Volume Eleven, Number Three
Shusterman’s Newsletter US Immigration April 2006 is the Web’s most popular e-mail newsletter regarding U.S. immigration laws and procedures with over 40,000 subscribers located in more than 150 countries. It is written by a former INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) with over 30 years of experience practicing immigration law.
Published by the Law Offices of Carl Shusterman, 600 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 1550, Los Angeles, California, 90017. Phone: (213) 623-4592 x0.
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Newsletter US Immigration April 2006
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
- 1. Reform of the Employment-Based Preference System
- 2. Immigration Government Processing Times
- 3. PERM: Professional Recruitment Requirements
- 4. Success Story: A Hardship Waiver for a Physician
- 5. Immigration Trivia Quiz: Am I My Brother’s Keeper?
- 6. H-1Bs: Application Period Started on April 1st
- 7. CIS Service Centers Now Specialize in Particular Areas
- 8. Schedule of Upcoming Immigration Law Seminars
- 9. Chat Schedule, Transcripts, Audios & Videos
- 10. Winner of the March 2006 Immigration Trivia Quiz
- Immigration Voice – Immigration Voice is a new non-profit organization which is working to alleviate the problems faced by legal high-skilled foreign workers in the United States. They act as an interface between the set of immigrants and the legislative and executive branches of the government. The members of Immigration Voice are all highly skilled legal immigrants who are facing or will face retrogression today or in the future.The mission of Immigration Voice is to organize grassroots efforts and resources to solve several problems in the employment based green card process including delays due to
- USCIS processing backlogs and
- Labor Certification backlogs.
Immigration Voice is a voluntary organization. All of their volunteers are unpaid. All monies collected by Immigration Voice go towards grassroots efforts and obtaining advice from strategic counsel.
We link to Immigration Voice from our “Immigration Organizations” page at
- Poverty Income Guidelines – The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has published its new poverty income guidelines. Persons filing Affidavits of Support (Form I-864) must show that their household income is at least 125% of the current poverty income guidelines according to the number of persons in their household. For Affidavit of Support purposes, the new guidelines are effective as of April 1, 2006. Our site lists the annual HHS Poverty Income Guidelines from 1996 to 2006. See our “Affidavit of Support” page at
- Temporary Protected Status (TPS) – In a press release dated March 30, 2006, the DHS announced that TPS would be extended to July 5, 2007 for 75,000 nationals of Honduras and 4,000 nationals of Nicaragua.
- USCIS Today – We link to the most recent issue of “USCIS Today”, CIS newsletter, from our “CIS” page at
- Visa Bulletin – To view the April 2006 Visa Bulletin, see our “Visa Bulletin” page at
Almost lost among all the press reports about the comprehensive immigration reform bill now pending in the Senate is the most serious improvement of the employment-based (EB) preference system since the passage of the Immigration Act of 1990.
Our country’s immigration system has always been organized in a way which favors persons with relatives already in the U.S., and which all but ignores the contribution of the prospective immigrant to American society. Prior to 1990, employment-based immigrants were limited to 54,000 per year. Half of this number was reserved for professionals (3rd preference) and the other half to nonprofessionals and unskilled workers (6th preference). Spouses and children of these workers were counted against the cap. Bottom line: Only 20,000 to 30,000 workers were permitted to immigrate to the U.S. annually.
The 1990 law raised the numerical cap significantly, to 140,000, but continued to count family members against the cap. The 1990 law grouped the EB immigrants into the following five categories: (1) 1st preference – priority workers (28.6%); (2) 2nd preference – persons of exceptional ability and those with advanced university degrees (28.6%); (3) professional and skilled workers (28.6%) with a provision by which unskilled workers could qualify for no more than 5,000 visas per year; (4) special immigrants including religious workers (7.1%); and (5) investors (7.1%). Numbers not used by EB-1 immigrants are available to immigrants in the EB-2 category while numbers not used by either the EB-1 or EB-2 immigrants are available for EB-3 workers.
The reality is that in today’s growing economy, a professional in the EB-3 category must wait five years to obtain permanent residence and persons born in India and China face long lines even in the EB-1 and EB-2 categories. With over 300,000 applications for labor certification pending in DOL Backlog Elimination Centers and thousands of PERM applications either approved or in the pipeline, the situation is certain to deteriorate with the passage of time. Meanwhile, our country suffers from severe shortages in the following occupations: scientists, engineers, computer professionals, health care professionals (especially registered nurses, physicians, physical therapists and radiation technologists) and teachers.
The goal of the bill reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 27 is to fashion an employment-based immigration system that meets the needs of our growing economy. Our immigration system should continue to reunite families and to give haven to persons who would be persecuted in their native countries. However, it should also operate in our country’s self-interest by allowing persons with needed skills to immigrate to the U.S.
The Senate bill would make the following improvement in the EB system:
- The numerical cap of EB immigrants would increase from 140,000 to 290,000 annually;
- Spouses and children of principal immigrants would no longer count against the numerical cap. This important provision would be retroactive to immigrant visas issued on or after October 1, 2004;
- Unused EB immigrant visas would no longer expire at the end of the government’s fiscal year (September 30). In addition, the bill would allow unused immigrant visas dating back to 2001 to be “recaptured” and used now and in the future;
- Per-country limits would be increased from 7% to 10% of the worldwide numerical cap in order to ease backlogs for highly skilled workers born in populous countries (India and mainland China).
The EB preference system would be restructured as follows:
- 1st Preference (from 28.6% to 15% or from 43,500 to 40,000);
- 2nd Preference (from 28.6% to 15% or from 43,500 to 40,000);
- 3rd Preference (from 28.6% to 35% or from 30,000 to 101,500);
- 4th Preference – Immigrant Investors (from 7.1% to 5% or from 10,000 to 14,500);
- 5th Preference – Unskilled workers (from 5,000 to 87,000);
- Special Immigrants – Would still be limited to 10,000 immigrant visas per year, but would be exempt from the worldwide numerical cap.
The bill would exempt the following classifications of immigrants from all numerical caps:
- Persons of extraordinary ability;
- Outstanding professors and researchers;
- Persons with national interest waivers;
- Persons with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (“STEM”) and three years experience working on a nonimmigrant visa in the U.S. in a related field. STEM applicants would qualify for more flexible special handling labor certification procedures;
- Registered nurses and physical therapists until 2017. Overall, the committee bill would overhaul the outdated employment-based preference system, insure that our country has access to the best and the brightest professionals from around the world, and would provide enough additional EB visas to eliminate the backlogs which have developed during the past year.
For those readers desiring additional information on the committee bill, we link to both the complete text of the bill as amended on March 30 and to a summary of the bill prepared by the National Immigration Forum from our “Immigration Legislation” page at
Please keep in mind that the committee bill is not final. The Senate is in the midst of debating the entire 478-page bill. A final vote is expected to take place within a week.
Then, a Joint Senate-House Conference Committee will meet behind closed doors in an attempt to reconcile the provisions of the Senate bill with the House’s “enforcement-only” bill, H.R. 4437.
Finally, if both houses of Congress overcome their differences (which mostly revolve around the guest worker program and how to treat 10-12 million persons working illegally in the U.S.), a bill will be sent to President Bush for his expected signature.
We weighed in on the immigration debate on the side of a humane and fair immigration policy. We spoke with over two dozen reporters during the month of March, did a segment for CNN and an audio for “Marketplace” which was featured on NPR.
You may also be interested in listening to “Citizenship Means Dollars” by Tamar Jacoby at
http://marketplace.publicradio.org/shows/2006/03/28/PM200603284.html (link no longer operational)
and “Hiring immigrants . . . What’s an Employer to Do?” by Cicoil CEO Tom Nogradi at
http://marketplace.publicradio.org/shows/2006/03/29/PM200603294.html (link no longer operational)
You can follow further developments regarding immigration reform on a day-to- day basis as the bill winds its way through the legislative process by making our homepage
one of your favorites.
We link to the most recent immigration waiting times for each of the four USCIS Service Centers, the National Benefits Center and the Administrative Appeals Office. We also link to the processing times of all of the 83 USCIS District Offices and Sub-offices. We link to the Labor Department’s page entitled “Processing dates for labor certification applications”. Finally, we link to the State Department’s “Visa Wait Times” page.
With certain exceptions, all occupations require the following recruitment to have taken place prior to filing a PERM application:
* Required Recruitment Efforts
Print Ads: Two Sunday ads in a newspaper of general circulation in the area of intended employment are required. Both ads must run no earlier than 180 days before filing, and no later than 30 days before filing. Both ads may run on consecutive Sundays. However, if the area of intended employment does not have a newspaper with a Sunday edition, the employer may use the edition with the widest circulation in the area of intended employment. Tear sheets from newspaper having the name and date of publication will show proof of advertising. (Note: a draft of an ad to be placed or a bill for ad placement is generally NOT sufficient to prove that the ad was actually placed). General recruitment ads for the company are acceptable.
The advertisements must include the name of the employer, an address where applicants can send their resumes, a brief description of the opening, and the specific area of employment. The ad does not need to contain the salary.
In cases where the job requires experience and an advanced degree, a professional journal advertisement may be used in lieu of one of the Sunday ad. The journal used must be the most appropriate and the one most likely to solicit responses from qualified U.S. workers.
Job Order with the State Workforce Agency (SWA): A job order with the SWA must be placed for thirty (30) days.
Job Posting: The employer must post a notice for at least ten (10) consecutive business days at the work location, no earlier than 180 before filing, and no later than 30 days before filing. The notice must contain salary (or salary range), job title, job description, minimum education and experience requirements, and job location. The notice must also state that it is being provided as a result of the filing of an application for permanent labor certification and that any person may provide documentary evidence bearing on the application to the Certifying Officer of the Department of Labor. The employer must also provide the address of the appropriate Certifying Officer on the notice. In addition, the notice must be published in any and all in- house media, whether electronic or printed, in accordance with the normal procedures generally used in recruiting for similar positions in the organization.
Additional recruitment steps are required for all professional occupations. The employer must choose three additional forms of recruitment listed below. One of the additional steps can take place within 30 days of filing the application, but we recommend that all recruitment should be completed 30 days or more before filing. That said, we also recommend filing as soon as possible after the 30 days period so that the newspaper ad remains valid for refiling in the event of a denial for whatever reason.
* Options for Three Additional Forms of Recruitment
Job Fairs: Recruitment at job fairs for the occupation involved in the application can be documented by brochures advertising the fair and newspaper advertisements in which the employer is named as a participant in the job fair.
Employer’s Website: The use of the employer’s website as a recruitment medium can be documented by providing dated copies of pages from the site that advertise the occupation involved in the application.
Job search Website other than employers: The use of a job search website other than the employer’s can be documented by providing dated copies of pages from one or more website(s) that advertise the occupation involved in the application. Copies of web pages generated in conjunction with the newspaper advertisements can serve as documentation of the use of a website other than the employer’s. However, running an ad on two different websites does not constitute two forms of recruitment, since there is only one space on the ETA 9089 to indicate this form of recruitment.
On-campus recruiting: On-campus recruitment can be documented by providing copies of the notification issued or posted by the college or university’s placement office naming the employer and the date it conducted interviews for employment in the occupation.
Trade or professional organizations: The use of professional or trade organizations as a recruitment source can be documented by providing copies of pages of newsletters or trade journals containing advertisements for the occupation involved in the application for alien employment certification.
Private employment firms: The use of private employment firms or placement agencies can be documented by providing evidence sufficient to demonstrate that recruitment has been conducted by a private firm for the occupation for which the certification is sought. For example, documentation might consist of copies of contracts between the employer and the private employment firm and copies of advertisements placed by the private employment firm for the occupation involved in the application.
Employee referral program with incentives: The use of an employee referral program with incentives can be documented by providing dated copies of employer notices or memoranda advertising the program and specifying the incentive offered.
Campus placement office: The use of a campus placement office can be documented by providing a copy of the employer’s notice of the job opportunity submitted to the campus placement office. Some people have doubts as to whether this form of recruitment can actually be used for anything other than entry-level positions. However, we have used this form of recruitment successfully for all job levels, since the campus office generally serves undergraduate, graduate and alumni in their search for positions.
Local and ethnic newspapers: The use of local and ethnic newspapers can be documented by providing a copy of the page in the newspaper that contains the employer’s advertisement.
Radio and Television: The use of radio and television can be documented by providing a copy of the employer’s text of the employer’s advertisement along with a written confirmation from the radio or television station stating when the advertisement was aired.
Dr. D, a cardiothoracic surgeon and an Indian national, seemed to have it all. Besides his successful medical career, he was married to a U.S. citizen with a young daughter and another child on the way. It seemed that all he had to do was apply for his green card through his wife to be able to live and work permanently in the U.S.
The problem was that Dr. D had entered the U.S. in J-1 status in order to complete his medical fellowship. This made him subject to the home residence requirement, which compels most J-1 physicians to return to their home countries for a period of two years before they may obtain either H-1B status or permanent residence. Even marriage to an American citizen does not override this requirement.
Dr. D had three choices: (1) to return to India for two years, (2) to obtain a J waiver and apply for H-1B status and then permanent residence or (3) to change his status in the U.S. to O-1 – a temporary visa category reserved for individuals of extraordinary ability.
Understandably, Dr. D wanted to avoid the first option at all costs. He had established his life and career in the U.S., lived with his wife, children and parents here, and wished to remain here without splitting up his family or forcing them to move to India for two years. Even the second option was unappealing to Dr. D. Most J waivers for physicians require that they practice in federally-designated medically-underserved areas for a minimum of three years. As a heart and chest surgical specialist, there are few underserved areas in the U.S. that require someone in his specialty area. Finally, the third option, O-1 nonimmigrant status, while a possibility, does not lead to permanent residence for a J-1 physician.
Nevertheless, Dr. hired our law firm to obtain O-1 status for him. We were successful in convincing the CIS to approve a change of status for him to O-1 for three years on the basis of his extraordinary ability.
Ultimately, what Dr. D needed was a “hardship” waiver. If we could somehow convince both the CIS and the State Department that his returning to India would result in “exceptional hardship” to Dr. D’s citizen wife and child, he would not be forced to practice medicine in an underserved area for three years. How could we demonstrate “exceptional hardship”?
A close examination of Dr. D’s situation revealed the hardship his return to India for two years would cause both him (Generally, hardship to the physician – and to his parents – is irrelevant except as it results in exceptional hardship to his spouse and children.) and his family a tremendous degree of hardship. We started by examining the harm two years in India might do to Dr. D’s professional life and even his personal safety. While India is a thriving democracy and a popular draw to international tourism, the country is still struggling with overwhelming poverty, lack of resources and pervasive corruption. India’s primary healthcare resources lack adequate facilities and resources to treat India’s large population. Dissatisfaction with the healthcare system in India has resulted in unsafe working conditions for physicians. Recently when a doctor was assaulted, the Health Minister of India attributed the assault to public outrage based on “the lack of basic facilities in Government hospitals.” The public is taking out its frustration with insufficient healthcare on physicians. In November 2004, 20,000 government and private doctors went on strike to protest against the respective murder and kidnapping of two prominent physicians. Doctors fear for their safety and patients suffer due to the inadequate healthcare system in India.
In addition, several of Dr. D’s family members suffer from serious medical conditions that might worsen were they to follow Dr. to India or were they to spend two years in the U.S. without their primary breadwinner. His daughter, who was born underweight, suffers from both a heart murmur as well as chronic ear and sinus infections. His citizen wife, who is about to give birth to their second child, has preeclampsia, or pregnancy-induced hypertension, a serious condition which increases maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality. Dr. D’s citizen father suffers from a series of conditions including heart disease, diabetes and liver dysfunction.
Finally, both of Dr. D’s parents live with him and are dependent upon him for financial support.
For all of these reasons, it would jeopardize the health and welfare of Dr. D’s entire family if they had to move to India or be separated from the father, husband and son on whom they all depended.
With these many factors in mind, we filed a long and detailed J-1 hardship waiver request with the CIS. The CIS agreed that Dr. D’s wife and child would suffer exceptional hardship and the Department of State concluded that a waiver was warranted. Dr. D is now eligible to immediately apply for a green card through his wife and remain permanently in the United States with his family.
For addition information regarding J waivers for physicians, see
Prior to the passage of the Immigration Act of 1990, there was no numerical cap for H-1B workers. And guess what? The labor market determined the number of H-1s (as they were called back then) that were petitioned by U.S. employers.
The system worked pretty well, and H-1 visas were available all year long.
These days, the regulations allow U.S. employers to petition for H-1B workers starting on April 1, six months before the beginning of the fiscal year. Last year, the 65,000 cap was reached prior to mid-August, a full month and a half before the new fiscal year. H-1Bs subject to the cap have been unavailable since the beginning of the fiscal year.
With unemployment reaching record lows, and the need for engineers, scientists, computer, business and health care professionals in high demand, the H-1B cap could be reached even earlier this year, perhaps in June or July.
Our law firm has spent most of March preparing dozens of H-1B petitions for our corporate clients. I suspect that tens of thousands of H-1B petitions will be filed in April and May. Wise employers will submit H-1B petitions ASAP.
Remember to send your H-1B petitions to the Vermont Service Center, not to your local Service Center. We link to the new CIS Fact Sheet instructing you to send all nonimmigrant petitions to the Vermont Service Center from our “Employer” page at
Of course, it is well to remember that certain H-1Bs are exempt from the numerical cap: (1) Extensions of status; (2) Concurrent employment; (3) Change of employers if the first employer is subject to the cap; (4) Where the employer is an institution of higher learning, or a related or affiliated nonprofit entity; (5) Where the employer is a nonprofit research organization; (5) Where the employer is a governmental research organizations; (6) Where the beneficiary is a physician who has received a J waiver under the Conrad 30 program; and (7) Where the beneficiary has been counted against the cap during the past six years, and has not used up his entire six years.
Also, remember that professionals who are citizens of Chile and Singapore have their own subquotas within the 65,000 cap. Many professionals who are citizens of Canada and Mexico may work in the U.S. in Trade Nafta (TN) status rather than H-1B status.
Finally, many persons who would normally qualify for H-1B status may also work in the U.S. in E, J, L or R nonimmigrant status if they meet the qualifications for these categories.
Legislation now pending in the Senate would raise the number of H-1B workers subject to the cap from 65,000 to 115,000 per year.
Under certain conditions, persons may extend their H-1B status beyond six years: (1) If their Labor Certification or Immigration Visa Petition was pending for more than one year; or (2) If their Immigrant Visa Petition is approved, but they are prohibited from applying for adjustment of status due to per-country numerical limits.
For additional information regarding H-1B status, see our “H-1B Page” at
Since the inception of the INS “remote” service centers in the 1980s, each service center has been responsible for adjudicating immigration petitions and applications according to the geographical area of the country where the petitioner or the applicant was located.
Over time, certain exceptions to the geographical rule developed. Designated employers could submit all of their petitions at a particular service center. TN petitions, petitions for certain athletes and customer harvesters could only be filed with the Nebraska Service Center. E-1 and E-2 petitions had to be submitted to either the California or the Texas Service Center.
On March 24, the CIS announced that it was taking the first step in scrapping this geographical system and replacing it with a new system which the agency has dubbed “bi-specialization”.
As of April 1, all I-129s (for H, L, O, P, R, TN, etc.) must be submitted to the Vermont Service Center (VSC). All accompanying applications such as I-907s for premium processing and I-539s for dependent family members must also be submitted to the VSC. The VSC will transfer certain applications (where the petitioner is located west of the Mississippi River?) to the California Service Center (CSC) for adjudication.
Also, as of April 1, all I-140s as well as accompanying applications such as I-485s, I-765s and I-131s must be filed with the Nebraska Service Center (NSC). The NSC will transfer a portion of these petitions and applications to the Texas Service Center (TSC). Even prior to April 1, our law firm has been deluged with transfer notices to the TSC. You can see if your case has been transferred to another service by clicking on the blue button entitled “Check Case Status” at
and entering your I-129 or I-140 receipt number.
Finally, as of April 1, petitions from E-1 (Treaty Trader) and E-2 (Treaty Investor) status must be filed with the VSC. However, the VSC will transfer these petitions to the CSC for adjudication.
The system becomes a bit more complex as it applies to dependents. For example, I-539s filed jointly with I-129s should all be submitted to the VSC. However, once a fee receipt is received from a particular service center for an I-129, any subsequently filed I-539 for a dependent should be filed at the same service center where the I-129 is pending. Be sure to include a copy of the receipt notice of the pending I-129 with the I-539 filing. What if the I-129 has already been approved? In this case, the I-539 must be filed with the VSC with a copy of the Notice of Approval of I-129.
Confused? Try this on for size: The above information applies only where the principal is in E, H, L, O, P, R or TN status. Principals and dependents in all other nonimmigrant categories should continue to follow the instructions on the I-539 to determine where the form should be submitted.
Where should dependents of would-be immigrants submit their I-485s (and I-765s, I-131s and I-824s)? If the I-140 and I-485s are filed concurrently, and the dependents submit their applications together with the principals, all applications must be filed with the NSC.
However, if the I-140 on behalf of the principal is pending at another service center, both the principal and the dependents should file their I-485s and accompanying applications with the service center at which the I-140 is pending. Be sure to include the receipt notice for the I-140 with your filing. Similarly, if the I-140 has already been approved, both the principal and the dependents should submit their I-485s and accompanying forms to the service center which approved the I-140. Be sure to include the I-140 Notice of Approval.
The place of filing does not change unless the case requires an I-140. Therefore, the geographical rule still applies where the immigrant classification requires an I-360, an I-526 or no petition at all (e.g., applicants for adjustment of status under the visa lottery).
Fortunately, the CIS has stated that, at least initially, the agency will not reject petitions and applications filed with the wrong service center, but will instead forward them to the correct service center. Let’s hope that this new “bi-specialization” system does not result in a large amount of lost or misdirected petitions and applications. March madness could easily yield to April angst.
We link to the CIS News Release and Fact Sheet regarding the “bi-specialization” program from our “Employer’s Guide” at
- April 8
7:00 – 8:00am
Pennsylvania Convention Center
Location: 113 C
American College of Physicians
Topic: “Visa and Immigration Issues for IMGs”
- May 10 & 17
10:00am – Noon,
CT Texas Hospital Association
Topic: Immigration and Foreign Health Care Professionals
- May 11
11:00am – 12:30pm, PT
American Immigration Lawyers Association
Topic: Nurses and Health Care Workers
- June 7
Pacific Coast Association of Health Care Recruiters
Topic: “Immigration of Nurses and Allied Health Care Professionals”
- June 21
San Antonio, Texas
6:30 – 8:30pm
Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center
American Immigration Lawyers Association
Topic: “Doctors and Healthcare Workers”
Dear Mr. Shusterman,
Birthplace: San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic
Team: Chicago Cubs
Birthplace: Kasugai, Japan
Team: Seattle Mariners
Birthplace: Panama City, Panama
Team: New York Yankees
Birthplace: Seoul, South Korea
Team: (Cincinnati Reds) But not involved for this season
Birthplace: Montreal, QC
I am a student and under petition by my parents. I am still waiting. Actually they are still waiting for their work permits. If I win this trivia quiz, I will let my mom to consult you. My mom and I always check your immigration updates. So I am hoping that I could get the free consultation, to ask everything we want to know. I solved these questions by researching. I spent half of the day just to answer everything. I just started today to subscribe. We always check updates, but I did not have any chance to subscribe. I guess I will get more updates than just checking your website.
Anne – Although I used to be a baseball fanatic, you definitely know more about baseball than I do!
Certified Specialist in Immigration Law, State Bar of California
Former U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service Trial Attorney (1976-82)
Board of Governors, American Immigration Lawyers Association (1988-97)
Phone: (213) 623-4592 Fax: (213) 623-3720
Law Offices of Carl Shusterman, 600 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1550
Los Angeles, California 90017
“The crops are all in and the peaches are rotting
The oranges are piled in their creosote dumps
They’re flying you back to the Mexico border
To pay all your money to wade back again.
My father’s own father, he waded that river
They took all the money he made in his life
My brothers and sisters come working the fruit trees
And they rode the truck till they took down and died.
Good-bye to my Juan, good-bye Rosalita
Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria
You won’t have a name when you ride the big air-plane
And all they will call you will be deportees.
Some of us are illegal, and others not wanted
Our work contract’s out and we have to move on
But it’s six hundred miles to that Mexican border
They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.
We died in your hills, we died in your deserts
We died in your valleys and died on your plains
We died ‘neath your trees and we died in your bushes
Both sides of the river, we died just the same.
A sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos canyon
Like a fireball of lightning, it shook all our hills
Who are all these friends, all scattered like dry leaves?
The radio says they are just deportees.
Is this the best way we can grow our big orchards?
Is this the best way we can grow our good fruit?
To fall like dry leaves to rot on my topsoil
And be called by no name except deportees?
– Plane Wreck at Los Gatos Lyrics by Woody Guthrie (1948)
BACKGROUND: A chartered Immigration Service plane crashed and burned in western Fresno County this morning, killing twenty-eight Mexican deportees, the crew of three and an Immigration guard. Irving F. Wixon, director of the Federal Immigration Service at San Francisco, said that the Mexicans were being flown to the deportation center at El Centro, Calif., for return to their country. The group included Mexican nationals who entered the United States Illegally, and others who stayed beyond duration of work contracts in California, he added. All were agricultural workers.
The crew was identified as Frank Atkinson, 32 years old, of Long Beach, the pilot; Mrs. Bobbie Atkinson, his wife, stewardess, 28; and Marion Ewing of Balboa, copilot, 33. Long Beach airport officials said that Mr. Atkinson, formerly of Rochester, N.Y., had logged more than 1,700 hours flying time as a wartime member of the Air Transport Command. The guard was identified as Frank E. Chaffin of Berkeley.
The plane, which was chartered from Airline Transport Carriers of Burbank, was southbound from the Oakland airport, when it crashed in view of some 100 road camp workers. Foreman Frank V. Johnson said that it “appeared to explode and a wing fell off” before it plummeted to the ground. A number of those in the plane appeared to jump or fall before the aircraft hit the earth, he added. The wreckage was enveloped in flames when the fuel tanks ignited. Not until the fire died down were rescuers able to get near the plane. By then, there was nothing to be done but to extricate the bodies. The scene of the crash is in the mountains about twenty miles west of Coalinga, seventy-five miles from here in the rough coastal area. (January 29, 1948)
Immigration Update February 2013 – Quick Links
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April 2, 2006
Disclaimer: Shusterman’s Immigration Update February 2013 is not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. All information contained in this newsletter is generalized. Any reliance on information contained herein is taken at your own risk.