Home Page


Immigration Daily

Archives

Processing times

Immigration forms

Discussion board

Resources

Blogs

Twitter feed

Immigrant Nation

Attorney2Attorney

CLE Workshops

Immigration books

Advertise on ILW

VIP Network

EB-5

移民日报

About ILW.COM

Connect to us

Make us Homepage

Questions/Comments


SUBSCRIBE





The leading
immigration law
publisher - over
50000 pages of
free information!
Copyright
© 1995-
ILW.COM,
American
Immigration LLC.

  • Articles RSS Feed

    Published on 04-15-2014 12:04 PM

    The Growth of the U.S. Deportation Machine

    by


    More Immigrants are being “Removed” from the United States than Ever Before

    Despite some highly public claims to the contrary, there has been no waning of immigration enforcement in the United States. In fact, the U.S. deportation machine has grown larger in recent years, indiscriminately consuming criminals and non-criminals alike, be they unauthorized immigrants or long-time legal permanent residents (LPRs). Deportations under the Obama administration alone are now approaching the two-million mark. But the deportation frenzy began long before this milestone. The federal government has, for nearly two decades, been pursuing an enforcement-first approach to immigration control that favors mandatory detention and deportation over the traditional discretion of a judge to consider the unique circumstances of every case. The end result has been a relentless campaign of imprisonment and expulsion aimed at noncitizens—a campaign authorized by Congress and implemented by the executive branch. While this campaign precedes the Obama administration by many years, it has grown immensely during his tenure in the White House. In part, this is the result of laws which have put the expansion of deportations on automatic. But the continued growth of deportations also reflects the policy choices of the Obama administration. Rather than putting the brakes on this non-stop drive to deport more and more people, the administration chose to add fuel to the fire.

    IRCA and the New Era of Deportations

    The U.S. system of deportation (and immigration detention) has been growing for decades under both Republican and Democratic administrations and congresses.The impetus for this growth was a small section of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) known as the MacKay amendment, which encouraged the initiation of deportation proceedings against any immigrant convicted of a deportable offense. Since that time, a stream of punitive legislation has eaten away at the traditional discretion of judges to grant relief from deportation in particular cases.  The end result is that the number of “removals” (deportations) has trended upward since the mid-1990s. Meanwhile, the number of apprehensions has fluctuated widely, primarily in response to changing economic conditions in the United States and Mexico, and nose-dived when the recession of late 2007 hit. The number of “voluntary returns” has tracked apprehensions closely. However, since 2005, voluntary return has been made available to fewer and fewer apprehended immigrants as deportation (with criminal consequences for re-entry into the country) becomes the preferred option of U.S. immigration authorities (Figure 1).

    Most unauthorized immigrants (and deportees) have long been men. However, faced with intensified immigration enforcement, men who in the past might have returned to their home countries after a few years of work ...

    Published on 04-14-2014 02:18 PM

    H-1B Program’s Impact on Wages, Jobs, and the Economy

    by


    Every year, U.S. employers seeking highly skilled foreign professionals have rolled the dice on April 1 and submitted their applications for the limited pool of H-1B visas available each fiscal year. With only 65,000 visas available for new hires - and 20,000 additional visas for foreign professionals who graduate with a Master’s or Doctorate from a U.S. university - in recent years demand has far outstripped the supply and the cap has been quickly reached. Understanding the H-1B process is important to understanding the vital economic role that higher-skilled immigration plays in growing our economy and creating new opportunities for native and foreign-born workers alike. H-1B workers do not harm native-born workers’ job opportunities, are not poorly compensated, and are not “cheap foreign labor.” In fact, their presence often leads to higher wages and more job opportunities. Highly skilled immigrants complement their native-born peers; they do not substitute for them. This is true throughout high-skilled occupations, but is particularly true in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Arguments that foreign-born workers and immigrants are depressing wages or displacing native-born workers are contradicted by the available evidence. The following guide answers the questions most often asked and debunks the most prevalent myths about the H-1B program.

    What is the H-1B visa?

    • The H-1B visa is a temporary non-immigrant employment visa for highly educated foreign professionals in “specialty occupations” that require at least a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent. The visa is for three years with the option to renew for an additional three years for a total of six years. H-1B visa holders may be sponsored for permanent visas by their employers.
    • As part of the application process, the employer must attest, on a labor condition application (LCA) certified by the Department of Labor, that employment of the H-1B worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. The LCA must be posted at the worksite for ten days.
    • The H-1B visa is currently capped at 65,000 per year, with 20,000 additional visas for foreign professionals who graduate with a Master’s or Doctorate from a U.S. university (Figure 1). In recent years, the limit has been reached days after the visas are made available.

    Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

    What is the annual H-1B visa “lottery”?

    Because the annual cap for H-1B visas is inadequate compared with the demand for high-skilled workers, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) generally receives a greater number of petitions than there are visas available, causing the cap to be met quickly in recent years. USCIS then uses a random selection process to choose from the pool of applications received.  

    • When USCIS begins accepting H-1B petitions on April 1 each year, they typically end up receiving a greater number of applications than the cap allows. USCIS then stops accepting applications and puts the petitions it has already received into a lottery to randomly determine which will be selected to receive the remaining cap numbers.
    • A computer-generated random selection process is used to select the petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 for the general category and 20,000 under the advanced degree exemption limit.
    • In 5 of the last 9 years the H-1B visa cap has been reached in less than 90 days (Table 1).   

    Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. 

    • The cap for Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 was filled on April 5, 2013, only a few days after the first day that filing was permitted. At that time, USCIS had received approximately 124,000 H-1B petitions, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption.
    • For the 124,000 petitions USCIS received in April 2013 for FY 2014, it “conducted the selection process for advanced degree exemption petitions first. All advanced degree petitions not selected were part of the random selection process for ...
    Published on 04-14-2014 02:10 PM

    Immigration-Related Audits: What Employers Need To Know

    by


    There are three potential “hot spots” for audits and investigations by the government, related to the immigration and nationality laws. Even a rudimentary understanding of the complex documentary requirements for each of these programs can help an employer to avoid potential liability.

    The first hot spot has to do with the documentation that the employer is required to maintain in connection with the H-1B nonimmigrant professional and specialty and occupation worker visa. The second area of potential audit concerns the employer’s obligations under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) [Pub. L. No. 99-603, 100 Stat. 3359] (known to HR Professionals as the “I-9 Process”). The third and most recent area of audit surrounds the new Labor Certification Application Program called “Permanent Electronic Review Management” (PERM). Each of the foregoing government programs anticipates compliance ...

    Published on 04-11-2014 11:22 AM

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

    by


    NOW THAT THE CAP IS REACHED . . . DO I STILL HAVE A CHANCE OF GETTING AN H-1B VISA?

    On Monday, April 7, 2014, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap, both regular and master’s, for fiscal year (FY) 2015. Because of the surge of petitions that were filed, USCIS conducted a lottery (technically referred as “random selection process”) on April 10, 2014, to determine which petitions received in the five-day submission period, the minimum time USCIS can accept petitions, will actually be considered. USCIS will soon start sending receipt notices for the petitions selected in the random selection process.

    As expected, it is a very stressful time for thousands of potential H-1B workers. Until the prospective H-1B employers or their legal representatives start receiving receipt notices, and the dark clouds of uncertainty over prospective H-1B visa holders move past, the question worth asking and exploring is: “Do I still have a chance of getting an H-1B visa even if my H-1B petition does not make it to the H-1B cap?”

    Unfortunately, the regular (bachelor’s) H-1B cap remains at 58,200[i] and the master’s cap cannot accommodate more than 20,000 specialty occupation workers. However, there are certain categories of cap-exempt H-1B visas. One such category is for beneficiaries of employment offers at: (1) institutions of higher education or related or affiliated nonprofit entities; or (2) nonprofit research organizations or governmental research organizations.[ii] Thus, to get a cap-exempt H-1B visa using this category the fundamental question to ask is: whether the offer of employment is from an institution of higher education, or related or affiliated nonprofit entities, or from nonprofit research organization or governmental research organization.

    For the purposes of H-1B cap exemption, the H-1B regulations have adopted the definition of institution of higher education set forth in section 101(a) ...

    Published on 04-11-2014 09:51 AM

    Why We Should All Be Mad About The H-1B VISA CAP

    by


    The USCIS announced today, April 9, 2014, that it had received 172,500 H-1B visa petitions for the 65,000 H-1B regular cap and the  20,000 additional cap for graduates with advanced degrees from US universities. This is much more than the 124,000 H-1B visa petitions the USCIS received in 2014. The H-1B cap makes no sense, and here are 10 good reasons why we should all really be more upset about it this year for the simple reason is that we face the cap each year, and nothing ever changes. Enough is enough! 

    The first reason to be mad about the H-1B cap is that it forces employers to scramble way before the start of the 2015 fiscal year, which is October 1, to file for H-1B visas, only to get rejected by a randomized lottery. This is no way to treat US employers who pay thousands of dollars in legal and filing fees, along with all the steps they need to take in being in compliance. The whole concept of a nonsensical quota reminds us of Soviet era central planning, and then to inject a casino style of lottery into the process, just rubs salt into an oozing old wound. 

    Second, one can only feel for all the foreign national prospective employees, who all need to qualify to work in a specialty occupation, as defined under the H-1B visa ...
    Published on 04-10-2014 01:10 PM

    Turning Website Visitors into Clients with the Eureka Method

    by


    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?

    by


    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?

    by


    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

    by


    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

    by


    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. ...


Put Free Immigration Law Headlines On Your Website

Immigration Daily: the news source for legal professionals. Free! Join 35000+ readers Enter your email address here: