Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Colorlines Report: 205K Deportations of Parents of U.S. Citizens since 2010

Seth Freed Wessler of Colorlines News for Action reports that there have been nearly 205,000 parents of United States citizen children deported since 2010. The data was obtain through a Freedom of Information Act request. The full statistics compiled regarding final orders sought, obtained, and actual removals of individuals claiming to be parents of United States citizen children may be viewed here.

Maybe it is time for the Obama administration to consider expanding deferred action to parents of United States citizen children as a stop gap measure until immigration reform is implemented.  I'd also add spouses of United States citizens to the list as well.  

Just a thought.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

ICE arrests Senator Bob Menendez's undocumented intern alleging he is a registered sex offender

It has been reported that Luis Abrahan Sanchez Zavaleta, an unpaid intern working in Senator Bob Menendez's (D - NJ) office was arrested by ICE on December 6, 2012, in New Jersey.  It is alleged that the intern is both an undocumented immigrant and a registered sex offender. Hudson County, N.J., prosecutor's office alleges that Zavaleta was required to register as a sex offender after an offense allegedly committed in 2010.  Details are unavailable due to the fact that apparently Zavaleta was a minor at the time of the alleged prosecution.  It has been reported that Zavaleta entered the United States with a visitor's visa, which he overstayed, and is a native and citizen of Peru.

Menendez' response via MSNBC:

"I didn't know anything about the young man's status until this Monday so — actually, before I came onto this program. My staff knew about it on Monday, I didn't know it until right before I came onto your program."

Mendez is a leading voice in the Senate on the issue of immigration reform. We can only hope that this incident will have no impact on the Senator's ability to participate in immigration reform negotiations, as his voice is desperately needed in the debate.

Monday, December 10, 2012

BIA to Hear Appeal of former Nazi Concentration Camp Guard

The AP/Washington Post reports that the Board of Immigration Appeals is reviewing an appeal of a 2010 deportation order issued to 88-year-old Anton Geiser of Sharon, Pennsylvania.  Mr. Geiser was charged with removal as a result of his service in the Nazi SS where he was a guard in the Sachsenhausen and Buchenwald concentration camps.

Geiser does not dispute that he was a member of the Nazi's Schutzstaffel (SS), nor that he served as a guard in both the Sachsenhausen and Buchenwald concentration camps:  “I was not proud where I served and I didn’t like it then and I didn’t like it now.” 

Geiser is represented by Adrien Roe who argues that a then 17-year-old Geiser did not voluntarily serve, and was therefore not really a Nazi.  The Department, represented by Susan Siegal, counters that Geiser's service was not involuntary because he could have refused to serve in the camps, and moreover, the "just following orders" defense already failed at Nuremberg. 

When I read this story I couldn't help but think of the following quotation attributed to Martin Niemöller regarding the failure of the people of Germany to take a stand against the Nazis.
First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.
Fortunately for Mr. Geiser he lives in one of the only countries in the entire world where even individuals guilty of unspeakable crimes against humanity are guaranteed the right to have someone speak for you. 

Enjoy your right to due process Mr. Geiser, and be glad that this isn't Nazi Germany.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Luis De La Cruz, Husband and Father of Two Citizen Children, is Facing Deportation and Needs your Help.

From DREAMActivist.org:
Luis, originally from the Dominican Republic came to the United States in 2002 in search of a better life. He settled in Florida where he lives with his wife and his 2 U.S. citizen children. In 2007, Luis was issued an order of deportation however never left so that he could provide for his family.

On April 5th, while on his way to purchase products for his business, Luis was pulled over by the police. He was then arrested for driving with an expired license and for a bench warrant he had been issued for traffic tickets but had no knowledge of. Luis was immediately transferred to ICE and has been at the Broward Detention Center since.

Since his arrest his family has been suffering economic setbacks and emotional hardships. His wife has been unable to make ends meet, she is unable to pay for rent and other bills. Luis’ 2 U.S. citizen children are set to start school soon and their mother has not been able to buy them school supplies and uniforms. His children know that his father is detained and beg for his father to be back. Luis is the main provider of his family and they need him at home. He is a loving and caring husband and father who deserves to be reunited with his family.

While in detention, Luis has developed pain in his testicles and has repeatedly asked for medical assistance for 40 days but all he has received are painkillers and a urine test. Luis needs medical attention not deportation. He has a pending U-Visa and needs to be home with his family. 

According to the memo issued by John Morton, Luis is a low-priority case and should be granted favorable use of prosecutorial discretion. Luis has no criminal record and is the main provider for his family. He deserves to be with them.
Click here to sign the petition that calls for the Administration to exercise prosecutorial discretion by releasing Luis de la Cruz (A# 200-139-118) from Broward Transitional Center so that he can obtain proper medical care, as well as putting a stop to his deportation on humanitarian grounds.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Nearly One-Third of all Immigrants Targeted for Deportation in California by Secure Communities are Not Criminals

The LA Times reports the following:
California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris told local law enforcement agencies Tuesday that they were not obligated to comply with a federal program whose stated goal is to deport illegal immigrants convicted of serious crimes.
The statistics show that 28% of the immigrants targeted by Secure Communities in the State of California were not criminals. After seeing the statistics, Harris commented that SCOMM "has not held up to what it aspired to be" advising each California State law enforcement agency to "make its own decision" about whether to follow the immigration enforcement directive.  

The Obama administration characterizes SCOMM as "a simple and common sense way to carry out ICE's priorities." Harris sees it differently: "I want that rape victim to be absolutely secure that if she waves down an officer in a car that she will be protected … and not fear that she's waving down an immigration officer."  

Click here for the original source of this story.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

BIA Reopens Deportation Case for President Obama's Uncle Omar

The Boston Globe reports the following:
Last week, the Board of ­Immigration Appeals granted Onyango Obama’s request to ­reopen his immigration case based in part on his contention that his prior lawyer was ­ineffective, according to a government official with direct knowledge of the case. Obama’s new lawyers have also argued that the 68-year-old Obama has lived in the United States for nearly half a century and ­deserves a chance to make his case.
The Executive Director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association Crystal Williams commented that: “With an outstanding order and a legally fuzzy plea, it’s pretty unusual for the board to reopen.”

This is the second instance where one of President Obama's relatives has had a deportation case reopened. The President's aunt, Zeituni Onyango, also had her case reopened, and won political asylum in 2010.

Click here to read the original source of the story.

Former President Bush Leads Immigration Forum

Friday, November 30, 2012

Report finds that 287(g) program creates a pattern and practice of constitutional violations, including racial profiling of Latinos

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), a research and policy arm of the American Immigration Council, has released a report about the 287(g) immigration enforcement program finding that it is "a flawed and obsolete."

Here are some of the findings taken from this fact sheet:
  • In Maricopa County, Arizona there is a pattern and practice of constitutional violations, including racial profiling of Latinos.
  • In 87% of the jurisdictions with 287(g) agreements the rate of Latino population growth was higher than the national average.
  • 287(g) agreements in the North Carolina were primarily used to target offenders who posed no threat to public safety or individuals with no criminal record, and the program has “created a climate of racial profiling and community insecurity." 
  • In Alamance County, North Carolina there is a pattern and practice of constitutional violations by unlawfully detaining and arresting Latinos.
  • In Gwinnet County, Georgia racial profiling has been exacerbated by the 287(g) program.
  • ICE and its local law enforcement partners had not complied with the terms of their 287(g) agreements, standards by which deputized officers are evaluated contradicted the stated objectives of the 287(g) program, the program was poorly supervised by ICE, and additional oversight is necessary.
  • There is very little ICE oversight of 287(g) partnerships and that ICE personnel do not lead or directly oversee 287(g) arrests. 
  • While ICE officials have stated that the purpose of the program is to address serious crime, such as narcotics smuggling, ICE has never documented this objective or provided statistics to validate it. As a result, local police have used their 287(g) authority to detain immigrants for traffic violations and other minor crimes.
  • ICE does not pay for any costs associated with implementation of the program, including overtime and financial liability arising from civil rights violations.
  • The total cost for the first year of operating the 287(g) program in Mecklenburg County, N.C., to be $5.5 million. Meanwhile, costs for the first full year of operation in Alamance County, N.C., were found to be $4.8 million.
  • Prince William County, Va., had to raise property taxes and take from its “rainy day” fund to implement its 287(g) program. The report found the program cost $6.4 million in its first year and would cost $26 million over five years. To cut costs, the county slashed $3.1 million from its budget—money that was intended to buy video cameras for police cars to protect against allegations of racial profiling.
  • Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office created a $1.3 million deficit in just three months, much of it due to overtime.
Click here to review the full report.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Report: ICE Fails to Reliably Protect Immigrant Detainees from Physical and Sexual Abuse

The Detention Watch Network, a national coalition of organizations and individuals working to educate the public and policy makers about the U.S. immigration detention and deportation system, has coordinated the release of ten reports which detail the "acute and chronic human right violations occurring in immigration detention" in the United States.  The report is entitled: Expose & Close.  

The report determined that: "there is no facility among the approximately 250 in operation at the time of publication where Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reliably protects those inside from physical and sexual abuse," and there is a systemic failure to provide basic medical care.

From the executive summary of the report:
ICE currently incarcerates more than 400,000 immigrants every year in 33,400 prison and jail beds. Immigrants in ICE custody are technically in civil detention, meaning that they are locked up to ensure that they show up for their hearings and comply with the court’s decision, not because of any crime. 
While no person should have to suffer the hardships of incarceration as it is practiced in the U.S., those who are in prisons and jails serving time for criminal convictions have legal protections that immigrants do not—for example the right to a lawyer and to a speedy trial.
The majority of people in immigration detention do not have the right to a bond. This means that people can spend months and sometimes years locked up while they work to prove that they have the right to stay in the U.S., without ever having the chance to ask a judge to let them remain with their families while their cases are ongoing. 
Harsh deportation policies also mean that there are more and more points of entry in the immigration enforcement pipeline sending a record number of people into detention.
Click here to read the report.
Expose and close

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Father of Three United States Citizen Children Detained while Children "Watched in Horror"

Mr. Shi Tong Chu is currently being held in the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility.  The following background information was taken from the on-line petition that has been created calling for his immediate release from custody.  I urge you to sign it.
On June 12, 2012, Mr. Chu was detained by ICE while on his way to make a delivery for the family restaurant he operates in Schenectady, New York. His three U.S. citizen children watched in horror from the restaurant windows as their father was taken into custody right before their eyes. They have not seen their father in four months.

Mr. Chu arrived in the United States 12 years ago. He fled China in 2000 after being harassed and threatened with imprisonment for practicing Falun Gong, a spiritual movement that the Chinese government has banned since 1999. 

For the past twelve years, Mr. Chu has been a peaceful resident of Sunset Park, Brooklyn. His life revolved around supporting his wife and three young children, who are all U.S. citizens. He relocated with his family to Schnectady, New York only recently to take care of his mother-in-law who has cancer. His 8-year-old son, Brian, is also ill and might need to undergo surgery soon. Brian asks everyday if his father will be there for his surgery. Since getting detained, his wife, Yuki, has been distraught and overwhelmed having to take care of her ill mother, three children and run a restaurant all by herself. 
Please take immediate action by signing the petition.  I also urge you to call ICE Director John Morton at 202-732-3000 or 202-732-3100 asking for Mr. Chu's release.

Here is a sample script for your call:
“I am calling to ask that you release Shi Tong Chu (A#078 104 926) from Buffalo Federal Detention Center. Chu fled China 12 years ago to escape being persecuted by the Chinese government for being a Falun Gong practitioner. Chu has 3 U.S. citizen children and is a low-priority deportation. He should have never been detained under the Morton Memo. Let Chu go!"

Thursday, October 18, 2012

ICE is Arresting Parents as they drop-off their Children at Elementary School

Apparently smart immigration enforcement includes arresting parents as they drop-off their children at elementary school.

This week, ICE agents approached two immigrant families while they were dropping off their children at Cesar Chavez Academy in Southwest Detroit.  One father, Hector Orozco, was dropping off his son when he was arrested, and remains in detention.
Another family was stopped outside the Manuel Reyes Vistas Nuevas Head Start Center.  The ICE agent temporarily let the family go so they could drop off their children, and told them they would be detained once they returned home.  The family took refuge in the elementary school until advocates could intervene.
Julia Preston of the New York Times reports that a 7-year-old child in the vehicle at the time of one of the arrests became distraught, pleading in English: “Please don’t take my dad. We want to go to school.”

This isn't the first time that Detroit ICE decided it was a brilliant idea to stalk parents of school children. The administration's response, predictably, was to issue a memo, that Detroit ICE immediately put in the circular file right next to the Morton Memo.

Here is the "policy" that is being ignored:
This memorandum sets forth Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policy regarding certain enforcement actions by ICE officers and agents at or focused on sensitive locations. This policy is designed to ensure that these enforcement actions do not occur at nor are focused on sensitive locations such as schools and churches unless (a) exigent circumstances exist (b) other law enforcement actions have led officers to a sensitive location as described in the "Exceptions to the General Rule" section of this policy memorandum, or (c) prior approval is obtained. This policy supersedes all prior agency policy on this subject.
Quotas are quotas.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Has Obama Failed Latinos?

"Dozens" of Immigrant Students Arrested by ICE in San Diego - Told to "Self-Deport"

More evidence has been reported of the Obama administration's continuing efforts to round up and deport "low priority" immigrants.  At 6:00 am yesterday morning ICE raided a downtown San Diego apartment complex netting approximately 40 students that were working without authorization as cab drivers to help support themselves while attending school.  The raid lasted a few hours.

After taking the students into custody, ICE revoked their visas, and instructed them to "self-deport" within 30 days.  It does not appear that any of the students taken into custody had criminal records, and all were in valid immigration status at the time of the arrest.

And that, my friends, illustrates the principal difference between the immigration policies of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney: Mitt Romney suggests that immigrants self-deport.  Barack Obama demands it.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Huffington Post Live: More Immigrants, Please

Last night I appeared on a Huffington Post Live segment entitled: "More Immigrants, Please." The segment was hosted by Alyona Minkovski.  I was joined by immigration policy analyst David Beir, Steven Camarota, Director of Research at the Center for Immigration Studies, and Erika Almiron, Executive Director of Juntos.

What I found most interesting about my appearance was that I did it on my ipad.

Beam me up Scotty.

Friday, October 5, 2012

ICE Directive on Sexual Abuse and Assault Prevention and Intervention

On May 11, 2012, ICE Director John Morton issued a Sexual Abuse and Assault Prevention and Intervention Directive.  The directive acknowledges the existence of "significant incidents of sexual abuse or assault of individuals in ICE custody."

The directive specifically addresses situations where ICE employees sexually assault immigrant detainees. Unfortunately, at the time the directive was written ICE had no upper-level individual designated to oversee the directive.  I do not know if one is in place now, or if the directive is being internally enforced. 

It provides for ICE employee "training" to, among other things, reinforce "ICE's zero-tolerance policy for sexual abuse and assault." The directive further provides that "ICE personnel may not retaliate against individuals who report sexual abuse or assault."  

That being said, solitary confinement for victims of sexual assault has been limited to five days "except in highly unusual circumstances."

It does NOT provide for victims of sexual assault to be released from custody, but they will be placed "in a supportive environment that represents the least restrictive housing option possible."

As for the ICE employee accused of raping an immigrant, the directive provides that individuals suspected of perpetrating sexual abuse or assault will be "removed from all duties requiring detainee contact pending the outcome of an investigation."  It does not, however, provide for the removal of the employee from the facility where they have been accused of raping someone.

The directive also includes the following disclaimer:
This document is an internal policy statement of ICE. It 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.
Par for the course.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Two Major Candidates on Immigration

Because the topic of this conversation is limited to Obama and Romney I will refrain from injecting my candidate of choice Gary Johnson into the conversation.

Let's take a look at each candidate's policy positions on immigration to decide which candidate has a better platform.

From Obama's website (and incidentally, I had to search the website for Obama's immigration platform because it is not immediately listed on the important issues tab and took some hunting to find it - striking since Obama did claim that his failures on immigration are his biggest disappointment):
Since the beginning of his time in office, President Obama has worked to build a consensus for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. He plans to continue his efforts to work with Congress to pass a bipartisan immigration reform, and has promised to make it a priority of his second term as president. <-Overstates his actual efforts. 
The Obama Administration is focusing immigration enforcement efforts on those who endanger our communities, and is de-emphasizing low-priority cases like students, veterans, seniors, and military families<- Not happening in practice 
The President understands the challenges that immigrants face. That’s why he proposed a new rule to keep families together by allowing undocumented spouses and children of U.S. citizens to stay in the country while they begin the legal immigration process. <-There is no new "rule" as Obama declined to sign an executive order instead relying on a discretionary policy memorandum.
Almost four years later and we still have ZERO specifics on what comprehensive immigration reform would look like under Obama.  There is no plan, no framework, no bullet points, no nothing.

Anyone else remember what Rahm Emanuel said to Juan Salgado, board chairman of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights: "There is no way this [immigration reform] legislation is happening in the Democratic House, in the Democratic Senate, in the Democratic presidency, in the first term."

He wasn't kidding.

As for the future, the leading reform voice in Congress, Luis Gutierrez, recently stated that he’s received no promises from the White House that Obama would move quickly on immigration reform if reelected in November.

Maybe the Democrats are waiting for another lame duck session before taking the issue up again.

Romney, on the other hand, has indicated that he intends to push for reform prior to the expiration of the two year DACA grace period, and he has given specifics for what reform will look like.

From Mitt Romney's website:
Grow Legal Immigration To Grow Our Economy 
Attract More Highly Skilled Immigrants:
To ensure that America continues to lead the world in innovation and economic dynamism, a Romney administration would press for an immigration policy designed to maximize America’s economic potential. Foreign-born residents with advanced degrees start companies, create jobs, and drive innovation at a high rate. 
While lawful immigrants comprise about 8 percent of the population, immigrants start 16 percent of our top-performing, high-technology companies, hold the position of CEO or lead engineer in 25 percent of high-tech firms, and produce over 25 percent of all patent applications filed from the United States.
The United States is projected to face a shortage of 230,000 science and technology workers by 2018.  At the same time, we have set the caps on high-skill visas so low that, for some countries, an entire year’s quota has been filled in an hour.  Mitt Romney will ask Congress to raise the caps on visas for highly skilled immigrants. 
Many country caps—or limits on immigrants from specific countries—are so low, that America is losing some of the best and brightest to our international competitors.  Mitt Romney will work with Congress to raise the country caps. 
Every foreign student who obtains an advanced degree in math, science, or engineering at a U.S. university should be granted permanent residency. 
Make The Temporary Worker Visa System Functional: 
As president, Mitt Romney will make the system for bringing in temporary agricultural workers and other seasonal workers functional for both employers and immigrants.  We should get rid of unnecessary requirements that delay issuance of a visa, and we should speed the processing of applications. 
Mitt Romney will work with Congress, states, and employers to properly set the cap on non-agricultural temporary worker visas.  Many tourist-oriented businesses in the United States rely on these workers and would have to cut back or cease operations if there are not enough visas.
Secure Our Borders & Discourage Illegal Immigration 
Mitt Romney will protect legal immigration and the 4.5 million who are waiting in line to enter the United States legally by taking a strong stand against illegal immigration. He believes that illegal immigration must end and has a proven track record of advancing that goal. 
Secure The Borders 
According to the non-partisan Government Accountability Office, Border Patrol lacks control of over half of our southwest border. And some estimates indicate that over 40% of illegal immigrants in America entered the country legally, but then overstayed their visas. 
Mitt Romney will complete a high-tech fence to enhance border security.
Governor Romney will ensure that we have the officers on the ground we need to gain control of the border. 
A Romney Administration will work to develop an efficient, effective system of exit verification to ensure people do not overstay their visas. 
Discourage Illegal Immigration 
Mitt Romney will develop an effective, mandatory employment verification system that will enable employers to be sure that those they hire are eligible to work. This will discourage illegal immigrants from coming to America to seek jobs.  
Governor Romney opposes all “magnets” that entice illegal immigrants to come to our country.   As governor, he vetoed in-state tuition benefits for illegal immigrants and opposed driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants. 
As president, Mitt Romney will foster a legal immigration system that works. This will offer an alternative to those who would otherwise enter illegally.  For instance, reforming our current temporary worker program will offer employers who need such staff a legal option to find employees. 
Enforce The Law 
Mitt Romney believes in the rule of law and will fully enforce federal immigration law. As governor, he authorized state police to assist the federal government in immigration enforcement. 
Cut Red Tape That Is Keeping Immediate Families Apart 
As president, Mitt Romney will ensure that husbands, wives, and their minor children are brought together on a timely basis. 
Mitt Romney will speed the processing of applications by eliminating the red tape that is keeping immediate families apart. 
Mitt Romney will work with Congress to give legal permanent residents the same priority as citizens when applying to bring husbands, wives, and minor children to the United States. 
Mitt Romney will reallocate green cards to family of citizens and legal permanent residents.
Military Service 
Mitt Romney believes that young illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children should have the chance to become permanent residents, and eventually citizens, by serving honorably in the United States military. 
Address The 11 Million Illegal Immigrants In America In A Civil and Resolute Manner That Respects the Rule of Law 
Mitt Romney opposes amnesty because he believes that it acts as a magnet encouraging illegal immigration. The last amnesty law passed in 1986 granted legal status to 2.7 million illegal immigrants. In the decades since, the illegal immigrant population has quadrupled. Mitt believes that an amnesty should not be permitted to happen again. Illegal immigrants who apply for legal status should not be given any advantage over those who are following the law and waiting their turn. Mitt absolutely opposes any policy that would allow illegal immigrants to “cut in line.”
I'll let you all be the judge, but in the end if you aren't happy with your choice don't blame me... I vote libertarian.

Vote Gary Johnson for President.

Only 80,073 DACA Applications Submitted

UnitedWeDream.org reports that to date there have been 77,268 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applications accepted (not approved) by USCIS, and another 2,805 applications rejected, for a total of 80,073 DACA applications received.

As of last week 29 DACA approvals have been reported.  The following disclaimer is included on the Form I-797 approval notice issued to DACA applicants.  

It appears that USCIS is not prospectively verifying the information and documentation submitted in support of DACA and "the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reserve the right" to subsequently determine whether a fraud has been committed in furtherance of the application.  The disclaimer says that methods of verifying information "may" include going on the internet.  Seriously.

This is simply unacceptable, as it gives more ammunition to individuals like Lamar Smith, and Chris Kobach who will predictably argue that the DACA application process is rife with fraud.

Maybe it is about time that the Obama administration stops proving their point.

Just a thought.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Romney: I won't revoke DACA Approvals if elected

In an interview with the Denver Post Mitt Romney has indicated that he will not revoke deferred action for individuals that have already received it.

Here is his quote:

"The people who have received the special visa that the president has put in place, which is a two-year visa, should expect that the visa would continue to be valid. I'm not going to take something that they've purchased," "Before those visas have expired we will have the full immigration reform plan that I've proposed."

So much for the argument that you should vote for Obama to save DACA.

Monday, October 1, 2012

TRUST Act Vetoed by California Governor Jerry Brown (D)

Late last night California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed AB 1081, commonly known as the TRUST Act. The TRUST Act would have prevented California law enforcement officers from participating in the Federal immigration fingerprint data sharing program known as Secure Communities (SCOM).  

SCOMM requires local law enforcement to detain suspected undocumented immigrants arrested for criminal violations until Immigration and Customs Enforcement can verify their immigration status. Fingerprints of suspected immigrants are sent to DHS to check against immigration databases. If these checks reveal that an individual is unlawfully present in the United States or otherwise removable due to a criminal conviction, ICE takes enforcement action.

The National Immigration Law Center has issued the following press release in response to Governor Brown's veto:

September 30, 2012

CONTACT: Adela de la Torre


Governor of California Fails to Enact Sound, Inclusive Policy

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. – Governor Jerry Brown ended California’s legislative session by vetoing two major bills designed to improve public safety and guarantee basic labor protections for domestic workers. The TRUST Act, sponsored by Rep. Tom Ammiano, would have restored public trust in law enforcement by ensuring that immigrants who do not pose a threat to public safety do not fear that they will be placed in federal deportation proceedings as a result of an encounter with the local police. The Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, also sponsored by Ammiano, would have made California the second state in the United States to codify the basic labor rights of domestic workers, a population long excluded from basic labor regulations.

“By failing to sign the TRUST Act, Governor Brown signaled that he cares more about deportation quotas established 3,000 miles away in Washington, D.C., than about the safety of our communities and the unity of our families,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. “The TRUST Act, which won widespread support from communities of faith, and labor, as well as endorsements from key law enforcement leaders, would have represented a firm and positive step toward an inclusive policy and away from a draconian deportation state like Arizona. Governor Brown had an opportunity to support the communities that had faith in him, and show the country that a more inclusive legislative path is possible. Unfortunately, Brown squandered that opportunity tonight.”

“The governor also showed that he couldn’t follow in another state’s positive footsteps this evening by failing to sign into law the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights. This bill would have allowed workers who take care of our families, children, and homes to have the same basic protections the rest of us consider essential for a fair and just workplace. A similar bill was signed into law last year in New York, and those of us who believe that all people should count on basic workplace rights had hoped that California would follow New York’s lead. Unfortunately, despite widespread support in both chambers of the California legislature, as well as support from so many sectors of society, Governor Brown failed to allow this common-sense piece of legislation to become law.”

“One need not look further back than the mid ‘90s to know that California’s immigrant voters will be stronger, not weaker, as a result of this setback. Courageous domestic workers, immigrants, and allies showed their leadership in launching impressive advocacy campaigns promoting these two visionary bills. Governor Brown should remember that failure to stand up for the communities of color that compose a growing portion of California’s population today can and will lead to a negative result at the ballot box in the future.”

Earlier this week, Brown did sign into law AB 1899, which provides continued access to in-state tuition, scholarships, fee waivers and financial aid to otherwise eligible crime survivors who are granted a T or U status. Prior to this law, survivors who cooperated with law enforcement and obtained one of these statuses, became ineligible for in-state tuition and other assistance that is available to other California college students regardless of their status. This legislation, which corrects this inadvertent gap in the law, was supported by anti-trafficking and anti-domestic violence advocates, law enforcement, higher education institutions, students, immigrant rights and civil rights groups, received unanimous support throughout the legislative process.

Added Hincapié, “While we were pleased to see that legislation to improve access to education for immigrant communities was signed into law, Brown should have shown similar leadership in other areas affecting the daily lives of Californian workers and community members. This deep disappointment will not be soon forgotten.

“Immigrant communities across the state will now organize to ensure that their local jurisdictions adopt policies that protect their communities from the harsh immigration enforcement practices that are separating families and devastating communities. Ultimately, change is needed at the federal level. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency must stop wreaking havoc on 400,000 families across the country each year, take the administrative steps necessary to stop deporting vibrant members of our communities, and start working toward creating an immigration system that allows aspiring Americans to continue contributing their best to our country.”

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Report: Immigrants in Detention Subjected to Punitive and Long-Term Solitary Confinement and Denial of Due Process

Heartland Alliance's National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) and Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) have conducted an investigation of more than a dozen immigration detention facilities and county jails that partner with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain immigrants awaiting removal from the United States.  

They discovered the existence of "egregious human rights violations" resulting from the Obama administration's widespread and arbitrary use of solitary confinement as a punitive measure against immigrant detainees.  They further found that immigrant detainees in solitary confinement are regularly subjected to excessive force, harassment, and/or abuse by corrections officers.

The following is from the summary of the report:
Investigators found that solitary confinement in immigration detention facilities is often arbitrarily applied, significantly overused, harmful to detainees’ health, and inadequately monitored. Some people give up and stop fighting their immigration cases so they will not have to spend another day in “the hole.” 
These individuals are then deported to countries they may not remember, or worse, to countries where they have been persecuted or tortured. In short, the use of solitary confinement within the immigration detention system places enormous pressure on immigrants attempting to stay in the United States to abandon their options for legal relief, their families, their communities, and often the only country they have ever known.
This isn't the first report that has been issued condemning the current administration for abusing immigrant detainees.  The administration has known about the occurrences of abuse in immigration detention for years, but has done virtually nothing to correct the problem.

Click here to read the full report.

Immigrants DREAM on: Neither Obama nor Romney will help you

Monday, September 24, 2012

Rep. Luis Gutierrez: No Promises from Obama to Move Quickly on Immigration Reform if Reelected in November

The Hill reports that the esteemed Congressman from Illinois, Luis Gutierrez (D), has indicated that he has received no assurances from the White House that if President Obama is reelected that he will "move quickly" to address comprehensive immigration reform.

So what?  The President isn't willing to fall into the same trap that he did last time he was campaigning by making MORE promises that he can't keep.  He is learning from his mistakes.  I call that "Change."
No quick movement from the White House on immigration reform.  Got it.

But the President must AT LEAST have a vision for what immigration reform will EVENTUALLY look like in his last four years?  He's got a plan waiting in the wings, RIGHT?  

The Hill reports an "emphatic" "NO" from Congressman Gutierrez.

No immigration reform strategy has been communicated to the leading pro-immigration reform voice in the Congress by the White House, and we are less than two months away from the Presidential election.
Ok, for those keeping score, let's get this straight: (1) no promises to work quickly on immigration reform, and (2) no strategy in the works.


This latest disappointment comes on the heels of the President (pandering) on Univision where he stated that immigration reform was his biggest failure.

So Mr. President, let me ask you this: if immigration reform is in fact your "biggest failure" why isn't it even listed as an important issue on your campaign website?

Ohhh right... your website is in English.

The immigration reform message is only meant for Spanish speaking voters.

Regardless, Congressman Gutierrez is "positive" that we will see immigration reform in term two, but astoundingly, it is because THE REPUBLICANS are going to lead on the issue.  


The Republicans?

Yup, you heard it right.  The Republicans are going to lead on the issue.  Not President Obama.  The Republicans.

Gutierrez points to Republicans like Jeb Bush, and Marco Rubio who will take the lead on immigration reform, and will introduce their own reform legislation: “because the Republicans are going to take such a beating in this election that they’re going to propose [their own plan].”

So it appears that Obama's immigration reform strategy is to win soundly in November, garnering the Hispanic vote in the process, but once in office provide no leadership by doing nothing, and solve the problem by allowing THE REPUBLICANS to take the lead through the introduction of their own immigration reform legislation.

I guess I just don't know what to say to that.
Well, what about Mitt Romney?  Did he also talk immigration on Univision?

You betcha.

Just like the President, Romney didn't offer any solutions, but appears to have reversed his tone on his previous "self-deportation" plan stating that if elected: “We’re not going to round up people around the country and deport them.” 

Well, at this point, I guess we just need to take what we can get.

Vote Gary Johnson for President in 2012.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Obama Administration Forcibly Removed a Combined 928,000 People from the United States in 2011

Here is the statistical breakdown from the report:

• CBP found 212,000 foreign nationals inadmissible for entry into the United States.
• DHS made 642,000 apprehensions of foreign nationals; 76 percent were natives of Mexico.
• ICE detained approximately 429,000 foreign nationals, an all-time high.
• DHS returned 324,000 foreign nationals to their home countries without a removal order.
• DHS removed 392,000 foreign nationals from the United States.
• Reinstatements of final orders accounted for 130,000, or 33 percent, of all removals.
• Expedited removals accounted for 123,000, or 31 percent, of all removals.
• The highest targeted countries of nationality  for removal being Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
• 32% of all people found to be inadmissible from the United States were citizens of Mexico.
• Mexican nationals accounted for 67 percent of total detainees.
• Mexicans accounted for 83 percent of expedited removals.
• 82% of all reinstatement of removals were against citizens of Mexico

In total, if you combine the number of people found indamissible (212,000), with the number of people officially removed (392,000), and the people that were returned to their native countres without a removal order (324,000), we are talking about a total of 928,000 people that the current administration forcibly returned to their native country in 2011, a disproportionately large percentage of which being Hispanic.

So folks, those are the numbers.  As you can see the Obama administration's deportation grinder continues to relentlessly destroy families in this country through deportation, with no foreseeable end in sight.

Here is the cold harsh reality: this President is waging an aggressive war against immigrant communities, and the statistics show that you should be particularly concerned if you are Hispanic.

Realizing Liberty: The Use of International Human Rights Law to Realign Immigration Detention in the United States

Professor Denise Gilman of the University of Texas School of Law has written an issue paper on the U.S. immigration detention system from a human rights perspective.  It is entitled "Realizing Liberty: The Use of International Human Rights Law to Realign Immigration Detention in the United States."

Here is the abstract:
This article takes a comprehensive look at the extensive U.S. immigration detention system from a human rights perspective. The article represents a first effort to synthesize and present recently-developed international human rights standards and apply those rules to the U.S. immigration detention system. It engages in an in-depth analysis to identify the changes necessary to realign U.S. law and scale back immigration detention in accord with international human rights law. The article proposes that U.S. courts should effect those changes through the interpretation of constitutional and statutory provisions in light of the international human rights law standards. This use of the human rights standards is appropriate, because the standards represent binding obligations for the United States as a matter of international law and closely track U.S. constitutional law principles relating to civil detention in contexts less contentious than immigration. The article demonstrates how the application of international human rights law standards can bring rationality and humanity to U.S. immigration detention by revitalizing the right to liberty, which constitutes a core conception in both international human rights law and U.S. constitutional law.
The paper is 72 pages, and can be downloaded in its entirety here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Federal Court to Obama Administration: Stop Deporting Defense Witnesses

It looks like you can add defense witnesses to the list of immigrants that are a deportation priority of the Obama administration.  Sandra Hernandez of the L.A. Times has reported that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stern warning to the federal government, who apparently has made a habit of deporting witnesses that are able to provide material testimony that would assist in the defense of defendants in criminal proceedings.

The case involves an individual that was ultimately convicted of the crime of alien smuggling under 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(2)(B)(iii).  There were four immigrants that were willing to be potential witnesses.  The three immigrants that were willing to testify in a way that was favorable to the prosecution were permitted to remain in the United States.  The one immigrant that gave statements on multiple occasions exonerating the defendant was deported.

Judge Alex Kozinski issued the following decision:
May the government deport an illegal alien who can provide exculpatory evidence for a criminal defendant before counsel for that defendant has even been appointed? We believe the answer is self-evident, as the government recognized in an earlier case where it moved to vacate a conviction after it deported witnesses whose testimony would have exculpated defendant.
This is not the first time that the government admitted to deporting defense witnesses.
We had assumed... that the government would refrain from putting aliens who could provide exculpatory evidence beyond the reach of the court and defense counsel. But whatever wisdom the United States Attorney for the Southern District of California gained in Ramirez-Lopez appears to have applied to that case and that defendant only. We change that today.
Needless to say the 9th reversed the conviction, and remanded the case back to the lower Court to decide whether to dismiss charges with prejudice as a consequence of the Government's (mis)conduct.

This is not the first time I have seen deportation used as a weapon against defense witnesses.  In one of my own cases a Special Agent from ICE testified under oath that he threatened my defense witness with deportation if he wasn't willing to testify for the Government.

Apparently, the government has forgotten that their duty is not to win at any cost, but to ensure that justice is done.

Thankfully, we have the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to remind them.

Click here to read the full opinion of the Court.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

USCIS Issues Guidance on Whether or Not to Disclose Fraudulent Use of a Social Security Number on Employment Authorization Application

On September 14, 2012, USCIS issued an update to their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) frequently asked questions page. One of the updates is of significant importance, as it answers the big question that we have all been asking: should a DACA applicant disclose ALL social security numbers used, real or otherwise, on the Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

I'm specifically referring to Question 9 on the I-765 that asks the applicant to provide your social security number and then followed in parentheses states: "include all numbers you have ever used. If any."
Many of us have voiced concerned about this question because the DACA FAQ also contains the following warning:

"USCIS is committed to safeguarding the integrity of the immigration process. If individuals knowingly make a misrepresentation, or knowingly fail to disclose facts, in an effort to have their case deferred or obtain work authorization through this process, they will be treated as an immigration enforcement priority to the fullest extent permitted by law, and be subject to criminal prosecution and/or removal from the United States." [Emphasis added]

The updated FAQ adresses these concerns by issuing guidance relating to the disclosure of social security numbers:

"New - Q9. How should I fill out question nine (9) on the Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization? 

A9. When you are filing a Form I-765 as part of a Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals request, question nine (9) is asking you to list those Social Security numbers that were officially issued to you by the Social Security Administration."

Here are my first glance concerns.  

The USCIS FAQ does not have the full force of law, is unsigned by any USCIS official, and is subject to change at any time.  Equitable estoppel does not generally apply in the immigration context, and as a result if an individual detrimentally relies on the current guidance, and if that guidance is later revoked or altered, it is feasible that a future administration may negatively interpret any failure to disclose "all social security numbers used." 

There is an entire line of case law that specifically deals with failure to disclose material facts. Generally, if the concealment of material facts constitutes a misrepresentation it may subject an individual to deportation.
I'm not saying that a change in the current interpretation of Question 9 is imminent, or even likely to occur, but I do see the red flag, so I am mentioning it for consideration.

The bottom line is that I would feel a whole lot more comfortable if USCIS amended the actual Form I-765 rather than just the FAQ.  In a perfect world the question would read: "include all social security numbers ever used that have been assigned to you by the Social Security Administration."

Unfortunately, the world of immigration law is anything BUT perfect.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Obama Engages in Revisionist History, Claims He Did Not Promise to Complete Immigration Reform in His First Term.

Yesterday, the Deporter in Chief was interviewed by a Spanish news agency where he said that he didn't promise to enact comprehensive immigration reform during his first term in office, and merely stated that he would start the process, but that it would require more than one term to complete the job.

Here is his direct quote from the interview courtesy of Fox News Latino: "there are some things, like comprehensive immigration reform, that we have not got done yet. But in 2008 I didn't promise that I would have everything completed by the end of the first term. I said that we would begin work on all these things."

Ummm... yeah ya did:

"We can't wait 20 years from now to do it, we can't 10 years from now to do it, we need to do it by the end of my first term as president of the United States of America." Then Senator Barack Obama.

Mr. President, do you think we are stupid? Why do you insult our intelligence by lying to our faces about your failed immigration reform record as your agency CONTINUES to deport more people than any administration in history, while withholding complete deportation statistics in a blatantly obvious attempt to cover-up the true number of deportations that continue to climb on your watch.

Do you think your revisionist history will cover-up the fact that you are gaming the actual deportation numbers by denying immigrants their right to due process, and depriving them of the ability to seek administrative relief from deportation before an immigration judge.

Are you hoping that we won't notice that you are packing already over burdened immigration courts with more cases than can feasibly be handled, while imposing a hiring freeze on new immigration judges and trial attorneys?

Will you also walk-back last June's policy memorandum that has had virtually no impact on stemming the flow of deportations in practice?

Do you think that we overlooked the fact that you waited until the 11th hour of your first term to do exactly what you spent the first 3.5 years of your Presidency saying you do not have the legal authority to do.  And incidentally, why no executive order?  You know, something that ICE can't IGNORE in the exercise of discretion.

Mr. President, we AREN'T stupid.  We know when we are being lied to.  We would have more respect for your failures if you acknowledged them, rather than pulling a Mitt Romney by walking back proclamations that four years later appear to be solely motivated by political expediency to win election.

We respect honesty Mr. President.

Maybe in your second term you can give that a try. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

DACA Approvals Being Mailed... But How Many?

On September 10, the Wall Street Journal reported that USCIS only received 40,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) applications out of a pool of an estimated 1.7 million potential applicants.
Yesterday (September 11, 2012), the Associated Press reported that USCIS received 72,000 DACA applications and that a "small group" have been approved.  DHS has not released the actual statistics on DACA approvals.
This report of approvals has been confirmed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). AILA was contacted directly by DHS who indicated that electronic notifications of approval of DACA applications are being sent, and that grants should start "trickling out in the coming days." AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 12091150 (posted Sep. 11, 2012).
So the question becomes: have there been 40,000, or 72,000 DACA applications received, and moreover, where are these statistics coming from if DHS isn't releasing the actual numbers?
The cynic in me can't help to think that the ambiguity in reporting is politically motivated, as there is no other viable reason for the most transparent administration in history to be tight-lipped about the number of DACA approvals... unless the actual numbers are exponetially lower than what is expected. Kinda like when the Morton memo only resulted in 1.9% of all reviewed cases receiving a favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion.
So that being said, here are the questions that I, and an estimated 1.7 million potential DACA applicants, would like some hard answers to:
  1. How many DACA applications have actually been received by USCIS?
  2. How many DACA applications have been approved by USCIS?
  3. How many DACA approval notices have already been mailed?
  4. How many DACA applications have been denied by USCIS?
  5. What was the basis for the denial (i.e., fraud in the application, serious misdemeanor, ineligibility, etc.)?
  6. How many DACA applications have received requests for additional information?
  7. How many DACA applications are awaiting adjudication in the pipeline?
  8. And most importantly... How many denials, if any, have resulted in a referral to ICE for the institution of removal proceedings.
Maybe I'm being a stickler for details, but if you are going to use the lives of undocumented immigrants as a political football it is only fair to put all of the facts on the table.
I'm not holding my breath.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

At least 39,426 People Deported in May 2012... that we know of.

Syracuse University's TRAC immigration has determined that the Obama administration deported a total of 39,426 individuals in May 2012. They also determined that ICE is doing an end-around the immigration courts by utilizing the expedited removal process in one-third of all cases (11,735).

Another 13,697 people were sent back home by ICE through the reinstatement of a previous removal order. This happens in cases where a person was previously deported, left the U.S. and then returned illegally. Only one-quarter (approximately 10,000 people) were ordered deported by an immigration judge.

These numbers do not include expedited removals issued by Customs and Border Protection, so there is no way of knowing how many people were actually deported in May 2012. TRAC requested the data, but so far the Obama administration hasn't released it.

ICE also refuses to release complete records for months before May 2012, and continues to withhold statistics relating to court-ordered deportations versus administrative agency summary removals.

What we do know is that there is a growing trend of the Obama administration of depriving individuals of their day in court.

Here is what TRAC has determined:
ICE deportations increasingly appear to be bypassing the Immigration Courts. For example, during fiscal year 2010, the ratio of monthly Immigration Court deportation orders issued to monthly ICE-reported deportations was 42 percent. During fiscal year 2011, this ratio fell to 40 percent, and during the first eight months of fiscal year 2012 it had declined to 33 percent. 
So basically the Obama administration has dealt with the shortfall of immigration judges, and the increasing backlog of immigration cases by simply depriving people of their right to counsel, and full panoply of due process protections by preventing people from having a full immigration hearing, and merely deporting them through an administrative process.

In short... Deportation by Star Chamber.

But the Democrats let a DREAMer speak for two minutes at the DNC, so I guess it's all good.

Visa Bulletin for October 2012

Number 49
Volume IX
Washington, D.C.
1. This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during October. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security reports applicants for adjustment of status.  Allocations were made, to the extent possible, in chronological order of reported priority dates, for demand received by September10th. If not all demand could be satisfied, the category or foreign state in which demand was excessive was deemed oversubscribed.  The cut-off date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who could not be reached within the numerical limits.  Only applicants who have a priority dateearlier than the cut-off date may be allotted a number. If it becomes necessary during the monthly allocation process to retrogress a cut-off date, supplemental requests for numbers will be honored only if the priority date falls within the new cut-off date announced in this bulletin.

2. Section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) sets an annual minimum family-sponsored preference limit of 226,000.  The worldwide level for annual employment-based preference immigrants is at least 140,000.  Section 202 prescribes that the per-country limit for preference immigrants is set at 7% of the total annual family-sponsored and employment-based preference limits, i.e., 25,620.  The dependent area limit is set at 2%, or 7,320.
3.  INA Section 203(e) provides that family-sponsored and employment-based preference visas be issued to eligible immigrants in the order in which a petition in behalf of each has been filed.  Section 203(d) provides that spouses and children of preference immigrants are entitled to the same status, and the same order of consideration, if accompanying or following to join the principal.  The visa prorating provisions of Section 202(e) apply to allocations for a foreign state or dependent area when visa demand exceeds the per-country limit.  These provisions apply at present to the following oversubscribed chargeability areas:  CHINA-mainland born, INDIA, MEXICO, and PHILIPPINES.
4.  Section 203(a) of the INA prescribes preference classes for allotment of Family-sponsored immigrant visas as follows:                                        
First:  (F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens:  23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.
Second:  Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents:  114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, plus any unused first preference numbers:
A. (F2A) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents:  77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;
B. (F2B) Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents:  23% of the overall second preference limitation.
Third:  (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens:  23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.
Fourth:  (F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens:  65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.
On the chart below, the listing of a date for any class indicates that the class is oversubscribed (see paragraph 1); "C" means current, i.e., numbers are available for all qualified applicants; and "U" means unavailable, i.e., no numbers are available.  (NOTE:  Numbers are available only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the cut-off date listed below.)
Family-SponsoredAll Charge-ability Areas Except Those ListedCHINA- mainland bornINDIAMEXICOPHILIPPINES
F2A01JUN1001JUN1001JUN1015MAY10 01JUN10
*NOTE:  For October, F2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are available to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 15MAY10.  F2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are available to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 15MAY10 and earlier than 01JUN10.  (All F2A numbers provided for MEXICO are exempt from the per-country limit; there are no F2A numbers for MEXICO subject to per-country limit.)
5. Section 203(b) of the INA prescribes preference classes for allotment of Employment-based immigrant visas as follows:         
First: Priority Workers:  28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.
Second: Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability:  28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required by first preference.      
Third: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers:  28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences, not more than 10,000 of which to "*Other Workers".
Fourth: Certain Special Immigrants:  7.1% of the worldwide level.
Fifth: Employment Creation:  7.1% of the worldwide level, not less than 3,000 of which reserved for investors in a targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and 3,000 set aside for investors in regional centers by Sec. 610 of Pub. L. 102-395.
On the chart below, the listing of a date for any class indicates that the class is oversubscribed (see paragraph 1); "C" means current, i.e., numbers are available for all qualified applicants; and "U" means unavailable, i.e., no numbers are available.  (NOTE:  Numbers are available only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the cut-off date listed below.)
Employment- Based
All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed
Other Workers22OCT0622JUN0315OCT0222OCT0601AUG06
Certain Religious WorkersUUUUU
Regional Centers
5th Pilot Programs
*Employment Third Preference Other Workers Category:  Section 203(e) of the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) passed by Congress in November 1997, as amended by Section 1(e) of Pub. L. 105-139, provides that once the Employment Third Preference Other Worker (EW) cut-off date has reached the priority date of the latest EW petition approved prior to November 19, 1997, the 10,000 EW numbers available for a fiscal year are to be reduced by up to 5,000 annually beginning in the following fiscal year.  This reduction is to be made for as long as necessary to offset adjustments under the NACARA program.  Since the EW cut-off date reached November 19, 1997 during Fiscal Year 2001, the reduction in the EW annual limit to 5,000 began in Fiscal Year 2002.
6.  The Department of State has a recorded message with visa availability information which can be heard at:  (202) 663-1541.  This recording is updated on or about the tenth of each month with information on cut-off dates for the following month.
Section 203(c) of the INA provides up to 55,000 immigrant visas each fiscal year to permit additional immigration opportunities for persons from countries with low admissions during the previous five years.  The NACARA stipulates that beginning with DV-99, and for as long as necessary, up to 5,000 of the 55,000 annually-allocated diversity visas will be made available for use under the NACARA program.  This resulted in reduction of the DV-2013 annual limit to 50,000.  DV visas are divided among six geographic regions.  No one country can receive more than seven percent of the available diversity visas in any one year.
For October, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified
DV-2013 applicants chargeable to all regions/eligible countries as follows. When an allocation cut-off number is shown, visas are available only for applicants with DV regional lottery rank numbers BELOW the specified allocation cut-off number:
RegionAll DV Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed Separately
Except: Egypt 5,500
Ethiopia 5,500
Nigeria 5,500
Entitlement to immigrant status in the DV category lasts only through the end of the fiscal (visa) year for which the applicant is selected in the lottery.  The year of entitlement for all applicants registered for the DV-2013 program ends as of September 30, 2013.  DV visas may not be issued to DV-2013 applicants after that date.  Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following  to join DV-2013 principals are only entitled to derivative DV status until September 30, 2013.  DV visa availability through the very end of FY-2013 cannot be taken for granted.  Numbers could be exhausted prior to September 30.
For November, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2013 applicants chargeable to all regions/eligible countries as follows. When an allocation cut-off number is shown, visas are available only for applicants with DV regional lottery rank numbers BELOW the specified allocation cut-off number:
RegionAll DV Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed Separately
AFRICA13,900Except:  Egypt 6,600
Ethiopia 9,100
Nigeria 8,500

Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR): Pursuant to Section 568(a)(1) of Public Law 111-83, the non-minister special immigrant program expires on September 30, 2012.  No SR visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after September 30, 2012. Visas issued prior to this date will only be issued with a validity date of September 30, 2012, and all individuals seeking admission as a non-minister special immigrant must be admitted (repeat, admitted) into the U.S. no later than midnight September 30, 2012.
Employment Fifth Preference Pilot Categories (I5 and R5): Section 548 of Public Law 111-83 extended this immigrant investor pilot program through September 30, 2012. The I5 and R5 visas may be issued until close of business on September 30, 2012, and may be issued for the full validity period. No I5 or R5 visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after September 30, 2012.
The cut-off dates for the categories mentioned above have been listed as “Unavailable” for October.  Congress is currently considering an extension of the SR, I5 and R5 visa categories, but there is no certainty when such legislative action may occur.  If there is legislative action extending one or both of these categories for FY-2013, those cut-off dates would immediately become “Current” for October.
The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs publishes the monthly Visa Bulletin on their website at www.travel.state.gov under the Visas section. Alternatively, visitors may access the Visa Bulletin directly by going to:
To be placed on the Department of State’s E-mail subscription list for the “Visa Bulletin”, please send an E-mail to the following E-mail address:
and in the message body type:
Subscribe Visa-Bulletin First name/Last name
(example: Subscribe Visa-Bulletin Sally Doe)
To be removed from the Department of State’s E-mail subscription list for the “Visa Bulletin”, send an e-mail message to the following E-mail address:
and in the message body type: Signoff Visa-Bulletin
The Department of State also has available a recorded message with visa cut-off dates which can be heard at: (202) 663-1541. The recording is normally updated by the middle of each month with information on cut-off dates for the following month.
Readers may submit questions regarding Visa Bulletin related items by E-mail at the following address:
(This address cannot be used to subscribe to the Visa Bulletin.)
Department of State Publication 9514
CA/VO:  September 10, 2012