Immigration Newsletter

Thursday, December 31, 2009

KERA: Pilgrim's Pride Settles With Immigration (2009-12-30)

KERA: Pilgrim's Pride Settles With Immigration (2009-12-30)

DALLAS, TX (KERA) - A settlement has been reached between U.S. Immigration officials and Pilgrim's Pride, the East Texas poultry processor. KERA's BJ Austin reports. Pilgrim's Pride will pay four-and-a-half million dollars, and adopt more stringent hiring practices to ensure its workforce is composed of employees legally entitled to work in the U.S. In return, the U.S. Attorney's office agrees to stop its immigration-related investigations of current and former Pilgrim's Pride employees.

RAD ~ Is your company prepared to pay millions of dollars in fines for not having stringent enough hiring practices? Do you know what practices are required and yet will not make your company liable to a discrimination lawsuit?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

FY 2009 Federal Prosecutions Sharply Higher; Surge Driven by Steep Jump in Immigration Filings

FY 2009 Federal Prosecutions Sharply Higher; Surge Driven by Steep Jump in Immigration Filings

RAD ~ It is time for restrictionists like "FAIR" to stop complaining. When criminal prosecutions of immigration violations make up the majority of the federal trial docket (and the Circuit Courts are also flooded with petitions for review of immigration cases) you know it is time for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

Monday, December 21, 2009

America's Secret ICE Castles - The Nation

America's Secret ICE Castles from The Nation (Online)

"If you don't have enough evidence to charge someone criminally but you think he's illegal, we can make him disappear." Those chilling words were spoken by James Pendergraph, then executive director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Office of State and Local Coordination, at a conference of police and sheriffs in August 2008.

RAD - read the article if for no other reason than you don't hear references to the 1978 movie "Ice Castles" everyday. | 12/20/2009 | Deported adults leave U.S. citizen children behind | 12/20/2009 | Deported adults leave U.S. citizen children behind

Here's an all too typical story of how Congress (in an effort to look tough on illegal immigration) made poor public policy by removing discretion from immigration enforcement and immigration judges.

It happens all the time - not just in the immigration context. The war on drugs with its diparate treatment of "crack" cocaine offenders; the federal "three strikes" policy; mandatory federal sentencing guidelines. All of these expressions of Congressional bravado have been revisited over time because of their unfair or self-defeating effects in the real world outside Washington, D.C.

Law enforcement and judges need to have the ability (known as discretion) to decide how to apply and enforce the law under differing circumstances. This article discusses parents who have lived in the United States for close to 30 years raising a family of two U.S. born children (one heading off to college) - there is no discussion of these people being criminals or on welfare or not paying taxes or running up bills at the emergency room. They even have other family who have filed papers to get them legal status more than 10 years ago.

This should be an easy case...where the factors in favor of letting the family stay together outweigh the harms of the violation of the immigration law. Other cases may not be so easy, but the law gives the enforcement officers and the immigration judge's almost no ability to take each such case on its own merits. It's time to rethink that policy as well.

It is time for Congress to stop trying to look like tough guys and to give the people who actually do the work of immigration back the tools they need to do their jobs wisely.

Friday, December 18, 2009

USCIS Update: Change of Filing Location for Form N-400

USCIS Update: Change of Filing Location for Form N-400

WASHINGTON - U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced revised addresses for applicants filing an Application for Naturalization (Form N-400) at USCIS Lockbox facilities in Phoenix and Dallas. This filing address change takes effect immediately.

Applicants who previously filed their applications at the Lewisville Post Office (P.O.) box will now file their applications at a P.O. Box in Dallas. See address below. In addition, the table below includes a change to the USCIS Phoenix Lockbox address. Starting immediately, applicants filing Form N-400 at the USCIS Dallas or Phoenix Lockbox must submit the application and all supporting documents and fees to the following addresses, based on where they live:

If you live in:
Mail your application to the:

Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Territory of Guam, or the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands
USCIS Phoenix Lockbox

U.S. Postal Service deliveries:

PO Box 21251
Phoenix, AZ 85036

Express Mail and Courier deliveries:

ATTN: N-400
1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S
Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85034

Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennesee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands
USCIS Dallas Lockbox

U.S. Postal Service deliveries:

P.O. Box 660060
Dallas, TX 75266

Express Mail and Courier deliveries:

ATTN: N-400
2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business
Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067

USCIS: USCIS Update: Change of Filing Location for Form N-400

Thursday, December 17, 2009

New possibility for release from custody for arriving aliens with credible fear of persecution

It is the most modest of humanitarian steps - but it is a step in the right direction. Asylum seekers will have greater opportunities to present a case with access to counsel and without being detained for extended periods with criminal populations. See the link on the ICE web page.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

All I want for Christmas is Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR)

Here is a summary (by the Immigration Policy Institute) of the Gutierrez bill on CIR. Of course it is a long way from the introduction of this bill to a completed new immigration law (just look at health reform). But it is a start!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

USCIS Bedford - New Hampshire Immigration office construction update

USCIS Bedford immigration

So the new immigration office is progressing nicely...I will ask them when they hope to move in next week. It's too bad they aren't going to be within walking distance to our North Commercial Street office anymore - but a nice new building with sufficient parking is always good. I wonder if they would have room for an immigration judge in there somewhere?

Owner, managers and restaurant corporations sentenced for hiring illegal aliens in Mississippi


Owner, managers and restaurant corporations sentenced for hiring illegal aliens in Mississippi

Jackson, Miss. - Two corporations and their owner, along with two former managers of Stix Restaurant in Flowood, Mississippi, were sentenced for violating federal criminal immigration laws related to hiring, continuing to employ and harboring illegal aliens following a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigation.

U.S. District Court Judge William H. Barbour sentenced Gin Hsing Chen, aka David Chen, former owner of Stix Restaurant in Flowood, Mississippi, to 12 months in prison and one year of supervised release. Chen was also fined $72,000 and was required to forfeit $100,000 in lieu of a home he owned in Flowood that was used to house some of the illegal alien employees of Stix Restaurant.

Chen's sister, Shao Li Chen, aka Judy Chen and Judy Wong, a former manager of the local eatery, was sentenced to eight months in prison and two years of supervised release and fined $5,000 for harboring illegal aliens for the purpose of commercial advantage and private financial gain.

RAD~ For those who complain that ICE isn’t serious about enforcement – they are. Thanks to Bender’s for posting the link.

Immigration Detention System Lapses Detailed -

Immigration Detention System Lapses Detailed -
immigration detention protest

Growing numbers of noncitizens, including legal immigrants, are held unnecessarily and transferred heedlessly in an expensive immigration detention system that denies many of them basic fairness, a bipartisan study group and a human rights organization concluded in reports released jointly on Wednesday.

RAD~This is not news to immigration attorneys or the families of immigrants - but thanks Nina Bernstein, the Constitution Project, and Human Rights Watch for putting this system, and its flaws, in the public eye. 

Monday, November 30, 2009

The boon of immigration: Newcomers to America more than pull their economic weight

The boon of immigration: Newcomers to America more than pull their economic weight

The need for combining secure borders with a rational policy for admitting newcomers is as pressing today as it was when the last attempted remake went down in flames under President George W. Bush, victim largely of the myth that immigration is a drain on the economy and a threat to native-born workers.
The truth is just the opposite. As documented by the Fiscal Policy Institute, immigration has, in fact, been a vital force in the American economy. Even in tough times, immigrants boost or replenish the labor pool and inject entrepreneurial energy that opens businesses and creates jobs.Read more:

RAD~ Wow, I agree with the NY Daily News!

Lou Dobbs, Looking at Public Office, Says He's in Favor of Policy He Used to Spin as "Shamnesty for Illegals" | Media and Technology | AlterNet

Lou Dobbs, Looking at Public Office, Says He's in Favor of Policy He Used to Spin as "Shamnesty for Illegals" Media and Technology AlterNet

Lou Dobbs Mariachi
Mr. Dobbs couldn't be reached Tuesday. Spokesman Bob Dilenschneider said Mr. Dobbs draws a distinction between illegal immigrants who have committed crimes since arriving in the U.S. and those who are "living upright, positive and constructive lives" who should be "integrated" into society. He said Mr. Dobbs recognizes the political importance of Latinos and is "smoothing the water and clearing the air."

RAD~ Also see the Wall Street Journal article that covers the same topic (doesn't have the nice pic though)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Where the Public Stands on Immigration Reform - Pew Research Center

Where the Public Stands on Immigration Reform - Pew Research Center

Recently the Obama administration announced that it will push for legislation next year to overhaul the nation's immigration system. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that the administration will argue for what she called a "three-legged stool" including stricter enforcement, a "tough and fair pathway to earned legal status" for undocumented immigrants already in the U.S., and a more efficient process for legal immigration.

How is the public likely to react to this new push? Since 2007 when the Bush administration failed in its effort to build a coalition in support of comprehensive reform, the issue has been relatively dormant. Pew Research polling has found significant public support for both tougher enforcement and the so-called "path to citizenship," but several factors suggest that the debate could be a difficult one.

First, if the experience of 2007 is any guide, opposition to setting up a process for undocumented immigrants to achieve citizenship may be more intense -- even if less widespread -- than support for it. Second, the nation's economic situation is significantly worse than it was when the issue was debated in 2006 and 2007. Some Republican lawmakers reacted to Secretary Napolitano's speech by raising concerns about the competition for jobs posed by foreign-born workers. More generally, partisan differences on the issue have grown since two years ago, potentially making it more difficult to achieve a consensus in Congress. And third, as the debate over health care reform has shown, there is considerable public anxiety right now about the scope of the federal government's activities and its capacity to undertake major policy changes.

RAD ~ This is going to be a painful process but we will be better off as a country once this debate is behind us.

New US Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman: January Contreras

January Contreras

Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman: January Contreras

January Contreras was appointed as the Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) Ombudsman for the Department of Homeland Security on November 23, 2009. In this role she leads the Office of the CIS Ombudsman in its efforts to interact with the public and employers to enhance the effective delivery of citizenship and immigration services. Primary efforts include helping to resolve obstacles to accessing services, identifying areas in need of improvement, and recommending solutions to improve services.

RAD~I have used the office of the Ombudsman before to assist my clients...I recommend them.

Update on USCIS moving to Bedford NH

new immigration site Bedford, NH

Here is the latest photo of the building...well would'ya believe of the foundation? Progress is being made though - the land is cleared the foundation appears to be in.  The entrance is apparently not going to be on Palomino (the vantage point of the photo) but rather on Ridgewood at the far side of the frame. You saw it first, here on WiggiBlawg!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Immigration officials visit Vermont farms -

Immigration officials visit Vermont farms -

Posted using ShareThis

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The Vermont Agency of Agriculture says federal immigration officials are serving subpoenas to dairy farmers asking them to provide payroll records and employee forms.

Spokeswoman Kelly Loftus says the agency heard from four farmers on Thursday who said immigration officials had visited their farms.

The group Dairy Farmers Working Together says as many as 100 dairy farmers could be subpoenaed.
Dairy farmers in Vermont and elsewhere have turned to imported help because of the difficulty hiring people locally to do the work.

~RAD - as if New England Dairy farmers didn't have enough trouble already. I'm sure with Northern New England having its highest unemployment rate in generations they should have no trouble finding US citizens to milk the cows and muck the stalls. Right? I guess we'll find out - hope you like paying $5 a gallon for milk. Senator Leahy now would be a good time to get going on Immigration Reform before Vermont loses any more one of this signature industry.

Why you shouldn't fool around with milk production -

Lou Dobbs and the Mariachis

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Lou Dobbs
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

The first minute or so is priceless!

Former Rwanda official warns of violence -

Former Rwanda official warns of violence -

Do you remember the book I highlighted "God Sleeps in Rwanda" by Joseph Sebarenzi? (If not here is a link )

A former speaker of the Rwandan parliament warned that his country could again descend into chaos and violence, 15 years after the genocide that killed as many as 1 million people.
Joseph Sebarenzi, who lost most of his family in the massacres, told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday that frustration is growing in Rwanda at what he called President Paul Kagame's concentration of power. He warned that frustration could spill over into violence if not addressed.

Thursday, November 19, 2009



WASHINGTON—U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Assistant Secretary John

Morton today announced the issuance of Notices of Inspection (NOIs) to 1,000 employers across the

country associated with critical infrastructure—alerting business owners that ICE will audit their

hiring records to determine compliance with employment eligibility verification laws.

“ICE is focused on finding and penalizing employers who believe they can unfairly get ahead by

cultivating illegal workplaces,” said Assistant Secretary Morton. “We are increasing criminal and

civil enforcement of immigration-related employment laws and imposing smart, tough employer

sanctions to even the playing field for employers who play by the rules.”

The 1,000 businesses served with audit notices this week were selected for inspection as a result of

investigative leads and intelligence and because of the business’ connection to public safety and

national security—for example, privately owned critical infrastructure and key resources. The names

and locations of the businesses will not be released at this time due to the ongoing, law enforcement

sensitive nature of these audits.

Feds plan 25,000 on-site H-1B inspections

Feds plan 25,000 on-site H-1B inspections

Computerworld - U.S. immigration officials are taking H-1B enforcement from the desk to the field with a plan to conduct 25,000 on-site inspections of companies hiring foreign workers over this fiscal year.
The move marks a nearly five-fold increase in inspections over last fiscal year, when the agency conducted 5,191 site visits under a new site inspection program. The new federal fiscal year began Oct. 1.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wiggiblawg on

Immigration Law Weekly or is a national resource for immigration news. I have a link to it here and even an rss feed widget. If you check this link you can see that they have published my article on why reforming immigration and having a legalization program makes sense for the country's future.,1117-drew.shtm

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dad in 'balloon boy' case turns himself in -

Dad in 'balloon boy' case turns himself in -

What's this got to do with immigration?

Here's a snippet from the article --

The threat of deportation for Mayumi Heene was a factor in the plea deal negotiation, the attorney's statement said.

"Mayumi Heene is a citizen of Japan. As such, any felony conviction or certain misdemeanors would result in her deportation, even though her husband and children are Americans," the statement said.

"It is supremely ironic that law enforcement has expressed such grave concern over the welfare of the children, but it was ultimately the threat of taking the children's mother from the family and deporting her to Japan which fueled this deal."

Prosecutors in the case could not be immediately reached for comment.

Friday, November 13, 2009

White House to Begin Push on Immigration Overhaul in 2010 -

White House to Begin Push on Immigration Overhaul in 2010 -

The Obama administration will insist on measures to give legal status to an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants as it pushes early next year for legislation to overhaul the immigration system, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Friday.

RAD~ Better late than never.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

H-1B visa applications to be accepted with just file

From Bender's Immigration Daily

Temporary Acceptance of H-1B Petitions Without LCAs

"U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is announcing a 120-day period in which it will temporarily accept H-1B petitions filed without Labor Condition Applications (LCAs) that have been certified by the Department of Labor (DOL)." USCIS, Nov. 5, 2009.

click on the title to see the press release.

Update: Lou Dobbs to Quit CNN - Media Decoder Blog -

Update: Lou Dobbs to Quit CNN - Media Decoder Blog -

Well what's next for my favorite pundit (remember the illegal immigrants carry Leprocy claims he made that were soundly debunked?

A job at FoxNews? He wouldn't be able to do much there that hasn't already been done. My guess is a run for political office.

Palin/Dobbs 2012? - brings a tear to my eye.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

1,200 janitors fired in 'quiet' immigration raid | Minnesota Public Radio NewsQ

1,200 janitors fired in 'quiet' immigration raid Minnesota Public Radio NewsQ

I think this story shows that immigration enforcement is alive and well under the Obama administration. This sort of enforcement is more effective and cost effective than the swat like raids of previous years. It is also more humane than surreptitiously whisking away parents into immigration detention while the children are still at school (as happened in the Bianco raids in Massachusetts).

Still, if this is not as emotionally disruptive to families - it is still disruptive of business.  Perhaps some out of work US citizens or legal residents will end up with janitorial jobs now.  But they won't stay in those jobs - and there won't be 1200 of them hired.  The 1200 people who have lost their jobs will now stop contributing to the local economy. Some additional number of homes will likely now be foreclosed on. Some will leave and some will simply find other jobs (probably for lower wages in this economy).

So although this type of enforcement is much to be preferred over "cowboy justice" -- legalization and reform of our immigration and employment laws are needed to avoid prolonging this recession.

Monday, November 9, 2009

DHS readies plan to track foreigners flying from U.S. -

DHS readies plan to track foreigners flying from U.S. -

by Spencer S. Hsu

The Department of Homeland Security is finalizing a proposal to collect fingerprints or eye scans from all foreign travelers at U.S. airports as they leave the country, officials said, a costly screening program that airlines have opposed.
The plan, which would take effect within two years, would collect fingerprints at airport security checkpoints, departure gates or terminal kiosks, allowing the government to track when roughly 35 million foreign visitors a year leave the country and who might be overstaying their visas, DHS officials said. The department plans to send the proposal to the White House as soon as next month for review and inclusion in President Obama's next budget.

Well, security is important - I'll grant that. But if I was a potential tourist looking to visit the USA I might start looking for somewhere else to spend my vacation money. Somewhere that doesn't treat guests like criminals.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Wiggiblawg Exclusive! Manchester USCIS and ICE moving!

Here is some immigration news content you can't yet get anywhere else. Google it! Bing it! I dare ya. USCIS Manchester is moving and so is ICE. It may still be a little while but USCIS is moving from 803 Canal Street in Manchester to a new building in Bedford, NH. Here is a map:

View Larger Map

The new address appears as though it will be near 182 Palomino Lane in Bedford. I will take a picture of the new building when I get a chance. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) will be moving to the Norris Cotton Federal Building in Manchester. This will probably happen a while down the road...but will undoubtedly happen. I hope the Immigration Court moves an Immigration Judge and a couple of Government trial attorneys into the building as well.
Federal Building Manchester, NH

Anyway the Gold's Corner Plaza can go back to being an ordinary mini-mall without the high volume of visitors to US Immigration and the Department of Motor Vehicles (which has been gone a couple of years now if I remember correctly).

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Poultry firm fined $1.5 million after immigration raid, monitoring --

Poultry firm fined $1.5 million after immigration raid, monitoring --

Posted using ShareThis

Following a massive raid at the Greenville plant last year, Columbia Farms was charged with intentionally hiring illegal immigrants. A McClatchy Newspapers investigation of workplace safety in the poultry industry spurred the federal probe.

Under the agreement, the government will dismiss charges against the company if it improves its hiring practices over the next two years and submits to federal monitoring at its eight plants in the Carolinas and Louisiana.

"Our goal is not to punish corporations and force them to cut jobs, especially in these economic times," Walt Wilkins, U.S. Attorney for South Carolina, told McClatchy Newspapers. "Our goal is to make them a responsible corporate citizen. And this agreement accomplishes all of that."

The settlement stipulates that "Columbia Farms accepts responsibility for its actions associated with the employment of unauthorized workers."

House of Raeford has already begun revamping its hiring practices, Wilkins said. Over the past year, a newly hired corporate compliance officer has audited hiring procedures to ensure they conform to federal laws. "I am confident that we are seeing a true change in these companies' approach to hiring," Wilkins said.
click the link above to read the rest of the story

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ruben Navarrette In Dallas watch your language - Press-Telegram

Ruben Navarrette: In Dallas watch your language-Press-Telegram

Today, at least 20 patrol officers of the Dallas Police Department - ranging from a rookie to a 13-year veteran - are in hot water after ticketing 38 motorists since 2007 for not speaking English. The problem - this isn't even a crime. Not in Dallas or anywhere else in the United States.

I posted this not because of the DWM aspect and the racial bias that it presupposes - rather it was this passage that got my attention...

"During these turbulent times, you can tell by the way that people look at you," he said. "My wife has told me: `Have you noticed the difference in the way that they look at us these days?' And you have to admit there's something there that you just can't identify. Attitudes have definitely hardened because of the harsh debate over immigration and other things like that."

Yes, I think that is fair to say - attitudes have hardened.  Attitudes about immigration and alot of other things as well.  Sometimes it feels like this country is all about harsh attitudes on some issue or other and is about little else. 

I have worked in this field now for over a decade and I have noticed that if you want to treat people badly you have to objectify them, you have to name them so you don't have to think of them as actual human beings that you are being nasty to. So calling people "illegals" or "criminaliens" allows one to think it is OK to look down on them and consider them unworthy as people compared to we citizens.

Americans (possibly humans in general) seem to have a need to define themselves by figuring out who they don't like.  The man quoted above is a former Texas Police Officer not an illegal immigrant.  I hope that the people that are giving he and his wife the sideways glances might come to realize that all Latinos are not illegal immigrants.  Maybe someday those same people might come to the conclusion that people who immigrated here illegally are also people - not actual "aliens" to be feared and hated.

Even if people must return to their home countries - I think it would be better for everyone if America could do that without the becoming as mean, petty and racist about it as some government and media opinon leaders have proven to be recent years.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Over 100 Democrats Push Obama on Immigration Reform - NAM

Over 100 Democrats Push Obama on Immigration Reform - NAM

A report from New American Media on Congressional Support for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

New report on demographic changes in Hillsborough County NH

A new report from the Carsey Institute at UNH discusses the changing demographics of the residents of New Hampshire' most populous region.  It discusses characteristics like age, income & poverty, urban/suburban growth and most interestingly to me immigration.  For instance...

"The Manchester–Nashua area has long been a point of entry for immigrants. Contemporary immigration levels certainly do not compare to historical levels, but immigrants remain an important source of growth for the region. An estimated 8,700 immigrants moved to the metropolitan area between 2000 and 2007. They represent more than one-third of the area’s population gain during the period.

Most of these immigrants settled in the cities of Nashua and Manchester, but a modest number settled
in the suburbs as well. Approximately 9 percent of the metropolitan area’s population is foreign-born, a far cry from the near majority at the turn of the last century, but certainly enough to underscore the continuing importance of immigrants to the region’s future."
To see the full report click on the headline or go to :

Monday, October 26, 2009

Special Army program grants 5 soldiers U.S. Citizenship - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

Special Army program grants 5 soldiers U.S. Citizenship - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

Here is a news report that more closely follows the story line of immigrants building this country and making it as great as it is. That is the history I was raised with, not todays scapegoating that immigrants are all poor, lazy& living off the government (while somehow miraculously also stealing all of our jobs). I think many would-be immigrants would like the opportunity serve this country in the military if it would prove that they should be granted citizenship.

ImmigrationProf Blog: Sacramento Police Chief: It's time to legalize millions of undocumented immigrants who are productive, law-abiding citizens - the public's safety depends on it

ImmigrationProf Blog: Sacramento Police Chief: It's time to legalize millions of undocumented immigrants who are productive, law-abiding citizens - the public's safety depends on it

Sacramento Police Chief Rick Braziel has joined other chiefs in the nation in calling for an immigration overhaul that considers legalizing millions of undocumented immigrants.

Braziel said Congress must take a two-pronged approach: tighter borders and a way to allow undocumented immigrants who are productive to stay in the U.S. legally. Now, many are afraid to assist in criminal investigations, Braziel said.

"We need to remember that there are at least 12 million people out there who are unauthorized to be in this country, and they're our neighbors," Braziel said during a telephone press conference Thursday with police officials from Iowa and Texas.

"They're the ones that live down the street, participate in our communities, send children to our schools."

Their fear of deportation is putting the general public at risk, Braziel said. He told the story of a couple rear-ended by a drunk driver. "Prior to the police showing up, all of the witnesses left," Braziel said, "And the reason they left is because none of them had legal status in this country."

To read the rest you can check out the Immprof blog or go straight to the Sacramento Bee

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Senate Approves Measure to End ‘Widow Penalty’ -

Senate Approves Measure to End ‘Widow Penalty’ -

The Senate approved a measure on Tuesday that would end what has become known as the “widow penalty” — the government’s practice of annulling foreigners’ applications for permanent residency when their American spouses die before the marriage is two years old.

The measure, which passed 79-19, was contained in a conference report that accompanied an appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland Security. The House of Representatives passed the conference report last week. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.

While the foreign spouse of a United States citizen may be eligible for residency under American law, the government has argued that the spouse’s death before the two-year mark ends the marriage, canceling the foreigner’s right to be considered for residency and opening the door to deportation.

The new provision does not directly address the government’s definition of marriage, but it allows foreigners married to Americans for less than two years to submit their own petition for residency within two years of the spouse’s death, as long as they have not

Latinos may be 'future' of U.S. Catholic Church -

Latino immigrant Catholic church

Latinos may be 'future' of U.S. Catholic Church -

ST. LOUIS, Missouri (CNN) -- "I'll take two chili, uh..." a hungry customer stammers at the front of a two-hour-long line. "Chile rellenos," the money-handler trills back in perfect Spanish. This is not a trendy Tex-Mex restaurant; and it's more than 1,000 miles from the Mexican border. The stuffed pepper causing the stutter is the hottest menu item at St. Cecilia's Lenten fish fry in St. Louis, Missouri. Chile rellenos, a traditional Mexican dish, have replaced fish as the main draw for Catholics giving up meat on Fridays. This century-old parish founded by German immigrants has turned 85 percent Hispanic. St. Cecilia's nearly closed. After it was designated the parish home for Latinos, the congregation quadrupled.

"It's the browning of the Catholic Church in the United States," says Pedro Moreno Garcia, who until last month led the Hispanic ministry for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Moreno Garcia points to St. Cecilia's Spanish-dominant Mass schedule as a sign of the times.

"Hispanics are the present and Hispanics are the future of the Catholic Church in the United States," says Moreno Garcia.

Editorial Comment on Immigration Reform

Two reasons why pragmatism must trump passion on immigration reform

Think the health care reform debate got ugly? Well maybe so, but you may also have noticed that illegal immigration already made some cameo appearances in the health care debate. The August town hall debacle was perhaps just a glimpse of what awaits in this upcoming winter of our Congressional discontent.

Having practiced immigration law in New Hampshire for over a decade now, I can attest that our national immigration system is in dire need of an overhaul. With the lingering effects of recession pumping the brakes on both legal and illegal immigration – it is a good time to tackle the problem so that we can enjoy a glorious summer of economic recovery in 2010.

The Amnesty issue

Entering the United States without admission or inspection is a crime. To be precise, it is a class B misdemeanor under federal law – or what is called a “petty offense”. But you don’t have to take my word for it, you can read U.S. v. Sanchez, 258 F.Supp.2d 650 (S.D.Tex., 2003).

In this part of the country, a good percentage of the persons who are here unlawfully actually entered the United States legally but then failed to leave when they were supposed to – this does not constitute an actual criminal offense. Most of the time, however, these matters are not handled in criminal courts at all but rather as civil matters in administrative immigration courts set up within the Department of Justice. These administrative hearings are called Removal proceedings or more commonly known as Deportation.

Everyday we as a country deport non-citizens (some of whom have lived and worked here for decades) who are married to United States citizens and who have children born and raised here. In most cases these people cannot legally return to the United States for at least ten years. This country has the right to deport non-citizens who violate the law; however, that does not mean it is always in our best interests to do so. I personally don’t believe deportation should be the only government response to a petty criminal immigration offense or a civil immigration law violation.

Other options, such as legalization after paying a fine, have been proposed – but lately these have been shouted down as an amnesty. It should be noted that there are many people who would not qualify for such an “amnesty” due to a criminal record, other previous immigration violations, obtaining government benefits through fraud, lack of a qualifying relative or lack of prospective employment, etc. Such a plan is hardly a true amnesty if there is a fine assessed for the criminal behavior, unless one considers paying a speeding ticket an act of amnesty. Rather, it is a practical way to penalize people who have violated the law but then legalize the status of those whose removal from this country would do more harm than good.

The Demographic issue

The baby boom generation is beginning to reach retirement age. The US Census Bureau estimates that in 2010 there are five people of working age (18-64) to every person of retirement age (65+). Over the next twenty years that ratio is expected to drop to three to one.

From 2010 to 2030 the total number of persons of working age is expected to grow at an average rate of less than one million persons per year. This trend does not portend well for a growth economy or for public programs dependent on payroll taxes for funding – such as Medicare and Social Security.

The United States’ current immigration policies discourage foreign students from staying in this country to work once they have graduated from U.S. colleges and universities. The number of visas made available for skilled workers has also been curtailed over the past decade. It is all the more difficult to rebound from a recession if we attract and retain an ever shrinking number of the world’s best and brightest young workers, entrepreneurs and inventors. Perhaps you noticed that a majority of the American Nobel Prize winners this year were originally from somewhere else. [insert tasteless President Obama joke here]

Given the demographic trends, however, we may have a difficult time as a country producing enough homegrown labor for even semi-skilled or unskilled jobs. Just to maintain the current ratio of workers to retirees the country would need to increase immigration and guest worker levels to approximately seven million persons per year for the next twenty years. Even if we assume that greater numbers of people will continue working past age 65 due to increased longevity and decreased 401(k) balances – the US workforce will still have to be supplemented by a far greater numbers of foreign born workers than are present today if we are to avoid escalating payroll taxes and/or ever increasing budget deficits to cover entitlement programs.

It may be difficult to picture in these times when there already more people out of work than jobs to fill – but the numbers are looming out there for anyone who cares to look. The United States must get its immigration policy back on the track of welcoming the immigrants who have always been one of the great engines of our economic growth. More (not less) new immigrants, the businesses they start, the inventions they create and the work that they perform will make or break the middle-class of this country over the next twenty years.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

At Immigration Court Boston

Today I am at the immigration court in Boston all day. The court is located on the third floor of the JFK Federal building right next to Boston City Hall. For those readers who might need to go there - the government center or Haymarket T stops are close by. If you are driving give yourself plenty of time for morning traffic. (Today was 2 hrs 15 min from Concord NH to the courtroom). On street parking is limited but garages are available (prepare to pay $30 or more for the pleasure however).

It pays to arrive early to the JFK because there is security to go through when entering the building (don't wear a lot of metal jewelry or bring a keychain knife or scissors, etc.)

Also, today I am here for what are called master hearings. Master hearings require that you sign up on the sign in sheet in the clerk's office (room 320). The earlier you arrive and sign in the quicker your case will be heard. This saves you and your attorney time - and when your attorney saves time you save money. To sign in make sure you write your attorney's name and your A number on the sign in sheet. The A # can be found on the hearing notice if you don't know it. I have to turn off the blackberry now for court.Hopefully this information will prove useful.

Monday, October 19, 2009

New Principal Legal Advisor for ICE

Peter S. Vincent - ICE/PLA

I copied this story directly from the Immprof web page.  My comment is this:
I want to like the new ICE PLA because he is like me a member of the two first names club.  He is obviously trying to look tough in the picture (being a lead prosecutor and all) but even with the shaved head I can't help thinking that most of the takes of this photo probably had to be discarded because he couldn't keep that straight - faced stern expression. 

New ICE Principal Legal Advisor: Peter S. Vincent

I believe that this news has been out there for a while but ICE has announced that Peter S. Vincent is the new principal legal advisor for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Vincent graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a bachelor of arts degree in political science and received his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law.

AgJobs 2009 Bill

If you follow this link to the AgJobs 2009 Bill -- you might be seeing a part of the upcoming Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill that Sen. Schumer of NY was expecting to finish by Labor Day (so much for that plan, maybe Groundhog Day).

This bill would allow the legalization of Farm workers, who meet the days worked criteria and who have no disqualifying criminal history, by giving them a "BlueCard" status.  This would give them the right to enter the US everyday as a commuter worker or to remain and work in the United States like a permanent resident or "GreenCard" holder.  However, there is no direct path to US citizenship.  After 3-5 years in BlueCard a worker and the family could apply for GreenCard status.  After five years of GreenCard status (LPR) then they could apply for citizenship.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Immigration Impact » Blog Archive » U.S. Supreme Court Considers “Collateral Consequences” for Immigrants in Criminal Cases

Immigration Impact » Blog Archive » U.S. Supreme Court Considers “Collateral Consequences” for Immigrants in Criminal Cases

Will the Supreme Court decide that an attorney giving a client the wrong advice on the immigration consequences of a criminal conviction is grounds for withdrawing a guilty plea?  That is what is at stake in the Padilla v. Kentucky case.

Here in New Hampshire -- I have had pretty good luck over the years in getting cases reopend when the client misunderstood the immigration consequences of his/her plea.  Unlike other New England States, NH has no statutory requirement or court rule that a defendant be warned of the possible immigration consequences of a conviction. 

However, a guilty plea does have to be made knowingly and voluntarily.  A New Hampshire lawyer (or judge for that mater) has no duty to inform a defendant about immigration consequences.  However, if the defendant convinces the judge that he/she only agreed to plead guilty to an offense because the attorney affirmatively told them that it would not result in deportation  - that may be grounds for vacating the conviction.

God Sleeps in Rwanda: A Journey of Transformation (9781416575733): Joseph Sebarenzi, Laura Mullane: Books

God Sleeps in Rwanda
God Sleeps in Rwanda: A Journey of Transformation (9781416575733): Joseph Sebarenzi, Laura Mullane: Books

Following up my recent post about Democratic Republic of Congo and the Great Lakes Region of Africa. I just started reading this book and so far it is a great read. It is written from a personal perspective by a man (Sebarenzi) who lost several members of his family in the Rwandan genocide. He later became the Speaker of the Rwandan Parliament -- but even from that position of political power he was forced to flee for his life.

And yet through all of that, he seems to be able to maintain a positive attitude as he works to promote peace for the region. will let you take a quick look at some of the book -- but it is certainly worth the price to pick up a copy or a Kindle. 
(image courtesy of God Sleeps in Rwanda: A Journey of Transformation (9781416575733): Joseph Sebarenzi, Laura Mullane: Books God Sleeps in Rwanda: A Journey of Transformation (9781416575733): Joseph Sebarenzi, Laura Mullane: Books

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Aid groups are little match for Congo brutality, doctors say -

Aid groups are little match for Congo brutality, doctors say -

Everywhere in the Great Lakes Region of Africa there seems to be violence, lawlessness and/or government corruption.  Many of my immigration clients have come from this region. DRC, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya.  Humanitarian aid groups don't appear to have the manpower or the resources to turn the situation around.  An area so rich in natural is tragic that for whatever reasons foreign or domestic so many people in these countries have to suffer so desperately.

Now violence has sprung up again on the other side of the continent in Guinea and it was not that long ago that violence raged there regularly and in Liberia and Sierra Leone.  Of course violence is ever present in the Horn as well between Ethiopia/Eritrea, and Somalia is still lawless.  Sudan's North/South conflict may have quieted but there is still the Darfur issue ongoing.  I hope that this new century we have begun will see Africa's promise come to fruition.  But on a day like today -- it still seems a long way off.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Bar Journal Article -- Affidavit of Support

Bar Journal Article

Imagine a spouse who can sue his or her former spouse for support every year until either dies. Imagine the suing spouse bringing an action in state court and, if unhappy with the outcome, moving to federal court for a new law suit for support, and then going back to state court to sue, yet again, for the following year’s support. An impossible scenario? Not any longer.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Migration - Brookings Institution

Migration - Brookings Institution

National Immigration Project Report "Playing Politics at the Bench"

You can also find a link to the report at Bender's Immigration Daily...

Here are some of the actual interview questions asked of prospective Immigration Judges during the Bush years...

1. ―Tell us your political philosophy. There are different groups of conservatives by way
        of example: Social Conservative, Fiscal Conservative, Law & Order Republican.‖

2. ―What is it about Bush that makes you want to serve him?‖

3. ―Aside from the President, give us an example of someone currently or recently in
        public service who you admire?‖
...good stuff no? 
 It's as funny as that line from the Blues Brothers movie -- Claire: [When asked what music is played at Bob's Country Bunker] Oh we got both kinds. We got Country and Western.

Nearly 1 in 4 people worldwide is Muslim, report says -

Nearly 1 in 4 people worldwide is Muslim, report says -

Interestingly the report from the Pew Forum says that most of the world's Muslims do not live in the Middle East. Rather the two countries with the highest numbers of Muslim residents are Indonesia and India.

Census survey show state immigrant population rising despite slight drop in US - The Boston Globe

Census survey show state immigrant population rising despite slight drop in US - The Boston Globe

Massachusetts’ immigrant population rose last year in the middle of the recession, bucking a national trend that showed a decline in foreign-born residents for the first time in decades.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

ICE Memo on Worksite Enforcement Strategy

Here is an excerpt from the new ICE for Worksite Enforcement Strategy (from

II. Criminal Prosecution of Employers

The criminal prosecution of employers is a priority of ICE'S worksite enforcement (WSE) program and interior enforcement strategy. ICE is committed to targeting employers, owners, corporate managers, supervisors, and others in the management structure of a company for criminal prosecution through the use of carefully planned criminal investigations.

ICE offices should utilize the full range of reasonably available investigative methods and techniques, including but not limited to: use of confidential sources and cooperating witnesses, introduction of undercover agents, consensual and nonconsensual intercepts and Form I-9 audits.

ICE offices should consider the wide variety of criminal offenses that may be present in a worksite case. ICE offices should look for evidence of the mistreatment of workers, along with evidence of trafficking, smuggling, harboring, visa fraud, identification document fraud, money laundering, and other such criminal conduct.

Absent exigent circumstances, ICE offices should obtain indictments, criminal arrest or search warrants, or a commitment from a U.S. Attorney's Office (USAO) to prosecute the targeted employer before arresting employees for civil immigration violations at a worksite. In the absence of a timely commitment from a USAO, ICE offices should obtain guidance from ICE Headquarters prior to proceeding with a worksite enforcement operation.

BBC NEWS | Africa | Rwanda queen-killing suspect held

BBC NEWS | Africa | Rwanda queen-killing suspect held

One of the most wanted suspects in Rwanda's 1994 genocide has been arrested in Uganda.

Idelphonse Nizeyimana was an intelligence chief at the time of the genocide, in which about 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed.

He has been extradited to Tanzania face trial at a UN-backed tribunal, accused of organising the killing of thousands - including the former Tutsi queen.

Rwanda's government welcomed the arrest but said he should be tried in Rwanda.

BBC NEWS | Americas | US 'to cut immigrant detention'

BBC NEWS Americas US 'to cut immigrant detention'

US officials are expected to announce plans that would allow illegal immigrants not considered a threat to be taken out of jails, reports say.

The new policy would list immigrants according to the risk they may pose, the Wall Street Journal reports.
US 'to cut immigrant detention'

Officials are hoping to cut the costs of detaining immigrants
US officials are expected to announce plans that would allow
illegal immigrants not considered a threat to be taken out of jails,
reports say. The new policy would list immigrants according to
the risk they may pose, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Changing Faces of New Hampshire: Recent Demographic Trends in the Granite State

Here is a link to a 2007 report on the demographic changes taking place in New Hampshire from 200-2006.  It is from the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire. Dr. Kenneth M. Johnson authored the study. I understand that he is collaborating on another study regarding the demographic changes along the Nashua/Manchester Metro area to be released on the 26th of this month at UNH Manchester.

This is important information to know if you are into market research or politics and it is interesting to be aware of even if you don't absolutely need to know. Click on the itle to see the study.  To learn more about the Carsey Institute at UNH click this:

Fence in the South - Gates in the North

Towns at Vermont-Quebec Border Installing Security Gates


Published: October 3, 2009


For decades, Derby Line, Vt., and Stanstead, Quebec, have functioned as one community.
They share a sewer system, emergency services, snowplowing duties and the border-straddling Haskell Free Library and Opera House, where a skinny black line across the hardwood floor of the reading room marks the international border.

But work began on Thursday to erect a pair of five-foot-tall steel gates across two previously unguarded residential streets — a project that will divide the towns physically but has united them in displeasure.

for more read at:

Did U.S. immigration policy cost Chicago the 2016 Olympics?

Greg Siskind makes an excellent point on his immigration blog today: 

"Perhaps the Pakistani IOC official who grilled President Obama on why Olympic officials should not trust the President's promise of a friendly welcome actually did this country a favor. Most Americans are not even aware of just how unfriendly US immigration officials are to people who want to spend billions of dollars in our country and spread the word in their home countries regarding how wonderful a country the US is."

Well, there's nothing wrong with having the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 (I'm sure it will be memorable because Brazil has never held an Olympics before). Still, we don't want to become a country that others don't want to come to for fear of being hassled and insulted.

Intelligence Analyst Looks At Conflicts And Progress In The Next 100 Years

New Book by George Friedman says industrialized countries will fight to get more immigrant labor in the next hundred years.  from VOA news

"In the century ahead, there will be wars fought from space, between nations that are friendly with each other today. Populations will decline and industrialized nations will compete for immigrant labor. Poland, Turkey, Mexico and Japan will emerge as great powers. These are just some of the startling predictions made by George Friedman, founder and chief executive officer of Stratfor, an Austin, Texas-based global intelligence company."
(Nothing in the article about flying cars or sharks with laser beams attached to their heads) RAD

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Death toll rising after Indonesia earthquake

I have had the privilege of representing many Indonesian clients over
the years.  I certainly hope that none have lost any family or friends in the recent earthquake off the coast of Sumatra.

Here is a link to a story from the Voice of America news service.

Health Insurance for Immigrants -- even "Illegal" Immigrants?

I can promise my readers that I will jump into the icy waters of the mighty Merrimack river in the dead of winter in a penguin costume if the Congress of the United States ever votes to allow "illegal" immigrants to purchase government subsidized health insurance. Nevermind these studies from the Immigration Policy Center that show we would probably save tax payer money by doing so and would certainly have a healthier, more productive workforce.

Here's the link

Monday, September 28, 2009

Conservative disagreement over illegal immigrants in California

The Great Rift Valley is in Africa.  However, maybe Great Rift junior should be the nickname for California's San Fernando Valley.  It appears California's population of illegal immigrant workers is beginning to cause a split between Social Conservatives who believe they are a blight on the economy and Economic Conservatives who think they enhance upward mobility for US born citizens.  I don't link to the Cato Inst. very often but here it is...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Immigration fees set to go up as applications go down

Here is a link to the story in the LA times...immigration fees may be raised again because the immigration service is supposed to be largely self-funding and with enforcement up and applications down...well you get the picture.,0,1871688.story

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Will there be an Immigration Court in New Hampshire?

Well, not anytime soon perhaps.  But on an encouraging note -- Senator Shaheen's Office has contacted me and would like to explore my idea for a Northern New England Immigration Court.  I think it would be a great thing for the immigrant community here in New Hampshire and in the rest of Northern New England.

Some people may not realize it, but I have checked the numbers by zip code and I believe we have a sufficient number of cases to justify a full-time judge, or possibly two if we draw cases from northern counties of Massachusetts. The court in Boston already has two judges that commute from New Hampshire and at least one government attorney who does so.  Immigration & Customs Enforcement has already moved a large part of their operation out of downtown of Boston (to Burlington, MA) and USCIS has recently moved a good portion of their staff north to Lawrence, MA as well.

Anything that cuts the number of vehicles traveling into downtown Boston every morning is a good move in terms of reducing pollution and cutting fuel use and accident rates.  I happen to believe that having a federal immigration court in Manchester will be good for business, especially for the airport, the restaurants and the hotels.  Quite often a client with a case at the immigration court has family members come in from other parts of the country to help present the case, there are also expert witnesses and even interpreters that travel from other cities to assist in immigration cases. 

Clients of mine that come from northern towns in New Hampshire and Maine have to get up in the middle of the night just to be able to make it to the Massachusetts border by the morning -- where they get to then fight rush hour traffic for another hour or two getting into the city.  Sometimes for a scheduling hearing that might take all of ten minutes to complete.  Having a court in Manchester would not eliminate their trek, but it sure would reduce it and reduce the level of stress for them in an already stressful situation. A number of my Vermont clients actually have had to go to Hartford, Connecticut for court.  I have gone there a number of times -- and the drive there in the morning is not much different in hours than Boston. The drive back is a different story, however.  I think we could improve on that trip for most Vermonters as well (perhaps with the exception of the Southernmost counties).

If any of our readers support establishing an immigration court in New Hampshire I hope you will contact Senator Shaheen and let her know.  While you're at it you can contact Representative Carol Shea Porter who has written a letter of support in the past.  I don't know where Senator Gregg and Representative Hodes stand with regard to the proposal -- but I think if they knew it would be good for New Hampshire they would support it.  I think it would be good for Maine and Vermont as well.  There aren't enough cases to support courts in all three states and therefore Manchester, New Hampshire is the most logical choice because of the central location, the airport, and the proximity to Interstates 89 and 93, Route 3 and Route 101 coming directly from Interstate 95.  I thank Senator Shaheen's office for following up and I will keep my fingers crossed.

Some Kudos for a change

I do a lot of complaining about various Department of Homeland Security agencies involved in United States Immigration.  Rightly so I mostly think, but usually my complaints have to do with bureaucratic snafus and people who just don't seem to be cut out for the job life has handed them.

This week I have to say that the government has done alright by my clients and me.  The people who I have dealt with at my local USCIS and ICE offices have given me the information I requested of them (as best they could) without any trouble or attitude or passing the buck. That is not unusual locally, we have fairly small DHS offices where we all pretty much know each other and generally nothing too unexpected happens.

But even some figures more far afield have given me some positive feed back. Tony Drago our New England Chapter Chairman of the American Immigration Lawyers Association passed along my question to the Field Office Directors of USCIS asking why my clients from Nashua were being sent to Lawrence for biometrics capture instead of Manchester NH.  They said it shouldn't be happening and they will look into fixing it.

Now, it isn't fixed yet...but at least it is on the agenda...and that is a good thing. Thanks Tony and Karen Anne Haydon (and any others who may be working on straightening that out).

One more thing, I understand that the security officer detailed at the Manchester USCIS office is moving on to bigger and better things...good luck to you Jolly Roger!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Deja vu all over again

Back to the Asylum office today at 9:15 (traffic was even worse today) It is now two hours since our scheduled appointment ... People have come in and left while we wait. This sort of thing gets old quick. I am thinking of starting a petition to have the second "S" stricken from USCIS. The one that supposedly stands for "Services".

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Newark North

It's a little after ten a.m. here in Boston at the Asylum Office. My appointment was scheduled for 9:30 so I am using the "extra" time to make a blog post from my Blackberry.

For any who don't know, there isn't a fully staffed asylum office in Boston. Rather, the officers travel up from New Jersey to the JFK federal building (sixth floor) on a fairly regular basis. Today they apparently did not bring enough personnel because they are running behind. The waiting room was fairly emptywhen I arrived at nine but is now filling up and still we wait. So counting the two and a half hour trip through Boston commuter traffic we are approaching four hours spent in pursuit of a one hour interview.

Hopefully it will be worth the wait for my client.

ed.~We finally got in at about 11:00 am and out at about 12:15

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Now is the Time to Audit Employee I-9 Forms!

Here is a copy of an article on

Immigration enforcement strategy emerges

A clearer picture is now emerging of the government's current immigration enforcement strategy against employers. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently sent out 652 notices (more than the total sent out all of last year) to employers that they soon will be subject to inspection regarding their compliance with I-9 form requirements.

It might be a good time to do your own I-9 audit (the current I-9 form is still valid despite an expiration date on it of 2/02/09). Instead of raids with gun toting federal officers, employers with known undocumented workers have received notices warning them to fix the problem or face enforcement actions.

Although DHS has indicated it will drop its "no-match" regulations (now blocked by court order), which are rules issued during the Bush years regarding how employers should deal with employees whose names do not match their Social Security numbers, the Senate has signaled that it wants these rules kept in place. The Senate also has voted to make the E-Verify program permanent.

E-Verify is the federal system allowing employers to electronically verify that someone is legally authorized to work in the United States. Finally, the Obama administration has announced that effective September 8, 2009, federal procurement contractors will have to use E-Verify for all new procurement contracts.

By Michael Patrick O'Brien, Esq.

(Almost any little, technical mistake on a form I-9 can lead to a fine -- and typically there are many minor mistakes and sometimes some pretty glaring ones on these forms.  Requiring too many documents to verify employment eligibility is a common mistake and there are many others.  It can make good financial sense to have an audit performed and a training or refresher course given to the human resource professionals or other employees charged with maintaining the I-9 forms for your company -- before Immigration comes knocking) ...RD

Here's a really Bad Idea!

Immigration activists urge census boycott

"A small but vocal group of advocates is urging illegal immigrants and their supporters nationwide to boycott the 2010 Census to protest the government’s inaction on immigration legislation, a move that, if successful, could cost Massachusetts and other states millions of dollars."

It could also cost them seats in the House of Representatives (Democratic Seats -- likely votes for Comprehensive Immigration Reform).

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Is NumbersUSA making a fundamental miscalculation?

Here is a link to an interesting article on, regarding the looming environmental and financial peril to be caused by immigration driven overpopulation.  This is a favorite bugbear of restrictionist groups founded or sponsored by John Tanton (like NumbersUSA).  This article takes a different view and argues that immigration to wealthier countries like the United States is good for the environment and will help prevent overpopulation. It is worth reading even if you don't agree.,0903-richman.shtm

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

E-Verify Deadline Approaches for Federal Contractors and Subs

So mandatory E-Verify use for federal contractors and sub-contractors begins next week (unless it is postponed again) on September 8, 2009. A contract awarded after that date can only be awarded to a contractor who agrees to use the E-Verify system on all new hires and on all existing employees who work on projects under the new contracts.

The concept of E-Verify is a good one in my opinion, but I suspect it will be subject to the same kind of bureaucratic nonsense as those terrorist watch lists we hear so much about. The ones where supposedly some innocent salesman from Iowa can't get on a plane without being interrogated and searched for bombs; then six hours later they figure out he's OK but they can't take him off the list and they can't tell him what it says -- so it keeps on happening every time he goes to another airport. Maybe that's just an urban legend...but it sounds pretty believable to me.

Here's a link to the press release that I found on,0902-EVerify.pdf

Here's an intersting quote from it:

"Since Oct. 1, 2008, more than 7.6 million employment verification queries have been run through the system and approximately 97 percent of all queries are now automatically confirmed as work-authorized within 24 hours or less."

They give us a start date 10/01/2008, but then say that 97% of all queries are NOW automatically confirmed as work authorized within 24 hours or less. Notice they didn't say 97% of all queries since October 2008? What would the overall rate be? Who knows? What is the error rate for false positives and false negatives? I've heard horror stories but I really don't know -- my question is how hard is it going to be to fix if it comes up wrong and will you even know it?

Or will US citizens and legal residents just get denied jobs and never be told it was because (due to an error) they didn't come up as e-verified? I guess we will have to wait and see.

Monday, August 31, 2009

ICE Deports another US Citizen

Here is a link to a story in the Charlotte Observer (you can also see it on the BIBDaily). Sometimes you see only what you want to see. Mr. Lyttle (the "victim" in this sordid matter) did not cover himself in glory either...but it seems like doing the job correctly in this case was just a "Lyttle" too much for ICE.

Friday, August 28, 2009

USCIS Lawrence MA

I made my first visit to USCIS Lawrence yesterday. It is a large one story building at 2 Mill Street. It has many windows, high ceilings and is clean and newly refurbished. It is in the mill district near the river (as you might gather from the address).

The facility is nice enough for a government building. Some of the neighboring buildings could use a facelift and there is a dearth of on street parking. If you are not familiar with Lawrence/Methuen MA (as I am not...being from NH) you might want to mapquest the destination or make sure your GPS is working because I found the directions on the USCIS website to be a bit vague.

All in all it seems like a nice enough facility -- in the winter however, I suspect you will want to wear your boots when you go because you will likely have to park a couple blocks away.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

On the Passing of Senator Edward "Teddy" Kennedy

So the time has finally come and Senator Edward "Teddy" Kennedy has left this world. His life's work made this country and this world a better place than it would have been without him. Kennedy was a liberal champion in many areas of public policy -- not least of which was immigration. As is so often the case, those persons who strive to great accomplishments also struggle with great flaws and Senator Kennedy was no exception. But today is a day to remember the victories Senator Kennedy achieved for civil rights, for the disabled, the poor, women, racial minorities, immigrants and so many others who's voice was not often heard in the great debates of the second half of the 2oth century.

To whom now will the torch be passed? Who now will ensure that the work will go on, that the cause will endure and that the dream will never die? In truth there is no single person that can carry forward the progressive agenda with the same level of strength, conviction and courage that Kennedy possessed. Still, as one American political era comes to an end with the Senator's death -- it makes clear that a new generation must rise to the challenge and decide how to lead this country forward in this newly begun century.

Perhaps it has started with Barack Obama -- only time will tell. My hope is that the death of "Teddy" Kennedy and the national conversation over his legacy and that of the Kennedy family will inspire some younger people to take up an interest in the political life of this country and of public service in all of its forms. That would be a fitting tribute to the man known as the Lion of the Senate.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The ICE Death Roster

The fact that the Dept. Of Homeland Security couldn't account for 10 percent of the detainees that died in their custody is troubling. What is going to be more difficult is if and when we discover that a majority of the persons who died in US custody were denied or delayed medical treatment for chronic or emergent medical conditions and that their deaths were likely preventable.

from the NY Times:

What Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials call “the death roster” stands at 104 since October 2003, up from the 90 that were on the list the agency gave to Congress this spring.

The latest search for records began late last month, officials said, when Freedom of Information litigation by the American Civil Liberties Union uncovered one of the 10 deaths that had gone unreported — that of Felix Franklin Rodriguez-Torres, 36, an Ecuadorean who settled in New York and died of testicular cancer on Jan. 18, 2007, after being detained two months at an immigration jail run for profit by the Corrections Corporation of America in Eloy, Ariz.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cultural Festivals in Manchester this Month

It is Agricultural Fair season again here in New Hampshire. But after you've ridden the Ferris wheel, eaten the fried dough and watched the tractor pulling competition -- you might want to check out something a little different.

Saturday August 15 will be the 10th Annual Latino Festival and Parade in Manchester.

On the following Saturday August 22 it's time for the 9th Annual African/Caribbean Celebration.

both events will be held at Veterans Park in Downtown Manchester starting around 11:00 am.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New Hampshire Obama Protesters Don't Dissappoint

Here's a link to the BlueHampshire blog and a you tube video of another glorious NH moment of racial tolerance outside the Obama Health Care Town Hall.

Check out the guy who might have been third runner up in last year's Ernest Hemingway look alike contest shouting through a bullhorn that we don't need illegals and that we should send them home with a bullet in the head. The next thing out of his mouth is a reference to the quote of Jefferson to the effect that the Tree of Liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. "It's comin' baby!"

Nice job Papa! Way to set a good example for the kids coming up!

This is apparently what passes for political discourse these days. I wonder who he would be left to hate if all the illegal aliens either went home or became legal? Well, I suppose he'd have to be content with just -- Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, Keith Olbermann, Democrats in general, Liberals, Gays, Blacks, Jews, Muslims, imagined Socialists, the World Bank, the IRS and anyone else who has a "reality based" view of the world and politics.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Want another way to check the status of your immigration case?

This entry links to a USCIS communication to help improve customer service. The link is actually to because the communication is easier to find there than on

At any rate you can see the steps that are required to make an inquiry on your case -- if it has gone beyond normal processing times.,0812-casestatus.pdf

Change we can believe in! Would you believe change eventually?

It seems that Barack Obama's ambitious agenda for change may have been a little too ambitious for some in Washington and in the country at large to take so quickly. It is not surprising though. Most people are fearful of change; except those who truly can't do without it.

You know what though, I think all the complaining about the stimulus plan and cash for clunkers and Obama isn't a Natural born citizen and the health reform "Death Panels" is about to "jump the shark". I can't wait to see the what the Town Hall Criers do today as my home state of New Hampshire gets a visit from the President. It is amazing the kind of frenzy a little misinformation and a lot of paranoia can whip up.

So immigration reform looks to be set back about six months as the health care debate takes a swerve into the ditch. I think things will actually improve as the stimulus kicks in and the economy heats up again. As the Right-wing continues its descent into whack job parody status, it is important that reform minded Legislators don't fracture and lose sight of their goals (right, that never happens).

In fact, I think there may be nothing better for the cause of progressives than to let the ultraconservatives lock their foaming jaws onto comprehensive immigration reform again right now. One more issue that can keep up their red faced, vein bulging, apoplectic tantrum in a teapot. As painful as it may be to endure -- it is usually a good long-term strategy to be viewed as the "sane and adult" party in an argument.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What is -- but what should never be.

Detained and Abused --

The NY Times editorial highlights a new report from the National Immigration Law Center. The report presents a none too flattering potrait of the immigration detention system run by the Department of Homeland Security's ICE bureau. To see the report itself click:

on another musical note (see Public Enemy reference in previous post) is the NYT editorial staff making an allusion to the 1969 Led Zeppelin song "Dazed and Confused" by titling the editorial Detained and Abused? If not it is an odd title.

New BIA Green Initiative -- Recycle Board Members

A.G. Eric Holder has appointed John H. Guendelsberger as a "new" member of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). The same Mr. Guendelsberger that John Ashcroft removed (along with many others) from the BIA during the purge of 2003. Since that time he has been Senior Counsel to the BIA Chairman (ever notice that people in the government seem to never really get fired?). At any rate, that the Bush administration generally and John Ashcroft wanted him gone speaks well of him -- so welcome back. Sorry to those other applicants who might have actually thought they had a shot at landing that job, however. You apparently didn't. There is one more opening left though -- (maybe Lori Rosenberg will apply).

Monday, July 27, 2009

It takes a Nation of Immigrators to hold us back

I recently checked out a few postings on another immigration lawyer's blog called It is nice to see that there are other people as frustrated as I am with the lack of "Services" inherent in dealing with United States Citizenship & Immigration Services. Judging from Angelo's bio I am guessing that the title of his blog is a play on the idea of America as a Nation of Immigrants.

However, I think it also could compare to the 1988 Rap Album "It takes a nation of millions to hold us back" by Public Enemy. The album is described on their website as follows:

"Rarely has fear, anger, paranoia and anxiety been so masterfully compressed onto a record's grooves. "

That sounds to me an awful lot like the current immigration debate in the United States.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Why NY/NJ ICE is not abbreviated NICE

This story should not surprise anyone who remembers the news photograph of Elian Gonzalez. Still it is a story that the average American probably hasn't heard.

From the NY Times:
Report Says Immigration Agents Broke Laws and Agency Rules in Home Raids

Published: July 21, 2009
Armed federal immigration agents have illegally pushed and shoved their way into homes in New York and New Jersey in hundreds of predawn raids that violated their own agency rules as well as the Constitution, according to a study to be released on Wednesday by the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

click the title to go to the full story in NYT

or click here for the NY Daily News:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Driver License Requirements for Non-Immigrant Visa Holders

This entry links to the immigration law professors' blog. You should be able to go to the Immigration & Customs Enforcement web page to find their fact sheet (but I'll be darned if I can find it). The information is primarily intended to help students and schools understand what documentation they need to obtain a driver's license in any given state.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Selective Service Registration for Male Illegal Immigrants

This is from the Selective Service Website:

If you are a man ages 18 through 25 and living in the U.S., then you must register with Selective Service. It’s the law. You can register at any U.S. Post Office and do not need a social security number. When you do obtain a social security number, let Selective Service know. Provide a copy of your new social security number card; being sure to include your complete name, date of birth, Selective Service registration number, and current mailing address; and mail to the Selective Service System, P.O. Box 94636, Palatine, IL 60094-4636.
Be sure to register before your 26th birthday. After that, it’s too late!
Selective Service does not collect any information which would indicate whether or not you are undocumented. You want to protect yourself for future U.S. citizenship and other government benefits and programs by registering with Selective Service. Do it today.

The weirdest thing about this is that illegal immigrants cannot join the US military. If they could, I suspect many young men and women would because they would be on a fast track to US citizenship. Still, men under twenty-six who think they might become legal residents and someday citizens should know that failure to register for Selective Service can be a set back to gaining US Citizenship.