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    Published on 11-14-2017 02:22 PM

    We Spoke, USCIS Listened


    Last Friday, November 10, 2017, Mona Shah Global in conjunction with the Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute at Baruch College hosted a joint conference with the Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO) from USCIS. The one-day event was the first stakeholder conference of its kind ever organized with USCIS, and also the first event to be live-streamed online for a global audience. Featuring numerous speakers and industry leaders, the conference covered some of the most pressing issues and concerns facing the EB-5 market today over a series ...

    Published on 11-13-2017 03:37 PM

    U.S. And Turkey Resume Limited Visa Services


    On November 6, 2017, nearly one month after suspending nonimmigrant visa services at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara and the U.S. Consulates in Istanbul and Adana due to the arrest of a U.S. Consular Employee in Istanbul, the U.S. Mission in Turkey announced the “limited resumption of visa services in Turkey.” Per the statement, lifting the recent suspension followed “initial high level assurances from the Government of Turkey that there are no additional local employees of our Mission in Turkey under investigation.” According to the U.S. Mission in Turkey, the Turkish Government also provided assurances that “local staff will not be detained or arrested for performing their official duties and that Turkish authorities will inform the U.S. government in advance if the Government of Turkey intends to detain or arrest a member of our local staff in the future.”

    The Statement is short on details concerning what “limited visa services” actually ...

    Published on 11-13-2017 09:55 AM

    The Military’s Strategic and Recruitment Goals Fail When Immigrants Can’t Serve


    The United States Armed Forces has long valued the contributions of immigrants—from the War of 1812 to the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, U.S.-born and immigrant soldiers have fought alongside one another with no concern for nationality or immigration status. Yet, within the first several months of the Trump presidency, the administration has created additional and unnecessary barriers for immigrants looking to serve.

    A detailed history of immigrants’ service in the military is outlined in a new report from The National Immigration Forum, For the Love of Country: New Americans Serving in Our Armed Forces . The report details the military’s need for a broader pool of eligible applicants and how immigrants could—if allowed—fulfill that need with critical foreign-language, medical, and cultural skills.

    Approximately 40,000 immigrants serve in the U.S. military, with 5,000 noncitizen soldiers typically enlisting each year. As of 2016, ...

    Published on 11-10-2017 02:09 PM

    A New Era in U.S. Immigration: 5 Things to Know


    Changes to U.S. immigration law are generally thought to come at the congressional level after public debate about the role of immigration in our country and economy. Yet, government agencies, like U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) and U.S. Department of State (“DOS”), have power to alter policies without any legislative action in accordance with the delegation of authority provided by Congress. President Trump has directed that USCIS and DOS use this power to transform how they adjudicate U.S. immigration benefits. The U.S. Attorney General has even attacked “ dirty immigration lawyers ” who assist asylum seekers in navigating the complex immigration system. Furthermore, President Trump has appointed individuals who previously worked for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (“FAIR”), a nonprofit regarded as a restrictionist advocacy group, as top officials at USCIS. Here are five things to know about this new era of immigration:

    1. No Deference to Prior Immigration Approvals . USCIS announced on October 23, 2017 that it would no longer defer to prior determinations of eligibility when adjudicating petition extensions involving the same parties and underlying facts as the initial petition. Employers should be ready to provide the same level of documentation for an amendment ...
    Published on 11-09-2017 11:01 AM

    Some Thoughts on President Trump's Call for Immigration Reform in the Wake of the NYC Terror Attack


    During the 2016 presidential campaign and later as President, Donald Trump called for building a wall between the United States and Mexico, issued three travel bans on immigrants from predominantly Muslim nations, ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for young undocumented immigrants, and embraced aggressive immigration enforcement. It can be no surprise that, after the tragic events in New York City last week involving an immigrant from Uzbekistan, President Trump wasted no time in blaming the immigration system . Unfortunately, he has misstated the facts and made constructive immigration reform less, not more, likely.

    Trump said on Twitter that the driver in the New York attack "came into our country through what is called the ` Diversity Visa Lottery Program,' a Chuck Schumer " — a reference to the Senate's Democratic leader. He also tweeted: "We are fighting hard for Merit Based immigration, no more Democrat Lottery Systems. We must get MUCH tougher (and smarter)."

    In endorsing “merit”-based immigration, Trump was alluding to the Reform American Immigration ...

    Published on 11-08-2017 03:48 PM

    Do you have gaps in your itinerary for your O and P clients?


    Gaps in a Beneficiary’s itinerary are sometimes unavoidable. Whether it is due to impending filing dates, the Beneficiary’s lack of future employment, or because the Beneficiary will also be working in her/his native country, gaps in the itinerary can be overcome.

    As per PM-602-0003 , entitled Clarifying Guidance on “O” Petition Validity Period ...

    Published on 11-08-2017 02:05 PM

    E-2 Visa Versus EB-1C (Multinational Manager Green Card) for the Chinese Investor


    With the unprecedentedly long waiting list under the EB-5 quota for Chinese investors, we have been regularly requested to evaluate two alternative options for immigration to the U.S. One option is the E-2 (Treaty Investor) visa, which requires first obtaining citizenship in the country of Grenada. The other option is the EB-1C (multinational manager) green card option.

    The question of which option is better depends upon the situation of each investor.

    In order to assist investors in analyzing the two options, I have prepared the following summary:

    Advantages of E-2 Option

    If the investor is interested in coming to the U.S. as quickly as possible , the Grenada E-2 option is better than the EB-1C option. With Grenada E-2, the investor can be in the U.S. within 5 to 6 months. With the ...

    Published on 11-07-2017 03:06 PM

    A Summary of Garza v. Hargan by Law Student Angela Yahaira Breining


    On October 20, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard oral arguments for Garza v. Hargan (17-5236) considering the issue of whether the government should allow an undocumented minor to obtain an abortion. On October 24, 2017, the Court filed an Order siding with the undocumented minor allowing her to obtain the abortion.


    This case involved a 17-year-old undocumented immigrants, referred to by “J.D.” J.D is an unaccompanied minor who was detained by the federal government and placed in a government facility run by the Department of Health and Human Services . While at the federal facility, J.D. requested an abortion but the staff resisted her request. It wasn’t until J. D’s counsel contacted the government, that she was allowed to pursue a judicial bypass in lieu of securing parental consent for the abortion as required by Texas law. With the assistances of her attorney and guardian ad litem, J.D. was able to secure a court order permitting her to have an abortion without parental consent. However, the government again took the position that they would not allow J.D. to obtain an abortion. Along with refusing to allow J.D. an abortion, the government also forced her to visit an anti-abortion crisis pregnancy, and told J. D’s mother about her pregnancy despite J. D’s objections.

    Counsel for J.D filed a complaint for injunctive relief and damages on behalf of J.D. and other similarly situated class members in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on October 13, 2017. The complaint alleged that the government’s action violated the Establishment and Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution , and the Fifth Amendment right to privacy, liberty, and informational privacy. The complaint also sought a temporary restraining order preventing the government from obstructing J.D’s access to abortion; a preliminary injunction as to the plaintiff class; a permanent injunction preventing the government from wielding a veto power over an unaccompanied minors’ abortion decision; a permanent injunction preventing the government from forcing unaccompanied immigrant minors from visiting crisis pregnancy centers as a condition of having an abortion or after an abortion; a permanent injunction preventing the government from revealing, or forcing unaccompanied immigrant minors to reveal, to the minor’s parents or immigrant sponsors information about the minors’ abortion decisions, either prior to or after the abortion decisions; a permanent injunction preventing the government from retaliating against unaccompanied immigrant minors from seeking or obtaining abortion; and damages.

    Due to the time sensitivity of the issue- that of J.D. being about 15 weeks pregnant and Texas banning abortions at 20 weeks- the case moved very quickly. On October 18, 2017, the District Court ordered the government to allow J.D. to obtain an abortion. The following day, on October 19, 2017 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued a ruling which temporarily blocked the District Court’s previous order. The next day, October 20, 2017 a three-judge panel on the same U.S. Court of Appeals heard the case.

    Oral Argument

    At oral argument, the government raised the following arguments: (1) that the government cannot be compelled to facilitate an abortion; and (2) that the government is not imposing an unconstitutional undue burden on J. D’s right to get an abortion because she can choose to voluntarily leave to her home country or she can find a sponsor who will allow her to obtain an abortion. In efforts to avoid making a sweeping constitutional ruling, Judge Kavanaugh focused on the option of J.D. finding a sponsor, because he believed that this option would resolve the case. Judge Kavanaugh, reasoned that releasing J.D to a sponsor would solve the government’s objection and would allow J.D to be released from the government thus allowing her to obtain an abortion. In his view, this option would be satisfactory to everyone. However, J. D’s counsel explained that J.D has tried finding a sponsor and has been unsuccessful.

    Judge Henderson went on to ask whether the government has a position on whether J.D has any constitutional rights by virtue of her lack of immigration status. Counsel for the government explained that they are not taking a stance on the issue of J. D’s Constitutional right, rather they explain that even if J.D had a constitutional right to an abortion, the government cannot be compelled to facilitate the abortion. Judge Kavanaugh responded to this by pointing to the fact that women in federal prison have a right to obtain an abortion and the government facilitates that right. The government’s response was that imprisoned women have no other avenue of ...

    Published on 11-06-2017 03:03 PM


    1. Visa lottery program – Lashing out and politicizing tragedy, Mr. Trump predictably attacked the visa lottery (diversity visa) program which brought in Uzbekistan-born Sayfullo Saipov, accused of killing 8 and maiming about a dozen in Manhattan by use of a rental truck. Yet the President has remained virtually silent on the issue of even banning “bump stocks”, the rapid-fire enabler of the military rifles of the Las Vegas shooter who killed 58 and wounded 489 on October 1st , following his announcement on October 5th that he would consider a ban. And he laid blame for the ...

    Published on 11-03-2017 02:54 PM

    “lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender And Intersex” Training Module For Asylum Officers Released After A Freedom Of Information Request


    A 71-page Asylum Officer Training Module titled “Guidance For Adjudicating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, And Intersex Refugee And Asylum Claims,” dated November 6, 2015, was recently released after a FOIA request by Catholic Charities of Washington DC. A copy is available at the Louise Trauma Center website: www.louisetrauma.weebly.com . It is also AILA Doc. 1711 0304

    A 46-page power point presentation, dated February 21 and 22, 2017, entitled “LGBTI and HIV-Related Asylum and Refugee Issues,” by Aaron Morris, Director of Immigration Equality, was also released. A copy is available at the Louise Trauma Center website: www.louisetrauma.com. It is also AILA Doc. 1711 0330

    Here follow some interesting excerpts. I have cited and quoted mostly from the 71-page training module. When I cite the 46-page presentation by Aaron Morris, I will say “Morris at page X.”

    Decades ago, a gay man from Cuba was granted withholding of removal based on his sexual orientation. Matter of Tobo-Alfonso, 20 I&N Dec. 819 (BIA 1990) (persons identified as homosexual by the Cuban government are a cognizable ...

    Published on 11-02-2017 02:22 PM

    Form I-924A: Practical Considerations for EB-5 Regional Centers


    The number of approved EB-5 regional centers has grown rapidly from less than a dozen a decade ago to more than 840 [1]

    today. As a vital part of the EB-5 program, regional centers are limited partnerships or limited liability corporations that pool investments from immigrants to fund a range of projects. Regional center operators must file Form I-924A on time because an untimely submission will result in the issuance of a notice of intent to terminate the participation of a regional center in the EB-5 program.

    The current edition of Form I-924A is dated 12/23/16; previous editions of the form are not accepted. There is a filing fee of $3,035 for each Form I-924A. [2]

    As regional centers grow in number and maturity, Form I-924A is an increasingly useful tool for USCIS to determine a regional center’s continued eligibility, along with its effectiveness in fulfilling the EB-5 program’s original intent: promotion of economic development in U.S. communities.

    The Basics [3]

    On August 24, 2017, USCIS held a webinar on changes to Form I-924A. [4]

    Regional centers must complete and submit this form yearly to “certify and demonstrate their continued eligibility for the regional center designation.” [5]

    Each designated regional center entity must file a Form I-924A for each federal fiscal year (October 1 through September 30) after Form I-924 approval, within 90 days of the end of the federal fiscal year (on or before December 29).

    The form must be signed by an “authorized individual” of the regional center, defined as “a principal of the entity previously designated to participate in the Immigrant Investor Program with the executive managerial authority to complete and execute this form.” If an attorney or representative assists in preparing the application, he or she must also sign the form and attach a completed Form G-28. The final submission must contain original signatures.

    A regional center must also attach its most recently issued approval notice, including any amendment approvals, as well as copies of valid government-issued photo identification documents of its principals.

    Tips and Recommendations

    Below are important points to keep in mind when completing the I-924A form:

    1. In its recent webinar, USCIS has stressed the importance of consistency throughout Form I-924A as well as consistency with external information that has been previously submitted to USCIS and information that USCIS is able to access.

    2. Filing Form I-924A is required for every regional center, even if no I-526 or I-829 petitions were filed and zero funds were released to new commercial entities (NCEs) or job-creating enterprises (JCEs) during the fiscal year, which may be the case for newly established or inactive regional centers.

    Ø New regional centers may wish to proactively provide attached documentation to the filing to demonstrate promotion activity, like evidence ...

    Published on 11-02-2017 01:56 PM

    In Defense Of The Diversity Visa After Nyc’s Terror Attack


    On October 31, eight people were murdered and 12 were injured in a terrorist attack perpetrated by Sayfullo Saipov, an Uzbek immigrant who came to the United States through the diversity visa program. Unfortunately, President Trump and other immigration restrictionists are already trying to use this tragedy to justify ending the diversity visa program.

    The diversity visa has long been a go-to scapegoat, blamed for everything from terrorism to Ebola . But the truth is, ending the diversity visa program will not reduce terrorism. And, when we consider the benefits of the diversity visa—and not base large-scale policy changes on a knee-jerk response to an isolated tragedy—we should realize it is worth preserving.


    The diversity visa is not a useful visa for someone intent on committing acts of terrorism to get to the U.S. Based on estimates by Alex Nowrasteh at the Cato Institute, a person is more than 300 times more likely to be killed by a foreign-born terrorist who came in as a tourist, than one who entered on a diversity visa. To be clear, a person is not at all likely to be killed by a foreign-born terrorist of any visa type. In fact, you are more likely to be killed by your own clothes than by a foreign-born terrorist.

    Sayfullo Saipov is the only foreign-born terrorist to kill Americans who came into the U.S. on a diversity visa, although immigration restrictionists also want to include Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, the 2002 LA airport shooter . He came to the United States on a tourist visa, overstayed that visa, and then got a green card through his wife, who did win a diversity visa. Even counting Hadayet brings the grand total to two, out of more than a million peaceful, law-abiding, and proud Americans who immigrated here through the program since its inception in 1990.

    One of the reasons terrorists overwhelmingly prefer other visas is because a diversity visa is extremelyhard to get, and takes a long time to obtain. First, a would-be terrorist would have to wait two years between ...

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