Friday, December 28, 2012


by Greg Siskind
Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton has issued a new guidance memo to the field directing the agency's officers only to call on local law enforcement agencies to detain individuals accused of serious offenses. According to the guidance: Consistent with ICE's civil enforcement priorities and absent extraordinary circumstances, ICE agents and officers should issue a detainer in the federal, state, local, or tribal criminal justice systems against an individual only where (1) they have reason to believe the individual is an alien subject to removal from the United States and (2) one or more of the following conditions apply:
the individual has a prior felony conviction or has been charged with a felony offense;
the individual has three or more prior misdemeanor convictions;
the individual has a prior misdemeanor conviction or has been charged with a misdemeanor offense if the misdemeanor conviction or pending charge involves violence, threats, or assault;
sexual abuse or exploitation;
driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance;
unlawful flight from the scene of an accident;
unlawful possession or use of a firearm or other deadly weapon;
the distribution or trafficking of a controlled substance;
or other significant threat to public safety;
the individual has been convicted of illegal entry pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1325;
the individual has illegally re-entered the country after a previous removal or return;
the individual has an outstanding order of removal;the individual has been found by an immigration officer or an immigration judge to have knowingly committed immigration fraud;
or the individual otherwise poses a significant risk to national security, border security, or public safety.
The New York Times covered the announcement in an editorial this morning and answered the question of how this differs from existing ICE policy for the last two and half years: But wait, you ask, shouldn't ICE have been doing this all along? Didn't Mr. Morton say in a memo two years ago that ICE would use its “prosecutorial discretion” to focus on the most dangerous illegal immigrants? He did. But for nearly as long as President Obama has been in office, ICE has been vastly expanding its deportation efforts, enlisting state and local agencies to expel people at a record pace of 400,000 a year — tens of thousands of them noncriminals or minor offenders. By outsourcing “discretion” to local cops through a fingerprinting program called Secure Communities, it has greatly increased the number of small fry caught in an ever-wider national dragnet.
Some cities and states have resisted cooperating with ICE detainers for the very reasons of proportionality and public safety that Mr. Morton cited on Friday. California’s attorney general, Kamala Harris, told her state’s law enforcement agencies this month that ICE had no authority to force them to jail minor offenders who pose no threat.
Secure Communities and indiscriminate detainers have caused no end of frustration for many police officials, who rely on trust and cooperation in immigrant communities to do their jobs. They know that crime victims and witnesses will not cooperate if every encounter with the law carries the danger of deportation. They have shied away from a federal role that is not theirs to take.
ICE’s announcement seems to make those efforts unnecessary. It puts the Obama administration on the same page as states and cities that have tried to draw a brighter line between their jobs and the federal government’s. A stricter detainer policy is better for police and sheriffs, who can focus more on public safety. It makes people less vulnerable to pretextual arrests by cops who troll for immigrants with broken taillights. And it helps restore some sanity and proportion to an immigration system that has long been in danger of losing both.

Monday, December 10, 2012


A recent update from the Immigration Policy Center released a fact sheet about the 287(g) program, in which DHS/ICE deputizes state and local law enforcement officers to perform the functions of federal immigration agents. These officers are not federal employees but are local law enforcement employees, but have access to federal immigration databases and may interrogate and arrest non-citizens believed to have violated immigration laws and issue detainers to keep them in custody.
Some jurisdictions were found to violate the program and they terminated the agreement, such as Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Maricopa County in Arizona and Alamance county in North Carolina. ICE is conducting a nationwide review to determine which agreements should be renewed in 2013. It costs localities money they do not have and arrest very few real criminal. The main people arrested under the program are offenders who are not a threat to public safety or individual with no criminal record or minor traffic violations.
Most jurisdiction wither 287(g) programs have a higher rate of Latino populations and these program divest necessary police resources from dealing with serious crimes into enforcing immigration laws.
The update is available at:

Thursday, December 6, 2012


By Greg SiskindHow very 2010. Separate reports have Senate Immigration Subcommittee Chair Jon Cornyn (R-TX) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) calling for passage of individual pieces of immigration reform such as STEM legislation and the GOP's DREAM-lite bill.
In the past, I advocated for this strategy arguing that the perfect was the enemy of the good and trying to pass smaller measures made more sense than going for the whole enchilada. But that was during a time when the GOP (particularly the anti-immigrant forces within the party) had a lot more power than they do today. 
The times have changed. First, we obviously know the message from the election and have a number of emboldened GOP members interested in comprehensive reform. Second, it's looking like we'll get filibuster reform next month which should make passing a Senate bill easier. Finally, there's a sense that people want to get immigration done and off the table and not drag on.

Paul Ryan Interested in Immigration Reform
This is a bit surprising given everything said during the campaign. From Politico: Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said Wednesday that Paul Ryan had reached across the aisle to work with him on immigration reform and added that the Wisconsin Republican told him, “I want to do it because it’s the right thing.” “I saw my good friend just coming off running for vice president of the United States, Congressman Ryan, we’re going to see each other next week. We’re talking. He says to me, ‘Luis, I want to do it because it’s the right thing. I don’t want to deal with it from a political point of view.’ I think that’s very, very encouraging,” Gutierrez said on MSNBC. Not to be cynical, but perhaps Ryan wants a high profile role in immigration reform because of this guy.
Lindsey Graham Suggests Full Citizenship for Legalization Beneficiaries Possible Refreshing.
From America's Voice: In an interview with CQ yesterday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) reiterated his support for comprehensive immigration reform and even “suggested that he could support citizenship…with preconditions, including an emphasis on granting citizenship first to immigrants who are currently waiting to receive it,” writes CQ reporter, John Gramlich. Said Graham, “I don’t like the European model of having millions of people in our country who can’t assimilate. It’s just not good for the culture. It’s just not good policy.”

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Georgia House Democrats, headed by Rep. Debbie Buckner, filed the “Citizenship Protection Act” to repeal a controversial provision of HB87 that requires U.S. citizens to repeatedly prove their citizenship to renew professional licenses, to obtain business licenses and in other dealings with state or local governments.

This is a very annoying requirement of HB87 and has caused lots of problems in delaying renewal of professional licenses by several weeks per person, the majority of whom are American citizens. A U.S. citizen should not have to prove his or her citizenship every year to keep their business or professional license. Instead, this should only be required once.

"This requirement that Americans prove their citizenship to do their jobs is contrary to the goal of getting Georgians back to work and should be immediately repealed in January", said House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams. “We are pleased that Rep. Buckner is moving forward to tackle this issue. This should be a bi-partisan bill that everyone can support to support professionals and small businesses.”
For more information, visit

I hope this passes... but doubt the Republican controlled Congress in Georgia will do anything...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Fernando Castillo-Solis, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico is challenging the constitutionality of the state’s driver’s-license law. The case is set to be heard by the Georgia Supreme Court on Monday.  He is arguing that the law that requires motorists who have lived in Georgia for 30 days or more to get a state-issued license before driving and does not allow issuing such license for undocumented immigrants  discriminates against them. Since undocumented immigrants are ineligible for Georgia licenses, they don’t have the same protection.
Mr. Castillo-Solis was cited at a traffic stop in Gwinnett County in 2010, where he was charged with driving without a license and failing to register his vehicle.
This argument was thrown out by the lower court judge and this individual appealed. I don't know what he is thinking or what his lawyer advised him, but I don't think he has any good chance of winning this argument with the Georgia Supreme Court.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


While I was out of the country last week, the ACLU of Georgia and the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR) filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The suit seeks public records which they have filed under FOIA or Freedom of Information Act documenting the effects of Georgia’s increasing involvement in immigration enforcement, including information that will shed light on increasing reports of racial profiling and police abuse. 
The two organizations requested the records over six months ago and DHS/ICE has not yet released the records. 
The records sought in the lawsuit will reveal who is being targeted for immigration enforcement, and how increased immigration enforcement by police is impacting public safety and civil rights and may cause abuse under HB87.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, the agency should release the record within 20 days. Six months is certainly excessive under that standard. I will blog on updates when available. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


A new study by the Kauffman Foundation indicates that since 2005, less U.S. companies were founded by immigrants or foreign-born entrepreneurs, with the most significant drop in the state of California within technology firms.
The Kauffman Foundation is right on the money. Our immigration system is more and more unwelcoming to immigrant entrepreneurs. Coupled with a recession and more difficult business environment in the U.S. in the past few years, less immigrant entrepreneurs are finding the U.S. an attractive place.
The Kauffman Foundation report shows that the proportion of companies founded by immigrants nationwide has dropped to 24.3 percent from 25.3 percent in the past five years. In Silicon Valley, the decline was worse: dropping to 43.9 percent from 52.4 percent.
This is alarming for anyone who cares about innovation, job creation or U.S. competitiveness in the global marketplace. This is what we have been telling everyone for years, that we have a broken immigration system that needs to be fixed and welcome entrepreneurs.
The U.S. can reverse the trend of declining immigrant entrepreneurship with changes in policies and opportunities. We really ought to have start-up business visas for these entrepreneurs and expand the number of green cards for skilled foreigners to work in these start-ups in order to make the U.S. more attractive.
USCIS has started taking encouraging steps like their entrepreneurs in residence program, which had little effect so far. What we need is opening doors and our immigration system for entrepreneurs who bring innovation, investments and jobs to the U.S.
Hopefully the new elections will bring a different Congress which will actually do something about the problems in this country, instead of the “do nothing” mode we have endured so far.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Another bad outcome of HB87 part of the law of unintended consequences: Now, because the state needs to check a person's identification and legal status in the United State, and they are short-staffed, thousands or even more U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents are stuck unable to renew their license on time. Over 200 professions require licensing in the state of Georgia, and they are now taking weeks or months to be renewed instead of days that it took in the past. For some nurses, one of the critical shortage occupations in the state, the wait can be as much as 3 months.
Of course, no one could prove that there were significant numbers of undocumented immigrants receiving state licenses for any occupation. Now, because of HB87, people have to show a "secure and verifiable document" to obtain the license, which many people do not have and is not even required to vote.
The Georgia Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, said his office cannot keep up with all the calls (almost 500,000 calls) due to the delays. The state licenses about 500,000 people. HB87 took an automatic process and made it much more bureaucratic, with no increase in funds or a way to go through rough patches.
Yes, people might die because a U.S. citizen nurse cannot get her license on time, what a sad state of affairs all because some hot heads in the Georgia legislature wanted to look like they were "cracking down on illegal immigration" and passed HB87.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Great news to all who fear filing for DACA - Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals - in fear that Romney would be elected President and cancel the program. On CNN, Romney states that he will continue the program for people who were granted DACA by the current administration.
This is great news and the first positive announcement out of Romney about something positive for immigrants. Nothing to fear now, everyone who qualifies need to apply!
The first DACA cases have been approved and are waiting on many more.
For assistance with these cases, call us at 404-935-0056 contact us at

Friday, September 21, 2012


The Georgia Immigration Review Board (created by HB87) - that oversees enforcement of Georgia's immigration laws has dismissed a complaint filed earlier this year by a Michael Dale Smith that the city of Vidalia is harboring illegal workers.
The complaint basically accused the city of giving undocumented immigrants safe harbor by allowing them to work and live in the city limits. City officials denied his allegations.
The Board of course did not have any evidence and subsequently did not find anything actionable. What a whopping waste of time and taxpayers' money.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens has filed a motion with the 11th Circuit federal appeals court in Atlanta hoping to convince the court to approve the alien smuggling provision in HB87, a provision that the court specifically threw out (or issued a permanent injunction against) because it is unconstitutional.
The state wants to make it illegal for anyone to transport or harbor illegal immigrants while committing another crime. This is ridiculous - the state wants to jail anyone who happens to help somebody who is undocumented, like driving someone to the supermarket while speeding.
The states simply don't have jurisdiction to legislate an area of immigration law when the federal government has already entered that area, such as this case, which is exactly what the court decided.
The court very rarely agrees to rehear a case that was already decided before a three-judge panel. We hope the 11th Circuit denies the state's request for rehearing.

Friday, September 14, 2012


25 Georgia organizations and civic groups sent a Letter to DHS secretary Napolitano urging her to put an end to 287(g) agreements ICE has with local police departments in some Georgia counties.

The letter says that 287(g) agreements have led to racial profiling and due process violations, eroded trust between police and the community, and undermined public safety. 287(g) agreements are most prevalent in communities with fast-growing Latino populations, not high crime rates.  The program then becomes an excuse for racial profiling and a hindrance to public safety. 
A report by the University of North Carolina found that 87 percent of people booked through the 287(g) program were merely charged with misdemeanors, not felonies.  Agencies have even arrested crime victims.
You can read the full letter at:

Thursday, September 6, 2012


D.A. King, an anti-immigrant bigot, filed a complaint in July with the Georgia Immigration Enforcement Review Board that accused 1,214 government agencies in the state of failing to provide information to the state Department of Audits and Accounts to allow it to determine whether they’re subject to HB87. Another pathetic outcome of HB87 that wastes our taxpayer's money and limited public resources.
Among the local and county agencies that King cited are in violation (according to him and no one else), which is unsupported by any evidence, are: Cobb Solid Waste Management Authority, Housing Authority of Cobb, Housing Authority of Acworth, and other agencies. The list is long.
The overall list does contains a number of cities in Georgia and many agencies, which in some counties, like  Cobb, are simply boards whose members are volunteers charged with providing recommendations and typically do not staff employees (and thus exempt from the E-verify requirement).
How the useless Immigration Enforcement Review Board will act upon this complaint remains to be seen.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Nathan Deal, the Republican governor of Georgia was hoping to jump on the bandwagon of Arizona's wicked witch of the West Jan Brewer, to deny driver’s licenses to DACA recipients (those who qualified under the Dream Act Deferred Action or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).
The Georgia Attorney General issued an opinion letter to the Governor yesterday saying that under Georgia law, a driver's license must be issued to DACA recipients.
The AG letter states that OCGA 40-5-21.1(a)(5) specifically includes deferred action status as an eligible category "notwithstanding any other provision of this title, an applicant who presents in person valid documentary evidence of ... approved deferred action status ... may be issued a temporary license, permit, or special identification card."
The AG letter concludes that "While I do not agree with the actions of the President in issuing the directive, it has been implemented by the Department of Homeland Security, USCIS, and state law recognizes the approval of deferred action status as a basis for issuing a temporary driver's license or identification card".

This is great news to all DACA applicants in Georgia!

If you think you qualify for DACA or knows someone who does, please contact our office at 770-913-0800 for help.


The 11th Circuit also issued a ruling in the Alabama HB56 anti-immigration law. The court made a clear ruling that the k-12 schools provision violated the equal protection clause and the U.S. Supreme Court case of Plyler v. Doe so no reporting of undocumented school children or any of their family members.
In addition, the court struck down the provision making contracts unenforceable if the person is knowingly undocumented as an impermissible regulation of immigration.
Similar to the Georgia HB87 ruling, the harboring provision was struck down, finding the federal harboring scheme is a comprehensive field wherein states may not legislate.
The criminal provisions of Section 30 (Ala. Code 31-13-29) were upheld by the Eleventh Circuit, and are now in effect. This provision was amended by the legislature this spring, and so now applies only to: “applying for or renewing a motor vehicle license plate, applying for or renewing a driver's license or non-driver identification card, applying for or renewing a business license, applying for or renewing a commercial license, or applying for or renewing a professional license.” Applying is now a class C felony in Alabama.

Monday, August 20, 2012


The 11th Circuit has issued its ruling in the HB 87 case. The Court has upheld the injunction against Section 7 (Transporting, Harboring and Inducing), which now is a permanent injunction, so it cannot be a crime in Georgia to harbor or transport someone who is here illegally.
The 11th Circuit has not upheld the injunction against Section 8 (Show me your papers provision) similar to the U.S. Supreme Court case. This is not bad news in itself because just like the Supreme Court decision, the 11th Circuit reiterated that if some actual harm is shown in the future (for example, a longer than normal traffic stop to check a person's immigration status), Section 8 would be preempted by federal law.
Judge Charles Wilson wrote: “The illegal-immigration issues that our country faces today are, no doubt, exceptionally important to both the state and federal governments. As a federal court, we do not sit in judgment of the policy decisions of state legislatures, and we are usually reluctant to conclude that states are forbidden from enacting statutes related to activities within their borders. However, when state laws intrude into areas of overwhelming federal interest and erode the discretion implicit in the sovereignty of the country, we must recognize the supremacy of federal law. Here, section 7 of H.B. 87 cannot be reconciled with the federal immigration scheme or the individual provisions of the INA. As a result, we affirm in part the district court’s order preliminarily enjoining enforcement of section 7. We reverse in part the portion of that order enjoining section 8. This case is remanded to the district court for further proceedings.”
So, basically, if all the state statute requires is that state officers’ conduct an immigration inquiry “during the course of an authorized, lawful detention or after a detainee has been released, the provision likely would survive preemption—at least absent some showing that it has other consequences that are adverse to federal law and its objectives.”
So, the challenge to the law can still be done in the future if it is proved problematic in practice.
Read the decision at:

Monday, August 13, 2012


Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren told anyone who would listen that its 287(g) program does not racially profile people. Yay, right.
The facts show that the program does actually discriminate by targeting minorities. Since January 2006, 287(g), which is used in 24 states, has been credited with identifying more than 279,300 suspected illegal immigrants, mostly a local jails, according to ICE. Warren estimated that the Cobb county sheriff’s office has identified and transferred more than 11,000 inmates to ICE.
However, most of these inmates are people who were charged for minor traffic offenses. The more severe problem is that these people with minor traffic offenses and immigration violations are held in jail together with murderers and other severe crime inmates. This is such an abuse of human rights.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


In a great new initiative from a Georgia county, in the midst of all the anti immigration policies in the state, it is refreshing to see that DeKalb County officials are acting in a better, humane way towards immigrants. They have announced a new initiative aimed at the county's refugee and immigrant students called PHLOTES to the Top project and it will increase accessibility to educational, social and workforce services for K-12 students and their families to increase literacy, graduation, job readiness and home-ownership rates.
DeKalb is one of the state's most diverse school districts and has nearly 17,000 students whose primary home language is not English. The program will be implemented in the fall in the Clarkston school cluster and will be expanded in the future to include additional high school clusters.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Georgia's attorney general has added some birth documentation to a list of identification documents government agencies in the state can accept for certain transactions as 'secure and verifiable' identification as required by HB87 in Georgia.
The law requires applicants for public benefits — including professional licenses and food stamps — to provide at least one state or federally issued 'secure and verifiable' document. Three documents were added to the list, issued by the U.S. State Department: certification of report of birth, certification of report of birth abroad, and consular report of birth abroad. Also added was an original or certified copy of a birth certificate bearing an official seal and issued by a state, county, municipal authority or territory of the U.S. No form of identification was removed from the list.
Some Republican politicians tried unsuccessfully to pass legislation to amend the list issued last year by the attorney general to remove foreign passports. The legislation said that to be considered 'secure and verifiable,' foreign passports would have to be accompanied by federal immigration documentation proving someone is in the country legally. The attorney general left foreign passports on the list with no additional qualifications or requirements. Government employees who administer public benefits can be fined or put in prison for not complying with this provision of the law.

Friday, August 3, 2012


Here is my summary from today’s USCIS teleconference on DACA (DREAM Act Deferred Action):

1.                   In a change from the prior announcement, people currently in removal proceedings will use the USCIS process when it is implemented on August 15, 2012, rather than go through ICE. Only individuals in detention will go through ICE to make a deferred action request.
2.                   Information provided as part of the deferred action request process is protected from disclosure to ICE or CBP for purposes of removal proceedings unless the requestor meets the criteria of USCIS' November 2011 NTA memo (for example on criminal grounds). Information provided on the form will be kept confidential, including information relating to applicants’ family members or legal guardians. The information will be shared with other government agencies for any necessary law enforcement purposes.
3.                   If a departure from the U.S. was due to removal, voluntary departure, etc., the absence was not brief, casual and innocent and would interrupt the continuous residence that is required since June 15, 2007. Short absences before August 15, 2012, reasonably calculated to accomplish the purpose of the trip, would not be interruptive.
4.                   Only people who are currently not in status and were not in any lawful status on June 15, 2012 are eligible.
5.                   A "significant misdemeanor" is one for any crime for which the individual was sentenced to more than 90 days in custody, or a conviction for domestic violence, sexual abuse, burglary, firearm violation, drug distribution or trafficking (but not possession), or DUI, regardless of the sentence. Significant Misdemeanor Offense is one for which the maximum term of imprisonment under Federal Law is more than 5 days and less than one year (regardless of sentence). This is very restrictive.
6.                   Minor traffic offenses, such as driving without a license, are not considered misdemeanors that count toward the "3 or more" standard.
7.                   The Form I-765 will be required, along with another form that will be made available on August 14 or 15. Total fees, including biometrics, will be $465. Fee waivers will be very limited, and must be requested and approved before submitting a deferred action application without a fee.
8.                   Whether a person has reached age 15, and whether the requestor meets the education requirements, will be determined as of the date the request for deferred action is filed, NOT the June 15, 2012 date.
9.                   Interviews are not required unless the USCIS is suspicious of the misrepresentation or fraud issues with the case.
10.               Anyone who gives false information or misleading info or docs AND falls under 212(a)(2) WILL be put into removal proceedings.
11.               Applicants will use a form developed for this specific purpose (version of I-821 TPS form).
12.               Mail DACA request together with an application for an employment authorization document and all applicable fees to the USCIS lockbox. Will be processed at all 4 USCIS service centers.
13.               Advance Parole Travel Authorization will be available after the approval of the Deferred Action and when humanitarian grounds requiring the travel.
14.               Affidavits proving presence will be severely limited except as to proving gaps in other evidence, such as to cover casual and innocent departures from the U.S. during the five year application period.
15.               USCIS can change their minds or rescind these rules at any time.

If you have any questions regarding your qualification, please call our office at 404-935-0056.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


There have been a number of news articles recently about the DREAM Act children. The Obama administration’s plan to grant temporary work permits to many young, undocumented immigrants who otherwise could be deported is a great step in the way to comprehensive immigration reform.
Critics say that this program may cost more than $585 million and require hiring hundreds of new federal employees to process more than 1 million anticipated requests. However, DHS plans to charge processing fees from each applicant to offset the cost of the program. Starting August 15, eligible people can start applying for this special permit.
Eligible immigrants must have arrived in the U.S. before their 16th birthday, are 30 or younger, have been living here at least five years, are in school or graduated or served in the military. They also must not have a criminal record or otherwise pose a safety threat.
They can apply to stay in the country and be granted a work permit for two years, but they would not be granted a legal status, permanent residency or path to citizenship. DHS continues to reiterate that this will be a fee driven process that pays for itself and will not use taxpayer dollars, as most of USCIS budget does come from application fees it collects for immigration benefits.
Now the critics (mostly Republicans who hate immigrants such as Lamar Smith, R-TX, House Judiciary Committee Chairman) object to granting fee waiver to eligible people. They say that depending on how many applicants don’t pay, the government could lose between $19 million and $121 million. By the way Rep. Smith was responsible to enact the 1996 IIRIRA law that in large part created the problem of mass numbers of undocumented people we have today.
The government estimated that about one million applicants may apply and about 15%-20% of those will be denied. New information about the program should be available by Aug. 1.
 However, what the critics do not take into consideration is the cost of deportation proceedings against all these people and the cost of removal itself, which is very very expensive. There is the cost of maintaining jails, cost of ICE agents, cost of ICE attorneys in court, cost of immigration judges, plane tickets to remove people to their home country and ancillary costs associated with the deportation process that are much more expensive. The costs are one part of the equation but should not be a major part since after all this is people's lives that we are talking about.

Friday, July 13, 2012


D.A. King, an anti-immigration activist in Cobb county Georgia wants the county commissioners to require all businesses that work for the county to be IMAGE certified. This is insane. In May, Cobb became the first county in Georgia to join the IMAGE program (ICE's Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers). Under IMAGE, employment records of Cobb county employees to audit by ICE to ensure they are legally permitted to work here.
While E-Verify is conducting checks for new hires only, IMAGE is looking back at people already employed as well. Crazy King said he got phone calls from Americans saying they can't get a job in Cobb County in construction because illegal immigrants are taken them. Apparently these phone calls are proof enough for King, plus, I haven't heard of a single construction employee that is working for Cobb county.
Cobb county Chairman Tim Lee and east Cobb commissioner Bob Ott say that will take some time to implement for contractors. The proposed code amendment requiring all businesses that perform work for the county — which in 2011 totaled 4,600 different firms — likely won’t be ready until January. So instead of taxpayer dollars going to support the good, they are now going to be wasted on IMAGE checks which I am sure many firm will not want to do, for various legitimate reasons.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


The city of Vidalia denies charges that it gives undocumented immigrants safe harbor by allowing them to live, travel and work in the city. This was a ridiculous complaint from the get-go anyway but the state's new Immigration Enforcement Review Board needed to do something other than just have meetings about nothing.
 A Twin City resident named Michael Dale with a history of filing complaints about illegal immigrants filed the charges with the board. He accused Vidalia Mayor Ronnie Dixon and Lark Builder's owner Bob Moore of having an unwritten policy that allows Lark's immigrant employees who are arrested to be released and allowed to return to work.
What cause this nonsense? Well, one explanation is an unemployed guy that wants the undocumented workers to be fired. What he does not realize is that they did not cause him to get a fired and be out of a job. He really needs to find someone else to blame and stop wasting our taxpayers money for a wild goose chase.


The DeKalb County School District has just revised its policy on immigrants. This is good news for many undocumented immigrants studying there. The new policy, approved by the school board Monday, says officials shall not inquire about the legal status of immigrants and non-visa holders. The old policy defined foreign students, but did not address their legal status. All five present members of the school board voted for the change, which was recommended as part of a comprehensive policy review. Great news that the DeKalb county school system follows Plyler v. Doe and other federal statutes - that decision basically says that schools must accept undocumented students in K12 education without regard to their immigration status.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Attorneys from both Georgia and plaintiffs, civil rights groups, filed additional papers with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after the U.S. Supreme Court gave its decision in the Arizona case. Georgia argued in its papers that HB87 should be upheld and police checks would still be permitted by Georgia police. However, Alabama conceded that parts of its law similar to the Arizona statute were blocked by the Supreme Court decision while saying other sections should be allowed to take effect, including a provision that requires public schools to check students' citizenship status. The 11th Circuit temporary injunction over Georgia's HB87 and Alabama's HB56 is still in effect until there is a final ruling from the court. Georgia's law would authorize law enforcement officers to try to verify a suspect's immigration status during an investigation if the officer has probable cause to believe the person has committed a criminal violation. Even if upheld how, this could be struck later on by the courts if people can prove they are enforced in a way that leads to racial profiling.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Surprise surprise... Not! A year after HB87 Georgia farmers are still suffering a shortage of agricultural workers. The law basically took away seasonal workers they desperately need. Many farmers are facing problems that may cause them to lose entire crops. Many migrant workers left the state never to return, and others did not stop by Georgia on their way to other states such as Florida. One solution they were offered was probation workers who could come in and help them harvest. That did not help because probationers refused the work. Now some inmates are helping but the problem is in the learning curve. The migrant workers are very skilled and can do the tasks much quicker than the other workers and in farming time is of the essence. A lot of money is going to be wasted and a lot of crop may be gone this year.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Georgia Immigration Review Board that oversees enforcement of Georgia's immigration laws says it will investigate a complaint that the city of Vidalia is harboring undocumented workers. Members of the state Immigration Enforcement Review Board voted unanimously last Friday to look into accusations by Michael Dale Smith of Twin City. He says officials in Vidalia, home of Georgia's famous sweet onion crop, are giving illegal immigrants safe harbor by allowing them to work and live in the city limits. City officials deny his allegations. Last time I checked a city in the United States or Georgia for that matter is not authorized to check the immigration status of people who live there or work there, only people they employ.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that several board members sounded skeptical about Smith's complaint. Dallas Mayor Boyd Austin, a panel member, said he feared the board was being asked to 'chase rabbits.' If that is not a bad use of our taxpayer money I do not know what is. This is so ridiculous it is beyond my capacity to describe it in words.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


While I was out of the country last week, the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down these provisions of the Arizona anti-immigration law SB1070 as being preempted by federal law: 1) the provision requiring immigrants to carry registration papers; 2) the provision prohibiting immigrants who are not in the country legally to seek work in the State; and 3) the provision allowing police to stop and arrest someone they suspect of being illegally here (AKA "Driving While Hispanic"). The Supreme Court did not strike down the provision requiring police to try to ascertain the immigration status of anyone they arrest after they have probable cause to arrest them, because it said it needs to be “tested” in state court. That essentially means they need to see it in practice to see if it violates any constitutional rights or conflicts with federal law. That part is the real “show me your papers” provision because that is what leads to racial profiling. They are not allowed to stop someone just because they suspect they are illegally here, but once they have stopped someone (for example for speeding or another offense) they can inquire into their immigration status. This is a similar provision to the Georgia law. So “show me your papers” is not dead, only half way dead. It will go into effect partly as described above, but it still could be struck down later. The Supreme Court's decision is a lot better than what everyone was predicting. It is really key that the Supreme Court found all of those other provisions preempted by federal law. It’s also a big win for Obama, which he sorely needs to get re-elected.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


From the business journal in Washington DC, more proof to what we have been saying all along that the H-1B visa cap needs to be thrown out the windows and additional options for foreign-born entrepreneurs:

More than 76 percent of the patents awarded to the nation’s top 10 research universities last year had a foreign-born scientist listed as an inventor. That’s according to the Partnership for a New American Economy, which analyzed 1,500 patents awarded in 2011 to the top 10 patent-producing universities in the U.S. The organization, which is composed of mayors and business leaders, contends this finding demonstrates the need to reform our immigration policies to allow more of these foreign-born inventors to remain in the United States. Many of these inventors may end up leaving the country under current policies. The study found that 54 percent of the patents studied included foreign-born inventors who were students, post-doctoral researchers or staff researchers who were not professors. These foreign researchers are the “most likely to face major hurdles obtaining the visas needed to settle permanently in the United States,” according to the partnership. University research is important because it helps the U.S. stay ahead in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Universities receive one in six of all patents for molecular biology and microbiology, for example. Academic research institutions own more than one-third of patents in genetics. The partnership contends Congress should help the U.S. keep its research edge by passing legislation to: • Grant permanent residency -- green cards -- to foreign students who earn graduate degrees in STEM fields; • Create a Startup Visa for foreign-born entrepreneurs who want to start companies in the U.S.; and • Remove or at least raise the current cap of 65,000 H-1B visas, which are awarded to highly skilled foreigners who work in the U.S. These recommendations were seconded in a letter sent to the White House and Congress today by more than 80 university presidents. “If U.S. political leaders don’t reform the country’s broken immigration system soon, they risk jeopardizing one of the country’s biggest assets -- our ability to leverage our pre-eminent universities to attract talented foreigners and make them part of the great American success story,” the partnership’s report concludes.

The article is available at:

The report is available at:

Friday, June 22, 2012


My colleague Greg Siskind suggested some creative ideas to USCIS to implement the DREAM act eligible children for deferred inspection as President Obama proposed.  
This is designed to be a post to encourage constructive suggestions for implementing the President's new policy for DREAMers. 
Here are two to kick things off - 
1. Use the I-765 as the application form rather than coming up with something new. Simply add a supplemental instruction form regarding eligibility for the policy and listing types of supporting documents that need to be included. 
2. Consider modifying the new ELIS electronic filing system to accept these applications. With a possible million applications coming, the agency is going to face extreme pressures to adjudicate cases in a timely manner and maintain quality control. This is an excellent opportunity for USCIS to show off this robust new system. 
3. Do not delay issuing employment cards until after the deferred action is approved. Consider using TPS and adjustment of status as a model. In both types of cases, work cards are granted while the applicant waits on the approval of the underlying application. 
Remember that not only do you need the EADs to work, but also to get drivers licenses and driving without a license is a way for anti-immigrant zealots like Joe Arpaio in Arizona to make life miserable for DREAMers. 
Expect to see lots of people thrown in jail for the misdemeanor of driving without a license if you decide to wait on issuing EADs. 

Friday, June 15, 2012


Just coming over the wires. USCIS will allow deferred inspection for eligible DREAM act students and those who already graduated. Eligible beneficiaries must meet the following rules: - be 30 years old or younger and entered before age 16 - have lived 5 years or more in the US - have maintained continuous residence Other details - - No time limit on when you can apply - Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained GED diploma, or are honorably discharged Coast Guard or Armed Forces veterans - No felons - 2 year renewable periods of deferral-All deportation proceeding s will be halted for eligible people - Details are not provided but eligible beneficiaries can apply for work authorization.  More info to come soon. For more, go to my partner Greg Siskind's blog:

Thursday, June 14, 2012


After last year's effort to put people on parole back to work to ease farm labor shortage jobs unsuccessfully in Georgia after HB87, now prisoners are working in farms. Some prison inmates are working on a Vidalia onion farm in southeast Georgia, as part of a state program to fill empty farm jobs. These inmates are ones who are considered ready to return to the outside world, and a part of their paychecks goes to the state to help reimburse incarceration costs. This fills a few hundred jobs, when thousands are needed. There are fewer immigrant/migrant workers in Georgia after HB87 the anti-immigration law has been enacted. Maybe Rep. Matt Ramsey who orchestrated HB87 will go and work a week on a farm. That will be the day...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


The ACLU of Georgia just released a report called "Prisoners of Profit: Immigrants and Detention in Georgia". The report covers the four immigration detention facilities in Georgia, which include the largest immigration detention center in the country, the Stewart Detention Center, as well as the North Georgia Detention Center, Irwin County Detention Center, and Atlanta City Detention Center. Three of the facilities are operated by corporations.
 This report documents serious abuses in Georgia detention centers that violate detainees’ constitutional and human rights as well as ICE standards. Findings raise serious concerns about violations of detainees’ due process rights, inadequate living conditions, inadequate medical and mental health care, and abuse of power by those in charge. Most of the abuses are done by for-profit corporations that manage the Stewart and Irwin County Detention Centers.
 The report recommends that ICE stop detaining immigrants at the for-profit Stewart and Irwin County Detention Centers given the extent of the documented violations as well as the facilities’ remote locations which isolate detainees from their families and communities of support.
 The report also contains recommendations for improving conditions of detention for immigrants at the Atlanta City Detention Center, including providing outdoor recreation to detainees, and at the North Georgia Detention Center, including paying minimum wage to detainees who choose to enroll in the voluntary work program.
Many of these detainees are non-criminals and are only detained for minor immigration violations that are civil in nature. They are being held in isolation from their families and communities and treated like hardened criminals where they should be released on their own recognizance or through monitoring services like the ankle bracelets. It is not a surprise the the for-profit prisons are where the majority of problems occur. The for-profit prisons and their lobbyists in Washington, D.C., are making huge profits off the suffering of others in detention and they are not likely to let their stronghold go away.
 The report can be viewed here:
An updated fact sheet on immigration detention titled “Securely Insecure: The Real Costs, Consequences and Human Face of Immigration Detention” can be viewed here:  

Friday, May 4, 2012


Tax day has come and gone and unlike the anti immigration people are thinking, undocumented workers pay a lot in taxes. According to the Immigration Policy Center report, in 2010, undocumented workers in Georgia paid more than $85,000,000 in income taxes. Undocumented workers who do not have social security numbers can still file a tax return, using a tax I.D. number, and some people use made-up social security numbers. This number is significantly higher than what the anti-immigration people are saying (their main excuse is that undocumented immigrants do not pay taxes). They also say that undocumented people are filing taxes so that can get refunds. Well, maybe they do not understand how refunds work. A refund is money that someone overpaid the government because of mandatory employer withholdings. Why should anyone pay above what they owe?

Monday, April 23, 2012


Since fiscal year 2006, 14,831 people have been deported or allowed to voluntarily leave the U.S. through Georgia’s 287(g) programs, which is fifth among states based on total removals through 287(g).
Georgia's 287(g) program caused the removal of mostly non-criminals or people with minor offenses such as traffic. This program has promoted racial profiling and kept police resources from targeting more hardened criminals.
The Obama administration wants to cut about a quarter of the $68 million budget for 287(g) operations nationwide and eliminate the least productive ones and roll out Secure Communities fingerprint screening of inmates across the country and compares them to immigration databases. Only if there is a match or another crime ICE is supposed to intervene, otherwise ICE's current policy would be most likely to let the non-criminals go. The Republican lawmakers and the Governor who is anti-immigrant want to expand 287(g) in Georgia. However, the Secure Communities is a much better use of resources, and if ultimately the non-criminals will stay here if ICE's policy will be followed through, 287(g) will be a waste of both State and Federal resources.
The 287(g) program out of Cobb, Gwinnett, Hall and Whitfield counties have triggered the vast majority of Georgia removals: 14,815, according to the AJC. Cobb county which was responsible for over 6,000 removals, can boast that most of these removals were of non-criminals. Another prime examples on why states like Georgia should stay out of the immigration fight.

Friday, March 30, 2012


At least some good news for now -- the legislative session in Georgia came to an end last night without the House having considered SB 458. As such, the proposal is dead, at least for now.
Great news that such a mean-spirited and idiotic piece of legislation is off the table for now and undocumented children can continue to go to public colleges in Georgia.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Georgia ranks sixth among states for the number of undocumented immigrants deported through Secure Communities, a federal fingerprint-sharing program now used in jails across the country.
Under Secure Communities, everyone booked into a jail is fingerprinted and those prints are checked against millions of others held in DHS databases.
As of November of 2009, 5,044 non-citizens have been deported or have voluntarily left the United States, according ICE numbers. Nearly half – or just a bit less than 2,000 involved people booked into Gwinnett County’s jail. Gwinnett ranks 16th for deportations among more than 2,100 counties that were participating in the program as of Jan. 31, according to ICE.
California holds the No. 1 spot among states with over 65,000 deportations, followed by Texas, Arizona, Florida and North Carolina. Three quarters of all counties nationwide now use the program, and the goal is for it to be up in running in all counties nationwide by 2013.
Nationally, the largest single group of people deported through the system had committed the least serious offenses - misdemeanors or those punishable by less than one year behind bars, the records show. In Georgia, 34 percent of the inmates deported through the program were misdemeanor offenders. Only 19 percent (or minority) of those expelled had committed the most serious crimes, including murder, rape, or sexual abuse of a minor.

Friday, March 23, 2012


A national research association decided to move its 2013 annual convention out of Atlanta because it feared that international visitors and U.S. citizens of color among the 14,000-plus attendees might feel unwelcome due to Georgia's new immigration enforcement law HB87.
The arrangements to locate its annual meeting in Atlanta were made prior to the passage of HB 87, and the association has paid cancellation costs to the hotels at a substantial cost. It decided to move the conference to San Francisco.
Another loss for the city of Atlanta and state of Georgia from its bad piece of legislation HB87. The unintended consequences continue to pound a state that has not yet recovered from the recession. Bye bye tax revenues and spending of another 14,000 tourists.
See the full article at:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


After the Georgia House Hearing – An amended version of SB 458 was passed yesterday, adding back in the language defining public benefits to include public post-secondary education. Input at the hearing was ignored, education professionals were dismissed and a request for a fiscal note was rejected.

WHAT’S NEXT? The bill goes to the Rules (Calendar) Committee where it can be called for a floor vote in any of the next 5 working days. (Actually that’s all that is left of this session. Two more days this week, then three more as yet unscheduled days. Then it’s over.) CALLS /FAXES/EMAILS SHOULD GO TO THE GOVERNOR, SPEAKER OF HOUSE RALSTON, LT. GOVERNOR CAGLE, HOUSE CHAIRMAN OF RULES MEADOWS URGING THEM TO TABLE SB458. When or if there is a House floor vote and if the bill does pass, then it would go back to the Senate for agree/disagree to the House changes. With the short number of remaining days, please make calls or send faxes ASAP!

Governor Nathan Deal
404.656.1776 Phone
404.657.7332 Fax

Speaker of the House David Ralston
404.656.5020 Phone
404 656.5644 Fax

Lt. Governor Casey Cagle
404.656.5030 Phone
404.656.6739 Fax

Chairman of Rules (House) John Meadows
404.656.5141 Phone Atlanta
706.629.4441 Phone Calhoun
706.629.3631 Fax Calhoun

Friday, March 16, 2012


After all the hoopla around HB87 created Georgia's immigration enforcement review board, it finally received its first complaint against the city of Atlanta. Big surprise - it's the city with the largest budget in Georgia.
Anti-immigration activist D.A. King sent the complaint by email to the Immigration Enforcement Review Board in January. The complaint names Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and City Council members and states that a city ordinance violates HB87 by allowing people to use Mexican matricula consular ID cards in city government transactions. HB87 says city officials may not accept such ID cards when people apply for public benefits.
The city stated that its employees have been trained on what IDs are acceptable and the matricula consular is not one of the acceptable documents.
What a complete waste of the resources of the city of Atlanta and taxpayer's money. This is so ridiculous I cannot even come up with a written description on how ridiculous this Immigration Enforcement Review Board is, its powers, its members and its complaints.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Under President Obama's new proposal to sharply cut a federal program that partially reimburses states and counties for expenses of jailing undocumented immigrants, Georgia taxpayers would have to bear more of these costs.
Over the past three years, Georgia’s state prison system and local jails together have received about $10 million from the federal program for incarcerating thousands of undocumented people.
The Obama administration is proposing to cut $170 million from the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program as part of the federal budget for next fiscal year, shrinking it to $70 million. This may actually be a blessing in disguise because the jail lobbying group is one of the largest supporters of immigration detention even for small offenses like traffic of undocumented immigrants. For example, Cobb County in Georgia received the fourth-largest amount of funding from the program in Georgia last year but also held over 60% of undocumented immigrants in jail over traffic and minor offenses. So if a county like Cobb wants to continue to jail people for no reason, they should do it on their own expense, not the federal government's expense, which currently does not want to deport people under these circumstances.

Friday, March 9, 2012


Finally some good news in Georgia for one undocumented immigrant. A Houston County, GA, jury decided yesterday that an undocumented immigrant named Jose Antonio Cua-Toc of Guatemala, who entered the country illegally in 2000 is the rightful owner of a $750,000 lottery ticket.
He filed the law suit against a business owner named Erick Cervantes claiming that the winnings from the Georgia Lottery were his, that he paid Cua-Toc $20 to purchase the ticket for him.
So, good news for one undocumented immigrant in Georgia - he won the law suit since the jury believed him.


After the immigrant haters in Georgia's Senate passed SB458 to prevent undocumented immigrants from attending any Georgia college or university,a study by the Chronicle for Higher Education states that in Georgia, an average of only 24 percent of entering college in the freshmen year get a degree within four years in Georgia’s public four-year colleges. This is well below the national average. Across Georgia, only 52 percent of students complete a four-year degree within six years.
A dim outlook over Georgia's college education for mostly U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. It is even more idiotic to deny public education to undocumented immigrants who have more of an incentive to graduate well. Our state needs more educated people, hopefully we will have some more educated people in the Georgia Senate and House in the future.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


The Georgia Senate just passed SB458 - a bill barring undocumented immigrants from attending any public universities in Georgia.
The Republicans sponsored this bill (of course), with sponsor in chief Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville. It passed the senate 34-19 yesterday.
Last year, the Georgia board of regents voted a measure to prohibit undocumented immigrants from attending the five of the most popular schools in cases they would be taking a slot that otherwise would go to a legal U.S. resident. These schools include UGA, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Georgia Health Sciences University and Georgia College and State University.
The bill's sponsors object to having taxpayers fund benefits for undocumented immigrants, even those who are not at fault for their situation because they were brought to the U.S. at a very young age by their parents and want to improve their lives by going to college. This bill is morally wrong but it did not stop these people from sponsoring it or signing it into law.
Denying students access to higher education will hurt us in the long run because the less educated the workers are, the less they usually make and less taxes they pay over their lifetime. We should support people trying to improve their lives by going to college. These students pay out of state tuition anyway so they pay a lot more (about 4 times as much) as an in-state applicant so the state is not subsidizing much, if any.
The bill now moves to the Georgia House of Representatives where it is likely to pass even though it should not pass, both for moral reasons and economic reasons. But that never stopped any politician from voting a bill into law.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Today the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals held oral arguments in the cases of Georgia's HB87 and Alabama's HB56 anti-immigration laws. The oral arguments took several hours and the court was very interested and engaged and the justices asked many thoughtful questions.
The court is not going to rule on this soon, but planning to wait until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the Arizona immigration law case. Arguments for that case are set for April 25.
It will be a while before we hear anything, and it all depends on the Supreme Court. The 11th Circuit cannot rule differently.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


The National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) just issued a policy brief analyzing the government’s data which reveals that USCIS, our immigration agency, dramatically increased the denial rate of L-1 and H-1B petitions over the past four years, harming the competitiveness of U.S. employers and encouraging companies to keep more jobs and resources outside the United States.
This report is alarming and confirms what us immigration law practitioners have experienced in the past few years. It proves that USCIS adjudicators have artificially and arbitrarily increased the number of denials and time-consuming requests for additional evidence from employers, keeping more highly skilled professional workers outside the United States despite no change in law or regulations.
The visa that received the most scrutiny by USCIS is the L-1B visa used by international companies to bring their specialized knowledge workers. In FY 2011 63 percent of all L-1B petitions received a Request for Evidence and 27 percent were issued a denial, which means USCIS denied or delayed between 63 percent to 90 percent of all L-1B petitions during that time. Compared with only a 7 percent denial rate in FY2007, and only a 2 percent cases where USCIS requested additional evidence in FY2004, combined with the fact that employers now are much more selective about who they sponsor for this visa, this is a deliberate effort of USCIS to limit the use of this visa and it directly hurts international businesses because it is costing them millions in project delays and penalties.
The report stated that denial rates for H-1B petitions increased from 11 percent in FY 2007 to 29 percent in FY 2009, and remained higher than in the past for H-1Bs at 21 percent in FY 2010 and 17 percent in FY 2011. For H-1B petitions, the Request for Evidence rate rose from 4 percent in FY 2004, to 18 percent by FY 2007, to a high of 35 percent in FY 2009. In FY 2011, the rate for request for additional evidence for H-1B petitions was 26 percent.
It is alarming that almost a third of the H-1B visa cases are significantly delayed or denied by USCIS and employers are burdened with significant costs to respond to them and delay their projects. There is no logical reason why companies that are now more selective in hiring professional workers should face such advanced scrutiny where there is now more than twice the chance the application will be denied compared to prior years.
The L-1A visa is used by international companies to transfer managers and executives into the United States. Denial rates for L-1A petitions increased from 8 percent in FY 2007 to 14 percent in FY 2011. The Request for Evidence rate for L-1A petitions increased from 4 percent in FY 2004, to 24 percent in FY 2007, up to 51 percent in FY 2011.
The fact that during the most recent fiscal year, USCIS arbitrarily increased the denial rate or delay rate to half of the cases filed in this category of international managers or executives is outrageous. These are people we want to welcome to this country because they work for multinational corporations that make significant investments in the United States. They will not continue to do that if they will not be able to transfer their managers or executives from abroad to oversee expansion and similar projects.
The denial rates also increased for O-1A petitions, which are used for people with an extraordinary ability, who are in the top of their fields in the sciences, education, business, or athletics. Denials for O-1A petitions rose from 4 percent in FY 2008, to 10 percent just one year later in FY 2009, increased again to 11 percent in FY 2010, and stood at 8 percent in FY 2011. For O-1A petitions, the Request for Evidence rate increased from 1 percent in FY 2004, to 13 percent in FY 2007, and then more than doubled to 28 percent in FY 2009, 30 percent in FY 2010, and 27 percent in FY 2011.
This deliberate effort of USCIS to create additional hurdles on the O-1 visa applicants, who are the best and brightest in the world in what they do, is more than just bad for business. It is even worse for extraordinary researchers and scientists who are supposed to help us find cure to diseases or find the next new technology out there to solve many of our problems. These are the people the United States needs to attract and welcome with less hurdles, not more. Instead, the immigration agency is creating additional barriers to their entering the country by artificially increasing the heightened scrutiny and denial rates.
The best thing the immigration service can do is to make the process easier for all these professionals and companies because they are the kind of people we want to attract here and they represent the interests of billions of dollars in investments in this country. If USCIS wants to help create jobs, it needs to remove barriers to entry of the best and brightest, not create additional obstacles as it currently does. I think more employers now are willing to sue the government in order to protect their rights. We have helped a number of them do that successfully so there are options but they are more costly and difficult.

To read the NFAP report, go to:

Monday, February 27, 2012


Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said he was not seeking changes to Georgia’s HB87 anti-illegal immigration law despite its negative consequences (which were largely unintended), such as agricultural workers shortages.
This is not a surprise considering the governor's history in signing anti-immigrant laws in Congress. He indicated he wanted to spend more time assessing how it is working. What this really means is that he does not really care about the economic impact and the labor shortages as long as they can say he was a supporter of the law.
Read the full story at:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Georgia senate bill SB 458 has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee and is scheduled for a hearing today, Wednesday, in room 450 at the Capitol at 4:00 pm.
Since the House bill to deny undocumented students access to all Georgia universities remains stalled (for now), a few folks in the Senate have now added similar provisions to SB 458. If you can attend or send letters to your senators, or call, we need to ask for the college ban to be amended out of the bill. Supporters of the ban were apparently meeting with Senators today to push the bill forward.
This bill is one that primarily corrects some of the imprecise language that was in HB 87 about the use and acceptance of "secure and verifiable documents." HOWEVER the bill also slips in a college ban provision by adding “post secondary education” to the official list of public benefits for which the undocumented are denied access. The message on SB 458 should be focused on asking committee members to REMOVE the "post secondary" language. Tell them that they shouldn’t allow this bill to be hijacked into the school-ban issue, which ban the Board of Regents Chancellor has confirmed many times is unnecessary and burdensome.
Take action now before it's too late!

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Is this a joke? Probably not. The Georgia Senate unanimously approved a resolution Thursday asking Congress to expand the federal agricultural guest worker program. The resolution passed 53-0 Thursday was sponsored by a half dozen GOP senators.
More than 500 farmers surveyed recently by the state Department of Agriculture reporting losses of about $10 million in 2011 because of labor shortages.
This is after they enacted HB87, scared away all the immigrant farm workers from coming to Georgia, and now they complain that they can’t find enough migrant workers to harvest their crops. What they really need to do is rescind HB87 if they want to do something about the farm worker shortage in the state.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Thanks to the powerful presence and testimony of many educators, students, and other conscious Georgians, including immigration attorneys, the committee Chair in the Georgia House declared HB 59 to be suspended. HB59 was the bill proposed by anti-immigration Rep. Rice to deny any post-secondary education for undocumented students.
The good news of the day is that no vote was taken regarding this bill.
This is a great victory and we are so happy this is dead (at least for right now)!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


A bill is going to be introduced in the Georgia House or Representative to rescind Georgia HB-87 – Georgia’s Anti-immigrant legislation. The "Rural Recovery Act of 2012" is designed to help Georgia's agricultural businesses to recover losses due to HB87.
State Representative Lynmore James, Democrat from Montezuma, said: "I am a Georgia farmer" and "I know that our families cannot afford to have politicians playing with their food. If we want good jobs and a stronger economy, the first step is repealing HB 87."
The other co-sponsor of this legislation, Rep. Pedro "Pete" Marin, Democrat from Duluth, announced a hearing and press conference unveiling the bill to be held on Thursday, January 26, at 2:30 PM in Room 216 of the Capitol. James and Marin will be joined by other members of the House Democratic Caucus for the occasion, and all will be available to answer questions.
People who can support this legislation to rescind HB87 should join the hearing to show their support for this important legislation. HB87 should be repealed.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan (D-Austell) and David Wilkerson (D-Austell) who later joined her, are two Georgia State representatives who want to allow undocumented college students to pay in-state tuition to attend Georgia’s public universities.
They had a town hall meting after meeting with students at Pebblebrook High School who participated in a walk-out last year. Currently undocumented immigrants must pay out-of-state tuition based on a law the Georgia legislature passed last year.
'If you cut off that potential at the end of high school, and they have no other options, what are they supposed to do?' are some of Rep. Morgan's words. 'Where do they work? Where do they live? How do they pay taxes? How do they give back to society? These are kids who are brought here at 3 or 4 years old who consider themselves American by culture. They don’t know anything about the country that their parents are from. And so we’re penalizing these kids who have worked hard, who have gone through our school systems, who have earned their grades, and we are cutting them off in terms of college accessibility. We’re not asking for special privileges. They’ve been a resident.'
We all know this is the right thing to do (to accept this proposal obviously). Anyone except the Republican antis that control the Georgia Congress, one of whom has a proposal out at the legislature this year to prohibit all undocumented immigrants from attending any of Georgia's public universities and colleges even if they pay out-of-state tuition, a very expensive prospect for children most of whom lack financial backing of their parents. This is just mean, to say the least, but it may pass with all the antis we have here in the south.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


An update from the Immigration Policy Center on immigrant populations per states that the foreign-born share of Georgia’s population rose from 2.7% in 1990, to 7.1% in 2000, to 9.7% in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Georgia had almost 1 Million immigrants in 2010, 35% of them were U.S. citizens by naturalization. More than 1 in 10 Georgians are Latino or Asian.
The Latino share of Georgia’s population grew from 1.7% in 1990, to 5.3% in 2000, to 8.8% (or just over 850,000 people) in 2010. The Asian share of the population grew from 1.1% in 1990, to 2.1% in 2000, to 3.3% (or just over 300,000 people) in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
No wonder us immigration attorneys are so busy here in Georgia!
I do hope all the naturalized citizens will go to vote. It can really make a difference in the 2012 elections!
To see the full report, go to:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Great news from USCIS, not just in Georgia but anywhere in the United States. USCIS published in the Federal Register a rule that would allow U.S. citizens and permanent residents to process I-601 waivers, most commonly known as hardship waivers for their spouses or parents in advance of the family member leaving the country thus minimizing the time that family members would have to spend apart.
Right now the procedure is that a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse first has to file the I-130 for their foreigner spouse, then the foreign national spouse has to leave the country, trigger the 10-year bar and take a risk at the consular interview that the waiver will not be granted and they will not be able to return to the U.S. for 10 years. Even in cases where the waiver is approved, in many cases it takes several months and in some cases over a year for USCIS overseas to process the waiver. This results in families being torn and many times losing their only source of income (many time the sole breadwinner is the one leaving). This new procedure will eliminate the need to be separated for a long time and someone will know in advance of leaving whether the waiver will be approved.
What USCIS will do is give a "provisional" approval in the U.S. and it will not be a final approval until the person departs the U.S. and applies for the immigrant visa at the U.S. consulate or embassy in his or her home country. Note that this only affects waivers for unlawful presence, not criminal and other grounds of inadmissibility.
This is great and encouraging news indeed and I hope USCIS will streamline the process.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Some Georgia lawmakers (yes, some antis again) want to ban undocumented immigrants from attending any public colleges and universities in the state. The Georgia Board of Regents already has barred undocumented immigrants from certain in-demand schools, such as Georgia Tech, Georgia State and UGA. For some anti-immigrants it is not enough and they want a law to ban them in all of Georgia’s 35 public colleges and universities, and its 26 technical colleges.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Brett Harrell, says taxpayers may be paying for the education because the tuition doesn’t cover all costs. Untruthful assertion because even the undocumented pay state taxes on housing and items that they purchase. Does Rep. Harrell also suggest to exempt undocumented immigrants from paying sales tax for example?
Also, why should young intelligent people be penalized for the sins of their parents? Many of these children were brought to the U.S. at a very young age by their parents. I guess Rep. Harrell is not a real Christian.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


HB87 came into effect on January 1, 2012 and counties now have to comply with it. It requires firms bidding for public contracts to submit affidavits that their employees are authorized to work here.
Counties now have to enforce affidavits regarding citizenship or legal status from anyone applying for a business license or alcohol license, that a company used E-verify, etc.
The municipalities are supposed to produce a report at the end of each year that identifies new license recipients and provides proof that they comply with the law. What good those reports will do if the license applicants lie on their affidavits?
Even though municipalities have prepared for the law for months, they still have lots of administrative concerns. The larger counties have larger staffs but significantly higher number of license applications, and the smaller counties do not have the staff to meet the additional work. Ridiculous on all grounds.