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Greetings! Beach-Oswald Immigration Law Associates is committed to providing you with this newsletter to keep you up to date with information regarding immigration law and other issues that affect you! Read on for our June 2012 e-newsletter edition!  
In This Issue:
1. Memorial Service for Mr. Robert Oswald
2. Great Expectations Fall Short of Objective
3. Nexus Not Required for Humanitarian Asylum
4. A Particular Social Group Cannot be Defined Only by the Persecution Feared by Its Members
5. Secure Communities Comes to Washington D.C.
6. New BIA Case States that an "Aged-Out" Child Still Qualifies for Derivative Asylum
7. Office Closed July 23 from 9am to 2pm
8. Visa Bulletin for June
10. Newest Addition to Our Team - Vanessa Olivar, Esq.
11. June Holidays - Summer Solstice and Paul Bunyan Day
12. Violence at the US-Mexico Border Keeping Illegal Immigrants at Bay
MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR MR. ROBERT OSWALD
 

 

 Bob

  

We invite everyone to Mr. Oswald's memorial service on July 14, at 4:00pm at Spencerville Seventh-Day Adventist Church

 

The address is:

16325 New Hampshire Avenue
Silver Spring, Maryland 20905

 

We hope to see you there to honor his memory and to celebrate with us a life well lived.  The funeral will be held at Arlington Cemetery at a later date.    

 .  

GREAT EXPECTATIONS FALL

SHORT OF OBJECTIVE   

 

On June 17, 2011, in his memorandum, John Morton, the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, suggested a new policy that later became an ambitious review program announced by the Obama administration. The policy, detailed in the memo, offered to decrease deportations of illegal immigrants who were young students, military service members, seniors or close family of US citizens.  The announcement certainly raised great expectations in immigrant communities.

 

In November 2011, the DHS declared that it would promptly begin the review of all deportation cases before the immigration courts. The DHS started the nationwide training program for enforcement agents and prosecuting lawyers to speed up deportations of convicted criminals and suspend deportations of illegal immigrants with no criminal record. The review would also allow significantly help for the overloaded immigration judges to focus on removing foreigners who pose risks to the national security.

 

Seven months after, out of over 400,000 cases fewer than 2 percent were suspended.  So far almost 300,000 cases were examined by immigration prosecutors and only about 4,400 cases were closed. DHS officials blame the review delays on the criminal background checks of the immigrants. They also promise that many deportations will be suspended within months. 

 

Clearly, the excitement from the review has surged. What is more, according to Angelica Salas, Executive Director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, the review promised a great hope to keep many families together, but as of today it seems to be a failed attempt at relief. 

 

Another hidden part is that when deportations are suspended - administratively closed and not terminated, the immigrants do not receive work permits and remain in limbo in terms of legal permanent residency. So that, some immigrants, who have chances to win, prefer to continue removal proceedings and fight in immigration court to gain their  permanent residency. To date about 4,000 immigrants declined the benefits of the review. 

 

Also, the numbers of suspended deportations varied depending on location.  For example, the review had a success in Washington state, but offered very little help to the immigrant communities in Los Angeles and Chicago. That led to the immigrant group leaders joining the federal lawmakers and church groups to ask the DHS to give relief to a broader group of immigrants. 

 

Finally, despite the proclaimed efforts to ease on the immigrant communities, a record number of people (1.1 million) were deported in the last three years. The largest amount ever deported in US history.

 .  

NEXUS NOT REQUIRED FOR HUMANITARIAN ASYLUM  

 

In a recent case Matter of L-S-, 25 I. &N. Dec. 705 (BIA 2012), the BIA decided that an asylum applicant who no longer had a well-founded fear of future persecution still could warrant a discretionary grant of humanitarian asylum on remand.   This expands the definition to not only completing reasons arising our of severity of past persecution  but can also include  "a reasonable possibility of other harm" that he or she could suffer if returned to his or her country  8 C.F.R. 1208.13(b)(1)(iii)(B) (2011).

 

What makes this case interesting is that the "other serious harm" can be totally unrelated to the applicant's past harm and need not be inflicted "on account of" on of the five harms of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion. Secondly, it opens up another opportunity for those whose country conditions have changed.  Under Matter of D-I-M  ( BIA 2008)  when the presumption of well-founded fear of future persecution has been rebutted by the government but the applicant can show that they have suffered past persecution, they are eligible for a grant of asylum based on "compelling reasons" but here "other serious harm" is the focus despite not having compelling reasons.  

 

This case arose out of the Eighth Circuit after the IJ had denied asylum to an Albanian citizen after finding that he did not establish past persecution and that circumstances in Albania had changed so he no longer had a well-founded fear of future persecution.  The Board of Appeals affirmed the Judge's decision.  Further, the Eighth Circuit agreed with the lack of well-founded fear, but remanded the case on the basis that the BIA did not consider all the factors pertinent to the humanitarian asylum which both the Judge and BIA had summarily dismissed. 

 

The BIA looked at 1208.13(b)(1)(iii)(A) and (B). (A)discusses severe persecution and (B) discusses "other serious harm" that does not have to be related to the applicant's past persecution. This harm need not to be inflicted on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion, but it has to be so serious that it equals  persecution.

 

When deciding on a "reasonable possibility of "other serious harm," specific attention should be paid to the current conditions that could severely affect the applicant. Such conditions may include civil strife, extreme economic deprivation as well as potential for new physical or  psychological harm that the applicant might suffer. The harm should be as severe as persecution, but the nexus with asylum ground is not required. BIA remanded the matter instructing the IJ to review  and stated that L-S- would have the burden of proof. 

 

This case opens the door to a whole new realm of possibilities when the nexus is not present and the country conditions have changed and it could be very effectively used on a case-by-case basis.

A PARTICULAR SOCIAL GROUP CANNOT BE DEFINED ONLY BY THE PERSECUTION FEARED BY ITS MEMBERS
  

albania

 

In a recent decision the Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit upheld the denial of asylum for Johanna Cece, a citizen of Albania, who argued on appeal that young Albanian women in danger of being trafficked for prostitution constitute a social group. See Cece v. Holder, No. 11-1989, February 06, 2012 US 7th Circuit. The Circuit Court, determined that the group, defined solely by the persecution feared by its members, lacks the type of common, immutable characteristics which are prerequisite to constitute a particular social group. In addition, Cece did not establish a well-founded fear of persecution upon her return to Albania. The Circuit Court denied petition for review.

 

Cece entered the US in 2002 on a fake Italian passport under the Visa Waiver Program. She was 23-year-old at that time. Cece timely applied for asylum and withholding of removal claiming that she could not return to Albania because she would be kidnapped and forced into a prostitution ring as a young woman living alone. Also, she stated that the  police would not protect her since she is an Orthodox Christian and supports an opposition democratic party that was not in power at that time.

 

At a hearing before an Immigration Judge ("IJ"), Cece explained how the leader of a local Muslim gang harassed and stalked her throughout the city she lived. Police took no action in response to her complaints. In fear that she would be kidnapped, she moved 120 miles north to live with her sister but her sister moved to the US shortly thereafter. Living alone again, Cece felt unsafe in fear that Reqi or another gang member would kidnap her and force into prostitution, so in 2002, she entered the US on a fake Italian passport. The IJ granted her asylum in 2006. While Cece's expert witness testified about the pervasive sex trafficking problem in Albania, the IJ concluded that Cece belonged to a particular social group consisted of "young women who are targeted for prostitution by traffickers in Albania" that the government is unwilling or unable to protect. However, subsequently, the BIA decided that the group lacked social visibility and did not share "a narrowing characteristic other than the risk of being persecuted. On remand, the IJ accepted the BIA's conclusion that Cece failed to identify a "cognizable social group."

 

Generally, particular social group is defined by immutable or fundamental characteristics. It also has to be "socially visible" and "particular," i.e. very specific. However, the 7th Circuit rejects "social visibility" and "particularity" of the social group that other circuits require.  See Gatimi v. Holder,578 F.3d 611 (7th Cir. 2009) (rejecting social visibility), Benitez- Ramos v. Holder,589 F.3d 426 (7th Cir. 2009) (rejecting particularity requirement). The governing case law states that a social group must share "immutable or fundamental characteristic beyond the risk" of past or present harm. See Escobar v. Holder, 660 F.3d 267, 271 (7th Cir. 2011), Gatimi v. Holder, supra at 616; In re Kasinga, 21 I. & N. Dec. 357, 365-66 (BIA 1996).

 

In its majority decision the Court further explained that even if the members of the proposed group fear forced prostitution, a social group cannot be established merely by the fact of persecution or "the shared characteristic of facing danger." See Jonaitiene v. Holder, 660 F.3d 267, 271 (7th Cir. 2011). And young Albanian women who fear forced prostitution have very little or nothing in common besides being targets of those criminal activities. See Gatimi v. Holder, 578 F.3d 611, 616 (7th Cir. 2009).

 

The majority decision listed other difficulties with Cece's asylum application: her fraudulent entry to the US; and  objective fear of future persecution on account of her membership in the particular social group was not established - she did not report any specific or ongoing threat in her testimony; and the record provided that she could relocate safely within Albania.
 

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SECURE COMMUNITIES COMES TO
WASHINGTON D.C.
 
 
secure communities
 On Tuesday, June 5th, the dreaded Secure Communities program went into effect in Washington D.C., despite local resistance.  Under this program, the local criminal records that are submitted to the FBI are crosschecked against Immigration and Customs Enforcement immigration databases.

 

The D.C. Council filed for D.C. to be opted out of this program, but the Federal Government's response was that this is not an option.  The only way to opt out would be if the local security forces never check criminal records against FBI databases, and this is unrealistic.  Yet Mayor Gray refused to give in and has ordered the D.C. police not to question people about their immigration status when they pull them over for routine stops and minor violations.  There is also legislation that is currently underway that would allow D.C. to turn over suspected illegal immigrants to ICE only if they're wanted for violent crimes that were performed in the last decade.  Even then, the suspected illegals would only be held for twenty- four hours and with expectation of reimbursement.

 

Washington D.C.'s resistance to Secure Communities has earned it the title of "sanctuary city", and we hope that it will remain so.

The problems with this are multiple such as arrests of US citizens; less reporting on crimes for fear of arrest; rounding up of persons who have minor infractions such as traffic violations; clogging up an already backlogged immigration court system and causing potential harm to US children of illegal parents as they would be abandoned and sent into guardianships or deported with the parents.

 

For more information, please click here.

photo source

 

NEW BIA CASE STATES THAT AN "AGED-OUT" CHILD STILL QUALIFIES FOR DERIVATIVE ASYLUM
 

 

In a recent case decided by the BIA,Matter of A-Y-M-, 25 I&N Dec. 791 (BIA2012), the Board reversed the decision of an immigration judge ("IJ") in California. The Board found that the 23-year-old unmarried child was eligible for derivative asylum status since she was under 21 when the asylum application was pending. This is not news to most of us who have been applying this, however, there may be possibly other extensions of meaning that can be drawn from this and now it is established in case law.

 

In order to prevent the children of asylum applicants from losing their eligibility due to "aging out," Congress enacted the Child Status Protection Act, Pub. L. No. 107-208, 116 Stat. 927 (2002) ("CSPA"). The CSPA explains that an unmarried alien seeking derivative asylum status based on the approval of the parent's asylum application and who turned 21 while the application was pending is still considered a "child" for the purpose of acquiring derivative asylee status under Section 208 (b)(3)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1158(b)(3)(B) (2006).

 

The respondent, a 23-year-old unmarried native and citizen of El Salvador, was found inadmissible, denied relief based on asylum claim and ordered removed from the US because she reached the age of 21 before her mother's application for asylum was granted.The respondent appealed to BIA from the IJ's decision. At the time when the respondent's mother applied for asylum, she was 16 years old and included in her mother's I-589 application.Precisely, when her mother submitted the asylum application, she was 17 and unmarried. The IJ granted asylum to respondent's mother, but not to the "aged out" respondent who was 22 at that time. This is astounding in and of itself since the CSPA has been applied since 2002 on this scenario.

 

Fortunately, the Child Status Protection Act prevents such ill-fated consequences for the children of asylum applicants. The CSPA amended section 208(b)(3)(B) expanding eligibility for potential derivative asylees. The provision clearly applied to the respondent also because her mother filed for asylum after the CSPA was enacted in 2002.Therefore, the respondent statutorily qualified as a "child" for the purpose of establishing eligibility for derivative status under section 208(b)(3)(B). Based on this, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) concluded that the respondent warranted a grant of derivative status and remanded the matter to the IJ.

 


 
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VISA BULLETIN

Family Category Processing Times:

 

1st: 6/22/05

2A: 1/1/10

2B: 4/15/04

3rd: 4/1/02

4th: 1/08/01

 

Employment Category Processing Times:

 

1st: Current

2nd: Current

3rd: 6/8/06

Unskilled: 6/8/06

4th: Current

Religious: Current

5th: Current

Targetet Employment Areas/Regional Centers: Current

5th Pilot Programs: Current

 

USCIS Announcement: Breaking News!

"As DHS continues to focus its limited enforcement resources on the removal of individuals who pose a danger to national security or a risk to public safety, including aliens convicted of crimes, with particular emphasis on violent criminals, felons, and repeat offenders, DHS will move to exercise prosecutorial discretion to ensure that enforcement resources are not expended on low priority cases, such as individuals who were brought to this country through no fault of their own as children, have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, or multiple misdemeanor offenses, and meet other key criteria.

 

Effective immediately, certain young people who were brought to the United States through no fault of their own as young children and meet several key criteria will be considered for relief from removal from the country or entered into removal proceedings. Those who demonstrate that they meet the criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal.

 

Only those individuals who can prove through verifiable documentation that they meet these criteria will be eligible for deferred action. Individuals will not be eligible if they are not currently in the United States and cannot prove that they have been physically present in the United States for a continuous period of not less than 5 years immediately preceding today's date. The use of prosecutorial discretion confers no substantive right or pathway to citizenship. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights."

To read the full articel on the USCIS website, click here.

NEWEST ADDITION TO OUR TEAM -Vanessa Olivar, Esq. 

We are very pleased to introduce our readers to BOILA PC's newest associate, Vanessa Olivar, Esq. Ms. Olivar was born in Washington DC and grew up in Springfield, Virginia, where she attended West Springfield High School.   She then attended University of Virginia, where she pursued her Bachelor's Degree in foreign affairs and philosophy. Upon graduating from college, Ms. Olivar went on to study at the George Mason School of Law and earned her JD in 2010. Ms. Olivar has been practicing law for a year and working in the immigration field  since she graduated from law school.

 

During Ms. Olivar's academic years, she was a member of various prestigious organizations. She was one of the founding members of a peer group dealing with sexual assault issues. The purpose of this group was to bring sexual assault issues to the forefront. She was also a member of the Madison House and volunteered working with preschoolers with special needs. Finally, she was a founding member and article editor for the Journal of International Commercial Law and GMU Law.

 

Ms. Olivar has a very diverse background and has traveled extensively. Her father is originally from Mexico and her mother from El Salvador. Ms. Olivar herself is fluent in Spanish and grew up speaking it at home. She has traveled to El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Mexico to spend time with family and has also been to Italy. Her experience with so many different cultures is very valuable to our firm. Ms. Olivar is looking to explore new areas of immigration law and to bring her experience to our firm. We are very happy to have her join our team.

 
JUNE HOLIDAYS
 
Summer Solstice
 
stonehenge

 

The summer solstice is the point in time when the Earth is most inclined towards the Sun at 23 26'. The Earth's closest proximity to the Sun makes this the longest day of the year. After the solstice, the days become increasingly shorter until the winter solstice - the shortest day of the year when the Earth is tilted the farthest away from the sun - takes place. While the summer solstice is normally always on June 21st, this year it's on June 20th.

 

Although the solstice is just a moment in time, it is a significant event that has been celebrated by many cultures for hundreds of thousands of years. There are many holidays, festivals, and rituals associated with this day. For example, it is believed that the Stonehenge may have been built for the exact purpose of observing the solstice. Other extraordinary ancient monuments have also been discovered in various parts of the world to mark the sun's highest position in the sky.

 
___________________
 
 
Paul Bunyan Day

 

 paul bunyan

 

June 28 is Paul Bunyan day, celebrating an old American tradition. Paul Bunyan is a hero of North American folklore. He is a giant and a lumberjack, whose popularity is highest in the northern states and in Canada, where logging is a large industry. The character originated from the folklore of the northeastern states of the US and eastern Canada. The first time that the stories were put into writing and published was in 1906.

 

The story goes that Paul Bunyan was carried to his parents' house by five storks. He grew quickly and became very strong. The sound of his clap and laughter caused vibrations so powerful that all the windows in the house would break. He and his companion, Babe the Blue Ox, dug the Grand Canyon together. Bunyan also created Mount Hood by stacking rocks on top of his campfire in order to put it out. He was a mythical character used to explain the origin of the American landscape.

VIOLENCE AT THE US-MEXICO BORDER KEEPING ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS AT BAY
us mexico

Many factors have been attributed to the decline in rates of illegal immigration.  Blame has been placed upon a lack of jobs and upon Obama's harsh crackdown upon the employers hiring illegals.  

 

The Mexican government claims that the decline is a result of job growth in Mexico.  Yet, the would-be illegal immigrants tell a different story.  Many say that they are afraid of the violence at the United States - Mexican border.  Powerful drug cartels are ever present at the border and violence is rampant.  Pedro, a would-be illegal immigrant, stated in an interview with local media sources that, "I'm not afraid of the migra [Border Patrol], but I am afraid of being decapitated."

 

With violence at an all-time high, Immigration and Customs Enforcement would make much better use of its time stopping drug cartels instead of spending all of its energy on deporting hardworking immigrants.  Clearly, there are much greater threats to the nation's security than the farm workers who peacefully harvest crops under the blistering sun.

 

For more information, please click here.

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If you have questions about your particular case, please call us at 202-331-3074 to schedule a consultation with one of our immigration lawyers.

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