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Posts Tagged ‘Immigration Policy

Obama Addresses Immigration Reform during State of the Union Address

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It was reassuring to hear President Barack Obama touch on the divisive issue of Immigration Reform in last night’s State of the Union Address and to hear him speak in favor of the DREAM Act, which was narrowly defeated in the last Congress.

President Obama called on Republicans and Democrats to work jointly in order to pass comprehensive immigration reform, although it would be a very hard battle in Congress. Obama said immigrants can “further enrich this nation” and urged that we needed to reform our immigration laws so that the United States could continue to attract the best and brightest minds from around the world and retain the highly educated students that come here to pursue post-graduate degrees by making it easier for them to live and work in the United States, and once and for all to end the problem of illegal immigration. “Let’s stop expelling talented, responsible young people who can staff our research labs, start new businesses and further enrich this nation,” Obama said.

Written by MithrasLaw

January 26, 2011 at 1:18 pm

President Obama’s Transcript on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

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Transcript of President Obama’s remarks aboard Air Force One on comprehensive Immigration Reform Prospects:
Question:  Are you committed to pushing forward on immigration law this year?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I’ve made calls to Republicans to see if we can get them to join us. This is a difficult issue. It generates a lot of emotions, and the politics are difficult. But I’ve been unwavering in saying what we need to do. I think that I can get a majority of Democrats to support a comprehensive approach. But I need some help on the Republican side. We had that kind of help a couple of years ago. Senator McCain was one of the leaders in that process. I gave him a lot of credit for it, and still do.
And so the question is, can we get some movement on that front? Lindsey Graham has been in serious conversations with Senator Schumer. I appreciate his courage on that. And my hope is, is that we can get a working group that can move this forward so that we’ve got serious legislation that solves the border problem and solves the wide range of issues that we face under immigration reform in a way that can garner the support of the American people.
You notice in the town hall meeting yesterday, those folks aren’t enthusiastic about illegal immigration. But when you lay it out for them, a sensible way of doing it, holding people who’ve broken the law responsible, securing our borders but also recognizing we’re not going to send millions of people back, many of whom have children who might be U.S. citizens, and that there should be a more sensible way of dealing with it — people understand that.
So it’s a matter of political will. Now, look, we’ve gone through a very tough year, and I’ve been working Congress pretty hard. So I know there may not be an appetite immediately to dive into another controversial issue. There’s still work that has to be done on energy. Midterms are coming up. So I don’t want us to do something just for the sake of politics that doesn’t solve the problem. I want us to get together, get the best ideas on both sides, work this through, and when it’s ready to go, let’s move. But I think we need to start a process at least to open up a smarter, better discussion than the one that is raging right now.

Written by MithrasLaw

May 10, 2010 at 9:33 am

What about President Obama’s Promise for Immigration Reform?

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Whether President Obama will be able to deliver on his campaign promise of Immigration reform remains to be seen.  President Obama says he still remains committed to comprehensive Immigration Reform but says”it is a matter of political will”.
It is encouraging to see an emerging immigration proposal which has been proposed last month by Senators Harry Reid (D-NV), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Robert Menendez (D-NJ). The proposal requires undocumented immigrants to register with the government, tougher enforcement at the border, tougher sanctions for employers that hire unauthorized immigrations, tougher enforcement in our workplaces and creating a visa system that protects labor rights. The proposal also requires undocumented workers to pay fines, taxes, and civil penalties, learn English, and other rigorous requirements in order to legalize.
Our Attorney, Hanishi Ali, commented on this issue in the Indus Business Journal’s most recent issue. For the full article see:

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May 6, 2010 at 11:40 am

US Supreme Court entitles criminal cases defendants to immigration advice

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March 31, 2010

By a  7-2 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court today ruled in favor of a non-citizen immigrant, finding that his lawyer’s advice was so bad that it violated his constitutional right to a fair trial.

The high court’s ruling extends the Constitution’s Sixth Amendment guarantee of “effective assistance of counsel” in criminal cases to immigration advice, especially in cases that involve deportation.

“The severity of deportation – the equivalent of banishment or exile – only underscores how critical it is for counsel to inform her noncitizen client that he faces a risk of deportation,” said Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote the opinion for the court.

In September 2001,  Jose Padilla, a native of Honduras agreed to haul almost 1,000 pounds of marijuana, but his cargo was discovered at a truck weigh station in Kentucky and he was arrested. His lawyer advised him to plead guilty in exchange for a sentence of five years in prison.

Padilla, who has lived in the United States for more than 40 years as a legal permanent resident, said he asked his lawyer at the time whether a guilty plea would affect his immigration status and was told it wouldn’t.  It turns out, Padilla’s trial lawyer was wrong, and the US Government sought his deportation.

Today, the court held that criminal defense lawyers must not only advise their non-citizen clients of the legal punishments that flow from pleading guilty, but also of the risk of deportation. In Padilla’s case, the court said, the terms of the immigration law were “succinct, clear and explicit” in defining the consequences of pleading guilty.

While seven justices ruled in Padilla’s favor, two of them — Chief Justice John Roberts and Samuel Alito — didn’t go as far as the majority on the duty of defense lawyers. They said a lawyer is required only to warn a defendant that a guilty plea could adversely affect their immigration status and that they should therefore consult an immigration lawyer.

Written by MithrasLaw

March 31, 2010 at 2:41 pm

TRAC Report on Criminal Immigration Prosecutions

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The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) issued a report on trends in criminal immigration prosecutions. The report finds that the rate of reported prosecutions during the first three months of FY 2010 decreased by 8.8% compared to 2009 quarterly figures. If the prosecution continues at the same pace, the number of criminal prosecutions will reach 83,722 as opposed to 91,899 during FY 2009.  However, one should keep in mind that in 2009 prosecutions were at an all time high and when compared to five years ago when there were 37,614, the number of FY 2010 prosecutions are projected to be up 123 percent. The Obama administration has no doubt overall stepped up enforcement and criminal immigration prosecution.

Click here for the complete TRAC data.

Written by MithrasLaw

March 22, 2010 at 11:09 am

Immigration Reform Policy Plan Outlined By Schumer and Graham

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Immigration reform was one of President Obama’s campaign promises but the agenda item has been on the back-burner of the Obama Administration. Last week, however, there was a little momentum when President Obama met with over a dozen grass-roots leaders and with Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham, (R-S.C.).

Both Schumer and Graham outlined an immigration policy plan in the Washington Post that includes:

1. Biometric Social Security cards;

2. Border security and interior enforcement;

3. A process for admitting temporary workers and a path to legalization for those already in the United States.

4. Increase border patrol.

See the full article here.

Do you think Immigration Reform will gain bipartisan support this year?

Written by MithrasLaw

March 19, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Temporary Protected Status Granted to Haitian Nationals Present in the US

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Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, has announced the designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Hatian nationals who were in the United States as of January 12, 2010.  The DHs has issued a statment that this is a historic disaster and TPS will allow eligible Hatian nationals who are currently in the United States to continue living and working in our country for the next 18 months. 

TPS designation will protect Hatians who would otherwise be endangered by returning home. It should be noted that TPS will apply only to those individuals who were in the United States as of January 12, 2010. Those who attempt to travel to the United States after January 12, 2010 will not be eligible for TPS and will be repatriated.

Haitians in the U.S. who are eligible to apply for TPS can go to or call USCIS toll-free at (800) 375-5283 to claim TPS status.

India Tightening up its Immigration Laws

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In the backdrop of the David Headley case, security has tightened and  the Indian Union Home Ministry  has now introduced several changes to its immigration and compliance requirements of employing foreign nationals. Most of the measures introduced are protectionist and make it more difficult for Indian employers to hire foreign workers. 

Some of the major changes introduced are visa requirements for foreign nationals, undertakings from employers with respect to foreign nationals hired in the company, including responsibility for the foreign national’s tax liability, an attestation by the employer that the foreign nationals hired will not exceed one percent of the total workforce and with a cap of twenty employees. So a company exceeding the cap could face extra scrutiny and/or delay. Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor has questioned the tightening of Indian visa rules asking, “ whether India would allow  terrorists to make it a ‘less welcoming’ destination”.

The effect of the changes are yet to be seen on employers and foreign nationals alike. We will keep our readers posted.

Written by MithrasLaw

January 7, 2010 at 5:18 pm

FY 2010 H-1B Update (November 2009)

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The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services  (USCIS ) in its most recent updated count as of November 3, 2009, stated that as of October 25, 2009, approximately 52,800 H-1B cap-subject petitions and approximately 20,000 petitions qualifying for the advanced degree cap exemption had been filed.

Any H1-B petitions filed on behalf of an alien with an advanced degree will now count toward the general H1-B cap of 65,000. USCIS will continue to accept both cap-subject petitions and advanced degree petitions until a sufficient number of H-1B petitions have been received to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn.

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November 4, 2009 at 3:29 pm

Sharp Increases in Prosecution of Federal Immigration Cases in Obama Administration

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The latest data obtained by the Justice Department for the months of 2009 (i.e. from January to September 2009) reveals that prosecution of federal immigration cases has continued to surge in the Obama Administration. It is estimated that if prosecution continues at the same rate for the remaining part of 2009, the total will be more than 90,000 prosecutions, indicating an increase of 14.1 percent from last year.

The States registering the largest number of immigration prosecutions are Texas, Arizona,  New Mexico,  California, Florida, and New York.  For more information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) click here.

Written by MithrasLaw

October 7, 2009 at 1:36 pm

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