Archive for July, 2004

Somali Community Leader Accused of Lying

July 31, 2004

Kelly Thornton from the San Diego Union Tribune is reporting that the Somali President of the San Diego-based Western Somali Relief Agency is being prosecuted for lying at his naturalization interview. The government is alleging that he was involved with a charity organization that collected funds for terrorism and failed to disclose it at his 2002 interview. It appears that his case is before a U.S. District Court, although Thornton mistakenly calls it immigration proceedings. Immigration proceedings are before Immigration Judges, not U.S. District Court judges. If the Somali leader is convicted of lying he most likely will be placed in immigration proceedings at the conclusion of his imprisonment period. There an Immigration Judge will determine whether he should be deported based on his conviction.

Immigration Court Hearings

July 30, 2004

The Executive Office for Immigration Review has formerly announced the installation of the Headquarters Immigration Court. The EOIR is the U.S. Department of Justice agency that is charged with the administration of immigration court hearings. There are currently 53 immigration courts, including the new headquarters court, and more than 200 Immigration Judges. The HQIC will consist of two Immigration Judges and will hear cases by video teleconferencing.

The Department of State has issued a fact sheet to assist people in recognizing trafficking victims.

9-11 Commission’s Final Report

July 27, 2004

“Our borders and immigration system, including law enforcement, ought to send a message of welcome, tolerance, and justice to members of immigrant communities in the United States and in their countries of origin.  We should reach out to immigrant communities.  Good immigration services are one way of doing so that is valuable in every way-including intelligence.”
 - September 11th Commission’s Final Report.

And The Winners Are…

July 26, 2004

The U.S. Department of State has announced the winners for the 2005 Diversity Lottery. 

Each year, 55,000 immigrant visas are available through the Diversity Lottery program to people who come from countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S.  For information on how to participate in this program click here

On Arnie

July 23, 2004

On Wednesday, July 21, California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger met with San Diego residents at the Cheesecake Factory in the Fashion Valley Mall.  That evening San Diego’s KUSI reported on his visit. They showed footage of the California Governor shaking hands with visitors from China.  I was stunned to hear his exchange with the visitors.  He said something like  this: “where are you from…china…great..make sure you stay here for a long time, two or three years.”   Bad immigration advice.  Generally, a foreign visitor is only allowed to stay in the U.S. for six months.   For obvious reaons, it is dangerous for a public official to give misleading information.   Although I shouldn’t be too surprised as Mr. Schwarzeneggar, an Austrian immigrant, has had his share of immigration troubles.   He himself has been suspected of violating the federal immigration laws.  

Extensions for Foreign Students

July 23, 2004

The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Service (“CIS,” formerly the “INS”) has announced that certain academic and exchange foreign students (F and J visa holders) seeking to adjust to an H-1B non-immigrant status may seek extensions of their F and J visas until their H-1B petitions are adjudicated.  The H-1B petition must be filed before July 30, 2004.

Congressional News

July 22, 2004

The American Immigration Lawyers Association has published its most recent issue of Washington Update, which you can find here.   The Washington Update provides information on recent legislation in The U.S. Congress. 

In other capital news, The Hill is reporting that these folks are the most beautiful people on the hill.

Ninth Circuit Victory

July 20, 2004

Congratulations to my colleague Raul Godinez for winning this Ninth Circuit decision.

CLEAR As Mud

July 20, 2004

For quite some time The Clear Law Enforcement for Criminal Alien Removal Act of 2003 (The Clear Act)  has been pending in Congress.  That legislation would allow law enforcement officials to enforce immigration laws.  The CLEAR Act has caused a stir from all sides including many police associations.  Police officers are arguing that they are not immigration experts  and have not been trained to enforce complicated immigration laws.   
 
The proposed legislation seems to shift the burden of enforcing the federal immigration laws to police officers.  There is concern that such legislation would prevent immigrants regardless of their immigration status from  cooperating with local and state officials.  In the wake of 9-11  many individuals were hesitant to volunteer information to police officers for fear that they would have been turned over to immigration officials. Instead of enhancing national security, The Clear Act might promote fear and distrust among immigrant populations.

At the Government’s Expense

July 15, 2004

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has announced an interesting alternative to the traditional forms of detention for those in immigration proceedings. It looks like some people will be allowed to wear electronic ankle bracelets in lieu of being detained. I heard a figure once that it costs the government $60.00/day for each person who is in immigration custody. Electronic monitoring devices may be the answer to saving valuable manpower and much needed revenue.

DHS is also cracking down on human-smugglers at LAX Airport.

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