Thursday, February 23, 2012

Obama Administration Deported 46,000 Parents of United States Citizens in First-Half of 2011

Last weekend Chris Hayes did a segment on his MSNBC show about President Obama's deportation policy.  He put together a panel that took a look at the practical effect of the administration's record deportations.
What they found was that in the first six months of 2011, the Obama administration deported 46,000 parents of United States citizen children, many of whom became orphaned as a result.  In fact, there are 5,100 United States citizen children in foster care that have been separated from their mother or father who have either been deported or detained.  To put it in proper perspective, one-quater of all people deportated by this President are parents of United States citizen children.
Here is just one example:
Click here to watch the entire Chris Hayes segment.  It is worth your time.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Federal Judge Delays Ruling on Utah Immigration Law

U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoup has delayed issuing a decision on the constitutionality of Utah's immigration law until after the Supreme Court reaches a decision on Arizona's immigration law.
Judge Waddoup reasoned that: “Because this case addresses significant constitutional issues, the court does not believe it would be helpful to the parties for the court to rule on the present motions before it receives the additional guidance from the Supreme Court.”
Arguments on Arizona’s SB1070 are scheduled for April, and it is possible that the Supreme Court's decision may be rendered as early as May.
Click here for the source of this article.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Federal Judge Enjoins Part of Fremont, Nebraska Immigration Ordinance

U.S. District Court Judge Laurie Smith Camp has issued a 37-page summary judgment enjoining the City of Fremont, Nebraska "from enforcing certain parts of the ordinance that prohibit the harboring of illegal aliens and provide for the revocation of occupancy licenses."

The Court's ruling permits the enforcement of the employment provisions of the immigration ordinance that was approved by voters in a June 2010 special election.
Judge Smith declined to enjoin provisions of the ordinance that require employers to verify the immigration status of employees and also requires renters to obtain an “occupancy license” prior to renting a house or apartment. Both sides of the debate are claiming victory.
Click here for the source of this story.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Federal Judge to Rule on Constitutionality of Utah's Immigration Law

The Associated Press reports that U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups has scheduled arguments today (Friday) to determine the constitutionality of Utah's immigration enforcement law that was signed by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert last March.
The law requires police officers to verify the immigration status of individuals arrested in Utah for serious crimes.  The law includes a discretionary component relating to individual determinations of whether or not police will investigate the immigration status of individuals charged with non-serious crimes.
The Obama administration has challenged the law arguing it is unconstitutional because it usurps federal authority and violates civil rights.  The State of Utah argues that it is constitutional because there are limitations on who the police may investigate for potential immigration violations.
Judge Waddoups must decide whether to issue a permanent injunction. The Judge ordered a temporary injunction in May 2011.
Click here for the source of this story.

ICE Agent Opens Fire on Superior and then Shot Dead by a Third Agent in California

An ICE agent shot his superior right in the office in Long Beach, California on Thursday. A third agent shot and killed the gunman. The wounded ICE officer is in stabled condition, and is expected to survive.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Obama's Proposed Immigration Enforcement Agenda is Business as Usual

President Obama's proposed FY2013 budget includes a very modest (0.5%) reduction of funds dedicated to immigration enforcement, or $191 million fewer dollars to spread around.

Here is what is proposed:
  • Continuing current enforcement priorities against undocumented immigrants; 
  • Maintaining the number of Customs and Border Protection officers (21,186) and Border Patrol agents (21,370);
  • Streamlining collection data from international travelers; 
  • Continuing E-Verify, and Systematic Alien Verification Entitlements (SAVE); 
  • Reducing the number of immigrant detainees; and
  • Consolidating the US-Visit program with Customs and Border Protection, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 
A coalition of Texas-border mayors, county judges and economic development association aren't happy about it.

Here is what Ramsey Cantu, Eagle Pass mayor and chairman of the Texas Boarder Coalition has to say: "we are extremely disappointed that the federal budget does not include additional resources for the Southern border crossings, and that security at these facilities remains a low priority for this Administration in the year to come.” 

Click here for the source of this info.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Dangerous path to legal status for some immigrants

Visa Bulletin for March 2012

Family-SponsoredAll Chargeability Areas Except Those ListedCHINA-mainland bornINDIAMEXICOPHILIPPINES
F2A22JUL0922JUL0922JUL0901JUL09 22JUL09
*NOTE:  For March, F2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are available to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 01JUL09.  F2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are available to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 01JUL09 and earlier than 22JUL09.  (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:
Employment- Based
All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed
Other Workers15MAR0622APR0322AUG0215MAR0615MAR06
Certain Religious WorkersCCCCC
Regional Centers
and 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.
For March, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2012 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
AFRICA35,800Except: Egypt  26,000
Ethiopia  26,000
Nigeria 17,500
EUROPE26,500Except: Uzbekistan 16,500
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-2012 program ends as of September 30, 2012. DV visas may not be issued to DV-2012 applicants after that date. Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2012 principals are only entitled to derivative DV status until September 30, 2012. DV visa availability through the very end of FY-2012 cannot be taken for granted. Numbers could be exhausted prior to September 30.
For April, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2012 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
AFRICA39,000Except: Egypt 29,500
Ethiopia 29,500
Nigeria 20,000
EUROPE32,000Except: Uzbekistan 16,500

Pulitzer Prize winner Jose Antonio Vargas shows is support for CAD and the DREAM Act.

The Campaign for an American DREAM begins its 3,000-mile trek across the nation on Saturday, March 10th at the Golden Gate Bridge.


Click here for more updates.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Obama Administration to Investigate Findings of Sexual Abuse at Immigration Detention Centers

It has been reported that it took inquiries from 30 members of Congress for the Obama administration to be shamed into acknowledging reports of sexual abuse of immigrant detainees.

The administration's response: they are going to launch an investigation.

With all due respect, there has already been an investigation that found more than 170 allegations of sexual abuse of immigrant detainees, the majority occurring in the three years since Obama took office.

We are clearly beyond the "investigation" stage.  Maybe it is time for someone in the Obama administration to actually fix the problem.

While we're at it, whatever happened to the administration's ambitious plan to fix the immigration detention system.  It has been over two-years since the promise was made to "clean up a system notorious for shabby and abusive conditions, poor or nonexistent medical treatment and a trail of preventable injuries and deaths."  President Obama must be saving this promise for his second term.

In related news, the administration is also trying to decide whether to provide protection for immigrant detainees through inclusion in pending prison rape prevention regulations.

Shockingly, sources from within the administration report that here has actually been a "contentious" debate over whether to provide protection for immigrant detainees from rape.


Will the Supreme Court's upcoming Arizona Immigration Law Decision have an impact on the 2012 Election?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Congressman Gutierrez Responds to my Open Letter

I just received the following response to my open letter to Congressman Gutierrez, and have been asked to post it here.
This is very helpful.  I was pushing back on the critics of President Obama and the GOP critics of the DREAM Act in Miami on the day of the Florida primary and I went too far.  I think we have made great strides with prosecutorial discretion and getting deportation cases of DREAMers closed, but to say categorically that they have stopped is overstating the reality, which he accurately points out.
I did say that if people know of cases, they should call us and I mean that. We are already working on a ton of cases for people facing deportation and are having much more success now than we ever did.  Take a look at the HuffPo piece I wrote on Martha's story in January (
People with a long time here or who came as children or who have significant equities in the U.S. and no serious criminal background are getting relief more often, but many are falling through the cracks, so I apologize for overstating it and will watch out for that in the future. 
- LVG 
In addition to this response, Congressman Gutierrez has encouraged people to contact his office if you receive an unfavorable response to a request for exercise of prosecutorial discretion. 

Thank you Congressman for your response, and for championing fair and just immigration reform.  Your hard work is noticed, and is very much appreciated.

Citizenship Application Approved in 3 Months

Our client was born in India. We have represented him for over ten years. Prior to our representation, he married a United States citizen and became a permanent resident as a result of that marriage. Because he was married for less than two years at the time he became a permanent resident, his status was only valid for two years.

Unfortunately, the marriage did not work out and the parties were divorced because of the cruel and inhuman treatment of our client by his former wife. At this point we were retained and applied for a waiver of the requirement that a petition be filed by both a husband and wife in order to extend permanent resident status indefinitely.

We provided numerous exhibits, including a statement from his former mother in-law, showing that he had entered into the marriage in good faith. We then appeared with him at the interview and his lawful permanent resident status was extended indefinitely.

 Ten years later, he retained us to apply for naturalization as a citizen of the United States. We prepared an extensive application, which included court records concerning two minor criminal convictions. We showed that these convictions did not impugn his good moral character because one was for being under the influence of alcohol in a United States park, and the other was for a minor traffic violation, neither of which are crimes involving moral turpitude.

We provided all of his IRS tax return transcripts and tax returns, court documents showing that he had no obligation to support his former wife, and letters of reference on his behalf, among other things. We prepared him for the Naturalization Examination and attended the same with him.

His application was approved in three months, and he is now a citizen of the United States.

Stolen Babies? Immigrant Mother Loses Four Kids

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Dear Congressman Gutierrez, President Obama continues to Deport DREAMers

Yesterday I saw a clip of the esteemed Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill) speaking on Univision about the Obama administration's deportation policy as it relates to DREAM Act eligible students.

Congressman Gutierrez stated the following: 

"You don't see any young people getting deported anymore, and when they are call me.  We'll undeport you. This administration has made a point that no more DREAM eligible students will be deported from the United States."

First off, I'd like to state that I hold Congressman Gutierrez in high regard, and offer the following with the utmost respect.

Mr. Congressman, you couldn't be more wrong.

Let me first introduce you to 22-year-old DREAMER Yanelli Hernandez, who attempted suicide twice while being held in immigration detention as a result of depression attributable to her pending deportation.  DREAMers across the country held vigils as part of  “Undocumented Youth Mental Health Day" to bring attention to her case with the hopes of stopping the Obama administration from deporting her to Mexico.

It didn't work.

ICE spokesman Khaalid Walls confirms that Yanelli was just removed to Mexico this past week under a final order of removal.  It is my understanding that there were no criminal grounds of removal brought against her, and that the sole basis for her deportation was an immigration violation. Whatever happened to common sense enforcement priorities?

Mr. Congressman, I am respectfully taking you up on your offer, and calling on you to "un-deport" her.

I'd also like to introduce you to DREAMer Gerson Armando Morales.  When he was a child Gerson's mother escaped an abusive husband in El Salvador.  She received Temporary Protected Status in the United States, which does not permit her to sponsor her children.  As a result, Gerson was brought here illegally as a 12-year-old child to escape gang violence, and natural disasters in El Salvador. 

He is now facing deportation from the United States. Please help stop it from happening.

These are just two examples from this week alone of how the Obama administration treats DREAMers, and such treatment is symptomatic of this President's proclivity of deporting children, mothers, and fathers.  In short, in three years this President has destroyed more families through deportation than any other President in the history of this country.  His record on immigration reform is nonexistent, and his human rights record deplorable. 

But you know all of this.

My point being, President Obama should not be commended for his pandering lip-service, as more times than not his deportation review program is not preventing the removal of individuals with extensive family ties, and an absence of criminal records.  I know, as I am in the trenches of the deportation war that Obama has been waging for over three years now, and let me tell you something, it ain't pretty.

The facts are that DREAMers continue to be deported daily by this President.  My mother once told me that you will never find a solution if you ignore the problem.  Unfortunately, our problem is this President's immigration enforcement agenda, and the problem will never be fixed if we ignore the undeniable fact that President Obama's record deportations are our problem.  

Congressman, I am not writing this because I am in any way critical of the very hard work that you have been doing throughout the country on behalf of undocumented children.  In fact, I can't commend you enough for your advocacy for comprehensive immigration reform. You will always have my unwavering support as a result.  

I only wish I could share your enthusiasm and join you in being "happy and proud to support President Obama for reelection."  Because as it currently stands, this President is unworthy of the immigration reform vote, and he is running out of time.

Thank you for listening.

Teen injured in Florida pileup won't be deported

CNN reports that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will not move to deport an undocumented injured that lost most of her family in a multivehicle wreck in Florida.

ICE spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez offered the following statement: "Our thoughts and prayers are with Miss Lidiane Carmo as she deals with the tragic loss of her family,"  "Reports of her facing deportation are completely false."

Click here for the source of this US immigration news story.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

His Name is Gerson

The following was taken from
Hello, my name is Gerson Armando Morales.
An abusive husband led my mother to search for a better future in this great country. She left me in El Salvador with the hopes that someday we would be reunited. Unfortunately, under my mother’s Temporary Protected Status (TPS), she was not allowed to bring me here.
However, the aging of my grandparents, gang violence, and natural disasters in El Salvador gave my mother no other choice but to bring me here at a young age. I had to face the same adversity of immigrating here the way others do. When I arrived at the age of 12, I found the rest of my family waiting for me, including a new brother and sister.  Ever since, this country has become my home.Right after arriving, I was enrolled into an English-only school and quickly assimilated. It was not until high school when I realized the severity of my situation.  Regardless of my status, I continued with school and went on to college; I wanted to be an engineer. But this is not a “happily ever after” story.
One morning as I drove to school, I was stopped for a minor traffic violation. I was arrested for not carrying a driver’s license and turned over to an immigration detention center where I remained for a month.  Now I am in danger of being deported and worse, being separated from my family.
If I do not do anything I risk being sent to a place I don't consider my home anymore.  All I ask is one minute of your time. Will you please sign this petition asking ICE to grant me prosecutorial discretion?
Doing so can make the difference whether I stay in this country or not. 
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE go to and sign the petition to embarrass the Obama administration into doing the right thing.  Without public support Gerson will become one more statistic in the Obama administration's 400,000 deportations per year machine.

Don't let it happen.

ICE Confirms DREAMer Yanelli Hernandez Deported to Mexico

"ICE spokesman Khaalid Walls:

Yanelli HERNANDEZ-Serrano was removed to her native country, Mexico, today in accordance with a final order of removal from an immigration judge. ICE has adopted common sense policies that ensure our immigration laws are enforced in a way that best enhances public safety, border security and the integrity of the immigration system.

As part of this approach, ICE has adopted clear priorities that call for the agency’s enforcement resources to be focused on the identification and removal of those that have broken criminal laws, recently crossed our border, repeatedly violated immigration law or are fugitives from immigration court."

Click here for the source of this US immigration news story.

Luis Gutierrez talks about the "military only" version of the Dream Act. Calls it a step backward.

Arizona's SB 1070 Author says he's an advisor for Mitt Romney

Study: Alabama immigration law costs $11 billion

Samuel Addy, Ph.D. of the University of Alabama's Center for Business and Economic Research, Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration, has conducted a study analyzing the cost-benefit of the Alabama immigration law.

Here is a summary of the findings:

• This report presents an initial cost-benefit analysis of HB56, the new Alabama immigration law. Potential economic benefits of the law include (i) saving funds used to provide public benefits to illegal immigrants, (ii) increased safety for citizens and legal residents, (iii) more business, employment, and education opportunities, and (iv) ensuring the integrity of various governmental programs and services.

• The law’s economic costs include implementation, enforcement, and litigation expenditures; increased costs and inconveniences for citizens, other legal residents, and businesses; fewer economic development opportunities; and the economic impact of reduced aggregate demand as some illegal immigrants leave and therefore no longer earn and spend income in the state. The annual economic and fiscal impacts of the reduction in aggregate demand caused by 40,000-80,000 unauthorized immigrant workers who earn between $15,000 to $35,000 a year leaving the state are reductions of about (a) 70,000-140,000 jobs with $1.2-5.8 billion in earnings, (ii) $2.3-10.8 billion in Alabama Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or 1.3-6.2 percent of the state’s $172.6 billion GDP in 2010, (iii) $56.7-264.5 million in state income and sales tax collections, and (iv) $20.0-93.1 million in local sales tax collections.

• Some of the law’s costs and benefits are qualitative and others are quantifiable, but difficult to estimate. While the law’s costs are certain and some are large, it is not clear that the benefits will be realized. From an economist’s perspective, the question Alabama and its legislature have to ponder is this: Are the benefits of the new immigration law worth the costs?

Click here to read the full report.

BIA: Immigration Judges May Administratively Close Deportation Cases without Government Approval

The Board of Immigration Appeals has rendered a decision that empowers Immigration Judges to administratively close removal proceedings when the Department does not consent to administrative closure.  See Matter of Bavakan AVETISYAN, 25 I&N Dec. 688 (BIA 2012).  

The case involves a woman who is a native and citizen of Armenia.  She is married to a United States citizen, and they have a child together. She came to the United States legally, but didn't leave the country after she completed her studies.  An immigrant petition was filed with all the requisite supporting documentation establishing that her marriage was real, and copies were provided to the Court.  If approved, the Respondent appears prima facie eligible for adjustment of status  As such, the Respondent requested administrative closure of the case while the immigrant visa petition was pending.

The Department objected to administrative closure of the case despite the fact that they were not prepared to go forward in Court because the file was in the hands of visa petition unit awaiting adjudication.  The Department instead requested a continuance of proceedings.  The Court denied the Department's request for a continuance, and instead ordered administrative closure over the Department's objections. The Board affirmed the IJ's decision.  

In doing so, the Board revisited their previous finding in In Matter of Gutierrez, 21 I&N Dec. 479, at 480 (BIA 1996), were the general rule was established that “[a] case may not be administratively closed if opposed by either of the parties.  When taking a second look at the issue the Board found the general rule "troubling" because it afforded DHS "absolute veto power" over administrative closure requests.
The new rule is as follows:
(1) Pursuant to the authority delegated by the Attorney General and the responsibility to exercise that authority with independent judgment and discretion, the Immigration Judges and the Board may administratively close removal proceedings, even if a party opposes, if it is otherwise appropriate under the circumstances. Matter of Gutierrez, 21 I&N Dec. 479 (BIA 1996), overruled. 
(2) In determining whether administrative closure of proceedings is appropriate,an Immigration Judge or the Board should weigh all relevant factors, including but not limited to: (1) the reason administrative closure is sought; (2) the basis for any opposition to administrative closure; (3) the likelihood the respondent will succeed on any petition, application, or other action he or she is pursuing outside of removal proceedings; (4) the anticipated duration of the closure; (5) the responsibility of either party, if any, in contributing to any current or anticipated delay; and (6) the ultimate outcome of removal proceedings (for example, termination of the proceedings or entry of a removal order) when the case is recalendared before the Immigration Judge or the appeal is reinstated before the Board.
I have been arguing for the past 15 years that an IJ does not need the acquiescence of the Department to administratively close removal proceedings.  Only one Judge, Sandy K. Hom, agreed with my argument, and the Department appealed his decision.  The case remains pending before the Board, for now.