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  1. The Dark Side of America: This is the Secretive, Quasi-Totalitarian Face of Deportation Under Donald Trump. Roger Algase

    The Guardian reports on June 7 about a secretive detention facility originally set up under the Obama administration, and which now, under Trump, has its own immigration court staffed with hastily flown in, short term judges from elsewhere.

    The facility is located in rural Louisiana, surrounded by a forest 150 miles from the nearest city, and almost 100 miles from the nearest town, Oakdate. In this facility, unauthorized immigrants, many of whom have been picked up for minor traffic offenses, and who are detained in horrible conditions with minimal due process and, in most cases, without access to counsel, are rushed out of the country as quickly as possible.

    This is not to say that immigration detention abuses were not rife under the Obama administration. Certainly they were. But The Guardian's report indicates that, under the new administration, these abuses are systematic and are approaching totalitarian, concentration camp - like levels totally at odds with America's standing as a nation supposedly based on human rights and the dignity of the individual.

    The following are some extracts from The Guardian's story on the LaSalle detention facility. The full article is available at"

    The article begins:

    "This is the LaSalle detention facility that, since March of this year, has been holding removal proceedings for hundreds of detained migrants in courtrooms adjoining a private detention center which incarcerates more than 1,100 men and women and has the highest number of prisoner deaths America over the past two years."

    The Guardian
    then describes the situation of one of the detainees before one of the constantly rotating immigration judges who are flown in, often from far a way locations, to preside in inadequate, makeshift courtrooms for a brief time that does not allow them to become familiar with any of the assembly line of cases in front of them:

    "Marcos Ramirez Jr., sat alone before the judge, listening through a headset as the translator interpreted proceedings in Spanish. The Court heard how the Guatemalan national had lived in America for four decades after crossing the border into the US in 1980. He had been with his wife in Alabama for 15 years and had no criminal history.

    In April, Ramirez was apprehended by law enforcement for allegedly driving recklessly and without a license. The charges were enough to see him transferred to immigration detention. At a hearing earlier in May, he had been offered a bond of $7,000 but told the court on Wednesday he had no ability to pay it.

    'It has been two weeks since I heard from my wife,' he said., he said...'She has stage three cancer.' Ramirez had no idea if she was now in hospital or, by extension, whether she was dead or alive."

    What about even the most elementary due process of law at LaSalle?

    The Guardian continues:

    "According to data gathered by the Southern Poverty Law Center, only 6% of detained immigrants brought to the Oakdale court between 2007 and 2012 (which during thi period heard cases from LaSalle) had attorneys. This marked the joint lowest rate of immigration at any immigration court in the US...

    Scott [a lawyer assisting detainees at the facility] who practices in the city of Baton Rouge more than 150 miles away, said in many cases under the new setup, detainees have been brought into proceedings within two days of their arrival at the detention center, making it almost impossible to receive advice from an attorney."

    So much for any notion of "justice" at LaSalle. But what are the physical conditions like for the detainees? The Guardian reports:

    "The LaSalle has long been associated with poor standards of care and detainees regularly report substandard medical attention to researchers at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

    Among the conditions in the same article are 100 people being forced to share just three toilets, and, according to one detainee, everyone getting sick from the "disgusting" food.

    According to the same report, Jeremy Jong, another immigration lawyer working at LaSalle said:

    "Time and time again, you hear from your clients that conditions there are horrible and brutal...Detention drives a lot of people crazy, to the point where they would rather go [back] to a place that they know is dangerous, where they have no family, where they might be tortured."

    No, the above is not a description of Dachau, Buchenwald, or present-day North Korea. This is the dark side of America in the "Era of Donald Trump."

    Today, these abuses and denials of basic human rights are directed primarily at immigrants. But, if these abuses are tolerated with regard to any class of people within our borders, no matter how unpopular they may be with certain politicians and members of the public, how long will it be before they become the new normal directed against American citizens as well?

    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 receive work visas and green cards.

    Roger's main areas of practice include H-1B and O-1 work visas; and green cards through labor certification (PERM, including EB-2 and EB-3 ), extraordinary ability (EB-1) and through opposite sex or same sex marriage.

    Roger's email address is

    Updated 06-17-2017 at 05:06 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  2. New Study Shows that Refugees May or May Not Be Good for the Economy

    Studies about immigrants and refugees tend to be a sort-of Rorschach test: For those who support higher levels of migration, they show that immigrants contribute positively to our society; for those who want to restrict immigration, the same studies demonstrate that new arrivals have a negative impact on our country.
    Cost of resettling a refugee: $107,000. Taxes paid by said refugee: $130,00. Saving a human life: Priceless.
    I'm no expert, but it seems to me that part of the problem is a lack of data. Where there is a dearth of information, we tend to fill-in the blank spaces with our own hopes and fears. Think of those medieval maps that showed fanciful creatures and fabulous kingdoms just past the borders of the known world.

    The most recent attempt to quantify the economic impact of refugees comes from two professors at the University of Notre Dame: William N. Evans and Daniel Fitzgerald. Their paper, The Economic and Social Outcomes of Refugees in the United States, uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau's most recent five-year American Community Survey (2010-2014) to tease out the impact of refugees--as distinct from other immigrants--on the U.S. economy. The website Five Thirty Eight nicely summarizes the report's findings:

    [R]esearchers pulled a sample of 18-to-45-year-olds who resettled in the U.S. over the past 25 years and examined how their employment and earnings changed over time. They found that the U.S. spends roughly $15,000 in relocation costs and $92,000 in social programs over a refugee’s first 20 years in the country. However, they estimated that over the same time period, refugees pay nearly $130,000 in taxes — over $20,000 more than they receive in benefits.

    The authors found that, when compared to rates among U.S.-born residents, unemployment was higher and earnings were lower among adult refugees during their first few years in the country, but these outcomes changed substantially over time. After six years in the U.S., refugees were more likely to be employed than U.S.-born residents around the same age. The longer they live longer in the U.S., the more refugees’ economic outcomes improved and the less they relied on government assistance. While refugees’ average wages are never as high as the average for U.S.-born residents, after about eight years in the U.S., refugees aren’t significantly more likely to receive welfare or food stamps than native-born residents with similar education and language skills.

    Responses to the report were predictable. The restrictionist Center for Immigration Studies questioned the study's methodology (Steven Camarota notes that the authors did not include costs associated with education, incarceration, and law enforcement and looked only at more productive, working-age refugees). The Migration Policy Institute viewed the report as evidence that resettlement agencies help refugees become self-sufficient more quickly. Both points seem worthy of further exploration, and I hope this report will help spark more discussion.

    For my part, I have mixed feelings about the study. On the one hand, the whole idea of quantifying the economic impact of refugees seems like a vulgar exercise. We shouldn't be helping such people because we hope to gain a monetary benefit from them. We should help them because it is the right thing to do. Indeed, the notion that refugees should somehow be a financial boon to our economy debases the high ideals of our humanitarian immigration system.

    On the other hand (and in the real world), I recognize that it is critical for us to understand the impact of refugees on our country--economically, socially, and in the national security context. The report by Professors Evans and Fitzgerald seems to be a valuable contribution to this effort. Only with more information about refugees can we create rational, fact-based policies. How many refugees and asylum seekers should we admit each year? How well do such people integrate into our community? How can we ease the transition so that migrants become self sufficient more quickly? The more information we have, the better equipped we will be to answer such questions.

    To be sure, the economic aspect of refugee resettlement is only one part of the story. But it is important to better understand how refugees are integrating into our economy so we can help improve that process. It is also relevant (at least to some extent) to the debate about how many refugees we should be admitting into our country.

    These days I am not feeling overly optimistic about the quality of our public conversation on refugees (or on any other topic). It is far more common to hear hyperbole, falsehoods, and ad hominem attacks in the immigration debate than it is to find sober analysis. But at least in the economic realm, I think this report is significant. It contributes to a mounting body of evidence suggesting that immigrants and refugees help our economy more than most restrictionists would have us believe. It is also a serious piece of analytic work at a time when seriousness is sorely lacking from the discussion.

    Originally posted on the Asylumist:
    Tags: cis, economy, refugee Add / Edit Tags
  3. Missing Deadline for Providing I-9s to ICE is Costly

    By Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law PLLC

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    OCAHO’s recent decision in U.S. v. Alpine Staffing, Inc., 12 OCAHO no. 1303 (May 2017), demonstrates how untimely presentation of I-9 forms can be costly to an employer.

    Alpine Staffing is a small staffing company in Minnesota. It received a Notice of Inspection (NOI) on August 23, 2013 informing the company that it needed to present all of its I-9 forms for current employees and former employees for the past 2 years by August 29, 2013. On that date, Alpine Staffing delivered many I-9 forms to ICE. The following day Alpine Staffing discovered 271 additional I-9 forms. It immediately delivered the additional I-9 forms to ICE. On October 1, 2013, the company discovered another 39 Forms I-9 and thereafter delivered those to ICE.

    After a review of the I-9 forms, ICE issued a Notice of Intent to Fine (NIF) and then a Complaint which alleged in Court I – failure to timely present or prepare 345 Forms I-9 and Court II – company failed to ensure 132 employees properly completed Section 1 of the I-9 form and/or the company failed to properly complete sections 2 or 3 of the I-9 forms. ICE sought $367,000 in penalties.

    Alpine Staffing’s principal defense was it was unaware of a specific deadline for presentation of I-9 forms to ICE. However, this defense was belied by the fact that they presented numerous I-9 forms on August 29, 2013, the date that ICE stated the I-9 forms were due. Thus, OCAHO found all I-9 forms delivered after August 29, 2013 were untimely presented.

    OCAHO affirmed ICE’s assessment of $770 per I-9 form for the 34 instances of failure to prepare an I-9 form for those employees. However, OCAHO gave Alpine Staffing a break on the untimely presented I-9 forms. For those presented a day late, OCAHO set a penalty of $500 each, rather than $770. For those I-9 forms delivered at a later date, OCAHO set a penalty of $600 each, rather than $770. Overall, the penalty assessed for the failure to prepare or untimely present I-9 forms was set at $185,000. ICE had sought $256,000. Concerning the 130 Court II violations, OCHAO reduced the penalty from $770 to $700 per I-9 violation. Overall, OCAHO assessed penalties of $276,000. Thus, Alpine Staffing received a reduction of about 25% in penalties.

    This decision shows the importance of locating and providing all I-9 forms covered by the NOI by the deadline. The company’s error appears to be caused by the fact that their I-9 forms were not kept in one location. It is certainly best to keep all a company’s I-9 forms in one location at the company’s facility.

  4. BALCA Forgives Electronic Error

    by , 06-15-2017 at 09:54 AM (Joel Stewart on PERM Labor Certification)
    Due to a computer glitch, the last sentence of a job description on the electronic PERM form got cut off and disappeared from the Form. [1]

    When the C.O. audited the application and asked for a complete copy of the form, the employer tried to correct the deficiency by typing in the missing phrase.

    Not satisfied with the employer’s segmental approach, the Certifying Officer denied the application, saying that an electronic fowl-up could not be forgiven and, according to the regulations, employers cannot make corrections to PERM forms.

    The PERM regulation states that a substantial failure by the employer to provide documentation requested by the C.O. will result in the denial of a PERM application. The Board uses a two-part test[2] to assess the sufficiency of employer responses: (1) whether a C.O. reasonably requested the documentation, i.e., the documentation was readily, or at least reasonably available to the employer, and (2) whether the omission of this documentation is material enough to constitute a “substantial failure….to provide required documentation.”

    The Board agreed that the requirement to provide a signed copy of the form was reasonable and that the failure to provide a complete copy would normally constitute a substantial failure. However, the employer provided an affidavit stating that it had typed the entire sentence on the form and that, but for the glitch, the form would have been complete.

    The employer also pointed out that the missing language appeared elsewhere as in the prevailing wage request in part K of the PERM Form where the employer had written the foreign worker’s experience in cloned language.

    Since the failure to submit an original, completed form appeared to be an electronic error, the Board decided the omission was not material and ordered approval for the employer.

    [1]Spirent Communications, Inc., 3013-PER-2757, May 18, 2017

    [2]SAP America, Inc., 2010-PER-1250, April 18, 2013 (en banc); Accent-Media Productions, Inc., 2012-PER-712, September 23, 2015.

    Updated 06-15-2017 at 10:03 AM by JStewart

  5. Outrage Grows as ICE Arrests Iraqi Christians Who Face Danger of ISIS Genocide if Deported. Roger Algase

    POLITICO reports that outrage and fear have broken out among the Iraqi Christian community in Michigan after ICE arrested 40 members of that community in apparent preparation to send them back to Iraq, where, according to a finding by the Obama administration which Trump has not contradicted or overturned to anyone's knowledge, they could face the threat of ISIS genocide.

    This action also makes a mockery of Trump's campaign promise to protect Christian minorities in the Middle East from Islamist terror. It also undermines the entire rationale for Trump's Muslim ban executive orders, which are ostensibly aimed at barring Muslim terrorists from entering the United States.

    How would providing these same terrorists with more victims by sending them Iraqi Christians, many of whom have been living in the U.S. for decades but have been convicted mainly of minor crimes, jibe with Trump's anti-terror justification for his drastic order banning almost 200 million people from six Muslim countries from even applying for visas to enter the U.S. purely because of their nationality?

    For the full story of the inhumanity and hypocrisy in this betrayal of the president's promises to protect Middle Eastern Christians, see:

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

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