ICE AGENDA September 14, 2006 James T. Hayes, Jr. Field Office Director DRO Norma Bonales-Garibay, Deputy Field Office Director DRO Robert Schoch, Special Agent-in-Charge Frank Johnston, Acting Deputy of Special Agent-in-Charge John Salter, ICE, Chief Counsel Rudolph Garcia, Section Chief DRO Jose Sanchez, Section Chief DRO Dear Officers: Below please find the ICE agenda items proposed by members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and Los Angeles County Bar Association, Immigration Section. 1. Although there is the issue of conflict of interest, there are attorneys who would like to assist their clients by posting bond for said clients upon requests by third parties or on their own volition. Could there be a policy for attorneys to present only their bar card number instead of their original social security card when the attorney is the signatory on the bond posting form? Officer Michael Nemec, SDO, responded: Unfortunately a state bar card is not sufficient because all immigration bonds earn taxable income since interest is paid on a posted bond and IRS is informed accordingly and ICE needs a tax ID or SSN for internal revenue reporting purposes. A copy of SSN could be used solely by attorneys. If an attorney would like to use corporate tax ID, that is acceptable and a letter on corporate letterhead signed by the principle attorney of the corporation is sufficient to state corporate tax ID number for this purpose. Question was posed as to whether ICE accepts substitution of obligor on bond posted? There is a government form for this and the interest can be transferred only. Both parties have to sign and notarize this government form which is available on 7th floor where bonds are posted at 300 N. Los Angeles Street. 2. It is very difficult for attorneys who want to get some information regarding the whereabouts of a detained client to obtain that telephonically. The number we are always directed to is extremely frustrating in that: a. If you press the Deportation option the system tells you that they only handle non-detained cases; b. If you wait on the line for Detention as the system tells you to do, the system eventually disconnects the call. This presents a problem in finding clients immediately after they have been arrested, and taking the necessary action to speak to an officer regarding bond has become very difficult. Please advise. Norma Bonales-Garibay, Deputy Field Office Director, responded: Detention was temporarily transferred to Santa Ana on July 3rd and it is expected to transfer back by January 07. Detention Bond info: (714) 836-3041-42; Deportation: (714) 834- 4885; Detention with questions as to whereabouts of detainees with A number and DOB contact (714) 834-4890. 3. Please clarify how ICE Mutual Agreement between Government & Employers (IMAG) is working in our jurisdiction at this time? ICE investigation declined to attend the meeting. 4. Please state the new ICE Employer Certification process (“IMAG Certified”) implemented in our jurisdiction. Has there been any company volunteering for this process? If an employer was previously hiring illegal immigrants by mistake or intentionally and they now intend to only hire legal individuals, would their previous act expose them to penalties stated? How far would ICE conduct its audit? How long should an employer practice correct hiring process before contacting ICE for certification process? ICE investigation declined to attend the meeting. 5. What is the policy of the Investigation Division regarding misconduct on the part of one or more of its agents and abuse of power towards a client and/or client's Legal Counsel, specifically in regard to a situation where Counsel requested the opportunity to speak to the Supervisor in charge to report such conduct and the Supervisor declined to take action or to investigate the matter. ICE investigation declined to attend the meeting. 6. Many communities have reported being approached by individuals who claim to be ICE officers. When requested to provide ID showing whether they are authorized government agents, the so called agents refused to do so. Please state what ICE policy is with regard to instructing officers to introduce themselves and show their badges to civilians during or at the time of investigation? Mr. Rudy Garcia, Section Chief, responded: If ICE is conducting surveillance for fugitive operations, they will not be wearing uniforms but they should produce their credential and name and title. Their ID has their credential. Otherwise, ICE officers wear uniforms, and it is evident that they are ICE officers from their uniforms. 7. Could ICE please clarify what the procedure is for an LPR placed in removal proceedings, who was granted a relief by the IJ, to obtain his/her passport with I- 551 stamp or the green card which had been taken by CBP at the border or ICE during detention and which is not in client’s A file when file is transferred to CIS? At our CIS meeting of August 23, 2006, we were asked to submit this question to you. Besides attorneys and respondents, CBP, Deferred Inspections, has expressed frustration in not being able to get the file, or having individuals be told that they need to file an I-90. Could the 3 agencies coordinate a procedure for this? Could ICE TA be instructed to hand over the green card or passport at the conclusion of the hearing in court on the record? Other jurisdictions are implementing this process. Please advise. Mr. Paul Mosley, Deputy District Counsel, responded: They are aware there is difficulty in arranging for returned documents. If there are abandonment cases, it appears retrieval of documents from CBP to ICE that are returned after termination to Deferred Inspection has been difficult. If it is an abandonment case and the case is over, ask the TA to walk to the office with you to facilitate return of these items, particularly on Thursdays when Deferred Inspection is closed. Otherwise, the practice is to go to DRO and request return of the items and a receipt will be given. If a driver's license is taken, then inquire about that with the TA who, in turn, will arrange release of the license. It is not the practice of ICE TAs to release documents such as passports; DRO can release those upon completion of the case. Only deputies are authorized to release documents. Follow up question was raised as individuals who obtained VD from court and need their passports to leave the country: Officer Michael Nemec responded: It is at the officer's discretion to release passport at DRO. If the officer feels there is a flight risk, he could meet the alien in the airport to release his passport and see him board the departing plane. Paul Mosley, Deputy District Counsel, in response to a follow up question with respect to files transferred prior to release of documents, indicated that if a file is transferred to NRC, ICE DRO will assist and will order the file back from NRC to release the alien’s documents. Mr. Mosley indicated that he will check with Chief Counsel to implement a procedure that a file with documents is not to be transferred to NRC until the attorney has the opportunity to obtain the documents and place a hold on the file. 8. What is ICE's policy regarding the systemic problem of incomplete background checks at the time of individual hearings? While ICE trial attorneys are not responsible for completing backgrounds checks, they are responsible for reporting the results of background checks to the court so that proceedings may be concluded. When background checks are not complete, will ICE consider requiring trial attorneys to file motions to continue in advance of the merit hearings? Based on reports received, our jurisdiction is one of only a few jurisdictions experiencing long delays for security checks and cases are continued multiple times while years pass waiting for security checks. What steps have been taken to address this issue nationally by ICE Chief Counsel? Respondents are disadvantaged when they repeatedly prepare for their final hearings, often with witnesses ready to testify, only to encounter the government’s lack of preparedness to move forward. Could the trial attorneys inform Respondent’s counsel in advance so as to avoid bringing witnesses to hearings? Mr. Paul Mosley, Deputy District counsel, responded: ICE official policy is to move forward with all cases. Even when IBIS is not complete, IJ can move forward with the case and there is no reason not to do so. This issue should be raised with EOIR if IJs are refusing to move forward. Trial attorneys have been advised to move forward with the case even when no IBIS results are received by ICE. Trial attorneys will be reminded not to oppose moving forward with a hearing. If a case has been continued 2 or 3 times, counsel are asked to request Trial attorney to conduct an expedited check. Assistant Deputy is supposed to bring such cases to their deputy’s attention. In response to a follow up question regarding assignment of cases, Mr. Mosley responded: Mr. Howard has a team to work on court assignment issues. Clerk assigns cases two weeks prior to the hearings and Trial attorney has only one week to prepare for the hearing. Trial attorney has no information as to IBIS status until the day before the hearing; hence, there is no advance knowledge to relay to the private attorneys nor can trial attorneys stipulate to a continuance since the IBIS results are not in until the day before the hearing. 9. Please state what ICE policy is with respect to the ruling in the 9th Circuit case Perez-Gonzalez in light of the Supreme Court decision in Fernandez-Vargas v. Gonzales? What if the individuals filed Form I-212 while applying for adjustment of status pursuant to Perez-Gonzalez? Mr. Paul Mosley, Deputy District Counsel, responded: We will follow the law and are doing reinstatements. Both mentioned cases were referenced in recently- issued CIS guidance and no problem with following the law is foreseen. 10. What is ICE’s policy in implementing the Supreme Court decision in Fernandez- Vargas v. Gonzales? Please advise. Reinstatements are granted. If there is a case where a party has been deported on multiple occasions, ICE will issue notice of intent to reinstate and then will terminate the case pending in court. Since notice is forwarded to counsel, if alien has adjustment then the alien can oppose ICE notice of intent to terminate. If reinstatement of deportation is granted, DRO will follow its order to reinstate the prior Order unless there is a filing of an eligible individual. If a waiver is available, it is general ICE policy to permit adjustment of waiver. 11. Has Los Angeles informed its attorneys, office of Chief Counsel to administratively close cases for which CIS can have jurisdiction over the file and adjudicate alien’s I-485, i.e. cases classified as “Arriving aliens” who are in immigration proceedings under the new Federal Regulations issued on May 8, 2006? (please see 71 FR 27585-92 and Bona case) Mr. Paul Mosley, Deputy District Counsel, responded: CIS has determined that they will take jurisdiction and adjudicate such cases. Who is authorized to adjudicate I-485? Once IJ admin closes the case, the case is transferred to CIS. If CIS erroneously returns the file and does not adjudicate it, legal opinion is that CIS can adjust. This is similar to prior exclusion proceedings and it should be the same here; it is ICE policy to admin close. Note: If it is a 237 case, the case will be terminated; 237 cases are individuals who were admitted, or out of status with 245(i) applying to re-adjust. If a 237 case is not terminated, jurisdiction remains with the IJ unless it is a paroled case. 12. Now that the District is no longer holding in abeyance the I-485 adjustment of status applications of VAWA 2000 applicants with approved I-360 self-petitions who are not eligible to apply under 245(i) and who first entered the U.S. without inspection after April 1, 1997, can you provide any guidance on how the ICE will assess whether there is a "a substantial connection between the battery or cruelty...and the alien's unlawful entry into the United States"? Also, could the ICE Chief Counsel reconsider its policy that VAWA 2000 does not "trump" the ground of inadmissibility at INA § 212(a)(6)(A)(i) for being present in the U.S. without being admitted or paroled, considering the fact that section 1506 of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (October 28, 2000), Pub.L. 106-386, 114 Stat. 1464, specifically amended INA § 245(a) and § 245(c) to allow all VAWA self-petitioners who entered the U.S. without inspection to apply for adjustment of status? Would ICE terminate such cases pending in court? Since it would be absurd for Congress to have intended such applicants to be denied on the basis of the same entry without inspection which Congress excused by amending INA § 245(a) and § 245(c), is it possible to consider the "savings clause" at the beginning of INA §212(a) (which reads "Except as otherwise provided in this Act. . .") to exempt VAWA self-petitioner's from the reach of INA § 212(a)(6)(A)(i), the same way this saving clause was found to exempt applicants applying under INA § 245(i) in the March 24, 1997 memo from INS General Counsel Martin (entitled "Request for Legal Opinion: The Impact of the 1996 Act on Section 245(i) of the Act), which found that § 212(a)(6)(A)(i) should not apply to those seeking adjustment under § 245(i), even though § 245(i) contains no specific provision excepting them from its application? At our recent meeting, CIS has stated that ICE Chief Counsel will provide additional information. Paul Mosley, Deputy District Counsel, responded: There have been a few policies to deal with this issue. With respect to true I-369 prima facie eligibility case without any derogatory comments on file, ICE and CSC spoke and it is agreed these cases will be adjudicated. It is ICE policy to terminate these cases to permit CIS to adjudicate approved cases. 13. Have there been any ICE staffing changes? Norma Bonales-Garibay, Deputy Field Office Director DRO, responded: James T. Hayes, Jr. replaced Ms. Gloria Kees as of August 21, 2006 as Field Office Director DRO. Mr. Rudy Garcia, Section Chief of DRO will retire on October 21st. Paul Mosley, Deputy District Counsel, responded: EOIR will get 40 new judges.160 Trial attorneys will be hired by next year. By June of 07, it is expected there will be 15 additional trial attorneys. Presently, Chief Counsel's office has 68 trial attorneys. ICE Las Vegas is under L.A. jurisdiction. One Trial attorney will go to Las Vegas office where Mr. Mosley has been the deputy and a new manager will be appointed for Las Vegas. There will be efforts made to assign more judges to detention facilities. Salt Lake City Field Office will be established within the next two weeks. 14. Have there been any ICE policy changes? Mr. Bill Howard, Office of Principle Legal Advisor, at headquarter will be hiring soon where Mr. Mosley was helping for a short time. The new name of OPLA replaced the title office of ICE Chief Counsel’s Office at Headquarters. CARRY OVER 15. Could we please obtain an updated telephone directory of ICE (DRO and Investigation) officers and Section Chiefs? Telephone contact list was provided.