Monday, July 18, 2011

Russia-US Adoption Agreement Will Subject US Adoption Agencies to Decision Making Process at Russian Ministry of Education

The information in this blog post is no longer current for adoption procedures, but is maintained here for historical interest only!!

According to the USCIS and US Department of State, the Russia-US adoption agreement signed on July 13, 2011 by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her counterpart in Russia, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, foresees US adoption agencies being subject to the approval of the Russian Ministry of Education before they can continue to work in Russia. The Ministry of Education currently approves Russian domestic adoption agencies. Some have expressed concern that US entities will not be playing on an entirely even field there. (See Voice of America’s report of the Russian press conference presided over by Clinton and Lavrov, in Russian,, July 14, 2011.) Russia government has a bad reputation for corruption and bribe taking. (Corruption Perceptions Index).  A July 14, 2011 Voice of America reporter claimed that the number of US adoption agencies working in Russia will be reduced threefold from 67.

The Department of State’s new “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQs: Bilateral Adoption Agreement with Russia, July 13, 2011) states that they will provide the Russian Ministry of Education with their list of US adoption service providers accredited in the US to provide services under The Hague Convention on intercountry adoption, to which the US became a member in 2007. The Department of State will not otherwise make any recommendations about adoption agencies to Russia.
On the phone call held by USCIS and US Department of State on July 14, 2011, a member of one US adoption agency mentioned “black listing” that had occurred arbitrarily against US adoption brokers in Russia. She also mentioned a rumor that US passports were being issued to adoptees in the US Embassy in Moscow. This rumor was emphatically denied by Mike Regan of the US Department of State.

A representative on the phone call from the Office of the Legal Adviser of the Department of State is looking into whether the Clinton-Lavrov agreement can be published to give US adoption agencies working in Russia more of a heads up as to what their new requirements for working in Russia will be. Meanwhile, US adoption agencies may want to look to requirements for domestic Russian adoption agencies under Ministry of Education regulations. The Clinton-Lavrov pact must be ratified by the Russian legislature, the Duma, before it goes into effect in Russia. From the point, US adoption agencies will have 60 days wait for the Ministry of Education to put out regulations listing the new requirements and application procedures. The Ministry of Education anticipates a 30 day decision making process before a license is given under the new regulations.

Stakeholders participating on the phone call with the USCIS and US Department of State included staff from Families for Russian and Ukrainian Adoption - FRUA; Michael Goldstein, Attorney; All G-d’s Children International; Global Adoption Service; Harvard Law School Child Advocacy Program -CAP; Adoption Ark; and Adoption Associates Inc. -AAI .

Chavin Immigration Law Office offers legal advice and assistance on Russia and international adoption.


Erin Siegel, US Signs Adoption Agreement with Russia, Finding Fernanda blog.

Michael Schwirtz, Pact on Adoptions Ends a U.S.-Russian Dispute, NYT, July 13, 2011 .

Россия и США заключили соглашение об усыновлении детей, RIA Novosti ( Trudnoie det’stvo), July 7, 2011.

Kak usynovit’ rebionka, Graphic in Russian on the procedure for adopting a child in Russia for citizens of Russia, under Russian family law.

Intercountry Adoption, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Department of State. Country Specific Alert regarding Russia, July 13, 2011.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

McDonald’s Managers & Employees Face Jail Time Over Sale of Stolen Identities & Harboring Crimes

The managers of two McDonald’s restaurants in Savannah, Georgia, allegedly sold IDs to two other prospective employees, to use to obtain work at their restaurants. All four have been indicted in federal court the crimes of harboring an illegal alien and identity theft. The charges carry potential maximum sentences of over a 100 years for the manager/ID sellers, and 37 years for the employee/ID buyers.

The arrests came after a nine month investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), a division of the Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE). The US Attorney, Southern District of Georgia, Edward J. Tarver is prosecuting the case. The two McDonald’s restaurants were shut down as a result of 14 arrests stemming from the investigation. Nine were arrested administratively for being “in violation of immigration law.” The fourteenth is an unnamed defendant accused of selling a stolen identity. The franchise owner, Nina Gompels, NTG Enterprises, was not implicated.

The manager/sellers were Oscar Lazo, 51, a citizen of Peru, and Eva Ramos, 35, a U.S. citizen. The employee/identity buyers were Maurcio Cruz and Manuel Cruz, both Mexican citizens.


US Immigration & Customs Enforcement Press Release on the April 13, 2011 Federal Indictment “Savannah area McDonald's employees indicted for conspiring to sell stolen identities”

The Augusta Chronicle

Thursday, March 10, 2011

E-Verify Self-Check Launching March 23, 2011 in Fives States and DC

The Department of Homeland Security held its USCIS E-Verify Self-Check Stakeholder Engagement on March 10, 2011 at 2pm EST. Participants listened by phone and in person. As part of the presentation, the USCIS Verification Division representatives conducted a demonstration of the E-Verify Self Check system.

The E-Verify Self-Check system would allow employees or workers looking to be hired to check their employment eligibility against the same databases used by employers who are members of E-Verify.

The Self-Check system will be rolled out in Arizona, Mississippi, Colorado, Idaho, and Virginia and the District of Columbia initially. A full roll out across the country will happen at a date “yet to be determined,” and will depend on how well the system works in the pilot states.

"Work Authorization Is Confirmed" Letter  After giving the information below, an individual will generally be issued an online letter telling them their “Work Authorization Is Confirmed.”

 Name,

 Address,

 Date of birth,

 Social security number, and

 Citizen status (e.g., US citizen or alien authorized to work)

Foreign nationals will also be asked for their employment authorization documentation information, I-94 number, or A number.

The letter that E-Verify Self-Check issues is not meant to be used as an employment authorization document. It is written in colloquial language, and addressed to the “First Name” of the individual doing the query. It is also not one of the documents permitted for use by an employer using a Form I-9 to verify employment eligibility upon hire.

Social Security Number and Name Mismatch  Other possible outcomes for an individual checking their own employment eligibility on E-Verify Self-Check are: (1) possible mistype of the social security number, try again, or (2) possible mismatch of the social security number. If the latter comes up, the individual is encouraged to visit the Social Security Administration with a pre-printed letter about this result, to try to have the mismatch corrected. The Mismatch Notification Letters to SSA are generated by the E-Verify Self-Check program. A mismatch could come up for example, if you have not changed your name with SSA after a marriage or divorce.

The Self-Check program warns those who choose not to go to SSA to resolve the mismatch that if they are checked by an employer on E-Verify, they are likely to get a TNC – Temporary Non Confirmation, and could be terminated, if they do not resolve the mismatch with SSA.

Privacy Protection  After an individual enters their personal information, short of their “citizen status,” the E-Verify Self-Check system warns that the information will now be sent to the third party who will create a “Quiz” for the individual. The Quiz will be a quiz of personal information available to credit agencies. If the individual passes the Quiz, he is able to use E-Verify Self-Check to verify his work authorization status. If he does not, he is considered to be someone who may be an identity thief.

Having Googled myself and a few individuals’ names before, I must say that the information that makes up the Quiz does not seem entirely “private.” My brief look at the privacy protection on this system makes me feel that this protection is not robust. The Quiz in the demonstration looks for former employer names, and former residential streets and phone numbers of the user. The concern of many participants at the Stakeholder Engagement was that the information obtained on an individual could be used nefariously by potential employers, or government benefit agencies.

On the other hand, recently arrived non-immigrants and refugees may have trouble using the Self-Check system at all since they will not have enough of a footprint with US banks and credit agencies to be able to have a “Quiz” generated. The Self-Check system is completely optional, however.


Federal Register
Online Demonstration

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Owner of Bensonville, Illinois Temp Agency Knowingly Employed Undocumented Workers, Receives 18 Months Jail & Forfeits $465,178 : “Anna II” & “Can Do It Workers” Served Warehouses in Chicago Suburbs

February 16, 2011, as the result of a plea agreement, Clinton Roy Perkins of Wayne, Illinois was sentenced to 18 months in prison. He will forfeit $465,178 in proceeds from his criminal actions. His prosecution was started in spring 2010 by the US Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald, and Chicago sections of the Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the US Department of Labor.

The indictment filed by Patrick Fitzgerald’s office in spring 2010 covered the actions of Mr. Perkins and his son-in-law Christopher J. Reindl between October 2006 and October 2007. Mr. Perkins and his office manager Mr. Reindl had a practice of not checking the employment eligibility of their new hires. Knowing that many of them were undocumented, they gave their warehouse company clients fake Social Security information when asked. They paid their employees in cash, and did not deduct payroll taxes or withholding.

Mr. Reindl, age 40, has also plead guilty, and his sentencing is expected this month.


ICE Press release

US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's indictment in US v Perkins, undated/unsigned.