December 31, 2007

A Positive History of French Immigration to the U.S.

Toasting the days of wine and commerce
In an effort to polish its image, France opens a downtown L.A. exhibit detailing immigrants' local contributions.
By Teresa Watanabe
Los Angeles Times, December 22, 2007

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-french22dec22,1,7834585,full.story

Enough with the images of baguettes, berets and perfume, s'il vous plait!

The French have brought far more to Los Angeles than those cliched products, ranging from a wool industry that thrived 150 years ago to the software that helped architect Frank Gehry design Walt Disney Concert Hall.

That was the message French officials delivered this week, as Pierre Vimont, France's ambassador to the United States, inaugurated an exhibit at the downtown Pico House on French immigrants in Los Angeles.

Enjoying French champagne and canapes Tuesday night, more than 100 people learned that early French immigrants were sheepherders and vintners, mayors and City Council members, bankers and engineers. Today's French immigrant community includes the presidents of Caltech (Jean-Lou Chameau) and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego (Roger Guillemin).

'France is more than cakes, perfume, fashion and good food,' said Philippe Larrieu, French consul general in Los Angeles. 'France is on the move in business, technology, services and industry.'

The immigrant exhibit is part of a flurry of initiatives launched by Larrieu and French Americans in Los Angeles to improve and broaden France's image, which officials say took a beating when the nation refused to support the U.S. in the Iraq war in 2003.

At the time, Larrieu recalled, comedian Jay Leno skewered the French as 'cowards.' Some Americans urged boycotts of French products. And Republican leaders ordered that House cafeterias rename French fries as freedom fries. (The French Embassy pointed out that fries actually originated in Belgium.)

Since then, the French government and French Americans here have rallied to raise their profile and put forth a 'new vision' of France, as Larrieu put it.

In recent years, they have launched a cultural exchange organization, a glossy bilingual magazine and a more visible presence in Los Angeles with new offices on Santa Monica Boulevard housing the French Consulate, the French American Chamber of Commerce and the Alliance Francaise educational program together for the first time.

In addition, France's new president, Nicolas Sarkozy, who took office in May, has adopted a more pro-American stance, which has eased the job, Larrieu said.

A 54-year-old diplomat who has served in Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Poland and elsewhere, Larrieu said he arrived in Los Angeles in 2004 to find a directive from then-Ambassador Jean-David Levitte: Change France's image.

Larrieu has been running to do so ever since.

The peripatetic diplomat has invited the likes of Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca to Bastille Day celebrations in Los Angeles, where common French-American values of 'liberty, equality and fraternity' are extolled.

Larrieu likes to remind Americans that France is America's 'oldest ally,' whose government supplied arms to the revolutionaries fighting the British. It is the only major European nation, he adds, that has never gone to war against the U.S.

Several times a year, Larrieu holds ceremonies to honor U.S. veterans who aided the French in both world wars, including those who helped liberate France from Nazi Germany in the 1944 Battle of Normandy.

'The basic message we wanted to convey was that the French are not selfish, the French are not cowards, the French can acknowledge the sacrifices of American friends,' Larrieu said this week over a lunch of lobster salad and salmon. 'For centuries, we have helped each other.'

In the business realm, Larrieu has tried to erase stereotypes of lazy French workers. In a dogged effort to lure more American investment to France, Larrieu said, he tells balking business interests that French labor laws have become more pro-business and workers have a healthy productivity rate.

And Larrieu has confronted head-on perceptions of anti-Semitism in France, frequently meeting with Jewish leaders and congregations, among them Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles.

Cooper said Larrieu has arranged meetings for him with French nuclear scientists in Paris to discuss Jewish concerns about France's aid to Iran's nuclear industry. The diplomat has fielded tough questions from the Jewish community, Cooper said, about the spike in anti-Semitic hate crimes in France in the early 2000s.

Some French Americans say Larrieu's can-do manner has inspired them to step forward with other initiatives. One of them is a new cultural exchange organization known as the France-Los Angeles Exchange.

The privately funded group was founded in 2005 by French American executives, including Gerald du Manoir, the son of American parents educated in Paris.Du Manoir said the furor over France's opposition to war in Iraq shocked him and others, compelling them to build cultural bridges.

The exhibit's historian, Helene Demeestere, had researched French immigrants in Los Angeles for years, but it was only after Larrieu arrived that she approached the consulate about an exhibit, she said.

The exhibit, which runs until Jan. 13 at Pico House, 430 N. Main St., features photos of French immigrants from 1827 to 1927. The images are displayed on strikingly modern walls of curved plastic to symbolize the immigrant's winding journey, said curator Tamara Devrient.

One of the first French immigrants to Los Angeles was Jean-Louis Vignes, a Bordeaux vintner who arrived here in 1831. He imported the first French vines here and lured so many compatriots to join him that he became known as the 'father of French immigration to Los Angeles,' Demeestere said.

Other immigrants followed the early pioneers in two subsequent waves: one during the Gold Rush years and a larger one during the 1880s. The Gold Rush years attracted more-educated immigrants who became political and business leaders; the second wave was dominated by poor and less-skilled migrants from the Pyrenees and Alps regions of France, Demeestere said.

She estimates that today's French immigrant community in Southern California numbers 50,000 to 60,000, with no discernible center since the French Quarter on Aliso Street in downtown Los Angeles was swallowed up by municipal developments more than eight decades ago.

'I wanted to present an image of French people which is different than the wine and the food,' Demeestere said. 'They were pioneers and entrepreneurs.'

That message, Larrieu said, reinforces his own mission to reshape the French image in L.A.

The diplomat has at least one piece of unfinished business. He invited Jay Leno to lunch -- but said he had yet to hear back.

December 28, 2007

Social Security Administration Will Not Send "No-Match" Letters in 2008

Feds won't enforce rule on firing illegal immigrants
'No-match' letters to employers won't be mailed as appeals court decides case
By Mary Lou Pickel
The Atlanta Journal Constitution, December 25, 2007
http://www.ajc.com/business/content/business/stories/2007/12/24/EVnomatch_1225.html

Employers will get a pass this year on rules that would have required firing illegal immigrants.

The Social Security Administration says it will not mail out 'no-match' letters this year to more than 138,000 employers nationwide.

The program was stymied because of a lawsuit by a coalition of labor, business and civil liberties groups.

No-match letters inform employers that a worker's name and Social Security number don't match. There can be a variety of reasons, but sometimes that's because the worker is an illegal immigrant. The letters would have flagged 8.6 million workers nationwide.

In Georgia, 4,669 employers will get a pass on the letters this year.

'There are some employers who are probably relieved because if a large portion of their workers are listed on the mismatch letter, they could lose some or most of their employees, with no one to take their place,' said Eileen Scofield, an Atlanta immigration and labor lawyer.

A spokesman for the restaurant industry said what the government needs to do is adopt comprehensive immigration reform, rather than more rules.

Twenty-two percent of the nation's 7.6 million food prep and service employees are foreign born.

'We don't think you can enforce your way out of our broken immigration system,' said Mike Shutley, director of legislative affairs for the National Restaurant Association.

In August, the Department of Homeland Security issued a new rule giving employers 90 days to terminate workers whose paperwork could not be reconciled once they got a no-match letter.

That rule is on hold, however, after a federal district judge in California issued an injunction in October. The case is on appeal to the Ninth District Court of Appeals.

Labor groups, including the AFL-CIO, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union argued in the lawsuit that legal workers and others might be fired unfairly. They also said the government did not consider the impact on small businesses. Some causes for Social Security mismatches include typos, name changes from marriage or divorce and multiple last names.

In some cases, however, the mismatch happens because a worker is not legally authorized to work in the United States. That's what the Department of Homeland Security is trying to address.

'The no-match letters are an important tool not only for the department to better enforce our immigration laws, but also for employers to make sure that they are complying with the law and appropriate hiring practices,' said Veronica Valdes, spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security.

'We are in no way abandoning the no-match rule,' Valdes said.

The department will revise the rule and try again, she said.

In the past, employers were not required to act on no-match letters, although some would follow through and terminate workers who could not clear up their paperwork.

That's the case with Miguel Candelaria, owner of MA&O Construction. Candelaria helped found the Hispanic Contractors Association of Georgia.

Candelaria got no-match letters for the 2005 tax year affecting eight of about 500 employees. A few employees had legitimate mistakes, such as typos in their names or numbers, that needed to be fixed, he said.

A few had used their children's Social Security numbers, and some had expired work visas. He fired them.

'The ones who couldn't come up with the stuff, they're gone,' Candelaria said.

ICE Targeting Employers in 2008 - News Article

Leader of U.S. immigration agency pledges to punish employers of illegal immigrants
By Lynn Franey
The Kansas City Star, December 28, 2007
http://www.kansascity.com/news/politics/story/420935.html


Despite opposition on Capitol Hill, Shawnee native Julie Myers recently won the U.S. Senate's approval to continue leading the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

The Kansas City Star talked Thursday with Myers about her plans for the agency in 2008.

Myers

In her two years leading the agency, Myers has won kudos for increasing deportations of illegal immigrants.

But she also was criticized by Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, for not pressing forward with more criminal investigations of people who employ illegal immigrants. Myers' actions at an agency Halloween party, where she praised the originality of an ICE worker's costume of dreadlocks, jail outfit and face makeup, also angered McCaskill and other senators.

But on Dec. 19, the 38-year-old Myers received the Senate's official nomination to lead the agency, which has a budget of nearly $5 billion and more than 15,000 employees. Myers, whose husband is the U.S. attorney in Kansas City, has led the agency for two years under emergency appointments by President Bush.

The Star's questions for Myers:

The Star: What is your primary goal for the immigration enforcement part of your agency in the coming year?

Myers: I have three primary goals in the coming year. The first involves sustained progress on worksite enforcement. We have been working to encourage U.S. attorneys to bring cases against egregious employers. In Missouri, we're forming the Missouri Gateway Task Force, which will be a combination of federal, state and local law enforcement to work with the U.S. attorneys to go after employers. That will show results in going after the employment magnet.

The second focus on the immigration front will be to continue to transform the criminal alien program. One of my primary focuses and concerns has been aliens who are released from correctional institutions into society. We've moved from charging 57,000 aliens (people in prisons with immigration violations) in 2006 to 147,000 in 2007, and I believe it is going to be over 180,000 in fiscal year 2008.

The third goal is to institutionalize the oversight that we've done on (immigration) detention facilities. We've set up programs - detention field inspection group, the quality assurance group in federal institutions - to make sure our facilities are up to speed. We formulated all our intergovernmental service agreements with state and local jails to have performance-based contracting put in their contracts: as part of their requirements they have to live up to ICE detention standards.

The Star: Does the agency plan any new steps or new focus on assembling evidence for criminal charges against employers who hire illegal immigrants, not just criminal charges against illegal immigrants and document forgers?

Myers: That has always been a core part of my focus. Many of those cases take a considerable amount of time; often the aliens can then sometimes cooperate against the employer and be witnesses against the employer. In one local case, the George's Chicken case (a poultry processor in southwest Missouri), originally we arrested some aliens, but they have now moved up the management chain. There are greater steps we can take. We have 40 new auditors around the country. These people are in place to do I-9 (required employment-eligibility forms) audits to make sure we can pursue criminal charges.

It is difficult because the standard is not strict liability. You cannot say, 'There are illegal aliens working in the plant' (and charge the employer). We have to show they knowingly hired (illegal aliens), and given the prevalence of document fraud, that is difficult. These are turning into more sophisticated white-collar cases that on the federal side take 18 months to two years (to investigate). I'm confident we will have some good cases going forward.

The Star: Why do you think we have seen a surge in identify theft by illegal immigrants to get jobs, when they used to just make up a Social Security number and use their own name when they applied for work? What is ICE doing to battle that growing problem?

Myers: We've established document and benefit fraud task forces in 17 cities across the country that look at document and benefit fraud not only in the workplace but also in other environments - document vendor rings that operate to smuggle people in and commit other kinds of crimes. What we're seeing in the workplace is emblematic. Given the changes in technology, it's become much, much easier, unfortunately, for someone's identity to be stolen, to have documents made that appear to be genuine and the person then goes out and uses that document.

December 18, 2007

Immigration Law and Employer Compliance Seminar

What is E-Verify?
  • Web-based system that electronically verifies the employment eligibility of newly hired employees
  • Offered by the collaborative efforts of DHS and SSA
  • Free to employers
  • Voluntary participation
How Do I Use E-Verify? http://www.uscis.gov/files/nativedocuments/E4_english.pdf

How do I register for E-Verify?
MOU: DHS and SSA Obligations
  • Provides the terms of agreement between the employer, the SSA and DHS
  • Duty to provide confirmation of tentative nonconfirmation of employee's employment eligibility within 3 federal work days
  • Duty to provide secondary verification for employees contesting tentative nonconfirmation findings within 10 federal work days
MOU: Employer Obligations
  • Initiate a query after an individual accepts an offer of employment and within 3 business days after completion of Form I-9
  • Employers agree to verify ALL new hires
  • Employers CANNOT use E-Verify for re-verification of previously hired employees
  • Employers CANNOT use E-Verify for screening prior to hire
  • Employer agrees to allow DHS and SSA to make periodic visits for the purpose of reviewing E-Verify related records
  • Employer agrees to allow DHS and SSA to interview employer's agents and employees with issues concerning E-Verify
Photo-Screening Tool
  • http://www.uscis.gov/files/pressrelease/EVerifyRelease25Sep07.pdf
  • Alternative method for verification
  • Compares newly hired employee's Employment Authorization Document (EAD) or Permanent Residency Card (Green Card) against images stored in USCIS databases
Employee Rights
  • Employer must promptly provide the employee with information about how to challenge the information mismatch
  • Employer may not take any adverse action against an employee because s/he contests the information mismatch
§
§
  • §
  • §

E-Verify Fact Sheet: http://www.uscis.gov/files/pressrelease/EVerifyFS25Sep07.pdf

Strengthening the Employment Eligibility Document Review Process for the Nation’s Employers
  • E-Verify (formerly known as the Basic Pilot/Employment Eligibility Verification Program) is an Internet-based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA) that allows participating employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their newly hired employees. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) administers the program.
  • E-Verify is free and voluntary and is the best means available for determining employment eligibility of new hires and the validity of their Social Security Numbers. The program provides participating employers an automated Internet-based resource to verify the employment eligibility of newly hired employees. Employment eligibility verification queries authorization checks on all newly hired employees, including U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens, can be run against SSA and DHS databases. Through this process, E-Verify assists employers in maintaining a legal workforce and protects jobs for authorized U.S. workers.
  • USCIS began testing a photo screening tool enhancement to EEV and formally launched it on Sept. 17, 2007. The tool allows a participating employer to check the photos on Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) or Permanent Resident Cards (green card) against images stored in USCIS databases. The goal of the photo tool is to help employers determine whether the document presented reasonably relates to the individual and contains a valid photo. The former program did not include this identity fraud component.
  • More than 23,000 employers are currently using the E-Verify program to verify that their new hires are authorized to work in the United States. There is no charge to participate. The President’s FY08 budget request includes $30 million to expand and improve E-Verify.
  • Employers can register for E-Verify on-line at www.dhs.gov/E-Verify. The site provides instructions for completing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) needed to officially register for the program.
  • Once registered, employers use E-Verify by entering information captured on the Employment Eligibility Verification form (I-9). E-Verify compares employee information against more than 425 million records in the SSA database and more than 60 million records stored in the DHS database. Currently, 93 percent of an employer’s queries are instantly verified as work authorized.
  • The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) first authorized the program. The Basic Pilot Extension and Expansion Act of 2003 extended E-Verify until November 2008. Employers can obtain additional information about E-Verify by visiting www.dhs.gov/E-Verify.

Getting Started
  • Getting started with E-Verify is simple. This section provides you with an overview of the program along with all the terminology and the common tasks and features you will need to begin.
  • E-Verify is a free and simple to use Web-based system that electronically verifies the employment eligibility of newly hired employees.
  • E-Verify is a partnership between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) oversees the program.
  • E-Verify works by allowing participating employers to electronically compare employee information taken from the Form I-9 (the paper-based employee eligibility verification form used for all new hires) against more than 425 million records in SSA's database and more than 60 million records in DHS immigration databases. Results are returned in seconds.
  • An employer's participation in E-Verify is voluntary and is currently free to employers.
  • Users may access the web-based access methods using any Internet-capable Windows-based personal computer and a web browser of Internet Explorer 5.5 or Netscape 4.7 or higher (with the exception of Netscape 7.0).
  • To participate, an employer must register online and accept the electronic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that details the responsibilities of SSA, DHS, and the employer.
  • If your company wants to participate in E-Verify, as an E-Verify user, designated agent, or corporate administrator, or if your company is interested in the web-service access method, click below.




December 12, 2007

JANUARY 2008 VISA BULLETIN

Today, the United States Department of State released the January 2008 Visa Bulletin. Slight changes have been made to the family-based categories, but a major change has been made to the employment-based 2nd preference for India.

Specifically, the EB-2 preference for India will move from January 1, 2002 to January 1, 2000. This change is apparently due to heavy applicant demand. The State Department also stated that “it is likely that the annual limit for this category will be reached within the next few months, at which time the category would become “unavailable” for the remainder of fiscal year 2008.” This means that within the next several months EB-2 for India may become unavailable for the rest of fiscal year 2008.

The visa bulletin can be found on the U.S. State Department website, which is available at http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/bulletin/bulletin_3897.html.


U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT VISA BULLETIN

JANUARY 2008

(COURTESY OF THE LAW OFFICE OF RANDALL CAUDLE)

FAMILY IMMIGRATION

PREFERENCES

WORLDWIDE

CHINA (PRC)-
mainland
born

INDIA

MEXICO

PHILIPPINES

1st (USC Unmarried Sons & Daughters over 21)

FEB 1, 2002

FEB 1, 2002

FEB 1, 2002

JULY 1, 1992

NOV 22, 1992

2A (LPR Spouses & Unmarried Children under 21)

FEB 22, 2003

FEB 22, 2003

FEB 22, 2003

MAY 1, 2002

FEB 22, 2003

2B (LPR Unmarried Sons & Daughters over 21)

NOV 22, 1998

NOV 22, 1998

NOV 22, 1998

MAR.22, 1992

JAN 15, 1997

3rd (USC Married Sons & Daughters)

MAY 8, 2000

MAY 8, 2000

MAY 8, 2000

JULY. 8, 1992

APRIL 1, 1991

4th (USC Brothers & Sisters)

JULY 8, 1997

NOV 1, 1996

SEPT 15, 1996

OCT 1, 1994

FEB 1, 1986




EMPLOYMENT-BASED IMMIGRATION

PREFERENCES

WORLDWIDE

CHINA (PRC) Mainland Born

INDIA

MEXICO

PHILIPPINES

1st (EB-1)

CURRENT

CURRENT

CURRENT

CURRENT

CURRENT

2nd (EB-2)

CURRENT

JAN. 01, 2003

JAN. 01, 2000

CURRENT

CURRENT

3rd (EB-3)

OCT 15, 2002

NOV 1, 2001

MAY 1, 2001

APRIL 22, 2001

OCT 15, 2002

Schedule A Workers

(RNs, PTs )

UNAVAILABLE

UNAVAILABLE

UNAVAILABLE

UNAVAILABLE

UNAVAILABLE

Unskilled Workers (less than 2 years exp. Required)

OCT 1, 2001

OCT 1, 2001

OCT 1, 2001

OCT 1, 2001

OCT 1, 2001

4th (EB-4)

CURRENT

CURRENT

CURRENT

CURRENT

CURRENT

Religious Workers

CURRENT

CURRENT

CURRENT

CURRENT

CURRENT

5th (EB-5) (Investors)

CURRENT

CURRENT

CURRENT

CURRENT

CURRENT

Targeted Employment Areas/Regional Centers

CURRENT

CURRENT

CURRENT

CURRENT

CURRENT

December 10, 2007

USCIS To Require Over 700,000 Peope to Apply for New Green Cards

U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS)has published a proposed regulation, that could go into effect any day now, requiring everyone with the old green cards that do not have an expiration date to apply for a new green card. Once the regulation goes into effect, people will only have 120 days to file form I-90 to replace their green cards. The filing fee to USCIS will be $290 plus $80 for biometrics (digital fingerprinting, photos, and signature), for a total filing fee of $370.

Another 700,000 green card applications is going to overwhelm USCIS and the processing times are likely to be extremely long. It would be a good idea to go ahead and file as soon as possible for a new green card if you have an old one without an expiration date, so as to get ahead of the massive number of applications filed once the regulation goes into effect. Current green cards have a 10-year expiration date.

One major issue for a lot of U.S. Legal Permanent Residents with old green cards is if they have criminal issues. The biometrics triggers an FBI criminal records check. U.S. Legal Permanent Residents are deportable for many crimes.

The catch is that U.S. Legal Permanent Residents may be deportable under the new regulation for failing to file for a new green card.

For math whizzes out there, you can multiply 700,000 applications times $390 to see how much money USCIS will make off of this new regulation.

December 07, 2007

I-601 Waivers for Unlawful Presence or Fraud

Please contact me if you are interested in applying for an I-601 waiver for unlawful presence, fraud, or criminal issues if you are otherwise eligible for U.S. Legal Permanent Residence (for example, you are the unlawfully present spouse, fiance(e) or child of a U.S. Citizen and you entered the U.S. without being inspected and admitted - across the border).

Approval rates differ dramatically between USCIS offices in the U.S. and at U.S. Consulates around the world. The USCIS Waiver office in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico has a very high grant rate and the USCIS waiver office in the Philippines has a very low grant rate. The San Francisco USCIS office has a very low grant rate, but I have been successful at getting a waiver approval through the San Francisco USCIS office. Because immigration law is all federal law, I can file I-601 waiver applications anywhere in the U.S. or the world.

For detailed info on waivers, please see my immigration attorney friend Laurel Scott's website at www.visacentral.net.

Please contact me with any questions you may have.

New I-9 Form Changes Commentary

After over 20 years since the original I-9 form was created, USCIS has finally updated the I-9 form. In a Nov. 7, 2007 press release by USCIS, they state that key to the revision is the removal of 5 documents for proof of both identity and employment eligibility.

These documents are:
1) Certificate of U.S. Citizenship
2) Certificate of Naturalization
3) Unexpired Re-entry Permit
4) Unexpired Refugee Travel Document
5) Alien Registration Receipt Card (Form I-151) (note: these are really old green cards)

In the USCIS press release, it is stated that these 5 documents were removed because they lack features to help deter counterfeiting, tampering, and fraud.

The first 4 of the above documents are still issued by USCIS on a daily basis. Shouldn't USCIS inplement security features into these documents that help deter counterfeiting, tampering and fraud? Instead, USCIS just removes them from acceptable documents for employment authorization, even though these are documents issued by the same agency!

I also like how USCIS in the Nov. 7, 2007 Fact Sheet on "USCIS Revises Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9", they state: "The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) mandated a reduction in the number of documents that employers may accept from newly hired employees during the employment eligibility verification process.

The reason I like this statement is that USCIS is stating that they are finally doing what they were mandated to do 11 years ago!

One more interesting note in the Fact Sheet by USCIS: The form I-9 is available in Spanish, but only employers in Puerto Rico may use the Spanish I-9 form. Are immigration agents that investigate I-9s unable to tell if Spanish I-9 forms are completed correctly, even though they could hold an English I-9 form next to it or actually memorize the 1 page form they are responsible for investigating?!

Another interesting item is that the box on the I-9 for U.S. Citizens or Nationals is one box still. The immigration service lost a case on this issue as it was claiming a foreign national made a false claim to U.S. Citizenship by checking this box on the I-9 form (thus being inadmissible for U.S. Legal Permanent Residence purposes). Since the language next to the box states "A citizen or national of the United
States", a foreign national could be falsely claiming to be a national of the United States (which does not make one inadmissible). You would think that USCIS would have created separate boxes for U.S. Citizen and U.S. National to remedy this!

I look forward to more commentary on this as the implementation period kicks in on December 26th (the day after Christmas). USCIS could have designated January 1, 2008 to make things easier for employers.

New Employment Eligibility Verification I-9 Form Effective Dec. 26, 2007

On November 7, 2007, the USCIS announced the availability of a revised I-9 Form. As of December 26, 2007, employers are required to use the revised form to verify employees’ eligibility to work in the United States. Employers who fail to use the revised I-9 Form starting December 26th will be subject to penalties and fines.

The new I-9 Form can be found at http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-9.pdf

The official handbook for employers, which includes instructions for completing the new I-9 Form can be found at:
http://www.uscis.gov/files/nativedocuments/m-274.pdf

The acceptable documents for employment verification have changed. Employers can accept one of the following documents to establish identity and employment eligibility: (1) U.S. passport (unexpired or expired), (2) permanent resident card or alien registration receipt card (green card), (3) unexpired foreign passport with a temporary I-551 stamp (which is a passport stamp for approved U.S. legal permanent residents), (4) an unexpired employment authorization document (EAD) with a photograph, or (5) an unexpired foreign passport with an unexpired arrival-departure record, Form I-94, and contain an endorsement of the alien’s nonimmigrant status that is authorized to work.

Employers may also accept one document that establishes identity and one document that establishes employment eligibility. Documents that establish identity include: (1) drivers’ license or ID card issued by a state or U.S. territory, (2) federal, state or local government agency ID card, (3) school ID with a photograph, (4) voter registration card, (5) U.S. military card or draft record, (6) Military dependent’s ID card, (7) U.S. Coast Guard card, (8) Native American tribal document, and (9) Canadian driver’s license. Documents that establish employment eligibility include: (1) U.S. Social Security card, (2) certification of birth abroad issued by the Department of State, (3) original or certified copy of U.S. birth certificate, (4) Native American tribal document, (5) U.S. Citizen ID card, (6) Resident Citizen ID card, and (7) unexpired employment authorization issued by the DHS.

Please note that the lists of acceptable documents are not full and complete. The I-9 Form and Handbook should be referred to for details about the new I-9 requirements. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about implementing the new I-9 form and procedures.

Randall Speaking at Seminar in Fresno, CA

Randall and four of his colleagues will be speaking at a seminar in Fresno, California on December 13, 2007.

The seminar, Immigration Law and Employer Compliance in California, will be held at the Holiday Inn Fresno Airport from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM.

Attendees will gain a clear understanding of how to navigate through issues that intersect between immigration law and employment law. Topics that will be discussed include employer obligations in hiring, learn about tax issues related to employment of foreign nations, how to avoid discrimination in hiring, and how to sponsor workers for visas and green cards.

For more information, contact Lorman Education Services at www.lorman.com or call (866) 352-9539.

November 12, 2007

Randall an Adjunct Law Professor teaching Immigration

Randall is now an adjunct law professor at Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco. Randall will be teaching an Immigration and Refugee law seminar class in Spring semester, starting in January 2008.

Randall will be teaching law students the intricacies of political asylum, removal and deportation, and the immigration process in the USCIS asylum office, the immigration courts, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the Federal Circuit Courts. Randall will also teach the students the practical aspects of taking on a political asylum or removal/deportation case.

New I-9 form & New Employer Immigration Handbook

In addition to all of the administrative obligations Employers are responsible for, Employers now need to review the new Employer Immigration Handbook and I-9 form that is required for every new employee.

See www.ice.gov for info and please feel free to call Randall or Carla at Caudle Immigration for the detailed information on the new requirements.

ICE Seminar on Worksite Enforcement, I-9s & IMAGE Program

Randall & Carla recently attended a seminar given by David Moss, Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) Senior Special Agent for Worksite Enforcement Investigations and IMAGE Program Manager.

ICE Special Agent Moss discussed I-9s and the new I-9 form, along with the eVerify program. Special Agent Moss also covered ICE worksite investigations and what causes ICE to target employers and go after them. Then, Special Agent Moss talked about in detail IMAGE (ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers). It was a very informative presentation and Special Agent Moss answered a lot of questions from the approx. 25 immigration attorneys and paralegals in attendance. Kudos and thanks to ICE Special Agent Moss for being willing to address a group of immigration professionals!

A few days later, Special Agent Moss e-mailed us 11 ICE documents with a lot of useful information.

For information on employer compliance with immigration regulations and ICE worksite investigations, please contact Randall or Carla.

October 17, 2007

Welcome Carla!

The Law Office of Randall Caudle is proud to announce the addition of Carla Romero to our office.

Carla is our new immigration legal assistant and is becoming well-versed in all aspects of immigration law and procedure.

Carla is a recent graduate of the University of Oregon School of Law, where she was the Business Editor of the Oregon Law Review of International Law.

Carla previously worked for the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) in San Francisco and clerked for a state court judge in Oregon. Carla interned at a U.S. Congressional Representative's office, where she communicated with constituents concerning immigration issues and problems. Carla also worked as an assistant manager at a Charter Bus Lines company for several years.

Carla has a Bachelors Degree in Political Science from San Francisco State University.

Carla immigrated from the Philippines as a child and is proud to now be a naturalized U.S. Citizen.

Carla grew up in Pacifica (in the San Francisco Bay area). Carla enjoys running, snowboarding and reading fiction.

July 03, 2007

Hi All -

Yesterday, the U.S. State Dept. issued a notice to the July 2007 Visa Bulletin.

Unfortunately, the U.S. State Dept. notice states:

"The sudden backlog reduction efforts by Citizenship and Immigration Services Offices during the past month have resulted in the use of almost 60,000 Employment numbers. As a result of this unexpected action it has been necessary to make immediate adjustments to several previously announced cut-off dates. All Citizenship and Immigration Services Offices have been notified of the following:

Effective Monday July 2, 2007 there will be no further authorizations in response to requests for Employment-based preference cases. All numbers available to these categories under the FY-2007 annual numerical limitation have been made available. Employment preference numbers will once again be available to these chargeability areas beginning October 1, 2007, under the FY-2008 annual numerical limitation."

Dept. of State Publication 9514
CA/VO: July 2, 2007


Randall's perspective:

U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) likely pressured the U.S. State Dept. to make this announcement for several reasons:

1) USCIS was not happy that all of these employment-based green card cases were going to be filed in July, immediately before USCIS fees increase dramatically on July 30, 2007. U.S. Legal Permanent Resident (green card) application fees almost triple on July 30, 2007, so USCIS would very much like to get the higher fees.

2) USCIS is under pressure to reduce their backlog of cases, and while doing a decent job at reducing the backlog in several areas, a mass filing of green card applications in July would skew USCIS processing numbers and backlogs dramatically. Since USCIS is very good at not counting many types of pending cases as counting against their official backlog (ie cases pending security checks, cases waiting on information, cases under investigation), the solution here would be to not count these cases as part of their official backlog either.

3) On June 13, 2007, when the State Dept. released the official July Visa Bulletin with current dates for all employment-based green card cases (except other workers), there apparently was no consultation with USCIS. On July 14, 2007, at an inter-governmental panel at the annual American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) conference in Orlando, Florida, the USCIS official expressed that USCIS was not happy with the State Dept. action in making the employment-based green card dates current. The State Dept. official said the concern of the State Dept. was that USCIS was not going to do their job of using all of the green card numbers they are supposed to use for the 2007 Fiscal Year.


It would be nice if government agencies would consult each other before making decisions that have such a major impact. Consulting after making the decisions and then reversing a major decision that impacts potentially hundreds of thousands of hard-working individuals in the U.S. is not acceptable.

I am in contact with AILA's national office and multiple informational sources and will send updates as they are available. AILA's exceptionally well-done press release is below.

Have a pleasant week!
Randall

AILA's Official Press Release (which is exceptionally well done is below):

Administration Slams Door on Thousands of Legal Immigrants: AILA Condemns Agencies’ Bait and Switch
Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. (posted Jul. 2, 2007)"
CONTACT: George Tzamaras
gtzamaras@aila.org
WASHINGTON, D.C.--The American Immigration Lawyers Association strongly condemns the bait and switch perpetrated by the federal government on thousands of intending immigrants who have waited in line for years and were following the rules for obtaining a "green card."
On June 13, 2007, the U.S. State Department announced that, as of July 2, individuals seeking permanent residence ("green cards") through employer sponsorship finally would be allowed to proceed with their applications. Applicants would have a short window, possibly only through July or perhaps August, to complete their paperwork.
Those intending immigrants, immediately and at great expense, rushed to gather final documents, complete their paperwork and obtain required medical exams. Many sent their applications off on Friday, June 29 for arrival on July 2 at the Department of Homeland Security, for the last phase of the multi-step process that leads to a green card.
However, on the very day the door was to open, DOS and DHS slammed it shut.
On July 2, DHS and DOS announced-based on no different information than they had on June 13 when they announced the opening of this filing door-that all applications would be turned away.
"People ask why those who come to the United States illegally can't just follow the rules," said Kathleen Campbell Walker, President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. "But here people followed the rules and did everything right, yet without warning or explanation the door was slammed in their faces. This hoax perpetrated by these two government agencies is unconscionable, and is an example of how badly our immigration system is broken."
AILA calls on the Administration to do the right thing and keep its promise to the people affected by this sudden reversal. AILA also calls on Congress to get it right this time and fix our badly broken system.

June 11, 2007

Welcome Sheeree!

The Law Office of Randall Caudle has a new intern starting this week for the summer. Her name is Sheeree and she just graduated from the University of Miami with a Bachelors of Business Administration in Finance. Sheeree was born in Trinidad.

Sabrina Learning Japanese

Our stellar legal assistant, Sabrina, is learning Japanese currently. Sabrina already is fluent in Spanish.

USCIS Fees Increase Massively on July 30th!

The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that filing fees for applications will go up significantly on July 30, 2007. Filing fees for applications for U.S. Citizenship (naturalization) will almost double and filing fees for green card applications will almost triple. If a family of 4 applies for green cards after July 29th, the filing fees will be approx. $12,000 (approx. $3,000 each)!

Please contact us if you would like us to prepare and file any immigration applications before the USCIS filing fees go up dramatically.

Randall Speaking at AILA Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida June 12-16 on Waivers of Unlawful Presence

Randall will be speaking (& the discussion leader of the 4 person panel) at the AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida. The conference is June 13-16th at the Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. The topic Randall will be speaking on with 3 of the national experts on the issue is Unlawful Presence and Waivers of Unlawful Presence.

If someone has been unlawfully present in the U.S. for more than 180 days, they are barred from entering the U.S. for 3 years if they leave the U.S. and are also ineligible for most U.S. immigration benefits and green cards. If someone is unlawfully present in the U.S. for more than 1 year, it is a 10-year bar to re-entry into the U.S..

Randall's panel will be talking to other immigration attorneys about how to successfully file waivers of the unlawful presence ground of inadmissibility and bars to re-entry.

Randall will be happy to talk to any interested persons about the unlawful presence waiver process once he returns to San Francisco on June 18th.

May 16, 2007

Intern Kim Gets 2nd Dean's List Award!

Our stellar intern, Kim, who is currently going to Heald College in San Francisco, recently received 2 awards from Heald College: her 2nd Dean's List Award and a Perfect Attendance Award. Congratulations Kim!

Caudle Immigration MySpace Page

Caudle Immigration (The Law Office of Randall Caudle) now has a MySpace Page, thanks to our stellar intern, Kim.

See www.myspace.com/caudleimmigration

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Randall Speaking at AILA National Conference in Orlando, Florida in June

I will be speaking at the AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) Annual Conference on Immigration Law for Immigration Attorneys in June. I will be the discussion leader of a panel speaking on Unlawful Presence and I-601 Waivers of Unlawful Presence.

I have previously spoken at the AILA Annual Conferences in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2005 and in Philadelphia in 2006. I have also spoken at AILA California & Regional Conferences and at churches, law schools, colleges, high schools, middle schools, and once even a 3rd grade class.

I recently spoke at St. Ignatius High School in San Francisco, CA (the top rated high school in San Francisco) on current trends in immigration law.

I have spoken on a variety of immigration issues, including:
- using technology in your immigration practice,
- nurse and health care professional immigration issues,
- the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services California Service Center )(CSC), along with 2 supervisors at the CSC,
- the Patriot Act,
- Appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals,
- current news and trends in immigration law,
- and Superman as an illegal immigrant.

I really enjoy speaking to various groups of people on immigration and I find that the interest level in immigration is pretty high the last few years.

Randall Elected AILA Santa Clara Valley Chapter President for 2008-2009

I was elected to be the AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) Santa Clara Valley Chapter President/Chair in 2008-2009 last night at the AILA Santa Clara Chapter Annual Dinner & Elections. The AILA Santa Clara Valley Chapter covers Silicon Valley and the Monterey / Santa Cruz areas of California.

This will be my second term as the AILA Santa Clara Valley Chapter President/Chair. My first stint as AILA Santa Clara Valley Chapter President/Chair was in 2002-2003.

The AILA Santa Clara Valley Chapter elects its President/Chapter Chair 1 year in advance, so I will take the reigns of the chapter in May 2008.

I plan to work with local Congressional Representatives, local media, local non-profit immigration organizations, the other 34 AILA chapters across the United States, and AILA National on improving the lives and futures of immigrants and their families.

See www.aila.org for more info on the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the national bar association of immigration attorneys.

February 09, 2007

Randall Quoted on Front Page of Oakland Tribune

I was quoted on the front page of the Oakland Tribune on Tuesday, Feb. 6th in an article called "Notarios Preying on Immigrants". See http://www.insidebayarea.com/oaklandtribune/ci_5167097
for the article or below:

When Salvadoran immigrant Irma Yolanda Membreno-Aleman wanted to apply for temporary asylum, she did what she would have done for any legal matter back home: She went to see a "notario publico."

It was a lost-in-translation mistake that cost her thousands of dollars, a rejection of her petition and loss of her work authorization and her job, a lawsuit claims.

In much of Latin America, most notary publics are also lawyers. In the United States, a notary public is not a lawyer and cannot give legal advice; he can administer oaths and witness signatures, and that's it.

The difference has allowed scam artists to prey on immigrants with limited English skills and little understanding of the American legal system by misrepresenting themselves as lawyers, immigration lawyers say.

It is a growing problem. But prosecutors rarely bring cases against these scam artists, in part because the victims are often in this country illegally and are afraid to come forward.

Randall Caudle, a San Francisco immigration attorney and past chair of the Santa Clara Valley chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said the problem here is not as bad as some other immigrant hotspots. But"there's enough of them that they cause a lot of problems," he said.

Often, Caudle said, notaries will file paperwork they aren't supposed to, like an asylum application. Or they may not follow up on paperwork they have filed properly, causing their client to miss hearings they were supposed to attend.

By the time they contact an attorney for help, it's often too late, Caudle said, because they are already in deportation proceedings.

Charles Kuck, vice president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said there have been tens of thousands of cases in which notaries passed themselves off as lawyers.

And the problem affects more than just the immigrants who are scammed. Fraudulent and incorrect documents filed by notaries add up to "an unbelievable waste of taxpayer money," Kuck said.

Ceja Enterprises Inc. in Nashville advertises itself in Spanish as an office that provides legal aid, including help with immigration papers. But Carmen Ceja is only a notary public and her business card refers to her as a "notaria publica."

Nashville lawyer Sean Lewis, who is suing Ceja on behalf of Membreno, said many notaries advertise services they are unqualified to perform, such as tax preparation and divorce. (Membreno has since gotten her case reopened, and is living in this country under temporary protective status granted in cases of civil war and natural disasters back home.)

Rudi Gonzalez, a Mexican living in Nashville who also is part of the lawsuit against Ceja, went to her office for help preparing a contract for a $3,000 loan he wanted to make.

"I saw her signs and newspaper advertisements and friends said to go to her because she could draw up a letter for me, like a lawyer, and take responsibility if I didn't get paid back," Gonzalez said.

Instead, what he got was a poorly worded letter in English that didn't mention interest on the loan, he said. When the borrower defaulted, Gonzalez ended up paying more than $5,000 to Ceja and her associates to try to get his money back, the lawsuit claims. But he has not seen a penny from the borrower.

Ceja's attorney, Geoffrey Coston, said the people who messed up Gonzalez's claim are not associated with Ceja and she cannot be held responsible for their actions.

Ceja's office offers "just an interpretation service," Coston said. The office employees simply fill out forms based on what clients tell them and offer no advice, he said.

He said the sign outside her office advertising legal aid was "a bad sign" that needed to change. But he said he did not believe her business card was confusing to most people.

"Most people go to her knowing she's not an attorney," he said. "They go because they can't afford an attorney."

In Georgia, the Colombian wife of state Sen. Curt Thompson was almost deported recently after her dealings with a notary whom she said she believed was an attorney. The wife, Sascha Herrera, came to the U.S. on a visitor visa in 2003. She applied for an extension through a "notario," Tomas Vilela, but she said he filed an asylum application without her knowledge.

Because Herrera was unaware of the application, she missed repeated asylum hearings and the court issued an order for her deportation. She went into hiding briefly until a judge agreed last month to drop the deportation action.

Vilela's attorney, Robert Coheleach, said only that his client did nothing wrong.

Kuck said any federal immigration reform that offers some type of amnesty to illegal immigrants will make the problem worse if action is not first taken against "notarios" who prey on immigrants. Otherwise, notarios are "going to be falling from the trees trying to rip people off."

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' San Francisco spokeswoman, Sharon Rummery, said the agency has legal information and forms on its Web site, http://www.uscis.gov, though she said much of the site is only in English. She said anyone with questions can also call the agency's toll-free number at (800) 375-5283 for help in English and Spanish.

And she offered other advice for those seeking help through the immigration process.

"We always tell people, if it sounds too good to be true, it is," Rummery said. "There are so many community groups that will help you for a nominal fee."

The Associated Press and staff writer Michele R. Marcucci contributed to this report.