Ivan Fong named CIS General Counsel

By | CIS, News & Press | 122 Comments

President Obama has named Mr. Ivan J Fong as the General Counsel of USCIS. Mr. Fong has the typical successful Asian resume—-He has a Bachelor and Master of Science in Chemical Engineering from MIT, was a fullbright Scholar at Oxford and a JD from Stanford. He was recently the Chief Legal Officer for Cardinal Health. Before that he was the Deputy Associate Attorney General for the Justice Department, where he wrote a groundbreaking report on cyber crime.

He is indeed very bright, a computer geek, a nerd. But I dont see any experience with immigration law. Hopefully though he will do a good job.

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Our Patchwork Heritage

By | News & Press | 150 Comments

This is a very personal blog about what Barak’s speech means to me. I came into this country in 1985, as a brown woman, one of those persons Barak referred to in his inauguration speech as the one who picked up their belongings and came to this country for “us”, my children. As so, unlike the African American people who looked to this day from the perspective of the past, where they and their ancestors, survived intense discrimination, I look at it from the perspective of the future. I was lucky that my ancestors did not endure the segregation and slavery that will always cloud black heritage. But, as I said to my children, I voted in Texas for Barak, not because I think my vote will count, but because someday I can tell my grandchildren that I voted for the first black President of the United States. Sure I faced discrimination, so did my children. But we did not let that dampen us. We forged ahead and yes, we could. In today’s America yes, we can, and so can everybody who is willing to work hard. And hopefully this message will spread not only in America but to the rest of the world as well. America, and particularly Texas– in the 1980s and 1990s, you told us to not aim high, to stay below the radar of white America. We did not listen to you, and today You are better because of our defiance.

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Driver's License Fiasco in Texas

By | H1-B, News & Press | 5 Comments

Texas, in its bid to heighten security, implemented new rules regarding producing documents when renewing or applying for a new driver’s license since October 01, 2008. The Texas Department of Public Safety rationalized that since Driver’s License is the primary form of ID, they would check out immigration documents before they issued driver’s license. Except they created a list of immigration documents and did not realize that their workers were not hired to think.

The immigration documents should be valid for more than 6 months and should have a picture ID. In practice many immigration documents do NOT have picture ID, some do NOT have an expiry date. Of course, the DPS is not giving driver’s license to any of those people. For instance, if someone’s green card expired, they file I-90 and get a receipt notice. This document gives them valid status, and the right to work and travel. This document does not have a picture on it. Since their “green card” had “expired” the DPS won’t renew their license.

The Texas Civil Rights Project had filed a class action lawsuit against DPS in Austin.

What blows my mind is that DPS has to look after our safety in the roads.The denied individuals will probably also not have insurance. Yet, they have to survive, and therefore drive. They HAVE the right to work, why should they not go to work? But if while they drive illegally, if anyone of them hits you or me, where are our remedies?

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Scam Email Targeted Toward Immigrants

By | News & Press | 120 Comments

There is a scam e-mail making the move which asks immigrants to complete a fraudulent “IRS Request for Recertification of Foreign Status” The form contains all information that could be used for identity theft. On their web site:


The IRS says:
The IRS does not initiate taxpayer communications through e-mail.

* The IRS does not request detailed personal information through e-mail.
* The IRS does not send e-mail requesting your PIN numbers, passwords or similar access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts.

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Deportees do not have Constitutional right to a Lawyer

By | Commentary, Immigration Policy, News & Press | 157 Comments

The Bush Government has been trying to erode all constitutional rights for eight long years. In a final blow, Attorney General Mukasey, overruled long standing precedence and ruled that Aliens do not have a right to a lawyer. I can perfectly understand that the Government does not want to pay for counsel for people in deportation proceedings. But they do not have the right to reopen a case with a new attorney if his previous attorney screwed up.

Matter of Enrique Salas COMPEAN, 24 I&N Dec. 710 (A.G. 2009)

Defendants in deportation proceedings do not have the right for effective assistance of Counsel. This is outrageous. There are so many cases in which lawyers miss deadlines or does not assist effectively in procedural or substantive matters. Almost all of these defendants do not understand our legal process, and most don’t even understand English. Add to it the fact that in the last two years, a lot of immigration judges were political appointees, who have no experience in Immigration, and may have hidden agendas. You can potentially have a KKK member, sitting as a judge somewhere, who would be perfectly happy to send a political asylum seeker back to his home country to be killed.

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, Annie Banerjee for more details