Monday, May 9, 2016

A Remote Town, A Closed-Off Courtroom, And A Father Facing Deportation


Caitlin Dickerson on NPR reports on a trip to an immigration court in Lumpkin, Ga., where more than 97 percent of immigrants lose their cases.

Police had found Shawn 4 ounces of marijuana, two digital scales and plastic baggies at his family home near Atlanta. His lawyer negotiated a deal to avoid the 10-year sentence Shawn could face if his case went to trial. 

Shawn later was held pending a hearing where an immigration judge would determine whether he would be allowed to stay in the United States. The Obama administration's immigration agenda prioritizes deporting "felons, not families." 

Shawn came to the U.S. as a legal permanent resident from Guyana, in South America, 30 years ago, when he was 10 years old. He asked to be identified for this story only by his first name and his family members by their middle names to protect his children and his wife's employment status. He grew up in New York City, in a Guyanese neighborhood where it seemed everyone was related — even those who weren't called each other "cousin" or "auntie." In his 20s, Shawn faced two other criminal charges for misdemeanor possession of pot, but his green card was unaffected. He also had two children with different mothers. Then, in 2006, he married Marie, a U.S. citizen who is also of Guyanese descent. They and a dozen other extended family members moved to Georgia to settle down and escape hectic city life. Marie and Shawn had a son. Shawn says he smoked weed recreationally throughout his life, but never sold it.

The immigration court ordered Shawn removed from the United States.  Learn to this detailed report about his story by listening to the radio story at the link above.


May 9, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Pictured with taco bowl, Trump proclaims, 'I love Hispanics!'


From Donald Trump's Twitter:  Happy ! The best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics!

No, this is not a Saturday Night Live satire of the U.S. presidential campaign.   CNN reports that, just days after becoming the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump wished the world a happy Cinco de Mayo and shared a photo of himself grinning and eating a taco bowl at his desk at Trump Tower.


May 8, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to our readers!

This infographic from CARA serves as a reminder, on Mother's Day of the mothers and children who continue to be detained by immigration authorities.  It reads:

"One detained mother's hope for her children as she flees Central America: 

'That they may live the dreams that I never could.'



May 8, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Is Profiling on Planes, Trains, Buses, Etc. Making the Nation Safer?


Guido Menzio from his website

It has been nearly 15 years since the tragic events of September 11, 2001.  Still, we regularly hear reports of the excesses of racial and religious profiling in the name of security. 

Last week, the Washington Post reported that a University of Pennsylvania economist, Guido Menzio, an immigrant from Italy, apparently fit a profile and was interrogated for doing math -- yes, math -- on an American Airlines flight.

The Texas Tribune  reports that a Sikh advocacy group wants criminal charges to be filed against three people who restrained two fellow Greyhound bus passengers in Amarillo and called 911 to report them as terrorists.  Daljeet Singh, an Indian asylum seeker bound for Indianapolis, left Phoenix, Arizona, on Feb. 20 on a Greyhound bus. On board, he met Mohammed Chotri, a Pakistani, and the two began speaking to each other in Punjabi.  The fact that they were speaking a non-English language and spoke on cell phones, apparently provoked suspicions.

In April, a UC Berkeley student was escorted off a Southwest Airlines flight after speaking Arabic on the phone to his uncle.

Here are three other instances when innocent people were escorted off flights.



May 8, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Once ashamed of my Mexican immigrant parents, but not anymore


Salomón Chavez Huerta arrived in the United States as a farmworker in the Bracero Program, a U.S.-Mexico guest worker program from 1942 to 1964. Carmen Mejía Huerta, his wife, toiled for more than 40 years as a domestic worker. Photo courtesy of Alvaro Huerta.

Professor Alvaro Huerta writes in the Sacramento Bee about how his parents were positive role models but, as a young college student, they embarrassed him:

"While I will never forgive myself for not giving my parents credit for motivating me to pursue higher education, growing up in a society where brown people are scapegoats for America’s failures, it makes sense that I would feel embarrassed about my Mexican roots and working-class background.

While Mexicans in el norte have become convenient targets for American politicians like Donald Trump, there’s a long tradition of Mexican-bashing in the United States. Since the military defeat of Mexico in 1848, American leaders and public figures have treated Mexicans in this country as second-class citizens and social burdens or threats."


Read more here:

May 8, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lenders extend piece of American dream to undocumented immigrants


Should undocumented immigrants be able to secure mortgages to buy a home?  Some lenders are saying "Yes."

Consider this story out of New Mexico.  For Erika Balderas Gutierrez, owning a home seemed like an impossible dream.   She is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. When she found out that her immigration status wouldn’t prohibit her from obtaining a 30-year mortgage, she began saving money. After a year, she had squirreled away about $16,000 for a down payment. Then she worked with Homewise, a Santa Fe nonprofit, and was able to purchase a house last year. “Every immigrant has the right to get ahead in life,” said Gutierrez, 33. “And if we dedicate ourselves to our goals, we can achieve them.”


May 8, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Latest from Jan Brewer and Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Immigration


Donald Trump supporters Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the former governor of Arizona Jan Brewer discuss the candidate's immigration policies on 'Hannity.'


May 8, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Immigration Plans of Trump & Hillary in 5 Minutes

5 minutes? You've got that kind of time. Jump to 1:33 and skip the intro.



May 7, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Plight of Undocumented Workers

Guest blogger: Gabriela Garcia, first-year law student, University of San Francisco

The Supreme Court’s decision on the Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, 535 U.S. 137 (2002) case established a precedent that undocumented immigrants cannot obtain back pay when they are wrongfully terminated. Hoffman Plastic Compounds involved an employee who was terminated for participating in a union at work and was denied back pay for his termination. SCOTUS reasoning for not granting pay back was that they could not award pay back since the worker was working unlawfully. With this decision the court seems to have opened the door for more employers to take actions against their employees for participating in lawful activities that would create a better work environment and burden the employer.

Undocumented immigrants are more likely to suffer from adverse actions from employers because they are less likely to report violations in fear of losing their job or being reported to ICE. The repoort Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers by the Center for Urban Economic Development, National Employment Law Project, and UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment states that “one in five workers . . . reported that they had made a complaint to their employer or attempted to form a union in the last year. Of those, 43 percent experienced one or more forms of illegal retaliation from their employer or supervisor. For example, employers fired or suspended workers, threatened to call immigration authorities, or threatened to cut workers’ hours or pay.” After the decision in Hoffman Plastic Compounds, undocumented employees trying to form unions have even less protections and less of an incentive to fight for their rights.

The ACLU guide  No Free Pass to Harass states that [i]mmigrant women are exceptionally vulnerable to abusive workplace conditions” and they are less likely to report it. Although the guide focuses on women and the abuses they suffer, immigrant men also suffer from workplace violations and do not report them. The guide does point out that threatening a worker that he or she will be reported to ICE constitutes violation under many states laws. However, based on my interaction with the immigrant community, this knowledge does not necessarily encourage workers to report violations since they do not want to risk being put in deportation proceeding or losing their job since they need to sustain their family.

The incentive to report abuses becomes less appealing when news outlets report the possible consequences. For instance, the Los Angeles Times reported the story of Diaz, an undocumented immigrant who worked on the clean up efforts hurricane Gustav and complained about disparate treatment suffered by him and other minorities. He ended up in deportation proceedings.

To attempt to provide some sort of safety net for undocumented workers who speak up against labor violations on November, 2015 U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu introduced the Protecting Our Workers from Exploitation and Retaliation (POWER) Act. According to the Los Angeles Times, the POWER Act would give workers like Diaz provisional "U visas." The U-visa would eventually lead those who speak up to eventually obtain legal permanent residency. Pro-immigrant organization such as the National Immigration Law Center believe this legislation is a remedy for the Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board case. The legislation is progressing slowly, but it seems to be a good start to helping to stop employers from abusing their employees’ rights.


May 7, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Melania Trump (Yugoslavia)


Photo Courtesy of Harper's Bazaar

Our Immigrant of the Day is none other than Melania Trump, a jewelry and watch designer and former model who is married to 2016 U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump. Born in Yugoslavia (now Slovenia), she became a lawful permanent resident of the United States in 2001 and a U.S. citizen in 2006.

Lauren Collins in the New Yorker tells us some about the "Model American."  Should Trump be elected President, Melania will become the first foreign-born First Lady since Louisa Adams.

Melania got her green card in 2001 and became a citizen five years later. As Collins writes, "Melania has expressed little solidarity with less fortunate newcomers."   “I came here for my career, and I did so well, I moved here,” she told Harper’s Bazaar. “It never crossed my mind to stay here without papers. That is just the person you are. You follow the rules. You follow the law. Every few months you need to fly back to Europe and stamp your visa.”  Given those remarks, it should not be surprising that Melania has expressed support for some of Donald's tough-on-immigration positions.


As the Presidential campaign continues, we can expect Melania Trump to be in the news

Thanks to Cappy White for suggesting that we recognize Melania Trump as Immigrant of the Day!


May 7, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 6, 2016

The face of immigration with Trump as president


"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people." –Donald Trump

Guest blogger: Nicholas Gonzales, first-year law student, University of San Francisco:

Presidential Candidate Donald Trump’s campaign stance on U.S. immigration, most explicitly on the Mexico border, is very clear. On his official campaign site TRUMP: MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!, Trump emphasizes that “we are the only country in the world whose immigration system puts the needs of other nations ahead of our own. That must change.” His proposal for “real immigration reform” revolves around three core principles:

1. A nation without borders is not a nation. There must be a wall across the southern border.
2. A nation without laws is not a nation. Laws passed in accordance with our Constitutional system of government must be enforced.
3. A nation that does not serve its own citizens is not a nation. Any immigration plan must improve jobs, wages and security for all Americans.

Additional objectives of Trump’s immigration reform policy include tripling the number of ICE officers; defunding uncooperative local governments; and requiring companies to “hire American workers first.” It’s no surprise that Trump’s reactive approach to immigration reform, and many of his political views, have sparked inescapable controversy amongst the presidential candidates. It’s apparent that given the current state of U.S. immigrations, we need a candidate to propose viable solutions to the problem. Donald Trump is not that candidate.

“A nation without borders is not a nation.” The U.S. was founded by immigrants and has thrived from the admission and prosperity of immigrants from outside its borders. Most of the greatest influences since the birth of this nation have been by first or second generation immigrants. Building a wall and further restricting immigrants from entering this nation would not only be a serious infringement on human rights, but more importantly for the success of the nation, a hindrance on future growth through diversification. It may be true that moderation of the flood gate that has become the U.S. border is needed, but any hydraulic engineer could tell you that further constraint on that stream only leads to increased pressure.

“Any immigration plan must improve jobs, wages and security for all Americans.” In its Hispanic Trends Project, the nonpartisan Pew Research Center has found that the U.S. currently employs approximately 8.4 million undocumented immigrants, representing nearly 5.2 percent of the nation’s work force. This figure has increased by 1.4 percent since 2000. Texas Comptroller, Susan Combs, proclaims that, “without the undocumented population, Texas’ work force would decrease by 6.3 percent,” which would result in a 2.1 percent decrease in Texas’ gross state revenue. Texas is the fourth highest accruing state economy in the U.S. The U.S. Department of Labor further reports that of the 2.5 million farm workers in the U.S., over half (53 percent) are undocumented immigrants.

Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that, “about half of the hired workers employed in U.S. crop agriculture were unauthorized, with the overwhelming majority of these workers coming from Mexico. Any potential immigration reform could have significant impacts on the U.S. fruit and vegetable industry.”



Plain and simple, Trump’s solution to improving the U.S. economy and domestic job stimulation is by restricting almost 15% of the nation’s workforce and literally defunding local governments that don’t align with his radical policies. But maybe requiring companies to “hire American workers first” could solve that problem. If only Trump could figure out a way to make American workers want to do the jobs most immigrants have no other choice to take, on the fields and in the factories.

Friederich Drumpf migrated to the United States in 1885 with nothing to his name, founded a career in real estate, and before his death, managed to create a small fortune and substantial financial foundation for his children and future generations to come. When you think of the “American Dream,” stories like Frieferich’s seem to come to mind. When Donald Trump, Friederich’s grandson, announced his presidential candidacy, the notion of the American dream became less conceivable. Trump as president would mean the U.S. would no longer be a country whose immigration system puts the needs of other nations ahead of our own, preventing stories like Friederich’s from being possible.


May 6, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Complexities of Translating in the Immigration Courts

Guest Blogger: Carla Lopez Perez, First-year law student, University of San Francisco School of Law.

It is no secret that interpreters are essential to individuals who have limited proficiency in English in relation to the immigration court system in the United States. Therefore, it would not be an understatement to say that interpreters are crucial to an immigrant who is applying for immigration relief either affirmatively through the asylum office or defensively in an immigration court. In these arenas, interpreters provide a link between the immigrant and the person making a decision to their claim, in most cases an immigration judge or asylum officer. The interpreter is essentially the voice for the immigrant and is helping the immigrant disclose their story, make their case, and communicate the urgency to remain in the country.

The ability to have an interpreter present in an individual’s case can be vital in obtaining a positive result in one’s case. According to a 2011 report by the Brennan Center for Justice, when an individual finds himself in immigration court without an interpreter, the final “result is that people lose their freedom, families, livelihoods, and homes because of simple misunderstandings.” Fortunately, in August 2000, the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued an executive order requiring “all federal agencies to provide ‘meaningful access’” to individuals who have limited proficiency in English. More specifically, the order requires, “a) the provision of interpreters ‘during all hearings, trials, and motions during which the LEP individual must and/or may be present,’ b) screening to ensure that the interpreters possess the specialized skills and knowledge necessary for court interpretation.”

Although mandatory per the executive order, the future of interpreters inside of the immigration courts was uncertain for several months toward the end of 2015, going into early 2016. Last July, the DOJ switched over to a new contractor, SOS International (SOSi). This new contract created a rift between interpreters and the new contractor, and in October 2015, as many as 100 interpreters had already refused to sign the contract. According to ThinkProgress, “Interpreters cited ‘low pay, inconsistent and often insufficient travel reimbursement policies, and a general sense of being undervalued given the importance of the work.’” This is a problem in a court system that is already fragile and ridden with hearing delays. A decrease in the number of interpreters willing to sign the new contract means that there will be a decrease in the number of interpreters able to take on work. In the end, immigrants are the ones to suffer the consequences as many will not have anyone to interpret for them at their hearings causing the hearings themselves to be delayed to a later date.

Earlier this year the tensions deepened when interpreters, in the hundreds, working inside of the immigration courts told BuzzFeed News that they have not been paid for their interpretation services as far back as November. According to BuzzFeed News, in February, “immigration contract interpreters sent a letter to SOSi demanding they be paid in a timely manner.” They also let the news source know that there were concerns “that SOSi may be outsourcing its qualification testing to an interpreting school.” In relation to this, the group believes that, “placing interpreter testing and quality assurance oversight in the hands of the school would undermine transparency.” The consequence of this oversight might mean fewer competent interpreters in the court room in order to fill the need for cheaper interpreting services.

As previously stated, interpreters are crucial in immigration court and the possibility of incompetent translations is a critical problem that should be avoided at all costs. One of the many things that could go wrong is that less competent interpreters may incorrectly interpret a crucial part of an individual’s testimony or may even incorrectly interpret a question. Although inconsistencies in translation should not give an immigration judge reason to believe an immigrant’s credibility, it could in fact lead to dire credibility issues. The ultimate result from these language-related misunderstandings could result in an immigrant’s deportation.


May 6, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Queen Rania: The Syrian refugees I met are experiencing something worse than death


In this op/ed in the Washington Post, Queen Rania of Jordan argues that Syrian refugees are experiencing something worse than death:  "No one’s listening to the nearly 155,000 refugees who have risked their lives to reach Greece since the start of this year."


May 6, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Former Governor of Maryland Martin O’Malley to speak at ABA panel on immigration reform


A little later this morning, Martin O’Malley, former governor of Maryland and Democratic presidential candidate will be among the panelists discussing the political debates around immigration at the program, “Words Matter: the U.S. Debate over Immigration, the Media, and the 2016 Election,” hosted both in-person and live web stream by the American Bar Association Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice and the Commission on Immigration at National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

“Words Matter: the U.S. Debate over Immigration,
the Media, and the 2016 Election”
Sponsored by the ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice
and the Commission on Immigration

Friday, May 6, 8–10 a.m.

National Press Club
529 14th St. NW, Suite 1300
Washington, D.C. 20045

Also accessible on live web stream

Panelists will discuss the 2014 influx of Central American mothers with young children to the southwestern U.S. border; the political response to the Syrian refugee crisis; President Barack Obama’s executive orders on immigration reform; and questions about the legitimacy of birthright citizenship.

In addition, the panel will explore the political comments made during this presidential election cycle about race, nationalities and religious groups and will discuss the opposing views of America’s role in providing a safe haven to those seeking religious and political freedom. Panelists will address how the negative rhetoric employed in today’s political debate threatens the United States and the nation’s modern democracy.

Moderating the discussion will be Mary Meg McCarthy, executive director of the National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago and chair of the ABA Commission on Immigration. Other participants include Emir Hadzic, U.S. Marine gunnery sergeant and Bosnian-Muslim refugee; Melinda Henneberger, editor-in-chief of Roll Call; and Jayesh Rathod, professor of law and director of the Immigrant Justice Clinic at American University’s Washington College of Law.

This event is free and open to the members of the press. For media credentialing, please contact Jennifer Kildee at 202-662-1732 or register for the live web stream click here.


May 6, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

President Obama Hosts a Cinco de Mayo Reception


In his remarks at the event, President Obama reminded us about the need for immigration reform:

"Together, we continue to fight to fix our broken immigration system.  The fact that we weren’t able to get it through Congress has been one of the most frustrating aspects of my presidency.  But our ability to take actions within my legal authority to make our immigration system fairer and smarter and more just I continue to believe are going to help pave the way for us to finally get the law passed through the next Congress.
And I got to tell you, I’m going to keep on working on this not just as President, but as a citizen -- once I’m leaving here -- because I think it’s one of the most important things we can get done.  (Applause.)"




May 6, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The girl who hugged the Pope is at the White House. Her parents, who are undocumented, can’t join her.


The Washington Post reports that Sophie Cruz, the young woman who darted past security last fall to deliver a letter to Pope Francis, visited the White House today on Cinco de Mayo.  Unfortunately, her parents could not accompany her because they are undocumented and could not pass the required background checks. Asked what she planned to do at the Rose Garden celebration, six-year-old Sophie was emphatic. “Talk to the president,” she said. She contacted her parents via Facetime from the event, telling them that the Mexican rock band Maná was playing and “tres leches” cake was among the refreshments.


May 5, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Highlights from the AALS Clinical Conference

Earlier this week, clinical law professors from around the country gathered for the annual American Association of Law Schools (AALS) Clinical conference.  This year's conference theme was, "Clinics and Communities:  Exploring Community Engagement Through Clinical Education" and was held along the Baltimore, Maryland waterfront.  

As with every AALS clinical conference, the program offered a rich set of sessions focused on immigration-related topics, with strong participation from those of us who teach in immigration/immigrants' rights clinics.  This year, the Clinical Law Review held a concurrent symposium on the first two days of the conference to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Gerald Lopez's seminal work, Rebellious Lawyering.  The symposium, entitled "Rebellious Lawyering at 25," included a breakout session on Immigrants' Rights that featured the work of Ramzi Kassem (CUNY) and Diala Shamas (Stanford) discussing their work around national security and immigration-related advocacy on behalf of Middle Eastern immigrant communities in New York City as well as Brenda Montes, (Franco Law Group) discussing the application of rebellious lawyering principles to her private immigration law practice in Los Angeles.  I had the pleasure of moderating the immigrants' rights session.  The print version of the symposium will also include articles by Bill Ong Hing (USF) and Karla McKanders (Tennessee).  A number of other symposium panelists, including Betty Hung (Asian Americans Advancing Justice), Martha Gomez (MALDEF) and Alfredo Mirande (UC Riverside - Sociology) highlighted immigration-related themes.  Sameer Ashar (UC Irvine) served on the planning committee for the symposium.

Concurrent sessions during the conference raised the challenges, opportunities and practical implications of teaching in law school clinics that engage with communities, conduct broader advocacy, and respond to crisis.  One concurrent session, entitled "Reimagining Advocacy:  Adapting Clinical Models to Meet Community Needs," focused on various responses to the human rights crisis related to Central American migration and the return of family detention, and was presented by  Farrin Annello (Seton Hall), Kate Evans (Minnesota, but soon to join Idaho Law), Denise Gilman (Texas), Jennifer Lee (Temple), Ranjana Natarajan (Texas), Sarah Paoletti (UPenn), Elissa Steglich (Texas), Philip Torrey (Harvard), Michael Vastine (St. Thomas), and Sheila Velez-Martinez (Pittsburgh). (Most of whom are pictured below)  


Another session focused clinics that prioritize individual representation and run for one semester, and the challenges associated with including community advocacy projects into those clinics, and was facilitated by Elizabeth Keyes (Baltimore), Sarah Rogerson (Albany) and me (Western State).  Immprofers appeared throughout the rest of the program, including (but not necessarily limited to) Christopher Lasch (Denver), Katie Tinto (Cardozo), Beth Lyon (Cornell), Julia Vasquez (Southwestern), Annie Lai (UC Irvine), Michael Kagan (ULNV). 

The conference also included a number of works-in-progress presentations from Immprofers.  Sarah Sherman-Stokes (Boston Univ.) presented on mental competency findings by Immigration Judges, with commentary from Ragini Shah (Suffolk).  Emily Torstveit Ngara (Baltimore) presented on the use of solitary confinement in immigration detention, with Christine Bustany (Suffolk) serving as discussant.  Jenny Brooke-Condon (Seton Hall) presented on immigration federalism, with commentary from Denise Gilman.  Suzan Pritchet (Wyoming) spoke on protecting undocumented crime victims, with commentary from Maureen Sweeney (Maryland). Geoffrey Heeren (Valparaiso) presented his paper on immigrants and the right to work, which Jason Parkin (Pace) commented on.  Medha Makhlouf (Penn State) spoke on immigration law's treatment of married children, with feedback from Elizabeth Keyes.  And, Becky Sharpless (Miami) presented on "Cosmopolitan Democracy and the Detention of Immigrant Families," with discussion led by Sarah Rogerson.

Finally, immigration clinicians met periodically throughout the conference for working group discussions, led by Maureen Sweeney and Emily Torstveit Ngara. As always, those groups provided for the exchange of ideas, strategies, challenges and the joys of clinical teaching. 

(Check out the Twitter hashtag #AALSClinical for more on the conference).


May 5, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

This Past Week Alone: Two Deaths in Immigration Detention

Immigration Impact reports that two individuals have died in immigration detention in the past week alone, one at the Krome Detention Center in Miami, FL, and another at the Otay Mesa Detention Center in San Diego, CA.


May 5, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

USCIS Issues Proposed Rule on Immigration Petition Fees (Mostly Increases)

USCIS has published in the Federal Register a proposed rule that would lead to various revisions of the fee schedule governing immigration applications.  Comments on the proposed rule are due July 5, 2016.  Although the proposed fees involve a reduction of the fee for naturalization applications (along with a 3-tier fee structure), a number of other fees would increase significantly.  As USCIS explains on its website, the agency's bienniel review "indicates a 21 percent weighted average fee increase is necessary to ensure full cost recovery," and that immigration fees comprised "approximately 94 percent of USCIS’ FY 2015 funding."


May 5, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero



In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by

The star of Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin presents her personal story of the real plight of undocumented immigrants in this country

Diane Guerrero, the television actress from the megahit Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, was just fourteen years old on the day her parents and brother (who were visa overstays) were arrested and deported while she was at school. Born in the U.S., Guerrero was able to remain in the country and continue her education, depending on the kindness of family friends who took her in and helped her build a life and a successful acting career for herself, without the support system of her family.

In the Country We Love is a moving, heartbreaking story of one woman's extraordinary resilience in the face of the nightmarish struggles of undocumented residents in this country. There are over 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the US, many of whom have citizen children, whose lives here are just as precarious, and whose stories haven't been told. Written with Michelle Burford, this memoir is a tale of personal triumph that also casts a much-needed light on the fears that haunt the daily existence of families like the author's and on a system that fails them over and over.
Click here for a USA Today interview with Guerrero about the book.

May 5, 2016 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)