Immigration Law News NH and beyond

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Immigration Newsletter

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

USCIS: Change of Filing Location for Form I-131, Application for Travel Document

USCIS: Change of Filing Location for Form I-131, Application for Travel Document

RAD~ Are you confused yet? All this changing of filing locations...is this leading to something?



Change of Filing Location for Form I-131, Application for Travel Document

WASHINGTON - U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced revised filing instructions and addresses for applicants filing an Application for Travel Document (Form I-131). The change of filing location is part of an overall effort to transition the intake of some USCIS forms from USCIS local offices and Service Centers to USCIS Lockbox facilities. By Centralizing form and fee intake to a Lockbox environment, the agency can provide customers with more efficient and effective initial processing of applications and fees.

Beginning March 19, 2010 applicants will file their applications at the USCIS Vermont Service Center or at one of the USCIS Lockbox facilities. Detailed guidance can be found in updated Form I-131 instructions page at www.uscis.gov.

The USCIS Service Centers will forward incorrectly filed Form I-131 applications to the USCIS Lockbox facilities for 30 days, until Monday, April 19, 2010. After April 19, 2010, incorrectly filed applications will be returned to the applicant, with a note to send the application to the correct location.

If you are currently in removal proceedings or have been previously removed from the United States, submit your request to the Department of Homeland Security/Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of International Affairs, Attn: Section Chief, Law Enforcement Parole Branch, 800 N. Capitol Street, Washington, DC 20536.

When filing Form I-131 at one of the USCIS Lockbox facilities, you may elect to receive an email and/or text message notifying you that your application has been accepted. You must complete an
E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance (Form G-1145), and attach it to the first page of your application.

For more information on USCIS programs, visit www.uscis.gov or call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Recent restaurant raids show immigration agency's new strategy - Springfield, IL - The State Journal-Register

Recent restaurant raids show immigration agency's new strategy - Springfield, IL - The State Journal-Register

This article from Springfield, IL discusses the new enforcement strategy for immigration. That is to audit the I-9 files of employers all over the country and to fine the employers and putting the undocumented workers in deportation. This is what restrictionists say they want (although I'm not holding my breath waiting for them to praise the Obama administration). But it also has to be what reformers want because even though it is painful...change is not going to come until more powerful economic interests start to be affected by our antiquated immigration policy.

When popular restaurant chain names start appearing in articles like this with big fines next to their names - that is when you know reform is on the way.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

How to find a Doctor "Civil Surgeon" to perform the Immigration Medical Exam for USCIS

Here is a link to the USCIS Civil Surgeon locator. It works by entering your zip code - if you live close to a state line you might want to try the zip code of a nearby town in your neighboring state. For example their is only one recognized civil surgeon in Southern New Hampshire and sometimes it is hard to get an appointment with her office. There are a few doctors in Northern Massachusetts however and they can also perform the immigration medical exam and physical.

https://egov.uscis.gov/crisgwi/go?action=offices.type&OfficeLocator.office_type=CIV

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Associated Press: Vermont dairy farmer talks about immigration probe

The Associated Press: Vermont dairy farmer talks about immigration probe

This AP story describes what generally happens during an I-9 audit when ICE comes to visit. Sounds like they are being a little kinder & gentler these days. If you are a business owner who gets audited don't count on it going this smoothly.

excerpt from the story...

He would like to be able to hire foreign farmworkers on temporary visas for several years at a time. Because their business is year-round, dairy farms aren't eligible for workers under the H2A temporary visa worker programs used by crop farmers.

With 950 cows that need to be milked three times a day, Gervais said he's struggled to find reliable workers. Many apply only when they can't find work elsewhere. They often have drug or alcohol problems or troubles at home, he said. He pays his staff $10 to $12 an hour, but said milking can be monotonous and not everyone enjoys it or is good working with animals.

"There's not enough people that want to do it. That's the real, true issue," Gervais said. "I mean there's good Americans that can milk, but there's not enough of them that can and want to."

He was irked that dairy farms — having endured a year of the lowest milk prices in memory — were targeted by investigators.

"With the situation the dairy industry is in, we really don't need this right now," he said. "We're got plenty going on just making a living."

But it could have been worse, he said.

Instead of rounding up workers, the inspector came to the milking barn looking for Gervais. She told him she was doing a random audit and asked for the paperwork. Immigration officials later went through the forms with a fine-tooth comb and found errors, which were largely clerical, Gervais said. They asked for the payroll a second time and eventually told him three workers were illegal. Gervais had talked to several lawyers and didn't know what to expect.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Why don't they just come here legally like my great-grandparents did?

Why? 1. Because it used to be a lot easier to come here "legally"; 2. Because it once was easier to legalize yourself even if you came here illegally; 3. Because it used to be easy to come back legally even if you had been here illegally in the past.

Here is some history of immigration law from the USCIS itself:

Act of March 3, 1875 (18 Statutes-at-Large 477)

Established the policy of direct federal regulation of immigration by prohibiting for the first time entry to undesirable immigrants. Provisions:


a. Excluded criminals and prostitutes from admission.

b. Prohibited the bringing of any Oriental persons without their free and voluntary consent; declared the contracting to supply “coolie” labor a felony.

c. Entrusted the inspection of immigrants to collectors of the ports.
 
Immigration Act of August 3, 1882 (22 Statutes-at-Large 214)

First general immigration law, established a system of central control of immigration through State Boards under the Secretary of the Treasury. Provisions:

a. Broadened restrictions on immigration by adding to the classes of inadmissible aliens, including persons likely to become a public charge.

b. Introduced a tax of 50 cents on each passenger brought to the United States.
 
Immigration Act of March 3, 1903 (32 Statutes-at-Large 1213)

An extensive codification of existing immigration law. Provisions:

a. Added to the list of inadmissible immigrants.

b. First measure to provide for the exclusion of aliens on the grounds of proscribed opinions by excluding “anarchists, or persons who believe in, or advocate, the overthrow by force or violence the government of the United States, or of all government, or of all forms of law, or the assassination of public officials.”

c. Extended to three years after entry the period during which an alien who was inadmissible at the time of entry could be deported.

d. Provided for the deportation of aliens who became public charges within two years after entry from causes existing prior to their landing.

e. Reaffirmed the contract labor law (see the 1885 act).

Immigration Act of May 26, 1924 (43 Statutes-at-Large 153)


The first permanent limitation on immigration, established the “national origins quota system.” In conjunction with the Immigration Act of 1917, governed American immigration policy until 1952 (see the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952).

Provisions:

a. Contained two quota provisions:

1. In effect until June 30, 1927—set the annual quota of any quota nationality at two percent of the number of foreign-born persons of such nationality resident in the continental United States in 1890 (total quota - 164,667).

2. From July 1, 1927 (later postponed to July 1, 1929) to December 31, 1952—used the national origins quota system: the annual quota for any country or nationality had the same relation to 150,000 as the number of inhabitants in the continental United States in 1920 having that national origin had to the total number of inhabitants in the continental United States in 1920.

Preference quota status was established for: unmarried children under 21; parents; spouses of U.S. citizens aged 21 and over; and for quota immigrants aged 21 and over who are skilled in agriculture, together with their wives and dependent children under age 16.

b. Nonquota status was accorded to: wives and unmarried children under 18 of U.S. citizens; natives of Western Hemisphere countries, with their families; nonimmigrants; and certain others. Subsequent amendments eliminated certain elements of this law’s inherent discrimination against women but comprehensive elimination was not achieved until 1952 (see the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952) 
 
c. Established the “consular control system” of immigration by mandating that no alien may be permitted entrance to the United States without an unexpired immigration visa issued by an American consular officer abroad. Thus, the State Department and the Immigration and Naturalization Service shared control of immigration.


d. Introduced the provision that, as a rule, no alien ineligible to become a citizen shall be admitted to the United States as an immigrant. This was aimed primarily at Japanese aliens.

e. Imposed fines on transportation companies who landed aliens in violation of U.S. Immigration laws.

f. Defined the term “immigrant” and designated all other alien entries into the United States as “nonimmigrant” (temporary visitor). Established classes of admission for nonimmigrant entries.
 
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RAD~
So in the old days if you showed up and you weren't a criminal or a prostitute (or sadly, Asian) you got in "legally". The US didn't even use visas until after the 1924 law. Similarly, if you were inadmissible but managed to get in you could stay anyway after the three year statute of limitations ran out.
 
In those days there were no real numerical limits on immigrants - when you decided to come to the US - you came to the US. You simply needed to be able to afford the trip and convince the inspector you would be able to support yourself.
 
Now there are seven million people waiting in line for less than 400K available visas. The waiting times are multiple decades for some categories. This doesn't even take into account the ten to twelve million people here already without legal status. Why does it surprise anyone that this system doesn't work and that some people try to go around the law? If your spouse was living in the United States legally and filed paperwork for you and the children to come live legally in the USA in six years - how would that sound? (click the title above to see the report from the National Visa Center in Portsmouth - courtesy of ILW.com)
 
In the 1990s the law changed so that people who were in the United States for one year out of status would be barred from returning legally for 10 years even if they qualified for a visa. After 2001, no new "adjustment of status" paperwork can be filed for people here in the US who entered illegally even if they have approved visa petitions from US citizen relatives and are willing to pay a $1,000.00 penalty fee.
 
So they can't stay and get legal and they can't leave to try to come back legally either. Where does that leave us as a country? With people who have no chance of getting here legally any time soon either waiting at home for years separated from their loved ones or finding an "extralegal" method of getting here and remaining here out of legal status.
 
In doing research on immigration and geneaology, I have noticed that immigrants in the 1790s - 1920s often would come here alone and spend a year or even two working and making a home before sending for the rest of the family. That was a necessary hardship that many families undertook - I cannot remember ever seeing people waiting 5 or 10 years to bring their families to the USA nevermind the 23 years currently forecast for Philippines 4th preference petitions. 
 
So the fact of the matter is...most of our immigrant ancestors would be turned away if they tried to get in here today. This system is not working and needs to be reformed. I believe immigration has historically contributed to the strength and vitality to this country. There do have to be reasonable controls on immigration - but our current system is anything but reasonable.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

ICE serves 180 audit notices to businesses in 5 states

ICE serves 180 audit notices to businesses in 5 states


NEW ORLEANS - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is issuing Notices of Inspection (NOIs) to 180 businesses in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee. The notices alert business owners that ICE will be inspecting their hiring records to determine whether or not they are complying with employment eligibility verification laws and regulations.

Inspections are one of the most powerful tools the federal government has to enforce employment and immigration laws. This new initiative is part of ICE's increased focus on holding employers accountable for their hiring practices and efforts to ensure a legal workforce.

"ICE is committed to establishing a meaningful I-9 inspection program to promote compliance with the law. This effort is a first step in ICE's long-term strategy to address and deter illegal employment," said Raymond R. Parmer, Jr. acting special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in New Orleans.


Employers are required to complete and retain a Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States. This form requires employers to review and record the individual's identity document(s) and determine whether the document(s) reasonably appear to be genuine and related to the individual.

Due to the ongoing, law enforcement sensitive nature of these audits, the names and locations of the businesses will not be released at this time.

In 2009, ICE implemented a new, comprehensive strategy to reduce the demand for illegal employment and protect employment opportunities for the nation's lawful workforce. Under this strategy, ICE is focusing its resources on the auditing and investigation of employers suspected of cultivating illegal workplaces by knowingly employing illegal workers. The initiative being launched today is a direct result of this new strategy.


-- ICE --


RAD~So it's the South East that is getting heavy audits right now...New England could be next I suppose.

Another Reason to Open an Immigration Court in Manchester, NH

If driving hours just to end up in Boston traffic and paying $35.00 for parking weren't reasons enough to hope for a Northern New England immigration court in Manchester -- here's another reason from the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR), which is part of the U.S. Department of Justice. The Boston Immigration court received 8,527 matters in FY 2009 but was only able to complete 7,595 matters. At this rate (about 1,000 per year) they are likely to become hopelessly backlogged in just a very short time.

Northern New England cases account for more than half of that excess (about 650 cases in FY 2009) if cases from Lowell, MA or Lawrence, MA were included on the Manchester docket (as they are just as accessible to Manchester as they are to Boston) that would likely solve the backlog problem.

click the title above to go to the EOIR Statistical Yearbook

The Associated Press: AZ may criminalize presence of illegal immigrants

The Associated Press: AZ may criminalize presence of illegal immigrants

PHOENIX — Over the past several years, immigration hard-liners at the Arizona Legislature persuaded their colleagues to criminalize the presence of illegal border-crossers in the state and ban soft immigration policies in police agencies — only to be thwarted by vetoes from a Democratic governor.

This year, their prospects have improved. A proposal to draw local police deeper into the fight against illegal immigration has momentum, and even opponents expect the new Republican governor to sign off on the changes.

The proposal would make Arizona the only state to criminalize the presence of illegal immigrants through an expansion of its trespassing law. It also would require police to try to determine people's immigration status when there's reasonable suspicion they are in the country illegally.

RAD~ I worked on cases like this in New Hampshire back in 2005. The local police chiefs in Hudson and New Ipswich decided to arrest people who could not prove their lawful immigration status for trespassing. I believe this is a bad policy - it is also unlawful because the admission, registration and control of aliens in the United States is an area of legal responsibility reserved to the federal government. The legal doctrine of preemption, therefore, applies to actions by states and municipalities who attempt to create and enforce their own individual laws on immigration. I am born and raised in NH and don't like to think of my state this way but clearly it is more than a coincidence that the only two states that have tried to criminalize undocumented immigrants as trespassers (New Hampshire and Arizona)were also among the very last states to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

http://www.courts.state.nh.us/district/criminal_trespass_decision.pdf

Monday, March 1, 2010

President Bachelet: Earthquake Unparalleled in Chilean History | News | English

President Bachelet: Earthquake Unparalleled in Chilean History News English
President Bachelet Surveying Damage

Another tremendous earthquake - this time in Chile! Although Chile has far greater internal resources (economically and politically) to deal with this catastrophe than Haiti did little more than a month ago... they will still need assistance from the international community to recover from what appears to be one of the strongest earthquakes in decades as well as an earthquake induced Tsunami!

see the Voice of America story by clicking on the link.

Or click on this link to see the BBC news photo story on the devastation:

Chile Devastation