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  1. ICE Operation in LA Results in 212 Arrests

    by , 02-16-2018 at 10:51 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    For Immediate Release

    For media inquiries about ICE activities, operations, or policies, contact the ICE Office of Public Affairs at

    ICE operation in LA results in 212 arrests, 122 notices of inspection

    * Photos and b-roll available here and here

    LOS ANGELES – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportation officers and special agents arrested 212 individuals for violating federal immigration laws and served 122 notices of inspection (NOIs) to businesses in the Los Angeles area of responsibility (AOR) during a five-day targeted operation that ended Thursday. Eighty-eight percent of those arrested were convicted criminals.

    “Because sanctuary jurisdictions like Los Angeles prevent ICE from arresting criminal aliens in the secure confines of a jail, our officers are forced to conduct at-large arrests in the community, putting officers, the general public and the aliens at greater risk and increasing the incidents of collateral arrests,” said ICE Deputy Director Thomas D. Homan. “Fewer jail arrests mean more arrests on the street, and that also requires more resources, which is why we are forced to send additional resources to those areas to meet operational needs and officer safety. Consistent with our public safety mission, 88 percent of those arrested during this operation were convicted criminals.”

    During the operation, ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) arrested 212 individuals for violating U.S. immigration laws. Of those arrested, 195 were either convicted criminals, had been issued a final order of removal and failed to depart the United States, or had been previously removed from the United States and returned illegally. More than 55 percent had prior felony convictions for serious or violent offenses, such as child sex crimes, weapons charges, and assault, or had past convictions for significant or multiple misdemeanors.

    These arrests were driven by leads developed by the local field office in conjunction with the Pacific Enforcement Response Center (PERC). ICE focuses its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security. However, ICE no longer exempts classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.

    Some of the individuals arrested during this operation will face federal criminal prosecutions for illegal entry and illegal re-entry after deportation. The arrestees who are not being federally prosecuted will be processed administratively for removal from the United States. Those who have outstanding orders of deportation, or who returned to the United States illegally after being deported, are subject to immediate removal from the country. The remaining individuals are in ICE custody awaiting a hearing before an immigration judge, or pending travel arrangements for removal in the near future.

    Also as part of this operation, ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) served 122 notices of inspection to a variety of businesses in the Los Angeles area. A notice of inspection alerts business owners that ICE is going to audit their hiring records to determine whether or not they are in compliance with the law. If the businesses are found to not be in compliance with the law, they will face civil fines and potential criminal prosecution. Any potential criminal charges or other penalties will be coordinated with the U.S. Department of Justice. Similar notices of inspection were served several weeks ago to 77 businesses in northern California.

    Under federal law, employers are required to verify the identity and employment eligibility of all individuals they hire, and to document that information using the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9. A notice of inspection alerts business owners that ICE is going to audit their hiring records to determine whether or not they are in compliance with the law. Employers are required to produce their company’s I-9s within three business days, after which ICE will conduct an inspection for compliance. If employers are not in compliance with the law, an I-9 inspection of their business will likely result in civil fines and could lay the groundwork for criminal prosecution, if they are knowingly violating the law.

    In FY17, ICE conducted 1,360 I-9 audits and made 139 criminal arrests and 172 administrative arrests. Businesses were ordered to pay $97.6 million in judicial forfeiture, fines and restitution and $7.8 million in civil fines, including one company whose financial penalties represented the largest payment ever levied in an immigration case.

    HSI uses a three-prong approach to conduct worksite enforcement: compliance through I-9 inspections and civil fines; enforcement through the criminal arrest of employers and administrative arrest of unauthorized workers; and outreach through the ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers, or IMAGE program, to instill a culture of compliance and accountability.

    By volunteering to participate in the IMAGE program, companies can reduce unauthorized employment and the use of fraudulent identity documents. As part of IMAGE, ICE and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will provide education and training on proper hiring procedures, fraudulent document detection and use of the E-Verify employment eligibility verification program. Businesses can request more information about participating here.

    Despite state laws like AB450 that intend to interfere with federal immigration enforcement authorities, ICE expects employers and state officials to comply with federal law. Federal law established by the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 requires employers to verify the identity and work eligibility of all individuals they hire. ICE is the federal agency responsible for enforcing these laws, which were set up to protect jobs for U.S. citizens and others who are lawfully employed, and to eliminate unfair competitive advantages for companies that hire an illegal workforce. ICE’s worksite enforcement investigators help combat worker exploitation, illegal wages, child labor, and other illegal practices.
  2. Could Threats to Deport Dreamers be Trump's "McCarthy Moment", and the End of a Presidency Whose Legitimacy is in Doubt Thanks to Russia? Roger Algase

    The following comment has been updated and revised as of 9:57 pm on February 17.

    For the very latest report on how Trump and other administration officials, obsessed by the goal of ending a major avenue of non-white legal immigration during the past half century, torpedoed a bipartisan Senate bill that would not only have protected the Dreamers but even provided funding for Trump's Wall of hostility and humiliation against Mexican and other immigrants of color, see David Nakamura and Mike Debonis, writing in the February 17 Washington Post:

    Trump administration assault on bipartisan immigration plan assured its demise

    (I do not have a link - please use Google to access.)

    Trump's attempts to use "national security" as grounds for trying to stop millions of US citizens from sponsoring their close relatives from countries that are not as white as Norway are even more reprehensible in view of his total lack of interest in enacting legislation to protect American schoolchildren from gun-toting maniacs such as the deranged American mass killer who snuffed out the lives of 17 victims on Valentine's Day.

    My earlier comments follow:

    The comments below discuss various aspects of Donald Trump's so far failed attempts to use the threat of deporting up to 800,000 Dreamers as a weapon to bludgeon Congress into enacting the largest change in America's legal immigration system in the past 50 years.

    Under the changes which Trump is fighting for with every means at his disposal, millions of American citizens who are now eligible to sponsor their parents, adult children or siblings for green cards would lose this right, tearing families apart for no other reason than the fact that most of the immigrants who would be affected by this proposal come from places where people have darker skins than citizens of "countries like Norway" which Trump stated on January 11 are more desirable as countries of origin for immigrants to the US (in his opinion) than those of what he called "shithole" countries of Africa, the Caribbean and Central America.

    The following comments look back to the history of another era of falsehood and demagogy in America, namely the 1950's period when Senator Joseph McCarthy launched the same kinds of attacks against people who held liberal or left wing political views that Trump is now launching against legal immigrants of color, especially those who happen to come from parts of the world where most people are black, Hispanic or Muslim.

    However, just as McCarthy finally went too far by attacking the US Army, which quickly ended his notorious career, Donald Trump may also reach his "McCarthy moment" leading to the end of his presidency, if he tries to follow through on vaguely expressed, but still obvious, threats to round up and deport the Dreamers if Congress refuses to accept his demand for draconian cuts in legal immigration from non-white parts of the world as a quid pro quo for granting protection to the DACA recipients whom he has himself placed in jeopardy.

    The effect on Trump's presidency if he carries out the unmistakable threats he has been making to deport the Dreamers if his demands to terminate family (and diversity) visas which have enabled tens of millions of mainly non-European immigrants to immigrate to the US in the past few decades may be compounded by Robert Mueller's February 16 indictments charging massive illegal interference by Russia with the 2016 election in order to help Trump win.

    While to be sure, Mueller has not (at this point) charged that there was any collusion with the Russian efforts by Trump or any member of his staff, his indictment clearly raises additional questions about whether Trump would have won the election without this illegal Russian support. For more about this issue in Fortune, which no one can accuse of being left wing or partisan Democratic, see:

    This cannot help but raise questions about the legitimacy of Trump's presidency, which could make the reaction against him even stronger among many segments of the American public if he tries to punish the Dreamers for his failure to persuade Congress to make huge cute in legal immigration from non-white parts of the world. McCarthy, as mentioned above got into more than enough trouble when he went too far with his lies and assaults on basic decency - and no one ever questioned that he had been elected legitimately.

    For another story about how Mueller's Russia indictments are raising more doubts about the legitimacy of Trump's presidency (which in turn could affect his ability to proceed with his agenda of turning America back toward the era of whites-only immigration that was effect from 1924 to 1964), see: POLITICO:

    As useful background the following opinion on the reasons for Trump's latest assault on legal immigration from outside Europe, by Amanda Marcotte's February 16 column in

    Trump's immigration policy in brief: Total racist shutdown

    will put my following comments in perspective:

    For most readers, the moment on June 9, 1954 when Joseph Welch, counsel for the United States Army, famously responded to the attempts of Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) to destroy the reputations, careers and livelihoods of hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent Americans by falsely accusing them of Communist affiliations, is merely a chapter, or a paragraph, in their history books.

    For me, as a high school student, it was a moment to watch on (black and white, of course) television, either live or on the news (I do not remember which). No one who saw that moment will ever be able to forget Welch's words to the Senator who had browbeaten, bullied and humiliated so many people:

    "You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?"

    As every student of American history knows, that was the end of McCarthy's career - now known as the "McCarthy Moment". America had put up with McCarthy's assaults and intimidation against political figures, government officials, Hollywood directors and other Americans in all walks of life, but when he attacked the US Army itself, America had had enough - McCarthy was finished.

    In the same way, beginning 61 years later, in June, 2015 when Donald Trump began his campaign for the presidency of by accusing Mexican immigrants in general of being "criminals", "rapists" and drug dealers; and soon after called for banning every Muslim in the world from entering the United States, down until today, when he is holding almost 800,000 mainly Mexican and other Hispanic young Dreamers hostage to his agenda of reversing a half century of non-white legal family immigration (which he calls by the racial code words "chain migration") under the very obvious - if not directly expressed - threat of deportation, America has put up with Trump's assault against basic decency toward non-white immigrants.

    This includes his mass deportation-related arrests and incarceration of mainly non-white non-criminal immigrants - his Muslim bans, his "Hire American" executive order based on the false assumption that primarily Asian skilled workers take away jobs from American workers; his Wall which no one else in America thinks is necessary for this country's safety and security, but which would stand as a symbol of hatred and humiliation against Hispanic and by extension other non-white immigrants; his slashing refugee admissions to the lowest point in decades; and, most recently, his attempt to destroy the legal foundations on which tens of millions of productive, law abiding, mainly Asian, Middle Eastern, Hispanic and African legal immigrants have come to America in the past few decades, by eliminating most family-based immigration and abolishing the diversity visa lottery entirely.

    Family immigration, according to these studies, has been a major component of this increase since 1965; and it is a major, though not the only, reason why nine out of ten immigrants to the US today are from outside Europe (with Asia now being the largest component) and why whites are projected to become a minority in America within the next few decades.

    For one of many demographic studies showing how our current immigration system, which Trump and his supporters are so anxious to change, is making America less white, see one dated February 8, only about a week ago as of this writing, by

    And for another recent, comprehensive analysis of the white supremacist goals underlying Trump's overall immigration policies, see,

    The scary ideology behind Trump's immigration instincts

    Trump has attacked family immigration and the diversity in the most insulting and disparaging way to the millions of legal immigrants who have used these visas - by openly calling extended family immigration "'horrible" in a December 29, 2017 tweet - despite the fact that his own mother and grandfather came to America the same way, and that his own wife has now invited her foreign born parents to join her in the US (for how long, or with what kind of visas we don't yet know).

    He has also, without the slightest justification, accused family immigration and the diversity lottery - most of whose beneficiaries are from outside Europe - of being dangerous to American security, including spreading a totally fictitious story about a (real) radicalized New York City terror attacker who had allegedly sponsored 23 relatives through "chain migration". Not a single one of those imaginary relatives has ever been identified.

    Anyone who knows the history of that era can only be reminded of the "list" that McCarthy claimed to have at the beginning of his notorious career in 1950 with the names of some 200 imaginary "Communists" in the State Department - none of whom were ever identified either.

    As I have mentioned above, up to now, Congress, most of the media and the American public have put up with these attacks on non-white immigrants - so far. But now comes the following scenario, which could be starting to play out as we speak:

    According to this scenario, because of Trump's refusal to budge on his demand for eliminating most family immigration (except for the "nuclear family") and the visa lottery, Congress is unable to pass a bill that would protect DACA recipients - whose benefits Trump himself cancelled - from deportation. For details on how Trump has so far torpedoed Congressional efforts to pass a reasonable compromise immigration bill see:

    Next, after this White House induced Congressional failure to protect the Dreamers, Trump, who while never expressly saying he will deport the Dreamers, has again and again laid down a certain deadline - March 5 - which he imposed himself - as their "last chance", then starts to deport the Dreamers - not en masse, but a few at a time as a warning of what will happen to the rest if Congress doesn't change its mind and bend its knee to his imperial demands to eliminate the above pillars of non-white legal immigration over the past few decades.

    While carrying out the deportations, which one can safely assume will be carried out with as much cruelty and family breakup as possible, complete with Dreamers being torn away from their weeping or even seriously ill American spouses or children (based on current deportation policies which Trump's ICE director has said he "enjoys" so much), in the height of cynicism, Trump protests that the Democrats have "forced" him to this result because of their unwillingness to accept his demands to eviscerate family immigration and the abolish the diversity lottery.

    It is at this point that Trump's presidency could start to unravel.

    There is a great deal of support and sympathy for the Dreamers in America - even among some of Trump's own supporters. Trump has himself, on occasions, even expressed his "Love" for the Dreamers.

    If Trump starts to deport the Dreamers out of anger or retaliation because of Congress's refusal to go along with his demand to destroy the heart of America's non-discriminatory, race-neutral, color-blind immigration system during the past half century, could that be the beginning of the end of his presidency? Will the American people turn against him and say they that they have finally had enough, just as they did with Senator Joseph McCarthy?

    If he follows through on his implied threats to start deporting the Dreamers, merely because Congress refuses or is unable to enact the draconian cuts in mainly Asian, African, Middle Eastern and Latin American legal immigration that he is demanding, Donald Trump might, just conceivably, have his McCarthy Moment.

    Could there be a time when, not only almost 800,000 million Dreamers and their American citizen family members; and millions of other Americans who are no longer able to sponsor their foreign-born parents, adult children or siblings because of Trump's obsession with keeping legal immigrants from coming to the United States unless they are from "countries like Norway"; but the American people as a whole, will say, paraphrasing Joseph Welch's famous words:

    You have done enough. Have you no sense of humanity, Mr. President?

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 02-17-2018 at 09:57 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  3. The One Year Bar and LGBT Asylum Claims

    Richard Kelley is the Legal Program Coordinator for DC Center Global, an organization focused on supporting LGBTQI asylum seekers in Washington, DC. Most recently, Richard was a Senior Associate at the DC Affordable Law Firm, practicing immigration and family law. He is currently an associate at DLA Piper (USA). His full biography can be found here.

    Contact Richard Kelley at

    Richard Kelley

    In 1996, the United States Congress passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA), which fundamentally changed the landscape of asylum law. Most notably, IIRIRA created a new requirement that those entering the country had to apply for asylum within one year of arriving in the United States. This one-year bar has created exceptional challenges for individuals seeking asylum and has had a notable impact on LGBTQI asylum seekers in particular.

    LGBTQI asylum seekers may miss this rigid one year deadline for several reasons: Insecurity about, discomfort with, or lack of openness about their identity; fear of being identified as LGBTQI or being “outed” as LGBTQI in their home country or in the immigrant diaspora within the United States; immense emotional and psychological trauma caused by experiences related to their LGBTQI status; or even lack of awareness that they can pursue asylum based on LGBTQI status. Individuals can often find themselves still exploring whether to apply for asylum based on sexual orientation even after one year has passed.

    Those asylum seekers who are aware of the one-year bar may not know that it is not absolute. There are two ways that an asylum seeker can overcome the one year bar to asylum: (1) the existence of a changed circumstance which materially affects the applicant’s eligibility for asylum, or (2) an extraordinary circumstance related to the delay in filing the application within the first year of entry. If an asylum seeker is able to demonstrate that he or she falls into one of these two exceptions “to the satisfaction of the asylum officer,” the applicant must then show that the application was filed within a “reasonable period of time” after the changed or extraordinary circumstance. See INA § 208(a)(2)(D); 8 C.F.R. § 208.4(a).

    What can be a change in circumstance?

    If asylum seekers can show “the existence of changed circumstances which materially affect the applicant’s eligibility for asylum,” then they will only have to show that they applied within a reasonable period of time after the change in circumstance. The regulations indicate that a change in circumstance may include changes in conditions of the home country; changes in the applicant’s circumstances (including changes in applicable U.S. law and activities the applicant becomes involved in outside the country of feared persecution); or, if the applicant is a dependent in another person’s pending asylum application, the loss of the spousal or parent-child relationship. See 8 C.F.R. § 208.4(a)(4).

    For LGBTQI asylum seekers, this can take many forms. For example, if an asylum seeker’s home country recently passed legislation that criminalized same-sex relationships or same-sex advocacy, or otherwise targets LGBTQI individuals, this could qualify as a change in circumstance. Additionally, a major change in how the country, including its police force, treats LGBTQI individuals could be a change in conditions at home. Unfortunately, many countries have had discriminatory laws on the books for years, even decades. Some laws banning same-sex relationships are holdovers from colonial rule. Much more likely for asylum seekers is a change in personal circumstances. Potential changes in circumstance could include being “outed” as LGBTQI at home, getting actively involved in LGBTQI advocacy groups, marrying a same-sex partner, or for transgender individuals, going through transition efforts, particularly gender-affirming surgery. The important thing for asylum seekers to understand is that it is critical to explain how this change in circumstance materially affects one’s eligibility for asylum. Or stated differently, why does this new event create a reasonable fear of persecution that did not exist prior to the event occurring?

    What might be an extraordinary circumstance?

    A second option for asylum seekers who are not applying within one year of their entry into the United States is to demonstrate that there is an extraordinary circumstance related to the delay in filing the application. The regulations suggest several potential extraordinary circumstances that could justify a delay in filing, including serious illness or mental or physical disability, legal disability, ineffective assistance of counsel, maintenance of Temporary Protected Status or another lawful status, or a technical error. This list provided in the regulations, like the list of changes in circumstance, is not exhaustive. See 8 CFR §208.4(a)(5).

    LGBTQI asylum seekers can find themselves in situations where they may be able to demonstrate extraordinary circumstances related to their delay in filing. Perhaps the biggest group of asylum seekers who miss the one-year deadline are individuals who come to the United States on student visas or other temporary visas, and during their time in the U.S. either come out publicly or engage in advocacy around LGBTQI issues that subsequently creates a reasonable fear of returning home. In addition, an individual who enters the country as a minor (under the age of 18) may be able to apply because of legal disability.

    Many LGBTQI asylum seekers may also have experienced trauma in their home country due to their identity. Some advocates have argued successfully that this is an extraordinary circumstance that justifies an application outside of the first year. Matter of J-A-, A XXX-XXX-234 (Arlington Immigration Court, April 27, 2012), was an important step forward in this area. The advocates in Matter of J-A- successfully argued that extreme sexual and physical violence against J-A- because of his sexual orientation caused extreme and chronic PTSD, which justified his late application (nearly 10 years after his entry into the United States). This, combined with the fact that he entered the U.S. as a legal minor, led Judge Bryant of the Arlington Immigration Court to conclude that there was an extraordinary circumstance justifying the late filing. But it is important to note that arguments relying on PTSD or other mental health conditions are not always successful. However, rulings like the one in Matter of J-A- give hope that the law might actually catch up with the reality of the psychological impact caused by severe persecution based on LGBTQI identity. Again, the important thing for asylum seekers to focus on here is how the extraordinary circumstance directly caused the delay in filing.

    What is a reasonable period of time?

    If asylum seekers are able to show that there has been a change in circumstance or an extraordinary circumstance, they are permitted to file the asylum application within a reasonable period of time. There is no specified reasonable time in IIRIRA, but the simple answer is that one should file as soon as possible.

    So, while the one year bar can be concerning to asylum seekers and has been particularly harmful to LGBTQI asylum seekers, there is hope. While other options, like Withholding of Removal, may be available to individuals outside the one year bar, it is incumbent upon asylum seekers and advocates to make every effort to help the adjudicator understand the complexities faced by the LGBTQI community and to build effective justifications for filing for asylum outside the one-year period. The exceptions provide some hope to an otherwise devastating change in the immigration law.

    Originally posted on the Asylumist:
    Tags: asylum, lgbt Add / Edit Tags
  4. Immigrant Accused Of Guatemalan War Crimes May Be Deported

    by , 02-15-2018 at 06:47 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    The following is report about Juan Samayoa, who is facing deportation, and has been alleged to be a paramilitary leader from Guatemala's civil war

    Via NPR:

    [Juan] Samayoa, 67, has been living in the country illegally since the 1990s. He's been in and out of immigration proceedings since he fled Guatemala, but managed to stay in Providence, working as a landscaper.

    Last fall, Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested him for immigration violations after investigating his activity during the war.

    Authorities in Guatemala say they're waiting for Samayoa with an arrest warrant — for crimes including rape and murder.

    "I think he is a very bloodthirsty person with a great level of cruelty — given the way he killed his victims. They were subjected to torture," says Hilda Pineda, Guatemala's top human rights prosecutor.

    Court documents supplied by Pineda accuse Samayoa of involvement in 38 murders, dozens of kidnappings, and 14 rapes carried out in the early 1980s.

    The accusations include burying people alive and torching their homes.

    Click here for the rest of the story.

    Updated 02-15-2018 at 06:53 AM by MKolken

  5. Pre-Population: Ever-Changing Positions from Immigration-Related Agencies

    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

    The immigration-related agencies’ positions on the pre-population of data in Section 1 of the I-9 form is everchanging. At about the time of our publication of the book, The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, Bruce Buchanan and Greg Siskind, 2d ed. (2017), the USCIS altered its position again.

    The USCIS added the following in I-9 Central, Section 1, Questions & Answers:

    Question: Can Section 1 of Form I-9 be auto-populated by an electronic system that collects information during the on-boarding process for a new hire if the employee is required to verify that the information is correct and can make corrections or add information if necessary?

    Answer: DHS regulations require that the employee completes Section 1 of Form I-9. Employers can offer employees electronic tools to facilitate the Section 1 completion process, as long as this regulatory requirement and the regulatory requirements for the electronic generation of Form I-9 continue to be met.

    This answer is contrary to the position that USCIS articulated in the E-Verify newsletter, November 2016, which the book quoted as follows:

    USCIS stated Section 1 of Form I-9 could not be pre-populated. Pre-population involves the electronic inclusion of data about the employee in Section 1 by Form I-9 software programs without the employee having to write the information in Section 1.

    See Chapter 2, Question 2.12, p. 23-24.

    Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and OSC (now renamed the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) of the U.S. Department of Justice) have not changed their positions which were discussed on p. 24 of The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook. Thus, ICE holds no official position on the pre-population of Section 1 by electronic Form I-9 software programs. This is a change in past policy in which ICE stated pre-population could not be done by employers. On the other hand, in August 2013, the OSC stated that it discouraged the practice of pre-population because “it increases the likelihood of including inaccurate or outdated information.”

    I invite anybody who has the book - The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, which is available at, to alert me of any substantive changes that have been made in employer immigration compliance since the publication of the book. As we know, immigration law is everchanging and I want to keep the book up to date. I would like to thank Dave Fowler of Worksite Compliance Services for pointing out the change related to pre-population.
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