Archive for July, 2011

The Truth in Asylum cases

July 28, 2011

The accuser in Dominique Strauss Kahn’s case lied to the Immigration about her Asylum case. But this is not unique.  I suspect that the majority of Asylum cases are fraudulent. I am not saying that torture doesn’t happen. It does.  But as with most things in life, its the poor people who actually suffer. Whether its the Hutu vs. Tutu, or Shia vs Sunni, its the poor that gets tortured.  And since they are poor, they don’t have the ability to come to the US. Richer people from these countries steal these stories, land here illegally and claim asylum. And that’s why I don’t do asylum cases.

 

I did a pro bono case from Catholic Charities once. The beneficiary was from Africa and almost moved me to tears with his story. He even showed me his scars. I wrote up volumes of affidavits, doctor’s records, etc. The story was that he was picked up during a political rally, beaten and imprisoned for three days with no food or water. His girl friend was raped in front of him. Brutal beatings. Somehow after three days he was released. Then one day at night the oppressors came knocking at the front door.  He left quietly by the back door, and in the cover of the night to the boat dock.  There he took a boat to another African country, where he purchased a fake passport, and came to America. Somehow he was let into the US, threw the passport in a garbage can at the airport, and went to Catholic Charities to file an Asylum case. His girlfriend could not come with him.

 

While I believed his story 100%, the immigration officer denied his case. We filed an appeal with the Immigration Judge. During the waiting though the guy told me that he has a new girlfriend, and would like to substitute her name instead. I was shocked.  The guy then gave me a completely different name of the girl friend and told me that the Catholic Charities person made the mistake in the name. This was impossible, since he read the whole affidavit in front of me. I realized that he was lying about everything.

 

On the hearing day, I did not guide him, other than saying, “please tell the truth.” We had an expert witness, who went through the same situation as our guy. While their main stories matched, the details of what he told the judge and what that other witness said did not match at all. His case was denied.  I did not appeal.  He took his file. He definitely filed an appeal with another attorney, and probably by now has his Green card.

 

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration Attorney Annie Banerjee, for more information.

The Diversity Visa should be Scrapped

July 22, 2011

Generally people can immigrate to the US through employment, family or asylum. But there is another category—the diversity visa. People from nations that are underrepresented in the US, can enter a visa lottery. The Government computer picks applicants, and they get to immigrate to the US.

 

Obviously whenever there is such a lottery, scamers abound. Scamers ask people to pay money to them, and they “guarantee” that those people will get in.  Applicants should apply ONLY through the government website: http://www.dvlottery.state.gov/

 

But when thousands of immigrants have to wait for so many years, is it fair to select a lucky few through a lottery, and hand them the golden ticket to immigration? To participate in the Diversity visa, one has to be just a high school graduate, and be born in a country whose citizens are under represented in the US.  How does a US Master’s Degree holder from India and China, who came here, studied, work hard, and has to wait forever to get their immigration, watch someone who is just a high school graduate come into this country. And is it fair to our, native born high school graduates, to see someone from Romania take that McJob?

 

And what exactly does “diversity” establish? Back in the days when there was no computers, we might actually learn a lot from someone from say Sierra Leone about their country. But now that information is just a google click away.

 

There is a bill in the house to do away with the ‘diversity” visa. Its time we get the brightest and the best from other countries, to advance the United States, rather than just some high school graduates who just happen to be born in these fortunate countries. The quota for diversity visas should be allocated to US Master degree’s holders who will benefit our economy.

 

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration Attorney Annie Banerjee, for more information

Immigration and Gay Marriage

July 15, 2011

Recently 6 states have legalized gay marriage. The States are mainly in New England, New York, DC, and Iowa.  Yet, just before Massachussets legalized gay marriage, the federal Government passed a Statute called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)  in 1996 which defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. DOMA does not prevent a State from legalizing gay marriage, but States can refuse to grant any rights to same sex partners.

Many Red ( read Republican) States like Texas prohibits same sex marriage by statute or Constitution. Yet under the full faith and credit law, States are supposed to recognize marriages held in other states.

When it comes to Immigration, same sex partners have so far been denied the right to adjust status via marriage. If one partner of a heterosexual couple is a United States Citizen, the other partner can obtain the Permanent Residency (Green Card) very easily. Yet that same right is denied to a same sex couple. Recently Jose Antonio Vargas, the pulitzer prize winning journalist from the Phillipines, who is undocumented, said he was asked to marry a girl to get the immigration, but he is gay and could not. Stories of long time gay couples, who cannot  be united are heart wrenching. And whats more outrageous is that a Government entity from what is known as a “civilized” nation like ours is the one doing the discrimination.

Legally the federal law is supposed to recognize the law in a state, when it has to deal with state law issues like family law.  Yet the DOMA prevents the federal government to grant rights to same sex couples.  So the Citizenship and Immigration Service in these 6 states are shelving the cases hoping that the courts will rule on DOMA.

What is really maddening though is that when President Obama ran for President, he supported gay marriage. But now, trying to concede to the conservative opposition, he says he is rethinking his position on DOMA. We, the people of the United States voted for Obama, because we wanted America to regain the freedom we lost during the Bush era. Let us show the world that we will not fall behind when personal liberty is at issue.

 

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration Attorney Annie Banerjee, for more information

Age of a K-3 Derivative Beneficiary

July 14, 2011

The Board of Immigration Appeals, in a recent case — Matter of Hieu Trung LE, 25 I&N Dec 541 (BIA-June 23, 2011)—- decided that if a derivative child of a F-1 fiance visa visa enters the country before the child is 21 (Note not 18), then even if he turns 21 before adjusting status, the child will still get the Permanent Residency. 

The Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS)  had held that under INA 101(b)(1) (B), that if a child turns 18 at the time of a parent’s marriage, then the child cannot be a derivative beneficiary of the step parent and adjust for status.  But the Board of Immigration Appeals, held in the case above that as long as the child is less than 21 at the time of the marriage, he can adjust even after he turns 21.

The child here was from Vietnam and was granted a K-2 visa and accompanied his mother, the K-1 visa holder when the child was 19. They entered the US. The mother married the US Petitioner after a week, and both she and the child filed for Adjustment of Status. The CIS granted the mother’s adjustment, but denied the child’s becasue he was older than 18.

The child was put in removal (deportation) proceedings. By the time the case got to a judge, the child had turned 21.  The Immigration Judge held that the child was eligible to adjust status when he was 19, but cant anymore since he turned 21. 

The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) held that when the statue does not define what a minor child’s age is, it will be 21 under INA 101(b)(1) , which included unmarried children under the age of 21. The BIA also held that since in this case, the child entered when he was 19, and his mother did get married when he was 19;  the child can adjust status to become a legal permanent resident.

 

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration Attorney Annie Banerjee, for more information.