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January 31, 2008

Barak Obama for President at Tuke's home

Tonight I am attending a Barak Obama for President reception at Bob Tuke's home. The Obama campaign is having a at Bob Tuke's home (Bob is the political director of the Obama campaign for TN.) The campaign is interested in my support and vote, they want to talk to me, listen to my concerns and advise, and answer any questions about Barak Obama.

The more I learn about democratic candidates the more I like Obama. Tonight I will learn where he stands on immigration.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:10 AM | Comments (0)

January 30, 2008

Majority of Flordia Republicans support immigration reform

"Four in 10 Republican voters said illegal immigrants working in the United States should be deported, while about 3 in 10 said they should be allowed to stay as temporary workers, and the same number said they should be offered a chance to apply for citizenship. Mr. McCain was supported by a plurality of those who favored citizenship, and Mr. Romney by those who favored deportation.

Hispanics, who made up more than one-tenth of the Republican voters, said they were more inclined to favor a guest-worker program over deportation. Forty-three percent of them said illegal immigrants should be allowed to remain in the United States as temporary workers, while one-third said they should be offered the opportunity to apply for citizenship. Only one-fifth of Hispanic Republicans said they favored deporting illegal immigrants...".


Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:13 AM | Comments (0)

January 28, 2008

Clinton goes to the right on immigration

BY JOSH GERSTEIN - Staff Reporter of the Sun, January 28, 2008
URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/70253

Immigrant-rights advocates and some Latino leaders are voicing concern at Senator Clinton's campaign-trail rhetoric about swiftly deporting immigrants with a criminal past.

A vow to give the boot to criminal aliens has become an almost daily part of the New York senator's presidential campaign spiel on overhauling the immigration system.

"Anybody who committed a crime in this country or in the country they came from has to be deported immediately, with no legal process. They are immediately gone," Mrs. Clinton told a town hall meeting in Anderson, S.C., Thursday. On Wednesday, she told a crowd in North Bergen, N.J., that such criminals "absolutely" need to be deported. A day earlier, she told a rally in Salinas, Calif., that aliens with criminal records "should be deported, no questions asked."

Mrs. Clinton does not raise the subject in every speech, but her tough talk on the issue dates back at least to the Iowa caucuses last month, where she told the mother of a woman killed by a foreigner in a car accident that illegal aliens who have committed crimes need to be sent home "immediately."

"No legal process," the New York senator said at a forum in Tipton, Iowa, according to a political news outlet, the Politico. "You put them on a plane to wherever they came from."

Mrs. Clinton's emphasis on the haste with which criminals would be removed may make voters more tolerant of her support for legalizing most illegal aliens, but for activists who aid people with immigration problems, her refrain about the lack of recourse is hard to stomach.

"It's disturbing that she would make a statement like that, that we should deport everybody without due process of law," a vice president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, David Leopold, said. "That's a very disturbing statement. This country is all about due process of law."

"It is worrisome," an official with the National Council of La Raza, Cecilia Muñoz, said. "The semantics and nuances make or break families. As you can imagine, the sensitivity on these issues in the Latino community is very high."...".

Posted by VisaLawyer at 05:18 PM | Comments (0)

January 23, 2008

Employment Act Forum RSVP Information

Dear Panelists and Attendees,

On behalf of the NAHCC we appreciate your attendance and participation on tonight's forum.

DeVry University is located at 3343 Perimeter Hill Drive campus. There is ample parking available for all attendees on DeVry University grounds. Please come to the registration table located on the first floor.

Due to space and time limitations please be advised that seating is reserved only for those who have contacted us to RSVP in advance.
A Meet and Greet reception hosted by DeVry University with panelists and special guest will start promptly at 5:00 P.M.
Our guest speaker Daniel Bailey, General Counsel for the Tennesee Department of Labor and Work Force Development will inform you about the new Illegal Alien Employment Act.

Attorneys Mario Ramos (Co-chair NAHCC Goverment Relations committee) and Elliott Ozment (NAHCC Legal Counsel) will be part of the panel and will be available to answer question from members of the audience.

Special thanks to Tennesee Department of Labor and Work Force Development Commissioner James G. Neeley, Employment and Workforce Development Administrator Susan Cowden and DeVry University Dean Dr. Eva Young for facilitating this program.

If you have any questions please contact Loraine Segovia via email at RSVP@nashvillehispanicchamber.com or by phone at 615-216-5737
Thank you for participating.

Yuri Cunza
Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Illegal Alien Employment Act forum set
Hispanic chamber to sponsor forum Jan. 23
Employers and others concerned about Tennessee's new Illegal Alien Employment Act can attend a forum Jan. 23 sponsored by the Nashville Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and state labor department.

The forum will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. in Room 200 of DeVry University's 3343 Perimeter Hill Drive campus.
The law, which went into effect Jan. 1, penalizes employers who knowingly hire undocumented immigrants. Employers caught for the first time will get a warning and must fire undocumented workers. Employers caught a second time within three years can lose their business licenses for a year.

Guest speakers at the forum will include Elliott Ozment, an immigration lawyer and the Hispanic chamber's legal counsel; attorney Mario Ramos, the chamber's government relations co-chairman; and Dan Bailey, general counsel for the state labor department.

PO Box 40541 Nashville, TN 37204
Phone: 615-216-5737
Email: nashvillehispanicchamber@yahoo.com

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

January 19, 2008

Take Action SAVE Act Drumbeat Continues - Oppostion Needed!!

The Secure America with Immigration and Enforcement, the "SAVE Act" (H.R. 4088), was introduced in November 2007 by Reps. Heath Shuler (D-NC) and Brian Bilbray (R-CA). A companion bill (S. 2368) has been introduced in the Senate by Sens. Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA). SAVE is steadily gaining momementum in both chambers and the official list of House and Senate co-sponsors has already grown to 133 and 3 respectively. The bill's sponsors are committed to generating more support during the second session of the 110th Congress.

The "SAVE Act" is an immigration enforcement-only package that, most notably, would dramatically expand the Basic Pilot electronic employment verification system. The Basic Pilot system is currently used by only 30,000 employers, but would expand to cover over 6 million employers in just four years - roughly a 20,000 percent increase. Beyond that, the bill seeks to increase the Border Patrol and spend more resources on the southern border, codify recently withdrawn DHS regulations related to the Social Security Administration "no match" letters, expand local police responsibilities to include immigration enforcement, and a number of other enforcement measures. Absent from the bill are any provisions that would address the more than 12 million people in the US without status.

You can still tell your members of Congress not to co-sponsor SAVE by sending an email from Contact Congress today at www.aila.org

Posted by VisaLawyer at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)

January 16, 2008

FAQ; can I marry in Tennessee?

Answer; You need to have a social security number to marry in Tennessee along with proof of identity. Tennessee is one of 14 out of 50 states in the U.S.A. that require a social security number. An easy solution is to marry in the border states which do not require a social security number. For example; Kentucky, Mississippi, Indiana, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia allow marriage. Alabama and North Carolina requires the social but allow waivers.

So, if you want to marry in the US and the state in which you reside does not allow marriage do not despair. You may travel 34 states including Las Vegas, Nevada to marry and honeymoon.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:01 AM | Comments (0)

January 15, 2008

FAQ; How long can it take to receive a receipt from immigration?

Answer; I have clients who file an I-824 in September, 2007. As proof of receipt my office has the certified mail card. As of today no receipt has been issued by immigration. So, the answer is a long time.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 09:57 AM | Comments (0)

January 14, 2008

U.S. Cities Put on the Charm for Foreign Tourists

Immigrant money helps the USA;

By ERIC PFANNER, Published: January 14, 2008

"THE weak dollar has made shopping sprees in America a bargain for many international visitors. Still, outside favored destinations like New York, many places in the United States are having a hard time attracting foreign tourists and their euros, pounds and yen.

The number of visitors from overseas — that is, excluding Canada and Mexico — rose 7 percent last year, to 23.2 million, according to the United States Commerce Department. That was still well below the 26 million who entered the United States in 2000, before the post-9/11 security clampdown created new inconveniences for foreign travelers...".

at; http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/14/business/media/14adco.html?_r=1&th&emc=th&oref=slogin

Posted by VisaLawyer at 11:57 AM | Comments (0)

January 13, 2008

FAQ; I am married to an undocumented alien, how can I apply for their citizenship?

Answer; the first step is to come in for an interview or we can do this by telephone or e-mail. I will do an example of this question over the next several weeks. Step by step I will describe the process of obtaining citizenship.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 12:56 PM | Comments (0)

January 12, 2008

Congress Not in Session

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives are currently in recess.

There is no legislative business scheduled in the House of Representatives during the recess. The House will resume work on Tuesday, January 15.

The Senate, while not in session, will convene for pro forma sessions every few days instead of a typical recess in order to block President Bush from making recess appointments. No legislative business is expected. The Senate will resume work on Tuesday, January 22.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 12:20 PM | Comments (0)

January 11, 2008

Anti-immigration strategy fails

By ANDRES OPPENHEIMER, January 10, 2008, MIAMI HERALD (Oppenheimer Column):

"Here are the three things that I found most interesting about Tuesday's New Hampshire primary in which Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton and Republican Sen. John McCain won upset victories that threw the 2008 presidential race into uncharted territory:

• First, the anti-immigration card didn't work in New Hampshire. Contrary to expectations, McCain won despite virulent attacks by fellow Republican hopeful Mitt Romney and others that he was being too soft on the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants in the country.

According to exit polls, immigration was not among the three most important issues for Democrats, and was tied for third place among Republicans.

''McCain's victory is good news for those of us who support a comprehensive immigration reform,'' says Democratic Party pollster Sergio Bendixen. ``His campaign couldn't be destroyed by those who claimed he was not being aggressive enough on immigration.''
McCain had been a leading sponsor of a 2007 comprehensive immigration reform bill that would have both increased border security and provided an earned path to legalization to millions of undocumented foreign workers. Romney, Mike Huckabee and other Republican contenders said that the proposal amounted to an ''amnesty,'' and are calling -- some more explicitly than others -- for the massive deportation or induced departure of all undocumented immigrants.

Granted, McCain benefited from New Hampshire's electoral rules, which allow independents to vote in either party's primary Still, independents -- whose votes will be critical in the presidential race -- were not lured by anti-immigration fear mongers.

''The anti-immigrant dog barks, but it doesn't bite,'' says Frank Sharry, head of the National Immigration Forum, a Washington D.C. group that supports middle-of-the-road immigration reforms. ``Romney has invested millions of dollars to become the hero of the anti-immigrant forces, but that hasn't translated into votes in Iowa nor in New Hampshire.''...".

Posted by VisaLawyer at 04:39 PM | Comments (0)

January 09, 2008

Immigration is not the silver bullet that many people believe that it is

Showing that you cannot hide behind the immigration issue to try and deceive the voters New Hampshire went for John McCain on the Republican side;

"Jan. 9, 2008, 12:04AM, Immigration concerns take back seat
GOP voters were more worried about the economy, boosting McCain

Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau WASHINGTON — Illegal immigration, the top issue on the minds of Iowa Republicans a week ago, receded significantly as an issue in New Hampshire, helping immigration reform champion John McCain coast to victory on Tuesday.

The Arizona senator took advantage of the shifting sands of public opinion by winning the overwhelming support of Republicans who do not see illegal immigration as a threat. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was the choice of Republicans who would crack down on those illegally in the U.S...".

at http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nation/5439356.html

Posted by VisaLawyer at 08:00 AM | Comments (0)

January 05, 2008

Communication with clients

During my trip to Florida I have been able to communicate with my clients using an I-phone, e-mails and my website. The work we have done over the last several years was put to test successfully. This has allowed me to answer question, complete forms and set appointments. I look forward to adding text messaging as a way to communicate with my clients.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 05:54 AM | Comments (0)

January 04, 2008

Immigration and the Candidates

New York Times Editorial; Published: December 30, 2007

"Even by the low standards of presidential campaigns, the issue of immigration has been badly served in the 2008 race. Candidates — and by this we mean the Republicans, mostly — have been striking poses and offering prescriptions that sound tough but will solve nothing. They have distorted or disowned their pasts and attacked one another ferociously, but over appearances, not ideas — over who can claim to be the authentic scourge of illegal immigrants, and who is the Lou-Dobbs-Come-Lately.

Voters deserve much better than what these candidates have given them. The Democrats have done better, though they have not always responded with the courage and specifics this difficult issue demands. Before voters pick a candidate and a president, they should insist on serious answers to questions like these:

What should be the role of immigrant labor in our economy? How does the country maximize its benefits and lessen its ill effects? Once the border is fortified, what happens to the 12 million illegal immigrants already here? Should they be expelled or allowed to assimilate? How? What about the companies that hire them?

And what about the future flow of workers? Should the current system of legal immigration, with its chronic backlogs and morbid inefficiencies, be tweaked or trashed? What is the proper role of state and local governments in enforcing immigration laws? And will a national identity card for immigrants bring on Big Brother for everyone?...".

at; http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/30/opinion/30sun1.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:54 AM | Comments (0)

January 03, 2008

FAQ; communication with client

Answer; I have been on vacation in Key West, Florida with my family. Every day I check my e-mail, voicemail and the website. I have one client is in central Mexico with his fiancée. He needs to go to the consulate for the visa to bring his fiancée to the U.S.A. By using my website I have helped my client complete forms for submission to the consulate. Once complete I e-mailed the forms to my client. We have spoken by cell phone to answer questions regarding the forms.

This way I am able to go on vacation yet help my clients wherever they may be located.

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

January 01, 2008

Hiring Alert for Tennessee Employers

Here is a Memorandum that I received from Greg Siskind re Tennessee immigration compliance law;

To: Clients with Tennessee Business Licenses

On January 1, 2008, Tennessee House Bill No. 729 (Public Chapter No. 529) will take effect. The bill creates a new version of Section 50-1-103 of the Tennessee Code Annotated. New Section 50-1-103 permits the Tennessee Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development to order the suspension of a business license of any employer found to “knowingly employ, recruit or refer for a fee for employment, an illegal alien.”

1. How does Tennessee define “knowingly”?

The new law requires actual knowledge that a person is an illegal alien or, importantly, having a “duty imposed by law” to determine the immigration status of an illegal alien and failing to perform such duty.

So aside from the obvious problem example of simply hiring someone an employer knows is out of status, an employer arguably could be found to have knowingly employed an illegal alien if the employer did not follow immigration law in determining the immigration status of an employee. This could mean failing to complete an I-9 for an employee, failing to examine the identity and work authorization documents associated with the I-9 and failing to re-verify employment authorization on I-9s for employees with expiring work documents.

2. Who is an “illegal alien”?

While this may seem obvious, the definition in the bill is broad. All persons who are neither permanent residents nor authorized to work are “illegal aliens”. So someone legally in the US who is not a permanent resident would be considered an illegal alien under the law. This might include a non-immigrant like a student, a legally admitted refugee or a person with a pending adjustment application who is awaiting green card status and is legally allowed to remain in the US while he or she waits. The catch is that if such a person is not authorized to work, for purposes of the law, they are illegal aliens. This is because the law is designed to prevent employers from illegally hiring individuals barred from working in the US and not just those who are out of status.

3. How does the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development determine when to go after a company?

In order for an investigation to occur of an alleged violation of the new law, a complaint must be filed. The complaint may be lodged by a state or local government agency, an “officer” (a term not defined), an employee of the company (though this presumably would cover a former employee as well) or an “entity” (this term is also not defined though it could presumably mean competitor companies as well as anti-immigration organizations).

4. If the Commissioner determines there is evidence the new law has been violated, what is the process that occurs before a company’s business license is affected?

If the Commissioner determines that there is substantial evidence of a violation, then a hearing shall be conducted. After a hearing, if the Commissioner determines that that there is “clear and convincing evidence” that a person has violated the law, then an order shall be requested to revoke, suspend or deny an employer’s business license. The commissioner is required to sate whether there have been prior violations of this law.

5. If the business license is revoked, how can it be reinstated?

For a first violation, the commissioner can only order the revocation of the business license “until the person shows to the satisfaction of the commissioner that the person is no longer in violation of subsection (b). If the case is focused on the employment of a single individual and the individual is terminated, then the business license would presumably be reinstated. But there is no timetable in the statute providing for how long the Commissioner has to make this determination. Furthermore, if an investigation determined that there may be numerous employees working illegally at the company because a company has been lax with respect to its I-9s and other immigration recordkeeping, the Commissioner might choose to conduct an audit to determine that a company has no other employees illegally working for them.

6. What happens if a subsequent violation is found to have occurred?

If an employer is found to have committed a second or subsequent violation within three years of the first order, the business license shall be suspended for one year.

7. Is there an appeals process?

The statute does not provide for an appeals process.

8. Is an employer liable for work performed by independent contractors?

No, as long as labor law does not consider the work to be true employment where a W-2 must be filed for a worker.

9. Are there any safe harbors in the bill?

Yes. If an employer has received an I-9 form from an employee within 14 days of hire (federal law requires such a form be received by an employee on the day of hire anyway and the documentation proving work authorization within three days of hire) and the information provided by the person was later determined to be false, an employer will not be found to have violated the new law.

Employers are also protected if they have verified the status of a worker using the Department of Homeland Security’s e-Verify electronic work authorization program (formerly called the Basic Pilot program).

10. What steps can a company take to reduce the likelihood of being found to have violated TCA §50-1-103?

Companies should consider the following actions:

• Conduct regular I-9 training for employees responsible for the function

• Centralize I-9 record keeping

• Establish a non-discriminatory system to re-verify I-9s with expiring work authorization documents

• Switch to an electronic I-9 system rather than a paper-based one

• Purge I-9s which you are legally permitted to purge

• Have an outside firm conduct an internal I-9 audit to identify and remediate violations before a government audit occurs

• Develop a government audit response plan and train employees thoroughly in how to respond to s surprise audit

• Begin using the Department of Homeland Security’s e-Verify system

11. Are there other Tennessee laws covering employers and immigration?

The main additional law was passed in 2006 and is Public Act No. 878. It bars employers who knowingly utilize the services of illegal immigrants in the performance of a contract from access to contracts with Tennessee state agencies. Employers are also required to sign an attestation that they will not knowingly use the service of illegal immigrants in the performance of the contract. Firms found to have used illegal workers in the performance a state contract will be barred from contracting with the state for a one year period.

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