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  1. Suffer the Children: Immigration Heartlessness and Hypocrisy

    by , 10-03-2011 at 07:38 AM (Angelo Paparelli on Dysfunctional Government)

    A recent televised debate revealed an immigration fault line within the GOP. Texas Governor Rick Perry's many challengers for the Republican presidential nomination railed against his decision to extend in-state tuition rates to undocumented college students, brought to the U.S. as children, who graduate from the Lone Star state's high schools. His initial reply:
    "If you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they've been brought there by no fault of their own, I don't think you have a heart."
    The line stung many conservative "activists [who] hear 'you have no heart' as a dog whistle for 'you people are racist,' which obviously enrages them," according to Steven Duffield, a former staffer to Sen. John Kyl who oversaw the writing of the 2008 Republican platform.  Within days Perry, while still defending the Texas tuition law, apologized:  "I was probably a bit over-passionate by using that word and it was inappropriate."
    The relevant questions are not really whether conservatives lack the same missing anatomical feature as the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz or whether racism drives opposition to college tuition support for children brought to America illegally by their parents.  Rather, the fundamental issue is whether a legitimate principle animates the opposition. 
    One voice reliably opposed to immigration, Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), which claims to espouse "low-immigration, pro-immigrant policies," suggests that we need to get beyond "weepy sentimentality" and instead focus on hard-headed realism:  
    The case of in-state tuition for illegal aliens who arrived here as children is a case in point. These are clearly the most sympathetic illegal immigrants, which is why advocates have been exploiting their stories in the quest for a general amnesty.
    Our hearts tell us to make accommodation for children who were brought here illegally at a very young age and who know no other country (in-state tuition specifically is just a stalking horse for amnesty for these young people in the form of the so-called DREAM Act). That is a noble and proper sentiment.
    But our heads tell us that all amnesties reward lawbreaking and serve to attract more illegal immigration. It is for this reason that amnesties must be avoided and why the push for "comprehensive immigration reform" has failed repeatedly, and will continue to fail.
    Curiously, however, Krikorian and others of like mind did not repeat that "all amnesties reward lawbreaking," when the Internal Revenue Service decided this month to waive interest, penalties and audit exposure, and accept only one-tenth of the employment taxes otherwise owed by employers who participate in its "Voluntary Settlement Classification Program." Known as the VSCP, the program is an amnesty for businesses that may have wilfully treated employees as independent contractors, thereby avoiding Social Security contributions and taxes.  Nor did Krikorkian and his ilk object when the IRS twice granted wealthy tax cheats amnesty in the form of immunity from civil and criminal prosecution who voluntarily revealed the existence of untaxed off-shore bank accounts and paid back taxes.
    When scofflaws flout their tax obligations yet are thrice forgiven by the IRS, Krikorian ought to be complaining to high heaven that federal coffers are unjustly deprived of needed revenue and that these tax amnesties "serve to attract more illegal" behavior.  His CIS colleague, Steven Camarota, has certainly shown no reluctance to allege (no matter how inaccurately) that undocumented immigrants hurt law-abiding taxpayers, but is likewise reticent when IRS announces serial amnesties that benefit businesses and the wealthy and make fools of law-abiding American taxpayers.
    On a scale of culpability, tax cheats line up nearer to mobster Al Capone, convicted of federal tax evasion, whereas DREAMers, who want no more than to gain a college education, are truly innocent and should be shown "hospitality" because we may well thereby be entertaining "angels unawares."  Instead, the federal government repeatedly forgives tax violators with nary a peep heard from the anti-amnesty crowd.
    Even more alarming, this week a federal judge, appointed by Republican President George H. W. Bush, upheld portions of a vile Alabama law that requires schools to investigate the immigration status of kindergarten through 12th grade students, notwithstanding the 1982 Plyler v. Doe decision which struck down a Texas statute barring undocumented immigrant children from primary and secondary school.  In recalling Plyler, a Washington Post editorial, "Targeting Schoolchildren," zeroed in on the damage that legislatively inscribed hatred of the other (and their children) will cause:  
    In turning the schools into immigration registrars, Alabama's new law flies in the face of good sense and settled law. The Supreme Court has specifically prohibited such registration schemes by the states aimed at immigrants, legal or illegal. And, in a ruling almost 20 years ago, it conferred on undocumented students an unfettered right to a public education through high school.
    The court did so for sensible reasons. It noted that there is no legal precedent in America for punishing children for the actions of their parents. Writing for the court in a 1982 decision squashing Texas's attempt to exclude illegal immigrants from public schools, Justice William Brennan said, "It is difficult to understand precisely what the State hopes to achieve by promoting the creation and perpetuation of a subclass of illiterates within our boundaries, surely adding to the problems and costs of unemployment, welfare, and crime."
    Apparently, Alabama didn't get the message. By forcing schools to collect and report data on the immigration status of students and their parents, the state will frighten kids away from attending school.
    True to form, CIR heralded the Alabama ruling: 
    This decision further helps the legal landscape, generally speaking, for states and localities beating open-borders and leftist warfare by litigation. It improves the prospects of other laws recently enacted in other states withstanding vicious legal attacks.
    CIR is quick to bandy the "open borders" epithet (I've been falsely dubbed an "open borders type" in a CIR blog postlast summer).  But this self-styled "non-partisan" screed poster that accuses opponents of the anti-kids Alabama law as "leftist," and Republican presidential contenders who oppose DREAMers, ought to wake up and realize that the biblical remonstration to "suffer the children" did not mean to torment them. 

  2. Supreme Court to Decide Immigration Issues this Term

    by , 10-03-2011 at 07:18 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)

    Watch the latest video at

    Taken from

    Holder v. Gutierrez (Granted) Docket: 10-1542 Issue(s): (1) Whether a parents year's of lawful permanent resident status can be imputed to an alien who resided with that parent as an unemancipated minor, for the purpose of satisfying the requirement that the alien seeking cancellation of removal have been an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence for not less than 5 years¯; and (2) whether a parent's years of residence after lawful admission to the United States can be imputed to an alien who resided with that parent as an unemancipated minor, for the purpose of satisfying the requirement that the alien seeking cancellation of removal have resided in the United States continuously for 7 years after having been admitted in any status.¯
    Certiorari stage documents:

    Opinion below (9th Cir.)
    Petition for certiorari

    Vartelas v. Holder(No. 1211): The question presented is: Whether 8 U.S.C.A. 1101(a)(13)(C)(v), which removes a legal permanent resident of his right, under Rosenberg v. Fleuti, 374 U.S. 449(1963), to make an innocent, casual, and brief¯ trips abroad without fear that he will be denied reentry, applies retroactively to a guilty plea taken prior to the effective date of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act.
  3. Letters of the Week: Oct 3 - Oct 7

    Please email your letters to or post them directly as "Comment" below.
  4. The Impact of Alabama's Harsh New Immigration Law

    by , 10-03-2011 at 06:08 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Local food supply shut off:
    Kids go to school in fear:

    video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

    Kids 'Vanishing' From Schools:

    Watch Alabama's Immigration Law Has Kids 'Vanishing' From Schools in News  |  View More Free Videos Online at
  5. PERM: Challenging Prevailing Wage Requests

    by , 10-03-2011 at 05:26 AM (Joel Stewart on PERM Labor Certification)
    Now that the prevailihng wage crisis is ending, determinations are being issued and things are getting back to normal -- well almost.
    Perhaps because of lack of training or need to do PWD's very quickly, stakeholders report a growing number of inaccurate and unusually high PW'D's.
    Determinations are very complex and much is left up to the sagacity of the officers who make them.
    The wide range of miscalculations stems from the fact that the Agency may believe there are two methods to determine prevailing wage. Employers are also partly to blame, because they do not understand how the prevailing wage should be calculated.
    The best way to learn is to download a copy of the May 9, 2005, prevailing wage guidance from the internet.  It consists of 38 pages, and should be studied carefully before filing a Prevailing Wage Request.
    The gist of the PW problem is the perception that it may be calculated in either of two different ways. According to the guidance,
    "The new requirements specify that determinations using a government survey shall be made available for each occupation at 4 levels of wages commensurate with experience, education, and the level of supervision. The SWA shall make a prevailing wage determination selecting one of the four wage levels for an occupation based on a comparison of the employer's job requirements to the occupational requirements: tasks, knowledge, skills, and specific vocational preparation (education, training, and experience) generally required for acceptable performance in that occupation."
    The Guidance goes on to say that the four levels are Entry Level, Qualified, Experienced, and Fully Competent, however, these terms are poorly defined and hard to understand. Even the titles seem inconsistent when viewed together.  For example, what is the difference between Entry Level, Qualified, Experienced and Fully Competent?  Does Entry Level describe a job with no experience requirement at all?  If the job requires a qualified applicant, wouldn't that person be experienced as well?  The vagueness of the four levels promote highly subjective determinations which can not be defended in fully objective terms.
    The second method is the step by step approach, using a point system and work sheet, which seems easier to understand, since the agency merely adds points as appropriate according to specific instructions.
    Viewing the Guidance as a whole, it seems that the Experience Level approach is not supposed to be used to determine wages. The point system must be used to obtain the appropriate Experience Level -- not the opposite.  Until this issue is resolved by BALCA (whether the Agency may rely on a vague interpretation of Wage Levels independently of the totality of points), determinations will continue to be issued haphazardly, often assigning higher levels than required.
    Employers should appeal prevailing wage determinations by using the appeal procedure outlined in the regulations. In most instances it is likely that the Agency will "correct" errors, where the point system was not used to determine the Experience Level.
    I remember one time we had a seminar on ILW.COM, and there were two speakers. This was back before January 1, 2010, when prevailing wages were still calculated by the States. One was from the Florida Prevailing Wage Unit and the other from California. The Florida officer stated that he used only the point method, and ignored the wage level  approach, while the officer from California stated that she subscribed to the opposite point of view and used the wage level analysis to override the totality of points.
    The extreme differences in approach and opinion were exacerbated prior to January 1, 2010, when the states still calculated the wages, due to the broad range of opinions, attitudes and procedures used to calculate wages either by the point method or by the wage level analysis. Employers and many attorneys with local practices grew accustomed to the pecularities of wage determinations in their individual states.
    The process has been centralized at ETA-DOL, but the federal agency has not yet come to terms with the incongruity of the two-pronged approach. PWD's do not explain which approach was used, or why, and the explanations given in the determinations do not adequately explain how the agency determined the prevailing wage. They are stated, essentially, in conclusory form with little explanation.
    If the agency does not issue determinations in accordance with the law, the Employer should argue before BALCA as outlined in the regulations. This would enable a sense of order and predictability to enter into the prevailing wage determination procedures of the agency. 
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