News Excerpts From the Sept. 15, 2013, Bender’s Immigration Bulletin

ICE Issues Directive Limiting Detention of Parents

                On August 23, 2013, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued a directive intended to limit the detention of parents and other guardians of minor children during removal proceedings and to allow them to participate in legal proceedings relating to child custody and welfare.

                The directive, entitled “Facilitating Parental Interests in the Course of Civil Immigration Enforcement Activities,” applies to primary caretakers of minor children and to parents and legal guardians of children who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. It also applies to parents and legal guardians with a direct interest in family court or child welfare proceedings involving minors.

                The directive requires ICE field office directors to designate specially trained points of contact to receive and address public inquiries relating to the rights of detained noncitizen parents. The directive also states that field office directors should place detained parents “as close as practicable” to their children, and should generally refrain from transferring them outside the area of initial apprehension. The directive further states that field office directors should allow detained parents to participate in family court or child welfare proceedings when their presence is required, reasonable notice and documentation are provided, the proceedings are within a “reasonable driving distance,” and transportation would not “be unduly burdensome.”

                The directive is reprinted at Appendix A.

DHS Inspector General Reports on L-1 Problems 

                On August 13, 2013, the DHS Office of Inspector General issued a report on L-1 visas, which are awarded to intercompany transferees serving in a managerial or executive capacity, or who possess specialized knowledge. The report contains ten recommendations, seven directed to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and three directed to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). DHS agreed with the recommendations.

                The report was made at the request of Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa). He asked the office to examine the potential for fraud or abuse in the program. The office found that existing USCIS regulations and policies regarding the definition of “specialized knowledge” did not ensure consistent adjudication of L-1 petitions. More information on the problems of defining “specialized knowledge” is available in the following articles in the BIB: Lorna A. DeBono, Catherine L. Haight & Angelo A. Paparelli, Success with L-1Bs in an Era of Increased USCIS Scrutiny, 13 Bender’s Immigr. Bull. 1153 (Sept. 15, 2008); Danielle Rizzo, Proving “Specialized Knowledge” in L-1B Petitions: An Overview in Light of the July 2008 AAO Decision, 13 Bender’s Immigr. Bull. 1417 (Nov. 15, 2008); A. James Vazquez-Azpiri & Daniel C. Horne, The Impotence of Being Earnest: Revisiting the L-1 Controversy, 8 Bender’s Immigr. Bull. 1607 (Oct. 15, 2003). The IG’s office also concluded that more communication between the departments of State and Homeland Security would improve the handling of blanket petitions. In addition, it found that CBP officers at the northern border require additional training, and that the government should improve the procedures relating to the L-1 fee-collection process.

BITS AND PIECES

Guidance on I-601A Processing

The Department of State issued a cable on August 13, 2013, providing supplemental guidance on the processing of provisional unlawful presence waivers (Form I-601A). The cable is reprinted at Appendix B.

New DS-260, DS-261 for Immigrant Applications 

 On September 3, DOS began to move to an online immigrant visa application (DS-260) and a companion form, DS-261, used to select an agent. Both forms are available at https://ceac.staet.gov/ceac. They are replacing paper forms DS-230 and DS-3032. Questions can be directed to nvcattorney@state.gov or 603-334-0700. 

Mark Noferi Joins Center for Migration Studies

Mark Noferi has begun a new position as a visiting associate fellow at the Center for Migration Studies (cmsny.org), a research organization in New York headed by Executive Director Donald Kerwin. Among other topics, the Center will be studying detention, due process, and legalization.

 Bender's Immigration Bulletin

[This is an excerpt from the Sept. 15, 2013, issue of Bender's Immigration Bulletin.]

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