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Immigration Daily July 10, 2009
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Comment

Abolish Immigration Fees

Fees to process immigration petitions have reached gouging proportions, and many families and small businesses are unable to file for benefits to which they are entitled under the immigration laws because of high fees. While the government makes exceptions for a few cases of hardship, we oppose the very idea of charging processing fees for immigration benefits, here's why. We believe that one can hold either that immigration is good for America or that its bad. If its bad, then we should end it, and if its good, we should encourage it by every means available. Either way, charging fees for benefits is a bad idea since fees appear to the lay public as a tax that fosters the impression that immigration is a sin and needs to be taxed, like cigarettes or alcohol. Immigration is as American as apple pie, and the idea of immigration to America has historically been "the huddled masses" not the elite who can afford to pay high fees. In that sense, immigration fees are un-American.

Of course, there are many who would disagree with us and argue for the ideas that (1) a fee-supported agency would be more responsive to its customers and (2) a fee-supported agency would be faster and more efficient. We believe that these views are mistaken. In the first place, USCIS and other government agencies dealing with aliens have been about as unresponsive as government agencies can be in the US, few US agencies are as hostile to their customers as those that deal with aliens. If these agencies had to annually beg for appropriations from Congress, they would be much more sensitive to what Congress is hearing from constituents, including aliens and their sponsors. As to speed, we believe that American petitioners are entitled to fast and efficient service from all government agencies, including those dealing with immigration matters. What really happens when once fees are permitted is that an institutionalized inefficiency sets in, and the agency resorts to a shake down for doing what should be its everyday business. That's what "Premium Processing Fees" are extortion by a monopoly accountable to no one, least of all to Congress. And the consequence for those outside of the favored "Premium Processing" areas is that their adjudications take even longer, since inordinate resources are diverted to Premium Processing units from other parts of the agency.

If Congress should choose to fine the undocumented as a pre-requisite for legalization, that is just and proper. However, we urge Congress to use the upcoming immigration debate to take a long, hard look at fees, and at the very least, partially make the adjudicators at USCIS the beneficiaries of its annual appropriations bills.

We welcome readers to share their opinion and ideas with us by writing to editor@ilw.com.


Focus

Immigration Compliance Book Only $99

ILW.COM is pleased to feature The Employer's Immigration Compliance Desk Reference by Gregory H. Siskind, co-published by ILW.COM and the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM). The book features:

  • Part I: Complying With Immigration Laws: Form I-9 General Concepts; Completing the I-9 Form; Reverification; Recordkeeping; Electronic I-9 Systems; Knowledge of Unlawful Immigration Status; Unfair Immigration Practices; Penalties and Other Risks; IRCA Compliance Tips; Conducting an I-9 Self-Audit; E-Verify, IMAGE, and SSNVS; Social Security No-Match Letters; Mergers and Acquisitions; State Employer Immigration Laws Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia
  • Part II: An Overview of the U.S. Immigration System: Nonimmigrant Visas, Immigrant Visas (the "Green Card"), Asylees and Refugees
  • Appendices: Notable ICE Worksite Enforcement Operations in 2006-2008, M-274, Handbook for Employers, Electronic I-9 and E-Verify Vendors
For more info on this book, see here (fax version, see here). This low-priced book is selling fast, order your copy today!


Articles

Bloggings On Nurse and Allied Health Immigration
Christopher T. Musillo writes "Back in the spring, the USCIS routinely was denying PT and OT H-1B cases in instances in which the PT /OT did not hold a Masters Degree. This was wrong."

Bloggings on Updates in Immigration Law
Carl Shusterman writes "Now that the Obama Administration has decided to zero in on employers with massive numbers of I-9 audits (652 in one day!), let me provide you with a few tips which I've gleaned from assisting employers survive such audits over the past 20 years."

Immigrants Of The Day: Ali Akbar Khan of India, Maria Martinez of El Salvador, and Daniel Guadron of Guatemala
Kevin R. Johnson celebrates the achievements of these select immigrants.

To submit an Article for consideration, write to editor@ilw.com.


News

DHS Announces Former DOS Employee Sentenced For Illegally Accessing Passport Files
DHS announced that a former State Department employee was sentenced today to one year of probation and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine for illegally accessing more than 50 confidential passport application files.


Classifieds

Help Wanted: Immigration Attorney
Lincoln, Nebraska - USCIS Office of the Chief Counsel (OCC) seeks an experienced attorney for the position of Service Center Counsel at the Nebraska Service Center (NSC). Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, serving as an attorney providing legal advice to the NSC personnel on issues involving immigration related adjudications, inadmissibility and deportability grounds, and national security; writing visa appeal briefs and providing litigation support to the U.S. Attorney's office on cases arising from Service Center adjudications. J.D. degree, active bar membership by the entry on duty date. For full details enter COU-CIS-2009-0005 here. Applicants must submit (1) resume , (2) writing sample (10 pps. max), (3) references to William.Craig@dhs.gov. All submissions must be received by close of business on July 17, 2009. GS-13/15, position open until filled. No relocation allowance offered.

Help Wanted: Immigration Paralegal
Las Vegas, NV - The Law Offices of Garcia-Mendoza & Snavely seeks an experienced paralegal to perform all types of business and family visa packages under supervision of attorney. Minimum 3-5 years experience required. Salary to be negotiated. Firm provides benefits including paid vacation and sick leave plus profit sharing plan. Located in a free standing building on ground level in downtown. Parking is free. Submit resume + cover letter to evagm@gms4law.com. All replies remain in confidence.

Forensic Psychology Services
Forensic Psychology Group - nationwide service - 800-852-2160. The Forensic Psychology Group provides nationwide expert witness services in all areas of immigration law. It is led by Stephen Reich, PhD, JD, and Grace P. Lee, PhD, JD, who are both clinical psychologists and attorneys, and also AILA members. The Group's experts - all licensed psychologists or psychiatrists - have extensive experience in working collaboratively with immigration lawyers on a wide range of forensic psychological issues. We offer nationwide service in the following areas: psychological consultation, psychodiagnostic evaluation, psychological reports, expert witness services, courtroom testimony, political asylum evaluation, extreme and exceptional hardship evaluations, spousal abuse, citizenship waivers. Dr. Stephen Reich, the Group's founder and director, is a nationally known forensic psychologist who holds a BA, JD, and MBA from Columbia University, and an MA and PhD in Clinical Psychology from Fordham University. He has been on the faculty of Weill Cornell Medical College and on the Attending Staff of New York Presbyterian Hospital for 30+ years. Visit The Forensic Psychology Group. The right experts make a real difference.


Headlines

Senators, Officials Back E-Verify Mandate
Companies that contract with the federal government will have to begin verifying that their employees are legally allowed to work in the country starting Sept. 8, the Homeland Security Department announced on Wednesday.

Indiana Wants More Identification To Get State ID
Applying for an Indiana driver's license or state identification card will now require more stringent proof of identity, a change one Latina activist said could keep non-citizens living in Indiana from driving legally.

Krispy Kreme Caught Hiring Illegal Aliens
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency announced this week that Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. has agreed to pay a $40,000 fine for hiring illegal aliens.

Are Cops Racially Profiling Because of a New Immigration Program? ICE Responds
But Nicole Navas, a Miami-based spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, says our story got it wrong.


comingsNgoings

Readers can share professional announcements (up to 100-words at no charge), email: editor@ilw.com. To announce your event, see here

Immigration Event - Washington, DC
'Securing Identification Cards: REAL ID vs. PASS ID', 11:00-12:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 14, 2009, Allison Auditorium The Heritage Foundation, RSVP: http://www.heritage.org/press/events/ev071409a.cfm or call (202) 675-1752.


Letters

Readers can share comments, email: editor@ilw.com (up to 300-words). Past correspondence is available in our archives

Dear Editor:
ID is right (07/09/09 ID comment). PERM cases are taking more than 7 months now. I made an inquiry for a pending case (filed 11-5-08) and this is the reply I received from the DOL. Thank you for your inquiry to the Atlanta National Processing Center concerning your case filed under the Permanent Labor Certification Program. Please be advised that there is no statute or regulation that mandates a time frame for processing PERM cases. It is stated in the comments section of the final rule that "we anticipate an electronically filed application not selected for audit will have a computer-generated decision within 45-60 days of the date the application was initially filed." This statement however is NOT part of the regulatory requirements that starts on page 77,384 of the Federal Register Volume 69 No. 247 under the heading Final rule; which states "...Parts 655 and 656 are amended as follows:" The 45 - 60 days timeline is not included in any of the amendments that followed. Please be patient, the employer will receive correspondence from our office shortly.

Chetan P. Tanna, Esq.

Dear Editor:
PERM may actually be the fulfillment of a promise - to turn the entire legal immigration system into a huge barrier to immigration (07/09/09 ID comment). I once naively thought that the immigration laws were intended to permit immigration, not to put an end to it, even though it seems harder and harder for people in the government to understand that. For example, why were the J-1 regulations changed two years ago to eliminate education or work experience in the US as a qualification for J-1 training eligibility? Nothing in the law contains such a restriction. Another example: AC21 says that an H-1B job is exempt from the annual cap if it is "at" a school of higher education or other "qualifying institution", or one that is "affiliated" with the above. My two and a half -year old grandson understands what "at" means, but USCIS seems to have a real problem with that word, at least if one goes by a lengthy, convoluted, June, 2006 Aytes memo on this subject. As for "affiliated", USCIS regulations interpret the word as meaning virtually "identical", i.e.having the same board of directors. But last time I looked in my dictionary, "affiliated" did not mean "identical". Immigration advocates need to protest much more loudly against administrative attempts to misappropriate the immigration laws for anti-immigrant ideological purposes, as is happening with PERM and in many other areas. I will give other examples in future letters.

Roger Algase, Esq.
New York, NY

Dear Editor:
The Congress can make whatever laws they want to serve whatever their constituents might be happy with. It's legal to do this but not that etc. These laws can change and had been changed for many times. Illegal immigrants can be made as legal ones even instant US citizens by a strike of a pen, that's it. In old Europe, it's illegal for a Pole to come to France to work and reside there without permit, now it's perfectly legal to do so because of European Union treaty to allow freedom of movement among its member states. Nations should stop criminalizing foreign workers in order to serve some whining citizens that hate competition. And thanks to Congress when it made laws to prohibit inter states trade and freedom of movement barriers. Mr. Murray's letter asked about morality and legal rights and who gave foreigners rights to immigrate to other countries and seek jobs and opportunities there, then the same question should apply on our past ancestors including past European colonists including the Pilgrims came into New Worlds and many lands in Asia and Africa then. What made one think that the Aborigines and the Native of those lands had no laws regarding trespassing and "immigration" that thoser ancestors should ignore them. The rights of our survival and seeking better opportunities, freedom, prosperity and happiness are not granted by the Congress nor lawmakers of any countries but it's the fundamental of every human and given by the mother Nature or God if ones believe in his existence. Any political institutions that make laws in many times serve some selfish interests that defy this basic fundamental rights in favor to their contributing constituents who don't like others to compete with them.

Robert Yang


An Important disclaimer! The information provided on this page is not legal advice. Transmission of this information is not intended to create, and receipt by you does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Readers must not act upon any information without first seeking advice from a qualified attorney. Send correspondence and articles to editor@ilw.com. Letters and articles may be edited and may be published and otherwise used in any medium. The views expressed in letters and articles do not necessarily represent the views of ILW.COM.

Publisher:  Sam Udani    Legal Editor:  Michele Kim                        ISSN:   1930-062X


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