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Dear Mr. President,

For every immigration fraud scheme that is busted in the United States, there are undoubtedly many that go unnoticed, leaving the immigrants who fall prey to unscrupulous individuals more vulnerable and subject to deportation.

Recently, 26 people in New York City were busted for allegedly participating in separate but overlapping immigration fraud schemes relating to the submission of hundreds of asylum applications on behalf of Chinese immigrants, which contained fabricated claims of persecution.

Interestingly but not surprisingly, at least 10 New York City area law firms created and submitted these fraudulent applications on behalf of immigrant applicants and coached them on how to lie to immigration authorities, according to Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Of the 26 defendants charged, six were attorneys and 21 worked at the various law firms, including as translators and at a church in Queens where the target was the Chinese community. There, in a church of God, this individual allegedly provided training in basic Christianity to asylum applicants and told them to falsely claim they were persecuted in China for their religious beliefs.

imagesDear Mr. President,

Despite what some may claim, there is no fixing of the United States economy before immigration reform, for at the end of the day – immigration and economics go hand in hand.

The Bush Center in Dallas, Texas got into the fray of this discourse last month with former U.S. President George W. Bush, making a rare appearance in front of the media to talk about an issue that was near and dear to his heart during his eight years in office. Immigration and economic growth were combined with the session choosing to look at the role immigrants continue to play in the U.S. economy, as well as their contributions to business growth.

police 500x279Traffic stops by police in urban communities go bad far too frequently because of patrol policies that demean and rob minority residents of their dignity -- especially African American males. This writer experienced one such encounter on Dec. 22, 2012, on a cold, wet, drizzly Saturday night at approximately 8:25 p.m.

My 16-year-old son and I were headed to a neighborhood market for dinner, when Inglewood police flashed their lights for me to pull over for a traffic infraction (expired registration). I nervously peered through my rear view mirror. Night stops are often accompanied by cops overstepping the bounds of authority in one way or another.

According to a recent report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the United States will become the world’s largest oil producer by 2020, producing an estimated 11.1 million barrels a day (mbpd), bypassing Saudi Arabia and Russia. And its imports of oil are dropping rapidly, from a current average of 10 mbpd to an anticipated 4 mbpd in ten years, because of stricter fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks. These developments will have important economic and geopolitical implications for Latin America and for U.S.-Latin America relations.

Dramatic reductions in the cost of extracting oil and gas from shale have been made possible by technological breakthroughs known as horizontal drilling and “fracking” (hydraulic fracturing), resulting in a rapid rise in U.S. production.