May 30, 2008

The Story of the Immigration Judge Scam Article

Immigration Judges appointed because of their connections to the Bush Administration, and not based on their qualifications. Judge Garry Malphrus (recently appointed to the BIA) is mentioned in this article as well.

Meltdown at DOJ: The Story of the Immigration Judge Scam

Harpers Magazine

By Scott Horton


One of the mysteries surrounding the testimony last week of Monica Goodling has now been resolved, thanks to the reporting of the Legal Times. Emma Schwartz and Jason McLure take a look at some litigation launched by a disappointed career immigration lawyer who was passed over for an immigration judgeship, and uncover how the Civil Division came to look at the process of political appointments and reassess the posture erroneously adopted by Attorney General John Ashcroft at the end of his tenure, and then continued by Alberto Gonzales.

The authority used to bypass the competitive hiring process would be employed again and again during the last year of Attorney General John Ashcroft’s tenure and continue when Alberto Gonzales succeeded him in 2005. And according to the immigration court’s former administrator, it also allowed top political aides at Justice, including former Gonzales chief of staff D. Kyle Sampson and former White House liaison Monica Goodling, to fast-track candidates of their choosing — including a number of lawyers with no immigration law experience but strong ties to the Republican Party or President George W. Bush’s election campaigns.

During her day-long testimony before the House Judiciary Committee last week, Goodling, under a grant of immunity, admitted that she asked inappropriate questions of many applicants for career jobs at the department and evaluated candidates based on her perception of their political loyalties. “I believe I crossed the line, but I didn’t mean to,” she testified.

Though allegations that Goodling had politicized the hiring of federal criminal prosecutors were known by the time she testified, her admission that she had taken political considerations into account in the hiring of immigration judges — who are considered civil-service employees — was not. Nor was it well-known that a discrimination suit filed by Guadalupe Gonzalez led to internal debate within the Justice Department over the appointment process and to a hiring freeze of immigration judges that began in December — a freeze that wasn’t lifted until last month. Justice’s immigration judge selection process is currently being probed by the department’s inspector general and its Office of Professional Responsibility for potential violations of federal civil service laws.

Legal Times also looks at some of the candidates picked by Alberto Gonzales through this process. They have few obvious qualifications which would prepare them for the job, but they are very long on dedicated service to the Republican Party. A good example was Francis Cramer:

Cramer became something of a fixture in the state’s Republican politics and a close ally of the younger Gregg. In 1992, he served as Gregg’s campaign treasurer in his successful run for the Senate, and he later helped the senator beat back a probe of his campaign finances by the Federal Election Commission… But the hiring didn’t escape scrutiny. Last year, Cramer was singled out in a report by the Government Accountability Office. The report, on the subject of political appointees “burrowing in” to government civil service jobs, noted that the position of immigration judge required “a thorough knowledge of immigration and nationality laws, both past and present, and the regulations and rules of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.” The report noted that Cramer’s résumé listed no immigration law experience other than the six-month detail, and found that Cramer’s move “raises questions about the fairness” of the hiring process…

Since Cramer’s investiture as a judge in 2004, roughly three dozen immigration judges have been hired. They include: James Nugent, a former vice chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party; Garry Malphrus, a former White House aide and veteran of Bush’s 2000 campaign; Chris Brisack, a county Republican Party chairman in Texas during Bush’s tenure as governor; and Bruce Taylor, a former Justice Department lawyer who had been president and chief counsel of the right-leaning National Law Center for Children and Families and general counsel to Citizens for Decency Through Law, an anti-pornography group.

Immigration Court Unfair - Article involving Judge Malphrus, Just Appointed to the BIA

This is an article from January 2007, but very enlightening in both topic and in shedding some light on what type of BIA (Board of Immigration Appeals) Judge Garry Malphrus is going to make. His immigration courtroom, when he was an immigration court judge, is profiled in this article showing how unrepresented individuals in immigration court are treated unfairly by the govt. (Randall)


Battling Deportation Often a Solitary Journey
Without Legal Assistance, Thousands Are Expelled Unfairly, Critics of System Say

By Karin Brulliard
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 8, 2007; A01I


Shortly after 9 a.m., all rose.

The black-robed judge took his seat under the Justice Department seal and in front of the federal prosecutor. People whispering in various languages spilled out of the cramped courtroom into the hallway of the federal immigration court in Arlington County, waiting for their chance to fight to stay in the United States, agree to leave or be deported.

Salvadoran Roxana Velasco sat alone in the waiting room. Like several other people listed on that morning's 37-case docket, she had no attorney.

"The judge said I have to have a lawyer or I have to represent myself," said Velasco, 30, recalling her first hearing in October. "How am I going to do that?"

In immigration courts, there are judges and prosecutors, evidence and witnesses. The consequences can be great: banishment, separation from family, perhaps persecution at home. But unlike in criminal courts, the government does not provide free lawyers for the poor. And in what court officials deem a great concern, a growing number of people in immigration court have no legal counsel: Of more than 314,000 people whose cases ran their course in fiscal 2005, two-thirds went through on their own, or pro se.

That leaves respondents to navigate byzantine immigration law, the judges to walk them through it and, critics say, the courts to operate sluggishly and deport thousands unfairly.

"How do they possibly pick out of everything that's happened to them in their lives the legally significant points?" asked Donald Kerwin, executive director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc. "You have to know the legal standards to do that."

The issue is more crucial than ever, Kerwin said, as stepped-up enforcement increasingly sends immigrants -- including children -- to court and to rural detention centers, where lawyers are hard to find.

Velasco, who was caught by federal border police after slipping across the Rio Grande a year ago, said she immigrated illegally to be with her husband, who lives in the District. She said she called three lawyers, but two wanted $10,000 and one said she could not help. So on a recent morning, Velasco took Metro to a Ballston building, pressed the elevator button marked "PH" for penthouse and ascended to the immigration court, a suite of six small courtrooms.

Just before 10 a.m., she squeezed into Courtroom 4, her red purse carrying a hearing notice outlining her right to an attorney "at no expense to the government."

Judge Garry D. Malphrus was making his way through the master calendar docket, a list of quick preliminary hearings. Case 962 was before him: a 6-year-old girl in a sparkly skirt. To her left sat her attorney. To her right sat her father, who raised his right hand and agreed on his daughter's behalf to "voluntary departure" -- to leave the United States.

The girl's hearing lasted just minutes, and it was unclear why her father conceded that his daughter must go. Immigration lawyers say many of those who appear in the court have no right to stay in the United States -- no employer or legal relative to sponsor their visa, no claim to asylum. But Kerwin and other advocates say confused immigrants often need a lawyer to tell them this, or to determine that they have a case and then make it by, say, arranging expert testimony on a country's human rights record for an asylum case or obtaining documents that prove an immigrant is the child of a U.S. citizen.

Legal representation at the Arlington and Baltimore immigration courts -- which decide all cases from Virginia, the District and Maryland -- is higher than average, largely because of their locations near metropolitan areas. In fiscal 2005, 42 percent of cases in Arlington were completed with an immigration lawyer; that figure was 58 percent in Baltimore.

In court, judges hand immigrants a list of charities that offer free or low-cost legal services. They can help. According to the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, government data show that 34 percent of all non-detained immigrants with attorneys won their cases in fiscal 2003, compared with 23 percent without. Of non-detained asylum seekers, 39 percent with attorneys won their cases; that figure was 14 percent of those without attorneys.

To help, the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the Justice Department agency that runs the nation's 54 immigration courts, has been facilitating and expanding pro bono efforts. But volunteer legal aid services are often overwhelmed and have to turn people away. Many of the nine groups on the Arlington court's list will not take the cases of detainees or criminals.

Alberto M. Benitez, a law professor who directs the George Washington University Immigration Law Clinic, one provider on the list, said he and the students he supervises must sometimes temporarily shut down their service, which operates only during the school year, to catch up.

"Once it's open, it's a deluge of calls and walk-ins and referrals," Benitez said.

Some organizations, including the American Bar Association, have called for a congressionally ordered, court-appointed system for the indigent and mentally ill. But backers concede that the idea has little viability as tension simmers over illegal immigration. Lawyers have made little headway in courts by arguing that the absence of counsel violates immigrants' due process rights.

So now advocates focus on efficiency, saying lawyers save the system money by speeding up the process, often by telling the many immigrants without a good case to accept deportation. But no study has included a cost comparison.

The claim is unconvincing to some.

"I'm not aware of any evidence that says the system would work better if people just had access to more lawyers," said Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which seeks a reduction in immigration. He added: "Any good immigration lawyer at this point says that every illegal alien is just basically a potential legal one if . . . you find some loophole or make the process long enough."

After 11 a.m., the courtroom was drained of lawyers. A Mexican man approached, attorneyless.

Minutes later, the clerk called 677.

"Six-seven-seven," Velasco echoed in English, standing to cross the chilly room.

"Did you find an attorney to represent you?" Malphrus asked.

"Not yet," she said through an interpreter.

"I'm not aware of any basis that you have for remaining in the United States," Malphrus told her. "The only thing I can do is grant you voluntary departure from the United States in four months."

"Okay," Velasco said, with a nod.

After a lunch break, Juan Carlos Lopez, a 17-year-old Honduran, awaited his hearing. His brother, Johnny Sandoval, 23, said two mortgages and two jobs leave him little time or money to get a lawyer for Juan Carlos, who crossed the border illegally in April.

Soon the brothers sat before the judge, who said he would postpone the case until February. But bring a lawyer, he told them.

"His aunt is a resident," Sandoval said. "Is there any way she can sponsor him?"

"I don't think an aunt is sufficient, right?" Malphrus said to the prosecutor.

"The other option is to try to get him a visa to attend school here, but you need to do that back in Honduras," Malphrus said. "Anyway, talk to lawyers about that some more."

Justice can be done without lawyers, but it is tedious, said Denise N. Slavin, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges. Paperwork-heavy cases, she said, might take two hearings with a good attorney but eight without.

"You're acting like someone at the DMV on those cases," said Slavin, a Miami judge. "Like, 'Okay, you've got your registration; you don't have your pollution certificate.' "

Pro se detainees sometimes file motions modeled on boilerplates that are passed around detention centers. Lawyers say other people have good cases but founder in court, not knowing when to object or what evidence to prepare.

"The pro se folks can be good at packing the court with family members or other supporters, but they don't call them as witnesses because they don't know how to call them as witnesses," said Christopher Nugent, a lawyer who coordinates pro bono programs for Holland & Knight in the District.

About 2 p.m., Richmond resident Yasmin Bahamon sat in the courtroom, looking lawyerly in a pantsuit. She was in court for the fifth time, pushing her asylum case. She said she arrived in the United States five years ago from Colombia after being kidnapped and released by leftist guerrillas.

Her attorney, she said, dropped her case when she could not pay. She said none of the lawyers on the court's pro bono list returned her calls.

As with the others, Malphrus said her file showed no basis for her to stay. Would she take voluntary departure?

"No. I can't," Bahamon, 33, said quietly.

"Why can't you?" the judge asked.

She froze.

"Keep trying to get a lawyer to help you," Malphrus said.

Later, Bahamon stood in the empty hallway, weeping as a court clerk comforted her.

Blinking back tears, she said, "I am going to keep trying on the same list."

Catholic Legal Immigration Network Conference Examines Dept. of Homeland Security's Inept dealing with Immigration

My friend and colleague, Chuck Kuck, has some great quotes in the article below. (Randall)


Conference examines Homeland Security's handling of immigration
05/29/2008
I Observe
Patricia Zapor


WASHINGTON (CNS) Five years after the Department of Homeland Security was created as an umbrella agency, its handling of immigration-related situations came in for harsh criticism at an immigration law and policy conference May 20.

'DHS's increasingly aggressive immigration enforcement treats all immigrants as dangerous criminals,' said Lisa Powell, chief investigative counsel for the oversight subcommittee of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

'It was a bad idea when it was started, it was poorly executed and it's still a bad idea,' said Charles Kuck, managing partner of an Atlanta and Miami immigration law firm who is president-elect of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Powell and Kuck were among panelists at a daylong conference co-sponsored by the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, known as CLINIC, the Migration Policy Institute and Georgetown University's Law Center.

Other sessions at the conference addressed the current state of immigration legislation and policy and the role immigration issues are likely to play in the November election.

On the same panel with Kuck and Powell, Stewart Baker, assistant secretary for policy at DHS, acknowledged that the agency has had its share of growing pains, but cited dramatic improvements in some of the most criticized areas of DHS's immigration-related functions, including its E-Verify system for confirming whether employees are eligible to work in the United States.

Kuck called E-Verify 'a ridiculous system,' but Baker said high error rates that have made many employers reluctant to adopt it have been reduced. Now only a fraction of names processed through E-Verify come back with 'false negatives,' indicating the applicant lacks permission to work in the country, he said.

DHS is a cabinet-level agency created by Congress in response to concerns about a 'confusing patchwork of government activities' after the 2001 terrorist attacks. It encompasses departments dealing with immigration, customs, border protection, transportation security and emergency management, and some security services.

In an earlier session of the conference, Jonathan Scharfen, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at DHS, acknowledged that since its inception his branch 'has been bedeviled by one sort of backlog or another' in its caseload of applications for visas and naturalization.

Last July alone, the office received 460,000 applications for naturalization, the result of a nationwide campaign by outside organizations and ahead of a large increase in fees, he noted. In all of 2006 the citizenship services branch received 750,000 applications for naturalization, said Scharfen.

The July caseload 'was four sea (shipping) crates of applications,' he said.

As a result of the backlog, many people will not have completed the process in time to become citizens and vote in this November's elections, noted Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. He was discussing the nationwide effort to get immigrants naturalized and registered to vote.

Scharfen said his branch is hiring more than 3,000 new employees and has tripled the amount spent on overtime to try to eliminate a backlog of cases that has plagued the agency for more than a decade, because of understaffing, outdated paper-based systems and inadequate technology, among other factors.

Kuck warned that DHS also has a serious problem with low morale among the employees of some agencies. He also gave examples of inconsistencies between divisions that complicate their work as well as the lives of immigrants.

For instance, he explained that those who file for a green card or permanent residency are, according to Citizenship and Immigration Services, 'in status' or allowed to remain legally in the United States by virtue of their pending application, even if their work permit or visitor visa expires after that application is filed.

But according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, regardless of the pending application, if their visas expire even because of a paperwork backlog, they are in the country illegally and subject to deportation, Kuck said.

Powell and Kuck also had harsh critiques of how DHS treats applicants for asylum, green cards and naturalization; its system for detaining whole families that are awaiting immigration or asylum adjudication; and mass arrests of workers for suspected immigration violations while employers are not prosecuted with the same vigor.

A week earlier an immigration raid at a meat processing plant in Iowa led to the arrest of 15 percent of the population of the town of Postville, said Powell. Within days, the schools had absentee rates of 50 percent, she said, as families hunkered down at home or left the area.

'According to ICE, more than three-quarters of the workers had false IDs, yet there was no arrest of the company employers and they're ready to deport 400 witnesses,' she said.

Kuck said such actions are creating a culture of fear and hate.

'These raids are intended to scare people into leaving,' he said, but noted that arresting 5,000 people annually out of an estimated 12 million immigrants living in the United States without the legal right is inconsequential, except to the individuals who are deported.

'What good is it going after 5,000 people who are trying to feed their families?' he said. 'When you haul off the human resources departments (of companies that hire workers without proper ID), then you will get some serious compliance with the law.'

The DREAM Act Must Pass!

Another story of a model "American" student being deported because of where they were born. The DREAM Act would allow young people that go to college or join the U.S. military for 2 years to legalize their status and become U.S. Legal Permanent Residents. (Randall)


Scholarship may aid teen's quest to stay in U.S.
05/30/2008
Miami Herald - Online
ANI MARTINEZ



Meynardo Garcia's battle to avoid deportation took a positive turn this week when the 18-year-old Coconut Creek High School senior was awarded an art scholarship.

The Art Institute of Weston offered Meynardo a four-year $72,000 scholarship, beginning in 2008.

Meynardo's immigration case has drawn public attention after hundreds of his high school classmates, along with his art teacher, rallied behind the Mexican teen who is fighting to stay in the country. At age 10, his mother hired a smuggler to bring him to the United States. His undocumented status was discovered by authorities last August.

His immigration attorney, Jorge Rivera, said the scholarship could delay Meynardo's deportation.

''This scholarship gives us an incentive to be able to ask for four more years,'' Rivera said. ''The judge may be more sympathetic since he will be furthering his education and will have everything paid for.'''DEFERRED ACTION'He said the judge could take ''deferred action'' on Meynardo's case, allowing the teen to remain here to complete his studies. The next court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 18.

Meynardo would start classes Sept. 1.

The Art Institute of Weston is willing to gamble on Meynardo because of his talent.

''We felt compassionate when we saw his art work,'' said the school's director, Charles Lechesnay. ''We want to give him the opportunity to stay in this country, but to also learn the skill professionally as an artist.''

Meynardo, a native of Oaxaca, Mexico, has won several local and national art competitions for his intricate airbrushed art pieces. He wants to become an artist and open art studios around the world -- especially in Mexico -- for children to have a chance to express themselves.

Meynardo lives in North Lauderdale, with his mother, her boyfriend and their two U.S.-born children. Neither the mother or her boyfriend are legal U.S. residents. Meynardo's lack of documentation went undetected until last summer, when he and a friend were stopped in their car at a security checkpoint in the Port of Miami.

Unable to produce any identification, police contacted U.S. immigration agents who eventually sent Meynardo to a detention center in New York; his friend was deported.

A RELATIVE ACTS

A relative called Meynardo's high school art teacher Jacqueline Sacs and asked her to write and fax a letter to immigration authorities. Days later, he was released from custody in New York and reunited with his family in South Florida.

His case is not uncommon. Each year, 65,000 teenagers -- who were brought to the country illegally by their parents -- graduate from high school and cannot continue their studies because of their immigration status.

Immigration advocates have long argued that these children are being punished for the wrongs of their parents.

They have spent years unsuccessfully lobbying Congress to approve the so-called DREAM Act. If passed, the bill would grant legal residency to those going to college or joining the military.

In Meynardo's case, he's gotten the support of U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami. She sent letters to President Bush, acting director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Jonathan Scharfen and Chief Judge Stephen Mander.

''He wants to inspire young people to become artists . . .'' Ros-Lehtinen wrote in the letter. ''Meynardo is a remarkable and talented role model who would be an asset to our nation.''

U.S. Citizens Terrorized by ICE

ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) not only terrorizes and harasses immigrants, they terrorize and harass U.S. Citizens as well. See below (Randall)


U.S. citizen tells panel about alleged ICE raid misconduct
05/30/2008
Athens Banner-Herald
Errin Haines


Errin Haines
Athens Banner-Herald
ATLANTA - It's been two years since 17-year-old Justeen Mancha says her south Georgia home was raided by federal agents seeking illegal immigrants.

But she still was noticeably shaken on Thursday as she described the raid for a panel of union and immigrant-rights advocates investigating claims of misconduct by agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.

Mancha, who said she and her family members are U.S. citizens, said the raid left her feeling hurt, humiliated and afraid. 'I was so scared,' she told the panel. 'I had no idea what was going on.' She believes her family was targeted in the August 2006 because her mother once worked at the Crider Poultry Plant in Stillmore, where dozens of illegal workers were detained.

Others testified about an April raid on a Pilgrim's Pride chicken plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., and another two weeks ago at a kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa. It was the largest raid of its kind in U.S. history, resulting in almost 400 arrests.

The public hearing was hosted by the National Commission on ICE Misconduct and Violations of Fourth Amendment Rights, which is founded by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.

The union represents 1.3 million workers across the country, including many in meatpacking plants that have been targeted for raids seeking illegal immigrants. The union has long pushed for protection of immigrant workers and federal reforms to include a path to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants already in the country.

After the raid at Mancha's house, the teenager said she worried agents might show up at her school. 'I carry that fear with me everyday, wondering when they'll come back,' Mancha said.

ICE Deports Popular Teacher

Never meet with ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) without an immigration attorney! (Randall)


Boston students to ICE We want our teacher back!
05/30/2008
Workers World Online


Students, teachers and their allies gathered in Boston May 24 to speak out against the unjust deportation of their beloved teacher, Obain Attouoman, an Ivory Coast citizen. According to openmediaboston.org, Attouoman was attending a meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials at the agencys office in Burlington, Mass., when he was arrested and deported. The exact reason for his deportation at this time is unknown.

Attouoman had been granted a stay of deportation from March 2005 to March 2007, after the highly publicized and well-organized resistance of his students and fellow teachers to an earlier order. Sens. Ted Kennedy and John Kerry along with Rep. Ed Markey had filed legislation that would have granted him permanent residency. The status of this legislation remains unclear.

Mr. Obain, as he is known by his students, was released in March 2005 from a Suffolk County Jail after being jailed for three months on a warrant for deportation. He said that, The agency (ICE) does not look at me as a human being, with a life and feelings and history. What happened to Mr. Obain was just business as usual for Homeland Security and ICE.

From New Bedford to the Bay Area to New Orleans, all across the U.S., Homeland Security and ICE are terrorizing and breaking apart the lives of individuals and families. Last March, ICE arrested 361 people, mostly immigrant women who were employed at a factory in New Bedford, Mass. In August, Elvira Arellano was arrested in Los Angeles and deported back to Mexico. While speaking at a rally her young son, Saul Saulito Arellano said, I want to tell all of you to tell President Bush: Stop the raids! Stop the deportations! Stop the separation of families! These acts of terrorism are happening every single day across this country. Whether we are talking about the unjust denial of a new trial for Mumia Abu-Jamal or the acquittal of the New York Police Department for the brutal killing of Sean Bell or the racist targeting of immigrants and forced displacement of the survivors of Hurricane Katrina, we need to understand that solidarity is our most potent weapon.

Let us remember the words of the women of the South African National Congress, You have struck a rock. You have dislodged a boulder. You will be crushed! A unified movement will be the boulder that crushes this racist, imperialist system. Report and photo by Miya

The writer is an organizer for Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST) and the Womens Fightback Network (WFN) in Boston.

NY Solutions to Nursing Shortage

The nursing shortage in the U.S. is at a critical point. There are over 200,000 openings nationwide for nurses and this number is growing day by day. The federal government cap on foreign nurses has been hit, so at the moment, no foreign nurses can immigrate to the U.S.. Canadian & Mexican nurses can enter temporarily on TN (Trade Nafta) Visas, but must intend on going back home.

Other issues include older nurses retiring, burning out, or moving to another country (like my U.S. born sister-in-law who is a nurse practitioner in Guatemala).

Also, there is a serious lack of nursing schools in the U.S..

I hope the federal government comes up with some solutions soon, so the states do not have to! (Randall)



State bills tackle shortage of new nurses
05/30/2008

Snyder, Alison
Long Island Business News

A growing shortage of nurses at New York hospitals has the Legislature floating various proposals that include enticing students to enroll in nursing programs.

Albany lawmakers are also proposing laws that improve working conditions, including making it a felony to physically attack a nurse - it's currently a misdemeanor - and eliminating mandatory overtime.

This month, the Health Care Association of New York State released a study that showed the vacancy rate for registered nurses in New York increased to 8.8 percent in 2007, up from 6.4 percent in 2006.

The news is no better on Long Island, said Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council chief executive Kevin Dahill, who said the shortage is hurting bottom lines at hospitals.

To fill vacant positions, hospitals go to nursing agencies and hire nurses at per diem cost, he said. The cost is almost double what hospitals pay their own nurses, because on top of paying the temp employee, they also pay an agency fee.

Dahill also said the shortage leads to a skeleton staff, which can affect patient care, potentially causing mistakes by overburdened employees. The shortage also creates a backlog of patients, meaning that some are forced to wait for hours before receiving medical attention.

The current nursing shortage dates back to the mid 1990s, after health insurers were deregulated, allowing them to negotiate their own reimbursement prices with hospitals, said Nancy Webber, spokeswoman for the New York State Nurses Association. She blamed poor work conditions for perpetuating the shortage.

Hospitals, meanwhile, said a visa shortage is leading to fewer foreign-born nurses working at regional facilities. Therefore, the council is backing an effort by Sen. Charles Schumer to free up more visas to allow foreign nurses to immigrate to the United States. While that would help, the fix is temporary, Dahill said.

Dahill said a long-term solution to the shortage is a state bill that would help recruit more faculty for nursing schools. That, in turn, would expand capacity at schools.

However, any bills passed by the Legislature would also need the funds to back them, and with the state stretched financially, it could be difficult to find the necessary funds.

This year, the Legislature set aside $2 million in the 2008-2009 budget to give to State University of New York system. Another $3 million was set aside for the City University of New York and private schools throughout the state.

Local schools have applied for some of the already approved cash.

Stony Brook University has applied for $160,000 each year for the next two years to add an additional 16 students to its incoming class, said Lenora McClean, dean of the nursing school.

Neither state funds or new legislation will solve the nursing-shortage crisis, said Maureen White, chief nurse executive at the North Shore-LIJ Health System.

North Shore - LIJ took matters into its own hands, and that's why their vacancy rate is at 4.4 percent, half the state average.

In 1999, North Shore-LIJ started providing opportunities for nurses to participate in research programs. Also, the system pays tuition for nurses who want to earn higher degrees.

The health system spends $5 million annually on continuing education programs for staff and another $5 million for nurses to attend school and get their bachelor's, master's or even doctorate in nursing.

The health system recognizes the important role of nurses, she said, and has aimed to create an environment where nurses feel their value.

Hospitals need to look at what they can do to attract and retain nurses, she said, and not wait for legislation to fix the problem. "We believe that for the amounts of money we're spending on these education and research initiatives, we're recouping monies by not having turnover, vacancies, incurring overtime and nursing agency costs," White said. "We believe it's a break even or a gain by having these programs in place." Alison Snyder can be reached at alison.snyder@libn.com.

5 New Judges Appointed to Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) by Attorney General Mukasey

Apparently, this attorney general likes hiring government employees, not firing them (like his predecessor). Randall


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE AG

FRIDAY, MAY 30, 2008

WWW.USDOJ.GOV


ATTORNEY GENERAL MUKASEY APPOINTS FIVE NEW MEMBERS

TO THE BOARD OF IMMIGRATION APPEALS



WASHINGTON – Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey announced today the appointment of five new members of the Executive Office for Immigration Review’s Board of Immigration Appeals (Board). The new Board members are: Charles K. Adkins-Blanch, Anne J. Greer, Garry D. Malphrus, Hugh G. Mullane and Linda S. Wendtland.





Charles K. Adkins-Blanch

Mr. Adkins-Blanch has served as an immigration judge since April 2004. Before taking the bench, he served within the Executive Office for Immigration Review as the General Counsel from 1999 to 2004, as the Associate General Counsel from 1995 to 1999, and as a Judicial Law Clerk and Attorney Advisor from 1990 to 1995. Mr. Adkins-Blanch holds a B.A. degree from Grinnell College and a J.D. degree from the George Washington University National Law Center .



Anne J. Greer

Ms. Greer has served as an Assistant Chief Immigration Judge since April 2003. Prior to taking the bench, she worked as an attorney at the Board of Immigration Appeals for more than 10 years. Since 1996, Ms. Greer also has served as an Adjunct Professor at George Mason University School of Law teaching immigration law. Ms. Greer holds a B.A. degree from Allegheny College , and a J.D. degree from George Mason University School of Law.



Garry D. Malphrus

Mr. Malphrus became an immigration judge in March 2005. From 2001 to 2005, he was the Associate Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council where his primary responsibilities involved matters relating to crime and sentencing, law enforcement, the Constitution, immigration and homeland security. From 1997 to 2001, Mr. Malphrus served as Chief Counsel to the Senate Subcommittee on Criminal Justice Oversight and the Subcommittee on the Constitution. From 1993 to 1997, he served as a judicial law clerk for a series of Federal judges. Mr. Malphrus holds a B.A. degree from the University of South Carolina and a J.D. degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law.



Hugh G. Mullane

Mr. Mullane has served as Special Counsel within the Office of Legal Policy since April 2005, where he handles legislative, policy and litigation issues relating to immigration and homeland security. From 2004 to 2005, he was the Director of Immigration Security for the Homeland Security Council at the White House. From 1995 to 2004, he served as the Senior Litigation Counsel within the Office of Immigration Litigation. Mr. Mullane holds a B.A. degree from Siena College and a J.D. degree from Georgetown University Law Center .



Linda S. Wendtland

Ms. Wendtland has served as an Assistant Director in the Office of Immigration Litigation since May 1996. Prior to that time, she was a private practitioner in a law firm from 1990 to 1996. She began her legal career in the Office of Immigration Litigation in 1985, where she served until she went into private practice in 1990. Ms. Wendtland holds a B.A. from the University of Virginia and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.



The Board of Immigration Appeals is part of the Executive Office for Immigration Review located in Falls Church , Va. , and is responsible for hearing appeals of decisions rendered by immigration judges or certain Department of Homeland Security officers. It is the highest administrative body for interpreting and applying Federal immigration laws.



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May 29, 2008

ABC to launch new reality TV show on federal immigration agents!

I hope Yahoo's Prime Time in No Time covers this show and makes fun of it.

The fight against terrorism? I see that co-operation from the CIA and FBI and NSA was not obtained. Immigrants are not terrorists and hopefully this show will help show that.


ABC makes a run for 'Border'

by James Hibberd - May. 29, 2008 12:00 AM
The Hollywood Reporter

A new ABC unscripted series will take an unprecedented look behind the scenes at the government's fight against terrorism.

The network has ordered 11 hours of "Border Security USA" from executive producer Arnold Shapiro ("Big Brother"). Shot on location throughout the United States , the series will focus on the efforts of border protection agencies to halt illegal smuggling and immigration.

A typical episode might jump from a border patrol in Texas to security screeners at a New York airport to a Coast Guard boat off Puerto Rico .

"Border" is billed as the first multiepisode television series to be shot in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security, as well as several other government agencies.

"We're showing everyday heroes who are risking their lives to protect us," said Shapiro, who also produced the law enforcement series "Rescue 911" and the classic jailhouse documentary "Scared Straight." "Every mode of transportation to get into the country, we have covered."

"Border" is based on the Australian series "Border Security: Australia 's Front Line," which debuted in 2004. ABC purchased the rights to the format and tapped Shapiro to shepherd the U.S. version. Shapiro wrangled the cooperation of the DHS (as well as the Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Coast Guard, United States Citizenship & Immigration Services, the Secret Service, Customs & Border Protection and Immigration & Customs Enforcement). The network plans to launch "Border" sometime next season.

May 23, 2008

U.S. Department of State Visa Bulletin - JUNE 2008

There was no real movement in the dates from May 2008 to the June 2008 Visa Bulletin. The only real movement that occurred was in the Employment-Based, 2nd Preference categories for China and India, which jumped three months forward. Otherwise, the dates shifted only by several days, if it moved forward at all.

Family Immigration
- Section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act sets an annual family-sponsored preference limit of 226,000.
  • 1st Preference (USC unmarried sons & daughters over 21)
    • Worldwide: 15 March 2002
    • China (PRC) - Mainland born: 15 March 2002
    • India: 15 March 2002
    • Mexico: 22 July 1992
    • Philippines: 15 March 1993
  • 2A Preference (LPR spouses & unmarried children under 21)
    • Worldwide: 15 June 2003
    • China (PRC) - Mainland born: 15 June 2003
    • India: 15 July 2003
    • Mexico: 01 May 2002
    • Philippines: 15 June 2003
  • 2B Preference (LPR unmarried sons & daughters over 21)
    • Worldwide: 01 August 1999
    • China (PRC) - Mainland born: 01 August 1999
    • India: 01 August 1999
    • Mexico: 08 April 1992
    • Philippines: 22 February 1997
  • 3rd Preference (USC married sons & daughters)
    • Worldwide: 08 June 2000
    • China (PRC) - Mainland born: 08 June 2000
    • India: 08 June 2000
    • Mexico: 01 August 1992
    • Philippines: 01 April 1991
  • 4th Preference (USC brothers & sisters)
    • Worldwide: 22 August 1997
    • China (PRC) - Mainland born: 01 February 1997
    • India: 01 February 1997
    • Mexico: 15 December 1994
    • Philippines: 08 March 1986
Employment Based - Section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act sets an annual limit for employment-based preference limit of 140,000
  • 1st Preference (EB-1)
    • Worldwide: CURRENT
    • China (PRC) - Mainland born: CURRENT
    • India: CURRENT
    • Mexico: CURRENT
    • Philippines: CURRENT
  • 2nd Preference (EB-2)
    • Worldwide: CURRENT
    • China (PRC) - Mainland born: 01 April 2004
    • India: 01 April 2004
    • Mexico: CURRENT
    • Philippines: CURRENT
  • 3rd Preference (EB-3)
    • Worldwide: 01 March 2006
    • China (PRC) - Mainland born: 22 March 2003
    • India: 01 November 2001
    • Mexico: 01 July 2002
    • Philippines: 01 March 2006
  • Schedule A workers (RNs, PTs)
    • Worldwide: UNAVAILABLE
    • China (PRC) - Mainland born: UNAVAILABLE
    • India: UNAVAILABLE
    • Mexico: UNAVAILABLE
    • Philippines: UNAVAILABLE
  • Unskilled Workers (less than 2 years experience required)
    • Worldwide: 01 January 2003
    • China (PRC) - Mainland born: 01 January 2003
    • India: 01 January 2003
    • Mexico: 01 January 2003
    • Philippines: 01 January 2003
  • 4th Preference (EB-4)
    • Worldwide: CURRENT
    • China (PRC) - Mainland born: CURRENT
    • India: CURRENT
    • Mexico: CURRENT
    • Philippines: CURRENT
  • Religious Workers
    • Worldwide: CURRENT
    • China (PRC) - Mainland born: CURRENT
    • India: CURRENT
    • Mexico: CURRENT
    • Philippines: CURRENT
  • Iraqi & Afghani Translators
    • Worldwide: CURRENT
    • China (PRC) - Mainland born: CURRENT
    • India: CURRENT
    • Mexico: CURRENT
    • Philippines: CURRENT
  • 5th Preference (EB-5: Investors)
    • Worldwide: CURRENT
    • China (PRC) - Mainland born: CURRENT
    • India: CURRENT
    • Mexico: CURRENT
    • Philippines: CURRENT
  • Targeted Employment Areas/ Regional Centers)
    • Worldwide: CURRENT
    • China (PRC) - Mainland born: CURRENT
    • India: CURRENT
    • Mexico: CURRENT
    • Philippines: CURRENT

May 22, 2008

Excerpt from Testimony Offered Before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security & Int'l Law

The following is an excerpt of testimony given by Armed Forces Service Woman Christine Navarro. For her complete testimony, click here.

"...I received word from our attorney, while I was deployed, that on November 13, 2006, we
would go to Juarez, Mexico for my husband’s consulate interview. We arrived three days
prior, to be sure we had enough time to get all our paperwork in order. His interview,
consisted of a five hour wait in line, followed by a two minute question and answer
period about how he had entered the country. Our lawyers warned us that his prior entry
and false claim to citizenship, could bar my husband from the country. But we were
confident that after four years of waiting, and thousands of dollars, we would be able to
move on.

But what you hear on television from so-called experts, is not true—it is not easy to stand
in line and get legal. Our application was denied and my husband was told that he was
barred forever from entering the United States. I flew home the next day a single parent."

Hurricanes, Citizenship, and the Makings of an Unnatural Disaster

People in the Rio Grande Valley, on the southern tip of Texas, were rattled last week by reports that the federal government was planning to do something very, very stupid the next time a hurricane came bearing down.

The word was out that the Border Patrol would be checking citizenship at evacuation centers, screening out illegal immigrants before evacuees boarded buses. Who cares if it’s a hurricane — it would still be “business as usual” for the Border Patrol, the agency’s local spokesman said.

Wow. That’s hard-core. Even in a country that is becoming inured to the relentless pursuit and harassment of undocumented immigrants, it is mind-boggling to consider what the spokesman, Dan Doty, was suggesting:

Winds may be howling, floodwaters rising and rescuers in McAllen and Brownsville scrambling to get 100,000 to 150,000 sick, elderly, poor and disabled people to safety as quickly as possible — but if Grandma doesn’t have her papers, she isn’t getting on the bus.

At least not the happy bus.

For the full editorial, click here.

DHS Will Face Questions on Care of Detained Immigrants

Top lawmakers in Congress criticized the Department of Homeland Security yesterday for failing to provide adequate medical care to detained immigrants, and said they plan to demand explanations today from Secretary Michael Chertoff and Julie L. Myers, assistant secretary for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) announced that Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and others will question Chertoff and Myers in a meeting today about reports of medical negligence and deaths of immigrants in ICE detention, as well as improper detentions of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), head of the panel's immigration subcommittee, said they have asked for relevant Homeland Security records and plan a hearing after Congress returns from its Memorial Day recess.

For the full story, click here.

May 20, 2008

Randall Taking Helm as AILA SCV President Tonight!

Randall is being installed as the 2008-2009 American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Santa Clara Valley (SCV) President tonight at Amber Indian Restaurant in Mountain View, CA. In attendance will be Randall's friend, Cindy Carla Avitia, Congressional Assistant for Immigration to U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren, who is Chair of the House Sub-Committee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security and International Law in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Carla Passes CA Bar Exam!!!

Carla Romero, Stellar Immigration Legal Assistant at Caudle Immigration, passed the California Bar Exam last Friday (May 16, 2008)!

Everyone at Caudle Immigration is very excited and ecstatic that Carla passed the bar and will soon be sworn in as an attorney. She will then start representing businesses, families and individuals at Caudle Immigration as an attorney.

Congratulations Carla!

May 07, 2008

Update from Randall Caudle

Hi All -

The ICE activity in Berkeley & Oakland yesterday was the second story on the local Fox 10pm news last night and stories are in the SF Chronicle, Contra Costa Times, and other papers this morning.

See links to news articles and info on the ISAP program:

  1. New America Media, "Immigration Raids Startle Communities in Oakland and Berkeley" http://news.newamericamedia.org/news/view_article.html?article_id=9abc2b98739510819087a8c2144d9c20&from=rss
  2. Contra Costa Times Article, "ICE actions spread fear in East Bay schools" http://www.insidebayarea.com/oaklandtribune/ci_9175581
  3. ISAP ankle bracelet program, info on BI Incorporated, "Behavior Interventions, Inc." http://bi.com/index.php
  4. SF Gate Article, "ICE Raids on Homes Panic Schools, Politicians" http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/05/06/BA8B10HRUS.DTL
    ============================================================

What apparently occurred was the following:

1. In the morning yesterday, ICE (DRO) arrested a family at a south Berkeley home right next to a Berkeley school. The detained family (grandparents, mother & aunt) just happens to be related to a student involved with BOCA, which has been very active in speaking out against ICE at community forums in immigrant commuities. See Berkeley Organizing Congregations for Action (BOCA), http://www.berkeleyboca.org/id4.html.

2. The detained individuals did not have prior deportation orders or criminal issues, as they have all been released from custody apparently (with NTAs and possibly ISAP bracelets). All are from Mexico, so if there were prior deportation orders, they would be back in Mexico today (ICE immediately returns Mexican nationals with prior deportation orders to Mexico under an ongoing agreement with the govt. of Mexico).

3. This ICE incident was witnessed by parents and students in Berkeley and the Berkeley school district put out a district wide alert about ICE activity in the area and warning parents.

4. ICE also confirmed that they arrested a woman in East Oakland near E Street and 98th Avenue, near the Stonehurst school grounds, where Korematsu Discovery Academy, Esperanza Academy, and Stonehurst elementary schools are located. ICE vans were apparently present in the neighborhood near the school most of the morning. Oakland mayor Ron Dellums went to the school in the afternoon with several other east bay politicians, community advocates, and legal observers to condemn ICE being near the school.

5. Rumors then swirled about ICE activity at other schools in the East Bay, including rumors of ICE at Mission High School and in the Mission District in San Francisco.

6. There is an official DHS CBP (Customs & Border Protection) policy issued April 20, 2004 (re-iterating a June 2001 official policy) to avoid apprehension of individuals and to tightly control investigative operations on the premises of schools, places of worship, funerals and other religious ceremonies.

Have a stress-free day!
Randall

Randall Caudle, AILA Santa Clara Valley Chapter Chair-Elect

Adjunct Professor of Law at Golden Gate University School of Law -
Immigration & Refugee Law


Law Office of Randall Caudle / Caudle Immigration
350 Townsend Street, Suite 305
San Francisco , CA 94107


Tel: (415)
541-9290 Fax: (415) 358-4104

randall@caudleimmigration.com
www.caudleimmigration.com
www.caudleimmigration.blogspot.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/randallcaudle

May 06, 2008

17-Month Extension of Optional Practical Training for Certain Highly Skilled Foreign Students

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security released today an interim final rule extending the period of Optional Practical Training (OPT) from 12 to 29 months for qualified F-1 non-immigrant students. The extension will be available to F-1 students with a degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics who are employed by businesses enrolled in the E-Verify program.

“This rule will enable businesses to attract and retain highly skilled foreign workers, giving U.S. companies a competitive advantage in the world economy,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “By extending the training period by an additional 17 months to students who are employed by businesses enrolled in E-Verify, we are further ensuring a legal workforce in the U.S. and aiding good corporate citizens.”

Another aspect of the rule responds to the situation in which an F-1 student’s status and work authorization expires before he or she can begin employment under the H-1B visa program. The interim final rule addresses this problem by automatically extending the period of stay and work authorization for all F-1 students with pending H-1B petitions. The rule will also implement certain programmatic changes, including allowing students to apply for OPT within 60 days of graduation.

To be eligible for an OPT extension, an F-1 non-immigrant student must:

  • Currently be participating in a 12-month period of approved post-completion OPT;
  • Have successfully completed a degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) included in the DHS STEM Designated Degree Program List from a college or university certified by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program;
  • Be working for a U.S. employer in a job directly related to the student’s major area of study;
  • Be working for, or accepted employment with, an employer enrolled in U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ E-Verify program. E-Verify is a free, internet-based system operated in partnership with the Social Security Administration that helps employers to determine the employment eligibility of newly-hired employees; and
  • Properly maintain F-1 status.

For the interim final rule and additional information on the H-1B program, click here.

USCIS and FBI Release Joint Plan to Eliminate Backlog of FBI Name Checks

WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) today announced a joint plan to eliminate the backlog of name checks pending with the FBI.

USCIS and the FBI established a series of milestones prioritizing work based on the age of the pending name check. The FBI has already eliminated all name check cases pending more than four years.

“This plan of action is the product of a strong partnership between USCIS and the FBI to eliminate the backlogs and to strengthen national security,” said USCIS Director Emilio Gonzalez.

By increasing staff, expanding resources, and applying new business processes, the goal is to complete 98 percent of all name checks within 30 days. USCIS and the FBI intend to resolve the remaining two percent, which represent the most difficult name checks and require additional time to complete, within 90 days or less. The goal is to achieve and sustain these processing times by June 2009.

The joint plan will focus on resolving the oldest pending FBI name checks first. USCIS has also requested that the FBI prioritize resolution of approximately 29,800 pending name checks from naturalization applicants submitted to the FBI before May 2006 where the naturalization applicant was already interviewed.

The target milestones for processing name checks are:
Completion Goal Category
May 2008 Process all name checks pending more than three years
July 2008 Process all name checks pending more than two years
Nov. 2008 Process all name checks pending more than one year
Feb. 2009 Process all name checks pending more than 180 days
June 2009 Process 98 percent of all name checks within 30 days and process the remaining two percent within 90 days.