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Recent Blogs Posts

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

  2. 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.
  3. Separating Mothers from their Children is Abhorrent and Unfortunately we Have Seen it Before

    by , 05-29-2018 at 06:29 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    This past Memorial Day weekend photographs were published on The USA Today network depicting refugee children sleeping uncovered on concrete floors behind locked gates like stray animals. The photographs were used to illustrate how the Trump administration’s immigration enforcement policies are crimes against humanity. The result was justifiable outrage stemming from the Trump administration’s election to prosecute, and then separate mothers from their children after they violate the criminal law prohibiting the improper entry by an alien.

    The only problem, the photographs making the rounds were taken in 2014, and the abuses illustrated were perpetrated by the hand of the Obama administration. The photographs went viral on social media, and the misguided, although understandable horror was further fueled by Jake Silverstein, the Editor in Chief of the New York Times Magazine, who Tweeted them out, and subsequently was required to issue a #FakeNews mea culpa.

    Let me be clear
    , the Obama administration engaged in a systemic assault on the rights of immigrants during his tenure as the Deporter-in-Chief. And examples continue to emerge. The International Human Rights Clinic at the University of Chicago School of Law recently released a report outlining crimes the Obama administration allegedly committed against refugee children in their custody.

    Examples of abuses against immigrant children include:

    • Punching a child in the head three times;
    • Kicking a child in the ribs;
    • Using a stun gun on a boy, causing him to fall to the ground, shaking, with his eyes rolling back in his head;
    • Running over a 17-year-old with a patrol vehicle and then punching him several times;
    • Verbally abusing detained children, calling them dogs and “other ugly things”;
    • Denying detained children permission to stand or move freely for days and threatening children who stood up with transfer to solitary confinement in a small, freezing room;
    • Denying a pregnant minor medical attention when she reported pain, which preceded a stillbirth;
    • Subjecting a 16-year-old girl to a search in which they “forcefully spread her legs and touched her private parts so hard that she screamed”;
    • Leaving a 4-pound premature baby and her minor mother in an overcrowded and dirty cell full of sick people, against medical advice;
    • Throwing out a child’s birth certificate and threatening him with sexual abuse by an adult male detainee.

    These types of abuses against refugee children were a dirty open secret of the Obama administration, and were largely ignored by the legacy media, as evidenced by the fact that prominent forces on the left seized the opportunity by circulating the 2014 photographs that parenthetically are not all that dissimilar from those released in 2004 depicting Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse. Those on the left either have very short memories, or they were hoping that we do. We don’t.

    Cindy Carcamo, a journalist who has faithfully covered immigration for The Los Angeles Times, appeared on PBS News Hour over the weekend, and explained how President Trump's policy of enforcing the criminal law against illegal entry and separating mothers from their children also occurred when Obama implemented his policy of jailing refugee mothers with their children in deportation internment camps.

    It should also be noted that Obama similarly implemented an aggressive strategy of criminally enforcing the immigration law. When Obama left office 52% of all federal criminal prosecutions were for immigration related crimes of the exact nature that Trump and Sessions are now focused on prosecuting. Typically, it was reported that Carcamo is now facing a backlash for straying from the Democrat controlled narrative by infusing some truth into the immigration debate.

    Unfortunately, the outrage we are currently witnessing from hyperpartisan Democrats, far left leaning pundits, and former Obama administration officials about Trump's policy (which is abhorrent) has been conveniently manufactured for political gain. It should also be noted that these same people now voicing outrage were curiously (strategically?) silent about the plight of immigrant children when the Deporter-in-Chief was torturing them in deportation jails.

    For the record, I’m outraged by both Obama AND Trump. I'm also disgusted because the groundwork for Trump’s enforcement policies was engineered by Obama, and now it is too late to do anything about it. If only Democrats were as outraged when Obama was President, and they actually had influence on the Executive Branch. But I get it, they had a false narrative to advance.

    The silver lining from all of this is that the abuse of immigrants is finally being exposed on a wider scale, as I have grown hoarse screaming from rooftops to deaf ears. And to think all it took was for a Republican to win the Presidency.

    Matthew Kolken is an immigration lawyer and the managing partner of Kolken & Kolken, located in Buffalo, New York. His legal opinions and analysis are regularly solicited by various news sources, including MSNBC, CNN, FOX News, The Washington Post, Forbes Magazine, and The Los Angeles Times, among others. You can follow him @mkolken.

    Updated 05-29-2018 at 03:17 PM by MKolken

  4. African Immigrant Granted French Citizenship For Heroic Child Rescue; Two Arrested in US for Trying to "Deport" Legal Chinese Student. Roger Algase

    In immigration notes from around the world, The Guardian reports that an undocumented African immigrant, Mamadou Gassama from Mali, has been granted the promise of French citizenship after having risked his life (or possible deportation from France) by four-stories up a building in Paris in order to save a 4-year old child who had been left dangling from a balcony.

    Instead of being deported, Gassama was hailed as a hero and was able to meet with French President Macron, who granted him a medal for "bravery and devotion" along with legal permission to stay in France and a guarantee of fast track citizenship papers.

    The paper reports that when Gassama saw that the child was in danger, he did not think twice before immediately taking action to rescue him.

    Meanwhile, the same paper reports that two US flight instructors have been arrested for allegedly trying to kidnap and "deport" a Chinese pilot training student with a legal F-1 visa who had been sent to the flight school by the Chinese aviation agency, because they thought that the student's English wasn't good enough for him to be able to complete the program successfully.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 05-29-2018 at 03:32 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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