The Registry Date Should be Updated More Often

Under the the Registry provision of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), those people of good moral character who have continuously resided in the US since January 1, 1972 and are not otherwise inadmissible, can apply to adjust to legal permanent resident status or green card.

This is actually what is posted on USCIS’ website. The gist of the registry date is simply that those who have been here in the US for an extended period of time, here prescribed by the Registry date of January 1, 1972 and prior, have arguably elected and established residency in the US and their status should be so adjusted upon request and if they meet the other criteria stated above.

This is yet another tool in the basket that Congress is neglecting to use in order to boost the revenues, numbers and demand for goods and services among other things. The last time that the registry provision was changed was 40 years ago. Prior to that, it had taken Congress another 41 years to update the Registry provision. This provision seems ripe for updating lest it should become insignificant in the fabric of our immigration laws.

Among the “grown-ups” of both conservative and liberal persuasion, a consensus exists as to the need to update all of our immigration laws. It was President John F. Kennedy who said in his book published in 1958, A Nation of Immigrants, that Immigration policy should be generous, fair and flexible. JFK posited that “[e]very ethnic minority, in seeking its own freedom, helped strengthen the fabric of liberty in American life. Similarly, every aspect of the American economy has profited from the contributions of immigrants.”

40 years is close to human life expectancy for some in the developing world and yet adulthood is determined to occur at age 18 around the world. Therefore it is possible, as we know, that a person could live their entire life save birth and die in the US without ever establishing residency in the US. The point is that some other reasonable benchmark need to be developed to determine the registry date since all things in life are relative.

Unless the point of the Registry provision under IRCA is to bestow the privilege of residency upon those at the “bottoming arch” of their lives and usefulness, it should be updated at more regular intervals so that those able to qualify for it may be able to repay the kindness visited upon them during the height of their usefulness in life. This is preferable in order to minimize the time that a potentially qualified applicant spends at the fringes of the “legal productive society.”

A qualified applicant under this provision will probably start out at a lower economic stratus prior to registry and by the time she does qualify for it, all the “pep and vim” required to hoist herself to a higher stratus through education, meaningful work, etc. would have been snuffed out by the day-to-day vicissitudes of life while staying safe from ICE’s wide net. Let’s face it, there can be no doubt that a younger body is in general more productive than an older one.

Aime M. Katambwe, Esq.     9/11/2012

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Deferred Action (DACA): Do You Really Need a Lawyer?

 In anticipation of DACA going into effect this month, many have not hesitated to declare that applicants for this very important process did not need a lawyer to help them with it. Spanish-speaking media, including TV and Radio, but also some in prominent positions in Congress espoused this view, which in our opinion is ill-conceived. Very badly thought-out. An Undocumented Immigrant or a Visa Overstayer can never consider the USDHS to be their friend. They are always poised to deport or remove both. DACA provides no shelter from that, just a reprieve.

You are always able to apply without attorney help, but after all is said and done, the cost of doing it that way is often too high. A good immigration Attorney is able to perform the usual checks that infallibly reveal many a thing you may have missed and/or omitted. An Attorney will have a deeper understanding of all the information put in the application and the implications and consequences flowing from it all. She or he will go behind the facade and under the floor of the “proverbial building” and look at the foundation. The goal of a decent Attorney will be to make sure that you are on solid grounds and that your application will not leave you worse off than you were prior to applying.

After all, you are coming from a position of invisibility therefore invulnerable, to one of visibility meaning out there for anyone (think USDHS) to “do you harm.” Here, you are seeking a benefit but you must answer the question: at what cost? There is always a cost to things. An Attorney can help define that answer for you in ways that you have not thought of and could not have anyway.

When it comes to any form of contact with law enforcement (USDHS & DACA), whether there was a conviction or not, there still may be something that could disqualify you from DACA. An Attorney can help you understand whether or not you truly are eligible and if you are, whether or not you should apply for it. Just because you may be eligible does not mean that you should necessarily apply for it. DACA is a discretionary relief, meaning that USDHS can do whatever it wants with your application if its decision is not capricious and arbitrary. No Appeals!

In stark terms, DACA is not a right, just a privilege not to be deported at this time in order to wait for the proper legislation. So, you give them all they will ever need in order to deport you in exchange for the privilege of postponing said deportation and a Work Permit. A fair exchange? I think so but under the circumstances, why would you not use an Attorney? Inconceivable.

There is always a difference between self-service (or cheap service) and paid-service: the latter is often cheaper than the former. Visit our website for more.

Aime M. Katambwe, Esq. 8/16/2012

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When 100,000 US workers lose their jobs through outsourcing, usually for at least a short to moderate period of time, America misses out on their income tax contributions, their value-added tax contributions through various purchases/services and in a nutshell cities and localities die and people move to jobs wherever they can find them and overcrowd services wherever they land. The balance is that the Chinas or Indias of the world will gain that many more workers and fortify their economies and tax bases accordingly. The argument that we ought to pay USC and LPR more to fill those unwanted jobs is also a nonstarter. Instead employers will shift those jobs to the extent that they can to foreign lands to save on cost and maximize profits (or those jobs will be vacant for long periods of time or simply go undone). In that case, the only winners are those with ownership in those outsourcing companies since in most cases, the production savings are not always passed on to the consumers. On the contrary, outsourcing pushes the producers’ profit margin way beyond the acceptable norms in the US marketplace.

The converse of that is that when people, including undocumented immigrants live and work here, they fortify our economy in that they must live somewhere: tax; they must eat something: tax; they must be clothed: tax; they must be schooled: tax; they must be cared for: tax; they must be transported somewhere: tax; they must use various services: tax and they will make various purchases (including “big ticket” items): tax, etc. When the government perceives taxes, it can then build roads and schools, hospitals and prisons, not to mention fight wars and protect us all. It can create jobs and provide services to the needy and serve the tax payers. It can replenish its social security benefits coffers and continue to pay out the aging or retired workforce and so on and so forth. Cities and localities flourish in turn and more work and tax contributors are created. Let’s not ignore the fact that the US has to compete now and in the future with the likes of the European Union, China and India just to name a few. China and India alone account for over 2.5 Billion people as we speak. Can you now begin to understand the economic (and military) power that these countries will command?

Aime M. Katambwe, Esq.  7/26/2012

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A lawsuit recently filed at the 9th Circuit’s US Federal District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles (where else?) challenged the DOMA. The Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law filed the Arenas, et al. v. Napolitano, et al., (Case No. SACV12-1137-JVS(MLGx) case that is now seeking class action status in order to interdict and eschew the many malevolent dictates that the DOMA imposes on our Constitution.

This may just be the type of action that was needed in order for this abomination of a law to be shown for what it really is: a senseless discriminatory act justified only by the self-righteous moral convictions of certain groups. Discrimination is never a reasonable act in the application or abrogation of a group of people’s civil rights. It is quite simply abhorrent any way we look at it. Discrimination is anathema to our Constitution. That is why the sister States ratified the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, among other reasons. In the end, those who fight for the civil rights of all always prevail because it is just the right thing to do. There is no reason why some groups should have more rights than others in a country that unabashedly declares that “all men [includes women] are created equal.” Either you believe it or you don’t.

I for one would have preferred it if this law had never been enacted at all. I am all the more appalled that it was signed into law by a lawyer of all people! This is because a simple scan of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment would have revealed it to be unconstitutional; I don’t care any way you nuance it, it has been, is and shall always remain unconstitutional. President Clinton should never have signed this abomination no matter what deal he had to make to move his agenda forward in Congress. It was not only dumb, but also regressive in terms of all the gains in Civil Rights that had been acquired up to then.

The only saving grace here is that the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) [comprised of lawyers], the guarantor of our Constitution will get to lay this beast to rest. It is SCOTUS’ rightful duty to administer the final blow to the DOMA. I don’t know if you have heard, but the SCOTUS is on its way to reclaiming its full credibility with Chief Justice Roberts at the helm. As a lawyer, I can only be proud with what I perceive as an attempt to return to impartiality by the SCOTUS with the Affordable Care Act decision.

It does not hurt either that another lawyer, here President Obama, militates for the gutting of this law. I guess lawyers can, as I always believed, affect this country for the good after all. It is time for the DOMA to go. It has to go. Period!

Aime M. Katambwe, Esq. 7/15/2012

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Back in march of last year, I wrote about the DOJ deciding not to enforce DOMA but that a recalcitrant DHS would continue to abide by it. Then in April 2011, I ranted about the need for executive action in adjudicating waivers for Dreamers. I am ecstatic that President Obama issued an executive order modifying the adjudication of waivers in a manner that will greatly shorten the separation time between family members waiting for a waiver to be approved.Under the new I-601A regulation, a qualified immediate relative applicant or the petitioner would file the I-601A waiver application and the application will be processed and approved in a matter of weeks and provisional approval will issue.

The approved applicant will only leave the US when their visa interview is scheduled. Because they will have an approved waiver to present to the Consular Officer, they will be granted a visa immediately if they are not otherwise inadmissible. Of course, immediately here means according to each Consulate’s backlogged schedule. The would-be immigrant will avoid the long separation from their family that the current regulations inflict upon families and ultimately leading to their fragmentation. Now that the President has announced his support for equal rights for the LGBT community, I certainly hope that this constitutes the second shot across the bow of DOMA, with the nonenforcement of it by the DOJ being the first. DOMA needs to go. Ex-Congressman Bob Barr, the creator of DOMA called for its end several years ago. Let us begin to deconstruct this abomination and let all people be truly free.

Aime M. Katambwe, Esq. 5/11/2012

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Recently came back from a trip to Europe (France, Belgium and the UK) and I was stricken by the indifference to all things American, bordering on invisibility. In fact, there seemed to be a new way of thinking in which America was just an insignificant component of the whole and not the sine qua non. The dollar was refused everywhere; none of those countries even acknowledged its existence and seemed to want it dead. Upon hearing me speaking American English, many a taxi driver jokingly cautioned me that if I expected them to accept my dollars, then they would just as soon stop the ride then and there because the dollar was no good here.

I understand the inverse relationship between a weak dollar and exports, but there seemed to be something more going on there. Europeans seemed infatuated with themselves . . . and the Chinese. The Chinese are the new rage with Europeans and the latter seem too eager to oblige. Chinese tourism is at all time highs in Europe and Chinese is spoken all over the touristy streets . . .may be it’s just me but I even heard it at the Musee du Louvres in Paris and was drowned in it near the Manekenpis in Brussels. London seemed reluctant but not entirely.Yes, a weak dollar brings in more exports, and tourism, and investments, and everything else that foreign concerns could want from here, which in turn translates into US jobs. But where the bloody heck is our tourism? Where are our Chinese visitors? Where is our incoming foreign investment? Nothing seems to work the way that textbook Economics teaches. When things are this out-of-balance, there’s got to be some other force at work.

Policymakers are asleep and nothing is getting done in DC. Whatever our thing is . . .or was, all I know is that our thing ain’t thingin’ no more. Why just the other day I heard David Muir report on ABC News that very long lines form everyday at the American Consulate in Beijing, China just to get a visa to visit the US. Get this, Muir also reported that on average every Chinese visitor drops about $6,100 per visit to this country when they can get a visa. So, I ask again: where the heck are our Chinese Tourists???

It seems we lost our mojo and as a consequence, our long time partners are dancing with others. I don’t know how long this courtship between Asia and Europe will last before a marriage occurs, but somebody in DC needs to wake up and start leading again. Those cavalier and provincial anti-immigration political actors who can’t see past their own noses better take notice that the world is leaving us behind because they refuse to engage in it. We cannot be afraid. Human systems abhor a void. They tend to want to fill it. And when leaders refuse to lead, they tend to be replaced.

Aime M. Katambwe, Esq. 10/31/2011

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Immigration is the new blood that fuels economic renewal and vibrancy. It ensures that change, which is inevitable, will be met with the necessary interest and gusto that keeps a civilization evolving. Life is but a constant change and a pest in man’s quest for security in what is already known, acquired and taken for granted.

And so it seems the political life of most Americans is taken over by a “Do Nothing Congress” and overzealous State Legislatures enacting a flurry of never ending anti-immigrant laws; all of it overshadowed by the longest phoniest recession seen in perhaps a generation. At a time when more is needed, less is done. Trade unions are busted and made to look like it is the will of the people. It is not. Immigrant families, mostly people of color, are broken-up without mercy under what seems to be the law. It is not. American citizens are literally threatened with the unconstitutional denial of citizenship, while “show me your papers laws” proliferate.

Everyone knows and abhors it and yet no one speaks up as if it is someone else’s responsibility and not ours. More inhumane anti-immigrant measures are dreamt up for implementation as if ridding America of all immigrants will do anything to solve its current problems . . . ah! But ignorance is bliss; is it?

Hindsight is always 20/20 as Martin Nimoller found out in the last century when he declared:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

Ask not for whom the bell tolls for they will be coming for you if you do not speak out on behalf of the immigrants . . . for we are all immigrants.

Aime M. Katambwe, Esq.  7/20/2011

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Posted on 4/25/2011 as a comment to Angelo Paparelli’s “Demystifying Immigration Myths.”

Thank you Angelo for saying (for some time now) what an affront to common sense and our constitution this BrandX/Chevron deference has inflicted upon them. The progeny of regulations that have the force of statutory law has made Congress powerless to address the issue of immigration without having the Judiciary and Executive organs overruling its enactments every which way from sun up to sundown. BrandX/Chevron have made Article 3 judges obsolete in all matters immigration to the point where we now see what is becoming a proliferation of retractions of precedential decision from those once respectable courts to make way for the asinine and ever so changing interpretation of the various agencies having jurisdiction over immigration laws.

These agencies enact new immigration laws by the mere power of their interpretations of the Congressional intent behind otherwise straightforward statutes. These interpretations afforded by Brandx/Chevron change often and are not necessarily uniform in all jurisdictions. You would think that Congress’ edicts apply equally to all jurisdictions, but leave it to these agencies to dispel this common knowledge. We have now come to the point in immigration law (as in criminal law during the Rodney King days, not to dig up old skeletons) where what you see is not actually what you see. The damage to our system of laws, stare decisis (et non quieta movere) in particular is unknowable but certainly great in proportion since settled matters are constantly being unsettled by new interpretations. Often these new takes are offered by nonlawyers practicing law under the federal banner  making it so difficult for those of us trained in laws to reconcile the principles of stare decisis with whatever new verbiage that doubles as new law being handed down by the almighty federal agencies. When lawyers can no longer rely on stare decisis to guide their clients or when a co-equal branch of government abdicates a power granted it by the constitution to another branch not so privileged, I say nothing good can come from a system that permits this imbalance to occur.

After all, no one branch is permitted to unilaterally change the constitution last time I looked.It seems elementary to me that Article 1 judges should not be telling Article 3 judges how to interpret statutes enacted by Congress. Call me a stickler . . . but that’s just me.

Aime M. Katambwe, Esq. 7/1/2011

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Just the other day, the US Supreme Court upheld part of the Arizona SB 1070 law that was opposed by the Obama Administration. This tells me that states are slowly invading the province of the Federal Government of the United States when it comes to Immigration Law and perhaps more. There is a reason why there is a “United” before “States of America” in our country’s name. Federal law is uniform law. At least that is the way that it should be but isn’t in Immigration Law. Since President Obama was elected to the Presidency, it seem some states have multiplied their efforts and lawsuits to escape the power of the Federal Government and the republican majority Congress has decided not to help the current administration rack-up any success in whatever endeavor it undertakes for the country. In Texas, we heard talks of secession. Sheer stupidity without more! The 5-4 partisan decisions in the US Supreme Court only portend a similar outcome . . . as was the case in Bush v. Gore.

But more on point, every state it seems, is enacting immigration laws of its own, forcing the Feds to oppose the often insensitive and ill-guided unconstitutional pronouncements of vacuous legislatures. To what end? The cacophony of enactments only serves to show the degree to which our Immigration Laws are lacking in legality, common sense, logic and true precedential value; not to mention how no one agrees with their current state. Maybe the states have a plan behind their worthless exercise in this area, or is it that the President is hoping to swoop in at some point (soon I hope) and save us by bringing clarity to this field of federal law. Time will tell. I just hope that 25 years from now, the words “United States” still mean something. If they are to mean something, then the sister States will be wise to remember that there is no “I in Team”

Aime M. Katambwe, Esq. 7/1/2011

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Last week some Senate democrats sent a timid letter to the White House asking President Obama to use his executive powers to ease-up on the removal of those unauthorized immigrants of good moral character who would have qualified for the Dream Act. Earlier this last month, the President declared that Executive action was not an option in Immigration Reform. This is a mistake in my view. Keep in mind that these Dreamers were brought to the US at a very young age and have known no other place that they can call home other than the US. Some of them have families of their own with USC children and still they face removal at every turn. A simple review of the qualifications for an I-601 Waiver of Conditions of Inadmissibility would solve half the issue outright.

The simplistic way that this would work will be that under an Executive Order, a Dreamer would file an AOS with an I-360 coupled with an I-601 waiver as a juvenile, thus suspending their age to the age they were when they were first brought to the US. The Secretary of Homeland Security would then use her already existing discretionary powers to identify, under an Executive Order, any reason upon which discretion could be exercised in order to cure any condition of inadmissibility and parole the Dreamer who will then go on to adjust their status. This is fair and will hold up under scrutiny. Elections being a matter of who gets what, when, where, how much and how often, I believe that the time of reckoning is near for the President and the choices are simple: executive action now or ask not for whom the bell is tolling. After all, republicans can do no worse on immigration.

Aime M. Katambwe, Esq. 4/19/2011

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