Thursday, June 27, 2013

Supreme Court gay marriage decision helps immigration bill

Information from
WASHINGTON | Wed Jun 26, 2013 7:13pm EDT
(Reuters) - Senators who wanted a gay rights provision added to the sweeping U.S. immigration reform bill backed off on Wednesday after the Supreme Court struck down a key part of the federal law that defined marriage as between a man and a woman.
The decision removes one of the last obstacles for the Senate to pass the legislation that would overhaul the country's immigration system and give millions of illegal immigrants a chance to earn citizenship over 13 years.
Senate Democrats had been under pressure to include a provision in the bill allowing citizens to petition for their foreign-born, same-sex spouses to immigrate to the United States.
That privilege had been blocked by the Defense of Marriage Act, which said that for federal government purposes, marriage was between a man and a woman. On a 5-4 decision on Wednesday, the court struck down parts of the act.
Now, legally married gay men and women will be entitled to claim federal benefits that are available to heterosexual married couples, including the ability to sponsor a foreign-born spouse for permanent residency, or a "green card."
"With the Supreme Court's decision today, it appears that the anti-discrimination principle that I have long advocated will apply to our immigration laws and binational couples and their families can now be united under the law," said Democrat Patrick Leahy, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
When Leahy's committee was working on the legislation in May, he was forced to withdraw his gay rights proposal after Republican senators threatened to reject the entire bill if the same-sex amendment was added.
Democratic Senators Charles Schumer and Richard Durbin, two of the bill's original authors, and the rest of Leahy's fellow Democrats on the committee also said they could not support the provision if it killed the bill.
On Wednesday, Leahy said: "As a result of this welcome decision, I will not be seeking a floor vote on my amendment."
It was not clear Democratic leaders would have allowed the full Senate to vote on Leahy's provision - a vote that would have been difficult when most Democratic lawmakers and a handful of Republican senators have voiced support for gay marriage.
Rather, Democratic leaders gambled that the Defense of Marriage Act would get struck down and solve the problem.
"That gamble paid off," said Fred Sainz, a spokesman for gay rights group Human Rights Campaign.
"It remains a deeply painful moment for us because we wished that our allies stood up for us. But at the end of the day, the end result is the same and (Schumer and other Democratic Senators) have been staunch allies of gay equality," he said.
The Senate is expected to vote on the final bill on Friday. The legislation would also set aside $46 billion to strengthen security at the U.S.-Mexico border and create new work visas for farm aides, unskilled laborers and the tech industry.
Before Wednesday, 12 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia allowed same-sex couples to marry. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said her department will be working to implement the high court's decision so that all married couples will be treated equally and fairly.
"At long last, we can now tell our families that yes, they are eligible to apply for green cards," said Rachel Tiven, executive director of gay rights group Immigration Equality.
The House of Representatives has yet to take up an immigration reform bill, and Republicans who control the House have voiced deep skepticism over the Senate plan.

2 arrested on drug, weapons charges after Southern Arizona stash house bust

June 21, 2013
Nogales, AZ
Data collected from

  • 2 arrested on drug, weapons charges after Southern Arizona stash house bust
  • 2 arrested on drug, weapons charges after Southern Arizona stash house bust
NOGALES, Ariz. – Two Mexican men made their initial appearance in Santa Cruz County court Wednesday on state felony drug and weapons charges following their arrest for allegedly possessing nearly 2,500 pounds of marijuana and three firearms in a Rio Rico stash house.
Jose Luis Dominguez de la Rosa, 46, of Santa Cruz, Sonora, Mexico, and Paul Chavez-Portillo, 25, of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, were taken into custody Wednesday by members of the Santa Cruz County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Investigation Task Force, which is led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). They are charged in a criminal complaint with felony possession of marijuana for sale and felony weapons misconduct.
Task force investigators became aware of the stash house after the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office received a telephone tip Tuesday that a residence in Rio Rico was being used as a staging point for smuggled drugs. Task force members initiated surveillance on the house and observed Dominguez de la Rosa and Chavez-Portillo walking out the back door. When investigators attempted to question them, the pair took off running, but the men were quickly apprehended.
After obtaining a state search warrant, task force members entered the house and found 2,499 pounds of marijuana stacked in bales, a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol, 9 mm submachine gun, .22-caliber rifle and 57 rounds of ammunition.
The case, which remains under investigation, is being prosecuted by the Santa Cruz County Attorney’s Office.
The Santa Cruz County HIDTA Investigation Task Force is an HSI-led, multi-agency investigative and interdiction task force in Nogales that combats organized crime in Santa Cruz County. The task force targets drug trafficking organizations and providers, local distributors, stash houses and drug transportation cells. The task force is comprised of full-time members from HSI, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S. Border Patrol, Arizona Department of Public Safety, Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office, Santa Cruz County Attorney's Office and the Nogales Police Department.
A criminal complaint is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Temporary Protected Status Extended for Salvadorans

Data collected from
Released May 30, 2013
WASHINGTON—Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for eligible nationals of El Salvador for an additional 18 months, beginning Sept. 10, 2013, and ending March 9, 2015.
Current Salvadoran beneficiaries seeking to extend their TPS status must re-register during the 60-day re-registration period that runs from May 30, 2013, through July 29, 2013. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) encourages beneficiaries to register as soon as possible once the 60-day re-registration period begins. Applications will not be accepted before May 30, 2013.
The 18-month extension also allows TPS re-registrants to apply for a new employment authorization document (EAD). Eligible Salvadoran TPS beneficiaries who re-register during the registration period will receive a new EAD with an expiration date of March 9, 2015. USCIS recognizes that some re-registrants may not receive their new EADs until after their current EADs expire. Therefore, USCIS is automatically extending current TPS El Salvador EADs bearing a Sept. 9, 2013, expiration date for an additional six months. These existing EADs are now valid through March 9, 2014.
To re-register, current TPS beneficiaries must submit Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status. All TPS re-registrants must also submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, but no Form I-765 application fee is required if the re-registrant does not want an EAD. Re-registrants do not need to pay the Form I-821 application fee, but they must submit the biometric services fee, or a fee waiver request, if they are age 14 or older. TPS re-registrants requesting an EAD must submit the Form I-765 application fee, or a fee waiver request.
TPS applicants may request that USCIS waive any or all the fees by filing a Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, or by submitting a personal letter requesting these fees be waived. Failure to submit the required filing fees or a properly documented fee waiver request will result in the rejection of the TPS application.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

HSI arrests 7-11 franchise owners in illegal alien employment scheme

Brooklyn, NY
Data collected from
June 17, 2013

BROOKLYN, N.Y – Two indictments were unsealed Monday charging eight men and one woman from Long Island with conspiring to commit wire fraud, stealing identities and concealing and harboring illegal aliens employed at 7-11 Inc. franchise stores located throughout Long Island and Virginia. The charges, arrests and seizures resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General, the New York State Police and the Suffolk County Police.
The defendants are Farrukh Baig, 57, and Bushra Baig, 49, a married couple who owned, co-owned or controlled 12 of the 7-11 franchise stores located on Long Island and in Virginia; Zahid Baig, 52, and Shannawaz Baig, 62, Farrukh Baig’s brothers who helped to manage and control the stores; and Malik Yousaf, 51, Tariq Rana, 34, and Ramon Nanas, 49. Brothers Ahzar Zia, 49, and Ummar Uppal, 48, indicted separately, owned and controlled two other Suffolk County 7-11 franchise stores.
Through this scheme, the defendants allegedly hired dozens of illegal aliens, equipped them with more than 20 identities stolen from U.S. citizens, housed them at residences owned by the defendants and stole substantial portions of their wages. If convicted, the defendants face 20 years in prison on wire fraud conspiracy and alien harboring charges, as well as multiple counts of aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory, consecutive two-year term of incarceration. In addition, all property used to facilitate the harboring of illegal aliens, together with all proceeds of the wire fraud conspiracy and alien harboring charges, are subject to forfeiture.
The victims of the identity theft hail from seven states, ranging in age from 8 to 78 years old, and include a child, three deceased people and a U.S. Coast Guard cadet. The defendants, allegedly together with others, caused the 7-11 payroll service to transmit this false information, including the stolen identity information, to U.S. regulatory agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service and the Social Security Administration.
During the scheme, the defendants allegedly generated more than $182 million in proceeds from the 7-11 franchise stores. Profits from those stores were shared by the defendants and 7-11.
"As set forth in the indictments, the defendants used 7-11 as a platform from which to run elaborate criminal enterprises. From their 7-11 stores, the defendants dispensed wire fraud and identity theft, along with Slurpees and hot dogs. In bedroom communities across Long Island and Virginia, the defendants not only systematically employed illegal immigrants, but concealed their crimes by raiding the cradle and the grave to steal the identities of children and even the dead. Finally, these defendants ruthlessly exploited their immigrant employees, stealing their wages and requiring them to live in unregulated boarding houses, in effect creating a modern day plantation system," stated U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta E. Lynch. "As this case shows, we are committed to preserving the rule of law and protecting our communities from the abuses of corrupt businessmen seeking to gain illegal advantage. I would like to thank our partners at HSI, New York State Police, Suffolk County Police and the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General for their hard work on this important investigation."
"The 7-11 franchises seized today will be better known for their big fraud than their Big Gulp. As alleged, the franchise owners knowingly and repeatedly employed an illegal workforce and abused and exploited that workforce for more than 13 years," said James T. Hayes Jr., special agent in charge of HSI New York. "This charged criminal scheme had a vast detrimental effect on both the employees who were overworked and cheated out of wages, as well as the more than 25 American citizens whose lives were upended by the theft of their identities in furtherance of the scheme."
The indictments, arrests and seizures are the result of one of the largest criminal alien employment investigations ever conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). As set forth in court filings, the government has moved to forfeit the franchise rights to ten 7-11 stores in New York and four 7-11 stores in Virginia. In the indictments, the government has also moved to forfeit five houses in New York worth more than $1.3 million. According to DHS, this case constitutes the largest criminal alien forfeiture in its history.
In addition to the charges already filed, federal agents fanned out early Monday across the country to execute multiple search and seizure warrants and inspect approximately thirty 7-11 franchise stores. The actions taken are the initial results of an ongoing investigation into the employment and exploitation of illegal aliens at 7-11 franchise stores nationwide.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Attorney Meyerovich Received AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell

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Attorney Meyerovich Received AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell

On March 12, 2013 Connecticut Attorney Alex Meyerovich received the highest possible AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rating from Martindale Hubbell. This is an outstanding achievement and demonstrates that  Alex Meyerovich has earned the best rating available for his legal ability and professional ethics.

Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings reflect a combination of achieving a Very High General Ethical Standards rating and a Legal Ability numerical rating.
 AV® Preeminent™ (4.5-5.0) – An AV® certification mark is a significant rating accomplishment – a testament to the fact that a lawyer’s peers rank him at the highest level of professional excellence. Attorney Alex Meyerovich was honored to receive a rating of 4.9.
Attorney Alex Meyerovich co-founded M.C. Law Group in 2007 and remains a Managing Partner of the firm. M.C. Law Group, LLP  is a full-service immigration law firm located in Bridgeport Connecticut, handling cases in all areas of immigration and nationality law. The firm represents clients located throughout the world and all over the USA. Additionally, M.C. Law Group provides representation in family law, criminal law and business law. Please visit our website to learn  more about Attorney Alex Meyerovich, M.C. Law Group and services they provide worldwide at