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DOL Agrees to Reopen BEC Cases

The LAC's credible threat to sue the U.S. Department of Labor has caused the DOL to agree to reopen Backlog Elimination Center (BEC) cases erroneously closed for alleged failure to respond to a 45-day letter. 30- DAY DEADLINE FOR RESPONDING!

Under AILF's Threat to Sue, DOL Agrees to Reopen BEC Cases

30- DAY DEADLINE FOR RESPONDING!**

AILF's credible threat to sue the U.S. Department of Labor has caused the DOL to agree to reopen Backlog Elimination Center (BEC) cases erroneously closed for alleged failure to respond to a 45-day letter. This agreement includes cases where the employer or attorney never received the 45-day letter and also where they received the 45-day letter and timely responded, but the case was nonetheless closed.

Background:

In March 2005, DOL adopted a new system for filing applications for labor certifications, known as the Program Electronic Review Management (PERM). The new system only applies to applications filed on or after March 28, 2005. When it adopted this new system, DOL already had pending before it over 300,000 labor certification applications that had been filed under the old system but had not yet been decided. This backlog of pre-PERM cases is not being handled under the new PERM system.

DOL set up two BECs to handle all of the backlogged cases - one in Dallas and one in Philadelphia. Throughout 2005, DOL shipped the 300,000 plus backlogged cases from around the entire country to these two BECs.

The BECs began sending a "45-day" letter to the employer/attorney in every one of the backlogged cases. These letters request that the employer/attorney check a box on an enclosed form if they want to proceed with the case. If the employer/attorney fails to respond to the letter within 45 days, BEC closes the case.

There were serious problems with the BECs' management of the 45-day letter process. The two primary problems were:Read more...

America Through Sonja Haenzelmann’s Lense

November, 2010

The International Exchange Center is proud to announce Sonja Haenzelmann as this month’s Exchange Visitor of the Month. Each month, we select an exchange visitor who has made an effort to get involved in his/her community and explore American culture. Sonja is also the winner of last month’s photo contest on our Facebook page!

Read more...

Advocates & Opponents Of Comprehensive Immigration Reform Criticize Obama

Published on Fri, Apr 15, 2011

SAN DIEGO — The Washington-based Immigration Policy Center advocates a centrist policy of enforcement coupled with a path to citizenship. It has released a report card on the Obama Administration.

The center cites tension between enforcement and reform priorities, and calls out Obama's failure to fulfill his promise of comprehensive reform.

"While the president on the one hand is saying that he understands that we need immigration reform, his focus has been deporting people," said Michele Waslin, a senior policy analyst with the center. "And in some cases, deporting those very people that he really hopes to legalize someday."

The center cites a record number of deportations under Obama and criticizes the lack of effort to find ways for longtime, productive undocumented immigrants and their children to remain in the country.

"The president has said several times that all he can do is enforce the law. When we think that the president certainly has other executive powers--there are things that can be done administratively within current law that would also help to reform the system from within," Waslin said.

She added the chances of an Obama-led immigration reform by the end of his first term are minimal.

On the other hand, summarizing the president's performance on immigration issues, the conservative Center for Immigration Studies believes it's been all for show.

Mark Krikorian, Executive Director of the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, said that the Obama administration has increased deportations and security at the border. But it has not gone far enough given the reality of increasing violence in Mexico.

"The unspoken factor underlying much of the immigration debate is the ongoing, low-level civil war within Mexico," said Krikorian. "Every time another ditch full of 100 bodies is found, makes the cause of weakening enforcement that much more difficult."Read more...

Published in the KPBS

Educated Immigrants Outnumber Low-Skilled Ones in U.S.

Published on Fri, Jun 10, 2011

The word "immigrant" often conjures up the negative images of low-skilled and likely illegally residing workers. As Benjamin Johnson, executive director of the American Immigration Council tells the Washington Post, "too often the immigration debate is driven by images on television of people jumping over fences." Yet a new report from the Brookings Institution pushes back against this stereotype, showing there are actually more college-educated immigrants of working age in the United States than those without high-school degrees.

To help understand the chart above, it's useful to look at Brookings terminology. Low-skilled immigrants are those that do not possess a high-school diploma, while high-skilled immigrants are those with a college degree, or more. The shift in the past few decades has been significant: "In 1980, just 19 percent of immigrants aged 25 to 64 held a bachelor's degree, and nearly 40 percent had not completed high school," the report states. By 2010 that 40 percent was down to 28 percent, while the percentage of immigrants holding BAs rose to 30. Mid-skilled immigrants--those that have a high school diploma or some college and no degree--are still the largest group, though the percentage has held pretty steady since the early 90's. It's worth adding that Brookings methodology did not distinguish between illegal and legal immigrants; birthplace was the sole determination of immigrant status.

It looks like good news, but not everyone sees the report as encouraging. "New college graduates are faring very poorly on the labor market, and what the report is telling us is that we're bringing in a high number of workers to compete with them," Steven Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies, a self-described "pro-immigrant, low-immigration," think-tank in Washington D.C told the Post.

Published in the Atlantic Monthly

Court Disallows Modified Categorical Approach Except Where Statute Divisible

Descamps v. United States, 570 U.S. ___, 133 S. Ct. 2276 (2013)

In an 8-1 decision written by Justice Kagan, the Supreme Court held that sentencing courts must apply the categorical approach – and only the categorical approach – to a federal defendant unless the underlying statute of conviction is ‘divisible.’

Descamps concerns the analytical approach courts must undertake when determining what federal consequences (usually sentence enhancement or removal) attach to a particular conviction. The default approach is called the categorical approach, wherein the court compares the elements set forth in the criminal statute to the INA removal ground or other federal law at issue. The facts in the criminal case are irrelevant. All that matters are the elements of the statute of conviction. The rationale for an elements-centric approach, as the Court explained in Descamps, is multifold: it comports with the text and history of the statutes it was created to apply (often the Armed Career Criminal Act and the INA), it avoids Sixth Amendment concerns that would arise form sentencing courts’ making factual findings that belong to juries, and it averts the practical difficulties and potential unfairness of a factual approach.Read more...

Quick Fact: Removal of unauthorized immigrants would cause large drop in GDP

If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from the United States, the country would lose $551.6 billion in economic activity, $245 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and approximately 2.8 million jobs.

Deportation reviews raise some immigrants' hopes

Published on Sun, Aug 28, 2011

Hilda Jauregui and dozens of women at an Orange County immigration detention center recently gathered to hear the news on television that the Obama administration will review thousands of deportation cases with an eye closing those considered "low-priority."

FOR THE RECORD:

Deportation order: An article in the Aug. 29 LATExtra section about the Obama administration's plans to review 300,000 deportation cases was missing the word "toward" in the first paragraph. The paragraph should have said: Hilda Jauregui and dozens of women at an Orange County immigration detention center recently gathered to hear the news on television that the Obama administration will review thousands of deportation cases with an eye toward closing those considered "low-priority." Also, an earlier version of this online article stated that the Jauregui family had ignored a deportation order issued more than 10 years ago. The family actually appealed the order.

"Everyone was shouting and hugging each other," Jauregui said in a telephone interview from the James A. Musick jail facility last week. "One woman said 'I'll qualify because I'm older,' another said she had children who were born in the country. Everyone was trying to find something positive that would make them qualify."

U.S. Homeland Security Sec. Janet Napolitano announced the review Aug. 18 as the administration was seeking to counter criticism that it has been too harsh in its deportation policies. The case-by-case review is intended to refocus efforts on felons and other public safety threats, officials said.

Now immigrants around the country are trying to find out how the review of nearly 300,000 deportation cases will actually work. The administration has said it would try to identify immigrants considered low-priority — including students, the elderly, victims of crime and people who have lived in the U.S. since childhood.Read more...

Published in the Los Angeles Times

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