Friday, December 28, 2012

DACA Dreamers in Iowa will be denied driver's license

Iowa DOT Will Not Issue Driver’s Licenses or Nonoperator IDs to Persons Granted Deferred Actionfor Childhood Arrivals Status
AMES, Iowa – Dec. 27, 2012 – The Iowa Department of Transportation has determined it will not issue driver's licenses or nonoperator identification (ID) cards to persons granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, based on guidelines described by the U.S. Secretary of HomelandSecurity’s memorandum issued June 15, 2012. The Iowa DOT understands the exercising of this prosecutorial discretion by the U.S. Department of HomelandSecurity does not grant lawful status or a lawful immigration path to persons granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status. Rather, it is prosecutorial discretion extended in a blanket fashion to persons who are not lawfullyauthorized to be present in the United States. Under Iowa Code §§ 321.182, 321.190 and 321.196, a driver’s license or nonoperator ID card shall only be issued toa foreign national authorized to be present in the United States. Therefore, the Iowa DOT does not have the legal authority under current Iowa law to issue a driver’s license or nonoperator ID card to a person granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status (indicated on Form I-766, Employment Authorization Document, category C33).

Thursday, December 27, 2012

I-9 Immigration audits on the rise

Per the NY Times United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement audited more companies for illegal immigrants on their payrolls in the 2012 fiscal year than in previous years. Audits of employer I-9 forms increased to more than 3,000 in 2012 from 250 in the 2007 fiscal year. From fiscal 2009 to 2012, the total amount of fines grew to nearly $13 million from $1 million, ICE data showed. Employers are required to have workers fill out an I-9 form that declares them authorized to work in the country. An employer needs only to verify that identifying documents look real. The audits rely on ICE officers scouring payroll records to find names that do not match Social Security numbers and other identification databases. In the 2011 fiscal year, the most recent year reviewed by The Associated Press, the median fine was $11,000. The state with the most workplaces fined was Texas with 63, followed by New Jersey with 37. HIre a lawyer and do a self audit.. itwill save money in the long run.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Obama softens stance on Immigration enforcement

The Obama administration softened its enforcement immigration policies on Friday announced a policy change that — if it works — should lead to smarter enforcement of the immigration laws, with greater effort spent on deporting dangerous felons and less on minor offenders who pose no threat. The new policy places stricter conditions on when Immigration and Customs Enforcement sends requests, known as detainers, to local law-enforcement agencies asking them to hold suspected immigration violators in jail until the government can pick them up. Detainers will be issued for serious offenders — those who have been convicted or charged with a felony, who have three or more misdemeanor convictions, or have one conviction or charge for misdemeanor crimes like sexual abuse, drunken driving, weapons possession or drug trafficking. Those who illegally re-entered the country after having been deported or posing a national-security threat would also be detained. But there would be no detainers for those with no convictions or records of only petty offenses like traffic violations. John Morton, the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, said this was a case of “setting priorities” to “maximize public safety.” But wait, you ask, shouldn’t ICE have been doing this all along? Didn’t Mr. Morton sayin a memo two years ago that ICE would use its “prosecutorial discretion” to focus on the most dangerous illegal immigrants? He did. But for nearly as long as President Obama has been in office, ICE has been vastly expanding its deportation efforts, enlistingstate and local agencies to expel people at a record pace of 400,000 a year — tens of thousands of them noncriminals or minor offenders. By outsourcing “discretion” to local cops through a fingerprinting program called Secure Communities, it has greatly increased the number of small fry caught in an ever-wider national dragnet. Some cities and states have resisted cooperating with ICE detainers for the very reasons of proportionality and public safety that Mr. Morton cited on Friday. California’s attorney general, Kamala Harris, told her state’s law enforcement agencies this month that ICE had no authority to force them to jail minor offenders who pose no threat. From the NY Times

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Chinese Asylum fraud scheme in NYC leads to 26 people arrested including 6 Immigration Attorneys

USCIS and the FBI bust a Chinese fraud asylum ring in New York City . As alleged in the Indictments, at least 10 New York City area law firms created and submitted these fraudulent applications on behalf of alien applicants and coached them on how to lie to immigration authorities. Of the 26 defendants charged, 21 work at the various law firms, six as attorneys. Also charged are four translators who work at an asylum office in Queens, New York; and an employee at a church in Queens where she allegedly provides training in basic Christianity to asylum applicants falsely claiming to have been persecuted in China for their religious beliefs. Twenty-one defendants were taken into custody late this morning and will be presented and arraigned this afternoon and tomorrow before United States Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Recent DACA statistics

USCIS statistics on DACA cases from 8/15/12 to 12/13/12 which shows a total of 355,889 accepted DACA requests for processing, 336,464 biometric services appointments scheduled, 157,151 requests under review, and 102,965 requests approved.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Former INS Agent indicted for Marrriage Fraud Scheme

Sham Marriage ring busted by ICE. SAN FRANCISCO – A past applications-adjudicator for the former U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has been indicted by a Bay Area grand jury on nine criminal counts stemming from his alleged role in a marriage fraud scheme. Andrew Chojecki, 61, a naturalized U.S. citizen who most recently resided in Poland, is charged in an indictment handed down Dec. 6 with conspiracy to commit marriage and visa fraud, marriage fraud, and alien harboring. The charges are the result of a two year probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and its partner agencies on the San Francisco Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force, including U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service's Fraud Detection and National Security Unit. Six additional defendants are accused of conspiring with Chojecki to commit the fraud. According to the indictment, unsealed Monday, Chojecki allegedly facilitated fraudulent marriages in exchange for cash payments from at least April 2010 through November of this year. Each count of conspiracy to commit marriage and visa fraud, and marriage fraud carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. The maximum statutory penalty for each count of alien harboring is 10 years in prison. The government is also seeking forfeiture of assets arising out of the conspiracy and alien harboring counts.

Cap reached for Suspension and Cancellation Cases

The cap for Non-LPR Cancellation of Removal and Suspension grants was reached on 12/05/12 for the current fiscal year. Below you will find a link to the OPPM previously published by EOIR describing how these cases will be handled by the Immigration Judges. If a new OPPM is published for this fiscal year or I receive any further information I will certainly share it with the chapter. As was the case last year, the Cleveland, Ohio Immigration Judges will still proceed with the Individual Hearings on these cases as currently scheduled; however, the Immigration Judges will reserve decision on the case until the new fiscal year has begun, after October 1, 2013, unless reserved grants become available sooner. It is my understanding some grants have been reserved for detained cases.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Can you file a N-400 application for Naturalization too early?

file a N-400 application for Naturalization too early?Is it INA § 334 permits a naturalization applicant to file a Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, up to 3 months before the date the applicant would first meet the 5-year or 3-year continuous residence requirement. See INA §§ 316(a), 319(a); 8 C.F.R. §334.2(b). While the application can be filed within this 3 month time period, the applicant cannot be naturalized until he or she has met the 5-year or 3-year continuous residence requirement, in addition to meeting the other statutory requirements for naturalization. See INA §§ 316, 319. The National Benefits Center (NBC) conducts preliminary processing of N-400s. When an applicant files a Form N-400 within the 90 day period prior to meeting the continuous residence requirement, the NBC places the application on a “Residence Date Hold.” Only when the continuous residence requirement is met will the NBC place the application in the field office interview scheduling queue. The field office then provides the interview date and time to the NBC and the NBC sends out the appointment notice and transfers the file to the field office. Form N-400 processing times are a function of field office resources and staffing, and therefore, vary from office to office. When preparing an N-400 application, one should consider whether filing the N-400 during the 90-day period prior to meeting the continuous residence requirement is really beneficial Since the naturalization interview will not be scheduled until the applicant has met the 5-year or 3-year continuous residence requirement, waiting to file the N-400 until the applicant has met the requirement may effectively shorten the overall processing time from date of filing to interview.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Juarez Embassy no longer accepting Form I-601 for waivers

Effective Dec. 5, 2012, applicants in Mexico may no longer file Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility at the USCIS Ciudad Juarez Field Office or any associated Form I-212, Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States After Deportation or Removal. Applicants in Mexico must now file Form I-601 and associated Form I-212 with the
USCIS Phoenix Lockbox.