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Last week, federal authorities raided a Los Angeles-area business suspected of organizing a $50,000,000 visa fraud scheme for Chinese immigrants. Allegedly, the business took money from more than 100 Chinese investors for bogus business projects, allowing them to improperly obtain U.S. green cards. Three of the investors were fugitives wanted by the Chinese government.
From California to Vermont, fraud is part of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program (EB-5 program), established by Congress in 1990.
The program offers lawful permanent resident status to foreign investors and their families to encourage them to invest in new businesses here that will benefit our economy and create jobs for American workers — but the program is rife with complications.
Has EB-5 achieved its objectives?
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) observed at a recent March hearing on the EB-5 program that it is “riddled with fraud and abuse and has strayed away from the program Congress envisioned when it created the program decades ago.” The program “is in desperate need of reform.”
Read more at http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blo...mostly-chinese
Published originally on The Hill and previously on ILW.com.
About the author.
Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an Executive Branch Immigration Law Expert for three years; he subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years. He also has been a policy advisor for the DHS Office of Information Sharing and Collaboration under a contract with TKC Communications, and he has been in private practice as an immigration lawyer at Steptoe & Johnson.
By Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law PLLC
An owner of two restaurants in Ukiah, California, Yaowapha Ritdet, was sentenced to serve 24 months in prison for harboring for profit and corruptly endeavoring to obstruct the internal revenue laws. According to documents filed with the court, Ritdet hired Thai nationals who were illegally present in the United States to work at her restaurants, Ruen Tong Thai Cuisine and Walter Café. Ritdet underpaid these employees, paid them in cash, and instructed them not to speak to anyone about their immigration status. Ritdet also did not pay employment taxes on the cash wages. Ritdet filed false individual income tax returns for 2007 through 2011 that underreported the gross receipts, sales, and income she received from her two restaurants.
In addition to prison, Ritdet was ordered to serve three years of supervised release and to pay approximately $567,755.65 in restitution, including $70,768 to underpaid employees and $496,987 to the Internal Revenue Service.
The Guardian reports that the Republican-dominated Texas legislature, apparently taking its cue from the Trump administration's harsh policies toward unauthorized immigrants and attempts to cut off funds for Sanctuary Cities, may be about to pass a bill which, according to the newspaper report:
"...puts sheriffs and other police chiefs at rusk of criminal charges and other serious sanctions if they do not help the federal government enforce immigration laws by complying with requests to detain immigrants. There are also civil fines for non-cooperation by local entities including campus police departments."
The Guardian also reports that in the face of protests against the bill by Democratic legislators, one of whom began a four day hunger strike, another of whom wept as she described her experience as a sexual assault survivor and warned that the proposed law would help criminals, and a third who described the fear and terror she went through as a young girl in a family of unauthorized immigrants, the Republican legislators reacted as follows:
"...they strengthened the language of the bill to allow law enforcement to ask the immigration status of anyone who is merely detained - for example during a traffic stop - as well as arrested."
Most ominous of all for those who care about traditional American family values and the welfare of children, the Republican majority:
"...refused to pass amendments calling for exemptions for young children at school or people in domestic violence shelters."
All Americans, whether living in Texas or not (and the same article reports that Texas is not the only state considering similar draconian immigration "enforcement" measures) need to think about what it means to live in a country where a state or local government may be able to pass a law so clearly intended to spread panic and dread in Latino and other minority communities, in the same manner that autocratic or totalitarian regimes did to their minority populations in much of the 20th century and are still doing in some places in the world today.
America was founded in order to be a refuge from this type of persecution against unpopular minorities. Will it now become a country that, under color of law, openly engages in such inhumanity in the era of Donald Trump?
And it is not only immigrants who could have reason to worry about the effect of the Trump administration's mass deportation agenda on the basic civil liberties and freedoms that Americans have been taking for granted in a democratic society up to now.
Based on the above news report (as I have not seen the actual text of the Texas bill), American citizens, in this case, state sheriffs and other law enforcement officials, could be at risk of going to prison if they refuse to become participants in this agenda.
When this is combined with Attorney General Jeff Sessions' warning that officials in Sanctuary Cities could be at risk of being prosecuted under INA Section 274 for refusal to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement activities such as sharing or maintaining immigration status information under 8 U.S.C. Section 1373, or honoring ICE detainer requests, it could turn out that American citizens may have as much, or even more, to fear from the new administration's policies as minority immigrants themselves.
These policies may or may not be successful in bringing about the demographic changes in the ethnic makeup of America's population so evidently desired by some of Trump's inner circle of immigration advisers, such as Stephen Bannon. But these policies could result in the loss of freedom for the American people to dissent from or oppose whatever orders relating to immigration the president chooses to issue from the White House.
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, Roger has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from diverse parts of the world receive work visas and green cards.
Roger's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated 04-28-2017 at 10:58 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
As the saying goes: Perception is reality.
Via The Nation:
"The media has played its own role in fanning the flames. Since Donald Trump entered the Oval Office, news reports have proliferated about rising raids, arrests, detentions, and deportations. These suggest that something new, terrifying, and distinctly Trumpian—something we’ve simply never seen before—is underway, including mass sweeps to deport individuals who would have been protected under the previous administration.
The numbers tell a different story.
A Washington Post scare headline typically read: “ICE Immigration Arrests of Noncriminals Double Under Trump.” While accurate, it was nonetheless misleading. Non-criminal immigration arrests did indeed jump from 2,500 in the first three months of 2016 to 5,500 during the same period in 2017, while criminal arrests also rose, bringing the total to 21,000. Only 16,000 were arrested during the same months in 2016. The article, however, ignored the fact that 2016 was the all-time-low year for arrests under President Obama. In the first three months of 2014, for example, 29,000 were arrested, far more than Trump’s three month “record.”
And even though arrests went up during Trump’s first three months in office, deportations actually went down, mostly due to the fact that the number of immigrants crossing the border declined.
To those who have been following deportation politics in this country, Trump’s policies, as they are now unfolding, have an eerie resonance. They seem to be growing directly out of policies first instituted in the presidencies of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama."
Click here to read the full article.
Updated 04-27-2017 at 12:01 PM by MKolken
Via Syracuse University's TRAC Immigration:
According to the case-by-case court records analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University, during March 2017 there were 318 new federal civil filings involving these immigration matters. This number is up 5.6 percent over the previous month when the number of civil filings of this type totaled 301. See Table 1.
When monthly 2017 civil immigration filings are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, their number was up 40.5 percent. Civil filings for March 2017 are higher than they were for the same period five years ago. Overall, the data show that civil filings of this type are up 105.6 percent from levels reported in March 2012.
TRAC also determined that:
Nearly half (47%) of the 763 suits filed since January 20, 2017 were brought by individuals detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). These individuals sought release from their detention and/or a court order to prevent their deportation. Most of the remaining suits challenged government inaction. One third (33%) were mandamus suits to compel the federal government to act on visa or related applications. Another 8 percent sought a hearing or other action on naturalization applications.
Click here for the full report.