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    Published on 01-07-2016 03:08 PM

    EB-5 AAO DECISIONS ISSUED IN 2015

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    Published on 01-07-2016 02:56 PM

    ABA Statement Re: Immigration Raids Targeting Central American Families Seeking U.S. Protection

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    WASHINGTON, Jan. 6, 2016–– The American Bar Association condemns the U.S. government’s operation targeting the deportation of Central American mothers and children seeking protection in the United States and calls on the government to halt these raids immediately and to adhere to fundamental principles of justice and due process.

    In response to the 2014 influx of Central American families, the U.S. government implemented a patchwork of inconsistent practices, including detention and expedited removal hearings that denied basic rights to mothers and children. Many of these ...

    Published on 01-07-2016 11:03 AM

    Tahmina’s Thoughts on The I-140- EAD and AC-21 Proposed Regulations

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    I know many of you have been anxiously waiting for the proposed regulations that were published on the Federal Register today. Since the Executive Action announcements were made in November 2014, today’s proposed regulations were likely one of the most anticipated ones for high-skilled immigration fixes.

    One of the ‘asks’ that the advocacy groups had and one that was hoped to be seen in these proposals was more flexible work permit options, namely the concurrent filing of employment authorization with an approved I-140.  The proposal doesn’t go that far.  But that is not surprising as the issue was going to be addressed with the October Visa Bulletin that would have allowed concurrent filing but instead turned into fierce litigation.  If the October Visa Bulletin litigation outcome is favorable, the concurrent filing of I-485 will take care of this issue.

    Having said that, the only proposal that comes close to this is:

    Eligibility for employment authorization in compelling circumstances.  DHS also proposes to provide additional stability and flexibility to certain high-skilled nonimmigrant workers in the United States who are the beneficiaries of approved employment-based immigrant visa petitions but who cannot obtain an immigrant visa number due to statutory limits on immigrant visa issuance and are experiencing compelling circumstances.  Specifically, DHS proposes to allow such beneficiaries in the United States on E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, L-1, or O-1 nonimmigrant status to apply for separate employment authorization for a limited period if there are compelling circumstances that, in the discretionary determination of DHS, justify the consideration of such employment authorization.”

    DHS will not define “compelling circumstances” so that there can be flexibility in the situation but in general it cannot be that a visa is unavailable and that the issue ...

    Published on 01-06-2016 03:16 PM

    Immigration Charity E-book

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    Published on 01-06-2016 03:09 PM

    H-1B Cases - Things To Look For

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    The attached PDF file provides graphical depiction (in the form of a puzzle), of typical factors to consider when analyzing or reviewing an H-1B position/case. The enclosed puzzle chart might be useful in explaining the important elements of an H-1B case to your own clients.

    ...
    Published on 01-06-2016 02:45 PM

    Operation Streamline: Ten Years of Criminalizing Immigrants

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    ADELANTO, CA - NOVEMBER 15: Immigrants prepare to be unshackled and set free from the Adelanto Detention Facility on November 15, 2013 in Adelanto, California. The center, the largest and newest Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), detention facility in California, houses an average of 1,100 immigrants in custody pending a decision in their immigration cases or awaiting deportation. The facility is managed by the private GEO Group. ICE detains an average of 33,000 undocumented immigrants in more than 400 facilities nationwide. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

    For the last 10 years, in federal courts across the Southwest border, the federal government has systematically prosecuted unlawful border crossers in group hearings with little-to-no due process. These prosecutions, often referred to as Operation Streamline, were intended to deter illegal entry and reentry. Instead, they have clogged up the federal courts and wasted precious government resources with little evidence that the program is achieving its goals.

    Operation Streamline’s ten-year-anniversary will be marked on December 16, 2015. It began in Del Rio, Texas and since that time, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has worked aggressively with local U.S. Attorneys from the Department of Justice (DOJ) to prosecute border crossers for illegal entry, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in prison, and illegal re-entry, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. According to Border Patrol estimates, over 279,000 individuals have been referred to DOJ for prosecution from December 2005 to March 2014. These prosecutions are concentrated in border patrol sectors across the Southwest in Arizona and Texas.

    Immigration status crimes have become the most prosecuted federal crimes in the country with entry and re-entry prosecutions going up 130 percent between 2007 and 2012, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). According to the Bureau ...

    Published on 01-05-2016 01:04 PM

    DHS Begins Raids and Deportations of Central American Mothers and Children

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    This past weekend, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) conducted immigration raids, primarily in Georgia, Texas and North Carolina where, according to DHS, they rounded up 121 individuals, mostly women and children. DHS now is transporting the families to Texas to process them for deportation. The raids were anticipated, as The Washington Post broke the news in late December that the Obama Administration was considering conducting fugitive-operation round-ups of Central American families who remained in the U.S. after an immigration judge ordered them removed.

    DHS confirmed this approach in a statement Secretary Jeh Johnson issued today:

    “The focus of this weekend’s operations were adults and their children who (i) were apprehended after May 1, 2014 crossing the southern border illegally, (ii) have been issued final orders of removal by an immigration court, and (iii) have exhausted appropriate ...

    Published on 01-05-2016 10:15 AM

    The TN Visa and the 3 year degree: TN Visa: What You or Your Client or Employee Need to Know Before the Border

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    As part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the TN Visa allows Mexican and Canadian citizens to live and work temporarily in the United States for up to three-year increments, with extensions granted in up to three-year increments as well. While the TN visa has an incremental time limit, ...

    Published on 01-05-2016 10:04 AM

    EB-5 Legislation: Retrospective and Prospective

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    I’ll be right up front with my opinion. I believe the EB-5 industry narrowly averted disaster in the EB-5 legislative reform process at the end of 2015. While any legislation, by the nature of the process, will have provisions that anyone on the political spectrum will both like and dislike (and certainly the final draft form of the Senate bill is no exception), the key is to guard against poison pills. In looking back on 2015, no matter what position you may take on the most controversial issue – urban vs. rural TEAs – in the end the poison pill was a new proposed system of “reserved visas”. Introduced for the first time in December, it would have resulted in most investors competing, not for 10,000 numbers, but for 4,000 numbers, which would have resulted in backlogs estimated by most observers to be at least 10 to 15 years. With the spectre of that provision in mind, the passage of a 9-plus month extension of the program with no changes was as good a result as could have been hoped for.

    Although ...

    Published on 01-04-2016 01:29 PM

    Is There a "Secret Immigration Policy" to Ignore Social Media?

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    There is a supposed “secret policy” that prevented consular and immigration officers from checking Tashfeen Malik’s social media accounts where she wrote about jihad (possibly under a pseudonym or in personal messages). If her statements were discovered then she would have been denied a visa, preventing the atrocity.

    This is getting a lot of attention on blogs, and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson responded by saying that there are certain limits that probably apply to personal messages, although he’s unclear. 

    After following this controversy, I heard from six different immigration attorneys that there is no such secret policy and their clients routinely have their social media accounts checked by immigration officials — or at least have heard of it happening. 

    Matthew Kolken of Kolken and Kolken in Buffalo, New York told me:

    The first time I confirmed that the government was investigating social media was around 2009 when an adjudicator at a marriage fraud interview confronted my client with a series of pictures he was tagged in on Facebook.

    The only person more surprised than me was his wife when she saw that the pictures were posted by his girlfriend the previous weekend. The silver lining is that when the officer witnessed my client’s rage he approved the application on the spot.

    Charles Kuck at Kuck Immigration Partners in Atlanta, Georgia wrote:

    USCIS and other government immigration agencies have been using social media for at least the last five years in naturalization, green card, and visa ...

    Published on 01-04-2016 12:10 PM

    Two Potential Additional Uses for the I-824 Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition

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    Published on 01-04-2016 11:59 AM

    A new year’s gift from USCIS: 140 portability rules and much more

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    As per President Obama’s executive action announcement of November 2015, a year later, we are presented with the much anticipated policy change rules that will likely make employment-based immigration better in some circumstances. The 181 page proposed rules (140eadexecaction fr text dec 30 2015 will be published to the Federal Register tomorrow Dec. 31, 2015.  It covers many grounds and much analysis will be required. There will be a 60 day comment period from tomorrow. After that, USCIS will consider those comments before finalizing them.  This is your opportunity to air your concern if the rules do not address what you had hoped to see.

    It is important to note that statute cannot be changed through this process but some issues can be reinterpreted and made consistent with other current rules. That is what is happening here. So, per country quota cannot be changed without Congress’s action.   These rules do not cover entrepreneur issues, I am still anxiously awaiting those.

    There are so many good things in my opinion in these rule changes, that I am excited and I want to take the opportunity to thank USCIS for painstakingly going through so ...


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