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Immigration Daily
Arthur L. Zabenko, Esq., Legal Editor
Nina Manchanda, Esq., Assistant Legal Editor
Marc Ellis, Esq., Chat Transcripts Editor
April 23, 2001
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Editor's Comments of the Day

In US v. Sigmond-Ballesteros, No. 00-50408 (9th Cir. Apr. 20, 2001), the court found that a Border Patrol Agent violated the Fourth Amendment's prohibition against unreasonable search and seizure. At about 4:20 in the morning the Border Patrol Agent was parked in the median of the highway with the beam of his headlights intersecting any passing traffic. When Defendant passed the headlights he put his hand up and partially obscured his face. The Agent found this suspicious and quickly pulled up to within 2 to 3 car lengths. The Defendant slowed down and moved to the right hand lane. The Border Patrol Agent pulled up alongside and shined his alley light into the rear portion of the pick-up truck which was covered with a camper shell. He saw nothing other than that the back seat had been removed. The Agent then pulled up to the driver's window. Defendant again held up his hand, shielding his face from the light. As the Agent dropped back behind the pick-up turck to take the license plate number, the Defendant slowed and pulled over to the shoulder. The Agent then activated his emergency lights and the pick-up came to a stop. When the Agent investigated he found approximately 18 undocumented aliens lying on a blanket in the rear of the truck's cab.

The Defendant claimed that the agent lacked reasonable suspicion to stop him, and the court agreed. The court examined each of the factors asserted by the agent. Addressing the lane change and move off the road, the court quoted from the Calif. Dep't. of Motor Vehicles, Calif. Driver Handbook which instructs drivers to "lose the tailgater as soon as you can by changing lanes. If you can't change lanes, slow down enough to encourage the tailgater to go around you. If this does not work, pull off the road when it is safe and let the tailgater pass." As far as Defendant's shielding his face from the Agent's light, the court noted that a sudden bright light can interfere with vision at night and safe operation of the vehicle required nothing less. The fact that the road Defendant was traveling was notorious for alien smuggling was of minimal significance since it is a four lane highway connecting several cities and small towns to the route to Los Angeles. The court found that the type of vehicle, a pick-up truck, did not carry any particular weight because though pick-up trucks have been used to smuggle aliens, so have many other types of vehicles and pick-up trucks are among the best selling types of cars in the US. The traffic pattern at 4:20 in the morning was of little probative value as the only evidence was that there was not normally much traffic at that time. The proximity of the highway to the border was found to be irrelevant. What mattered was the proximity of the proximity to the border of the Agent's car just prior to the stop, but the record was silent on that point. Finally, the court found that the missing rear seat should not have been considered without an explanation of its relevance.

The court found that taking all allowable factors into consideration, and excluding Defendant's appropriate reactions to the Agent's unsafe and provocative driving and use of his lights, the only picture left was a man driving a pick-up truck northbound on the highway at 4:20 in the morning. That profile could apply to a large number of presumably innocent people who would be subject to random seizures. The court found the evidence obtained in the stop to be tainted and that it should have been suppressed. Given the proposed budget increases for enforcement efforts at the INS, this is a timely reminder from the courts that the Border Patrol must operate within the bounds of the Constitution.

Tip of the Day

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ILW.COM Featured Article of the Day

Newspapers Feature 245(i)
Nina Manchanda offers an overview of newspaper coverage of 245(i).

Federal Register News of the Day

Department of Agriculture Seeks Increased Immigration to Rural America
The Department of Agriculture, Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, has issued a Request for Proposals for Fund for Rural America, FY 2001, including programs for "increased immigration to rural America and developing new immigrants as agents of economic vitality, assisting new immigrants to access basic financial, health and employment services, assisting rural communities to adjust to the cultural diversity resulting from the arrival of new immigrants and assisting new immigrant farmers with an understanding of the agricultural markets, risk management and environmental stewardship." [Relevant portion in bold]

Cases of the Day

No Reasonable Suspicion for Traffic Stop
[You will need Acrobat to read this file]
In US v. Sigmond-Ballesteros, No. 00-50408 (9th Cir. Apr. 20, 2001), the court found that where a Border Patrol Agent followed Defendant's car at an unsafe distance, slowing down and then pulling to the side of the road were not suspicious activities nor was it suspicious that Defendant covered his eyes when the Border Patrol Agent shined a bright light into the car.

False Statements to Asylum Officer Preclude Finding of Good Moral Character
The court in Ramos v. INS, No. 99-70343 (9th Cir. Apr. 30, 2001), found that false statements made to an asylum officer constitute false testimony and preclude a finding of good moral character.

Immigration News of the Day

Visas Urged to Make Migrant Workers Legal
According to the Arizona Republic fifteen years after Congress created a program that granted amnesty for 3 million undocumented workers, immigrant rights advocates say a new program is needed to provide visas for illegal immigrants and allow them to become permanent residents.

ILW.COM Chats and Discussions of the Day

Chat with Fariba Faiz
Fariba Faiz will answer questions on all aspects of immigration law on Monday, April 23, 2001, at 9:00 p.m. Eastern (New York) time. Questions will be accepted starting 15 minutes before the beginning of the chat.

Letters to the Editor

Editor's Note: The following letter refers to the article "The Slowing Progress of Immigrants: An Examination of Income, Home Ownership, and Citizenship, 1970-2000" which appeared in the March, 30, 2001, issue of Immigration Daily

Dear Editor:

You recently ran, without commentary, an article about a Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) report alleging that the progress of immigrants arriving in the U.S. during the last decade has slowed. However, evidence supports other findings. For instance, new immigrants are as well, if not better, educated than previous immigrants. The New Immigrant Survey, conducted by the Rand Corporation, found that legal immigrants have 13 median years of schooling, one more year than native-born citizens. While the CIS study relies on preliminary Census information, it does not report one of the major findings of the information: that new immigrants attain college degrees at the same rate as do native-born citizens. In addition, a study released last year by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas found that the labor market and workforce skills of immigrants compliment those of native-born Americans. As a result, immigrants are filling essential positions in economic sectors currently facing worker shortages....(read the whole letter by clicking here).


Jeanne A. Butterfield
Executive Director
American Immigration Lawyers Association

Classifieds of the Day

ILW.COM carries classified ads for immigration related positions. $100 for single insertion, $250 for five consecutive insertions, payable in advance. Contact us for details. We will also carry for no charge announcements such as immigration related events. We reserve the right to refuse any ad and to make minor editorial and formatting changes. Send to

Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, is the largest law firm in the country practicing exclusively in the area of immigration and nationality law. In order to meet the demands of our growing business, the firm is actively recruiting for experienced paralegals in its NEW YORK, NEW JERSEY, STAMFORD and CHICAGO offices. The ideal candidate has business immigration experience or a human resources background dealing with immigration issues. Must have excellent verbal and written communication skills and be able to perform multiple tasks in a fast-paced environment. The firm offers superior salaries and exceptional growth opportunities. Please submit cover letter and resume to Anne-Rose van den Bossche, Esq., Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen, & Loewy, 515 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10022 or fax 212-750-1121

Paparelli & Partners LLP, a leading immigration law firm with a national employment-based practice conducted from Irvine, California, is actively recruiting for paralegals with experience in business immigration matters, including work visas and Labor Certification. We require a college degree and paralegal certificate or substantial and relevant experience. Must have excellent writing ability as well as strong research and communication skills. The firm also has immediate openings for Client Services Assistants to assist attorneys and paralegals in providing legal services to clients. Qualified candidates must have excellent computer and communication skills. The firm offers a competitive compensation package, as well as an outstanding support staff and a pleasant working environment (10 minutes from the beach). Please send resume via facsimile to Kerry Polich, Firm Administrator, at 949/955-5599 or via email at EOE.

On Tuesday, April 24, 2001 at 10 a.m., the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments in the Calcano and St. Cyr cases, important challenges to restrictions put on immigrants' due process rights. Both cases will be argued by Lucas Guttentag, Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Immigrant's Right Project. On the eve of the oral arguments before the court, Citizens and Immigrants for Equal Justice (CIEJ), a national grassroots organization dedicated to providing immigrants due process of law, will hold a candlelight vigil on the steps of the Supreme Court. The vigil will be held at 7:00 p.m. on April 23, and CIEJ members will be available to discuss how their personal family situations will be affected if the court rules in favor of the immigrants. (For details click here).

An Important disclaimer! The information provided on this page is not legal advice. Transmission of this information is not intended to create, and receipt by you does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Readers must not act upon any information without first seeking advice from a qualified attorney. Correspondence to Letters may be edited and may be published and otherwise used in any medium.
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