Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Most illegal immigrants deported last year were criminals

The U.S. deported nearly 400,000 illegal immigrants last year, and an increasing number of them were convicted criminals, according to figures set for release Tuesday by the Department of Homeland Security.
Deportations have been on the rise for the past decade, and the 396,906 illegal immigrants deported in fiscal year 2011 is the highest number yet, according to the figures.
Under the Obama administration, Homeland Security issued new priorities to focus deportations on convicted criminals, people who pose threats to national security and repeated border-crossers. Last year, 55% of those deported were convicted criminals, the highest percentage in nearly a decade.

Monday, October 17, 2011

No Right to Free Counsel

While individuals facing criminal charges have a right to free counsel if they cannot afford hiring their own, individuals detained by immigration enforcement officials do not. 

Immigration detainees are provided with contact information for non – profit organizations in their area that can provide free or low cost services.  However if they cannot find an organization to take on their case or they cannot afford an attorney, they will enter the intimidating walls of the immigration court alone and unprepared. 

This steadfast rule may at times save taxpayers money however there are times that this rule contributes more to the debt of this country.  By example, many immigrant detainees head to court and are afforded multiple hearings and multiple opportunities to make their case, obtain counsel, obtain the proper documentation a process that gets expensive and time consuming.  Furthermore, while this process is lengthened many sit in detainment again costing taxpayers more and more money.  Perhaps a better policy than no right to free counsel would be a policy that allows for free counsel in cases where there was an obvious need.  For example, a child who cannot communicate properly, an adult with a disability or a case extreme in nature.   A better policy must be designed to ensure detainees are receiving the proper guidance as to the United States immigration procedures, rules, and documentation requirements so that cases can be dealt with in a more cost efficient and humanitarian manner.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The human aspect of immigration*

For some reason, I haven’t been able to get the topic of children and immigration out of my mind the last few days.
It all got started with an article I read about the repercussions of the draconian immigration laws passed in Alabama less than two weeks ago. Basically, undocumented parents are keeping their children from school, fearing a new law that requires schools to check the immigration status of each student.
Then, I started reading what should be required reading for every single person in this country, a book called “Enrique’s Journey” by Pulitzer-prize winner Sonia Nazario. The book tells the story of an immigrant teenager’s journey from Honduras to the United States in search of his mother –who’d left him behind when he was a child to search for a better future in America. 

To call the book heart wrenching would be a disservice. Even as a journalist who’s covered immigration for a while – including spending time on the border between Guatemala and Mexico where many of these immigrants’ journeys get started – I was astounded by the brutality and inhumane treatment these children face along the way. But I was also in awe of the relenting drive these children have to make it across the border, alone, to be reunited with their mothers.
Unfortunately, many of them don’t make it. Some die, some are maimed and handicapped for life and some just can’t get past all the obstacles they face, including corrupt immigration agents, gangsters, rapists, robbers, thirst, hunger and repeated deportations.
One of the reasons I haven’t been able to get the topic out of my mind is that I’m a mom now and any time I read about children and immigration, I immediately picture myself and my kids having to deal with some of these horrifying issues. I simply cannot fathom ever being separated from my kids, but extreme poverty and a sense of hopelessness can surely make you do all kinds of things.
Along the same lines, I can’t imagine always living in fear – and thus in the shadows – unable to give my children any kind of stability because of a broken immigration system.
Maybe if we all stopped for a minute to look at the subject of immigration from a human standpoint instead of a political one, things might be a bit different.
Roxana A. Soto is an Emmy-winning Peruvian-born, Denver-based bilingual journalist and the co-founder of SpanglishBaby.com.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Obama asks AC to block AL's immigration law enactment

The Obama administration asked an appeals court on Friday to block the enforcement of Alabama's strict immigration law -- widely considered to be the toughest in the nation -- arguing it invites discrimination against foreign-born citizens and legal immigrants and is at odds with federal policy.
The Justice Department filed the challenge to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. It claimed Alabama's new law "is highly likely to expose persons lawfully in the United States, including school children, to new difficulties in routine dealings."

The overhaul allows authorities to question people suspected of being in the country illegally and hold them without bond. It also lets officials check the immigration status of students in public schools.
A federal judge in Alabama upheld those two key aspects of the law, which have already taken effect.
Those provisions that took effect are what help make the Alabama law stricter than similar laws passed in Arizona, Utah, Indiana and Georgia. Other federal judges have blocked all or parts of the laws in those states.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Friday that President Obama has been clear on his position that "efforts to address the issue of America's broken immigration system through a patchwork of state laws will only create more problems than it solves."
Alabama shrugged off the appeal.
"The fact that the Department of Justice has appealed comes as no surprise," Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said. "I remain committed to seeing that this law is fully implemented. We will continue to defend this law against any and all challenges."
Immigration became a hot issue in Alabama over the past decade as the state's Hispanic population grew by 145 percent to about 185,600. While the group still represents only about 4 percent of the population, some counties in north Alabama have large Spanish-speaking communities and schools where most of the students are Hispanic.
The Justice Department's appeal said parts of the law conflict with federal rules, and that "attempts to drive aliens `off the grid' will only impede the removal process established by federal law." It also said the legislation could impact diplomatic relations with foreign countries.
"Alabama is not in a position to answer to other nations for the consequences of its policy," it said. "That is the responsibility of the federal government, which speaks for all the states and must ensure that the consequences of one state's foray in to the realm of immigration law are not visited upon the nation as a whole."
It also said requiring officers to report people without adequate credentials to federal immigration officials "unnecessarily diverts resources from federal enforcement priorities and precludes state and local officials from working in true cooperation with federal officials."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Yesterday Alabama’s Governor Robert Bentley signed the HB56 law into effect.  This law has already begun to terrify the state’s illegal aliens and in turn will slow down growth in education and business and begin to build a wall between the people that live within its borders.  The law ensures that the state’s resources go directly to those residents that legally reside in the state but it is also the first step in alienating a group of people that want to live within its borders, want to work within its borders and help the state grow. 
It takes just one law to begin the alienation process of a group of people.  It takes just one law to allow local police and reasonable suspicion to stop anyone that appears to be Hispanic and ask for their immigration papers. 

First we single them out, we identify them, and then we deport them. Sound familiar?  When Hitler came into power he first singled out the Jews for draining the nation of its resources, then he implemented curfews, then soldiers could stop anyone on the street that appeared to be Jewish to ask for their identification.  Then millions of Jews were deported, brutalized and murdered. 

Alabama’s new law is a dangerous slippery slope into a deportation movement that may have the United States looking back in embarrassment.

Read the CNN article which provides a good overview of the fears that this law has already sprouted in Alabama. 

Monday, October 3, 2011


The Supreme Court 2011-2012 term is about to begin.  On the schedule are various issues from health care reform to prisoner related appeals.  Out of the forty nine appeals on the docket, one of major importance to those in the immigration field is Arizona v. U.S., a case which highlights the issues of states enacting laws regarding immigration enforcement. 

On appeal in Arizona v. U.S., is whether or not states have the authority to enforce immigration matters or whether those matters are restricted to the federal government.  The highly debated Arizona SB 1070 includes provisions which raise legitimate concerns of racial profiling.  For example, it would allow state police to check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws and allow warrantless arrests if there is probable cause the offense would make a person removable from the United States. 

Arizona’s SB 1070 was arguably the driving force for 50 state legislatures in 2011 to introduce bills or resolutions that were immigration related.  The Supreme Court’s final decision on the matter will help clear up a lot of cross country debates. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Widow(er)s of deceased U.S. Citizens must file I-360 Visa Petition by OCTOBER 28, 2011.

USCIS Reminder:  Widow(er)s of deceased U.S. Citizens must file I-360 Visa Petition by OCTOBER 28, 2011.

If your US Citizen Spouse passed away less than two years after you were married and you have not since remarried, you may be eligible for a US Visa.  You may be able to file the form I-360 for Special Immigrant classification as a widow(er) but you must do so by OCTOBER 28, 2011. 

Form I-360 is commonly used to classify an alien as :

1. Amerasian;
2. A Widow(er)
3. A Battered or Abused Spouse or Child of a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident;  
4. A special immigrant such as: : A. Religious Worker; B. Panama Canal Company Employee, Canal Zone Government Employee, U.S. Government in the Canal Zone Employee; C. Physician; D. International Organization Employee or Family Member; E. Juvenile Court Dependent; F. Armed Forces Member; G. Afghanistan or Iraq national who supported the U.S. Armed Forces as a translator; H. Iraq national who worked for or on behalf of the U.S. Government in Iraq or I. an Afghan national who worked for or on behalf of the U.S. Government in Afghanistan.

The form can be seen on the USCIS website by clicking here

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Immigrants suffer from hate crimes

Library assistant Gilda Ramos says she was stunned the first time Hispanics in her English language class told her that many had been victims of attacks and robberies by marauding gangs of teenagers. "Walking ATMs," is how she describes the workers, who often were robbed on Friday or Saturday night after getting paid from jobs such as dishwashing, construction or landscaping.
The revelation came just days before the fatal stabbing of Ecuadorean immigrant Marcelo Lucero in November 2008, only a block or so from the library where Ramos teaches. His attackers later told a judge that targeting Hispanics was something they did for kicks; confident their victims would not call police, because they feared questions about their immigration status, or they assumed their complaints would be disregarded.
Seven high school pals are now in prison; the teen who inflicted the fatal blow is serving 25 years. A new PBS documentary portrays efforts by community leaders to put the killing in the past. However, a letter last week to county leaders from the U.S. Justice Department, which began a probe of police policy after the killing, indicates much still needs to be done.
The 28-page missive to Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy from the department's Civil Rights Division lists recommendations for improving hate crime investigations and cites vague policies and procedures that preceded Lucero's killing. Michael Goldberger, chief of the Civil Rights Division in the department's Brooklyn, New York, office, said these were just preliminary recommendations; a final report is pending.
The recommendations included making it easier for people to register complaints about the police by placing notices in libraries and other public places, and better community outreach and improved communication with officers on the beat. The letter cited some confusion over interpreting what a hate crime is.
"Officers need to be informed clearly that youths are capable of committing hate crimes," the letter says. "The tendency to brush off attacks as 'just kids being kids' fails to recognize the severity of criminal conduct in which minors may engage, as seen from the murder of Marcelo Lucero."
Levy, a staunch critic of illegal immigration and the target of disdain by Hispanic advocates, said in a statement that some recommendations are constructive and will be implemented. An aide noted, for instance, that Levy supports better tracking and classification of "youth disturbances."
"Many others we are already doing and some we disagree with," Levy said, speaking about the recommendations.
The Rev. Allan Ramirez, a longtime Levy critic, was dubious. "This report confirms what all of us, community leaders, immigrant advocates, have been saying throughout the years," he said. "We could have saved the Department of Justice a lot of money and a lot of time because we knew all of this already a long time ago."
The PBS documentary "Not In Our Town: Light In The Darkness," airs Wednesday night. Narrated by Academy Award-nominee Alfre Woodard, it chronicles the events that led to Lucero's killing on a November night near the Patchogue train station. The film follows the court proceedings against the teens — six of the seven pleaded guilty — and reports on efforts made by community leaders to stem anti-immigrant violence.
The hour-long documentary also will be shown in 150 communities across the country and used as a tool to discuss anti-immigrant violence. That initiative is led by Not In Our Town, an organization started in 1995 to highlight stories of communities taking positive action to fight intolerance.
Ramos believes conditions in her Patchogue have improved, and she hopes the documentary will spark further discussions.
"Latinos feel now that they have rights, that they have a voice, they can express their concerns," she said. "They can come to the library; they can go to the precinct and report a crime or do something about a situation that years ago they felt they were not entitled."
She said other changes are evident on the streets of Patchogue, about 60 miles (95 kilometers) east of New York City.
"There's more civic participation of Latinos. They walk the streets proudly. Before, you could see they would walk in groups because they were afraid something would happen to them. They're feeling way safer, and they feel they have a voice and they can express themselves."
Not all agree.
Joselo Lucero, the victim's brother who has become an advocate for Hispanics, said he moved from the Patchogue area several months ago after becoming involved in a street dispute with people yelling anti-Hispanic epithets, but he did not want to elaborate. He said it was unlikely the people hurling insults knew who he was.
"We have to find some way to create trust in the police department because for many years they are failures," he said. "My brother's name is going to be everywhere, every time. He's going to be a legacy in this community for change."
Suffolk Deputy Police Chief Christopher Bergold said that since Lucero's killing, the police department has worked to improve hate crime awareness training. He said all officers are now required to take eight-hour refresher courses on hate crimes annually at the police academy. In addition to deploying Spanish-speaking officers in Patchogue and elsewhere, all officers have access to Spanish-language interpreters who are available via cell phones, he said.
Police also contend they do not ask crime victims about their immigration status.
"We go to great lengths to respond to hate crime and anti-bias incidents, and we have gone to great lengths to build bridges with the Latino community," Bergold said "We want to make sure no person feels uncomfortable coming to the police."
Patchogue Village Mayor Paul Pontieri concedes that until Lucero's killing, he was unaware that the attacks had been happening in his community. He said he now speaks regularly with Hispanic business owners and is confident that the hate crimes are no longer an issue.
"We worked hard to lessen the anger, to lessen the rhetoric," he said. "The community had every reason on both sides to strike out, and they never did. I don't think there was ever anger or shame. It was like a disappointment. We were disappointed it happened in a place we all love.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/09/19/debate-still-simmers-over-ny-hate-crime-stabbing-2024726399/#ixzz1Yh8OaUBk

On the topic of hate crimes directed at undocumented immigrants, USCIS approved 10,000 petitions for the U Visa.  U visas are for victims of crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse and are wiling to help law enforcement investigate or prosecute crime. The visa was created to assist in the prosecution of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and other crimes while at the same time offer protection to victims of such crimes.  ILW.com reports that more than 45,000 victims and their immediate family members have received U visas since the implementation of this program. 
If you are an undocumented immigrant and have been a victim to a crime you may be eligible for this nonimmigrant visa. Call the  Law offices of Berdugo & Fialkoff at 215 – 992 – 9662 to determine your eligibility for this visa. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Tangled Web of Lies Shall Lead You Nowhere

It may come as a surprise to some, but on the N-400 Application for Naturalization (citizenship), a petition necessary to go from being a mere green card holder to being a United States citizen, asks the following question:

(12)  Between March 23, 1933, and May 8, 1945, did you work or associate in any way (either directly or indirectly) with:
  1. The Nazi government of Germany?
  2. Any government in any area (1) occupied by, (2) allied with, or (3) established with the help of the Nazi government of Germany? 
  3. Any German, Nazi, or S.S. military unit, paramilitary unit, self-defense unit, vigilante unit, citizen unit, police unit, government agency or office, extermination camp, concentration camp, prisoner of war camp, prison, labor camp, or transit camp?

For most this question is an obvious check in the “NO” box but for some this question needs some serious consideration.  Lying on an immigration application is grounds for removal from the United States at any point in the future when the truth is discovered.

In a recently published article titled “Justice DepartmentBoard upholds deportation of accused Nazi” the article’s subject John (Ivan) Kalymon, age 90, was ordered removed from the United States because of his past conduct in Nazi persecution during World War II. The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Kalymon in 2004 seeking to revoke his U.S. citizenship which he acquired in 1955.  The court found that he had participated in the Nazi extermination of European Jewry. 

Kalymon checked “NO” when he should have checked “YES” and as a result his fraudulently obtained status as a United Status citizen will be revoked and he will be deported back to Germany or any other country that will take him.

If you lie on an immigration application that lie can come back and bite you in the behind forty plus years later. While this is an extreme example, it is important to answer all the questions asked on the applications to the best of your ability so you don’t have to live with the knowledge that you may be deported at any time if at any point someone discovers that you were granted your current status based on fraud. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Student Visa will be streamlined

The US government on Friday announced an initiate to streamline student visa seekers. The Department of Homeland Security said this initiative is a "key component of government-wide effort to encourage the best and brightest foreign students to study and remain in the US."
The "Study in the States" initiative will examine regulatory changes, expand public engagement between the gov't and academia, and provide an online information hub for DHS and its partners.
Currently, more than 1.1 million active nonimmigrant students and the dependents study in the US.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Work Visa Scam

The Des Moines Register recently reported that there is a work visa scam occurring in Iowa that could lead to many people's deportation.

According to one attorney, the scam goes as follows: A legal assistant goes door-to-door offering a work permit to anyone who files a $500 asylum claim. These assistants do not divulge that while asylum claim recipients can work lawfully while their case is pending, if they are not granted asylum, they may face deportation.
One victim, Fernando, told the Register that he has been caught in this scheme. He filed for asylum after he was promised a work permit and he is now flagged by immigration officials  who were not previously aware of his illegal status.

The immigrant community in Iowa has increased from 1,465 people applying for naturalization in 2002, to 2,198 in 2009.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


How did September 11 affect undocumented aliens?  Here are two relevant articles/blog:

Immigrant relatives of 9/11 victims in limbo waiting for green cards  By Erica Pearson
Sick immigrant workers from ground zero By Greg Siskind

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Top Ten Reasons to be a Citizen

Why should I be a US citizen? Here are our top 10 reasons

Becoming a US Citizen allows you to:
  1. Vote in national, state and local elections,
  2. Travel with a US passport
  3. Sponsor relatives for permanent resident status in the US
  4. Government benefits – some permanent residents cannot receive the same public benefits as citizens
  5. Apply for federal jobs – certain types of gov’t agencies require US citizenship
  6. Run for office – many elected positions require the officeholder to be a US citizen
  7. Tax consequences – citizens are treated different than permanent residents, especially when it comes to estate taxes
  8. Federal grants- many are only open to US citizens
  9. Deportation – after you become a citizen it is very rare that you will be threatened with deportation if you run into criminal problems
  10. Guaranteed Re-entry to the United States After Traveling Abroad: After leaving the U.S. for more than 180 days Permanent Residents can lose their green card upon attempted re-entry if the Port of Entry determines that the green card has been abandoned. While a immigration atty can obtain a re-entry permit for green card holders, which allows a Permanent Resident to travel abroad for up to two years without “abandoning” his/her U.S. residence. Citizens can come and go as they please.
If you would like to speak to an Attorney about applying for Naturalization contact our offices at 215-992-9662.  

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    Oh! The Places You'll Go!

    Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!
    You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.  - Dr. Suess

    There are many reasons for which people migrate to different countries. People move because of unsatisfactory country conditions, hopes of economic opportunity, escape from social turmoil, to gain a higher standard of living or to be with family. 

    I recently watched a documentary titled "The Other Side of Immigration" which focused on country conditions in Mexico which cause people to come to the U.S. for short or long periods of time.  The documentary included reasons such as NAFTA suffocating the local farmer's businesses making it impossible to compete with incoming U.S. product, the lack of government subsidies and the ability to make more than four times what they would make at home in the U.S.  However, all the local Mexicans interviewed in the film portrayed sadness and frustration at the prospect of sneaking into the U.S. to provide for their family back home and the inability to stay in Mexico and find decent employment. The documentary led me to wonder which country people in the U.S. move to if they could no longer provide for their family?  

    International Living Magazine named the top ten countries in 2010 to live in as:  Italy, Canada, Belgium, United States, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, and #1 as France.  (click here to see list).  France has received the #1 spot on multiple occasions mostly due to its world class health care system (and perhaps its wine as well). 

    Would you go to any of the countries on the top ten list?  If not, then where?

    Thursday, September 1, 2011


    Registration period for the GREEN CARD LOTTERY will begin on TUESDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2011 and will continue until WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2011.  Residents of eligible countries wishing to emigrate to the US may submit an application.  Eligible countries are those with low levels of immigration to the United States(less than 50,000 in the last 5yrs).
    See a more in depth discussion on the application process by clicking here.

    Tuesday, August 30, 2011

    Immigrant license checks in New Mexico

    four state legislators and a state resident asked a judge Wednesday to stop Gov. Susana Martinez's administration from trying to verify whether immigrants who received a driver's license are still New Mexico residents. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and an Albuquerque law firm brought the lawsuit on behalf of the Democratic lawmakers and the Hispanic woman.
    The plaintiffs seek to stop the DMV and Tax and revenue Dept from checking a random sample of ten thousand license holders who are non-citizens to determine their residency.
    Currently, New Mexico, Washington and Utah allow illegal immigrants to get drivers licenses without proof of citizenship. (Utah requires a gov't identification card in order to get a driving permit)

    New Mexico has sent notices to people that they must schedule an in-person appointment and bring documents, such as a utility bill or lease agreement, to prove they are residents of the state. The administration plans to cancel licenses of individuals who are no longer New Mexico residents.

    The lawsuit asserts that the governor's license certification program is illegal because it singles out foreign nationals for unfair treatment, violating equal protection provisions of the state and federal constitutions. The lawsuit said the administration also lacks the power to order the checks because the program wasn't authorized by the Legislature and it effectively requires some people to reapply for a driver's license.
    "The program is unconstitutional because it unfairly targets certain Latinos in New Mexico and places a higher burden on them beyond what the law requires of other residents," said Martha Gomez, an attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
    The governor wants the Legislature to end the state's policy of granting driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. Martinez contends the license law jeopardizes public safety, and immigrants are fraudulently getting licenses by claiming to be New Mexico residents.
    "This is a lawsuit by an out-of-state group that is trying to stop the state's effort to confront identity theft and fraud that exists due to the issuance of driver's licenses to illegal immigrants," Martinez spokesman Scott Darnell said in a statement.
    "This out-of-state group may believe that New Mexicans do not have a right to know who is residing within their borders, and as such, they may not have a problem trying to protect the illegal immigrants who have come to New Mexico from throughout the country to get our driver's license and leave," Darnell said. "But New Mexicans have a decidedly different point of view, and so does Gov. Martinez."
    The governor announced the residency verification plan in July. It was the latest effort by the administration to focus attention on the politically charged immigrant license policy.
    Martinez, who took office in January, vowed during her gubernatorial campaign to end the state's licensing policy enacted during former Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson's administration.
    The governor's license repeal proposal failed earlier this year in the Democratic-controlled Legislature. Opponents said the move to end immigrant licenses was politically motivated and targeted Mexican immigrants. Martinez plans to ask the Legislature to revisit the issue during a special session that starts next month.
    Under a 2003 law, more than 80,000 driver's licenses have gone to foreign nationals. The state says it doesn't know how many of those went to illegal immigrants because it doesn't ask the immigration status of license applicants.
    Democratic Rep. Miguel Garcia of Albuquerque helped bring the lawsuit and was a main sponsor of the 2003 license legislation. He said the law provides an opportunity for "our immigrant population to come out of the shadows and become a participatory member of our society."
    Garcia and other supporters say the licensing law has improved public safety by having immigrants get insurance for their vehicles and has lessened immigrant fears of reporting crimes and cooperating with police.
    Also bringing the lawsuit are Rep. Eliseo Alcon, D-Milan; Sens. Howie Morales, D-Silver City, and Gerald Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque; and Silver City resident Marisela Morales, a legal permanent U.S. resident who has lived in the country for 16 years.
    Immigrant applicants for a New Mexico driver's license don't need a Social Security number as part of their identification. Instead, they can submit a taxpayer identification number issued by the federal government along with other identification, such as a passport and an ID card issued by the Mexican Consulate, known as a matricula consular.
    Slightly more than 1,000 foreign national license holders have had their licenses recertified so far, according to the governor's office. About 2,500 appointments have been scheduled. Of the 10,000 letters sent out, about 31 percent have been returned as undeliverable for some reason, including that there is no forwarding address for an individual.

    Monday, August 29, 2011


    Alabama’s new immigration law which was supposed to go into effect on September 1st, has been blocked by a preliminary injunction for one month’s time.  The new law is one of the most stringent immigration laws enacted in any state.  It criminalizes hiring, renting, transporting, harboring and even entering contracts with undocumented aliens.   See the language of the new law at:
    The language of the new law sets out the right to basically alienate, for lack of a better word, all undocumented aliens and anyone that appears to be an undocumented alien.  I worry this will allow those who harbor much anger toward undocumented aliens to feel justified in their beliefs,  and perhaps bring more violence into the undocumented alien communities.

    Thursday, August 25, 2011

    Will Alabama see a new stringent law be enacted Sept 1?

    The Federal Court in the 11th Circuit is deciding whether Alabama's new anti-illegal immigrant law conflicts with Federal law. If the law passes, police officers in conducting routine traffic stops could arrest those suspected of being illegal. It would also make it a crime to transport or provide shelter to illegal immigrants. Lastly, it would require schools to report the immigration status of their students. Opponents are concerned that such immigrants would not send their children to school.
    The Deputy Assistant US Attorney is arguing that such a law should be blocked because it conflicts with federal law. Furthermore, the federal government has jurisdiction in enforcing immigration policy?

    Similar legislation has been blocked in whole or in part in Arizona, Utah, Georgia, and Indiana.

    Wednesday, August 24, 2011

    Check and Re-check

    Jacob Sapochnick recently wrote a great article about the process of gaining citizenship through one’s US citizen parents.   One can acquire citizenship if they were born to a citizen parent who prior to the child’s birth had been physically present in the US for the required period of time which is determined based on the date of the child’s birth.  He highlights the importance of checking and re-checking all the information provided by a client in order to ensure that the client at their USCIS interview is only required to show proof of physical presence for the period required based on the relevant law for  the year the child was born.  By example, a child born after 1986 is only required to show proof of five years of physical presence by the US citizen parent, and a child born after 1952 but before 1986, is required to show ten years of physical presence.  A drastic difference indeed!  Get a closer look at his article at http://www.ilw.com/articles/2011,0823-sapochnick.shtm.

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011

    Illegal immigrant gets U Visa

    A local Philadelphia man and illegal immigrant was shot during a burglary. As a reward for helping the police during the investigation, the man received a U Visa.  A U visa allows illegal immigrants to work legally in the US for four years if they are a crime victim. After three years, the immigrant can apply for a green card. The purpose of U Visas is to address the increased risk of violence and exploitation that illegal immigrants face and help police catch their offenders.

    Sunday, August 21, 2011

    Schooling Children Not Their Immigration Status

    Last week’s announcement by the Obama Administration that there would be lesser deportations of illegal immigrants who pose no threat to national security or public safety was viewed as progress for illegal immigrants who entered the United States as children, graduated from high school and want to go on to college or serve in armed forces.  It seems that the rest of the country is not in agreement that all children, regardless of their immigration status, should be provided the best education, training and schooling possible without fear of deportation.
    Schools across the country should not be called upon to conduct ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement agency)’s job.  Schools should be focusing on improving their programs and delivering a better education to all youth living in America, legal or not.  

    Friday, August 19, 2011

    Deadline for Haitians with TPS Coming Up

    USCIS released a reminder for Eligible Haitian to file for Temporary Protected Status ("TPS").  

    On August 12, 2011, USCIS released a reminder for Nationals of Haiti to file for TPS before the deadline.  TPS was granted to Haitians in January of 2010 after the catastrophic earthquake.  That TPS status has been extended through January 22, 2013.
    Who can file, renew or re-register:
    1)  Haitians filing for the first time can apply through NOVEMBER 15, 2011.
    2)  Haitians who filed in January 2010 but whose applications are still pending as of May 19, 2011 will NOT need to file a new FORM I-821 (Application for TPS).
    3)  Haitians who were granted TPS through JULY 22, 2011 and who plan to remain in the United States MUST RE-REGISTER no later than AUGUST 22, 2011 - THIS COMING MONDAY.  Failure to re-register before the deadline without good cause will result in withdrawal of TPS benefits, such as employment authorization and protection from removal.

    see USCIS.GOV:  http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=cc0e314b55eb1310VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=68439c7755cb9010VgnVCM10000045f3d6a1RCRD

    Email BERDUGOFIALKOFF@gmail.com if you need help filing the proper TPS related forms.  

    Obama may allow low priority illegal immigrants to stay in the US

    The Los Angeles Times just reported that the Obama administration said it will review the cases of 300,000 illegal immigrants currently in deportation proceedings to identify "low-priority" offenders. These offenders will include the elderly, crime victims and people who have lived in the U.S. since childhood. The review will be done with an eye toward allowing them to stay.
    Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced this move in reaction to the growing criticism that the deportation process is too harsh.  This case by case review is meant to stress that deportation efforts are focused on convicted felons and other public safety threats.  For more info please see http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0819-obama-immigration-20110819,0,28823,full.story

    Progress for Dream Act Youth

    The Obama administration announced that it would not deport or expel illegal immigrants who came to the US as young children and graduated from high school or served in the armed forces.  I am sure a lot of DREAM ACT youth are feeling good tonight about this decision.  While it is not a US Passportit is a positive move toward some semblance of stability in their lives and for their futures.  Check out the NY TIMES article at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/19/us/19immig.html?_r=1