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May 2009 Archives


In China last year 8000 members of the spiritual group Falun Gong were arrested; more than 100 died under detention. Adherents of Falun Gong have received long prison sentences solely for possessing the society’s literature.Chinese authorities regard this group as a threat to China. Despite Falun Gong’s benign spiritual teachings of Buddhist meditation and traditional body exercises, the Chinese government continues to regard the group with hostility. Torture and other acts of cruelty have been used to purge Falun Gong.The Immigration Service is ambivalent about Falun Gong’s cases. It has held that each case must be weighed separately based on the extent of a member’s activities for the Society and the degree of repression the member faced in China and the level of threat that the participant would face if he/she returned to China.


Under current law, the death of a spouse can result in an Order of Removal if the spouse dies before the completion of the processing of Permanent Residence. If the marriage took place less than 2 years, the surviving spouse is removed.This situation has resulted in the exclusion of spouses and their children and also parents and grandparents, which is cruel and callous. Some courts have taken a beam of light to the corrupt bureaucracy slow processing times, which have resulted in painful separations not withstanding that the marriage was celebrated in good faith.Last week, a federal judge ordered the INS to reopen the cases of 13 immigrants who were denied their residence because their spouses died. We hope that the new administration create a remedy for these wrongs in the near future.


Last week, the United States Supreme Court barred prosecutors throughout the U.S. from using the identity theft laws to intimidate immigrants who use false social security numbers to work. The issue in the case was whether the user of the false social security number had to have known to whom the number belonged in order to be subject to an aggravated identity theft. Prosecutors have been using this threat of severe punishment for aggravated identity theft to get alien workers to plead guilty to a lesser charges of document fraud. These aliens had been facing at least a sentence of 2 years for identity theft and then summary deportation. As a result of the U.S. Supreme Court decision the Immigration Service will not be able to press criminal charges against immigrants for using these false cards. The Court held that the identity theft law was aimed at criminals who steal a targeted individual’s social security number with the intent of committing a fraud unlike alien workers who at random invent a number to allow them to work.
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