Weekend Reading – 10.17.2014

No joy in St. Louis this morning as the San Francisco Giants ended the season of our beloved Redbirds with a walk-off home run from left fielder Travis Ishikawa.  You may be wondering whether Ishikawa is an immigrant, but he is not.  Ishikawa was born in Seattle, the son of a third generation Japanese-American and a European-American.  His paternal grandparents were held in an internment camp in Colorado during World War II.  Ishikawa had been cut by the Pirates earlier this year and spent part of this season in the minor leagues.

Here are this week’s stories:

Wife of Oregon Governor Admits to Long-Ago Sham Green Card Marriage

This week, Oregon’s first lady, Cylvia Hayes, admitted that she married an 18-year-old Ethiopian man in 1997 and sponsored him for a green card for $5,000.  In a statement, the governor’s wife said “it was a marriage of convenience.  He needed help, and I needed financial support.”  Ms. Hayes stated that she had never told her husband, Governor John Kitzhaber (D) and only came forward because a local newspaper was digging in to her past.  Although the statute of limitations to prosecute Ms. Hayes has long ago expired, the Ethiopian gentleman is reportedly still in the U.S. and could face the revocation of his green card.

America’s Self-Inflicted Brain Drain

Strong op-ed in the Wall Street Journal dishing out blame for failure to expand green cards for highly-skilled tech workers.  The author criticizes unskilled-immigrant advocates for tying the H-1B/green card cause to their own in the hopes of getting tech industry to support them.  The Democratic Party gets called out for insisting on citizenship (i.e., potential new Democratic voters) instead of legal immigrant status.  Republicans are chided for failing to take the lead on helping US companies with increased skilled worker visas.  Big tech companies are also criticized as benefiting from the current system which keeps foreign workers beholden upon them for years and years while waiting for the green card.

U.S. Soldiers Charged With Smuggling Immigrants into the U.S. 

Three U.S. soldiers stationed at Fort Hood in central Texas were arrested yesterday on charges of smuggling immigrants into the U.S. while dressed in their Army uniforms.  The soldiers are alleged to have driven to Mexico and returned with undocumented immigrants hiding in the trunks of their cars.  It is unclear as to whether the soldiers were working separately or in concert.  They have been charged with conspiracy to transport and harbor aliens.

Immigration Judge Refuses Continuance for Pregnant Attorney’s Clients

Friend of the firm Stephen Bent sent us the story of Immigration Judge J. Dan Pelletier, Sr., who denied an Atlanta immigration attorney’s request for a continuance of her client’s court date that fell during her maternity leave and then chided the attorney when she came to court with her four week old child.  After denying the continuance, the judge had the nerve to criticize the attorney for bringing her child to court.  The judge scolded her for “inappropriate behavior” and commented that the baby’s pediatrician must be appalled that the mother-attorney was exposing her child to germs in the courtroom.  I am glad that this judge has been outed and am proud of the attorney for going to such lengths for her clients.

Finally, we sponsored a showing of Documented, the film of immigrant rights activist and undocumented American Jose Antonio Vargas this week at Webster University.  If you want to learn more about the struggles of the undocumented, we highly recommend the film.

Have a great weekend!