Archive for September, 2011

“Worst of the Worst,” Part 2

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

Last week I blogged on the attribution to President Obama that he wanted to deport “the worst of the worst” in articles and blogs. In the context of the articles and blogs, referring to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s announced (but hardly yet implemented) policy of exercising prosecutorial discretion and not deporting everyone currently in removal proceedings, the writers give the impression that the President considers millions of people who may be subject to deportation as the worst people in the United States and he wants to deport the worst of these worst people.

I spent some time searching around in the internet to try to find an actual time and place the President said such a thing. I did this because I was skeptical that a highly intelligent and (overly) cautious man like President Obama would ever characterize millions of people as the “worst.” After all, he is no Keith Olbermann and even Mr. Olbermann does not characterize millions of people as the “worst” – limiting the title to just one person at a time. I speculated that he may have said it in a different context or may have said something like this during the campaign for President when all kinds of dumb stuff is said – like about retardation and HPV vaccinations (I thought we were not allowed to use the “r” word.) I found no quote with a time or place where the President said “worst of the worst.”

I invited readers to find me a source so I could lambast the President for calling millions of people “the worst.” I contacted five news organizations, columnists, political operatives, and bloggers to ask where they got the term. Two simply sent me links to AP or Fox News stories which did not give a time or place for the president saying such a thing. I contacted a political operative for President Obama to ask if he could provide a source. He wrote me that he could find no reference and agreed with me that President Obama was too fine a person to call millions of people “the worst” and if he did say it, it was in a much more limited context. One columnist of relative prominence, sent me this response:

That quote is from an AP wire story and I can find no sign that the White House has denied it or that AP has issued a correction. So for now I’m prepared to assume it was accurate.

The challenge is still out there – contact me and let me know when the President said “worst of the worst.” Extra points to the person who shows me where he said it in the context of millions of deportable people.

And a second challenge (a big week for the interactively minded) – guess the name of the columnist/journalist who sent the response I quoted above. A hint – he shares the first name of a mid-20th century United States senator who many consider “the worst of the worst,” who was taken down by a journalist who said this, “The speed of communications is wondrous to behold. It is also true that speed can multiply the distribution of information that we know to be untrue.” Another hint, the television report that brought down the senator was aired the same year this columnist/journalist was born. Posted September 24, 2011.

‘The worst of the worst,’ really?

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

President Obama and the Department of Homeland Security, according to press reports, are undergoing a review of hundreds of thousands of pending removal cases, people in immigration court facing possible deportation from the United States, to determine cases that are not worth pursuing. I have commented about this in a movie, here. One concern I express in the movie is that the heightened focus on removing aliens with criminal convictions in their past, particularly long-term permanent residents with decade-old convictions, is somehow deemed more fair than focusing on people who never have had legal status in the United States.

Take two hypothetical examples.

Alien A entered the United States as a permanent resident in 1996 at the age of 16. At the age of 18, he got arrested for possessing a little bit cocaine (in a state where convictions cannot be expunged). He is now 31 years old. He has since gone on to graduate college and is now a successful person – married, kids, house, cars, professional employment (substitute or add  your own determinants here, it is a hypothetical, after all)….


Immigration law changes since 9-11

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

Probably no area of law saw more changes after 9-11 than immigration law in San Diego and around the country than immigration law, except maybe suitcase law. Here is a completely noncomprehensive list of changes we have seen in immigration law since 9-11:

1. The formation of the Department of Homeland Security and the division of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).

In 2003, the Department of Homeland Security was formed — the last influence of Joseph Lieberman before he jumped the shark. The INS, taken from the Department of Justice, was moved to the new department, but split up into components – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (for benefits), Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Customs and Border Protection. The hope was splitting up INS would lead to a customer-centric benefits agency, USCIS, unsullied by enforcement mania. USCIS, under post 9-11 pressures, has been far from customer friendly, with its own rabid fraud investigators, and for a period, a “name check” process for benefits, not called for by statute or by law enforcement experts, which kept customers waiting for years for their visas or citizenship either because they once called the police about a cat stuck in a tree or had the name Mohammad.

2. The creation of the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS).

NSEERS created registration requirements for citizens of various Muslim countries while in the United States and requirements to specially register when entering the United States and departing the United States with a complex array of rules about who had to register when and where that became beyond the comprehension of border inspectors and other rational people. The program ended in April 2011, but no word has ever been provided about how the ending of the program will affect people who ran afoul of the system who had ways to remedy their mistakes when the program was in existence, but cannot now that it ended. (more…)

ICE Deportions in LA, is anybody home?

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

An irony in representing aliens before the immigration bureaus, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), is that the bureau that is the least hard-nosed and enforcement oriented, USCIS, at least in San Diego, is also the one hardest for an attorney practicing immigration law to make meaningful contact with. Even the Department of  State, which handles overseas visa issuance and has in the past been the hardest to have meaningful communication with, has rather efficient email communication with its customers through its National Visa Center (NVC). Meaningful communication with the Department of State becomes much more varied from post to post once a case is shipped overseas to a consulate.

Certainly, USCIS has its Infopass  system for customer service, but as I have  recently blogged about, here  and here, while Infopass gives all the promise of meaningful communication, the results of the communication are very often poor. In my recent attempts at resolution of three nettlesome cases with Infopass, I have experienced only disappointment. In one case, a promise for fingerprinting of a client is still unfulfilled. In another, the scheduling of a client for an interview has still not happened. And in a third, the adjudication of a long-pending request for action has not been accomplished. In all three cases, I was given assurances that they would be dealt with imminently.