Friday, October 29, 2010

ICE Agents Raid The Nashville Apartments - Another INS § 287(g) "Success Story"

AS reported by the Nashville Scene:

On the sidewalk in front of The Clairmont Apartments, representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition denounced an Oct. 20 raid of the southwest Nashville complex by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents that is said to have resulted in the detention of more than 20 residents who were allegedly undocumented.

Immigrant representatives and witnesses say agents broke into the apartments and arrested men and women at gunpoint, forcing them to leave their children behind.

"They came and took my friends and their family members — people who take care of me after school and look out for me every day," said a 13-year-old boy whose name is being withheld.

Immigrant representatives know of no criminal charges filed against the people who agents rounded up, and they claim that warrants were not presented before agents entered the apartments by force. One source says they were taken to a detention facility in Ft. Payne, Ala., despite the fact that Davidson County has a facility that participates in 287 (g), a federal program that allows local law enforcement to screen and detain undocumented immigrants.

Leading up to the raid, advocates say conditions at the department had deteriorated, and that absentee management failed to address issues such as insect infestation, a lack of hot water, unusable bathrooms and broken windows.

Since taking office, the president has signaled an intent to move away from home and workplace raids, placing the onus on employers to ensure workers are documented. Both candidates for Tennessee governor have expressed similar sentiments about employer accountability.

This isn't the first time Hispanics have had trouble at the Clairmont Apartments. In 1999, a local investigation discovered a private security company was beating, harassing and often extorting Hispanic residents of the Clairmont, then known as Ivy Wood.

Friday, October 22, 2010


Pennsylvania State University just released a new report criticing the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) for violating refugee international law with their harsh imposition of the one-year bar.

One in five refugees seeking protection in the United States is denied asylum because they do not apply within one year of their arrival and miss the 12-month deadline imposed by Congress, according to a recently concluded study of the BIA asylum decisions.

“The one-year deadline results in the denial of asylum, a basic human rights protection, because of a technicality,” said Mary Meg McCarthy, executive director, Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center. “The BIA is making a bad law worse by arbitrarily denying exceptions to the deadline and putting the lives of men, women, and children at risk.”

The study’s conclusions are detailed in a new report, The One-Year Asylum Deadline and the BIA: No Protection, No Process, a collaboration among Heartland Alliance’s National Immigration Justice Center’s National Asylum Partnership on Sexual Minorities, Human Rights First, and Penn State Law’s Center for Immigrants’ Rights. The report is the first to examine how the asylum deadline is handled by the BIA, the highest level of administrative appeal available to asylum seekers. The study analyzed 3,472 BIA asylum cases decided in January from 2005 to 2008.

Enacted in 1996, the one-year filing deadline requires asylum seekers to establish by “clear and convincing” evidence that their asylum applications were filed within one year of their arrival in the United States, or demonstrate that their applications were delayed due to changed or extraordinary circumstances. Asylum seekers who cannot meet these requirements, even if they are refugees with well-founded fears of persecution, are barred from asylum protection and face deportation to the countries from which they fled.

Among the report’s key findings are the following:

• One out of five asylum cases was denied because it was filed after the deadline.

• In 46 percent of the 662 filing deadline denials, the BIA did not provide any reason for the denial of the asylum application other than that it was submitted after the filing deadline. Of the 662 filing deadline denials, the BIA did not recognize any exceptions to the filing deadline.

• When an immigration judge granted an exception to the one-year deadline, the BIA affirmed that decision 75 percent of the time. By contrast, when an immigration judge denied asylum based on the one-year deadline, the BIA affirmed the decision 96 percent of the time.
“Our study found that the one-year deadline serves no public policy purpose other than to bar legitimate refugees from obtaining the protection they deserve under international and U.S. law,” said Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, clinical professor of law, Penn State Law’s Center for Immigrants’ Rights. “It is not being applied in the way Congress intended and should be repealed.”


Only legislative repeal of the deadline will ensure that refugees are not denied protection based on a technicality. The U.S. Attorney General, who supervises the BIA, also should take a number of steps outlined in the report – including to revise regulations governing exceptions to the deadline and require adjudicators to consider more circumstances that justify delayed filings.

“This study confirms that the filing deadline is leading the United States to deny asylum to credible refugees who are likely to face persecution in their home countries,” said Eleanor Acer, director of Human Rights First’s Refugee Protection Program. “Not only is the deadline inconsistent with this country’s commitment to protecting the persecuted, but it also wastes already limited government resources litigating a technicality. Congress should simply eliminate the asylum filing deadline.”


Friday, October 8, 2010

How does ICE choose an employer for an I-9 Audit?

How does ICE choose an employer for an I-9 Audit?

This is a frequently asked question from employers these days, and the answer is far from clear. In general, ICE conducts I-9 investigations of employers based upon credible leads, which may consist of complaints from disgruntled employees, tips from the public or cases having national security or public safety implications (e.g., employers at airports have been known to be targets). In addition, ICE may also initiate I-9 audits based upon referrals from other government agencies that may have investigated an employer in an unrelated matter. For example, there is a recent article posted on SHRM’s website where attorneys Mary Pivec and Kevin Lashus discuss how the latest round of I-9 investigations may have stemmed (in part) from intelligence gathered by the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. Lastly, ICE has also been known to target certain employers, most notably those in construction, hospitality, retail and other industries with high turn-over and frequent reports of undocumented workers.

Latest Statistics

Penalties from worksite enforcement inspections have increased five-fold in Fiscal Year 2010 due in large part to increased employer scrutiny and several waves of I-9 audits. While the total number of fines and penalties is a constantly moving target, here are the latest statistics from ICE:

  • ICE criminally charged a record-breaking 180 owners, employers, managers and/or supervisors — up from 135 in FY 2008 and 114 in FY 2009.
  • ICE conducted more than 2,200 I-9 audits — up from more than 1,400 in FY 2009.
  • Since January 2009, ICE has imposed approximately $50 million in financial sanctions.
  • ICE debarred 97 business and 49 individuals in FY 2010, up from 30 and 53, respectively, in FY 2009.
  • Wednesday, October 6, 2010

    Just Released - DHS Office of Inspector General - Annual Performance Plan for 2011

    DHS OIG has just released the Annual Performance Plan For Fiscal Year 2011. Among the highlights of this report is the discussion of the new Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI) Here is the full report.

    DHS Office of Inspector General Report - Fiscal Year 2011