Dallas immigration advocacy group The Isenberg Center for Immigration Empowerment (ICIE) has received an ultimatum from the government: shut down operations for face charges from the State Bar of Texas.
Officials with U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) say ICIE, and founder Ralph Isenberg, are acting as attorneys when they help immigrants, something Isenberg disputes. He says the move is because his group often confronts USCIS and DHS on their misdeeds in dealing with immigrants. That includes a recent Washington Times story about a refugee family seeking asylum in the United States and getting little help from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which operates under DHS authority. “It would seem the Washington Times front page story may have gotten the top management at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) upset enough to order the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) to work on immediately putting ICIE out of commission,” Isenberg said. “Despite the harm such an action will cause upon those ICIE is helping.”
Isenberg cites a little-used statue in the law that states a reputable individual can represent foreign nationals in immigration court, as long as certain conditions are met. The government contends Isenberg and ICIE meet some, but not all, of the conditions.
“We are in full compliance with the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (INA) and the rules that were enacted two years later,” Isenberg said. “The Act clearly permits citizens to get directly involved in helping foreign nationals when specific conditions are met. In the opinion of ICIE, DHS does not like the opinions I advocate, and instead of trying to understand them, they prefer to shut ICIE down.”
Isenberg said his organization will take whatever actions are necessary to resolve the situation and continue to help foreign nationals, many of whom cannot find any other legal aid on their own. He believes the actions of DHS and USCIS are a retaliatory measure. “Why DHS would want to focus on ICIE when the agency has hundreds of immigration attorney complaints to investigate, and even more fraud cases to investigate in every state of the Union, is truly amazing. To make ICIE the center of attention (given our record), and the fact that there has never been a complaint filed by a foreign national against ICIE, appears to be nothing less than a self-serving measure by DHS to avoid well deserved criticism,” he said.
Victor Medina is the editor of WhenLiberalsAttack.com. His other writing credits include The Dallas Morning News, Yahoo News, and SportsIllustrated.com. He has served as a Dallas County election judge and on the Board of Directors of The Sixth Floor Museum. You can follow him on his blog, VictorMedina.com or on Twitter at @mrvictormedina. He can be reached by email at email@example.com. Click here to receive email updates from WhenLiberalsAttack.com. To be notified of future stories by Victor Medina, click the SUBSCRIBE TO AUTHOR button below or simply click here.