Washington Supreme Court Bars Certain Uses of Immigration Status
On July 10, 2013, the Washington Supreme Court updated its legal ethics rules to prohibit attorneys from referring to an individual’s immigration status to intimidate, coerce, or prevent him or her from participating in a civil matter. In a comment added to Rule 4.4. of the state’s rules for professional conduct, the court stated that “[i]ssues involving immigration status carry a significant danger of interfering with the proper functioning of the justice system,” and that threatening to report a party or witness’s immigration status to authorities “furthers no substantial purpose of the civil adjudicative system.” The state version of the rule in question is modeled on Rule 4.4 of the ABA's Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which does not explicitly mention immigration status. The new rule will take effect September 1.
Colorado Man Found Guilty of Human Trafficking and Related Offenses
On July 1, 2013, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announced that a jury found a Colorado man guilty of eighty-nine counts of human trafficking, visa fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering. The jury returned the verdict against Kizzy Kalu, 49, after a four-week trial before Chief U.S. District Court Judge Marcia S. Krieger and a day and a half of deliberations. According to evidence presented at trial, Kalu fraudulently lured foreign nationals to work at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in Colorado and then retained approximately 40% of their wages. Kalu also threatened to report the foreign nationals to immigration authorities if they did not comply with his demands, and required them to sign contracts pledging to pay him $25,000 if they left his employment. Sentencing is scheduled for September 23, 2013.
Iowa Supreme Court Allows Emotional-Distress Claim in Legal Malpractice Case
On July 19, 2013, the Iowa Supreme Court affirmed a decision of the Iowa Court of Appeals in the case of Miranda v. Said, 2013 Iowa Sup. LEXIS 89. The appellate courts ruled that noncitizens had stated claims for punitive damages and emotional distress in connection with a legal malpractice case. Attorney Michael H. Said was found to have advised the noncitizens, who had entered the United States without proper documents, to return to Ecuador, where they could obtain visas after their children filed I-130 forms for them. He had them use their children as qualifying relatives on I-601 forms so that they could return to the United States and ultimately become U.S. citizens. He assured them that the plan had a 99% chance of success and no risks. Unfortunately, their departures triggered the ten-year unlawful-presence bar for each of them, and their children were not proper qualifying relatives for an I-601. One justice dissented, and one did not participate in the decision.
USCIS Stakeholder Meeting with SEC on EB-5 Program
On June 13, 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services released a summary of a stakeholder teleconference held in April to discuss the EB-5 program with staff members of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC staffers provided an overview of registration requirements under federal securities laws, stated that EB-5 investments may include the offering of securities necessitating registration or exemption under the Securities Act of 1933, offered guidance on the definition of a “broker-dealer,” and outlined the penalties for failure to register as such — including the rescission of securities sold through the unregistered broker. The summary of the teleconference is reprinted at Appendix A.
DOS Cable on FAM Amendment Regarding Fees
The Department of State updated the Foreign Affairs Manual to clarify the effect on reciprocity fees of the collection of anti-fraud and border security fees. A cable about the update is reprinted at Appendix B.
Social Security Administration Updates Manual on Evidence of Immigration Status for Students and Exchange Visitors
The Social Security Administration updated its Program Operations Manual System to list acceptable evidence of immigration status for foreign students in F-1/F-2 or M-1/M-2 status and exchange visitors in J-1/J-2 status, in light of the change in policy by DHS to no longer place an admission stamp on Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status, and Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status.
Revised Form I-129F Released
USCIS released a revised Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), adding data fields for passport or travel document information captured by CBP at a port of entry. The new form is reprinted at Appendix C.
Idaho Joins “RIDE” Program
USCIS announced that Idaho has become the third state to join the “Records and Information from DMVs for E-Verify” (RIDE) program, which allows participating employers to check information provided by job applicants against information from drivers’ licenses and state identification cards. The other states participating in RIDE are Mississippi and Florida.
[This is an excerpt from the Aug. 15, 2013, issue of Bender's Immigration Bulletin.]
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