Bender's Immigration Bulletin News From Oct. 15: District Court on U.S. Challenge to Alabama Law: Win Some, Lose Some

Bender's Immigration Bulletin News From Oct. 15: District Court on U.S. Challenge to Alabama Law: Win Some, Lose Some

District Court on U.S. Challenge to Alabama Law: Win Some, Lose Some

                 As summarized on page 1645, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama preliminarily enjoined parts of the recent Alabama statute known as the Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, or H.B. 56. The slip opinion in United States v. Alabama is 115 pages. The decision is available at 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112362.

                The United States challenged ten provisions of the statute, and the court preliminarily enjoined four of them: 

  • §11(a), which made it a misdemeanor for an unauthorized alien to apply for, solicit, or perform work in Alabama;
  • §13, which criminalized concealing, harboring, or shielding an alien unlawfully present; attempting or conspiring to do so; encouraging an unauthorized alien to come to Alabama; or transporting, conspiring to transport, or attempting to transport an unauthorized alien (with certain exceptions);
  • §16, barring business-tax deductions for wages paid to unauthorized aliens; and
  • §17, which created a civil cause of action against an employer who either hired an unauthorized alien instead of an authorized one or a U.S. citizen, or discharged a citizen or authorized alien instead of an unauthorized alien. 

USCIS Solicits Public Comments on EB-5 Proposed Rule 

                USCIS published a proposed rule in the Federal Register that would allow it to process certain applications approved between 1995 and 1998 by immigrant investors (known as EB-5 aliens).

                The proposed rule would implement provisions of the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act. These provisions apply to a group of immigrant investors who had a Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, approved between January 1, 1995, and August 31, 1998.          Specifically, the rule would enable USCIS to process cases for approximately 580 principal immigrant investors and their dependents whose Forms I-526 were approved during that period and who, prior to November 2, 2002, sought to: 

  • Register for permanent residence or adjust their status, using Form I-485; or
  • Remove conditions on permanent residence obtained as an alien entrepreneur, using Form I-829. 

The process outlined in the proposed rule would provide an additional two-year period for most of these immigrant investors to meet the EB-5 investment and job-creation requirements. This rule would not impact any other applications or petitions filed under the EB-5 program.

The proposed rule is open to public comment through November 28, 2011. See Appendix A for the proposed rule. 

REMINDER: Eligible Widow(er)s of Deceased U.S. Citizens Must File I-130s by October 28, 2011 

The deadline for eligible widow(er)s to file a Form I-360 visa petition is fast approaching. USCIS must be in receipt of the Form I-360 by October 28, 2011. Further details are available at


EOIR - The Executive Office for Immigration Review recently took disciplinary action against five attorneys for violations of the rules of professional conduct for immigration practitioners. It reinstated two attorneys. Axel Heydasch was suspended for three years for engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation, based on his three-year suspension in Florida; Todd James Hilts was suspended for one year for commingling funds and conduct involving dishonesty, moral turpitude, or corruption, based on his one-year suspension in California; Joseph Angel Silva, Jr., was suspended based on his resignation in Texas; and Andre Rafael Sobolevsky was suspended based on his two-year suspension by the Second Circuit for willful neglect. A final order of discipline was issued to Melissa S. Lee suspending her from practice for two years based on her two-year suspension by the Ninth Circuit. Errol Ivor Horwitz and Frank Patrick Sprouls were both reinstated to practice on August 29, 2011.

USCIS - USCIS announced the award of $9 million in grants to forty-two organizations to expand citizenship-preparation programs for permanent residents. This is the third year in which competitive grant funding has been awarded to organizations for supporting such efforts. Recipient organizations are from twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia. Grant recipients plan to provide citizenship instruction and naturalization-application preparation services to approximately 20,000 permanent residents from nearly ninety countries. A complete list of recipients and background information on the program are available at

USCIS - USCIS has for the second year in a row approved 10,000 petitions for U nonimmigrant status. "Providing immigration protection to victims of crime and their families while aiding law enforcement efforts to bring criminals to justice is of the utmost importance to the Agency and the public we serve," said USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas.

Center for Migration Studies: The Center for Migration Studies (announced the appointment of Donald M. Kerwin, Jr., as its Executive Director. He assumed the post on September 1, 2011. Prior to joining CMS, he was Vice President for Programs at the Migration Policy Institute; before that he worked for sixteen years at the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC). "We are delighted to have a person of Mr. Kerwin's experience, commitment and integrity taking over CMS," said Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, Chairman of CMS's Board of Trustees.

FIAC - The Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center has changed its name to Americans for Immigrant Justice, or AI Justice (Americanos Pro Justicia Immigrante). The press release states that the organization "is redoubling efforts to improve immigration policy at the national level" and that "AI Justice better reflects the focus and depth of the national work of our non-profit immigration law firm." AI Justice plans to add an office in Washington, DC to its Florida headquarters. More information is available at

[This is an excerpt from the Oct.. 15, 2011, issue of Bender's Immigration Bulletin.] 

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Bender's Immigration Bulletin