Software Standards And Immigration Lawyers
Today's letter to the Editor from Robert Meltzer of Visanow.com, and
yesterday's article by Juli Gammon of Walther Solutions, Inc highlight an
important point of concern for immigration lawyers throughout the country.
BCIS is moving into the electronic age, with e-filing apparently imminent.
The immigration attorney community, too, has been moving, slowly but
surely, toward greater automation in processing matters within law offices
across the US. These two electronic worlds - at BCIS and at law firms - may
be about to collide. The immigration bar must realize that it has a large
investment of tens of millions of dollars in the data already entered by
attorneys on their existing systems. If the new BCIS e-filing procedures do
not integrate well with the existing systems, immigration practitioners may
be left with the costs of remedying the situation. This is clearly
something that should concern all immigration attorneys who use computers -
not just those with automated matter processing - and of course all the
software suppliers to this field of law practice (there may be more than
two dozen such suppliers). The correct solution to benefit all parties,
including BCIS, would be the setting of standards on an industry-wide
basis, with BCIS, all the suppliers, and immigration attorneys (probably
through AILA), all getting together to set an industry-wide standard that
would work for the benefit for all. Here are the things a standard would
achieve: BCIS would gain in lower costs to the government, and also
enhanced security, both for its systems, and otherwise. The software
suppliers would gain in that their market would be broadened, and they
would be able to offer seamless integration with BCIS. Immigration
attorneys would receive faster speed in communication with BCIS, and be
spared the costs of integrating their systems with BCIS. However, such
standard setting nirvana would be unprecedented in the relatively small
world of immigration software, and would need visionary leadership, either
from the government, or the Bar, or the industry. Hopefully, someone will
answer this need for the benefit of the community.
Adjustment Of Status - It Ain't What It Used To Be
A few years ago, adjustment of status was a relatively simple matter. The
adjustment/consular process now involves elaborate legal and strategic
calculations with complexities involving status violations, concurrent
processing, work and travel, portability, CSPA, etc. Immigration attorneys must master this crucial and
essential process in order to succesfully guide clients through the
minefield that it has now become. Distinguished practitioners Ron Klasko and Tammy Fox-Isicoff will share their experience,
insights and knowledge in an in-depth, cutting-edge discussion about this
emerging subject in ILW.COM's new telephonic seminar series "Advanced
Issues In Adjustment Of Status." For more info, including detailed curriculum, speaker bios, and registration information, please see: http://www.ilw.com/seminars/may2003.shtm. For the fax version, please see: http://www.ilw.com/seminars/may2003.pdf.
Race, Nationality, and Reality:
INS Administration of Racial Provisions in US Immigration and Nationality Law Since 1898, Part 5 of 8
Marian L. Smith writes "Change began with amendment of the traditional List of Races or Peoples devised by the Immigration Service on Ellis Island in 1898."
A Legal Guide For Detainees: Actions Brought Against INS Or Other Law Enforcement Officials For Personal Injury Or Property Damage or Loss: Part 2 of 3
The Commission on Immigration Practice, Policy, and Pro Bono of the American Bar Association offers a detailed guide at how to bring actions against INS for personal injury or property damage.
Keep on top of the latest in immigration law! Attend ILW.COM seminars! You can attend ILW.COM phone seminars from the convenience of your office! For more info on the seminars currently available, please click here: http://www.ilw.com/seminars/
Immigration Law News
Immigration Definitions Clarified In Sentencing Guidelines
The United States Sentencing Commission issued notice of the Sentencing Guidelines for US Courts, including immigration-related provisions, especially several definitional clarifications to reflect congressional amendments to the sentencing guidelines made directly by the PROTECT Act.
Arizona House Wants Increased Federal Funding For Border Patrol
A resolution which was adopted by the House of Representatives of Arizona was laid before the US Senate, this resolution supported increased federal funding for border patrol that would reduce the strain on state resources in the fight against illegal immigration.
Rep. Tancredo Says That Immigrating Legally Is Very Difficult, But Very Few Who Sneak In Will Be Deported
Rep. Tancredo (R-CO) during a debate in Congress said, "If you get to the US, you are probably going to remain in
the US. That is the reality of the situation. We deport very few people; that is, if you are sneaking in especially. But if you are
trying to get here legally, it can be a very difficult task."
BICE Announces New Agency Structure
The BICE announced an agency restructure that will take effect June 9, 2003, dividing the current organization and creating a headquarters structure for the agency's operational components and a field structure that provides an integrated chain of command and more streamlined operations at minimal cost.
2L1.2 Sentencing Enhancement Does Not Violate Ex Post Facto Clause
In US v. Heredia-Cruz, No. 02-2009 (10th Cir. May 15, 2003), the court said that the sentencing enhancement in 2L1.2 did not unconstitutionally punish a Defendant for a felony conviction that occurred before enactment 2L1.2 or its relevant amendments because the Defendant was being punished for the illegal re-entry, not the underlying aggravated felony.
Alien Deprived Of Judicial Review When 212(c) Application Not Considered
In US v. Perez, No. 02-1517 (2nd Cir. May 15, 2003), the court said that Defendant was deprived of judicial review because, as a result of his counsel's failure to timely file the 212(c) application, neither the Immigration Judge or the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) ever considered the merits of his 212(c) application. The court also said that it would not be logical to subject a deportation order to less scrutiny in the criminal context than in the civil context of deportation.
Somali Bantu Refugees Prepare For Life In US
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune of Southwest Florida reports "In a cramped classroom at the Nairobi offices of the International Organization of Migration, a group of Somali Bantu refugees spent Thursday learning how to get through an airport and on to the plane that in a few days will take them from a desperate life in Africa to a fresh start in the United States."
BICE Most Wanted Aliens List Leads To Arrest Of Two Men On List
The San Jose Mercury News reports "Two days after federal immigration officials unveiled a national "Most Wanted" list of illegal immigrants convicted of various crimes, officers here arrested two men on the list who were in hiding to avoid a deportation order."
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Help Wanted - Immigration Legal Assistant
The Law Offices of Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. seeks an Immigration Legal Assistant for its growing firm located in downtown Chicago. Fluency in Spanish plus 1-3 years experience in deportation, waiver and family issues is required. Excellent writing, communication & organizational skills are a must. Position involves substantial client contact, affidavit drafting and country conditions research. Send resume, cover letter and writing sample to Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C., 105 W. Madison #2200, Chicago, IL 60602 by fax 312-444-1950 or e-mail
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Letters to the Editor
Thank you for resisting the attempts of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (BICE) to shorten its acronym, apparently because "ICE" looks cool. May it rather melt down.
Name Withheld Upon Request
The word "outsourcing" is misused several times in ILW.COM's editorial. Outsourcing is defined as purchasing a business function or task from outside the
company, not country.
Offshoring is defined as purchasing a business function or task outside the country,
or performing a business function outside the country.
Outsourcing does not mean buying services in another country. As a matter
of fact, most US outsourcing is done
within the boundaries of the US. Companies choose to outsource because, some of the functions that the
company must perform, are outside the
company's areas of expertise. For instance, most companies, big and small, must outsource their payroll processing, to a company such as ADP Payroll Processing. A cement contractor might outsource payroll because
their area of expertise is cement
mixing, pouring, testing and whatever else goes into the cement business.
It would not make good business sense
for them to buy the computer equipment, hire the accounting experts and the
programmers just to keep all
functions in house.
In this example, since ADP Payroll Processing is an American Company, no jobs are lost to overseas companies.
A company may move some functions offshore for many reasons that have been discussed in several threads recently.
Offshoring is not outsourcing. Companies that move functions offshore may
still be keeping the function as part
of the company (but in a new location), or they may also outsource it if
they subcontract the services of a
company in a foreign country.
I hope you will make this little adjustment to your editorial, and help pass
it on to others in your discussions. Your editorial was quite informative, thank you.
Editor's Note: Offshoring is certainly more to the point than outsourcing, we used outsourcing in an informal sense.
In response to your editorial, El Centro Hispanoamericano is one of four agencies in New Jersey that assist undocumented victims of 9-11. Although we get some funding for our project, there are people who fall outside the ambit of the funding program. One of our major unfunded programs is community education to the many immigrant communities affected by 9-11. We could use funds to help translate materials into languages such as Indonesian and Farsi. We also provide education and job counseling to victims as well as social service referral and helping victims through the NJ Interfaith Disaster Recovery Partnership.
Joyce Antila Phipps, Esq., Executive Director
Editor's Note: Please see our previous Editor's Comments.
One has to wonder about the objectivity and therefore the conclusions of
the National Immigration Forum press release. It would be surprising to find anyone working for a Ford dealership, and profiting therefrom, to be touting anything but Fords. With the job description requirements of NIF employees, the preposterous conclusion that the Texas deaths of 18 illegal aliens in a truck can be blamed upon restrictive entry policies is to be be
expected, if still outrageous. It is not immigration laws that need to
be liberalized to meet the "reality of people seeking opportunity and
employers who want to hire them". Immigration laws are already too lax and liberal according to citizen
polls. It is the mindset of the special interests and illegal immigrants who must face the reality of our sovereignty and laws. They can't arrogantly decide to come here illegally and then blame US when something goes wrong. We don't want and can't take all of the people in Mexico or the World who might want to live here. This is the fact that illegals and employers seeking profits by forcing taxpayers to subsidize many costs of illegals need to face. And all do not come here for
honest work, but some for drug dealing, car stealing, welfare fraud and other criminal and terrorist activities. The true lesson from these kinds of tragic deaths is that those who encourage illegal entry share the blame by endorsing and/or creating the conditions that draw them here. The solution to banks being robbed is not to legalize bank robbing to
bring "order" and "safety" to this illegal activity and to bring "hard
working" bank robbers "out of the shadows" "legally and with dignity" or
to proclaim amnesty for past crimes. Illegal entry is a crime. What part of this is difficult to understand? Immigration reform is needed, but it should be far more restrictive than the current massive invasion.
R. L. Ranger
As the development of their e-filing system continues, the BCIS must draw on the collective experience and expertise that the immigration bar has in applying technology to the US immigration process. The launch of e-filing with the BCIS in less than two weeks is an encouraging sign the bureau recognizes that: (1) The Internet can greatly enhance the BCIS' focus on customer service; (2) The government needs to accelerate the advance of their own technology as a part of the INS/BCIS reorganization; because (3) Immigration attorneys have been the fastest and most fervent adopters of technology in the practice of law, and are comfortable using advanced technology in their daily workflow.
Two items were covered in 8 CFR Part 103, the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Register entry on April 29: an interim final rule on allowing electronic signatures on applications and petitions, and one on electronic filing of applications, beginning with the I-90 and the I-765. Without a rule on electronic signatures, electronic filing would not be possible.
As a group, the Bar understands the impact that technology makes on our practices. The BCIS has a unique opportunity to take advantage of our collective knowledge to help ensure that the e-filing program is a success. Including the Immigration Bar in the planning and implementation of e-filing as it moves forward will benefit all parties involved: immigration beneficiaries, attorneys, and the BCIS itself.
As an attorney who has been using the Internet as the centerpiece of the immigration application process for 7 years, I am aware of the government's track record of including us in the planning and decision-making stages. We were promised input in the automation of the N-400 application process, but were left out. The Department of Labor committed to including us when implementing the labor certification application process, but ultimately failed to call on the collective knowledge and experience of the Bar.
Now is the time for the BCIS to ask for the help of the Bar - not just as clients of the e-filing system, but as experts in the application and use of technology in the immigration process. Early indications, both official and unofficial, including instances recently published in Immigration Daily, are that the BCIS is moving forward on this system without the Bar's knowledge and experience. It is our responsibility to continue to go to the BCIS and clearly make the case that our insight is critical to the success of this program.
Our conversations with the BCIS and its contractors indicate that what will be unveiled on May 29th will be a good first step, but much more will be needed. That's where our experiences as legal professionals using technology to enhance our service to clients will be invaluable. I hope that we all will make our voices heard when it comes to letting the BCIS know how to make the e-filing program live up to its potential. The comment period ending June 30, 2003 on e-filing should be used as a springboard to launch a Bar-wide effort to create a dialogue that will result in integrated technology that streamlines the immigration benefit process for applicants, their attorneys, and the BCIS.
Robert C. Meltzer, President
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