Friday, May 3, 2013

Child Support Enforcement Outside The United States & NYS Child Support Enforcement

Can I Enforce My Child Support Agreement Outside The United States?
Yes, if your child's other parent has left the United States and owes you child support, you can still enforce the order in some foreign countries. However, you should first attempt all of the traditional methods of child support enforcement.

What is the Child Support Enforcement Program?
The Child Support Enforcement Program was designed as a partnership between federal, state and local agencies. These groups share information through the program to help enforce child support orders that are not being paid fully or at all.

What is the Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS)?
The Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS) is a nationwide computer system that:
Locates and tracks non-custodial parents who owe child support. Locates and tracks custodial and non-custodial parents for the enforcement of child support, visitation and custody orders. Tracks support orders involving the same parties in different states

How Does FPLS Work?
The FPLS works through the use of two databases:
The Federal Case Registry: a national database that keeps information on child support orders from 1998 forward  The National Directory of New Hires: a national database that keeps information on employment and unemployment from 1997 forward

Who Can Use FPLS?
The Federal Parent Locator Service can usually only be used by state agencies and courts that seek to regulate and enforce child support, visitation and custody. Private individuals cannot use the system directly, but must make requests through either their state agency or court

In What Counties Can I Enforce a Child Support Order?
Congress has established child support enforcement treaties with these countries:
Czech Republic
Slovak Republic

Contact and work closely with your state's child support agency. They will have the resources to contact the necessary offices abroad to enforce your child support agreement.  For a complete list of countries and for additional information, please visit the Office of Child Support Enforcement, International Section, click here.  You can also visit the Hague Conference on International Law, click here.

What If My Spouse Lives In a Country That Is Not In That List?
Even if there are no federal agreements with the country, your state may have an individual agreement with that country, particularly countries that are close to the state such as Mexico or nations in the Caribbean. If there is no state or federal agreement, then a child support agreement can only be enforced by a local tribunal. Have your attorney check state laws to see if the state has established an agreement with that country.

How Can I Locate an Absent Parent Overseas?
Check U.S. embassies for information regarding whether a person has registered with a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. More detailed information, however, is usually protected by privacy acts and cannot be revealed. U.S. embassies do not have the personnel to help you find a missing parent, but they can usually refer you to a local investigator.
If the absent parent is a member of the United States Armed Forces, the military has a wide variety of resources to help enforce your child support agreements and will locate the person. If the absent parent is an employee of the Department of State or Foreign Service, the government has similar resources to help.

If I Owe Child Support, Will I Be Able To Leave The Country?
A parent who owes more than $4,000 in child support obligations will have their passport application denied and any existing passports may be revoked.

NYS Child Support Enforcement
The child support enforcement program has legislative authority to collect overdue child support (arrears) and to obtain medical coverage through a variety of administrative procedures. Administrative procedures can be put into action without going to court.

Before any administrative procedure is begun, a notice is sent to the noncustodial parent. The notice explains the procedure, provides a deadline and instructions to comply with or challenge the action, and explains the consequences of failing to comply. Several different kinds of enforcement actions may occur at the same time, based on the dollar amount of the debt or the length of time the debt has been accruing.

The following information is a summary of some of the administrative procedures that may be used to collect overdue child support.   Visit OTDA. For NYS Custodial Parent Services, click here.

Procedures to Collect Current or Overdue Child Support
The two administrative procedures described below, Income Execution (IEX) and Unemployment Insurance Benefits (UIB) Intercept, may be used to collect either current or overdue child support.

Income Execution (IEX)
Income Execution (IEX) is the process by which payments for current and/or overdue support are deducted from a noncustodial parent's wages or other income by the noncustodial parent's employer or income payor.

Unemployment Insurance Benefits (UIB) Intercept
Noncustodial parents who are receiving unemployment insurance from the New York State Department of Labor will have current and/or overdue child support payments automatically deducted from their UIB payments.

Procedures to Collect Overdue Support
Income Tax Refund Intercept (Federal and State)
A delinquent noncustodial parent's federal and/or State income tax refund may be intercepted to pay overdue child support.

Credit Bureau Submission 
The names of delinquent noncustodial parents may be submitted to the major consumer credit reporting agencies. As a result, the noncustodial parent may have difficulty obtaining a loan or other forms of credit until the overdue child support is paid.

Lottery Intercept
New York State lottery winnings may be intercepted to pay overdue child support.

Property Execution
Financial assets, including bank accounts, may be seized in order to satisfy overdue child support.

Driver's License Suspension
New York State driver's licenses may be suspended for a delinquent noncustodial parent.

Passport Denial
The New York State Division of Child Support Enforcement and the U.S. State Department work together to prevent delinquent noncustodial parents from renewing or obtaining a passport.

Liens may be filed against a delinquent noncustodial parent's real estate or personal injury claims or awards in order to collect overdue child support.

Tax Referrals
The names of delinquent noncustodial parents are sent to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance (DTF). DTF can then apply specific tax collection remedies to collect the overdue child support.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Welcome to America

Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR), long delayed, for the wrong reasons.  I arrived at JFK International Airport, in August of 1985, to study Accounting, at Brooklyn College with a F1 Visa. My wife and children would follow with F2 Visas.  At the airport, the customs officer in an unfriendly tone asked, “Why I did not stay in my home country to study, don’t you have Universities there?” I said, “No, we are undeveloped in the Caribbean and swing on vines.” He then stamped my passport with a frown.
 At Brooklyn College, I was member of the National Association of Black Accountants, later President, member of the United Students League (USL), later Floor Leader and member of Black Family.  Black Family, was an organization where I drew comfort from, because the emphasis of the organization was keeping black families together.  Student politics at Brooklyn College was racially divided, Blacks, Hispanics, East Indians and other minorities usually were members of USL, Jews and Whites were members of PHD, the other party.  Organized cheating at exams were dominated by Jews and Whites especially in the Accounting Department, where there was also an emphasis on multiple choice exams.  Organized cheating was a moral shock to me, being a student of the British system all my life that emphasized honesty and focused on essay writing.
 At Brooklyn College, American Students of African Descent (ASAD), an umbrella organization for Black Clubs, was formed when a Haitian student was attacked by White students of the college’s baseball team.  The organization effectively dealt with that incident of racism, but was not successful overall, because minorities seemed to need a crisis to stay together.
 First employment, at a retail store and warehouse in Brooklyn, where all Blacks and Hispanics were placed in the warehouse, all Whites and Jews were placed in the sales department on the first floor. Internal control for theft was only directed to Blacks and Hispanics, while White and Jewish employees were recruited to spy on Black and Hispanic workers in the warehouse.  At Brooklyn College, while studying for my accounting degree, my Jewish auditing professor said, “Internal controls for protecting assets, should be based on the presumption that everyone would steal, if you give them the opportunity to do so, not color” Oh, the biggest thieves over the years at the warehouse were White and Jewish, not Black and Hispanic. 
 Reverend Sharpton, was my hero, I marched like most Blacks with him for racial justice in the Yusef Hawkins case, worked with him on the Abner Louima case, disagreed with his political tactics in addressing civil rights issues in general, but was inspired by the organized effort of Norman Siegel of the New York Civil Liberties Union, on the same NYPD issues in 1997.  During that time and less presently, Reverend Sharpton’s and other civil rights leaders, amazed me by their lack of organizational abilities and execution.  Additionally, their lack of knowledge on immigration issues, as it relates to civil rights issues is disappointing.  They, like some immigrants differentiate between the African-American and Caribbean-American experiences, forgetting, that the slave ships made different stops with the same cargo of people, separating families. Caribbean-Americans and other immigrants are no different when they believe that they are better than African-Americans. 
 Comprehensive Immigration Reform, or lack of reform, separates families, deportations whether criminal or non-criminal separates families. September 11, 2001, created more vocal anti-immigrant sentiments and movements in the United States by already extremist groups whose focus is keeping America white, more so, than keeping America safe. The eight Senators, supported by President Obama, the number one deportation President, have a new or old proposal on CIR, it’s called the Border Security, Economic Opportunity,and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. The Boston issue has created another opportunity for extreme White or KKK organizations to delay CIR. What should be done?
The networks, FOX, CNN, ABC, NBC, MSNBC, etc., most times, or some times, portray immigration to the United States as an inconvenience as opposed to a necessity. Old immigrants were mostly white or Jewish, new immigrants are mostly Hispanic or Black, this is the difference that is at the center of the debate without intellectual acknowledgement.  The new CIR, Senate proposal creates new categories that favor the “smart” over family.  This new approach may make economic sense, but panders to the extreme with racist agendas. The House is next. They get an opportunity to either approve the Senate proposal or to use Boston as a rallying call to continue the status quo. To House representatives the status quo is fine, because it slows demographic changes favoring Hispanics and is a blow to the President and Democrats who promised CIR in 2012.        
At Figeroux & Associates, we are intellectually aware, experienced and good American attorneys and staff supporting Comprehensive Immigration Reform, and like President Obama, we understand that in negotiations, you have to give, to get.  My experience, my Welcome to America, is not uncommon.  I statistically believe that America will one day be a nation of greater diversity, that change takes time, and that multi-culturalism is America’s destiny.  God bless America.
For a brochure on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, click here.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Announcement of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act by the Senate’s Gang of Eight

Statement by Brian Figeroux; Legal Advisor of the Immigrant’s Journal Legal & Educational Fund, Inc., (Journal) on the Announcement of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act by the Senate’s Gang of Eight:
"The bipartisan immigration bill presented by  the Senate’s Gang of 8 offers a commonsense  approach to fixing our outdated immigration  system. The Journal, volunteers and  membership recognizes that not all parties  involved will get everything they want from  the final outcome. This bill, however, shows  that the members of the Gang of Eight  recognize immigration reform is an economic  imperative for our country. We at the Journal  are particularly concerned about the issues of  family reunifications and waivers for  immigrants with criminal records.  We believe  that a focus on family reunification legislation  will lead to less illegal immigration.  Today’s  introduction is a major step in the right  direction and shows that the need to pass  comprehensive immigration reform is more  urgent than ever.” 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing on “Comprehensive Immigration Reform”

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 13020747 (posted Feb. 13, 2013)"

On 2/13/13 at 9:30am ET the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold their first hearing on immigration reform of the 113th Congress that will feature Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.
9:33am: Sen. Leahy (D-VT) starts the Senate Hearing: Few topics are more fundamental to who and what we are as a nation. We’ve effectively done enforcement first and enforcement only. The president is right, the time is now…The fundamental civil rights of U.S. citizens are more than a social issue. Any legislation that comes before this committee should acknowledge the rights of all citizens...The window on this issue will not stay open very long. This committee will start marking up immigration legislation soon.
Sen. Grassley’s (R-IA) opening statement: I’m going to start with a quote from then chairman, Sen. Simpson of WY made on 1981 as we started down a 6yr road of 1986 bill. Just as congress is about to undertake an overhaul of the immigration reform system, his words are relevant today. Since I was elected to the Senate, I have served on this committee. I voted for the 1986 amnesty bill because I believed it was a one-time solution to the problem. I was wrong. I applaud the movement by members to work towards an agreement. I have read the Senate bi-partisan framework. One line that struck me: “we will ensure that this is a successful permanent reform that will not need to be revisited” that sentence is the most important part of that document. We must learn from our previous mistakes so we don’t have to revisit the problem…The questions I have asked of this president and the secretary have gone unanswered. Why agents in NH were ordered not to arrest an individual convicted with sexual assault of a child. So the secretary must answer in the delay in arresting this sexual predator… I also plan to ask the secretary about the delay in transparency about the DACA program. About 5 letters about DACA have gone ignored…Finally, we have yet to see answers from the last hearing in this committee…Immigration must be settled, we must find answers. But getting answers to the basic questions of legislating seems impossible. I fear what will become of the President’s promise of transparency once we pass the bill. If we don’t have faith in the administration now, how can we trust in the implementation of an important bill we will pass later this year.
10:00am Sec. Napolitano praises the President’s plan and expanding on the need for Comprehensive reform in order to ensure America’s safety by driving down unauthorized crossings, bringing millions of people out of the shadows, and by prioritizing federal enforcement activities on narcotics smugglers, human traffickers and others.
10:08am: Sen. Leahy how is this plan different than the 1986 relief?
A: Immigration enforcement is light years away from what it was in 1986 and it’s seen in the numbers. There are 7 times more border patrol agents, we have 655 miles of fence infrastructure now as opposed to some chainlink fence, 409,000 deportation now as opposed to 25,000 deportation in 1986. The enforcement of removals has created tension what we saw expressed earlier today. Efforts must be sustained and multiplied and we must deal with the demand for illegal and legal migration.
Q: If we expand our legal immigration system does that make your job of removing criminal undocumented immigrants more or less difficult? A: It makes it less difficult because we can stop focusing on those that have long standing ties to their community, etc… and focus on priority cases
Q: Any longstanding prosecutor knows that you can’t prosecute everyone who commits a crime, you must show prosecutorial discretion. You’ve demonstrated this with DACA—that you can’t visit sins of parents against their children. Critics of DACA say that you’re breaking the law, how would you respond to that?
A: I would say that DACA is consistent with our values and the guidance we have given to ICE agents is to focus on those who have committed crimes, our repeat offenders and taking those who are low priority out of the system helps us meet those goals.
Q: Sen Collins (R-ME) and I are introducing the Uniting Families Act (that I have introduced every year for the last ten years). Some say that expanding spousal green cards to same-sex bi-national couples increases the potential for fraud, do you agree?
A: No, our adjudicators are experienced.
Sen Leahy: EB-5 is great! H-2A has had problems.
10:16am Sen. Sessions (R-AL) begins questioning Sec. Napolitano
Q: You’re afraid that enforcement first means enforcement only, but the American people are afraid that you mean amnesty only (without enforcement). I believe that if this Administration had done a better job of enforcement you’d be in a better place to ask for a more broad solution to the problem. I respect the lawmakers that are working to try to reach legislation, but it feels like what happened before with special interests controlling the process without ICE representatives, border patrol or real American people interests. I have my doubts that it will deliver on its promises. It might be better to deal with problems in a discrete level.
I fought for the fencing that’s on the border and it only got done when the last bill was going forward that called for 700 miles of double fencing, which has not been met. The additional border patrol agents that have been added were added over the objection of people who were fighting for amnesty last time. Last time you were here (October 2011) I raised concerns about the morale of ICE officers.
A: CBP and ICE were involved in discussions with the White House as the President formed his proposal. Operational issues on how the system works were part of the dialogue. On the fence, all but one mile is complete! With respect to ICE morale, ICE agents have the most difficult law enforcement job in America: they get criticized for deporting too many people and for not deporting everyone that is here without papers. It’s our responsibility as leadership of a prosecution agency to set priorities (as is done with state Attorney General’s office and the Justice Department)—the field officers don’t set the priorities, they get guidance from ICE leadership.
10:24am Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) begins asking questions.
Q: I want to ask about the visa waiver program, the importance of biometrics, and the entry-exit system. I was told by June 2012 that the Department would have a fully operational exit-entry system so that U.S. could calculate visa overstays. Can you give a quick update on when we’ll have this capability?
A: Biometrics is extremely difficult, and our airports are not designed to monitor exits, only entrants. We will have country by country visa over stay reports by the end of 2013.
Q: I am putting together the AgJobs part of the bill, E-Verify as currently constructed is not workable in agricultural settings. I asked Dir. Mayorkas how E-Verify could be modified for agricultural settings, but he did not provide any strategies to meet these difficulties.
A: I believe national implementation of a worker verification system is essential to immigration reform, but the problem with agricultural workers is they’re out on the fields so we’re testing mobile sites and other technology to put e-verify where the workers are.
Q: One of the principles of our system is family unification, what do you believe is the appropriate place for immediate family?
A: this President strongly believes in family unification, we will work with you on how big the chain is.
Q: Do you have any studies on the average number of people LPRs bring in?
A: No.
10:36am Sen. Durbin (D-IL) begins questioning Sec. Napolitano
Q: I want to commend you for DACA, over 400,000 DREAMers have applied. These students represent a great opportunity for America to be a better nation. We have drawn rules around DREAM Act and DACA that are the right rules. The individual brought up by Sen. Grassley was denied DACA and is now in deportation hearings. Some critics are suggesting that deportations are splitting up families and targeting families that are not threats to American safety. What is your response?
A: One factor that is considered in PD is whether the individual is a parent of a U.S. citizen children.
Q: I suppose what I am asking you to clarify is when there is no criminal record and you’re breaking up a family, what are the standards that are applied?
A: It should be a low priority case.
Q: There is a genuine good faith bi-partisan effort and we are doing our best to fix the broken immigration system and it is a threat to America’s future if we don’t deal with it comprehensively. There are elements in the negotiation that go beyond my personal feelings, buts an effort to reach a deal. We are encouraged by the President, but he has made it clear that he is anxious to mover this along. I thank you for accepting the most difficult job in this administration.
10:43am: Sen. Cornyn (R-TX) begins questions.
Q: this is like déjà vu for a lot of us. I believe the reason immigration reform failed in 2007 is because the American people don’t believe that Congress actually intends to follow through on enforcement measures. Did you say that “the border is secure.”
A: I did, but the context is that the border is more secure now that ever before and the numbers are better than they have been in decades. But we have to build and sustain that.
Q: Refers to a GAO Report that says that the Texas border is nowhere near operationally secure. I do not believe that the border is secure and we have a long way to go. A recent report signaled that you failed to apprehend 39% of border crossers, is that a good record?
A: We know that border security is important and that we’ve done more in the last four years to deter traffic over the border. The main driver of unauthorized crossings is the ability to work—all of these things go together, we need employment enforcement to drive down crossers. Other students have shown that net migration is negative.
Q: Would you agree that terrorist border crossings are a national security risk?
A: By improving the legal migration system will enable us to better focus on those who are nefarious and trying to do us harm.
10:51am Sen. Schumer (D-NY) begins questions.
Q: I want to thank the President for his remarks on immigration last night, he asked us to act now without making it a wedge issue. He gave us the space to come up with a bi-partisan proposal which is our only hope to pass something. We're looking to get this done in a short period of time and Chairman Leahy has said he'll make time for us. Both sides know they have to give and they are. It will be much easier to accomplish enforcement once we account for all of those people here without legal status-this way our law enforcement resources can focus on a smaller universe of criminals, future border stays, employers who hire unauthorized workers, etc… A: Fewer people are trying to cross the border than in four decades.
Q: In 2010 we gave you 1500 increased personnel, 4 drones and more DEA agents at the request of Sen. McCain.
10:57am: Sen. Lee (R-UT) begins questions.
Q: Our immigration system includes many different distinct parts and we should not assume that we must do this comprehensively. The good news is that Democrats and Republicans are not that far apart: we all agree to secure the border, reform visa system, streamline legal immigration and implement worksite verification. We should do the enforcement measures we agree on, as well as the legal immigrant system. I will be introducing the Fairness for Highskilled Workers Act, which will remove the per country cap on high skilled visas. Which specific component components of immigration reform do you think enjoy the most bi-partisan support that can be implemented quickly in your department.
A: I think the bi-partisan framework is a good place to start and we want to work with you to flesh that out with you.
Q: In 2011 ICE Director John Morton outlined two memos regarding PD. I don't agree with them.
11:04am Sen. Whitehouse (D-RI) begins questions.
Q: I want to talk to you about cyber security at a later time. I've been a supporter of the high skilled worker legislation with Sen. Kloubachar (D-MN). Can you make the case why encouraging high skilled workers is good for American jobs and the economy, rather than competing or displacing American jobs.
A: The case for STEM and high skilled workers is very strong, they complement American workers and become job creators.
11:06am Sen. Klobuchar (D-MN) begins questions.
Q: We are the world's talent and we need to attract the world's talent. Immigrant scientists and engineers are a third of what they were in 2001. 30% of U.S. Nobel Laureates were born somewhere else and 90 of the fortune 500 companies were started by immigrants. A problem with the system is that it treats drug smugglers the same as aspiring students.
A: With PD we take circumstances into account, but that is no replacement for statutory changes.
Q: Can you touch on how having so many people living in the shadows is difficult for law enforcement? A: What happens is, particularly in areas with large concentrations, is that people are afraid to interact with law enforcement when they've been victims of crime or have been witnesses. That is a cloud on those communities and when I speak with police chiefs (like SF and LA) it makes it very difficult for them to effectively ensure community safety.
Q: We did include U visas in VAWA for this reason, but were unable to include more in this go around. A: We need more U visas!
11:13am Sen. Flake (R-AZ) begins questions.
Q: Border security is a difficult term to define. The GAO has been quite complimentary of what’s happening in the Yuma sector of Arizona, but there are issues that the border patrol doesn’t have performance measures and goals to define border security.
A: The problem is how you define border security. One way to look at it if we have more money for enforcement, is it better to invest in employment verification system or to hire more border patrol agents. I think you can begin with the things listed in 2007 bill: apprehensions, crime rates along the border, drug and contraband seizures. The notion of a trigger implies that you don’t get to these other things until X is met, but we have to look at the simultaneously.
Q: I agree—we need people to have a legal way to come and go, only the path to citizenship would be tied to that. GAO reported in 2009 that in some sectors increased apprehensions as success, and in some decreased apprehensions as success. If directed by Congress can we go back to what we were doing prior to 2010 to “Operational Control?”
A: I would suggest that we should not go back. We cannot have a one or two line description of border security. We want a safe and secure border with efforts that can be sustained.
11:20am Sen. Hirono (D-HI) begins questioning Sec. Napolitano
Q: I am encouraged by the bi-partisan support around enforcement and visa reform, but unless we agree on how to address the 11 million people living in the shadows. The term Operational Control has been tossed out, and to some people that means zero illegal border crossings. How much money do we spend on border control?
A: Billions upon billions. Some studies suggest that you can add up the other expenditures of all federal enforcement agencies and it wouldn't reach immigration enforcement costs./p>
Q: So how much more would we need to spend to reduce border crossings to zero, because this about a cost-benefit anaylsis.
A: That's right, we are living in an austere world. I would advise that those efforts would be better spent on interior enforcement./p>
Q: I think immigration reform should be guided by principles that reflect our values. There has been a lot of emphasis on high skilled workers, specifically STEM, but another guiding principle should be the 50 year tradition of keeping families together. We should not get tunnel vision and forget the human element of immigration, I think we need to expand the opportunities for families to be united and kep together. Family immigration is essential to continue the vitality of the American economy. The success of immigrants in this country is closely tied to the success of the immigrants families. I want to ask about family unification backlogs, many immigrants have to wait in line for 20 years with Asian countries representing the largest backlogs. I'm pleased that the President included increasing the cap for family based visas to 15%, if that happens, what would you expect to see in terms of the reduction in the backlong, and how long would it take to eliminate the family based backlog.
A: I'd have to go back and get a firm number for you, but it would result in a reduction in the cap./p>
Q: In my community there are Filipino veterans who fought in WW II who have been waiting decades to be reunited with their children. I hope they will be prioritized. I've been told about 40% of the undocumented people in our country are visa over stayers, we have been attempting to address this for over a decade. What is it going to cost for us to put such a system in place to track these over stayers.
A: We have now linked databases and look at visa overstays and prioritize them as well. We will be doing enhanced biographic exit systems./p>
11:28am Sen. Graham (R-SC) begins questioning Sec. Napolitano
Q: We're not being overrun by Canadians are we? I would suggest that they return home because Canada has a stable government and economy and that most people who come are from worse situations. I think border security is the starting point. There are nine sectors that we've laid out, I want an inventory of what we can do that we haven't already done in each sector. Controlling employment is a virtual fence all of its own. I would bet that this could run into a roadblock on temporary worker program. I want American employers to be able to find the workforce they need without leaving the country. We are going to need a more robust legal immigration system in order to ensure the vitality of Social Security. We 're going to need more STEM workers.
11:35am Sen. Franken (D-MN) begins questioning Sec. Napolitano
Q: I want to talk about dairy. Cows aren't seasonal they have to be milked all the time. How will you help Minnesota workers?
A: We support reforms to the H2-A visa that would fix that issue.
Q: Approximately 205,000 parents were deported in two years from 2010-2012, we've seen firsthand in Minnesota how devastating these deportations can be on families. I know ICE has two sets of guidelines: parental directives and asking parents where they want children to go before placing them into custody. What is the status of these guidelines and what is DHS doing to protects children in enforcement actions?
A: These guidelines will be issues. This is the current hardship of the current immigration system-where parents need to be deported. We look at a number of factors: can one of the parents stay, are there other family members that can take the children?
Q: When an action is being taken, the children must have some contact with the parent, and the parents have some rights to be in contact with the children. We've seen this in Minnesota where it's been very traumatizing for children and parents and I'm introducing legislation to ensure that these families have right during those actions.
11:42am Sen. Coons (D-DE) begins questions of Sec. Napolitano.
Q: we're not living up to our Constitutional values of treating families and providing due process for all individuals. We're left with w system that's very expensive for all involved. One of the pillars of immigration reform is path to citizenship, what is the current path? Is there a line?
A: There is no line. We look at prior removals as a barrier.
Q: if someone is able to apply through a USC relative what is the process?
A: They are lengthy and complex. That's why we must create a path.
Q: In the context of reform there has been discussion about same-sex couples being a divisive issue, can we get a commitment of ceasing deportations of same-sex couples.
A: We can't because of DOMA.
Q: I want to talk about the process of deporting families along different parts of the border. How does the system ensure that refugees, asylum seekers or vulnerable women and children are protected and do agents have discretion?
A: We have found that one deterrent of repeat crossers of the border is consequences including lateral removal along the border.
Q: We want to focus on removing those who pose a threat to our community, under DACA DREAMers now don't live under the threat of an removal, has this policy resulted in the department's ability to focus on higher level priorities?
A: Yes it does and DACA is consistent with our values as a country.
11:55am: Second panel begins.
11:56am: Jose Antonio Vargas tells his life story to humanize the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.
12:02pm: Jessica Vaughan speaks on limiting the flows of immigration and the problems with comprehensive immigration reform.
12:10pm: Steve Case speaks on the importance of immigrant entrepreneurs.
12:17pm: Chris Crane speaks on his disappointment that DHS does not enforce the country's immigration laws.
12:24pm: Janet Murguia speaks on the critical need for immigration reform that includes a roadmap to citizenship, smart enforcement and a better legal immigration system.
12:28pm Sen. Leahy begins questions for the second panel.
Q: The notion that we would deport 11 million people is an ugly nightmare, how would you respond to people who say anything short of mass deportation is amnesty?

Murguía A: Amnesty is a pardon with no penalties, and no solution currently on the table is amnesty. The roadmap to citizenship that's been offered has strict penalties and obligations.
Q: What's the significance of the Uniting Families Act and the DREAM Act?
Vargas A: Inclusion and diversity are at the heart of this country. last week's House hearing had a lot of conversation about "low skilled" workers, I know that there is nothing low skilled about the work they do and they must be given the same protection as high skilled workers. Just as same-sex couples and heterosexual couples must have equality.
12:37pm Sen. Sessions begins his questions for the second panel.
12:45pm Sen. Klobuchar begins her questions.
Q: Mr. Vargas, what's happens to you if the current situation continues?
Vargas A: When we talk about what is in the national interest of the country. I've been to Alabama and spoke with a Republican farmer who after HB 56 passed said the government shouldn't be able to tell us who are friends are. Our immigration conversation has been the same for the last decade, we only talk about border enforcement, we talk about immigrants as if they're aliens from Mars. NCLR has been referred to as an interest group represents 55 million Latinos in this country, that is not an interest group.
12:52pm Sen. Hirono begins her questions.
Q: Mr. Vargas, you mentioned that 1.6 million people have been deported by this administration and 200,000 those have U.S. Citizen children. From your experience, how important is to unite families, including LGBT families?

Vargas A: Family is the heart of the American character. I'm lucky that I have a strong Filipina American family. I remember when I got hired by the Washington Post, I wouldn't call my grandmother because she would be so worried. I haven't seen my mother for 20 years because I am not able to travel. I have met many same-sex couples who cannot marry or petition for their partner. You see how broken it is from the perspectives of individual lives and their relations to their communities. That's why it was important for me to bring my high school family, because they didn't see an illegal immigrant, they saw opportunity.
Q: I am really focused on family reunification. Mr. Case, I agree with you that we should provide STEM green cards, but there are a lot of people that came here as children (founders of Google and Yahoo as examples) who are these entrepreneurs. Case A: I do agree. There is a recognition that we need comprehensive reform that includes family.
Sen. Blumenthal (D-CT) begins his questions.
Q: I've been a longtime supporter of the DREAM Act. Mr. Crane, do you support drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants?
Crane A: [didn't answer]
Q: What do you think about increasing the penalties for individuals that don't have the proper licenses or insurance?
Crane A: Absolutely.
Q: Do you think raising the cap on H-1Bs or eliminating the cap is important, and allowing portability of the visa between jobs is critical?
Case A: Yes.
1:04pm Sen. Coons begins his questions.
Q: Is NCLR a special interest group that doesn't represent regular Americans, can you tell us about who NCLR represents?
Murguía A: We've been around for 45 years and represent a network of affiliates that represent millions of Latino families. We provide a number of programs that we run to help our community succeed including charter schools, workforce development programs, health clinics and other services. We also provide a voice for Latinos in public policy discussions including civil rights and immigration. When I'm in a meeting with the President I'm representing 55 million American Latinos who are contributing and members of the military.
Q: Why is entrepreneurship so important?
Case A: We must take the loss of entrepreneurship seriously in this country, we can't bemoan the loss 25 years from now as we are bemoaning the loss of manufacturing.
Sen. Blumenthal
Q: Ms. Vaughan, you emphasize enforcement proposals, and both plans include enforcement, do you still oppose the path to citizenship included in the proposals as well? what would you do with the 11 million undocumented people here now? Vaughan A: I think it's important for the public to support the proposals and the public wants to see commitment to enforcement.
Blumenthal: Is your objection timing then?
A: We think people will make the choice to go back home when robust enforcement is implemented as we've seen on state wide level.
Sen. Coons: I want us to embrace the enormous opportunity for us to build a path forward for America to be a better country by reforming our immigration system.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Remarks by the President on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Del Sol High School
Las Vegas, Nevada
11:40 A.M. PST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you! (Applause.) Thank you! Thank you so much. (Applause.) It is good to be back in Las Vegas! (Applause.) And it is good to be among so many good friends.

Let me start off by thanking everybody at Del Sol High School for hosting us. (Applause.) Go Dragons! Let me especially thank your outstanding principal, Lisa Primas. (Applause.)

There are all kinds of notable guests here, but I just want to mention a few. First of all, our outstanding Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, is here. (Applause.) Our wonderful Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar. (Applause.) Former Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis. (Applause.) Two of the outstanding members of the congressional delegation from Nevada, Steve Horsford and Dina Titus. (Applause.) Your own mayor, Carolyn Goodman. (Applause.)

But we also have some mayors that flew in because they know how important the issue we’re going to talk about today is. Marie Lopez Rogers from Avondale, Arizona. (Applause.) Kasim Reed from Atlanta, Georgia. (Applause.) Greg Stanton from Phoenix, Arizona. (Applause.) And Ashley Swearengin from Fresno, California. (Applause.)

And all of you are here, as well as some of the top labor leaders in the country. And we are just so grateful. Some outstanding business leaders are here as well. And of course, we’ve got wonderful students here, so I could not be prouder of our students. (Applause.)

Now, those of you have a seat, feel free to take a seat. I don’t mind.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I love you, Mr. President!

THE PRESIDENT: I love you back. (Applause.)

Now, last week, I had the honor of being sworn in for a second term as President of the United States. (Applause.) And during my inaugural address, I talked about how making progress on the defining challenges of our time doesn’t require us to settle every debate or ignore every difference that we may have, but it does require us to find common ground and move forward in common purpose. It requires us to act.

I know that some issues will be harder to lift than others. Some debates will be more contentious. That’s to be expected. But the reason I came here today is because of a challenge where the differences are dwindling; where a broad consensus is emerging; and where a call for action can now be heard coming from all across America. I’m here today because the time has come for common-sense, comprehensive immigration reform. (Applause.) The time is now. Now is the time. Now is the time. Now is the time.

AUDIENCE: Sí se puede! Sí se puede!

THE PRESIDENT: Now is the time.

I’m here because most Americans agree that it’s time to fix a system that’s been broken for way too long. I’m here because business leaders, faith leaders, labor leaders, law enforcement, and leaders from both parties are coming together to say now is the time to find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as the land of opportunity. Now is the time to do this so we can strengthen our economy and strengthen our country’s future.

Think about it -- we define ourselves as a nation of immigrants. That’s who we are -- in our bones. The promise we see in those who come here from every corner of the globe, that’s always been one of our greatest strengths. It keeps our workforce young. It keeps our country on the cutting edge. And it’s helped build the greatest economic engine the world has ever known.

After all, immigrants helped start businesses like Google and Yahoo!. They created entire new industries that, in turn, created new jobs and new prosperity for our citizens. In recent years, one in four high-tech startups in America were founded by immigrants. One in four new small business owners were immigrants, including right here in Nevada -- folks who came here seeking opportunity and now want to share that opportunity with other Americans.

But we all know that today, we have an immigration system that’s out of date and badly broken; a system that’s holding us back instead of helping us grow our economy and strengthen our middle class.

Right now, we have 11 million undocumented immigrants in America; 11 million men and women from all over the world who live their lives in the shadows. Yes, they broke the rules. They crossed the border illegally. Maybe they overstayed their visas. Those are facts. Nobody disputes them. But these 11 million men and women are now here. Many of them have been here for years. And the overwhelming majority of these individuals aren’t looking for any trouble. They’re contributing members of the community. They're looking out for their families. They're looking out for their neighbors. They're woven into the fabric of our lives.

Every day, like the rest of us, they go out and try to earn a living. Often they do that in a shadow economy -- a place where employers may offer them less than the minimum wage or make them work overtime without extra pay. And when that happens, it’s not just bad for them, it’s bad for the entire economy. Because all the businesses that are trying to do the right thing -- that are hiring people legally, paying a decent wage, following the rules -- they’re the ones who suffer. They've got to compete against companies that are breaking the rules. And the wages and working conditions of American workers are threatened, too.
So if we're truly committed to strengthening our middle class and providing more ladders of opportunity to those who are willing to work hard to make it into the middle class, we've got to fix the system.

We have to make sure that every business and every worker in America is playing by the same set of rules. We have to bring this shadow economy into the light so that everybody is held accountable -- businesses for who they hire, and immigrants for getting on the right side of the law. That’s common sense. And that’s why we need comprehensive immigration reform. (Applause.)

There’s another economic reason why we need reform. It’s not just about the folks who come here illegally and have the effect they have on our economy. It’s also about the folks who try to come here legally but have a hard time doing so, and the effect that has on our economy.

Right now, there are brilliant students from all over the world sitting in classrooms at our top universities. They’re earning degrees in the fields of the future, like engineering and computer science. But once they finish school, once they earn that diploma, there’s a good chance they’ll have to leave our country. Think about that.

Intel was started with the help of an immigrant who studied here and then stayed here. Instagram was started with the help of an immigrant who studied here and then stayed here. Right now in one of those classrooms, there’s a student wrestling with how to turn their big idea -- their Intel or Instagram -- into a big business. We’re giving them all the skills they need to figure that out, but then we’re going to turn around and tell them to start that business and create those jobs in China or India or Mexico or someplace else? That’s not how you grow new industries in America. That’s how you give new industries to our competitors. That’s why we need comprehensive immigration reform. (Applause.)

Now, during my first term, we took steps to try and patch up some of the worst cracks in the system.

First, we strengthened security at the borders so that we could finally stem the tide of illegal immigrants. We put more boots on the ground on the southern border than at any time in our history. And today, illegal crossings are down nearly 80 percent from their peak in 2000. (Applause.)

Second, we focused our enforcement efforts on criminals who are here illegally and who endanger our communities. And today, deportations of criminals is at its highest level ever. (Applause.)

And third, we took up the cause of the DREAMers -- (applause) -- the young people who were brought to this country as children, young people who have grown up here, built their lives here, have futures here. We said that if you’re able to meet some basic criteria like pursuing an education, then we’ll consider offering you the chance to come out of the shadows so that you can live here and work here legally, so that you can finally have the dignity of knowing you belong.

But because this change isn’t permanent, we need Congress to act -- and not just on the DREAM Act. We need Congress to act on a comprehensive approach that finally deals with the 11 million undocumented immigrants who are in the country right now. That's what we need. (Applause.)

Now, the good news is that for the first time in many years, Republicans and Democrats seem ready to tackle this problem together. (Applause.) Members of both parties, in both chambers, are actively working on a solution. Yesterday, a bipartisan group of senators announced their principles for comprehensive immigration reform, which are very much in line with the principles I’ve proposed and campaigned on for the last few years. So at this moment, it looks like there’s a genuine desire to get this done soon, and that’s very encouraging.

But this time, action must follow. (Applause.) We can't allow immigration reform to get bogged down in an endless debate. We've been debating this a very long time. So it's not as if we don't know technically what needs to get done. As a consequence, to help move this process along, today I’m laying out my ideas for immigration reform. And my hope is that this provides some key markers to members of Congress as they craft a bill, because the ideas I’m proposing have traditionally been supported by both Democrats like Ted Kennedy and Republicans like President George W. Bush. You don't get that matchup very often. (Laughter.) So we know where the consensus should be.

Now, of course, there will be rigorous debate about many of the details, and every stakeholder should engage in real give and take in the process. But it’s important for us to recognize that the foundation for bipartisan action is already in place. And if Congress is unable to move forward in a timely fashion, I will send up a bill based on my proposal and insist that they vote on it right away. (Applause.)

So the principles are pretty straightforward. There are a lot of details behind it. We're going to hand out a bunch of paper so that everybody will know exactly what we're talking about. But the principles are pretty straightforward.

First, I believe we need to stay focused on enforcement. That means continuing to strengthen security at our borders. It means cracking down more forcefully on businesses that knowingly hire undocumented workers. To be fair, most businesses want to do the right thing, but a lot of them have a hard time figuring out who’s here legally, who’s not. So we need to implement a national system that allows businesses to quickly and accurately verify someone’s employment status. And if they still knowingly hire undocumented workers, then we need to ramp up the penalties.

Second, we have to deal with the 11 million individuals who are here illegally. We all agree that these men and women should have to earn their way to citizenship. But for comprehensive immigration reform to work, it must be clear from the outset that there is a pathway to citizenship. (Applause.)

We’ve got to lay out a path -- a process that includes passing a background check, paying taxes, paying a penalty, learning English, and then going to the back of the line, behind all the folks who are trying to come here legally. That's only fair, right? (Applause.)
So that means it won’t be a quick process but it will be a fair process. And it will lift these individuals out of the shadows and give them a chance to earn their way to a green card and eventually to citizenship. (Applause.)

And the third principle is we’ve got to bring our legal immigration system into the 21st century because it no longer reflects the realities of our time. (Applause.) For example, if you are a citizen, you shouldn’t have to wait years before your family is able to join you in America. You shouldn't have to wait years. (Applause.)

If you’re a foreign student who wants to pursue a career in science or technology, or a foreign entrepreneur who wants to start a business with the backing of American investors, we should help you do that here. Because if you succeed, you’ll create American businesses and American jobs. You’ll help us grow our economy. You’ll help us strengthen our middle class.

So that’s what comprehensive immigration reform looks like: smarter enforcement; a pathway to earned citizenship; improvements in the legal immigration system so that we continue to be a magnet for the best and the brightest all around the world. It’s pretty straightforward.

The question now is simple: Do we have the resolve as a people, as a country, as a government to finally put this issue behind us? I believe that we do. I believe that we do. (Applause.) I believe we are finally at a moment where comprehensive immigration reform is within our grasp.

But I promise you this: The closer we get, the more emotional this debate is going to become. Immigration has always been an issue that enflames passions. That’s not surprising. There are few things that are more important to us as a society than who gets to come here and call our country home; who gets the privilege of becoming a citizen of the United States of America. That's a big deal.

When we talk about that in the abstract, it’s easy sometimes for the discussion to take on a feeling of “us” versus “them.” And when that happens, a lot of folks forget that most of “us” used to be “them.” We forget that. (Applause.)

It’s really important for us to remember our history. Unless you’re one of the first Americans, a Native American, you came from someplace else. Somebody brought you. (Applause.)

Ken Salazar, he’s of Mexican American descent, but he points that his family has been living where he lives for 400 years, so he didn't immigrate anywhere. (Laughter.)

The Irish who left behind a land of famine. The Germans who fled persecution. The Scandinavians who arrived eager to pioneer out west. The Polish. The Russians. The Italians. The Chinese. The Japanese. The West Indians. The huddled masses who came through Ellis Island on one coast and Angel Island on the other. (Applause.) All those folks, before they were “us,” they were “them.”

And when each new wave of immigrants arrived, they faced resistance from those who were already here. They faced hardship. They faced racism. They faced ridicule. But over time, as they went about their daily lives, as they earned a living, as they raised a family, as they built a community, as their kids went to school here, they did their part to build a nation.

They were the Einsteins and the Carnegies. But they were also the millions of women and men whose names history may not remember, but whose actions helped make us who we are; who built this country hand by hand, brick by brick. (Applause.) They all came here knowing that what makes somebody an American is not just blood or birth, but allegiance to our founding principles and the faith in the idea that anyone from anywhere can write the next great chapter of our story.

And that’s still true today. Just ask Alan Aleman. Alan is here this afternoon -- where is Alan? He's around here -- there he is right here. (Applause.) Alan was born in Mexico. (Applause.) He was brought to this country by his parents when he was a child. Growing up, Alan went to an American school, pledged allegiance to the American flag, felt American in every way -- and he was, except for one: on paper.

In high school, Alan watched his friends come of age -- driving around town with their new licenses, earning some extra cash from their summer jobs at the mall. He knew he couldn’t do those things. But it didn’t matter that much. What mattered to Alan was earning an education so that he could live up to his God-given potential.

Last year, when Alan heard the news that we were going to offer a chance for folks like him to emerge from the shadows -- even if it's just for two years at a time -- he was one of the first to sign up. And a few months ago he was one of the first people in Nevada to get approved. (Applause.) In that moment, Alan said, “I felt the fear vanish. I felt accepted.”

So today, Alan is in his second year at the College of Southern Nevada. (Applause.) Alan is studying to become a doctor. (Applause.) He hopes to join the Air Force. He’s working hard every single day to build a better life for himself and his family. And all he wants is the opportunity to do his part to build a better America. (Applause.)

So in the coming weeks, as the idea of reform becomes more real and the debate becomes more heated, and there are folks who are trying to pull this thing apart, remember Alan and all those who share the same hopes and the same dreams. Remember that this is not just a debate about policy. It’s about people. It’s about men and women and young people who want nothing more than the chance to earn their way into the American story.

Throughout our history, that has only made our nation stronger. And it’s how we will make sure that this century is the same as the last: an American century welcoming of everybody who aspires to do something more, and who is willing to work hard to do it, and is willing to pledge that allegiance to our flag.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
12:05 P.M. PST

Thursday, January 17, 2013

New York State Dream Act

As an immigrant to Brooklyn, New York, as the Legal Adviser for the Immigrant’s Journal Legal & Educational Fund, Inc., and as a person of color, I am appalled that the Governor of New York, Governor Cuomo and the Democrats have not passed a New York Dream Act like California.  Additionally, unlike Illinois, New York has not passed legislation granting a drivers’s license to undocumented New Yorkers.  In short, New York, need to be more immigrant friendly. If President Barrack Obama, by Executive Order did not grant Deferred Action, to high school graduates, then New York state undocumented children would not be able to get a job to pay for their college education.  New York state elected officials talk like Democrats, but legislate or don’t legislate like Republicans.

New York State DREAM Act, bill (S. 2378/ A. 2597) was introduced by Assemblyman Francisco Moya, with the strong support of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. It would make New York one of just four states - the others are Texas, New Mexico, and California - to offer state financial aid to the children of immigrants.  In-state tuition has been available to New York's immigrant youth since 2002, an option available in just 11 other states. The criteria for access to state financial aid would match the strict criteria for students seeking in-state tuition.
This legislation would also give young immigrants access to a broad range of state educational opportunity programs such as:
Tuition Assistance Program (TAP);
Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP);
Educational Opportunity Program (EOP);
Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (C-STEP); and
Opportunity programs available at community colleges.
The measure would also create a DREAM Fund committed to advancing the educational goals of the children of immigrants through privately-funded scholarships and broadened access to the New York State College Tuition Savings (529) Program through family tuition accounts.
The family tuition accounts would be available to anyone who provides a valid taxpayer identification number. They allow for systematic savings, making it easier for New York's hardworking immigrant families to save for their children's futures.
This bill is long overdue, whether Democrat or Republican, we urge our elected officials in Albany, to do the right thing, and help New York children.

Brian Figeroux, Esq.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

More on: Comprehensive Immigration Reform

U.S. Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez met Tuesday with Obama administration officials to discuss the path forward on comprehensive immigration reform.
Posted Jan 16, 2013 3:15pm EST
Representative Luis Gutierrez and five other members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus met with White House officials Tuesday in the Roosevelt Room to discuss the administration's plan to move forward on comprehensive immigration reform, the Illinois Congressman, a key figure on the issue, told BuzzFeed. "It's clear to me from that meeting that they have a plan, they're working, and their team is expanding," he said. 
Gutierrez said the discussion surrounded "who goes first" — the Senate, House, or White House — on the push for immigration legislation. "We talked about what the president wants and what his vision is," said Gutierrez. "And I gotta tell you, we're in a good place." 

As evidence of the momentum on immigration, Gutierrez compared Tuesday's meeting with one he had in March 2009 — which he found lacking — with the president and White House officials.
"In March 2009, it's like, no, I don't have a plan, I don't have anybody in charge, and I don't have a team of people working on this," said Gutierrez, who was told at the 2009 meeting that the figure heading up immigration would be then-chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. 

"The chief of staff is in charge of everything. It was like being told there was no one in charge," he said. (Gutierrez declined to the Obama officials present for Wednesday's meeting.)
Cecilia Muñoz, White House Director of the Domestic Policy Council, will likely take a leading role, he said. "Cecilia has been in every meeting I've had with the president. She's been the link," said Gutierrez.
As discussions continue in the House and Senate — particularly around Sen. Marco Rubio, who laid out his immigration plan in the Wall Street Journal last week — a more solid path forward for Congress and the Obama administration would emerge, said Gutierrez, "by the end of February or early March."
Immigration reform will also be a central focus of the president's State of the Union address next month, said the Congressman.

"The president has spoken about it in his last three State of the Unions. You can speak about something without it really being remembered. But something tells me you're gonna remember immigration in this State of the Union address," he said.
The meeting, called Monday, was a show of assurance to immigration advocates in Congress that reform remains a priority despite the administration's recent focus on the fiscal cliff and gun control.
"It's a big priority, and it's gonna be an all-out press," said Gutierrez. "There's a team of people that the White House is working on this. They made clear to us that the team was evolving and expanding.

Comment: The President's Comprehensive Immigration Reform, CIR, Plan

According to the New York Times, President Obama plans to push Congress to act quickly and efficiently in order to mend our nation's broken immigration system. He will propose, along with Senate Democrats, one comprehensive immigration bill that includes a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country, imposing a verification system of legal status for all workers that have been newly hired in the country, adding visas nationwide in order to alleviate the massive backlog of immigrants currently waiting, and create a guest-worker program for low-wage workers.

This plan will benefit not only low-wage workers in the agricultural sector, but also young undocumented immigrants, higher-skilled immigrants, and, without a doubt, our nation and its economy. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) notes, "this is so important now to both parties that neither the fiscal cliff nor guns will get in the way," as a response to critics who have argued that immigration might take a backseat to other issues that have recently emerged. Of course, as history may verify, the planning may not amount to anything unless there is substantial bipartisan effort to finally solve our immigration woes. At Figeroux & Associates, and the Immigrant’s Journal Publication, we hope that the Republicans will join the President in passing CIR. Please share your thoughts about President Obama’s CIR plan.