About Me

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Beverly Hills, California, United States
Eli Kantor is a labor, employment and immigration law attorney. He has been practicing labor, employment and immigration law for more than 36 years. He has been featured in articles about labor, employment and immigration law in the L.A. Times, Business Week.com and Daily Variety. He is a regular columnist for the Daily Journal. Telephone (310)274-8216; eli@elikantorlaw.com. For more information, visit beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com and and beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com


Friday, September 30, 2016

Supreme Court to Hear Case Over Deportations

Associated Press
September 29, 2016
The Supreme Court will take up the Obama administration's appeal of lower court rulings making it harder to deport immigrants who've been convicted of crimes.
The justices agreed Thursday to review rulings striking down a provision of immigration law as unconstitutional.
The federal appeals court in San Francisco said the section of the law that defines a "crime of violence" is too vague. Conviction for a crime of violence subjects an immigrant to deportation and usually speeds up the process.
The appeals court based its ruling on a 2015 Supreme Court decision that struck down a similarly worded part of another federal law imposing longer prison sentence on repeat criminals.
The administration said the court was wrong to equate the two laws.

For more information, go to: www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

U.S. Twice Tried to Deport Man Fatally Shot by Police in California

Wall Street Journal
By Zusha Elinson
September 29, 2016 
The federal government twice tried to deport a Ugandan refugee whose death at the hands of police sparked a second night of protests in Southern California Wednesday.
Alfred Olango, 38 years old, was holding a “vape smoking device” when police fatally shot him in El Cajon, Calif., on Tuesday, police said.
Police said they fired after he failed to obey commands and appeared to take a “shooting stance” while pointing the object at them. He was later found to be unarmed.
The death of Mr. Olango, who police say had been acting erratically when they arrived, is the latest police shooting of an unarmed black man that has drawn protests this summer, from Minnesota to Oklahoma to North Carolina.
On Wednesday night, hundreds  took to the streets of El Cajon, a city of around 100,000 near San Diego, to remember Mr. Olango, and demand accountability from police.
The event was mostly peaceful, though one man wearing a Trump baseball cap was chased and pushed. Some protesters blocked traffic.
San Diego County Sheriff deputies stood in lines in the street, holding batons and wearing helmets with shields. Protesters stood inches away from them, with their hands up, a familiar gesture at police shooting protests around the country.
Mr. Olango arrived in the U.S. as a refugee in 1991. He was ordered to be deported to Uganda by an immigration judge in 2002, following a conviction for selling drugs, according to a statement from U.S.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal agency charged with identifying individuals for deportation.
ICE tried several times to get a travel document from the Ugandan government to remove him from the country, but those attempts were unsuccessful and  he was released from ICE custody, the agency said.
In 2009, Mr. Olango was back in ICE custody after serving a prison term for a firearms charge in Colorado, according to ICE. Immigration officials said they again tried to obtain travel document from the Ugandan government and were once again unsuccessful.
Under a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, ICE cannot hold those under deportation orders for more than six months if their “removal cannot occur within the reasonable foreseeable future,” the agency said. “This is often due to a foreign government’s refusal to accept the repatriation of its nationals.”
Dan Gilleon, an attorney for Mr. Olango’s family, said Mr. Olango had been working at a furniture store and had been upset at the death of a friend before Tuesday’s episode. He said a relative called police because Mr. Olango had been acting erratically.
Mr. Gilleon said police officers should be able to tell the difference between a vape pen and a gun.
Mr. Gilleon also said that officers are trained in how in how to de-escalate situations with people suffering from mental breakdowns, but didn’t do so in this situation.
“This cowboy decided to end it in 60 seconds,” Mr. Gilleon said. “There’s no crime taking place, there’s no one being threatened.”
An El Cajon police spokesman said the department does have a special response team for mental-health crises, but it was on a different call at the time of the shooting.
Protesters have demanded the release of video footage from bystanders showing the shooting. The police department recently ordered body cameras, but they haven’t been delivered yet, a police spokesman said.
City officials said under San Diego County policy, video of the shooting would be released only once the district attorney’s office had completed its investigation. Police earlier released a single still photograph of the encounter.

El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells said Wednesday afternoon that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had joined the investigation into the shooting, and urged patience and calm from residents.
“This is a community that does not see these types of problems happen very often,” Mr. Wells said.
Mr. Wells said he understands that protesters don’t feel heard.
“I understand they feel frustrated by a system that they don’t feel is working in their favor,” he said. “I am going to do everything in my power to heal the situation as quickly and thoroughly as I can.”

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Haitian Men Cut Off From Families as U.S. Tightens Entry Rules

New York Times
By Kirk Semple
September 29, 2016 
A sudden shift in American immigration policy has divided scores of Haitian families trying to enter the United States from Mexico, immigrants and advocates say.
The policy change, announced last week, has separated wives from husbands and children from their fathers, stranding the men in Mexico after their families were allowed to cross into the United States.
“I’m hoping God makes miracles,” said Sandra Alexandre, who was allowed into the United States last week ahead of her boyfriend and gave birth three days later. The new policy went into effect right before the child’s father could cross.
The family separations appear to be an unintended consequence of the Obama administration’s effort to tighten the border against the arrival of thousands of Haitians streaming north from Brazil, mostly to seek employment in the United States.
Until the change, the United States had been allowing Haitians without visas to enter under a temporary humanitarian parole, a special concession owing to the social, economic and political troubles facing Haiti after the devastating 2010 earthquake. But on Sept. 22, amid a surge in Haitians from Brazil, the Obama administration announced that it was resuming the deportation of Haitians who presented themselves at border crossings without immigration documentation.
The policy change effectively shut the door on newly arriving undocumented Haitians, including men whose partners and children had already been admitted.
Immigrant advocates in San Diego said they had identified more than 50 families in that city alone who had been separated by the policy change, and they have appealed to Homeland Security officials to help reunite the families in the United States.
“The bottom line is that this was not a well-conceived policy,” said Andrea Guerrero, executive director of Alliance San Diego, a group that has been helping Haitians who have arrived from Brazil in recent months. “It seemed to have come down from one day to the next without a clear understanding of what was going on and what kind of impact it would have.”
The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately reply to written questions about the effect of the policy change.
Amid the surge, the American border authorities had been using an appointment system to process arriving Haitians. They had been giving priority to women and children, who received earlier dates rather than being forced to spend weeks in the overcrowded shelters. Men, no matter if they were traveling with their partners and children, usually had to wait for later appointments.
Ms. Alexandre, 24, arrived in the border city of Mexicali with her boyfriend, Volcy Dieumercy, 29, on Sept. 20 after a 10-week trip from Curitiba, Brazil. She was pregnant and nearing her due date.
Because of her pregnancy, Mexican officials, who have been scheduling the migrants’ appointments with American border officials, granted Ms. Alexandre an appointment for last Thursday, but they denied the couple’s request that Mr. Dieumercy be processed on the same day, the couple said. Instead, he was given an appointment for Sept. 30, forcing him to wait in Mexicali.
Ms. Alexandre entered under a three-year humanitarian parole, and she made her way to a migrant shelter in San Diego. She soon learned that Mr. Dieumercy had been barred from entering under the new policy.
On Sunday, she went into labor and was admitted to the hospital. A volunteer working with Alliance San Diego called Mr. Dieumercy so the couple could speak. The volunteer remained in touch with Mr. Dieumercy throughout the birth using WhatsApp, updating him on Ms. Alexandre’s progress.
The couple had intended to travel together to Orlando, Fla., and live with Mr. Dieumercy’s relatives. Ms. Alexandre said she had no idea what she would do if Mr. Dieumercy was not allowed into the country.
“I haven’t thought that far ahead,” she said from the hospital earlier this week before being discharged. “Right now, I’m only thinking positively.”
Mr. Dieumercy is equally uncertain. He knows that if he tries to cross at an official American port of entry, he will probably be deported.
“I need my family,” he said in a text message from Mexicali. “I can’t wait any longer. I’m very sad.”
Among the families that have been divided since the policy took effect, more than a dozen include pregnant women separated from their partners, Ms. Guerrero said. There are even cases of mothers’ being separated from their teenage sons, she said.
Sinskya Cetoute, a Haitian immigrant, said that she, her husband and their 4-year-old daughter had gone to the San Ysidro border crossing between Tijuana and San Diego last Friday, a day after the new policy went into effect. Immigration officials quickly separated them, with Ms. Cetoute, 33, and her daughter taken in one direction and her husband in another.
Ms. Cetoute and her daughter were allowed into the United States on humanitarian parole, with permission to stay for three years, but she has not heard from her husband since she last saw him. “We don’t know what we’re going to do,” she said. “I can’t live without the father of my daughter.”
In announcing the policy change last week, American immigration officials said they hoped it would discourage Haitians from making the grueling trek to the United States border. But shelter administrators and migrant advocates along the route report that many Haitians continue to move north through the Americas, undeterred by news of the full resumption of deportations in the United States.
Marcelo Pisani, the International Organization for Migration’s regional director for Central America, North America and the Caribbean, said that migrants from outside the region were arriving at the Panama-Costa Rica border at an average rate of 90 to 110 per day. He said “a significant percentage” were Haitians.
Mr. Pisani said it was “very probable” that with the humanitarian door closed, more Haitians arriving at the United States’ southern border would seek asylum.
In Tijuana, which has received thousands of Haitian migrants this year, a steady stream of Haitians are still arriving each day. Many of them, though aware of the policy change, are presenting themselves at the border only to be put immediately into fast-track deportation proceedings, advocates said.
“They believe that the United States will not turn their back on them,” Ms. Guerrero said. “They believe that the United States understands what the situation is in Haiti, and they believe that the United States would never send them back.”

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Ohio, Long a Bellwether, Is Fading on the Electoral Map

New York Times
By Jonathan Martin
September 29, 2016 
After decades as one of America’s most reliable political bellwethers, an inevitable presidential battleground that closely mirrored the mood and makeup of the country, Ohio is suddenly fading in importance this year.
Hillary Clinton has not been to the state since Labor Day, and her aides said Thursday that she would not be back until next week, after a monthlong absence, effectively acknowledging how difficult they think it will be to defeat Donald J. Trump here. Ohio has failed to keep up with the demographic changes transforming the United States, growing older, whiter and less educated than the nation at large.
And the two parties have made strikingly different wagers about how to win the White House in this election: Mr. Trump, the Republican nominee, is relying on a demographic coalition that, while well tailored for Ohio even in the state’s Democratic strongholds, leaves him vulnerable in the more diverse parts of the country where Mrs. Clinton is spending most of her time.
It is a jarring change for political veterans here, who relish being at the center of the country’s presidential races: Because of newer battleground states, Mrs. Clinton can amass the 270 electoral votes required to win even if she loses Ohio.
“Their map is a little different, and Ohio is not as crucial as it once was,” conceded James Ruvolo, a former chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party who lives in the Toledo area, a Democratic bulwark that Mrs. Clinton has not visited once this year. “They’ll keep putting in money, but I don’t think they’re going to put a lot of her time in here.”
Ohio has long basked in the presidential spotlight. Every four years, fall would bring frequent candidate visits, ceaseless television commercials and breathless, county-by-county tallies of its voting returns late into election night. Democrats in the state got used to rock concert-style rallies, like the ones John Kerry staged in Cleveland and Columbus with Bruce Springsteen in 2004 and President Obama held at Ohio State to kick off his 2012 re-election campaign. Mr. Obama held five events over three trips to Ohio in September 2012 alone.
And it was all for good reason: No candidate of either party has won the White House without carrying Ohio since John F. Kennedy in 1960.
But its Rust Belt profile, Mr. Trump’s unyielding anti-trade campaign and Mrs. Clinton’s difficulty energizing Ohio’s young voters have made it a lesser focus for Democrats this year, even as it remains critical to Mr. Trump’s path to the White House. As Mrs. Clinton’s aides privately note, the demographic makeup of Florida, Colorado and North Carolina, which have a greater percentage of educated or nonwhite voters, makes those states more promising for Democrats in a contest in which the electorate is sorted along bright racial and economic lines.
And with a once-competitive Senate race in Ohio turning into a rout for Rob Portman, the Republican incumbent, Democrats can quietly pull back from the state with little fear of down-ballot consequences.
As the place where Appalachia meets the Midwest, and where industrial centers arose not far from a vast farm belt, Ohio has prided itself on being a version of America writ small. Its immigration patterns reflected that, with New Englanders resettling here, followed by Germans and eventually Eastern Europeans. At the same time, Southerners, white and black, crossed the Ohio River in search of freedom and opportunity.
But even some of the state’s proudest boosters acknowledge that Ohio, which is nearly 80 percent white, is decreasingly representative of contemporary America.
“Ohio, like a melting iceberg, has slowly been losing its status as the country’s bellwether,” said Michael F. Curtin, a Democratic state legislator and former Columbus Dispatch editor who is co-author of the state’s authoritative “Ohio Politics Almanac.”
He continued: “It’s a slow melt. But we have not captured any appreciable Hispanic population, and there has been very little influx of an Asian population. When you look at the diversity of America 30 to 40 years ago, Ohio was a pretty close approximation of the country. It no longer is.”
What is less clear than the racial trends is whether the state will continue to grow more forbidding for Democrats in future presidential races. That could be determined by the choices the national parties make after the election, particularly whether Republicans continue Mr. Trump’s project of shifting from a business-friendly to a more populist approach on immigration and trade.
“If the Republican Party looks more like the Trump coalition and the Democratic Party looks more like the Obama coalition, then the states Democrats must win will no longer be Ohio and Iowa,” said David Wilhelm, a manager of Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign and a former Democratic national chairman who lives in suburban Columbus. “They will be Virginia, North Carolina, Arizona and Georgia.”
Yet that same Obama coalition was enough to hand the president a two-point victory in Ohio in 2012, when the state’s demographics were no less challenging for Democrats. The difference now, Ohio voters and strategists from both parties say, is in the two candidates and the issues at hand.
Facing Mitt Romney, who was easily caricatured as a country club Republican, Mr. Obama battered him as a handmaiden for the wealthy and criticized his opposition to the auto bailout, which lifted Mr. Obama with white union Democrats in car-making communities around Youngstown and Toledo.
But this year, Republicans have put forward a candidate whose views on trade are indistinguishable from, if not more hard-line than, the A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s.
“Republicans used to run on God and guns,” Mr. Ruvolo said. “Well, Trump added a third element: trade.”
Paired with Mr. Trump’s jeremiads about immigrants’ taking American jobs, it makes for a powerful combination in a state that has suffered from the decline of manufacturing. Though he lost the Ohio primary to Gov. John Kasich, Mr. Trump still carried a stretch of counties along the eastern spine of the state, its most economically depressed region, where thousands of industrial and coal-mining jobs have been lost. Mr. Trump is expected to pile up significant margins in those counties in November.
Some political veterans speak with wonder about private polls showing Mr. Trump leading even in bedrock Democratic communities. “I see, at best, lack of enthusiasm in traditional Democratic areas,” said Dennis E. Eckart, a former Democratic congressman from suburban Cleveland.
Mike Dawson, a Republican strategist who runs a website on Ohio’s political history, said Mr. Trump would be competitive in two counties in Youngstown’s Mahoning Valley that the Democratic presidential candidate has carried in every election for 60 years with the exception of 1972.
It is no coincidence that the same region kept re-electing Representative James A. Traficant Jr. from 1985 to 2002, despite his routine flouting of ethics. Mr. Traficant, a longtime Democrat who died in 2014, was known for mixing inflammatory rhetoric, a squirrel-like toupee and a hard-edge populism.
“There is not a dime’s worth of difference, as George Wallace once said, between Jim Traficant and Donald Trump,” said Mr. Eckart, whose district abutted Mr. Traficant’s. “They say anything, do anything, just act outrageous, and people just kind of like that.”
Mrs. Clinton remains strongest in the more affluent and educated areas around Ohio’s population centers — Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati — where some voters who backed Mr. Romney four years ago are appalled by Mr. Trump.
Emily Huber, a 29-year-old evangelical Christian and loyal Republican in Columbus, is one of them. As she sold candles and jewelry made by victims of sex trafficking at a farmer’s market in the shadow of the state capitol, Ms. Huber said she and her husband were unsure whether they could back Mr. Trump because of offensive comments that she said “show his true character.”
What will determine who wins Ohio, said Representative Steve Stivers, a Republican, is if “Hillary can pick up a bunch of voters in the suburbs to offset the rural and some of the industrial areas.”
Mrs. Clinton has an organizational advantage, with 60 offices across the state, and is flooding Ohio with surrogates: Bill Clinton is expected in the state on a bus tour next week. But her campaign is sensitive about her absence, which has become a local topic of discussion. After this article was published online, it hurried to announce that she would return on Monday, though without specifying which city she would visit.
A Clinton victory in Ohio may also require rousing younger voters, which is in doubt. When a group of Democratic Ohio mayors campaigned recently for Mrs. Clinton in Athens — home of Ohio University and seat of the county with the state’s largest percentage of millennials — they drew little interest.
As students stopped at sidewalk A.T.M.s to prepare for parents weekend, they expressed only lukewarm support for Mrs. Clinton. Paula Atfield, a freshman from Cleveland, said she was voting for Mrs. Clinton because “she’s not Trump,” but added that the election was seen as “a joke” on campus.
“Neither of them are suitable,” she said. “Most people aren’t even voting.”
At a news conference earlier in the day, the Dayton mayor, Nan Whaley, had buoyantly declared that the state would send Mrs. Clinton to the White House. “Ohio is the decider of presidents,” she said.
But now, Ms. Whaley sounded less bullish. “I think it’s crucial,” she said of a Clinton victory in Ohio, before quickly adding of Mr. Trump, “It’s just not as crucial as his.”

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Google Searches for Voter Registration Have Surged in Hispanic Areas

New York Times
By Nate Cohn
September 29, 2016 
 In the real world, demographic change is gradual: Every day, the country becomes a tad more diverse as babies are born, people immigrate, and others die.
But in elections, demographic change happens fast: in a surge of new voter registrations ahead of a presidential election. Just who registers and how many will be one of the biggest stories of the next month.
This wave has probably just begun, even if it isn’t yet reflected in the available voter registration data. For now, we’re left to read tea leaves — and they look good for Democrats.
Google trends data indicates that the searches for voter registration have surged over the last week — and that the highest rates of searches have been in disproportionately Hispanic areas.
By Wednesday evening, all of the top markets for searches for “register to vote” came in heavily Latino markets in Texas, California, Nevada, Arizona and Florida. The same pattern held into Thursday.
Many of these markets — like those along the Rio Grande in South Texas or in California’s Central Valley — have typically had the lowest turnout and registration rates in the country.
It’s a big reversal from last month, when registration searches were highest in the predominantly white, Northern states that typically have the highest registration and turnout.
Whether this trend will last may hinge on what caused it in the first place. Hillary Clinton’s campaign plainly hopes to motivate Latino registration with the story of Alicia Machado, who was harshly criticized by Donald J. Trump as Miss Universe 1996 and again after the presidential debate this week. But if that is the main cause, the surge of Hispanic interest in voter registration compared with other Americans could fade along with the story.
And even if it does hold, the Google Trends data doesn’t prove that there will be a big surge in Hispanic registration. We’ll have to wait a few weeks for updated voter registration data.
But this year, newly registered voters have tended to be more Hispanic than in past years. According to data from Catalist, a Democratic firm, about 12 percent of newly registered voters were estimated to be Hispanic, versus 10 percent by the same point in 2012.
In Florida, the Hispanic share of registered voters has already risen to 15.3 percent on Aug. 1 from 13.9 percent at the time of the 2012 presidential election.
In 2012, the Hispanic share of registered voters increased to 13.9 percent from 13.5 between the August primary and the general election. A similar uptick would be bad news for Republicans; a bigger one would start to make Mr. Trump’s path to victory in Florida look very tenuous.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Thousands Eager to Vote Won’t Become Citizens in Time

New York Times
By Julia Preston
September 30, 2016
    Thousands Eager to Vote Won’t Become Citizens in Time
They stayed up late studying for civics tests. They went to classes, paid hefty fees and underwent background checks.
During the last year, nearly a million legal immigrants applied to become American citizens, many of them hoping to take the oath of citizenship in time to cast their first ballots on Nov. 8 in a presidential race where immigration has been fiercely debated.
But as the number of aspiring citizens grew this year, the backlog at the federal agency that approves naturalizations swelled. With the agency now reporting that it takes up to seven months to complete the process, Obama administration officials are reluctantly admitting that many — perhaps most — of the immigrants in the backlog will not become citizens in time to vote.
“I’ve been checking my mail every day, but I haven’t heard anything,” said Francisca Fiero, 73, a Mexican immigrant in Las Vegas. “I’m starting to get very worried.”
Ms. Fiero, who has had a green card for a decade, applied in January and gave her fingerprints in June. Since then, nothing. The voter registration deadline in Nevada is Oct. 18.
In the last year almost 940,000 legal immigrants applied to become citizens, a 23 percent surge over the previous year. As of June 30, more than 520,000 applications were waiting to be examined, a pileup that increased steadily since last year.
Immigration officials “anticipated that there would be a spike in applications this year, but the increase has exceeded expectations,” said Jeffrey T. Carter, a spokesman for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency in charge of naturalizations.
The official figures revealing the backlog, published in late September, came as a shock to immigrant groups that put on a nationwide push early this year to help eligible immigrants to naturalize. Some of the biggest increases in applications came in battleground states where they had focused their efforts, including a 30 percent increase over a year earlier in Colorado, a 40 percent increase in Florida and a 53 percent increase in Nevada.
“The agency has developed an acute case of the slows, and it could not be a more critical moment,” said Tara Raghuveer, deputy director of the National Partnership for New Americans, a coalition of 37 groups that held citizenship workshops around the country. The groups scrambled to file applications before May 1, she said, after the immigration agency originally advised them that the process would take four to six months.
This year for the first time the naturalization drive also had high-profile backing from the White House, which sponsored ad campaigns, gave $10 million to community groups and made fixes to make it easier to apply. But officials said the White House was not monitoring the results to confirm that the immigration agency was completing naturalizations in a timely way.
In the presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump, the immigrant vote could be pivotal, especially in states with large numbers of Latino immigrants.
The naturalization backlogs are bad news for Mrs. Clinton because polls in those states show Latinos favoring her over Mr. Trump by gaping margins. In Florida, for example, more than 66,000 potential new voters stuck in the backlog could be enough to affect the outcome of a race that polls show is a virtual tie.
Citizenship applications generally surge during presidential election cycles. In 2007 and 2008, more than 1.4 million immigrants became citizens, stirred by a combination of an impending fee increase and the historic candidacy of Barack Obama.
This year, immigrant groups set a goal of one million naturalizations, and the application numbers were on track to reach it. In May, the Obama administration announced another fee increase for later this year, which could have moved some latecomers to apply. Then the backlogs emerged.
Many immigrants decided to become citizens because they just wanted to vote, without being drawn to a particular candidate.
“I want to put in my voice to be heard just like everybody else,” said Geraldine Rolle, a 65-year-old immigrant from the Bahamas, who has been a legal resident since 1991 and now lives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. She worked for years as a housekeeping supervisor in Miami hotels.
She applied in February. After having her photograph taken in April, she heard nothing more. “They keep telling me you have to be a citizen to vote, and now it doesn’t look like I’m going to get that before the elections,” Ms. Rolle said sadly.
Ms. Fiero, in Las Vegas, has had a rocky time. She came to the United States as a legal resident and has always kept her green card up to date. A cafeteria worker in an elementary school, she applied to naturalize in January. But the agency rejected her application as incomplete.
When many similar rejections were reported in Nevada, the Culinary Workers Union, which helped Ms. Fiero and many others to apply, appealed to Senator Harry Reid. Immigration officials acknowledged to Mr. Reid that the applications had been denied by mistake. Ms. Fiero was allowed to apply again a month later.
Like many Latino immigrants, Ms. Fiero said she was eager to vote because she does not like Mr. Trump and is a fan of Mrs. Clinton’s. “She seems like the right person to help poor families get better houses,” Ms. Fiero said.
Officials at the citizenship agency said they shifted employees to offices where the workload had mounted and authorized overtime for many offices. But Mr. Carter, the spokesman, said that nationwide the agency was “still within our normal processing times.”
Internal emails from the immigration agency’s Houston office, which were recently leaked by Republican leaders in the Senate, show it was working to pick up the pace. A message on July 21 exhorted employees to finish as many naturalizations as possible before Oct. 1 “due to the election year needs.” The Houston office opened on two Saturdays that month to try to address the backlog.
But in New York, citizenship groups have heard from anxious immigrants who have waited as long as a year with no end in sight. In Nashville, city officials had to cancel a swearing-in ceremony planned to take place this weekend during a festival. The judge scheduled to conduct it reported no immigrants were ready. Immigration officials said other demands on agency employees’ time got in the way.
The agency is also facing pressure to slow down. In a letter last week, Senators Charles E. Grassley of Iowa and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, both Republicans, cited a recent case in which more than 800 immigrants who had been ordered deported were granted citizenship because of gaps in the agency’s vetting.
Rather than speeding up, the agency “should instead be putting on the brakes,” the senators wrote.
But at the Culinary Workers Union in Las Vegas, immigrants are fuming. “It really is outrageous that people can do everything right and still be denied an important right as a citizen,” Yvanna Cancela, a union official, said.

For more information, go to: www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Thursday, September 22, 2016

County to Pay $4 Million in Sheriff's Racial Profiling Case

Associated Press (Arizona)
September 21, 2016

Officials voted Wednesday to pay $4.4 million in legal fees to attorneys who won a racial profiling case against Sheriff Joe Arpaio, marking yet another expense in a case that's projected to cost taxpayers $72 million by next summer.

The attorneys have attributed most of their fees to Arpaio's contempt-of-court violations for ignoring court orders in the profiling case, including a decision to prolong his immigration patrols months after he was ordered to stop them.

County officials bemoaned having to pay the attorney fees, but they said the law required them to do so.

"What could we have done with the money, other than pay it to attorneys?" Supervisor Steve Gallardo asked rhetorically moments before the unanimous vote.

The racial profiling lawsuit that Arpaio lost more than three years ago morphed into a contempt case after the judge accused Arpaio and his aides of violating court orders.

Arpaio, who is seeking a seventh term in November, has since been found in civil contempt, and federal prosecutors are considering whether to bring a criminal contempt case that could expose him to jail time.

So far, the county has been on the hook for $48.2 million in the case and will face additional costs in the future because of costly court-ordered punishments handed down in Arpaio's contempt case.

The future costs include $9.8 million for a court-ordered overhaul of the sheriff's internal affairs operations, which the case's judge found had been manipulated to shield sheriff's officials from accountability.

Another new cost was $1 million for setting up a county-funded system for compensating Latinos who were illegally detained when Arpaio ignored the immigration patrol order.

The sheriff's office had no immediate comment on Wednesday's decision. The agency had earlier blamed the lawyers pushing the profiling case for the skyrocketing legal costs, saying they refused to settle the contempt case and instead drove up taxpayer tab by letting the contempt hearings drag on.

The opposing attorneys say they would have never incurred those costs if Arpaio had followed the judge's orders.

The vote Wednesday marked the second time in two years that Arpaio's legal foes in the case have sought fees. Two years ago, the attorneys were awarded nearly $4.5 million for the costs of bringing the case to trial. Federal law lets the winners of civil rights cases seek reimbursement for legal costs.

Arpaio, who earns $100,000 annually as sheriff and owns commercial real estate worth more than $2 million, hasn't had to pay for legal bills directly tied to his official duties in any lawsuits filed against him in his nearly 23 years as sheriff.

The lawyers who won the profiling case asked the judge to require Arpaio to put $300,000 of his own money into the fund to compensate Latinos who were illegally detained in violation of the immigration-patrol order. But the judge rejected the request, questioning whether there was legal authority to impose such penalties and saying doing so would have only a symbolic benefit.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

American DREAMer: Once undocumented, Latina activist is a citizen

Cronkite (Arizona)
By Andrew Guerra Luz
September 21, 2016

Seven years ago, when she graduated from Arizona State University with an engineering degree, Dulce Matuz couldn’t get an engineering job.

The reason: Matuz was an undocumented immigrant.

But that undocumented status didn’t stop Matuz from political organizing for immigrant rights, or from being named one of Time’s “The World’s 100 Most Influential People” in 2012.

On Monday, Matuz, 31, became an American citizen.

She joined 131 other immigrants from 33 nations at a naturalization ceremony at Trevor G. Browne High School. About 700 students witnessed the event. When Matuz got her citizenship certificate, she smiled and waved an American flag.

And then she walked outside the auditorium and registered to vote.

In doing so, she challenged 473,000 unregistered Latino voters to join her in registering to vote in the presidential election. “I want to challenge them and motivate them and explain to them that it is very important that they get involved and they vote,” she said.

“We want to create an Arizona that embraces diversity and immigrants instead of being in an Arizona that’s been recognized for anti-immigrant rhetoric and SB 1070,” Matuz said.

Now a local realtor, Matuz remains active in the Arizona Dream Act Coalition, a youth movement that advocates for immigrant rights and education.

“When you have 11 million people who have been living here their entire life ? paying taxes, [they] contribute in every way ? and you’re not able to fully integrate them into this country, I think that’s wrong,” Matuz said.

Matuz, who said she immigrated to the United States from Mexico as a teenager, believed that when she was shut out of an engineering job in the U.S. she had two choices. She said she could “self-deport” and get a job “anywhere else in the world.” Or she could stay and fight for legislation like the federal DREAM Act, which never passed but would have given young law-abiding undocumented immigrants temporary relief from deportation so they could work or go to school.

As an undocumented immigrant, she said she had encouraged eligible voters to register to vote for years.

But that hasn’t always been easy.

“It is very hard to stay motivated when you have a Republican party that is always alienating the Latino vote and when you have a democratic party that hasn’t done a good enough job to have a backbone for the Latino community,” Matuz said.

Still, she said, there’s more to registering to vote than just partisan politics.

“This is about American values and respecting all those people that have fought and died for us to be able to vote today and participate,” she said.

She has lived in the United States for 16 years, she said, after entering legally with a tourist visa. When that visa expired, she became undocumented for 12 years.

In 2011, she said, she married an American citizen. Because Matuz originally entered the United States with a tourist visa, she was able to adjust her undocumented status to get a work permit after the marriage, she said. From there, she said, she obtained a conditional permanent resident card, followed by a permanent resident green card. That final green card springboarded her to citizenship.

Those options aren’t open to unauthorized immigrants who enter the United States without a visa, she said.

She has advocated for adjusting the immigration status of the nation’s law-abiding undocumented immigrants for years, no matter how the immigrants cross the border.

But such immigration reform, including allowing young law abiding immigrants to temporarily live in the United States without fear of deportation, has met with strong resistance.

Dave Ray, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a nonprofit that seeks to significantly limit immigration, wrote in an email that some young undocumented immigrants find themselves in difficult situations because they were brought into the United States “illegally”.

Still, he said, the parents “created the situation in the first place.”

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Immigration Reality Looks Nothing Like Trump Rhetoric

Bloomberg (Editorial)
September 22, 2016

Sometimes the best response to overheated political rhetoric is one of those dull if worthy white papers issued with alarming regularity by Washington think tanks and research organizations. So it is with a report on immigration, which is a useful corrective to Donald Trump's statements on the subject.

The Pew Research Center's report, released this week, confirms the findings of previous reports: The number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. peaked in 2007 before dropping sharply -- with more undocumented Mexicans, in particular, leaving the U.S. than entering. Net illegal immigration is flat, and has been for several years. Contrary to Trump's claims, undocumented immigrants are not "pouring across our borders unabated" before going on to commit "great amounts of crime."

That Donald Trump lacks credibility no longer qualifies as news. More interesting are the implications of this report for his immigration policy.

First, the U.S. border with Mexico is not being overrun. So an elaborate, expensive wall is entirely unnecessary. Second, most undocumented immigrants in the U.S. -- about two-thirds -- have been in the country for more than a decade. Pew estimates that, as of 2012, 4 million of them lived with their U.S.-citizen children.

Another study released this week -- this one by the Center for American Progress, a think tank allied with Hillary Clinton's campaign -- found that expelling the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants would cost the federal government almost $900 billion in lost revenue over a decade while reducing the nation's gross domestic product by $4.7 trillion. Those losses would be in addition to the costs of deportation.

The Pew data lead to the same conclusion that a bipartisan supermajority of U.S. senators reached in 2013: The settled, stable undocumented immigrants in the U.S. need a path to legalization and, eventually, citizenship.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com