Department of State Human Rights Reports for 2010 Now Available

On April 8, 2011, the United States Department of State released the 2010 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.  These reports provide encyclopedic detail on human rights conditions in over 190 countries for the year 2010. According to the reports, in 2010, governments around the world continued to commit severe human rights violations and abuses.

To find out more information regarding the reports in general please visit:

2010 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

This link can also be used to read each of the detailed country reports.


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FY 2012 H-1B Cap Count

Cap Type                       Amount               Cap Eligible Petitions               Date of Last Count

H-1B Regular Cap       65,000                     5,900                                            4/7/2011

H-1B Master’s Cap     20,000                     4,500                                             4/7/2011

These numbers reflect the number of petitions that USCIS has accepted under these particular types of caps. The number reflects cases that have been approved or are still pending. It does not include petitions that have been denied.

USCUS began accepting H-1B petitions that are subject to the FY 2012 cap on April 1, 2011. H-1B petitions may be filed no more than 6-months in advance of the requested start date.

If you have questions about sponsoring an employee for an H-1B visa please contact a licensed immigration attorney today.

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Two Interesting Articles on the Immigration Court System

The following two articles were featured in the Chicago Tribune.  I found them to be interesting critiques on the immigration court system I will reserve my own judgments but urge you to read them as I believe these articles raise some valid issues.

Immigration court: Troubled system, long waits

How to fix ‘massive crisis’ in immigration courts




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Albino Man’s Withholding of Removal Granted

Franklin Ibeabuchi, 36, a Nigerian citizen, came to the United States when he was 10 years old.  His family left Nigeria for Jacksonville after years of trying to hide Ibeabuchi in rural towns and special schools.  Ibeabuchi is albino and his family worked tirelessly to protect and hide him from witch doctors.

In sub-Saharan Africa witch doctors believe the bones of albinos can bring wealth to their patients and that their potions are strongest when the sacrifice is pure.  A pure sacrifice means the witch doctors severs the limbs of the living, often children, and leave them to bleed to death.  These body parts sell for thousands of dollars per limb under the belief they possess special powers.  These types of killings have occurred for generations.  Since 2007, in Tanzania alone, there have been 59 documented albino killings.

More than 20 years after coming to the United States Ibeabuchi was threatened with removal to Nigeria following an arrest in 2003.  The charge was later dropped but since Ibeabuchi’s student visa had expired he was placed in removal proceedings.  Ibeabuchi’s son also suffers from albinism and if removed Ibeabuchi’s family would not accompany him back to Nigeria.  With no family to serve as a support system and to help him hide Ibeabuchi would have been an easy target.  Ibeabuchi told the immigration judge returning to Nigeria was unimaginable.  In February 2011 an Orlando Immigration judge agreed that Ibeabuchi would be at risk if sent back to Nigeria and granted Ibeabuchi’s withholding of removal.

To date there has not been a similar case in United States and while the case was not precedent setting in a legal sense it does provide a foundation for other attorneys who want to pursue similar cases.  The Florida Coastal School of Law’s immigration rights clinic and legal fellow Mr. Carlos J. Martin represented Ibeabuchi.

Withholding of removal does not provide a long-term solution but Ibeabuchi will soon be authorized to work again and can begin exploring his options for permanent residency.

To read the original news story please visit Jacksonville man fights deportation with his albinism as a defense.

You can also visit Under The Same Sun’s website for more information.


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H-1B Filing Reminder

Tomorrow April 1, 2011 marks the first day USCIS will begin accepting H-1B petitions for Year 2012.  Remember these visas are numerically capped and if you are interested in filing paperwork on behalf of a potential employee it is best to file early!

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Launch of E-Verify Self Check Tool

E-Verify is an online tool that allows workers to check their own employment eligibility status before formally seeking employment.  Beginning March 21, 2011 the E-Verify Self Check service will be available to users who maintain an address and are physically located in Arizona, Idaho, Colorado, Mississippi, Virginia or the District of Columbia.  In the coming months, USCIS will continue to expand the E-Verify Self Check service to additional eligible users on a rolling basis.

E-Verify Self Check, a partnership between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA), is the first online E-Verify program offered directly to workers and job seekers.  This voluntary, free, fast and secure service gives users the opportunity to submit corrections of any inaccuracies in their DHS and SSA records before applying for jobs—allowing workers to better protect themselves from potential workplace discrimination that could result from an employer’s abuse of the E-Verify system. The E-Verify program compares information from the Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9) against federal government databases to verify workers’ employment eligibility. The E-Verify Self Check system allows each user to identify data inaccuracies—which often range from typographical errors to unreported name changes—that would result in a mismatch before he or she seeks employment.

The E-Verify Self Check process consists of four steps:

  • Users enter identifying information online (such as name, date of birth and address)
  • Users confirm their identity by answering demographic and/or financial questions generated by a third-party identity assurance service
  • Users enter work eligibility information such as a Social Security number and, depending on citizenship status, an Alien Registration number
  • E-Verify Self Check checks users’ information against relevant SSA and DHS databases and returns information on users’ employment eligibility status

Every aspect of the E-Verify Self Check process is designed to secure users’ personally identifiable information and to prevent misuse of the service. Additionally, information that users provide to E-Verify Self Check and the results of an E-Verify Self Check are not shared with users’ employers or prospective employers. The results of a Self Check query do not replace the results of an employer E-Verify query.

For more information on E-Verify Self Check, visit


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Today in Tallahassee: Rally Against Proposed Immigration Bill

Today at 1:00PM  hundreds of people gathered in Florida’s capital to rally against the proposed immigration bill.  The rally was organized by the Florida Immigrant Coalition and held at 404 South Monroe Street in Tallahassee.

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USCIS Special Update as of March 11, 2011: Relief for Japanese and Other Nationals from the Pacific Stranded due to the Earthquakes and Tsunami

This advisory is for Japanese and other foreign nationals from the Pacific stranded in the United States due to the earthquakes and tsunami devastation:

If you have exceeded or are about to exceed your authorized stay in the U.S. you may be permitted up to an additional 30 days to depart.

Visitors traveling under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP):

Visitors traveling under a nonimmigrant visa:

For additional immigration relief options, please visit the Special Situations Web page.


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Haitian Women of Miami – Famn Ayisyen Nan Miyami – Celebrates its 20th Anniversary

Twenty years ago, a small group of Haitian women assembled for a chita koze — a Creole term for a sit-and-talk session —to discuss the challenges for newly arrived Haitian women and their families to South Florida. When they took their message to the streets, these women were cursed at for trying to educate their Haitian neighbors about sexually transmitted diseases and domestic violence, and accused of trying to undermine the traditional roles of Caribbean women.

These women would eventually become the founders of Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami, or Haitian Women of Miami, a group who took on the self-appointed task to inform newly arrived Haitian women about their rights.

Marleine Bastien, a founding member and executive director of FANM organized that first meeting and vividly remembers early accusations from Haitian men and some women describing FANM as a group of rogue Americanized Haitian women trying to challenge gender roles in their immigrant community.  “People were very upset when they heard the name FANM. They saw us as a group that was trying to disrupt the Haitian family and brainwash the women,” Bastien said. Nevertheless, Bastien and her army of women volunteers pressed forward and met in Little Haiti schools, apartment complexes and on street corners to share their message.

These pioneers confronted myths and superstitions that made new arrivals suspicious about modern medical treatment and condom usage. They encouraged financial independence and protested immigration inequities. Early on, Bastien said the best way to empower women was to equip them with the necessary tools to become financially independent.  With one of the first grants FANM received from the Women’s Fund of Miami-Dade, the group divvied up the $2,000 into four microloans for aspiring women entrepreneurs

Justine Augusma, an early FANM supporter and recipient of a $500 loan, said she remembers hearing about the group on Haitian radio. In the early 90’s, when she needed a loan to start her own business, FANM gave her a chance. Today, Augusma, 70, makes a living selling her homemade preserved jams, peanut butter and other treats to Haitian bakeries. “I didn’t have job. It was through God’s grace and FANM that has allowed me to take care of myself and my family,” she said.

The heart of its mission, Bastien said continues to be uplifting Haitian women and advocating for the Haitian community.  Over the years, the group’s scope has expanded. About 40 percent of the center’s clients are now men and 30 percent are non-Haitians.  These days the organization is working on several platforms. Their most recent campaign, which gained urgency in the aftermath of the devastating 2010 earthquake, urges the Obama administration to grant 55,000 Haitians who have relatives in the United States and have been approved for visas entry to this country.

While FANM’s advocacy work has been recognized locally and nationally, Bastien said there is still more work to do.  “I’d like our quest for social and economic justice to continue long after I’m gone,” she said. “This is a movement. We cannot stop.”


To read the full article please visit:





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Florida House Committee Unveils New Immigration Bill

Last Thursday, in Tallahassee, the Florida House Judiciary Committee approved an immigration bill.  The new Florida immigration reform plan would require police to check the immigration status of a person who is under arrest or is the subject of a criminal investigation.  That language stops short of Arizona’s controversial law, which requires police to determine a person’s immigration status whenever the officer makes “any lawful contact” with the individual.

The bill will also require Florida businesses to use the federal government’s electronic verification program to check whether new employees are eligible to work in the U.S.  All businesses will be required to use E-verify by 2013. Those that do not and employ illegal immigrants could see their Florida licenses revoked.

The Florida House Judiciary Committee voted to approve the bill, originally tailored after Arizona’s immigration law,  in an attempt to crack down on illegal immigration in Florida.

The bill passed by a vote of 12 -6, along party lines.



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