Read the Seattle Times article here:
When Immigration and Customs Enforcement director John Morton sent a memo on June 17 stating that individuals should be deported only if they meet ICE’s enforcement priorities, it made clear who doesn’t fit those priorities: immigrants with no criminal records, as well as those brought to the country as children. And yet, a close-knit family that poses no danger to the country found itself on the edge of heart-breaking separation.
Alberto Yanez, who was brought to the U.S. when he was only 1 ½ years old, can remember only this country as his home. The 24-year-old has lived in Los Angeles and Washington virtually his whole life, and is the father of three U.S. citizen children, and has two U.S. citizens brothers. His life has been full of accomplishments: He tested gifted in the third grade, worked full-time while pursuing a degree, and is currently an honors student seeking a career as a pharmacy technician.
But on November 16, 2010, Alberto and his mother, who also has no criminal record and poses no security threat, were detained in their home and placed in a detention center for approximately one month.
The Change.org and the immigrant rights community didn’t take that news sitting down. After reading about the Yanez family’s situation, more than 2,500 of you signed a petition created by Change.org member Richard Hartwell demanding ICE and the Obama administration follow through on their word not to deport DREAMers and their families. Thanks in large part to these efforts, today Alberto’s lawyer announced that he has been granted a temporary stay of removal until January.
That is major progress in the case, and it happened because so many individuals stood up and demanded justice for this hardworking family.
But the fight is far from over: Alberto’s mom still risks deportation and community pressure is needed more than ever to support her case. Sign the petition asking ICE to stick to its word and not separate a family who has built a life here and who needs each other more than ever. If you’ve already signed, please spread the word on Facebook.
Attorney General Rob McKenna is trying to push bills through the legislature that promise to crack down on so-called “notarios”–quasi-professionals who advertise themselves as immigration “assistants” but who often attempt to practice law without a license. The bills would seem to come just in time. Guess which former lawyer, disbarred after decades of complaints, now appears to be practicing as a notario?
If you guessed Antonio Salazar, pictured above and subject of a SW cover story last April 21, you’re right.
In April, just days before a judge disbarred Salazar, a company called “Ayuda Immigration, Inc.” opened in the very same office the disgraced attorney had long occupied on Lake City Way. (Ayuda means “help” in Spanish.) Salazar’s son, Nicolas, is listed as the agent of the firm in its registration with the Secretary of State’s office, but a source says it’s the elder Salazar who’s running the show.
A recent ad for the firm in a Spanish-language publication (seen at left) certainly has the hallmarks of a Salazar production. Next to promises of help with “todo tipo de aplicacion” (any type of application) and “peticiones familiars” (family petitions) is a picture of two comely young women, one in a very short skirt. For many of the years Salazar practiced law, he also ran a side business putting out risqué calendars of “Seattle Latinas.”
According to Manny Rios, a well-known immigration attorney in Seattle, other disbarred attorneys are also acting as notarios, as well as people who have had no legal training at all.
Rios thus considers bills like the ones before the legislature necessary. He says, however: “At the end of the day, it has to do with enforcement.” HB 1146 and SB 5023 allow for civil penalties of up to $1,000–an amount that Rios contends is “not going to stop these people. They’ll close up shop, change the name, and open up again.”
“I would have liked to see some kind of criminal sanctions,” Rios adds.
Still, he acknowledges that some notarios are well-respected figures in the Latino community who offer their services at more affordable prices than attorneys. He also concedes that notarios aren’t the only ones responsible for the substandard practice of immigration law. As Salazar well demonstrates, when it comes to this Byzantine and undersupervised field, even someone with a law license could end up getting their clients deported.
Primer Impacto Report: Manuel Rios discusses an asylum claim based on drug violence in Mexico.
KOMO News Report: Manuel Rios discusses the case of a woman brought to U.S. as a baby through adoption who is facing potential deportation