On remand the Board ruled that:

(1) In determining whether good cause exists to continue removal proceedings to await the adjudication of a pending employment -based visa petition or labor certification, an Immigration Judge should determine the alien’s place in the adjustment of status process and consider the applicable factors identified in Matter of Hashmi, 24 I&N Dec. 785 (BIA 2009), and any other relevant considerations;

(2) An alien’s unopposed motion to continue ongoing removal proceedings to await the adjudication of a pending employment-based visa petition should generally be granted if approval of the visa petition would render him prima facie eligible for adjustment of status; and

(3) The pendency of a labor certification is generally not sufficient to warrant a grant of a continuance.

The Board applied these standards to the Respondent's case and dismissed his appeal because despite the fact that his labor certification was ultimately approved while he was fighting to remain in the United States, an I-140 Petition was not filed within 180 days of the certification. The Respondent therefore did not have immediate eligibility to apply for adjustment of status despite the fact that he had been grandfathered in under 245(i).

The Respondent had a new employer who was also willing to sponsor him for his Green Card, but had not taken any steps to begin the process. As a result the Board dismissed the appeal based upon the Respondent’s failure to establish a prima facie case for the relief sought.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) Introduces the Military Families Act (S.2757)

Congressman Robert Menéndez [D-NJ] has introduced an immigration related Bill entitled S.2757: The Military Families Act. The bill will authorize the adjustment of status for immediate family members of persons who served honorably in the Armed Forces of the United States during the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts.

The Bill has been co-sponsored by five other Democrats:

Sen. Richard Durbin [D, IL]
Sen. Russell Feingold [D, WI]
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand [D, NY]
Sen. Daniel Inouye [D, HI]
Sen. Mary Landrieu [D, LA]

Contact your representatives in Congress and urge for the passage of S.2757.

Supreme Court Hears Immigration Case: Kucana v. Holder (08-911)

On November 10, 2009, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments on a case that arose from the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Kucana v. Holder (08-911).

The issue in the case involves whether 8 U.S.C. Section 1252(a)(2)(B)(ii) precludes federal courts from reviewing rulings of the Board of Immigration Appeals relating to motions to reopen.

Factually the case involves a citizen from Albania that over slept his alarm, and missed his immigration court hearing. As a result, his application for asylum was denied and the IJ ordered his removal in absentia.

Kucana ultimately appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to review the Board's ruling denying his motion to reopen, but the Seventh Circuit refused to reverse the BIA, ruling that the Circuit Court did not have jurisdiction to review the BIA's denial of the motion to reopen in disagreement with several other Circuits that have found that they do maintain jurisdiction.

Shockingly, the Supreme Court of the United States granted cert in this case. As they say in the immigration trenches: bad facts make bad law. I'm crossing my fingers. Personally, I just don't have a ton of sympathy for someone who overslept his alarm. I'm sure I'm not alone.

The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in order to clarify whether a court has jurisdiction to review a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals to reopen an alien’s immigration proceeding under 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(B)(ii).

The question presented is whether Judicial review of an immigrant's legal claim is set forth in 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(B)(ii), which limits judicial review of discretionary denials by the Attorney General or the Secretary of Homeland Security, and in what situation does a Federal Appeals Court have jurisdiction to review an immigrant’s petition to reopen an immigration proceeding that was based on a discretionary denial.

More specifically, the Court must address whether the Attorney General's discretionary authority is "specified" under 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(B)(ii) and includes a decision of the Board of Immigration to deny an alien’s motion to reopen an immigration proceeding.

Click here to read the transcript of the oral argument.

Click here for the SCOTUS Wiki on the case.

Fifth Circuit on Crime of Violence

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has just ruled in Kerr v. Holder, No. 08-60020 (Nov. 10, 2009), that the Board of Immigration Appeals erred in its application of the categorical approach and failed to apply the modified categorical approach when determining whether false imprisonment under Fla. Stat. § 787.02 is a crime of violence.

The Fifth remanded the case back to the BIA for a proper determination on the issue.

Lou Dobbs resigns from CNN

Friday, November 6, 2009

212(h) Waiver May be Available to Cure Convictions for Possession or Use of Drug Paraphernalia

The Board of Immigration Appeals has just ruled in Matter of Lael MARTINEZ ESPINOZA, 25 I&N Dec. 118 (BIA 2009) that:

(1) An alien may be rendered inadmissible under section 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(II) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2)(A)(i)(II) (2006), on the basis of a conviction for possession or use of drug paraphernalia; and

(2) An alien who is inadmissible under section 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(II) of the Act based on a drug paraphernalia offense may qualify for a waiver of inadmissibility under section 212(h) of the Act if that offense “relates to a single offense of simple possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana.”

The case involved a citizen of Mexico, conceded his removability under section 212(a)(6)(A)(i) of the Act because he was unlawfully present in the United States, but who sought relief from removal in the form of adjustment of status under section 245(i) of the Act. Former section 245(i) allows certain individuals to obtain a Green Card inside the United States through the payment a $1,000.00 penalty fee to excuse minor immigration violations. Section 245(i) does not waiver criminal grounds of removability.

The Immigration Court ruled that the Respondent was not eligible to apply for a Green Card because of a 2006 Minnesota conviction for possessing drug paraphernalia, and that this conviction renders him ineligible for a waiver under section 212(h) of the Act because his offense did not “relate[] to a single offense of simple possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana”.

The Respondent appealed the Immigration Court’s decision, and the Board of Immigration Appeals concluded that the Respondent’s Minnesota conviction for possessing drug paraphernalia does render him inadmissible under section 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(II) of the Act, and that in order to adjust he must obtain a 212(h) waiver, but that the underlying Minnesota criminal statute that the Respondent was convicted under encompasses some offenses that enable him to apply for a 212(h) waiver, and some that do not.

The Board further concluded to qualify for a 212(h) waiver, the Respondent must establish that his conviction “relates to a single offense of simple possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana.”

The Board remanded the case back to the Immigration Court to allow the Respondent the opportunity to establish that the conduct that resulted in his conviction related to a single offense of simple possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana.

Matthew L. Kolken, Esq.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

President Obama: Where is the Immigration Reform you Promised?

Second Circuit Court of Appeals Dismisses Maher Arar's Lawsuit

The Second Circuit, in a 184 page in banc decision, has affirmed the District Court's dismissal of Maher Arar's lawsuit.

Maher Arar is an individual who was detained while changing planes at Kennedy Airport in New York because Canadian authorities believed that he was a member of Al Qaeda. Mr. Arar alleges that after being taken into custody he was mistreated over a twelve day period by U.S. officials, and then the real nightmare began.

After the 12 days of alleged mistreatment by the hand of the United States government, Mr. Arar alleges that the United States government sent him to Syria via Jordan so that he could be properly tortured and interrogated by Syrian officials.

Mr. Arar sued former United States Attorney General John Ashcroft; former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge; Robert Mueller, Director of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and others in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Mr Arar’s alleged that the above mentioned individuals’ actions violated the Torture Victim Protection Act (“TVPA”) and the Fifth Amendment.

The District Court dismissed Mr. Arar’s complaint unanimously holding that: (1) the District Court had personal jurisdiction over Thompson, Ashcroft, and Mueller; (2) Mr. Arar failed to state a claim under the TVPA; and (3) Arar failed to establish subject matter jurisdiction over his request for a declaratory judgment. See Arar v. Ashcroft, 532 F.3d 157 (2d Cir. 2008).

Mr. Arar appealed this decision to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, but his suit was initially dismissed. Thereafter, an in banc rehearing occurred, and the Second Circuit in a 184 page decision vacated the initial opinion, but unfortunately for justice, affirmed the District Court’s ruling.

Parenthetically, the Honorable Sonia Sotomayor was a member of the in banc panel and participated in oral argument.

So much for accountability.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

USCIS Updates FY 2010 H-1B and H-2B Count

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has just reported that USCIS has updated its count of FY 2010 cap-subject H-1B petitions and advanced degree cap-exempt petitions, as well as FY 2010 H-2B petitions received as of 10/25/2009.

As of October 25, 2009, approximately 52,800 H-1B cap-subject petitions and approximately 20,000 petitions qualifying for the advanced degree cap exemption had been filed. Any H1-B petitions filed on behalf of an alien with an advanced degree will now count toward the general H1-B cap of 65,000. USCIS will continue to accept both cap-subject petitions and advanced degree petitions until a sufficient number of H-1B petitions have been received to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn. AILA Doc. No. 09042065.

ICE PSA on Human Trafficking

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has released the following PSA relating to Human trafficking and human smuggling.



Human trafficking and human smuggling represent significant risks to homeland security. Would-be terrorists and criminals can often access the same routes and utilize the same methods being used by human smugglers. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcements Human Smuggling and Trafficking Unit works to identify criminals and organizations involved in these illicit activities.

Human Trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery. Sex trafficking occurs when a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or when the person induced to perform such acts has not attained 18 years of age.

For more information, please go to www.ice.gov.

Board of Immigration Appeals Rules that Date of Plea Agreement, Not Sentencing, Determines Eligibility for 212(c) Waiver

Matter of Alejandro MORENO-ESCOBOSA, 25 I&N Dec. 114 (BIA 2009)

The Board of Immigration Appeals has sustained the appeal of a Green Card holder who is a native and citizen of Mexico, and the father of four United States citizen children. Unfortunately, on July 21, 1991, Mr. Morena-Escobosa pled guilty in Arizona for unlawful possession of more than 8 pounds of marijuana. He was sentenced fourteen years later on October 26, 2005, to more than four years of imprisonment. The delay in sentencing resulted because Mr. Moreno-Escobosa disappeared after entering his guilty plea.

When Immigration Court proceedings were instituted against Mr. Moreno-Escobosa he argued that despite his conviction he remains eligible to apply for relief from removal under former INA §212(c) because he entered a guilty plea on July 21, 1991, prior to the repealing of INA § 212(c).

Mr. Moreno-Escobosa’s argument was predicated on the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in INS v. St. Cyr, 533 U.S. 289 (2001), where the Court determined that despite the fact that section 212(c) was repealed in 1996, the waiver remains available as a form of relief from removal to individuals who had been convicted by a plea agreement, and where at the time they entered their plea they would have been eligible for a 212(c) waiver.

The Board agreed with Mr. Moreno-Escobosa sustaining his appeal entering the following ruling:

(1) The date of an alien’s plea agreement, rather than the date of sentencing, is controlling in determining whether the alien is eligible for a waiver under former section 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(c) (1994); and

(2) The decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Abebe v. Mukasey, 554 F.3d 1203 (9th Cir. 2009), does not invalidate 8 C.F.R. § 1212.3 (2009), so as to preclude an alien who seeks to waive a deportation ground from establishing eligibility for section 212(c) relief.

The case has been remanded back to the Immigration Court so that the Court can properly evaluate all of Mr. Moreno-Escobosa’s equities which include his significant employment history and his volunteer and civic activities.

Senator Bob Menendez on The Daily Show

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Summary of Immigration Related Bills in Congress

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has posted the following summary of immigration-related bills that have been introduced into the House of Representatives and the Senate during the months of September and October. AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 09110264 (posted Nov. 2, 2009)


New IDEA (Illegal Deduction Elimination Act) (H.R. 3580)
Introduced by Rep. King (R-IA) on 9/16/09

Summary: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to clarify that wages paid to unauthorized aliens may not be deducted from gross income, and for other purposes.

Improving Methods to Promote Regular Occurrences of the Verification of Employability Status Act of 2009 (H.R. 3676)
Introduced by Rep. Broun (R-GA) on 9/30/09

Summary: To amend the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 to make permanent the E-Verify Program, and for other purposes.

H.R. 3687
Introduced by Rep. Issa (R-CA) on 10/1/09

Summary: To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to eliminate the diversity immigrant program and to re-allocate those visas to certain employment-based immigrants who obtain an advanced degree in the United States

Dairy and Sheep H-2A Visa Enhancement Act (H.R. 3744)
Introduced by Rep. Arcuri (D-NY) on 10/7/09

Summary: To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide a special rule for the period of admission of H-2A nonimmigrants employed as dairy workers and sheepherders, and for other purposes.

Fairness in Representation Act (H.R. 3797)
Introduced by Rep. Foxx (R-NC) on 10/13/09

Summary: To prevent congressional reapportionment distortions by requiring that, in the questionnaires used in the taking of any decennial census of population, a checkbox or other similar option be included for respondents to indicate citizenship status or lawful presence in the United States.

Every Person Counts Act (H.R. 3855)
Introduced by Rep. Baca (D-CA) on 10/20/09

Summary: To amend title 13, United States Code, to make clear that each decennial census, as required for the apportionment of Representatives in Congress among the several States, shall tabulate the total number of persons in each State, and to provide that no information regarding United States citizenship or immigration status may be elicited in any such census.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Kucana v. Holder (08-911)

On November 10, 2009, the United States Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on a case that arose from the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Kucana v. Holder (08-911).

The case involves, Kucana, an immigrant from Albania, who applied for asylum but overslept his hearing, which resulted in him being ordered removed in absentia by the Immigration Judge. Kucana then filed a motion with the Court requesting that it reopen his proceeding and vacate the removal order. His motion was denied, and the Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed the IJ's decision.

A second motion to reopen was then filed with an affidavit from a professor of Balkan history, who stated that there was a reasonable fear of future political persecution in Albania. The second motion was also denied partially on the basis that conditions in Albania had improved since the filing of the 1997 asylum application.

Kucana appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to review the Board's ruling, but the 7th ruled that the Court lacked jurisdiction to review the Board’s decision in this case.

The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in order to clarify whether a court has jurisdiction to review a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals to reopen an alien’s immigration proceeding under 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(B)(ii).

The question presented is whether Judicial review of an immigrant's legal claim is set forth in 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(B)(ii), which limits judicial review of discretionary denials by the Attorney General or the Secretary of Homeland Security, and in what situation does a Federal Appeals Court have jurisdiction to review an immigrant’s petition to reopen an immigration proceeding that was based on a discretionary denial.

More specifically,the Court will address whether the Attorney General's discretionary authority is "specified" under 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(B)(ii) and includes a decision of the Board of Immigration to deny an alien’s motion to reopen an immigration proceeding.

Friday, October 30, 2009

President Obama has announced the end of the HIV Travel and Immigration Ban

Department of Homeland Security Finds that Domestic Violence Constitutes Sufficient Grounds for Asylum

The New York Times has reported that the Department of Homeland Security in a one-paragraph document has determined that spousal abuse is a sufficient ground for asylum eligibility.

Department of Homeland Security spokesman Matthew Chandler has stated that the Department “continues to view domestic violence as a possible basis for asylum”. Mr. Chandler further advised that the Department is in the process of writing regulations to govern asylum claims based on domestic violence.

Score one for the little guy.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

University of California Berkeley's Vivek Wadhwa on the state of U.S. immigration.

CA6 Finds IJ Has Authority to Determine Frivolousness of a Time-Barred Asylum Application

The American Immigration Lawyers Association has reported that the United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit has ruled that Immigration Judges maintain the authority to make a finding that an application for asylum in frivolous even where the application for asylum is time-barred because it was not filed within one-year of the applicant's last arrival to the United States. See Ghazali v. Holder, 10/29/09. AILA Doc. No. 09102961.

Two DREAMers Senate briefing testimony

Herta Llusho:


"Herta Llusho, a DREAM Act student from Michigan, tells Senate staffers the story of her years-long struggle with immigration enforcement. Recorded during a briefing in the US Capitol on October 23rd, 2009."

Noe Guzman:


"Noe Guzman, a DREAM Act student from Missouri, tells Senate staffers the story of being arrested by ICE when he was trying to register to serve in the US Marines. Recorded during a briefing in the US Capitol on October 23rd, 2009."

The DREAM Act is legislation that would create a path to legal status for young people who grew up in the U.S. and want to go to college or serve in the U.S. military.

Activists Pressure CNN to Fire Dobbs



"Activist groups are demanding that CNN fire veteran anchor Lou Dobbs for his incendiary views on immigration. Protests in New York and other cities were timed to coincide with the networks airing of a four-hour documentary named Latino in America. The demonstrations were organized to bring attention to what the protesters say are Dobbs years of lies about immigration." -The Global Report

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

GOP seeks to add mandatory E-verify check for unemployment benefits to benefits bill.

Business slowing at Lincoln immigration center

"The economy appears to be pinching the work flow for almost 1,000 employees assigned to Lincoln's regional Immigration and Citizenship Services Center. Director Jerry Heinauer isn't sure how much of a decline in receipts to attribute to the economy and to a corresponding decline in the number of people who want to move to the United States. But the numbers for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 show, for example, that applications for employment authorization dropped to 250,000 from 376,000 in fiscal 2008." Lincoln Journal Star, Oct. 27, 2009.

Immigration Reform Still A Priority?

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas: Immigration reform remains a priority.

Sen. Durbin on The Dream Act

Battle in San Francisco over 'sanctuary law' for immigrants

Immigration Study Finds Enforcement Has Undermined Workers' Rights

The AFL-CIO, American Rights at Work and the National Employment Law Project has determined that the United States policy on immigration enforcement that utilizes workforce raids by "inadequately trained enforcement agents" has negatively impacted workers who were both born in the United States, and those who have been the target of the enforcement efforts.

The report, ICED OUT: How Immigration Enforcement Has Interfered with Workers’ Rights , examines the need for the Department of Labor to protect workers' rights in conjunction with Immigration and Customs Enforcement's mandate to enforce immigration laws. The report points to ICE's failures that have exacerbated the problem contributing to the undermining of all workers' rights.

End of HIV travel ban 'imminent'

It has been reported that the Obama administration plans to announce that HIV-positive foreign nationals will be no longer be banned from entering the United States.

A spokesman from Immigration Equality has stated that the lifting of the ban has cleared the Department of Health & Human Services, and that an announcement from the White House Office of Management & Budget is “imminent”.

“Our expectation is the publication will happen very soon, and following a potential short window between publication and implementation, the HIV travel and immigration ban will be a thing of the past.” - Steve Ralls, Immigration Equality

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Iraq veteran's wife faces deportation

Geraldo Rivera's Heated Interview With Sheriff Joe Arpaio

USCIS Establishes Transitional Worker Program for the CNMI

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has just announced that USCIS has posted an interim final rule in the Federal Register that creates a Transitional Worker visa classification in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). AILA Doc. No. 09102761.

Strife in San Francisco over handling of arrested undocumented immigrants

Director of the Border Action Network Acknowledges Arpaio Has Authority to Enforce Immigration Law

It has been reported today that Jennifer Allen, Director of the Border Action Network has acknowledged that Sheriff Joe Arpaio has the “inherent authority” to enforce U.S. immigration laws despite the U.S. Homeland Security non-renewal of 287(G), and that such authority stems from a 2002 Department of Justice opinion, as well as various court rulings.

Despite her acknowledgement, Director Allen continues to question the constitutionality of Sheriff Arpaio’s sweeps citing his reliance on racial profiling.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

BALCA Vacates PERM Denial Where Employer's Failure to Include Notice of Filing Was Inadvertent; Holding Limited to These Precise Circumstances

The American Immigration Lawyer's Association has reported that the Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) has vacated a PERM denial where an employer inadvertantly failed to include a notice of filing.

BALCA found that "in the interest of fairness" denial should be vacated and application returned to the CO, as "the preponderance of the evidence is that the audit response's failure to include the Notice of Filing was inadvertent . . ." In the Matter of Luigi's Restaurant, 2009-PER-00357(8/31/09). AILA Doc. No. 09102226.

New Board of Immigration Appeals Decision: Matter of Raul CARRILLO, 25 I&N Dec. 99 (BIA 2009)

The Board of Immigration Appeals has just ruled in Matter of Raul CARRILLO, 25 I&N Dec. 99 (BIA 2009) that in determining whether an alien whose status was adjusted pursuant to section 1 of the Cuban Refugee Adjustment Act of November 1, 1966, Pub. L. No. 89-732, 80 Stat. 1161, is removable as an alien who has been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude committed within 5 years after the alien’s “date of admission,” the admission date is calculated according to the rollback provision of section 1, rather than the date adjustment of status was granted.

Most Influential Immigration Tweeps on Twitter

I'm humbled and honored to be included on the wefollow.com list of the top ten most influential people on Twitter in the area of immigration.

Click here to view the list.

Immigration Reform Supporters March to Santa Clara University

Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce calls for special session looking at immigration law

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Struggle For Immigration Reform Begins With Youth!

Young immigrant organizers converge in Colorado to discuss how to win just and humane immigration reform for America. Video shot, edited and produced by Lynne Sprague

Rick Sanchez vs. Sheriff Joe Arpaio Over Racial Profiling

AILA Updates: Recent BALCA Decisions

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has just provided the following summaries of decisions from the Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA).

-BALCA affirms denial based on the fact that the employer, a domestic household, lacked a valid FEIN on the date of filing the labor certification. Matter of Edward J. Tierny, 2009-PER-00314 (7/13/09). AILA Doc. No. 09102061.

-BALCA vacates the denial based on the fact that the request for PERM conversion and to maintain the original priority date of 4/26/01 was submitted prior to the receipt of the Recruitment Notice. Matter of Far East Home Care, Inc., 2009-PER-00170 (7/13/09). AILA Doc. No. 09102062.

-BALCA affirms the PERM denial based on the fact that the application was filed 187 days after the job order was placed, and consequently, the job order was conducted outside the 180 day requirement. Matter of Spires Restaurant, 2009-PER-00125 (8/25/09). AILA Doc. No. 09102063.

-BALCA affirms the PERM denial based on the employer's failure to state the experience requirement on the Prevailing Wage Determination request to the State Workforce Agency. Matter of Florida Restaurant Group, LLC, 2009-PER-00014 (8/25/09). AILA Doc. No. 09102064.

Trade NAFTA Approved for Management Consultant

Our client is a Canadian citizen. She is a consultant with 30 years of experience in her field. However, she is not degreed. We have obtained Trade NAFTA status for her as a Management Consultant on nine previous occasions.

She has now entered into a contract with a U. S. Fortune 500 company to provide consulting services in the United States. We carefully prepared her application proving that she had more than five years of consulting experience in the specialized business area that was the subject of the consulting agreement.

We prepared our client in advance for the border inspection and appeared with her at the border. The application was approved in less than one hour.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Department of Homeland Security Expands Controversial 287(g) Program Empowering Local Police to Enforce Immigration Laws

Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality act calls for a law enforcement partnership between State and Federal law enforcement agencies with respect to the performance of immigration officer functions by state officers and employees. Simply put, 287(g) delegates federal immigration enforcement authority to state and local agencies.

The Obama administration has announced the recent expansion of the scope of the 287(g), issuing standardized Memorandums of Agreement (MOAs) with 67 state and local law enforcement agencies to participate in 287(g) partnerships.

This has caused an uproar from immigration rights groups. Opponents of 287(g) argue that the law results in racial profiling and violations of due process, and lacks sufficient oversight.


Joanne Lin, ACLU Legislative Counsel, has responded to Obama’s announced expansion of 287(g) stating that:

“ICE’s announcement on 287(g) makes no mention of any oversight, monitoring, or accountability mechanisms to address racial profiling and other civil rights violations – and no commitment to address these very real problems. Instead, ICE has actually re-authorized agencies that have abused their authority, including the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. Disregarding civil rights, breaking bonds between immigrant communities and the police and failing to intelligently prioritize enforcement will only make all of us worse off. ICE should terminate the program immediately.”

Omar Jadwat, staff attorney for the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project is likewise critical of the expansion of 287(g). He has stated that:

“The federal government’s decision to continue with the 287(g) program is shortsighted and disappointing, and signals a troubling unwillingness to grapple with the failings of our broken immigration enforcement system. However, we are encouraged by the decision of several agencies that previously had 287(g) agreements not to continue with the program, and we hope that ICE will ultimately adopt a similar position and end 287(g).”

Conversely, proponents of 287(g) cite to the fact that the program is credited for identifying more than 70,000 (since January 2006) individuals, mostly in jails, who are suspected of being in the country illegally.

Assistant Secretary for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) John Morton touts the benefits of 287(g) characterizing them as partnerships that improve public safety by prioritizing criminal aliens who are a threat to local communities, ensuring consistent and uniform policies and providing a force multiplier for ICE's immigration enforcement efforts across the country. He stated that:

"These new partnerships are an essential tool for law enforcement to identify and remove dangerous criminal aliens from local communities,” and that "Standardizing these agreements allows us to better use the resources and capabilities of our law enforcement partners, facilitates accountability and ensures that all participating jurisdictions are following uniform standards throughout the country."

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has also weighed in on the expansion of 287(g) stating that:

"These new agreements promote public safety by prioritizing the identification and removal of dangerous criminal aliens and ensure consistency and stronger federal oversight of state and local immigration law enforcement efforts across the nation. The rules set forth in these agreements will enhance our efforts to work together effectively with our local partners."
What side of this issue are you on?

Individuals who are Pro-Immigrant, and fight for Immigrant Rights on Twitter

I am proud, and humbled to annouce that I have been included in a list of 250 pro-migrant, human-rights, & civil-rights online activists, advocates & direct service practitioners dedicated to the enactment of meaningful immigration reform that is practical, rational, fair and most of all humane.

If you are on Twitter, and care to follow individuals who are fighting the good fight for immigrants rights click here.

Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio Defies Feds Continues Immigration Sweeps

Friday, October 16, 2009

Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) Decisions

The American Immigration Lawyers Association has reported the following Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) decisions:

-BALCA affirms the denial of a labor certification on the ground that the alien did not meet the educational requirements in the Form 9089, after its revision. Grand Metropolitan Housewares, Inc., 2009-PER-00036 (7/13/09). AILA Doc. No. 09101660.

-BALCA vacates denial of employer's refile request under Sec. 656.17(d) to retain an earlier priority date. An issue remains regarding a name change. Matter of A&R Enterprises, 2009-PER-00152 (7/13/09). AILA Doc. No. 09101662.

-BALCA affirms denial based on lack of evidence of a valid FEIN. Bender Ent, Inc., 2009-PER-00274 (7/13/09). AILA Doc. No. 09101663.

The Immigration Debate and the Census

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Gutierrez Outlines Core Principles for a New Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill

The following press release was taken from Congressman Luis Gutierrez's (Ill. 4th District) website and outlines the core principles that should be included in comprehensive immigration reform legislation.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Washington DC) At a rally today on the west lawn of the United States Capitol, U.S. Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) addressed a crowd of thousands who demanded change to our nation's broken immigration system. Rep. Gutierrez' address responded to a recent call from the immigration advocacy community to introduce comprehensive immigration reform in the House of Representatives.

Rep. Gutierrez has been actively talking to advocacy and civil rights groups, faith-based groups, labor groups and his colleagues on the Hill to identify the most essential components of such a comprehensive bill. Today he outlined some of those core principles.

In a statement, Rep. Gutierrez said:

"We simply cannot wait any longer for a bill that keeps our families together, protects our workers and allows a pathway to legalization for those who have earned it. It is time we had a workable plan making its way through Congress that recognizes the vast contributions of immigrants to this country and that honors the American Dream. I am preparing such a plan, and will introduce it in the near future. It will include the following core principles:"

Pathway to legalization for undocumented workers:

"Immigration reform will not work unless it takes a practical approach to dealing with the 12 million undocumented immigrants living, working, and raising families in the United States. We need a bill that says if you come here to hurt our communities, we will not support you. But if you are here to work hard—if you are here to make a better life for your family—you will have the opportunity to earn your citizenship."

"Our immigrants are hardworking, and they are up to the challenge. Give them the opportunity to earn their citizenship, and they will go through the background checks; they will pay their fair share of taxes; and they will learn English. It’s not an easy process, but it is a fair process."

Professional and effective border enforcement:

"We need professional and effective border enforcement. That means 21st century enforcement strategies that both make our nation’s physical and economic security stronger and stay true to our nation’s values. We need to require the federal government to make a real, working partnership with border communities and other stakeholders when designing and executing border enforcement policies."

Smart and humane interior enforcement:
"Inside the country, my plan will promote fair immigration proceedings, humane treatment of immigration detainees and policies that respect the tenets of community policing."

Protecting workers:
"Immigration reform will not work without a strong commitment to America’s labor force. Without it, too many employers will continue to pervert the system. We must expand the labor rights of workers and punish those dishonest employers who continue to exploit immigrants in order to undermine their honest competitors."

Verification systems:

"We must fix the current employment eligibility verification system, not only to protect Americans who are denied the right to work because of errors in the government’s databases, but also to prevent employers who would exploit the system and undermine workers’ rights. A vastly improved verification system is fundamental to reducing illegal immigration."

Family unity as a cornerstone of our immigration system:
"Family is the bedrock of our society, and immigration reform must support strong, united families and treat all immigrant families fairly and equally. Right now, our broken immigration system keeps too many American families apart for years and even decades, when they have done everything legally. We need a system predicated on family values by developing laws that better value families — a system that keeps families strong and, most importantly, keeps husbands and wives, parents and children together."

Future flows of workers:

"Our country attracts the best and brightest and the hardest workers from around the globe. That is a source of strength. But our current employment-based immigration laws are often at odds with the needs of our labor market and our economy. Many of our guest worker programs are badly broken, and they undermine workers’ rights. At the same time, our visa quotas are determined by politics, not by labor and economic need. My plan will create an employment-based visa system that is fair to workers and employers. It will ensure full labor rights for all workers, and it will create a commission to align visa numbers with actual labor market demands and economic needs, not political winds."

AgJOBS:

"Agriculture plays a fundamental role in our nation’s economy and in securing our nation's food supply. Comprehensive immigration reform must provide an agreement between labor and agribusiness that allows farm workers to access legal protections and immigration status while enabling employers to ensure a legal workforce and stabilize their businesses."

DREAM Act:

"We all want a country that is better educated, better motivated and better prepared for the future. My plan will strengthen the DREAM Act, making it quicker and easier for students who grew up in America and know no other home to fully participate in our society. Immigrants brought here as children should not be punished with fines or other means; rather, they should be fully integrated into our society as the Americans they truly are—and as quickly as possible."

Promoting immigrant integration:
"For years, state and local governments have taken the lead in helping new immigrants become new Americans. Recent arrivals face many challenges when navigating this process, yet the federal government has done little to help. I plan to recommit federal resources to promoting and assisting immigrant integration. It is about staying true to our nation’s success story of welcoming newcomers and helping them become part of the fabric of America."

"If we are to truly fix any of these critical issues, we must address all of them."

White House Intervenes Against Sheriff Arpaio

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rep. Luis Gutierrez' (D-IL) Gutierrez on immigration reform: "We will not wait"

Immigration Reform Rally at CSU Oval. October 14, 2009

ACLU report on racial profiling in Georgia

The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia (ACLU) has released a report on racial profiling in Georgia entitled: "Terror and Isolation in Cobb: How Unchecked Police Power under 287(g) Has Torn Families Apart and Threatened Public Safety"

The report paints a picture of the "human impact" of 287(g) and how 287(g) has adversely affected public safety in Cobb County.

People say 287(g) is attrition through enforcement; when in reality, 287(g) creates isolation through enforcement. It causes people to live in the shadows, to interact with mainstream society less, to lock their doors and stay at home, and certainly not learn English or assimilate. That’s of no benefit to anybody. -‐Jamie Hernan

Click here to read the ACLU report.

Friday, October 9, 2009

CNN Rick Sanchez Takes On Sheriff Joe Arpaio Over Profiling

Arpaio to Feds: "I'm still going to continue my programs, regardless of whats the feds like or don't like."

Sheriff Joe Arpaio has stated that he will continue to take individuals into custody who he suspects are in violation of United States immigration laws, and intends to drive individuals back to Mexico, rather than turn the individuals over to Federal custody as is required under Federal Law.

Sherrif Arpaio was quoted as saying that “[w]e’ve been doing it for two years and have been very successful, but I guess they don’t like to enforce illegal immigration laws,” “[It] doesn’t make any difference. I’m still going to continue my programs, regardless of what the feds like or don’t like.”

H-1B Approval for a Lawyer

Our client is a U. S. law firm. It employs a citizen of Korea as an attorney. She obtained her Juris Doctor degree from a U. S. university and she is licensed to practice in the United States.

Three years ago her employer petitioned for her in H-1B status. The petition was approved for a period of three years. The employer retained us to extend her status for an additional three years.

We determined the actual wage for the position at the place of employ, determined the prevailing wage, electronically filed a Labor Condition Application, prepared and filed a Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker with U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, along with appropriate supporting documentation and our letter in support, and requested Premium Processing.

The petition was approved in seven days, and the employee’s status as an H-1B was extended for a period of three years.

Monday, October 5, 2009

H-1B Approved in Seven Days

Our client is a manufacturer of industrial thermal furnaces. It employs a citizen of India who is a graduate engineer. He obtained his undergraduate degree in India and his Ph.D. in Engineering in the United States.

Three years ago his employer petitioned for him in H-1B status. The petition was approved for a period of three years. The employer retained us to extend his status for an additional three years.

We determined the actual wage for the position at the place of employ, obtained a state prevail-ing wage determination, electronically filed a Labor Condition Application, prepared and filed a Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker with U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, along with appropriate supporting documentation and our letter in support, and requested Premium Processing.

The petition was approved in seven days, and the employee’s status as an H-1B was extended for a period of three years.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Olympics - Yet Another Victim of America's Broken Immigration System

The Immigration Policy Center has just issued the following Press Release:

"Washington D.C. - Newspapers are reporting today that during the official Q&A session following the Chicago bid for the Olympic Games, I.O.C. member, Syed Shahid Ali, from Pakistan, asked President Obama how smooth it would be for foreigners to enter the United States for the Olympic Games because doing so can sometimes be "a rather harrowing experience."

While this I.O.C. member's concerns raise a red flag about the need for a change in our immigration policies, a litany of voices have been warning for years that the U.S. is slowly adopting an anti-visitor policy that is harming business, higher education and families. Stories in the press and report after report have all highlighted how our broken immigration system is hampering our nation's ability to attract the best and the brightest and stay competitive with other nations around the world.

While the I.O.C. questioned Brazil on combating crime, and Japan was chided for a lackluster proposal that led it to claim the country's plan was environmentally friendly, it's notable that the U.S. was pushed hardest on its immigration policies making it clear that our broken immigration system has officially become our Achilles' heel in the eyes of the world.

President Obama said at a recent White House gathering that he believes in comprehensive immigration reform and that it is on his agenda. However, this recent disappointment proves that immigration reform is not just a pressing domestic issue, but an international one as well. The President may say the U.S. is open for business, but our nation's actions have proved quite the opposite."

Litigation Clearinghouse Volume 4, Issue 11

Litigation Clearinghouse Volume 4, Issue 11 (October 2, 2009)

"This issue highlights Supreme Court cases that will be argued this fall, judicial review of denied adjustment of status applications, challenges to the use of detainers, and updates from the LAC, including a recent victory in a naturalization delay case and favorable developments in a BIA case involving portability/Matter of Perez Vargas."

Immigration Lawyer - Brad Bernstein: Obama's Immigration Policy: "Why don't you fire them and let them starve to death."

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Asks Barack Obama to Terminate 287(g) Program

"In a letter to Barack Obama dated Monday, September 28, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus called on the President to terminate the 287(g) program, and cease all of the so-called Memorandums of Understanding authorizing local law enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration law.

The letter -- which is signed by Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez, Representative from New York, and Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Chair of the CHC's Immigration Task Force -- takes note of efforts by the Department of Homeland Security to reform the program with supposedly new and improved agreements with local cops. But the missive makes it clear that the CHC, an influential group of lawmakers in a majority Democratic Congress, sees the 287(g) program as fatally flawed. (You can read the letter in its entirety, here.)" -Stephen Lemons.


September 25, 2009 H-1B Cap Count

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has reported that as of September 25, 2009, approximately 46,700 H-1B cap-subject petitions and approximately 20,000 petitions qualifying for the advanced degree cap exemption had been filed.

You may still file and USCIS will still accept H-1B applications for both cap-subject and cap-exempt individuals until the cap is reached. AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 09042065 (Posted 10/01/09)

Department of Justice publishes Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) guidelines

Back on January 21, 2009, a memorandum was issued by the President that required the Attorney General to issue new guidelines governing FOIA requests, and mandated that the guidelines be published in the Federal Register.

The Attorney General issued new FOIA guidelines on March 19, 2009, and they were published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, September 29, 2009.

Federal Register/ Vol. 74, No. 187 / Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

2011 Diversity Visa Lottery Program Registration

The Department of State has published an announcement in the Federal Register notifying qualifying individuals of the opening of the registration period for the DV-2011 Diversity Visa lottery.

If you are eligible to apply for the DV-2011 Diversity Visa lottery you must submit your application electronically between noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), Friday, October 2, 2009, and noon, Eastern Standard Time (EST) (GMT-5), Monday, November 30, 2009.

Click here for the full DV-2011 Instructions.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Women Facing Persecution in Pakistan

Today I am working on an asylum application for a Pakistani woman who fled Pakistan because she feared for her life. At the time she escaped, she was 29, unmarried, and pregnant. She was engaged to a man that her family had arranged a marriage with, and he was not the father of her child.

Moreover, she was a Sunni Muslim, and the father of her child was a Shi’a Muslim. Knowing that this was a death sentence for her, she and the father of her child came to the United States in search of safety.

Here is some of the initial research I have gathered on the persecution of women in Pakistan who have an out-of-wedlock child, and/or marry the man of their choosing:

Just a few months ago, in June, a young woman who married against the will of her family was beaten and killed, along with her husband and three of his relatives, by over three dozen attackers headed by her family, “to avenge the so-called dishonour brought to the family due to the elopement of the girl.”

Last September, three women who attempted to marry men of their own choosing were kidnapped, driven to the desert, beaten, shot, and then buried alive. Upon hearing of this heinous crime, a local politician stated that “such acts were part of a ‘centuries-old tradition’ and he would ‘continue to defend them.’”

Women in Pakistan live in fear. They face death by shooting, burning or killing with axes if they are deemed to have brought shame on the family. They are killed for supposed ‘illicit’ relationships, for marrying men of their choice, for divorcing abusive husbands. They are even murdered by their kin if they are raped as they are thereby deemed to have brought shame on their family. The truth of the suspicion does not matter – merely the allegation is enough to bring dishonour on the family and therefore justifies the slaying.”

California Lawmakers call for Suspension of Immigration Laws

Does anyone else find it ironic that that California State lawmakers have passed a resolution that calls for the non-enforcement of laws?

It has been reported that California State Senator Gilbert Cedillo-D sponsored a resolution in the California Senate that has passed by a partisan vote of Democrats that calls for a moratorium on the enforcement of all Federal and State immigration laws in the State of California.

Now, I'm not saying that the United States immigration laws don't need to be fixed, but to suspend immigration enforcement all together is simply ridiculous, and sets a terrible, and dangerous precedent. Thankfully this resolution isn't worth the paper that it is written on.

Only in California.

Click here to read the entire text of the joint resolution.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Former Ambassador to Mexico James Jones, on commerce and the southwest border


Find more videos like this on Our Border

In the Shadow of the Raid

The documentary "In the Shadow of the Raid" premiers at the Morelia International Film Festival, in Mexico between Oct. 3 and Oct. 11.

Second Circuit to Immigration Judge: If you deny asylum, you must give legally sufficient reasons for the denial.

In an unpublished decision (Madaminova v. Holder, Sept. 25, 2009), the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has put their foot down ruling that an Immigration Judge must give sufficient reasons for denying an application for asylum, and may not simply just say no.

The Court ruled that conclusory determinations regarding incidents an asylum applicant describes in their application for asylum are insufficient, and that the Immigration Court must explain why it is denying the asylum application.

The Court further ruled that the Immigration Judge must identify the legal standard relied upon in assessing whether the testified experience constitutes persecution, must consider the cumulative effect of an asylum applicant’s experiences as opposed to assessing them in isolation, and may not simply state that the past described incidents simply do not rise to the level of persecution.

Although this case does not have binding precedential effect on other cases arising out of the Second Circuit, it sends a message to Immigration Judges that you can’t just say “no” without explaining your answer thereby precluding an asylum applicant from seeking meaningful judicial review of the denial.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Nonimmigrant Waiver Approved to Overcome Drug Trafficking Finding

Our client is a Canadian citizen. Sixteen years ago she was arrested for attempting to smuggle a hockey bag full of marijuana into the United States . Because of her tender years, and the fact that she had been taken advantage of by a Columbian drug smuggler, she was placed in a Pre-trial Intervention Program and avoided a criminal conviction.

Eight years ago, Immigration Court proceedings were instituted against her because of this incident. After trial, she was allowed to withdraw her application for admission over the objection of the Department of Homeland Security, and as a result, she was not ordered deported from the United States . However, the underlying ground involving illicit drug trafficking remained.

We then applied for a non-immigrant waiver for her, supported by our Legal Brief and various exhibits showing why she was eligible for relief. The waiver has now been granted for multiple entries as a visit for business and pleasure.