Immigration law, as immigration lawyers (and their clients) say often, is quite complex. There are a lot of hoops people have to jump though to get a benefit. Forms on top of forms asking the same things over and over. Fees on top of fees. Petitions, applications, security checks, medical exams, interviews, investigations, verifications. With all the stuff that is deemed necessary, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State should, one would think, want to eliminate pointless processes. Here are three that should be eliminated posthaste:
1. Giving permanent residence cards to U.S. Citizens.
According to INA § 320, if a person is under 18 years old and becomes a permanent resident or is a permanent resident and his parent is or becomes a U.S. citizen, the child automatically becomes a U.S. citizen. It’s magical, cosmic. Here is what the statute says:
§320. Children born outside the United States and residing permanently in the United States; conditions under which citizenship automatically acquired
(a) A child born outside of the United States automatically becomes a citizen of the United States when all of the following conditions have been fulfilled:
(1) At least one parent of the child is a citizen of the United States, whether by birth or naturalization.
(2) The child is under the age of eighteen years.
(3) The child is residing in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the citizen parent pursuant to a lawful admission for permanent residence….
So what happens when a child whose parent is a U.S. citizen becomes a permanent resident? He is sent a green card. But he is not a permanent resident. He is a U.S. citizen. Why should the U.S. government sent a U.S. citizen a green card. He should be sent a certificate of citizenship. USCIS indicates that the fee for making a permanent residence card is $165. I say apply that amount to making a certificate of citizenship. It reflects the child’s real immigration status and may even save the government a little coin.
2. Making people with criminal hits get fingerprinted over and over.
Anyone who gets involved in immigration benefits knows he will be fingerprinted over and over again. People who commit crimes and are fighting to keep or obtain legal status can find themselves fingerprinted over and over by CBP, when encountered at a border, ICE, while being processed for removal proceedings, and by USCIS, over and over, while seeking benefits. USCIS cannot store fingerprints in its databases (apparently) and does not want to rely on having a fingerprint card in an individual’s file (apparently). So, over and over, people get fingerprinted. However, people who are identified as having a criminal conviction through IDENT, are assigned an ID number and records can be checked simply by using the ID number. If the idea of having a fingerprint card in every file is too bewildering, then at least for people who have a criminal conviction, which is a great number of people if you consider all the things people get arrested for, no fingerprinting should ever be required. That would save the government and its customers a lot of aggravation and a lot of money and will end the question I am asked all the time, “Why do I need to be re-fingerprinted? My fingerprints have not changed?” OK, two questions.
3. Making provisional waiver grantees go abroad.
As all aliens should know, but unfortunately it never seems to penetrate, if a person is in the United States in “unlawful presence” for more than 180 days and departs the United States, or for a year ore more and departs the United States, he cannot come back for 3 years or 10 years, respectively. INA § 212(a)(9)(B). Further, according to immigration law, a person otherwise eligible to adjust status (become a permanent resident) in the United States, cannot adjust status if he entered the United States without inspection. INA § 245(a). The way to become a permanent resident is limited. For the most part (there are exceptions, always with the exceptions),the person must leave the United States and obtain an immigrant visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad. Being in the U.S. after entry without inspection is one way that the accrual of unlawful presence starts. So, if a woman enters the United States without inspection and marries a United States citizen after the passage of 181 days from the initial entry, if she leaves to get a visa, she faces a 3 year bar to returning to the United States. If she allows a year to pass and leaves, she cannot come back for ten years. I laid all this out in a movie.
There is a waiver for this unlawful presence bar at INA § 212(a)(9)(B)(v). If an applicant for a permanent residence visa can show extreme hardship to a U.S. citizen parent or permanent resident spouse or parent, the person can waive the 3 and 10 year bars. It used to be that to get the waiver, the applicant must leave the United States and apply for the waiver at the consulate where he was applying for the immigrant visa. Adjudicating the waiver would take a year or more and the person just had to wait in Mexico. Then President Obama, in an amazing gesture to people trapped in this Catch 22 (you cannot get your green card here, but if you leave you cannot come back for 10 years unless you get a waiver, which will take a year to decide and if denied, you are stuck outside for several years) initiated what is called the provisional waiver program, which allows for pre-departure waiver approval. Thus, a spouse does not have to leave the United States to get the waiver. If the waiver is granted, the alien is virtually assured he or she can go abroad to a Consulate, have an interview, get a visa, and come back as a permanent resident. The virtual assurance is because USCIS will not grant a visa to a person who appears inadmissible for any reason other than the 3 or 10 year bar.
So if a waiver is granted, why make the poor soul who already spent a fortune to get to the step of having a waiver approved (Immigrant visa petition – $420; Department of State fees – $318; provisional waiver fee – $670 (not sic)), take a trip abroad to get a visa that could be issued in the United States if only the person had entered legally? Why not just parole in place the applicant with the approved waiver and let him finish up in the U.S.? What possible point is there to making the pre-waived applicant finish his processing abroad when it can be done quicker and cheaper here while freeing up the Consulates for customers who need to get into the United State and are not already there.
Three simple changes. Huge savings to aliens and to the government. Dear government, please send my check to exposing waste to my PO box. Posted February 24, 2014.
TRAC, a data gathering, data research, and data distribution organization at Syracuse University, reported that immigration judges are deporting fewer aliens as a percent of those in removal proceedings. The report states:
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has had diminishing success in convincing Immigration Judges to issue removal orders. Such orders are now granted only about 50 percent of the time, the lowest level since systematic tracking began more than 20 years ago. For years, the rate at which removal orders were granted in response to DHS requests had fluctuated between 70 and 80 percent. For example, five years ago deportation orders were issued for 3 out of every 4 cases (76.2%) to reach the Immigration Courts. During FY 2011 that rate had fallen to 70.2 percent; by FY 2012 it had slipped to fewer than 2 out of 3 (62.6%). Last year court records indicated a 52.9 percent success rate, and during the first four months of the current fiscal year 2014 (October 2013 – January 2014) it was down to only 50.3 percent.
TRAC interprets the data as a failure of ICE to succeed in removing people. For many reasons, The conclusions seem to me to be a facile syllogism from the data, ignoring the reality of the immigration court system. It seems these are the postulates of TRAC:
1. ICE places in proceedings people it wants to deport;
2. ICE wins when it deports someone;
3. ICE loses when it deports someone;
4. The results in immigration court an be reduced to the binary deport and not deport.
Here are the actual and proper postulates:
1. ICE places in proceedings people that the statutes require to be placed in removal proceedings. ICE attorneys have different standards for handling cases than the officers that initiate proceedings;
2. The immigration courts’ job is to determine eligibility to remain in the United States and ICE’s job is to make sure that the determinations comport with the law;
3. When an immigration judge grants asylum, Cancellation of Removal, adjustment of status, or whatever relief is available and ICE does not oppose the grant, it is a victory for all parties;
4. Immigration judges not only order removal or terminate cases, but they close cases because of discretionary policies articulated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, USCIS, and the Department of Justice, and because relief from removal will ripen, but has not yet ripened.
Let’s use an example. Alice the Alien is encountered by an ICE officer while leaving a medical clinic with her blind United States citizen daughter. Alice has been in the United States for nine years and in addition to caring for her blind daughter, has two other United States citizen children that she cares for and supports through working full time. Her husband is a permanent resident who will be eligible to naturalize next year.
ICE determines that Alice is not lawfully present in the United States and sends her to immigration court. ICE attorneys evaluate her case and determine that Alice is not a prosecutorial priority for ICE. ICE moves to administratively close the immigration case. Of course Alice agrees. While TRAC may look at this as ICE failing in its mission, instead, ICE, like all law enforcement agencies, makes determinations about who it can pursue and who is not worth the effort. ICE now has more resources for its priority cases. Alice, who has hurt no one and has a full plate of responsibilities, is left alone.
Let’s modify the example. Alice’s facts are the same except Alice was arrested for shoplifting three years ago. Her contention is that a child grabbed a candy bar off the shelf while she was shopping and plopped it in her handbag. She did not notice the candy bar but store security did. Rather than fight the charge, she pled guilty to a misdemeanor shoplifting crime and paid a small fine.
ICE again encounters Alice and places her in removal proceedings. ICE attorneys feel that because of the shoplifting they will not exercise their prosecutorial discretion to seek administrative closure. The immigration judge learns that Alice’s spouse is a resident and will be able to petition for Alice’s permanent residence in a year and half. Rather than causing Alice all kinds of problems, the immigration judge uses his own authority, relatively newly provided to him, to administratively close the case so that in a year and a half he can entertain Alice’s green card application.
In both scenarios, it could be read that ICE has failed to deport, but in reality the system is simply being practical about applying the power to deport.
The data itself do not support many conclusions , but it very well could be that the figures highlight a disconnect in ICE’s behavior. It could well be that ICE officers who encounter aliens are placing them in proceedings when under ICE’s prosecutorial discretion policies, they could simply be left alone – like a policeman admonishing a youngster to behave himself and telling him to run along rather than arresting him. This would create the gap between the number of people placed in removal proceedings and the number actually ordered removed.
One last modification. Alice is encountered leaving the medical clinic. Alice is a permanent resident. Alice came to the United States as permanent resident as a young girl. In her early twenties she was convicted of drug possession. It was a dark time for her, but she persevered and put it all behind her. Now, ten years later she is encountered by ICE whose technical abilities to cull old court records and find aliens with old convictions gets better every day. An immigration judge determines that while ten year old drug conviction is indeed a removable offense, Alice merits forgiveness under the Cancellation of Removal statute based on her long residence in the United States, family ties, hardships to herself and her family if she is deported, her work history, and her rehabilitation. ICE attorneys do not oppose the grant of relief and Alice is allowed to stay in the United States.
Here, the issue is not that ICE has failed to remove Alice. Rather, ICE has placed into the immigration court system a person who, before the advances in technology allowing ICE to mine state databases for old crimes, would not have been encountered. This does not mean that ICE is failing to remove people, but rather requiring more people, many with minor crimes long ago in time, to go through the forgiveness process. ICE’s interest is to enforce the law, including allowing Alice to seek Cancellation of Removal. Alice’s success is not ICE’s failure. While this should be eminently clear, just to illustrate, let’s use another example. Suppose in response to shootings at movie theaters, the government decides that it will place officers, a Movie Security Agency, at movie theaters to randomly search movie goers. Astute observers of potential wrongdoing, the MSA finds security or criminal activity in ten percent of the people it searches. However, people object to the random nature of the searches, feeling that the MSA is profiling movie goers. (Just because someone is wearing cargo pants does not mean there is a reason to stop him for Milk Dud smuggling). In response, the MSA searches everyone. More people are caught who are security or criminal threats, but overall, only one percent of searches result in apprehension. While it is true that the MSA is finding ten times fewer people as a percent of searches (dropping from ten percent to one percent), this is not because of some sudden failure of the MSA, but because of changes in policy.
All too often USCIS, CBP, and ICE place people in removal proceedings who do not deserve to be there. These agencies, I believe, rely on ICE attorneys to prosecute cases without giving ICE attorneys the authority to analyze them before the instituting of proceedings. Thus, people who are not removable at all or who clearly fit into prosecutorial discretion criteria are placed in removal proceedings, which are soon terminated or administratively closed. However, the data does not reflect that something is wrong on the prosecution side. It rather shows that removal system needs major fixes so resources are better allocated to the nation’s goals – if anyone can figure out what the nation’s goals actually are. That is a political problem, not a legal or administrative one. Posted February 17, 2014.
Have you ever had the feeling that when someone is talking about one thing, in reality he is talking about something else? For example, a political leader may talk about some important principle that his country will never compromise about, which is a veiled warning to some other country, unnamed, that if it does not knock something off, it will pay a heavy price. Such is my feeling about two related Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) cases that came out this week, Matter of W-G-R- and Matter of M-E-V-G-. Both address the issue of what is a “particular social group” in asylum law. The cases are both gang-related “particular social group” cases, but I get the feeling that the BIA is really bracing us for an upcoming decision on domestic violence “particular social group” cases.
I discussed the definition of “particular social group” issue a year ago here. I discussed that an asylum seeker must show he has a well-founded fear of persecution based on his race, religion, political opinion, nationality, or particular social group. Being afraid for your life is not enough – the fear must be “on account” of one of these five bases. A knotty issue is what a “particular social group” is – a phrase that is ambiguous and difficult to define. In that blog post, I discussed a Ninth Circuit case, Henriquez-Rivas v. Holder where the court rejected holdings of the BIA that on-sight recognition is necessary to constitute the social visibility aspect of particular social group. Further, the court faulted the BIA’s social visibility formulation for being unclear as to whether social visibility is to the petitioner, the petitioner’s social circle, the country as a whole, the United States, or the global community. The Henriquez-Rivas court suggested that the perception of the persecutors is what should matter most. The Henriquez-Rivas court was dealing with the BIA’s definition of particular social group that required that a social group be defined by “particularity” and “social visibility.”
In its two new cases, the BIA addressed the criticisms of Henriquez-Rivas and cases from other circuits critical of the definition. One major criticism was over the meaning of “social visibility.” In the new decisions the BIA said it was clarifying the definition of social visibility so that no one would think the term meant that one actually had to be able to see with one eyes a distinct social group, but rather that society as a whole must perceive or recognize the social group as distinct. In fact, to avoid any confusion, the BIA renamed this second element, “social distinction.” The BIA wrote in Matter of W-G-R-:
Our definition of “social visibility” clarified the importance of “perception” or “recognition” in the concept of the particular social group. The term was never meant to be read literally, but our use of the word “visibility” unintentionally promoted confusion. We now rename that requirement “social distinction” to clarify that social visibility does not mean “ocular” visibility either of the group as a whole or of individuals within the group any more than a person holding a protected religious or political belief must be “ocularly” visible to others in society. Henriquez-Rivas v. Holder,  (recognizing that social visibility means that members of the group would be perceived as a group by society).
Besides changing the phrase “social visibility” to “social distinction,” the BIA also gave lengthy explanations of the definition so everyone will be on the same page. It also stressed repeatedly in the decisions that this formulation as well as all previous iterations of the definition of “particular social group” are part of a natural refinement process occurring through case-by-case adjudication of “particular social group” cases and that there have never been radical departures from prior definitions of “particular social group.” The BIA writes in Matter of W-R-G-, “As numerous and varied persecution claims were later asserted, we continued to refine the definition of a particular social group, including the concepts of particularity and social visibility.” In Matter of M-E-V-G- the BIA writes:
The criteria of particularity and social distinction are consistent with both the language of the Act and our earlier precedents. By defining these concepts in Matter of C-A- and the cases that followed it, we did not depart from or abrogate the definition of a particular social group that was set forth in Matter of Acosta; nor did we adopt a new approach to defining particular social groups under the Act. See Henriquez-Rivas v. Holder, 707 F.3d at 1084 (describing our refinement of the definition of a particular social group). Instead, we clarified the definition of the term to give it more “concrete meaning through a process of case-by-case adjudication.
As is evident from this quotation, the BIA decisions give the impression that the court in Henriquez-Rivas saw no problem with how the BIA defined particular social group, when in fact the court rejected aspects of the social visibility (admittedly, based on the belief that it believed the BIA meant ocular visibility) and particularity formulations. The BIA also kept stressing over and over in both cases ad nauseum the evolutionary, case-by-case nature of its decisions which was the theme of Chief Judge Kozinski’s dissent in Henriquez-Rivas. If the BIA is going to cheese up to someone, it may as well be the Ninth’s Circuit’s Chief Judge Kozinski.
The two cases both deal with gang membership. Matter of W-G-R- deals with a former members of the Mara 18 gang in El Salvador who have renounced their gang membership. Matter of M-E-V-G- deals with Honduran youth asserting persecution because they have been actively recruited by gangs but who have refused to join because they oppose the gangs. Essentially, both are gang cases. The BIA has always been hostile to gang cases as have most circuit courts. In general, I think it is fair to say that jurists, lawmakers, and social and immigration activists are not by-and-large as concerned about the fate of gang members or potential gang members as they are with the fate of battered women. While addressing the issue of gangs, these cases are in fact addressing battered women cases. The handwriting is on the wall. In this case, the words, Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin mean that the BIA is going to reject formulations of particular social group that include women who are the victims of domestic violence. Based on excerpts from Matter of M-E-V-G- here’s why I think the case is a preview for a battered spouse asylum case to come which I believe will be very bad for battered spouse asylum claims:
1. In Matter of M-E-V-G-, the BIA cites a prior quote, “the social group concept would virtually swallow the entire refugee definition if common characteristics, coupled with a meaningful level of harm, were all that need be shown.” The sentence is a flag that a common characteristic like being a battered woman and the fact of being battered will not suffice to be a social group. The kicker is the quote is from its decision in Matter of R-A-, a case from 1999 where the BIA found battered spouses do not constitute a particular social group. The Attorney General withdrew the decision two years later. Immigration law has been wanting since for a resolution of the issue of whether battered spouses constitute a particular social group.
2. Next, in Matter of M-E-V-G-, the BIA cites a case where it wrote, that a “particular social group” cannot be defined exclusively by the claimed persecution, that it must be “recognizable” as a discrete group by others in the society, and that it must have well-defined boundaries. Here, the BIA is telling us that battered spouses cannot be defined by being battered – a social group defined as women who have been battered by their spouses – is a no go. Further, what distinguishes battered spouses from other spouses except for the battering, the BIA is asking.
3. The BIA then noted that asylum protection does not attach to any suffering, but only suffering based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. The BIA then states that “[T]he limited nature of the protection offered by refugee law is highlighted by the fact that it does not cover those fleeing from natural or economic disaster, civil strife, or war.” And is not spousal battery civil strife at its most basic? The BIA also noted that “the particular social group category was not meant to be ‘a “catch all” that applies to all persons fearing persecution.’”
4. Addressing particularity, the BIA states, quoting court decisions with which it agrees, “The group must also be discrete and have definable boundaries—it must not be amorphous, over-broad, diffuse, or subjective….. [a] particular social group must be narrowly defined and that major segments of the population will rarely, if ever, constitute a distinct social group). The particularity requirement clarifies the point, at least implicit in earlier case law, that not every ‘immutable characteristic’ is sufficiently precise to define a particular social group.” As the argument is that major segments of many countries’ populations are subject to domestic violence, this social group is not discrete and defined enough to qualify.
5. Next the BIA addresses “social distinction.” It writes, “the ‘social distinction’ requirement considers whether those with a common immutable characteristic are set apart, or distinct, from other persons within the society in some significant way. In other words, if the common immutable characteristic were known, those with the characteristic in the society in question would be meaningfully distinguished from those who do not have it. A viable particular social group should be perceived within the given society as a sufficiently distinct group. The members of a particular social group will generally understand their own affiliation with the grouping, as will other people in the particular society.” Are battered women specially identified in a society? Do battered spouses believe themselves belonging to a sisterhood with other battered spouses?
6. Next, the BIA writes, “that a group’s recognition for asylum purposes is determined by the perception of the society in question, rather than by the perception of the persecutor.” Then the Board continues, “… the persecutors’ perception is not itself enough to make a group socially distinct, and persecutory conduct alone cannot define the group.” Here again, the BIA separates the persecutor and persecution from the social group. Is a battered spouse recognized as a unique group, someone susceptible to being battered, by society at large rather than simply the battering spouse? Just what kind of formulations could one create to define battered women as a particular social group that could satisfy the elements of particularity and social distinctiveness. In later briefing in Matter of R-A-, the battered spouse case, the government suggested two definitions:
1. Women of a certain country who resist subordination by their intimate partners/ex-intimate partners and who try but cannot leave their relationships with their intimate partners constitute a particular social group.
2. Women of a certain country women who are viewed as property by virtue of their positions within a domestic relationship.
In light of the points raised in Matter of M-E-V-G-, will a battered woman be able to show and prove (remember, the applicant has the burden of proof) that she belongs to a distinct group recognized by society in general and to the woman herself as unique?
If one were to posit that subordinated women who cannot leave their husbands are a particular social group, would the society in question really recognize these subordinated women as a unique group or is it more likely all women that all women are distributed in an array from most subordinated to not subordinated at all, and the battered ones are not perceived as a socially distinguishable group? Further, do these women consider themselves members of some unique sisterhood? And if the existence of battered women is widespread and exists all across society, is the group’s limits delineable and defined, i.e., particular?
If one were to posit that all wives in some countries are viewed as property, would all wives satisfy the particularity prong? Does the society really view all married women that way or are some segments of society exempt from this opinion? Certainly everyone in a society cannot be that beastly. And if so, can the social distinctiveness prong be met?
Without a whole lot of difficult-to-produce evidence of societal opinion, under this formulation it could be very difficult to prove that a battered spouse belongs to a particular social group. The BIA likely is going to come out with a new battered spouse asylum decision and it is going to be bad if you are a battered spouse seeking asylum or an advocate of battered women. There are other ways of defining and analyzing ”particular social group” that could result in granting asylum based on “particular social group” for many battered spouses. The government brief in Matter of R-A- explores these definitions and analyses. The 9th Circuit’s expressed preference for defining “particular social group” in the eyes of the abuser expressed in Henriquez-Rivas would also favor at least some battered women as a particular social group. If including at least some battered spouses as a “particular social group” is what the Attorney General wants, he better get busy writing a decision to reverse the BIA or the efforts to protect battered spouses through the “particular social group” basis for asylum will end in failure. Posted February 10, 2014.
I think it is generally agreed upon that Conservatives are in favor of small government and are distrustful of the government in general, so the smaller government is, the safer we all are. For example, regarding the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, Conservative objections to the law seem to be that the government’s involvement in health care will result in harming the quality of healthcare in the United States. The difficulties in the roll out of the website for the selling of insurance policies – not the actual administration of any healthcare, but rather the market to sell health insurance – are proof to these naysayers that what the government touches it ruins. Of course, nothing is completely consistent. Conservatives are more pro-military and pro law and order, nothwithstanding that these activities are where the government exercises its power most directly and in the least nuanced way. Certainly, mining safety regulations show the intrusion of government in peoples’ lives, but not quite like a missile on one’s head or a billy club in one’s gut. For another example, Conservatives are split regarding the recent NSA/Snowden revelations, some most concerned about the power and reach of big government while others most concerned about the important role of NSA intelligence in national security. In the legal arena, one would also expect Conservative jurists to favor smaller government and skepticism towards government as an actor in society, yet, oddly, it is often Conservatives that champion the executive branch and favor deference to it while more moderate and liberal jurists show more skepticism toward government – at least in the immigration sphere. A recent case, Angov v. Holder, is illustrative.
In Angov, Mr. Angov provided the immigration court with subpoenas ordering Mr. Angov to appear at a Bulgarian police station in support of his asylum application. The government responded to this evidence with a letter from a State Department official stating that the State Department conducted an “overseas investigation” and that there were serious discrepancies in the subpoenas. The immigration judge and BIA both considered the letter and used it as the basis to deny asylum. The Court of Appeals had to decide whether the letter was a valid piece of evidence for the immigration judge to consider. The court majority concluded that the letter was admissible as evidence and it was fair to consider it and deny asylum based on it.
The government’s view and the Ninth Circuit majority’s view was that the letter was admissible in immigration court where the standard for admitting evidence is whether it is fair too – the rules of evidence do not apply. Mr. Angov’s position and a dissenting judge’s decision was that the letter consisted of unauthenticated hearsay statements from unidentified officials. There was no description of the methodology employed in the investigation, the qualifications of the investigators, or who was involved. The letter contained conclusory statements of fact, but no information about the identity and qualifications of the investigator; the objective and extent of the investigation; and the methods used to verify the information discovered. Thus, the immigration judge had a letter that was insufficiently detailed to permit a reviewing court to assess its reliability.
It is also worthy of note that five other circuits have considered similar cases and concluded that it was unfair to admit such letters.
So, applying the admittedly flawed definition of Conservative, who do you think is in favor of damning an asylum claim based on an unsworn letter on State Department stationery – one whose ideology is one of fearing an overstepping government or one more trusting of the good government can do? In this case it is Conservative justices that found the letter to be acceptable and the decisions of five other circuits and the dissenting judge in Angov unacceptable. I may never understand why Conservative judges are so deferential to a central government they fear.
One separate observation. To my mind, the majority opinion made unfair ad hominem attacks on the attorney for Mr. Angov. First, the court called her “industrious.” Unless describing a child or an ant, calling someone industrious is not a compliment. Second, the court noted that in another Bulgarian gypsy case, a Bulgarian recanted a false asylum claim. The court then noted that this other Bulgarian gypsy had the same lawyer as Mr. Angov. Why mention this unless somehow to give the impression that all Bulgarian gypsies are liars and their attorney must be complicit in some fraud scheme? This is my experience – people are often friends with people like them. Hausas will have hausa friends. Judges will have judge friends. A Bulgarian gypsy will have Bulgarian gypsy friends. Friends refer friends to dentists they were happy with, car mechanics they were happy with, and lawyers they were happy with. It is not at all uncommon for an immigration attorney to have several clients from some off-the-beaten path country as the first client refers his friends. I have had several clients from countries or regions of countries I could scarcely find on a map when the first one walked in. It is not impossible that some have pulled the wool over my eyes about the veracity of their cases. Does that mean that all the cases were frauds? No. Because I represented them all, does that mean that they are all frauds? No. Does it mean I am personally involved in fraud? No. That one Bulgarian gypsy admitted to making a false asylum claim says nothing about other Bulgarian gypsy asylum claims and, without more, says nothing about their common attorney. To imply otherwise is, well, as the court majority may have put it — chtuzpadik. Posted January 26, 2014.