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    Published on 04-04-2016 11:17 AM

    Syrian Refugees Receive Green Light from U.S. Courts, Mixed Reception from States and Congress


    Resettled refugees move into their new home in the United States. (Photo: Viktoriya Aleksandrov/World Relief Spokane)

    U.S. refugee policy has come under renewed fire in the wake of terror attacks in Brussels on March 22. As details of the bombings, believed to be perpetrated by several Belgian nationals with ties to ISIS, began to emerge, a number of U.S. lawmakers, presidential candidates, and pundits were quick to reiterate concerns about refugee admissions from the war-torn countries of the Middle East. Whether the U.S. refugee admissions program could be a gateway for terrorists has been the subject of national debate—and legal action at the state level—since ISIS-affiliated terrorists killed 130 people and wounded 370 in Paris in November 2015. However, to this point no refugee who came through the U.S. resettlement program has been involved in a terrorist attack on U.S. soil

    Efforts by more than two dozen governors to prevent the resettlement of Syrian refugees in their states after the attacks have floundered in federal courts. Meanwhile, members of Congress have sought new avenues to limit Syrian and other refugee admissions, most recently through legislation that would shift control of refugee policy to Congress from the executive branch. With the 2016 presidential election approaching, U.S. refugee policy is bound to maintain prominence in national debates.

    Following the Paris assaults, questions about the nationality of the terrorists and how they entered France triggered an intense debate in Europe. While the identified assailants were determined to be EU nationals, at least two entered the European Union using fake Syrian passports, and may have posed as refugees amid the more than 1 million migrants and asylum seekers who entered Europe in 2015, approximately half from war-torn Syria. This speculation quickly reinvigorated controversy surrounding the ...

    Published on 04-04-2016 10:54 AM

    The Rhetoric on Immigration Must Change


    immigration must change
    The fear and hatred of aliens has a long history in he United States. In its earliest forms, nativism took on a religious manifestation vilifying Catholics during the settlement period of the 1700’s and early 1800’s. Starting from the middle of the 19th century, nativist movements demonized the Italians, Germans, Russian Jews, and Irish and called for closing the frontier. This was followed by The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 which was the first significant law restricting immigration in the U.S. The act imposed a 10 year moratorium against Chinese labor amid fears that workers were stealing the jobs and depressing wages.

    Unfortunately, the latest national political events have shown that anti-immigrant sentiment is hardly a thing from the past and is still alive and well in certain segments of American society. How ironic that in a country built and run by immigrants, the current political discourse focuses   mainly on manipulating fears by scapegoating immigrants and fueling political prejudice against newcomers.

    Not long ago, the current Republican front runner for presidential nomination described Mexican immigrants as rapists, criminals, and drug dealers. He claimed they were invading America allegedly pushed out by and with the support of the Mexican government. He argued that a wall to separate us from “them” and further militarizing the border was imperative if we were to survive as a nation. Strangely however, no evidence that hordes of criminals are descending upon the Southern border was ever provided. To the contrary, statistical evidence shows that Latin American immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than the native born and the flow of immigrants coming from Mexico has significantly decreased in the last 9 years.

    Overwhelming evidence shows that violent crime is lower among the immigrant ...
    Published on 04-01-2016 01:34 PM

    Customs and Border Protection Releases Independent Review of Its Complaints System



    As part of its announced efforts to become more transparent and accountable, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) just released the results of a review of its processes for handling allegations of employee misconduct. The review, which was conducted by an independent consulting firm and completed four months ago, yielded 19 findings and 62 recommendations. According to CBP’s statement, “CBP concurs with the vast majority of recommendations [and] a workgroup is actively implementing and addressing the recommendations through improved policies, procedures, training, processes and reporting requirements.”

    While CBP did not make public which specific recommendations it has decided to accept and act upon, the agency did inform that it is working to:

    1. Enhance the overall efficiency of the investigative and disciplinary process,
    2. Make avenues for reporting allegations of misconduct more accessible,
    3. Ensure consistency in the administration of the disciplinary process, and
    4. Increase transparency and accountability on employee misconduct.

    Many of the findings of the review are consistent with evidence ...

    Published on 04-01-2016 09:58 AM

    H-1B Lottery is Illegal


    The H-1B cap and lottery brings anxiety to hundreds of thousands of employees and employers across the country, and the immigration attorneys and paralegals who assist them.  Who can blame them?  There are only 65,000 regular H-1B numbers available each year, plus 20,000 held aside for those who have master’s degrees or higher from U.S. educational institutions, and in 2015 there were nearly 233,000 applications filed for those 85,000 slots.  Things are expected to be worse this year, when petitions are accepted in the 5 business day window from April 1, 2016 to April 7, 2016.  Every application is subjected to a random lottery, and the chances each year are getting lower, from one in three to possibly one in four this year.  There are some who are lucky and get picked in the lottery, and others who have entered and ...

    Published on 04-01-2016 09:46 AM

    The Political Correctness Movement has succeeded in imposing its will on the Library of Congress


    Published on 03-31-2016 12:06 PM

    Fast-Track Green Cards for the Best and Brightest


    In a world of quotas and backlogs for commonly used green card categories, as immigration lawyers we are often tasked with developing creative solutions for employer hiring needs. For the majority of employers seeking to sponsor employees to remain in the United States on a permanent basis, the typical path to attaining immigration benefits is through a lengthy three-step process that involves both the Department of Labor (DOL) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), known as Permanent Alien Labor Certification or "PERM."

    As part of this process, employers must take multiple steps to advertise for the position that they seek to sponsor to demonstrate to the DOL that there are no U.S. workers available, willing or qualified to fill the role. The PERM process is certainly a viable process for sponsorship, but it requires employer involvement throughout, is complex and yields a green card which, because of quotas in PERM categories may not be available to the sponsored employee for some time, particularly if they are from a country that has exceeded their annual allotment of green card numbers, such as India or China. ...

    Published on 03-31-2016 10:36 AM

    The H -1B Visa Program: A Primer on the Program and its Impact on Jobs, Wages, and the Economy.


    Published on 03-30-2016 12:37 PM

    What Syrian Refugees Love about America Is Liberty


    When they aren’t being erroneously denounced as terrorists, Syrian refugees have a similarly unjustified reputation as fundamentalists who oppose liberty. Since the Paris attacks, Syrian refugees here have had many opportunities to speak to local papers and news outlets about their views on our freedoms, and the result is unanimous: they love them.

    Saleh Sbenaty who escaped Syria to Nashville explained to the Nashville Scene that he wanted to come to the United States specifically because of its freedoms. “I immigrated to the U.S. and left my family and home because of my freedom,” he said. “I also wanted to ensure such freedom is protected, not only for my children, but also for everyone else. I strongly believe in the U.S. Constitution and will fight to protect it, period! Everyone in my community felt the same way.”

    Nidal Alhayak, a Syrian who received asylum and is living in Michigan, interprets his flight to the United States in the same way. “First of all, I consider myself fortunate that I made it to the United States,” he told NPR in November. “I consider it the number one country for democracy and freedom for humanity worldwide.”

    Noor Eddin who is living in Kentucky agrees. “This is the Western world,” he told the Washington Post. “They respect the rights of a human being.”

    The connection between the United States and liberty is engrained into their perceptions of the nation. Radwan, Syrian refugee in Ohio, told his local CBS affiliate: “I came here, to the freedom country.”

    Hussam Al Roustom saw his decision to flee Syria to New Jersey similarly. “We reached to a point it’s either death, or live with dignity or freedom,” he said.

    Rama Al Najjar, a 16-year-old Syrian in Kentucky, found the sudden negative reaction to Syrian refugees puzzling. ...

    Published on 03-30-2016 12:17 PM

    State of Texas Files Brief in United States v. Texas


    Yesterday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a merits brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Texas.  Texas led a coalition representing 26 states in challenging President Obama's expanded deferred action program announced in November 2014.                                                                                                         

    Published on 03-30-2016 10:48 AM

    EB-5 Capital Project Database: Revisited and Expanded


    Published on 03-29-2016 12:50 PM

    New Studies Show Refugees are Integrating


    At a time when politicians and others are expressing concern about the U.S.’s refugee resettlement process, two new studies show that refugees want to integrate and are indeed integrating into the fabric of our country. However, there is much variation depending on the refugees’ country of origin, and there remains room for improved policies aimed at facilitating resettlement in American communities. The U.S. refugee resettlement program remains focused on employment and self-sufficiency. This new research points to policy interventions that could be designed to ensure that refugees fully integrate and contribute to their communities.

    A new report by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) examines the 941,000 young children of refugee parents, ages zero to 10, living in the U.S. between 2009-13, and a new study from Colorado examines the progress that state’s refugees have made. Both of these reports showed strong indicators of integration yet highlighted that challenges remain.

    Because the children of ...

    Published on 03-29-2016 12:25 PM

    Much Sound and Fury that Signifies Nothing


    Without much fanfare by the SEC, this past Good Friday (March 25th), an administrative law judge ordered Boca Raton-based Ireeco LLC and Hong Kong-based Ireeco Ltd. to pay $3,179,633 in disgorgement, which is the amount in fees the companies collected with respect to arranging for the investments of 150 EB-5 investors. The action was based on the companies’ failure to have registered as Broker-Dealers. The SEC Press Release from June 23, 2015, can be found at this link:


    You can also find my original article on this case entitled Miami Vice at: http://discuss.ilw.com/showthread.ph...Matthew-Gordon

    There were several ...

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