Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 Closes


2018 Closes On a Week Filled With Immigration Victories and New Challenges

2018 proved that the only thing you can predict about the Trump administration’s immigration policy is it’s unpredictable. On Wednesday, two separate court decisions dealt blows to the Trump administration’s efforts to deter asylum seekers. On Thursday, the administration announced an unprecedented new plan to force asylum seekers to remain in Mexico, overturning current practices in use for decades And on Friday, the president held Congress hostage as he continued to threaten to shut down the government over $5 billion in border wall funding

The most recent rollercoaster began on Wednesday morning when a federal court in Washington, DC struck down part of former Attorney General Jeff Session’s efforts to prevent victims of domestic violence or gangs from receiving asylum. The ruling prevents the administration from applying the new limits at the credible fear interview stage, the initial screening for many asylum seekers apprehended at the border. However, the ruling did not prevent Sessions’ limits on asylum from being applied in affirmative asylum interviews or immigration court proceedings.

Later on Wednesday, a federal judge in San Francisco issued a preliminary injunction in a case challenging the Trump administration’s asylum ban for individuals who entered the United States between ports of entry. The injunction extends a previous order which had halted the plan only days after it went into effect. On Friday afternoon, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to reject the Trump administration’s request to put the decision on hold, a further blow to the asylum ban.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Billionaire Immigrant


Immigrant Story That Will Make You Believe In The American Dream Again
(Immigrant Billionaire Thomas Peterffy and the American Dream)

Thomas Peterffy is a Hungarian-born American billionaire businessman. He is the founder, chairman, CEO, and the largest shareholder of Interactive Brokers. Peterffy worked as an architectural draftsman after emigrating to the United States, and later became a computer programmer.

Thomas Peterffy was born in the basement of a Budapest hospital on Sept. 30, 1944. His mother had been moved there because of a Soviet air raid. After the Soviets liberated Hungary from Nazi occupation, Hungary became a satellite state, laboring under a different kind of oppression: communism. Peterffy and his family, descended from nobles, lost everything. "We were basically prisoners there," he says. As a young man Peterffy dreamed about being free from that prison--in America.

At the age of 20 he hatched an escape plan. At the time Hungarians were allowed short-term visas to visit family in West Germany, and he took advantage of this. When his visa expired, like millions who have immigrated to the U.S. illegally in recent years, he didn't go back home. Instead he left for the U.S. Peterffy landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City in December 1965. He had no money and spoke no English. He had a single suitcase, which contained a change of clothes, a surveying handbook, a slide rule and a painting of an ancestor.

Monday, December 17, 2018

What is a nonimmigrant status?


What is a nonimmigrant status?

Nonimmigrant status. This status is for people who enter the U.S. on a temporary basis – whether for tourism, business, temporary work, or study. Once a person has entered the U.S. in nonimmigrant status, they are restricted to the activity or reason for which they were allowed entry.


What is a lawful immigrant?

Lawful permanent residents, also known as legal permanent residents, and informally known as green card holders, are a special class of immigrants under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), with rights, benefits, and privileges to reside in the United States permanently or until they are deported (removed)

Monday, December 10, 2018



Deporting the American Dream: Immigration Enforcement and Latino Foreclosures

Over the past decade, Latinos have been buffeted by two major forces: a record number of immigrant deportations and the housing foreclosure crisis. Yet, prior work has not assessed the link between the two. We hypothesize that deportations exacerbate rates of foreclosure among Latinos by removing income earners from owner-occupied households. We employ a quasi-experimental approach that leverages variation in county applications for 287(g) immigration enforcement agreements with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and data on foreclosure filings.

These models uncover a substantial association of enforcement with Hispanic foreclosure rates. The association is stronger in counties with more immigrant detentions and a larger share of undocumented persons in owner-occupied homes. The results imply that local immigration enforcement plays an important role in understanding why Latinos experienced foreclosures most often. The reduced home ownership and wealth that result illustrate how legal status and deportation perpetuate the racial stratification of Latinos.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Caravan Hunger Strike


Caravan women launch hunger strike, putting pressure on U.S. and Mexico

A group of migrant women in the caravan announced Thursday that it would begin a hunger strike to protest the slow pace at which the women are being allowed to apply for asylum, as officials from the United States and Mexico are set to meet this weekend to negotiate a plan to process their claims.

The fast, which has no set end date, represents a dramatic escalation from the migrants, most of whom have been waiting in Tijuana, Mexico, to cross into the United States through official ports of entry for weeks.
The protest raises the stakes for the governments of the United States and Mexico, which have been engaged in a back-and-forth about how to process migrants' asylum claims. On Sunday, President Donald Trump said on Twitter that Mexico would essentially act as a waiting room for migrants as their applications are processed in the United States, though Mexican officials

Fifteen women are set to begin striking, and they expect the number will increase gradually. The women who led the group said they want the governments to expedite humanitarian visas for them, to increase the number of migrants being allowed to cross into the United States and to halt deportations against migrants.

"There is nothing worse than to live on the run, withstanding hunger," one of the women said in a news conference livestreamed by immigrant rights group Pueblo Sin Fronteras. "We are not afraid."

Monday, November 26, 2018

Migrants Caravan

US closes major crossing as caravan migrants mass at border in Mexico

U.S. authorities closed off the busiest port of entry along the U.S. border with Mexico on Sunday and fired tear gas at members of a Central American migrant caravan who had rushed the fencing that separates the countries.

Although the number of people at the border was relatively small, the unrest — with migrants attempting to climb fences and run through car lanes to reach the United States, and scenes of mothers and children choking on tear gas — represented a serious escalation of the crisis.

What began Sunday morning as a migrant protest of the slow pace of the U.S. asylum claims process devolved into a chaotic scramble in which hundreds made their way to the border hoping to cross onto U.S. soil. To block that from happening, and as some threw rocks and bottles, Customs and

Border Protection (CBP) officers took the rare step of firing tear gas into Mexico as well as closing all legal vehicle and foot traffic to the San Ysidro border crossing, which U.S. officials say normally has about 100,000 visitors per day.

Monday, November 19, 2018

AB 60 DL


Is AB 60 still valid

An AB 60 license is valid for driving and for state ID purposes An AB 60 license is not a federal ID and cannot be used for certain federal purposes such as entering restricted parts of federal buildings


How do I get my AB 60 license

Obtain an AB 60 Driver's License by

1 Make an appointment or drop into a DMV office Complete the DL-44 application form
2 Present documents that prove your identity and California residency from an approved list
   Give a thumb print.
3 Pass a vision exam Pass a traffic laws written test You have three chances to pass this test

Monday, November 12, 2018

Midterms and Immigration


2018 Midterms and Immigration: What Will Congress Do Next?

While the pundits digest the lessons to be learned from the 2018 midterm elections, one takeaway is immediately clear: many Americans want Congress to resume its critical role of checks and balances on the Trump administration and its overzealous immigration agenda.

Democrats’ control of the House of Representatives offers significant opportunity for the 116th Congress to hold the administration accountable for altering the immigration landscape.

The Democratic majority can call oversight hearings requiring government officials to testify under oath on a wide range of issues. This could include family separation, the termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations, rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative, record-high use of immigration detention, or turning asylum seekers away at the border.

Likewise, the House could probe other immigration issues, such as naturalization backlogs, increased denial rates of employment-based petitions, and intrusive vetting of benefits applicants that causes extensive delays. We could also see hearings on how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is proposing to change regulations, such as expanding the detention of families and children and penalizing immigrants for their lawful use of public benefits (called the “public charge” rule).

With leadership comes subpoena power, which would enable House Democrats to compel the government to turn over important documents and policies which have been withheld from Congress and the general public. Doing so could usher in a new moment of much-needed transparency.

House leadership may also push a more affirmative legislative agenda, such as moving a bill in early 2019 to legalize Dreamers and TPS holders, whose long-held status was ended by President Trump. Although litigation has temporarily kept those benefits on life support, the House may advance legislative solutions to allow them to remain in the United States with their families.

Executive Action

Executive Action of Responsibility for Migration

Request your Basic Information Booklet at

Monday, October 29, 2018

Is U.S. Citizenship Right for You?

Is U.S. Citizenship Right for You?

Naturalization applicants take the Oath of Allegiance.

If you’re a green card holder who’s fulfilled the requirements for naturalization — or will in the near future — you might be wondering whether obtaining U.S. citizenship is the right decision. The short and simple answer to that question is yes, if you plan to live permanently in the United States.
For some people, however, the answer is a bit more complicated — often because of identity-related or practical reasons.

If naturalization is right for you, however, it’s imperative to apply for U.S. citizenship at your earliest opportunity. Recently announced immigration policy changes — such as the proposed “public charge rule” and the updated denial and deportation guidelines — will only make naturalization more challenging in the future.

In this guide, we’ll discuss the benefits of becoming a naturalized American — as well as the rules that deter some green card holders from obtaining citizenship — to help you decide whether naturalization is the next step you want to take in your immigration journey.

Not sure if you qualify for U.S. citizenship? When you’re ready to apply, LEGiTiGO can guide you through every milestone of the naturalization process, starting with your citizenship application all the way to the finish line.  Learn more, or  get started today.

What Are the Benefits of U.S. Citizenship?

Becoming a U.S. citizen is the next logical step for most green card holders, especially if they intend to stay in the United States for the long term. U.S. citizenship provides many advantages not available to green card holders:

You cannot be deported to your country of former citizenship or nationality. You’ll have just as much right as any other American to live and work in the United States. Even if you’re charged with a crime in the future, you’ll be able to stay in the United States. (Although recent news reports have indicated that the U.S. government plans to pursue more “denaturalizations” based on prior criminal offenses, this should not affect the vast majority of naturalized U.S. citizens.)

Monday, October 22, 2018

US Border Surprise


What the Government Considers the US Border May Surprise You

When you think of a national border, you probably think of a defined edge—a place where one country ends and another begins. However, when it comes to federal immigration operations, the border extends many miles into the country.

While those whose daily lives are negatively impacted by this overreach of federal immigration authority have denounced it for many years, not enough is known about how it plays out. A recent in-depth article from the Investigative Fund, however, reveals new information about the expansive authority of immigration agencies in and around U.S. borders—and its grave outcomes.

Under current law, the “border zone” encompasses 10 states in their entirety, touches dozens more, and contains nine of the 10 largest cities in the country. An estimated 200 million people live in this zone.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the agency charged with guarding U.S. borders, has broad authority to operate within 100 air miles of any U.S. boundary. Importantly, CBP is permitted to set up and operate immigration checkpoints on any routes within the 100-mile radius that eventually meet the border. Within 25 miles, agents have even more leeway—such as entering private property without a warrant or permission.
CBP is the largest federal law enforcement agency in the nation, with funding and powers surpassing those of other such agencies. Comprised primarily of customs officers at ports of entry and Border Patrol agents in between, CBP is only authorized to use checkpoints for brief inquiries about immigration status. That is, stops at these checkpoints should not primarily be for drug searches or general law enforcement.

This often involves asking for the individual’s citizenship and inspecting the vehicle visually. CBP is not required to have a warrant but anything more—including search or seizure—requires the agent to have some level of reasonable suspicion relating to immigration violations.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Global Talent


The United States Must Embrace Global Talent,
As High-Skilled Foreign Workers Go Elsewhere

If the U.S. government closes the door to highly skilled foreign workers, other countries stand ready to embrace their contributions. For instance, while the Trump administration contemplates an overhaul of the H-1B temporary employment visa, a process that would make it more difficult to obtain them.

The Canadian government is offering the opposite. Canada is promising a two-week turn-around time on work permits for skilled foreign workers who are in the United States, but who might like to try Canada instead.

The U.S. government and employers must create a welcoming environment that attracts skilled people from around the world, because the United States is no longer the default choice for foreign workers looking for new opportunities.

This is one of the central conclusions of a new book, “The Gift of Global Talent,” by Harvard Business School professor William Kerr.

The book synthesizes much of the existing research on high-skilled immigration and reaches a number of important conclusions. Paramount among these is that “talent is the world’s most precious resource.” The accuracy of this statement becomes apparent if you consider that computers, cars, and factories would not exist if not for the creativity of engineers and other high-tech professionals.
Moreover, talent is highly mobile. Talented workers can readily travel to any corner of the globe where opportunity beckons to them—meaning that forward-looking nations must actively compete for these workers and not take them for granted.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Federal Court Blocks Efforts to Terminate TPS


Federal Court Blocks Trump’s Efforts to Terminate Temporary Protected Status for 250,000 Recipients

Just weeks ahead of thousands of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders beginning to lose their immigration status, a federal court in California blocked the Trump administration’s decision to terminate the TPS designations for El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan. At least for now, this unexpected lifeline will temporarily protect hundreds of thousands of TPS holders from the risk of deportation, allowing them to continue to live lawfully in the United States.

In March 2018, TPS holders and U.S. citizen children of TPS beneficiaries filed a class action lawsuit in the Northern District of California to challenge the four termination decisions made by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) at that time. Between October 2017 and January 2018, DHS had terminated status for El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan. Two countries that were later terminated are not included in the litigation; Nepal and Honduras were terminated in May and June 2018, respectively.

DHS delayed the effective date of these decisions by 12 or 18 months, but those terminations were about to take effect. Approximately 1,000 nationals of Sudan were set to lose status on November 4, with roughly 2,500 Nicaraguans soon to follow on January 5, 2019.  Nearly 250,000 nationals of Haiti and El Salvador were due to lose their TPS next summer.

Monday, October 1, 2018

The Latest on DACA Renewal


About DACA Renewal

DACA is short for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. DACA allowed some undocumented people, who came to the U.S. as children, to work and stay in the country for two years. People with DACA could renew it for two years at a time. The government stopped accepting new DACA applications but a court ordered the government to accept DACA renewal applications. People can apply to renew DACA, but we do not know how long the program will last.

Who qualifies for DACA renewal?
If you had DACA in the past, you can renew or apply again. You can apply for renewal even if your DACA expired or is about to expire. Here is what to keep in mind:
•The renewal application is easier if you have DACA now, or it expired less than one year ago.
•If your DACA expired more than one year ago, you must apply as if it were the first time. This means you will have to show evidence that you qualified for DACA before.
When can I apply to renew my DACA?
Check your DACA card (work permit) for the exact date it expires.
•You can apply for renewal as early as one year before your DACA expires.
•If your DACA expires in more than one year, and you want to apply for renewal now, speak to an advocate. It is unclear what the government will do if you submit your renewal application extra early.

Your new DACA card (work permit) will be for two years. If you apply for renewal early, you lose some of the time on your current DACA. If you apply later, you risk a change in the DACA renewal program.

Can I apply for DACA for the first time?
No. If you never had DACA before, the government will not accept first-time DACA requests. Advocates are fighting to bring back DACA for new applicants.

Monday, September 24, 2018

New I-601A Waiver


New I-601A Waiver Keeps Immigrant Families Together

According to Moses Apsan, Esq., past president for the Federal Bar Association for the New Jersey chapter, practicing in the field of U.S. immigration laws for the past 35 years, “there is a waiver called a Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver (I-601A) that has helped thousands of families since it was created in March 4, 2013.”

As Attorney Apsan explains, “You can get legal status if you entered Illegally and married a U.S. Citizen or a Green Card Holder or you are the son or daughter of a lawful permanent resident, even, in some cases, if you were ordered deported.”

In March of 2013, a new provisional illegal presence waiver (I-601A) was approved by executive order. The primary difference between the old 601 waiver and the new 601A waiver is that the application can be made while the undocumented immigrant remains in the U.S.

The waiver procedure now permits eligible people to apply for a provisional unlawful presence waiver while they remain in the U.S. and before they travel for immigrant visa interview overseas

According to Moses Apsan, “once the waiver is approved and an interview is scheduled, you can be on your way back to the U.S. in as little as 3 weeks. Approximately 30 days later they arrive, the Green Card (legal residency status document), is received in the mail. The nightmare of being separated, is no longer a threat.”

Monday, September 17, 2018

What is an I-94?


What is an I-94?

The Arrival and Departure Record is the I-94, in either paper or electronic format, issued by a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer to foreign visitors entering the United States. After April 30, 2013, most Arrival and /or Departure records will be created electronically upon arrival. Instead of a paper form, the visitor will be provided with an annotated stamp in the foreign passport.  If provided a paper form, the admitting CBP Officer generally attaches the I-94 to the visitor's passport and stamps the departure date on the form.

In both circumstances, an electronic I-94 or paper I-94, the visitor must exit the U.S. on or before that date stamped on the form or in the passport.

If a visitor departs by a commercial air or sea carrier (airlines or cruise ships), their departure from the U.S. can be independently verified and it is not necessary to take any further action, although holding on to the outbound (from the U.S.) boarding pass - if they still have it - can help facilitate reentry when coming back to the United States.

If a visitor departs by land and has a paper form I-94, the I-94 must be turned in to a CBP Officer at a land border when exiting the U.S. on or before the date stamped on the form. The visitor may retain the I-94 and use it for multiple entries through the duration of the period of admission indicated on the form.

However, if it is not turned in to a CBP Officer at the land border by the end of the admission period, the visitor will be considered an "overstay" and they may be denied entry when they attempt to reenter the United States in the future.

Monday, September 10, 2018

DACA Renewals


Federal Judge Allows DACA Renewals to Continue for Now

This month will mark the one-year anniversary of President Trump’s announcement ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative. Yet, defenders and recipients of DACA are celebrating a decision that came late last week, in which several states attempting to end the initiative were hit with a major setback.

U.S. Judge Andrew Hanen of the Southern District of Texas ruled that individuals with DACA can continue to renew their status. The ruling came as a surprise given Hanen’s previous 2014 ruling that halted other Obama-era executive actions on immigration.

President Trump announced that his administration would phase out and permanently end DACA in September 2017 and no renewals would be accepted after March 5, 2018. As a result, multiple lawsuits were filed seeking to stop DACA’s termination. Those lawsuits were initially successful, with three different federal judges ordering the Trump administration to continue to accept DACA renewal applications.

But while these cases were ongoing, Texas and nine other states filed a lawsuit before Hanen challenging the constitutionality of DACA itself. This lawsuit attempted to end DACA and sought an injunction ending any further processing of renewals.

In last week’s ruling, Hanen rejected Texas and the other states’ request to temporarily halt DACA renewals. In a detailed 117-page opinion, the judge overwhelmingly agreed with the states’ argument that DACA was created unlawfully and should be struck down. He even said the states will likely succeed in the courts over time. However, Hanen said he would not issue an injunction.

Hanen reasoned that the states had waited too long to file this challenge. The judge also found that halting renewals would cause immediate harm to DACA recipients. As Hanen explained,

Monday, September 3, 2018

Happy Labor Day


Should Labor Day Celebrations Pay Tribute to Immigrant Workers?

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. Through the years, the nation has given increasing emphasis to Labor Day. As celebrations are set to begin in a few weeks, the holiday offers an opportune moment to reflect on the very concept of American Workers. After all, should Labor Day celebrations pay tribute to immigrant workers? Who is an American worker? Where do immigrants, who contribute their talents and labor to the production of goods and services in the United States, fit into the picture?

The United States has used immigration to help fill labor supply needs, enabling the country to remain the world’s economic superpower. It has been said that the United States’ most precious periods coincide with the waves of immigration and immigrant workers, whom continue to be a key component of the U.S. economy. Sixteen percent of the country’s workforce is comprised of foreign-born workers. The U.S. economy benefits from the valuable skills and talents provided by foreign-born, highly-skilled scientists, engineers, and medical doctors. Moreover, our society and economy also relies on the employment of immigrants of different skill levels for a variety of industries, many of which experience labor shortages. Key industries include agriculture, food processing, construction, or eldercare.

There were a reported 23.1 million foreign-born persons in the American civilian labor force, constituting 16.4 percent of total American workers. Moreover, this number grows exponentially every single year. Back in 1970, immigrant workers only comprised five percent of the American workforce. Perhaps the most important aspect of the study that was conducted using the 2010 Current Population Survey (CPS), Census data, and the American Community Survey (ACS), is that these numbers were comprised using data that includes natural citizens, legal permanent residents, temporary migrants (including H-1B workers and students), refugees, asylum seekers, and an estimation of unauthorized immigrants. Although the numbers of immigrant workers has increased, as well as their percentage of the workforce, the immigrant share of the labor force has taken a dip to 42 percent from 2005-2017. In previous years, the percentage was 68 percent.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Family Green Card

Who can get a family green card?

•Spouses of a US citizen
•Parents of US citizens, if the sponsoring citizen is age 21 or older
•Children of a US citizen
•Siblings of US citizen, if the sponsoring citizen is age 21 or older
•Spouses of a permanent resident
•Unmarried children of a permanent resident

Overview of the steps

1. Get sponsored. To obtain a green card through family, a relative who is a permanent resident or citizen must sponsor their immigrant relative by filing a visa petition on their behalf. This is always the first step towards receiving a family green card, regardless of the immigrant’s current status.
2. Wait for a visa. Once the relative visa petition is approved, the immigrant must wait for an immigrant visa to become available. The waiting period could take a few months or decades depending on how many other applicants are in the US visa backlog. This is true for applicants both in or outside of the United States.
3. Apply for a green card. After an immigrant visa becomes available, the immigrant must complete a medical exam, file for adjustment of status or consular processing, and potentially attend an interview. If approved, the immigrant will officially be a permanent resident.

How long will it take?

Processing time for immigrant visa petition: 6 months or longer
Waiting time for immigrant visa to become available: 1 year or longer*
Processing time for adjustment of status/consular processing: 6 months or longer
*This depends on your preference category, Immediate relatives of a US citizen do not need to wait for a visa to become available.

  Tip: You can find out how far USCIS is into processing their backlog of applications by checking the visa bulletin. LEGiTiGO updates the bulletin on a monthly basis.

Monday, August 20, 2018

White House Residents


White House Residents Directly Benefit from America’s Generous Immigration System

America’s generosity is reflected in our immigration system. Throughout our nation’s history (with some shameful exceptions), we have allowed individuals to come to the United States to reunite with family members and offered safety and protection to those who need it most.

Yet the Trump White House publicly opposes these fundamental American traditions and values. Trump administration rhetoric that demands an end to family-based immigration and seeks to shut our doors to asylum seekers is particularly searing, considering many who dwell in the White House today have directly benefited from policies put in place by previous administrations.

The most recent example is First Lady Melania Trump, whose parents became U.S. citizens just last week thanks to her sponsorship. How glad she must be to know her parents are nearby rather than thousands of miles away in Slovenia.

President Trump himself is a by-product of family reunification. Both his paternal grandfather and his mother migrated to the United States to be with siblings. Imagine the comfort they experienced from being reunited with family from across the pond.

The president’s senior advisor and lead on anti-immigration policy, Stephen Miller, can thank America’s generous immigration system for his family’s survival and prosperity. His uncle recently shared the story of their family’s immigration history, noting his maternal grandfather—Izzy Glosser, a Jew from Belarus—arrived at Ellis Island in January 1903 with $8 and no knowledge of English.

Monday, August 13, 2018

What is a U-Visa?


What is a U Visa?

Immigrants who are worried about being deported may be too afraid to report a crime to the police, even if they are the victim. The U visa can protect victims of certain crimes by making it safer to report the crime or help law enforcement.  A person who is the victim of domestic violence or trafficking, but who doesn't qualify for VAWA or a T visa, can sometimes qualify for a U visa.

Which crimes qualify for a U Visa?
Many crimes and attempted crimes qualify for the U visa. This includes crimes that happen at work. Because different states use different names for those crimes, it's a good idea to talk to an immigration lawyer to find out if you qualify for a U visa.

You may qualify for a crime such as:

•Assault (hitting, beating), abusive sexual contact, blackmail, domestic violence, genital cutting of a girl or woman
•Paying someone too little for their work, keeping them prisoner, tricking them into working, threatening to make them lie to an investigator, and others

How do I prove that I qualify?
You must show that:
•The crime hurt you, physically and/or mentally.
•You were helpful or will be helpful to law enforcement (police or investigators). This means reporting the crime or answering questions. Even if the crime happened a while ago, it might not be too late to report it or be helpful.

How long does it take to get the visa?
There is a waiting list for the U visa. How long it takes depends on how many people have applied and your place in line. But you can apply for a work permit while you wait for your U visa.

If I get a U Visa, can I help my family members stay in the U.S.?
If you qualify, you can get a work permit and permission to stay in the U.S., and help other family members get a U visa, too. If you are 21 or over, you can apply for your spouse and children, too. If you are under 21, you can also apply for your parents and unmarried brothers and sisters who are under 18.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Prepare for an I-9 Audit


Employer: How to Prepare for an I-9 Audit

During this fiscal year, ICE has served more than 5,000 Notices of I-9 Inspections on employers across the country. They have also made almost 1,000 administrative worksite-related arrests. Employers need to be prepared for I-9 audits.

Conduct Periodic Internal Self-Audits

Since I-9s became required for new hires in 1986, we have always advised employers to conduct internal self-audits as a way to eliminate, or at least minimize, their liability for I-9 violations.
Employers need to make sure that employees complete Section 1 of form I-9 no later than their 1st day of employment. They are required to print their name, address, e-mail address and phone number.
They must attest whether they are either a (1) US citizen; (2) a non-citizen national; (3) a lawful permanent resident; or (4) are authorized to work in the US until a particular date. A lawful permanent resident must provide his/her alien number. A person with a temporary work permit must choose between completing information from 1 of 3 documents.
The employer must then sign and date the I-9 attesting, under penalty of perjury, that the information is true and correct.

Helpful I-9 Resources for Employers

Over the past 30+ years, walking the fine line between I-9 compliance and refraining from violating federal anti-discrimination laws has become increasingly difficult for employers. Fortunately, the USCIS now provides the online resources to help employers comply with the complex rules governing these subjects:

How to Avoid Common I-9 Mistakes

The USCIS website contains a page on I-9s entitled Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. Also, when our law firm has conducted audits of I-9 forms for employers, I have often observed that far too many of the employees submit Drivers Licenses and Social Security Cards. Often, this results from HR telling the employees which forms to submit. Instead, HR should simply show each employee the list of List A, B and C documents and inform them that they need to submit a List A document, or a List B and a List C document. Be aware that employees cannot be compelled to list their Social Security numbers on form I-9 unless the employer is enrolled in the E-Verify program. If an employee is a lawful permanent resident, their employer should never reverify their I-9 form simply because their green card expires. Finally, there are numerous types of EAD work permits that automatically are extended for 180 days if the employee submits a timely application for extension.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Applying for a family-based green card


Applying for a family-based green card

A green card is the document that proves your status as a permanent resident in the United States. With a valid green card, you can legally live and work in the United States for 10 years, as well as:

•Travel outside the United States, without the risk of being denied entry.
•Live and work anywhere in the United States, without the need for employer sponsorship.
•Start a business in the United States.
•Receive government-sponsored financial aid for education, if eligible.
•Collect social security benefits in retirement, if eligible.
•Sponsor certain family members for a green card.
•Be protected by all federal, state, and local laws.

Who can get a family green card?

•Spouses of a US citizen
•Parents of US citizens, if the sponsoring citizen is age 21 or older
•Children of a US citizen
•Siblings of US citizen, if the sponsoring citizen is age 21 or older
•Spouses of a permanent resident
•Unmarried children of a permanent resident

Overview of the steps

1. Get sponsored. To obtain a green card through family, a relative who is a permanent resident or citizen must sponsor their immigrant relative by filing a visa petition on their behalf. This is always the first step towards receiving a family green card, regardless of the immigrant’s current status.

2. Wait for a visa. Once the relative visa petition is approved, the immigrant must wait for an immigrant visa to become available. The waiting period could take a few months or decades depending on how many other applicants are in the US visa backlog. This is true for applicants both in or outside of the United States.

3. Apply for a green card. After an immigrant visa becomes available, the immigrant must complete a medical exam, file for adjustment of status or consular processing, and potentially attend an interview. If approved, the immigrant will officially be a permanent resident.

  Exception: Immediate relatives of a US citizen always have a visa available and can become permanent residents as soon as their applications are approved. Everyone else, however, has to wait.

Monday, July 23, 2018

It Is Legal to Seek Asylum


It Is Legal to Seek Asylum

As thousands of asylum-seeking parents were separated from their children in recent months, the A.G. administration actively portrayed them as law breakers who must be prosecuted and punished for coming to the United States. Left out of the narrative is one well-established fact: it is legal to seek asylum.

The Immigration and Nationality Act, which governs our nation’s immigration law, makes clear that anyone arriving at the U.S. border or within the United States is permitted to apply for protection. U.S. law embraces both international and domestic legal obligations not to return any person to a place where they face persecution on account of one of several protected grounds.

Most everyone can apply for asylum, and where narrow exceptions apply, those individuals can apply for other forms of protection including withholding of removal or relief for those at risk of torture.

For those able to reach the U.S. border, many have been unlawfully turned away by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials who have told migrants that ports of entry are closed or that the U.S. no longer welcomes asylum seekers, at least from certain countries, among other justifications.

Faced with no alternatives, many asylum seekers present themselves to Border Patrol between the ports of entry in order to seek protection. Following the Attorney General’s “zero tolerance” policy of prosecuting everyone apprehended between the ports of entry, many asylum-seeking parents were separated from their children for months so they could be prosecuted for entry-related crimes before being given a chance to ask for protection.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Employment-Based Visa

Employment-Based Visa Categories in the United States

One of the key principles guiding the U.S. immigration system has been admitting foreign workers with skills that are valuable to the U.S. economy. Current U.S. immigration law provides several paths for foreign workers to enter the United States for employment purposes on a temporary or permanent basis.

Temporary Employment-Based Visa Classifications

There are many different temporary employment-based visa classifications.   Most of the classifications are defined in section 101(a)(15) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), and the visa classifications are referred to by the letter and numeral that denotes their subsection of that law. Temporary employment-based visa classifications permit employers to hire and petition for foreign nationals for specific jobs for limited periods. Most temporary workers must work for the employer that petitioned for them and have limited ability to change jobs.  In most cases, they must leave the United States if their status expires or if their employment is terminated.

Permanent Employment-Based Immigration

Lawful permanent residency allows a foreign national to work and live lawfully and permanently in the United States. Lawful permanent residents (LPRs) are eligible to apply for nearly all jobs (i.e., jobs not legitimately restricted to U.S. citizens) and can remain in the country even if they are unemployed. Immigrants who acquired lawful permanent resident status through employment may apply for U.S. citizenship after five years. 

Numerical limits and Per-Country Limits

In addition to the annual numerical limit on the number of employment-based immigrant visas, each country is limited to seven percent of the worldwide level of U.S. immigrant admissions, otherwise known as per-country limits.  Because of numerical and per-country limits, and because in some preference categories there are more petitions each year than visas available, some individuals must wait a significant period of time to apply for adjustment of status (in the U.S.) or an immigrant visa (abroad) even after the employer’s petition is approved by USCIS.

As of September 2016, most preference categories were current for most countries, meaning that visas are available as petitions are received. However, for some employment-based preference categories, there are backlogs for petitions for individuals born in certain countries with high annual levels, such as India, China, Mexico, and the Philippines. 

Monday, July 9, 2018

When to Apply for U.S. Citizenship?


When Can I Apply for U.S. Citizenship?

The "five years of permanent residence" rule and more guidance on the naturalization process.

If you are a U.S. permanent or conditional resident -- that is, someone with a green card -- the basic rule is that you cannot apply for U.S. citizenship (or apply to naturalize) until you have lived in the United States as a lawful permanent resident for at least five years. That means exactly five years, to the day.

For example:

if you were approved for permanent residence on April 17, 2011, you would be eligible for citizenship on April 17, 2016. Check your so-called green card (permanent resident card) for the exact date on which you became a permanent resident.

If you start out as a conditional rather than a permanent resident (most likely because you got your residence either through recent marriage to a U.S. citizen or through an investor visa), your two years as a conditional resident count as permanent residence, on one condition: You must successfully become a permanent resident at the end of the two years.

Any one of several exceptions may, however, reduce the amount of time you must wait.
or at least the ones that apply to civilians. If you are a member of, or relative of someone who has been with the U.S. Armed Forces.

90-Days Early Application Rule

Despite the five years of permanent residence requirement, you are actually allowed to submit your naturalization application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within the 90-days before your five-year anniversary has arrived. The reason has to do with timing.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Removal Hearing in Immigration


What Will Happen at Your Master Calendar Hearing?

Learn how to prepare yourself for your preliminary immigration hearing.

A master calendar hearing (“MCH”) is a short, preliminary hearing on immigration matters -- the usual start to efforts to remove an immigrant from the United States. You will meet with the Judge and the government attorney to figure out how your case will proceed. The Judge will schedule dates for your submission of written documents, and for your individual merits hearing (at which the substance of your applications or claims and/or defenses will be addressed in detail). If you have an attorney, he or she will answer most of the Judge’s questions.

During a MCH, the Court will not address any legal claims or defenses of your case. You will not be questioned about your case or immigration applications, and will not present any witnesses. The Judge will not make any rulings regarding legal issues in your case.

How to Prepare for Your MCH

You will first receive a Notice to Appear (“NTA”), which will specify the date and place of your MCH. Note that you must personally attend your MCH, even if your lawyer attends as well.
You may bring family members with you to the court. Make sure that they have legal immigration status. Otherwise, they may be arrested. It is not a good idea to bring children. Dress appropriately – in clean, neat, conservative clothes.

Arrive on time at your MCH. If you are absent -- or even late -- you might be ordered deported “in absentia” (due to your absence) or the Judge might deny your legal claims or defenses. Arriving early is a particularly wise idea because going through a security check point can take a while.

Try to find out ahead of time how your local Court operates. Bring important documents with you: your identification documents (passports, a driving license), your NTA (or another “hearing notice” that directed you to come to court), and any original documents that might be helpful at this preliminary stage (based on your lawyer’s suggestion). Also, bring a calendar, because the Judge will schedule deadlines in your case.

During your MCH, you will most likely be before the Judge for about five to 20 minutes only, although you might be in Court for several hours (including time to check in and wait). Plan accordingly.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Business Leaders


Business Leaders Rebuke the Government’s Family Separation and Imprisonment Policies

Criticism continues to mount for the Government administration’s zero-tolerance policy and practice of separating and imprisoning migrant families along the U.S.-Mexico border. While the administration clumsily shifts its narrative around the policy, business leaders took action against what Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi‏ called an “immoral” and “unfathomable” practice.

Khosrowshahi, who is himself a refugee from Iran, announced his plans to provide legal aid to asylum-seeking families who have been ripped apart at the southern border.

In a memo sent to Uber employees on Tuesday, the company said that its legal team is exploring “immediate opportunities” to provide to assistance to the parents and children affected by the family separation policy. Uber is also partnering with U.S. legislators and regulators to bring an end to the policy.

Other corporate giants have stepped forward to voice their opposition to the administration’s zero-tolerance policy.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai also spoke out against family separation this week, saying:
“The stories and images of families being separated at the border are gut-wrenching.” Pichai, an immigrant from India, added that he is “urging our government to work together to find a better, more humane way that is reflective of our values as a nation.”

In addition, American, United, Southwest, and Frontier airlines issued statements to the federal government, saying the companies will not use their aircraft to transport migrant children separated from their families. Additional airlines followed suit throughout the week.

Their statements came after a viral photo taken aboard an airplane showed a group of immigrant children reportedly being flown from Arizona to Florida.

In its statement, American Airlines said:
“We have no desire to be associated with separating families, or worse, to profit from it. We have every expectation the government will comply with our request and we thank them for doing so.”

Monday, June 18, 2018

Next Steps

This is the handout immigrant parents get before they're separated from their children during immigration process

A document given to immigrants who are arrested and separated from their children at the US-Mexico border, is at the heart of the Trump administration's new policy toward immigrant families.

Customs and Border Protection provided the document to CNN during a walk-through of a border processing center in McAllen, Texas, near the US-Mexico border.

The handout, titled "Next Steps for Families," explains in both English and Spanish the four steps ahead for detained immigrants with children. The form references a handful of bureaucratic acronyms and provides three main "actions" for helping the parents locate their child or children after they are separated.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Immigrant Heritage Month


Celebrating Immigrant Heritage Month and Being Welcoming Is Good for You and Your Community

June is Immigrant Heritage Month, and given the shrill and often negative rhetoric we hear around immigration, it seems more important than ever to take time to appreciate our immigration history and what newcomers bring to our nation and our lives.

Though our country’s roots can be largely traced back to successive generations of immigrants, many of today’s federal immigration policies ignore and do a disservice to that history.

However, there are bright spots, as state and local governments increasingly pursue immigration policies and initiatives that integrate immigrants and capitalize on the new energy they bring to local communities.

Additionally, a growing number of communities have adopted welcoming policies where local governments and community groups work to devise innovative programs and policies that help immigrants integrate into the fabric of the city, and, in return, become more productive community members.

Interestingly, some of the states welcoming and benefitting from immigration now were once struggling with the issue, even passing punitive immigration enforcement policies. However, many are rethinking their old exclusionary policies and are reaping the benefits as a result.

Many of these welcoming cities are also participating in Immigrant Heritage Month activities as another way to bring neighbors together. Through events across America, communities will celebrate the contributions that immigrants have made and continue to make to our nation.

This type of community building that local communities are taking on is powerful.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Children in Custody

What Happens When Migrant Children Are Taken Into U.S. Custody?

The glut of stories surfacing about family separation and the increasing number of migrant children being taken into U.S. custody is deeply concerning. In the past, children detained in shelters had arrived at the border without an adult. Now, however, the U.S. government is making children unaccompanied by intentionally separating them from their parents upon arrival.

Presumably the same policies, procedures, and security checks U.S. officials follow when taking custody of unaccompanied children will apply to the children they take away from parents, who are being criminally prosecuted and detained separately. However, these policies and procedures are about to be put to the test.

The Administration’s new family separation policy has already resulted in 658 children being separated from their parents in just a 13-day span in May. This increase in family separations means more children in the government’s custody for whom they must find a new home.

Currently when migrant children arrive at the U.S. border unaccompanied they are placed in the care and custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), a part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Currently, ORR has a network of approximately 100 shelters in 14 states around the United States.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Immigrants create jobs


Immigrants Create Jobs for American Workers, Boosting the U.S. Employment Rate

When immigrants bring their skills to the U.S. labor market, everyone—immigrants and native-born workers alike—benefit from their company. Research has repeatedly shown that native-born workers are advantaged by the presence of immigrant workers in the labor market.

A new report from the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) adds to this growing body of research. Specifically, the report finds that immigrants have no negative effect on the unemployment rate or labor force participation rate of native-born Americans.

The presence of more immigrants in the labor force is associated with a small but undeniable increase in the labor force participation rate of natives, NFAP concludes. Likewise, more immigrant workers correspond with a small decline in the unemployment rate of the native-born.

Even less-educated native-born workers are not harmed by immigration, while the labor force participation rate of more-educated native-born workers increases as immigration rises.

These outcomes are sometimes lost in the midst of structural changes in the U.S. economy which are brought about by many factors—of which immigration is but one.

For instance, unemployment skyrocketed during the Great Recession of 2007-2009 and bounced back slowly. Meanwhile, labor force participation has been declining for years—a trend that accelerated with the recession and has yet to reverse.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Border Spy Cam


Man removes feds’ spy cam, they demand it back, he refuses and sues

74-year-old rancher and attorney was walking around his ranch just south of Encinal, Texas, when he happened upon a small portable camera strapped approximately eight feet high onto a mesquite tree near his son's home. The camera was encased in green plastic and had a transmitting antenna.

Not knowing what it was or how it got there, Ricardo Palacios removed it.

Soon after, Palacios received phone calls from Customs and Border Protection officials and the Texas Rangers. Each agency claimed the camera as its own and demanded that it be returned. Palacios refused, and they threatened him with arrest.

Palacios, who had run-ins with local CBP agents going back several years, took the camera as the last straw. He was tired of agents routinely trespassing on his land, and, even after complaining several times, he was frustrated that his grievances were not being heard.

As a possible way to ward off the threat of arrest, he sued the two agencies, along with a named CPB agent, Mario Martinez. Palacios accused them of trespass and of violating his constitutional rights.

"My client is 74 years old, he's a lawyer, been practicing for almost 50 years, he has no criminal history whatsoever, law-abiding citizen, respected lawyer and senior citizen," Raul Casso, one of the attorneys representing Palacios, told Ars. "To have put him in jail would have been—forget the indecency of it—what a way to end a career."

This federal lawsuit has raised thorny questions about the limits of the government's power to conduct surveillance—in the name of border security—on private property, without the landowner's permission.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Seasonal Workers Visa


Delays in the Increase of Seasonal Worker Visas May Prove Too Late for Certain Industries

Failure to get H-2B (seasonal worker) visas approved has put Maryland’s seafood industry in jeopardy. Almost half of the Eastern Shore’s crab houses do not have workers they need to pick the meat as the crab season begins. The government’s inability to meet employers’ growing seasonal labor demands will not only have a detrimental impact on Maryland’s economy, but on other states with industries that heavily rely on seasonal workers.

To meet labor shortages, many employers depend on the H-2B visa program, which brings at least 66,000 foreign workers to the country every year to work in non-agricultural seasonal jobs.
Arduous working conditions in many of these industries—such as the crabbing, fishing, landscaping and forestry sectors—have contributed to significant labor shortages.

This year proved to be particularly challenging for many industries that employ seasonal workers. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) received an “unprecedented level of employer requests,” for positions which led to delays in processing and issuing certifications. Thus, it was the first time that immigration officials granted these visas by a lottery due to the high demand.

Employers seeking H-2B workers need a temporary labor certification from DOL issued only after they meet certain regulatory requirements, including recruiting for U.S. workers, and USCIS approval of an H-2B visa petition.

The negative effects of these changes were felt particularly by Maryland’s crab businesses. Of the 500 foreign workers that are needed each season through the H-2B visa program, applications for around 200 of those visas were denied in February of this year.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Risk of Deportation


After Almost 20 Years,
Honduran Temporary Protected Status Holders Lose Permission to Stay

Nearly 60,000 Hondurans learned that they will no longer be able to remain in the United States with Temporary Protected Status (TPS), placing them at risk of deportation when termination takes effect in 18 months. Having lawfully resided in the United States for many years, Honduran TPS holders now face the impossible choice of whether to leave the homes and families they’ve created in the United States only to face an unfamiliar country plagued by pervasive violence.

The Presidential administration has been on a steady crusade against TPS, Honduras being the seventh decision to terminate a country’s designation for TPS (or a related form of relief called Deferred Enforced Departure) in just the past eight months.  Honduras is the last of the large TPS designations to be cut, with El Salvador (195,000 beneficiaries), Haiti (46,000 beneficiaries) and Nepal (8,950 beneficiaries) all being ended since November.

Honduras was originally designated for TPS in 1999 following the devastation wrought by Hurricane Mitch, the second deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record that left millions homeless. Since that time, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the State Department have regularly reviewed country conditions, finding that Honduras continued to meet the conditions for a TPS designation as required by law.
In past decisions to extend TPS, the Secretary of Homeland Security appropriately looked at a range of relevant issues that complicated the Government of Honduras’ ability to recover from the disaster and absorb the return of tens of thousands of its nationals, including: the availability of ample housing; the existence of critical infrastructure; the reliability of power sources; the availability of sufficient food and clean water; the stability of the Honduran economy; and how new environmental disasters have complicated recovery.

Monday, April 30, 2018



Department of Justice Ignores Its Own Evaluators’ Recommendations on Immigration Courts

A newly-released document obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) shows that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is making radical changes to the immigration court system that deliberately contradict the recommendations given to the department by its own independent evaluators.

The recommendations were made in an April 2017 Booz Allen Hamilton report commissioned by The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR)—the agency that houses the immigration courts. The year-long analysis summarized in the report recommended steps to resolve inefficiencies in the immigration court system that have contributed to the courts’ ballooning caseload. In several instances, the report recommended solutions that made the system more efficient and effective without compromising fairness, such as placing the merits of the immigration case decisions over case completion quotas.

The report—initially obtained after the American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association submitted a FOIA request for the report and related documents—was released in the wake of a highly controversial decision by EOIR to apply case completion quotas to immigration judges.

These new quotas require immigration judges to complete 700 cases per year, avoid having their decisions reversed by the Board of Immigration Appeals and courts of appeals (judges must maintain a reversal rate of less than 15 percent), and meet a variety of additional benchmarks, such as short deadlines for issuing removal decisions or bond decisions.

Monday, April 23, 2018

CBP Abuses


High Profile Cases Highlight Border Patrol Abuses and Need for Systemic Change

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)—the Border Patrol in particular—has a reputation for repeatedly and systematically violating the rights of immigrants and U.S. citizens alike. Border Patrol agents are known for regularly using excessive force during apprehensions, detaining people under inhumane conditions, and resorting to coercion and misinformation in order to remove people from the United States. Despite the growing number of reports and studies which document these misdeeds and recommend systemic reforms to prevent them, a pattern of abusiveness remains.

For instance, in April 2018, a video from March 2017 surfaced which captured an incident in which two Border Patrol agents operating along the border in El Centro, California, tried to dump an injured and incoherent man on the Mexican side without even verifying from what country he actually came. When Mexican border guards asked the agents how they knew the man was in fact Mexican, one of them replied, “He looks like it.” The Mexican guards also reminded the Border Patrol agents that bilateral agreements between the United States and Mexico specify that any deportee from the United States must be processed through the Mexican consulate on the U.S. side of the border. The agents responded by claiming that the man was not actually in their custody—even though they had him handcuffed.

At times, the conduct of Border Patrol agents seems gratuitously cruel. A prime example from October of 2017 occurred when Border Patrol agents detained a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy after she’d undergone emergency gallbladder surgery in Corpus Christi, Texas. The car in which she was riding passed through a CBP checkpoint, at which point she proceeded to the hospital in an ambulance. CBP agents “escorted” the ambulance to the hospital, where they waited outside of the girl’s room until they could detain her and put her in deportation proceedings.

Likewise, in March of 2018, a Mexican woman in San Diego was arrested by Border Patrol agents in front of her three children as they stood at the side of the road and cried. CBP insisted that the woman was part of a human-smuggling network; specifically, that she recruited drivers to take undocumented immigrants to a “stash house.” However, she apparently had no criminal record and was not being criminally prosecuted. Rather, CBP was processing her administratively for the civil violation of being in the country without authorization.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Immigrants in the NBA

Immigration Made Easy

2018 Playoffs to feature record 62 immigrant players from 33 countries

NEW YORK, April 12, 2018 – The National Basketball Association (NBA) announced today that team rosters (active and inactive) for the 2018 NBA Playoffs will feature a record 62 immigrant players from a record 33 countries.

All 16 teams competing in the playoffs will feature at least one immigrant player.  The Utah Jazz and Philadelphia 76ers have an NBA-high seven immigrant players each.  The Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs each have six.  The Spurs’ 2014 NBA Championship team featured a record nine immigrant players during the playoffs.

The most represented countries among the 62 immigrant players on playoff rosters are France and Australia (seven players each), followed by Canada (four players), Spain (four players), Turkey, Croatia, Cameroon and Brazil (three players each).  Thirty-six of the record 64 European players who were on opening-night rosters for the 2017-18 season are on playoff rosters.

Four-time NBA Champion Tony Parker (San Antonio Spurs; France) will be making his 17th straight playoff appearance, the longest active streak among all NBA players.

There were 108 immigrant players from a record 42 countries and territories on opening-night rosters for the 2017-18 season.  This marked the fourth consecutive season that opening-night rosters featured at least 100 immigrant players and that all 30 teams had at least one immigrant player.

The previous record for immigrant players in the playoffs (60) was set in 2007, and the previous record for countries and territories represented in the playoffs (30) was set in 2014.

The 2018 NBA Playoffs tip off Saturday, April 14 on ABC.  In the opening game, the defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors will host the San Antonio Spurs at 3:00 p.m. ET.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Troops to the Border


Trumps Calls in the Troops to the Border—But No One Knows What For

President Trump first announced via tweet—and later a signed proclamation—that he plans to send the National Guard to the nation’s southern border. And yet, at the same time, he acknowledged that border apprehensions (which are used to gauge how many people are attempting to cross the border) are at a 46-year low.

Some have questioned the need for the National Guard at this time given that border apprehensions are so low and the Department of Homeland Security declared just last year that the southern border is more secure and harder to cross than it ever has been before.

There are many other unanswered questions as to what the Trump administration plans to do with National Guard troops on the border. When questioned by members of the media, the Department of Defense and DHS had next to no specifics on how this deployment would happen.

For instance, DHS Secretary Kirsten Nielsen could not say how many National Guardsmen would be sent to the border, their exact location along the border, how long they would remain there, or how much it would cost.

For instance, DHS Secretary Kirsten Nielsen could not say how many National Guardsmen would be sent to the border, their exact location along the border, how long they would remain there, or how much it would cost.

To be clear, this is not the first time that the National Guard has been called to the southern border. President Barack Obama summoned 1,200 National Guard troops in 2010 to aid the Border Patrol with surveillance. Likewise, President George W. Bush called upon 6,000 troops to fill various support roles for Border Patrol agents, thereby freeing more of them to carry out apprehensions.

When President Bush sent the National Guard to the border, there were 70 percent more apprehensions than there are now and 7,000 fewer Border Patrol agents. After President Obama called for the National Guard, the Washington Post reported: “The 1,200 National Guard troops have helped Border Patrol agents apprehend 25,514 illegal immigrants at a cost of $160 million—or $6,271 for each person caught​.”

Monday, April 2, 2018

Decennial Census


What Are the Risks of Adding a Citizenship Question to the Decennial Census?

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced Monday night that a question on citizenship status will be added to the 2020 decennial census questionnaire. This decision, which was adopted in response to a request from the Department of Justice, has raised deep concern within both the immigrant rights and academic research communities.

Having an accurate count of U.S. residents, as well as information on their demographic characteristics, is important for a number of reasons. Census information affects the distribution of Congressional seats among states, informs how federal funding is spent on infrastructure and services, and serves as the basis for many decisions that affect the country’s residents. Moreover, the decennial census is mandated by the U.S. Constitution.

According to the memorandum issued by the Secretary of Commerce, the main reason for including a citizenship question is to “permit more effective enforcement of the [Voting Rights] Act.” In particular, the memorandum states the citizenship data will permit a more effective enforcement of Section 2, which “prohibits voting practices or procedures that discriminate on the basis of race, color, or membership in one of the language minority groups.”

However, it is totally unclear how exactly this information would serve the stated purpose and, more importantly, what the real intentions are for its inclusion. Given the openly anti-immigrant agenda advanced by the Trump administration, it is hard not to interpret this as yet another means of intimidating the immigrant community.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Invisible Wall


The Invisible Wall That President Trump Has Already Built

Legal immigration and the number of foreigners visiting the United States has taken a serious hit within the last year, as the Trump administration makes changes to policies and procedures without any Congressional action or approval.

These actions have already had a disturbing, cumulative effect as the administration begins to severely limit flows of immigrants and visitors without even beginning construction on a border wall.

While building an actual, physical wall was the hallmark of the Trump campaign, this primarily depends on congressional action and funding—which the administration has so far failed to secure.

However, it has slowly but quite deliberately started to restrict and attack legal immigration causing significant negative impacts on tourists and students choosing to come to the U.S., as well as employment-based, family-based, and humanitarian-based immigration.

These policy changes are detailed in the new report “Deconstructing the Invisible Wall” by the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

The report breaks down the administration’s changes to policy and procedures into six broad categories, covering issues from the travel bans and extreme vetting to the growing immigrant benefits backlog and new hurdles to naturalization for foreign-born soldiers.
As the report notes, the administration has already placed additional scrutiny in a variety of employment-based immigration areas, including:

“…nonimmigrant petitions for skilled workers, managers, executives, and others; a dramatic increase in Requests for Evidence (RFEs); the dismantling of rules to facilitate immigrant entrepreneurship; new interview requirements; and proposals to eliminate work authorization for spouses of certain H-1B workers, among many other changes.”

Monday, March 19, 2018

Americas Schools on ICE


How Aggressive Immigration Enforcement Hurts America’s Schools

Immigration enforcement has become increasingly severe, especially in the past year. Yet news coverage often merely scratches the surface of what people across the country are experiencing. Consequently, one topic that often gets left out of the larger conversation is the deep and lasting impact immigration enforcement has on the education of children.

Increasingly, education and childcare professionals report that this harsh approach to immigration enforcement is harming the environment in schools and childcare centers and, more broadly, the communities of students and families they serve. Two recent multi-state surveys add to a growing body of evidence demonstrating how immigration enforcement negatively affects children in the United States.

The first, a national survey of pre-K through high school educators conducted by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA, reveals that immigration enforcement has negatively impacted U.S. schools and classrooms. Of the 5,438 teachers, administrators, and other school staff surveyed between October 2017 and January 2018, 73 percent observed potential impacts of immigration enforcement at their school.

“Fear” and “separation” were the two most common words used when describing students’ immigration concerns, based on about 3,500 responses from personnel in 730 schools in 12 states. Thousands of educators described how their students from immigrant families, the vast majority of whom are U.S.-born, “were terrified that families and friends, and occasionally they themselves, would be picked up by ICE… and that it was, at times, very difficult for students to learn and teachers to teach.”

Monday, March 12, 2018

Abolish ICE?

It’s Time to Abolish ICE
A mass-deportation strike force is incompatible with democracy and human rights.

Dan Canon is running for Congress in Indiana’s ninth district this year. A career civil-rights lawyer, Canon filed one of the cases against gay-marriage bans that eventually became the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges, and he proudly wore a Notorious RBG shirt under his suit to the Supreme Court. He is currently representing individuals suing Donald Trump for inciting violence at his rallies.

Canon has also defended clients swept up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids, and fought a Kafkaesque deportation system that, at one point, wouldn’t even disclose the location of his client. Now Canon believes ICE should be abolished entirely.

“I don’t think a lot of people have any kind of direct experience with ICE, so they don’t really know what they do or what they’re about. If they did, they’d be appalled,” Canon told me. “ICE as it presently exists is an agency devoted almost solely to cruelly and wantonly breaking up families. The agency talks about, and treats, human beings like they’re animals. They scoop up people in their apartments or their workplaces and take them miles away from their spouses and children.”

The idea of defunding ICE has gained traction among immigrant-rights groups horrified by the speed at which, under President Donald Trump, the agency has ramped up an already brutal deportation process. Mary Small, policy director at Detention Watch Network, said, “Responsible policymakers need to be honest about the fact that the core of the agency is broken.” Her group led the charge to defund ICE with its #DefundHate campaign last year.

Monday, March 5, 2018

USCIS Mission Statement

Removal of ‘Nation of Immigrants’ from USCIS Mission Ignores Agency’s Mandate and American History

Francis Cissna, Director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), unveiled a new mission statement for the agency last week, notably deleting the words “a nation of immigrants” as well as other key principles central to the agency’s work.

Given the sweeping changes underway in the enforcement and adjudication of immigration laws, changing a few words here and there in a mission statement—something that is not mandated by law—may seem trivial. But for USCIS, the prior mission statement was a touchstone of the why and the how, informing both employees and the public of the core values driving the work of the agency. Removing references to a nation of immigrants, the promotion of citizenship, and customer service cuts the heart out of the agency.

The previous mission statement, unveiled as part of its first strategic plan in 2005 under the Bush administration by then USCIS Director Eduardo Aguirre, read:

“USCIS secures America’s promise as a nation of immigrants by providing accurate and useful information to our customers, granting immigration and citizenship benefits, promoting an awareness and understanding of citizenship, and ensuring the integrity of our immigration system.”

The new mission statement reads:

“USCIS administers the nation’s lawful immigration system, safeguarding its integrity and promise by efficiently and fairly adjudicating requests for immigration benefits while protecting Americans, securing the homeland, and honoring our values.”

The new version lacks context, as it no longer grounds the agency’s work in the history of our country. There is no vision connecting the past to the present or to the future. There is no mention of the important role USCIS plays in promoting and celebrating citizenship.

There is also a deliberate elimination of the reference to serving “customers,” purportedly to avoid treating immigration adjudications as a mere commodity. Yet USCIS was created in part because of the feeling that applicants were ill-served by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, with abysmal backlogs and a lack of information and transparency. Moreover, it is hard not to think of the petitioners and applicants as customers, since the agency is almost entirely funded by fees paid by these people, who simply want efficient and fair treatment—like most customers everywhere.