« November 2005 | Main | January 2006 »

December 31, 2005

End of Year message

As 2005 comes to an end my office wishes you a great New Year. Have a happy day. This next year will see more changes as I will add photos and video to the blog. We are adding a toll free number to receive faxes from our clients. We will continue to provide cutting edge legal service and technology to our immigration clients. My entire staff wishes you well. We will continue the fight for immgration reform. 2006 will be the year the struggle to require even greater effort and to win we need to increase our network.

Mario

Posted by VisaLawyer at 10:46 AM | Comments (0)

December 30, 2005

USCIS Moves Further toward Electronic Filing

On December 29, 2005, USCIS published notices of proposed information collections on new forms to be used in an electronic filing environment. The proposed forms are expected to be posted to the USCIS website within the next few days, and AILA has requested copies of them. Contacts related to USCIS indicate that the goal for USCIS is to have a true electronic filing/electronic adjudication system, and to develop a database within the agency that is built around the applicant's history, rather than around individual filings (which is the concept on which the current CLAIMS system is built). AILA's President, Deborah Notkin, has appointed a working group on electronic filing, and USCIS has reached out to AILA to obtain input on the system from the user's perspective.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 12:33 PM | Comments (0)

December 29, 2005

H-1B letter from William Frist, Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate

Yesterday I received a letter from the office of Senator Frist regarding the letter I wrote in support of the H-1B program. The letter referred to the approval by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary that would have recaptured up to 30,000 H-1B visas. This measure will be taken up again by the 109th Congress.

I describe this letter as an example of how to acheive the passage of this measure and other immigration reform issues. We need to continue contacting our members of Congress.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:38 AM | Comments (0)

December 28, 2005

Republican Strategist Is Taking Heat for Taking Mexico as Client

In the New York Times there is an article by Simon Romero about a longtime Republican strategist, Mr. Allyn has found himself in the cross hairs of conservative critics in the last week after signing a contract with Mexico's foreign ministry to lead a campaign to strengthen the country's image in the United States. For more go to; http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/28/business/media/28adco.html?th&emc=th

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:43 AM | Comments (0)

December 27, 2005

Coffee with my wife Iris Ramos and her sister Alma Rodriguez

Today I have coffee and lunch with my wife Iris and her sister Alma. We went to a wireless cafe, The Global Cafe. We planned out the New Years party that Alma will host at her home. Back at my office we sent out the invitations. Sipho Dumasane will be the DJ of the celebration. This will be a latin styled party to bring in the New Year.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 01:00 PM | Comments (0)

WASHINGTON-Illegal immigration, and not party loyalty, is Rep. Tom Tancredo's burning issue.

The LATimes by Mark Z. Barabak; "Party I couldn't care less about," he says. "If it gets hurt by this, it deserves to be hurt."

For more go to;
http://email.latimes.com/cgi-bin1/DM/y/ewnb0KMvyp0G2B0HAim0EJ

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:04 AM | Comments (0)

Act Now to Neutralize Devastating House Bill and Promote Real Reform

Meet with Your Senators During the January Recess!
Do your Senators know how bad HR 4437 really is? Too many U.S. Representatives voted for a punitive, unrealistic enforcement bill to satisfy the demands of the loud and misguided restrictionist minority. We must not allow this tyrannical minority to subject our nation to shortsighted, poorly conceived immigration policies. Now is the time to educate our U.S. Senators about comprehensive reform so that they will not be seduced by the overrepresented voices of anti-immigrant and anti-immigration activists.

Your Senators and Representatives will be in their home districts for most of January (the Senate reconvenes on January 18, and the House reconvenes on January 31). We expect the debate over immigration reform to begin in the Senate in February, so it is more critical than ever that you meet with your Senators in their home offices in January to educate them about how to fix our broken immigration system. We need to make sure our Senators fully grasp just how punitive, extreme, and unworkable HR 4437 is. We need them to understand that--other than showing the country and the world just how harsh we can be--HR 4437 does nothing to solve the problems plaguing our immigration system. Instead of pouring massive amounts of money into the same failed strategies, we expect the Senate to produce a realistic, comprehensive reform plan.

Call your Senator’s home office to set up a meeting (you can enter your zip code here to find the phone number.)

When you meet with your Senator, make sure to tell him or her that:

* The American public is justifiably concerned about our inability to secure the borders and the phenomenon of undocumented immigration. HR 4437, however, utterly fails to address these concerns in a realistic way. Instead, as one might expect with a bill that is jammed through the legislative process as HR 4437 was, this bill offers sound bites, not solutions.
* Among the countless misguided measures in the bill, HR 4437 would make millions of undocumented immigrants felons, fine or jail hundreds of thousands of American employers, subject millions of noncitizens to mandatory detention, put millions of Americans behind bars as “alien smugglers” for completely innocuous activity, and strip basic due process rights and judicial review as we know it for legal permanent residents.
* We expect the Senate to address our serious immigration problems by producing carefully considered, serious solutions.
* To gain control of our borders and truly guarantee our security, we must implement a comprehensive approach to immigration reform that will address the 11 million people living here without papers. The vast majority of these undocumented immigrants are law-abiding, hardworking people who pay their taxes and contribute to our society. By allowing these people an opportunity to come out of the shadows, register with the government, pay a hefty fine, go through the security check process, and earn the privilege of legal status, we can restore the rule of law in our workplaces and communities and focus our enforcement resources on those who mean us harm.
* A realistic, comprehensive approach to immigration reform must include an effective guest worker program that would match willing workers with willing employers. It must also reunite close family members, some of whom have been separated for twenty years. Finally, comprehensive immigration reform must enhance our border security so that we know who is coming into our country. Such reform would facilitate the cross-border flow of people and goods that is essential to our economy. A vibrant economy, in turn, is essential to fund our security needs.
* We have spent the last 20 years tightening immigration enforcement, but it hasn’t worked. It is irrational to try to enforce laws that are out of sync with the economic realities of our country. Until the laws are in line with reality and provide a safe, legal, and orderly way for migrants to enter our country to work and reunite with family, and for those who are here to come out of the shadows and become integrated with society, we cannot hope to gain control of our broken immigration system.
* We urge you to enact truly comprehensive immigration reform, reform that will work. We urge you to reject enforcement-only measures that hurt communities and do nothing to help us gain control of our borders or make us more secure.

View tips on meeting with legislators here.

Call your Senator’s office today to set up a meeting! It’s up to you to prevent the Senate from adopting another punitive, unrealistic enforcement-only bill. You are the immigration experts--your Senators must hear from you that comprehensive reform is the only way to truly fix our broken immigration system!

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:47 AM | Comments (0)

December 23, 2005

Senate Confirms Emilio T. Gonzalez, Ph.D. as Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

On December 22, 2005, the Senate confirmed the appointment of Emilio T. Gonzales, Ph.D., as the Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Dr. Gonzalez will take office on January 3, 2005. Robert C. Divine will remain in his current position as Acting Deputy Director of USCIS, the position he has held since the appointment of the previous Director, Eduardo Aguirre, current ambassador to Spain.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 04:33 PM | Comments (0)

December 22, 2005

H-2B Cap Exhausted for First-Half of Fiscal Year; USCIS Provides Updated FY 2006 H-1B & H-2B Figures

USCIS press release announces that the agency has received enough petitions to reach the H-2B cap for the first-half of FY2006. USCIS also addresses how it will handle cap-subject petitions filed on or after December 15, 2006, returning worker H-2B petitions, and H-2B petitions for the second half of FY2006.

On a related note, on December 15, 2005, USCIS provided updated figures on fiscal year 2006 usage of H-2B first-half numbers and H-1B numbers for graduates of U.S. advanced degree programs. Included with these figures is an explanation of why the H-2B numbers exceed the first-half quota and how USCIS plans to cut off that category. To see the updated figures, go to http://uscis.gov/graphics/services/tempbenefits/cap.htm.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 11:39 AM | Comments (0)

December 21, 2005

National Latino Organizations Express Extreme Disappointment with White House HR 4437

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 19, 2005
Michele Waslin, NCLR, (202) 785-1670 Eric Gutierrez, MALDEF (202) 293-2828

Washington, DC - Four of the leading national Hispanic advocacy organizations in the United States - The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) - today released the text of a letter to President George W. Bush expressing their "extreme disappointment" with the White House's strong support of the "Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005" (H.R. 4437), a bill sponsored by Rep. James Sensenbrenner which is currently being debated on the House floor.

The letter states that the groups are "shocked and saddened" by the White House statement in strong support of this legislation which is both unduly harsh and punitive yet highly unlikely to resolve any current immigration concerns. The groups also note that the legislation seriously undermines not only the President's own interest in enacting comprehensive immigration reform but also Republican National Committee (RNC) Chair Ken Mehlman's recent efforts to reach out to the Latino community. The groups call for the President to instead embrace and support bipartisan legislation pending before Congress to enact realistic, rational, and effective comprehensive immigration reform.

The text of the letter follows:

December 16, 2005

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC 20500


Dear Mr. President:

The undersigned national Latino organizations write to express our extreme disappointment with the Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) issued yesterday supporting the "Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005" (H.R. 4437). This bill defies any attempt at serious or effective immigration reform, which you yourself acknowledged is urgently needed. Your SAP is baffling in light of recent statements made by RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman, which correctly point out that the House Republican proposal overreaches in ways which are harmful to the country and which will alienate the Latino community. Your support of H.R. 4437 is inconsistent with the very principles for immigration reform that you have put forward.

The impact of H.R. 4437 on the Latino community would be devastating. This bill is excessively harmful to American families, businesses, and communities as well as immigrants. Among its many appalling provisions: it criminalizes 11 million undocumented workers; it subjects family members, employers, religious institutions, and others to criminal penalties under broadened definitions of smuggling, harboring, and transporting; it expands expedited removal and mandatory detention; and it creates an unworkable employer verification system that will displace millions of workers and disrupt the economy. All of these provisions will have a far-reaching impact on the entire Latino community, yet none would solve our very real immigration problems. H.R. 4437 does not put us on a path toward comprehensive immigration reform; rather it stymies constructive debate and is an affront to those who are truly interested in solutions.

As you know, leaders from both political parties have acknowledged the need to address our immigration problems in a comprehensive manner and are working on realistic, rational immigration reform legislation. However, House Republicans have provided this shortsighted and mean-spirited bill which is intended to appear tough on immigration without resolving our nation's immigration problems. Only a comprehensive approach that provides a path to citizenship for current undocumented immigrants, creates new legal channels for future flows of needed immigrants, reduces family immigration backlogs, and protects worker rights will reduce undocumented immigration and bring order to our immigration system.

We are shocked and saddened by your Administration's statement of strong support for H.R. 4437. It is difficult to understand how you will explain your posture on this legislation to the Latino community, which is following this debate very closely. We urge you to withdraw your support for H.R. 4437 and get back on the path toward comprehensive immigration reform.

Sincerely,

League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)
National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials
(NALEO) Educational Fund
National Council of La Raza (NCLR)

Posted by VisaLawyer at 02:52 PM | Comments (0)

December 20, 2005

HR 4437 Passes, But Not Without Stumbling--Hold Your Representative Accountable!

Action Alert from the American Immigration Lawyers Association

Dear AILA Advocate,

Replete with the dramatic events of a Shakespearean tragedy, HR 4437 passed the House of Representatives in the dark hours of December 16, 2005. We are truly disappointed with the final vote on this completely inadequate bill and hope that you’ll send your Representative a letter thanking him or her for opposing the bill or expressing your disappointment in his or her support. On the bright side, we do have several achievements for which to be proud. Keep reading to learn more about the positive results of our activism! We thank you for your commitment to protecting immigrant rights and we hope you’ll continue your advocacy efforts for the duration of this fight.

To stay active, you can:

Hold your Representative accountable! Send your Representative a note of thanks or dissatisfaction at our Contact Congress website.

Commit to encouraging five more people to get active in next year’s Senate Battle over Immigration Reform!

Thank you for your hard work! Together we achieved:

Outpouring of Pro-Immigrant Activism Stunted Progress of HR 4437!

Public clamor for a more comprehensive bill encouraged Congressman Jeff Flake (R-AZ) to weave pro-guest worker language into the bill. The unexpected language stirred controversy when the Restrictionist wing of the Republican Party refused to vote on any bill that would even allude to a guest worker program. While the Party regrouped and worked out a deal, pro-immigrant activists and business interests joined forces to aggressively contact Congressional offices and demand opposition to final passage of HR 4437, swaying many Representatives’ opinions.

Almost 200 National Organizations Publicly Opposed HR 4437!

This broad coalition represents the interests of hundreds of thousands of Americans. Joint opposition to HR 4437 was declared by religious organizations, immigrant and refugee advocacy groups and ethnic organizations, business organizations, conservative groups, labor organizations, civil rights groups, due process and legal groups, bar associations, privacy groups, and human rights groups.

4000 AILA Members and Activists told Congress to Support Comprehensive Immigration Reform!

AILA members and activists coordinated call-in days, called their U.S. Representatives, reached out to local and state organizations to mobilize opposition, appeared on local news programs, participated in local radio interviews, and promoted our National Call-In Days to their clients and personal and professional networks.

Send your Representative a note of thanks or dissatisfaction at our Contact Congress website.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 09:47 AM | Comments (0)

December 19, 2005

Sensenbrenner/King Bill Passes House

Dear Immigrant Rights Advocates:

With a 239 to 182 vote, the House passed the Sensenbrenner/King bill (H.R. 4437). For details on the bill and how your member voted, scroll down for the policy update from the National Immigration Forum. Additionally, here is the link to a Washington Post article on the House bill:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/16/AR2005121601814_pf.html

The efforts in the field and in D.C. to defeat H.R. 4437 were tremendous. Now we must build on that momentum to ensure that anti-immigration bills such as this cannot pass through the Senate and that real comprehensive immigration reform moves forward. The fight for humane and compassionate national immigrant rights legislation is far from over.

On December 16, 2005 the House passed H.R. 4437, the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act, sponsored by James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Peter King (R-NY). The vote was 239 to 182.

Amendments;

In an update sent Friday, I listed a few of the amendments being offered during the floor debate. Not all had recorded votes. Here are some results. A more complete summary of what happened will be sent out next week.

An amendment to end the diversity visa lottery program passed 273 – 148.
http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2005/roll653.xml

An amendment to eliminate family 4th preference visas (brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens) and shift those visa numbers to the employment-based system was withdrawn.

An amendment giving state and local law enforcement “inherent authority” to enforce immigration laws was passed 237 – 180.
http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2005/roll656.xml

There was an amendment offered by Rep. Sensenbrenner at the request of the administration. The bill would make unauthorized presence an “aggravated felony,” punishable by a sentence of one year and a day. Some genius figured out that—oops!—to prosecute undocumented immigrants for this crime would take a grand jury indictment, trial by jury, and a right to court-appointed counsel. Multiply that by 11 million. The amendment would have lowered the maximum sentence for unauthorized presence to six months. (This is below the threshold where the above-mentioned rights come into play.) This amendment was rejected 164 to 257.

Hall of Fame;

Seventeen Republicans voted against the bill, not all for good reasons. Some, like J.D. Hayworth, rejected the bill because they felt it did not go far enough. We’ll have more to say about how Republicans voted next week.

The vote was as close as it was because of the unprecedented cooperation among advocates in Washington and around the country representing religious organizations, immigrant communities and advocacy groups, businesses, labor unions, conservative groups, House staffers and members, and many others who did an amazing job in the ten days from the time the bill was introduced to the time it went to the House floor. As Frank Sharry of the Forum noted after the vote, when we were faced with a similar situation in 1996, with the House voting on punitive anti-immigrant legislation, we lost 350 to 85. Great job everyone!! The battle now shifts to the Senate.

Hall of Shame;

If you’ve done the math by now, you might ask, with 17 Republicans voting against their leadership, why did we lose?

Thirty-six Democrats voted for the bill. Since I cannot think of a good reason to vote for this bill, I will provide the list for your convenience.

Alabama – Robert Cramer
Arkansas – Marion Berry, Mike Ross
Colorado – John Salazar, Mark Udall
Georgia – John Barrow, Jim Marshall
Hawaii – Ed Case
Illinois – Melissa Bean, Jerry Costello, Daniel Lipinski
Indiana – Peter Visclosky
Iowa – Leonard Boswell
Kansas – Dennis Moore
Kentucky – Ben Chandler
Louisiana – Charlie Melancon
Minnesota – Collin Peterson
Mississippi – Gene Taylor
Missouri – Ike Skelton
New York – Brian Higgins
North Carolina – Mike McIntyre
North Dakota – Earl Pomeroy
Ohio – Ted Strickland
Oklahoma – Dan Boren
Oregon – Peter DeFazio
Pennsylvania – Tim Holden, Paul Kanjorski
South Dakota – Stephanie Herseth
Tennessee – Lincoln Davis, Harold Ford, Bart Gordon, John Tanner
Texas – Chet Edwards
Utah – Jim Matheson
Virginia – Rick Boucher

Washington – Rick Larsen

You can find the full breakdown on the vote here:
http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2005/roll661.xml

A statement by the Forum is posted on our Web site at:
http://www.immigrationforum.org/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=781

Members are going home this weekend for the holiday break. Feel free to visit them and let them know what you think.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 01:42 PM | Comments (0)

The deadline to apply for CSS and LULAC/Newman legalization is December 31, 2005.

Please distribute copies to interested parties and community-based organizations. Applications must be postmarked by December 31, 2005. If class members have not already applied, we recommend that they apply before the deadline.

To apply a class member must use a form I-687. You may obtain copies of this form with full instructions from the CIS web site: http://uscis.gov/graphics/formsfee/forms/i-687.htm . Also look at our web site for more information http://www.legalizationusa.org For more information you may also go to the CIS’s manual for its employees about the Newman, CSS, and LIFE Act procedures:
http://uscis.gov/lpbin/lpext.dll/inserts/afm_redacted/afm-95-redacted-6746?fn=document-frame.htm&f=templates&2.0
http://uscis.gov/lpbin/lpext.dll/inserts/afm_redacted/afm-95-redacted-6998?fn=document-frame.htm&f=templates&2.0

If you discover that I-687 application forms are not available at your local CIS office, please immediately let us know by phone (call Linda Fang at 213 388-8693 ext 101), fax, or email.

When the I-687 is prepared, to help the class member remember dates, etc., check his or her old I-687 (if available) that the class member used to apply for a work permit between 1988 and 1996.

If class members have a pending LIFE Act application, or a denied LIFE Act application, we recommend that they file under CSS or LULAC/Newman, even if they have appealed their LIFE Act denial. If they miss the December 31 deadline, they cannot file under CSS/LULAC later if their LIFE Act is denied. People may have greater protections under CSS/LULAC than under the LIFE Act.

If before December 31 a class member cannot collect all of their declarations or evidence showing that they lived here from before 1982 until 1987, they should still mail their application by December 31 with whatever evidence they have and send more evidence later. We strongly recommend that applications be sent by “certified mail return receipt requested” or overnight delivery so that the applicant has proof of mailing.

I have attached a Q&A that may answer questions relating to CSS/Newman cases. I have also attached a memo we have sent to class members that largely tracks this memo.

We plan to go back to court in the CSS and LULAC/Newman cases because class members are not being treated fairly. We also are investigating a new lawsuit because many class members were not treated lawfully under the LIFE Act. The main problem seems to be CIS’s refusal to comply with the preponderance of the evidence standard and its demanding proof of continuous residence by clear and convincing evidence, If you have received a denial of any case and want us to review the file, please send a complete copy of the file to Attorney Linda Fang at our address above. Please organize the file with the oldest documents at the bottom. Thank you.

Peter A. Schey, President
Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law
256 S. Occidental Blvd.
Los Angeles, Ca. 90057
Telephone: (213) 388-8693 ext. 104
Facsimile: (213) 386-9484
Electronic mail: pschey@centerforhumanrights.org
http://www.centerforhumanrights.org

Posted by VisaLawyer at 09:10 AM | Comments (0)

December 18, 2005

The fight for immigration reform

The last week saw a huge fight in the Congress over immigration reform. The business community has joined us on the side of positive immigration reform. It was great to see the US Chamber of Commerce and key allies supporting reform. Those members of Congress who voted against the American people and business community have lost touch with our country. They are seeking to appease a small minority of anti-immigrant zealots. The vote on the HR 4437 is seen as one of the year’s key votes in the business community.

We will publish the list of votes. We bring light to the voting record of our members of Congress. We shall carry the fight for immigration reform to the halls of Congress again after the New Year. We will remain humble to win. We will continue to expand our network. We will stand for what is right and good in our country.

You ask what you can do. Take action and call, e-mail, write or visit your member of Congress and Senator. This struggle is for the heart and mind of our country and the votes of our members of Congress

Posted by VisaLawyer at 10:38 AM | Comments (0)

December 17, 2005

Sensenbrenner Bill Passes, H-1B/EB Provisions Stripped

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 05121612 (posted Dec. 16, 2005)"
The Sensenbrenner bill passed tonight in the House by a vote of 239 to 182. 17 Republicans voted "NO" on final passage, but 36 Democrats voted "YES" on final passage. The vote record for individual Representatives will be posted as soon as it has been made available. Please refer to Contact Congress in order to send a letter to your Representative either thanking them for their vote, or expressing your dismay at their vote! The bill is loaded with several damaging amendments, including elimination of the DV lottery. We will post a full summary of the amendments to InfoNet on Monday. Our work to keep these provisions out of any Senate bill will continue as the Senate begins its own immigration debate in February or March 2006.

The budget reconciliation bill is expected to be passed in both the House and Senate on Sunday. The immigration provisions were stripped out of the bill as part of the last-minute negotiations and decisions by House leadership to assure passage of a final bill in the House. Please contact your client companies who signed on to the many letters of support for the H-1B and EB provisions that were sent to the Hill over these past several weeks, and ask them to express their outrage and dismay to their Representatives.

We will continue to look for new vehicles for the H-1B and EB retrogression relief provisions when Congress reconvenes in January. Thanks for your great work on these issues...we are very sorry we cannot report success!

Posted by VisaLawyer at 10:36 AM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2005

AILA Strongly Opposes the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act (H.R. 4437)

December 14, 2005

Dear Representative:

The American Immigration Lawyers Association strongly opposes the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005 (H.R. 4437), introduced by Representatives James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Peter King (R-NY). Besides embodying an "enforcement-only" approach to immigration reform that has proved to be ineffectual in addressing our immigration challenges, this bill presents a boldfaced attack on immigrants and our constitutional commitment to fair process. It would have devastating consequences not only for undocumented immigrants but also for legal immigrants and U.S. citizens.

We have seen time and again that enforcement-only policies do not work. Between 1986 and 2002, the number of Border Patrol officers tripled and the number of hours they spent patrolling the border grew by a factor of eight, but in that same time period, the probability of apprehension along the U.S.-Mexico border dropped from about 33% to 5%. By attempting to criminalize the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country, H.R. 4437 would do nothing to increase our security; instead, it would push these immigrants further into the shadows. We cannot achieve true border security without a concomitant commitment to realistic immigration policies that provide legal channels for immigrants to enter the country to work, pay taxes, and contribute to society; and allow those who are already here the opportunity to earn their way to legal status.

Unfortunately, H.R. 4437 goes far beyond advancing a wrongheaded approach to immigration reform--it also subverts our democracy's deeply held values, which are founded on fundamental principles such as the right to a day in court, checks and balances, and freedom from unjust and arbitrary detention. It criminalizes unwitting violations of immigration status-for example, a university student on a student visa whose course load drops below the required number of hours. Additionally, H.R. 4437 sharply restricts judicial review, broadly expands mandatory detention policies, and, outrageously, broadens the definition of alien smuggling and harboring to reach family members, employers, teachers, and immigrant advocates.

The Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act is an assault on our immigration policies, not a solution to the challenges we face. To fix our broken immigration system, we must enact legislation that not only enhances border security but also implements an effective guest worker program, provides a path to citizenship with reasonable requirements, and reunifies families. We must restore the rule of law to our immigration system, with fair rules that are evenly enforced, not expansive enforcement that can never be implemented. We strongly urge you to oppose H.R. 4437 and instead support realistic, comprehensive reform.

Sincerely,
Jeanne Butterfield
Executive Director
American Immigration Lawyers Association

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:07 AM | Comments (0)

PLEASE KEEP UP YOUR CALLS AND PRESSURE TO INSIST THAT HOUSE MEMBERS VOTE "NO" ON FINAL PASSAGE OF THE SENSENBRENNER BILL.

Quick update: As many of you know, the Sensenbrenner bill is moving forward. It is being debated right now on the House floor, where 15 amendments on the border security parts of the bill have been made in order. The "RULE" governing debate on this part of the bill was debated fiercely today, and very nearly was "pulled" due to opposition from moderates who wanted the bill to be more comprehensive, and arch-restrictionists who were angered that their more extreme amendments were not made in order. Apparently after intense behind the scenes work, and a White House letter stating strong support for the bill, the Rule was put to a vote and passed 220-206, and the debate began.

A second RULE making many additional amendments in order will be issued tonight or tomorrow, and debate will continue on the additional amendments, with final vote following all of that debate. Final vote may come tomorrow or over the weekend.

Enter your zip code here for talking points and your Representative's phone number: http://capwiz.com/aila2/callalert/index.tt?alertid=8312521&type=CO

Do not assume that your immigrant-friendly representative is going to be against this bill CALL NOW!!!!

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:56 AM | Comments (0)

Key vote for U.S. Chamber of Commerce against HR 4437

House GOP’s Split on Immigration Apparently Sinks Scheduled Legislation, By Alex Wayne, CQ Staff

"House GOP leaders scrambled Thursday afternoon to salvage a border security and immigration bill that appeared headed to defeat because of objections from several factions of Republicans.
The drama began early Thursday, as Republican engaged in a behind-the-scenes tug-of-war among themselves over non-binding language that supporters of a guest worker program want inserted in the bill.

The dispute delayed consideration of the bill, and House leaders began debate on a pension measure instead as they worked out the situation.

The flap revolved around language that Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., was trying to insert in the measure (HR 4437). Flake’s single “sense of Congress” sentence would express support for a program to provide a “legal channel” to bring foreign workers into the country. Republicans opposed to the language interpreted it as support for a guest-worker visa, an issue that is divisive among the GOP".

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:53 AM | Comments (0)

December 15, 2005

Overwhelming Opposition to HR 4437 Thwarts House Majority Plan for Easy Passage; Continued Action Needed!

Unified outrage against HR 4437 continues to echo through the halls of Congress and could be heard in the language of U.S. Representatives as they began to debate the bill on the House floor this morning. Our strident opposition has put a spoke in the wheels of House procedure, making HR 4437's defeat a true possibility. But, THIS FIGHT IS NOT OVER! Congressional debate may continue throughout the coming days and we must continue to express our opposition to this devastating bill that will not provide our country with the Comprehensive Immigration Reform that we desperately need (view AILA's section-by-section analysis of HR 4437 here: http://www.aila.org/content/default.aspx?docid=18126).

Congress must continue to hear from AILA members, our friends and allies in the immigration advocacy community, the business sector, labor unions, trade associations, guardians of civil and human rights, and the interfaith community. Call your Representative today and forward this message to 5 colleagues! Enter your zip code here for talking points and your Representative's phone number: http://capwiz.com/aila2/callalert/index.tt?alertid=8312521&type=CO. You can also send a letter to your Senators and Representative urging them to support a realistic, comprehensive approach to immigration reform: http://capwiz.com/aila2/issues/alert/?alertid=7614761&type=CO. We need your help to defeat HR 4437 now!

Posted by VisaLawyer at 02:30 PM | Comments (0)

Letter from a client regarding his wife's interview at the Nigerian Consulate

Dear Mario,

I appreciate your letter to the consulate. It was very detailed and self explanitory.

My wife and children have been granted visas and they arrived few days ago.

We will visit your office when in Nashville

God bless

(Name withheld)

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:52 AM | Comments (0)

December 14, 2005

ACTION ALERT!

HELP US DEFEAT HR 4437, THE “BORDER PROTECTION, ANTITERRORISM AND ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION CONTROL ACT.”

We need your help now -- Make your voices heard!

PLEASE CALL, FAX, AND/OR E-MAIL YOUR CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVE NOW AND ASK HIM OR HER TO VOTE AGAINST HR 4437!

HR 4437 is one of the most draconian anti-immigrant bills to be introduced in recent times. It is an ill-conceived bill that simply builds on failed enforcement provisions enacted into law over the last 20 years.

Among its many anti-immigrant provisions, HR 4437 would:

Make YOU a criminal. H.R. 4437 will allow the government to prosecute almost anyone who has regular contact with an undocumented person.

Criminalize unlawful presence and make it an aggravated felony, subjecting the entire undocumented population to potential imprisonment and foreclosure of future immigration status. These provisions are likely to drive undocumented immigrants further underground and increase their vulnerability to exploitation.

Gut judicial review of immigration courts decisions.

Expand expedited removal near the border so that immigrants will be deported without ever having a chance to make their case in court.

Make detention of immigrants mandatory.

Give the government unfettered discretion to designate gangs and makes immigrants deportable as members of a gang even if they have never violated the law and joined a gang out of fear or coercion.

Create a mandatory Employment Eligibility Verification System (EEVS) radically expands the current I-9 system. It would require employers, unions, day labor sites, worker centers, and many other nonprofit service providers who currently refer or recruit workers use this massive EEVS. It would affect the employment rights of every worker as well as the daily employment decisions of every business and employer in the U.S.

On Thursday, December 8, the House Judiciary Committee passed H.R. 4437, introduced by Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI). The bill may be voted on by the full House of Representatives as early as this Thursday, December 15. We also expect that amendments to eliminate birthright citizenship for babies born in the U.S. to undocumented immigrants and to build a 2,000-mile wall along the U.S.-Mexico border will be offered.

Please call the Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121 or go to www.house.gov to find your representative’s phone number. The contact information for your representative can also be found by typing in your zip code on this page: http://capwiz.com/aila2/issues/alert/?alertid=7614761&type=CO

You can make a difference, please call your Representatives NOW!

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:57 AM | Comments (0)

December 13, 2005

Oppose Anti-Immigrant Attacks Now!

ACTION ALERT: As reported last week, the House Judiciary Committee has once again mounted a frontal assault on the due process rights of noncitizens in this country by passing the Border Protection, Anti-Terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005 (HR 4437). Click here to view the text of the legislation (http://www.aila.org/content/default.aspx?docid=11536) or here to view a section-by-section analysis of the most troubling provisions (http://www.aila.org/content/default.aspx?docid=18126). In short, this 170-page bill would criminalize unlawful presence; strip judicial review; gut due process for aliens, permanent residents, and U.S. citizens; broaden expedited removal; expand criminal liability to reach family members, employers, and immigrant advocates; increase mandatory detention; place unrealistic and counterproductive restrictions on naturalization; expand the already overbroad aggravated felony definition to reach mere unlawful presence; create new grounds of deportability and removability; and militarize the border.

The full House is scheduled to consider and vote on this atrocious legislation on either Wednesday (12/14) or Thursday (12/15) of this week! Click here to view the action alert and send a letter to your Members of Congress (http://capwiz.com/aila2/issues/alert/?alertid=7614761&type=CO). In conjunction with our coalition partners, AILA also is organizing a day of action on Wednesday (12/14). Every single one of us needs to call and write to our Members of Congress, making it crystal clear that the vast majority of Americans adamantly oppose anti-immigrant proposals that negate our constitutional commitment to fair process. More information and specific instructions, including talking points, will be posted to InfoNet soon. Additionally, AILA and our coalition partners will run an ad in the major newspaper on Capitol Hill on Wednesday opposing this devastating bill.

Get angry, get engaged, and make a difference now!

Posted by VisaLawyer at 03:33 PM | Comments (0)

NCLR CALIFICA LA PROPUESTA DE LEY DE SENSENBRENNER "ATROZ"

PARA DIFUSIÓN INMEDIATA 08 de diciembre del 2005
El Proyecto de Ley del Comité Judicial de la Cámara Pone en Peligro a Todos los Estadounidenses Sin Resolver los Problemas de Inmigración

Washington, DC – El Consejo Nacional de La Raza (NCLR), la organización nacional más grande de apoyo y defensa de derechos civiles de hispanos en EE UU, está escandalizado por "Border and Immigration Enforcement Act of 2005" (H.R. 4437), una propuesta de ley presentada por James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), presidente del Comité Judicial de la Cámara de Diputados. En vez de proporcionar una propuesta comprensiva y efectiva referente a los problemas de inmigración, el proyecto de ley – elaborado por los congresistas radicales que más restringen la inmigración – es una retahíla malintencionada de cláusulas que obstruyen a la privacidad.

Entre sus varias cláusulas, H.R. 4437 tendrá las siguientes consecuencias:

Acceso a la ciudadanía estadounidense sería más difícil para los inmigrantes legales.
La definición de pasar ilegalmente a un inmigrante indocumentado se ha ampliado a incluir cualquier estadounidense que ayude o transporte a dichas personas. Esto trastornaría las comunidades en EE UU y pondría en peligro a todos los estadounidenses.
Hacer que cualquier persona que viniera a EE UU para trabajar podría ser sujeto tanto a la deportación como al encarcelamiento.
La economía de EE UU se desbarataría al crear un sistema de empleo ambiguo ya que se establecería un nuevo sistema de verificación de empleo retroactivo. Además la propuesta no contempla la creación de procedimientos legales para los trabajadores en demanda que desean laborar lícitamente.
"Nadie está en contra de la seguridad o el cumplimiento de la ley. Pero esta propuesta es una ofensa a todos aquellos en el Congreso y demás entidades que trabajan con diligencia para reparar nuestro mal sistema de inmigración. Los diputados republicanos no solo proponen leyes severamente punitivas y excesivamente restrictivas que gastarían impuestos, sino también se extralimitan al jugar con vidas para ganar ventaja política. Esto simplemente es inaceptable", afirmó Janet Murguía, presidenta de NCLR.

Se espera que la propuesta de ley de Sensenbrenner será aprobada por el Comité Judicial hoy, y que toda la Cámara de Diputados votará sobre esta iniciativa la próxima semana. Otras enmiendas que posiblemente serán consideradas la semana que viene incluyen una propuesta del Diputado Tom Tancredo (R-CO) – el miembro más anti-inmigrante del Congreso –, de eliminar la ciudadanía como derecho de nacimiento a los bebés (de padres indocumentados) nacidos en EE UU y una enmienda para construir una cerca a lo largo de la frontera entre EE UU y México.

"Estas propuestas extremistas no hacen nada para propiciar una conversación racional sobre una reforma comprensiva de inmigración", concluyó Murguía. "Esperamos que el Senado comience el debate constructivo que este país necesita para realmente resolver nuestros verdaderos problemas de inmigración".
All Content © 2005 NCLR. All Rights Reserved

Michele Waslin, Ph.D.,
Director of Immigration Policy Research
National Council of La Raza
1126 16th St. NW
Washington, DC 20036
202-785-1670 (main)
202-776-1735 (direct)
mwaslin@nclr.org


Posted by VisaLawyer at 02:11 PM | Comments (0)

December 12, 2005

Defend Immigrant Rights NOW! National Call-In Days TUESDAY and WEDNESDAY!!!

FLOOD CONGRESS WITH PHONE CALLS TO PROTECT IMMIGRANT RIGHTS FROM DANGEROUS PROVISIONS IN HR 4437!!

Call 202-224-3121 to connect to your Representative’s office
Congressional Phone Directory: http://capwiz.com/aila2/dbq/officials/

We MUST Mobilize to Oppose HR 4437, Rep. Sensenbrenner’s immigration enforcement bill! AILA is joining with the nation’s most influential immigration advocacy groups to oppose HR 4437 because it:

Could make YOU a criminal; HR 4437 will allow the government to prosecute almost any American who has regular contact with the undocumented.

Will disrupt the economy and destabilize U.S. workers; HR 4437 seeks to drive out 7 million undocumented immigrant workers, consequently disrupting the economy, with no corresponding increase in security or legality. HR 4437 will create an Employment Eligibility Verification System (EEVS) that could severely limits workers’ claims, including prohibiting class action lawsuits against the government, and will displace millions of documented workers—U.S. citizens and legal residents alike.

Denies due process and citizenship to lawful permanent residents; HR 4437 limits judicial review of executive branch decisions (DHS), violates the constitutional guarantee of due process and separation of powers, and, most importantly, strips the courts of their role of protecting the individual against excessive governmental power.

Divides families; HR 4437 will separate more American families with its excessive deportation authorities.

HR 4437 is an attack on U.S. Immigration Policy, not an answer
Enforcement-only legislation like HR 4437 and the legislation that preceded it has created the largest undocumented population in our nation’s history. We can’t enforce our way out of the catastrophe that is our current immigration system. Our broken system demands a comprehensive, workable solution that restores the rule of law, with fair rules that are evenly enforced, not expansive enforcement that can never be implemented.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 03:45 PM | Comments (0)

legislation that would revoke principle of birthright citizenship

By Warren Vieth, Times Staff Writer, in the Los Angeles Times 12/10/05

WASHINGTON — For nearly 140 years, any child born on U.S. soil, even to an illegal immigrant, has been given American citizenship. Now, some conservatives in Congress are determined to change that.

A group of 92 lawmakers in the House will attempt next week to force a vote on legislation that would revoke the principle of "birthright citizenship," part of a broader effort to discourage illegal immigration.

for more go to; http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-birthright10dec10,0,1354756.story?track=tottext

Posted by VisaLawyer at 03:30 PM | Comments (0)

December 11, 2005

Enforcement-only legislation sponsored by Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner

The House Judiciary Committee, on 12/8/05, approved by a vote of 23-15 the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005 (H.R. 4437), enforcement-only legislation sponsored by Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI). The bill will move to the House floor next week. This bill is even more dangerous than we imagined it would be, and contains numerous egregious provisions including those that would: criminalize unlawful presence; strip the courts of much of their remaining jurisdiction over immigration matters; gut the due process rights of aliens, permanent residents and United States citizens; expand expedited removal; broaden the definition of alien smuggling to include family members, employers and immigrant advocates; expand the definition of aggravated felony; create new grounds of deportability and inadmissibility; increase mandatory detention; militarize the border; and place limitations on eligibility for naturalization.

The results for both immigrants and U.S. citizens would be disastrous. Let your Representative know that the House is heading down a dangerous and misguided path, and urge your Senators and Representative to support a realistic, comprehensive approach to immigration reform. Send a letter to your elected officials today or call your Representative’s office, using the letter on Contact Congress as the basis for your talking points. HR 4437 is the wrong solution to our immigration challenges, and we need your immediate help to defeat it.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 03:28 PM | Comments (0)

We simply cannot allow this bill to pass

The House Judiciary Committee, on 12/8/05, approved by a vote of 23-15 the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005 (H.R. 4437), enforcement-only legislation sponsored by Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI). The bill will move to the House floor next week. This bill is even more dangerous than we imagined it would be, and contains numerous egregious provisions including those that would: criminalize unlawful presence; strip the courts of much of their remaining jurisdiction over immigration matters; gut the due process rights of aliens, permanent residents and United States citizens; expand expedited removal; broaden the definition of alien smuggling to include family members, employers and immigrant advocates; expand the definition of aggravated felony; create new grounds of deportability and inadmissibility; increase mandatory detention; militarize the border; and place limitations on eligibility for naturalization.

The results for both immigrants and U.S. citizens would be disastrous. Let your Representative know that the House is heading down a dangerous and misguided path, and urge your Senators and Representative to support a realistic, comprehensive approach to immigration reform. Send a letter to your elected officials today or call your Representative’s office, using the letter on Contact Congress as the basis for your talking points. HR 4437 is the wrong solution to our immigration challenges, and we need your immediate help to defeat it.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 03:26 PM | Comments (0)

December 10, 2005

New Sensenbrenner bill; top 10 worst provisions; remember, this is real!

Earlier today, while at least most of you were still at your offices, I commented that the new Sensenbrenner bill that passed the Judiciary committee yesterday was worse then the Real Id act. Attached is a brief outline of some of the bad provisions in the bill (prepared by Robert H. Gibbs, a Seattle lawyer who spoke at this years Chapter CLE in Nashville.)

10)§203 Presence in the US in violation of the immigration laws or regulations is a crime. In other words, overstaying your admission is a crime.

9)§208 Voluntary Departure period limited to 60 days and courts cannot extend or toll while on judicial review.

8)§604 Fraud in SSA matters, such as using a false number, is a ground of exclusion

7)§604 DV offenses, and violations of protection orders are grounds of exclusion. These provisions are retroactive even where the offense was prior to enactment.

6)§606 Three DUI’s and alien is removable. Retroactive.

5)§613 State courts vacation of convictions or sentence modifications are ineffective for immigration purposes, unless alien can show the modification was not for immigration purposes.

4)§614 Convictions for misuse of SSA numbers and cards, or for unlawfully procuring citizenship–a ground of removal.

3)§805 Judicial review: all petitions for review must go to a single circuit court judge in each circuit to screen for reviewability. He must issue such a certificate in 60 days or the case must be dismissed..

2)§806 NIV’s must waive right to a removal hearing in order to get visa, so they would be in same boat as visa waiver cases.

And my personal favorite (out of sequence)

10)§609 No court shall have jurisdiction to determine or review a determination of the Secretary made at any time regarding for purposes of naturalization, whether an alien is a person of good moral character…” This approach is particularly troubling given our experience in Seattle, where we won a state-wide class action settlement with CIS agreeing that they had been making GMC determinations incorrectly for the past several years, resulting in at least 500 reversals.

So please everyone needs to act first thing Monday morning and make calls, send emails and do everything possible to mobilize to stop this proposed legislation from becoming law. At a minimum, all of us should take 2 minutes to send an email through this link: http://capwiz.com/aila2/issues/alert/?alertid=7614761&type=CO

Here is a more simplified, law person presentation of the bill from the immigration forum:

Here is a good synopsis from the immigration forum which makes illegal presence in the U.S. a crime mandatory minimum sentences for those convicted of reentry after removal reduces to 60 days maximum for voluntary departure mandatory detention for anyone caught along the border, unless voluntarily returned would allow indefinite detention of aliens who have committed crimes and finished serving their sentences in the criminal justice system, if they cannot be deported (overturns Supreme Court decisions regarding indefinite detention) mandatory minimum sentences for those who fail to depart when ordered removed bars so-called “aggravated felons” from admission (in immigration law, the term “aggravated felony” is almost meaningless, as it can include minor crimes as well as “aggravated felonies” in the criminal statutes) bars the admission of those convicted of offenses related to misuse of Social Security numbers and cards makes those who are designated as gang members deportable and inadmissible makes certain provisions of the REAL ID Act retroactive defines anyone convicted of an “aggravated felony” as not having good moral character, and clarifies that the “aggravated felony” label applies no matter when in the past the crime was committed prohibits state courts from reversing or vacating convictions in order to forestall removals (some states had used this tactic to counter the irrational use of the term aggravated felony” in immigration law, in order to prevent someone who had committed a minor crime from facing permanent exile from their adopted community) makes removable those convicted of offenses relating to the misuse of Social Security numbers and cards makes employer participation in the “basic pilot program” for employment authorization mandatory within two years of enactment and, within six years after enactment, requires all employers to have verified previously hired employees. Day labor sites are to be included in the employment authorization verification system takes the REAL ID Act standards regarding an asylum seeker’s needing to know the “central motivation” of his or her persecutor and applies the standards to withholding of deportation makes it more difficult to appeal a negative Board of Immigration Appeals decision

Justice,

Paul Soreff
Attorney-at-Law
Wells Fargo Center
999 Third Ave, Suite #3800
Seattle, WA 98104
psoreff@sorefflaw.com
(206) 282-1955 (w)
(206) 382-7074 (Fax)

Posted by VisaLawyer at 01:47 PM | Comments (0)

Continued Advocacy Needed for H-1B and Retrogression Relief!

We expect the House and Senate to conference the budget reconciliation bill before the December 17 adjournment. The Senate bill provides relief from the H-1B blackout and employment-based immigrant visa retrogression in exchange for increased fees on some petitions (for more information, see http://www.aila.org/content/default.aspx?docid=17969), while the House version provides no relief and imposes a $1,500 fee increase on L visas. Although the conference has not yet begun, informal discussions are taking place, and we must continue to build support for the Senate proposal in both chambers of Congress. Remember, this may be our only chance for H-1B and retrogression relief all year! If your clients are affected by the H-1B blackout and green card backlogs, please contact the AILA Advocacy Department at (202) 216-2424 to see what actions they can take. We're relying on your help to see this process through! To send a message to your legislators in support of the Senate proposal, please use this link: http://capwiz.com/aila2/issues/alert/?alertid=8185761&type=CO.


Posted by VisaLawyer at 11:53 AM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2005

USCIS Provides Newly Updated Counts on H-2B and H-1B Advanced Degrees Usage

USCIS has provided updated figures on fiscal year 2006 usage of H-2B first-half numbers and H-1B numbers for graduates of U.S. advanced degree programs. For access to these figures, visit:

http://uscis.gov/graphics/services/tempbenefits/cap.htm. Note the asterisked explanation of why the H-2B numbers exceed the first-half quota and how USCIS plans to cut off that category.


Posted by VisaLawyer at 11:52 AM | Comments (0)

December 08, 2005

The House Immigration Battle Begins on Thursday with HR 4437; Has Your Representative Heard from You?

Strategic action is needed to defeat new enforcement-only immigration legislation. TOMORROW the House Judiciary Committee will review the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005 (HR 4437), introduced by Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) (view bill text here:

http://www.aila.org/content/default.aspx?docid=11536). The bill will reach the House floor for votes NEXT WEEK. House leadership is on a mission to pass this enforcement-only legislation before their December 17 adjournment.

This misguided and harmful proposal is going to move rapidly through the House and WE NEED TO ACT NOW to block final passage! HR 4437 is a boldfaced attack on due process and especially on judicial review. Extreme provisions in the bill target not just undocumented immigrants but also legal immigrants and citizens. We simply cannot allow this bill to pass. The results for both immigrants and U.S. citizens would be disastrous.

Let your Representative know that the House is heading down a dangerous and misguided path, and urge your Senators and Representative to support a realistic, comprehensive approach to immigration reform. Send a letter to your elected officials today (use this link:

http://capwiz.com/aila2/issues/alert/?alertid=7614761&type=CO), or call your Representative's office, using the letter on Contact Congress as the basis for your talking points (you can find the phone number here: http://capwiz.com/aila2/dbq/officials/).

We need YOUR help to stop this unrealistic and harmful enforcement-only proposal. HR 4437 is the WRONG solution to the immigration challenges facing our nation. Please take action now! Click here to write a letter: http://capwiz.com/aila2/issues/alert/?alertid=7614761&type=CO

Posted by VisaLawyer at 08:16 AM | Comments (0)

December 07, 2005

Republican Tops Border Activist in O.C. Election

In the Los Angeles Times there is an article by Jean O. Pasco, Times Staff Writer wherein they describe how a Republican state senator sailed to victory Tuesday in a special congressional election in coastal Orange County featuring a maverick, third-party candidate who sought to capitalize on growing fears of illegal immigration.

In a race that drew national attention, Sen. John Campbell (R-Irvine) held a wide lead throughout the evening, ending the night with nearly 45% of the vote. But it was Minuteman Project co-founder and first-time candidate Jim Gilchrist of the American Independent Party who drew the spotlight with his one-issue campaign.

For more go to;
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-coxseat7dec07,0,7190560.story?track=tottext

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:25 AM | Comments (0)

December 06, 2005

House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. on immigration reform

To: National Desk

Contact: Jeff Lungren or Terry Shawn, 202-225-2492, both of Office of House Judiciary Committee

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 /U.S. Newswire/ -- House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-Wis.) issued the following statement today regarding immigration reform legislation:

"Tomorrow, I expect to introduce legislation to address some of the problems of our immigration system. Quite clearly, this system is broken and must be fixed. This proposal will focus on preventing illegal immigration by bolstering our border security efforts and beginning a serious interior immigration enforcement effort. This legislation will demand that people follow the law and be held accountable for their actions - whether it's an employer hiring illegal workers, a smuggler trafficking in human beings in a 21st century version of slavery, or a person who ignores the law and enters this country illegally. All will be held accountable.

"While I support establishing a guest worker program, my legislation will not include a guest worker program. I believe it is wise to move cautiously on any guest worker proposal. Currently, we do not have a clear consensus on what a guest worker program should look like. In addition, while significant progress is being made, providing legal immigrants with the timely, efficient, and professional treatment that they deserve remains unfinished business. Serious issues need to be answered, such as how a new guest worker program will impact Citizenship and Immigration Services. Lawmakers must avoid trying to address more than can be handled so that the entire legislative effort does not fall under its own weight.

"I look forward to a spirited and passionate debate in the coming weeks and months on how best to prevent illegal immigration in a way that holds people accountable and embodies this nation's proud tradition of welcoming legal immigrants."


Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:18 AM | Comments (0)

December 05, 2005

Real Border Security

Editorial in NY Times

"President Bush went to the nation's Southwest border states recently to talk tough about keeping out illegal immigrants. His rhetoric was hard as he warned of murderers, child molesters and other criminals slipping onto American soil. Gone was the gentler voice of the former Texas governor who talked about how people were coming to America to feed their children, about how "Family Values Don't Stop at the Rio Grande." As a result, many who listened figured that he'd "tacked right," as some Democrats complained, or that he had simply deserted his five-year-old plan for a comprehensive immigration program. A careful reading of the president's comments raises hopes that Mr. Bush is staying his course but selling it a little differently". For more go to; http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/05/opinion/05mon2.html?th&emc=th

Posted by VisaLawyer at 08:19 AM | Comments (0)

December 04, 2005

White House Outlines Proposal for Immigration Reform; Immigration Reform Debate Continues to Sizzle

The President reentered the debate over immigration reform this week with a significant speech and two border visits. In a White House press release issued November 28, 2005, President Bush outlined his three-part plan regarding comprehensive immigration reform. Addressing CBP agents along the border in Arizona, President Bush focused on stategy to "secure the border, prevent illegal crossings, and strengthen enforcement of immigration laws." The President also discussed the creation of a new "Temporary Worker Program." A transcript of the President's speech on the plan is located on AILA InfoNet at document # 05112964: http://www.aila.org/content/default.aspx?docid=18013. The full text of the White House press release is posted to AILA InfoNet at document #05112878: http://www.aila.org/content/default.aspx?docid=18008 (PDF, 95 KB). To read AILA's press release on the President's plan, visit AILA InfoNet at document #05112879: http://www.aila.org/content/default.aspx?docid=18009.

On a related note, the House Judiciary Committee is expected to "mark up" interior and border enforcement legislation next week with full House consideration of such legislation scheduled for the week of December 12. Please contact your Representatives and let them know that "enforcement only" legislation is not a solution and demand that they adopt a realistic, comprehensive approach to reforming our failing system. To send a letter to your Members of Congress, click here: http://capwiz.com/aila2/issues/alert/?alertid=7614761&type=CO.

On the Senate side, we expect the Judiciary Committee to take up comprehensive immigration reform in late January after the Alito confirmation hearings conclude. In addition, Senator Frist reaffirmed his commitment this week to schedule floor time early next year for a full Senate debate on immigration reform. Such debate likely will occur in late February or early March. We will keep you posted every step of the way.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 11:47 AM | Comments (0)

December 03, 2005

Budget Reconciliation Conference Imminent; Continued Advocacy Needed

The House and Senate will meet to conference the budget reconciliation bill in the coming weeks. The Senate bill provides relief from the H-1B blackout and employment-based immigrant visa retrogression in exchange for increased fees on some petitions (for more information, see http://www.aila.org/content/default.aspx?docid=17969), while the House version provides no relief and imposes a $1,500 fee increase on L visas. Although the conference has not yet begun, informal discussions are already taking place, and it is critical that we continue to build support for the Senate proposal in both chambers of Congress. Remember, this may be our only chance for H-1B and retrogression relief all year! If your clients are affected by the H-1B blackout and green card backlogs, please contact the AILA Advocacy Department at (202) 216-2424 to see what actions they can take. We're relying on your help to see this process through! To send a message to your legislators in support of the Senate proposal, please use this link: http://capwiz.com/aila2/issues/alert/?alertid=8185761&type=CO.


Posted by VisaLawyer at 11:47 AM | Comments (0)

December 02, 2005

Second Circuit Vacates Denial of MTR In Absentia Proceedings

Twum v. Gonzales, (2d Cir. June 8, 2005): docket no. 02-4187 under "Decisions"/ "Search All".

On June 27, 1995, Petitioner arrived at the public entrance of the New York City immigration court prior to his schedule asylum and withholding hearing. Building guards, however, refused to admit Petitioner to enter the building because he did not have his hearing notice. Petitioner tried, unsuccessfully, to explain to the guards that the notice was in the possession of his attorney. Petitioner waited outside the building until his then attorney exited. The attorney informed Petitioner that he had attended the hearing alone, that there was nothing further he could do for Petitioner, and that he would receive a notice in the mail. In a decision dated June 30, 1995, the immigration judge denied Petitioner's relief applications and ordered him excluded.

In February 1997, new counsel filed a motion to reopen the exclusion proceedings with the IJ, arguing that Petitioner had established the requisite reasonable cause for reopening in absentia proceedings under the applicable pre-IIRIRA standard. In September 1997, the immigration judge (IJ) denied the motion. The IJ construed the motion as "in essence" alleging ineffective assistance of counsel as the cause for his failure to appear because the motion alleged that Petitioner did not have the hearing notice because he and his prior attorney failed to meet outside the building on the morning of the hearing. Thus, view the motion as primarily predicated on ineffective assistance of counsel, the IJ determined that Petitioner's motion failed to comply with the procedural requirements for motions to reopen for ineffective assistance of counsel set forth in Matter of Lozada, 19 I. & N. Dec. 637 (BIA 1988). Petitioner appealed the denial of the motion to reopen to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) in October 1997 and the BIA summarily affirmed the IJ's decision without opinion in April 2002.

The Second Circuit, reviewing the rationale of the IJ's decision, held that it was an abuse of discretion for the IJ to determine that Petitioner could not show "reasonable cause" for his failure to appear. The court reasoned that the IJ did not consider on the merits whether the evidence presented by Petitioner established reasonable cause. The court found that the IJ's application of Matter of Lozada was arbitrary and irrational. The court concluded that the "essence" of Petitioner's claim was "that security guards barred his entry to the court despite his protest that he had a hearing and that his lawyer had the hearing notice." ". . .[T]he mere involvement of an attorney in the background of the claim does not talismanically convert it into one triggering Lozada's stringent requirements," the court said.

The court declined to decide whether Petitioner had established reasonable cause for his failure to appear. Instead the court remanded the case to the BIA for the agency to make this determination in the first instance in light of the court's opinion.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 09:05 AM | Comments (0)

December 01, 2005

Keep up the pressure for H-1B and retrogression relief!

This is for clients who are active and really committed to this issue, please take the next step by sending your own letter directly to your legislators. Although the House and Senate conference of the budget reconciliation bill has not yet begun, informal discussions are already taking place, and it is critical that we continue to build support for the Senate proposal in both chambers of Congress.

Attached is a sample letter that you client can put on your letterhead, modify with specific examples if you wish, and fax to your Senators and Representatives. Please remember that this may be our only chance at H-1B and retrogression relief all year.

[COMPANY LETTERHEAD]

[DATE]

Dear Senator/Representative ________:

[NAME OF COMPANY] has signed on to a letter with more than 750 other companies and universities asking Congress to immediately address an escalating crisis: multi-year immigrant visa backlogs and an H-1B visa “blackout.” The Senate Judiciary Committee’s bipartisan budget reconciliation package offers a viable solution to both of these problems and was affirmed by an overwhelming 85-14 vote on the Senate floor. We urge you to give the Senate proposal your strong support and oppose any attempts to weaken the relief it provides to U.S. businesses and educational institutions during House and Senate Conference negotiations.

Enabling U.S. employers to access the best and brightest global talent is a policy that cannot wait. While other nations have stepped up their efforts to develop and attract global talent, the United States has started to lag behind. For the second straight year, U.S. employers are confronted with a year-long blackout on access to this talent pool. As other countries start to win the battle for these individuals, the talent will migrate to companies abroad, and the work will be performed largely outside the United States, to the detriment of our economy.

We strongly believe that the United States must do more to cultivate domestic talent, but that is a long-term effort. To remain competitive today, American companies need access to highly educated individuals in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. If the U.S. fails to provide adequate visas for individuals who create additional jobs in the United States, it severely undermines our ability to compete on the global stage.

The Senate’s budget reconciliation package provides relief from this crisis by mitigating the impact of the visa backlogs and H-1B blackout. It would provide for expanded access to employment-based immigrant visas and H-1B visas through the recapture and reallocation of unused numbers from prior years. In exchange for the expanded access, the proposal would impose new fees on employment-based immigrant visas, on the recaptured H-1B nonimmigrant visa numbers, and on L-1 visas. Although escalating fees remain a serious concern, we understand that this proposal represents a compromise that serves the demands of budget reconciliation and the needs of U.S. employers.

We urge your strong commitment to preserving the Senate Judiciary’s provisions in the final budget reconciliation package.

Sincerely,

[NAME]
[COMPANY]

Posted by VisaLawyer at 01:16 PM | Comments (0)