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  1. Investigative Report on Alleged CBP Abuses and Racial Profiling of Muslim Americans

    by , 09-25-2013 at 11:32 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Sarah Abdurrahman reports for On the Media on alleged U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) abuses at the Niagara Falls, New York Port of Entry, among others. The report alleges a pattern and practice of CBP targeting, racially profiling, harassing, dehumanizing, and torturing Muslim Americans at border crossings.

    You really need to listen and share this report.

  2. Bob Goodlatte to the Rescue of CIR? Don't Hold Your Breath. by Roger Algase

    On the same day, September 24, two commentators from different sides of the immigration reform issue each published an article suggesting a possible a scenario according to which an 11th hour proposal by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) combined with yet another round of caving on principle and throwing more people under the bus by CIR supporters would finally produce legalization, if not citizenship, for 11 million unauthorized immigrants.

    If this sounds improbable, it may be because it is improbable, for the reasons I will explain below. First, I will outline the proposal which both writers see as a possibility

    As described by Andrew Stiles, writing for the National Review, which opposes CIR, (see Goodlatte Boosts the Gang of Eight?) and the Washington Post's Greg Sargent, who supports it, (see Immigration reform is on life support, but it isn't dead yet) the idea is essentially this:

    Goodlatte, whose committee has already reported out four immigration related bills (two of which relate only to enforcement and none of which deal with legalization) and is reported to have four more in the works of unknown content, would introduce a bill providing for legal status for 11 million unauthorized immigrants and allowing them to apply for eventual citizenship through "existing channels".

    Supporters of the Senate-passed CIR bill, in turn, would give up their demand for a "special pathway" to citizenship for the immigrants who would be legalized according to Goodlatte's hypothetical proposal and, lo! we would have legal status and relief from deportation for 11 million people.

    Stiles writes:

    "If the House passed legislation that included some kind of pathway to citizenship, it would alter the political landscape. Public pressure and media scrutiny would refocus on the push for a comprehensive bill, and we'd see breathless headlines about immigration reform's return from the dead."

    Sargent, from the other side of the immigration reform fence, writes:

    "Can Democrats and reformers accept the Goodlatte architecture [i.e. legalization without a special pathway to citizenship] given that it doesn't provide a special path to citizenship for the 11 million?"

    He answers this by saying that the answer could be yes, if existing laws are changed to make green cards, which are the basis for citizenship, easier to obtain though regular procedures.

    This would remove the main objection of reformers to citizenship through "regular channels" only - namely that it would throw too many newly legalized immigrants under the citizenship bus, because under current law, most of them would not be eligible for green cards through marriage to a US citizen or permanent resident, or through employer sponsorship.

    This is a nice idea, but aside from the fact that persuading GOP leaders in either the House or Senate to expand the frontiers for legal immigration is likely to be even more of a stretch then gaining their support for relief from deportation for millions of immigrants who are here without legal status, this line of thought misses the real issue.

    It assumes that the real battle in immigration reform is over citizenship. This is just as fatuous and unrealistic as assuming that the real obstacle to reform is lack of border security, which was the big issue in the Senate.

    But as we have since seen, border security is not what anti-immigrant Republicans really care about; otherwise the House would have passed some version of BS-heavy S. 744 a long time ago. Nor is citizenship, or barriers to it, what most of the House Republicans really care about most.

    These two issues are more likely just being used as smoke-screens, or poison pills, in the hope that CIR supporters will object to the GOP proposals and kill reform entirely, so that the Republicans and blame the Democrats for its demise.

    There must have been a good deal of consternation among anti-immigrant Senate Republicans, such as John Cornyn (R-TX), when the Democrats on the Senate Gang of Eight actually agreed to throw away $46 billion dollars on lining the pockets of military contractors for increased "border security".

    In the same way, if CIR supporters finally agree to cave in on the special pathway to citizenship for 11 million people in exchange for a Goodlatte-supported legalization deal, they would in effect be calling his bluff, rather than actually cementing a reform bill.

    The reform goalposts would almost certainly be moved once again.

    I have not seen any indication in the news to date that Goodlatte is even considering legalization for anyone beyond the DREAMers, and maybe not even all of them. He and other House GOP leaders have also been quoted as saying that internal enforcement and border security must come before any reform, as I have mentioned in a recent post. This in effect means no reform at all, since there will never be enough IE or BS to satisfy the anti-immigrant wing of what is becoming an increasingly whites only Republican party.

    As I have also pointed out in a previous post, one of the bills that has already been reported out of Goodlatte's committee would in effect overturn last year's Supreme Court Arizona v. US decision and put immigration enforcement back in the hands of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and other bigoted GOP state and local officials.

    The House Republican leadership, and the great majority of House rank and file, appear fixated on only one goal - to continue deporting as many brown people as possible. This does not necessarily mean that all of these House GOP members are personally opposed to reform or even anti-immigrant, but, as I have also mentioned earlier, there is a more powerful dynamic at work - fear of being "primaried" by fanatic anti-immigrant groups and candidates on the far right. There is, unfortunately, no shortage of these in today's Republican party.

    Stiles concludes his article as follows:

    "UPDATE: A House Judiciary Committee aide rejected the notion that Goodlatte was aiding the Gang of Eight's efforts, and reiterated his opposition to the Senate bill."

    No matter how much Democrats and other CIR supporters may be willing to compromise on citizenship or anything else, I would not suggest holding one's breath waiting for the GOP to agree to the heart of reform, i.e. legalization for 11 million people, any time soon.

    Updated 09-26-2013 at 02:03 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  3. Comparing 2012 and 2013 AAO Regional Center Non-Precedent Decisions

    by Joseph Whalen

    There were two non precedent AAO Regional Center decisions posted for each of these two years, as of this writing. The 2012 decisions of Aug062012_01K1610.pdf and Dec042012_01K1610.pdf, are both dismissals of appeals of requests that relied on insufficient or substandard evidence. In the August decision “[t]he director determined that the economic analysis and business plan were insufficient to allow USCIS to approve the application.” In the December decision, “[t]he applicant ...[sought]... approval of an extremely vague proposal that cover[ed] 10 broad industrial categories over a geographic area that includes [ unknown part...] of the State of North Carolina. The director determined the applicant failed to meet the regulatory requirements outlined for regional centers, including those related to funds committed to the regional center, verifiable detail of indirect job creation, and a discussion of the positive impacts of the regional center on the regional or national economy.”

    Just because the second above case pre-dates the Policy Change brought about by the issuance of the final policy memo, don’t get the idea that that last listed aspect will change all that much. While CSC will be prevented from being overly detail oriented and will not be allowed to demand such items as commitment letters in connection with a hypothetical project, as will be revealed, if and when you actually read these 2012 and 2013 AAO non-precedent decisions (if you haven’t done so already), “reasonable methodologies” must be put forth and properly supported. While each and every individual applicant would not be expected to produce their own feasibility studies for their projects, especially their hypothetical projects, verifiable detail always has been and remains available through existing reliable sources such as governmental agencies, industry organizations, or studies carried out or commissioned for other purposes (city, county, regional, or state-wide planning or through University research grants, as examples). An I-924 applicant is never going to be allowed to simply “make up” facts, figures, and statistics out of thin air with zero basis in reality.

    Between the time that the above cases and the 2013 cases were decided, USCIS sorted out its EB-5 Adjudication Policy and issued a final Memo on May 30, 2013. The 2013 decisions of JUN122013_01K1610.pdf and JUL192013_01K1610.pdf both cite to and invoke the May 30th Memo. The June case involved an amendment of an Existing Regional Center Designation to expand geographic boundaries and add industries. CSC sought to deny the request but certified its decision to AAO. AAO withdrew the denial and approved the expansion based on “hypothetical projects” which would receive no deference in future adjudications. The July case involved an application for Initial Regional Center Designation. CSC denied, but certified, the July decision to AAO. AAO again withdrew the denial and approved the I-924. AAO again labeled the approval as being based on hypotheticals with zero deference in future adjudications.

    I believe that the underlying message to be garnered from studying these cases is this: While the applicant need not always put forth solid shovel-ready specific projects to gain approval, that same applicant must demonstrate competence in their Form I-924 supporting documentation. If one submits their I-924 based on hypotheticals and thereby it is truly based upon “general predictions” based on a “general proposal” it must therefore rely more heavily on its explanation, discussion, display, and demonstration of its “reasonable methodologies” which it intends to utilize in order to predict job creation and/or preservation as well as explain their likely “other positive economic effects” upon the proposed region. I suggest that you treat the “hypothetical-based” I-924 like an acting audition, college admission essay, or job interview. In other words use the I-924 to demonstrate the fact that you have talent, are not a moron, and posses the required knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) not only to succeed in the desired business or industry environments but also to competently run a Regional Center.

    Although AAO dismissed the 2012 appeals before the May 30th Memo and then approved the 2013 certified cases, following issuance of the May 30th Memo, not having seen the actual evidence for comparison, I have no idea whether the 2012 cases could have been approved under the changed policy. We may never know. However, substandard and insufficient evidence, and the issue of being extremely vague, have not become desirable or blessed. The 2012 cases could have been supported by such lousy evidence that no amount of policy shifting could have saved them.

    That’s my two-cents, for now.

    e-mail the author at:
  4. Sept 30: 30 Dreamers to Cross Border Asking Obama to ‘#BringThemHome’

    by , 09-23-2013 at 05:16 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    The following media advisory was posted by the Central Ohio Immigrant Justice for immediate release:

    Thirty Dreamers will Ask Obama to ‘Bring Them Home’

    NATIONAL—The National Immigrant Youth Alliance will hold its second border protest on Monday, September 30. 30 Dreamers will participate in the action as part of the ‘#BringThemHome’ campaign.

    Last week, the president and House Republicans dashed the immigrant community’s hopes for relief this year. We are here to remind them to not give up hope; we can fight the broken immigration system ourselves.

    The Dreamers will present themselves at a port of entry, wearing caps and gowns, asking to be permitted into the United States. In July, nine Dreamers presented themselves at the Morley Gate at the port of entry in Nogales, Arizona. It took seventeen days for the Obama Administration to make the right decision and allow them to return home, during which the nine Dreamers were detained in Eloy Detention Center.

    The participants in the Sept. 30 action are hoping to return to their lives in Arizona, California, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, and Texas. Not all of the participants are living in Mexico, but have come from elsewhere to participate in the action.

    The location of the protest will be released publicly later this week. Media interested in attending must contact us privately at Interviews can be arranged upon request with participants and their counsel by contacting us at
  5. Letters of the Week: Sep 23 - Sep 27

    Please email your letters to or post them directly as a comment below.
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