Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Murdoch and Bloomberg Join Forces for immigration

Robert Gibbs Mocks GOP Sen. Jon Kyl in Answer About Border Conversation with Obama

Battered Spouse Petition Approved

We just obtained the approval of a Form I-360 battered spouse petition on behalf of citizen of Canada. Our client was initially admitted to the United States in 2002 as a Scientific Technician/Technologist with authorization to remain in the United States until 2003. He subsequently met, fell in love, and married a United States citizen in 2005.

Shortly after the marriage, our client hired an attorney for the preparation of his Green Card application. However, after hiring the attorney, our client’s spouse kept putting off filing the application. She would get angry at him when he brought it up, and threatened to report his overstay status to immigration authorities.

Our client soon realized that his spouse had begun drinking alcohol heavily. Although he was aware that his new wife had lost her driver’s license in 2003 as a result of a DUI conviction, she had characterized the conviction as a mistake. He understood that mistakes happen, and accepted her explanation.

Unfortunately, the problems were just beginning. His spouse became physically abusive when drunk. Over the 14 months that they resided together as husband and wife, the abuser threw objects at him, punched him in the face and head, and hit him with objects such as a telephone. Knowing that our client’s eyesight was poor, his abuser would grab his glasses from his face during her attacks, rendering him unable to defend himself against her blows because he couldn’t see them coming.

Despite the severe difficulties in the marriage our client encouraged his wife to seek help for her alcoholism, and although the abuser promised that she would, she continued to drink, which resulted in frequent and violent abuse.

His abuser’s drinking ultimately led to another car accident in which she was severely injured. Our client also learned that the abuser had been having a longtime affair with an ex-boyfriend. After summoning his courage and strength our client ultimately fled the marital residence. Our client remains married to the abuser as she is unwilling to grant him a divorce because she expects him to keep her on his health insurance under threat of deportation.

We were retained and prepared the Form I-360, Battered Spouse Petition, and supported it with substantial evidence of the abuse our client suffered at the hand of his United States citizen spouse. Such evidence included affidavits of eye witnesses to the abuse, police reports, and photographs.

Thankfully, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services approved the petition, and deportation proceedings have been deferred to enable him to apply for his Green Card.

While the horrors of spousal abuse against women have been widely documented and condemned, men can also be victims of both physical and emotional abuse by their spouses. It is estimated that 835,000 men are the victims of domestic violence in the United States each year. Men are often less likely to report the abuse against them, because they fear they will not be believed, or even if they are believed, that they will be ignored or humiliated.

Man or woman, it is imperative that you contact an experienced immigration lawyer if you are the victim of physical or psychological abuse by a United States citizen who is holding your immigration status over your head in return for your silence.

Arizona Democrat US Rep Gabrielle Giffords explains why she wants the Obama administration to back off suing the state over its illegal immigration law

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Congresswoman Giffords appeared on FOX News to talk about her fight to reverse the economic boycott over AZ S.B. 1070



"On June 28, 2010, Congresswoman Giffords appeared on FOX News to talk about her fight to reverse the economic boycott over AZ S.B. 1070. Giffords also has written to 42 cities and organizations urging that they reverse plans to boycott Arizona to protest the immigration law."

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

Supreme Court Ruling: Carachuri-Rosendo v. Holder, June 14, 2010

The United States Supreme Court has just issued an immigration related decision that breaths a whisper of common sense back into the interpretation of our United States immigration laws.

In Carachuri-Rosendo v. Holder, June 14, 2010, the Court found that a second or subsequent simple possession offense may not be interpreted as an aggravated felony under §1101(a)(43) when the state conviction is not based on a prior conviction.

The Supreme Court overturned the Immigration Judge's interpretation that a second simple possession conviction constitutes an “aggravated felony” that renders an individual in-eligible for cancellation of removal.

Both the Board of Immigration Appeals and Fifth Circuit affirmed the Immigration Judge in reliance on the holding in Lopez v. Gonzales, 549 U. S. 47, 56, which states that for a conviction to be an “aggravated felony” for immigration law purposes, a state drug conviction must be punishable as a felony under federal law. Both the Board and the Fifth utilized a “hypothetical approach,” to conclude that if “conduct” could have been prosecuted as a recidivist simple possession under state law, it could have also been punished as a felony under federal law.

In rendering its decision the Supreme Court reaffirmed a previous ruling in Leocal v. Ashcroft, 543 U. S. 1, 11, n. 8, where it held that ambiguities in criminal statutes referenced in immigration laws should be construed in a non-citizen’s favor.

This is a tremendous victory for justice. Hats off to Professor Geoff Hoffman, from the University of Houston Immigration Law Clinic for the fantastic work done on this case.

Being anti-immigration has never worked for Republicans

Group Removes Sheriff as Keynote Speaker at Convention

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Immigration Protests Across the United States

Faith leaders in Las Cruces are working together and sending a strong message to local lawmakers.



In Michigan Obama sparks peace, immigration rallies



Santa Ana students engaged in a civil disobedience action with the purpose of shutting down all activity in the Santa Ana Federal Detention Center.



100 people protest unjust laws by protesting in front of the immigration detention facility in Aurora, Colorado.

Obama, Calderón speak out on immigration, border security



"During a joint appearance with Mexican President Felipe Calderón, President Barack Obama called on Republicans to support comprehensive immigration reform legislation. The leaders criticized a tough anti-illegal immigration state law in Arizona and pledge to work together on border security."

Monday, June 7, 2010

Buffalo Sabres NHL Prospect Zack Kassian Skates into the "Culture of No"

Over the weekend I read an article about the Buffalo Sabres recent draft choice Zack Kassian, a citizen of Canada, who has managed to get himself into a bit of trouble up in Windsor, Ontario. It has been reported that the 13th overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft has been charged with "common assault," stemming from an alleged bar fight.

What I found to be the most disturbing part about the article was not that another sports star found himself in the paper for something other than his athletic ability, but that the article contained another example of the "culture of no" that is symptomatic of the enforcement of our U.S. immigration law.

Specifically, the crux of the article is that, because Kassain has a pending assault charge against him, he is inadmissible from the United States, and that he may not be permitted to enter the United States in the future because any assault conviction would render him inadmissible.

The article quotes Chief Ron Smith of U.S. Customs and Border Protection who stated that:

"If an individual has an assault charge on their record, they’d be found inadmissible into the United States, . . . There are ways to mitigate that, primarily through the Department of State, which issues visas. But under normal circumstances, initially, the individual would be inadmissible in the United States for the assault charge.”

With all due respect to Chief Smith, he is wrong on both the law, and on the procedure. All assault convictions do not render an individual inadmissible from the United States. To the contrary, in most instances, simple assault does not constitute a crime involving moral turpitude that would have any immigration consequences. See Matter of Perez-Contreras, 20 I&N Dec. 615, 618 (BIA 1992); Matter of Short, 20 I&N Dec. 136, 139 (BIA 1989).

The reason for this is that in most jurisdictions you may be convicted for simple assault without having any evil intent, depraved or vicious motive, or corrupt mind that is normally associated with crimes involving moral turpitude. See Matter of J-, 4 I&N Dec. 512, 514 (BIA1951); Matter of J-, 4 I&N Dec. 26, 27 (BIA 1950); Matter of O-, 3 I&N Dec. 193, 194-95 (BIA 1948).

That being said, a conviction for a more serious assault may render an individual inadmissible if the underlying conviction includes an aggravating circumstance, such as, but not limited to, the intent to cause serious bodily harm, or if the assault included a dangerous weapon. Matter of Solon, 24 I & N Dec. 239 (BIA 2007) [A conviction under New York Penal Code § 120.00(1) is a crime involving moral turpitude because the assault must include both the specific intent to cause physical injury.]

In order to determine if an assault conviction has immigration consequences you must look to the language contained in the underlying criminal statute which differs by jurisdiction. Parenthetically, it makes no difference what crime an individual has been charged with, but rather what an individual is ultimately convicted of.

If Mr. Kassian is convicted for an offense that renders him inadmissible to the United States that does not mean that he will NEVER be allowed into the United States. There is a waiver that is available that would enable him to be admitted, which requires a balancing of several factors as well as an exercise of discretion.

The Sabres would be best served to get Kassain's Canadian criminal defense attorney in touch with a United States immigration attorney that has experience in inadmissibility issues prior to entering into any plea negotiations.

As for the procedure for applying for the waiver, Chief Smith shoots the puck wide of the net again. The United States Department of State would ONLY be involved with Mr. Kassian's waiver application if he were applying for it in conjunction with a visa application. As a citizen of Canada, Kassian would not need a visa in most instances so long as he has advance approval from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services when applying for admission to the United States, and if the waiver was approved by the Attorney General.

The moral of the story is this: don't get your immigration advice from employees of Customs and Border Protection.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Dream Walkers Walk right into the Belly of the Beast

Fresh off their Miami-to-Washington trek, which ended on May 1, four Dream Walkers, Juan Rodriguez (U.S. via Columbia), Felipe Matos (Brazil), Gaby Pachecho (Ecuador), and Carlos A. Roa (Venezuela), yesterday stared into the eyes of the monster, and the monster blinked.  Three of the four are undocumented.

The Dreamer Walkers paid a visit to Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office in Maricopa County on Tuesday in order to discuss Arizona's immigration law with the hope of humanizing the immigration debate.

When confronted by the spirited youth Sheriff Joe stated that although he has compassion for the plight of undocumented immigrants that he must continue to enforce the immigration laws. Arpaio rationalized his stance stating "I was elected to do a job," "My job overrides my
compassion."

The Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act), is designed to help undocumented youth who meet certain requirements by providing them with an opportunity to enlist in the military or go to college, which inevitably will lead to a path to citizenship that would otherwise be unavailable.

I urge you to contact your representatives in Congress and implore them to back the DREAM Act.




Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Over 100,000 March against SB 1070 in Phoenix



"May 29, 2010 over 100,000 people marched against SB 1070 and for Immigration reform. This is more than the Tea Party and other groups will ever bring to AZ."

Obama's Immigration Policy: Enforce, Deport, and Militarize

Congressman Luis Gutierrez on Meet The Press: President Obama hasn't Demonstrated the Political Will and Courage to Tackle Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill) is at the forefront of the immigration debate.  He has put his money where his mouth is getting arrested in front of the White House, and being harshly critical of the President for his handling of the situation in Arizona, and for his failure to meaningfully address comprehensive immigration reform eighteen months into his presidency.

The Congressman appeared on NBC's Meet the Press last Sunday, and as always he provided clear insight into the immigration reform issue, rationally evaluating the problem.  In doing so he assessed President Obama's political will as it related to immigration reform as follows: 

"I don't think [President Obama] is there yet, and I think that the President has to understand that simple political soundbites is not what the American public want.  They want practical solutions.  He knows what the solution is to this issue.  He needs to demonstrate the political will and the political courage to take it on."

Plain and simply we need more people in Washington like Congressman Gutierrez.