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    Published on 09-18-2017 01:44 PM

    FEATURED STORY: Diversity Visa Lottery Update


    Almost anyone who has completed the equivalent of a U.S. high school education, or has worked for at least two years within the last five in a qualifying occupation, is eligible to enter the Department of State’s annual visa lottery program which issues 50,000 green cards to persons from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the U.S. Once selected in the drawing, “winners” must act quickly to be among the first to qualify for their visas.

    DV-2018 Lottery Program
    If you participated in the DV-2018 Lottery Program , you may check online to see if you were selected in the lottery. Please note that the Department of State does not send selectee notifications or letters ...

    Published on 09-15-2017 02:06 PM

    ‘Day Without Immigrants’ Highlights How America Relies on the Immigrant Labor Force


    The various events commemorating the “ Day Without Immigrants ,” held in cities around the country today to fight President Trump’s anti-immigrant policies, underscore a key reality about the United States: we are a nation dependent on immigrants including the undocumented. The Day Without Immigrants was marked by street protests, immigrant workers staying off the job, and kids being kept home from school.

    The message was simple: immigrants, not to mention the many native-born Americans who believe in immigrant rights, are not an insignificant or passive group of people. If Trump persists in his campaign to ramp up deportations and demonize immigrants, he will meet sustained resistance.

    An underlying premise of the Day Without Immigrants that broad swaths of the U.S. economy rely upon the labor of immigrants is undeniable:

    • The nation’s 26.7 million immigrant workers including the undocumented, Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs), and naturalized U.S. citizens amount to
    Published on 09-14-2017 03:10 PM

    New Immigration Court Directive Could Weaken Due Process


    The Trump administration released a memorandum this week–effective immediately–which orders the Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review (which manages the immigration courts) to prioritize deportation hearings for certain groups, including any non-citizens who are detained and unaccompanied children who do not have a sponsor. The memo rescinded preexisting immigration court priorities from early 2016 and 2015 that included all other unaccompanied children, families released from custody, and other recent border crossers.

    On its face, the new directive may appear simply bureaucratic or benign, as it primarily narrows the focus of the court docket to those in government custody, perhaps in an effort to minimize government costs on detention. In practice, however, the new memo targets vulnerable children who arrive at the United States alone and who do not have a sponsor in the U.S. with whom they can live, but have yet to be placed in long-term foster ...

    Published on 09-13-2017 12:16 PM

    State Department Toughens Standard For Assessing A Foreign Student’s Ties With Home Country


    Similar to many other nonimmigrant admission requirements, under INA § 101(a)(15)(F), a foreign national must show that they have a foreign residence which they do not intend on abandoning in order to be admitted in F-1 nonimmigrant student status. As explained below, this requirement has been applied to students in various ways over the years, from strictly applying the requirement in the 1990s to a loosening of the standards under the 2005 State Department Cable .

    In August 2017, the State Department yet again changed the ways in which F-1 visas are adjudicated by amending 9 FAM 402.505(E)(1) “Residence Abroad Required” , to now include the following provision:

    b. Examining Residence Abroad : General rules for examining residence abroad are outlined in 9 FAM 401.1-3(F)(2). If you are not satisfied that the applicant’s present intent is to depart the United States at the conclusion of his or her study or OPT, you must refuse the visa under INA 214(b). To evaluate this, you should assess the applicant’s current plans following completion of his or her study or OPT. The hypothetical possibility that the applicant may apply to change or adjust status in the United States in the future is not a basis to refuse a visa application if you are satisfied that the applicant’s present intent is to depart at the conclusion of his or her study or OPT.

    The previous language provided, in relevant part,

    b. The context of the residence abroad requirement for student visas inherently differs from the context for B visitor visas or other short-term visas. The statute clearly presupposes that the natural circumstances and conditions of being a student do not disqualify that applicant from obtaining a student visa. It is natural that the student does not possess ties of property, employment, family obligation, and continuity of life typical of B visa applicants. These ties are typically weakly held by student applicants, as the student is often single, unemployed, without property, and is at the stage in life of deciding and developing his or her future plans. Student visa adjudication is made more complex by the fact that students typically stay in the United States longer than do many other nonimmigrant visitors.

    c. The residence abroad requirement for a student should therefore not be exclusively connected to ties. You must focus on the student applicant’s immediate intent. Another aspect to consider: students’ typical youth often means they do not necessarily have a long-range plan, and hence are relatively less likely to have formed an intent to abandon their homes. Nonetheless, you must be satisfied at the time of application for a visa that the visa applicant possesses the present intent to depart the United ...

    Published on 09-13-2017 11:21 AM

    October 2017 Visa Bulletin Released: Fiscal Year 2018 Opens With Good News… and Not So Good News


    The U.S. Department of State (“DOS”) has issued its October 2017 Visa Bulletin , summarizing the availability of immigrant visas for the first time in Fiscal Year 2018, which begins on October 1, 2017.

    Here are five (5) things to know about the new visa bulletin:

    1. EB-1 Current for China and India . For the past couple months, there has been a backlog for Chinese-mainland and Indian nationals for EB-1. With the new fiscal year, the EB-1 category is now current for all nationalities, and visa applications may be filed regardless of the applicant’s priority date. It is unknown how long this category will remain current, but this is great news for the surge of EB-1 applicants who filed I-140 petitions in the past year.
    1. Large Movement of Priority Date for China EB-3 . The September 2017 Visa Bulletin included a cutoff date of January 1, 2012 for China-mainland born EB-3 applicants. It has advanced two (2) years to January 1, 2014. The Department of State (“DOS”) estimates that this cutoff date will move up approximately four ...
    Published on 09-12-2017 11:44 AM

    SEC Suffers One of its First Major Losses in EB-5 Realm


    Earlier this month, the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Illinois denied the SEC’s request for a preliminary injunction against Seyed Taher Kameli and entities he controlled to (i) stop them from having any further involvement in the EB-5 program and (ii) to halt activities that the SEC alleged were in violation ...

    Published on 09-11-2017 03:06 PM

    Indian Nationals Can Obtain Permanent Residence In The U.S. By Investing In An American Franchise



    Many Indians have moved to the United States on a temporary and permanent basis throughout the past century. However, there has never been so much desire for Indians to cement roots in the U.S. by obtaining a green card as there is today. Unfortunately, not all green cards are created equal! Depending on if you are obtaining the green card via a family, employment or investment based petition, it can take 12 months to well over 10 years to receive your permanent residence! If you are currently in the U.S. on an H1-B as an Indian national, it will most likely take you 5+ years to receive the green card. If you are not willing to wait that long nor be at the whim of your employer who sponsored your visa, the EB-5 visa might be a better option for you.

    What Is The EB-5 Visa?

    The EB-5 Visa provides permanent U.S. residency to investors and their immediate families in exchange for a $500,000+ investment into a new American business or real estate project . After approval, the investor and his family receives a 2-year conditional green card. The green card becomes permanent after the investor proves 10 full-time jobs were created from the business or real estate project. The U.S. green card does not expire nor do children lose it when they turn 21. You can also live and work anywhere in the U.S. for any company.

    Processing time currently takes around 18 months, though direct investments into businesses (as opposed to a real estate or regional center project) generally are processed faster. The investment must be “At Risk” for as long as it takes the investor to obtain the permanent green card. Many Indians prefer to control their risk via a franchise or their own business as opposed to a third party.

    How Many Indians Currently Go This Path A Year?

    Indian is the fastest growing major EB-5 market with over 354 petitioners last year alone. Indian, in fact, ...

    Published on 09-11-2017 03:00 PM

    The End of DACA and the Need for Congress to Enact Immigration Reform


    Here is some commentary on the rescission of DACA.

    After months of speculation and rumor that has frightened immigrant communities across the United States, President Trump has announced the end of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Known as DACA, the program since 2012 has provided relief, and work authorization, to nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

    The end of DACA has been met with expressions of nothing less than grief and a firestorm of bipartisan criticism. Indeed, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) lobbied the President not to end DACA. In the coming weeks, the nation is likely to see protests and calls for political action.

    It is worth remembering that President Obama created DACA after Congress for years had failed to enact comprehensive immigration reform. As President Obama emphasized, the deferred action program was a limited, and temporary, response to congressional gridlock on immigration. Even though DACA in my estimation was a constitutional and eminently sensible approach to a most sympathetic cohort of immigrants, there may be a silver lining in President Trump’s dismantling of DACA: He is delaying the end of the program for six months. That gives Congress a chance to act to offer enduring ...

    Published on 09-08-2017 03:09 PM

    A New Status Quo in the EB-5 Program


    DHS has published a date of final action of April 2018 on its proposed amendments to existing EB-5 rules (see https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/eA...&RIN=1615-AC07 ). The most notable change is increasing minimum investment amounts to $1.3 million for TEA based projects and $1.8 million for non-TEA based projects. The second significant change would be removing the power from the states to determine the contours of a TEA, which would presumably limit the gerrymandering that has plagued the program to date.

    Published on 09-08-2017 03:03 PM

    Using Bitcoin For International Transfers With Des Landen Of Crypbrokers


    EB-5 Investment Voice is the only Podcast series that focuses on and 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.

    In this podcast, Mona delves into the topic of cryptocurrencies with Des Landen of CrypBrokers, exploring how Bitcoin might be employed to tackle the challenge of transferring funds for EB-5. Des entered the trading world in 2009, when Bitcoin was getting its start. Today, he works with blockchain technologies and liquid supplies of cryptocurrencies. Mona and Des discussed the benefits a company like CrypBrokers can bring to investors with the process of transferring cryptocurrency, ...

    Published on 09-08-2017 02:50 PM

    5 Things to Know About the New Department of State 90-day Rule Regarding Misrepresentation Based on Conduct in U.S.: Is Adjustment of Status or Change of Status Now a Death Trap?


    On September 1, 2017, the U.S. Department of State (“DOS”) updated 9 FAM 302.9-4(B)(3) to provide U.S. consular officers with new guidance relating to the term “misrepresentation” as it relates to aliens in the U.S. “who conduct themselves in a manner inconsistent with representations they made to consular officers concerning their intentions at the time of visa application or to DHS when applying for admission or for an immigration benefit.”

    The Field Adjudicators Manual (“FAM”) now has an updated subsection titled “Inconsistent Conduct Within 90 Days of Entry” which states:

    If an alien violates or engages in conduct inconsistent with his or her nonimmigrant status within 90 days of entry, as described in subparagraph (2)(b) below, you may presume that the applicant’s representations about engaging in only status-compliant activity were willful misrepresentations of his or her intention in seeking a visa or entry.

    In the event that a U.S. consular officer “becomes aware of derogatory information indicating that an alien in the United States who has a valid visa, may have misrepresented his or her intentions to you at the time of visa application, or to DHS at the port of entry or in a filing for an immigration benefit”, they are directed to “bring the derogatory information to the attention of the Department for potential revocation.”

    There are potentially devastating consequences to this new guidance. Section 212(a)(6)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act states ...

    Published on 09-07-2017 02:28 PM

    Is the Chinese Students and Scholars Association an “Affiliate” of the Communist Party? Would Joining Make Me Ineligible for a Green Card?


    A reader asks:

    I am a student at the University of … with an F-1 visa. I’m a senior. I will be applying for optional practical training (OPT) work authorization. Hope to find an employer to sponsor me for an H-1B visa and a green card. I heard that a green card application can be denied if the applicant has belonged to an organization “affiliated with” the Communist Party.  If that’s true, could membership in the Chinese Students and Scholars Association be a problem?

    A person may be ineligible for a green card due to current or former membership in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), as I’ve written about here. That includes membership in organizations “affiliate[d]” with the Party. 1INA § 212(a)(3)(D)(i).

    So the question is whether the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA or ????????? ) is “affiliated” with the Party. 2Organizations affiliated with the CCP include, for example mass organizations like the Communist Youth League, All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, All-China Federation of Trade Unions, All-China Women’s Federation). Such organizations are led by the Party, which uses them to penetrate the society at large and encourage popular support for Party policies. Robert L. Worden, et al, China: A Country Study (GPO 1987), http://countrystudies.us/china/107.htm. Regulations define “affiliate” to mean an organization that has a “working alliance” with the Party meant to accomplish the Party’s goals. 322 C.F.R. § 40.34(a). “Ad hoc cooperation” isn’t enough to constitute affiliation. The cooperation must be on a “fairly permanent basis.” 4Bridges v. Wixon, 326 U.S. 135, 142 (1945).

    I understand that CSSAs are student groups established at many universities worldwide to provide social and cultural activities for students and scholars from China. CSSAs help their members with issues related to studying and living abroad. CSSAs also serve as a bridge between the Chinese and other communities and promote Chinese culture. Some CSSAs describe themselves as “supported by” “recognized by,” or “closely connected with” the Chinese government. Others describe themselves as “independent.”

    As to whether CSSAs have a “working alliance” with the CCP, the FBI 5

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