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By Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law
After pleading guilty to fraud in relation to H-1B visas, New York immigration lawyer Loreto Kudera, and his wife, Hazel Kudera, the owner of several medical staffing agencies, were sentenced to two years probation and fined $25,000 each. Previously, they had forfeited $1 million.
Hazel Kudera owned multiple staffing agencies in New York that specialized in providing nurses to hospitals, outpatient and skilled nursing facilities. According to the government, Hazel and Loreto Kudera submitted at least 100 fraudulent applications to authorities, and profited from filing fees collected from the nurses and from the health care facilities that paid Hazel Kuderaís staffing agencies.
Hazel and Loreto Kudera falsely stated that the foreign nurses would be working in specialty occupations at prevailing wage rates when in actuality they were going to work as licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or registered nurses (RNs) at much lower rates of pay.
As part of the alleged scam, Hazel Kudera falsified a staffing agreement between NYC Healthcare Staffing and Dewitt Rehabilitation listing job positions that did not exist, such as clinical coordinator and health care quality assurance manager, in order to cover up the false job titles she provided to USICS.
According to the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, the United States has an exceptional history of welcoming refugees.
Since 1975, it has welcomed more than three million refugees for resettlement from all over the world. Nevertheless, despite the efforts of the United States and 29 other countries that accept refugees for resettlement, less than one percent of the worldís 21.3 million refugees are resettled.
The United States conducts its own vetting process to decide which refugees it will accept, and this is in addition to the screening UNHCR does on the refugees. The entire process is conducted abroad. It can take up to two years to complete, but the processing time has been severely reduced on at least one occasion.
The United States reduced the processing time to three months last year to meet President Barack Obamaís goal of resettling 10,000 Syrian refugees here by September 30.
And the value of security screening depends on the availability of information from a refugeeís country.
The threat of terrorism has caused many people to become suspicious of the refugees. In the minds of many Europeans, for instance, the current refugee crisis and the terrorism in the European Union are very much related to one another.
Read more at --
Published initially on The Hill.
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 the 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.
Please email your letters to email@example.com
The following comment has been revised and rewritten as of February 20 at 8:57 am, with a few additional corrections as of 1:30 pm on February 20.
In the latest development in the controversy over the president's January 27 Muslim ban order, which, in Orwellian fashion, the White House insists is not specifically directed against Muslims, even though an estimated 99 percent of the people in the seven countries affected by the order belong to that religion, the AP and the Washington Post both report that Donald Trump is planning to "replace" his original seven Muslim country travel ban order with a new order which would contain the same ban on entry against the almost 200 million citizens of the seven countries, close to 99 percent of whom just happen to be Muslims, but with a few minor, essentially cosmetic, tweaks.
The first tweak, according the AP and WP reports, is that the new ban would not apply to US permanent residents who are citizens of the seven countries. However, this is a meaningless change.
After the initial chaos, confusion, fear and anxiety caused by lack of clarity from the White House over whether the original January 25 executive order applied to green card holders or not, the White House had already issued a "clarification" (reportedly over the objections of Senior Advisor Stephen Bannon, who is widely considered to be one of the main instigators of the entry ban order in the first place) stating that US permanent residents from the seven countries were exempt from the ban.
In its briefs filed with the 9th Circuit, the DOJ also took the position that the ban did not apply to green card holders from the seven countries. Therefore this first reported tweak would be no real change at all. See also:
Another tweak reported by the AP and the WP is that citizens of the seven banned countries who have already been granted visas, or who are already in transit to the US with visas (which one is not clear) will be allowed to enter the US.
Dual citizens of the affected countries may also be exempt from the revised ban. However, these changes will, at most, affect only a very small percentage of the nearly 200 million citizens of the above countries who are still being being barred from the US solely because of their religion.
(I will not dwell on the absurd argument that the above ban is not really a Muslim ban because there is a tiny handful of non-Muslims also affected by the ban. If there has been any presidential finding, or rational basis for such a finding, that the 1 per cent or less of citizens of these countries who are Jews or Christians pose a danger to the US, I have not seen it.
The ban is clearly not directed against non-Muslims, even if a very few may turn out to be "collateral damage" by being denied visas also.)
Therefore, the basic authoritarian premise of the Muslim ban, that one man, the president, accountable to no one but himself (as the DOJ has claimed in its 9th Circuit briefs) has unlimited power to ban as many people as he wants for any reason he sees fit, remains in place.
As The Guardian reports:
"The goal of the new [Muslim entry ban] order is to bolster a signature initiative against ongoing legal and constitutional scrutiny, rather than revise it in a substantive fashion, relax its restrictions or consider any deleterious consequences it has on national security, according to Guardian sources."
When this attempt to use authoritarian power is looked at in the context of the increased police state measures that the Trump administration is putting into effect to move toward increased mass arrests and deportations, in addition to the fear and panic in immigrant communities throughout America caused by stepped up ICE raids against unauthorized immigrants with no criminal records which took place last week, the danger to our democratic institutions becomes even greater. See:
Washington Post, February 18:
Memos signed by DHS secretary describe sweeping new guidelines for deporting illegal immigrants
I will discuss the details of these police atate measures, and the equal protection and due process issues they raise, in an upcoming comment.(Go to Google for a link to the above WP report.)
But while the Muslim ban clearly raises serious questions concerning the extent, if any, to which our laws and Constitution permit unfettered one-man control over our immigration system, or a major part of it, under the Plenary Power doctrine and INA Section 212(f) - which I will discuss in the light of the 9th Circuit's February 9 TRO decision in a forthcoming post - there is an even greater danger to our democracy that goes beyond the four corners of the Muslim ban executive order itself.
This danger arises from the way that the president has tried to delegitimize opposition to the Muslim ban order by the courts and the media, by claiming that anyone who opposes the ban is in effect supporting terrorists and will bear responsibility for any future attack that might take place in America. See:
As the above salon.com/alternet.org article states, Trump's attacks on the courts in connection with the Muslim ban order:
"...should utterly horrify every champion of democracy, whether on the left or right end of the political spectrum."
In addition, Trump's attacks against a free press as an "enemy of the people" for opposing his immigration policies recall the language of two of history's worst tyrants, Stalin and Mao.
When Trump's Muslim ban order is looked in the larger context of his police state actions against up to 11 million immigrants who are in the US without legal status, and his attempts to crush the independence of the courts and the media, just as another popularly elected leader did in Germany 8 decades ago, it becomes clear that it is not only not only the rights of Muslim immigrants (such as they are) and of American citizens who wish to sponsor and invite Muslim immigrants to come to this country, that are affected.
Trump's immigration executive orders and actions, including not only the Muslim and refugee bans, but his nationwide immigration raids and related activities in the direction of mass deportation of up to 11 million immigrants, are a dangerous movement toward one-man rule in America and the end of our democracy.
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 skiilled and professional immigrants obtain work visas and green cards.
Roger believes that any attempt to bar immigrants from the US, or to single them out for deportation, based on discrimination because of race, religion or national origin, or to exercise authoritarian, one man control over our immigration system, endangers the rights of every American, and puts the foundations of our democracy at risk.
Roger's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated 02-20-2017 at 08:06 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
The following comment has been revised and updated as of February 18 at 4:00 pm:
The White House has vigorously denied an AP report that the Department of Homeland Security has been considering using the National Guard to assist in rounding up unauthorized immigrants in 11 Mexican border and contiguous states extending as far north as Oregon and as far east as Louisiana.
However, it is obvious that a leaked DHS memo dated January 25 containing such a provision was drafted with a great deal of care - much more, quite clearly, than was used in preparing the president's discredited seven nation Muslim entry ban order (along with banning the tiny percentages of non-Muslims living in the affected countries as window dressing which fooled no one, about the order's real purpose - least of all the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel which put the ban on hold).
There can be no serious doubt that the January 25 DHS memo, whether it will ever be officially adopted as policy or not, was meant to be taken very seriously as guidance for immigration enforcement purposes, and that the White House claim that the memo was a basis for discussion only does not ring true
For a report on the White House denial that using the National Guard is beng considered as policy, and for a link to the full text of the memo, see:
The context of the memo, which deals exhaustively and in great detail with many other aspects of immigration enforcement, including treatment of unaccompanied minors, "catch and release", credible fear determinations for asylum seekers, and reviving INA section 287(g) agreements between the DHS and the states in general, not just with respect to the National Guard, gives every sign that this memo was carefully drafted for the purpose of governing the details of many aspects of immigration enforcement policy.
The White House denial that this memo was never meant to go into effect and was a draft only, is very difficult to believe under the circumstances, and the fact that it was kept secret until someone in the administration evidently had the courage to leak it to the media is even more disturbing.
If America is to become a country where immigration enforcement policy is determined by secret directives, than we might be even closer to the spirit of another enforcement agency in a different country mentioned below.
I quote from the relevant part of the leaked DHS January 25 memo:
"D. Expansion of the 287(g) program to Include State Guard Units in the Border Region
Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act authorizes me [DHS Secretary John Kelly] to enter into in agreement with a state or subdivision thereof to perform the functions of an immigration officer...
Pursuant to Title 32 of the united States Code, State National Guard components are employees of their respective states and are under the command of their Governors when they are not in federal service. Based on their training and experience, these men and women are particularly well-suited to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law and augment border security operations by Department components...
Additionally, I am directing the Commissioner of CBP and the director of ICE to immediately engage with the Governors of the States adjacent to the land border with Mexico and those States adjoining such border states for the purpose of entering into agreements under section 287(g) of the INA to authorize qualified members of the state National Guard...to perform the functions of an immigration officer in relation to the investigation, apprehension and detention of aliens in the United States."
It is the words: "investigation, apprehension and detention of aliens in the United States" that are a particular cause for concern. One cannot help be reminded of other militia members who were used for the same purpose against other people who were not wanted by the regime in another well known country.
The following extract is from an article by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:
"In the months after Hitler took power, SA and Gestapo agents went from door to door looking for Hitler's enemies. They arrested Socialists, Communists, trade union leaders, and others who had spoken out against the Nazi party...By the summer of 1933, the Nazi party was the only legal political party in Germany...Democracy was dead in Germany."
Sorry, I cannot find a working link - please Google:
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: Nazi Terror Begins
The above does not in any way imply that the dedicated men and women of the National Guard who are selflessly serving their States and their country in any way resemble the fascist thugs who made up Hitler's storm troopers (SA) and Gestapo.
But using any part of our military to engage in mass roundups and incarceration of civilians of any kind, regardless of what status they may have (or lack) in the United States, leads in the same direction as the activities described in the above Holocaust Memorial Museum extract, and can have the same effect on America's democracy as those activities did on democracy in Germany.
This danger is especially apparent when the military or militia forces in question are under the ultimate control of a leader who has so little respect for democracy as to call a free press the "enemy" of the nation, as Donald Trump has just done - and as Germany's leader did when he eliminated the free press after taking power in 1933. See:
As Senator John McCain said on February 18, suppressing the free press is "how dictators get started".
To be sure, as David Nakamura writes in the February 17 Washington Post, (link not available - please use Google) the administration is still accepting DACA applications, and Trump is clearly not entirely trusted by some anti-immigrant groups for equivocating on revoking what they call this "executive amnesty".
But the signs that America may be entering an era of anti-immigrant repression that could make comparison with "enforcement" tactics used in 1933 Germany against Jews and many other people whom the regime considered undesirable seem entirely reasonable are growing under the Donald Trump presidency, and they are growing with a troubling speed and intensity.
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been represenrting mainly skilled and professonal immigrants with work visa and green card applications for more than 35 years. Roger's email address is email@example.com
Updated 02-18-2017 at 04:06 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs