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  1. JET of Saipan Distributes $40,000 in Back Pay to U.S. Workers Under IER Settlement

    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

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    Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department announced J.E.T. Holding Co. Inc. (JET) has paid $40,000 to nine U.S. citizens pursuant to a January 17, 2017 settlement with IER, which resolved claims that JET discriminated against U.S. workers in favor of temporary foreign visa workers.

    In its investigation leading up to the settlement, the IER found JET, which operates a restaurant in Saipan, routinely refused to hire qualified U.S. citizens and other work-authorized individuals for dishwasher positions because of their citizenship status; rather, it preferred to fill the positions with temporary foreign visa workers. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, employers cannot prefer to hire temporary foreign visa workers over available and qualified U.S. workers based on citizenship status. For more information on the settlement, see my prior blog entry at http://blogs.ilw.com/entry.php?9680-...-J-E-T-Holding.

    This settlement and back pay is another example of the IER and other immigration-related agencies striving to comply with President Trumpís Hire American Executive Order. For more information on Hire American EO, see http://hrprofessionalsmagazine.com/w...ecutive-order/, an article that I co-authored with Adam Cohen (@MDVisas).

    For more information on employer immigration compliance issues, I invite you to read my new book, The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, which is available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0997083379.
  2. Letters of the Week: December 11 - December 17

  3. On the Benefits of Having a Lawyer

    A recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal ("Immigrants Need Better Protection--From Their Lawyers" by Professor Benjamin Edwards) laments the poor quality of immigration attorneys, and postulates that as a group, ďthe private immigration bar now contains the worst lawyers in all of law.Ē


    It's easy to know which barber to choose (hint: Barber A), but finding a good immigration lawyer can be more challenging.

    The authorís primary solution to the problem of ďincompetentĒ and ďpredatoryĒ lawyers is to track the success rate of each attorney and then make that information public. In this way, potential customers (i.e., people being deported) can make more informed decisions about their choice of counsel.

    Among practicing lawyers, Prof. Edwards's solution was largely panned as unworkable, ivory-tower thinking. While I generally agree that there is a problem (which Iíve written about in a charmingly-titled piece called, Do Immigration Lawyers Suck?), I also agree with my colleagues that Prof. Edwardsís solution is unworkable (if youíre interested in why it is unworkable, here are some thoughts from Jennifer Minear at AILA).

    While some immigration lawyers are less-than qualified for their jobs, it is none-the-less true that having a lawyer for an asylum case significantly increases the likelihood of a good outcome.

    A new report from TRAC Immigration provides some specific data about asylum cases and representation. The report breaks down the statistics by country, which is quite helpful, as asylum seekers can look for their country, get a sense for how many of their landsmen are represented, and see the success rate for represented and unrepresented applicants. The report covers Immigration Court cases only (from FY 2012 to FY 2017), and does not include cases at the Asylum Office.

    The bottom line is this: For almost all countries, asylum applicants with lawyers are two to four times more likely to win their cases in court, as compared to unrepresented applicants from the same country. There are, of course, some caveats.

    One is that, people with good cases are more likely to have attorneys. This is because people with money, educated people, and people who speak English all have an advantage navigating the U.S. immigration system. Such people are more likely to find a lawyer, and they are also more able to present their cases. People who are detained, who are not educated, and who do not speak English will have a harder time presenting their cases, and will also be less able to obtain representation. In that sense, I think the statistics exaggerate the benefits of having an attorney.

    But even considering these socio-economic factors, the difference between represented and unrepresented applicants is pretty significant, and in the face of these statistics, itís hard to argue that lawyers donít help, Prof. Edwards not-with-standing.

    Whatís also interesting here is that lawyers provide a multiplier effect on the likelihood of winning. So, for example, an unrepresented case from China has about a 21% chance of success, while a represented case has about an 82% chance of successóa difference of almost four times. And, of course, 82% is a lot better than 21%. A case from El Salvador, on the other hand, has only about a 4% chance of winning without a lawyer, but has almost a 17% chance for success with a lawyeróagain, a difference of four times, but in absolute terms, the difference of 4% versus 17% is a lot less significant than 21% versus 82%. Put another way, when the average Chinese applicant hires an attorney for her asylum case, she appears to be getting a lot more for her money than the average Salvadoran applicant.

    Why should this be? Why should a lawyer multiply the chances of winning rather than increase the likelihood of victory arithmetically by, say, 10 percentage points across the board (so that the Chinese applicant would go from a 21% chance of success to 31%, and the grant rate for Salvadorans would increase from 4% to 14%)?

    The short answer is that I donít know. Maybe one explanation is that asylum seekers from certain countries present claims that more easily fit within the legal parameters of our asylum system. So cases from Chinaówhich often involve political or religious persecutionóare more amenable to a grant than cases from El Salvador, which often involve a fear of harm from criminals. Our asylum law quite clearly protects people fleeing religious or political persecution, but it offers little for people fleeing crime. Under this theory, lawyers representing Chinese applicants can help ensure that their cases are presented in a manner that meets the requirements for asylum. It is more difficult to do this for Salvadorans. Or put in more classic terms, even a great lawyer canít make a silk purse from a sowís ear.

    Another interesting tidbit from the TRAC numbers is the level of representation in each community. Almost 96% of Chinese applicants had attorneys. Contrast that with Salvadorans, who were represented in only about 73% of cases. Looking at the top 10 source countries for asylum seekers, Haiti had the lowest rate of representationóonly about 56% of Haitian asylum seekers had lawyers.

    Finally, while it may be somewhat early to discuss trends since President Trump took the helm, the numbers for FY 2017 show an increase in the absolute number of asylum cases decided by Immigration Courts (from 22,312 in FY 2016 to 30,179 in FY 2017) and in the percentage of asylum cases denied (from 56.5% denied in FY 2016 to 61.8% denied in FY 2017). While these numbers are not encouraging, the upward trend in asylum denial rates actually began in FY 2012, under President Obama (denial rates have steadily risen from 44.5% in FY 2012 to 61.8% today).

    So what are asylum seekers to make of all this? It seems to me that the most important take-away is that a lawyer in court can significantly increase the likelihood of success, as long as that lawyer is competent and makes an effort to help you with your case. Iíve written previously about the cost of a lawyer, and what the lawyer should do for you. Iíve also written about how to find a free lawyer if you cannot afford to hire one. If you are careful, if you ask questions, and if you make an effort to find an effective attorney, you can greatly increase the possibility of winning your asylum case in court.

    Originally posted on the Asylumist: www.Asylumist.com.
  4. 4th Cir. Judge: We Cannot "Ignore Reality" of Muslim Ban. Meanwhile, Evidence Grows That Ban Serves Whites Only Authoritarian Agenda. Roger Algase

    Update: December 11, 3:45 pm:

    As I predicted below, the White House has lost no time in trying to demagogue this morning's New York subway attack by a suspect from Bangladesh who came to the US on a legal family immigrant visa, by calling for an end to family based "chain migration" - a common derogatory term used by immigration opponents for legal family immigration from Latin America and Asia. See:
    The Hill: (December 11):

    White House calls for immigration reform after NYC terror attack.


    http://thehill.com/homenews/administ...-terror-attack

    This continues the president's pattern of holding millions of innocent immigrants responsible for the actions of a few deranged people who are either connected with terrorist groups or, more often, acting on their own.

    My earlier comments appear below.

    Multiple news outlets are reporting that early in the morning of December 11, during the busy rush hour, an explosive device went off at one of Mew York's busiest subway stations, near Times Square. The explosion caused widespread panic and subway disruptions.

    One man. allegedly from Bangladesh, was taken into custody, amid reports of injuries to a few people, including to the suspect himself, according to the Washington Post.

    Even though there is no reported evidence so far that this was anything other than a "lone wolf" terrorist attack, Trump, we can be sure, will very likely lose little or no time in making demagogic attacks on immigrants from outside Europe and using this latest incident to promote, not only his latest Muslim ban, but also his entire white nationalist anti-immigrant agenda.

    Bangladesh is not on Trump's latest six country Muslim ban list.

    My original comment appears below.

    The following comment has been expanded as of December 10 to include a discussion of the danger that Trump's Muslim ban poses, not only to the Constitutional rights of 2 or 3 million Muslim American citizens to practice their religion without becoming the objects of hatred and discrimination, and to America's entire system of immigration based on the equality of all races and religions; but also to our democracy.

    POLITICO
    reports that at oral argument before the full 4th Circuit bench on December 8, Judge James Wynn asked the following question concerning the latest version of Donald Trump's ban on entry to the US by virtually all citizens of six Muslim Countries (often misleadingly and euphemistically called a "Travel Ban" in the media, even though the approximately 150 million affected Muslims are free to travel anywhere they want, except the US):

    "Do we just ignore reality and look at the legality to determine how to handle this case? If the reality is that is the purpose, but the legality allows it, does that make a difference?...If the allegation is that this is an effort to ban Muslims from this country and every statement that is made by the individual who is the president who is making it goes to say that, but it is done in a way to say we did a worldwide review, now its legal?
    ​(Italics added.)

    https://www.politico.com/story/2017/...hearing-287242

    The big question is whether the Supreme Court will ultimately be willing to recognize this obvious reality, especially in view of Trump's latest retweeting of extremist anti-Muslim hate videos from the UK to his 43 million Twitter followers, which Judge Wynn also referred to in his remarks; or whether the Court will continue to hide behind the surface formality of an alleged "national security review" by the administration.

    Meanwhile, The Hill reports that a pair of tweets by Republican Congressman Steve King (Iowa), one of the most outspoken immigration opponents in Congress, added to the growing evidence that Trump's Muslim ban is only part of a larger whites only immigration agenda.

    One tweet quoted Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who wants to ban all non-white immigration to his country, as saying that:

    "Mixing cultures will not lead to a higher quality of life, but a lower one."

    Another tweet stated:

    "Assimilation, not diversity, is our American strength."

    http://thehill.com/homenews/house/36...ricas-strength

    The same article also reports that in March, King, who has also defended the openly racist former Sheriff Joe Arpaio (whom Trump has notoriously pardoned) tweeted a cartoon of the Dutch right wing extremist anti-immigrant politician Geert Wilders plugging a hole in a wall that read "Western Civilization".

    Defending "Western Civilization", of course, has long been a code word among white nationalists for cutting off non-white immigration. Therefore, Trump's own speech in Warsaw, Poland on July 6, stating that protecting the borders of "the West" and defending "Western Civilization" was the most important issue of our time, was an obvious white supremacist dog whistle.

    For the official White House text of Trump's Warsaw speech, with its ominous references to white nationalist rhetoric, see:

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press...nd-july-6-2017

    More than being just a white nationalist dog whistle, Trump's Warsaw speech was a strong indication that his Muslim Ban is only the beginning of an agenda leading to banning all non-white immigration. legal and otherwise, from the United States.

    This is also something that the Supreme Court might do well to pay attention to if and when (as is almost inevitable) it hands down a decision on the validity of the latest version of the Muslim Ban.

    Brian Klaas, an expert in democracy and authoritarianism at the London School of Economics, and the author of The Despot's Apprentice: Donald Trump's Attack on Democracy, discusses how Trump is:

    "...careening through the soft guardrails of democracy, shattering them without a second thought"

    and how:

    "...Trump keeps at it. In the process, authoritarian behavior is entering the political mainstream and becoming normalized."

    Among many other examples of growing authoritarianism in America, Klaas gives the following:

    "When Trump first issued a travel ban to seven Muslim majority countries, a little more than a year after calling to ban all Muslims during the campaign, there were spontaneous mass protests at airports across the country. When he issued a slightly modified travel ban a few months later, there was no such immediate response and no protests were sparked at airports. Americans had just accepted it...

    This is one of the most insidious features of authoritarianism: it beats people into submission because you can't fight 100 battles all at once. Citizens are forced to pick and choose. Authoritarian leaders are aware of this fact and they exploit it..."

    Will the Supreme Court, where Trump's lawyers are in effect arguing that he has absolute power to ban any classes of immigrants from the US that he chooses, go along with this authoritarian agenda merely because he intones the magic words "national security"? Or will the Court ultimately stand up for America's first amendment guarantee of freedom of religion for all American citizens, including Muslim ones, and for our democratic principles of ethnic and religious equality?

    We may soon find out.

    To read Klaas' article in full, see:

    https://www.alternet.org/books/donal...tarianism-book

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    algaselex@gmail.com

    Updated 12-11-2017 at 05:26 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  5. NEW DHS SECRETARY COMES WITH BAGGAGE

    by , 12-08-2017 at 11:49 AM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)
    by Chris Musillo

    In July, President Trump elevated Gen. Kelly from his initial cabinet position, Secretary of Homeland Security, to Chief of Staff. Despite plenty of time for golfing, the President then waited three months to nominate a new Secretary of Homeland Security. Finally, in October, the President nominated Kirstjen M. Nielsen for the position.

    The Department of Homeland Security oversees, among other sub-agencies, USCIS. USCIS, of course, reviews nonimmigrant and immigrant visa petitions.

    Earlier this week, the Senate confirmed the nomination by the smallest margin ever for the position, 62 to 37. For comparisonís sake, Gen. Kelly received 88 votes in favor and only 11 against, when he was approved by the Senate earlier this year.

    Ms. Nielsen reportedly comes with baggage. She is caught up in an ethics complaint. The allegation is that she used a private consultant to help guide her through the Senate review process. The consultant, in turn, will now be seeking millions in federal contracts from Ms. Nielsen.

    She reportedly was also not highly regarded at her prior two positions in the White House and at DHS. Axios said that on Ms. Nielsen,


    ďNielsen is not a beloved figure at DHS; just as she wasn't inside the White House. She has a very sharp-elbowed approach to doing business and doesn't command anywhere near the respect that her predecessor, Kelly, did, according to more than half a dozen sources who've worked with her.Ē



    ____________

    Please read the Musillo Unkenholt Healthcare and Immigration Law Blog at www.musillo.com and www.ilw.com. You can also visit us on Facebook, Twitter and LinknedIn.
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