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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, January 31, 2020

Utah high court allows ‘Dreamer’ law school grads to practice in state

SALT LAKE CITY — Undocumented law school graduates will now be able to legally practice in Utah.
The Utah Supreme Court, which regulates the practice of law in the state, adopted a rule Wednesday making residents with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, status eligible for admission to the Utah State Bar should they meet all other requirements.
The state’s high court heard arguments in October in a case brought by two Utah law school graduates who are identified in court filings as Jane and Mary Doe. Both are recipients of the DACA program, which shields them from deportation and allows them to lawfully work in the U.S.

The court signaled its intent to adopt the rule last month and put it out for public comment through Jan. 23.
The justices found that the Utah Constitution does not prohibit the court from adopting a rule that would permit those with DACA status — often referred to as “Dreamers” — to practice law in the state.
The state bar does not limit admission to U.S. citizens, but it verifies an applicant’s legal presence in the country and denies admission to those who can’t establish that they are legally present. The bar also petitioned the state’s top court to let undocumented law school graduates practice in Utah.

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President Trump shares illegal immigrant murder case at Des Moines rally

President Trump cited the case of Marvin Esquivel-Lopez, an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala charged with first-degree murder in the killing of a Des Moines woman and her two children during his speech at a rally in Des Moines, Jan. 30, 2020.
7:57 p.m. PST Jan. 30, 2020

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Bernie Sanders' team is considering a broad slate of 'day one' executive actions

By Gregory Krieg and Ryan Nobles, CNN

(CNN)Sen. Bernie Sanders has instructed his team of campaign advisers to draw up a list of executive actions he can take immediately upon entering the White House as he embarks on what would be a challenging effort to enact his ambitious agenda.
The slate of potential day one directives encompasses a range of campaign promises, from declaring a climate change a national emergency, to allowing the US to import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada and ordering his Justice Department to effectively legalize marijuana, according to a Washington Post report.
A Sanders aide with direct knowledge of the internal deliberations described the menu to CNN as a "working document" and said Sanders himself has been personally involved in the process. The goal, the aide said, would be to take action on a variety of issues that are within the purview of executive authority even before Sanders' Cabinet officials are confirmed by the Senate.
Sanders has faced questions throughout the primary campaign, which kicks off in earnest on Monday with the Iowa caucuses, over how he would implement his broad agenda in the face of opposition from Republicans in the Senate and some dissenters within the Democratic Party. He has mostly remained circumspect on issues related to process and been hesitant to endorse any plan to blow up the filibuster in the Senate, instead suggesting he would attempt to use the budget reconciliation process to pass his trademark "Medicare for All" legislation.
    Asked by the New York Times editorial board how he would contend with a Senate run by Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sanders -- as he often argues on the campaign trail -- said he would seek to harness popular support to apply overwhelming outside pressure on GOP lawmakers.
    "So to me, what my administration is about is not sitting with Mitch in the Oval Office or wherever it is, negotiating something," Sanders said. "It is rallying the American people around an agenda that they already support. All right? This is, I think, what makes me a little bit different than other candidates, and that is not only will I be commander in chief, I will be organizer in chief."
    Sanders has frequently pointed to public polling that shows his policies are more popular with voters than they are, currently, on Capitol Hill.
    "And I think the agenda that we have brought out in almost every respect is supported by the American people," he told the Times editorial board. "So one of my first stops, by the way, will be in Kentucky, a state that is struggling very hard. One of the poorest. I love the people in Kentucky."
      Plans to reinstate DACA, the Obama-era program that grants legal status to undocumented immigrants whose parents brought them into the US as children, putting an immediate stop to the construction of President Donald Trump's border wall and opening the country up a greater number of refugees are common among the Democratic primary candidates.
      There is debate within the Democratic Party over how to pursue even the candidates' shared agenda items. Former Vice President Joe Biden has staked his campaign on the promise he can most effectively win over Republicans on some issues, and has warned that overusing executive action could lead to an abuse of power. But Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has been the most aggressive, pledging to eliminate the legislative filibuster as part of her strategy for delivering on her agenda from her first day in the White House.
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      Klobuchar meets with Congressional Hispanic Caucus campaign arm


      Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) met Thursday with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus campaign arm, Bold PAC, as she works to boost her presidential campaign’s appeal to Latino voters.
      Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) the chairman of Bold PAC, said he and others walked out of the meeting impressed.
      “I was left with the fact that she was very calm, cool and collected. She answered our questions very respectfully, nicely,”Cárdenas told The Hill. “She has grown into being a very appreciated and good candidate for president. My assessment was that overall people were pleased with the dialogue and people were nodding their heads.”
      The meeting with Klobuchar comes as the Minnesota Democrat struggles to break into the top tier of the primary field ahead of the first 2020 caucuses and primaries. Polling has her stuck in the single digits both nationally and among voters of color. 
      Klobuchar’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the talks with Bold PAC.
      Thursday morning’s meeting was the fifth Bold PAC has held with a Democratic White House contender. The group has also met with former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg
      Cárdenas said the group has been pleased with all the meetings so far and that all the candidates have vowed to make comprehensive immigration reform a top priority in the first 100 days of their presidency.
      “So far we’ve been pleased with the presidential candidates where they were actually trying to answer our question and not just going back to a talking point,” he said. 
      “They are letting us know and reminding us that they are investing in communicating to the Latinos across America, that they’re focused on making sure that they’re inclusive and that they’re listening, and they’re realizing that when Latinos vote, the candidate wins,” he added.
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      Man Faces a Proposed $13 Million Fine for Racist Robocalls, U.S. Says


      A man who telecom regulators say was apparently behind a barrage of racist robocalls in six states — sowing hate in response to the killing of an Iowa college student by an undocumented immigrant and a white supremacist’s murder trial in Virginia — is facing a proposed fine of nearly $13 million by the Federal Communications Commission.
      The man, Scott D. Rhodes, who anti-hate groups say is a white supremacist and runs the website Road to Power, was “apparently” responsible for more than 6,000 robocalls in 2018 “with the intent to cause harm,” the F.C.C. said on Thursday.
      The commission said that in addition to Iowa and Virginia, Mr. Rhodes targeted people in California, Georgia, Florida and Idaho with the robocalls.

      Most recently, Road to Power took credit for a flurry of racist robocalls made to Columbia University employees after Tessa Majors, a Barnard College freshman, was killed in a mugging in December in New York City. The calls, which promoted a white supremacist ideology, were not part of the F.C.C. action on Thursday.

      The F.C.C. said it traced 827 spoofed robocalls that were made to residents in Brooklyn, Iowa, in August 2018 after the slaying of the University of Iowa student, Mollie Tibbetts, by an undocumented farmworker from Mexico. Ms. Tibbetts, whose murder has been invoked by President Trump in his push for a border wall, was from the small town.
      The commission said Mr. Rhodes used an online calling platform to intentionally manipulate caller ID information to display local phone numbers as the source of the calls. That practice, known as neighbor spoofing, violates the Truth in Caller ID Act, the commission said.
      “As if this tragedy were not enough, just two days after her funeral, Mollie’s family, friends, and the close-knit community of Brooklyn began to receive a barrage of spoofed robocalls,” Ajit Pai, the commission’s chairman, said in a statement on Thursday. “Preying on the tragedy, the calls contained inflammatory prerecorded messages and a woman’s voice apparently intended to impersonate Mollie Tibbetts saying ‘kill them all.’ ”
      Mr. Pai said the caller had been referring to undocumented immigrants from Mexico.
      Attempts on Thursday to reach Mr. Rhodes, who has used several aliases, were unsuccessful.

      It was not immediately clear whether Mr. Rhodes will face criminal charges for the robocalls, which the commission said were all made in 2018. A spokesman for the commission said he could not comment about possible violations outside the agency’s jurisdiction.
      Mr. Rhodes has 30 days to respond to the commission’s findings before the agency votes on the proposed fine. If the fine is imposed and Mr. Rhodes cannot pay, the matter would be turned over to the Department of Justice for collection, the F.C.C. spokesman said.
      The Justice Department declined to comment.
      The Anti-Defamation League, which monitors hate groups, said Thursday that it was critical to hold bad actors accountable.
      “It’s a great first step,” Oren Segal, the director of the organization’s Center for Extremism, said Thursday of the action taken against Mr. Rhodes. “Hopefully, the message is clear to extremists and bigots who want to use this technology in the future that there are consequences.”
      The commission said that Mr. Rhodes made 2,023 robocalls in November and December 2018 to residents of Charlottesville, Va., blaming the mayor and police chief for the murder of Heather Heyer in August 2017. Ms. Heyer was killed when James Fields Jr., who had traveled to Virginia to participate in a white supremacist rally, steered his car into a crowd of peaceful demonstrators. Mr. Fields pleaded guilty to federal charges and was sentenced to life in prison.
      The commission said Mr. Rhodes was also responsible for 766 robocalls in October 2018 targeting Andrew Gillum, who was the first black nominee for Florida governor from a major party.
      In the audio of one of the robocalls obtained by The New York Times, a man pretending to be Mr. Gillum could be heard talking in the exaggerated accent of a minstrel performer. “Well hello there,” it begins, “I is Andrew Gillum.” He then spoke for a little over a minute about mud huts and unfair policing practices, and asked repeatedly for the listener’s vote. In the background were the sounds of drums and monkeys.

      The F.C.C. spokesman declined to comment about the robocalls that Road to Power took credit for in December in New York, which were condemned by Columbia University officials.
      Sergeant Jessica McRorie, a New York Police Department spokeswoman, said Thursday evening that the case was still under investigation.
      “There is no place for hate or intolerance in New York City, or anywhere,” she said. “The N.Y.P.D.’s Racial and Ethnic Motivated Extremism unit is aware of this incident and looking into the matter.”

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      Census Relying on Social Media, Advocates to Stop Bad Info

      The U.S. Census Bureau is relying on outside help from social media companies, advocacy groups and other government agencies to halt campaigns that try to discourage people from participating in the once-a-decade head count through the spread of false information, officials said Thursday.
      Because the decennial census takes place only once in every 10 years, some people may not be familiar with it. That can lend itself to misinformation and disinformation, said Stephen Buckner, an assistant director of communications at the bureau during a Facebook Live session. Misinformation is the unintentional spread of incorrect information. Disinformation is the deliberate spread of false information.
      “It's really, really important that we do it right," Buckner said. “They're are no do-overs, so when the numbers are out, there's a 10 year process until the next count."

      The Census Bureau has formed a new “Trust & Safety" team of more than 20 agency staffers who will monitor social media and other platforms for false information about the 2020 census, and then respond swiftly to inaccuracies when needed.

      In the past several months, several social media platforms — including Facebook and YouTube — have promised to clamp down on misleading information about the census. On Wednesday, Pinterest joined the effort in announcing it would remove misleading content about who can participate in the 2020 Census and about the 2020 elections.
      “If we find a Pin or board that violates our policy, we’ll share it with the Census Bureau so that all the other platforms they’re working with can also take action on the content," Pinterest public policy manager Aerica Shimizu Banks said in a statement. “Similarly, if the Bureau provides verified misinformation or disinformation to us, we’ll look for it on our platform and take anything we find down."
      The bureau also is relying on groups like the Better Business Bureau and AARP, and their consumer-protection hotlines, to gather reports on the spread of misleading information, as well as advocacy groups for minorities who may be at risk of being under-counted, said Zachary Schwartz, who is running operations for the bureau's “Trust & Safety" team.
      “They're going to expand the bureau's reach into these communities to make sure that when there is a rumor flying around ... they can go right in there and put in authoritative content," Schwartz said.
      Members of the public also are being asked to email the bureau at rumors@census.gov if they encounter inaccurate information.

      The 2020 census will help determine how $1.5 trillion in federal spending is distributed and how many congressional seats each state gets. The count started earlier this month in rural Alaska. The rest of the nation won't begin participating until mid-March. This is the first decennial census in which the Census Bureau is encouraging most people to fill out the questionnaire online, though people can still answer by telephone or by mailing in their forms.
      Fake posts about the census began popping up days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last June that the Trump administration could not ask about citizenship status on the 2020 census. In another recent case, posts in neighborhood chat groups warned that robbers were scamming their way into people’s homes by asking to check residents’ identification for the census. That was a hoax, but it left Census Bureau officials scrambling to get the posts removed from Facebook.
      Civil rights leaders worry that if misinformation discourages immigrants and minorities from participating in the census, it could leave those populations underrepresented in key government decisions for years.

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      Philippine Church Denies FBI Allegations, to Fight in Court

      MANILA, Philippines — A Philippine religious group on Thursday denied allegations by American law enforcement agents that it was involved in a scheme to trick followers into becoming fundraisers and arrange sham marriages to keep them in the U.S.
      FBI agents raided the Kingdom of Jesus Christ church in Los Angeles on Wednesday in a human trafficking investigation that led to the arrests of three church leaders.
      A spokesman for Apollo Quiboloy, the church founder and leader, said former members who had been disciplined for wrongdoing retaliated by breaking off from his church and fabricating information they fed to the FBI in a “grand conspiracy of lies.”

      “Their aim, therefore, is to exact revenge, extortion commingled with a brazen but shameless desire to put (Quiboloy) and the (church) as a whole into a quagmire of shame, blatant humiliation and defeat through trumped-up charges,” lawyer Israelito Torreon said in a statement issued to reporters in southern Philippines' Davao city.

      The church leader ordered an internal audit last year that prompted a trusted officer and other members to leave the group and struck an alliance with “forces” jealous of Quiboloy’s rise, Torreon said without elaborating.
      “We will face and disprove as utter lies the charges filed against the administrators” of the church in the U.S., he said.
      Workers who managed to escape from the church told the FBI they had been sent across the U.S. soliciting donations for the church’s charity and were beaten and psychologically abused if they didn’t make quotas, according to an affidavit filed in support of the charges.
      The immigrants essentially became full-time workers, sometimes referred to as “miracle workers,” in a crusade to raise money for the nonprofit Children’s Joy Foundation USA, which was supposed to benefit poor children in their homeland. But the complaint said most of the money raised was used to finance church operations and the lavish lifestyle of Quiboloy.
      The church claims a membership of at least 6 million people and backed the 2016 candidacy of President Rodrigo Duterte, a close friend of Quiboloy. Duterte appeared in the group’s radio and TV program in Davao when he was mayor of the southern port city.

      Quiboloy claims to be “the appointed son of God” and last year claimed he stopped a major earthquake from hitting the southern Philippines.
      The Los Angeles leader of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ church was arrested on immigration fraud charges along with a worker who seized victims' passports and another who handled finances, the U.S. attorney’s office said.
      Between 2014 and the middle of last year, $20 million was sent back to the church in the Philippines, the FBI said.
      “Most of these funds appear to derive from street-level solicitation,” according to the affidavit by FBI Special Agent Anne Wetzel. “Little to no money solicited appears to benefit impoverished or in-need children.”
      Guia Cabactulan, 59, the top church official in the U.S., was arrested in Van Nuys with Marissa Duenas, 41, who allegedly handled fraudulent immigration documents, prosecutors said. Amanda Estopare, 48, who allegedly enforced fundraising quotas, was arrested in Virginia.
      Cabactulan and Duenas are expected to make initial court appearances Thursday in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles. Estopare was ordered held after a hearing in Norfolk, Virginia, and expected back in court Monday.
      Investigators documented 82 sham marriages over 20 years between top fundraisers and church members who were U.S. citizens.

      Torreon said church members “give their offerings voluntarily out of their faith and understanding of the biblical teaching concerning religious offerings, as well as their desire to raise money for specific projects, endeavors and ministry of the kingdom.”
      In addition to raiding the church’s Van Nuys compound, agents were searching other Los Angeles-area locations and at two places in Hawaii linked to the church.
      Two years ago, a leader of a Hawaii branch of the church was arrested smuggling cash onto a private plane in Honolulu bound for the Philippines with Quiboloy on board, according to court records.
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      The Supreme Court has a lot to do and isn't doing it quickly

      By Ariane de Vogue, CNN Supreme Court Reporter

      (CNN)By the end of June, as the Supreme Court reaches its grand finale and issues the last flurry of opinions before fleeing for the summer, the justices will have changed the lives of those impacted by its decisions, such as undocumented immigrants, LGBTQ individuals, supporters of gun rights and even President Donald Trump.
      But so far, as the midway point of the term approaches, the public has been left with hardly any clues concerning the direction of the court. That's because the justices appear to be moving more slowly than in recent years, having issued only four opinions since October -- a 50% decrease from this time last year.
      It's a term for the ages, where the court's newly solidified conservative majority -- serving its first full term together -- may signal how fast and how far the court is going to move on controversial issues such as abortion.
      But court watchers are left wondering what is taking so long.
        Chief Justice John Roberts has been doing double duty this month, presiding over the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, but the other justices have no such extracurricular obligations.
        "The pace of the court's output so far this term is a reminder that, whatever today's political cycle might be, the court moves on its own schedule and its own pace," said lawyer Joshua Geltzer of Georgetown Law, who is waiting for justices to act on the future of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an Obama-era immigration program, among other cases.
        Indeed, Roberts often points out that the architect of the Supreme Court placed bronze tortoises at the base of the court's exterior lampposts to symbolize the judiciary's commitment to constant-- but deliberate -- progress.
        These days, however, the tortoise is at a standstill, and the justices have left for a winter recess and won't return until late February. (They can issue emergency rulings and orders remotely if needed.)
        So far, they have heard cases concerning LGBTQ rights, the Second Amendment and DACA. They are also untangling a messy case having to do with Puerto Rico's financial condition, as well as another related to the Bridgegate political scandal that occurred when Chris Christie served as governor of New Jersey.
        In March, the justices will take on a bitter dispute about a Louisiana abortion access law and will deal with the President's attempts to shield his financial documents. They are also pondering whether to take up Obamacare. Again.
        To be sure, the justices have held arguments and cast preliminary votes behind closed doors, and opinion drafts are likely ricocheting between chambers. They've agreed to take up big issues concerning the contraceptive coverage mandate and so called "faithless" presidential electors.
        But while they have considered other petitions, including a series of cases concerning religious liberty, they have yet to announce whether they will grant those cases or let lower court opinions stand.
        All the while, the public at large has seen more of Roberts on camera during the Senate impeachment trial than it has during his entire 15-year tenure on the court.
        On his home turf, away from the cameras, the action is mostly behind the scenes.
        The silence could mean the justices are struggling, searching for narrow areas of agreement. Or the chief might be purposely working to keep the court out of the current political glare. He could simply be distracted by the hours and hours of work he's had to put in across the street, where his attention to detail and legendary preparation have been on full display.
        Or it could be something else. Normally, it's the unanimous, low-profile cases that are the first to emerge. This term, there aren't as many of those. Instead, the docket is chock-full of high-profile cases that will touch the nerves of an ideologically divided court.
          By the end of June, with the presidential election in high gear, the court will reach a defining moment. The chief -- the man who sits at the middle -- will likely have cast the key swing vote in some cases. The public will learn more about the jurisprudence of Trump's nominees. The liberals will have chosen a path forward -- maybe even attracting a conservative vote on one or two hot-button cases.
          And the country, by the end of the term, just as another election gears up, will have its first full glimpse of why elections matter.
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          Brazilians Sent to Mexico by U.S. Say They Don't Understand Why

          CIUDAD JUAREZ — Bewildered, sad and disappointed, Brazilians migrants sent from the United States to Mexico this week were left wondering how they had ended up in another country whose language they do not understand.
          The United States on Wednesday began sending some Brazilian migrants who had crossed the border with Mexico back there to await their U.S. court hearings under a programme known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP).
          It is one of several moves by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump aimed at reducing the number of people seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. Since the programme began a year ago, more than 57,000 non-Mexican migrants have been returned to Mexico.

          "I don't understand why I was sent here," said Brazilian migrant Tania Costa, adding that she did not understand Spanish and had been unable to communicate with Mexican officials. "Why did they return me to Mexico and not Brazil?"

          She said U.S. officials had not explained to her that she would be sent to Mexico. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
          Ten Brazilian migrants were sent to Mexico under MPP on Wednesday, according to Enrique Valenzuela, who heads the civil protection services in Chihuahua state. The programme was previously limited to Spanish speakers.
          Among them were Costa and her six-year old daughter. They had left Belo Horizonte in the southwestern state Minas Gerais, Brazil just over a week ago, she said.
          "I had heard of people who managed, so I tried as well," she said. "I had a court date, everything was scheduled, but they didn't let me stay there."
          She was getting death threats because of her inability to pay her debt, she said, and that she had no job. "They said since we don't want to go back to Brazil, because we're being threatened, then we have to return to Mexico," she said.

          U.S. Border Patrol caught roughly 17,900 Brazilians at the southwestern border with Mexico in the last fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, 2018. The figure was a sharp increase from 1,500 arrests a year earlier.
          "I would like to return to the United States," said Costa. "They gave us a court date, but in April. And we have no way to get back to Brazil."
          (Reporting by Jose Luis Gonzalez in Ciudad Juarez; Additional reporting by Brad Haynes in Sao Paulo, Kristina Cooke in Los Angeles and Lizbeth Diaz in Mexico City; Writing by Stefanie Eschenbacher; Editing by Grant McCool)

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