November 1, 2012

News Release

Kansas Corporation admits knowingly hiring illegal alien to run McDonald’s franchise 

WICHITA, Kan. – A Kansas corporation agreed to plead guilty Wednesday to an immigration charge after a federal investigation showed that the manager of one of its McDonald’s restaurants in Wichita was an illegal alien. This announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom, District of Kansas.

This guilty plea agreement resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s  (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with the assistance of the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General.

Mc Calla Corporation, a McDonald’s restaurant franchisee with offices in Wichita, was charged Oct. 31 with one felony count of knowingly accepting a fraudulent identification document offered as proof that an employee was eligible to work. As part of the plea agreement, the corp oration agreed to pay a $300,000 fine, and an additional $100,000 forfeiture judgment.

The case is the second time in two months that a Kansas comp any has been charged with knowingly employing illegal workers. In the other case, the owners of two hotels in Overland Park, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., were charged with knowingly hiring illegal workers for housekeeping jobs.

“ICE is committed to holding businesses accountable when they knowingly hire or retain illegal workers,” said Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge of HSI Chicago. “Employers who willfully violate our nation’s hiring laws gain an unfair economic advantage over their law-abiding competitors. Our goal is to protect job opportunities for the nation’s legal workers and level the playing field for those businesses that play by the rules.”

“Businesses that knowingly hire undocumented workers are putting us all at risk,” said U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom. “They are creating a market place for unauthorized workers who may resort to presenting false documents to gain employment, completing applications for fraudulent benefits and even stealing the identities of legal U.S. workers. Employment is the primary driving force behind illegal immigration. I’m calling on all Kansas employers to strengthen their hiring practices and to help us safeguard this Nation by hiring and maintaining a lawful workforce.”

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security. 



Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island 45 miles from Orlando


Each year, more than 1.5 million guests from around the world experience their very own space adventure by exploring the exciting past, present and future of America’s space program at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Built in 1967 as a means for NASA astronauts’ and employees’ families to view space center operations, today the Visitor Complex is one of Central Florida’s most popular tourist destinations.

Since 1995, when Delaware North Companies Parks and Resorts, Inc. began managing the Visitor Complex, every aspect of this 70-acre facility has been entirely redeveloped and enhanced. From larger-than-life IMAX® films to live shows, hands-on activities and behind-the-scenes tours, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers guests an educational, entertaining and comprehensive space program experience.


Lawsuit claims sheriff denied bail to inmates on ICE holds 

Associated Press   Published- October 19, 2012    

LOS ANGELES – Arrestees who say they were denied bail because immigration agents wanted them held sued the Los Angeles County sheriff Friday claiming they were illegally detained for weeks or months.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California filed the lawsuit in federal court in Los Angeles challenging Sheriff Lee Baca’s ability to detain arrestees solely on the basis of a request from the federal immigration agency, when the inmates are eligible for bail or other forms of release.

Plaintiff Duncan Roy — a British film director — said he was held in jail for nearly three months because Immigration and Customs Enforcement had filed paperwork asking the Sheriff’s Department to keep him in custody, even though he tried multiple times to post bail.

“The sheriff says, he’s on an ICE hold, and the ICE people say, well, he’s got to make bond,” said Roy, who was eventually released after ICE withdrew its request, known as an immigration detainer, or hold. “They keep you in this limbo where each is blaming the other organization, but basically they’re colluding with each other to keep you there.”

Roy, who later pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor extortion charge, is one of several named plaintiffs among tens of thousands of inmates who should have been eligible for release but were detained because the department says it must honor the immigration holds, according to the ACLU.

ACLU staff attorney Jennie Pasquarella said the suit — which seeks class-action status — challenges the validity of immigration detainers, which have been increasingly used in jails across the country under the federal government’s flagship immigration enforcement program.

“There has to be authority for them to actually deprive a person of liberty, and we’re saying there isn’t based on state and federal law,” Pasquarella said.

Inmates should be allowed to leave custody if they post bail or qualify for release, then federal immigration authorities could seek to take them into custody if they so choose, immigrant advocates said.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said the department may hold people at the request of federal immigration authorities.

“If ICE tells us there’s a hold, we’re only doing what they wish,” Nishida said, adding that the detainers are usually placed for 48 hours but could go longer depending on the case.

ICE said in a statement that the agency uses detainers to ensure that potentially dangerous criminals are not released from jails. On its website, the agency says that if immigration agents fail to take custody of an inmate after 48 hours, excluding weekends and holidays, local law enforcement agencies are required to release the inmate.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction ordering the sheriff not to detain anyone solely on the basis of an immigration hold, and damages for plaintiffs who were unlawfully held. In the suit, the ACLU states the Sheriff’s Department recently agreed to put forth a policy clarifying that inmates should be able to post bail even if they have an immigration detainer.

The federal government’s Secure Communities program lets immigration agents check arrestees’ fingerprints against homeland security records to determine if someone might be in the country illegally.

The program has been touted by ICE as a crime-fighting tool but is reviled by many who say it discourages immigrants from reporting crime and erodes their trust in police. Amid growing opposition, a number of law enforcement agencies, including the Los Angeles Police Department, have announced plans to stop honoring requests by immigration agents to hold people accused only of minor crimes.

In the past four years, immigration agents have removed more than 220,000 people from the country under the program. Roughly 12 percent of them came from Los Angeles County, according to federal government statistics.


Orlando Symphony Orchestra

The “Central Florida Friends of Music” organization became the “Orlando Symphony Orchestra, Inc.” on July 24, 1990, and offered an ambitious full season of symphonic concerts during the 1995-96 season.  More recently, Orlando Symphony Orchestra has collaborated with major musical organizations, choirs, schools, churches, etc. to jointly present concerts of the highest professional level.

In addition, Orlando Symphony Orchestra has become the pre-eminent source for musical ensembles, large and small, for meetings and conventions in Central Florida.  Their clients have included Americredit, Unisys, and McDonald’s, among many others.  Orlando Symphony Orchestra is composed of only full-time professional musicians of the highest calibre.  Orlando Symphony Orchestra supports and adheres to the policies of Local 389, American Federation of Musicians.

Artistic Director

Jerry Weiss, violinist and violist, began studying violin at the age of 5 in Toronto, Canada. He has toured with the “Phantom of the Opera World Tour”, the Mantovani Orchestra during 4 tours of the Far East, the Buffalo Philharmonic , the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players, the New York City Opera, and singer Ray Price. Mr. Weiss has performed as concertmaster of numerous Broadway musicals, and has been a member of many ensembles, including the Niagara Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Florida Symphony, Florida Philharmonic, the ARTPARK Orchestra, Flagler Symphony, Palm Beach Pops, and others.

Jerry’s extensive recording experience has included a performance of the Bach


October 15, 2012

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) with the assistance of the Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) today is designating the Latin American gang Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) as a transnational criminal organization (TCO). 

This group is being designated by Treasury pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13581, which targets significant TCOs and their supporters. E.O. 13581 is a key part of the National Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime.

Using the authority provided in E.O. 13581, Treasury is targeting the economic power of MS-13 as a transnational criminal network – and those individuals and entities who work with them, enable them and support them – by freezing any assets those persons may have within U.S. jurisdiction. Any property or property interests in the U.S., or in the possession or control of U.S. persons in which these targets have an interest are blocked, and U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.

“This designation allows us to strike at the financial heart of MS-13 and is a powerful weapon in our fight to dismantle one of the most violent, transnational criminal organizations operating today,” said ICE Director John Morton. “History has proven that we can successfully take down organized crime groups when we combine sophisticated investigative techniques with tough street level enforcement, cutting off cash flows, contraband and collaborators to ensure they no longer find safe haven in our communities.”

MS-13 is being designated for its involvement in serious criminal activities, including drug trafficking, human smuggling and sex trafficking, murder and violence, racketeering, and immigration offenses. MS-13, consisting of at least 30,000 members and present in at least five countries, including the United States, is one of the most dangerous criminal gangs in the world today. MS-13 violently protects its illicit interests through murder, murder for hire, kidnapping, blackmail, extortion and assassination. MS-13’s creed is exemplified by one of its mottos, “mata, roba, viola, controla,” which translates in sum and substance to “kill, steal, rape, control.” In addition, MS-13 members have been responsible for numerous killings within the United States.

New– Orlando VA Medical Center


The 1.2 million square foot facility will cost $665 million to construct.  The medical center will have a large multispecialty outpatient clinic, 134-inpatient beds, 120-community living center beds, a 60-bed domiciliary and administrative and support services.

The University of Central Florida College of Medicine;
The Burnham Institute;
The University of Florida Academic and Research Center and
Nemours Children’s Hospital.

These medical institutions are located together in the Lake Nona area known as the “Medical City.”


October 8, 2012

The Orlando Art Museum was founded in 1924, and while encouraging community support for the arts, it holds true to its mission of enriching the cultural life of Florida.  Orlando Museum of Arts pieces are included in collections that present the works of local and regional artists, as well as notable entries of national and international significance.  For a pleasant Orlando Museum experience in the visual arts, make time during your next Orlando vacation to enjoy the Orlando Museum of Art.The Orlando Art Museum offers 10-12 in-house exhibits year round, and maintains 13 exhibitions off-site.

Immigrant Entrepreneurship – Slowed and possibly Declining

A new Kauffman Foundation study finds that high-tech, immigrant-founded startups nationwide has slipped from 25.3 percent to 24.3 percent since 2005. The drop is even more pronounced in Silicon Valley, where the percentage of immigrant-founded startups declined from 52.4 percent to 43.9 percent.

It is essential that the United States Immigration Policy be modified to create startup visas for these entrepreneurs and expand the number of green cards for skilled foreigners to work in these startups. This is a very important part of the United States economy that we can ill afford to lose.

The book is titled “America’s New Immigrant Entrepreneurs : Then and Now”.


October 1, 2012

Harry Leu Gardens is a 50-acre botanical oasis. The Mission statement for each the gardens are to inspire visitors to appreciate and understand plants. There is a museum house that unveils the details of living for families at the turn-of-the century. The gardens and historical home were donated to the City of Orlando in 1961 by Mr. Harry P. Leu and his wife, Mary Jane.


International Students seek In-State College Tuition under Deferred Action-Dream Act 2012

International college students pay between 3-4 times higher tuition than students paying In-State Tuition. The New Deferred Action Program approved by President Obama does not address the issue if an approved child will be granted In-State Tuition. This will be a State by State determination.

In Florida the Guidelines on Florida Residency for Tuition Purposes are as follows:

Section 2.1 of the Guidelines specifically identifies that U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and aliens lawfully present in the United States (maybe) classified as residents for tuition purposes.  Section 2.4  entitled Exceptions/Qualifications appears to be directly on point. The controlling language is as follows:

“Non-U.S. Citizens who fall within the following categories are also eligible to establish Florida residency for tuition purposes.

h. Individuals granted Deferred Action Status.”

The Florida State Legislature has not addressed this issue; but there are anecdotal reports that some universities are following these guidelines for reduction of tuition with respect to international students.

Until there is a law passed, we recommend that once you are approved for deferred action status; present your USCIS approval notice to the university financing or admission departments.


September 24, 2012

SeaWorld Orlando is the world’s largest marine-themed park, offering exhibits and live shows featuring dozens of species, from dolphins and manatees to the park’s signature “Shamu” orcas (more popularly known as killer whales).


Understanding your Visa, Passport and I-94 Card

It is a common for persons entering the United States on Visa to miscalculate the time allowable to stay in the United States before it is mandatory to return to their country of origin.

The most common example is a Visitor Visa. (B-2) In this case, a foreign national receives a new passport which has several years before it expires. The B-2 Visa is stamped in the Passport with an expiration date of (10) ten years. This means the person has (10) ten years in which to ENTER the United States. It does NOT mean the foreign national can stay in the United States for that length of time.

The I-94 Card determines the length of stay. This is a small card not more than 2” inches large, that is stapled into your passport. In some cases, there is no card and only the words handwritten or stamped “I-94” with a date. This date is the expiration date or the last day a person is legally permitted to be in the United States. The (10) ten-year visa usually has an I-94 Card that expires in (6) six months.

If a person stays past this I-94 date, they are considered “out of status” and are in the United States illegally. Any time period in illegal status can bar reentry for a person at later date.   This Bar to reentry can be from 1-10 years in duration.


September 17, 2012

Orlando will always be known for Disney World. However, it is home of the 2nd largest university in the United States. The University of Central Florida, commonly referred to as UCF, is a metropolitan public research university. UCF is a member institution of the State University System of Florida, and is the second-largest university in the United States by enrollment with more than 60,000 Students. 

Political Asylum: 

Which is the better option?   Immigration Court vs. Asylum Officer 

Immigration Court

In Immigration Court, you are already out of status so you must win your case or the result will most likely be Voluntary Departure or Deportation. However, you have the advantage of a full hearing and to advance as much evidence as possible at trial. If the case is lost, it can be appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals in Falls Church Virginia. The last appeal would be to the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta Georgia. 

Asylum Officer 

In this scenario, you are in status such as being a student on an F-1 student Visa. The Applicant requests a hearing by completing an I-589 form with written documentation. If you are in the State of Florida, the only place to be interviewed is Miami, Florida. The Officer will interview you with an attorney present and you are permitted live witnesses. The interview can last from 1-4 hours. 

The officer will send the decision in the mail. If it is unfavorable, you have (16) sixteen days to respond to meet the criteria in the letter. If the officer still concludes that political asylum should not be granted, the case is over. The applicant has NO APPEAL RIGHTS.  Although the decision may be unfavorable, your current status is no lost and thus will not be deported.