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.