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July 31, 2007

Specter has new immigration package

Check out "TheHill.com - Specter has new immigration package"

"The Senate Judiciary Committee’s senior Republican said on Thursday that he is on the verge of offering a new immigration reform package, making significant changes that could win over recalcitrant members from both parties

Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), who accompanied President Bush Thursday on his visit to Pennsylvania, said he has spoken to Bush and the two Cabinet members who have led immigration talks about his new bill. Specter also told reporters that he has spoken to most senators involved in this spring’s failed “grand bargain,” outlining his plan and appealing for a restart to the arduous immigration debate.

“I’m ready to unveil it now,” Specter said. “I’ve got letters to the 100 senators on my desk.”

Specter explained the new measure would omit the controversial “Z visa” program, which would have given the nation’s 12 million illegal immigrants a path to citizenship. Removing the Z visa would offer conservatives less opening to tag the bill as “amnesty.” But he would leave intact the family reunification standard that this spring’s defunct immigration bill partially replaced with a skills-based system.

The lone change in the status of the 12 million, Specter said, would be removing their status as fugitives from justice, an attempt to diminish their incentive to remain outside the system and in fear of deportation.

Specter added that he already has met with “stakeholders” from outside groups involved in the complex immigration debate, and he plans to hold more sit-downs next week. Offering green cards to immigrants seeking employment in the high-tech industry is under consideration, he said".

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:36 AM | Comments (0)

July 30, 2007

College Roommates with the Sen. Lamar Alexander's Chief of Staff? Let us know!

Are you next door neighbors with a member of your city council? Do you have a relationship with a national newscaster? Let us know! Our collective advocacy contacts are invaluable as we educate policy makers and our communities about fair and reasonable immigration laws. To fill out this confidential form contact me, and we’ll help you communicate most effectively with your influential contacts on our advocacy priorities.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 09:42 AM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2007

YouTube; morshan

I received a video from Michael Orshan which took me to his YouTube account. Visit the site to view his videos. Here is his description of his account;

"Immigration, drugs and violence. Is that what you think of when someone mentions the US Mexican border? Our mission is to eliminate those thoughts and replace them with those of promise, progress and prosperity. We will do this by interviewing influencial people around the region. Listen and read, make your decision and let us help you get involved!

www.marsound.com

Michael Orshan is the former Director of Science and Technology for New Mexico and appointed by Governor Bill Richardson.
City: Santa Fe, NM

Posted by VisaLawyer at 09:41 AM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2007

U.S. court throws out city's illegal immigration law

By Jon Hurdle

"HAZLETON, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Thursday struck down as unconstitutional a local law designed to crack down on illegal immigration, dealing a blow to similar laws passed by dozens of towns and cities across the country.

U.S. District Judge James Munley said the city of Hazleton, 100 miles north of Philadelphia, was barred from implementing a law that would penalize businesses that hire illegal immigrants and fine landlords who rent rooms to them.

The law also sought to establish English as the Pennsylvania town's official language.

"Federal law prohibits Hazleton from enforcing any of the provisions of its ordinances," Munley wrote in a 206-page opinion following a federal trial in which civil rights groups challenged Hazleton's law."...

at http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSN2622242120070726

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:23 PM | Comments (0)

July 27, 2007

Congress Tackles Appropriations, Immigration Amendments Possible

As both chambers of Congress consider appropriations and authorization legislation this week, and throughout the remainder of the year, these must-pass bills could open up opportunities to advance immigration-related amendments. The process could also place pro-immigrant advocates on the defensive, however, if restrictionist lawmakers attempt to move forward with riders on employment verification or other enforcement-focused measures.

As the Pulse goes to press, it appears that Representative Steve King (R-IA) intends to offer an amendment to the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Appropriations bill (H.R. 3074) currently under consideration in the House that would prohibit the use of federal funds to employ undocumented immigrants. At this point, the details of this amendment are not available, and it remains unclear whether any of the bills under consideration this week could provide suitable vehicles for positive immigration amendments.

Stay tuned to InfoNet at www.aila.org for updates during the coming weeks, as the Senate considers Homeland Security Appropriations (H.R. 2638/S. 1644), and the House considers Transportation-HUD Appropriations (H.R. 3074), Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations (H.R. 3093), and the Farm Bill Extension Act (H.R. 2419).

Posted by VisaLawyer at 09:40 AM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2007

Senate Rejects Graham Immigration Enforcement Amendment

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 07072540 (posted Jul. 25, 2007)"

"On 7/25/07, thanks in part to the swift action of AILA advocates, the Senate rejected a harsh immigration enforcement amendment proposed by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act (S. 1644/H.R. 2638).

The Graham amendment proposed a broad array of costly, counterproductive, and pernicious provisions. If passed, the amendment would have:

• increased state and local enforcement of federal immigration laws;

• expanded expedited removal and further restricted the right of immigrants, including longtime legal permanent residents, to administrative or judicial review;

• subjected visa overstayers to mandatory detention, raising serious cost and constitutional concerns;

• expanded criminal penalties for immigration violations, including harsh and costly mandatory minimum sentences;

• allowed the government to deny naturalization based on secret evidence and erect other barriers to naturalization;

• allowed the government to indefinitely detain immigrants who cannot be returned to their home countries through no fault of their own; and,

• undermined community policing efforts by outlawing policies that prevent law enforcement officers from inquiring about immigration status.

Fortunately, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) raised a point of order challenging the germaneness of the amendment. Chair Barak Obama (D-IL) ruled that the amendment was not germane, and the Senate upheld his decision in a 52-44 vote. After the amendment’s defeat, however, Senator Reid proposed that the Senate reconsider the border security funding portion of Senator Graham's amendment under a unanimous consent agreement. The details of this proposed border security funding amendment are not yet clear, but could include funding for tens of thousands of additional detention beds and border agents, and billions of dollars for enforcement.

Senator Reid also had offered a “side-by-side” amendment in response to Senator Graham’s amendment that coupled enhanced border security funding with DREAM Act and AgJOBS provisions. However, the germaneness ruling that halted the Graham amendment precluded any further action on Senator Reid’s amendment as well".

Jenny B. Levy
Manager, Grassroots Advocacy, American Immigration Lawyers Association

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:40 AM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2007

IPC Policy Spotlight -- Deportation Policy: Report from Human Rights Watch and Hearing at Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

According to a recent Human Rights Watch report, the mandatory deportation of legal immigrants convicted of a crime, even a minor crime, has separated an estimated 1.6 million children and adults from their non-citizen family members.

In a related event, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will hear the case of two men, Wayne Smith and Hugo Armendáriz, both of whom were respected members of their communities; have families that depended upon them; had been granted legal permanent residency when they were children; and had U.S. citizen children they were forced to leave behind when they were deported. But under changes made to the INA in 1996, they were denied the ability to raise in court any of these mitigating considerations against their deportation. As a result, they were deported for relatively minor drug crimes. This link will take you to the full text of the merits brief at www.ailf.org.

For more information, contact Tim Vettel at the American Immigration Law Foundation: tvettel@ailf.org or 202-742-5608.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 09:34 AM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2007

Facts about Federal Preemption: Are State and Local Initiatives Unconstitutional Attempts to Enforce or Regulate Federal Immigration Law?

Increasingly, lawmakers in states and localities within the United States are proposing, and in some cases enacting, laws and ordinances that would enforce existing federal immigration law or create new immigration law. The localities claim that they simply are passing laws pertaining to the state or locality’s power to regulate licensing, contracting, or the like. Yet these state and local laws — which their authors dress up as laws to regulate housing, employment, and local law enforcement — are in actuality attempts to regulate immigration. Almost all of the proposed state and local initiatives are preempted by the federal government’s exclusive authority to regulate immigration and are therefore unconstitutional.

To help immigration advocates determine whether such state and local initiatives constitute unlawful attempts to enforce or regulate federal immigration law, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) last month released a detailed and informative fact sheet on federal preemption. The fact sheet, prepared by Monica Guizar, explains general preemption principles and provides immigrant rights advocates with analytical tools for determining whether anti-immigrant initiatives proposed in their states and localities can be legally challenged on preemption grounds.

Visit NILC's website to view and download their fact sheet on Federal Preemption at;

http://www.nilc.org/immlawpolicy/LocalLaw/federalpreemptionfacts_2007-06-28.pdf

Posted by VisaLawyer at 05:47 AM | Comments (0)

July 23, 2007

The Connecticut city begins issuing ID cards July 24 to undocumented immigrants, a first in the US

Here is a story about a city that has taken action to deal with the inaction by the U.S Congress;

By Caitlin Carpenter | Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor;

New Haven, Conn.
"At a time when a rising number of states and cities are cracking down on illegal immigrants, New Haven, Conn., is reaching out to them with a unique perk: an ID card.

Besides serving as identification for bank services and if police ask for ID, the card can be used at municipal locations such as libraries, beaches, and parks – and as a debit card for city parking meters and at 15 downtown shops.

Cities – and critics – across the country are watching closely as New Haven prepares to hand out its first batch of cards July 24. The idea: integrate illegal immigrants into the community, protect them from crime that can happen because of a lack of documentation, and encourage them to be more willing to report crimes to police. Reaction to the first-of-a-kind program has been swift and sharp, illustrating the wide divide in US public opinion over the issue.

"We're the only city nationwide to have this program, so it's an opportunity we have to take to be a part of normal life in the community," says Maria, an illegal immigrant living here, who plans to pick up her card when it's available next week. She says illegal immigrants are targeted by muggers, who know they carry cash because they can't get a bank account without an ID...".

At; http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0717/p02s01-ussc.html

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:08 AM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2007

AILF Welcomes Government Reversal on Permanent Resident Applications ("Green Cards") -- Complaint Available online

The American Immigration Law Foundation (AILF) is pleased that the Department of Homeland Security and Department of State have announced they will comply with their own regulations and policies and accept the "green card" applications of tens of thousands of intending immigrants. A class action lawsuit scheduled to be filed by AILF on behalf of all affected intending immigrants argued that the government must do exactly that. AILF's complaint alleged that the federal government's refusal to accept tens of thousands of applications for green cards (and discouraging thousands of other workers from even applying) violated federal statutes, regulations and policies, as well as the U.S. Constitution. AILF's Legal Action Center has posted the full text of the complaint it drafted for this lawsuit on the LAC website at this link. The complaint was set to be filed on July 17, minutes before an announcement was made by the government resolving the issues and permitting thousands of class members to apply for adjustment of status through August 17, 2007 at; www.ailf.org.

For more information, contact Tim Vettel at the American Immigration Law Foundation: tvettel@ailf.org or 202-742-5608.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 09:37 AM | Comments (0)

July 21, 2007

Thank You!

Dear Friends,

In the past five days, over 10,000 people signed our petition to Secretary Chertoff asking for action to reverse the rejection of applications to adjust status (Form I-485).

As most of you have heard, yesterday the U.S. Government announced that it will accept applications for employer-sponsored green cards that it rejected earlier this month.

Thank you everyone for all of your hard work to begin to restore some fairness to our broken immigration system.

To view the latest news on this matter, please visit our website at http://www.immigrantslist.org

Cheers,

Drew Seman
Executive Director

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

A Senator’s Moral High Ground Gets a Little Shaky

Here is an article in the New York Times by Adam Nossiter, published: July 11, 2007;

"NEW ORLEANS, July 10 — From the beginning of his political career 16 years ago, Senator David Vitter has been known for efforts to plant himself on the moral high ground, challenging the ethics of other Louisiana politicians, decrying same-sex marriage and depicting himself as a clean-as-a-whistle champion of family values.

“I’m a conservative who opposes radically redefining marriage, the most important social institution in human history,” Mr. Vitter, a 46-year-old Republican, wrote in a letter last year to The Times-Picayune, the New Orleans daily.

That self-created image, a political winner here since 1991, when Mr. Vitter joined the Louisiana House, took a tumble Monday with the disclosure that his phone number was among those on a list of client numbers kept by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so-called D.C. Madam, who is accused of running a prostitution ring in Washington.

Mr. Vitter admitted Monday night to a “very serious sin in my past,” and talk radio and coffee shops here buzzed all day Tuesday with the front-page news, even as the senator remained out of sight. But the fallout was far bigger than local: his admission is also a blow to the presidential campaign of Rudolph W. Giuliani, for whom he is Southern campaign chairman.

Mr. Vitter, an uncompromising foe of abortion, same-sex marriage and the immigration compromise that died in the Senate in June, was supposed to be Mr. Giuliani’s ambassador to a region with large numbers of social conservatives suspicious of the candidate’s moderate views. His viability in that role is now in doubt with his acknowledgment that his number was already in the phone records of Pamela Martin & Associates before he ran for the Senate in 2004...".

at; http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/11/us/11vitter.html

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:45 AM | Comments (0)

July 20, 2007

USCIS Announces Revised Processing Procedures for Adjustment of Status Applications

USCIS Update

"WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that, beginning immediately, it will accept employment-based applications to adjust status (Form I-485) filed by aliens whose priority dates are current under the July Visa Bulletin, No. 107. USCIS will accept applications filed not later than August 17, 2007.

On July 2, 2007, USCIS announced that it would not accept any additional employment-based applications to adjust status. USCIS made that announcement after receiving an update from the Department of State that it would not authorize any additional employment-based visa numbers for this fiscal year. After consulting with USCIS, the Department of State has advised that Bulletin #107 (dated June 12) should be relied upon as the current July Visa Bulletin for purposes of determining employment visa number availability, and that Visa Bulletin #108 (dated July 2) has been withdrawn.

“The public reaction to the July 2 announcement made it clear that the federal government’s management of this process needs further review,” said Emilio Gonzalez, USCIS Director. “I am committed to working with Congress and the State Department to implement a more efficient system in line with public expectations.”

USCIS’s announcement today allows anyone who was eligible to apply under Visa Bulletin No. 107 a full month’s time to do so. Applications already properly filed with USCIS will also be accepted. The current fee schedule will apply to all applications filed under Visa Bulletin No. 107 through August 17, 2007. (The new fee schedule that becomes effective on July 30, 2007, will apply to all other applications filed on or after July 30, 2007)".

Posted by VisaLawyer at 05:41 AM | Comments (0)

July 19, 2007

Nashville Mayoral Forum on New Americans

July 19, 7:00 - 8:30 pm, University School of Nashville, 2000 Edgehill Avenue, Nashville, TN 37212

The Nashville Mayoral Forum on New Americans will feature candidates David Briley, Bob Clement, Karl Dean, Buck Dozier, Kenneth Eaton and Howard Gentry. Because New Americans are the fastest growing segment of the Nashville community, voters will hear the candidates' positions on the issues that matter most to immigrant and refugee community.

The event is hosted by the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition, University School of Nashville, Catholic Charities, Conexion Americas, Ethiopian Community Association in Nashville, Health Assist Tennessee, India Association of Tennessee, Islamic Center of Nashville, Metro Nashville Human Relations Commission, Middle TN Hispanic Democrats, Somali Community Center, Sudanese Community & Women Services Center, TN Hispanic Voters Coalition, Philippine-American Association of Middle, TN Foreign Language Institute, TN Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the TN Korean – American Citizens Organization of Tennessee.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 05:48 AM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2007

Government Reopens July EB Adjustment Filings

This just came in from AILA;

"The government will be announcing shortly that it has reversed its July 2 announcement that the fiscal year 2007 employment based visa numbers had been used up and that it was going to refuse to accept adjustment of status filings during July. Instead, Secretary Chertoff advises that USCIS will keep the applications filed and reopen filings for a 31-day period from July 18 through August 17, 2007, in order to provide the same filing window people would have had if the July 2 actions had not taken place. Filers will be able to pay the July filing fees during the entire window period.

Unfortunately, it does not appear that today's announcement helps the EB-3 other workers whose applications were rejected in June".

Posted by VisaLawyer at 05:37 AM | Comments (0)

Rep. Lofgren Applauds Resolution of Visa Bulletin Debacle

For Immediate Release: July 17, 2007
CONTACT: Pedro Ribeiro
202-225-3072, pedro.ribeiro@mail.house.gov

"Washington, D.C. – Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) issued the following statement in response to Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff’s planned announcement on adjustment of status applications.

"The Secretary of Homeland Security in a phone call today informed me that a solution to the Visa Bulletin fiasco has been found. The Department of State will issue an August Visa Bulletin that permits the filing of adjustment of status applications through August 17, 2007, at the current fee level, which will be accepted through that date by the Department of Homeland Security. I’m pleased that a reasonable solution has been reached. I will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that both the Departments of State and Homeland Security follow through properly with this plan."

Posted by VisaLawyer at 05:33 AM | Comments (0)

July 17, 2007

Update (Such As It Is) on the Visa Bulletin Debacle

From AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 07071760 (posted Jul. 17, 2007);

"It appears somewhat likely that there will be an announcement today regarding efforts by the government to resolve the ongoing controversy over USCIS' refusal to accept employment-based adjustment of status filings. "Authoritative sources" are providing wildly varying reports regarding the content of the "fix," which may indicate any number of things, including the possibility that the government is not able to come to sufficient agreement to actually produce a "fix." AILA will post updates to InfoNet as the situation progresses".

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:36 AM | Comments (0)

July 16, 2007

Congresswoman Lofgren on Visa Bulletin Debacle

For Immediate Release: July 11, 2007
CONTACT: Pedro Ribeiro
202-225-3072, pedro.ribeiro@mail.house.gov

Rep. Lofgren Requests Written Response to Questions on Updated Visa Bulletin

Washington, D.C. - Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) today sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Chertoff requesting "all correspondence, e-mails, memoranda, notes, field guidance or other documentation relating to the issuance" of the "Update to July Visa Availability" on July 2, 2007. The letter contains thirteen separate questions and requests for information relevant to the issuance of the updated Visa Bulletin.

"The Department's unprecedented decision to reject adjustment of status applications has caused needless hardship and disruption to countless immigrants," noted Rep. Zoe Lofgren. "It has also come to my attention that USCIS began returning visa numbers to the State Department as early as Thursday, July 5, 2007, due to their inability to review applications effectively. The Department of Homeland Security has once again demonstrated its inability to complete even its core missions. This debacle demonstrates the need for more transparency and oversight of the department's operations and procedures."

The full text of the letter is included below:

July 11, 2007
The Honorable Michael Chertoff
Secretary
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528

Dear Secretary Chertoff:

On July 2, 2007, the Department of State (DOS) issued an "Update to July Visa Availability," which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) apparently relied on to suspend its acceptance of adjustment of status applications based on employment-based immigrant petitions. DOS and DHS acted on these matters despite my request that the agencies provide the Subcommittee with certain information before taking such actions.

At no point since my letter to you dated July 2, 2007, have I received any information in writing from the Department. Given this failure, I am now requesting that you provide to me, within three days of the date of this letter, the following information:

1. All correspondence, e-mails, memoranda, notes, field guidance or other documentation relating to the issuance of or the Department of Homeland Security's actions regarding the July Visa Bulletin, which made all employment-based immigrant visa categories (except the "other worker" category) current. The term "Department of Homeland Security" includes DHS or any component thereof.

2. All e-mails, correspondence, memoranda, notes, field guidance or other documentation relating to the issuance of or the Department of Homeland Security's actions regarding the "Update to July Visa Availability" issued on July 2, 2007. The term "Department of Homeland Security" includes DHS or any component thereof.

3. All correspondence, e-mails, memoranda, notes, field guidance or other documentation between the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, the Department of Justice and/or the Federal Bureau of Investigation relating to the availability of visa numbers for the month of July 2007, the issuance of or the Department of Homeland Security's actions regarding the "Update to July Visa Availability" issued on July 2, 2007, the processing of security or name checks in connection with visa number requests through the end of FY 2007, and/or the determination to suspend or reject the acceptance of adjustment of status applications. The terms "Department of Homeland Security," "Department of State," "Department of Justice" and "Federal Bureau of Investigation" include DHS, DOS, DOJ, FBI or any components of those agencies.

4. A detailed description of any existing or proposed understanding, arrangement and/or agreement between DHS (or any component thereof, including, but not limited to, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) and the FBI (or any component thereof) relating to name checks or other security checks conducted with respect to immigration applications or petitions.

5. A detailed description of how DHS and/or the FBI expect the processes for such name or security checks to change through the end of FY 2007, and, in particular, within the month of July 2007.

6. A detailed description, including, but not limited to, a statistical tallying, of all employment-based immigration cases, petitions, applications or other files for which DHS (or any component thereof, including, but not limited to USCIS) requested a visa number between May 2007 and July 2, 2007, inclusive, for which any name or security check was pending, uncompleted or otherwise awaiting action on a security or name check. (Hereinafter, such cases will be referred to as cases for which visa numbers were "pre-requested.")

7. The specific legal authority on which DHS (or any component thereof, including, but not limited to, USCIS) relied to "pre-request" visa numbers for cases, applications, petitions or other files for which security or name checks were pending, uncompleted or otherwise awaiting action. The response to this question shall include copies of the specific legal authority, including statutory provisions, regulations, field manuals, policy memoranda, policy guidance or other documentation relied upon, as well as the date or dates on which such authority was last revised or issued, the substance of any revision and the original text that was revised.

8. Any and all correspondence, e-mails, memoranda, field guidance, notes or other documentation discussing or referencing the agency's decision to "pre-request" visa numbers for which security or name checks were pending, uncompleted or otherwise awaiting action.

9. Any and all field guidance, e-mails, correspondence, memoranda, notes or other documentation discussing or referencing the agency's plans, policies or other proposed or expected actions in the event security or name checks for cases, applications, petitions or other files for which the agency "pre-requested" visa numbers are not or do not get completed during July 2007 or the remainder of FY 2007, including, but not limited to, whether the agency has proposed or intends to return, or has discussed returning, visa numbers for such cases to DOS.

10. Any and all correspondence, e-mails, memoranda, notes or other documentation between DHS (including any component thereof, including, but not limited to, USCIS) and DOS regarding the availability of visa numbers for June 2007, July 2007, or any remaining month of FY 2007, including, but not limited to, the anticipated numbers available during such months, the expected or anticipated usage of or requests for such numbers and/or the update, revision, restatement or alteration of the July Visa Bulletin.

11. Any and all records or other documentation (with a summary for ease of analysis) regarding historic patterns of overtime ordered for work on weekends, including specifically the weekend leading up to July 2, 2007, and the reasons in each case that prompted the overtime, for the past three years.

12. Any and all records or other documentation (with a summary for ease of analysis) regarding historic patterns of adjudication of adjustment of status cases, including a breakout for adjustment of status cases based on employment-based immigrant petitions, on a monthly basis for the past three years.

13. Any and all records, analyses, spreadsheets, related e-mails, memoranda, correspondence or other documentation evaluating the potential financial effects to DHS (or any component thereof, including, but not limited to USCIS) if adjustment of status cases eligible for filing under the initial July 2007 Visa Bulletin were filed before, on or after July 30, 2007.

Thank you for your immediate consideration of this very important matter.

Sincerely,
Zoe Lofgren
Chairwoman
Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship,
Refugees, Border Security & International Law

cc: Secretary Condoleezza Rice, U.S. Department of State

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren is serving her seventh term in Congress representing most of the City of San Jose and Santa Clara County. She serves as Chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law. She also Chairs the House Administration Subcommittee on Elections and serves on the House Homeland Security Committee. Congresswoman Lofgren is Chair of the California Democratic Congressional Delegation consisting of 34 Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives from California.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 02:21 PM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2007

Take Action: Urge Your Senators to Support DREAM and Habeas Corpus Restoration Amendments!

The Senate may vote next week on two pro-immigrant amendments to the Defense Authorization bill: the Durbin-Hagel-Lugar DREAM Act amendment and the Specter-Leahy Habeas Corpus Restoration amendment. Call your senators now and urge them to vote YES on these amendments! Find talking points and phone numbers on Contact Congress at www.aila.org

Posted by VisaLawyer at 02:06 PM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2007

Immigration and Unemployment in Georgia

An Immigration Policy Center (IPC) Immigration Fact Check released late last month finds no evidence of a direct, negative relationship between employment levels for immigrants and native-born workers in Georgia. This Fact Check rebuts a recent report by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) that says the increase in the number of less-educated immigrant workers in Georgia between 2000 and 2006 caused employment levels among less-educated natives to decline. Instead, the evidence suggests that immigration generally has had positive effects for most native-born workers and that although employment levels among less-educated natives have declined, they have declined for reasons that have nothing to do with immigration.

Visit the IPC's website to read the full text of the IPC Immigration Fact Check refuting the claims of the CIS report; http://www.ailf.org/ipc/factchecks/Georgia.pdf

Posted by VisaLawyer at 08:10 PM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2007

Update on AILF's Lega l Action Center Visa Bulletin Litigation

From "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 07062975 (posted Jul. 10, 2007)";

AILF’s Legal Action Center thanks AILA members for your unprecedented and enthusiastic response to our plaintiff identification effort. The potential plaintiff questionnaires and material are rolling in from all over the country. We are continuing to review the material your clients have sent.

The response has been so strong that currently we do not need any more potential plaintiffs who submitted an adjustment application for receipt in July, unless the individuals have an unusual situation or especially compelling facts, such as an aging-out child. At this time, we also would like to hear from the “non-filers” -- people who did not and do not plan to submit an adjustment application for receipt in July but would have done so “but for” the DOS and USCIS actions. These individuals will represent a separate class of plaintiffs. And we’d like to hear from more “other worker” adjustment applicants who applied in June, even if they have not yet received a rejection notice. These individuals will represent a separate class as well. They should read the FAQ, and complete and return to AILF the short form and retainer agreement at visabulletin@ailf.org.

If the lawsuit is successful (and we fully expect it will be), the court will certify classes, and all people who meet the class descriptions will receive the relief the court orders. The class members will not need to “sign up” with AILF to enjoy those rights.

Regarding “non-filers” – As our July 7 InfoNet update explained, and as we explain in our FAQ, we will include a class of people who would have submitted their adjustment applications for receipt in July, “but for” the government’s actions. The government may try to, or the court may want to treat this class differently from the class of people who submitted applications for receipt in July. Our aim is to do the best possible for both groups.

How soon will we file the law suit? Very soon. It is not easy or quick to prepare class action litigation involving numerous people and numerous claims, but we are working quickly because of the urgency of these events for so many people.

Injunction? AILF knows many people want a quick resolution, as do we. A temporary or ill-conceived order might create more chaos and confusion than we saw in late June / early July. And the government presumably would immediately appeal, creating even more confusion about whether applications were being accepted. By contrast, we intend to seek an injunction that will be forward-looking and will not create another crisis situation for AILA members or the government.

June filers – If your client had a priority date that would not have been current until July but sent in their adjustment application to arrive in June: We have heard that some people tried to get a jump on things by sending in their application to arrive in June for July filing. Our understanding is that USCIS will reject these applications because they were filed too early. We may not be able to protect such filers in this lawsuit. You may want to urge such clients to resubmit applications, even if they not have yet received a rejection notice.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:55 AM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2007

House to Vote on SSI Extension for Elderly and Disabled Refugees

The House of Representatives is expected to vote this Wednesday or Thursday on the SSI Extension for Elderly and Disabled Refugees Act (H.R. 2608). The act would extend supplemental security income for refugees, asylees, and certain other humanitarian immigrants in fiscal years 2008 through 2010. Because the bill will be considered under suspension of the rules, it will require a 2/3 vote for passage.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 08:08 PM | Comments (0)

July 11, 2007

Act Now to Restore Habeas Review to Noncitizen Detainees!

We can help return a fundamental due process protection to people detained as "unlawful enemy combatants". Call your senators today and ask them to support the Habeas Corpus Restoration Amendment!

Your U.S. Senators' phone numbers are:
Sen. Lamar Alexander: (202) 224-4944
Sen. Bob Corker: (202) 224-3344

Call Sen. Lamar Alexander and Sen. Bob Corker and tell them that:

1. The right of habeas corpus is the most fundamental check on executive power in our Constitution. To eliminate habeas corpus review is to eviscerate the system of checks and balances that protects individuals against arbitrary government activity.

2. This right was undermined by the passage of the Military Commissions Act (MCA) in September 2006. The MCA included provisions stripping non-citizens detained by the executive branch as “enemy combatants” of their basic right to file a habeas corpus petition, thereby subjecting detainees to indefinite detention with no meaningful opportunity to petition for release or to protest the legality or conditions of their confinement.

3. The Specter-Leahy amendment repeals provisions of the MCA that eliminated the ability of a court to consider habeas corpus petitions. In guaranteeing that the government must justify to an independent court why a person should be deprived of his or her liberty, habeas corpus review rests at the very core of our nation’s commitment to due process.

More information and talking points are available on Contact Congress at www.aila.org

Posted by VisaLawyer at 08:09 PM | Comments (0)

Senate to Consider Habeas Corpus Amendment to Defense Authorization Bill

This week, as the Senate considers the FY 2008 Department of Defense Authorization bill (H.R. 1585), lawmakers may have an opportunity to restore a fundamental right to certain noncitizen detainees. Senators Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) have offered an amendment (SA 2022, identical to the stand-alone S. 185) to the Defense Authorization legislation that would restore the right of habeas corpus to noncitizens detained by the U.S. in Guantanamo and those living within the U.S. who have been declared "unlawful enemy combatants." Detained enemy combatants lost the right to file habeas corpus petitions last September, when Congress passed the Military Commissions Act. To find out how you can help restore habeas corpus rights to noncitizen detainees, go to www.aila.org.

As the Senate considers H.R. 1585 throughout this week, it is possible that additional immigration-related amendments could be offered. Please stay tuned to for more information as it becomes available.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 08:06 PM | Comments (0)

July 10, 2007

Update on AILF's Legal Action Center and the Visa Bulletin Issue

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 07070760 (posted Jul. 7, 2007)"

As members have heard, AILF’s Legal Action Center is preparing litigation against USCIS and DOS regarding the I-485 / Visa Bulletin developments this week.

The lawsuit will be filed soon. It will be filed as a class action. We expect that one or more of the proposed classes of plaintiffs will include individuals who do not apply for adjustment of status in July 2007, but who were statutorily eligible to apply and would have applied in July 2007 but for the DOS and USCIS actions.

A new prospective plaintiff questionnaire, to help AILF identify plaintiffs in this new category, and updated FAQ will be posted soon.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 10:59 AM | Comments (0)

July 09, 2007

Hit by visa limits, Microsoft looks to Canada

Here is an example of the consequences of restricting the admission of knowledge workers to the U.S.A.;

From www.Reuters.com, July 6, 2007;

"Microsoft Corp. said Thursday that it would open a software development center in Vancouver, Canada, giving it a place to employ skilled workers barred by U.S. immigration quotas.

It may signal the start of a new hiring trend, with other U.S. high-tech firms following in Microsoft's footsteps to Canada, where lawyers say it is easier for foreign nationals to obtain work credentials.

U.S. businesses want Congress to lift quotas on the number of visas the government issues to skilled professionals such as the software engineers that Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft employs. But as recently as last week lawmakers rejected legislation that would have addressed their concerns. Canada doesn't impose quotas on the number of visas it issues each year...".

Posted by VisaLawyer at 11:54 AM | Comments (0)

July 08, 2007

The Senate Immigration Reform Bill: The Case of the Twitching Toe

June 25, 2007 issue of the New York Law Journal

By Stephen Yale-Loehr and Ted J. Chiappari;

"The U.S. Senate is considering S. 1639, a comprehensive immigration reform bill. The Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007, as it is called, would be the biggest change in immigration policy in over 20 years. It would affect everyone in the United States--citizens and noncitizens alike--in some way.

The bill is controversial. The core group of about 12 senators who negotiated the "grand bargain," as they call it, are fending off attacks from all sides. The grand bargain suffered a grand collapse on June 7, when over 100 amendments threatened to drown the bill and the Senate failed to end debate on the legislation. At the time pundits predicted the bill was dead. But it now appears that the bill has been resurrected, with an agreement to limit the number of proposed amendments.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) provides a useful historical analogy. Congress considered variations of that legislation for five years before IRCA was finally enacted. Even as late as two weeks before enactment, the bill appeared dead. Representative Dan Lungren described the 1986 immigration bill as "a corpse going to the morgue." But on the way, the California Republican said, "a toe began to twitch," and lawmakers resuscitated the body. Robert Pear, Immigration Bill: How "Corpse" Came Back to Life, New York Times, Oct. 13, 1986, at A16.

A summary of some of S. 1639's key elements shows why the bill's life expectancy is so hard to predict...".

Posted by VisaLawyer at 09:22 AM | Comments (0)

July 07, 2007

NEW RELEASE 1. Temporary Worker Visas and Wage Pressure 2. Immigration and Unemployment in Georgia

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) at the American Immigration Law Foundation (AILF) has assembled a team of professionals to analyze the accuracy of the assumptions and perceptions that shape the public debate over immigration, with the goal of reducing the level of deception and confusion in the debate. Today IPC is releasing two "Immigration Fact-Check" memos covering current issues in the federal immigration debate. Both are summarized below and the full text of each is available on the IPC website at www.immigrationpolicy.org and via the links below.

1. Temporary Worker Visas and Wage Pressure

The debate over how many immigrants should be permitted to enter the country each year under a new temporary worker program is clouded by a common misconception: that the greater the number of temporary workers admitted, the greater the downward pressure on the wages of native-born workers. However, this assumption is not supported by the facts.

Read the full text here at http://www.ailf.org/ipc/factchecks/TempVisas.pdf

2. Immigration and Unemployment in Georgia

A report by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) argues that the increase in the number of less-educated immigrant workers in Georgia between 2000 and 2006 caused employment levels among less-educated natives to decline. However, there is no evidence of a direct, negative relationship between employment levels for immigrants and natives in Georgia. Instead, evidence suggests that immigration has had generally positive effects for most native-born workers and that employment levels among less-educated natives have declined for reasons unrelated to immigration.

Read the full text here at http://www.ailf.org/ipc/factchecks/Georgia.pdf

Posted by VisaLawyer at 09:12 AM | Comments (0)

July 06, 2007

Congress Out of Session for Independence Day Recess

The House and Senate are both out of session this week for the Independence Day recess. Congress will reconvene on Monday, July 9.

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

July 05, 2007

Green Card for Missing Soldier's Wife

www.SFG.com;

BOSTON, (AP);

"A woman whose soldier husband is missing in Iraq has gotten her green card after authorities threatened to deport her for entering the U.S. illegally.

Yaderlin Hiraldo Jimenez walked out of a Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Buffalo, N.Y., on Friday with her permanent residency papers, her lawyer said.

"She was moved to tears," attorney Matthew Kolken, who accompanied his client, told The Boston Globe for Sunday's editions.

"Her immigration problems have been solved in their entirety and now her focus is completely dedicated to her hope and desire that she's going to see her husband again," Kolken said.

Army Spec. Alex Jimenez, of Lawrence, Mass., has been missing since his unit was attacked in Iraq on May 12.

His wife illegally entered the U.S. from the Dominican Republic in June 2001, paying $500 to a smuggler and walking three days from Mexico to California. The couple were married in 2004.

Jimenez's request for a green card and legal residence status for his wife alerted authorities to her situation.

She has been living in Pennsylvania and had been facing deportation but an immigration judge put a temporary stop to the proceedings after Jimenez was reported missing.

Last month, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said his agency would end the deportation case. He said in a letter to Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., that "the sacrifices made by our soldiers and their families deserve our greatest respect...".

Posted by VisaLawyer at 08:51 AM | Comments (0)

July 04, 2007

Hispanics Are Returning to Democrats for 2008

"The chief beneficiary for 2008 so far is Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton.

A new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll indicates that Hispanics, by nearly 3 to 1, say they're Democrats or lean that way. Of those, 59 percent support the New York senator over her presidential rivals -- her strongest showing among any major demographic group and a huge potential asset for early contests in Nevada, Florida, California and other states with large Hispanic populations.

One big factor behind the flight from the GOP: a heated debate over immigration in which congressional Republicans' remarks on illegal immigrants have offended many Hispanic voters. The fallout from that battle, shifting Latino loyalties and a changing political calendar have scrambled political calculations made about Hispanics after the last presidential election -- and raised the stakes for their role in choosing the Democratic nominee for the next one...".

at; http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/news/newsbyid.asp?id=69172&cat=Headlines

Posted by VisaLawyer at 01:32 PM | Comments (0)

July 03, 2007

Immigration Does Not Lead to Higher Crime Rates

More than 130 of the nation's top experts on immigration and crime have written to President Bush, Members of Congress, and the nation's governors to remind them that immigrants do not increase the crime rate. Immigrants, according to these experts, often are made scapegoats for social problems that afflict the nation. "As a result," says the letter to federal and state immigration policy makers, "myths and stereotypes rather than established fact far too often serve as the basis for misguided immigration policies." (The full text of the letter is available at www.ailf.org/ipc/ipc_openletter0507.shtml).

These are not new findings, according to the nation's leading sociologists, criminologists, and legal scholars who signed the letter. For more than 100 years, numerous studies have reached the same conclusion as these experts: "immigrants are less likely to commit crimes or to be behind bars than are the native-born."

Two of the more recent studies on immigration and crime are the work of the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) in Washington, D.C., and sociologists from the University of Michigan and Harvard University, including Robert J. Sampson, who now chairs Harvard's Sociology Department.

Ruben Rumbaut (University of California, Irvine) and Walter Ewing (IPC) authored the IPC study earlier this year (The Myth of Immigrant Criminality and the Paradox of Assimilation). It is available at www.immigrationpolicy.org. According to the study, violent crime in the U.S. has dropped to historic lows even as immigration has grown to historic highs.

Sampson has written that the evidence in his study "points to increased immigration as a major factor associated with the lower crime rate of the 1990’s." The Sampson study, Social Anatomy of Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Violence, was co-authored with sociologists Jeffrey D. Morenoff and Stephen Raudenbush who, at the time, were with the University of Michigan. According to Sampson, their study found that immigrants "were 45% less likely to commit violence than were third-generation Americans." (This study is available at www.wjh.harvard.edu/soc/faculty/sampson/articles/2005_AJPH.pdf).

For more information, contact Tim Vettel at the American Immigration Law Foundation: tvettel@ailf.org or 202-742-5608; www.ailf.org

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) is dedicated exclusively to the analysis of the economic, social, demographic, fiscal, and other impacts of immigration on the United States. The IPC is a division of the American Immigration Law Foundation, a nonprofit, tax-exempt educational foundation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

American Immigration Law Foundation
918 F Street, NW - Washington, DC 20004
202-742-5600

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:28 AM | Comments (0)

July 02, 2007

Chertoff Scolds Senate on Immigration

Associated Press 07.01.07;

"The homeland security chief on Sunday scolded the Senate for failing to pass an immigration bill and said it will be difficult for the government to crack down on illegal workers.

"We're going to continue to enforce the law. It's going to be tough," Michael Chertoff said. "We don't really have the ability to enforce the law with respect to illegal work in this country in a way that's truly effective...".

at; http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/07/01/ap3875017.html

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:25 AM | Comments (0)

July 01, 2007

After Bill’s Fall, G.O.P. May Pay in Latino Votes

New York Times, By JENNIFER STEINHAUER, Published: July 1, 2007;

"LOS ANGELES, June 30 — Many Republican lawmakers returned to their home districts in triumph this week, having beat back a comprehensive immigration bill that many of their constituents had denounced as untenable.

But the bill’s demise may have greatly damaged the party’s ability to meet its enduring goal of attracting a large percentage of the growing number of Hispanic voters — thousands of whom are ostensibly in line with the party on a host of other issues, said many Republican lawmakers, consultants and Hispanic voters.

“There may be some short-term gain from this,” said Linda Chavez, who served in the Reagan administration and is now chairwoman of the Center for Equal Opportunity, a conservative public policy group. “But in the long term, it is disastrous for the Republican Party...”.

at; http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/01/us/politics/01immig.html?_r=1&th&emc=th&oref=slogin

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:10 PM | Comments (0)