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 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.

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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.


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."


"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."


"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