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    Published on 08-23-2016 01:46 PM

    A Ban on Refugees Would Shut Out More Christians than Muslims


    August 01, 2016

    When Secretary of State John Kerry promised to respond more vigorously to the worldwide refugee crisis last year, more than 85 members of Congress signed onto a bill to shut down the entire refugee program. Texas Congressman Brian Babin, the bill’s sponsor, explained their view: “The most persecuted religious minority in the world have been Christians, and of these 70,000, soon to be 100,000 per year coming in from the Middle East, less than four percent are Christian.”

    Rep. Babin is right to be concerned for Christian refugees, but his facts about the refugee program are quite wrong. A majority of the 70,000 refugees that the United States accepted last year were from areas other than the Middle East. The U.S. refugee program has not only accepted a higher percentage of Christians than he stated, it has actually accepted more Christians than Muslims, even after the crisis in Syria and President Obama’s changes at the beginning of this year.

    Shutting Down the Refugee Program Would Injure People of All Faiths

    Because most Syrian refugees are Muslim, and Syria has received the bulk of the attention recently, many people have come to associate the refugee program exclusively with the Middle East and Muslims.

    But the reality is that the majority of refugees come from outside the Middle East. More than 60 percent of refugees come from areas that are not the “Near East” or “South Asia,” according to data from the State Department. As can be seen below, this share is down from 2014.

    Figure 1: Refugees in U.S. Refugee Program by Region (FY 2014-2016)

    Source: State Department

    It’s also incorrect to associate the refugee program primarily with Muslims. The State Department data show that the majority of the refugees admitted under the U.S. refugee program so far this year subscribe to religions other than Islam. The share of Muslims has steadily risen as the refugee crisis in Iraq and Syria has worsened, but not at the expense of Christians, whose share has remained level since 2014.

    Figure 2: Refugees in the U.S. Refugee Program by Religion (FY 2012-2014)

    Published on 08-23-2016 11:41 AM

    Minors as EB-5 Investors


    As the EB-5 visa backlog for natives of China continues to increase, parents looking to use the EB-5 program to obtain U.S. permanent residence for their children are faced with the prospect of their children reaching the age of 21 prior to an EB-5 visa becoming available to them and their families. As a result, many are considering gifting the investment funds to their child, and letting the child be the EB-5 investor and Petitioner. We have been asked by clients and others if and how this can be accomplished. We provide a brief explanation below. For more detailed information, be on the lookout for the upcoming article on the topic co-authored by me and Catherine DeBono Holmes of Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP.

    First, it is important to note that USCIS does not have an established policy regarding the approval of minors as EB-5 ...

    Published on 08-22-2016 02:20 PM

    Who is at Fault for Your RFE?


    About one in every four H-1B petitions receive an RFE. The first step to answering an RFE is to understand what CIS is asking, who dropped the ball, and who can provide that information. Just because someone is at fault for your RFE, or your employee or client’s RFE does not mean you should fire them or find someone else. At this stage, it is often unwise to find a new attorney, evaluator, or employer for that matter. Sometimes it’s the candidate’s fault. Sometimes, CIS is at fault. Sometimes ...

    Published on 08-22-2016 01:11 PM

    Why Don’t They Just Get In Line? There Is No Line for Many Unauthorized Immigrants


    Published on 08-22-2016 11:57 AM

    The Immigrant Inspector's Handbook- Gone But Not Forgotten


    Published on 08-22-2016 11:42 AM

    Who Should Get Notice When An I-140 Petition Is Revoked? It’s The Worker, Stupid!


    The ability for a foreign national worker to move to a new job is crucial in an age of never ending backlogs in the employment-based (EB) immigrant visa preferences. If an I-485 application for adjustment of status has been filed and been pending for more than 180 days, under INA 204(j), the I-140 immigrant visa petition shall remain valid with respect to a new job if it is in the same or a similar occupational classification as the job for which the petition was filed. This means that so long as the worker “ports” to a same or similar job, the validity of the underlying labor certification and the I-140 petition is kept intact. The new employer is not required to restart the green card process on behalf of this worker who is the beneficiary of the approved I-140 petition filed by the former employer.

    There are many who filed I-485 applications when the July 2007 visa bulletin was current, and then retrogressed, who are still waiting in the never ending EB-3 India backlog. For them, 204(j) job portability is a great blessing, although it can also have pitfalls. If the USCIS chooses to revoke the already approved I-140 petition because it suspects that the employer committed fraud, but the worker has now moved onto a new job, who should get notice o the USCIS’s intent to revoke?

    Courts seem to be agreeing that the original employer should not be the exclusive party receiving notice when the worker has ported to a new employer. The original employer no longer has any stake in the process and may also be antagonistic toward the beneficiary of the I-140 petition who has already left the employment many years ago. The beneficiary in addition to porting off the I-140 petition provided the adjustment application has been pending for 180 or more days, can also recapture the priority date of the original I-140 and apply it to a new I-140 petition filed by the new employer. Thus, a worker who was sponsored by the original employer in the EB-3 can potentially re-boot into EB-2 through a new employer, and recapture the priority date applicable to the original I-140 ...

    Published on 08-19-2016 02:10 PM

    The Employment Situation of Immigrants and Natives in the First Quarter of 2016


    Published on 08-19-2016 01:08 PM

    Fifth Circuit Throws Out $226,000 I-9 Penalty Assessed Against Staffing Company


    Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit released its highly anticipated decision concerning whether an employer can complete I-9 forms with “corporate” rather than “personal” knowledge of the documents presented by the employee. This issue arose last year when a staffing company was ordered to pay over $226,000 in civil penalties for improperly completing its I-9 forms.

    While large I-9 fines are certainly nothing new to employers these days, the facts here were slightly different – the I-9s themselves were mostly fine, but the staffing company had this rather “unique” method for completing section 2. And while many experts today would say the government’s case against the company was a slam-dunk, the court’s decision may actually surprise you. Let’s take a closer look…beginning with a trip down memory lane.

    A Unique I-9 Process

    Employer Solutions Staffing Group (“ESSG”) is a temporary employment staffing firm, located in suburban Minneapolis, with operations throughout ...

    Published on 08-19-2016 11:51 AM

    The Lesser Known Alternative for EB-5 Investment: Direct Investment Participation in an Offering with a FINRA Registered Broker-Dealer Acting as Placement Agent


    In the recent months there has been quite a bit of speculation on the EB-5 Program as a whole with an abundant of the commentary geared towards Regional Centers. What has not received noteworthy commentary are the offerings through Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) registered broker-dealers acting as a placement agent to company seeking capital, as well as on what a FINRA registered broker-dealer does when it acts as a placement agent to a company, or the “Issuer” (as companies seeking capital are often being referred to in financial industry), and who can be compensated.

    What does it mean to be a FINRA registered broker dealer?

    A firm has to first ...

    Published on 08-18-2016 03:30 PM

    A Failure to Commit the Full Amount of Investment to the NCE


    Published on 08-18-2016 01:15 PM

    Did My Family Really Come “Legally”? Today’s Immigration Laws Created a New Reality


    Published on 08-18-2016 12:17 PM

    Immigration Strategies for Employers During Layoffs


    Layoffs can be a challenging time for any employer, large or small. To ensure that a reduction in force for an employer that has a foreign-national population goes smoothly, it is critical to understand the immigration obligations necessary to satisfy federal regulatory requirements.

    A foreign-national workforce will consist of two separate groups of employees: nonimmigrant workers, and immigrant workers in the permanent residence process. Nonimmigrant workers can further be divided into two groups: those sponsored by the company (including the H-1B, L-1, E-1, O-1 or TN temporary visa categories), or those that have employment authorization incident to status (F-1 students, J-1 trainees or individuals with EAD work authorization). Nonimmigrant workers in visa status based on sponsorship with the employer are generally authorized to work and live in the U.S. only as long as they continue to be employed by the sponsor. When employees in this type of visa status are laid off, they immediately ...

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