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  • Article: Immigration By The Numbers By Harry DeMell

    Article: Immigration By The Numbers By Harry DeMell

    Immigration By The Numbers

    by


    How many immigrants should the United States accept each year?

    If someone tells you that there should be no immigration at all into the United States, you are arguing with someone who is irrational. For a variety of reasons there will always have to be some. Emotion is no substitute for an intelligent discussion.

    On the other hand, if someone takes the position that anyone who enters the United States has a right to stay here, obtain legal permanent residence and eventually citizenship, you are again dealing with someone who has staked out an emotional response. We should exclude them too in a discussion of what is a reasonable number of people for the United States to take in a given year and in what categories.

    It is clear to me that if we announced a new law that granted legal permanent resident status and eventual citizenship to anyone entering this country we would have tens or hundreds of millions of takers. I cannot imagine congress or the American people agreeing to this. Despite claims of racism and income inequality by some, the world knows that this is the land of opportunity, equality and the rule of law. We may not be perfect but some would say we are the worst country in the world except for all the others. In any event, I do not see any major emigration from the United States to any other country.

    According to the DHS, the United States, during 2017 the last year for which statistics are available, granted 1,127,000 immigrants the right to come to the United States and remain legally for life. [i] Aliens who are granted this status are referred to as legal permanent residents or LPRs. About three quarters of these LPRs will eventually become United States Citizens. A small percentage will return to their country of origin. The point of this article is that good people can argue to increase or decrease immigration for a variety of reasons but those who espouse the extremes have not thought this issue through. We need to think it through. Let’s look at the extremes, discuss categories, and then explore some rational alternatives. We need to start a dialogue as to what numbe...

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  • Article: Major changes announced — then pulled? — for E2 and E1 visas for French nationals By Paul Monson

    Major changes announced — then pulled? — for E2 and E1 visas for French nationals by Paul Monson, Managing Director and Partner - Joorney Over the last month, French nationals on E1 and E2 visas have been taken for a roller coaster ride after the announcement of major changes to the validity period for those business visas. In August, the U.S. Department of State had announced changes in the E1 and E2 visa programs for French nationals that would reduce the validity period for those visas from 60 months to 15 months. This new policy was initially set to go into effect on Aug. 29 but was then delayed and set to be re-assessed on Sept. 26. And now...crickets. The State Department has removed the mention of the policy change from its website. Still, the volatility is cause for concern, not just for French nationals but for other foreign business visa holders concerned about abrupt changes to their visa application conditions. How did we get here and why was France seemingly targeted? My team of immigration business plan professionals have been working hard to learn as much as we can about any pending changes to E1 and E2 visas. Based on our review of various online discussions, statements made by officials, and general lack of information, we prefer to take a more optimistic view on the news and believe these proposed changes — if they even come to fruition — to be only temporary. ...
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  • Article: From the City to The Hill: EB-5 Dialogue with Congressman Hakeem Jeffries By Christina Dilbone

    From the City to The Hill: EB-5 Dialogue with Congressman Hakeem Jeffries by Christina Dilbone (Mona Shah & Associates Global) On an overcast Monday afternoon in a conference room sitting high atop New York City, EB-5 attorneys, developers and project managers sat around a large roundtable to discuss legislative issues surrounding the EB-5 program. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries represents the 8th District of New York, consisting of Brooklyn and a portion of Queens. An EB-5 proponent and important ally in the House of Representatives, Congressman Jeffries supports the new draft legislation and readily joined the discussion on behalf of both Congress and his constituents. An avid supporter of immigration reform in the past, Congressman Jeffries has previously collaborated with the New York Immigration Coalition and the Fair Immigration Reform Movement in his sustained efforts to bring comprehensive changes to the U.S. immigration system. Congressman Jeffries opened the dialogue by emphasizing the extensive diversity of his constituents, a majority of whom are immigrants or children of immigrants, and the colloquial “American dream” that many of them share. This dream, Jeffries stated, “must be preserved” and included in the larger narrative of immigration policy. Congressman Jeffries, astonishingly knowledgeable about EB-5, recounted extensive discussions with Jared Kushner, Senior Advisor to the President. The Congressman emphasized that it is vital that EB-5 stakeholders come together and support sustainable changes to a program that will bolster its effectivity and availability by engaging the bicameral legislature. The newly drafted bill proposing constructive changes to the EB-5 program will be brought before the Senate in the coming months. Representatives and Senators alike have expressed support for the bill, and though the Regulations going into effect on November 21st are still an all-too-grim reality for some, it is imperative that we continue to support our allies in the promotion of the EB-5 program as it expands and metamorphizes. The Congressman articulated the common concerns many members of Congress feel surrounding EB-5 investments and job creation, including worries that the program only benefits the wealthiest immigrants and that the TEA method has not...
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  • Article: The Repatriation Process in Honduras and Arguments of Relocation in U.S. Immigration Hearings By Robert Kirkland

    The Repatriation Process in Honduras and Arguments of Relocation in U.S. Immigration Hearings by Robert Kirkland Introduction: The purpose of this article is to examine the Honduran repatriation process and how the government tracks its citizens. In immigration hearings, the U.S. government regularly asserts that respondents who are threatened by gangs can relocate to other areas of Honduras, obtain jobs, and function normally without detection. However, there are a number of mechanisms the Honduras government uses in order to know where its citizens live. Given that the Honduran bureaucracy has been compromised by officials under the pay of gangs or been infiltrated by gang members themselves, gangs can use these same databases to track persons of interest and continue to threaten them. It is highly probable, therefore, that no person can prevent gangs finding out where they live in the long term. Repatriation Process: When a Honduran is repatriated, they fall under local repatriation arrangements signed by both U.S. and Honduran government officials designed to strengthen the bilateral framework for the protection of Honduran citizens being returned to Honduras, improve the efficient use of limited resources, and increase coordination during the repatriation process. Before or during the repatriation, the Department of Homeland Security provides Honduras a list of the persons to be repatriated and pertinent information on Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Form I-216. [1] When individuals who have been convicted of criminal offenses are being repatriated through formal immigration proceedings, information added includes alias, convictions and dates, and time served. In addition, Salvadoran officials have web access to the U.S. Criminal History Information Sharing (CHIS) which includes biometric information (photographs and fingerprints). DHS Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT) stores fingerprints on behalf of DHS component agencies which can be readily accessed by Honduran authorities. Note that the CHIS applies to both criminal and non-criminal deportees. In a previous article, we examined the CHIS in more detail. [2] Therefore, when a repatriated citizen is returned, Honduran authorities have a good deal of information on each person. This data is augmented by several necessary disclosures each returnee must do in order to move throughout the country, hold a job, or drive a vehicle. Identification: Honduran citizens must have some sort of identification. Recent deportees can carry a U.S. identification such as a state drivers license. Nevertheless, U.S. identification are not accepted for most transactions. The El Registro Nacional de las Personas, or RNP as it is commonly known, is the most widely used form of identification in Honduras. It is essentially a voter registration card. One needs an RNP to open a bank account, to apply for a job, and for employment. Proof of address is required—a receipt of telephone, electricity, bank, school or other public or private services. The Honduran government plans to create a new RNP in 2020. All Hondurans will have to convert to the new RNP which will add security seals and a chip. It will also be a way for the Honduran government to obtain up to date addresses and data on all its citizens. [3] Driver’s License: Obtaining a driver’s license in Honduras is separate from the application for the RNP. Once approved to drive, the driver is put into a central database to monitor traffic-related activities. The driver's license must be renewed every year or allowed to renew for a maximum of 5 years. One year costs 150 lempiras up to five years for a cost of 600 lempiras. Most Hondurans drivers, because of the expense, renew yearly. Nevertheless, when renewed, a current address must be given. [4] Medical Care: The Honduran Institute of Soci...
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  • Article: 5 Things We Learned from the September 2019 EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

    5 Things We Learned from the September 2019 EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program by Joseph Barnett and Bernard Wolfsdorf We tuned into the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) Public Listening Session on the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program on September 9, 2019, and although there was not much back and forth engagement with Sarah Kendall, Chief of the Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO), valuable information was shared that sheds light on some unanswered questions on EB-5.  Here are five things to know: Processing Delays for Regional Center Pending I-526s. It appears that the government shutdowns from December 2018 to January 2019 has had lingering effects, as IPO halted adjudications on all regional center I-526 petitions and I-924 applications and focused on adjudicating “direct” I-526 petitions and I-829 petitions, or IPO staff were transferred on “temporary assignment to other [USCIS] priorities.”  Additionally, it seems that it has taken so long for IPO to transfer adjudicators back to regional center I-526 petitions because of additional training for I-526 petition adjudicators and economists for “quality assurance”.    I-829 Filings by Derivative Beneficiaries. The new regulations going into effect on November 21, 2019 clarify the filing process for derivatives who are filing a Form I-829 petition separately from the immigrant investor. Kendall that, except in the case of a deceased investor, where the principal petitioner does not include his or her qualifying derivative beneficiaries in the I-829 petition, those beneficiaries seeking removal of conditions cannot use one I-829 petition.  Instead, each dependent must file his/her own I-829 petition (with its own $3,750 filing fee).   Clarification on Priority Date Retention. The regulations will also allow certain EB-5 investors with approved I-526 petitions who have not yet obtained conditional lawful permanent resident status with the ability to retain that I-526’s priority date for a subsequently filed I-526 after November 21, 2019, in the event the sponsoring Regional Center was terminated.  Kendall made a small comment (later confirmed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association), that the investor may only need to invest $400,000 (if still qualifying for TEA purposes) on top of the existing $500,000 to be eligible under the new rule.  Another way priority date retention may be of benefit is for EB-5 investors in delayed projects who...
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  • Article: Trump Administration Considers Lowering the Refugee Cap to Zero By Katy Murdza

    Trump Administration Considers Lowering the Refugee Cap to Zero by Katy Murdza The Trump administration is considering decreasing the maximum number of refugees accepted into the United States to 10,000 and as possibly low as zero, administration officials confirmed last week. Each year, the president determines the refugee cap or ceiling, the maximum number of people who can be admitted under the United States Refugee Admission Program (USRAP). President Trump is required to consult meaningfully with Congress before making this decision but has been accused in recent years of failing to do so. Under U.S. law, a “refugee” is a person who is unable or unwilling to return to his or her home country because of a “well-founded fear of persecution” due to race, membership in a particular social group, political opinion, religion, or national origin. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) screens applicants in a process that takes an average of almost two years. UNHCR then refers the refugee to a specific country. Refugees referred to the United States must then pass several background checks and are assigned to a specific city and refugee resettlement agency. Recent increases in vetting requirements have slowed down this process. The Refugee Act of 1980 created the Office of Refugee Resettlement under the Department of Health and Human Services. In the early 1980s, the United States resettled up to 207,000 refugees a year. Until recently, the United States resettled more refugees than all other countries combined. However, during President Trump’s first week in office, he demonstrated his plan to decrease resettlement by announcing a 120-day suspension of the program. Although the Supreme Court overturned the suspension, President Trump has lowered the cap each year since. The cap reached an all-time low of 45,000 in 2018 and was lowered again to 30,000 for 2019. The number of refugees actually resettled has been much lower. In 2018, only 22,415 people were resettled, about half of the ceiling. Now, government officials are considering limiting the program to as low as 10,000 spots, most of which would be reserved for just a few countries or groups with special status. The possibility of receiving zero refugees unless admitted by the president in an emergency is also on the table. In addition to moral reasons, there are strong diplomatic and economic arguments for accepting refugees. Until recently, the United States was known as a leader in refugee admissions. This policy change coincides with record numbers of refugees fleeing countries around the world. Taking our share of refugees improves relationships with other countries. Refugees also have been shown to contribute more financially to the United States than they receive in benefits. A July 2017 report by the Department of Health and Human Services found that refugees have contributed $63 billion more in government revenues than they cost in the past decade. Similarly, a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research showed that refugees who enter the country between the ages of 18 and 45 pay on average $21,000 more in taxes than they receive in benefits over a 20-year period. Extending a welcome to people fleeing danger has long been an American value. Continuing to lower the refugee cap is a reversal of this tradition. It sentences people to death, damages diplomatic relationship, and weakens our economy. The cap will be decided by September 30, the end of the fiscal year. The United States should increase its refugee cap for 2019, and allocate sufficient resources to USRAP to resettle the maximum number of refugees permitted by the cap. FILED UNDER: Donald Tru...
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  • Article: Corporate Corner: Immigration Enforcement — Employers Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place Again By Wolfsdorf Rosenthal

    Corporate Corner: Immigration Enforcement — Employers Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place Again by Wolfsdorf Rosenthal Employers have been audited and penalized over the years for discriminatory practices against foreign nationals based on impermissible criteria, such as national origin, ancestry, native language, accent, looking or sounding “foreign,” or requiring more or different documents than allowed by law. Now, the focus has shifted to punishing companies that discriminate against U.S. workers, along with making it harder for legal immigrants to stay in the United States and for companies to continue to employ them. There are reports of increased worksite raids and an expansion of the scope of audits by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which has announced it would like to open 15,000 ICE audits per year instead of the thousand or two typical of recent years. In a recent survey by Littler, immigration enforcement issues and related policy changes were among employers’ top concerns. Respondents identified tighter restrictions on visa adjudications (48 percent) and increased workplace immigration enforcement (36 percent) “as the areas where they expected to see the most significant impact on their workplaces in the near-term.” Among other things, new H-1B data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services shows that previously approved renewals are being denied at a higher rate and that there has been an uptick in requests for evidence when processing H-1B applications. Finding ways to implement President Trump’s “Buy American and Hire American (BAHA)” order has become a central focus of federal agencies across the board. The order directs the Secretaries of State, Labor, and Homeland Security, and the Attorney General, to propose new rules and issue new guidance, and to supersede or revise previous rules and guidance if appropriate, “to protect the interests of United States workers in the administration of our immigration system, including through the prevention of fraud or abuse.” And those same agencies are directed to “suggest reforms to help ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries.” According to reports, one practical effect of this push is that issues are being raised that were not investigated in the past. For example, the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Civil Rights Division’s “Protecting U.S. Workers Initiative,” launched in 2017, is aimed at “targeting, investigating, and taking enforcement actions against companies that discriminate against U.S. workers in favor of temporary visa workers.” Under that initiative, the Civil Rights Division has opened dozens of investigations and has increased its collaboration with other federal agencies “to combat discrimination and abuse by employers using temporary visa workers.” It’s important to keep in mind that while the federal government’s focus has been shifting overall, DOJ is still investigating cases of discrimination against foreign nationals who are authorized to work in the United States. So just “keeping foreigners out” is a woefully inadequate strategy for an employer hoping to avoid problems, and is illegal in some cases if those foreigners are work...
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  • Article: Immigrant of the Day: Mohammad Salman Hamdani – First Responder By Greg Siskind

    Immigrant of the Day: Mohammad Salman Hamdani – First Responder by Greg Siskind [This popular feature of my blog has been on a long hiatus as I’ve gotten sidetracked with other writing projects. However, I’m pleased that my daughter Eden Siskind, who recently finished her master’s degree work in refugee studies at the London School of Economics, will be contributing to the Immigrant of the Day postings. Today is her debut with this timely contribution. We also generally make Immigrant of the Day about someone who is living, but we make an exception today.] This week marked the 18th year since the tragic acts of 9/11. In honor of all of those who lost their lives, today’s immigrant of the day is Mohammad Salman Hamdani. Hamdani was a New York City Policeman and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). He was one of the first responders at the Twin Towers and died while trying to assist as an EMT. Hamdani was born in Karachi, Pakistan and moved to the United States with his parents at the early age of 13 months. His mother taught English, and his father operated a convenience store in Brooklyn. After graduating from college, he worked as a research technician in the Protein/DNA Technology Center at Rockefeller University. He was on his way to work at Rockefeller University the morning of the attacks and saw smoke from the attacks. Instead of continuing to w...
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  • Article: Comparing E-2 & EB-5 Investor Visas By Klasko Immigration Law Partners, LLP

    Comparing E-2 & EB-5 Investor Visas by Klasko Immigration Law Partners, LLP E-2 investor temporary visas are granted to foreign nationals who invest into or start a U.S.-based business. EB-5 permanent visas require both investment and creation of 10  full-time jobs for Americans. These visas can be tricky to compare and understand on your own. To best reach your immigration goals, knowing the difference is very beneficial for your future in the U.S. For example, are you looking to become a lawful permanent resident or eventually a U.S. citizen? Or are you content with a long-term investor visa with other benefits? The Investment Immigration Attorney Team at Klasko Immigration Law Partners, LLP are leading  investor visa lawyers and are often pioneering new and creative solutions for complex immigration problems. Below is a comparison of two investor visa options. ...
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  • Article: The Opportunity Immigration Presents to the Changing US Economy By Tory Johnson

    The Opportunity Immigration Presents to the Changing US Economy by Tory Johnson The U.S. economy is changing—and immigration can play a major role in how it looks in the future. But how immigration shapes the future of the U.S. economy and its workforce is dependent on a variety of factors—including policymakers’ willingness to see immigration as an opportunity. The United States is in a period of dynamic change. Industries are changing and our workforce is aging . Advances in technology and automation are shifting the job market. Workplaces are exploring non-traditional structures. These and other factors present unique challenges and opportunities for workers, employers, and the economy overall . Among the most pressing concerns: the U.S. population and workforce are declining. The birth rate for younger generations is at a record low while the baby boomer generation is aging, meaning the supply of labor is dwindling. Labor force participation rates fell to 63% in 2014 and are expected to continue sliding, to 61% in 2028. Yet demand for workers is hardly declining. U.S. companies’ need for highly educated workers has grown in recent decades and shows no signs of slowing down. While some mid-skill occupations are predicted to decline due to technological advancement, experts now believe that automation will create and shift the nature of work. Rather than eliminate mid-skill occupations, these shifts are projected to create new jobs in low- and mid-skill occupations in the next decade. Experts believe that these changes will create new mid- and low-skill jobs. Traditional workplace structures are shifting as well. Alternative staffing options are gaining popularity, with many companies and organizations relying on independent contractors, outsourced expertise, and non-traditional work arrangements that provide more flexibility and less stability. In this context of possible worker shortages and dynamic changes in the workplace, the country can make policy decisions that help minimize challenges and la...
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