Archive for June, 2009

Things ICE Officers used to do

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

In past years ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement, formerly INS] officers had many work responsibilities San Diego that they do not have anymore. There are more and more officers. I wonder how they keep busy with so many fewer responsibilities.  Here are ten chores they used to do that they do not do anymore. Please send me others you can think of.

1. Issue EAD’s [Employment Authorization Documents]

2. Set bonds for aliens they arrest

3. Set bonds for arriving aliens

4. Extend voluntary departure

5. Arrange transportation for attorney -client conferences with detainees

6. Arrange transportation of aliens to court hearings

7. Arrange for the  surrender of removable aliens for the issuance of NTA’s [Notices to Appear, the removal hearing charging document]

8. Issue call-in letters informing aliens with removal orders to report for removal

9. Manage detention centers

10. Accept hand-delivered travel documents to facilitate removal of those ready to go

Take the immigration law quiz

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

Answer the following questions and post your answers.  Amaze us with your knowledge. I will discuss the hard questions in future posts after you have a chance to take the test.

True or false

1. Once an alien becomes a permanent resident, her or she automatically gets to stay in the United States even if he or she commits crimes, unless the crimes are very serious in nature or endanger national security.

2. A permanent resident can bring his spouse and children to the United States without much of a wait, exacerbating the problem of chain immigration.

3. Any foreigner who successfully reaches U.S. shores and asks for asylum is immediately able to enter the country and obtain benefits  America traditionally provides those fleeing oppression.

4. An illegal alien can automatically stay in the United States if he or she marries a United States citizen which is why there are so many sham marriages.

5. The government is not allowed to deport an alien who has United States citizen children, which explains why so many illegals have children.

6. Any child who has a U.S. citizen parent automatically becomes a citizen of the United States.

7. An illegal alien can join the armed forces and the military actually seeks them as recruits, which is a way for aliens to accelerate becoming a citizen.

8. The law allows foreign workers who obtain non-immmigrant work visas to enter the United States to work for U.S. companies as long as they are paid the minimum wage of the state where they will work and the federal minimum wage, which is why many American workers lose their jobs.

9. Aliens stopped at the border, like Americans, have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney before they are questioned.

10. Under the rules of a speedy trial, an alien arrested for immigration violations must see a judge within 72 hours, can usually pay a bond to be released from detention, and cannot be detained more than 180 days while seeking relief in immigration court unless the alien himself is responsible for the delay of his trial.

Please post your answers or you can email them to me. If emailing,  please write “Blog Quiz” in the subject line.

Retrogression proves lie of waiting your turn

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Critics of immigration reform like to state that those in the United States without documentation have cut in line and their conduct is unfair to those who “play by the rules.”  Not unlike Iranian elections, if the rules are unfair, it is unfair to make people play by them. Here is a small example.  There are wait lists for different categories of people to become permanent residents with some variation between countries. The Department of State publishes these wait lists in its Visa Bulletin. Let’s look a the numbers for Mexico.  Let’s examine the  category is children of permanent residents from Mexico. In the early 1990’s many people became permanent residents. Naturally, they wanted to bring their children with them. So, playing by the rules, they petitioned for their children. There was a natural expectation that their children would be able to reunite with their parents.  It has been nearly 20 years since these people petitioned and their children cannot reunite yet. When a child turns 21, under immigration law he is no longer a child. He morphs to “son or daughter.”  The vast majority of those petitioned in the early 1990’s are now over 21. As a technical matter, unmarried sons and daughters of permanent residents are in the 3rd family sponsored preference. In June 2009, the Department of State and USCIS were processing petitions filed in October 22, 1992.  The newest numbers, for July 2009, show that these agencies are processing petitions filed on July 1, 1991. This means that in one month the wait list has not shortened, but rather lengthened by 479 days, nearly a year and four months.

I know what the crafty among you are saying – if the parent had become a citizen this wait list would have evaporated. It is the failure of the parents to learn English and acculturate that is the cause of the delay. Here are the facts: In June 2009, the government was processing petitions from citizens for Mexican sons and daughters, the First Preference,  filed on October 8, 1992. For July 2009, the processing date is January 1, 1991. The number has retrogressed 646 days, or a year and nine months. Looking at the numbers, you may notice that becoming a citizen has no effect on when a petition will become current, i.e., reach the head of the wait list. Sons and daughters of permanent residents and sons and daughters  of citizens both must have filed on or before July 1, 1991. At what point do you stop expecting people to honor a system where after 20 years there is not even a prospect that your family will be reunited?

A new president matters

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

I just returned from the anual conference of the American Immigration Lawyers Association held this year in Las Vegas, Nevada. A feature of the conference is the participation of government officials from the Departments of Homeland Security, State, and Labor. I learned an astonishing thing — a new president matters. Officials who have over the past eight years have been coming to the conference and taking little interest in the humanitarian concerns raised by attorneys and seeming indifferent to the procedural malfunctions of their agencies this year expressed interest in these issues and at several points indicated that serious work was underway to resolve issues — not where the law is harsh but correctly applied, but where the law is misapplied or the processing and adjudication functions are not functioning properly. The President’s call for openness in government seems to be being taken seriously by government officials as well. Many officials indicated that political appointments have not taken charge in certain agencies, but when they do we should expect changes. It will take time to see for sure whether rhetoric at the top trickles down to more than equally encouraging rhetoric of change below, but the words of officials at this conference is very encouraging.