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    Published on 12-19-2017 11:06 AM

    Regulation VS Legislation “…If confirmed, I commit to finalizing the proposed EB-5 rules…” USCIS Director Cissna

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    At Cissna’s Senate Confirmation hearing, Cissna was asked: “On January 13, 2017, the Obama Administration proposed rules to improve federal oversight of the EB-5 program and curb some of the worst abuses within it. These proposed rules will soon be finalized and implemented by USCIS. However, as The Washington Post and others have reported, large real estate developers – including those with ties to Jared Kushner’s family business – actively oppose these rules. This raises the concern that USCIS could face pressure from the White House to dilute or alter the proposed rules. On May 24, 2017, during your nomination hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, you committed to finalizing and implementing the proposed EB-5 rules. If confirmed as Director of USCIS, will you stand by that commitment, regardless of any external political pressure to do otherwise?”

    Response : “If confirmed, I commit to finalizing the proposed EB-5 rules according to the process set forth in the Administrative Procedure Act and related DHS and OMB guidance.” [1]

    It has been rumored that Cissna is a stickler for Regulations [2]

    and by all indications, this view may be justified. Lee Francis Cissna was sworn in as Director of the USCIS on October 5, 2017 and by December 18, 2017, USCIS through the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), released a new EB-5 deadline advancing the “Final Action Date” for regulations dealing with EB-5 investment amounts and TEAs ( RIN 1615-AC07 ) to February 2018 (from April 2018). At the same time, on December 13, 2017, the House Appropriations Committee introduced a Continuing Resolution that would temporarily extend federal funding and maintain current federal operations (currently authorized to December 22) until January 19, 2018. Although the provisions do not mention EB-5 per se, it is highly probable that EB-5 will hitchhike the CR and get another short extension to next year.

    ...
    Published on 12-19-2017 11:02 AM

    Calling Out President Trump’s Hoax: The Green Card Lottery and Family Fourth Preference Have No Connection To Terrorism

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    Despite the President’s most recent comments , individuals that immigrate to the United States via the Diversity Visa program and family-based petitions are not chosen out of a bin and are certainly not the “worst of the worst.” To the contrary, individuals who come to the United States through these mechanisms undergo rigorous screenings and can face several years, sometimes decades, of processing and waiting.

    Trump’s most recent anti-immigration comments were sparked by the Halloween attack in New York City resulting in the tragic death of eight individuals, as well as the failed bomb attack in Times Square last week. The alleged Halloween attacker, Sayfullo Saipov, entered through the Diversity Visa program in 2010 . Ceasing this political opportunity to further propel his anti-immigrant rhetoric, Trump declared that the Diversity Visa program brings in “ the worst of the worst ” and called on Congress to end the program. The individual who attempted to bomb the New York City subway at Times Square, Akayed Ullah, had entered through a fourth preference family-based petition . He was the child of the beneficiary of an approved I-130 petition filed by his parent’s US citizen sibling. Trump again jumped on the opportunity to criticize another lawful method of immigration and declared that such “extended-family chain migration” is “incompatible with national security.”

    Given the backlogs in family-based preference categories and the rigorous screenings in both family-based petitions and the Diversity Visa program, it is difficult to understand how the President believes they are easily manipulated processes for dangerous individuals to enter the United States. Logically speaking, if someone truly wanted to exert harm on Americans, there are several other ways to do so without having to go through the hassle of the diversity visa program or family-based petitions.

    The modern-day Diversity Visa program was created by Congress through passage of the Immigration Act of 1990 and officially went into effect October 1, 1994. The purpose of the program is to “further enhance and promote diversity” by allowing individuals from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States the opportunity to obtain a green card. There have been many examples of immigrants who have succeeded and benefitted America through this program. In order to apply for the program, an individual must be from a low-sending country and have a high-school education or its equivalent. For FY 2019, individuals from every country but Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland), Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, South Kora, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam are eligible to apply . If applicants fail to submit their registration within the rigid timelines, fail ...

    Published on 12-18-2017 01:09 PM

    2017's Top 10 Immigration Stories

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    1. President Donald Trump . President Trump’s fiery immigration rhetoric and tough immigration enforcement policies unquestionably were the biggest immigration story in the United States in 2017. It is hard to know where to start, from the travel bans to immigration enforcement executive orders to the end of DACA to many statements and initiatives greatly increasing fear in the immigrant communities . President Trump's aggressive immigration measures might only have been topped by his tough, often caustic, immigration rhetoric. The good news is that the Trump administration's immigration measures have revitalized and inspired the immigrant rights movement.

    330px-Jeff_Sessions _official_portrait

    2. The End of DACA. After months of speculation, the Trump administration, in an announcement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions , in September began the phasing out of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, President Obama's signature immigration initiative. The future of DACA recipients was thrown into disarray. There were protests of the end of DACA across the country and many calls for congressional action to address the many deficiencies with the immigration laws.

    330px-Joe_Arpaio_by_Gage_Skidmore_4

    3. The Pardon of Joe Arpaio In August, President Trump pardoned former Maricopa County (Arizona) S he riff J oe Arpaio . After a criminal contempt trial, a U.S. district court had found Arpaio to have intentionally refused to comply with court orders that he not engage in unlawful racial profiling of Latina/os in Arizona, U.S citizens as well as immigrants. In continued violation of numerous court orders, Arpaio continued his discriminatory law enforcement practices and even had an investigator tail the wife of the district court judge who ordered the injunction. Not surprisingly, the pardon was widely criticized .

    Tani_Cantil-Sakauye_official_photo

    4. Chief Justice of California Criticizes ICE Operations at the California Courthouses . In March, Chief Justice of California Tani Cantil-Sakauye expressed concerns with federal immigration enforcement operatiuons at the California courthouses in a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and then-Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security John Kelly. Her specific concerns centered on "reports from some of our trial courts that immigration agents appear to be stalking undocumented immigrants in our courthouses to make arrests." California's courageous Chief Justice received a less than friendly response from the Attorney General and DHS Secretary.

    Steinle

    Photo: Paul Chinn, San Francisco Chronicle

    5. Defense Verdict in Kate Steinle Case. The tragedy of Kate Steinle's death on the San Francisco waterfront became a front page immigration football for, among others, President Trump. In November, a San Francisco jury reached a verdict in the trial of a homeless undocumented immigrant in the fatal shooting of Steinle . The jury found for the defense on all counts but a firearms charge. The verdict provoked much discussion and debate . President Donald Trump, who had previously talked about the Steinle case as an example of why undocumented immigration was out of control, condemned the verdict. He tweeted that the not guilty verdict in the Steinle murder trial was “disgraceful.” Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, a Mexican citizen who had been released from a San Francisco jail and had previously been deported many times, had been charged with murder.

    Oblique_facade_2 _US_Supreme_Court

    Equal

    6. The Supreme Court and Immigration. The Supreme Court's 2016 Term ended with a whimper in its remaining immigration cases. On the last day of the Term, the Court agreed to review the travel ban decisions in the 2017 Term (a grant that it later dismissed as moot in the wake of the issuance of a new travel ban by President Trump). The Court also decided Hernandez v. Mesa , which involved a cross border shooting by U.S. immigration enforcement officer of a young Mexican national. The Court in a per curiam opinion vacated and remanded the case to the court of appeals to consider whether the family could sue for violation of the Fourth Amendment. Last but not least, on the last day of the Term, the Court ordered reargument in two immigration cases that were re-argued in October -- Jennings v. Rodriguez (reviewing the legality of detention of immigrants without a bond hearing) and Sessions v. Dimaya (reviewing a Ninth Circuit decision, written by Judge Stephen Reinhardt , striking down a criminal removal provision as unconstitutionally vague). Justice Kagan later recused herself in the Jennings case.

    The Court earlier in the 2016 Term had decided four decisions touching on immigration, with the decisions generally favoring the immigrant:

    1. Sessions v. Morales-Santana (invalidating gender distinctions favoring women over men based on antiquated on stereotypes in derivative citizenship laws).

    2.

    Published on 12-18-2017 12:41 PM

    Entrepreneur Parole Now Available

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    On December 14, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that “entrepreneur parole” is now available. The application form and instructions are at https://www.uscis.gov/I-941.

    The entrepreneur parole rule has had a long and complicated history. The United States does not have a visa category specifically for start-up founders. Thus, international entrepreneurs have to fit into one or more existing visa categories. That can be difficult. For an article about the various visa options international entrepreneurs may qualify for, see https://millermayer.com/2016/visa-op...entrepreneurs/ .

    In August 2016, The Obama administration proposed a rule to grant parole for certain entrepreneurs as a way to help international entrepreneurs stay in the United States temporarily while forming and growing their companies. After receiving more than 750 comments, the prior administration published a

    Published on 12-15-2017 03:57 PM

    H1B Support: How to Answer the Level 1 Wages RFE

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    In the past decade, the prevalence of RFEs for H1B visas has skyrocketed and CIS has become evermore particular about the same two eligibility requirements.

    To qualify for the H1B visa, a candidate's job must require a US Bachelors degree or higher or its US equivalent, and the candidate must have those academic qualifications.

    As competition for the same number of annual visas exploded, ...

    Published on 12-15-2017 03:52 PM

    by


    January 2008 visa bulletin

    A short summary of the bulletin is that the final action dates (A chart) for family and employment based cases generally advanced except for assumedly temporary unavailability of certain religious workers and regional center investment cases (tied in with the machinations of Washington’s budget bill), and that the filing dates (B chart) for both family and employment remained the same. So the rest of this part of the article will only talk about the A chart. Most countries in the world saw family-based advances in the F-1 category for unmarried ...

    Published on 12-15-2017 03:34 PM

    Briefing on Recent Developments from the Consul General, U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Russia

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    On Wednesday, December 13, 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 the good news that on Monday, December 11, 2017, the U.S. consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok began to offer ...

    Published on 12-15-2017 03:27 PM

    Why are the January Visa Numbers for the EB-5 Regional Center Program Unavailable for January 2018? And What’s In Store for the Year of the Dog?

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    The U.S. Department of State (“DOS”) has just published the Visa Bulletin for January 2018 , and the Final Action Dates for the EB-5 $500,000 (I5) and $1 million (R5) investment in the EB-5 Regional Center categories have been listed as “Unavailable”. The Visa Bulletin states:

    The continuing resolution signed on December 7, 2017 extended this immigrant investor pilot program until December 22, 2017. The I5 and R5 visas may be issued until close of business on December 22, 2017, and may be issued for the full validity period. No I5 or R5 visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after December 22, 2017.

    The final action dates for the I5 and R5 categories have been listed as “Unavailable” for January. If there is legislative action extending them for FY-2018, the final action dates would immediately become “Current” for January for all countries except China-mainland born I5 and R5 which would be subject to a July 22, 2014 final action date.

    So, in a nutshell, no EB-5 regional center visas can be issued in January 2018, unless Congress extends the EB-5 Regional Center program beyond. In some ways it is helpful that the regional center program is linked ...

    Published on 12-15-2017 03:21 PM

    EB-5 Investment Voice; Mona Shah & Associates Global Podcast Series

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    With issues around retrogression in the EB-5 program, aspiring investors are looking for alternative strategies. There is no doubt that E-2 visa has been the flavor of the month and legal practitioners and agents alike are passionately pursuing this alternate route for investors to come to the United States.

    In this podcast, which marks the 50th podcast in the EB-5 Investment Voice series - the only Podcast series that focuses on the US immigrant investor visa, EB-5 and foreign direct investment, Dr. Christofer Ashby joins Mona and Rebecca to discuss the E-2 program in Grenada as a stepping stone to the US EB-5.

    It is not the first time, however, that EB-5 Investment Voice invited guests to speak about the transition from E-2 to EB-5 , as seen by our old podcast Changing Lanes from E-2 to EB-5 with Kamran Kirmani of NuRide posted on August 3, 2017 and the subsequent report (by the author) published on ILW’s Immigration Daily ( http://discuss.ilw.com/content.php?8...ione-Krumm-Esq ...

    Published on 12-14-2017 01:22 PM

    “Terrorism-Related Mandatory Bars To Asylum” Training Materials For Asylum Officers Released After A Freedom Of Information Request

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    100 pages of materials entitled “Terrorism-Related Inadmissibiity Grounds (TRIG),” dated February 2017, for asylum officers, was recently released after a FOIA request by Catholic Charities of Washington DC. A copy is available on the Asylum Officer Materials page on the Louise Trauma Center website: www.louisetrauma.weebly.com . It is also AILA Doc. No. 17121239.

    Some excerpts:

    INA § 212(a)(3)(B) applies to asylum, adjustment of status, and TPS. [Page 3]

    INA § 212(a)(3)(B) refers to three types of “terrorist organizations,” six types of “terrorist activity;” and six types of “engaging in terrorist activity.”

    TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS There are three types of “terrorist organizations:”

    Tier I “Designated”

    Tier II “Exclusion list”

    Tier III; “Undesignated”

    = = = = = = = = = = =

    Tier I: an organization designated by Secretary of State [Page 7]

    (on June 21, 2017, the State Department designated “Hizballah” and “al-Qa’ida” as Foreign Terrorist Organizations). The Taliban is a Tier I terrorist organization. Page 7

    = = = =

    Tier II organizations are found on the Terror Exclusion List. Page 8.

    The Afghan Support Committee and Al-Hamati Sweets Bakeries are on this list.

    The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has been taken ...

    Published on 12-12-2017 11:56 AM

    3 Pro Tips to Successfully Answer the Level 1 Wages H1B RFE

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    At TheDegreePeople, we see difficult RFEs come across our desks every year. This year, CIS rolled out a new RFE, the Level 1 Wages RFE, that has everyone panicking. No one saw it coming, and it's arrived in unprecedented numbers.

    First, it's important to understand how the Level 1 Wages RFE is justified. CIS cites a passage in the Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook that it uses to ...

    Published on 12-12-2017 10:57 AM

    “Understanding EB-5 Securities – NYU Stern Database of SEC EB-5 Securities Enforcement Actions”

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    ...

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