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  1. Asylum Offices Publish Waiting Times (and the News Is Not Good)

    For some time now, we've been hearing from the Asylum Division that they would post a "Scheduling Bulletin" to give affirmative asylum seekers a better idea about wait times. Well, the Bulletin has finally arrived, which is--in a sense--good news. But it's also bad news, since now we see exactly how slowly things are progressing at most asylum offices.

    First off, if you're curious about the status of your asylum office, check out the Bulletin here. What you'll see is a breakdown of each asylum office and which cases they are currently interviewing (as of July 2015). So, for example, in July 2015, the Arlington Asylum Office was interviewing cases originally filed in August 2013. The chart also lists which cases each office was interviewing over the past few months, so you can see how quickly (or not) each office is moving through its cases.

    Most geologists agree: The asylum offices are moving pretty quickly (except for Los Angeles).

    Reviewing the Bulletin, a few things jump out at me. First, and most distressing, cases are moving very slowly at most asylum offices, and a few offices--notably Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami--have made no discernible progress in the last four months. One mitigating factor here is that it's summer, a time when the Southern border is particularly busy. Hopefully, once the number of asylum seekers arriving at the border wanes (as it generally does in autumn), the asylum offices will start interviewing more backlogged cases (if you are not familiar with the "asylum backlog," please see this posting).

    Another point worth noting is that the two asylum offices with jurisdiction over the Southern border states--Los Angeles and Houston--represent the slowest and the fastest offices, respectively. Los Angeles is currently interviewing cases filed in August 2011 (which is slower than I realized--I had thought they were interviewing cases from 2012) and they have been stuck on the August 2011 cases for the last four months. On the other hand, Houston, Texas is the fastest asylum office. They are interviewing cases filed in April 2014, though they have made almost no progress in the last four months either. What's strange is that there is such disparity along the Southern border. I do not know why resources cannot be distributed more evenly to give some relief to asylum seekers at the LA office.

    The only asylum office that has shown significant movement over the last four months is New York. In April 2015, the NY asylum office was interviewing cases filed in January 2013. By July 2015, they were interviewing cases filed in June/July 2013. Newark, New Jersey has also done reasonably well, advancing from December 2012 to April 2013 during the same period.

    Rescheduled cases and cases involving children (many of the asylum seekers at the Southern border are children) receive priority over "regular" asylum cases. And according to the Bulletin, the asylum offices in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and Miami have had many such cases. Presumably this explains the lack of progress in those asylum offices.

    Finally, for people with cases pending at one of the sub offices, the Bulletin notes that it "currently does not include asylum interviews occurring outside of the eight asylum offices or the Boston sub-office (e.g. interviews occurring on circuit rides)." "Asylum offices schedule circuit ride interviews as resources permit." The Bulletin suggests that applicants contact the "asylum office with jurisdiction over your case for more detailed information" about the schedule at sub offices. You can find contact information for each asylum office here.

    So there you have it. The Bulletin will be updated monthly so you can track how quickly each asylum office is moving through the backlog. Though the current situation is discouraging, at least the Bulletin provides some information about where we stand now, and maybe some hope for those who are waiting.

    Originally posted on the Asylumist:
    Tags: asylum, backlog Add / Edit Tags
  2. Obama Admin Still Fighting to Jail Mothers and Children in Deportation Internment

    by , 08-07-2015 at 10:05 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    The Obama administration is still fighting to preserve their ability to jail refugee mothers and children in deportation internment camps.

    From Politico:

    "The Obama administration is asking a federal judge to reconsider her ruling that called for the release of tens of thousands of immigrant mothers and children who tried to crossed the southern border illegally.

    In a 60-page response filed late Thursday, Justice Department lawyers argued that family detention facilities run by the Department of Homeland Security are a necessary tool to help deter illegal migration to the United States."

    Is there any question that Obama has presided over the most anti-immigrant Presidency in the history of this country?
  3. Walker Trumps Trump In Anti-Immigrant Hypocrisy at GOP debate. By Roger Algase

    Donald Trump continues to grab the headlines for his ignorant, insulting and bombastic comments on illegal immigration in Thursday's Republican presidential debate, including his incredible statement that other Republicans never talk about this issue (which is like saying that the Green Bay Packers or Washington Redskins never talk about football).

    But the biggest danger to immigration policy presented by the current crop of Republican presidential candidates does not come from Trump and his wild claims about what border guards allegedly said to him about Mexican immigrants. It comes from Governor Scott Walker and his attack on legal immigration.

    Walker does not rant and rave or hurl insults against anybody and everybody the way Trump does. To the contrary, Walker comes across as calm and reasonable - until one looks at what he says and compares it with his actual record as governor of Wisconsin.

    When one looks closely at Walker's recent statements regarding immigration and his record as governor, Trump looks like a liberal by comparison. Walker also outdoes Trump, who sponsored almost a thousand legal immigrants from Mexico, a country which he now accuses of sending mainly rapists, criminals and drug dealers to America, in the hypocrisy department.

    At the debate, Trump repeated his previous calls to build a wall along the US-Mexico border, but he also added that there would be nothing wrong with a "big, beautiful door" in the wall to let people in. There could not be a clearer statement of support for a legal immigration system.

    Walker, on the other hand, spoke in much less dramatic terms, but one with more serious implications for the future of legal immigration:

    " the border, enforce the law, no amnesty, and go forward with a legal immigration system that gives priority to American working families and wages." (Bold added.)

    Walker's statement is a polite, non-bombastic way of suggesting that legal immigration is bad for American workers and their families. Nor is this the first time he has made such comments. At the very least, they are meant to give aid and support to those who want to curtail or destroy employment-based visas and green cards such as H-1B, L-1, E-2, O-1 and PERM, something that even The Donald has never suggested doing.

    In addition, this sudden professed interest in protecting American workers puts Walker and the top of the hypocrisy ratings, if not the top of the polls. Walker's owes his entire reputation, and his election and reelection to office, on his efforts to destroy labor unions and set back more than a century of the protections they have offered to working people in terms of job security and living wages.

    See Chicago Tribune, July 28: Walker's anti-union crusade pivotal to White House run, damaging to labor

    He is the last person in America to have a genuine concern about the living standards of American working people. While the media can argue endlessly about who scored the most, or fewest, points at the first Republican presidential debate, there can be no doubt that Governor Scott Walker walked away with the prize for anti-immigrant hypocrisy.

    Donald Trump, move over.


    Roger Algase is a New York lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants obtain work visas and green cards for more than 30 years.

    Roger's email is

    Updated 08-08-2015 at 04:18 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  4. City of Eugene Settles with OSC Concerning Restricting Jobs to U.S. Citizens

    By Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser PC

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    The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) has reached an agreement with the City of Eugene, Oregon resolving allegations that the city violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

    The investigation found that, from July 2013 to February 2015, the City of Eugene improperly restricted law enforcement positions to U.S. citizens at the time of hire, even though no law, regulation, executive order or government contract authorized such a restriction. Moreover, the investigation revealed that the City asked police officer applicants about their citizenship status with the intent to exclude any applicant who was not a U.S. citizen at the time of hire. The INAís anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from limiting jobs to U.S. citizens except where the employer is required to do so by law, regulation, executive order, or government contract.

    Under the settlement agreement, the City of Eugene must pay a civil penalty of $3,000 to the U.S. government, shall not limit police officer job openings to U.S. citizens, post OSC posters Ė ďYou Have the Right to WorkĒ, train its Human Resource employees about the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, and be subject to monitoring by the Justice Department for a period of three years concerning any changes in employment policies relating to nondiscrimination on the basis of citizenship status or national origin.

    This settlement is another example of a city or government contractor imposing job restrictions greater than allowed under the law. In the last two years, the OSC has resolved similar claims against the City of Waterloo, Iowa; Arapahoe County, Colorado Sheriffís Office; and Data Entry Company Inc., a government subcontractor.

    Updated 08-19-2015 at 10:53 AM by BBuchanan

  5. A Restrictionist's Confused, Convoluted Case for Less Immigration. By Roger Algase

    At least Donald Trump's crude rants against immigrants from Mexico, the same country from which he has sponsored almost a thousand workers himself, have some entertainment value. They have also put him in the running for the title of America's hypocrite in chief.

    In the same way, Ann Coulter's dark warnings that Hispanic and other "third world" immigrants are turning America into a "hellhole" in her latest book Adios America does not pretend to be anything more than a new addition to America's long record of anti-minority hate literature, in the tradition of Henry Ford, Father Charles Coughlin and Gerald L. K. Smith, not to mention Patrick Buchanan, whose writings have combined the anti-Semitism of these earlier propagandists with Coulter's attacks against Hispanics.

    While these transparent appeals to prejudice may grab headlines for a while, and be greeted enthusiastically by bigoted voters, especially in certain states which have tried to enact their own anti-immigrant laws, they are unlikely to have much effect on people who are looking for serious solutions to immigration policy questions.

    Trump. for example, has already been disowned by most of the leading voices within his own party, and few serious discussions about immigration are likely to refer to Coulter's book.

    The real danger to the future of immigration in America comes from a different source - arguments put forward by people who have pretensions of being serious policy analysts, who phrase their opinions in what appears to be an objective manner on the surface, but whose bias is no less real than the more openly expressed animosity of the Donald Trumps and Ann Coulters among us.

    Anti-immigrant prejudice masquerading as serious policy analysis is far more dangerous and insidious, because it has more power to influence the people who actually determine and enforce our immigration laws and regulations. An example of this is an August 4 article by Michael Brendan Dougherty, who has written for The Atlantic and other major publications, in The Week entitled: The GOP's big problem isn't Donald Trump - it's immigration.

    Dougherty begins his discussion with what has now become an almost obligatory (among immigration opponents) and inflammatory comment about sanctuary cities which "enable violent criminals to evade deportation", and then promptly moves on to a subject that has nothing to do with criminal immigrants, namely that America should "select immigrants likely to succeed in America based on their skills".

    Dougherty then goes on to conflate immigration enforcement and border security with his argument for reducing immigration in general, including legal immigration:

    "The political class has so far come up with amnesty and not much else"


    "There's been some fence building, but in 2014 the foreign born share of population in the US grew to its highest level since 1921, just before the restrictionist Immigration Act of 1924."

    Then, Dougherty makes clear that his real target is not just illegal immigration, but all immigration:

    "Nearly one in six adults in America today was born in a foreign country. As David Frum succinctly concluded, 'American immigration policy has built a population that is younger, less educated and poorer than it would otherwise have been.'"

    Dougherty of course doesn't mention the contributions that young, working legal immigrants make to social security for the benefit of older Americans. Nor does he mention the fact that many immigrants who do not have legal status would be better educated and richer if they were allowed to attend school and work, as provided for in the president's DACA program, which Dougherty dismisses as "an Obama amnesty".

    Dougherty then goes on to suggest that if America stays at the "top of the list" among countries with high levels of immigration, it may come to resemble other, less desirable, countries which have problems allegedly (in his view) resulting from excessive immigration:

    "Among countries with large foreign-born populations, America is near the top of the list. It is joined by countries that are struggling with complete regional breakdowns and refugee crises, like Lebanon, and nations where foreign workers will never have rights of citizenship and are the victims of racial caste systems, like Qatar and Kuwait.

    Is it relevant to compare the United States to Lebanon, Qatar and Kuwait? Unlike Lebanon, America is not next door to Syria (though it is next door to Mexico, which Ann Coulter thinks is a greater threat to America than ISIS), and we do have a system for allowing eligible foreign workers to become citizens. As long as we have the 14th Amendment's guarantee of birthright citizenship (which some of Dougherty's fellow restrictionists are trying to do away with) we will not have to worry about a permanent racial caste system in this country.

    Dougherty then goes on to challenge the entire foundation of immigration in America, namely the belief that immigrants can be assimilated into American society. He dismisses this idea with the following pretentious, pseudo-intellectual language:

    "America's immigration policy is partly the result of America's inflated sense of its own exceptionalism. In a sense, the can-do attitude on mass immigration is the flip side of the view that we can democratize the whole world through force of arms. If everybody can't be Americanized through migration or munitions, then America isn't America any more." (Bold added.)

    It is one thing to demonize immigrants from an entire country as "drug-dealers, criminals and rapists", as Donald Trump did after sponsoring many hundreds of immigrants from that same country for legal visas.

    But to compare peaceful immigration to this country with attempts to impose Americas values or political system on the rest of the world by force of arms is far more insidious. It is in effect saying that when the US issues a legal visa to someone it is the same as starting a war in Iraq.

    But from this extreme statement, which would make Trump and Coulter look like liberal immigration advocates by comparison, Dougherty reaches an extreme conclusion, namely that America should call a halt to all immigration, at least for the indefinite time being:

    "But it is long past time for one of America's historic pauses in mass immigration, combined with a new focus on integration and assimilation of this last great wave of immigration."

    Which "historic pause" in immigration is Dougherty referring to? The late 19th and early 20th century Chinese exclusion laws? The above mentioned 1924 Immigration Act which barred virtually all Italians, Jews, Poles, Armenians and members of every other immigrant group from the old world that did not fit into the "Nordic" racial definition?

    Dougherty has moved a long way from his original emphasis on reducing crime and enhancing border security. He is in effect saying that the great majority of immigrants. legal or illegal, are not able to assimilate into our society or fit to become Americans. We have been hearing this mantra from nativists and xenophobes for at least 150 years, from the time of the Know-Nothings. Is it any more true now than it was then?

    Apparently without trace of irony, Dougherty then concludes his argument by saying that the best way for America to reduce immigration is to emulate the point system of Canada and Australia, both ethnically diverse countries with a reputation for being immigrant friendly.

    Comparing the immigration systems of those two countries is beyond the scope of this post, but it would not be hard to find examples, especially for Canada, of policies that make it easier for many immigrants to move to that country than to the United States.

    Neither country could exactly be called an example of a "time out" on immigration.

    If Dougherty's confused, illogical and self-contradictory call for reducing immigration in the US is what passes for a serious discussion of immigration policy, then I'll take Donald Trump's ranting and raving instead any time.
    Roger Algase is a New York lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been helping mainly professional and skilled immigrants obtain work visas and green cards for more than 30 years.

    Roger's email is

    Updated 08-05-2015 at 07:00 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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