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Angelo Paparelli on Dysfunctional Government

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  1. Fallen Patriot

    by , 06-30-2008 at 10:43 AM (Angelo Paparelli on Dysfunctional Government)
    I lost a great friend this weekend, Steve Fischel, but America lost a patriot.  Stunned and tearful as the news of his passing spread, I walked aimlessly through the Vancouver Convention Center last Saturday afternoon, realizing in awe how many AILA members likewise cherished a close friendship with him.

    Steve and I were to share an EB-5 panel last Wednesday, but he never made it.  A passenger on his flight took ill and the plane was diverted.  His last emails to me were classic Steve.  He wrote to be sure we both were ready so that we would give our audience good value.  In reply I'd emailed him my portion of the presentation on best practices in EB-5 risk management, ironically entitled:  "Stress Relief and Blissful Sleep."   He replied by email: "Thanks.  This is helpful. Look forward to see you. S"

    I never saw Steve at the AILA conference, but learned right away that he had been felled by a ruptured aortic aneurysm as he sat chatting with friends.

    My loss, even when amplified by the heartfelt grief of so many of Steve's friends in AILA and his colleagues in government, does not tell the full story of America's loss of this marvelous fallen patriot.  Steve served honorably and well in the State Department for 31-plus years, but we in AILA first came to know him in 1981 as he articulated eloquently the Department's positions on a host of immigration issues.  Unlike  so many of the current crop of government officials who administer and enforce the immigration laws, Steve appreciated and respected immigration lawyers.  He saw us not as adversaries but as participants in a legal process that brought profound blessings to America.  Steve, like other officals of his era (Cornelius "Dick" Scully at State, and Jackie Bednarz and Larry Weinig at INS -- all thankfully still alive), believed that his job was to help lawyers, newcomers and veterans alike, understand the immigration law and the government's interpretations.  He never had an axe to grind; his approach was always to achieve the correct legal answer and the just result.

    To be sure, we didn't always agree, especially on consular nonreviewability, but I never walked away from an exchange with Steve feeling that he'd denied me a fair hearing or a thoughtful response. With a *****le in his eye, a wide smile and a deadpan, comedic retort, Steve could joust with the best of us.

    He made a great, positive impact on immigration law, helping to craft the NAFTA TN provisions, improving the J-1 waiver process, and reconciling the conflicting E-1 and E-2 interpretations of INS and State, to name but a few.  And then he retired from State, the deserving recipient of awards aplenty, and crossed the aisle to practice immigration law, always with success and gusto.  The American Immigration Law Foundation, which he served as a member of the Board of Trustees, awarded him its Distinguished Public Service Award in March 2006.  The video of his acceptance speech will bring a tear or several to your eyes but it's worth watching.

    Although most Americans and millions of immigrants to our country may never have known Steve, his impact on their lives, the benefits he helped confer, the American Dreams fulfilled with his aid, will be remembered sadly and proudly by all of the many close friends who mourn his passing. 

    Steve,

    Although your life was cut short, you can now enjoy stress relief and blissful sleep.  May you know, in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, that you lived life successfully indeed:"Those are a success who have lived well, laughed often, and loved much; who have gained the respect of intelligent people and the love of children, who have filled their niche and accomplished their task, who leave the world better than they found it, whether by a perfect poem or a rescued soul; who never lacked appreciation of the earth's beauty or failed to express it; who looked for the best in others and gave the best they had."    
  2. DOL in a Tizzy over Perceived Immigration Fraud

    by , 06-23-2008 at 11:44 AM (Angelo Paparelli on Dysfunctional Government)
    I'm clearing my desk to get ready for travel on Wednesday to Vancouver.  That's of course where the American Immigration Lawyers Association is holding its annual conference.  One of the panels will be an open forum with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). 

    As most in the immigration world know, the DOL is  very concerned about fraud in the immigration process.  No ethical employers or lawyers would deny the importance of deterring fraud, and truly bad apples of course need to be removed from the barrel. 

    But when DOL targets reputable lawyers and law firms and audits all of their clients for alleged conduct that the agency belatedly acknowledges is within the proper scope of the attorney-client relationship, then the objective of fraud-deterrence is actually impaired rather than facilitated.  Moreover, when the agency in the name of "program integrity" or "reform" seeks to minimize the role of lawyers, while continuing to promote a deeply-flawed PERM system and tolerate a role for unlicensed agents (consultants and notarios), then something is definitely wrong in Bureacracyland. 

    For background on the controversy, check out today's article, co-authored by Ted J. Chiappari and me, in the New York Law Journal's "Immigration Column," available at this link on my other blog - www.nationofimmigrators.com. (By the way, the  Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines "tizzy" as "a highly excited and distracted state of mind."  After reviewing the article, you, dear readers, can decide if the label is apt.)

    So, if you're heading to the DOL Open Forum AILA panel in Vancouver, maybe you'll think of a polite question or two for the DOL representatives.
  3. Do You Have Immigration Issues? Let's Converse and Heal!

    by , 06-20-2008 at 10:09 AM (Angelo Paparelli on Dysfunctional Government)
    Welcome to Angelo Paparelli's new immigration blog, courtesy of ILW.COM.  My hosts, Sam Udani and friends, may not realize it but they've given me a wonderful way, not merely to vent my frustrations with America's dysfunctional immigration system, but also to avoid psychotherapy.  The immigration-related outrages we immigration lawyers and other patriotic Americans see every day can lead to a host of psychosomatic maladies -- dyspepsia, high blood pressure, stress-induced anger and tears, neurosis and who knows what else.

    This blog, therefore, will serve for me, and I hope for you, as a holistic form of therapeutic wellness.  When I comment upon, or you share, the next new perverse, ironic, laughable, tragic or just plain stupid immigration development, let us openly call it what it is, and offer a suggested solution.  Let us help cure the body politic as we recall the wise counsel of Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis:Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases.  Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.
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