Monday, August 30, 2010

Obama Extends Sanctions Against Belarus

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary

Notice from the President on the Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Belarus


On June 16, 2006, by Executive Order 13405, the President declared a national emergency and ordered related measures blocking the property of certain persons undermining democratic processes or institutions in Belarus, pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701-1706).  The President took this action to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States constituted by the actions and policies of certain members of the Government of Belarus and other persons to undermine Belarus democratic processes or institutions, to commit human rights abuses related to political repression, including detentions and disappearances, and to engage in public corruption, including by diverting or misusing Belarusian public assets or by misusing public authority.
 Despite the release of internationally recognized political prisoners in the fall of 2008 and our continuing efforts to press for further reforms related to democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in Belarus, serious challenges remain.  The actions and policies of certain members of the Government of Belarus and other persons continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.  Accordingly, the national emergency declared on June 16, 2006, and the measures adopted on that date to deal with that emergency, must continue in effect beyond June 16, 2010.  Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13405.
 This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.
June 8, 2010.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Judicial Powers of Immigration Judge - 564 F.2d 1302, LOPEZ-TELLES v. INS

564 F.2d 1302
Juana Zoraida LOPEZ-TELLES, Petitioner,
No. 77-1247.
United States Court of Appeals,
Ninth Circuit.
Nov. 25, 1977.
Bill Ong Hing, Unit Director, Patricia D. Lee, Managing Atty., Immigration Law Unit, San Francisco Neighborhood Legal Assistance Foundation, San Francisco, Cal., for petitioner.
Philip Wilens, Chief, Government Regulations & Labor Section, James P. Morris, John E. Harris, Attys., Crim. Div., Dept. of Justice, Washington, D. C., for respondent.
On Petition to Review a Decision of The U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service.
Before ELY, WRIGHT and CHOY, Circuit Judges.
The petitioner is a citizen and native of Nicaragua. Shortly after the major earthquake there in 1973, she applied for and received a visa allowing her to visit the United States for a period of six months. In December, 1975, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) issued an order to show cause directed to the petitioner and requiring a showing as to why she should not be deported for overstaying her visa. At the deportation hearings, she conceded deportability. She claimed, however, that since her home and possessions had been destroyed in the earthquake and her relatives killed, the immigration judge should terminate the proceedings for "humanitarian reasons." The judge declined the request on the ground that he had no authority to grant it. He ordered that the petitioner be deported, and his decision was affirmed by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).
Here, the sole claim is that the immigration judge's holding that he had no statutory or "inherent" power to terminate deportation proceedings for "humanitarian reasons" was erroneous. We affirm.
Immigration judges, or special inquiry officers, are creatures of statute, receiving some of their powers and duties directly from Congress, 8 U.S.C. § 1252(b), and some of them by subdelegation from the Attorney General,8 U.S.C. § 1103. These statutes and the regulations implementing them, see, e. g., 8 C.F.R. §§ 212.2, 212.3, 242.8, and 242.17(a) (1977), contain a detailed and elaborate description of the authority of immigration judges. Nowhere is there any mention of the power of an immigration judge to award the type of discretionary relief that was sought here. Indeed, given the exacting and difficult eligibility requirements established as statutory grounds for discretionary relief, see, e. g., 8 U.S.C. § 1254(a) (seven years continuous residence, good moral character and extreme hardship required for eligibility for adjustment of status to permanent resident alien), the vesting by us of such broad power in an immigration judge would strike an anomalous note.
It is true that an immigration judge "may, in his discretion, terminate deportation proceedings to permit respondent to proceed to a final hearing on a pending application or petition for naturalization when the respondent has established prima facie eligibility for naturalization and the case involves exceptionally appealing or humanitarian factors; . . ." 8 C.F.R. § 242.7(a) (1977) (emphasis added). The petitioner in this case, although expressly given the opportunity to do so, made no such showing and, in fact, conceded that she was not eligible for naturalization at the time of the hearing.
It is also true that the agency's regulations permit the district director and certain other INS officials to terminate deportation proceedings as "improvidently begun" if the proceedings are terminated prior to the initiation of the actual hearing. 8 C.F.R. § 242.7(a) (1977). The BIA has reasoned from this that the immigration judge must consent to such termination once a hearing has been initiated, despite the generally narrow scope of his powers. Matter of Vizcarra-Delgadillo, 13 I. & N. Dec. 51 (BIA 1968). There is no hint in that decision, or in any other found by us, that the immigration judge can terminate proceedings on equitable or humanitarian grounds alone. Rather, these decisions plainly hold that the immigration judge is without discretionary authority to terminate deportation proceedings so long as enforcement officials of the INS choose to initiate proceedings against a deportable alien and prosecute those proceedings to a conclusion. The immigration judge is not empowered to review the wisdom of the INS in instituting the proceedings. His powers are sharply limited, usually to the determination of whether grounds for deportation charges are sustained by the requisite evidence or whether there has been abuse by the INS in its exercise of particular discretionary powers. This division between the functions of the immigration judge and those of INS enforcement officials is quite plausible and has been undeviatingly adhered to by the INS. See Matter of Wong, 13 I. & N. Dec. 701 (BIA 1968); 1 C. Gordon & H. Rosenfield, Immigration Law & Procedure, § 5.7b (Rev'd ed. 1975). Cf. Matter of Merced, 14 I. & N. Dec. 644 (BIA 1974), aff'd, 514 F.2d 1070 (5th Cir. 1975). We find no valid reason to overturn this well-established principle. Soriano v. United States, 494 F.2d 681, 683 (9th Cir. 1974) (long-standing agency interpretations of own rules entitled to great weight).
Nor does it aid petitioner to claim for the immigration judge the mantle of the "inherent" powers of the judiciary. The immigration judge is, as we have said, an officer created solely by statute, not the Constitution, and is an official quite distinct from those judges ordinarily deemed the federal judiciary. Cf. Ramspeck v. Federal Trial Examiner's Conference, 345 U.S. 128, 73 S.Ct. 570, 97 L.Ed. 872 (1953); Watson Bros. Transportation Co. v. Jaffa, 143 F.2d 340, 346 (9th Cir. 1944); 2 K. Davis, Administrative Law Treatise, § 10.06, at 34 (1958). Absent independent powers specifically conferred by statute, see, e. g., 5 U.S.C. § 556(c) (administrative law judges have certain powers over the conduct of proceedings), the immigration judge is completely subordinate to his agency. 2 K. Davis, supra, § 10.02, at 7; J. Chamberlain, N. Dowling, & P. Hays, The Judicial Function in Federal Administrative Agencies 36 (1940). As previously noted, the statutory powers of the immigration judge nowhere appear to contemplate the type of broad discretionary authority that the petitioner here would have us attribute to him.
The issuance of this court's judgment will be stayed for a period of 45 days so as to allow the petitioner time to arrange for her voluntary departure.
The respondent's order must be, and the same hereby is,

Friday, August 13, 2010

Fraudulent Driver License in Atlanta - Former Atlanta driver's license examiner and co-conspirator sentenced for selling Georgia driver's licenses

July 29, 2010

More than 40 fraudulent licenses were issued in Marietta

ATLANTA - Gbemisola Wellington-Salako, 36, of Marietta, Ga., and Jules Armand Che Siewe Achou, 33, of Atlanta, were sentenced Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Orinda D. Evans for conspiring to issue Georgia driver's licenses to people who did not qualify for them, but who were willing to pay up to $2,500 per license, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other law enforcement agencies.
Wellington-Salako, a former driver's license examiner, was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and Siewe Achou was sentenced to13 months in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. A citizen of Cameroon, Siewe Achou will face deportation proceedings after he serves his sentence.
Both pleaded guilty earlier this year to conspiring to produce and distribute false identification documents.
"People like Wellington-Salako, who are willing to violate the public's trust for money, could potentially be impacting the national security of our country by giving legitimate documents to those who aren't entitled to them," said Brock Nicholson, acting special agent in charge of the ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Office in Atlanta. "These acts will not go unpunished."
According to court records, Wellington-Salako was a driver's license examiner in the Department of Driver Services (DDS) Customer Service Center on County Services Parkway in Marietta in June 2007 when she agreed to work with Siewe Achou to provide driver's licenses to people who did not qualify for them, but who would pay up to $2,500 for a license.
Siewe Achou would find customers and send them to Wellington-Salako, who would then issue them licenses without any tests or proof of legal residency in Georgia. Siewe Achou later shared the money that had been collected from their customers with Wellington-Salako. Eventually, Siewe Achou recruited other men to help him find customers for the conspiracy. Between June 2007 and September 2009, the conspirators caused the DDS to issue up to 40 fraudulent driver's licenses.
Three other individuals, Nambaladja Souleymane Fofana, 29, of Atlanta; Mohamed Cellou Bamba, 34, of Atlanta; and Omar Sheriff Manjang, 45, of Lawrenceville, Ga., were also charged in the conspiracy. They each pleaded guilty to assisting Siewe Achou in finding customers for the conspiracy. Fofana and Bamba were sentenced to prison for eight months, with deportation proceedings to follow. Manjang was sentenced to one year of probation.
This case was investigated by special agents of ICE Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Georgia Governor's Office of Consumer Affairs, the Georgia DDS, and an investigator from the DeKalb County Police Department.
"The successful investigation and subsequent prosecution of these defendants are yet another example of what can be accomplished when local, state, and federal agencies work together to identify and arrest those involved in criminal activity and subversive actions against our state and nation," said Director Vernon Keenan of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. "The hard work and dedication of the U. S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia, the U. S. Department of Homeland Security personnel, and GBI agents involved in this case are commendable."
"DDS is committed to combating driver license fraud and identity theft as demonstrated in the proactive work of the DDS Investigative Services team," said DDS Commissioner Gregory C. Dozier. "This case is a perfect example of how a multi-agency task force can unite to combat illegal immigration and identity theft and support homeland security."
Assistant U.S. Attorney William G. Traynor prosecuted the case.

Day Care Fraud in Brooklyn

August 10, 2010

11 charged in day care bribery and fraud scheme

NEW YORK - Eleven New York City residents were charged Tuesday in a massive scheme to defraud the government out of millions in day care subsidies following a joint investigation by the New York City Department of Investigation (DOI) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in New York.

Preet Bharara, the U. S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Rose Gill Hearn, the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Investigation (DOI), and James T. Hayes, Jr., the special agent in charge of ICE's HSI Office in New York, announced today the unsealing of federal charges against 11 defendants for allegedly operating a massive fraud and bribery scheme through which they more than $18 million intended to help needy parents obtain public assistance for day care services. The defendants also were charged with conspiring to pay and receive bribes to facilitate the criminal scheme.

"Individuals in positions of public trust must be held accountable when they abuse their authority for personal gain," said Hayes. "ICE will continue to work with its law enforcement partners to root out public corruption wherever it exists."

Four owners of day care service providers - Liudmila Umarov, Lyudmila Grushko, Yana Krugly, and Rimma Volovnick, all of Brooklyn, N. Y. - and seven New York City officials - Leonid Gutnik and Aleksey Vasilyev, of the New York City Human Resources Administration ("HRA"); Aurora Villareal, Dionne Rivers-Ettu, Emile Nekhala, and Carolyn Eason, of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene ("DOH"); and Mariya Rapoport, formerly of the New York City Administration for Children's Services (ACS) - are charged with participating in the scheme. All of the defendants were arrested this morning in the culmination of Operation Pay Care, a joint investigation led by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, DOI, and ICE.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: "As alleged in the Complaint, the parents of children enrolled in the Congregation's day care centers trusted Liudmila Umarov and her co-conspirators with the care of their children. But Umarov and her Congregation allegedly betrayed that trust by exposing the children to hazards and siphoning off millions of taxpayer dollars meant to provide safe, quality child care for deserving, hard-working parents. And the New York City officials charged today allegedly betrayed the public's trust, taking bribes to look the other way and grease Umarov's gravy train. If proved, today's allegations demonstrate that the defendants cared far more about their wallets than about the welfare and well-being of the children they were obligated to protect. Along with our law enforcement partners at DOI and ICE, we now begin the process of holding each of these allegedly corrupt actors accountable for their conduct."

DOI Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn stated: "These defendants chose payoffs and profit over their promise to serve the best interests of children, according to the complaint. Public funds were stolen to line the defendants' pockets and integrity was thrown out the window. But DOI and our federal partners exposed this criminal scheme and stopped the corruption. We will continue to work together with our federal law enforcement colleagues to protect children and taxpayers from criminals who exploit these social service programs to enrich themselves."