Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Following the move by the Georgia university system's Board of Regents, five University of Georgia professors have started a program they're calling Freedom University. A new state policy has closed the doors of the five most competitive state schools to undocumented immigrants, but a group of professors has found a way to offer those students a taste of what they've been denied.
They will teach a rigorous seminar course once a week meant to mirror courses taught at the most competitive schools and aimed at students who have graduated from high school but can not go to these top schools because of the new policy
This is not a substitute for letting these students into the top schools, but as some help to people who don't have another option right now.
The program is currently taking applications, with the first class set to start on September 8. The five professors will rotate teaching the seminar course on their own time at an off-campus location. All qualified applicants will likely be accepted. What a wonderful move out of these professors. Hopefully others will follow suit.

Monday, August 29, 2011


The Alabama Immigration Law HB 56 is temporarily enjoined until September 29, 2011. Chief Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn issued a decision that states that it is in no way addressing the merits of the motions. The court will issue detailed Memorandum Opinions and Orders ruling on the merits of the pending Motions for Preliminary Injunction no later than September 28, 2011. This temporary injunction will remain in effect until September 29, 2011, or until the court enters its rulings, whichever comes first.
HB56 may not be executed or enforced in the mean time. Great initial news for our clients in Alabama!

Friday, August 19, 2011


In a wonderful and surprising move, DHS Secretary said yesterday that DHS will halt deportation proceedings on a case-by-case basis against undocumented immigrants who are low enforcement priority for ICE and meet certain criteria such as attending school, having family in the military or are primarily responsible for other family members’ care.
The move comes after Hispanic and Democrat leaders pressured urged President Obama to help the immigration cause while Congress is gridlocked.
DHS will review all ongoing cases and see who meets the new criteria on a case-by-case basis.
The new rules only apply to those in deportation proceedings without final orders. It does not apply for people that are in the country illegally who are not in proceedings.
DHS will have to develop guidance on how to provide for appropriate prosecutorial discretion because many ICE field offices do not do it often enough or for good enough causes. It is still unclear how many people will be affected by this move or what the exact factors will be.
ICE already issued a few prosecutorial discretion memos recently that are yet to be implemented across the board, so it is a wait and see attitude. The main beneficiaries of this new guidelines will probably be DREAM Act qualified students (people who were brought here as children and completed college).
The move will free up immigration courts to handle cases involving serious criminals.
Individuals whose deportation proceedings are closed are not going to receive a visa, green card or any new type of legal status. Some may be eligible for work authorization, however, but even being granted such documentation will not be the same as having a legal status in the US.
There are no applications to file with ICE at this early stage. However, cases that merit prosecutorial discretion may apply at any time.
ICE attorneys are being asked to immediately start reviewing cases with hearings set in the next one to two months. DHS will also shortly begin the process of reviewing the rest of the 300,000 cases currently in the immigration courts. No guidance has been provided, however, on how long it will take before cases begin to be closed and how long it will take to review the entire caseload.
This is a welcome move by the Obama administration because the majority of deported individuals these days are low priority non-criminals that were detained due to minor violations.


Georgia's five most competitive public colleges have started verifying immigration status of students before enrolling in fall semester classes. So far only one out of the more than 10,000 students granted preliminary acceptance was barred from enrolling because the student is undocumented. Obviously Georgia colleges did not have a problem of many undocumented students enrolled in classes in the first place.
Another anecdotal proof that the vast majority of these students are legal residents. Is it really worth it to add all the paperwork and administrative hassles to this process for both the students and the colleges for "catching" a 1 out of 10,000? Definitely not!
The colleges are GA Tech, UGA, Georgia college & State, and Georgia Health Sciences University. Neither of them have turned away students because of immigration status except for GA tech that turned away 3 (out of how many thousands???)
Again another example of how the immigration debate is costing hassles over nothing.


Many Georgia farmers continue to suffer the consequences of HB87 which is scaring away their workforce and costing them lots of money. They are asking the federal government to help, talking to their Congressional representatives. This is the way to go as Congress needs to act, but if more pressure is not put on representatives, they will continue to do nothing.
One Farmer in Ocilla lost about $200,000 in blackberries crop because they could not find workers to pick them.
Other farmers report similar problems with produce rotting in the fields.
Still the Republican representatives are not convinced. Maybe they will if they are not re-elected.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Georgia's Attorney General’s Office published a two-page list of 'secure and verifiable' identification documents people must use to get state benefits and services according to HB87.
The list includes U.S. and foreign passports (at least they include foreign passports which is great); U.S. military identification cards; state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards; tribal identification cards; and federally issued permanent resident cards. What about federally issued employment documents and things like that? Those are not included and people like refugees or asylees will not be able to produce these documents (usually they flee without passports).
As of January 1, 2012, state and local government agencies must start requiring people who apply for benefits such as food stamps, housing assistance and business licenses to provide at least one of these documents.
Government officials who violate this law can face up to 12 months in prison and up to $1,000 in fines. However this part of the law does not apply to some groups of people, including those reporting crimes, police investigating crimes and people providing services to infants and other children. So at least that part is better than the Alabama law (which requires school officials to report undocumented children registering for school).

Thursday, August 4, 2011


According to HB87, the first-of-its-kind Immigration Enforcement Review Board will be able to fine officials in the mayors, county commissioners, and even business license clerks $5,000 in fines. Georgia's Immigration Enforcement Review Board will undoubtedly be comprised of immigrant haters, who are citizen volunteers empowered by the state to investigate complaints about lax enforcement of immigration laws. No evidence is needed to investigate these complaints. The body will also have the authority to strip funding from local governments.
Governor Deal says the board’s seven unpaid members will be named in the next few months and he expects the panel to begin its work in January. How are they be going to be picked? Will the most racist person win a seat on this board?
This board will undoubtedly increase the bureaucratic burden on local governments without curbing illegal immigration.