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    by , 08-12-2013 at 12:06 PM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)
    by Chris Musillo

    The American Association of International Healthcare Recruiters represents the interests of international healthcare recruitment service providers to promote the legal, ethical, and professional best practices. They have been involved in informing and guiding political leaders on the intersection of healthcare, recruitment, and immigration since the mid 2000s.

    AAIHR is having a Prospective Membership webinar on Friday August 23 at 1 PM ET. The webinar will explain how the AAIHR works in Washington DC and overseas to promote international healthcare recruitment and the security of immigrant and nonimmigrant visas for healthcare professionals.

    Read the Musillo Unkenholt Healthcare and Immigration Law Blog at or You can also visit us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. CIR Activists Want Action Now, Not Plan B Later. By Roger Algase

    In my August 9 post, I described how some immigration reformers, frustrated by the obstruction and negativity of House Republicans blocking any steps toward legalization or citizenship for up to 11 million unauthorized immigrants, are hoping that President Obama will use his executive power to accomplish these goals if reform fails to pass.

    However, some immigration advocates are not willing to wait for a Plan B in the future - they want to see presidential action now, in order to put pressure on the House to change its mind before CIR's tombstone is actually put in place and the funeral ceremony begins.

    Immigration commentator Laura Matthews talks about this in her August 9 International Business Times article: Immigration Reform 2013: Deporter In Chief Obama Shouldn't Seek Political Advantage From Gridlock, Advocate Says

    The article is available at the site:

    Then click under "Most Read" at the right side of the home page.

    Matthews writes:

    "If efforts to pass an immigration reform bill fail in 2013, polls show that a majority of the public would blame congressional Republicans...But in the short term, immigration advocates say they would blame one man: President Barack Obama.

    After failing to keep his first term promise of immigration reform, advocates aren't going to let Obama get off by faulting Republican obstructionism... They say he can and should do more to improve the chances of reform legislation leaving Congress."

    She quotes Pablo Alvarado, executive director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, as follows:

    "The president needs to make clear that people's political equality and eventual citizenship will no longer be held hostage by a dysfunctional Congress. Bold executive action can keep the debate focused on its core mission."...People will be looking to Obama for relief."

    What kind of relief do immigration advocates have in mind?

    Her article answers:

    "NOLON and other advocates are urging Obama to suspend deportations rather than possibly waiting to use that option as 'plan B'."

    She also mentions that while Obama was initially under pressure from the Senate Gang of Eight to stay out of the debate, immigration advocates such as NOLON no longer believe that this strategy will be effective. They are calling for bold presidential action now.

    Of course, there are huge political risks in such a strategy. If Obama suspends deportations now, it could give the Republicans an argument that they are right to block reform because the president will not enforce the law anyway.

    Then they could kill reform and blame President Obama for its demise at the same time, which is what most Congressional Republicans appear to have as their real goal.

    The president's strategy, therefore, might be to proceed as cautiously as possible in order to make sure that in 2014, Latino and other minority voters will have no doubt about which party to blame for CIR's failure.

    But what if these minority voters are kept away from the polls next year, as Republicans are planning to do in states such as Texas, North Carolina, and possibly many others in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision striking down the heart of the Voting Rights Act?

    It may be time for the president to play hardball too on immigration, rather than leaving the field to House Republicans who are showing every sign of being determined to kill legalization and eventual citizenship for up to 11 million mainly non-white immigrants and impose an enforcement-only regime instead.

    Updated 08-12-2013 at 01:57 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  3. Gutierrez: 40-50 Republican Votes Lined Up for Immigration Bill

    by , 08-10-2013 at 08:45 PM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    About 22 or so GOP House members are on the record so far supporting immigration reform, but apparently a few dozen more would vote for an immigration bill with a legalization program, according to an interview in the Washington Post with Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), a leading immigration advocate for the Democrats in the House.
  4. Carney: White House Can Live With House's Piecemeal Approach

    by , 08-10-2013 at 08:40 PM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters yesterday that as long as we get to a comprehensive solution, it's not so important that the House pass a single comprehensive bill. That's a similar position to what Senator Schumer said a few days ago and it gives some latitude to Republicans working on individual bills. Democrats have been pushing for a vote on the Senate's all-in-one bill.
  5. Let's Get Clear About Credible Fear

    I strongly caution against anyone indulging in skepticism or cynicism in response to this week’s reports that the DREAM 9 satisfied the credible fear test. For that matter, restraint and neutrality is far preferable to the inappropriate and possibly biased comments reportedly made by at least one Immigration Judge, and this admonishment applies to anyone else tempted to opine on the merits of a case without knowing the details and before the case has been presented.

    Asylum from Mexico? That’s right. According to the latest government reports, out of 558 defensive asylum applications ultimately decided during the period, 49 defensive asylum applications claiming persecution in Mexico -- just under 9% - were granted.[1] See The U.S. Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review Office of Planning, Analysis, and Technology, Immigration Court Statistics from FY 2010, issued in February 2013.[2] While not among the highest percentages of reported asylum grants, and very likely an under-representation of the claims that should be granted, this number reveals that persecution in Mexico is being acknowledged and asylum claims are being granted.

    The credible fear test is a very low level inquiry and is intended to be so. Contrary to a plethora of uninformed news reports circulating online, it is not a grant of asylum or temporary asylum. All it means is that the applicant has provided information that indicates a significant possibility that the applicant can demonstrate a well-founded fear of persecution in a merits hearing before an Immigration Judge. Accordingly, an applicant's expression of a fear of return on the basis of sharing a status or characteristics articulated in the refugee definition is generally adequate.

    The USCIS website defines credible fear as follows: Q. What is a Credible Fear of Persecution?
    A. A “significant possibility” that you can establish in a hearing before an Immigration Judge that you have been persecuted or have a well-founded fear of persecution on account of your race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion if returned to your country. See

    The Immigration Court Practice Manual, Chapter 7, p 110, defines the credible fear standard, as: (i) Credible fear standard. -- “Credible fear of persecution” means that there is a significant possibility that the alien can establish eligibility for asylum under INA § 208 or withholding of removal (“restriction on removal”) under INA § 241(b) (3). The credibility of the alien’s statements in support of the claim, and other facts known to the reviewing official, are taken into account. 8 C.F.R. §§ 208.30(e) (2), 1003.42(d).”

    Accordingly, the "significant possibility" is determined by the officer "taking into account the credibility of the statements made by the alien in support of the alien’s claim and such other facts as are known to the officer, [such] that the alien could establish eligibility for asylum under §208.” Wesem, Asylum and “Credible Fear” Issues in U.S. Immigration Policy, p. 4, CRS (June 29, 2011) (citing INA §235(b) (1) (B) (v); 8 U.S.C. §1225). In short, the credible fear standard is a pre-screening mechanism in which the burden of proof is easier to meet than the well-founded fear of persecution standard required to obtain asylum. Id.

    It is important to remember that eligibility for asylum is established by demonstrating a well-founded fear of persecution, which is a 10% chance that the individual will be persecuted on account of race, religion nationality or membership in a particular social group. INS v Cardosa-Fonseca, 480 U.S. 421 (1987). The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decision in Matter of T-M-B-, 21 I & N Dec. 775, 777 (BIA 1997) concluded that “an applicant for asylum need not show conclusively why persecution occurred in the past or is likely to occur in the future, [but must] produce evidence from which it is reasonable to believe that the harm was motivated, at least in part, by an actual or imputed protected ground.” Thus, in itself, the well-founded fear standard, as specified in the governing statute and interpreted in the controlling precedent decisions of the BIA, is quite inclusive.

    It cannot be emphasized enough that every asylum case is different and depends on the specific facts and circumstances that are unique to each case. As the BIA has observed, “It is clear that to a large degree the meaning of "well-founded fear" can in fact only be determined in the context of individual cases. Whatever words may be used in a definition, the approach must still be to assess each case independently on its particular merits.” Matter of Mogharrabi, 19 I. & N. Dec. 439, 442 (BIA 1987).

    An Immigration Judge who expresses skepticism towards the as-yet unheard claims of the DREAM 9 - and the unheard claims of other potential asylum applicants, or who engages in making cynical comments prior to an application being filed, should be monitored carefully and consistently for signs of pre-hearing bias or lack of impartiality in asylum cases coming before him or her. Nevertheless, although such expressions may be offensive or imprudent, they do not always mean that the IJ is prejudging every asylum case or incapable of fairly hearing a case and rendering a reasoned decision.

    An attorney who believes that the IJ is exhibiting bias or lack of impartiality during a hearing, however, always should raise the issue in a request for clarification or an in the form of an objection on the record, and at a minimum, ask the IJ to explain any statement or ruling that suggests such inappropriate pre-judgment. If the IJ fails to control his or her expressions of bias or pre-judgment, the attorney can make a motion on the record or in writing, asking the IJ to recuse himself or herself, although recusal motions rarely are granted.

    As an alternative to recusal, a wise attorney who is concerned about the IJ's potential for actual bias or lack of impartiality can have a third party attend and observe each hearing with the permission of the applicant. Then, at the end of any hearing, master or merits, both the attorney and the third party can prepare contemporaneous sworn affidavits stating what occurred and what they observed. These documents can be held until it becomes necessary to use them in an appeal or motion, or for some other action.

    The blurring of political and legal lines in the DREAM 9’s action and the political statement they seek to make is permissible and appropriate. This duality is not an excuse for immigration defense lawyers to ignore our roles, or for IJs to forget their duties of actual impartiality and to project the appearance of impartiality.

    The credible fear inquiry, as a pre-screening exercise, is meant to cast a broad net and not summarily exclude potential asylum seekers from consideration. Notably, it is not the only means to limit unfounded claims from being presented and unduly taking up the Immigration Court's time. The statute expressly sanctions those who submit frivolous asylum claims, but there is no suggestion whatsoever that recourse to these penalties would be applicable here. Nevertheless, should anyone worry that the credible fear standard is too broad, be assured that such sanctions can be readily invoked, if by chance, an asylum claim lacking an underlying credible fear of persecution slips through the cracks.

    [1] A 2012 Los Angeles Times article reported that “Last fiscal year, 4,042 Mexicans sought asylum [affirmatively] . . . more than triple the number of applications five years earlier. During the same period, the agency approval rate increased slightly — to 9% from 7%. Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times October 28, 2012,

    [2] Prior reports indicate that “In 2009, the U.S. received some 2,816 defensive asylum requests from Mexico with 62 approved and 366 denied. In 2008, the figure was 3,459 with 72 approved and 250 denied, according to the Justice Department.” Nicholas Casey, Wall Street Journal, March 9, 2011,

    Updated 08-09-2013 at 07:46 PM by Lrosenberg

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