Secure Communities

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I seldom have reason to praise the Department of Homeland Security, but I think that the Secure Communities Program will work. The program will automatically check fingerprints of prisoners, convicted of crimes, and if they are found to be illegal, they will be deported. Whats neat about this program is that since it will be done by an automated fingerprint check, there will be no violations of innocent people’s rights as it is in Arizona. No one will deport anyone simply because they look Hispanic. All deportees under this program will be convicted criminals. This program started in Texas, and is scheduled to take place all over the US by 2013.

Yet no one is happy. Jim Harrington, the head of Texas Civil Rights Project told Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that people who have committed minor crimes will also be deported. It seems that Immigration activists don’t want ANY deportation— period. While the anti immigrant groups praise this saying that illegal immigrants make up all murderers, and violent criminals. That is simply not true. Most crimes are committed by US Citizens, so the program will not “secure” our communities. Yet, it will send a message to the illegal communities that if you get convicted, you will be deported.

The division shows how the left and the right just cannot see eye to eye and compromise on anything. I have no problems with law abiding illegal workers who earn a living simply because Americans will not do the work at their price. The price that the illegal people set for a job is the market price— not the artificially inflated prices of labor unions. But Americans will rather collect food stamps than work hard jobs at competitive prices. However illegals are here illegally, and should be deported even if they commit minor crimes like possession of drugs. And that is why I think this is a great compromise between the right and the left wing, and laud the DHS for introducing this program.

For more information contact Houston Immigration Lawyer or Houston Immigration Attorney, Annie Banerjee

Memories of Durga Puja

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I have immigrated more than 25 years ago, and that was the last time I saw a Kolkata Durga Pujo. Today is Ashtami, a day usually filled with work, kids and very little else in the US. I have not even visited my local Durga Pujo in Houston in years. Yet my facebook home page is filled with greetings for Durga Pujo. Memories of Pujos past come flooding back to me. Maybe facebook and social media will do what immigration or emigration could not create, a true melting pot world.

This was the Kolkata of the 1970s. The excitement started about a month before when we used to buy cloth and take it to the local tailor to make into dresses. I still remember the dark blue frilly dress (frock in Indian English) I had as a child. And then of course there were bell bottoms, and hanging earrings in the 70s. The clothes would arrive from the tailor, but we could not wear it until Shasti. But before that came Mahalaya— the start of the festivities. On a new moon day, we would set our alarm clocks to 4 am. We would get up and turn the radio on for the Mahalaya program, inviting Devi Durga into our world. We would fight to stay up. I would not understand the Sanskrit chants, but just as I would be dozing off a well known song would come on and wake me up. After the radio program, people would go to the Ganga to offer prayers for their forefathers.

On the sixth day after that came Shasti. This was the start of the five day festival. We would break out one of the new clothes and go see the richly decorated images and their elaborate, lighted bases called “pandals.” Kolkata, the city with limited power supply would illuminate into thousands of lights and elaborate decorations the likes of which I have yet to see in the Western world. And of course as with anything else in Kolkata, the pujos were in direct competition with each other. There were awards for the best “pandal”, best lighting, best sound effects, best image. Nothing like capitalist competition to spruce up religion.

Ashtami was the biggest day. We would reserve our best clothes for that day. After coming back from viewing the images (pratimas) we would have the same supper every year— luchi (puri) which is fried dough and goat curry. And then of course sweets. We Bengalis covered all our food groups: fat, carbs and spices.

Then came Bijoya Dashami. The pujo was over, the pratimas were dismantled. People formed huge procession, with light and band playing and carried their pratima to the Ganges to be thrown into the water. Art to us is dynamic, to be enjoyed fleetingly in this transient world and then destroyed to be rebuild again next year. We also went to all our relatives houses to touch the feet of elders and seek their blessings. They gave us sweets and fried samosas, nimkins, etc. No supper, just desserts and junk food, that one day of the year.

I wonder how many of these traditions have survived today. My older relatives do not go to see images any more, its too crowded. Many would not be able to digest goat and puri in their health condition. Yet the sounds of the drums (dhak) come drifting through the air from the pandals, the crisp new saris of people walking on the streets, the sound of the band after dashami will never be lost. Neither will the competition to build a bigger, better pandal for a prettier image die from people to whom cultural expression is greater than the need to make money. It is this spirit of Kolkata that I miss.

For more information contact Houston Immigration Lawyer or Houston Immigration Attorney, Annie Banerjee

Reference Letters for National Interest Waiver Cases

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Reference letters are key to proving many research based immigration cases. However the reference that Citizenship and Immigration Service (CIS) likes is not the same type one would get to obtain a job. The major thing that CIS is interested in, is the opinion of scientists in the field.

The CIS does not care about big names in the field. The Government would be barred by 14th amendment, to give more credence to someone from say Harvard, rather than say Podunkhollow University. Yet scientist very often want to get so so references from big names in the field, rather than good reference from not so well known scientist. CIS officers are NOT scientists. They just want a scientist in the field. Their credentials are meant to just qualify them to speak on the issue. It is more important what they say, rather than who they are.

The CIS does not care if you are hard working, diligent, easy to get along with. They are not paying you to work, nor are they working with you. The referees must prove the points of the law.

The referees need to say:

1. Why your work is important in their field
2. Why you are better than the average researchers in your field
3. How your research will help the US as a whole

Usually disinterested referees are the best, those people who are not your friends, or co-workers, but know you only professionally and are familiar with your work, rather than with you.

There is no magic number of references, but I usually go for 10.

Conclude by saying why the referee thinks that labor certification will be a laborious process that might hinder the research progress.

For more information contact Houston Immigration Lawyer or Houston Immigration Attorney, Annie Banerjee

Assylum Cases

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments

Three attorneys in California has been indicted of filing false Asylum cases. Judge Damrell said that while there were flaws in the asylum system that “doesn’t give license to lawyers to take advantage of it.” The lawyers apparently filed fraudulent applications.

Yes, the Asylum system is riddled with flaws. Full disclosure first: I do NOT practice Asylum, and my knowledge is limited. However I do practice immigration law.

Asylum is granted to individuals who, if they were to return to their home country would be persecuted. While it is true that many people all over the world are persecuted, I believe only very few can come to the US. All countries are basically economic entities. So even though different races fight, basically it is the poor who gets persecuted. Whether its between different political parties, between Hutus or Tutsis, between Shias and Sunnis, between blacks and whites, between different drug factions, it is seldom that the rich suffer. They have resources to hide or bribe the opposing party. It is usually the poor who gets persecuted and they usually do not have the resources to come to America.

I had once taken a pro bono asylum case from the Catholic Charities. This person was from Africa. When I first heard his story, he sounded very authentic. His story moved my heart. He also convinced a doctor to write about psychological implications for him. I wrote a fantastic brief.

The story was that both him and his girl friend were persecuted. Horrible acts of atrocities. As time went on, the guy asked me that he had changed girl friends, and can we substitute the new name. Gradually I became convinced that he was scamming us. He knew the story of someone, and just substituted himself. He had the Catholic Charities, the doctor and me fooled. I withdrew and so did Catholic Charities. I have no idea if this person is still in the US, probably he paid some lawyer to represent him.

That was my one and only asylum case. I am not saying all asylum cases are bogus, but my guess is that a substantial majority are. However the State Bar of Texas wants you to take certain of these cases BEFORE you can even sit the exam for Board Certification.

For more information contact Houston Immigration Lawyer or Houston Immigration Attorney, Annie Banerjee