Articles Posted in Firm News

The first installment of The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates webinar series kicks off on Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 2PM. This is the first webinar in a series of six presented in an effort to describe the current state of employment-based immigration in a post-Neufeld/pre-CIR world. The first series is called “Don’t Waste Any More Time Waiting on EB-3 Priority Dates – Convert your Green Card Case to EB-2 and Jump to the Finish Line.” This free immigration webinar is intended to illustrate the mechanics of the Priority Date Recapture mechanism and methods to finishing up the Green Card process quickly.

The webinar will begin on Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 2PM and will be re-run on Thursday, February 24, 2011 at 2PM.
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Tri-Valley University at Pleasonton, California near San Fransisco has been raided and shut down due to allegations of visa fraud on a massive scale. As Columbus, Ohio Immigration lawyers, we came to become aware of this situation over several calls we received from frantic students not knowing what to do. At the present time, Immigration & Customs Enforcement is seeking to interview every student. Immigration authorities allege that Tri-Valley University was a sham institution from its inception and that it was established merely to provide F-1 visas, curricular practical training or optional practical training employment authorization to its mostly forign national student base. As a result of this raid, immigration attorneys in Columbus, Ohio as well as attorney’s from around the country have been fielding questions from those students who may have been affected by the actions of this university.

Immigration issues for these former students vary in thier severity. Some students have been detained and questioned by the authorities. Some have been issued Notices to Appear before deportation officers. Other students have not been questioned at all and simply hope to find a college to enroll at in time to take classes for the winter semester.
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2011.jpgis With a new, more conservative congress now in power, many ideas for restricting immigration are expected to be proposed in the 112th congress. The American Immigration Lawyers Association has recently compiled a list of the hot button immigration issues that will most likely be introduced in the house in the upcoming term. Below is a brief explanation of the types of laws that may be proposed in the next two years.

Emphasis on Border and Interior Enforcement: Bills appropriating additional funding for boarder security, including the southern border fence, as well as funding for mass deportations, are likely to be proposed.
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Red Tape.jpgSeeking to strike the “right balance” in the continual struggle between the freedom of commerce and public protections, President Obama has signed an executive order which mandates that all regulations be examined for internal conflict and cost efficiency. Columbus Immigration lawyers hope that the examination of regulations extends to titles 8 and titles 29 of the code of federal regulations which deal with aliens and nationality as well as labor. Employment based immigration regulations provide ample red tape for such a review of administrative law for efficiency. Perhaps the federal government could start striking a better “balance” by removing some of the restrictions from the H-1B and PERM programs which in many cases set up unnecessary barriers to the American dream for the world’s most highly educated professionals. Immigration lawyers can only “hope” for such a “change.”

The US Attorney General Eric Holder has appointed 23 new immigration judges to immigration courts throughout the US. The judges were sworn in by Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler at the Executive Office for Immigration Review’s (EOIR) headquarters on November 5, 2010. The newly appointed judges are: Silvia R. Arellano (Florence), Jerry A. Beatmann Sr. (Oakdale), Jesse B. Christensen (New York ), Steven J. Connelly (Batavia), Philip J. Costa ( Los Angeles), V. Stuart Couch (Charlotte), Thomas G. Crossan Jr. (Pearsall), Leo A. Finston (Newark), Saul Greenstein ( Houston), Amy C. Hoogasian(San Francisco), Stuart F. Karden (Orlando), F. James Loprest Lisa Luis (Houston), Jr. (New York), Joren Lyons(San Francisco), H. Kevin Mart(Miami), Sheila McNulty(Chicago), Maureen S. O’Sullivan(Los Angeles), Daniel J. Santander (Pearsall), Alice Segal (New York), Andrea H. Sloan (Portland), Dan Trimble (Stewart), Eileen R. Trujillo (Denver), Clarence M. Wagner Jr.(Honolulu), and Virna A. Wright (New York).

The recent addition will help reduce the backlog of immigration cases throughout the US and even into Columbus, Ohio where deportation in immigration court remains at a high level.

For all new citizens during their naturalization oath ceremony, USCIS now provides a standard U.S. Citizenship Welcome Packet which contains information to help new citizens prepare to exercise the rights and responsibilities of U.S.Citizenship. Useful information includes information like applying for a U.S. passport, updating social security records and petitioning for family members. The packet also includes:

  • A congratulatory letter from President Obama,
  • A pocket size edition of the declaration of independence and Constitution of the United States,

On November, 18, 2010, the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) opened, the Orlando Immigration Court at its new location at 3535 Lawton Road, Suite 200, Orlando, FL 38203. The telephone number is 407-648-6565, with telephonic and in-person assistance from Monday to Friday from 8.00am to 4.30pm.

If you are removal proceedings in Florida, you may now be reporting to the new Immigration Court, which will be able to handle cases more quickly with the added resources of this Court.

After passing through the House of Represenatives, the Senate has failed to deliver on passing the bipartisan DREAM Act. The DREAM Act stands for the Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors and was drafted to provide a conditional pathway to legal permanent residence for certain unauthorized youth who, as children, were brought to the U.S. illegally if they can provide that they completed high school, have good moral character and complete at least two years of higher education or serve for at least two years in the U.S. military.

It appeared to all parties who have monitored this bill that the inability to pass the DREAM Act into law was chiefly due to politics. This bill can be seen as a litmus test for greater reform which worries and frustrates immigration practitioners. There is still hope for furtuer legislation however as interested parties such as the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and others will continue its efforts to lobby for the law’s passage because they see the Senate’s failure as nothing more than politics Continue reading

On November 9, 2010, President Obama issued an Executive Order establishing an interagency Federal Export Enforcement Coordination Center. The Center will serve for the executive departments and agencies to coordinate and enhance their export control enforcement efforts. It will also serve as a conduit between Federal law enforcement agancies and the U.S. Intelligence Community for information relating to export control.

This order is directly related to the Obama administration’s efforts to create better enforcement of the immigration laws in relation to U.S. exports. Creating new agencies in this economic environment will create government jobs but will also add to the U.S. deficit. The Obama administration should encourage Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. But it has been unwilling to do so and will continue to ratchet up enforcement efforts with creating new government agencies such as this.

Isupreme court justice.jpgn yet another display for the need of Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR), the Supreme Court of the United States appears as though it will remain deadlocked on the issue of whether state laws may punish companies for hiring illegal immigrants. From all accounts, it appears that the Legal Arizona Workers Act, or the “business death penalty” will stand. The Supreme Court’s stalemate could very well signal trouble for other state and local immigration laws.

Lower courts have upheld the Arizona law, which imposes the so-called business death penalty on employers who are caught twice konwingly hiring illegal workers. The Obama Administration joined with the Chamber of Commerce in arguing that the state law should be voided because it conflicts with the federal government’s authority over immigration. Since Justice Elena Kagan announced that she would not participate in the decision, a 4-4 split is possible meanining that no precedent would be set and the law would be upheld.
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