Thirty People Have Been Convicted for Participating in Asylum Fraud Ring

Frank Leslie's illustrated newspaper, 1887
Federal prosecutors notched three more convictions this week of defendants accused of filing false asylum claims for immigrant clients. That brings the total to 30.

On Tuesday, a jury in Manhattan federal court found Ling Liu, Vanessa Bandrich, and Rui Yang guilty of conspiracy to commit immigration fraud. The three were arrested in the December 2012 FBI sweep that targeted lawyers and staffers suspected of coaching Chinese immigrants on how to lie about their past to be eligible for asylum.

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Three Paralegals Sentenced to Prison for Helping Asylum Seekers Craft False Stories

Frank Leslie's illustrated newspaper, 1887.
For the chance to live in America people walk for days across sprawling desert, traverse thrashing waves in small boats, hand over life savings to men whom they aren't sure they can trust, and do all sorts of other things only desperate people do, including lie about their past.

In December 2012, FBI agents arrested more than two dozen people who allegedly helped Chinese immigrants lie about their past. Prosecutors charged that these defendants coached immigrants on how to submit false asylum claims that increased their chances of staying in the U.S. Since then, 25 of the 30 defendants have been convicted. And on Friday, a federal judge in Manhattan sentenced three of them to three months in prison.

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Will Huyen Nguyen Be Deported Because Her Husband Is Her Half-Uncle?

Wikimedia Commons
In August, 2000, Vietnamese immigrant Huyen Nguyen took steps to become a permanent resident of the United States following her marriage to an American citizen, Vu Truong. Seven years later, the United States Customs and Immigration Service rejected her petition for permanent residency and ruled that she was not living here legally: Nguyen was Truong's half-niece so officials deemed the marriage incestuous and void.

The couple appealed the decision. To an immigration judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals, the case was simple: birth records and immigration documents showed that Nguyen's maternal grandmother is Truong's mother, which meant their marriage was not valid and so neither was Nguyen's residency status. The judge ordered her deportation.

But when the case reached federal appeals court, the Manhattan-based Second Circuit declared that the facts were not as straight-forward as they seemed: a closer reading of New York statute may in fact validate the marriage. Last week the Second Circuit sought help from the state's highest court, and the New York Court of Appeals must now determine how the law defines an "incestuous" marriage.

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New York Congress Members Charlie Rangel and Joe Crowley Arrested During Immigration Reform March in D.C.

Photo via Twitter user Felicia Johnson Yoda
Charlie Rangel during his arrest.
Over 200 activists, politicians and religious leaders are being arrested right now in Washington D.C. during Camino Americano, a massive protest on the National Mall supporting immigration reform. Among those already arrested were Congressman Joe Crowley, who represents New York's 14th Congressional District, Congressman Charlie Rangel, who represents the 13th, and Charlie Rangel's splendid mustache, which stands only for itself.

The protest and subsequent arrests were planned long before the government shutdown, but people still managed to work the shutdown into their protest signs. One read "Congress may not work, but immigrants will."

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U.S. Citizen Gerald Nwozuzu Was Detained for 49 Months Because Officials Misinterpreted Immigration Law

Categories: Immigration

Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, July 2, 1887
American immigration policy can be complex and subjective. So much so that a Queens man spent 49 months in detention because immigration officials may have misinterpreted the law. Gerald Nwozuzu, it turned out, had been a U.S. citizen the whole time.

On Monday, the 36-year-old auto mechanic was finally released.

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Bloomberg to Pass New Law to Keep NYC the Most "Immigrant-Friendly" City in the U.S.

Today Mayor Bloomberg will sign off on two hefty pieces of immigration legislation that will maintain New York's reputation as one of the most immigrant-friendly cities in the nation.

The two laws, which passed 40-7 in City Council at the end of February, are a reaction to Secure Communities, the highly controversial federal solution to immigration-enforcement that expanded to New York last May. Under that plan, the fingerprints of anybody passing through local or state jails are sent to the Department of Homeland Security and run through its database. If a match is found showing that a suspect is an illegal immigrant or is a non-citizen with a criminal record, a "detainer" will likely be issued, requesting that the police hold the person until he or she is handed over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

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NY GOP's Post-Election Memo: Hispanic Voters Exist

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The New York State Republican Party put out its post-election memo over the weekend and -- after blaming President Obama for the ills of the world (and the NYS GOP) -- Chairman Ed Cox echoed what political experts have been saying since Tuesday (and we've been saying for the last five years): Republicans need to embrace Hispanic voters.

For the most part, the memo is NYS GOP Chairman Ed Cox's campaigning to keep his job -- we got a copy, and Cox points to"some" local victories, but blames failures in local races on the large number of voters who turned out for President Obama. He makes no mention, however, of the party's unpopular positions on many social issues -- like abortion, immigration, and gay marriage -- that often make Republicans look like hateful, bible-beating dopes (ref: Todd Akin).

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Animal Rights Activists Exploit "Illegals" in Central Park Horse-Carriage War


As we've chronicled, there is a war going on between the labor union that represents Central Park horse-carriage drivers and animal rights activists who think keeping horses in midtown Manhattan is dangerous and inhumane.

Now the activists are using illegal immigrants as PR ammo against the union.

The Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages sent us an e-mail this morning with the subject line "Illegals in Horse Carriage Trade." In the e-mail, the group outlines how the union employs illegal immigrants, one of whom "foolishly lied about an animal activist, Roxanne Delgado, attacking him at the hack line."

The group says another "illegal" was picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers about six weeks prior. 

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Ten Undocumented Protesters Arrested At Democratic National Convention

Undocumented immigrants before being arrested outside the DNC.
Charlotte police arrested ten undocumented activists after they shut down an intersection just blocks from the Democratic National Convention in a coordinated act of civil disobedience.

The activists, all passengers on the Undocubus as part of the No Papers No Fear campaign that we wrote about earlier today, got off their bus at the corner of Fourth and Tryon in downtown Charlotte at 4pm, then led supporters and a substantial press entourage racing through the streets a few blocks northeast to the site of their action. Once in the intersection, they dropped a large banner and sat on it, holding up signs that read "Undocumented."

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Maria Montealegre, On Way To Becoming Legal Immigrant, Still Faces Homelessness

Arlene Gottfried
A week since we reported on Maria Montealegre, an undocumented immigrant who faces eviction for making complaints against one of the worst landlords in Manhattan, she might be well on her way to becoming a legal immigrant.

The Washington Heights resident, along with Andres Mares Muro (from the Mirabal Center) visited the Mexican Consulate and were told that Montealegre qualifies for a "U visa," which would make it easier for her and her family to get into a shelter.

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