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    Published on 01-13-2016 02:37 PM



    Published on 01-13-2016 02:22 PM

    The UN’s Role in U.S. Refugee Resettlement A “benefit of the doubt” screening policy.


    Published on 01-12-2016 02:51 PM

    I-751 Joint Waiver Petition - The Story Matters


    As immigration attorneys we have the benefit of walking with our clients through many important stages in their lives, both professional and personal. One important stage, and very often a delicate matter, is the filing of the I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions-Joint Filing Waiver. Although most individuals picture a life in loving harmony with their soulmate, statistics show the reality may be far from blissful. When a conditional resident’s marriage has soured prior to the filing or ...

    Published on 01-12-2016 02:45 PM

    What to Expect From Congress on Immigration in 2016



    As members of Congress make their way back to Washington, D.C. this week, the prevailing wisdom is that nothing substantive will happen on Capitol Hill because we have officially entered an election year. On immigration, there is little hope that lawmakers will take up comprehensive reform, but that does not mean Congress will not try to enact other changes.

    In the Senate, Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has said in 2016 he would like to revisit the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) changes passed as part of the omnibus spending bill that passed Congress in December. The legislation terminates VWP travel privileges for all citizens of VWP countries who are also nationals of Iraq, Syria, Iran, or Sudan, singling out and discriminating based on nationality. It also excludes all individuals who have traveled since March 1, 2011 to certain countries– including Syria, Iraq, and other designated countries. Specifically, Reid said, “There are a couple of problems with it…The Republicans pushed it too hard and too fast.” On the Republican side, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has promised to move legislation dealing with Iraqi and Syrian refugees ...

    Published on 01-11-2016 02:50 PM



    A proposed DHS rule entitled “Retention of EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 Immigrant Workers and Program Improvements Affecting High Skilled Nonimmigrant Workers” has disappointed beneficiaries of I-140 employment-based immigration visa petitions who are caught in the crushing employment-based preferences. Everyone was waiting with bated breath about how the rule would allow beneficiaries to apply for an employment authorization document (EAD) based on an approved I-140 petitions. The proposed rule was announced on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2015,  but the balloon hastily deflated well before New Year. EADs would be issued in a very niggardly manner. This blog’s focus is not to explain every aspect of the proposed rule, and refers readers to Greg Siskind’s detailed summary, but suggests that the DHS also consider adding a rule to allow early filing of an I-485 adjustment application. Including a rule that would allow early filing of an I-485 application, along with some of the ameliorative provisions in the proposed rule, would truly make the rule positively impactful to those who are seeking relief. 

     Under the proposed rule, DHS will provide EADs to beneficiaries in the United States on E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, L-1 or O-1 nonimmigrant status if they can demonstrate compelling circumstances. While compelling circumstances have not been defined in the rule, DHS has suggested that they include serious illness and disabilities, employer retaliation, other substantial harm to the applicant and significant disruption to the employer. Regarding what may constitute significant disruption; DHS has suggested loss of funding for grants that may invalidate a cap-exempt H-1B status or a corporate restructure that may no longer render an L-1 visa status valid. The EAD will be renewed if such compelling circumstances continue to be met, or if the beneficiary’s priority date is within one year of the official cut-off date.

    As a result of these stringent standards, very few I-140 beneficiaries will be able to take advantage of this EAD provision. Furthermore, in order to keep the existing I-140 petition valid, the sponsoring employer must continue to offer the position to the beneficiary. While the recipient of an EAD can engage in open market employment, he or she must intend to work for the sponsoring employer upon the issuance of permanent residency. It is hoped that the final rule will provide a broader basis for beneficiaries of approved I-140 petitions to obtain EADs without needing to show compelling circumstances. INA 274A(h)(3) provides broad authorization to the DHS to issue work authorization to any non-citizen. While there is broad authority in the INA to issue an EAD, it is difficult to conceptualize how such a beneficiary may be able to port to another employer without a pending I-485 application. INA 204(j) requires an I-485 application to be pending for more than 180 days before a worker can change jobs in a same or similar occupational classification, while still keeping the I-140 petition and underlying labor certification intact.  On the other hand, a new employer can re-sponsor a worker if he or she has an EAD through a new I-140 petition, while retaining the priority date of the old petition, upon which the worker can consular process for the immigrant visa if not in a valid nonimmigrant status at the time the final action date becomes current.  
    Published on 01-11-2016 12:29 PM

    Immigrants Are Twice as Likely to Start a Business. Let's Let Them


    As 2016 gets underway, presidential candidates are appealing to voters with their ideas for stimulating economic growth. The strategy makes perfect sense. The timing is curious.

    The US economic expansion is approaching the seven-year mark, already the fourth longest on record. At 5 percent, the unemployment rate is nearing full employment. The Federal Reserve is determined to raise its benchmark rate by 300 basis points in the next three years, according to recent projections.

    China's economy, the world's second largest and a huge consumer of raw materials, is stumbling. In this economically challenged environment, the candidates need new ideas to give the 2-percent economy a lift when 2 percent is all the economy is capable of right now.

    Instead, they are offering the same warmed-over prescriptions. The Republicans want to lower tax rates. The Democrats want to increase government spending. Sure, there are variations on a theme: taxing consumption to eliminate the payroll tax (the GOP's Ted Cruz); or taxing securities transactions to pay for free college at state universities (Democrat Bernie Sanders).

    But basically the two parties are pushing the same old stuff for what is a new and different economic problem. Potential growth has slowed. Potential has to increase in order to accommodate faster economic growth.

    Potential GDP is the rate at which an economy can grow without generating inflationary pressure. It is circumscribed by the growth in the labor force and in productivity. Both inputs have been especially ...

    Published on 01-11-2016 10:27 AM

    ICE Raids in Charlotte: What You Need to Know


    As 2015 wound to a close and people were celebrating the holiday season, news leaked that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) were planning raids to round up and deport Central Americans who entered the U.S. as part of the “humanitarian crisis at the border” of the summer of 2014. As his first order of business of 2016, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson issued a statement confirming that ICE was “engaged in concerted, nationwide enforcement operations to take into custody” and deport those who “entered into this country illegally . . . including families and unaccompanied children.” ICE is focusing their raids in areas of high Central American immigrant concentrations, including North Carolina and specifically the Charlotte ...
    Published on 01-08-2016 03:48 PM

    “What TEA Projects Might Look Like Under EB-5 2.0: Alternatives Illustrated with Maps and Data”


    Published on 01-08-2016 12:34 PM

    Attorneys Work Swiftly to Thwart DHS’ Aggressive Enforcement Tactics Against Asylum-Seekers



    After a series of immigration raids last weekend, resulting in a reported 121 children and mothers being rounded up, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) quickly transferred many of these families to the family detention center in Dilley, Texas to rapidly process them for deportation. While few have been able to access legal counsel since being apprehended, some detained in Dilley found their way to the CARA Family Detention Pro-Bono Project’s on-the-ground volunteers. CARA volunteer attorneys have succeeded in halting the removals of four Central American families (12 individuals total), whose deportations were imminent.

    Based on intake interviews, the CARA attorneys discovered that the families had not appealed their asylum cases to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), and they promptly assisted them in doing so, requesting emergency stays of deportation, which the BIA granted in record time.

    Immigration ...

    Published on 01-08-2016 10:46 AM

    H-1B Amendments for Third Party Placement Situations: Travel Timing Issues



    As we previously reported, the AAO precedent decision, Matter of Simeio Solutions, Inc., dramatically changed the requirements for when an amended H-1B petition must be filed. For decades, USCIS interpreted the H-1B regulations, which require that an amended petition be filed whenever there is a “material change” in the terms and conditions of the beneficiary’s employment, to mean that an amended petition need not be filed when there is a "mere change" in the beneficiary’s location of employment. However, pursuant to Matter of Simeio Solutions, USCIS now requires that H-1B petitioners file an amended H-1B petition whenever there is a change in the beneficiary’s worksite location which requires the filing of a new LCA.

    USCIS has indicated, in a memo dated July 21, 2015, that H-1B amended petitions with the same employer, due to a mere change in location, fall within the scope of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty ...

    Published on 01-07-2016 03:08 PM



    Published on 01-07-2016 02:56 PM

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


    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 ...

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