Thursday, March 28, 2013

300% Drop in Number of DACA Applications

The Texas Tribune reports that there has been a 300% drop in the number of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applications.  Last September there were more than 5,700 DACA applications submitted to USCIS each day.  The number of application has dropped to 1,680 applications per day.

There have been 453,600 DACA applications filed, 73,260 of which originated from applicants living in Texas, and 128,400 applications originating from people living in California.

Nationals from Mexico make up the largest percentage of applicants accounting for 338,300 filings. National from El Salvador make up the second largest percentage at 18,500 applications filed. In total, only 16,000 DACA applications have been denied.

Click here to read the original Tribune article.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

300 people in immigration detention are held in solitary confinement at any given time

The New York Times reports that at any given time in the Nation's 50 largest immigration detention facilities there are at least 300 immigrants held in solitary confinement.  The isolation typically lasts for at least two weeks, the time where an individual is at risk to psychological trauma. The article further reports that there are approximately 35 detainees held in isolation in excess of 75 days.

Examples of individuals put in solitary confinement included an individual that was fasting because he was observing Ramadan, and a gay immigrant held in solitary for four months for his own protection.
As for the conditions in solitary:
While the conditions of confinement vary, detainees in solitary are routinely kept alone for 22 to 23 hours per day, sometimes in windowless 6-foot-by-13-foot cells, according to interviews with current and former detainees and a review of case records involving more than three dozen immigrants since 2010.
In addition, individuals held in solitary are subjected to restrictions on access to phones, and their lawyers.  Communications are often only made available in the middle of the night.  Recreation is limited to pacing in “the cage” that was described as resembling a dog kennel.

This isn't anything new, as a report was issued last year that detailed how "egregious human rights violations" resulted from the Obama administration's widespread and arbitrary use of solitary confinement as a punitive measure against immigrant detainees.  That report found that immigrant detainees in solitary confinement are regularly subjected to excessive force, harassment, and/or abuse by corrections officers.

This isn't the first time we have heard about immigrants being abused and tortured in immigration detention. A 2011 ACLU report also found systemic abuse of immigrants in Arizona detention centers.

Dating all the way back to 2009, DHS Secretary Napolitano acknowledged the "reports of chronic abuses" of immigrants in detention, which includes detainees being beaten and left to die of untreated injuries and illness. This acknowledgement was followed by a pledge from the administration to clean up the immigration detention system, and to start treating immigrants more humanely.

I'm confident this problem will finally be addressed in President Obama's third term.

Jason Riley on President Obama's Immigration Policy History

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mashup Artist "Pogo" Deported for Touring without Authorization

Mashup artist Nick Bertke, stage-name Pogo, has run into a little trouble.  It appears he was touring in the United States after being admited under the Visa Waiver Program when he inadvertently drove near the Peace Bridge, Buffalo, New York port of entry.

USCBP held him at secondary inspection for three hours, determined he violated the terms of his status, which he admits to, and then issued a removal order under INA §§ 217 and 237(a)(1)(C)(i) for working without authorization.

It looks like he was then taken to Allegheny County Jail in Belmont, New York where he was presumably held for three weeks prior to his removal.  A bit harsh, no?

Pogo has created a petition on the White House website asking that he be allowed to return to the country.

From his twitter feed it appears that he has already contacted an immigration lawyer that has advised him of the legal process required to obtain permission to reapply for admission within the lifespan of the order, as well as the steps necessary to obtain a proper working visa.

I'll keep you posted if I hear anything.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Congressman Luis Gutierrez Questions ICE Director Morton on the Administration's Deportation and Detention Policies

The good Congressman from Illinois takes ICE Director Morton to task for how the administration has implemented their harsh deportation and detention policies over the last four years.

Thank you Congressman Gutierrez.

...And by the way Director Morton, please stop lying about the number of criminal deportations.

Friday, March 8, 2013

ICE Using a Computer Program to Determine whether to Detain Immigrants

My colleague Chuck Kuck recently told me that he heard that ICE has been using an automated computer program to assess the risk of releasing immigrants from custody.  I hadn't heard about it so I did a little digging. Chuck was right.  

Last July ICE implemented a new automated Risk Classification Assessment "instrument" to "improve transparency and uniformity in detention custody and classification decisions."

ICE has incorporated the automated computer program right into the "book-in" process.  ICE claims that "objective criteria" are being utilized "to guide decision making" and further consideration is given to "any special vulnerability" to aid in the determination of whether someone should be taken to immigration detention.  If the computer determines that you should be detained a custody classification level is assigned to you, which undoubtedly impacts the amount of bond being set, or if you will be held without bond.

I haven't been able to get my fingers on any further information detailing the specific factors utilized in the program, but ICE claims that they "reflect the agency's civil enforcement priorities."

Isn't that comforting.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Jeb Bush Book: Undocumented Immigrants Should Be Ineligible For Citizenship

Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers Now Accepted by USCIS

The new process for submitting a stateside waiver to cure the harsh consequences of unlawful presence for certain qualifying immigrants is now available.  

Beginning March 4, 2013, certain immigrant visa applicants who are spouses, children and parents of U.S. citizens (immediate relatives) can apply for provisional unlawful presence waivers before they leave the United States. The provisional unlawful presence waiver process allows individuals, who only need a waiver of inadmissibility for unlawful presence, to apply for a waiver in the United States and before they depart for their immigrant visa interviews at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.
Here are the eligibility requirements:

You must:
  1. Be 17 years of age or older.
  2. Be an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen (not a preference category immigrant who has a visa available). An immediate relative is an individual who is the spouse, child or parent of a U.S. citizen.
  3. Have an approved Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, or Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant.
  4. Have a pending immigrant visa case with DOS for the approved immediate relative petition and have paid the DOS immigrant visa processing fee.
  5. Be able to demonstrate that refusal of your admission to the United States will cause extreme hardship to your U.S. citizen spouse or parent.
  6. Be physically present in the United States to file your application for a provisional unlawful presence waiver and provide biometrics.
  7. Not have been scheduled for an immigrant visa interview by DOS before January 3, 2013.
  8. Meet all other requirements for the provisional unlawful presence waiver, as detailed in 8 CFR 212.7(e) and the Form I-601A and its instructions.
Here are the disqualifying factors:
  1. You are subject to one or more grounds of inadmissibility other than unlawful presence.
  2. DOS initially acted before January 3, 2013, to schedule your Immigrant Visa (IV) interview for the approved immediate relative petition upon which your provisional unlawful presence waiver application is based, even if your immigrant visa interview has been canceled, you failed to appear for the interview, or your interview was rescheduled on or after Jan. 3, 2013.
  3. You are in removal proceedings that have not been administratively closed.
  4. At the time of filing, you are in removal proceedings that have been administratively closed but have been placed back on the EOIR calendar to continue your removal proceedings.
  5. You do not meet one or more of the requirements, as outlined in the Form I-601A and its instructions.
Click here for the filing instructions.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Increase in Federal Criminal Prosecutions for Immigration Related "Petty" Offenses may reflect "a harsher policy for sanctioning individuals who have been caught."

Syracuse University's TRAC Immigration has released another report that reveals that there has been a "spike" in federal criminal prosecutions for immigration related crimes that resulted from an increase in federal criminal referrals from Customs and Border Protection (CBP). There was a total of 15,313 federal prosecutions in December 2012, which was an increase of 14 percent from the previous month.  The largest charged criminal offense is for violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1325: Improper Entry by Alien, i.e., sneaking into the country.

From the report:
Included in the case-by-case records obtained by TRAC is information about what the Justice Department calls the "lead charge" and the sentence that was imposed. The data show that the majority of defendants received no prison time other than time served while waiting for their cases to be resolved (see Table 2). During the first three months of FY 2013, nearly three out of four prosecutions (73 percent) were for illegal entry, a petty offense under Title 8 Section 1325 of the United States Code. In second place were prosecutions for illegal re-entry, a more serious felony charge. A total of 20 percent were re-entry prosecutions. For those convicted on the basis of the second charge the median prison sentence was 6 months.
TRAC believes that the increase in federal criminal prosecutions may be a result of the administration's employment of "a harsher policy for sanctioning individuals who have been caught."

Click here to read the rest of the report.


Our client is a Canadian citizen.  He is co-owner of a Subway franchise in Canada and co-owner of another franchise in the United States.  The U.S. company required our client’s hands-on presence at this time, to oversee and expand its business operations.

As a result of his employment as President of the Canadian company, and his proposed employment as President of the U.S. company, we determined our client was eligible for L-1A status as an Intracompany Transferee as an Executive.  We advised the company what documentation would be necessary to have a petition approved on his behalf.  We prepared a compelling package for submission at the border under NAFTA.  We prepared our client for his inspection at the border and appeared with him in the event any problems arose.

His L-1A status was approved in approximately one hour.

GOP group to launch advocacy campaign to win right wing support for immigration reform