New York Lawyer Convicted of Immigration Fraud

Source for title of post: Press Release by Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New, October 14, 2008

We admit our ignorance of immigration law and practice.  Our impressions of them are based on news stories (most often one-sided) about INS agents dragging a parent away from his wife and children and in other ways using their power if not always the law to sometimes do things that seem un-American to us. We have a friend, a person we admire, who told us of her seven year odyssey through the immigration maze as it happened, following the rules, spending money she could not afford, experiencing disappointment and delay and frustration and heartache, refusing to give in to her husband’s financial demands in exchange for his indispensable cooperation. She endured it all for the sake of her children.  Listening to her describe, only once in tears, each new obstacle made us angry and depressed at how unfair life can be.  But she never gave up; never mentioned giving up.  She believed that following the rules was the right thing to do no matter what.  Her struggle has a happy ending. She was in the INS offices so frequently that INS employees got to know her, got to know what she was going through. When they discovered that our friend’s INS file had been misplaced and that a full year had passed after she had met all of the requirements for admission without any official action being taken, they solved the problem.

We can imagine an immigration lawyer trying to “help” “good” people get through an overwhelmed, unjust system.  We can also imagine an immigration lawyer interested only in being paid.  Perhaps it is easiest to imagine a person with both motivations, one hiding behind the other. 

It is wrong to use one’s power as a lawyer to violate the law.  It is wrong when a person who represents the law and who is invested with governmental power, uses that power in violation of the law to achieve “desired results.”  And so as we follow the Dannehy investigation, and as we think about the rule of law over the past eight years we will be thinking of the New York lawyer convicted of immigration fraud.  The lawyer’s name is Ihad Tartir. Will he be on the President’s pardon list?

Note:  The press release is sparse on the facts.  We wonder about the line between counseling clients on one hand and assisting them on the other.  The evidence in the case is important.  We don’t know what it was.