Category Archives: Immigration Law – News, Recent Rulings and Victories

The Kansas Employment Crackdown: ICE Enforcement Actions

Counties in Eastern Kansas are being raided. Employers and employees, alike, are at risk of criminal charges if they work without proper documentation or hire workers who are without proper work authorization from the US government. What initially looked like one prosecutor’s office’s harsh enforcement of Immigration laws, under the veil of State law, against undocumented workers has revealed itself to be much more.

For the second time, in less than two months, Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement “ICE” has offered for prosecution, cases against employers hiring undocumented workers. After executing search warrants the day before, on November 6, the owners of Wei’s Super Buffet restaurant in Olathe were charged in Federal District Court with harboring undocumented workers who were in the United States unlawfully. The investigation, according to the US Attorney’s Office in Kansas, has alleged that “beginning in February 2011 agents of Homeland Security Investigations began surveillance on the owners, managers and employees at Wei’s Super Buffet. They checked Quarterly Wage Report and Unemployment Tax Returns submitted by the restaurant to the Kansas Department of Labor and they identified employees who were illegally present in the United States. They also identified apartments rented by the defendants where undocumented workers were living.”

This latest enforcement action follows the raid, on September 20, 2013, of another restaurant. The restaurant manager of El Mezcal Mexican Restaurant in Ottawa, Kan., was charged, again by the US Attorney’s Office, with four counts of harboring illegal aliens for financial gain, and five counts of encouraging illegal aliens to reside in the United States for financial gain. The investigation of these alleged crimes also occurred between September 7, 2011 and June 14, 2013 by ICE. According to Court documents, “HSI special agents received information that El Mezcal was not completing I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms for its employees, as required by federal law for all U.S. businesses. HSI special agents reviewed the restaurant’s documents and discovered the restaurant did not have I-9 forms for 14 employees.”

In both cases, if convicted, the defendants face a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000. If the owners are not US citizens, there are also sure to be immigration consequences which have the potential of jeopardizing their abilities to remain in the US.

If these cases are any indication, it would not be surprising if more employers and employees will become the target of ICE’s efforts to crackdown on unauthorized employment practices. Employees should always take precautions to ensure that their documents are in order and are authentic. Employers should, likewise, take steps to put preventative measures in place to ensure compliance with US immigration laws.

Sharma-Crawford Attorneys at Law is a Kansas City, Missouri, firm deeply experienced in the complexities of immigration litigation. Whether you are facing criminal or civil litigation in state, federal or immigration court, in Kansas or Missouri – the caring professionals at Sharma-Crawford can help you navigate through the complex legal system. Sharma-Crawford now also offers a full range of business related immigration services.  For more information, please call (816) 994-2300. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements. The information contained in this article is general information and should not be considered legal counsel.

New Americans in Kansas: Immigrants, Latinos and Asians by the Numbers

The political and economic power of immigrants, Latinos and Asians in Kansas continues to rise, accounting for growing shares of the economy and electorate in the Sunflower State. In a report released in April of this year, the Immigration Policy Center (a division of the American Immigration Council) released a report outlining the statistics of these three demographics in Kansas, including details for purchasing power, business ownership, workforce percentages and tax payers – just to name a few.

Click here to read the full report

April First Friday in the Crossroads

Join us for a fundraiser for The Clinic this Friday, April 5, from 6-9pm. Meet artist Anu Srivastav, and watch her art come to life.

Anu Srivastav is an East Indian born in New Orleans and raised in Houston, TX. For the past twenty years, Anu has worked primarily in oil & acrylic on canvas & wood and her style tends towards abstract. Seven years ago she began street painting.

See more details…

Artist Photo

Judge Sends a Message With Withholding of Removal Ruling

Sharma-Crawford, a firm specializing in immigration law, recently won a significant victory in a pro bono withholding of removal case. When the judge granted our client’s withholding of removal, he also sent a message to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that it should protect its named witnesses in federal criminal cases.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operates like any other law enforcement agency in that it uses informants to substantiate cases. In exchange for their testimony, informants or witnesses are offered work cards in order to remain in the U.S. The relationship between informants and Immigration is much like at-will employment. The work cards represent the informant’s pay, and once their “job” of providing testimony is done, so is the benefit of their work card.

In this case, the client was a named witness for the DHS in a federal criminal case. Because he was a named witness, he received threats against this life and his family was victimized in their home country. In spite of these conditions and despite the fact they had promised the informant more work cards; DHS failed to act when the client attempted to reenter the U.S. with expired documents and was turned away.

Long story short, the judge was aghast at this lack of witness protection and sent a message via his withholding of removal. A withholding of removal is when an immigrant is ordered removed from the U.S. but that order is withheld because he or she would be persecuted in their home country. The message to DHS was that this client was their informant, he was in danger and they have a responsibility to protect him even after the federal case ended.

Our client is able to remain in the U.S. now with a work card, renewable annually. As his immigration lawyers, we were able to convince the judge that he fell into one of the five groups eligible for asylum (race, religion, nationality, political opinion and group membership) and his fear of persecution in his home country was reasonable. The client was considered part of a social group (informants) and in danger of persecution since he was a named witness.

This case was victorious and significant for two reasons. One, the judge did the “right” thing in withholding our client’s removal. More than likely, the ruling saved his life. Two, our client supplied his immigration lawyer with the relevant information we required to represent him. He did so simply, honestly and without exaggeration. His statements remained unchanged the first time and every time after that including at trial.

Considering the real risk for retaliation against witnesses, the judge’s response and actions are encouraging. DHS should heed this recent ruling by following through on its promises of work cards, and thus protection, since these immigrants have little else by way of defense.

ICE has never made an official admission of using undocumented immigrants as informants. Yet it’s common practice. These informants give authorities information they need to build and prosecute criminal cases from human and drug trafficking to arms smuggling and money laundering.

All the while immigrant informants are putting their lives at risk in hopes of being rewarded with legal status—that is rarely granted. The number of illegal informants is unknown, but believed far higher than the number of visas that lead to a green card. When law enforcement agencies are using undocumented immigrants to build their cases and make communities safer, shouldn’t those informants earn the right to live within them versus being sent back to their home countries where they’ll be in jeopardy?

Sharma-Crawford, Attorneys at Law is a firm deeply experienced in the complexities of immigration law. Whether you are facing criminal or civil litigation in state, federal or immigration court – the caring professionals at Sharma-Crawford can help you navigate through the complex legal system. For more information, please call (913) 385-9821 or visit The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements. The information contained in this article is general information and should not be considered legal counsel.