The President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions

November 21, 2014

On Thursday, November 20, 2014, President Barak Obama announced his Temporary Plans to fix our broken immigration system.

The President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions will help secure the border, hold nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants accountable and ensure that everyone plays by the same rules.

As an Immigration Attorney, I see the results of our broken system every day and in the absence of Congressional action, the President had to act. While a lot of the details are still waiting to be filled in, we know that many of these changes will make a real impact. We are aware that these initiatives are not going to help everyone, as not everyone will be eligible. Therefore, we need to continue to pressure Congress into finishing the job by passing a bipartisan Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill.

The initiatives as announced by the President include:

• Expanding the population eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to young people who came to this country before turning 16 years old and have been present since January 1, 2010, and extending the period of DACA and work authorization from two years to three years

• Allowing parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who have been in the country since January 1, 2010, to request deferred action and employment authorization for three years, in a new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program, provided they pass required background checks

• Expanding the use of provisional waivers of unlawful presence to include the spouses and sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents and the sons and daughters of U.S. citizens

• Modernizing, improving and clarifying immigrant and nonimmigrant programs to grow our economy and create jobs

• Promoting citizenship education and public awareness for lawful permanent residents and providing an option for naturalization applicants to use credit cards to pay the application fee

PLEASE NOTE - At this time NOTHING mentioned yesterday evening has been implemented. The President’s Address yesterday evening was just an announcement of what is expected to happen within the next few months. The various governmental agencies involved (DHS/DOS/CBP/USCIS/ICE/EOIR) are still working out the details.

PLEASE BE AWARE OF ANYONE WHO IS OFFERING TO HELP YOU AT THIS TIME. DO NOT BECOME A VICTIM. SPEAK WITH AN IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY!

*An Attorney has to have a license from a State Bar Association
*If you Suspect Fraud, REPORT IT

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WHAT YOU CAN DO AT THIS TIME:

Speak with an Immigration Attorney to determine whether you are eligible for temporary relief

Start collecting the documents listed below now because you may need to
provide proof of:

Identity
Birth certificate and a photo identification (ID). Passport, school or military ID, identification document from your country of origin like a Matricula Consular, or any U.S. document with your name and photo, like a Driver’s License or ID.

Entry to the United States Before a Particular Date
Immigration record or documents with your date of entry, passport with admission stamp (Form I-94/I-95/I-94W), or travel records.
• You can also use medical records (including immunization record) or school records.

Presence and Residence in the United States From a Particular Date
Proof of presence with dates and addresses using immigration documents, government records, medical records, military records, employment records, religious or community organizations records, insurance policies, tax records, etc.
• Bank receipts, financial records, credit card receipts, money order receipts, rental agreements, deeds, mortgages, utility bills, club memberships, etc.

Tax Filings
If you do not have copies of your past filings, call the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at 1-800-908-9946 to order a transcript for free.
• If you have not filed your taxes, ask for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) by calling 1-800-829-1040 and file them.

Employment History & Residence History
Record dates, names, and addresses of the places where you have worked.
• Record dates and address of the places where you have lived.

Criminal Records
For Maryland- Maryland Judiciary Case Search
For Virginia- General District Court Online
For the District of Columbia-Court Case Search

Application Fee and Fines
Start saving money for the application fee and for any fines.
• Also save money in case you need it for an attorney.

Record Keeping
• Record all of this information in a notebook, keep the original documents, and store them in a safe place.

Selective Service
MALES ONLY. Some non-citizens are required to register. Others are not. Non-citizens who are not required to register with Selective Service include men who are in the U.S. on student or visitor visas, and men who are part of a diplomatic or trade mission and their families. Almost all other male non-citizens are required to register, including undocumented immigrants, legal permanent residents, and refugees. The general rule is that if a male non-citizen takes up residency in the U.S. before his 26th birthday, he must register with Selective Service.
Visit the SSS website , print, complete, sign and mail to:
Selective Service System
P.O. Box 94739
Palatine, IL 60094-4739

Stay tuned to our Immigration blog, Facebook page, and Twitter feeds for more information as it becomes available!

What Happens If the Government Shuts Down? – Updated 9/30/13

September 30, 2013

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has requested information from the federal government agencies involved in the immigration system for updates on their contingency plans in case of a government shutdown. A possible government shutdown could happen as early as October 1, 2013, the beginning of the new fiscal year 2014 (FY2014). AILA has reported that they have not received any updated information at this time. They suggested reviewing the shutdown plans for the last threatened federal government shutdown, which was in 2011.

Below is an excerpt from MVP Law Group’s original blog post on the subject dated (4/8/11).

~---------------~

In general, if the government shuts down for budgetary reasons, all but "essential" government are furloughed and not allowed to work. So what does this mean for immigration agencies?

USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services): A couple of shutdown threats back, a USCIS official stated at a stakeholder engagement that USCIS (other than the human touches on E-Verify) would not need to shut down, since all of the agency, other than E-Verify, is funded by fees. However, it is not clear that this is the case, and at least one local office has indicated that it is working on its shutdown plan. AILA will update this information as they get more information.

DOS (Department of State): If there is a shutdown, the result for DOS will likely be the same as it was in the 1996 government closing. Then, the only visa issuance being done was for some diplomats and for "life or death" situations. As DOS is wont to say "a really, really important business meeting is not life or death."

CBP (Customs and Border Patrol): Inspection and law enforcement are considered "essential personnel," though staffing may be more limited than usual. The borders will be open, and CBP is unsure of how the shutdown will affect the processing of applications filed at the border.

EOIR (Executive Office for Immigration Review): EOIR has indicated that personnel who are not considered "essential" will be furloughed, but that the detained docket would likely continue in operation. (Updated as of 9/30/2013)

DOL (Department of Labor): In the event of a government shutdown, the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) will neither accept nor process any applications or related materials it receives. (Updated as of 9/30/2013)

Other agencies will be added, and the above updated, as AILA obtains more information.


Source of Information:

- AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 11040730 (posted 4/7/11)
- AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 11040730 (posted 9/ 25/13)

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, March 30, 2012

March 26, 2012

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, March 30th, 2012. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. Therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, March 16, 2012

March 12, 2012

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, March 16th, 2012. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, March 2, 2012

February 27, 2012

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, March 2nd, 2012. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, February 3, 2012

January 30, 2012

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, February 3rd, 2012. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, December 9, 2011

December 5, 2011

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, December 9th, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, November 25, 2011

November 21, 2011

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, November 25th, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, October 28th, 2011

October 24, 2011

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, October 28th, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

Round-Up of Immigration Related Legislation (July-August 2011)

August 30, 2011

The following immigration-related bills were introduced into the House of Representatives and the Senate in July-August 2011 and summarized below by AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association):

Senate Bills

Immigration Fraud Prevention Act of 2011 - S. 1336
Introduced by Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) on 7/7/11
Summary: Prevents immigration fraud by making it a Federal crime to defraud individuals in connection with any matter arising under immigration laws.

Hinder the Administration's Legalization Temptation (HALT) Act - S. 1380
Introduced by Sen. Vitter (R-LA) on 7/12/11
Summary: Suspends until Jan. 21, 2013 certain provisions of federal immigration law.

Trafficking in Persons Report Improvement Act of 2011 - S. 1362
Introduced by Sen. Webb (D-VA) on 7/13/11
Summary: Simplifies the Trafficking in Persons Report by reducing the number of country categories and ranking countries within each category according to their relative adherence to the minimum standards set forth in TVPA of 2000.

Helping Agriculture Receive Verifiable Employees Securely and Temporarily (HARVEST) Act of 2011 - S. 1384
Introduced by Sen. Chambliss (R-GA) on 7/19/11
Summary: Amends the INA to provide for the temporary employment of foreign agricultural workers.

Humane Enforcement and Legal Protections for (HELP) Separated Children Act - S. 1399
Introduced by Sen. Franken (D-MN) on 7/21/11
Summary: Protects children affected by immigration enforcement actions.

S. 1405
Introduced by Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) on 7/21/11
Summary: Private bill for the relief of Guy Privat Tape and Lou Nazie Raymonde Toto.

House Bills

H.R. 2805
Introduced by Rep. Lofgren (D-CA) on 8/5/11
Summary: Amends Section 220 of the Immigration and Nationality Technical Corrections Act of 1994 to make permanent made by the section.

Strengthening the Child Welfare Response to Human Trafficking Act of 2011- H.R. 2730
Introduced by Rep. Bass (D-CA) on 8/1/11
Summary: Amends Part E of Title IV of the Social Security Act to better enable State child welfare agencies to prevent human trafficking of children and serve the needs of children who are victims of human trafficking.

Hinder the Administration's Legalization Temptation (HALT) Act - H.R. 2497
Introduced by Rep. Smith (R-TX) on 7/12/11
Summary: Suspends until Jan. 21, 2013 certain provisions of federal immigration law.

H.R. 2556
Introduced by Rep. Ryan (D-OH) on 7/15/11
Summary: Suspends the issuance of visas to nationals of Brazil until Brazil amends it laws to remove the prohibition on extradition of nationals of Brazil to other countries.

Humane Enforcement and Legal Protections for (HELP) Separated Children Act - H.R. 2607
Introduced by Rep. Woolsey (D-CA) on 7/21/11
Summary: Protects children affected by immigration enforcement actions.

Military Families Act - H.R. 2638
Introduced by Rep. Filner (D-CA) on 7/25/11
Summary: Authorizes the adjustment of status for immediate family members of individuals who served honorably in the Armed Forces of the United States during the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts.

Jobs for Americans Act of 2011 - H.R. 2670
Introduced by Rep. Brooks (R-AL) 7/27/11
Summary: Provides that States and local government may pass laws that identify illegal aliens, deter illegal aliens from entering the United States, apprehend illegal aliens, or encourage or otherwise cause illegal aliens to leave the United States.

H.R. 2556
Introduced by Rep. Ryan (D-OH) on 7/15/11
Summary: Prohibits the issuance of a visa to a citizen, subject, national, or resident of Brazil until Brazil has removed the prohibition on extradition of Brazilian nationals to other countries. The bill authorizes the President to waive such prohibition on a case-by-case basis if in the U.S. national interest.

Source: "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 11082563 (posted Aug. 25, 2011)"

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, July 22nd, 2011

July 18, 2011

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, July 22nd, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

Round-Up of Immigration Related Legislation (June 2011)

July 11, 2011

The following immigration-related bills were introduced into the House of Representatives and the Senate in June 2011 and summarized below by AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association):

Senate Bills

Protect Our Workers from Exploitation and Retaliation (POWER) Act (S. 1195)
Introduced by Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) on 6/14/11
Summary: Amends the INA to exclude from the definition of "immigrant" under such Act a nonimmigrant alien who files a petition for status if the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) determines that the alien: (1) has suffered abuse or harm as a result of having been a victim of criminal activity; (2) has suffered substantial abuse or harm related to specified labor or employment violations related to a workplace claim (workplace violation); (3) is a victim of specified criminal activity and would suffer extreme hardship upon removal; (4) has suffered a workplace violation and would suffer extreme hardship upon removal; (5) has been helpful to a local judge, DHS, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Department of Labor, or the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) or to other authorities investigating, prosecuting, or seeking civil remedies for workplace violation; or (6) has filed, is a material witness in, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation of, a bona fide workplace claim and reasonably fears, has been threatened with, or has been the victim of, an action involving force, physical restraint, retaliation, or abuse of the immigration or other legal process by the employer in relation to acts underlying or related to the filing of the claim.
Authorizes the Secretary of DHS to permit certain aliens to remain temporarily in the United States. Sets forth protections in an enforcement action leading to a removal proceeding taken against certain aliens.

Accountability Through Electronic Verification Act (S. 1196)
Introduced by Sen. Grassley (R-IA) on 6/14/11
Summary: Expands the use of E-Verify.

Refugee Protection Act of 2011 (S. 1202)
Introduced by Sen. Leahy (D-VT) on 6/15/11
Summary: Amends the INA to reaffirm the United States' historic commitment to protecting refugees who are fleeing persecution or torture.

Border Tunnel Prevention Act of 2011 (S. 1236)
Introduced by Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) on 6/20/11
Summary: Deters the construction and use of border tunnels to reduce the trafficking of drugs and to prevent human smuggling across the Southwest Border.

S. 1258
Introduced by Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) on 6/22/11
Summary: Provides for comprehensive immigration reform.

Trafficking Victims Enhanced Protection Act of 2011 (S. 1259)
Introduced by Sen. Durbin (D-IL) on 6/22/11
Summary: Amends the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 to prohibit the provision of peacekeeping operations assistance to governments of countries that recruit and use child soldiers.

Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2011 (S. 1301)
Introduced by Sen. Leahy (D-VT) on 6/29/11
Summary: Authorizes appropriations for fiscal years 2012 to 2015 for the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, to enhance measures to combat trafficking in person

House Bills

IDEA Act of 2011 (H.R. 2161)
Introduced by Rep. Lofgren (D-CA) on 6/14/11
Summary: Immigration Driving Entrepreneurship in America Act of 2011. Amends the INA to promote innovation, investment, and research in the United States.

Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 2164)
Introduced by Rep. Smith (R-TX) on 6/14/11
Summary: Amends the INA to make mandatory and permanent requirements relating to the use of an electronic employment eligibility verification system.

Protect Our Workers from Exploitation and Retaliation (POWER) Act (H.R. 2169)
Introduced by Rep. Chu (D-CA) on 6/14/11
Summary: Amends the INA to exclude from the definition of "immigrant" under such Act a nonimmigrant alien who files a petition for status if the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) determines that the alien: (1) has suffered abuse or harm as a result of having been a victim of criminal activity; (2) has suffered substantial abuse or harm related to specified labor or employment violations related to a workplace claim (workplace violation); (3) is a victim of specified criminal activity and would suffer extreme hardship upon removal; (4) has suffered a workplace violation and would suffer extreme hardship upon removal; (5) has been helpful to a local judge, DHS, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Department of Labor, or the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) or to other authorities investigating, prosecuting, or seeking civil remedies for workplace violation; or (6) has filed, is a material witness in, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation of, a bona fide workplace claim and reasonably fears, has been threatened with, or has been the victim of, an action involving force, physical restraint, retaliation, or abuse of the immigration or other legal process by the employer in relation to acts underlying or related to the filing of the claim. Authorizes the Secretary of DHS to permit certain aliens to remain temporarily in the United States. Sets forth protections in an enforcement action leading to a removal proceeding taken against certain aliens.

Refugee Protection Act of 2011 (H.R. 2185)
Introduced by Rep. Lofgren (D-CA) on 6/15/11
Summary: Amends the INA to reaffirm the United States' historic commitment to protecting refugees who are fleeing persecution or torture.

Deport Convicted Foreign Criminals Act (H.R. 2199)
Introduced by Rep. Poe (R-TX) on 6/15/11
Summary: Prohibits the issuance of certain visas to nationals of a country that denies or unreasonably delays the repatriation of a national ordered removed from the United States to such country.

Child Trafficking Victims Protection Act (H.R. 2235)
Introduced by Rep. Roybal-Allard (D-CA) on 6/16/11
Summary: Provides enhanced protections for vulnerable unaccompanied alien children and female detainees.

Border Tunnel Prevention Act of 2011 (H.R. 2264)
Introduced by Rep. Reyes (D-TX) on 6/21/11
Summary: Deters the construction and use of border tunnels to reduce the trafficking of drugs and to prevent human smuggling across the Southwest Border.

Torture Victims Relief Reauthorization Act of 2011 (H.R. 2404)
Introduced by Rep. Smith (R-NJ) on 6/28/11
Summary: Amends the Torture Victims Relief Act of 1998 to authorize appropriations to provide assistance for domestic and foreign programs and centers for the treatment of victims of torture.

Source:"AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 11070672 (posted Jul. 6, 2011)"

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, June 10th, 2011

June 6, 2011

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, June 10th, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

Secure Communities - Deportation with no prior criminal record

June 3, 2011

Opponents of the federal program called Secure Communities are speaking out in protest saying a program that was created to catch illegal immigrants with criminal records is now forcing individuals who are non-criminals to be deported.

According to the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, an estimated 1 in 4 individuals are deported by Secure Communities that had no prior criminal convictions. For instance, more than half the people in Franklin County, Ohio where Secure Communities was adopted in January 2010 were deported with no criminal record.

Many opponents of the program, like chairman of the Ohio Hispanic Coalition Joe Luis Mas are urging the President and the federal government to push immigration agents to focus on immigrants with convictions and change how Secure Communities works. Additionally, others like the spokesman for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network B. Loewe fear the program allows law enforcement to use racial profiling.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, May 27th, 2011

May 23, 2011

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, May 27th, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, May 13th, 2011

May 9, 2011

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, May 13th, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, April 29th, 2011

April 25, 2011

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, April 29th, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

LATEST UPDATE: ICE Secure Communities Program in Maryland Counties

April 21, 2011

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) program "Secure Communities" was activated in the following county on April 19, 2011: Wicomico. Currently, all counties in Maryland use the program except Montgomery and Baltimore City.

Frederick County and Anne Arundel County participate in the 287(g) program, which is more expansive than Secure Communities.

The implementation of Secure Communities into these counties means that individuals arrested and fingerprinted by the police will also have their fingerprints cross-checked against those stored in the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) database. If an individual who was arrested in one of the previously mentioned counties is discovered to be in the United States illegally, deportation proceedings will begin immediately.

Statistics complied on the Secure Communities program reveal that individuals who were arrested and later deported because they did not have lawful status had no previous criminal convictions.

UPDATE: ICE Secure Communities Program in Maryland Counties

April 14, 2011

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) program "Secure Communities" was activated in the following counties as of April 12, 2011: Allegany, Garrett, and Washington. Currently, all counties in Maryland use the program except Montgomery, Wicomico and Baltimore City.

Frederick County and Anne Arundel County participate in the 287(g) program, which is more expansive than Secure Communities.

The implementation of Secure Communities into these counties means that individuals arrested and fingerprinted by the police will also have their fingerprints cross-checked against those stored in the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) database. If an individual who was arrested in one of the previously mentioned counties is discovered to be in the United States illegally, deportation proceedings will begin immediately.

Statistics complied on the Secure Communities program reveal that individuals who were arrested and later deported because they did not have lawful status had no previous criminal convictions.

Immigration in 2011 - Part 7 of 10, Attacks on the 14th Amendment

April 13, 2011

Seventh part of our ten part series examining the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s (AILA) publication of “What to Watch Out for in Immigration in 2011.”

Topic #7: Attacks on the 14th Amendment

The proposal by Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) to revoke portions of the14th amendment which gave automatic citizenship to children born on U.S. soil sparked controversy back in July 2010. Since Senator Graham’s proposal many other senators have continued to debate and propose new legislation over the issue of birthright citizenship. Although many senators are pushing to pass laws that would prohibit children born in the U.S. from being granted U.S. citizenship, AILA believes this type of legislation would do little to fix our broken immigration system. Additionally, passing the law would only increase the number of individuals in the U.S. who are residing here illegally.

28 different bills have been proposed by Republican senators since 1995 to prohibit citizenship rights under the 14th amendment. AILA believes restricting the civil rights guaranteed under the 14th amendment would “offend the country’s most sacred values” and put into place discrimination that the country was founded on to fix. Passing the law and actually repealing the citizenship clause would mark the first time in history that the Constitution was amended to restrict civil rights and liberties. Eliminating the basis of citizenship based on place of birth would create problems for the general American public as well because they would no longer be able to provide their birth certificate as proof of citizenship.

Revoking portions of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution will not fix our broken system; it will only create more problems and increase the amount of undocumented individuals in the U.S. If you have any ideas on how best to fix our broken immigration system, we welcome your comments and suggestions…

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, April 15th, 2011

April 11, 2011

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our
h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, April 15th, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

UPDATE: What Happens If The Government Shuts Down?

April 8, 2011

As Congress continues its budgetary deadlock, the possibility of a government shutdown looms larger by the minute. If Congress is unable to reach accord on Friday, the government will close at midnight, Saturday April 9.

In general, if the government shuts down for budgetary reasons, all but "essential" government are furloughed and not allowed to work. So what does this mean for immigration agencies?

USCIS Update: USCIS has confirmed to AILA Liaison that it will be operating, except for E-Verify, if the government does shut down.

DOS Update: DOS confirmed to AILA Liaison that if there is a shutdown, the only visa processing will be for "life or death" emergencies. In prior budget-related shutdowns, DOS has continued to provide diplomatic visas and has been wont to say "a really, really important business meeting is not life or death."

CBP: Inspection and law enforcement are considered "essential personnel," though staffing may be more limited than usual. The borders will be open, and CBP is unsure of how the shutdown will affect the processing of applications filed at the border.

EOIR: EOIR has been advised to "put its shutdown plans in place." As with other agencies, personnel who are not considered "essential" will be furloughed. EOIR has indicated that the detained docket would likely be considered an essential function and would therefore be able to continue in operation.

DOL Update: OFLC confirmed that it would cease processing all applications in the event of a government shutdown. DOL is making plans for a possible shutdown. If there is a shutdown, DOL personnel will not be available to respond to e-mail or other inquiries.

Other agencies will be added, and the above updated, as AILA obtains more information.

Information Source: "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 11040730 (posted Apr. 8, 2011)"

What Happens If The Government Shuts Down?

April 8, 2011

The following information has been provided by AILA, the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

As Congress continues its budgetary deadlock, the possibility of a government shutdown looms larger by the minute. If Congress is unable to reach accord on Friday, the government will close at midnight, Saturday April 9.

In general, if the government shuts down for budgetary reasons, all but "essential" government are furloughed and not allowed to work. So what does this mean for immigration agencies?

USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services): A couple of shutdown threats back, a USCIS official stated at a stakeholder engagement that USCIS (other than the human touches on E-Verify) would not need to shut down, since all of the agency, other than E-Verify, is funded by fees. However, it is not clear that this is the case, and at least one local office has indicated that it is working on its shutdown plan. AILA will update this information as they get more information.

DOS (Department of State): If there is a shutdown, the result for DOS will likely be the same as it was in the 1996 government closing. Then, the only visa issuance being done was for some diplomats and for "life or death" situations. As DOS is wont to say "a really, really important business meeting is not life or death."

CBP (Customs and Border Patrol): Inspection and law enforcement are considered "essential personnel," though staffing may be more limited than usual. The borders will be open, and CBP is unsure of how the shutdown will affect the processing of applications filed at the border.

EOIR (Executive Office for Immigration Review): EOIR has been advised to "put its shutdown plans in place." As with other agencies, personnel who are not considered "essential" will be furloughed. EOIR has indicated that the detained docket would likely be considered an essential function and would therefore be able to continue in operation.

DOL (Department of Labor): DOL is making plans for a possible shutdown. If there is a shutdown, DOL personnel will not be available to respond to e-mail or other inquiries. AILA does not know at this point whether iCERT/PERM would continue to function. However, because the systems require funding to run, practitioners should assume that they would not be available.

Other agencies will be added, and the above updated, as AILA obtains more information.

Source of Information - AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 11040730 (posted Apr. 7, 2011)

Immigration in 2011 - Part 5 of 10, Punitive Enforcement Approaches

March 30, 2011

Fifth part of our ten part series examining the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s (AILA) publication of “What to Watch Out for in Immigration in 2011.”

Topic #5: Punitive Enforcement Approaches

In the 112th Congress violations of immigration laws are expected to have stricter penalties and further legislation is likely to be proposed in connection to the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) that was passed in 1996.

These proposed radical enforcements include mass deportation of any individual in the US illegally, deportation for lawful permanent residents who commit even minor crimes, deportation for visitors who stay past the visa expiration date as well as punishment for individuals who use fake passports and visas. Additionally, many lawmakers also wish to expedite hearings and take away individuals legal right to a fair trial. Although consequences are needed for those individuals who break the law, the legislation proposed is not proportionate to the crimes and would be difficult to implement.

Both the Bush and Obama administration worked to enforce immigration law effectively during fiscal year 2010 through the Emergency Border Security Supplemental Appropriations Act as well as increased border security agents and surveillance technology.

Those who favor a more stricter immigration policy feel more officers on the border is one of the only ways to limit the number of illegal immigrants in the US. However opponents, both democrats and republicans alike, feel the mass deportation approach is too unrealistic. Additionally, according to the Center for American Progress deporting all the undocumented workers in the US over five years would cost approximately $41.2 billion each year. The deportation of all illegal immigrants who currently live in the U.S. would also tremendously harm the U.S. economy.

In 2005, the House passed legislation that would have made it a criminal offense for someone to be in the U.S. while on an invalid visa or without green card; currently this is only a violation of civil immigration laws. Many have raised their concerns over this legislation because the conditions of a visa can easily be violated without it being criminal, for example, a college student not taking enough credits under their visa. Passing the legislation would also push the illegal immigrants further away from society and authorities out of fear for deportation. Not to mention the fact that the bill would create an increase in immigration cases in the court system, currently overwhelmed with present cases.

We desperately need an answer; however, deporting our entire illegal immigrant community is not the best nor most economical approach. If you have any ideas on how best to fix our broken immigration system, we welcome your comments and suggestions…

Immigration in 2011 - Part 4 of 10, State and Local Authority to Enforce Immigration Law

March 23, 2011

Fourth part of our ten part series examining the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s (AILA) publication of “What to Watch Out for in Immigration in 2011.”

Topic #4: State and Local Authority to Enforce Immigration Law

The role state and local officials should play when enforcing immigration laws has been a heavily debated issue especially since the passing of Arizona’s SB 1070 law.

Allowing each state to determine its own border and immigration laws would create chaos and conflict among bordering states with differing opinions and it would make the laws very hard to enforce. This is why AILA believes immigration law should remain a federal issue, however countless laws are passed each year by states on immigration and border control which affect housing, public benefits, employment, education and even public health.

Many of the laws states have tried to pass related to immigration policy have been repealed by the federal government such as parts of Arizona’s SB 1070. Because of the insistence by many states to pass their own immigration laws, lawmakers have pushed to pass legislation that would make it clear who has authority on immigration matters. One such piece of legislation is the CLEAR Act, which if passed would allow state and local authorities to enforce immigration laws.

Opponents of the CLEAR Act fear that if local agencies begin enforcing immigration matters, those in immigrant communities will be less likely to talk to authorities, report crimes and be willing to cooperate with the police. It will additionally lead to an increased fear of deportation. State and local police officials also oppose laws like the CLEAR Act as well because it would prohibit them from protecting the public if they had to become “deportation agents.” State and local officials currently don’t have the knowledge or resources to enforce the immigration laws and asking them to do so would create an overwhelming amount of pressure and responsibility. Secure Communities, the Criminal Alien Program and the 287(g) program are federal programs already in place that rely on local law enforcement to arrest and provide information about potential illegal immigrants. Although many are concerned that these programs diminish trust between immigrant communities and law enforcement, AILA believes it’s likely we will see a push to expand and create new programs in 2011.

If you would like to express your views on this issue, please complete the contact us form. We want to hear what YOU think, how YOU feel about this issue!

Immigration in 2011 - Part 3 of 10, Restrictions on State Identification Cards (REAL ID)

March 16, 2011

Third part of our ten part series examining the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s (AILA) publication of “What to Watch Out for on Immigration in 2011.”

Topic #3: Restrictions on State Identification Cards (REAL ID)

The REAL ID Act was brought up after national security concerns grew in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The act scrutinized state driver licenses as well as identification cards, creating a federal standard for driver licenses issued.

Rising conflict over the enactment of the REAL ID Act is likely to continue to grow during the 112th Congress. Originally, the act was supposed to go in effect in 2008 but due to obstacles it has been postponed to May 10, 2011. If this act were passed, individuals who could not provide sufficient basic documentation proving their legal status would not be issued a driver’s license. Many criticize the idea of creating a new driver’s license system, pointing out that with the new system states will begin obtaining, storing and sharing more personal information about each applicant. The influx of sensitive information poses the increased possibility for identity theft and fraud. Restrictions on driver’s licenses from the large population of undocumented workers also creates fear of being reported and pushes the illegal immigrants to be less cooperative with law enforcement.

Senators Akaka (D-HI) and Voinovich (R-OH) proposed an alternative to the REAL ID Act back in 2009, called the Providing for Additional Security in States’ Identification Act (PASS ID Act). A key difference between the REAL ID Act and the PASS ID Act is that states are prohibited from accessing other states transportation databases under the PASS ID Act. This change addressed some of the security concerns critics had of the REAL ID Act. However, PASS ID is not a perfect piece of legislation and is considered stricter in the fact that it requires work authorization in order for individuals applying for asylum and temporary protected status (TPS) to receive a license. Additionally, under the PASS ID Act licenses could be denied without review to any population of people by the DHS Secretary which is a significant cause for concern.

REMINDER - Submit Your Questions

March 14, 2011

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, March 18th, 2011

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, March 18th, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

Immigration in 2011 - Part 2 of 10, Mandatory Employment Verification

March 9, 2011

Second part of our ten part series examining the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s (AILA) publication of “What to Watch Out for on Immigration in 2011.”

Topic #2: Mandatory Employment Verification

E-Verify (Electronic Employment Verification System) a system widely used by employers to check the authenticity and legality of employees to work in the United States will likely become a mandatory requirement for all employers.

Though the E-Verify system has been effective at cutting down the number of illegal employees in the workplace, AILA believes there are still problems with privacy, civil liberties, as well as budgetary and technological concerns that need to be worked out. AILA further concludes that the majority of E-Verify legislation proposed does not address these concerns and that mandatory usage of the system could be potentially harmful. According to data from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), approximately 1.2 million authorized workers could be displaced if E-Verify were made a requirement because the database has high percentages of incorrect and outdated information.

AILA also argues that many employers misuse the program by pre-screening potential employees and by failing to inform employees of their rights under the program. Other errors of the program led to 22% of restricted work assignments, 16% were delayed job training and 2% received reduced wages. At a time when our economy is already hurting, AILA maintains that making E-Verify mandatory without fixing the flaws would only make the situation worse.

Until the flaws in the system are fixed, we at MVP Law Group agree that E-Verify should not become a mandatory requirement for all employers.

Immigration in 2011 - Part 1 of 10, Emphasis on Border and Interior Enforcement

March 2, 2011

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) recently published “What to Watch Out for in Immigration in 2011” and MVP Law Group will be doing a 10 part series on the key issues discussed.

Topic #1:Emphasis on Border and Interior Enforcement

With the rise of new leaders in the House of Representatives, it’s clear that the focus will centered upon border security and interior enforcement. Spending was increased last year for additional fencing at the border, surveillance technologies, as well as an increase of boots on the border. In 2011, it’s expected we will see an even greater increase in spending and bills aiming to tighten the border.

AILA is cautious towards such a drastic enforcement of the borders saying it, “ultimately will neither be effective, nor fix our immigration system, nor help the economy grow.” AILA goes on to further argue that the mass deportation that many are suggesting is very costly and unrealistic. AILA urges enforcement of the borders to be carried out in the best interest of public safety and justice.

Additionally, AILA believes the new Congress will likely introduce legislation that restricts immigrant’s access to basic services as a result of individuals wanting to protect jobs for American workers. Ultimately, AILA predicts the tight restrictions on immigrants and increased border security will only hurt the economy in the end.

Improved E-Verify Program? Customer Satisfaction Survey Says YES

February 25, 2011

A recent survey along with a report issued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) affirm the E-Verify system is a key tool in ensuring a legal workforce in the U.S. The report by the GAO also revealed improvements in the system such as establishing better safeguards for personal information and reducing the mismatch rates.

E-Verify also received 82 out of 100 on the American Customer Satisfaction Index scale for a customer survey that evaluated key aspects of the program. Customer Support was one area that respondents overwhelming approved of, with a score of 89 which was based on the many improvements made by the Obama administration. The survey additionally revealed that users were likely to recommend the program to other employers, were secure in the program’s precision, and were likely to continue with the program. Although the E-Verify program under the Obama administration is showing continued success, the passage of comprehensive immigration legislation is crucial to fix the current immigration system.

Over 243, 000 employers are currently using the E-Verify program and approximately 1,000 new employers enroll every week. For more information about the E-Verify program visit www.uscis.gov/everify.

MVP Law Group, P.A. provides assistance to employers interested in establishing an effective employment compliance program which includes training administrative personnel and other employees. If you are interested, please contact our office.

AILA Profile: Representative Elton Gallegly (R-CA)

January 24, 2011

With the commencement of the 112th Congress on January 5, 2011, Representative Elton Gallegly (R-CA) was appointed to lead the Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement.

Rep. Gallegly is best know for his restrictive immigration policies and push in creating the E-Verify program. He believes the solution to illegal immigration is straightforward: enforce current laws, eliminate incentives for individuals to illegally immigrate, and take away benefits we provide that make it easier for illegal immigrants to stay in the US. Since becoming a representative, Gallegly has chaired the Congressional Task Force on Immigration Reform which provided the fundamentals for IIRIRA in 1996 and he supported an amendment to IIRIRA that would have prohibited illegal immigrants from attending public school. Additionally, in 2006 he was named by Human Events Magazine as of the Top Ten Illegal Immigration Hawks in Congress and inducted in the US Border Control Hall of Fame.

Already since the start of the 112th Congress, Gallegly has proposed legislation to require the creation of electronic Social Security cards as well as an employment eligibility database. It’s likely we could see legislation from him being proposed on topics such as ending birthright citizenship, requiring the use of E-Verify, making English the official US language, and requiring proof of citizenship to receive benefits in the near future.

Alien Illegally Re-entered U.S.- Sentenced to 54 Months in Federal Prison

January 20, 2011

Following an investigation by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Florida Highway Patrol and the Social Security Administration, Ronald Smith was sentenced to 54 months in federal prison on January 5, 2011.

Smith, a citizen of Jamaica had been deported from the U.S. in 2003 after being found guilty of several crimes including intent to distribute cocaine and illegal possession of a firearm as a convicted felon. After being deported, the investigation revealed Smith returned to the U.S. illegally and fraudulently used a U.S. citizen’s identity to obtain a driver’s license, job and health care. Smith was convicted of impersonating a U.S. citizen, falsely representing a social security number, aggravated identity theft, and illegal re-entry after deportation. After he serves his 54 month sentence in federal prison, Smith will be removed from the United States.

REMINDER - Submit Your Questions

January 3, 2011

MVP "Q & A Forum" - This Friday, January 7th, 2011

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, January 7th, 2011. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

Missouri Business Owner Pleads Guilty to Harboring Illegal Aliens

December 31, 2010

Hua Huang, manager of China Buffet/Mongolian Grill in Missouri plead guilty to harboring, transporting, and hiring illegal aliens in addition to conspiracy to commit visa fraud on December 10.

It was discovered during the investigation that between January 2009 and August 2010, Huang regularly employed illegal workers from Mexico and China. During that time Huang obtained fake identification for the illegal workers and tried to arrange marriages for them in order to secure visas. Huang’s sentencing is set for March 2011.

El Paso Businesses Become IMAGE Members

December 30, 2010

On December 10, two local El Paso businesses signed up to become IMAGE (ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers) partners. The IMAGE program was started in 2006 by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to minimize the number of unauthorized workers being hired, reduce fraud, and create a more secure workplace. To qualify as an IMAGE partner, a business must first meet certain criteria such as: assessing their hiring practices to uncover weaknesses that could potentially be exploited, enrolling in employment eligibility verification programs, training employees on how to use the new IMAGE screening tools and practices, as well as undergoing a Form I-9 audit by ICE.

After being audited last year, Tony Marquez of Jobe Materials, LP became an advocate for the IMAGE program and says, “I feel that by being audited by ICE, and having my employees trained through the E-Verify online system to determine the authenticity of new employee documentation, I will be a more vigilant employer and a guardian of immigration laws.” For more information or to learn how to become an IMAGE partner, visit http://www.ice.gov/image/.

I was Adopted by Americans, I am an American

December 30, 2010

Tara Ammons Cohen, a Washington state resident, is set to be deported back to Mexico due to an investigation into her citizenship. Cohen was adopted by US citizen parents when she was a baby and believes she is an American citizen. Legally, Cohen is not an American citizen because when she was adopted from Mexico at 4 months old; her adoptive parents never secured her citizenship. Cohen is very scared at the possibility of being deported to Mexico, as she doesn’t speak any Spanish and Mexico is a very unfamiliar place to her. Being deported would also mean that Cohen would leave her husband and three children behind in the US. The investigation into her citizenship began after she pleaded guilty and served time for drug trafficking. Cohen plans to keep fighting her deportation even it means going all the way to the Supreme Court.

Corpus Christi Business Becomes IMAGE Member

December 29, 2010

A Corpus Christi business became a member of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) “ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers’ (IMAGE) program on December 10.

The IMAGE program was launched in 2006 and actively pursues partnering with businesses in hopes of minimizing the number of unauthorized workers being hired and reducing fraud. Undocumented workers that are hired create vulnerabilities in the system because they provide falsified documents and identities to gain benefits.

In order for a business to qualify as an IMAGE partner they must first meet a few requirements such as: assessing their hiring practices to uncover weaknesses that could potentially be exploited, enrolling in employment eligibility verification programs, training employees on how to use the new IMAGE screening tools and practices, as well as undergoing a Form I-9 audit by ICE. Previously this year, 6 businesses in the Houston area signed up to become IMAGE partners. Once becoming an IMAGE partner, ICE provides free training to all employers on Form I-9 and how to detect fraudulent documents. Companies interested in the IMAGE program or those who would like more information visit http://www.ice.gov/image/.

Florida Couple Sentenced in Forced Labor Conspiracy

December 28, 2010

After an investigation by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security (HSI) Sophia Manuel and Alfonso Baldonado Jr. were sentenced in a forced labor conspiracy on December 10.

It was uncovered during the investigation that Manuel and Baldonado Jr., owners of Quality Staffing Services Corporation, were forcing 39 Filipino nationals to work in country clubs and hotels around Southeast Florida. The pair first made the Filipino nationals pay up-front recruitment fees, which they knew they didn’t have so the Filipino nationals were already in debt. Then, when they no longer wanted to work, Manuel and Baldonado threatened to arrest and deport them. The nonpayment of debts is very serious in the Philippines and the two knew they could use that against the workers to stay. Manuel was sentenced to 78 months in prison not only for her crimes against the Filipino nationals but she also admitted to making false statements on a form filed with the US Department of Labor. Baldonado was sentenced to 51 months in prison.

Bay Area Restaurant Owners Charged with Hiring Illegal Workers and Tax Violations

December 28, 2010

Following an extensive investigation led by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Social Security Administration (SSA) Marino and Nicole Sandoval, owners of El Balazo restaurants, were charged in a criminal information filed last month with a variety of tax and immigration violations.

The investigation revealed they were harboring illegal aliens for financial gain, had employed at least 10 unauthorized aliens at their restaurants, reported false Social Security numbers, evaded taxes, and filed inaccurate tax returns. The Sandoval’s were able to hide the fact they underrepresented the restaurants sales on their tax returns and illegally paid their unauthorized workers with payroll checks and cash. Marino Sandoval’s brother, Francisco also pleaded guilty to charges of harboring illegal aliens and failure to pay taxes. The Sandoval’s are set to appear in court on January 31, 2011, but until then they are out on a $100,000 bond.
During the 2010 fiscal year, criminal charges have been filed on 180 owners, employers, managers and/or supervisors following investigations conducted by ICE.

Colombians Sentenced to Alien Smuggling and Visa Fraud

December 27, 2010

Heilber Toro Mejia, Humberto Toro Mejia, and Luz Elena Acuna Rios of Bogota were found guilty of conspiracy to smuggle aliens and conspiracy to commit visa fraud. They were sentenced to 23 months in prison following an investigation by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security (HSI) on December 7. After serving out their sentence, the three Colombians are also ordered to undergo three years of supervised release and are recommended for deportation.

The three were arrested in Bogota back in June 2009 and extradited to the US to await their trial. The scheme involved helping other Colombian nationals receive fraudulent visas from the US Embassy in Bogota by creating false identities and submitting forged documents to the officials on behalf of the aliens. Additionally, they trained the aliens on how to successfully pass a visa application interview. The defendants admitted to helping over 100 aliens obtain or attempt to obtain visas to enter the US illegally. In connection to their sentencing, the defendants were also forced to forfeit their office in Bogota and $234,533.00

Nigerian Man Stripped of U.S. Citizenship

December 27, 2010

After an investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) Ibraheem Adeneye, a Nigerian native, was stripped of his US citizenship on December 6. His citizenship was revoked after being convicted of marriage fraud, naturalization fraud, and giving false statements to a federal agent.

Since it is no longer legal for him to reside in the United States because of his stripped citizenship, Adeneye is now facing deportation. The investigation by ICE HSI uncovered that Adeneye was setting up sham marriages between US citizens and Nigerians so that they could obtain immigration benefits like citizenship. The US citizens involved in the sham marriages received monetary payment to help the Nigerians. Adeneye was caught by authorities after a previous wife of his became a confidential informant (CI). Specifically, he was caught when he came into contact with an undercover agent (UCA). The UCA posed a US citizen willing to enter into a sham marriage with a Nigerian, which Adeneye arranged and brokered. Local officials were aware of the ongoing operation.

Third Conspirator Sentenced in 55 Million Dollar Visa Fraud Scheme

December 23, 2010

Following an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Florida resident, Eduardo Dozzi Barbugli, was convicted of visa fraud, alien smuggling, and conspiracy. ICE HSI sentenced Barbugli to 20 months in federal prison on December 1 and he was also ordered to pay a fine of $55 million dollars, representing the amount he had gained illegally through his conspiracy.

In addition, Eduardo’s parents were also convicted for their part in the conspiracy and sentenced on October 14. Through the visa fraud, the Barbugli’s supplied illegal workers to more than 160 hotels. The Barbugli’s helped more than 1,000 illegal aliens enter the U.S. on fraudulent H-2B visas. To show that the companies they where supplying the workers to had a legitimate need, the Barbugli’s created shell companies and hid the fact the all workers in fact were employed by the same company, VR Services. Since Barbugli is an illegal immigrant working in the U.S. from Brazil, he will be deported after serving out his sentence.

Virginia Business Owners Harbored Illegal Aliens

December 20, 2010

On November 23, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) sentenced Bao Ping Wang and Trang Lu to 18 months in prison with two months probation for hiring and harboring illegal aliens. Along with their sentencing, the two defendants were required to pay $1.2 million, a combination of fines and payback of illegal proceeds gained. In addition, Wang agreed to deport from the US after serving out his sentence.

Wang and Lu managed companies called Hi-Tech Trucking, Inc. and SeaLands Food where they employed both legal and illegal workers. Wang and Lu knowingly hired the illegal workers, as they did not have proper documentation and credentials. The two also provided residence and food for their illegal employees. Their bank records showed that they made payments for the properties the illegal employees were staying at.

Women Found Guilty of Impersonating ICE Officers

December 15, 2010

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) charged Genova Navarro and Dianne Racity on November 17 for impersonating federal officers, aiding and abetting as well as harboring illegal immigrants. In addition to Navarro and Racity, Alicia Domench- Van Rhyn was charged with conspiracy charges.

The three women posed as federal immigration officers and employees offering special immigration benefits and faster application processing in return for substantial fees that their clients paid ranging from $5,000 to $18,000. The women fully knew while taking their clients money that they did not have the authority to carry out any of the promises they had made. If found guilty, the defendants could face up to 20 years in prison.

REMINDER - Submit Your Questions

December 13, 2010

MVP "Q & A Forum" - This Friday, December 17th, 2010

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, December 17th, 2010. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

First Alabama Company to Become IMAGE Partner with ICE

December 6, 2010

Long’s Human Resource Service signed an agreement on November 10, becoming the first Alabama business to be an IMAGE partner with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The IMAGE program, also known as the ICE Mutual agreement between Government and Employers, was launched in 2007 to helps employer’s better follow the language and regulations of the law by providing them with the necessary information and tools.

To become an IMAGE partner, a company must undergo a rigorous process that includes in-depth training and investigation into its hiring practices. Employers are provided with the screening tools necessary to prevent illegal workers from being hired. The IMAGE program works to combat that weakness that illegal workers create both within the company and the government by using fraudulent documents to gain employment and commit identity theft against US workers. Companies who sign the IMAGE partnership are agreeing to use the best hiring methods, train and hold their staff to the highest standards, and use the screening tools for all employee applicants offered by the federal government. IMAGE partner companies also process I-9 forms, use the E-Verify system, maintain employee records and comply with all employment laws in order to improve their business as well as meet the standards of the program.

REMINDER - Submit Your Questions

November 29, 2010

MVP "Q & A Forum" - This Friday, December 3rd, 2010

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, December 3rd, 2010. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

USCIS Announces New Anti-Fraud Enhancements to E-Verify

November 26, 2010

The announcement on November 10 of E-Verify’s systems expansion was made by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano and US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas.

New capabilities of the system include US passport photo matching as well as automatic checks of US passports for authenticity when presented for employment verification checks to help increase the reliability of the program. Napolitano is confident that the improved E-Verify system will, “enhance our ability to detect counterfeit documents and combat fraud.” The E-Verify system now allows employers to verify the identity of any new employee by comparing their passport or passport card to the State Department records on file.

The E-Verify system is run by DHS in connection with the Social Security Administration and is free to use for all participating employers. Currently, the system is being used by more than 230,000 employers.

ICE has a NEW website

November 24, 2010

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced the launch of its newly designed website, ICE.gov, on October 26. Features of the new website include up to date news from ICE as well as an improved image gallery. Information about ICE Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) and ICE Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) are also accessible on the new website.

A new function allows users to bookmark articles, receive email alerts on a range of topics, follow ICE on twitter and watch ICE YouTube videos. In addition, the Online Detainee Locator System (ODLS) launched on July 23 allows the sites users to search for detained aliens in ICE custody. Already, ICE has over 12,500 subscribers.

Restaurant Owner Found Guilty of Harboring Illegal Aliens

November 23, 2010

After an investigation lead by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HIS), George Anagnostou of Maryland, was sentenced on October 28 to four months in prison and another four months on house arrest with electronic monitoring. Anagnostou also faces two years of supervised release after serving his sentence. His charges consisted of harboring at least 24 illegal workers of the Timbuktu and By the Docks restaurants. As a part of his sentencing, Anagnostou was forced to give up his motorcycle, pay a sum of $378,386.21 from five different bank accounts, give up $99,890 from the restaurant and his house, as well as an additional pay $256,696.67 at his court hearing.

From 2000 to 2005, Anagnostou was in charge of hiring employees for both Timbuktu and By the Docks restaurants. Other than collecting two documents, Anagnostou never made any other efforts to verify the authority of an individual to work in the United States, like using the required Employment Eligibility Verification forms (I-9s). Even when informed that many of his applicants had presented him with falsified forms, he insisted that his employees stop asking questions and accept the documents. In addition, the Social Security Administration began notifying Anagnostou that the Social Security numbers he was supplying for his employees did not match up in the database but he still did nothing to validate the legitimacy of his workers.

Anagnostou benefited financially from the illegal workers employment at the restaurants because he deducted their rental payments from their overtime wages due, paid them in cash preventing him from being subject to tax liability and he didn’t claim the rental property on his income taxes.

Arkansas Employer Guilty of Harboring Illegal Aliens

November 23, 2010

After pleading guilty to harboring and concealing illegal aliens on November 11, Arkansas resident Sen Chen was sentenced to five years probation, six months house arrest, a $5,000 fine and a $100 special assessment. As a part of his sentencing, Chen also forfeited his restaurant, house, and car. The investigation of Chen led by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents discovered he was providing illegal immigrants with transportation, food, housing and money in exchange for working at his restaurant.

According to ICE HSI special agent Raymond Parmer this case, “serves as a stern reminder about the consequences facing employers who exploit illegal alien labor.”

H-1B Employees SHOULD NOT face arrest while extension pending

November 17, 2010

An amicus brief was filed by the Legal Action Center of the American Immigration Council (LAC) and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) that argued an H-1B employee should not face arrest, deportation, or detention if he/she has a pending extension request. The reasoning behind the brief is that the employers who follow immigration law and proceedings should not have to lose employees because there are delays at the processing centers. LAC and AILA also argue that arresting individuals undermines the purpose of the H-1B program and includes support from three prominent companies who rely on the work of individuals with H-1B visas in the amicus brief.

The LAC sent the brief on behalf of a Lebanese national whose employer requested an H-1B extension a month before the deadline and paid the $1,000 premium processing fee. The decision was suppose to be received within 15 business days but the government neither sent back an approval or denial of the extension. Seven months after the extension had been requested, there had still been no response and the Lebanese national was arrested for overstaying.

H-1B’s are only granted in three year intervals by the government even though an individual can stay on an H-1B visa for up to six years or longer depending upon the circumstances. An individual is also only allowed to work 240 days after his/her visa expires as long as he/she has filed an extension, after that time period they are subject to arrest.

Dominican Man Sentenced for Falsely Applying for a U.S. Passport

November 16, 2010

After pleading guilty to a charge of counterfeiting a passport application, Ramon Francisco of the Dominican Republic who resided in Connecticut was sentenced to 14 months in prison October 28. During the investigation by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), it was discovered that Francisco used another individual’s identity to apply for his passport. Francisco has been going through removal procedures carried out by ICE’s Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) since his arrest in August of 2009.

REMINDER - Submit your questions

November 15, 2010

MVP "Q & A Forum" - This Friday, November 19th, 2010

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, November 19th, 2010. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

New ICE Deportation Policy

November 15, 2010

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently released information on their new relaxed deportation policy. This new policy mainly affects immigrants who are married or related to US citizens and legal residents. Before this policy was instated, if an immigrant was going through deportation proceedings they would automatically be deported even if they had pending petitions. Now with this new rule, the proceedings are stopped if the person is qualified for a green card. There is one stipulation that ICE created to the policy, in order to benefit the immigrant can not be a convicted criminal. This helps ensure and carry out ICE’s number one focus of “removal of criminal aliens and those who pose a danger to national security.”

ICE HSI Investigation of Two California Businesses - Allegations of Hiring Illegal Workers

November 2, 2010

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arrested the owner and top executive of Masters in Metal, Inc based in California for illegally hiring undocumented aliens. The investigation into the company’s hiring practices began in 2007 when Masters in Metal’s audit revealed 16 employees had used counterfeit green cards to acquire their jobs. Investigation also uncovered illegal workers who remained on the company’s payroll even after they had been told to go get authentic Social Security numbers. The charges carry up to six months in prison for the defendants. A similar situation to the one at Masters in Metal, Inc was investigated less than two week ago at Park Personnel, Inc in Bell, California. An employee was arrested by ICE and HSI agents from Park Personnel for allegedly hiring illegal workers and providing them with forged documents to make their employment seem legal.

By prosecuting those who knowingly hire illegal workers and falsify documents, ICE and HSI are “trying to reduce the demand for illegal employment and protect the job opportunities for the nation’s lawful workforce.” Enforcement is also being implemented through the use of auditing, debarment, and final fine notices.

1st Mississippi business becomes IMAGE Partner with ICE

November 1, 2010

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) signed an agreement with its first Mississippi Business partner in the IMAGE program, Roy Anderson Corporation , on October 20. The IMAGE program, also known as the ICE Mutual agreement between Government and Employers, helps employer’s better follow the language and regulations of the law by providing them with the necessary information and tools.

In order to qualify for the IMAGE program, an employer is required to conduct an investigation of its hiring practices to discover potential vulnerabilities that could be utilized to commit fraud, complete eligibility verification programs, train its staff on how to use the new tools, and be audited by ICE. One of the main reasons ICE created the IMAGE program was to combat the hiring of illegal and undocumented workers. Undocumented workers create weakness in both the company and government by using fraudulent documents to gain employment and commit identity theft against US workers. Through the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) E-Verify employment eligibility verification program, which is a component of the IMAGE program, employers can pre-screen potential employees before they hire them. For more information on the IMAGE program click here.

Clothing Retailer - Form I-9 Investigation

October 29, 2010

A $1,047,110 settlement fine was charged to clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) because of the employer’s failure to verify the employment eligibility of their workers.

After a Form I-9 investigation in November 2008, investigators uncovered “technology-related deficiencies” in their electronic verification system. Abercrombie & Fitch cooperated fully with ICE HSI and has since put into practice new measures to further prevent any violations. In addition, the audit did not reveal the company had knowingly hired any illegal workers. ICE HSI says this settlement serves a warning to others companies who may not be fully complying with employee verification procedures.

I-9 Forms must be completed by an employer for every individual employed to determine identity, eligibility, and evidence the documents are legitimately related to the individual. Under their new strategy implemented in 2009, ICE has been trying to reduce the demand for illegal workers by auditing and investigating suspicious companies.

MVP Law Group, P.A. provides assistance to employers interested in establishing an effective employment compliance program which includes training administrative personnel and other employees. If you are interested, please contact our office.

What to Do About 287(g)?

October 28, 2010

After a report was released earlier this year by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (OIG) with recommendations for the 287(g) program, a subsequent report was released on October 22 stating that the program has significant shortcomings and allows, “local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws.”

Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act was put into legislation in 1995 and allows local enforcement officers to enforce federal immigration laws. The new report stated that only 5 suggestions for the program have been met out of the 33 given by OIG in the original report. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) still cannot authenticate the programs legitimate use of funding, spending habits, and acceptable operations in the program. According to the President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), David Leopold, the continuance of the program undercuts the faith that the public has in the law enforcement agency charged with protecting them.

U.S. Citizen pleads guilty in Cambodian marriage fraud scheme

October 13, 2010

Justin Michael Martin of Kentucky pleaded guilty to commit marriage fraud and is facing a possible sentence of 10 years with $500,000 in fines. Martin was set up by Michael Chanthou Chin to travel to Cambodia and marry Yota Em, a Cambodian national. He agreed to marry Yota so she could avoid U.S. immigration laws for a compensation of about $7,000. When he visited Yota in Cambodia all of Martins expenses were paid and when they returned to the US, Yota was his fiancé and she had a K-1 visa. They then lied to immigration officers reporting their marriage was legitimate and Yota gained her full U.S. residency. By June of 2009 the couple was divorced.

Due to their separation and marriage fraud, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is presently looking for Yota Em, currently a fugitive in the US.

Former Guatemalan Special Forces Soldier Sentenced to 10 Years for Making False Statements on Naturalization Forms

October 12, 2010

Gilberto Jordan was found guilty by Florida’s U.S. District Court for illegally obtaining his U.S. citizenship and human rights violations for his participation in the massacre at Dos Erres, Guatemala. Jordan was a part of the Guatemalan special forces patrol who raided Dos Erres in 1982 looking for stolen rifles and guerrillas. The patrol searched all the houses for the weapons and systematically killed the men, women and children. When applying for his U.S. citizenship in 1996 Jordan denied he had ever been a part of the military or committed any crimes and later in 1999 continued to deny any dishonesty on his application during his application review. At the court sentencing, Jordan’s citizenship was revoked.

REMINDER - Submit your questions

October 11, 2010

MVP "Q & A Forum" - This Friday, October 15th, 2010

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, priority dates, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, October 15th, 2010. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

Man Indicted By a Federal Grand Jury for Defrauding Foreign National Employees

September 27, 2010

Opas Sinprasong came to the U.S. from Thailand on an E2 Non-Immigrant Principal Investor visa to run his restaurants all over Colorado. He began bringing over Thai nationals to work in his restaurants because of their specialized skills. Sinprasong then began his fraud; he first made his workers pay a substantial bond, $3,000 more for their visa fees and if anything happened to him they were liable for a monetary penalty. Since Sinprasong paid them “under the table” he was also able to defraud the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) because he never paid his workers for their overtime, therefore the reports he filed were false allowing him to not pay the workers portion of Social Security and Medicare taxes.

Sinprasong was charged by a federal grand jury for defrauding his employees, harboring illegal aliens and other charges related to immigration and the IRS. He will serve multiple years in prison and fines for each account.

REMINDER - Submit your questions

September 13, 2010

MVP "Q & A Forum" - This Friday, September 17, 2010

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, September 17, 2010. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

REMINDER - Submit your questions

August 31, 2010

MVP "Q & A Forum" - This Friday, September 3, 2010

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, September 3, 2010. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

REMINDER - Submit your questions

August 16, 2010

MVP "Q & A Forum" - This Friday, August 20, 2010

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, August 20, 2010. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

REMINDER - Submit your questions

August 2, 2010

MVP "Q & A Forum" - This Friday, August 6, 2010

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, August 6, 2010. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

REMINDER - Submit your questions

July 19, 2010

MVP "Q & A Forum" - This Friday, July 23, 2010

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, or the new debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, July 23, 2010. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

REMINDER - Submit your questions

July 6, 2010

MVP Law Group's first "Question & Answer" Forum was launched on Friday, June 25, 2010. Please click here to review the questions received and answers provided.

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, or the new debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please do not hesitate to contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, July 9, 2010. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group launches "Q & A Forum"

June 21, 2010

MVP Law Group is excited to announce the launch of our “Q & A Forum.”

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, AZ SB1070, or the new debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please do not hesitate to contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our first “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, June 25, 2010. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

E-Verify Redesign Coming in June

June 9, 2010

Big changes are coming to E-Verify in June that will enhance its usability, security, accuracy and efficiency. The newly redesigned E-Verify features a clean and modern design, easy and intuitive navigation, and clear and simple language. A new home page, a reimagined case alerts feature, improved case management and a streamlined tutorial are among the dozens of improvements coming to E-Verify.

Check out the new E-Verify Redesign section of the E-Verify website to learn more about what’s coming and how to prepare. The new section highlights several of the exciting new features and offers information on how to get a sneak preview in June before the site launches.

Want to know more about the redesigned E-Verify? USCIS is offering a sneak preview Webinar the week before the new site is launched. The 90-minute Webinar will be conducted by a member of the redesign team and will feature a presentation of the changes as well as a question and answer session.

E-Verify Redesign Sneak Preview

Wednesday, June 16, 2010, at 10:00 a.m. EDT and 3:30pm EDT. Space is limited, click here to register for the E-Verify Webinar.

IMPORTANT NOTICE for EMPLOYERS ALREADY ENROLLED IN E-VERIFY:
In conjunction with the redesign of the E-Verify web interface, employers will be required to complete the new on-line tutorial before being able to E-Verify new workers.

ICE Investigation results in Managers of 2 temporary staffing companies charged with hiring undocumented workers

May 7, 2010

After an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General in Chicago, the president and office manager of two Bensenville, Illinois, temporary staffing companies were charged with unlawfully hiring dozens of illegal aliens to form their labor pool. Each was charged with one count of unlawfully hiring illegal aliens between October 2006 and October 2007. The charges also seek forfeiture of $488,095, which was seized from various bank accounts as well as the Bensenville office. Additionally, the defendants allegedly paid their workers’ wages in cash and failed to deduct payroll taxes or other withholdings. According to the allegations, they repeatedly withdrew funds in the amount of $9,800 from bank accounts to pay their employee’s wages in cash, believing that withdrawing amounts less than $10,000 would avoid triggering the banks’ currency transaction reporting requirements. If convicted, unlawfully hiring illegal aliens carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

It has become apparent that ICE aggressively targets employers who violate immigration laws by knowingly employing an illegal workforce. Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge for ICE Office of Investigations in Chicago provided, “Employers in all industries and locations must comply with the nation’s immigration laws if we are to have an effective immigration enforcement strategy in this county.”

The MVP Law Group, P.A. provides assistance to employers interested in establishing an effective employment compliance program which includes training administrative personnel and other employees. If you are interested, please contact our office.

ICE Investigation results in San Diego-area bakery, its owner and manager, indicted on federal charges for hiring illegal aliens

May 4, 2010

After an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a San Diego-area French bakery, along with its owner and a manager, were charged in a 16 count indictment. The indictment alleges that the defendants conspired to engage in a pattern or practice of hiring and continuing to employee unauthorized workers, a misdemeanor, in addition to 14 felony counts, including making false statements and shielding undocumented alien employees from detection. If convicted, the owner and manager of the bakery face a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count. The indictment also seeks criminal forfeiture of proceeds gained from the corporation’s unlawful activities.

It has become apparent that ICE aggressively targets employers who violate immigration laws by knowingly employing an illegal workforce. Mike Carney, acting special agent in charge for ICE Office of Investigations in San Diego provided, “this indictment shows ICE’s commitment to holding businesses accountable when they repeatedly ignore immigration laws as it relates to their workforce. The goal of our enforcement is two-fold, first to reduce the demand for illegal employment and, second, to protect job opportunities for the nation’s lawful workforce.” In FY 2009, ICE worksite investigations resulted in a total of 410 criminal arrests, including 114 management personnel.

The MVP Law Group, P.A. provides assistance to employers interested in establishing an effective employment compliance program which includes training administrative personnel and other employees. If you are interested, please contact our office.

UPDATED INFORMATION - E-Verify & Federal Contractors

April 26, 2010

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has released FAQs regarding Federal Contractors and the E-Verify program. The FAQs address what the E-Verify program is, how it works, and the reason why Federal Contractors must enroll in the program.

Beginning September 8, 2009, all Federal Contractors and Subcontractors who enter into contracts on and after September 8, 2009 must be enrolled in the online E-Verify work authorization program.

The E-Verify program is a free optional web based employment verification program that verify's employee's employment eligibility by submitting key information from Form I-9 into the online database.

The purpose of the program is to deter unauthorized individuals from attempting to work, while at the same time helping employers to avoid contributing to an unauthorized workforce.

Companies who are awarded a contract on and after September 8, 2009 will have 30 days from the contract award date to enroll in the E-Verify program.

ICE Serves Form I-9 Audit Notices to 180 Businesses in 5 States

March 8, 2010

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) launched a bold new audit initiative in 2009 to combat the problem of hiring of an illegal workforce.

On March 2, 2010, 180 businesses in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee were served with Notice of Inspections (NOIs) indicating that ICE would inspect their hiring records (Form I-9) to determine whether they are in accordance with the employment eligibility verification laws and regulations.

Audits involve a comprehensive review of Form I-9s. Form I-9 must be completed and retained for each new hire. Under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (“IRCA”), all employers must verify that every person that is hired is either: a U.S. citizen, a lawful permanent resident, or a foreign national with authorization to work in the U.S. Within three business days of beginning the job, a new employee must furnish identity and employment eligibility documents (i.e., passport, permanent resident card, employment authorization card, driver’s license, birth certificate, military id, etc). It is the responsibility of the employer to examine the documents to determine whether they are genuine and relate to the specific employee. Once the I-9 form is completed, they are to be kept in office for the longer of three years after employment begins or one year after employment is terminated. Most importantly, if an employee has temporary employment authorization, a re-verification of employment eligibility must be conducted prior to expiration of the employment authorization.

DHS/ICE officers conduct an estimated 60,000 I-9 audits a year on employers around the country and have issued fines in excess of $1,000,000. Additionally, each mistake on an I-9 Form counts as a separate violation. All employers are further subject to civil and criminal penalties for knowingly hiring or continuing to employ aliens who are not authorized to work in the U.S.

In the News Release announcing the issuance of the NOIs, Raymond R. Parmer, Jr. acting special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in New Orleans stated that “ICE is committed to establishing a meaningful I-9 inspection program to promote compliance with the law. This effort is a first step in ICE’s long-term strategy to address and deter illegal employment.”

Accurate completion of I-9 forms is a good faith defense to a charge of hiring unauthorized workers. Therefore, the best way for an employer to avoid IRCA problems is to establish a meaningful I-9 audit system.

If you are interested in conducting an internal I-9 Audit to ensure your company’s compliance with the employment eligibility verification laws and regulations, contact our office today.

ICE Selects 1,000 Employers for Form I-9 Audits

November 20, 2009

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) launched a bold new audit initiative this year to combat the problem of hiring of an illegal workforce.

On July 1, 2009, 654 businesses nationwide were served with Notice of Inspections (NOIs) indicating that ICE would inspect their hiring records (Form I-9) to determine whether they were in accordance with the employment eligibility verification laws and regulations. The businesses presented with the NOIs to Audit Form I-9 were selected as a result of leads and other information obtained through other investigative measures. This was the first step for ICE in its nationwide plan to promote compliance with the employment eligibility laws through an effective I-9 Audit system.

Audits involve a comprehensive review of Form I-9s. Form I-9 must be completed and retained for each new hire. The form requires the employer to review several personal identification documents of the new hire (i.e., passport, permanent resident card, employment authorization card, driver’s license, birth certificate, military id, etc) and to determine the genuineness of the documents.

The statistics resulting from the 654 businesses audited by ICE are provided below:
• ICE agents reviewed more than 85,000 Form I-9s and identified more than 14,000 suspect documents—approximately 16 percent of the total number reviewed
• To date, 61 NIFs have been issued, resulting in $2,310,255 in fines. In addition, 267 cases are currently being considered for Notices of Intent to Fine (NIFs).
• ICE closed 326 cases after businesses were found to be in compliance with employment laws or after businesses were served with a Warning Notice in expectation of future compliance.

Furthermore, on November 19, 2009, ICE Assistant Secretary John Morton announced the issuance of NOIs to 1,000 employers across the country associated with critical infrastructure.

In the News Release announcing the issuance of the NOIs, Assistant ICE Secretary Morton stated that “ICE is focused on finding and penalizing employers who believe they can unfairly get ahead by cultivating illegal workplaces.” ICE Audits are one of the most important administrative tools in building criminal cases and bringing employers into compliance with the law.

If you are interested in conducting an internal I-9 Audit to ensure your company’s compliance with the employment eligibility verification laws and regulations, contact our office today.

USCIS Office of Fraud Detection & National Security Commence H-1B Assessment Program: Site Visits

October 5, 2009

In an effort to detect, deter and combat immigration benefit fraud and strengthen efforts in ensuring benefits are not granted to those who threaten national security or public safety, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) Office of Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) have commenced an assessment of the H-1B nonimmigrant visa program. As part of the assessment program, FDNS officers collect information during site visits to verify information pertaining to petitions that are pending and already approved.

The FDNS consists of approximately 650 individuals, including Immigration Officers, Intelligence Research Specialists, and Analysts located in field offices throughout the United States. FDNS has also contracted with multiple private investigation firms to conduct site visits on behalf of FDNS.

These visits by FDNS officers are unannounced and may take place at the employer’s principal place of business and/or the H-1B non-immigrant’s work location (end client site). FDNS Officers do not need a subpoena for the site visit because the regulations governing the filing of immigration petitions allow the government to take testimony and conduct broad investigations relating to the petitions. However, USCIS will provide an opportunity for an Employer to address any adverse or derogatory information that may result from these types of site visits. An employer may request that counsel be present; however FDNS will not reschedule the visit just for counsel, therefore, if requested, counsel can be present via telephone for the site visit.

During a site visit, the FDNS Officer will ask questions to verify information contained in a specific immigration petition. They will have a copy of the petition, ask to speak with the employer’s representative (the one who signs immigration forms), and will ask questions regarding the employer’s business, locations, number of employees, and the number of H-1B petitions previously filed. They may also request to review company’s tax returns, quarterly wage reports, among other documents to verify that the Employer is a bona fide business entity. Additionally, the Officer may ask questions regarding the H-1B non-immigrant’s title, job duties, work location and salary; and may ask to review the non-immigrant’s most recent pay stub and Form W-2. FDNS Officers may also inquire about the Employer’s Immigration Counsel.

After interviewing the employer’s representative, the FDNS Officer may request a tour of the facility, take photographs, and may even request to interview the H-1B beneficiary. The Officer will then ask the beneficiary similar questions to the ones asked of the Employer’s representative: the beneficiary’s job title, job duties, responsibilities, employment dates, position location, requirements for the position, academic background, previous employment experience, current address, and information about family members (husband/wife and/or children). Additionally, the Officer may ask a colleague of the beneficiary similar questions about the beneficiary.

Typically, these H-1B site visits last for less than an hour after the walk thru, documentation gathering and interviews are complete.

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ICE Investigation results in fine of $450,000 for hiring illegal aliens

September 18, 2009

After an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Social Security Administration's Office of Inspector General, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the U.S. Marshals Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a Missouri poultry processing plant paid $450,000 in fines as part of a settlement agreement for hiring illegal aliens.

As a result of the 2007 poultry plant investigation, ICE administratively arrested 136 illegal alien workers from Mexico and Guatemala within the plant in Cassville, MO. Two of the company's hiring personnel were convicted of harboring illegal aliens and inducing them to remain in the U.S.

An additional provision of the settlement agreement provides that the company has to establish a compliance program to ensure that its employment procedures are in accordance with U.S. immigration laws. Additionally, the company has to train its human resource managers and employees on how to avoid hiring an illegal workforce.

It has become apparent that ICE aggressively targets employers who violate immigration laws by knowingly employing an illegal workforce. The funds received as a result of these types of investigations are used to promote future law enforcement programs and activities with the purpose of deterring employers from employing an illegal workforce.

The MVP Law Group, P.A. provides assistance to employers interested in establishing an employment compliance program which includes training administrative personnel and other employees. If you are interested, please contact our office.

Federal Contractors & Subcontractors MUST use E-Verify beginning TODAY!

September 8, 2009

Beginning September 8, 2009, all Federal Contractors and Subcontractors who enter into contracts on and after September 8, 2009 must be enrolled in the online E-Verify work authorization program.

The E-Verify program is a free optional web based employment verification program that verify's employee's employment eligibility by submitting key information from Form I-9 into the online database.

The purpose of the program is to deter unauthorized individuals from attempting to work, while at the same time helping employers to avoid contributing to an unauthorized workforce.

Companies who are awarded a contract on and after September 8, 2009 will have 30 days from the contract award date to enroll in the E-Verify program.

Salt Lake City Man allegedly conned victims by posing as an Immigration Official

March 17, 2009

In an article published by Pamela Manson of The Salt Lake Tribune, federal prosecutions confirmed the identity of a Salt Lake City man who allegedly impersonated an immigration official ultimately stealing thousands of dollars from undocumented immigrants hoping to become legal residents.

The complaint alleges that the Salt Lake City man took money from undocumented workers, did nothing to help those clients, and would then threaten his clients with deportation when they questioned his progress in their cases. One woman also alleged that the Salt Lake City imposter demanded sex from her and threatened to have one of her children deported when he she refused to pay him more money. She also alleged that he made many hostile and overly aggressive phone calls to her demanding either sex or more money to finish the process.

According to an affidavit by an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent, the alleged imposter charged between $1,500 to $5,000 per person to handle the legalization process. Additionally, the imposter claimed to work for ICE. It is also alleged that the imposter met many of his clients through mutual friends in the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints and would meet with his clients in his home to complete paperwork and take payment. It is also alleged that the imposter did not give receipts to his clients because he said that it would cause delays in the process. He also allegedly claimed that by receiving cash only he could back date his client’s cases for faster processing.

At this time, the alleged imposter is in custody pending further proceedings. The Salt Lake City imposter faces up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted of impersonating an officer or employee of the United States.

ICE Investigation results in former Supervisor of Poultry plant sentenced to 23 months in prison

March 12, 2009

After an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) a former supervisor of an Iowa poultry plant was sentenced to twenty-three months in prison for his role in harboring illegal aliens.

According to information disclosed in court, the former supervisor played an active role in harboring the illegal aliens. Specifically, he told a number of employees to change their Social Security numbers and names in order to continue working at the company, and later directed six of his most valuable workers to get new identification documents.

The Federal Judge in this case increased the sentence from the sentencing guidelines because the former supervisor held a supervisory position and also because one hundred or more illegal aliens were harbored.

The ICE investigation began in October 2007, and criminal and administrative warrants were executed on the Poultry plant in May 2008. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), the investigation is ongoing.

ICE aggressively targets employers who violate immigration laws by knowingly employing an illegal workforce!

The MVP Law Group encourages all employers to abide by the rules and regulations and to keep and maintain accurate and up-to-date I-9 forms for all employees.

If you are interested in conducting an I-9 compliance audit, please contact our office!

SEVP Approved Schools

March 3, 2009

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently updated their list of Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) approved schools .

The schools listed have all been certified to participate in the program. The program allows foreign students interested in obtaining an education in the United States to complete a visa petition, pay the required fee, and attend a U.S. College or University. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) created a web based system called the Student Exchange Visitor System (SEVIS) which maintains information on the foreign students accepted into the program. The SEVIS monitors the students for the duration of their approved stay, as required by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRAIRA) of 1996.

Interested Foreign students: There is a process in obtaining a student visa, but it is not a difficult one. The student must first obtain Form I-20 from the U.S. College or University from which he/she intends to enroll, pay the required visa fee (Form I-901) and contact a local U.S. Consulate/Embassy to schedule an interview. At the interview, the student must have Form I-20, proof of payment of Form I-901, financial support documentation, and a completed visa application. The SEVP procedures differ among U.S. Consulates/Embassies; contact your U.S. Consulate/Embassy NOW to determine its particular procedure on applying for a visa before planning for the interview.

Interested Schools: There is a separate process to obtain F & M Certification. Authorized school officials must obtain and complete Form I-17. An overview of the SEVP Certification process can be found on the ICE website . If approved, the school will be certified and allowed to issue Form I-20 to qualifying foreign students.

If you need assistance in or an explanation of the SEVP/SEVIS, please contact our office for a consultation.

Final Defendant in California Restaurant ICE raid receives sentence

February 12, 2009

After an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) beginning in September 2008, the seventh and final defendant of the restaurant raids was sentenced. The Asian buffet restaurant owner was sentenced to eight months of home confinement and three years probation on charges of knowingly employing illegal aliens and mail fraud. Additionally, the judge ordered the owner to pay $49,000 in criminal fines.

As a result of the investigation, ICE arrested 21 illegal alien workers on administrative immigration violations who were encountered at the search locations.

Additionally, the judge noted that the restaurant owner had conspired with an employment agency to hire aliens, who due to their illegal status, were subject to exploitation. The judge also made note that the defendant benefitted financially by not paying taxes, fees and proper salaries for the illegal employees.

ICE aggressively targets employers who violate immigration laws!

The MVP Law Group encourages all employers to abide by the rules and regulations and keep and maintain accurate and up-to-date I-9 forms for all employees.

If you are interested in conducting an I-9 compliance audit, please contact our office!

ICE Investigation results in three-count indictment

February 2, 2009

After an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Alabaster Police Department, a Birmingham, Alabama construction company owner was indicted on charges of harboring and employing illegal aliens.

As a result of the investigation, the owner was charged in a three-count indictment. If convicted of all counts, the owner faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of $250,000. All of the illegal aliens working for the construction company were arrested and placed in deportation proceedings.

ICE aggressively targets employers who violate immigration laws by knowingly employing an illegal workforce.

ICE raid results in arrests and deportation proceedings

January 14, 2009

After an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) a Louisville, Kentucky restaurant owner was sentenced to eight months in federal prison for knowingly employing illegal aliens.

As a result of the investigation, the restaurant owner plead guilty to knowingly employing at least 10 illegal aliens at his restaurant for commercial advantage and financial gain. During the ICE raid, agents seized about $59,000 from the restaurant, which will be forfeited to the United States, and detained six illegal aliens found working at the restaurant, who have since been deported. The owner of the restaurant was not a U.S. citizen and will be subjected to deportation proceedings after he completes his prison sentence.

ICE aggressively targets employers who violate immigration laws.

The MVP Law Group encourages all employers to abide by the rules and regulations and keep and maintain accurate and up-to-date I-9 forms for all employees.

If you are interested in conducting an I-9 compliance audit, please contact our office!