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Recent Blogs Posts

  1. Pizzerias, LLC Pays $140,000 to Settle Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim

    By Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) of the Justice Departmentís Civil Rights Division has reached a settlement agreement with Pizzerias, LLC, a pizza restaurant franchisee with 31 locations in Miami, Florida, where Pizzerias will pay a $140,000 civil penalty. The agreement resolves the IERís investigation into whether Pizzerias violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by discriminating against work-authorized immigrants when checking their work authorization documents.

    The investigation concluded Pizzerias routinely requested that lawful permanent residents produce a specific document Ė a Permanent Resident Card (green card) Ė to prove their work authorization, while not requesting a specific document from U.S. citizens. This is referred to as document abuse. Lawful permanent residents may choose acceptable documents other than a Permanent Resident Card to prove they are authorized to work. The antidiscrimination provision of the INA prohibits employers from subjecting employees to unnecessary documentary demands based on citizenship or national origin.

    Under the settlement, Pizzerias must pay a civil penalty of $140,000 to the United States, post notices informing workers about their rights under the INAís antidiscrimination provision, train their human resources personnel, and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements for two years.

    The first two settlements by IER in Trump administration seem to reflect that the IER will continue to aggressively pursue employers that violated the INA.
  2. H-1B CAP DEMAND VS. UNEMPLOYMENT RATE

    by , 03-27-2017 at 09:32 AM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)
    by Chris Musillo

    In 2009, a mere 9,000 H-1Bs were received in the first month of H-1B processing. It would be 264 days before the H-1B cap was reached. In 2010, it took 300 days until the H-1B cap was reached. In 2011, there were 236 days between the April 1, 2011 cap opening and the November 23, 2011 cap being reached. Not coincidentally, the US employment rate from 2009-2011 ranged between eight and ten percent.

    On the other hand, the H-1B cap was reached on the very first day in 2007, 2008, each year since 2013, mirroring the low unemployment rate.





    The lack of H-1B petition filings in years when the unemployment rate is high is compelling evidence against the argument that internationally-trained workers are being used to displace American workers and lower US workers' salaries.


    Why? Because if H-1B visa labor was being used primarily to lower US workersí salaries, then H-1B filing numbers would not correlate with US unemployment rates. If anything, the reverse would happen because the incentive to reduce workersí salaries is likely greater in a recessed economy, not less.

    Please read the Musillo Unkenholt Healthcare and Immigration Law Blog at www.musillo.com and www.ilw.com. You can also visit us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


    Updated 03-27-2017 at 09:35 AM by CMusillo

  3. Letters of the Week: March 27 - April 2

  4. Answering the Impossible Question

    Possibly the most common question I hear at initial consultations with asylum seekers is, "What are the chances that I will win my case?" It's a reasonable question. People want to know the likelihood of success before they start any endeavor. The problem is, it's impossible to answer this question. Why is that?
    The other Impossible Question: "Does this dress make me look fat?"
    One reason is mathematical. Probabilities are tricky to calculate and even more tricky to understand. Also, it is very hard to apply probabilities in a meaningful way to a single event. What does it mean, for example, when the weather report shows a 30% chance of rain? If you run 100 computer simulations of the weather, it will rain 30 times. But in the real world, it will either rain or it won't. The problem is that we do not have complete information to start with, and that there are too many variables to predict precisely how the weather will evolve over time. Without sufficient information, we have to approximate, and we are left with a range of possible outcomes and probabilities. As Niels Bohr observed, "Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future."

    Another difficulty is that predicting case outcomes involves human beings, and we are a notoriously capricious species. At the outset of a case, the lawyer may not know whether the client can get needed evidence, or whether she can remember her testimony, or how a witness will behave. Also, the lawyer may not know who the fact finder will be (with Immigration Court cases, we usually know in advance; for Asylum Office cases, we never know until the day of the interview). Also, what if the fact finder is in a particularly good or bad mood on the day of the case? Or what if she is hungry during the case (one Israeli study famously correlated favorable parole decisions to whether the judge had recently eaten lunch!)? These "human factors" can greatly affect the decision, and few of them can be known in advance, which again makes predicting difficult.


    That's not to say we know nothing about the likelihood of success. For Immigration Court cases, there is data available about the grant rates of individual Judges. Also, there is some data available about Asylum Office grant rates. Of course, all of this is very general and does not necessarily bear much relationship to the likely outcome in a given individual's case, but I suppose it's better than nothing.


    As a lawyer, once you get a sense for asylum cases, you can at least give the client some idea about the outcome. I can tell a strong case from a weak case, for example. If the client has a lot of credible evidence, has suffered past persecution on account of a protected ground, and faces some likelihood of future harm, the client has a strong case. The most I will say to such a prospective client is that, "If the adjudicator believes that you are telling the truth, you should win your case." I might also say that since the corroborating evidence is strong, it is likely that the adjudicator will believe the claim.


    I do think there is a basic human desire behind the question about the chances for success, and that is the desire for certainty. Asylum cases now take years, and it is very difficult to live your life for so long under the threat of deportation. When the clients ask about the likelihood of success, I know part of what they want is reassurance. Even if the case is weak, they want to feel like they have a chance. They want to feel that what they are building in the U.S. while they wait for a decision will not all be lost. How, then, do we balance the need for certainty with providing an honest evaluation of the case?


    For my clients, I try to give them both honesty and hope. In the beginning, I give the client my honest assessment of the case and the likelihood of success. Knowing my assessment (whether it is good or bad), if the client decides to go forward, my focus shifts to creating the strongest case possible with the facts and evidence available, and to helping reassure the clients so they feel some hope. I try to encourage the client to do what is within their power to make the case better: Gather evidence, talk to witnesses, find experts, etc. At least this helps empower the client a bit, and it gives them some agency over their case outcome.


    Different lawyers do things differently, and there are probably many "right" ways to balance realism and hope. There are also wrong ways. Any lawyer who "guarantees" you will win an asylum case is a lawyer you should avoid. No lawyer can guarantee a win because we do not make the decisions--the government does. Also, lawyers who make dubious promises ("I am good friends with your Judge, so I can get you a quicker hearing date") are probably lying to get your business. Be careful, and remember that offers that seem too good to be true probably are. For all its flaws, the American immigration system is largely free from corruption. Lawyers don't have special relationships with adjudicators that can change outcomes or speed adjudication. When a lawyer oversells hope at the expense of realism, you are safer to seek a different attorney; one who is more interested in telling the truth than in selling you his services.


    So when a prospective client asks me the chances for success, I'll try to give the best evaluation I can, so that the person can make an informed choice about whether to file an asylum case. Once the case is started, I will try to address weakness and gather evidence to maximize the chances for a win. I will also try to encourage the client, so that she has some hope during the long wait.

    Originally posted on the Asylumist: www.Asylumist.com.
  5. ICE Stigmatizes Mexican and Other Mainly Hispanic Immigrants by Publishing List of Mostly Minor Criminal Offenses. Roger Algase

    Update: March 24, 3:03 pm.

    For more information on the topic discussed below, see David Nakamura, reporting in the Washington Post on March 24:

    Blame game: Trump casts immigrants as dangerous criminals, but the evidence shows otherwise

    (Sorry, I do not have a direct link. Please go to Google to access.)

    The WP article describes an intense and concerted attempt by the Trump administration to brand mainly Mexican and other Latin American immigrants as criminals, something which has a very dangerous and disturbing 20th century historical precedent discussed below.

    Meanwhile, while ICE continues to focus on how many Mexican and other Latin American immigrants are being charged with or convicted of crimes such as DUI, traffic violations, minor drug offenses or possession of "obscene material" (see my discussion of the ICE report described below), two thirds of Americans surveyed want an independent commission to investigate the link between Trump's campaign and Russia, according to the latest poll.

    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/0...mission-236470

    Which of these two issues, Trump's alleged ties with Russia, or the number of petty crimes that may have been convicted by Mexican immigrants, are more important for the safety of America and the survival of our democracy?

    My original comment follows:

    In my ilw.com comment on March 3, I wrote about the disturbing parallels between Donald Trump's February 25 executive order requiring DHS to publish lists of crimes which immigrants have been convicted for or charged with committing, and lists of crimes allegedly committed by Jews which appeared in Germany prior to 1945, especially in the notorious newspaper Der Stuermer, whose publisher, Julius Streicher, was executed as a war criminal after the end of WW2. See:

    http://blogs.ilw.com/entry.php?9745-...y-Roger-Algase

    I am not the only commentator who has made this comparison. See David Jose Camacho, writing in The Guardian, March 22:

    Trump's weekly list of 'immigrant crimes' is as sinister as it sounds

    https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...er-deportation

    Nor was the extreme case of Germany prior to 1945 by any means the only example of targeted ethnic groups being stigmatized as "criminals". America also has a long and well documented history of branding Italian, Irish, Jewish and other unpopular immigrant groups as criminals in order to justify prejudice and discrimination against them.

    http://immigrationtounitedstates.org/451-crime.html

    What is most noteworthy about at least the first of the weekly lists announced by ICE pursuant to Trump's executive order, however, is how trivial most (but not all) of the offenses on the list actually are.

    It is almost as if the purpose of Trump's crime list publication order was to show that while Mexican and other Hispanic and Caribbean immigrants may have a high rate of traffic offenses and possession of drugs (or, horror of horrors, even "obscene" material - that is also on the list!), most of the offences listed in at least the first ICE weekly report, for the period January 28 to February 3, 2017 were not for violent or dangerous crimes.

    This is a far cry from Donald Trump's campaign attacks on Mexican and by extension other Latino immigrants as 'criminals" and "rapists". and his mass deportation executive orders as president ostensibly targeting "criminal aliens".

    The full 35 page ICE report can be accessed by following the link on the word "report" in the above cited article in The Guardian. A more detailed discussion of the report follows below.

    The report, ostensibly, is not intended to be a crime list per se, but a list of counties in various US states ("non Federal jurisdictions") which have released non-US citizens (described in the report by the pejorative term "aliens" which first appeared in America's laws more than 200 years ago, when attitudes toward residents or immigrants of non-European ancestry were quite different from what they are now) which have released non-US citizens convicted, or even merely charged, with various crimes despite ICE detainers which had been placed on them.

    On the surface, therefore, the report is directed against the various law enforcement agencies around the country which refuse to honor federal detainers.

    But when one looks at the actual list of convicted or alleged crimes by the individuals who were released, it is apparent that ICE did not omit listing the country of origin in each case, so it would be clear which countries and parts of the world the "aliens" accused or convicted of crime on the list come from.

    Not surprisingly, in view of Trump's campaign speeches, the defendants listed (by offense, not by name) are overwhelmingly from Mexico and Central America.

    So what kind of offenses are included in the list? I looked at a random sampling of 10 pages from the list (6 though 15), showing a total of 110 cases where a foreign citizen was released despite a federal detainer. By far the most frequently listed offense was DUI.

    Other listed offenses included, "Traffic Offense", "Failure to Appear" "Violation of a Court Order", "Probation Violation" and "Indecent Exposure".

    Yes, ICE actually attempted to deport a Central American immigrant for Indecent Exposure - maybe on the same plane as the South American immigrants convicted of "Possession of Obscene Material" and of a "Traffic Offense", respectively!

    This is not to say that all of the charges or convictions listed were minor. There were a number of Assault, Aggravated Assault and Sex Assault cases as well, as well as Domestic Violence cases. Clearly, not every immigrant on whom ICE has put a detainer is necessarily a candidate for sainthood.

    But one thing is clear from the above sample. America now has a sitting president (the first one I am aware of in my lifetime, which has included 13 presidents so far) who is now under investigation by the FBI himself - for his alleged ties to Russia.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/20/u...omey.html?_r=0

    Clearly, this president wants Americans also to be aware of the potential danger to our society and our country posed by Mexican immigrants charged with DUI, traffic offenses and "Possession of Obscene Material".
    _______________________________
    Roger Algase is a New York Immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School who has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from diverse parts of the world obtain work visas and green cards for more than 35 years. Roger's email address is algaselex@gmail.com

    Updated 03-24-2017 at 04:07 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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