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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal

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  1. 21 Charged with Fake Student Visa Scheme

    by , 04-06-2016 at 07:46 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested twenty-one brokers, recruiters, and employers accused of conspiring to fraudulently maintain student and foreign worker visas through a “pay-to-stay” New Jersey college. The individuals have been charged with conspiracy to commit visa fraud and making a false statement. A conviction for conspiracy to commit visa fraud and making a false statement has a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The charge of conspiracy to harbor aliens for profit and H1-B Visa fraud has a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and $250,000 fine.

    Via U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement:

    NEWARK, N.J. — Twenty-one brokers, recruiters, and employers were arrested Tuesday from across the United States, who allegedly conspired with more than a thousand foreign nationals to fraudulently maintain student and foreign worker visas through a “pay-to-stay” New Jersey college. The arrests resulted from an extensive probe led by U.S. Immigration and Custom's Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

    “While the United States fully supports international education, we will vigorously investigate those who seek to exploit the U.S. immigration system,” said ICE Director Sarah R. Saldaña. “As a result of this operation, HSI special agents have successfully identified and shut down multiple operations which have abused the student visa program.”

    “Individuals engaged in schemes that would undermine the remarkable educational opportunities afforded to international students represent an affront to those who play by the rules. These unscrupulous individuals undermine the integrity of the immigration system,” said Terence S. Opiola, special agent in charge of HSI Newark. “Our special agents are committed to identifying and addressing fraud in order to better protect the system as a whole.”

    “Pay-to-Stay schemes not only damage our perception of legitimate student and foreign worker visa programs, they also pose a very real threat to national security,” said Paul J. Fishman, New Jersey United States Attorney. “Today’s arrests, which were made possible by the great undercover work of our law enforcement partners, stopped 21 brokers, recruiters and employers across multiple states who recklessly exploited our immigration system for financial gain.”

    According to court documents, the defendants, many of whom operated recruiting companies for purported international students, were arrested for their involvement in an alleged scheme to enroll foreign nationals as students in the University of Northern New Jersey, a purported for-profit college located in Cranford, New Jersey (UNNJ). Unbeknownst to the defendants and the foreign nationals they conspired with, however, the UNNJ was created in September 2013 by HSI special agents.

    Through the UNNJ, undercover HSI agents investigated criminal activities associated with ICE’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), including, but not limited to, student visa fraud and the harboring of aliens for profit. The UNNJ was not staffed with instructors or educators, had no curriculum, and conducted no actual classes or education activities. The UNNJ operated solely as a storefront location with small offices staffed by special agents posing as school administrators.

    UNNJ represented itself as a school that, among other things, was authorized to issue a document known as a “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status for Academic and Language Students,” commonly referred to as a Form I-20. This document, which certifies that a foreign national has been accepted to a school and would be a full-time student, typically enables legitimate foreign students to obtain an F-1 student visa. The F-1 student visa allows a foreign student to enter and/or remain in the United States while the student makes normal progress toward the completion of a full course of study in an SEVP accredited institution.

    During the investigation, HSI special agents identified hundreds of foreign nationals, primarily from China and India, who previously entered the U.S. on F-1 non-immigrant student visas to attend other SEVP-authorized schools. Through various recruiting companies and business entities located in New Jersey, California, Illinois, New York, and Virginia, the defendants then enabled approximately 1,076 of these foreign individuals – all of whom were willing participants in the scheme – to fraudulently maintain their nonimmigrant status in the U.S. on the false pretense that they continued to participate in full courses of study at the UNNJ.

    Acting as recruiters, the defendants solicited the involvement of UNNJ administrators to participate in the scheme. During the course of their dealings with undercover agents, the defendants fully acknowledged that none of their foreign national clients would attend any actual courses, earn actual credits, or make academic progress toward an actual degree in a particular field of study. Rather, the defendants facilitated the enrollment of their foreign national clients in UNNJ to fraudulently maintain student visa status, in exchange for kickbacks, or “commissions.” The defendants also facilitated the creation of hundreds of false student records, including transcripts, attendance records, and diplomas, which were purchased by their foreign national conspirators for the purpose of deceiving immigration authorities.

    In other instances, the defendants used UNNJ to fraudulently obtain work authorization and work visas for hundreds of their clients. By obtaining this authorization, a number of defendants were able to outsource their foreign national clients as full-time employees with numerous U.S.-based corporations, also in exchange for commission fees. Other defendants devised phony IT projects that were purportedly to occur at the school. These defendants then created and caused to be created false contracts, employment verification letters, transcripts, and other documents. The defendants then paid the undercover agents thousands of dollars to put the school’s letterhead on the sham documents, to sign the documents as school administrators, and to otherwise go along with the scheme.
    All of these bogus documents created the illusion that prospective foreign workers would be working at the school in some IT capacity or project. The defendants then used these fictitious documents fraudulently to obtain labor certifications issued by the U.S. Secretary of Labor and then ultimately to petition the U.S. government to obtain H1-B visas for nonimmigrants. These fictitious documents were then submitted to the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS). In the vast majority of circumstances, the foreign worker visas were not issued because USCIS was advised of the ongoing undercover operation.

    In addition, starting Tuesday, HSI Newark is coordinating with the ICE Counterterrorism and Criminal Exploitation Unit (CTCEU) and the SEVP to terminate the nonimmigrant student status for the 1,076 foreign nationals associated with UNNJ, and if applicable, administratively arrest and place them into removal proceedings.
  2. Obama Has Spent $834 Million on Deportation Charter Flights Since 2009

    by , 03-31-2016 at 09:54 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Via Amoachi and Johnson:

    "From 2009 to 2016, you will see how much Immigration and Customs Enforcement paid private aviation companies on a year-by year basis.

    As you can see
    , from 2009 to 2014, the Obama administration’s payments for deportation flights increased with every year as follows: 2009: $49 million; 2010: $104 million; 2011: $106 million; 2012: $129 million; 2013: $130 million; 2014: $165 million.

    In Fiscal Year 2015, the first year after DHS Secretary Johnson’s November 20, 2014 'priorities' memo, spending precipitously dropped by $72 million from the previous year and the lowest since 2009, Obama’s first year office."


    Approximately half-way through Fiscal Year 2016 the Department of Homeland Security has spent $57,354,014.00 on contracts to private companies through Immigration and Customs Enforcement Enforcement and Removal Operations for deportation charter flights.

    Click here for the original blog post.

    Updated 03-31-2016 at 09:58 AM by MKolken

  3. Chief Judge Responds to Demand to Stop Expediting Deportations of Children

    by , 03-30-2016 at 06:40 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Acting Chief Immigration Judge Michael C. McGoings's response to Amoachi and Johnson's January 19, 2016 request to cease prioritizing the deportation of children:

  4. Obama Admin argues appointing lawyers to kids destroys deportation framework

    by , 03-28-2016 at 01:52 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Via CourtHouseNews.com:

    A government attorney told a federal judge Thursday that appointing attorneys for all children facing deportation would "destroy the framework of the immigration system."

    The Justice Department and the American Civil Liberties Union battled over several motions in a four-hour long hearing stemming from a case that seeks court-appointed attorneys for thousands of undocumented children whom the government has already started deporting.

    The ACLU and immigrant rights groups sued the government in 2014 in a class action claiming the only way children can get a fair immigration hearing is to provide them with counsel.

    Click here for more ridiculousness.
  5. The Obama Administration Prepares for Mass Deportation of Muslims

    by , 03-25-2016 at 07:47 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Via #Not1More:

    March 24, 2016 – New York, NY

    Immigration authorities have begun transporting South Asian detainees to Florence, Arizona, as a staging ground for impending mass deportation. Many of the Muslim migrants from Bangladesh being transported were participants in the #Freedomgiving hunger strikes at the end of 2015 that roiled a dozen detention centers across the country and brought attention to the prolonged, unjustified, and discriminatory detention of Muslim and South Asian migrants.

    One of the detainees, who gave a name of Manik and is scheduled to be deported as well, said that “they are gathering all of us here from across the different jails, but none of the men here want to be sent back. Most are terrified and crying about what will happen to them if they are sent back.”

    As Candidates Trump and Cruz stir anti-Muslim sentiment calling for the surveillance, ban, and deportation of Muslims — the Department of Homeland Security under the Obama Administration is already racially profiling and discriminating against Muslim migrants, by holding detainees for indefinite and extended periods of time, setting unusually high bond amounts, and now preparing to deport Muslim detainees en masse to their potential deaths.

    “It is alarming that the State Department is getting involved in matters of immigration, detention, and deportation, and so recklessly jeopardizing the lives of asylum-seeking migrants who are escaping repressive and dangerous conditions,” said Fahd Ahmed, Executive Director of DRUM (Desis Rising Up & Moving). DRUM has coordinated hunger strikes and advocacy efforts for the detainees over the last 6 months. He added that “their lives have been further endangered by the mishandling of their cases and confidential information by the U.S. government.”

    In violation of international law, the names and personal information of the detainees were given to the Bangladeshi government by the U.S. Embassy in Bangladesh, and their names were then leaked and published by the Bangladeshi media. And in violation of their own protocols, the detainees may be expelled despite being witnesses and victims to civil rights violations that are under open investigation by the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties within DHS.

    “While many have rightfully condemned the anti-Muslim rhetoric spewed during ongoing presidential campaigns, our current policies are just as terrifying. We call on the State Department and DHS to immediately halt these deportations and for administration officials to end these policies that single out Muslim migrants,” adds Linda Sarsour, Director of MPower Change.

    Activists raise grave concerns for the men’s safety and have begun using the hashtag #Deported2Death to highlight the consequence of their potential removals and are calling on the State Department and Department of Homeland Security to cancel their removals and allow them to pursue their asylum claims.

    The petition is hosted by the #Not1More Campaign at: http://www.notonemoredeportation.com...pt-bangladesh/
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