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  1. Don’t Fear the Police

    Each city and county in the U.S. has its own regulations in regards to hosting large events. If the regulation requires police officers present to keep the crowd under control, organizations working with undocumented individuals should comply with the regulation. The police are not to be feared in most major cities, since these are "sanctuary cities" where the local police do NOT cooperate with ICE and other Federal immigration enforcement initiatives. However, each city/county has its own policy in regards to working with the undocumented population, some are punitive, and actively cooperate with Federal immigration enforcement. Large DREAM events in such locations need to take this into account, as members of the community who may want to attend such events may be recipients of NTAs issued by ICE. See the local police website for more information before deciding to host a large Deferred Action event.
  2. Hosting A Deferred Action Workshop in Your Community

    On June 15, we were excited to hear DHS's announcement on deferred action for eligible undocumented youth. This announcement is really important for undocumented young people and their families, and we stand with immigrant communities who consider this nation their home. Our goal is to ensure that community members receive information on deferred action in an accurate and efficient manner. As the leading immigration publisher and with more than 12 years of experience in the immigration law field, we can connect organizations, like yours, with top immigration lawyers that can educate your membership and community. We would like to hold a workshop on deferred action in your city and with your participation to ensure we reach as many undocumented immigrants as possible. This workshop will not be a sales pitch, but an educational experience for your community. This collaboration between ILW.COM and your organization will entail the following benefits and expectations for you:
    Benefits for your organization:
    o The participation of a verified and knowledgeable immigration attorney in a workshop that will include a lengthy Q&A session
    o Support from ILW.COM in logistics and outreach (e.g. we can provide you help with finding a suitable venue, creating flyers, drafting email blasts, etc)
    o Address the attendees about your upcoming events, programs and how to get involved in your organization and campaigns
    o The attorney will provide all the reference materials
    o A sponsorship fee - we recognize the value and impact of your work in the community. We will provide a sponsorship fee for your programs and to subsidize any expenses incurred due to the workshop.
    Expectations from your organization:
    o Your commitment to spread the word about the workshop through your social networks, email lists, flyering and any other efforts to maximize attendance
    o Your collaboration on the running of the workshop
    If you are interested in taking part of this collaboration or have further questions, please email us at or call us at 212-545-0818.
    We look forward to working together and helping undocumented youth and communities.
  3. Suggestions For Organizations Who Assist The Undocumented

    This document outlines four ways to reach the immigrant population who may be eligible for deferred action as described by DHS Secretary Napolitano on June 15, 2012. This proposal has been tailored mainly for organizations that have a grassroots membership base that includes qualifying undocumented youth.
    Deferred action, which would stop the deportation of qualifying undocumented youth and allow them to obtain work authorization, is one of the biggest breakthroughs on the immigration field provided by the federal government in this decade.
    We encourage grassroots organizations to collaborate with various entities in order to meet the needs of undocumented youth and also to maximize benefits for all parties involved. Here are some possible collaboration scenarios with each of this type of entities:
    Law Associations
    Grassroots organizations should approach local law associations to collaborate on hosting workshops for immigrant communities. In exchange for a venue and an audience to talk to, the law association would provide pro bono services to individuals of the grassroots organization. These individuals should be selected on a financial need basis.
    Law Firms
    Grassroots organizations should approach large immigration law firms (ideally firms that have family and removal practices) to host a workshop for community members. The workshop will entail a presentation followed by a Q&A session. In return, organizations should request law firms a sponsorship fee for presenting in the workshop. We can assist in obtaining these sponsorships. Please contact us at if you need help.
    Law Schools
    Grassroots organizations should approach law schools that have active law clinics to collaborate on hosting workshops for the community. In exchange for the opportunity to address an audience, obtain practical experience, and develop a professional reputation, the grassroots organization will obtain pro bono services from the law school for individuals in need.
    Community Organizations
    In order to meet the needs of the 1.2 million undocumented youth who could be eligible for deferred action, community-based organizations should work together to utilize their organizational resources efficiently. For example, such organizations could provide organizing and advocacy support for a legislative push for the DREAM Act and to stop deportations of undocumented youth.


    Pro-bono Help

    Sponsorship Fees

    Advocacy Help

    Law Associations




    Law Firms




    Law Schools




    Community Orgs




    Download Suggestions for Deferred Action Workshops. 
  4. Immigration Brainstorming And DREAMstorming

    by , 08-20-2012 at 06:40 AM (Angelo Paparelli on Dysfunctional Government)
    Andrew Jackson had his "Kitchen Cabinet," Franklin Roosevelt his "Brain Trust." Seth Godin has his "Tribes," web-based "silos of interest."

    I've been a member of many tribes (as I write this I'm recalling my tattered T-shirt from my own and my adult daughter's Indian Princess days, many moons ago [click here to see the shirt]).

    In the Googlean sense, immigration lawyers likewise have their "circles" (if a noun can become a verb, I guess it can be an adjective as well). We lawyers of the immigration arts congregate privately in many places including local bar associations, on IMMLOG (a practitioners' list serve run by Kevin Dixler) and IMMPROF (a list serve for professors of immigration law, hosted by Hiroshi Motomura), through the American Immigration lawyers Association (the national immigration bar), which has a New Members Division, a group for Senior Lawyers (known as the Silver Foxes, led by Ken Stern), and numerous AILA Interest Groups. There's even "Cool Immigration Lawyers," a private meeting place on Facebook "for cool immigration attorneys who think it is awesome to help people and to insist on justice for everyone."

    My prime immigration tribe is the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers (ABIL). It's expanded wonderfully over the last 10+ years since I founded it; but it still performs its original mission very well. ABIL was established on the principle of "competitive empathy," the notion that although we operate in separate law firms, "none of us is as smart as all of us." I liken it to a 12-Step Group for battle-weary immigration practitioners who acknowledge we're "powerless" over the ever-crashing waves of change washing over our chosen field of law.

    The most recent tsunami -- the Obama Administration's program of immigration enforcement abatement, known as DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) -- has flooded the immigration tribal counsel with challenges and questions since August 15 when U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released DACA forms, instructions and FAQs. These include Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, with nine pages of instructions, Form I-765WS, a work-need worksheet, and a DACA web page with FAQ.

    The challenges include concerns among DREAMers and immigration community-based organizations that lawyers may price-gouge to handle DACA cases, reflected recently by perhaps the most-famous DREAMer, Jose Antonio Vargas, who tweeted from @Joseiswriting on August 16: "I try to be positive, but there is a special place in hell for lawyers who take advantage of #DACA by overcharging, etc." (I tweeted back to Jose, who is my client: "[Jose]: Please don't jump to conclusions. You need to know the facts of the case to know if the fee is fair or foul." He responded by kindly urging his Twitter followers to follow: "@angelopaparelli: a great lawyer who's been advising me and, in turn, keeping me sane. [T]hank you for the help and support!")

    The flip side of this concern is the difficulty individual immigration lawyers have had setting an ethically proper and reasonable fee in a practice area where fixed, project-based fees are the norm. Outside observers without an institutional history of how immigration-benefits programs have been (mis)managed might naďvely assume that the task must not be too complex, just three forms, the I-821D, the work permit application and the corresponding worksheet to show economic need, supported by written proof of a few "simple" facts (entry to the U.S. before age 15, five-years of continuous presence as of June 15, 2012, presence in the country on that day, no older than 30, and no serious criminal history.) They would be mistaken.

    USCIS knows that Congress, the Media, the Presidential campaigns, and the pro- and anti-immigration interest groups will be watching closely to see whether the agency can handle the estimated 1.7 million youth potentially eligible for DACA, whether fraud will infect the program or be minimized, whether the agency will act with humanitarian compassion under law or ICE-like negativity in exercising prosecutorial discretion, and whether employers who help a DREAMer acknowledge physical presence and past or current employment in the U.S. will face investigation and enforcement actions by USCIS's Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) or by ICE.

    The immigration bar, electronically-transmitting the 21st Century equivalent of tribal smoke signals over these last frenetic days, knows that immigration confusion and complexity will flourish like a Chia pet on growth hormones as USCIS's implementation of DACA unfolds. Witness the many unanswered issues and concerns that DACA has generated as reflected in the notes of the USCIS's DACA Public Engagement on August 14, provided courtesy of Sally Kino****a, an immigration lawyer and Deputy Director at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC), the ILRC's DACA Criminal Bars Chart, and postings of the American Immigration Council by its Legal Action Center (DACA Practice Advisory) and Immigration Policy Center (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals: A Q&A Guide [Updated]).

    Even the most mundane issues involve significant costs that clients or lawyers must bear unless answered soon. Attorney Marty Rosenbluth, Executive Director at the North Carolina Immigrant Rights Project asks of Facebook's "Cool Immigration Lawyers":

    I know that some questions USCIS/DHS/ICE will answer with "it depends on the totality of the circumstances", but I think we can get a clear answer to a few questions before we start filing hundreds of these things. If we go through all the trouble of tabbing the appendices, are they going to be stripped off so the documents can be scanned before the person who will be deciding actually reads it? We thought it would make the [applications] easy to follow, but if they are just going to be stripped off beforehand we won't bother.

    Also, we were thinking of using color coding, but if the scans are [black & white] there is no point there either.

    * * *
    Thank goodness for immigration-lawyer tribes. Besides "help[ing] people and . . . insist[ing] on justice for everyone," while trying to keep our staffs paid and doors open, we also dedicate our time and talent to advise and represent DREAMers as they wade through DACA's treacherous waters. Were it not for these collegial tribes, many of us (probably myself included) would have thrown in the towel years ago, mirroring the fate of Murray Burns, the protagonist in Herb Gardner's A Thousand Clowns.

    Played by Jason Robards in the classic 1965 film, Murray explains why he finally had had enough and quit his job as TV personality, Chuckles the Clown. While ordering a martini one evening after work, he was asked by the bartender if he wanted an onion or olive with it. Murray responds: "Gosh and golly, you betcha!" We are not clownish robots with pens and swords. Our immigration tribes help remind us of who we are and why we do what we do.

    [Blogger's postscript]
    Although I'd seen the film and loved it, I couldn't find the Chuckles the Clown quote on the internet except in stray chats and a web-published book, The Robot's Pen and Sword, by an unnamed author whose site is the source of the photo above.

    [Blogger's post- postscript]
    My last blog post, Immigration D-Day for DACA: Get Protection!, generated a thoughtful, heartfelt critique by a good friend, and fellow immigration tribesman, Gary Endelman. Gary took me to task for my "use of the Holocaust as a standard of comparison" to the plight of the DREAMers. On reflection, I was wrong, and apologized to Gary, and now do likewise to anyone else offended by my inapt metaphor. Gary, who is not only an immigration scholar of well-deserved repute, but also a Doctor of History, gave me permission to follow up on my blog to communicate a larger point, which he eloquently laid out, and with which I fully agree:

    I would simply urge that we all respect the historical integrity of each experience and not use any incident or event as a catch phrase to describe something that, while horrible, may be fundamentally different. The historian in me.

    I think you might want to follow up this blog with another one that perhaps can capture the larger point, which is that whenever any nation denies those who live there the human right to become all that they are capable of being, whenever we violate the essential human decency of our friends and neighbors, whenever we ignore what unites us to focus on what divides us, that is the seed corn for intolerance and hate.

    I also apologize to any Native Americans and others who may have been offended by my fondly recalled participation in the Indian Princesses, a Girls-Dads group sponsored by the YMCA's Indian Guides. No offense is intended; only admiration for the Indian nations' wholesome, natural and eco-friendly way of living on the earth.

    Updated 07-16-2013 at 03:21 PM by APaparelli

  5. Letters of the Week: Aug 20 - Aug 24

    Please email your letters to or post them directly as "Comment" below.
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