Immigration Newsletter

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.