Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Ciudad Juarez Announces Online Inquiry System
The U.S. Consulate General in Ciudad Juarez now offers an inquiry system for legal representatives. The U.S. Consulate General in Ciudad Juarez processes all immigrant visa cases from Mexico as well as non-immigrant and American citizen services.
The U.S. Consulate General in Ciudad Juarez accepts inquiries from legal representatives online at http://ciudadjuarez.usconsulate.gov/feedback-form.html.
Use of this form allows the Consulate to quickly respond to inquiries while giving lawyers a quick, secure way of communicating with the Consulate. All inquiries from legal representatives regarding immigrant visas, non-immigrant visas or citizen services such as passports should be submitted via this online form rather than through phone, fax or regular mail.
The Consulate will reply via email to all inquiries submitted online within 5 business days.
Family members or applicants wishing to make an inquiry should continue to use the Consulate's call center at 1-900-476-1212 if calling from the United States or 01-900-849-4949 if calling from Mexico.
Stars and Stripes (and here) reports on the Okinawan widow of a Marine killed in Iraq who has run into visa difficulties. Hotaru Nakama and Marine Sgt. Michael Fershke married while Ferschke was deployed to Iraq, where he was killed a month later. She is six months pregnant and seeks to move to Tennessee to raise their child in the town where the father grew up and family lives. Hopefully, she can work her way through the immigration bureaucracy.
Let's hope that this all works out.
UPDATE -- and GOOD NEWS: The Florida Masochist reports that the widow Ferschke has gotten her visa. HURRAH!
As we've reported, the new naturalization test goes into effect tomorrow. Andrew Sullivan in the Daily Dish has an interesting reference to it:
"I think [Palin] has pretty thoroughly — and probably irretrievably — proven that she is not up to the job of being president of the United States. If she doesn’t perform well, then people see it. And this is a moment of real high anxiety, a little bit like 9/11, when people look to Washington for comfort and leadership and want to know that people in charge know what they are doing," - David Frum.
I'm unsure, at this point, if she could pass a citizenship test."
Interesting new book from Temple University Press:
Hapa Girl by May-lee Chai
A vivid depiction of the racism suffered by a mixed-race family in rural South Dakota
In the mid-1960s, Winberg Chai, a young academic and the son of Chinese immigrants, married an Irish-American artist. In Hapa Girl ("hapa" is Hawaiian for "mixed") their daughter tells the story of this loving family as they moved from Southern California to New York to a South Dakota farm by the 1980s. In their new Midwestern home, the family finds itself the object of unwelcome attention, which swiftly escalates to violence. The Chais are suddenly socially isolated and barely able to cope with the tension that arises from daily incidents of racial animosity, including random acts of cruelty.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Waiver Final Rule, a regulation that will streamline the issuance of certain short-term non-immigrant visas for non-U.S. citizens who are HIV-positive. For a description of the new rule by DHS, click here.
Some of you may remember the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals in Matter of R-A-, Int. Dec. 3403 (BIA), which denied asylum to a woman who fled Guatemala after her husband had brutalized her for 10 years and she was unable to obtain help or protection from Guatemalan police or courts. In the latest development on this case, the Attorney General certified Matter of R-A- (the case of Rodi Alvarado) to himself, and issued a brief decision remanding the decision to the BIA.
Attorney General Reno had certified the case to herself in January of 2001, vacated the BIA's denial of relief, and ordered the BIA to redecide the case when proposed regulations issued by her Department of Justice in December 2000 were final. Attorney General Ashcroft again certified Matter of R-A- to himself in 2004 and allowed briefing. The DHS filed a brief arguing that Rodi Alvarado met the refugee definition. Attorney General Ashcroft decided not to decide the case, and returned it to the BIA, with the same order as Janet Reno had issued -- namely that the BIA decide the case once the proposed regulations were issued as final. Those proposed regulations -- which have still not been issued as final -- were seen as largely favorable to claims like Rodi Alvarado's.
Attorney General Mukasey's latest ruling orders the BIA to decide Ms. Alvarado's case on the basis of existing regulations and precedent, and removes the requirement that the BIA await the issuance of the proposed regulations as final. The proposed regulations can be seen as favorable to social group gender claims -- especially those involving domestic violence.
Monday, September 29, 2008
For you immigrant detention buffs, here is, care of Bender's Imigration Bulletin, a list of ICE detention facilities as of June 18, 2008. It was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by Kathleen Campbell Walker, partner in the El Paso office of Brown McCarroll. Download ice20detention20facilities20618081.pdf
Here is the latest immigration symposium:
Symposium: Immigration: To Admit or Deny? Introduction by Susan Johanne Adams; articles by Victor C. Romero, James D. Wilets, Leonard Birdsong, Kevin R. Lashus, Robert F. Loughran and Magali S. Candler; notes and comments by Daniel A. Espino, Laurence M. Krutchik and Payal Salsburg. 32 Nova L. Rev. 295-513 (2008).
The final days of the campaign to restore US veterans status to Filipino WWII veterans in the 110th Congress did not net the hoped for results. S. 1315, the "Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act" containing a provision to provide benefits for Filipino WWII veterans that passed in the Senate 96 to 1 in April, was finally taken up and passed in the House of Representatives WITHOUT the provisions for Filipino veterans. Incredibly, in an effort to get the bill out of Congress, mandatory expenditures like the Filipino provision were dropped from the bill.
The next day the House passed by a vote of 392 to 23, HR 6897, legislation that provides a lump sum payment to Filipino WWII veterans in the amount of $15,000 for veterans in the US and $9000 for the veterans in the Philippines. This bill must still go to the Senate, but the likelihood of action is slim, given how late we are in the legislative year.
Advocates are outraged that the House version of S. 1315 does not contain the provisions for Filipino WWII veterans. We have also expressed our objections to HR 6897. As an alternative bill, HR 6897, is lacking for a number of reasons: the amounts proposed are insufficient and cannot sustain a veteran for even a year, and ironically enough, the influx of cash will mean a break in a veteran's eligibility for Medicare and disability benefits.
But the fight is not over until the 110th Congress adjourns in December 2008. Because the House and Senate versions of S. 1315 differ, a conference committee could be called to reconcile the bills, creating an opportunity to restore the Filipino provisions to the final language of the bill. Senator Akaka's (D-HI) first attempt at convening a conference committee was blocked by Senator Burr (R-NC). We need to let Senator Burr know that we want him to stop being an obstacle to justice for the Filipino WWII veterans.
So, we need everyone to stay focused on the political task at hand. This urgent action is needed! Please ACT NOW!
What YOU can do today:
1. Call Senator Burr who leads the opposition in the Senate office at (202) 224-3154 and Representative Buyer (R-IN) who leads the opposition in the House at (202) 225-5037. Both are ignorant of the contributions of the Filipinos during WWII. Our message is short, but clear: Stop the on-going discrimination against Filipino WWII veterans. Restore equal status for Filipino WWII veterans today.
2. Please also urge Senators Akaka and Reid (D-NV), Speaker Pelosi and Representative Filner in the House not to give up the fight, and continue their efforts to restore equal status to the Filipino WWII veterans in this 110th Congress. Call the Capitol Hill switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to be connected to any of these members at their DC offices.
Please stay tuned and be ready to act as this could experience new developments in a few days. For more information, contact Lillian at FAA at (510) 465-9876x308 or Ben de Guzman, National Coordinator of NAFVE at (202) 422-4909. Email Ben at email@example.com
Filipinos for Affirmative Action
We need pro bono assistance for women who were arrested as a result of the work site raid which occurred on August 25 at Howard Industries in Laurel, MS. They have been released with ankle bracelets and were just issued an Notice to Appear at the ICE Investigation office in Gulfpost last week. Their cases will be heard in New Orleans Immigration Court in coming months.
Loyola Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice will lead representation of all respondents (around 70); however, we need pro bono litigators to help us.
If you are interested, please reply to me.
Gulf Coast Immigration Project Managing Attorney & Clinical Instructor
Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC)/Loyola New Orleans Law
Clinic and Center for Social Justice
7214 St. Charles Avenue, Box 902
New Orleans, LA 70118
In August 2008, the Ninth Circuit found that ICE egregiously violated the Fourth Amendment by forcing their way into an immigrant's home without a warrant, consent, or exigent circumstances during an investigation into the immigrant's alleged fraudulent use of a birth certificate. ICE based their case on a tip. Upon entering the home, ICE handcuffed the residents and questioned them about their country of origin and obtained a confession from one of the women about the birth certificate. This case is a significant addition to the small number of cases post INS v. Lopez-Mendoz, 468 U.S. 1032 (1984) that permit the exclusionary remedy in removal proceedings based on an egregious fourth amendment violation and could be used to challenge the way that ICE has been executing home raids. Tthe full Lopez-Rodriguez v. Mukasey opinion is available on the web.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
The Dallas Morning News reports that "Federal immigration authorities now require immunization against human papillomavirus for female immigrants ages 11 to 26 who are seeking permanent residence. The mandate by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services went into effect July 1, but advocacy groups were largely left in the dark about the new requirements, said Priscilla Huang, Reproductive Justice Project director and women's law fellow at the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum."
The Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics, andPublicPolicy presents "Yearning to Breathe Free: Immigrants and the American Dream," a symposium on immigration on Tuesday, September 30, at 5:00 p.m. in the Law School courtroom. Featured speakers are Dina Francesca Haynes, a professor at the New England School of Law; Micah N. Bump, a research associate with the Institute for the Study of International Migration; Robert Gittelson, a garment manufacturer and frequent contributor to the Immigration Portal (ILW.com) and ImmigrationProf blog; and Patricia Gittelson, an immigration attorney in the Los Angeles area. The symposium will be moderated by Father Daniel G. Groody, C.S.C.
The papers presented at the symposium will be published in a special issue of the Journal (Vol. 23) devoted to immigration, due out early next spring. The Journal continues to review submissions for possible publication throughout the fall. Submissions can be sent directly to the editor-in-chief, Noah J. Stanzione, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have previously reported on the design of the new naturalization test. The new test will premier this week. Leslie Fulbright reports in the San Francisco Chronicle:
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on Wednesday will begin using the new version of its citizenship exam, which officials say assures immigrants learn about civic values rather than just memorizing answers.
The new test, which has been in the making since 2001, will be phased in over the next six months or so. Anyone who filed for citizenship before Oct. 1 can choose the old or new test, while those applying after that date must take the new exam.
Alfonso Aguilar, chief of citizenship at Citizenship and Immigration Services, has been traveling the country, talking with immigrant communities and ethnic and mainstream media about the new exam. He said ESL teachers and community organizations have been working with future test-takers to train them on the new exam and calm their fears.
"People get anxious when there is change, and initially many were skeptical," Aguilar said during an interview. "The new test is not harder or easier, it's better. If you study, you will pass." Click here for the rest of the story.
RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLD writes today for the N.Y. Times about Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is running for a fifth term as Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. Arpaio is controversial (and often in the news) because of his "tough" stance on immigration enforcement:
"A federal lawsuit by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund accuses the sheriff’s department of racial profiling and detaining legal residents and American citizens for long periods while their status is checked. The Government Accountability Office, a watchdog arm of Congress, is re-evaluating a program under which federal officials trained the deputies here and elsewhere in immigration enforcement.
And the mayor of Phoenix, Phil Gordon, has asked the Justice Department to investigate the tactics employed by Sheriff Arpaio, who first gained national attention years ago for forcing inmates to wear pink underwear, housing them in tents and feeding them food of a green hue."
Immigrants in Arizona are increasingly being singled out by a so-called virtual kidnapping extortion scheme in which criminals falsely claim to have caught their loved ones as they tried to sneak across the border with Mexico. This is a very common scheme in Latin America, but what complicates it here is that many of the victims are afraid to call the police in light of the underlying immigration violation. For the full story, click here.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
TPS has been extended 18-months for El Salvador from March 10, 2009 through September 9, 2010. There will be a 90-day re-registration announced as soon as the notice is published in the Federal Register. Please note that there is no automatic extension of EADs – this means that TPS beneficiaries reregistering for this extension will need to get their applications in at the beginning of the re-registration period to avoid a lapse in employment authorization. Please be sure to emphasize this point as you disseminate this information to stakeholders and to the Salvadorian community.
Here's the USCIS Announcement:18-Month Extension of Temporary Protected Status for El Salvador
WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it will extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nationals of El Salvador through Sept. 9, 2010. The extension will make those who have already been granted TPS eligible to reregister and maintain their status for an additional 18 months. There are approximately 229,000 nationals of El Salvador (and people having no nationality who last habitually resided in El Salvador) who are eligible for re-registration. TPS does not apply to Salvadoran nationals who entered the United States after Feb. 13, 2001.
The extension of TPS for El Salvador is effective March 10, 2009 and will remain in effect through Sept. 9, 2010. Nationals of El Salvador (and people having no nationality who last habitually resided in El Salvador) who have been granted TPS must reregister for the 18-month extension during the reregistration period beginning the day it is published in the Federal Register and remaining in effect 90 days thereafter. Salvadoran TPS beneficiaries are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible following the start of the 90-day reregistration period. Applications from Salvadoran TPS beneficiaries will not be accepted prior to the opening of the reregistration period.
TPS beneficiaries must submit the Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821) without the application fee and the Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) in order to reregister for TPS. All applicants seeking an extension of employment authorization through Sep. 9, 2010 must submit the required application filing fee with the Form I-765. If the applicant is only seeking to reregister for TPS and not seeking an extension of employment authorization, he or she must submit the Form I-765 for data-gathering purposes only, and is not required to submit the I-765 filing fee. All re-registrants 14 years of age and older must submit the biometric service fee. Applicants may request a fee waiver for any of the application or biometric service fees in accordance with the regulations. Failure to submit the required filing fees or a properly documented fee waiver request will result in the rejection of the reregistration application.
Further details on this extension of TPS for El Salvador, including the application requirements and procedures, will appear in a Federal Register notice shortly. For additional information, contact the USCIS National Customer Service Center toll-free telephone number: 1-800-375-5283. TPS forms are available from the toll-free USCIS forms line, 1-800-870-3676, or from the USCIS Web site: http://www.uscis.gov.
As you may have noticed, we devoted our Immigrants of the Day feature this week to immigrants who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the United States. We could list many, many more, but will note. This week's series highlighted the contributions that immigrants have made -- and will make -- to the the United States. We should not lose sight of that fact in the national debate over immigration.
"Made in LA," a film that we previously previewed that, follows the story of several immigrant women workers in Los Angeles, has won an Emmy! The film tells the story of immigrant workers who embark on their three year legal battle with the garment industry to win basic labor protections from the large multinational corporation sourcing from the factories where they work. Following a series of earlier legal decisions, the appeals court ultimately reverses the decision of the district court, holding that garment workers have a right to sue retailers, who are indeed liable for infringements of labor laws by their subcontractors.
Made in L.A. received the Emmy at the 29th Annual News and Documentary Emmy® Awards in the category of Outstanding Continuing Coverage of a News Story-Long Form. The documentary had its national broadcast premiere on the PBS series P.O.V. in 2007. Director/producer Almudena Carracedo and producer Robert Bahar accepted the award at a ceremony in New York.