Wednesday, April 21, 2010

ICE attorney convicted in bribery scandal

A senior attorney with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was convicted of 36 corruption-related charges  in Los Angeles today.  Constantine Kallas was found guilty of multiple counts of conspiracy; bribery; obstruction of justice; fraud and misuse of entry documents; aggravated identity theft; making false statements to the Department of Labor; making false statements to obtain federal employee compensation; and tax evasion. Whew. Kallas accepted bribes up to $20,000 and even "helped" his housekeeper.

The FBI press release states that 
According to court documents, the couple’s bank records show that, beyond Constantine Kallas’ salary, approximately $950,000 had been deposited in the couple’s bank accounts since 2000. When investigators searched the Kallas residence in June 2008, they discovered a hidden floor safe that contained more than $177,000 in cash and two dozen official immigration files.
You can read the press release here.

Monday, April 19, 2010

What do I do if the Icelandic volcano delays my departure from the US?

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency and USCIS have both issued guidance for people who cannot leave the US because of travel restrictions, and who might therefore overstay their I-94s.  The CBP guidance is here and reproduced below. The USCIS update is here.

"If you or someone you know is stranded in the United States because of the airport closures in Europe due to the Icelandic volcano eruption and is about to exceed their authorized stay as a direct result of these closures, there are two avenues for relief:

If the traveler is at the airport and traveling under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and unable to depart timely, as a result of airport closures or flight delays/cancellations, travelers should:
  1. Contact the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) office at the airport or;
  2. Contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office.
Both agencies have provided staff with guidance on the applicable legal authorities under the VWP in circumstances such as these.

If persons are traveling under a visa, they should contact the nearest USCIS office and follow the instructions at the following link: (USCIS - Extend My Stay)

While this link recommends initiating the process 45 days in advance, USCIS is providing guidance on how to handle these cases over this weekend.

Travelers should continue to contact their airline for information about flight schedules, delays and cancellations. If airlines have questions about the situation, they can contact their Regional Carrier Liaison Group (RCLG). The Miami RCLG can be reached at (305) 874-5444."