Below is a highlight of select immigration law news.
Border and Enforcement News Hundreds of state and federal law officers descended on massage parlors in San Francisco and other California cities last week in a wide-ranging investigation into immigrant smuggling, according to The San Francisco Chronicle. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles told the Associated Press more than three-dozen search warrants were issued in southern California alone. In addition to the San Francisco probe, a second investigation netted an unknown number of arrests in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Anaheim and elsewhere.
Federal officials last week announced they have arrested 25 illegal aliens in Montgomery County, Maryland, as part of a three-day operation to remove criminal aliens from the United States, according to The Washington Times. Fourteen of the 25 aliens arrested were fugitives that already had been ordered to be deported by immigration officials. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, said those 14 will be deported. ICE officials said they determine who will be released on a case-by-case basis.
News Bytes The Associated Press recently reported that Republican congressman Tom Tancredo has called into question the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) methods in handling a document containing survey results. The survey reportedly indicates, among other things, that nearly half of all immigrants lacking proper documentation taken into custody between January 7 and January 27 of this year said that they believed the Bush administration would grant amnesty to temporary workers, as per the president’s plan. Rep. Tancredo cited concerns such as security risks and increased incidents of unlawful immigration as his complaints with DHS and White House behavior. Both immigration advocates and DHS spokeswoman Kristi Clemens denied the importance of the survey, calling it “silly” and “out of context.”
According to a DHS press release, the United States, Mexico, and Canada have agreed on an initial report of the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP). The respective leaders of the represented nations met earlier this year and created the SPP to “further our common security goals and achieve transformational improvements.” Among the specific aims of the partnership are a Trusted Traveler Program, combating piracy, strengthening regulations on e-commerce and industrial goods, and enhancing public health and safety.
International Roundup The Irish government introduced legislation last week for awarding US-style green cards to skilled immigrant workers in order to protect them better and ensure the country's economy continues growing. Due to Parliament’s break for summer that started July 1, the bill published last week by Enterprise and Employment Minister Micheal Martin will be debated in the autumn session. The Employment Permits Bill will allow the minister to establish the number of employment permits in total and by sector, and to identify the skills and employment categories for work permits.
The laws will provide a number of new protections for migrant workers. The work permit will be granted to them rather than to the employer.
Trade unions and immigrant support groups have complained the existing system has led to exploitation of vulnerable immigrant workers.
Chinese tourists will be allowed to stay in Korea for up to 30 days without a visa when they travel to and from Europe via Incheon International Airport. According to the Korea Times, the Ministry of Justice recently said that Chinese travelers to and from Europe will be able to stay in Korea for a maximum of 30 days by showing a visa or permanent residency from one of 30 European countries along with a connecting air ticket at the immigration desk of the airport.
The 30 European countries include eight that have direct flights between Korea. Chinese travelers in this group will be qualified for ``B-2’’ immigration status, which will grant them a 30-day travel period.
India and WTO Negotiate for More Visas The Economic Times of India recently reported that India is awaiting response from the United States regarding its proposal to approve 130,000 more H1-B visas, increasing the total to 195,000. India made a formal request to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to this effect.
The extra visas come in reaction to the steadily increasing number of Indian professionals in the healthcare, technology, and education fields. The US temporarily increased the current quota of 65,000 by 20,000 for the current year to meet the exceptionally high demand.
In exchange for the additional visas, India would “favorably consider demand” from Europe and the United States for a greater share of the market for industrial goods, services, and agriculture, according to sources. The issue of visas is important to the Indian government, along with tariff peaks, export subsidies, and Nama- non-agricultural market access.
White House Develops Frequent Traveler Program A new international travel program is in the works, according to the National Journal’s Technology Daily. The “global enrollment system," as Elaine Dezenski, acting assistant secretary for border and transportation security at DHS called it, would include such measures as quicker lines and security screenings in exchange for a fee and biographical and biometric data. This proposal is based on a current, controversial domestic registered-travel system.
Although many civil rights advocates have expressed concern with the new program, citing questions of cost, privacy, and whether or not it will actually improve security, White House officials believe that it will strengthen the nation’s borders, especially in the cases of those who cross the border frequently. A new database would contain names and biometric information, such as fingerprints or scanned irises, for travelers who cross borders on a regular basis.
Gregory Siskind is a partner in Siskind Susser's Memphis, Tennessee, office. After graduating magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, he received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago. Mr. Siskind is a member of AILA, a board member of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and a member of the ABA, where he serves on the LPM Publishing Board as Marketing Vice Chairman. He is the author of several books, including the J Visa Guidebook and The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet. Mr. Siskind practices all areas of immigration law, specializing in immigration matters of the health care and technology industries. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.