Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NPR Reports: Romney On Immigration: Sorting Through The Record

House votes to end country limits for skilled workers seeking green cards

The Associated Press reports that The House of Representatives voted yesterday 389-15 to end per-country caps on worker-based immigration visas, and changed family-based visa limits from 7 percent per country to 15 percent per country.

On the employment side this would eliminate the requirement that one country can’t exceed 7 percent of the total number of employment-based visas, changing it to a first-come, first-served basis.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., plans to aggressively move this through the Senate. It will be very interesting to see if it survives a filibuster.

Click here for more information

Thousands of Children Write President Obama asking him to Stop Deporting their Parents

The National Domestic Workers Alliance has kicked off a letter writing campaign entitled "We Belong Together" with a goal of collecting 5,000 letters to be delivered to President Obama calling for the end to deportations so that all families can stay together.

The campaign asks children and youth to write letters about why families should be able to stay together.
This campaign comes on the heels of a Applied Research Center report called "Shattered Families." The report determined that more than 5,000 children of immigrants have become orphans of the foster care system as a result of the deportation of their parents by the Obama administration.

The report further estimates that an additional 15,000 children will lose their parent to deportation over the next five years if Obama continues his aggressive deportation policy.

"We Belong Together" responds to the following:
5.5 million children in the U.S. live with the fear that one or both of their parents could be deported. Over the past ten years, this fear has become a reality for more than 100,000 children.1 
This climate of fear affects all of our families and communities. We are writing to invite you to participate in a campaign called A Wish for the Holidays. Together, we will raise the voices of thousands of children with one unified wish: an end to deportations so that all families can stay together.
Click here to see how you can participate.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

DREAMer Joaquin Luna Commits Suicide Over Undocumented Status

It pains me to report that DREAMer Joaquin Luna has tragically taken his own life because of his belief that his undocumented status made the fulfillment of his dream to become an engineer an impossibility

Joaquin left a suicide note specifically referencing his immigration status, and his frustrations that he would not be able to go to college to continue his education so that he could provide a better life for his mother.

I can only hope that this tragedy will be the catalyst for Washington to stop playing a game of political football with the lives of innocent children.

My thoughts are with his family. Rest in peace Joaquin.

Click here for more of this story.

Monday, November 28, 2011

DREAMer commits suicide over immigration status

Third Circuit Orders Temporary Stay of Removal of Father of Three U.S. Citizens

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered a temporary stay of removal of Robert Bautista of Easton, Pennsylvania while he seeks to overturn a deportation order.  Mr. Bautista, a lawful permanent resident for 25 years, is married, has three United States citizen children, and is the owner of transmission business in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Immigration Court proceedings were instituted against Mr. Bautista in 2010 as a result of a 2003 conviction for Third Degree Attempted Arson.  Mr. Bautista was carrying a gas canister near his own car in a Bronx, New York parking lot.

Last month the Board of Immigration upheld the immigration court's ruling that Third Degree Attempted Arson is an aggravated felony, thereby barring Mr. Bautista from most forms of relief from removal, and subjecting him to mandatory detention.  He is being held in immigration custody at the York, Pennsylvania Correctional Facility.

The Third Circuit has issued a stay of removal, but they have not ruled on the underlying legal issue.  As such, Mr. Bautista may still be deported.

I'll keep you posted when more information becomes available.

Click here for more of the story.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Green Card approved in under Six Months

Our client is a citizen of Belarus. He entered the United Stats as an exchange visitor for summer travel and work in 2005 valid for four (4) months. He was not subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement. He later changed his status to a visitor for pleasure valid until 2007. His employer filed an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker for him, which was denied in 2008.  Last year he married a United States citizen.
Earlier this year we were retained to obtain lawful permanent residence for him. We prepared a Petition for Alien Relative for his spouse, an Application for Permanent Residence, an Application for Employment Authorization, an Affidavit of Support, and Biographic Information Forms for him and his wife. We supplemented the formal applications with documentary proof in the form of numerous exhibits and filed the package with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in late May.
We then prepared our clients for the adjustment of status interview and advised them of the types of questions that may be asked. They passed with flying colors and his lawful permanent resident status was approved in less than six (6) months.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Unintended Consequences Of Alabama Immigration

Undocumented Youth vs. Border Patrol Round 1 - Mobile, Alabama

"Jonathan and Isaac, both DREAM Act eligible youth, test out Obama's new policy about detaining and deporting "low priority" immigrants. Both now find themselves in the Basile Detention Center in Louisiana. Help us bring them home for the holidays." ~

Monday, November 21, 2011

Prosecutorial Discretion Guidelines Leave Same Sex Couples (and Pretty Much Everyone Else) Out in the Cold

I apologize for the brief hiatus from the blog.  Unfortunately, my court schedule last week took up all of my time.

Last week was a busy news week. The most insignificant public relation move coming from the White House was the announcement that Thursday marked the beginning of the Obama administration's review of 300,000 pending deportation cases.  The administration has issued another set of guidelines for determining what individuals will been given preferential treatment, and receive a favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion.

The most notable omissions in the guidelines is the conspicuous absence of LGBT couples from consideration, which is one more indication that this administration is still fully enforcing the Defense of Marriage Act.

Here are the guidelines for people who may get lucky enough to receive a favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion to avoid to avoid the ensuing public relations nightmare when their case garners national media attention:
  • Individuals who in good standing in the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States, an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States, or the spouse or child of such a member or veteran;
  • Children that have been in the United States for more than five years, and are either in school or have successfully completed high school (or its equivalent);
  • Individuals that came to the United States under the age of sixteen, have been in the United States for more than five years, have completed high school (or its equivalent), and are now pursuing or have successfully completed higher education in the United States;
  • Individuals over the age of sixty-five that have been present in the United States for more than ten years;
  • Victims of domestic violence in the United States, human trafficking to the United States; or of any other serious crime in the United States;
  • Lawful permanent resident for ten years or more and have a single, minor conviction for a non-violent offense;
  • Individuals suffering from a serious mental or physical condition that would require significant medical or detention resources; or
  • Individuals with a very long-term presence in the United States, has an immediate family member who is a United States citizen, and has established compelling ties and made compelling contributions to the United States.
So that is the good news.  Here is the bad news:

Your case will be considered an "enforcement priority" and will be pursued in an accelerated manner if you:
  • Have a conviction who have a conviction involving:
    • a felony or multiple misdemeanors, 
    • illegal entry, 
    • re-entry, or immigration fraud, 
    • a misdemeanor violation involving: violence, threats, or assault, sexual abuse or exploitation, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, flight from the scene of an accident, drug distribution or trafficking, or other significant threat to public safety;
  • Entered the country illegally or violated the terms of your admission within the last three years;
  • Have previously been removed from the country;
  • Have been found by an immigration officer or immigration judge to have committed an immigration fraud;
  • Have an egregious record of immigration violations;
  • Are a gang member, human rights violator, or other clear threat to public safety; or
  • Are a suspected terrorist or national security risk.
Or in basic terms, pretty much everyone subject to the institution of removal proceedings will have their case fast-tracked for deportation.

Now of course there is a disclaimer:
As there is no right to the favorable exercise of discretion by the agency, nothing in this guidance should be construed to prohibit the apprehension, detention, or removal of any alien unlawfully in the United States or to limit the legal authority of ICE, CBP, or USCIS or any of their respective personnel to enforce Federal immigration law. Similarly, this memorandum, which may be modified, superseded, or rescinded at any time without notice, is not intended to, does not, and may not be relied upon to create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by any party in any administrative, civil, or criminal matter.
In basic terms, this means that the memorandum is not binding, is not enforceable, and is subject to change or revocation at anytime.

I'm as skeptical as I ever have been that this is nothing more than a public relations move and is being done to placate immigration reform activists that are threatening to stay home next November.

We shall see.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Obama Administration set to Deport DREAMer Jose "JB" Librojo this Saturday

The Obama administration plans to deport DREAMer Philippine born Jose “JB” Librojo this Saturday (November 12, 2011).   JB came to the United States with his parents as a child.  The family came here legally, but their visas were not renewed in 2005.  

JB has a degree in biology from San Francisco State University, has no criminal record, and has an employer who has filed an immigrant petition on his behalf.  I assume that he is ineligible to apply for his Green Card as a result of the accrual of unlawful presence in the United States and the unavailability of a waiver.  I don't have these facts, however, but will post an update if new information becomes available.

Just one more example of this Administration's unwillingness to consider the very guidelines that they have established for the favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion.

More lip-service from the Deporter in Chief.

Click here for the original news story.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Russell Pearce, Author of Arizona Immigration Law, Voted off the Island

The tribe has spoken. Russell Pearce, author of the Arizona's controversial S.B. 1070, has been recalled by a fellow Republican Jerry Lewis, a school administrator, not the comedian.

According to the latest polls Pearce lost by about an 8% margin, despite outspending Lewis by a reported 3-1 ratio.  Pearce conceded the loss Tuesday night, which is being interpreted as a referendum on the State's hard-line immigration law.  Pearce was the leader of the Arizona State Senate, and is the first legislator to be recalled in the history of the State.

It appears that sanity has finally returned to the State of Arizona.  It is a welcomed return.

Click here for more information.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

18-Month Extension of Honduras and Nicaragua for Temporary Protected Status

Secretary Napolitano has announced an 18 month extension of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations for Honduras and Nicaragua.  The extension runs through July 5, 2013. Re-registration opened on November 4, 2011.

Click here for information on TPS for Honduras.

Click here for information on TPS for Nicaragua.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Obama's Record Deportations Leave Behind Thousands Of Children In Foster Care

Detained: A look inside ICE's El Paso Processing Center

Immigrant Entrepreneur Finally Gets Visa but Only After Obama Administration is Shamed for Denial in 'World News' Story

"On Tuesday "World News" shared the story of Amit Aharoni, an Israeli national and a graduate of Stanford Business School, who secured $1.65 million in venture capital funding with two cofounders to launch, an online cruise booking company.

The company hired nine Americans in just one year. But Aharoni hit rough waters after he received a letter on Oct. 4 from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services denying his request for a visa and notifying him that he needed to leave the country immediately. Aharoni moved to Canada, where he was forced to run his company via Skype from a friend's living room.

After the broadcast, "World News" heard from many viewers baffled by USCIS's decision." -By BEN FORER and 

Unfortunately, the Obama administration must be embarrassed on national television before they actually take action to help create jobs in this country.


Click here for more of this US immigration news update.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It is Time to Vote for a Third Party Candidate for President.

I don't know what is worse, the clowns who are running for President from the GoP, or the clown that is currently holding the office.

I just saw the statistic that in the first six months of fiscal year 2011, the Obama Administration has Deported 46,000 mothers and fathers of U.S. Citizen children.

So much for ending the destruction of families to deportation.

I also read that the ACLU has recently filed a lawsuit claiming 200 reports of sexual abuse of immigrant detainees in immigration detention. This report comes almost exactly two years to the day that the Obama administration announced their "ambitious plan to repair the immigration detention system."

Another broken promise.

Add this to this Administration's disproportionately higher rate of deportations of Hispanics, coupled with systemic racial profiling of Hispanics through Secure Communities, and you are looking at the worst record in history when it comes to immigrant rights.

The bottom line is that neither party could give a rat's ass about immigrants and immigration reform.

It is time for immigration reform activists to back a third party Presidential candidate to send a message to Washington:

No reform, no vote.

Rewarding President Obama with our vote sends the wrong message to Washington. That message is that the Hispanic/reform vote can be taken for granted, and our issues ignored. This message yields the end result of a knife in the back in the voting booth.

Fool me once: shame on you. Fool me twice: shame on me.

Reform activists need to start acting like the NRA, and put all of our efforts towards supporting immigration reform candidates regardless of party, while actively campaigning against those who oppose the issue.

I put President Obama in the latter category, as his and his administration's actions speak much more bluntly than his empty reform rhetoric.


Report: In the first six months of 2011 the Obama Administration has Deported 46,000 Mothers and Fathers of U.S. Citizen Children

The Applied Research Center, a 30-year-old racial justice think tank that uses media, research and activism to promote solutions, has prepared a report entitled "Shattered Families" that examines the intersection of immigration enforcement and the child welfare system.

The key findings of the report are as follows:

  • There are at least 5,100 children currently living in foster care who are prevented from uniting with their detained or deported parents.
  • If nothing changes, 15,000 more children may face a similar fate in the next 5 years.
  • This is a growing national problem, not one confined to border jurisdictions or states-- ARC identified at least 22 states where these cases have emerged.
  • Families are more likely to be separated where local police aggressively participate in immigration enforcement.
  • Immigrant victims of domestic violence are at particular risk of losing their children
  • ICE detention obstructs participation in Child Protective Services' plans for family unity.
  • Most child welfare departments lack systemic policies to keep families united when parents are detained or deported.

A Freedom of Information Act request reveals that in the first six months of 2011, the Obama administration has deported 46,000 mothers and fathers of U.S. citizen children.  ARC President Rinku Sen remarked in a press release that the Obama administration's policies are greatly increasing the chances that separated families will never see each other again.

Mr. Sen characterized this administration's actions as follows: "Detaining and deporting parents shatter families and endanger the children left behind. It’s unacceptable, un-American, and a clear sign that we need to revisit our immigration policies.”

Another shameful example of business as usual under the Obama administration.  

Un-american indeed.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Slaying Sparks Renewed Debate Over Immigration

DOJ Sues to Block South Carolina Immigration Law Citing Conflict with Federal Enforcement of Immigration Laws

Yesterday, the Department of Justice challenged South Carolina's immigration law, Act No. 69 in federal court, requesting declaratory and injunctive relief.  The DOJ argues that provisions of Act No. 69 interfere with the federal government’s authority to set and enforce immigration policy, and as such are unconstitutional.  

In part, provisions of Act No. 69, require a determination of immigration status during any lawful stop, detention, investigation, or arrest by the police where there is “reasonable suspicion” that an individual is unlawfully present in the United States, and establishes new state criminal sanctions against individuals that are unlawfully present.

The following is from the DOJ's Press release:

"Today’s lawsuit makes clear once again that the Justice Department will not hesitate to challenge a state’s immigration law, as we have in Arizona, Alabama and South Carolina, if we find that the law interferes with the federal government’s enforcement of immigration,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.   “It is understandable that communities remain frustrated with the broken immigration system, but a patchwork of state laws is not the solution and will only create problems.   We will continue to monitor the impact these laws might have on our communities and will evaluate each law to determine whether it conflicts with the federal government’s enforcement responsibilities."  

DHS continues to enforce federal immigration laws in South Carolina in smart, effective ways that focus our resources on criminal aliens, recent border crossers, repeat and egregious immigration law violators and employers who knowingly hire illegal labor,” said Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.  “This kind of legislation diverts critical law enforcement resources from the most serious threats to public safety and undermines the vital trust between local jurisdictions and the communities they serve, while failing to address the underlying problem: the need for comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level.”

Click here to read the 26 page complaint. 

Happy Halloween South Carolina.