MilitaryIamA (Highest Ranking Officer in the ARVN's Psychological Techniques Division during the Vietnam War) AMA!
Apr 4th 2017 by alwaysvip • 37 Questions • 424 Points
My short bio:
My name is Matt Cameron. I think about, write about, and practice immigration law nearly seven days a week. I have been a licensed attorney for twelve years as of September, and the managing partner of a three-attorney law office in the Boston area for the past seven years with a special focus on deportation defense and mitigating the immigration consequences of criminal convictions. I teach "Immigration and Urban America" at Northeastern University's School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, am a member of the board of the Student Immigrant Movement, and regularly contribute background and commentary to local, state, national, and international media on American immigration matters.
I am here for you to AMA because there is probably no other major public policy issue in the U.S. with such a massive gap between the realities of the current policies and what Americans seem to believe the policies actually are. While the other big issues du jour like healthcare and climate change usually touch on things that we all have to live with, immigration is not an issue that most U.S. citizens ever have to personally confront in their own lives. (This, among many other things, might explain why we just elected a man who ran on the ugliest and most determinedly nativist platform in a century or more of American history while willfully failing to inform himself as to the system that we actually have.)
I thought an AMA might be one easy thing that I could do right now to do my part to fill the gap. For as long as I have been studying this issue, I have always seen people ask counterfactual questions like "why don't they just get in line?" or "why can't you fill out the forms like everyone else?" or "what part of legal immigration don't you understand?", and I thought this might be a good way to provide concise, factual answers to these counterfactual inquiries that could be useful to anyone who is genuinely trying to understand this stuff as well as to gain the benefit of the experience of discussing all of this with people beyond my immediate and extended social circles. (And to be clear: any and all of those three questions are absolutely welcome for further discussion, as are any others at all so long as they are made in good faith. Trolls will starve.)
I will keep my answers as objective and factually-grounded as possible, but full disclosure: I do have a strong pro-immigration (and pro-immigrant) bias, and am well past the point where I can study or work within the American immigration system without recognizing that it is foremost a function of centuries of historic racism and colonialism. So I won't pretend that I don't have my own ideological approach to this... but I also truly believe that immigration should be a non-partisan issue, and one which deserves an adult, open-minded dialectic.
I WILL NOT PROVIDE LEGAL ADVICE OR ANYTHING THAT LOOKS LIKE LEGAL ADVICE here, so please no questions requesting a complete review of possible options once your H1B has expired or if your arrest record could cause current or future immigration problems or if you have all of the right supporting documents for your marriage visa or whatever. I am more than happy to answer those questions--on the phone or in person--for money.
1) My MA ID and bar card: http://imgur.com/gallery/kUenPeW
2) My FB page, in which most of my public posts are about immigration issues: http://facebook.com/mattcameronlaw
3) Twitter: @matt_cam
4) A recent piece in The Baffler on the realities of the American deportation machine: https://thebaffler.com/outbursts/strangers-in-a-cruel-land
5) Boston Globe story on three of my cases this week: https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/03/27/vermont-activists-set-post-bond-immigration-charges/eIcbvNUSCoXJqI4SQDeU5I/story.html
6) Interview this morning on Democracy Now: https://www.democracynow.org/2017/3/31/is_ice_targeting_undocumented_activists_for
What is the strangest tactic you used that worked and what is the strangest tactic that didn't work?
Why do you believe that they would be tortured or killed in their home countries? Has the US been pressuring those countries to make these people disappear?
What would be the best way for attorney's who don't have a background in this area to help out?
You cannot say that strategy or tactics were used during the Vietnam War, because it was a war of politics. So political tactics were used. The strangest tactics used that didn't work was that if a bomb landed in the North, then the Communists would have to say that the Americans were bombing the North mainland. They would have to make that claim. The strangest tactic that did work was if that if the American forces withdrew, then the US and China, which backed the North, could then conduct trade ala Henry Kissinger.
How did you end up in a re-education camp, and what were the conditions like?
Obviously there will be people that want to come over and do harm, what is your plan?
A follow up if I may. How closely linked were ARVN's black / psy ops to those of SOG's?
Citizenship and Immigration Canada screens all applicants for any security concerns.
Will the waiting time for sponsorship of family members ever speed up? I would like to be able to sponsor a family member for a green card but I believe the current wait time is something ridiculous like 15 years. Family member is Irish.
My brother-in-law lead the special operations, although this is contentious because that there were two claims to the special ops groups. The ARVN army rangers was lead by my brother-in-law's rival. Some say black ops was the army rangers, and some say black ops was the red berets. The black ops (army rangers) and special ops (airborne) were closely linked. Psyops, however, was not closely linked. We were mainly stationed at The Pentagon while they both went out on suicide missions. Occasionally we would have to coordinate, for example, rescuing US Special Forces from the Viet Cong prison.
What did you think of President Thieu & President Diem?
Were they good men in a bad situation or were they just bad men?
What should I look for and what questions should I ask to find a good immigration lawyer?
You need to differentiate between Presidents during wartime and Presidents during peacetime. In wartime, they were good men although their paths were different. In peacetime they may be seen differently.
I'd start by asking around to other non-citizens if they have had (or know of someone who has had) a particularly good (or bad) experience with a local immigration attorney. This is such a personal service that nearly all of our new clients are from word of mouth.
Be sure that the law office/attorney that you are considering either exclusively practices immigration law or has it listed as one of only a select few practice areas. Be wary of someone who lists it way down the list after personal injury, bankruptcy, family law, criminal law, etc. as this is a highly specialized field which requires an intense focus.
As a DACA recipient wanting to leave the country, what is your advice when filling out the paperwork and leaving? I have no real reason to exit the US except to visit my family. Also, how does the future look for dreamers in your opinion?
NOT LEGAL ADVICE! It is certainly possible to have advance parole approved to visit family (although you might want to have a lawyer look it over), but AP is a much bigger risk now than it was before the inauguration. I am strongly cautioning clients against it, as are many other immigration attorneys. I have certainly heard of many accounts of DACA recipients and others still able to re-enter with it without too many issues (e.g. http://www.immihelp.com/experience/view-1-4-advance_parole.html) but you should know the risks.
And this is just one lawyer's opinion, but I believe that if Trump were going to revoke DACA he would have done it by now. My best guess is that he's waiting for Congress to pass BRIDGE or something similar to provide yet another temporary fix for DREAMers so that he can revoke it and brag to his base that he has canceled yet another unlawful Obama program.
You should definitely expense lunch. That is a no-brainer. You have a legal mind and a legal staff. If you can't remember to do it, delegate.
If your clients can't pay, consider having them contribute work. They can bring food, clean your workers' offices and home, garden, provide massage services to your staff, etc. or, if not arms-length enough, have them donate their labor to a local charity.
That said, if you haven't done it, consider working for a charity that can pay you.
Lastly, I've updated my notes on my stance against further immigration, and will update more later.
I just don't.... care? I guess? I know I should, but I don't. And yes, we've traded cleaning/painting/handyperson/food services for legal services in the past. It feels good to barter, as long as both parties come out feeling like they got comparable value from the exchange.
Given the total lack of state or federal grant money for this kind of thing mentioned elsewhere in this AMA, there are only a small handful of non-profits in my area (or anywhere) which can afford to have practicing immigration attorneys on staff. There are maybe 5-6 of these jobs total available in all of New England. I was actually just yet again discussing with a friend last night how we could formally convert this office to a non-profit, which is probably the more logical direction.
I am well aware that they were both admitted as children and radicalized in this country.
Dude, do you work for CNN? This Tsarnaev case seems to be the perfect example to support the kind of travel ban Trump proposed. Yet you claim local "close enough to hear the bomb" cred and then try to use it to further your dismissal of the OPs seemingly genuine question.
I'm glad my immigration status isn't depending on your skills in dealing with hostile parties, your credibility seems to be evaporating quickly here.
My wife immigrated from another country and I am familiar with the background checks conducted on her, as well as how easy it would have been for her to buy clean local criminal records. Another quite drunk friend shared how he purged very sketchy war-crimeish military records. I'm not at all convinced the US can effectively "screen" immigrants, especially from war ravaged primitive countries like Syria. I have friends from there too.
You are a hostile party. I was hoping this could be more of a conversation than an argument.
And I am sincerely baffled by your take on the Marathon bombings. You're going to have to explain what that link has to do with the travel ban, or your point, or anything. You don't seem to know anything about the perpetrators or their immigration history.
"Buy" clean criminal records? Did you immigrate before 1965? This is a serious question.
Can someone who is the spouse of H-1B (H-4 visa) who is not allowed to work in the US, form an LLC as a "passive" member? Whats the proper language that should be in the LLC agreement to clarify that the person's role is passive?
Is it necessary to mention why the person has equal interest [33%] (e.g. contributed contacts)? Is it Ok if every member has no salary and all profits are distributed equally among members?
Anything to keep in mind to avoid problems with future green card application for the H-1B holder (spouse)?
Thanks in advance!
You are seeking incredibly specific legal advice, and I'm guessing from context here that you can afford to speak with a qualified immigration attorney to get the answers you're looking for. Good luck!
The grounds for allowing immigration and tolerating illegal immigration is because they are fleeing war torn places, drug cartels, seeking a better life for their family and all that. It's for the betterment of the individuals and families that come. If it is equally or more important for the money they send home and those economies, then is it actually immigration or exploitation? I'm not trying to be an a$$ about this, but I'm looking fr clear cut legal reasons why we shouldn't follow the guidance from the administration. Is it only political points of view and compassion for other humans or is there actual legal ground to stand on when defending undocumented workers that is not based upon an appeal to emotion?
I'm doing my best to give you a legal answer here. The "guidance" from the administration is a set of executive federal enforcement priorities. While I can and do disagree with them, they are written fully within within the executive's authority. But they are not law. They are just how the President intends existing law to be enforced.
Several times in this thread, I think you've conflated law enforcement with law itself. In our federalist system, ICE enforces federal law and state and local authorities enforce state and local law. Obama created a system in which ICE could work entirely apart from state and local authorities to identify non-citizens who posed an immediate threat to public safety and deport them, whether or not they lived in a sanctuary city. I don't understand why Drumpf wouldn't build on that instead of wasting time arguing about whether or not state authorities should be forced (or shamed) to spend money they don't have doing things that aren't within their job description.
Finally, I don't see anything in this conversation having to do with whether or not we should enforce federal law or the desirability or efficacy of that law. That's an entirely separate conversation. Your concern seems to be with how involved state authorities (who have neither the resources nor the training nor the will to be immigration agents) should be in enforcing federal law. I hope I've been fairly clear here that there is no obligation whatsoever for them to have any role in it at all. That's not just my opinion, that's the law.
Are you bilingual?
Do you need to be bilingual to practice immigration law?
I can understand and read Spanish, but prefer to speak back to clients through an interpreter as I don't think I sound particularly lawyerly in anything other than my native language.
And you're much better off as a practitioner if you can at least gain a basic fluency in the language that the majority of your clients speak. While most of my clients do speak some English, the things that we are discussing are far too technical and complex for me to expect them to understand them in anything other than their native language. Unless you know for sure that you would be working with a certain population that is typically fluent in English, I would advise anyone who might want to consider a career in immigration law to put the effort into learning Spanish.
All of that said, my office is run by superbly talented, fully bilingual staff who do most of my day-to-day communication on our behalf. They are the best ambassadors to our clients that we could possibly have, and I'm so proud to have them working with us.