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  1. BREAKING: DOMA UNCONSTITUTIONAL!

    by , 06-26-2013 at 06:02 AM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    Hurray! More when I read the decision.
    Update: Equal protection is the winning argument as opposed to states' rights. I believe there will be a 30 day hold before you can start acting on the decision. USCIS will hopefully announce plans quickly, but no change in the law or regulations is required for them to be able to accept marriage-based applications for same sex couples. More news soon.
    Here is the link to the case - http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-307_g2bh.pdf
  2. Immigration Reform and Asylum Fraud

    As lawmakers consider changes to the asylum system, one area of concern is asylum fraud.


    If it takes one to know one, Congress should be great at eliminating fraud.



    The Senate Bill, in its current form,
    would eliminate the one-year asylum filing deadline. This deadline was
    created in an effort to stop asylum fraud. In reality (and as I discuss here),
    the one-year deadline does little to stop fraud, but often harms
    legitimate refugees. What, then, could the Senate do to help reduce
    asylum fraud? Below are a few suggestions:


    • Investigate and Prosecute Attorneys and Notarios Suspected of Facilitating Fraud
      - Based on my experience and my conversations with Asylum Officers and
      DHS attorneys, I believe that a small number of attorneys and notaries
      are responsible for a large percentage of fraud. Asylum Officers, DHS
      Attorneys, and Immigration Judges will often harbor suspicions about
      which attorneys and notaries are producing fraudulent asylum cases. The
      Government could (1) create a national database of suspected fraudsters;
      (2) question the clients of suspected fraudsters closely, in order to
      determine what role the attorney or notario played in preparing the
      case. Such information could be entered into the database to help build a
      case against the suspect; (3) if there is sufficient evidence against a
      particular fraudster, the person could be investigated; (4) attorneys
      and notarios should be prosecuted for fraud, and--where prosecution is
      not possible--a bar complaint should be filed against suspected
      attorneys; and (5) where possible, notarios should be prosecuted for
      practicing law without a license.



    • Create a Mandatory Immigration Bar - The Executive Office for Immigration Review ("EOIR") is in the process of creating an electronic registry
      for attorneys who practice before the Immigration Courts. This registry
      could be expanded into a mandatory immigration bar. Immigration Judges
      and Asylum Officers who suspect an attorney's involvement in fraud could
      submit a complaint to the bar for investigation. Also, aliens who have
      been victimized by an attorney could make a complaint to the bar
      association.*



    • Create a Mandatory Notario Registry
      - The asylum form, Form I-589, requires that the applicant give the
      name and contact information for whoever helped the applicant prepare
      the form. The I-589 form could request additional information about the
      preparer: (1) whether she charges a fee; (2) what her relationship is to
      the applicant (hired professional, friend, family member); (3) whether
      she is an attorney; (4) if she is not an attorney, whether she has
      informed the applicant that she is not an attorney; and (5) a copy of
      her photo ID. DOJ and DHS could require all hired preparers to register,
      and could track the cases they submit in a notario data base. Notarios
      who engage in bad behavior could then be punished and/or prevented from
      providing services to asylum applicants.


    It seems to me that the above
    approaches would do more to reduce fraud than the one-year asylum filing
    deadline. In my experience, the deadline does nothing to stop
    fraudulent cases.* Instead, it tends to block legitimate asylum seekers
    who are ignorant of the law, or who don't file because they hope the
    situation back home will improve. Other people miss the deadline because
    they have been traumatized in their country and they do not want to
    re-live their difficult experiences by having to prepare an asylum
    case.* One group that has been particularly hard hit by the one-year
    deadline is LGBT asylum seekers. Often, such people are not "out" when
    they come to the United States, and they need time before they are able
    to discuss their sexual orientation publicly. Another group
    disproportionately affected by the deadline is women, who often fail to
    file due to shame or lack of knowledge about the asylum system.

    Requiring notarios and attorneys to
    register, and keeping track of them, is more work than simply imposing
    an arbitrary deadline, but it would have the virtue of actually doing
    something to solve the problem.

    Originally posted on the Asylumist: www.Asylumist.com.

    Updated 07-16-2013 at 01:18 PM by JDzubow

  3. Matthew Kolken on Air with Reps. Higgins (D) and Collins (R) talking Immigration Reform

    by , 06-25-2013 at 07:33 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    I appeared on WBEN talk radio this morning and had the opportunity to speak to Western New York's two Representatives in Congress, Chris Collins (R- Clarence) and Brian Higgins (D- Buffalo).

    Congressman Collins indicated that he would be willing to vote for reform that included a pathway to citizenship for DREAMers, and a pathway to legalization for the estimated 11 million undocumented people living in our country remarking that we need to "get our head out of the sand, these 11 million people are not going to go away on their own." Cong. Chris Collins (R- Clarence).

    Congressman Higgins was similarly pragmatic stating that he would be willing to consider a piecemeal approach to immigration reform indicating that "We can find the balance here in providing a legal pathway to citizenship, and continuing to realize the great economic benefits of immigration not only throughout the nation, but right here in Western New York." Cong. Brian Higgins (D- Buffalo).

    I couldn't be more proud of Western New York's two Representatives in Congress. 
    Click here for the audio from the appearance.
  4. Bloggings: Going Paperless! New Arrival/Departure-Record I-94 Process for Foreign Visitors, by Danielle Beach-Oswald



     
    The most
    significant white I-94 card stapled to the visa of passports for nonimmigrant
    foreign nationals in land and seaports around the United States is a familiar
    image to many travelers.  This form is
    used to prove admission to the United States and determines the length of time
    one many stay. The United States Customs and Border Protection recently
    announced its implementation of a new automated I-94 entry process, effective April
    30, 2013 where the I-94 becomes
    paperless.  What does this change mean
    for travelers and governmental processes?

    The US
    Department of Homeland Security cites that this new measure will, "streamline
    the entry process for travelers, facilitate security and reduce federal costs,
    saving the agency an estimated $15.5 million a year".  This will decrease the usual paperwork
    substantially both for travelers and immigration officers.  While some people are under the impression
    that this signifies a complete change and may worry about the unavailability of
    these forms for reference, that is not the case.  Travelers requesting the document as evidence
    of admission for an immigration matter, proof of status, applying for a
    driver's license in some states, work authorization, personal record or any
    other reason will be able to have the hard copy.  The printed copy will be available on www.cbp.gov/I94 to retrieve
    their electronically submitted data.  Moreover,
    officers will continue to issue the usual admission stamp on passports,
    accompanied by a note detailing the nonimmigrant's status and time
    authorization of the visit.
    In recent years
    with the green revolution and our efforts at becoming more environmentally
    friendly, traveler information is gradually being accumulated through
    electronic databases so the paperless I-94 is not a new idea.  Post 9/11 initiatives have already aimed at
    accumulating more data on the population; so much of the traveler's identities
    have been in the government's data system for quite some time. 
    As with every
    new measure the paperless I-94 initiative will necessitate some time to be
    fully adjusted and applied throughout the United States.  Travelers will have to:

    Find access to
    the Internet.
    Enter certain
    passport information in order to access the electronic I-94. 
    Companies and
    employers will have to learn to accept the hard copy printouts of the
    electronic I-94 data. 

    However, the
    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will still require the hard
    copy I-94 from applicants even if the visitor does not receive the copy upon
    entry.  Other government agencies such as
    the Social Security Administration will also require a paper copy to ascertain
    whether a foreign national may receive certain benefits.
    Ultimately, even
    though initially some slight complications may emerge on all fronts:  travelers, companies, and government agencies
    will have to adjust to the new change as a better alternative.  So many facets of our everyday lives are
    becoming automated and a development such as a paperless I-94 is
    inevitable.  The economic and practical
    benefits substantially outweigh the initial costs of adjusting to the change.
    To view the
    implementation schedule at various ports, please see the following link:
    http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/id_visa/i-94_instructions/i94_rollout.xml
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  5. Give Peace a Chance: End the U.S.-India Immigration and Trade War Now

    by , 06-25-2013 at 06:00 AM (Angelo Paparelli on Dysfunctional Government)


    Give Peace a Chance: End the U.S.-India Immigration and Trade War Now


    The drums of war are pounding. Prominent American companies, through a variety of business associations, are urging the Obama Administration and Congress to punish the Government of India for mounting hostile actions in a brewing trade war.

    For its part, the Indian government cannot be pleased with the dramatically increased filing fees and restrictions to be imposed on its technology and consulting companies (which garners about $100 billion annually for its domestic economy) if S. 744, the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform (CRI) proposal, or some comparable variant, is enacted into law.

    No wonder that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in New Delhi for government-to-government discussions seeking to head off a trade and immigration war that spells trouble for countless innocent parties. Prime among the collateral-damage sufferers are American consumers who benefit from lower prices (especially in light of the falling rupee) and greater technological efficiencies spawned by the global trade-in-services and trade-in-goods business models.

    Why is this war on the verge of a surge? India is the world's largest democracy, an English-speaking nation not known for cyber-stealing American government and business secrets, unlike China. To be sure, Indian courts and government agencies must stop its protectionist ways, as the U.S. business associations' letter insists:

    Over the last year, the courts and policymakers in India have engaged in a persistent pattern of discrimination designed to benefit India's business community at the expense of American jobs. The [Government of India] recently demanded that as much as 100 percent of its market for certain information technology and clean energy equipment must be satisfied by firms based domestically. Administrative and court rulings have repeatedly ignored internationally recognized rights Ė imposing arbitrary marketing restrictions on medical devices and denying, breaking, or revoking patents for nearly a dozen lifesaving medications.

    These actions and others constitute a disturbing trend that may continue and even expand to other products, sectors, and countries. Already there are indications that other countries are considering similar measures. Such actions are completely at odds with recognized global norms and raise troubling questions about India's compliance with its international obligations to protect ideas, brands, and inventions and to treat imported goods no less favorably than domestic products.

    These actions are unacceptable for a responsible middle-income country and rising global power to treat its second-largest export trading partner. They are counterproductive to Indiaís stated goals to attract capital and to develop its own innovative economy. Forcing local production and seeking to profit and create jobs through the rejection of basic property rights undermines India's ability to achieve the type of long-term foreign investment that is so essential for sustainable economic growth and job creation.

    American government officials aren't pacifist observers either, but rather aggressive combatants. They've dropped bombs on India by financing U.S. border fortification with markedly higher filing fees that have fallen disproportionately on Indian companies. They've lobbed grenades by applying discriminatory and extra-legal interpretations to refuse Indian work-visa applicants, as shown here, here and here. Immigration and trade protectionism hurts American and foreign citizens far more than it helps. And now S. 744 would attempt to legislate out of existence India's global business models notwithstanding that it takes two to tango, contractually, that is, an Indian sourcing firm and its American corporate customer.

    My solution: The U.S. should enact legislation granting Indian citizens eligibility for E-2 treaty investor visa classification on a reciprocal basis, just as it did a year ago with Israel. And just like the Israeli E-2 (which remains stalled), treaty investor reciprocity should only occur when American citizens doing business in India or Israel are given equivalent work-visa privileges in each respective country. The Indian E-2 could well be the olive branch that the warring Indian and American sides need to declare a truce and sue for peace.

    War is hell. Give peace a chance.

    Updated 07-16-2013 at 02:18 PM by APaparelli

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