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    Published on 04-10-2014 01:10 PM

    Turning Website Visitors into Clients with the Eureka Method

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    Today, the vast majority of potential clients will check out a lawyer's website before retaining the law firm. To turn this traffic into new files, smart lawyers are switching to the Eureka Method, which focuses on increasing “conversions” instead of generating more leads.

    There are several methods to increase conversions, and they revolve around engaging visitors. I call this the Eureka Method, derived from the ancient Greek word for discovery. It is easy to use and consists of giving consumers the emotional hooks, specific information and convenience they are looking for.

    A “conversion” is getting a visitor to take an action that you want them to take on your website. This can include completing an online form, chatting with a virtual representative, subscribing to a newsletter, requesting information -- and ultimately calling your office.

    Tenets of the Eureka Method

    Convenience. Did you know that half of our potential clients are not using a computer to see your website? A new analysis by LawLytics of 733,346 visits to a random selection of law firm websites discovered that 45% of traffic came from mobile devices. Furthermore, the majority of social media time is spent not on desktop computers, but on smartphones and tablets.

    This is why a key tenet of the Eureka Method is that your law firm website must be easily viewed regardless of what device is used. It is especially important that a lawyer's website be easily readable on the three-inch screen of a smart phone. “Whether through a dedicated mobile site or responsive design, having a strong mobile presence is critical for law firms,” writes Brian Tedder of LawLytics. “That's 329,308 visits that would have gone elsewhere had these attorneys not offered such user-friendly designs.”

    A

    Published on 04-10-2014 10:19 AM

    What are other countries doing to secure their borders?

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    Israel uses a 15-foot-tall steel mesh barbed wire fence with sensors and cameras and incarcerates aliens who are caught entering Israel without inspection.

    For approximately 30 years, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak ruled the vast Sinai desert adjacent to Israel, and he respected the peace treaty that Israel and Egypt had signed in 1979.[i] In 2011, he was unseated in a coup.[ii] Without Mubarak’s control, the Sinai desert became a lawless expanse of land. This meant that Israel would have to protect itself against the threat of jihadist terror emanating from the Sinai desert in addition to dealing with immigrants crossing the desert to make an illegal entry into Israel. Israel built a 15-foot-tall steel mesh fence across the 165-mile border between Israel and Egypt. They armed the fence with sensors and cameras and topped it with barbed wire. According to estimates released in July of 2013 by the Israeli government, only 34 people were caught entering Israel illegally along that border in the first half of 2013, compared to nearly 10,000 people in the first six months of 2012. This was a decrease of more than 99 percent.[iii] Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented with respect to this section of Israel’s border that, “The fence has completely stopped illegal migration to Israel.”[iv]

    Other countries, including the United States, have recognized the effectiveness of Israel’s border security methods. U.S. Customs and Border Protection[v] recently contracted with the Israeli company Elbit Systems[vi] for the installation of fifty fixed towers equipped with cameras, radar, and sensors on the border between Arizona and Mexico.[vii] Elbit System’s work in Israel includes the border fence between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which has resulted in a dramatic drop in terrorist acts against Israel. The company also provided multi-sensor surveillance systems on the border with Egypt.[viii]

    The fence is only one of the deterrents that the Israeli government uses to discourage migrants from making illegal entries. In December of 2013, the Knesset (the legislative branch of the Israeli government) passed an amendment to the Law to Prevent Infiltration. The amendment permits detention without trial for up to a year for asylum-seekers who enter Israel illegally. This only applies to migrants who enter the country after the effective date of the amendment. Migrants who entered illegally before the effective date, however, can be placed in an open detention center run by the Israel Prison Service. These detainees will be banned from working in Israel, except for work they do at the facility. The Israeli government will provide them with an allowance, room and board, and health care.[ix] In the absence of this amendment, the Law to Prevent Infiltration would not have provisions that deal specifically with asylum seekers.[x]

    Aliens who enter the United States without inspection are subject to criminal charges too. An alien who has made only one entry without inspection is subject to imprisonment for not more than six months; subsequent offenses are subject to imprisonment for up to two years.[xi] Aliens who face such criminal charges are entitled to a trial in Federal District Court, but the ones who have made more than one entry first have to decide whether to plead guilty to a misdemeanor, which can be part of a plea agreement to avoid a lengthy prison sentence, or to have a full trial on a felony charge and risk a large fine and/or a sentence of up to two years in prison. Describing the speed with which such cases are handled in his court, Magistrate Judge Bernardo P. Velasco said that one afternoon he conducted trials for 70 aliens who had been caught entering the United States without inspection. The defendants had roughly 25 seconds to hear their charges, enter a plea, and receive a sentence if they plead guilty.[xii]

    South Africa uses unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), soldiers, and razor fences to protect its borders; and it subjects employers who are convicted of knowingly hiring undocumented foreigners to imprisonment for up to three years.

    South Africa has a 3,022.4-mile land border that it shares with six other countries --Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, and Swaziland. It also has a maritime border that is 2,236.9 miles long and approximately 1,200 airfields, airstrips, and airports. During its apartheid era, South African guarded its land border with electric razor fences that were patrolled by the South African National Defense Force[xiii] (SANDF) and auxiliary civilian commando units. In the post-apartheid era, South African President Thabo Mbeki’s ordered the South African Police Service (SAPS) to take over the border patrolling functions of SANDF. SAPS, however, was not able to keep the border secure, so the SANDF patrols were resumed. The government plans to have fifteen SANDF companies deployed along the country’s land, maritime, and air borders by 2015. Apartheid-era razor fences are being used again too.[xiv]

    The South Africa government also has tried to eliminate the “job magnet” that draws undocumented foreigners to South Africa. Employers are prohibited from hiring foreigners who do not have work authorization. They are expected to check the status or citizenship of their employees to make sure that they do not employ undocumented foreigners. If a foreigner without work authorization is found on any business premises, the law presumes that he is employed by the business and the operator of the business has the burden of proving otherwise. If an employment relationship with an undocumented foreigner is proven by means other than the legal presumption, there is a presumption that the employer knew the foreigner’s status unless he can prove that he employed the person in good faith and made a good faith effort to ascertain the employee’s legal status. Employers who knowingly hire an undocumented immigrant have committed an offense, and, if convicted, are subject to a fine or imprisonment for up to one year. A second conviction is punishable by a fine or imprisonment for up to two years. A third conviction is subject to imprisonment for up to three years without the option of a fine.[xv]

    South Africa has experienced an increase in illegal entry of political asylum seekers and economic refugees. The country also has to contend with the illegal entry of drug smugglers, human traffickers, rhino poachers, and dealers in unlawful firearms – among other cross border criminals. South Africa is a major hub for drug trafficking in southern Africa and for drugs that are shipped to other countries. The government has responded by increasing the number of soldiers at the border. Skeptics worry that the deployment of additional troops may not work. Such security forces tend to be prone to corruption. If soldiers take bribes to let people or contraband through, the additional troop deployments will not help. South Africa also has experienced a problem with fraudulent documents. The government has increased the security of South African passports by using tamper-proof high-tech security features, and it has enacted tough laws to discourage criminal organizations from trading in fraudulent documents.[xvi]

    South Africa began using UAVs in the mid-1980s. According to South African arms manufacturer Denel Dynamics,[xvii] ...

    Published on 04-09-2014 02:24 PM

    Secure Communities and ICE Deportation: A Failed Program?

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    Secure Communities and ICE Deportation:
    A Failed Program?

    An examination of millions of deportation records since the launch of Secure Communities — a massive government surveillance program — shows that this continuing effort has not increased the removal of its primary announced targets: non-citizens who have committed crimes other than minor violations. In fact, the number of such individuals deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has actually declined over the last four years.

    This first report in a new series by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) provides detailed information about the changing makeup of those who have been deported as a result of various enforcement initiatives — foremost of which has been Secure Communities, launched by ICE in 2008 towards the end of the Bush Administration.

    Secure Communities is an ambitious national program under which millions of fingerprint records submitted to the FBI by local law enforcement agencies are passed along to ICE. At that point, the immigration agency issues "detainers" for those that ICE wants the local organizations to hold and then turn over to it. (According to ICE it has already reviewed 32 million fingerprint records through this program.) The broad failure of Secure Communities to achieve its stated goals has been masked by sharp increases in the deportation of those whose most serious conviction was for an immigration violation or traffic offense.

    Read More Read More

    Published on 04-09-2014 02:01 PM

    Blog on Joe Biden’s speech to the Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce: Maybe a Mediator can Solve the Immigration Dilemma

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    In the last two weeks Vice President Joe Biden gave a speech to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in which he urged the leadership of the House of Representatives to vote on the Senate immigration reform, or overhaul bill. He cited the fact that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office concluded that the Senate bill would reduce the deficit by 685 billion dollars in the next twenty years which is no small number indeed. Very few House Republicans can say with a straight face that this ...

    Published on 04-08-2014 12:44 PM

    OBAMA'S PARADOXICAL DEPORTATION POLICIES

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    President Obama has been called the Deporter in Chief as he has presided over nearly 2 million deportations during his presidency – higher than that of any other President. On the other hand, President Obama has also rolled out some of the most innovative prosecutorial discretion policies, which include granting deferred action to hundreds of thousand immigrants who came to the United States when they were young.

    A revealing article in the Los Angeles Times shows that the high number of deportations is largely misleading. The likelihood of an undocumented individual already in the United States who has developed ties being deported has lessened considerably under President Obama. Even people with removal orders can seek a stay of removal if they establish that they are deserving of prosecutorial discretion under the Morton June 17, 2011 Memo.  Young immigrants who arrived in the United States prior to the age of 16 and who meet other conditions can apply for deferred action, along with work authorization, under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

    The people who are being deported, and are part of the increased statistics, are those who recently crossed the border without inspection and are apprehended within 100 miles from the border. Under previous administrations, such people were informally bused back outside the United States in what was known as “voluntary returns.” Under the Obama administration, these people are fingerprinted and issued formal deportation orders. INA section 235(b)(1), which was enacted by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, granted authority to expeditiously remove persons at the border who are deemed inadmissible under INA sections 212(a)(6)(C) for making a material misrepresentation or 212(a)(7) for not possessing valid visa documents. On August 11, 2004, DHS promulgated a rule to expand expedited removal to persons who are present in the United States without having been admitted or paroled and who are apprehended within 100 miles from the southern border and who also cannot prove that they were physically present in the country continuously for the preceding 14 days. This rule was expanded to all borders on January 30, 2006. ...
    Published on 04-07-2014 11:08 AM

    The Current Record on Deportations: What Underlies the 'Eye of the Beholder' Dynamic?

    by


    Originally published on the Migration Information Source (www.migrationinformation.org).


    Donna Burton/CBP

    Within days, the Obama administration is expected to reach a milestone that has brought fear and anger to immigrant communities: A record 2 million removals since taking office. At the same time, the administration gets unyielding criticism and charges of failure to enforce immigration law from enforcement-minded congressional leaders for its actions to shield from deportation hundreds of thousands of unauthorized immigrant youth and others.

    How are these two seemingly contradictory realities possible?

    The answer is that the U.S. immigration enforcement system has been transformed over the last two decades, leading to vastly greater enforcement capacity and—under President Obama—more focused targeting of enforcement efforts. As documented by the Migration Policy Institute in past and forthcoming research, three developments have been particularly important in bringing about a formidable new immigration enforcement machinery.

    First, the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and ...

    Published on 04-07-2014 09:22 AM

    China Real Estate Market Cooling Down and Shadow Banks Crisis - What does it mean to EB-5 Investors?

    by


    April 4, 2014

    The sale and refinancing of real property are common sources of EB-5 investment monies for Chinese investors. However, recent changes in the Chinese banking sectors may make it harder to obtain a home equity loan in China.

    Since late last year, there are mounting signs that the housing market in China is cooling down. One such sign is that Chinese real estate gurus have been aggressively investing overseas. A few notable examples: one of the leading Chinese real estate developers – Greenland, acquired 70% equity of the Atlantic Yards project in New York City late last year. As a direct response to the acquisition, the 498-investor EB-5 project, Atlantic Yards II in New York City was fully subscribed in under three months. In another example, the Chinese development company, Dalian Wanda, acquired the landmark property the Edificio España in Madrid for €260 million euros. (Approximately $356 million dollars)

    In China, smaller transactions with “shadow banks” are on the verge of crisis. “Shadow banks” are unregulated financial companies that borrow and lend money to private investors at a higher interest rate. ...

    Published on 04-04-2014 12:49 PM

    The Challenge of Measuring Immigration Enforcement in the United States

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    The effectiveness of immigration enforcement policies in the United States cannot simply be reduced to removal numbers. In other words, the system’s functionality and fairness cannot be determined by counting how many individuals a president deports each year. An honest analysis should include an understanding of what belies the numbers, as well as a look at the human toll that is taken by the federal government’s immigration enforcement strategy.

    Yet a public debate is currently raging over the question of whether or not the Obama administration has hit, or is about to hit, the magic number of two million deportations since taking office in 2008. This debate is centered on two questions: Do all of the Obama administration’s removals really “count” as deportations? And, how does this number compare with deportations under the Bush administration? Answering these questions is not a simple matter.

    First of all, comparing apprehensions, deportations, and returns during the Bush administration with those under ...

    Published on 04-03-2014 01:46 PM

    Faith Leaders and Groups Make the Moral Case for Immigration Reform

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    There is an increasing number of people and groups of faith across the country pressing for humane immigration policies. In spite of the legislative standstill immigration reform is facing on Capitol Hill, the faith community continues to lift up the need for immigration reform through various events across the country including the ongoing Fast for Families bus tour which is making its way back to Washington, D.C.

    On Tuesday, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops held a Mass on the U.S.-Mexico border. Separated immigrant families took mass together for the first time in years with a 20-foot wall between them, like Maria Miranda of Tucson and her son Jorge Lopez. They attended the mass, with Jorge standing on the Mexican side, with the border fence between them. Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston and bishops from across the West and Southwest gave Communion to people on both sides of the border, and they honored the thousands who have died attempting to cross:

    During Tuesday’s Mass, O’Malley and the bishops laid a wreath at the border wall in Nogales and called for Catholics to remember those who ...

    Published on 04-02-2014 02:55 PM

    High-Tech Immigrant Entrepreneurs are Crucial to Local Economies

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    4553996593_7a8450e2bc_bRecently, a growing number of cities and states have begun pursuing strategies that attract and welcome immigrants and immigrant entrepreneurs in order to grow their economies. Encouraging immigrant high-tech entrepreneurship, and addressing the factors that cultivate an environment in which entrepreneurs may be more successful, is yet another avenue for growth cities may wish to consider. Yet, while many studies have focused on the high-tech contributions of immigrants and immigrant entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, relatively few studies have explored those contributions in other regions. Last week, the Kauffman Foundation released a new studyLessons for U.S. Metro Areas: Characteristics and Clustering of High-Tech Immigrant Entrepreneurs—that addresses the dearth of geographic diversity in research about high-tech immigrant entrepreneurs.

    Specifically, the report emphasizes the importance of “open and culturally diverse” environments in fostering high-tech entrepreneurship in metropolitan areas.  This is true for both immigrants and the U.S.-born. However, the study found that “higher ethnic diversity and a larger share of the foreign-born population are crucial factors in attracting or fostering immigrant high-tech entrepreneurship on the metropolitan level.” In particular, the report examines geographic factors that intersect with metro concentration of high-skill immigrant entrepreneurs. As the study notes, “immigrant-owned businesses are more likely to locate in ethnically diverse metro areas that have high foreign-born populations. That’s important for metro areas hoping to attract and retain this fast-growing pool of high-impact founders.” Dane Stangler, vice president of Research and Policy at the Kauffman Foundation, stated, “Because immigrants are far more likely to start businesses—particularly high-tech companies—than ...

    Published on 04-01-2014 02:37 PM

    ABC's of H-1B [Part V]

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    DOES MY MASTER’S DEGREE QUALIFIES ME FOR THE H-1B MASTER’S CAP?

    Many F-1 visa holders, particularly those who are engaged in OPT, often change their immigration status to become professional specialty workers (H-1B workers). The H-1B cap is the Congressionally-mandated limit on the number of individuals who may be granted H-1B status during each fiscal year. Most foreign nationals seeking H-1B nonimmigrant classification are subject to the 58,200 cap[i]. There are an additional 20,000 H-1B visas, which are restricted to individuals who receive a master’s degrees (or higher degree) from a United States college or university[ii].

    Immigration practitioners, F-1 students, and prospective H-1B employers should note that not every master’s degree from a United States college or university qualifies a foreign national for the additional 20,000 H-1B visas under the H-1B “master’s cap”. In order for an individual to qualify for the master’s cap, a few criteria need to be met. First, the degree must qualify as a master’s degree. Additionally, the master’s degree must be issued by a “U.S. institution of higher ...

    Published on 03-31-2014 11:09 AM

    THE IMPACT OF OBAMACARE ON GREEN CARD HOLDERS WHO RESIDE OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES

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    Unlike many, if not most countries, the long reach of Uncle Sam’s tax laws extend far beyond geographic boundaries to affect citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPR) on an extraterritorial basis. Status not physical presence triggers the tax obligation. The need for LPRs living abroad to comply with US tax regimes is another example of how, since enactment of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, immigration has become increasingly and inextricably intertwined with all other aspects of American life and law. Beyond that, lawful permanent residence is not only a legal status but an economic one as well with tax implications that intimately affect the maintenance of such status and the fiscal consequences of its continued exercise. The impact of the individual health care mandate under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also popularly known as Obamacare, upon LPRs who reside overseas is the most recent example of a growing tension between a domestically focused immigration policy and the increasingly global nature of both individual and national economic conduct in the global economy of the 21st century.

    A number of LPRs, also known as green card holders, temporarily live outside the United States for a variety of legitimate reasons. In a globalized world, LPRs may more readily find employment assignments in other countries or they may need to be outside the United States to look after a sick relative. Essentially, an LPR must be returning from a temporary visit abroad under INA § 101(a)(27) in order to avoid a charge of abandonment. The term “temporary visit abroad” has been subject to interpretation by the Circuit Courts, and although the LPR may remain outside the United States for an extended period of time, the visit may still be considered temporary so long as there is an intention to return. The Ninth Circuit’s interpretation in Singh v. Reno, 113 F.3d 1512 (9th Cir. 1997) is generally followed:

    A trip is a ‘temporary visit abroad’ if (a) it is for a relatively short period, fixed by some early event; or (b) the trip will terminate upon the occurrence of an event that has a reasonable possibility of occurring within a relatively short period of time.” If as in (b) “the length of the visit is contingent upon the occurrence of an event and is not fixed in time and if the event does not occur within a relatively short period of time, the visit will be considered a “temporary visit abroad” only if the alien has a continuous, uninterrupted intention to return to the United States during the visit.

    For a more extensive review on this subject, we refer you to our article, Home Is Where TheCard Is: How To Preserve Lawful Permanent Resident Status In A Global Economy, 13 Bender’s Immigration Bulletin 849, July 1, 2008.

    With the deadline period for enrollment on March 31, 2014, a

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