Tuesday, August 18, 2009

USCIS Denies Family Based Visa Petition under Adam Walsh Act

Our office has two cases where a U.S. citizen has filed I-130 Petitions for an Immediate Relative, their spouses, only to have USCIS issue intent to deny letters based upon their interpretation of the Adam Walsh Act of 2006.

The letters read in part,
"On July 27, 2006, the President signed the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, Pub. L. 109-248, to protect children from sexual exploitation and violent crimes, to prevent child abuse and child pornography, to promote Internet safety and to honor the memory of Adam Walsh and other child crime victims.

Sections 402(a) and(b) of the Adam Walsh Act amend section 101(a)(15)(K), 204(a)(1)(A) and 204(a)(1)(B)(i) of the INA to prohibit U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents who have been convicted of any 'specified offense against a minor' from filing a family-based visa petition on behalf of any beneficiary, unless the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security determines in his of her sole and unreviewable discretion that the petitioner poses no risk to the beneficiary of the visa petition. "

One of our clients was convicted of statutory rape, which was the result of consentual relations between a girl of 14 and an 18 year old boy, all of which occurred over 20 years ago.

Stay posted on how this case finally resolves. I sense some weighty constitutional issues implicated by Congress enacting this harsh ex post facto penalty and impinging upon a fundamental right to marry.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

INA § 287(g) - Turning Local Police into Federal Immigration Authorities

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the expansion of the controversial 287(g) program to eleven new locations across the country. This program allows local law enforcement agencies to enter into agreements with Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. It effectively gives local police the powers of federal immigration agents.

Amy Goodman on Democracy Now recently covered this story in her program.

However, what is particularly uncomfortable for me is the convergence between this 287(g) program and the US-VISIT initiative using multiple layers of security, including the use of biometrics, such as digital fingerprints, to establish and verify international travelers' identities. US-VISIT also includes LPR's even though they are not actually seeking admission when crossing the U.S. border.

The use of these two programs in conjunction is creating the "Big Brother" effect that Orwell warned the world about in 1984. US-VISIT database is now linked to NCIC database (the National Crime Information Center) which all local law enforcement agencies check when someone is detained. One example of how this works is the situation of a non-immigrant visitor on a tourist visa who has overstayed their permitted stay. They are a passenger in a vehicle stopped for a routine traffic stop. The officer runs the ID's through NCIC and the visitor's name pops up as an overstay from the US-VISIT database. The officer is commissioned under 287(g) to enforce immigration laws and now takes the visitor into immigration detention and turns the person over to ICE to initiate removal proceedings.

Total information awareness, thank you Admiral Poindexter.

Monday, August 10, 2009

ICE Agrees to Removal Families at Hutto Detention Center

ACLU Strikes Deal To Continue Humane Conditions At Hutto Detention Center in Texas

The deal comes on the heels of an announcement Thursday that the government will immediately begin ending the detention of families at Hutto, the focus of 2007 lawsuits filed by the ACLU charging that children were being illegally imprisoned under inhumane conditions. The last family is expected to be released from Hutto no later than the end of the year.

The Obama Administration has finally agreed to close this prison where families with children, including babies, had been held in immigration detention, e.g., jail, for months and years. Small children were locked up in prison cells for up to 12 hours a day and only given 1 hour of school education until the ACLU filed suit against the previous Bush Administration polices.

Here is the link:" http://www.aclu.org/immigrants/detention/40648prs20090807.html