Nov 30, 2011

Representing Clients in Removal Proceedings

After a tumultuous end of the summer and fall representing clients in immigration courts, I can finally come to some conclusions about what it takes to represent clients in removal proceedings in the current immigration climate.
First I will say that I was surprised (or not) of the tremendous response the recent Georgia immigration law had upon the local police officers. They were extremely busy arresting every person they could stop, for even a minor traffic violation, if the person was a suspect illegal immigrant. In the past couple of months, hundreds of people were arrested and, most of them, ended in the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) custody.
I have read numerous articles that were describing the conditions in which these people were held in jail (for a civil offense). Even more disturbing, there were articles talking about people that have died in these "immigration jails".
I had the occasion myself to visit such a jail, in the process of helping my client, and I thought it was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. I had to see my client inside the jail, passing through concrete wall corridors without any windows, hearing the heavy metal doors closing behind me, and avoiding any eye contact with the prisoners that were staring behind glass walls. My client lost a lot of weight in jail because they were served one meal per day and he got sick from the air conditioned since he only had his underwear and the prisoner's jumpsuit on him. He has also told me that the immigration offenders were mingled with all the other criminal offenders.
My experience in representing the client in front of the immigration court was otherwise positive because I believed the judge was fair and the process itself enfolded the way I expected it to.
One thing is for sure: if someone does not have proper immigration documentation in United States these days, they need to seriously consider the possibility that, one day, they can find themselves in one of these immigration jails and be deported. Therefore, any person in this situation should consider talking with an immigration attorney that can evaluate their legal rights and help them to obtain legal immigration status before it is too late.

Aug 30, 2011


Trusted Source: American Immigration Lawyer Association. Please click on the title to read the entire Consumer Advisory Letter. 

Obama's Administration announcement of August 18, 2011, is NOT an Amnesty program! 

Do NOT believe anyone who tells you they can sign you up for a work permit
(Employment Authorization Document or “EAD”) or get you legal status
based on the Secretary Napolitano’s August 18, 2011 announcement!
Anyone who says that is not to be trusted!

There is NO “safe” way to turn yourself in to immigration and there is NO
guarantee that your case will be considered “low priority.” ANY person who
comes into contact with immigration authorities may be arrested, detained
or even removed.

Only a QUALIFIED IMMIGRATION LAWYER can evaluate your case and tell
your about your rights.

Do NOT seek legal advice from a notario or immigration consultant.
For more information about avoiding immigration scams go to

Aug 24, 2011

Freeing Illegal Immigrants Facing Deportation in Georgia

Under new guidelines the Obama administration announced last week, Homeland Security said ICE “is focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that prioritizes the removal of criminal aliens, recent border crossers and egregious immigration law violators, such as those who have been previously removed from the U.S. The agency exercises prosecutorial discretion, on a case-by-case basis, as necessary to focus resources on these priorities.”
Following the new guidelines, Homeland Security Department officials confirmed that Pedro Morales, 19, of Dalton and Luis “Ricky” Hernandez, 18, of Calhoun had been let out of the Stewart Detention Center in South Georgia and their cases dismissed yesterday. 
While critics of the new guidelines say the Obama administration is ignoring federal immigration laws by freeing illegal immigrants, Charles Kuck, the teens' attorney, and the past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (and whom I had the pleasure to know as my Professor in law school and I for whom I have a great respect), said ICE’s decision to free his clients indicates “there is a return of some semblance of sanity to our [immigration] system.”
Please click on the title to read the entire article published in Atlanta Journal Constitution on August 23, 2011. 

Jul 29, 2011

Georgia's Farm Land Jobs Crisis

Georgia's Governor Deal proposed that the 11,000 openings — which, he suggested, should be filled with some of the state's 100,000 ex-convicts, about 25% of whom are unemployed.
However, a few weeks ago, in a documentary of a local television station, several ex-convicts and the reporters were trying to work for a day in the cucumber fields and they declared it was one of the most difficult jobs they have ever done. So how realistic is governor's plan to protect Georgia's agriculture industry from the predictable effects  of enacting one of the harshest immigration law in the nation, (the law took effect July 1, 2011),  is yet to be seen. Please click on the title to read the entire article from Time Magazine.

Jul 1, 2011

Other States Follow the "State Immigration Bills" Trend

According to American Immigration Lawyers Association: "South Carolina bill (SB 20) has been signed into law by Gov. Nicki Haley on June 27, 2011. SB 20 authorizes police officers to investigate immigration status on routine stops and mandates the use of E-Verify. The bill is set to take effect on January 1, 2012."

In Georgia, according to the same source, "A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction on key provisions of HB87.  Judge Thrash blocked the parts of the law that tried to turn local cops into immigration officers, and that made it a crime to transport, harbor, or induce an undocumented immigrant.   This is a huge defeat for Governor Deal and Rep. Matt Ramsey, the bill’s sponsor."

Jun 18, 2011

Georgia's House Bill 87 To Take Effect July 1, 2011

Georgia Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011 or HB 87 has been signed on May 13 by Gov. Nathan Deal and is due to take full effect on July 1, 2011.  Ever since the bill has been signed into law, it has created fear and confusion not only among illegal immigrants and their families but also among employers all over the state.
United States Congress decided long ago that immigration law and its enforcement is a matter of national interest and it had created special institutions and a comprehensive legislative scheme in order to implement US immigration regulations in a uniform way all over United States. However, in the absence of a long due federal immigration law reform, states have taken the matter into their own hands and enacted state laws with the purpose to stop illegal immigration. First state to enact such a law was Arizona, followed by Georgia. Other states are considering similar legislation, such as Alabama, Florida and South Carolina. The vast majority of these state laws provisions are likely to be found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Nonetheless, until that happens, these laws are enforced and may have deep and unexpected consequences for these states.
Unlike before the enactment of HB 87, a local or state police officer will be allowed to ask for papers or to investigate if a suspect is undocumented and if so, she will be allowed to notify the Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") agents about that person's status.
Under the current federal immigration law, if a person has been unlawfully present in United States for over 180 days but less then 1 (one) year, that person is subject to a 3 (three) years bar on admission; if a person has been unlawfully present in United States for over 1 (one) year, that person is inadmissible for 10 (ten) years. Those that have been deported and try to enter US without authorization, are permanently inadmissible.  Usually, when there are discussions about immigration reform, they refer to these admission bans which seem to deter many undocumented immigrants to return to their countries by fear that they will be unable to come back in US legally. Therefore, many of these undocumented immigrants prefer to keep this illegal status rather then risking not to be able to come back legally. This is a problem that has to be fixed by the future legislation.
Undocumented immigrants do fear about the enforcement of the HB 87 bill in Georgia starting July 1, and they should: because this bill was meant to crack down on illegal immigrants. Emotions are running high and many people already left the state.
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) recommends to any immigrant in Georgia who is detained by police that you should ask to remain silent, to NOT comment about your immigration status with anyone but your lawyer and to NOT answer any question.
More to come about HB 87.

Jun 12, 2011

The Golden Rule

Mahatma Gandhi said "Be the change you want to see in the world".
The Golden Rule states: "One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself". The rule has its roots in a wide range of world cultures and is arguably the basis for the modern concept of "human rights" in which each individual has a right to just treatment and a reciprocal responsibility to ensure justice for others. 

May 18, 2011

Blame Game

A very interesting article published on the Immigration Policy Center explains one of the most common misconception about the impact immigrants have on the American economy. The article explains how immigrants are not the cause of high unemployment and low wages among minority workers, and how the immigration does not cause unemployment.
Please click on the title of this post and read the entire article.

May 11, 2011

Immigrant Wall of Honor

Did you know that you can add your name to The American Immigrant Wall of Honor, so that your legacy  is celebrated by future generation? Located at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, right next to the Statute of Liberty, the wall has over 700,000 names inscribed on it so far. I just found this information to be very interesting for those interested to leave this kind of legacy for the future.

May 6, 2011

The Secret of America

“This was the secret of America: a nation of people with the fresh memory of old traditions who dared to explore new frontiers, people eager to build lives for themselves in a spacious society that did not restrict their freedom of choice and action.” – President John F. Kennedy (1958) (“A Nation of Immigrants”).

“Immigrants today come from all corners of the world, representing every race and creed. They work hard. They practice their faith. They love their families. And they love this country. We would not be a great nation today without them. But whether we remain true to that history and heritage is a major challenge.” – Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (2008) (Introduction to “A Nation of Immigrants” – essay by President John F. Kennedy).


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