Government Pledges Responses In 2 Days
In our modern electronic age, wonders will never cease, or at least so it
seems. The General Services Administration announced the launch of "USA
Services" part of President Bush's "E-Government" initiative (see items
below from the GSA and the OMB). GSA Administrator Perry is quoted as
stating "we pledge to provide answers to all e-mail and telephone citizen
inquiries with two business days or less". Bearing in mind that Petitioners
in immigration cases include US citizens petitioning for their relatives,
and companies (artificial persons, therefore arguably also "citizens")
petitioning for their employees, does this now mean that enquiries to BCIS
and DOL will now receive answers in 2 days or less? So the administration
appears to be saying. The number to call is 1-800-FED-INFO. Or email your
inquiry through the form at:
http://www.firstgov.gov/feedback/FeedbackForm.jsp (be sure to select
"Immigration and Naturalization" in the drop down box). Once you receive an
answer, or don't receive one, please let us know of your experience by
writing a Letter to the Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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New BCIS Interpretation On The 7th-Year H-1B Visa Extension
Cyrus D. Mehta writes "On November 2, 2002, the Twenty-First Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act took effect making it easier for an H-1B visa holder to apply for one-year extensions beyond the 6th-year limitation on H-1B status."
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Immigration Law News
BICE Guidance Memo For Academic Institutions On SEVIS Compliance
The SEVIS Program Office Director of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement released a memorandum for academic institutions that are not currently Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) certified in anticipation of the final August 1, 2003 deadline to have all new and continuing students in SEVIS.
BICE Memo Provides Guidance On Port Of Entry SEVIS Scenarios
The SEVIS Program Office Director of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement released a memorandum for academic institutions that admit foreign students describing the four scenarios that are likely to occur at ports of entry on or after August 1, 2003.
Senatorial Statements On Obliteration Of L Visa Bill
Sen. Dodd (D-CT) and Sen. Leahy (D-VT) both made statements before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security on the bill to obliterate the L Visa.
GSA Pledges To Respond To Email Inquiries Within Two Days
The General Services Administration (GSA) of the today formally launched USA Services, a Bush Administration E-Government initiative that pledges to provide citizens with responses to all their Web, e-mail and telephone inquiries within two business days or less. See here for the OMB press release. See here for the GSA press statement.
Prior Convictions Do Not Violate Apprendi
In US v. Perez-Perez, No. 03-1459 (8th Cir. Jul. 30, 2003), the court said that "while a finding that the prior felony conviction qualified as "aggravated" was a fact that could increase the Defendant's sentence beyond the initially prescribed maximum sentence, the plain language of Apprendi excepts the fact of prior convictions from its holding."
7th Circuit Denies Alien's Claim, Says He Could Have Been St. Cyr
In US v. Roque-Espinoza, No. 01-3947 (7th Cir. Jul. 30, 2003), the court said that Defendant failed to exhaust his administrative remedies and added that "even though Defendant may have had good reason for thinking that he was not eligible for discretionary relief from removal, because the Immigration Judge had so informed him, he should have realized that avenues of judicial review were available to him." In its holding the court pointed out "the law would never change if litigants did not request the responsible tribunals to reconsider earlier rulings...this is the mechanism that Enrico St. Cyr used...nothing prevented [Defendant] from playing the role of St. Cyr."
Use Of Defendant's Prior Conviction As A Sentencing Factor Does Not Violate Apprendi
In US v. Hernandez-Morales, No. 02-1521 (10th Cir. Jul. 29, 2003), the court said that use of Defendant's prior conviction as a sentencing factor did not violate Apprendi's holding.
Clarifying Amendment 632 To USSG 2L1.2 Does Not Apply Retroactively
In US v. Chavez-Salais, No. 02-2138 (10th Cir. Jul. 29, 2003), the court said that Amendment 632 to USSG 2L1.2 [which applies to defendants convicted of reentering or remaining in the US after having been previously deported] was substantive and not clarifying and therefore could not be applied retroactively. This revised version of the Guideline which became effective on November 1, 2001, provides for the enhancement of 8, 12, 16 levels depending upon what type of aggravated felony the defendant was convicted of.
DHS Hiring Lawyers For Its Office Of General Counsel
Law.com reports "The Department of Homeland Security is seeking a few good lawyers, 68 to be exact."
27 Foreign Nationals Detained For Sexual Abuse Charges
The Miami Herald reports "Federal immigration agents have rounded up 27 foreign nationals convicted of sexual abuse of children and child endangerment and detained them pending deportation to their home countries, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced Wednesday."
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Help Wanted: Experienced Immigration Law Attorney
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We carry advertisements for Help Wanted: Attorney, Help Wanted: Paralegal, Help Wanted: Other, Positions Sought, Products & Services Offered, etc.
For information on advertising in the classifieds please click here
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Letters to the Editor
In defense of Mr. Murray's right to have his own opinion, Charles W.'s letter from Vegas seems to have forgotten that this is America and Mr. Murray can state any opinion he wishes. He certainly does not have to move to Tijuana or any place else. Perhaps Charles has mistaken this country for the former Iraq or Saudi Arabia, where free speech is not allowed.
In response to the D.M.'s Letter to the Editor in July 31, 2003 issue of Immigration Daily, I quote from his letter, this time:
"...However, the fact remains, let me make this perfectly clear,
there is presently no federal legislation, law, rule,
requirement, statute, regulation, presidential proclamation,
order or otherwise, that designates or requires English, or any
other language as the "official" language of the government of
the U.S." You said, "or otherwise." As a lawyer, "or otherwise," left the door open
for a "big picture argument" to include pending federal legislation and 27
enacted state laws, and citing the US English, Inc. website. It was
interesting that two writers of letters to the Editor on the same day, independently
the same pending federal legislation, 27 enacted state laws, and the US
English, Inc. website.
I'll cite one simple, yet complex, reason in response to the letter of Name Not Supplied, who takes the position, "If English
is our de facto official language what is the point in passing a law to make it our official language? Other than to be divisive?"
Quite simply, there is no cogent reason why English should not be made the official language of the US, after all, more than 50% of the states have already passed the legislation. Yes, twenty-seven of the fifty states of the US have laws designating English as the national state language, states have the power to do this in exercise of "states rights", guaranteed by the Constitution, in matters that are not pre-empted by federal law. But issues are never simple, and the complexities should not be disregarded.
California, hovering between the fifth and sixth largest gross national product (GNP) in the world, has no official language. Most assuredly, the California legislature would never pass an English-as-the-official-language bill, because it would be a "political hot potato". Although debatable, I believe if today a referendum on the language issue came up in the state of California, such a referendum would not pass. (Strangely, we in California have an "initiative and referendum" system, unknown in many states, whereby if the legislators will not pass a law, the people, or special interest groups, can place the issue on the ballot for a vote.)
Now look down the road 20 years, when California is predominantly Hispanic. Factor in Hispanic family growth rate statistics, voter demographics, pending immigration legislation relating to a guest-worker program that leads to permanent residence for Mexicans, and/or a general Amnesty whereby millions of Mexicans, and other Spanish speakers from South of the border, would once again be granted permanent residence for no other reason than that they entered the US illegally, stayed, and were lucky enough to meet the complex criteria and documentation requirements of an amnesty program. Factor into this equation the opportunity to apply for naturalization after achieving permanent residence, assuring voting status after three or five years. Factor into the equation that the majority of the voters in California twenty years from now will be either bi-lingual Spanish or solely Spanish-speaking (my estimate). Now, factor in the militancy and in some instances outright animosity perpetuated by individuals and special interest groups in the Southwest who, after more than 150 years, remain outraged and downright indignant over the theft of precious land from Mexicans that resulted from the US breach of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (the treaty that ended the Mexican-American war and "guaranteed" certain land ownership rights in the American Southwest to Mexican landholders). What do we have? We have a clear and dangerous possibility that under current law, someday, a referendum could be introduced in the State of California, and who knows, Spanish could be made the "official" language there. As Name Not Supplied correctly observes, "English is our de facto official language" of the US. However, we as a nation do not ever want to be placed in a circumstance where this could change in any one of our great states. That would truly be divisive. We must make English our official national language and must primarily educate our children in that language, for the good of all. While multi-lingualism is good, it should not be for a select few, but for everyone. If Spanish speakers are to be taught bi-lingually, then so should English speakers. I support multi-lingualism in our school systems and commend the emphasis on language in European schools. I think multi-lingualism is a good thing, because each language has beautiful sounds and unique manner of expression that adds to the magnificence of life. But there must be only one official language in culturally diverse America, and that language must be English.
Although multi-ethnicity is the backbone of our great nation, there is no room for multi-nationalism. One small way to assure a common identity as Americans, rather than as displaced nationals of other lands, is through a common language, for there is no greater divisiveness than among neighbors who cannot speak to each other, or resent the tongue in which the other speaks. While we must respect and appreciate all cultures and all languages, an official language of the government of the US is vital to the future good of our nation, and that language must be English. United We Stand - Divided We Fall. That's the American way. And that's a fact.
David D. Murray, Esq.
Newport Beach, CA
The following press release was submitted by The Lesbian and Gay Immigration Rights Task Force.
The Lesbian and Gay Immigration Rights Task Force (LGIRTF) applauds the introduction of the Senate companion bill to HR 832, The Permanent Partners Immigration Act (PPIA) by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). PPIA seeks to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to extend immigration benefits to US citizens and permanent residents in committed same-sex relationships, who seek to sponsor their foreign-born partners.
"Our immigration laws treat gays and lesbians in committed relationships as second-class citizens, and that needs to change," says Senator Leahy. "This bill would add America to the growing list of nations that extend immigration benefits to same-sex couples. It is the right thing to do, and I hope that the Senate will act."
Thousands of couples face the eventuality of having their families torn apart when US-issued visas expire or live under the constant threat of the foreign partner's deportation. This stands in direct opposition to the avowed goal of "family unification" declared by the US government's current immigration policy.
"The introduction of the Permanent Partners Immigration Act in the Senate comes at a critical time, as US immigration law tears apart more and more couples and families," says Suzanne Goldberg, Chairperson of LGIRTF's Board of Directors. "LGIRTF salutes Senator Leahy and the original co-sponsors of the PPIA, Senators Kennedy, Kerry, Jeffords and Feingold for their commitment to ending this inhumanity of our current immigration law, which treats long-term committed partners as legal strangers to one another."
The Lesbian & Gay Immigration Rights Task Force (LGIRTF) is the only lesbian and gay immigration organization in the United States. Incorporated in 1994, LGIRTF provides vital legal assistance and a supportive community for lesbian and gay immigrants and their partners, and challenges the discriminatory impact of U.S. immigration law on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and HIV+ immigrants through a program of outreach, advocacy and education. Headquartered in New York, LGIRTF has chapters in nineteen other U.S. cities.
The Lesbian and Gay Immigration Rights Task Force
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