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    Published on 10-02-2017 03:05 PM

    An Update Regarding the U.S. Mission to Russia


    On Monday, September 25, 2017, Laurence E. Tobey, Minister-Counselor for Consular Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Russia, gave an informative presentation on the status of the U.S. Mission to Russia. The talk was sponsored by the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia.

    Mr. Tobey’s address focused on describing events of the preceding months, the Consular Section’s response to those events, and how visa applicants can best work with the Consular Section in light of new developments.

    In response to further sanctions against Russia by the United States, in ...

    Published on 09-29-2017 11:36 AM

    K-1 statistics show increasing denials


    The numbers tell us denials are increasing

    Recent reports from the US Department of State don’t give very reassuring immigration statistics. Unfortunately, it looks like the denials rates are increasing for the K-1 visa.

    It’s quite probable that the recent turn of events are due to the tightening security measures, extreme vetting of K-1 visa applicants, and recent change of administration (President Trump’s agenda).

    Historically, certain parts of the world see more K-1 visa approvals than others. These trends repeat often. On the other hand, certain nations don’t consider the fiance visa as a popular option.

    Although it won’t predict whether or not your case is approved, it does put the difficulty into perspective. Imagine going into a high-denial Embassy with a host of “ Red flags ”. What would the outcome be? Take a look and decide for yourself.

    General Statistics of the K-1 visa process

    Lucky for us, the US Department of State publishes an annual list of statistics about various visa categories. There’s none specifically for the K-1 visa, so we pull the data out of several publications. Data for 2017 hasn’t been released yet, so here is the latest of 2016.

    You can rest assured that these Official visa statistics are credible and come straight from the source. Let’s take a look at what they mean.


    K-1 Visas issuance is increasing

    The fact is that more and more K-1 visas are being issued every year. The trends are going up. Besides 2016, year 2014 was also popular for K-1 and K-2 visas. Apparently, it’s one of the types of nonimmigrant visas least issued (in terms of numbers).

    This Dept of State statistics table show how many fiance visas were granted over the past few years

    This means more and more couples are aware of the K-1 visa. And a higher number of visas are being issued. Doesn’t that sound great?

    Actually it is good news, but it’s coupled with some bad news, as you’ll see in the next section.

    Published on 09-29-2017 11:30 AM


    1. The new travel ban announced on Sunday, 9/24/17, by the Trump administration drops Sudan from the earlier list of 6 (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, Yemen) and adds Chad and North Korea. Venezuela is on the list only for certain governmental officials and family members on B-1/B-2 visas, so there are many questions as to why it was even part of the travel ban except to promote the perception of less bias against Muslim countries. The bar affects countries differently banning all immigrants and non-immigrants from North Korea and Syria; immigrants and B-1/B-2 visitors from Chad, Libya and Yemen; immigrants and all non-immigrants ...

    Published on 09-28-2017 02:24 PM

    DHS to Collect Social Media Information on all Immigrants


    On September 18, 2017, in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed to modify a current Department of Homeland Security system of records titled, “Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection-001 ...

    Published on 09-27-2017 02:07 PM

    Argument preview: The constitutionality of mandatory and lengthy immigrant detention without a bond hearing


    Detention as a tool of immigration enforcement has increased dramatically following immigration reforms enacted in 1996. Two Supreme Court cases at the dawn of the new millennium offered contrasting approaches to the review of decisions of the U.S. government to detain immigrants. In 2001, in Zadvydas v. Davis , the Supreme Court interpreted an immigration statute to require judicial review of a detention decision because “to permit[] indefinite detention of an alien would cause a serious constitutional problem.” Just two years later, the court in Demore v. Kim invoked the “plenary power” doctrine – something exceptional to immigration law and inconsistent with modern constitutional law – to immunize from review a provision of the immigration statute requiring detention of immigrants awaiting removal based on a crime.

    How the Supreme Court reconciles these dueling decisions will no doubt determine the outcome in Jennings v. Rodriguez . This case involves the question whether immigrants, like virtually any U.S. citizen placed in criminal or civil detention, must be guaranteed a bond hearing and possible release from custody. Relying on Zadvydas v. Davis, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit affirmed a district court injunction that avoided “a serious constitutional problem” by requiring bond hearings every six months for immigrant detainees. The court of appeals further mandated that, in order to continue to detain an ...

    Published on 09-27-2017 02:05 PM

    President Trump’s New Travel Ban – Part 2: Update from Department of State


    Today, the U.S. Department of State (“DOS”) released a statement on President Trump’s proclamation titled “ Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry into the United States by Terrorists or other Public-Safety Threats .” DOS provided a helpful chart describing the various travel restrictions for nationals of each of the eight countries subject to the travel ban:

    DOS also provided a list of exceptions from the travel ban that applies to nationals of all eight countries, such as:

    • Any national who was in the United States on the applicable effective date of the proclamation for that national, regardless ...
    Published on 09-27-2017 02:01 PM

    Dealing With The Dreaded RFE – Reflections Of An Immigration Lawyer


    RFE is the acronym for Request for Evidence. It is dreaded by immigration lawyers who file H-1B visa petitions and other applications for immigration benefits. The RFE is essentially a challenge by the immigration agency, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), asserting that the applicant does not appear to be qualified for the visa classification, and therefore requests additional information to adjudicate. The time given to respond to an RFE is generally 87 days. The RFE can consist of several pages of objections. Upon receiving it, the immigration lawyer must meticulously strategize a response in conjunction with the client. Responding to the RFE can take several hours, and at times days on end. It requires coordinating with others for an expert evaluation, as well as for corroborative letters from other employers and trade organizations. Although responding to an RFE is part of a routine administrative process, it feels like one is writing a brief to an appellate court. There is a lot of tension for both the lawyer and the client. If the response to the RFE cannot be overcome in the eyes of a faceless bureaucrat in a remote immigration service center, the petition is denied. The consequences can be drastic. The foreign national beneficiary falls out of status, and may have to leave the United States with family in tow. If the case was filed under the H-1B cap, filing a new one will not be possible until the employer waits for H-1B cap filing period next year, and then too there is no assurance that the H-1B will get selected under next year’s lottery.

    It is not a surprise, therefore, that when the Administration does not favor a particular visa, the RFE rate increases. A case in point is the H-1B visa that has become the favorite whipping boy over several administrations. An article in Reuters by Yeganeh Torbati entitled “

    Published on 09-27-2017 01:55 PM

    How an H-1B Holder Can Start a Business


    Starting a business can be a difficult endeavor, not to mention a leap of faith. Doing so as an alien, however, can present its own share of challenges. While there are several ways for a foreign national to become an entrepreneur in the U.S., one question that is often asked is: can an H-1B holder start his or her own business? The answer is yes, and here’s how it’s done.

    Starting a Business as an Immigrant

    According to a 2014 report, immigrants were responsible for the creation of over three million businesses during that year. Extrapolated over the years, it’s clear that immigrants play a vital role in the small business economy here in the U.S. They do this in a number of ways: the E-2 visa, the EB-2 National Interest Waiver, and the EB-5 are all great candidates for granting a foreign entrepreneur permission to start a business in the U.S. One visa program that few think about when considering business owners is the H-1B program .

    How it Works for an H-1B Holder

    While it is possible for an H-1B holder ...

    Published on 09-26-2017 02:10 PM

    President Trump Issues New Travel Ban


    On Sunday, September 24, 2017, President Donald Trump issued a Presidential Proclamation on Enhancing Vetting Capabilities & Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats that indefinitely blocks the entry for certain individuals from eight countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Chad, North Korea, Syria, Somalia, and Yemen (Sudan had originally been included). Please note that this information is subject to change.

    The Proclamation applies immediately (effective at 3:30pm EST on September 24, 2017) to those who are covered by the prior travel ban that had been subject to federal court litigation and who lack a credible bona fide relationship to a person or entity in the U.S. For all other persons – including nationals of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia who have a bona fide relationship in the U.S. – AND nationals of Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela, the new ban becomes effective at 12:01 am on October 18, 2017.

    The White House has issued a Frequently Asked Questions page on the new travel ban. A summary on those who are impacted by this new travel ban is below:

    Travel Restriction for Nationals of Eight Countries – Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Venezuela, Syria, and Yemen

    General Conditions

    Published on 09-26-2017 02:00 PM

    Good And Bad News For Long-delayed Asylum Applicant


    In response to an “unreasonable delay” lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, the Department of Homeland Security [“DHS”] promised to adjudicate an asylum case “within 90

    days” in lieu of filing a response to the lawsuit. The DHS kept its promise. However, the asylum case was rejected, and referred to Immigration Court.

    Mr. A was interviewed by an asylum officer in August 2014. But, no decision was made. His lawyer wrote letters and emails in 2015 and 2016. His lawyer contacted the US-CIS Ombudsman, and AILA.

    March 2017: Mr. A filed an Administrative Procedure Act [“APA”] lawsuit against the DHS, in the U.S. District ...

    Published on 09-26-2017 01:33 PM

    Law Student Katie Kelly Commentary: The Various Claims Challenging the Rescission of DACA


    This is a guest post by third year UC Davis law student Katie Kelly:

    The Trump administration disappointed millions of people across the United State on September 5, when it announced its rescission of President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The effective date of the rescission was delayed for six months to provide Congress time to pass adequate immigration legislation. Several lawsuits have been filed challenging the legality of the action. Details of those suits and the claims therein are as follows, chronologically:

    New York et al. v. Trump et al.

    On September 6, fourteen states and the District of Columbia joined New York in bringing a suit against President Trump and Elaine Duke, in their official capacities, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) , U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the United States. The States, on behalf of their respective citizens and DACA beneficiaries, are claiming the following violations:

    (1) Equal Protection provided by the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment for racial discrimination through the rescission. This claim rests on Donald Trump’s generalizations of and racist comments about Mexicans both during his campaign and his presidency. The States further allege that President Trump’s recent pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio displays racial animus, because Arpaio was found in criminal contempt for continuing to racially profile, despite being ordered to cease the practice.

    (2) Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment for potentially using information obtained during the DACA registration against DACA registrants. This claim rests on the fact that during registration ...

    Published on 09-25-2017 02:05 PM

    Border Wall May Be an Expensive Solution to a Nonexistent Problem


    If the Trump administration fulfills its promise to build a “ big, beautiful wall ” along the entire length of the U.S.-Mexico border, it will be a very costly solution to a problem that no longer exists—and may not exist again for a very long time.

    A report from the Brookings Institution has concluded that changes in migration rates and the economic climate of both the United States and Latin America have caused a dramatic decrease in the number of unauthorized migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. If so few immigrants are attempting to cross the border, the report argues, the 21 billion dollar plan would ...

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