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May 2013 Archives

News from Memphis: FBA Immigration Law Seminar reveals latest immigration updates

The Federal Bar Association's Immigration Law Seminar that was held from Thursday, May 16 until Saturday, May 18, was an overwhelming success. The staff of government speakers, renowned immigration lawyers and law professors gave attendees insight and knowledge that is rarely assembled under one roof.Here are some key take aways from the conference:Driving while intoxicated:The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State, DOS, are taking a hard line approach to DWI convictions. If an applicant has more than one DWI conviction, dos is taking the position that the applicant is a "habitual drunkard" and will need medical clearances before a visa is approved. If the visa application is made within 5 years of a DWI conviction or if there are 2 arrests in the last 10 years, DOS is requiring a mandatory assessment to a DOS physician. How to overcome this? The applicant should be evaluated by his own physician first with a prepared report explaining why the applicant is not a "habitual drunkard." A course of treatment should also be outlined to address any relapse concerns.Noncitizens who are criminally prosecuted:Since the advent of Padilla v. Kentucky it is incumbent on criminal defense lawyers to advise noncitizens of the immigration consequences of a plea, prior to the noncitizen pleading guilty to an offense. Sadly, In Chaidez v. Holder, the Supreme Court recently held that Padilla is not retroactive. This means that noncitizens with federal criminal convictions that predate the Padilla decision (March 30, 2010), cannot have their convictions vacated for ineffective assistance of counsel. Chaidez left open two issues. First, whether state courts can interpret their state constitutions more broadly than the Supreme Court interpreted the federal constitution and Second, whether Padilla would be retroactively applied when a lawyer gives affirmative misadvice.How are courts generally addressing Padilla concerns? During the conference Judge Fowlkes from U.S. District Court, Western District of Tennessee, spoke on a panel with me and commented that most courts are now having the judges themselves give Padilla warnings associated with a plea. Judges want to do everything they can to assure the finality of a plea that will not be open to challenges later on.Gang asylum cases:Besides immigration reform, this was the hottest issue during the conference. If you compare homicide rates with Mexico and the United States, you will find an overwhelming spike in the number of homicides in Mexico in the last 5 years. Even though courts have not adopted gang recruitment cases as a basis for asylum, the trend will soon be to recognize this particular social group given the realities of what is happening on the ground in the countries in question such as Mexico, Central American countries and Ecuador.Immigration reform:Immigration reform looks like a certainty. One government official said it is like a runaway train that cannot be stopped. We will keep the follower of this blog up to date on the latest developments. One positive sign is that back taxes may only have to go back 3 years. This will make it a lot easier for people to register once registration begins.I hope you found this helpful. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have related to this article or any other immigration question.

How to determine if the lawyer you are thinking about hiring has the experience to handle your case

Do you know how to select a lawyer to represent your interests? The selection of a lawyer to handle your immigration case is one of the most important decisions you make. You are committing your hard earned money to a lawyer to not only handle the case competently, but to also deliver a desired result. In addition, with immigration law, you often do not get second chances. Sure, there are appeals and motions to reopen. However, every time you lose you compromise your case and your future status in the United States. Filing fees are expensive. For instance, with the amendments to the current Senate Immigration Bill, proposed fines have been amended to $1,500 for registration to obtain the proposed blue card.Flashy websites, lawyer advertising and client referrals are the manners in which the public learns about a lawyer before the lawyer is hired. Although these are all ways of getting a client in the door, how does the client know or have the confidence that the lawyer will not only be successful but will not cause harm to their case? The individual must research the lawyer's experience. Every potential client that I meet is given a copy of my bio. Yes, clients can go to our website and check me out. Yes, a client can Google me also. However, I want to make sure that the person who sits in front of me and pays for my advice values my opinion and understands the education, training and experience that goes behind every opinion that I give.My experience speaks for itself. An example of my experience is who quotes me as a reference. I was contacted by the New York Times when Justice Sotomayor was going through her confirmation hearings. I endorsed her because I had a lot of experience in front of her when she was a Judge in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Indeed, I argued 24 cases that appeared before Justice Sotomayor. My experience in front of Justice Sotomayor is so significant that it is included in her biography, Sonia Sotomayor: The True American Dream By Antonia Felix. Mr. Felix elected to relate my comments and observations about Justice Sotomayor to bring light to the "isolation" that Federal Circuit Judges experience in their work. Mr. Felix used my description of the Second Circuit being a "hot bench." The following is an excerpt from Chapter 1 of Justice Sotomayor's biography:

AILA issues informative press release on the strengths and benefits of the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act" (S. 744)

Every attorney with the Youman, Madeo & Fasano Law Firm is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Associaiton, AILA. AILA's website describes the organization as a national association of over 11,000 attorneys and law professors who practice and teach immigration law. AILA Member attorneys represent U.S. families seeking permanent residence for close family members, as well as U.S. businesses seeking talent from the global marketplace. AILA Members also represent foreign students, entertainers, athletes, and asylum seekers, often on a pro bono basis. Founded in 1946, AILA is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that provides continuing legal education, information, professional services, and expertise through its 38 chapters and over 50 national committees.

The critics we face when we serve the immigration public

Immigration law is all over the news now. Unfortunately, most of the news we hear is negative. Immigration Judges, government lawyers and lawyers representing aliens often have a thankless job that is misunderstood by most of the public. Groups that are pro-immigration seemed to only want blanket amnesty that will create a give away with no opportunity to earn lawful status. They view any regulation that would require eligibility requirements to be reactionary. Then on the other end of the spectrum we have conservative think tanks, such as the Center for Immigration Studies that attack any provision or proposal that would seem to extend a benefit to deserving non-citizens. I was the target of an attack from the Center for Immigration Studies that criticized an article that I penned for Interpreter Releases in January of this year. The title of my article was the subject of the attack, to wit "How to Present a Successful Non-LPR Cancellation of Removal Application when there is no Obvious Hardship." The Center for Immigration Studies, CIS, awarded me a "gold medal" for writing an article that showed "how an immigration lawyer can argue successfully that his client, who is not here legally, should not be deported, even though such an act will not impose an obvious hardship on anyone." CIS obscured the actual text of my article and completely misled its followers by disseminating an intentionally malicious article that was intended to malign me and show that I put on a smoke and mirror show for my clients' benefit. Nothing could be further from the truth. My article was based on well settled and principled law that used Board of Immigration Appeals precedent to demonstrate my point.

Immigration Reform debated in the Senate on Thursday May 9, 2013

As anticipated there is a lot of debate on the floor of the Senate and in Committee. The major news today was that the Senate allowed publication of the amendments to "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act" (S. 744) before the bill goes to Committee. Of major concern to our clients is the fine that will have to be paid in order to register to obtain a "Blue Card," which is the first step towards the "pathway to citizenship."

All of our Attorneys are active members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association


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