Friday, July 31, 2009

Immigrants Blackmailed for Sex

"Eyewitness News has learned a federal government employee allegedly blackmailed women into having sex with him.

A source said a man named Bedri Kulla was arrested in Wake County Wednesday.
Kulla worked for the US Citizen and Immigration Services Department at a office in Durham County.

He allegedly told women who were illegal immigrants that he would have them deported if they refused to have sex with him." ABC News (WTVD)

Click here to view the ABC News report.

Ninth Nonimmigrant Waiver of Inadmissibility Approved

Our client is a Canadian citizen. He holds a responsible position with a Canadian company. Unfortunately, he is inadmissible to the United States for life due to a conviction of a crime of moral turpitude when he was 20 years of age.

We filed an application for a waiver of his inadmissibility so that he may visit his company’s U. S. offices and come to the U. S. for vacations. We supported the application with our legal brief and 19 exhibits.

Four months after submission of the application, the waiver was granted for a period of five years for business and pleasure for multiple entries. This is the ninth waiver approval we have obtained for this client.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Obama Administration Targeting Immigrants and Increasing Racial Profiling: Three Part Video Series

Obama loses immigration allies

President Obama campaigned on the promise of addressing our failed immigration laws. Since his election he has done nothing but extend past Bush administration enforcement policies, betraying those individuals who detrimentally relied on his promise of implementing meaningful comprehensive immigration reform. His allies are losing patience.

"Three years after President Obama marched alongside Hispanic and immigrant rights activists, they took to the streets Wednesday to march against him, saying he has betrayed them by embracing George W. Bush administration efforts to stem illegal immigration.

Activists marched in Los Angeles and picketed Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's appearance in New York, angered over the administration's recent embrace of an electronic verification system for employers and a program that allows local police to enforce immigration laws.

The protests highlight the tough political spot Mr. Obama faces: He enjoyed strong support from Hispanics in last year's election, but activists say he's now risking their support in the future. " -Obama loses immigration allies - Washington Times

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Frustration Mounts as DHS Continues and Expands Bush-Era Immigration Enforcement Strategies |

"On the heels of several reports critical of the Department of Homeland Security’s enforcement and detention policies, grassroots advocates for immigration reform took to the streets today to protest the continuation and expansion of ineffective Bush-era tactics. Their protests echo the findings of credible reports and the recommendations of law enforcement officials, all of whom are calling on DHS to make significant changes in policy and strategy. "

Understanding Immigration Law

If you are looking for a general understanding of the United States immigration laws this book may be worth checking out.

"This book provides a comprehensive overview of U.S. immigration law. It has been designed to supplement the most widely adopted immigration law casebooks. The co-authors of Understanding Immigration Law provide up-to-date immigration law news and analysis on the ImmigrationProf blog, which can be used to ensure that teachers and students are up-to-date on recent developments in immigration law." -Understanding Immigration Law

Green Card Approved Dispite Husband and Wife Living Apart

Our client is a citizen of Nevis and St. Kitts. She is married to a United States citizen. Shortly after the marriage, she was encountered at an airport and placed in Immigration Court proceedings because she had overstayed her visitor status. We were then retained.

The first thing we did was prepare a Petition for Alien Relative for her husband on her behalf with supporting documents of the bona fides of the marriage, notwithstanding the fact that the parties were living apart as a result of the husband’s employment.

Next we appeared in Immigration Court on three occasions and obtained continuances to enable U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to adjudicate the husband’s Petition. After the Petition was approved, we moved to terminate the Immigration Court proceeding to confer jurisdiction upon U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to adjudicate our client’s Application for Permanent Residence.

The Marriage Fraud Interview was held. We represented the parties at the interview and convinced the examiner after full disclosure that their marriage was bona fide, notwithstanding their living arrangements. The interview was held five days before the second anniversary of their marriage.

At our request, the examiner delayed formal approval for five days, which means that our clients will not have to file a second petition within 90 days before the second anniversary of the green card approval. Our client is now a lawful permanent resident of the United States.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Five Year Nonimmigrant Waiver Of Inadmissibility Granted

Our client is a Canadian citizen. He is in the music business in the United States, and has been granted nonimmigrant status by U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services as having extra-ordinary ability in the arts. Unfortunately, he is inadmissible to the United States for life due to a misrepresentation of his purposes for entering eight years ago which resulted in the issuance of an Expedited Removal Order.

The life of the Expedited Removal Order is five years, which has now expired. The underlying misrepresentation ground outlives the Order, and he must obtain a waiver of inadmissibility from U. S. Customs and Border Protection in order to be able to enter the United States to avail him-self of the status granted to him by U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

We submitted a voluminous and comprehensive waiver application package for him. Because of a business related emergent need to be in the United States, we requested expeditious adjudication after the waiver application was submitted. The waiver was immediately approved for a period of five years authorizing multiple entries. This is the second five year waiver we have obtained for this client.

Suits for wrongful deportation by ICE rise

You would think that before U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detained individuals for deportation they would ask if the individual is a United States Citizen.

You thought wrong:

"Citizens who have been wrongfully locked up in immigration jails can't reclaim the months or years they spent behind bars, but some of them are seeking restitution and suing the U.S. government.

Hundreds of U.S. citizens have been detained and, in some cases, deported by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, The Chronicle revealed in a special report Monday. Legal experts say the numbers have grown as immigration detention has tripled over the past dozen years to 33,000 inmates at a time.

Cesar Ramirez Lopez, a San Pablo truck driver, won a $10,000 settlement in 2007 after he was held for four days by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents even after his lawyer convinced ICE investigators that he was a citizen."

Click here to read the entire story.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Deportation Prevented: Green Card Issued after 10 Long Years

Our client is a citizen of Ghana. He entered the United States in the 1990s, and married his spouse, a United States Citizen, in February 1997. His wife sponsored him for a Green Card, which was granted, but only on a two-year conditional basis.

The couple timely filed a joint petition in order to have the conditions removed from the Green Card, but at the interview the Government charged our client with fraud for failing to disclose a non-marital relationship back in Ghana which they deemed to be a valid marriage which would have precluded him from being able to legally marry in the United States. Our client’s conditional Green Card was terminated, and the Department instituted deportation proceedings against him.

We were then retained, and we requested that the Court review the denial of the petition to remove the conditions on our client’s Green Card. At trial we provided the Immigration Court with indisputable proof that our client had never been married in Ghana, but the Court inexplicably ruled that because this proof was obtained after his marriage that it was insufficient to combat the fraud charge, and ordered our client's deportation.

We appealed the decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals arguing that it was the Government’s burden to prove that the Respondent was not eligible to marry, and not our client’s burden, but the Board affirmed the Immigration Court’s decision. We filed a motion to reconsider, which was likewise denied.

During the appeals process we had our client renew his marriage vows with his wife, and then had his wife file a new Green Card petition with the same proof that we had previously provided the Court establishing that our client was never legally married in Ghana, arguing that both marriages to his United States citizen spouse were valid. Citizenship and Immigration Services approved the second Green Card petition rendering our client eligible to apply for a new Green Card.

Meanwhile, we filed a petition for review challenging the Board of Immigration Appeal’s decision with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. We argued that the Government had failed in their burden of establishing that our client was ineligible to marry his spouse, and that the Board failed to adequately consider the Court Order we provided establishing that our client was never married in Ghana.

We then convinced the U.S. Attorney assigned to the case to join in our request to remand the case back to the Immigration Court for consideration of the new evidence of the subsequently approved Green Card petition, and for a proper review of the evidence that was previously submitted.

During the months leading up to trial we worked with the Government’s lawyers, and convinced them that our client was not deportable and they joined in our request to grant our client his permanent Green Card. The Immigration Judge issued an order giving our client his permanent Green Card and terminated deportation proceedings against him with prejudice to the Department.

After approximately ten years of contested litigation our client’s ordeal is finally over, and justice has been done. He may now apply for his United States citizenship.

Family of Kansas Church Pastor Deported Over Mistake in Form

Because of a simple mistake in an immigration form, the family of a youth pastor has been deported and is now barred from the United States for ten years.

Click here to read the full story.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Cops Search Hospitals for Injured Killer of Border Patrol Agent - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News -

Cops Search Hospitals for Injured Killer of Border Patrol Agent

Matter of Jaime Armando LAMUS-Pava, 25 I&N Dec. 61 (BIA 2009)

The Board of Immigration Appeals has just ruled that a motion to reopen to apply for adjustment of status based on a marriage entered into after the commencement of removal proceedings may not be denied under the fifth factor enumerated in Matter of Velarde, 23 I&N Dec. 253 (BIA 2002), based on the mere fact that the Government has filed an opposition to the motion, without regard to the merit of that opposition. Matter of Jaime Armando LAMUS-Pava, 25 I&N Dec. 61 (BIA 2009).

What this means is that an Immigration Judge may not deny a motion to reopen that was timely filed on the basis that the alien married a United States citizen after deportation proceedings were instituted solely because the Government opposes the reopening of the case.

Immigration Advocates Call ‘Wise Latina’ Attack Dog Whistle Politics

"The subject of immigration was barely raised during the confirmation the hearing, but some immigrants’ rights advocates say it wasn’t completely absent. These advocates claim it’s no coincidence that the same senators who attacked her past remarks that a “wise Latina judge” would reach better decisions in some cases than a white male judge were also senators — such as Sessions and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) — who’ve expressed grave concerns about the immigration of foreigners into the United States. They have voted against the last immigration reform bill and, in some cases, have won praise from anti-immigration extremist groups." -The Washington Independent (7/24/09)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Deputy Director Aytes on "E-Verify"

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Deputy Director Aytes testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugee and Border Security for a hearing entitled: "Interior Enforcement of Immigration Laws: Eliminating Employer Demand for Illegal Immigrants as Part of Comprehensive Immigration Reform."

It goes without saying that Aytes tesimony was in defense of the E-Verify program arguing that the program addresses illegal immigration from the demand side, i.e., going after tax paying employers, rather than actually acknowledging the reality that United States immigration laws prevent employers from hiring willing employees legally.

Aytes explained that employers can access E-Verify through a "user-friendly" government website that compares information garnered from the employee on the Employment Eligibility Verification Form (Form I-9) with more than 455 million records in the Social Security Administration's (SSA) database, and more than 80 million records in DHS immigration databases.

The first thing I would like to know is what is Deputy Director's Aytes definition of "user friendly", because in my experience whenever you are required to interact with a government agency, the experience is almost never "user-friendly", and requires a law degree and extensive experience in the immigration law to be able to successfully navigate.

In any event, what Deputy Director Aytes failed to mention was that the E-verify program fails to combat identity fraud, and promotes rampant abuses because there is virtually no mechanism built into the program safegaurd against an employee from providing an employer with stolen identity information which will come back valid.

Plain and simply, the E-verify system does nothing to fix the real problem, which is that our employers are unable to hire willing employees because our immigration laws prevent them from doing so. Any verification system that is implimented must be in conjunction with comprehensive immigration reform and must apply to new hires only and not existing employees, as well as including protections for existing workers, and provisions for adequate due process.

Congress and the Department need to actually fix our immigration problem, rather than coming up with ways to simply punish and make it more difficult for American employers who pay taxes and create jobs.

MPI Report Proposes New System of Provisional Visas to Address U.S. Labor Market Future Flow Needs

"The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) today proposed creation of a new stream of visas to provide for the future flows of workers needed by the U.S. economy, stressing that comprehensive immigration reform legislation must include reform of the employment-based immigration system if it is to be effective.

In a new report, Aligning Temporary Immigration Visas with US Labor Market Needs: The Case for a New System of Provisional Visas, MPI recommends reform of a rigid, outdated employment-based visa system that is out of sync with the needs of employers, the U.S. economy, U.S. society and immigrants alike." -Migration Policy Institute

BIA Ruling: Matter of Olivia BULNES-Nolasco

The Board of Immigration Appeals has just ruled that an alien’s departure from the United States while under an outstanding order of deportation or removal issued in absentia does not deprive the Immigration Judge of jurisdiction to entertain a motion to reopen to rescind the order if the motion is premised upon lack of notice. Matter of Olivia BULNES-Nolasco, 25 I&N Dec. 57 (BIA 2009).

What this means is that if the Government fails to notify an individual of the time, date, and place of their immigration court hearing, and then deports the individual when he fails to appear in court, you are now able to file a motion to reopen proceedings even when the individual leaves the country after being ordered deported.

Score one for due process.

E-Verify Talking Points Memo

The American Immigration Policy Center has put together a talking points memo that addresses the key issues relating to a workable and effective electronic verification system.

They state that: "A key part of comprehensive immigration reform will no doubt be the implementation of an electronic employment-verification system (EEVS). Since EEVS affects every single person working in the United States - immigrants and citizens alike - is it important to consider several key areas that must be addressed to make such a system workable and effective. (July 23, 2009)" -AIPC

Click here to read the talking point memo.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez on E-Verify

Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez District 4 Illinois (Democrat) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 testified before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security. The hearing was entitled "Ensuring a Legal Workforce: What Changes Should be Made to Our Current Employment Verification System?" His testimony cut right to the heart of the matter.

He stated: "I know some in Congress believe that a mandatory employment verification system alone would actually fix our broken immigration system by encouraging undocumented immigrants to "self-deport." However, those who believe this do not fully understand (1) how much undocumented workers are already an integral part of our country, economy, communities and families; (2) the extent to which bad-apple employers are willing to go to exploit this source of vulnerable and cheap labor; and (3), the significant shortfalls of the current E-Verify system. "

He continued by explaining E-Verify's shortfalls:

"[T]he current E-Verify system falls short of being as effective as we need it to be, because it does not prevent discrimination or misuse by employers, such as pre-screening job applicants and circumventing the system altogether. The current system also has a serious security flaw, in that it is incapable of preventing or determining fraud or identity theft. "

We can only hope that there are more people in Congress that understand the issues that need to be addressed in tackling comprehensive immigration reform, and that they listen to people like Congressman Gutierrez before taking action.

Click here to read the full testimony of Congressman Gutierrez before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Obama’s New Immigration Policy: Punish United States Citizen Employers

President Obama promised to “change” our immigration policies, but what he didn’t tell us was that the change he was going to deliver was change for the worse.

The President’s new immigration policy is to punish United States citizen employers. You read that right. His immigration change includes placing a heavier burden on employers by increasing investigations of hiring records and issuing fines for violations.

Isn't that just what the taxpayer struggling to stay in business needs right now: more fines. Now that is change we can believe in.

The administration has justified this "change" by stating "We have to come to grips with the market for illegal labor," "To get there, we have to move beyond individual cases." - John Morton, assistant secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in DHS.

Now I'm not saying that employers should willfully and knowingly hire individuals who are in this country illegally, but the reality is that in these tough economic times a United States Citizen employer needs the means to hire willing workers legally, and our broken immigration system precludes that option.

Moreover, a small business owner should not be put in the position of having to fire an individual who their business may depend on to remain viable, or face the possibility of stiff fines. Talk about kicking you when you're down.

Here is a little suggestion for you Mr. President: why don't you attempt to work with Congress to create a system where employers can legally hire the individuals that are already inside the country who actually want to work, and that incidentally, many small businesses are dependent on.

I am willing to wager a guess that the 67% of Hispanics who voted for the President expected more. I know I did.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Second Circuit on consular reviewability

Score one for accountability. The Second Circuit has ruled that aggrieved individuals can finally get into Court to challenge Department of State determinations of visa ineligibility, because the District Courts have jurisdiction to hear claims by individuals who believe their visa was wrongly denied.

This is huge news because Consular Officers have wide discretionary authority over the issuance of visas. It is called the "doctrine of consular nonreviewability", or in layman's terms, "you can't to squat about it". Prior to this decision there has been little that we could do to combat an adverse determination, but now it appears as though accountability will finally come into the equation, which may improve the quality of adjudications at Consulates abroad.

I can't wait to see how this plays out.

"The Court of Appeals concludes that the District Court had jurisdiction to consider the claim, despite the doctrine of consular nonreviewability; the statutory provision expanding visa ineligibility to those who contributed funds to an undesignated terrorist organization before the provision was enacted was validly applied to Ramadan; the knowledge requirement of the statute required the consular officer to find that Ramadan knew his contributions provided material support; the consular officer was required to confront Ramadan with the allegation against him and afford him the subsequent opportunity to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that he did not know, and reasonably should not have known, that the recipient of his contributions was a terrorist organization; and the record was unclear whether the consular officer had done so." Ramadan v. Napolitano, July 17, 2009.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Immigration Agents Charged With Taking $55,000 From Border Patrol for Personal Use

"TUCSON, Ariz. — Authorities say two federal immigration officers from Tucson have been indicted for allegedly using U.S. Border Patrol credit cards to charge more than $55,000 in personal goods and services." AP (July 17, 2009)

Friday, July 17, 2009

ICE takes Issue with the New York Times

John Morton, the Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security took issue with a recent editorial that appeared in the New York Times entitled: “More Immigration Non-Solutions” (NY Times editorial, July 13).

He responded with a letter to the editor stating in part:

"I take issue with your assertion that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s 287(g) program is 'misguided, ineffective and dangerous.'

Among other things, the program enables state and local law enforcement officials to deploy resources and manpower in their communities to enforce federal immigration laws, a force multiplier for federal law enforcement.

The program has been effective. Since January 2006, 287(g)-trained officers have identified more than 120,000 people, predominantly in jails, who are in the country illegally and have committed serious crimes while here. Finding and removing these criminal aliens is critical to our nation’s overall interior enforcement strategy."

From my perspective, enforcement is a necessary part of United States immigration system. After all, what is the point of having laws if they aren't enforced? That being said, until Congress finds a way to fix our broken immigration system there will continue to be rampant violators.

As an immigration practitioner I can tell you without hesitation that our immigration system is not irrevocably broken, and merely needs minor tweaks to be able to get the job done. The real problem is that members of Congress are being influenced by extremists on both side of the issue and the result is a paralysis of action.

Now it is the Democrat’s turn to attempt to address our immigration problem. With them controlling both Congress and the White House they will have no excuses in the mid-term elections if they once again fail to enact any meaningful comprehensive immigration reform.

I’m not holding my breath.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

ACLU Demands Disclosure Of New Parameters For Flawed State And Local Immigration Enforcement Program

"The American Civil Liberties Union filed a Freedom of Information Act request Tuesday for new documents governing the continued delegation to state and local law enforcement agencies of federal immigration enforcement authority. The fundamentally flawed program has been associated with serious civil rights abuses and public safety concerns." ACLU, July 15, 2009.

Asylum to be expanded to Battered Women

In a surprise turn of events the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is instituting a new policy that will enable certain victims of domestic violence to seek asylum protection in the United States.

In order to obtain asylum an individual must be able to show that they were harmed (or fear harm) by the government in their home country on account of their race, religion, political beliefs, their membership in a particular social group, or because of some immutable characteristic. This inclusion of some victims of domestic violence into the recognized definition of "a particular social group" opens up a world of possibilities for asylum seekers in the United States.

You can read the full text of the brief filed by the DHS here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sotomayor Confirmation Hearings & Immigration

I recently appeared before Judge Sotomayor. As an immigration practitioner with almost 13 years litigation experience I was impressed by Judge Sotomayor's understanding of the law. The argument I presented was complex and layered, and she was able to cut right to the heart of the issue presented, asking astute questions that reflected her understanding of the law.

That being said, Sotomayor has a reputation as being a bit of a bully on the bench. I have not personally experienced that, and felt that her judicial temperament was adequate. There is no doubt in anyone's mind that she was in control of her Court room, but she gave me the opportunity to answer specific questions, and listened to my argument, eventually incorporating it into her opinion. Needless to say I did not feel bullied, nor have I witnessed her bullying any other attorneys who presented arguments before the Court.

As for her ability to serve as a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, in my opinion there are much worse judges out there. She will be confirmed as she has the votes, so only history will tell.

AILF LAC Litigation Clearinghouse Newsletter

Vol. 4. No. 8, July 10, 2009: "This issue of AILF's Litigation Clearinghouse Newsletter covers a court order requiring DHS to respond to a detention standards petition, BIA and Ninth Circuit decisions on continuances, a class action challenging prolonged detention, retroactive application of a change in law, and litigation resources on the Supreme Court's decision in Nijhawan." Copyright 2009 AILF.

A Conversation about the Economic Effects of Immigrants on African Americans

This interesting article addresses many of the issues regarding immigration and the effect it has on African Americans.

"Gerald D. Jaynes, a professor in the Economics and African American Studies Departments at Yale University, dispels the myth that immigrants take African American jobs. In his plainspoken narrative, Jaynes cites statistical analysis on the effect of immigration on wages and native-born employment and finds the effects to be "relatively small and secondary to other causes of low wages and employment." He also points out that immigration as a whole is a net benefit to the U.S. economy." IPC, July 14, 2009.