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    Published on 12-09-2013 04:35 PM

    Article: From the Mouths of Babes: Children Demand Immigration Reform

    by Amanda Peterson Beadle

    children's protest

    Families across the U.S. are facing the holidays separated from mothers, fathers, and siblings due to deportations and years-long waits for visas. Children—some of whose parents are undocumented immigrants—have taken to the halls of Congress this week to go to congressional offices, meet with members, and ask them to support immigration reform so that their families won’t be separated.

    The protests and meetings are part of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement’s (FIRM) Youth in Action campaign to bring children to Washington, D.C. to share their stories. Eleven-year-old Esteban Verdugo told Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO), for example, that the holidays are hard for him since his father was deported. “I’m scared that my stepdad could be next. It’s Christmas time and while most families are together, immigrant families like mine continue to be separated,” Verdugo said, according to FIRM. “We need to pass immigration reform now.”

    Along with meeting with members, they have gathered in front of House Speaker John Boehner’s office to ask him to bring an immigration bill to the floor for a vote. According to the Huffington Post, a Capitol police officer yelled at the children and advocates Thursday ...

    Published on 12-09-2013 02:52 PM

    I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE: THE NATURALIZATION OATH AND DUAL CITIZENSHIP

    by By Gary Endelman and Cyrus D. Mehta


    The oath ceremony is often one of the most significant and profound in an immigrant’s journey towards American citizenship. It signifies the end of the immigrant experience and is the final threshold before one’s acceptance as a citizen. It is also a happy moment, and the ceremony is generally accompanied by a stirring speech from a judge or well-known public official. Still, the oath, as prescribed by section 337 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), requires a serious commitment from the immigrant to forever renounce former allegiances, and also insists that the naturalization applicant take the oath without mental reservation or evasion. People may still wish to keep their former citizenship even while becoming American citizens for a number of reasons, such as ease of travel to the country to conduct business or to continue to access the country’s social security and healthcare system. Our blog examines the impact of the oath on the immigrant’s desire to retain his or her citizenship of the former country.  At journey’s end, we suggest that, contrary to popular assumption or common understanding, American law is much more tolerant towards and accepting of dual citizenship than most of us, lay and lawyer alike, have ever believed.

    The current format of the oath of allegiance is as follows:

    "I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God."
    When a UK citizen takes such an oath and becomes an American citizen, what is the effect of this oath on his or her UK citizenship? The oath requires the intending citizen to “absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance” to any country that he or she has been a citizen. At the same time, it does not seem that this individual is required to give up UK citizenship. Moreover, since the United States manifestly cannot alter the relationship that any subject or citizen has with the country of their birth or prior citizenship,  the import of the naturalization oath lies  exclusively as an expression of American attitude and belief. The requirement to renounce all allegiance to your former country does not mean that you have to cease being a citizen of that country. The concept of dual citizenship or dual nationality has long been recognized, and the State Department in recognizing
    Published on 12-06-2013 03:27 PM

    Why Is My DACA Case Pending So Long?

    by Charles Kuck

    The American Immigration Lawyers Association ("AILA"), is conducting a survey of long pending DACA cases, some pending over one year, and many thousands pending longer that 8 months. The survey has discovered some common elements in long pending cases:
    • The requestor had a criminal history -- numerous cases involved drinking and driving related incidents, juvenile adjudications, gang issues, and drug and theft offenses;
    • The requestor attended an online school or was homeschooled;
    • The requestor had previously been in removal proceedings or was in removal proceedings at the ...
    Published on 12-06-2013 03:24 PM

    Tiered-Service Plans: Coming Soon to a Law Firm Near You?

    by Ed Poll

    In a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, the writer describes a twist in medical fees. A cardiologist is charging a premium retainer fee for accessibility. (That's access, not treatment!) The levels of service created by the cardiologist are $7,500 a year for "concierge" service, $1,800 for "premier" status, and $500 for "select" status. The differences among the levels range from appointment ...
    Published on 12-05-2013 04:22 PM

    The Punishment Should Fit the Crime for Immigrants, Too

    by Patrick Taurel

    shutterstock_54354364The punishment should fit the crime. That maxim is as old as law itself, dating at least as far back as the Old Testament and Hammurabi’s Code. It’s firmly rooted in our Constitution’s Due Process Clause and the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against excessive fines and cruel and unusual punishment. That principle—referred to as proportionality—appears in both our criminal and civil law. It forbids, for example, the imposition of a life sentence for passing a bad check. It means that the state cannot sentence juveniles for non-homicide crimes to life without parole. And it disallows extreme punitive damages awards. So what does proportionality have to say when the government tries to deport a lawful permanent resident who, a decade ago, shoplifted $200 worth of merchandise from a department store? Right now, astonishingly, nothing: immigration judges do not even consider whether a person’s banishment from the United States is a disproportionate punishment for a crime before ordering the person’s removal. But advocates are working to change this.

    Last week, the American Immigration Council, in conjunction with Boston College’s Post-Deportation ...

    Published on 12-05-2013 02:20 PM

    Justice Department Derails Alabama's Immigration Law

    by Ann Cun

    Late last month, the Justice Department announced that it was settling its lawsuit against the state of Alabama’s House Bill 56 provisions. On November, 25th, the Justice Department released this announcement to mark the judgment against the state of Alabama.

    Alabama House Bill 56, also known as the Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, was passed in June 2011. The bill was one of the most stringent bills aimed at reducing the number of undocumented immigrants in the state. With the law’s passage also came a lawsuit by the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama, which included the following groups:

    • Southern Poverty Law Center
    • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
    • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation Immigrant’s Rights Project
    • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation
    • National Immigration Law Center
    • Asian Law Caucus
    • Asian American Justice Center
    • Latino Justice PRLDEF
    • National Day Laborer Organizing Network
    • Mexican American ...
    Published on 12-04-2013 04:17 PM

    Will New USCIS Memos Confuse House Judiciary Committee Again?

    by Mary Giovagnoli

    confused

    One of the significant lessons of 2013 is that good immigration policy matters to the American public.  It’s unfortunate, then, that the House Judiciary Committee is choosing to end its year focusing not on immigration reform, but on how best to take the President to task for making use of executive authority.

    While the hearing, “The President’s Constitutional Duty to Faithfully Execute the Law,” will likely cover many topics, it appears to be designed in part as a pre-emptive strike against administrative action by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or the President to forestall deportations.   And in a case of colossally bad timing, DHS may have unintentionally provided extra fuel for the fire with its release of two recent memos clarifying existing policy—a memo laying out the use of parole in place for military families and another clarifying the use of discretion in granting adjustment to certain individuals from Visa Waiver Program countries.

    Periodically, the House Judiciary Committee feels compelled to beat its chest and declare that Congress alone makes the laws and ...

    Published on 12-04-2013 04:11 PM

    Is Your Organization Ready for an OSC Investigation?

    by Ann Cun

    In past articles, we’ve talked a lot about preparing for I-9 audits, which are conducted by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.  Yet, the Justice Department plays just as important of a role as ICE.

    The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is part of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  The OSC regularly investigate complaints, fielded by other agencies like the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS), or by complaining parties, like employees, former employees or job applicants about potential immigration-related violations.

    Truth be told, the OSC’s duties are much different than ICE.  Unlike ICE, which audits I-9 records, the OSC is charged with investigating complaints about the way an employer has managed its I-9 or E-Verify process.  Sometimes, the complaints are found to be without merit.  In those cases though, employers typically still undergo training and some form of remedial measures, including OSC webinar trainings and/or E-Verify tutorial trainings.

    For investigations where the complaints ...

    Published on 12-04-2013 12:19 PM

    While Debates Continue on Illegal Immigration, the Wealthy and Talented Go Elsewhere

    by Tahmina Watson

    Startup Act Blog picRecently history shows the world competing for the wealthy and the talented reaffirming the importance of immigrants.. The wealthy, predominantly Chinese, are being enticed by the privilege of working and living in the best places.  Governments are vying for the talented, making every effort to ensure the next Facebook is created in their country.

    Countries are focused on immigrants who can: (1) buy an house (2) invest millions of dollars or (3) start a business.  While we have a decent investor visa option, we lack the other two. That means we are losing out on the opportunity for economic growth.  The US is nonchalant that people from around the globe actually still want to live in the US.

    Immigration reform is key to boosting our economy.  All three of the above visas must be included in any comprehensive reform proposal

    Let’s revisit recent developments.

    In November 2012, Australia launched the newly created “Significant Visa,” allowing residency to anyone with an investment of $AUD 5 million.  In May 2013, Australia issued its first ‘Significant Visa’ and since then, the visa has garnered much interest and Australia is in the process of fast tracking these cases.[1]

    Appreciating the appeal, in April 2013, Canada implemented its very own “Startup Visa Act”.  While the US high-tech industry has been green with envy with our neighbor’s new visa, Canada had no problem crossing the border to taunt us with their innovative achievement.  They even went to our technology hub, Silicon Valley, to poach our brightest entrepreneurs!  The head-hunting push began with an eye-catching billboard boasting the phrase “Pivot to Canada” followed by a visit from the Canadian immigration minister Jason Kenny.  Canada issued its first Startup Visa in September 2013[2] and continues to make improvements to the program.[3]

    Canada and Australia are not alone in their efforts: the UK is constantly reinventing their immigration laws and are not afraid of trial and error.  In 2012, the UK launched their well utilized Tier One Entrepreneur Visa which was further amended in January 2013. In October 2013, the UK announced relaxed visa rules for Chinese citizens enabling easier investments.

    Speaking of China, this is probably the only country that actively discourages entrepreneurs.  The Chinese government recently tightened immigration rules.[4] With a rapidly growing economy, attracting immigrants in the same way as other nations is not important.

    Back in Europe, Portugal implemented the “Gold Visa” allowing residence if one purchases a house for at least €500,000.[5]  The visa has already proven popular, particularly with the Chinese. Spain also created a similar ...

    Published on 12-03-2013 01:56 PM

    MPI Study Examines Latest Naturalization Data

    by


    Who are the new Americans of today? A recent report from the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, paints a fascinating statistical portrait of the latest cohort of naturalized Americans. [See Naturalization Trends in the United States, by Gregory Auclair and Jeanne Batalova, Migration Policy Institute, 24.Oct.2013.]

    First off, the raw numbers: in fiscal year 2012, MPI reports, 40.8 million immigrants lived in the United States, including 18.7 million naturalized U.S. citizens, and nearly 8.8 million lawful permanent residents who were eligible ...

    Published on 12-02-2013 04:26 PM

    Military Families Stay Together Thanks to New Immigration Policy

    by Ann Cun

    Earlier this month, USCIS announced a policy change that would allow the immediate family (spouses, children and parents) of active military personnel who are in the process of applying to obtain their greencard, to potentially remain in the U.S. by being granted "parole in place."

    This policy shift is a good faith step by this administration to reconcile its stance in favor of immigration reform but keep its promise to ensure family unity, stemming from years of efforts by various groups and congresspersons.

    Parole in place, has been highlighted in the USCIS' recent announcement as a tool that will help to “minimize periods of family separation, and to facilitate adjustment of status within the United States by immigration **who are spouses, parents and children of military members.”

    What Exactly Is Parole in Place?

    Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, individuals who are “admitted or paroled” into the U.S. ...

    Published on 11-29-2013 11:54 AM

    Talking Turkey on Immigration 2013

    by Mary Giovagnoli

    shutterstock_77145988In an effort to preserve harmony at the Thanksgiving table, we have for the last several years offered up tips on making the case for immigration reform in front of, what is for many, the most hostile audience of all—their families. Even in the most congenial of families, there’s likely to be someone who can push your buttons on the immigration issue. But you can, and should, engage them, armed with this year’s advice on talking turkey about immigration reform.

    The cardinal rule is to Know your audience. One of the great successes of the immigration movement in this past year has been the diversity of support for reform from across the political, economic, and social spectrum. A growing number of Republicans, Democrats, business, labor, teachers, conservatives, liberals, police chiefs, the high-tech industry, low-wage workers, Evangelicals, Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Protestants, Hindus, farm workers, small-business people, start-up entrepreneurs, the agricultural and landscape industry, women’s groups, environmentalists, CEOs, mayors, governors, city councils—the list goes on and on—support immigration reform.  Which of these communities is your aunt or uncle a part of? Not everyone will buy your arguments just because you have identified their interest groups, but if you know the arguments that persuaded small-business ...


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