ILW.COM - the immigration portal Immigration Daily

Home Page


Immigration Daily

Archives

Processing times

Immigration forms

Discussion board

Resources

Blogs

Twitter feed

Immigrant Nation

Attorney2Attorney

CLE Workshops

Immigration books

Advertise on ILW

VIP Network

EB-5

移民日报

About ILW.COM

Connect to us

Make us Homepage

Questions/Comments


SUBSCRIBE

Immigration Daily


Chinese Immig. Daily




The leading
immigration law
publisher - over
50000 pages of
free information!
Copyright
© 1995-
ILW.COM,
American
Immigration LLC.

View RSS Feed

All Blog Entries

  1. NOVEMBER 2013 VISA BULLETIN

    by , 10-10-2013 at 01:36 PM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)
    by Chris Musillo

    The Department of State has just released the November 2013 Visa Bulletin. This is the second Visa Bulletin of the 2014 US Fiscal Year, which began on October 1, 2013.

    The All Other Countries EB-3 date jumped about three months from July 2010 to October 1, 2010. The Chinese EB-2 and EB-3 dates each progressed several months.

    Unfortunately the Indian and Philippine EB-2 and EB-3 remained stuck exactly where they were for the October 2013 Visa Bulletin.

    Here is the chart:

    November 2013 Visa Bulletin
    All Other Countries
    China
    India
    Philippines
    EB-2
    Current
    08OCT08
    15JUN08
    Current
    EB-3
    01OCT10
    01OCT10
    22SEP03
    15DEC06

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

    Updated 10-10-2013 at 01:39 PM by CMusillo

  2. Immigration: While Washington Waffles, California Acts!

    http://shusterman.com/images/jerry-brown-california-seal-570x3871.jpg
    In October, California Governor Jerry Brown signed 9 immigration bills into law. This stands in marked contrast to the U.S. House of Representatives which has yet to pass a Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill since the Senate passed one on a bipartisan basis last June.

    One bill that Governor Brown signed will allow undocumented immigrants to apply for drivers licenses. This legislation was strongly supported by the law enforcement community. At present, many of the undocumented fear that if they are involved in a traffic accident or if they are pulled over for a moving violation, they will be turned over to ICE and deported. Starting on January 1, 2015, they will be able to apply for Drivers Licenses. Law enforcement officials predict the number of hit and run accidents will decline, and that more of the undocumented will be able to purchase insurance.

    Governor Brown stated: “When a million people without their documents drive legally and with respect in the state of California, the rest of this country will have to stand up and take notice. No longer are undocumented people in the shadows.”

    It should be noted that the new driver licenses will contain markings indicating that the holder is undocumented. Thus, they cannot be used to qualify for governmental benefits. However, undocumented drivers will no longer have to worry about their cars being impounded or being turned over to ICE for minor traffic offenses.

    A number of other states have also enacted similar law this year.

    In addition, Governor Brown signed the Trust Act which prohibits local enforcement officials from turning people arrested for minor violations over to the Federal Government for deportation. Many states have balked at the so-called Secure Communities program which is supposed to allow ICE to place immigration holds on those convicted of serious offenses. Unfortunately, many persons charged with minor offenses have been turned over to ICE and deported, even though the charges against them were dropped. Interesting enough, former DHS Security Janet Napolitano urged the Governor to sign this legislation.

    It is time to recognize that most of the people that we call the “undocumented” are good people who have come to the United States to find work and support their families. Most of our agricultural industry as well as our hotels, restaurants and many other businesses would close down immediately if the government suddenly deported all of those lacking the proper paperwork. The current administration has deported more people during the past 5 years than were deported in the previous 50 years, but an enforcement-only approach will not solve the problem.

    Throughout most of U.S. history, there were no quotas of the number of people who could immigrate to our country. These days, the number of people on waiting lists to legalize their status number in the millions, and many of them live and work in the U.S.

    I am a former INS prosecutor, and am certainly not an advocate of “open borders”, but the present situation calls for immediate action. Deport those who are security risks or have serious criminal records. Let the rest pay fines, file income tax returns, learn English and wait in line for green cards. Provide a pathway to citizenship. It’s time to be realistic and I am proud that California is leading the way.

    As Governor Brown stated when he signed the new drivers license bill into law, “Hopefully, it will send a message to Washington that immigration reform is long past due.”

    Amen!

    Subscribe to our free, monthly e-mail newsletter, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.

    Updated 12-02-2013 at 12:15 PM by CShusterman

  3. The Tea Party's Threat to Immigration, and Obama's Weakness. By Roger Algase


    Update, 9:25 pm, October 12


    The media are now reporting that the two Senate leaders, Harry Reid (D-NV) and Mitch McConnell, (R-KY), are trying to negotiate a way out of the government shutdown and debt ceiling crises. There may be bumps along the way, but at least it is reassuring that two grownups are in the room, neither of whom wants to blow up the government or the economy for ideological reasons.

    But, as I mentioned in my last update, suppose they reach a deal and it gets through the Senate, just as CIR did based on the bipartisan Gang of Eight negotiations (which now seem like such ancient history).

    Will the Tea Party supporters in the House also declare a deal to reopen the government and avoid a debt default catastrophe Dead on Arrival when it gets to that chamber? Having said the above, I don't want to overdo the comparison between CIR and the current shutdown/default crisis. There is a difference.

    CIR's problems stem mainly from right wing Republican racism. while the debt ceiling/government shutdown debacle is the result of right wing Republican class warfare - against middle-class and less well-off Americans, not only immigrants. But immigrants are especially at risk if the government stays shut down and the economy tanks for a variety of reasons, as I will discuss in more detail in a forthcoming post.

    Update, 2:20 pm, October 12:

    The Washington Post and Politico both report that President Obama and the House GOP leaders are no longer talking about resolving the shutdown/debt ceiling crisis, and that Senate Democrats are rejecting the more "reasonable", but still extortionate demands to make changes in the ACA and budget proposed by "cooler heads" among Senate Republicans.

    But even if moderate Republicans in the Senate were able to reach a deal with the Democrats to reopen the government and avert a possible financial catastrophe by raising the debt ceiling for a few months, what chance would such a deal have in the Tea Party - dominated House?

    In June, 2013 both parties were able to come to agreement in the Senate (which could well be called the "Sane-ate") and pass an imperfect, but still reasonable, CIR bill. Look what happened to it when it reached the Loony House.

    More and more, the fate of immigration reform is turning out to be a template for what is now happening on a larger scale, and is already causing hardship and suffering to millions of Americans as well as immigrants, and according to many reputable economists, could lead to the beginning of the worst financial disaster in history only a few days from now.

    If immigration supporters, the media and the public in general, had been more willing to call the Tea Party-controlled House Republicans out for their bigoted disregard of the wishes of the great majority of the American people for immigration reform; if President Obama had drawn a line in the sand on reform by suspending all deportations, not just those for DREAMER's, the moment that the House leadership proclaimed CIR "Dead on Arrival" this past summer, then the Tea Party might not be expecting him to cave in at the last minute on the debt ceiling and reopening the government now.

    But the president, by going ahead with business as usual on deportations for non-DREAMER's, and, to be honest, even many immigration supporters (not to mention most of the media), by giving the House GOP the benefit of the doubt even as it was strangling immigration reform "piecemeal", allowed the Tea Party's cancer of obstruction and intransigence to grow. Soon all of America, and the entire world, may be feeling the effects.


    Update, 8:38 am, October 11:

    The Washington Post reports (No deal, but signs of progress after Obama, GOP, talk, October 10) that House Republicans have offered the president a six-week raise in the debt ceiling without ending the government shutdown.
    In contrast, Senate Republicans are reportedly considering a proposal that would raise the debt ceiling and reopen the government both for three months. The Senate proposal, if there is one, may have a few germs of willingness to talk in good faith, but the House proposal is nothing more than an insult to Obama and the American people. It is continued hostage-taking, as fears of a financial collapse and suffering on the part of ordinary people from the shutdown continue to spread.

    The House leaders and their Tea Party masters apparently believe that Obama is a weak president and can be rolled if they continue their obstruction long enough. If one focuses only on immigration, as this blog does, they have ample justification for this conclusion.

    Otherwise, why would the president have gone overboard during the past nearly five years to carry out the far right wing agenda of deporting as many people as possible? Why is the administration still arresting and trying to deport people without letup, held back only by shutdown-caused Immigration Court backlogs, while the Labor Department's PERM and H-1B LCA systems, without which many skilled immigrants will not be able to extend their stays or apply for green cards, are closed for the duration of the shutdown?

    If Obama were a strong president, he would say to the Republicans: "OK, I cannot stop you from having your shutdown, but don't expect me to carry out your deportation agenda while the shutdown lasts."

    He would also have told that House GOP Neanderthals who have been presiding over the slow death of immigration reform all summer and fall that not one single immigrant (other than someone who presents a clear danger to society) will be arrested or deported until a clean CIR bill, without any enforcement-only gimmicks or poison pills, passes the House and reaches his desk.

    By failing to use his executive power over immigration to fight against Tea Party's intransigence, President Obama has signaled his weakness on other issues as well. Now, not only immigrants, but millions of Americans who are affected by the shutdown and will have good reason to fear a financial meltdown if House Republicans continue to play games with the debt ceiling are paying the price.

    Update: 5:30 pm, October 10:

    Politico reports at about 4:00 pm on Thursday, October 10, that there is "actual movement" in Congress toward resolving the debt ceiling and shutdown crises. According to Politico, cooler heads among Senate Republicans, especially Susan Collins, a moderate from Maine and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Kentucky) are stepping in with more reasonable proposals which would defuse the twin crises without giving into Tea Party extortion and its attempts to overturn the Constitutional principle of majority rule in America upon which our immigration system, and our democracy, depend. Stay tuned!

    My original post follows:

    No one will dispute that immigration reform is still alive or that the overwhelming majority of the American people want to allow 11 million immigrants to come out of the shadows of fear and hopelessness in order to become full members of society. Immigration supporters are still trying to put pressure on the House to pass a CIR bill, and courageous liberal Congressmen are willing to be arrested in support of immigrant rights.

    But, important as these developments are, they are only sidelines compared to the most significant immigration-related story of all. If we really want to know what the future of immigration reform, and even immigration as we know it today will be, we have to look to what is going on with the government shutdown and the fight over the debt ceiling.
    As goes the Affordable Health Care Act, so will go immigration in America.

    If a determined far right wing group such as Heritage Action, financed by the Koch brothers (to the tune of $500,000, according to the Washington Post article mentioned below) and other wealthy donors whose names the Supreme Court has allowed organizations like Heritage to keep secret, has the power to nullify a duly enacted law of Congress such as the ACA by going outside the Constitution to engage in political extortion, what would stop it from nullifying CIR in the same way if reform ever passes?

    There is no question that Heritage, and the Tea Party which Heritage supports with its abundant cash, detest the ACA. Why the wealthy white men who form the base of these and other similar right wing extremist organizations are so desperate to deny health care coverage to 30 million less affluent Americans and legal immigrants, many of whom are not white, is beyond the scope of this blog, and I will not engage in speculation about this issue except to make one comment as an aside:

    ACA opponents are now chortling about the computer system fiasco which was apparently responsible for shutting down its website. For those of us in the immigration community who have have to deal with past headaches with the DOL's H-1B LCA system, or with the DOS's notorious DS-160 visa application software, the ACA's computer system breakdown should come as no surprise.

    The obvious solution would be to open up the H-1B system so that the best IT professionals from India and every part of the world would be available to fix the problem. This is not to say that America has no qualified people in this field. But what would have been wrong with getting the most highly qualified help from outside in order to protect against this type of technical problem, which must have been anticipated?

    No such chance of course, because not only are the H-1B visas for this new fiscal year 2014 long since used up, but the entire H-1B system is now inoperative because of the DOL shutdown, since no LCA's can be filed or certified.

    This leads to the other favorite bugaboo of the Tea Party and its Heritage Action supporters - immigration in all its forms. Heritage Action is now hogging the headlines because of the outsized power that its 31 year-old chief executive, Michael Needham, has to shut down the government and possibly cause a world-wide financial meltdown. See Dana Millbank's October 9 Washington Post story: The shutdown's enforcer in chief.

    www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dana-millbank-the-shutdowns-enforcer-in-chief-/2013/10/09/0b86d924-312d-11e3-89ae-16e186e117d8_story.html

    The stunning arrogance of a single right wing zealot who, with some justification, thinks that he has the entire US government under his thumb, if not the world's economy, makes chilling reading.

    But it is only a few months since another Heritage campaign, namely to nip CIR in the bud by publishing a mendacious study claiming that legalization would cost the economy $5 trillion, almost succeeded. It only failed because one of its authors turned out to be a dyed-in the wool racist with a Harvard Ph.D who believed that Latinos are genetically inferior to whites.

    If right wing extremist groups such as Heritage Action and the Tea Party succeed in nullifying America's democracy by forcing the President to back down on the ACA, or on other issues that these organizations' rich donors are interested in, through extra-Constitutional means, what would stop them from doing the same thing to CIR if it ever passes? What would stop them from defunding or forcing the government to delay implementing a hypothetical CIR law, or even to adopt the entire harsh right wing extremist anti-immigrant agenda - state and local immigration enforcement - criminalizing all immigration violations - eliminating birthright citizenship for all US-born children - as the price of keeping the government open or allowing it to pay its bills?

    This is why anyone concerned about immigration reform, and the entire future of immigration in America, should be following the news about the Tea Party's government shutdown and its attempt to wreck both America's economy and democracy by throwing the country over the cliff into default with a very high degree of concern.

    As a final note, if, as most knowledgeable and responsible economic experts are urgently warning, the US economy goes into a depression because of a Tea Party caused federal government debt default, guess who will be made the inevitable scapegoats? They will not be Heritage Action's anonymous wealthy white donors, we can be sure.

    What will happen to immigration reform, and even immigration as we know it now, in that case?



    Updated 10-12-2013 at 08:45 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  4. MANAGING LCA ISSUES DURING THE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

    by , 10-09-2013 at 09:50 AM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)
    by Chris Musillo
    The issues described in this MU Visa Advisor are complex and very much driven by the facts of your case. Please do not hesitate to contact MU Law if you have any questions about these issues.

    The Federal Government Shutdown has caused the Department of Labor to furlough about 80% of its workforce. As a result the DOL’s iCert System, which is the manner through which LCAs are filed, has been turned off. It is impossible to file LCAs, leading to many questions from H-1B employers.

    Background: The LCA System

    The Labor Condition Application (LCA) is the centerpiece of the H-1B program. It serves two primary functions. First, it forces the H-1B employer to certify that the wage that it is offering to pay the H-1B worker is not lower than similar US workers. Second, the LCA includes a mandatory mechanism whereby H-1B employers must notify potential US workers of their right to contact the Department of Labor (DOL) if they believe that the H-1B employer is engaging in prohibited behavior.

    There are two ways that the LCA is utilized in the H-1B process. First, new H-1B petitions must be submitted with an LCA that has been certified by the DOL. Second, if an employee is going to change worksites, the employer must provide new Notice to the workers at this new worksite. In some instance, the H-1B employer must file a new LCA with the DOL and wait the seven days for the DOL to certify the new LCA. In other instances, the H-1B employer must not only obtain a new certified LCA but must also file a new H-1B.

    The Government Shutdown

    Unfortunately with the government shutdown the DOL has shuttered the LCA system. It is impossible to file LCAs. The DOL has not given the public any guidance on how to handle new H-1B petitions nor how to handle new situations where a new LCA is required.

    On account of the fact that LCAs cannot be filed, H-1B employees should not change worksites in instances where a new LCA would normally be required. This is the safest approach. Once the government shutdown ends, H-1B employers can file an LCA and the employee can move once the new LCA is certified and in place.

    On the bright side there are some instances when a new LCA is not required.

    1. When H-1B workers change worksites, but the new worksite is still within the prior LCA metropolitan area, a new LCA is not required. An H-1B employer must still post notice at the new worksite.

    2. The LCA rules allow H-1B employees to work at new worksites when the new worksite is peripatetic or very short-term. For example a new certified LCA is not required if an H-1B employee is attending meetings for a few days in a new location.

    If business needs demand that an H-1B must change worksites, then the H-1B employer must be aware that it may be technically violating law, although a legal argument could be made that compliance with the law was impossible on account of the shutdown. Penalties can range from $1,000 - $35,000 per violation. Debarment from the H-1B program could also occur. After considering these potential penalties, an H-1B employer still feels compelled to move the H-1B worker, we urge that H-1B employers take all three of these additional measures to mitigate risk:

    · Make sure to post LCA posting. Even though we would not be able to file an LCA, we would still be able to post Notice at the destination worksite. We can prepare the Notice Posting for you.
    · File an LCA at the conclusion of the shutdown.
    · File an amended H-1B at the conclusion of the shutdown and the certification of the new LCA.

    Read the Musillo Unkenholt Healthcare and Immigration Law Blog at www.musillo.com or www.ilw.com. You can also visit us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  5. Bordering on the Absurd: Immigration Expertise Lacking at U.S. Border Agency

    by , 10-09-2013 at 09:15 AM (Angelo Paparelli on Dysfunctional Government)


    [Blogger's note: Today's post offers a shocking analysis of how the decision by Congress some ten years ago to combine the functions of U.S. Customs, Immigration and Agricultural inspectors into a single agency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), has led to disastrous consequences for applicants seeking admission to the U.S. under our nation's immigration laws. Written by a senior DHS official, now retired, shows how the supremacy of Customs over Immigration has created an error-prone, inexperienced corps of immigration officers within CBP]

    Bordering on the Absurd: Immigration Expertise Lacking at U.S. Border Agency
    By Incognito

    Once upon a time there was a government agency called the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), which many people hated. INS critics called upon Congress to restructure the agency, thinking that all faults would go away if that happened. Congress finally did a major restructuring, creating the Department of Homeland Security and abolishing INS. A funny thing happened on the way to restructuring, as Congress did what Congress meant to do, and not exactly as the INS critics meant for Congress to do.

    The INS inspections function transferred to the Office of Field Operations (OFO) in a new agency called U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). An unintended consequence was that the observed level of immigration expertise has dropped alarmingly in CBP’s new OFO. How may this have happened?

    With any merger, there must be a melding of corporate cultures. Immigration inspectors had been part of the Department of Justice, Customs inspectors had been part of the Treasury Department, and Agriculture inspectors had been part of the Agriculture Department. With the common goal envisioned by DHS, the expectation that within a relatively short period, perhaps 1 – 3 years but not more than 5 years, the several cultures would unite into one common purpose.

    Relatively quickly, with political backing, agriculture inspectors reestablished themselves and their mission as being unique. Their critical mission has thrived in the new agency, as better resources and inspection techniques have allowed this OFO/CBP component to better protect against invasive species.

    On Day One, March 1, 2003, it was clear, however, that the former U.S. Customs Service had won the decades-old tension with INS over which agency’s culture and structure was better suited to take over the border inspections program. Ninety per cent or more of OFO/CBP’s top managers came from Customs. The expectation was that the Customs and Immigration missions would be performed adequately by the same officers. Ten years later, this realistic expectation has not been met, as observed by immigration practitioners.

    Consider this:

    In the beginning, the attitude among legacy Customs people was that the reason there was DHS restructuring was because INS had admitted alien terrorists who had carried out the 9/11 atrocities. As Congress had abolished INS as an agency, the perceived judgment was that all things Customs were good, and all things INS must be bad and not to be trusted. Also, if INS had not let “those aliens” into the country, terroristic activities would not have happened. The solution appeared obvious – just don’t let aliens into the country. However, that simple answer didn’t work, given the hundreds of millions of visitors to the country each year. Therefore, the new CBP culture fostered the idea of figuring out some reason, any reason, to not admit an alien. This culture also fit the mind-set of the INS cowboys who had made up a sub-set of the INS inspections program.

    There were a certain number of INS district, regional, and headquarters personnel who transferred to CBP. The question became, what should be done with them? After all, Customs had operated since 1789 without that resource. In that way, former INS managers, who previously had managed port of entry operations, found themselves suddenly stripped of wide-ranging responsibilities and assigned duties of little importance. Not fired, and not particularly valued, their presence was merely tolerated by the dominant culture of the new agency. Although many (especially younger field supervisors) have survived the new culture, some transferred to other agencies, and more retired when that option became available. CBP failed to stem the loss of that valuable immigration resource, with the predictable result that the quality of meaningful oversight of immigration decisions has lessened greatly.

    Similar things happened to the attorney resource that transferred from INS to CBP. The overwhelming perception from attorneys who transferred was that CBP’s Office of Chief Counsel (OCC) did not value them as attorneys knowledgeable about immigration issues, but merely as positions that could eventually be filled with the personnel that Customs wanted all along in those slots. Part of that thought came from the reality that the journeyman grade for an INS attorney was GS-14, while journeymen Customs attorneys were only GS-13s. OCC welcomed the higher graded positions, but not the incumbents. Attrition worked its toll, through transfers and retirements, quickly resulting in diminished immigration expertise in OCC. Not to worry though, because when responsibility for legal counsel on immigration inspections issues was transferred to OCC, OCC attorneys attended a two hour briefing. Emerging from the briefing, OCC deemed themselves competent to advise on all immigration complexities. Contributing to the problem, as GS-14 and -15 level former INS attorneys left CBP, they were not replaced with experienced OCC (government) attorneys, but with new kids just out of law school. Bright people, but, nonetheless, new kids on the block having no experienced immigration attorneys to mentor them.

    Are things better now? At least one field office of Associate Chief Counsel, when presented with an immigration question, simply declines to answer but refers the issue to Headquarters OCC. More than one former immigration attorney from the former INS/DOJ structure who transferred to the DHS structure has deplored the alarming lack of immigration competence in CBP’s OCC. From this, a casual observer may conclude that if OCC ever had a goal of maintaining or developing immigration expertise, it has fallen short of realizing that goal.

    Lack of knowledgeable oversight has made meaningful decision-making review more difficult. In the old INS structure, the entire chain of command, from port of entry management, to the INS district, regional, and headquarters offices, consisted of career immigration officers. The chain of command managers had the knowledge to discern weaknesses in cases when apparent ineligibilities had developed at lower levels. With expertise gained through time had come the additional experience of making decisions involving discretionary authorities. In the new CBP environment, top managers were most likely (90%) to have come from legacy Customs and had neither the experience nor the expertise to spot weaknesses in questionable immigration cases. Also, with the old INS cowboys contributing their version of law and procedure, their attitude of “The only good alien is a refused alien” gained greater dominance.

    Nor were the former Customs managers comfortable exercising discretionary authorities. The Customs culture, dealing with goods and merchandise, had developed a “good or bad” mentality. If something was good, or permitted, it was allowed entry. If something was bad, it either was not permitted entry, or penalized in some way. Therefore, the concept of detecting an inadmissible alien, but permitting that person to continue into the United States, was difficult to adjust to. Much easier just to send the inadmissible alien home, rather than take a chance of having a discretionary decision questioned by that manager’s chain of command, or agonizing whether the person who had been allowed to travel may commit some further sin.

    Contributing to the reluctance of offering discretion is the Customs culture of hanging officers out to dry for the slightest perceived infraction. Over decades, this culture had trained the Customs chain of command to pass the buck when a decision was even slightly out of the ordinary. Not having been trained to make discretionary decisions, and, in fact, having been trained to not make discretionary decisions, it is little wonder that exercising discretion was such a difficult concept to embrace.

    Over the years, criticism of discretionary decisions is no longer limited to those from the chain above. Line officers have made reports to internal affairs that supervisors are abusing discretion authority in favor of aliens thought to be inadmissible by line officers. First and second line supervisors are now damned if they do and damned if they don’t, both by chain of command or internal affairs second guessing.

    Faced with diminishing immigration expertise in OFO/CBP, and with increasing negative publicity about poor decisions at ports of entry, former Commissioner Basham asked a Headquarters working group why “immigration” seemed to be such a dirty word. The answer should have come easily from OFO/CBP’s top managers, many of whom had developed well-deserved reputations in Customs of having little regard for immigration issues and immigration personnel. Although publicly articulating allegiance to the combined immigration and customs missions, their actions spoke loudly in exposing their prejudices against that “immigration” dirty word. Is it any wonder then that line officers, trained observers as they are, pick up on the non-verbal clues noticed by Commissioner Basham when he asked why “immigration” seemed to be such a dirty word in OFO/CBP? It takes a truly determined effort for any individual officer to develop immigration expertise on the officer’s own initiative when doing so takes the officer outside the dominant agency culture.

    Note also how CBP has eliminated the term “immigration” whenever possible, largely replacing discussions of “immigration” issues with “admissibility” issues. One “Day One” proposal was that the best use of officers historically assigned to immigration secondary would be to reassign that resource to more intensive baggage examinations. There have even been top-level questions of whether OFO/CBP wasn’t now past using the term “immigration officer." Those questions eased only when reminded that Congress had chosen to keep the term “immigration officer” in the INA. After all, if OFO/CBP had no one designated as immigration officers, who would make decisions about eligibility/ineligibilities under the INA?

    Also note the mid-level field manager who recently commented, “I came from Customs, and I just don’t get this Immigration stuff.” But now we’ve gone ten years down the road in the new agency, and managers still haven’t learned to properly apply Immigration issues. If legacy Customs managers still haven’t learned, where is the fault – with the manager for refusing to learn about Immigration complexities, or for the agency for not providing training and holding managers responsible for faulty chain of command decisions on immigration issues?

    The Customs culture is alive and well. The Customs culture does not hold OFO top field managers responsible for poor decisions about immigration issues. There is a cultural lack of emphasis on developing or retaining immigration expertise, in the officer corps, among OFO managers, and in OCC. Poor decisions are supported by the attitude that OFO/CBP officers’ immigration decisions are considered, in the first instance, to be correct, in spite of the numerous examples, both publicized and not, of incorrect decision making.

    CBP’ Office of Field Operations must correct its inadequacies. Immigration practitioners can help by continuing to bring cases to OFO/CBP’s attention for correction and corrective training. If these efforts fail, there may be opportunities for reform through judicial review. Eventually, Congress may step in, again.

    Updated 10-09-2013 at 09:21 AM by APaparelli

Put Free Immigration Law Headlines On Your Website

Immigration Daily: the news source for legal professionals. Free! Join 35000+ readers Enter your email address here: