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  1. Attorney as Counselor; Attorney as Cheerleader

    It's not easy to be an asylum seeker these days. Between the government's efforts--often disingenuous--to undermine asylum claims, the long delays, and the unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles, the process has become more stressful and more unfair than at any time in recent memory.


    Some people just weren't meant to be cheerleaders.


    It's also become more difficult for attorneys who represent asylum seekers. Given the government's unpredictability, we can’t easily advise our clients or evaluate their cases. It's also harder to help them understand the process and to predict how long they will wait for an interview or a decision. In other words, it's more difficult to serve as a counselor for our clients.

    It's also more difficult to offer our clients encouragement and hope. The long delays and hostile environment have made the asylum process (and the immigration process in general) more stressful. Clients need a sense of hope, and they need to feel someone is on their side. Hence, attorney as cheerleader.

    Fulfilling both jobs—counselor and cheerleader—is not easy, and at times, the two roles can be contradictory. So how can we as lawyers provide honest counsel and still offer our clients hope?

    First, I have found that even clients in the most dire circumstances appreciate hearing the unvarnished truth about their cases. Especially in the beginning, when it is time to evaluate the case and present the client her options, it is important not to sugarcoat the odds of success or gloss over potential obstacles. I sometimes have a tendency towards pessimism when I evaluate a case, as I don’t want to give the client unrealistic expectations. I also want the client to know what she is up against, so she can make her own decisions about how to proceed.

    Also, of course, it is very important for the client to understand the problems in the case. Is there a one-year bar issue? Or other bars to asylum? Are there potential credibility problems? Is there important evidence that will be difficult to obtain? All this we need to know, so that the client and the lawyer together can prepare the strongest possible case.

    The client needs to understand the process of seeking asylum, in all its dysfunctional glory. He needs to know how long a case might take, and whether it will likely be referred to court. He also needs to know about the limits of what we lawyers know. The fact is, the system is a mess. Even people working within the system often cannot predict how long a case will take, and lawyers like me certainly don’t know. We have to convey this uncertainty to the client, so he can understand the range of possible events. With the most accurate (albeit limited) information available, the client can make the best possible decisions for himself and his family.

    In short, it is very important that the client understand his situation as clearly as possible, so he can prepare his case, make informed decisions, and have some sense of his prospects for success. But once the client understands the case and decides to go forward, he needs support and hope. He needs to feel that success is possible, and that he won’t be stuck forever in limbo. This is where the cheerleading comes in.

    The process of seeking asylum is long (despite—or maybe because of—LIFO). It’s also grueling. Many clients want to forget about the bad things that happened to them back home. But for those mired in asylum-land, they cannot put traumatic events behind them. Also, many asylum seekers are separated from their families, which is particularly difficult and stressful for those with young children. There’s also the overall uncertainty of not knowing whether you can stay in the U.S. or you will have to leave. Should you buy a house? Build a life? What if your case is denied and you lose it all? Any human being living through such uncertainty will feel stress, but it’s even worse for asylum seekers, many of whom have suffered trauma, and whose family members may still be in danger. People in this situation need hope.

    There is a school of thought—which was already outdated when I was in law school—that the client’s emotional needs are not the attorney’s problem. If the client needs a shoulder to cry on, he should find a friend. Or a therapist. It doesn’t help that we lawyers don’t receive much training in counseling, and that we’re usually super busy and don’t have time to sit and listen to the client’s troubles. There's also the issue of attorney burn-out. Getting too emotionally involved in a case can lead to more stress and less objectivity, which is not good for the lawyer, or, ultimately, for the client. Despite all this, lawyers can offer clients hope and positivity in order to help them get through the difficult process of asylum.


    How to do this? One way is to focus on aspects of the case that are within the client's control: Obtaining evidence and witnesses, preparing the affidavit, applying for the work permit, trying to expedite or short-list the case. Much of the asylum process cannot be influenced by the client (or the lawyer), and so taking steps that are within the client's power at least gives her a sense of agency.


    We can also encourage clients to live their lives as normally as possible: Get a job, go to school, get married, have children. To the extent possible, it is better to build a life, instead of allowing the uncertainty of an asylum case to rule your day-to-day existence.


    Finally, we can try to emphasize the positive aspects of the case. Once the client is going forward with the case and understands the challenges, there is no point in focusing on the negative. If it's very unlikely that your client can overcome the one-year bar, for example, do everything possible to help the client demonstrate an exception to the bar, but once that is done, offer the client some encouragement: Some Immigration Judges or Asylum Officers will interpret the bar more liberally, maybe the client will get lucky, etc.


    These are difficult times for asylum seekers in the U.S. As attorneys, we have to continually push ourselves to be more compassionate and more patient. I know personally how difficult that can be, but if we want to best serve our clients and stand up to the forces against them, that is what we must do.

    Originally posted on the Asylumist: www.Asylumist.com.
    Tags: asylum, lawyer Add / Edit Tags
  2. Company sues Competitor for Employing Undocumented Workers

    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law


    American Elite Molding LLC (AEM), a manufacturer based in Crestview, Florida, is suing a competitor, Advanced Cable Ties Inc. (ACT), for employing undocumented workers, through Twin City Temporaries, Inc., at a Gardner, Massachusetts, plant.

    The lawsuit, filed in Okaloosa County Circuit Court, Florida, is seeking unspecified monetary damages stemming from ACT's alleged use of workers who are not eligible to work in the United States. It specifically states the company has lost contracts and had to lower its prices as a result of ACT's alleged labor practices. AEM categorizes these actions by ACT as unfair competition.

    AEM CEO Bob Sires said about 60 percent of ACT's labor force - almost all the night workers and some of the day workers are undocumented workers supplied by Twin City Temporaries, which is based in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. He further claims Twin City Temporaries brings in workers from Vietnam and other countries and pays them under the table to avoid taxes and payroll costs.

    Sires said Twin City Temporaries approached him a year to a year-and-a-half ago and proposed a similar arrangement with AEM, claiming it could help cut labor costs. AEM rejected this arrangement. Sires claims after this, he realized AEM started losing a couple of clients' accounts to ACT, after ACT began using Twin City Temporaries.

    "ACT misleads the relevant marketplace by disingenuously attempting to convey a wholesome image of its workforce where, in reality ... over sixty percent of ACT's workforce is ineligible to work in the United States," the lawsuit says. The lawsuit also claims that AEM hires only legal workers and pays them in accordance with applicable labor laws.

    This lawsuit is extremely unusual and is a new twist on what employers, which employ undocumented workers, must fear. I wonder if Immigration & Customs Enforcement reads the newspaper and serves a Notice of Inspection on ACT. I will keep you informed on this lawsuit.

    For answers to many other questions related to immigration compliance, I invite you to read The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, a book that I co-authored with Greg Siskind, and is available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0997083379.
  3. Trump Borrows From Hitler's Playbook Against Jews by Scapegoating Latino Immigrants as Criminals and Calling Pelosi an "MS-13 Lover". Roger Algase

    In his latest May 29 attack on House Minority Leader Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as someone who "loves MS-13"

    http://www.newsweek.com/trump-rips-m...e-rally-948609

    Donald Trump is using a strategy right out of Adolf Hitler's playbook of dehumanizing and scapegoating the Jews as "criminals" who "stabbed Germany in the back" during WW-1 and were allegedly responsible for all of that country's problems.

    To be sure, Trump is not anti-Jewish, does not support genocide or mass murder, and is not an admirer or follower of Hitler or the Nazis. Comparisons between Trump and the German Fuehrer need to be used sparingly and with a great deal of qualification.

    But just as Hitler used long standing hatred and prejudice against Germany's tiny Jewish minority, dating back to the Middle Ages, in order to take absolute power in Germany, there are many disturbing signs that Trump is now doing the same thing with Latino, Muslim and black immigrants to accomplish the same goal in America.

    Peter Beinart, contributing editor at The Atlantic and associate professor of journalism and political science at City University of New York, writes as follows in that magazine:

    "...the Nazi newspaper Der Sturmer ran a feature called 'Letter Box' which published readers accounts of Jewish crimes. When the Nazis took power, the German State did something similar. Frustrated by the failure of most businesses to participate in a boycott of Jewish businesses in April, 1933, Adolf Hitler's government began publicizing Jewish crime statistics as a way of stoking antisemitism.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics...-crime/518238/

    The lists of alleged Jewish criminals appearing in Der Stuermer, whose publisher, Julius Streicher, was later executed as a Nazi war criminal, were a very dangerous precedent for Trump's VOICE program of publishing lists of crimes (including absurdly trivial ones such as trespassing and, in one case, "Peeping Tom") which arrested Latino and other mainly non-white immigrants has been charged with, even if not convicted of.

    While VOICE was soon abandoned, MS-13, which only a tiny percentage of immigrants are connected with and some of whose members are not immigrants at all, but US citizens, appears to be taking its place as one of Trump's handy tools for promoting hatred against non-white immigrants.

    Beinart also explains:

    "Trump's allies may believe that sneaking into the United States, or using a fake social security number to get a job, predisposes people t rob, rape or kill. So if Trump's goal is increasing public safety, publishing a list of crimes committed by unauthorized immigrants is irrational. It is like publishing a list of crimes committed by people with red hair.

    If, however, Trump's goal is stigmatizing a vulnerable class of people, then publicizing their crimes - and their crimes alone - makes sense. It's a tactic that bigots have used [for] more than a century.

    Using crime to incite hatred has a long history in the United States."

    Beinart concludes:

    "Trump's defenders might also argue that crime by unauthorized immigrants deserves special attention because, if the US enforced its immigration laws, it wouldn't occur at all. But even if it were possible to entirely prevent illegal entry into the United States...what's the point of publicizing crimes that illegal aliens commit except to incite hatred against them, and those Latinos legally in the United States who get mistaken for them?"

    Beinart's above comments do not deal specifically with Trump's use of MS-13. But everything he says about publicizing other crimes allegedly committed by Latino immigrants applies to MS-13 as well.

    As Long Island WINS quotes one Latino community organizer who protested against Trump's demagogic, publicity-seeking MS-13 "Roundtable" in that community:

    "Long Island has fought against racism for African-Americans. it has fought against prejudice against Catholics, against Jews, so I can tell you that Long Island will overcome the hatred against immigrants."


    https://longislandwins.com/news/long...o-long-island/

    Democracy in Germany was not able to withstand Adolf Hitler's stigmatizing and dehumanizing the Jews as "criminals" and subhumans (Untermenschen, in German) who were allegedly responsible for all of Germany's problems. As the Nazi slogan went:

    "Die Juden sind unser Unglueck" ("The Jews are our misfortune.")

    Will America's democracy be able to survive Donald Trump's relentless attacks on Latino and other non-white immigrants as "criminals," "terrorists" and "stealers of American jobs"?

    The example of Nazi Germany, and of many other dictatorships around the world where authoritarian rulers have taken power by exploiting hatred against immigrants or other unpopular minorities, warns us that unless we, as Americans, stand up for immigrant rights and against attempts by Trump and his supporters to use prejudice against Latino and other non-white immigrants for their own purposes, we should not be so sure that our democracy will survive.


    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    algaselex@gmail.com

    Updated 05-31-2018 at 01:07 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  4. Letters of the Week: May 29 - June 01

  5. Owner of Queens Medical Employment Agency Indicted for H-1B Visa Fraud Conspiracy

    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law




    A federal grand jury has returned an indictment against Rena Beduya Avendula, the owner and managing executive of Professional Placement & Recruitment, Inc. (PPRI) of Woodside, NY, charging her with a visa fraud scheme that brought Filipino citizens into the United States for financial profit. Avendula is charged with five counts of visa fraud and with conspiring to defraud the United States, commit visa fraud and illegally bring undocumented individuals into the United States.

    As alleged in the indictment, Avendula engaged in a scheme from October 2009 to February 2015 to bring Filipino citizens into the United States illegally by fraudulently claiming to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that the foreign nationals would be employed in “specialty occupations,” thereby qualifying for H-1B visas. Avendula used PPRI to further her visa fraud scheme. PPRI specialized in providing nursing care to elderly patients. Avendula, in an effort to secure some of the limited number of H-1B visas that are available each year, falsely stated that foreign nurses would be working in specialized nursing at prevailing wage rates. In fact, they were going to work as licensed practical nurses or RNs at significantly lower rates of pay, mostly at nursing homes and rehabilitation centers. Generally, registered RNs typically do not qualify as beneficiaries for H-1B visas.

    The H-1B nonimmigrant visa classification allows foreign nationals to enter the United States temporarily for the specific purpose of working for the employer in a “specialty occupation.” A “specialty occupation” requires certain specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s or higher-level degree for entry into the occupation within the United States labor market.

    As alleged in the indictment, PPRI sponsored dozens of fraudulent applications and profited from the filing fees she collected from the nurses and from the health care facilities that paid PPRI.

    If convicted, Avendula faces a statutory maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment for the visa fraud charges, and 10 years’ imprisonment for each foreign national she induced to reside in the United States in connection with the visa fraud conspiracy.
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