Question and Answers

Month: December 2010

Immigration Agents Arrest 49 During Raids Of Dallas Night Clubs : Immigration Law Answers Blog

Posted on March 31, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

The Dallas Morning News reports today that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raided more than two dozen mostly Latino night clubs, restaurants, pool halls and other businesses Saturday night, arresting 49 undocumented immigrants employed as security guards. Here are excerpts from the story:

All of those arrested work for two local security companies, which authorities declined to identify Sunday. At 11 p.m. Saturday, teams made up of local, state and federal officers simultaneously hit 26 businesses in the Love Field area, northwest Dallas, Old East Dallas and Lakewood. No injuries were reported. Authorities recovered four pistols. Federal law prohibits illegal immigrants from possessing firearms. Those arrested also face charges of being in the country illegally. Five of the suspects face charges of document tampering in order to get licensed as a security officer and to carry a firearm, Ms. Bradfield said. That is a third-degree felony, and the punishment range is two to 10 years. “Hopefully, this operation will help us send a message that we will not tolerate the falsification of documents for undocumented aliens under the guise of providing security,” said Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins in a statement Sunday. Four of those arrested were from El Salvador, and the others were Mexican, authorities said. In addition to ICE and the district attorney’s office, the following agencies also participated Saturday night: the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Dallas Police Department; the Texas Department of Public Safety; the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission; and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas in Dallas.

Businesses raided

1. Az De Oro Night Club, 3320 Samuel Blvd., Dallas 2. Far West Night Club, 7331 Gaston Ave., Dallas 3. Ojeda’s Restaurant, 4617 Maple Ave., Dallas 4. El Penasco, 4601 Maple Ave., Dallas 5. Izalco Bar, 4605 Maple Ave., Dallas 6. Palacio, 4430 Maple Ave., Dallas 7. Metropolis, 8416 Denton Dr., Dallas 8. El Pulpo Restaurant, 2829 W. Northwest Hwy., Suite 330, Dallas 9. Los Compass Deli and Club, 2829 W. Northwest Hwy., Suite 216, Dallas 10. Taqueria Lupita’s, Webb Chapel Ext., Dallas 11. Terry’s Supermarket, 3025 Webb Chapel Ext., Dallas 12. Extravaganza Restaurant and Bar, 2905 Webb Chapel Ext., Dallas 13. Billares Puebla, 2900 Walnut Hill Lane, Dallas 14. Guerrero Bar, 2900 Walnut Hill Lane, Suite 220, Dallas 15. Exclusiva, 2900 Walnut Hill Ln., Suite 200, Dallas 16. La Frontera, 9744 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas 17. La Pachanga, 9745 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas 18. Los Corrales Restaurant and Bar, 10229 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas 19. El Diamante, 4915 Singleton Blvd., Dallas 20. Club de Cache, 9100 N. Central Exp., Suite 300, Dallas 21. Oficina Billares, 10830 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas 22. Viva Cafe and Billiards, 2829 W. Northwest Hwy., Suite 330, Dallas 23. Dallas Gentleman’s Club, 2117 W. Northwest Hwy., Dallas 24. 039 Club, 1820 W. Mockingbird Ln., Dallas 25. Orienta Night Club II, 8120 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas 26. La Tormenta, 9834 Brockbank Dr., Dallas

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Eight Tips for Proper Filing of Immigration Forms : Immigration Law Answers Blog

Posted on July 10, 2009 by Robert A. Kraft

Certain immigration forms are used to petition U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to classify a foreign national for an immigrant or a non-immigrant visa based on either employment or family. Prior to submitting the forms to USCIS, there are 8 simple tips to follow for proper filing. They are:
 

  1. Use the most current edition of the form available on the USCIS Website;
  2. Follow instructions on the form to see who qualifies;
  3. If a question does not apply to you, make sure you write “NONE” or “N/A”;
  4. Type the information. If typing is not feasible, then print legibly;
  5. Don’t forget the appropriate filing fee. Make the check or money order payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Do not send cash;
  6. Make sure the Petitioner or Beneficiary signs and dates where appropriate;
  7. Do not forget the supporting documentation to support the petition or application;
  8. Send the petition to the correct mailing address. If the petition is sent to the wrong mailing address, the petition can be rejected for improper filing.

 
You can avoid a petition being rejected or a final decision being delayed by USCIS by following these eight simple tips.

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Notice to U.S. Citizens Traveling to Honduras : Immigration Law Answers Blog

Posted on June 29, 2009 by Robert A. Kraft

The U.S. Embassy recently issued a notice advising U.S. citizens to defer all non-essential travel to Honduras until further notice. This announcement is in response to the current unstable political and security situations. The U.S. Embassy will be open for emergency services but no visa services will be available June 29, 2009.  

For the latest updates, please visit the U.S. Department of State Web site at www.travel.state.gov or the U.S. Embassy’s Web site in Tegucigalpa, Honduras at http://honduras.usembassy.gov.

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USCIS Begins Transfer of Historical A-Files to National Archives : Immigration Law Answers Blog

A signing ceremony was held on June 3, 2009, to formally announce the schedule that will initiate the permanent retention and transfer of alien registration files (“A-files”) from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to the National Archives and Records Administration.   An A-file documents the complete history of every interaction between the United States government and an individual alien. These comprehensive files may contain a wealth of information for genealogists and historians, from photographs, marriage licenses, foreign birth certificates, recordings, and interview transcripts, in addition to the more routine biographical and demographic information. A-files were previously considered to be temporary records and could have been destroyed 75 years after the date the file was retired to a Federal Records Center or date of last action. Now, however, these A-files will become a permanent record and will be transferred to the custody of the National Archives 100 years from the person’s date of birth. Newly-eligible files will also be transferred to the National Archives for processing every five years.   USCIS currently maintains approximately 53 million A-files. Of these 53 million, 21 million have been retired to a Federal Records Center. The National Archives could finish processing 135,000 files by next summer, at which time these files would become available for public access at National Archives facilities in Kansas City or San Francisco. Copies of the A-files will also be made available through the mail.  

More information about the USCIS or the A-file preservation program may be found at: www.uscis.gov.

Secure Communities Program Update : Immigration Law Answers Blog

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that the Secure Communities Initiative, which launched this year, has identified more than 110,000 criminal aliens. ICE initiated the Secure Communities Program, which partners with local law enforcement agencies, to identify and remove criminal foreign nationals. As part of the booking process, fingerprints of the arrested individuals are taken at the local enforcement level. The fingerprint information at the local level is shared with the DHS/ICE, allowing ICE to take appropriate measures in not releasing criminal aliens back into the community.   Currently, eleven states utilize the Secure Communities program, and DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and ICE Assistant Secretary John Morton announced the programs expansion. The program is expected to have a presence in every state by 2011 and be available to every law enforcement agency by 2013.  

More information on the Secure Communities Initiative is available at www.ice.gov.

Errors On I-94 Cards : Immigration Law Answers Blog

Home > Temporary Visas > Errors On I-94 Cards

Posted on May 15, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

Have you been issued an I-94 card with 9 or 10 digits? Then a replacement card is needed. An I-94 card should have eleven digits. If you are a foreign national with an error on your I-94 card — including a misspelled name, incorrect date of birth, incorrect visa classification, incorrect authorized period of stay — please report in person to the nearest Customs and Border Protection (CBP) deferred inspection office or port of entry, regardless of where the original I-94 was issued. A CBP officer will correct the error on the I-94 card at the deferred inspection or port of entry. 

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Information for Travelers to Honduras : Immigration Law Answers Blog

The political unrest in Honduras continues, and the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa advises that U.S. citizens restrict travel to necessary trips only on July 6, 2009. A curfew effective July 5 from 6:30 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. July 7 has been imposed by the Honduran government and U.S. citizens should abide by this curfew.   Visas services will not be available today, Monday July 6, 2009, but will be remain open for emergency services only. As previously scheduled, the Consular Agency in San Pedro Sula will be closed the week of July 6-10.  

U.S. citizens are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department’s travel registration website. By registering, U.S. citizens will receive updated information on travel and security within Honduras but most importantly, it makes it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact in case of emergency.

This is the public announcement.

Remittances to Mexico Fall 36% : Immigration Law Answers Blog

This news item is from the Wall Street Journal. Apparently the condition of the U.S. economy is so bad that immigrant workers here cannot send home the money they did in past years.

The Bank of Mexico said Tuesday that remittances to Mexico fell 36% to $1.69 billion in October from $2.64 billion in the same month last year.

The October numbers were also lower than the $1.74 billion that Mexican workers sent home in September, the central bank said.

Remittances for the first 10 months of the year fell 16% from the year-earlier period, to $18.13 billion.

Remittances in dollar terms have slumped this year due to a recession in the U.S., which caused rising unemployment among migrant workers who send money home to their families.

After peaking in 2007 at $26.07 billion, remittances fell 3.6% last year to $25.14 billion.

Immigration Policy Aims to Help Military Families : Immigration Law Answers Blog

The Obama administration has tried to make it easier for illegal immigrant spouses and family members of military personnel to get legal immigration status. The policy changes were reported in the New York Times. Here are excerpts:

The new policy was described in an internal memorandum from Citizenship and Immigration Services that was released last week by Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, and caused a furor in Washington on Friday.

The memo outlined measures that the agency could take under existing laws to “reduce the threat of removal for certain individuals present in the United States without authorization,” instead of waiting for Congress to pass an immigration overhaul to give legal status to millions of illegal immigrants.

With the title “Administrative Alternatives to Comprehensive Immigration Reform,” the memo prompted protests from Mr. Grassley and other Republicans that the Obama administration was trying an end run around Congress, rather than confronting a divisive debate on immigration legislation during an election season. The memo was first reported on the Web site of The National Review, a conservative magazine.

Officials of the immigration agency denied on Friday that they were pursuing any plan to legalize millions of illegal immigrants by fiat.

According to the memo, one of those changes has been quietly put into practice since May. The new policy allows illegal immigrants who are spouses, parents and children of American citizens serving in the military to complete the process of becoming legal residents without having to leave the United States — a procedure that is known in immigration law terms as granting parole. The memo says agency officials approved the new parole approach “to preserve family unity and address Department of Defense concerns regarding soldier safety and readiness for duty.”

Department of Homeland Security officials estimate that many thousands of military service members have close relatives who are illegal immigrants. Under a legal Catch-22 in immigration law, those families could face as much as 10 years of separation if the immigrant relative leaves the United States to pursue a legal visa.

Administration officials sought to play down the memo. They said the proposals were largely “notional” and most had not been approved as policy by Alejandro Mayorkas, the director of Citizenship and Immigration Services. However, the memo is signed by some of the highest officials in the agency, including Roxana Bacon, the general counsel, and Denise Vanison, the chief of the office of policy and strategy.

The memo finds that it is “theoretically possible to grant deferred action to an unrestricted number of unlawfully present individuals,” but rejects that option as politically “controversial” and too expensive. The memo suggests the agency could instead “tailor the use of this discretionary option for particular groups.”

Christopher Bentley, the spokesman for the immigration agency, said, “To be clear, D.H.S. will not grant deferred action or humanitarian parole to the nation’s entire illegal immigrant population.”
 

Texas Driver's License Changes for Immigrants Blocked by Judge : Immigration Law Answers Blog

The new rule requiring a different format for driver licenses of non-citizens in Texas, and requiring the showing of valid visas in order to receive the licenses, has been blocked by a State District Judge. Here are excerpts from a story in the Dallas Morning News:

A judge blocked the Texas Department of Public Safety on Thursday from continuing to enforce new rules that prevent some legal immigrants from obtaining driver’s licenses and identification cards.

State District Judge Orlinda L. Naranjo in Austin issued a temporary injunction and found DPS acted outside its scope of authority when it adopted the policy last year.

“This case is not about illegal immigrants obtaining driver licenses, it is about legal residents who have been denied or have been threatened a denial of a driver license,” Naranjo wrote.

The rules required identification card and driver’s license applicants who weren’t U.S. citizens to have visas that were issued for at least a one year stay and were still valid for at least six months from the date they were presented to DPS.

While DPS has the authority to verify an applicant’s eligibility, competency and identity — including name, place of birth and date of birth — the length of time a visa is valid has no correlation to those, Naranjo wrote. The state Legislature has outlined who cannot receive a driver’s license, but people with less than six months left on their visa are not among the ineligible categories, the judge wrote in her order.

DPS also changed the way the cards look for people who aren’t U.S. citizens or permanent residents but still have permission to live in the country. The licenses are marked with the words “Temporary Visitor,” include the date permission to live in the U.S. expires and the picture and information are placed vertically, like that of a person under age 21. If permission to live in the U.S. is for an indefinite time period, the status date on the license would be for one year under the DPS rule.

The judge said DPS didn’t appear to have adopted that policy through proper notice and comment required in rulemaking.

Gov. Rick Perry has defended the new rules as necessary to ensure public safety and national security.

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