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    Published on 12-11-2017 04:31 PM

    New York State Bar v Avvo: Will the Uberization of Immigration Law Practice? Overcome Outdated Advertising Rules Governing Lawyers


    Companies like Avvo are using their marketing platform to provide more opportunities for younger and solo lawyers to gain clients and thus level the playing field. Avvo Legal Services seeks to disrupt the traditional legal model where a client seeks out a lawyer based on his or her reputation rather than on a web-based network, and the lawyer sets the fee. One of the immigration services Avvo offers is a “family based green card” for $2995 that involves preparing and filing the requisite forms, but no representation at an adjustment of status interview or to respond to a Request for Evidence. The consumer pays $2995 to Avvo directly, but may choose the attorney in the Avvo network that they want to work with. That attorney has 24 hours to directly contact the consumer/client, and do the work as they would any other client. When the work is completed, Avvo releases the funds to the attorney, and in a separate transaction withdraws from the attorney’s account a $400 marketing fee.

    Under this unique business model, which I have termed as the Uberization of immigration practice in a prior blog , the immigration attorney is contracting with Avvo as a vendor to gain clients and business through its superior marketing reach. Avvo views this new service as benefitting both lawyers and clients. The lawyer will rely on Avvo to get business and also get paid easily, without keeping track of billable hours or worrying about trust accounts. It would also help lawyers ...

    Published on 12-07-2017 02:32 PM

    Case Study: H1B Level 1 Wages RFE – OVERTURNED!!


    At TheDegreePeople, we work with difficult RFE cases every year. This year is no different, except alongside three-year degree RFEs and the Nightmare RFE, we are now seeing the dreaded Level 1 Wages RFE.

    This RFE is difficult because no one saw it coming and its commonality is unprecedented. Computer programmers petitioning for H1B status at Level 1 Wages are facing questions ...

    Published on 12-06-2017 03:18 PM

    Level 1 Wages RFE: Problems, Solutions, and Misconceptions


    This year, CIS slammed H1B candidates with a new RFE none of us anticipated: Level 1 Wages RFE. This RFE targets computer programmers working at Wage Level 1 claiming that employers will hire entry level programmers with only a US Associates degree as a minimum requirement.

    Since the H1B visa is for employees with a US Bachelors degree or its foreign equivalent or higher, CIS claims these programmers ...

    Published on 12-06-2017 03:04 PM

    Making Sense of the Acquittal in Kate Steinle’s Case: Why Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric Equating Immigrants with Criminals Must Stop


    Kate Steinle’s death was a senseless tragedy. On July 1, 2015, as she was walking along San Francisco’s Pier 14, a gun goes off and cuts her life short. She died in her father’s arms.

    The accused, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, is an undocumented Mexican immigrant who had been deported five times before, and each time, has illegally come back into the United States. He was charged with murder and manslaughter, but the jury recently acquitted him of the charges. His acquittal has inflamed President Trump who calls the verdict a travesty of justice. He uses the acquittal as another reason to build the wall. If Mr. Garcia Zarate did not cross the border illegally, Kate would still be alive today, Trump and his supporters argue.

    But Mr. Garcia Zarate’s immigration status was not relevant. In the criminal justice system, the twelve jurors were asked to look at the facts and deliberated hard for six days. The key issue was whether the defendant intentionally killed the victim? Immigration status was not part of the jury’s deliberations and should not have been, however much Trump and his supporters may insist. Evidence was presented in the trial that the bullet had ricocheted before killing Ms. ...

    Published on 12-05-2017 01:41 PM

    This Week – And Month – Will Be Critical For The EB-5 Program


    Funding for the federal government runs out at midnight on Saturday, Dec. 9. We have been here before: the EB-5 Regional Center Program’s ongoing authorization is dependent upon an extension through a Continuing Resolution (CR). On Saturday, the House Committee on Appropriations announced the introduction of a CR providing a clean extension of the program through December 22. Thus, everyone can expect a short-term extension and another few weeks of anxiety that will hopefully be resolved before Christmas, and then another extension for weeks or months thereafter. Lather, rinse, repeat, right?

    Not exactly, as the politics surrounding the CR have changed dramatically since the last go-round, with the potential that a different immigration program derails the CR and forces a government shutdown and thus a lapse of the Regional Center program​.

    Indeed, passage of the CR is in serious question over the issue of securing protection for individuals affected by President Trump’s cancellation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which we covered thoroughly in September . Despite Republican control of both legislative bodies and the White House, passing an extension is far from certain. While Republicans are now upbeat following passage of controversial tax reform legislation last week, passing the much less controversial CR may prove to be more difficult. Sixty votes are needed in the Senate. Several prominent Democrats, including Senators

    Published on 12-05-2017 01:30 PM

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


    EB-5 Investment Voice is the only Podcast series that focuses on the United States immigrant investor visa, EB-5 and foreign direct investment. Mona Shah welcomes guests from the industry including: developers, regional center operatives, attorneys, legislators and politicians.

    The complex program that is EB-5 can confound investors, lawyers, and developers alike. In this episode, Osvaldo ‘Ozzie’ Torres, a sought-after EB-5 expert, joins Mona to discuss the ins and outs of administrative fees, explaining how they function to defray offering expenses and the requirements around disclosing how much of the fee is devoted to broker commission. They cover the role played by offering documents, alternatives to ...

    Published on 12-04-2017 02:34 PM

    Ninth Circuit to Hear Arguments in Challenge to Travel Ban 3.0 on December 6


    On December 6 at 2 p.m . PST, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will hear arguments in Seattle in the latest travel ban challenge in State of Hawaii v. Trump . The panel that will hear the case is Michael Daly Hawkins , Ronald Gould , and Richard Paez . The panel previously affirmed an injunction of an earlier version of the travel ban .

    As previously summarized on ImmigrationProf , U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii ...

    Published on 12-04-2017 02:26 PM

    Marry a Prince, become a Duchess, and Lose your American Citizenship? Could the Royal Wedding Create a Nationality Headache? Musings of an Immigration Lawyer


    The recent announcement that England’s Prince Harry is engaged to American, Meghan Markle has generated worldwide excitement and interest. As immigration lawyers, it made us reflect on the issues relating to dual nationality.

    While Meghan’s marriage will most likely make her eligible for U.K. citizenship, she is also likely to be named the Duchess of Sussex. Will the U.K. demand that she renounce her U.S. citizenship? If she doesn’t renounce her U.S. citizenship, will her becoming a duchess be an expatriating act, whereby she could lose her U.S. citizenship?

    Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution, commonly referred to as the Emoluments Clause, states:

    No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

    It appears ...

    Published on 12-01-2017 02:46 PM

    White House Immigration Principles Are Released as DACA Deal Looms


    The White House released its Immigration Principles and Policies late Sunday night, providing an outline of the Trump administration’s proposals on immigration. The principles were sent to Congressional leadership with a cover letter demanding these reforms be included in any legislation that addresses protection for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.

    The seven-page document includes an expansive list of legislative demands that cover the border, interior of the country, and an overhaul of the U.S. immigration system. The principles, however, read like a wish list of ways to drastically curtail immigration and target immigrants.

    Though the list begins with the border wall—perhaps Trump’s most well-known and touted campaign promise—what follows is a litany of punitive demands.

    First, the principles discuss completion of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. This wish includes funding for the wall and associated infrastructure; authorizing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to use certain processing fees from immigration benefit ...

    Published on 11-30-2017 03:17 PM

    DOJ Threatens to Turn Immigration Judges Into ‘Assembly-Line Workers’


    The Department of Justice (DOJ) is reportedly intending to implement numerical quotas on Immigration Judges as a way of evaluating their performance. This move would undermine judicial independence, threaten the integrity of the immigration court system, and cause massive due process violations.

    As it currently stands, Immigration Judges are not rated based on the number of cases they complete within a certain time frame. The DOJ – currently in settlement negotiations with the union for immigration judges, ...

    Published on 11-29-2017 03:02 PM

    Providing Hope for Chinese Investors


    I have just returned from 2 weeks in China. Not surprisingly, there was not a lot of interest in discussing new EB-5 projects. Especially since the publication of the DHS Ombudsman’s report, the word is out that the waiting list for EB-5 is in excess of 10 years…and getting longer. The word is also out that a solution is not likely to come from EB-5 legislation.

    The options for the Chinese investor are limited, and we discussed all of them in the 7 cities that I visited. Here they are – – the new world for Chinese investors interested in immigrating to the U.S.:

    1. There is some interest in EB-5 (a small percentage of previous demand) on the part of investors who are willing to wait as long as necessary for their numbers to be reached. These investors generally have pre-teen children.
    2. There is keen interest in the option of investment in a “set aside” area (a rural or urban distressed ...
    Published on 11-29-2017 02:49 PM

    Breakthrough in Matter of V-S-G- Inc.: AC21 Beneficiaries Given Opportunity to Be Heard When I-140 is Revoked


    The law generally recognizes that petitioners control their visa petitions. See 8 CFR 103.2(a)(3). A beneficiary cannot force a petitioner to pursue or maintain a visa petition. Therefore, USCIS communicates only with petitioners, not the beneficiaries, with respect to notifications such as Requests for Evidence, approvals, and even a Notice of Intent to Revoke (NOIR) of an approved petition. A beneficiary is not considered an affected party with legal standing with respect to filing appeals and motions. See 8 CFR 103.3(a)(1)(iii)(B).

    However, the traditional distinction between a petitioner, beneficiary and affected party breaks down when the law allows the beneficiary to leave the original petitioner and port to a same or similar job under INA 204(j) that was enacted via the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 (AC21). Although the intent of the original employer who filed the petition to employ the beneficiary may cease to exist, the original petition still remains valid when the beneficiary ports to a same or similar job with a new employer.

    The Appeals Administrative Office (AAO) has adopted Matter of V-S-G- Inc ., Adopted Decision 2017-06 (AAO Nov. 11, 2017), which now recognizes that beneficiaries who have ported to a same or similar to the job under INA 204(j) are entitled to receive notices pertaining to the potential revocation of their approved employment-based I-140 visa petition. The USCIS also issued accompanying guidance in the form of a Policy Memorandum on November 11, 2017. We previously advocated for this outcome here , here and here , and welcome the AAO’s recognition that beneficiaries who have ported are entitled to notification and the opportunity to be heard when their approved I-140 petitions are in jeopardy.

    The ability for a foreign national worker to move to a new job is crucial when there is a delay in the adjudication of the I-485 application for adjustment of status. If an I-485 application has been pending for more than 180 days, under INA 204(j), the I-140 ...

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