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American Immigration Council v. DHS and CBP

Cover letter dated 10/12/12 from Shari Suzuki, Chief, FOIA Appeals, Policy and Litigation Branch, CBP, describing renewed searches by Office of Border Patrol and Office of Field Operations, which were asked to search “every division, port, sector and station,” and indicating that 60 pages of responsive records were being released.

Key Documents:

Pages 1-2:  CBP memo (7/30/03) re: attorney representation during the inspection process.  8 CFR 292.5(b) governs primary and secondary inspections at ports of entry, as well as deferred inspections, “which are the continuation of a secondary inspection conducted at an onward office.”  Supervisory inspector may allow an attorney to attend a deferred inspection interview if he or she acts as “an observer and consultant to the applicant.”

Pages 8-9:  Memo re: access to counsel in St. Albans Area Port in response to AIC/AILA letter alleging denial of access to counsel (at pages 10-18).  Confirms that 7/30/03 CBP memo (at pages 1-2) is still in effect.  No official policy to bar counsel from L and TN adjudications or from deferred inspection.  Sets forth guidelines for legal professionals at ports of entry.Read more...

Yves Thiers Takes On Texas

August, 2010

The International Exchange Center is proud to announce Yves Thiers as this month’s Exchange Visitor of the Month. Yves came to the United States from Belgium soon after graduating with a Master of Industrial Science degree. He hoped to be able to gain hands on knowledge of the engineering projects he studied at university. His host company, Dal-Tile Corporation, was just the place for this. Dal-Tile Corporation is a tile manufacturer and distributor based out of Dallas, TX. Read more...

Arizona’s State-Owned Mexico Border Fence Attracts Donors From Across U.S.

Published on Tue, Aug 02, 2011

Arizona, whose immigration law sparked a lawsuit by the Obama administration and national boycotts, aims to collect tens of millions of dollars in private donations to build a border fence with inmate labor.

The plan, created by lawmakers and signed into law by Republican Governor Jan Brewer in April, would turn donations over to a group of Republican legislators, political appointees and four county sheriffs who have criticized U.S. efforts to combat illegal immigration. They say the fence is needed to stop an “invasion” that may include violent criminals and Middle Eastern terrorists disguised as Mexicans.

“Arizona once more has to step in and do a job the federal government won’t do,” Republican state Senator Steve Smith, who sponsored the bill, said in a telephone interview. He said he believes the Obama administration has failed to secure the border and has now given up. “It is a massive invasion on our social and economic systems. Nobody can deny that.”

The campaign is ratcheting up rhetoric between the state and the federal government over border security. It is modeled after a similar effort by Brewer that taps into the same nationwide discontent over U.S. policy to pay for the defense of Arizona’s immigration law. The campaign, Keep Arizona Safe, has raised more than $3.8 million from about 45,000 donations since June 2010, said Matthew Benson, a spokesman for Brewer.

$50 Million Goal

For the border fence, more than $146,000 has been collected from about 3,000 private donors in 50 states since fundraising began July 20. At least 568 were from Arizona, 329 from California, 182 from Texas, 173 from Florida, 88 from New York and 42 from New Jersey. The goal is to raise a minimum of $50 million, said Smith.Read more...

Published in the Bloomberg

Court Affirms Ninth Circuit Ruling in Citizenship Case

Flores-Villar v. United States, 564 U. S. ___, 131 S. Ct. 2312, (2011)

The Supreme Court affirmed the Ninth Circuit’s decision in a case involving whether two former citizenship provisions in the INA violate equal protection. These sections imposed a five-year residence requirement, after the age of fourteen, on U.S. citizen fathers -- but not on U.S. citizen mothers -- before they may transmit citizenship to a child born out of wedlock abroad to a noncitizen. Read more...

LGBT Couples Facing Increased Immigration Tensions

Published on Mon, Oct 10, 2011

CHICAGO—According to the Immigration Policy Center, there are approximately 36,000 same sex, bi-national couples living in the United States. These couples have to reach out to alternative methods such as student visas or other legal resources in order to remain together.

 Kevin Goodman is associate dean at St. James Cathedral, in Chicago. He met Anton Pulung-Hartanto, who is originally from Indonesia, at Disney world in 2000.

“I went to Disney with a youth group, to try to show them that one could have a religious experience in a place like that, and that’s where I met my partner”, said Goodman at a forum on LGBT Immigrant Rights held at the Adler School of Professional Psychology on September 27th.

Pulung-Hartanto worked at Disney, in Florida, as a cultural host with a Q-1 visa, which is provided specifically for cultural exchange programs.

They have been together for 12 years and plan on marrying next spring in Vermont, said Goodman.

The Final Option

Goodman is from New Orleans and grew up tied to the All Saints’ River Ridge Episcopal church. He studied communication and worked as a television producer. But he’s always been interested in Asian cultures, which is why he traveled to Xi’an in the Republic of China and has taken Asian Studies courses. He also studied in the theological seminary in New York, where his work with indigent youth and people with HIV began.

When he arrived in Chicago he worked with The Night Ministry program, specifically with indigent youth in the Lakeview neighborhood. He was also working with the St. Matthew church in Evanston through the Ravenswood Community Services agency and now with St. James Cathedral.

When Pulung-Hartanto’s Q-1 Visa expired, he applied for a Student I-20 visa which allowed him another 10 years in this country. He studied culinary arts at Saint Augustine College.Read more...

Published in the New American Media

Impact on J-1 Programs in the Event of a Federal Government Shutdown

October 1, 2013 - As the US Congress delays approving a budget for FY 2014, it is possible that tax funded “non-essential” services will be suspended.  “Non-essential” services are those that are not considered to be a health or security concern.

Read on to learn areas that may impact our exchange visitors in J status: Read more...

American Immigration Council Sues U.S. Immigration Agencies Over Asylum “Clock”

Published on Tue, Dec 20, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Last week, the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center filed a nationwide class action lawsuit against U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Executive Office for Immigration Review in federal court in Seattle. The lawsuit alleges widespread problems with the asylum “clock”—the system that the government uses to determine when immigrants with pending asylum applications become eligible to obtain work authorization in the United States. The class certification motion describes the nationwide impact of these policies.

The complaint, co-filed with the Northwest Immigrants Rights Project, Gibbs Houston Pauw, and the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, was submitted on behalf of untold numbers of asylum applicants wrongfully denied work authorization due to unlawful agency policies and practices. The named plaintiffs include asylum seekers who have pursued their cases for years without work authorization—including a man from China who initially filed his asylum application in 2003.

With limited exceptions, federal law requires USCIS to grant work authorization to any person with an asylum application pending for 180 days. In calculating this period, however, USCIS relies on determinations made by immigration judges who work for EOIR. As a result, arbitrary EOIR policies on when the “clock” should start and stop—combined with growing backlogs in U.S. immigration courts—have unlawfully prevented asylum seekers from working. The suit alleges these policies violate the Constitution, federal statutes, and governing regulations.
Read more...

Published in the New American Media

Board

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Paul L. Zulkie, President
Robert E. Juceam, Secretary
Warren R. Leiden, Treasurer     
Benjamin E. Johnson, Executive Director

Laura Lichter, AILA Immediate Past President (2014)
Victor D. Nieblas Pradis, AILA 1st Vice President (2015)
William A. Stock, AILA 2nd Vice President (2016)
Robert Cohen, Chair, Board of Trustees (2014)
Crystal Williams, AILA Executive Director

BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Robert Cohen, Chair (2014)
Lori Chesser, Vice Chair (2014) Read more...