EOIR Releases Plan to Protect Detainees with Mental Disorders |
The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) recently released the first phase of a nationwide plan to provide heightened protections for unrepresented detainees with mental disorders. (The document is reprinted at Appendix A.)
According to the undated document, EOIR will provide qualified legal representatives to any unrepresented detainee who is not competent to represent himself. In determining whether a respondent can meaningfully represent himself, immigration judges must consider the ability to assert and waive rights, respond to allegations and charges, and present information regarding eligibility for relief.
The first phase of the plan was begun on August 15, 2013, approximately two years after issuance of Matter of M-A-M-, 25 I. & N. Dec. 474 (BIA 2011), which requires immigration judges to ascertain the mental capacity of unrepresented respondents.
EOIR stated that it ultimately intends to issue a final rule on the subject after public notice and comment.
USCIS Releases H-1B Anti-Fraud Memo
On December 5, 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services released a memo entitled “Revised H-1B Anti-Fraud Operational Guidance” pursuant to a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
The revised guidance, which was issued on June 3, 2013, rescinded an October 31, 2008, memo entitled “H-1B Anti-Fraud Initiatives—Internal Guidance and Procedures in Response to Findings Revealed in H-1B Benefit Fraud and Compliance Assessment.”
The revised guidance stated that USCIS launched the “Administrative Site Visit and Verification Program” in late 2011. Under the program, agency inspectors conduct in-person inspections to verify information contained in immigrant and nonimmigrant visa petitions. The memo stated that the agency need not have a suspicion of fraud to conduct a site inspection.
The memo also discussed the Validation Instrument for Business Enterprises, a web-based tool intended to help the agency verify whether a petitioning employer is a legitimate company.
The FOIA request was filed by attorney David Gluckman of Boston, Massachusetts. The response is reprinted at Appendix B.
Congress Extends Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Programs
In the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 (Pub. L. 113-66), Congress extended programs that authorize the issuance of special immigrant visas to Iraqi and Afghan nationals that assisted U.S. military efforts abroad.
Individuals who served as Iraqi and Afghan interpreters may now apply for visas through the end of September 2014.
Advocates have criticized the government’s implementation of both programs for delays and unjust denials. In addition to extending the program, Congress also mandated the issuance of quarterly progress reports.
The Iraqi program was extended in Section 1218 of the bill, and the Afghan program is in Section 1219 of the bill.
[This is an excerpt from the Feb. 1, 2014, issue of Bender's Immigration Bulletin.]
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