Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Obama gets an 'F' for effort on Immigration Reform

I just read an article published in the L.A. Times about President Obama speaking on Spanish language radio defending his failed immigration efforts.  The first thing that immediately came to mind is, what efforts? The second thing that came to mind is, what is there to defend?

Obama's tried and true immigration reform strategy has been to blame Republicans while deporting more immigrants over a two-year period than any President in the history of the United States.  It appears that President Obama wants your vote this November, just not your undocumented relative.

President Obama likes to blame Republicans for the lack of immigration reform when in reality he has literally done nothing in two-years to even try to get immigration reform passed.   In fact, President Obama broke his immigration reform campaign promises the moment he unpacked his bags in the White House.

All of the heavy lifting has been done by people like Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill) who introduced his own immigration reform bill on December 15, 2009, as a result of the President's inaction.  To date, President Obama hasn't even gone so far as to promote or publicly support the bill that was introduced by a Representative from his home city of Chicago.  Some effort.

The President needs to stop saying all the right things, and doing all the wrong things, or on the immigration reform front doing nothing.  I would really like to see some actual "effort" from this President.  He can start by being a champion to millions of Americans by immediately saving their families from destruction by his own administration's 400,000 deportations per year quota. Not the Republicans' quota... the Obama administration's quota.

President Obama can also start by framing the immigration reform message properly. Stop adopting Republican talking points about securing our borders, and start talking about the economic benefit that immigration reform would have on our country.  Debunk the slanderous Republican accusations that immigrants increase crime, and show them the studies that immigration actually reduces crime. He can also stop wasting our resources by criminally prosecuting immigrants for relatively minor immigration violations.  It is simply unfathomable that 50% of all federal criminal prosecutions are for relatively minor immigration violations.

More pressingly, this President needs to clean up the abuses occurring in his immigration detention system, and ensure that immigrants are afforded due process by eliminating dirty immigration judges, and unprofessional government lawyers.

In short, Mr. President, you weren't elected to make excuses. You were elected to get the job done.  This is the type of "effort" that was expected of you, not empty rhetoric, finger pointing, and pandering.

Maybe after we are looking back on the second half of your first term we can say that you actually rolled up your sleeves and put in the hard work required to reform our beyond broken immigration laws, but as it stands right now Mr. President, you get an 'F' for effort.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Nonimmigrant Waiver Granted

Our client is a Canadian citizen. Unfortunately, 21 years ago he was convicted of Conspiracy to Traffic in a Narcotic and was sentenced to five years imprisonment. This conviction renders him inadmissible to the United States for life.

Since his conviction, he has rehabilitated himself. He is married and has a son. He is a respected businessman. He has had no criminal involvement since that time.

He retained us because he has a need to enter the United States to attend trade shows and conventions and to purchase equipment for his business, as well as to vacation with his family. We prepared a comprehensive application for a Nonimmigrant Waiver of Inadmissibility, which included a legal brief and substantial documentation in support of the application.

U. S. Customs and Border Protection granted the application for a period of three years. This is the second Nonimmigrant Waiver of Inadmissibility we have obtained for this client.

Monday, October 18, 2010

700% Increase in Dismissed Cases at Houston Immigration Court

The Houston Chronicle has reported that after Department of Homeland Security attorneys began a review of immigration cases in Houston, Immigration Judges dismissed more than 200 deportation cases, a 700% increase over the previous month.

Executive Office for Immigration Review data reveals that this August Houston Immigration Judges dismissed 217 cases.  There were only 27 dismissals in July prior to the review. In September, Immigration Judges dismissed 174 deportation cases.  It has been estimated that 45% of 350 cases decided in the Houston Immigration Court were dismissed by Immigration Judges in the month of September.

EOIR liaison Raed Gonzalez confirms that Government attorneys in Houston have been instructed to look at each individual case and consider moving to terminate proceedings if it is determined that the immigrant has lived in the U.S. for at least two years and has no serious criminal history. This includes having no felony or misdemeanor convictions involving DWI, sex crimes or domestic violence.

It will be very interesting to see if this trend spreads to immigration courts outside of Texas.  I'll keep you posted.

Click here to read the full Houston Chronicle report.

Friday, October 15, 2010

American Citizen with Mental Disability Deported to Mexico

The ACLU of Georgia and North Carolina have teamed up to file a lawsuit on behalf of Mark Lyttle, a United States citizen who was wrongly deported from the United States.  Mr. Lyttle was born and raised in Rowan County, North Carolina, and suffers from mental disabilities.

Despite the fact that there was ample evidence of Mr. Lyttle's United States citizenship, he was taken into custody, and held for six weeks before being deported to Mexico by U.S. immigration officials.  It has been alleged that Mr. Lyttle was not provided with legal representation either during his interrogation, or during his deportation hearing despite the fact that he is most likely mentally incompetent.
Over a four month period after his deportation, Mr. Lyttle survived by living on the streets, shelters and prisons of Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala. He survived imprisonment and abuse by prison guards.

He eventually made his way to the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala.  Embassy officials contacted his brother on a military base where he is serving.  Mr. Lyttle was issued a United States passport, and money was wired to him to enable him to fly back to the United States.

After arriving in Atlanta, Georgia, Mr. Lyttle was again taken into custody and held for hours by immigration officials as a result of his adverse immigration history.  You would think that a United States passport would be sufficient.

The ACLU complaint was filed on October 13, 2010, and alleges violations of the Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, false imprisonment, negligence, and intentional infliction of emtional distress.

The following are listed as Defendants:
  • ERIC H. HOLDER, JR., U.S. Attorney General;
  • JANET NAPOLITANO, Secretary, Department of Homeland Security;
  • THOMAS G. SNOW, Director of the Executive Office of Immigration Review;
  • JOHN T. MORTON, Director, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement;
  • JAMES T. HAYES, Director, Office of Detention and Removal, Immigration and Customs Enforcement;
  • RAYMOND SIMONSE, Field Office Director, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement;
  • DAVID COLLADO, Enforcement Officer, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement;
  • MARCO MONDRAGON, Enforcement Officer, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement;
  • TRACY MOTEN, Enforcement Officer, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement;
  • MICHAEL MOORE, Enforcement Officer, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement;
  • CHARLES JOHNSTON, Enforcement Officer, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement;
  • BRIAN KEYS, Enforcement Officer, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement;
  • ICE DOES 1-10, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officials and Agents;
  • GEORGIA DOES 1-10,
Click here to read the ACLU press release.

Click here to read the suit, Lyttle v. The United States of America, et al., filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division.

President Obama on the DREAM Act

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Nation's Isabel Macdonald Exposes Lou Dobbs' Reliance on Undocumented Labor

Investigative journalist Isabel Macdonald has written an article in The Nation magazine entitled "American Hypocrite" exposing Lou Dobbs' indirect reliance on undocumented labor to care for his estate and his stables.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Obama Administration Deports more Immigrants in year two than in year one.

The Washington Post has reported that the Obama Administration has deported 392,000 immigrants during the fiscal year that ended on September 30th. This exceeds the 389,834 immigrants deported by the Obama Administration in the previous fiscal year.

Despite falling 8,000 immigrants short of their 400,000 deportation goal, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano touted their "achievement" by stating: "It has been another record-breaking year at ICE."

These statistics, coupled with the Obama Administration's complete failure to meaningfully address comprehensive immigration reform, are a bitter pill to swallow for immigration reform activists.

With the mid-term elections just weeks away, and projected flat Hispanic voter turn-out, it appears that there may be no chance for immigration reform in Obama's first term in office, especially if the Democrats lose the House.

Disappointing doesn't begin to describe it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Deportation proceedings terminated, client released from custody to apply for Green Card

We just were able to obtain the termination of deportation proceedings to enable our client to apply for his Green Card. Our client came to the United States with his mother as a young child under a visitor's visa. He never departed the country. After growing up in the United States he eventually met and married a United States citizen. The couple had a child together, but never took the steps to file for lawful permanent residency (Green Card status).

Ultimately, our client was found in the United States and charged with deportation for overstaying his visitor status. He was taken into custody, and was held at the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility, in Batavia, New York.

To complicate matters, our client has a minor criminal conviction for assault. We successfully argued that his conviction does not render him deportable from the United States, and that he is eligible to be released from custody while he fights to remain in the country. We were also able to obtain a reduction in his immigration bond. Unfortunately, our client was not able to post the $3,500.00 bond to be able to be released.

We immediately sprung into action. We filed his wife's petition to sponsor our client for a Green Card, provided proof to the Immigration Court of the filing, and also filed a proposed Green Card application with proof of our client's eligibility to adjust status. The Government's attorney assigned to the case did not oppose our motion to terminate proceedings, the Immigration Judge terminated proceedings, and our client was released from custody and is now back with his wife and child.

The next step is to finalize the Green Card application process, which once completed will put our client's immigration ordeal to a happy end.