Friday, November 27, 2009

I.C.E. News

"Transition to U.S. immigration law begins in the CNMI"
"The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today announced that at 12:01 a.m. (CNMI local time/GMT +10.) tomorrow, Nov. 28, the immigration laws of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) will be replaced by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and other U.S. immigration laws. The definition of “United States” in the INA simultaneously will be amended to include the CNMI-providing new privileges and easing restrictions to CNMI residents wishing to live and work in the United States.

Although U.S. immigration law applies to the CNMI beginning tomorrow, the CNMI will undergo a transition period with temporary measures ending Dec. 31, 2014, to allow for an orderly transition and give individuals time to identify an appropriate visa classification under the INA.

On May 8, 2008, the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 (CNRA) was signed, extending certain provisions of U.S. immigration law to CNMI for the first time in history. Tomorrow's transition marks a major step in a series of DHS initiatives undertaken since the CNRA's signing to address the legal and operational needs for a smooth transition.

Five important rules to facilitate the transition were published in the Federal Register in 2009 to address key changes under the CNRA-including a CNMI-Guam Visa Waiver Program interim rule; an E-2 Nonimmigrant Status for Aliens in the CNMI with Long-Term Investor Status proposed rule; a CNMI Transitional Worker Classification interim rule; and an Application of Immigration Regulations to the CNMI 'conforming amendments' interim rule...

Recognizing that some unique situations would result as the CNMI transitions to U.S. immigration laws, the Secretary of Homeland Security may grant parole to applicants for admission on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.

Parole authority will be used in two specific situations in the CNMI: eligible Chinese and Russian nationals visiting for business or pleasure will be eligible for CBP-administered parole into the CNMI on a case-by-case basis; and certain impacted aliens-notably CNMI permanent residents and various categories of immediate relatives-will be eligible for USCIS-administered parole on a case-by-case basis.

The CNRA also contains two provisions that specifically impact the U.S. Territory of Guam: elimination of the current Guam Visa Waiver Program and creation of a new Guam-CNMI Visa Waiver Program, under which eligible nationals of program countries and geographic areas may be authorized to visit Guam and/or the CNMI for up to 45 days; and elimination of the statutory cap on the number of H nonimmigrant worker petitions that can be filed by employers in Guam and the CNMI.

Changes will be seen at the airports in the CNMI beginning tomorrow, when CBP will begin inspecting all passengers arriving on flights from outside the United States. CNMI authorities will continue to conduct customs inspections."

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"ICE seizes 17,000 counterfeit items worth $643,000"

"U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents last week seized more than 17,000 counterfeit items worth an estimated $643,000 from 21 businesses in the Twin Cities region.

The seized counterfeit items include: 11,827 articles of clothing; 1,569 accessories and pieces of jewelry; 3,524 bottles of perfume; 446 purses and wallets; 125 pieces of memorabilia; and 25 packages of AA batteries. The estimated street value of the items is more than $643,000. If the items had sold at the Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the genuine brand merchandise, the estimated value is more than $2,935,000.

The seized counterfeit items represent 129 name brands, including Air Jordan, BMW, Bu
rberry, Bvlgari, Coach, Chanel, Diesel, Dolce & Gabbana, Duracell, Estee Lauder, Hugo Boss, Issey Miyake, JLo, Givenchy, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, MLB, NBA, NFL, Nike, Prada, Rolex, Thierry Mugler, True Religion, Usher, Yves St. Laurent and others.

'The trafficking of counterfeit goods is a global enterprise that robs legitimate companies of billions of dollars in revenue every year,' said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Bloomington, Minn. 'What's more, these sales generate profits that often go to support other types of criminal activity. No one should ever consider this a victimless crime.'"

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