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    Published on 03-25-2016 11:33 AM

    How Deportation Affects U.S. Citizen Children and the Family Court Process


    The United States deportation process may sometimes simply seem like the action of a government department removing a single person from the interior borders of the United States. It looks very different when you take into account the lives that the deportees have built during their time in the United States. In a 2014 article entitled Thousands of U.S.-Citizen Children Separated From Parents, ICE Records Show, author Guillermo Cantor sets the stage for the conversation on the impact of deportation on United States citizen children. The article states that in calendar year 2013 the United States deported 72,410 individuals who reported to have at least one child born in the United States. Since the children ...

    Published on 03-24-2016 01:53 PM

    New Rule Improves Learning Experience for International Students With STEM Degrees


    This month, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a final rule which will allow international students in certain science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) fields to maximize their educational experience in the United States. The rule accomplishes this by preserving an extension of the period of time during which they may take part in post-graduate Optional Practical Training (OPT). This rule also allows some students to maintain their status and some to continue their training when they are beneficiaries of an H-1B petition (i.e., preserves the “cap-gap” solution).

    A federal district court vacated a similar 2008 rule in Washtech (Washington Alliance of Technology Workers v. DHS), prompting the need for this new rule. The court had delayed the order’s effect until May 10, 2016, which is the effective date of the new rule. An immediate end to the 2008 rule would have had an enormous impact since more than 34,000 students with STEM OPT extensions were in the U.S. as of September 16, 2015.

    The Washtech lawsuit—which challenged DHS’s authority to allow international students to remain in the United States for OPT—has now had the unintended consequence of forcing DHS, through the new rulemaking, to make a much more compelling case for on-the-job training. With this new rule, DHS also has provided better tools for making the training ...

    Published on 03-24-2016 11:27 AM

    Immigration and Colorblindness


    In a famous 1855 letter, Abraham Lincoln drew a connection between racism and hostility towards immigrants, then epitomized by the nativist Know-Nothing movement:

    I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor or degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’

    When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.’ When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty — to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy [sic].

    Lincoln understood the similarity between racial prejudice against blacks and xenophobic hostility to immigrants. That is one of the reasons why he took a favorable view of immigration throughout his career, and opposed efforts to exclude potential immigrants from the US or otherwise discriminate against them. So too did a good many other prominent 19th century opponents of slavery and racial discrimination, such as Frederick Douglass.

    Sadly, this passage from Lincoln’s letter has obvious relevance to our own time. A few minor edits can easily bring it up to date:

    “When Trump gets control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except Mexicans, and foreigners, and Muslims.'”

    As in the 1850s, the problem is not limited to just a single demagogue and his most committed followers. Thanks in part to the popularity of Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric among many Republican voters, other GOP presidential contenders have reversed their previous more open positions on immigration, and moved closer to Trump, including Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.

    When ...

    Published on 03-24-2016 09:56 AM

    Don’t Fall into an H1B Education Trap


    H1B educational requirements are laden with sneaky traps that can tank your client’s case in a hurry. To avoid these traps, it is essential to be aware of the unique educational requirements of each visa, as well as the educational equivalency requirements, which also vary from visa to visa, and change with USCIS trends. Attorneys should seek the help of credential evaluators who see a lot of RFE’s, Denials, and ...

    Published on 03-23-2016 12:46 PM

    How a Border Wall Would Hurt the U.S. Economy


    When Donald Trump speaks of the Great Wall he would build between the United States and Mexico, he fails to account for a few inconvenient facts. For instance, there are millions of men, women, and children who live in communities that fall on both sides of the international boundary. There are millions of tourists, workers, students, and entrepreneurs who cross the border each day. And there are the billions of dollars in two-way trade that sustain millions of U.S. jobs. Not surprisingly, were Trump to forge ahead with his plan to create an impenetrable border between two economically and socially integrated countries, he would destroy—or, at best, severely damage—these connections at an enormous humanitarian and economic cost. Likewise with his related plan to clear the United States of all undocumented immigrants, which would subtract millions of workers and consumers from the U.S. economy. If we try to make the United States a Mexico-free zone, we will tear the country apart in the process.

    Consider a few facts ...

    Published on 03-23-2016 11:06 AM

    he Evolving Role of Broker Dealers in EB-5


    Kurt: How do you see the role of the broker dealer evolviing as regional centers are required to provide certifications of securities compliance as stipulated in the draft Integrity Bill?

    Greg: I'm not yet ready to concede that regional centers have to be broker dealers but it's all based on what activities they're engaged in. You certainly can't use a broker dealer as a shield, if either the issuer or the regional center is going to engage in unlicensed broker dealer activity, but I think we're going to see more broker-dealers in the space. 

    Ronnie: Right now, a substantial majority, and I'm guessing over 90% of EB5 capital, is not raised through broker dealers. I could be wrong but that's my perception. That's not good or bad, it's just the reality.

    I don't think we're trying to change the industry but we want to strengthen compliance with certain procedures, in particular the ‘33 Act (Securities Act of 1933) with disclosures. I think everybody agrees that we need to make sure there's proper disclosures.

    Whoever the issuer is, and the principal to the issuer, needs to take responsibility for complying with many of the items in the proposed Integrity Bill. Now the question becomes, do we impose that responsibility on regional centers, if they are not the issuer?

    I don't know if we could impose a broker dealer requirement on an industry which, right now, is not based upon a broker dealer compliance standard. Now, I have no personal objection to broker dealer involvement, but I surely wouldn't want to use that as the given model in every case.

    It's good in some cases where you're doing US marketing, but the traditional model includes going to China or other countries in the world and dealing with off-shore agents. We need to come to grips with what type of information from the ’33 Act needs to be in the offering documents.

    I think that's one set of issues. Who's doing the diligence? You've already got the ‘33 Act (Securities Act of 1933) with a well established standard regarding offerings, i.e. disclosures and due diligence which has been present for a long time. There are plenty of rules, regulations, lawsuits and cases on this. I don't think we're trying to change that.

    EB5 is a very weird duck because it's not like a typical promoter ...

    Published on 03-23-2016 10:30 AM

    Great Victory on a K1 visa and Marriage Petition


    Facts : A marriage case which was lost in interpretation.

    Client (Beneficiary) came to see us when she was placed in removal proceedings (aka deportation) because the Department of Homeland Security(DHS) was convinced that she entered in a sham marriage to obtain immigration benefits. Client came to the United States on a valid K1 fiancee visa and applied for her adjustment of status (form I-485).  Client was scheduled for a fraud marriage interview around 2009 and the officer decided that the marriage was not bona fide, that is, entered solely to get immigration benefits. During the interview the adjudicating officer was over-aggressive figuratively ‘attacking’ the US citizen for actually entering in what the immigration officer believed to be a ‘sham marriage.’  During the interview the officer pressured the US citizen to admit that he was actually paid to marry the Beneficiary. The Beneficiary was from a Muslim country and barely spoke English.

    When the Beneficiary and her husband petitioner (Petitioner) came ...

    Published on 03-22-2016 10:49 AM

    Mexican Immigrants in the United States



    A vendor in San Francisco sells Mexican wrestling masks. California is home to more than one-third of Mexican immigrants in the United States. (Photo: antifluor/Flickr)

    After four decades of rapid growth, the size of the Mexican immigrant population in the United States has remained stable in recent years. In 2014, more than 11.7 million Mexican immigrants resided in the United States, accounting for 28 percent of the 42.4 million foreign-born population—by far the largest immigrant origin group in the country.

    Between 2006 and 2010, the number of Mexican immigrants increased by 200,000 compared to the more than 2 million who arrived in the five years prior (see Figure 1). Following this trend, in the last decade and a half, the Mexican share among all immigrants dropped from 29.5 percent in 2000 to 27.6 percent in 2014.

    Mexico is also no longer the top origin country among the most recent immigrants to the United States. In 2013, China and India overtook Mexico as the most common countries of origin of immigrants who have resided in the United States for one year or less. Furthermore, more Mexican immigrants have returned to Mexico than have migrated to the United States since the end of the 2007-2009 Great Recession, according to a recent report from Pew Research Center. The decline in Mexican inflows results from a mix of factors including weakened job opportunities in the United States, tougher border enforcement, the long-term decline in Mexico’s birth rates, and the improving Mexican economy. 

    Figure 1. Mexican Immigrant Population in the United States, 1980-2014

    Source: Data from U.S. Census Bureau 2006, 2010, and 2014 American Community Surveys (ACS) and Campbell J. Gibson and Kay Jung, "Historical Census Statistics on the Foreign-born Population of the United States: 1850-2000" (Working Paper no. 81, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC, February 2006), available online.

    Click here to view an interactive chart highlighting Mexican migration trends over time.

    The vast majority of Mexican emigrants settle in the United States, with others heading to Canada (94,000), Spain (47,000), and Germany (18,000), according to mid-2015 estimates by the United Nations Population Division. Click here to view an interactive map showing where migrants from Mexico and other countries have settled worldwide.

    Most Mexican immigrants who obtain lawful permanent residence in the United States (also known as receiving a green card) qualify as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens or through other family-sponsored preferences. Compared to the total foreign-born population, Mexican immigrants were more likely to be Limited English Proficient (LEP), have less education and lower income, experience a higher poverty rate, and lack health insurance.

    Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau (the most recent 2014 American Community Survey [ACS] as well as pooled 2010-14 ACS data), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, and the World Bank's annual remittance data, this Spotlight provides information on the Mexican immigrant population in the United States, focusing on its size, geographic distribution, and socioeconomic characteristics.


    The U.S. Census Bureau defines the foreign born as individuals who had no U.S. citizenship at birth. The foreign-born population includes naturalized citizens, lawful permanent residents, refugees and asylees, legal nonimmigrants (including those on student, work, or other temporary visas), and persons residing in the country without authorization.

    The terms foreign born and immigrant are used interchangeably and refer to those who were born in another country and later emigrated to the United States. Data collection constraints do not permit inclusion of those who gained Mexican citizenship via naturalization and later moved to the United States.

    Click on the bullet points below for more information:

    Distribution by State and Key Cities

    Most immigrants from Mexico settled in California (37 percent), Texas (21 percent), and Illinois (6 percent). The top four counties with Mexican immigrants were Los Angeles County in California, Harris County in Texas, Cook County in Illinois, and Orange County in California. Together, these four counties accounted for about 23 percent of the total Mexican immigrant population in the United States.

    Figure 2. Top Destination States for Mexican Immigrants in the United States, 2010-14

    Note: Pooled 2010-14 ACS data were used to get statistically valid estimates at the state and metropolitan statistical area levels, for smaller-population geographies.
    Source: Migration Policy Institute (MPI) tabulation of data from U.S. Census Bureau pooled 2010-14 ACS.

    Click here for an interactive map showing the geographic distribution of immigrants by state and county. Select Mexico from the dropdown menu to see which states and counties have the highest distributions of Mexican immigrants.

    In the 2010-14 period, the U.S. cities with the greatest number ...

    Published on 03-22-2016 10:33 AM

    LMIA Exemptions for French-speaking Foreign Workers Outside Quebec


    Effective June 1, 2016, foreign francophone (French-speaking) workers  destined for locations outside the province of Quebec, may be able to secure Work Permits without the need for their employer to first secure a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This could be a great boon for both Canadian employers and the foreign workers they seek to hire.

    The LMIA exemption, called the ‘Mobilité Francophone stream’ will apply to francophone workers who are in managerial, professional, or technical/skilled trades, who will be working in francophone-minority programs outside Quebec.

    Full details are not yet available, and we will certainly provide them when released.


    The information ...

    Published on 03-22-2016 09:50 AM

    EB-5 Mezzanine Financing: A Real World Example


    Published on 03-21-2016 12:21 PM

    Suffocating The Foreign Entrepreneur Under The New STEM Optional Practical Training Rule


    Facebook is a good example of an epically successful entrepreneurial venture that was hatched by students in the dorms of Harvard. It is important to allow students who have great dreams and ideas to flourish through startups, and this applies to foreign students who graduate from American universities. Why not encourage foreign students to launch their startups in the United States rather than boot them out?  In our imperfect immigration system that has no true startup visa for the entrepreneur, it makes sense to allow a talented and driven foreign student to use the current nonimmigrant visa categories to establish startups, which in turn can potentially lead to economic growth, bring about paradigm shifts and create millions of new jobs.

    This was recognized in the USCIS Entrepreneur Pathways portal, especially with respect to the ability of foreign students to use the optional practical training (OPT) to launch their own ventures. On March 11, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a final rule amending regulations to expand OPT for students with U.S. degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM), but also dramatically create new obligations for F-1 students and F-1 employers starting May 10, 2016. While the rule expands STEM OPT from 17 months to 24 months, it creates many more restrictions, and makes it difficult for a student to become an entrepreneur. The new rule requires the establishment of an employer-employee relationship, requiring ...

    Published on 03-21-2016 11:10 AM

    How America Became a Nation of Immigrants Again


    In honor of Open Borders Day, let's talk about the last major US immigration liberalization, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. Critics of immigration blame it for bringing America's foreign-born share back near its historic peak.

    They're right on their own terms: Seemingly innocuous rules for family unification spawned a snowball of chain migration. Pew Research lays out the long-run pattern:

    It's hard to believe most Americans in 1965 wanted anything like what happened. So how did this major liberalization come to pass? In A Nation of Nations (highly recommended), Tom Gjelten provides a topsy-turvy play-by-play.

    It all started with the Johnson administration's desire to abandon the explicit racism of the old national origins quotas. Wouldn't that lead to lots of non-white migration? No:

    Johnson administration officials, however, didn't ask members to set aside their stereotypes and prejudice regarding non-European immigrants. Apparently thinking that such an argument would fall flat, the officials chose to stick with their insistence that changing the criteria for admitting immigrants would have no consequential effect on the ethnic makeup of the immigrant population.
    In the coming years, when their official predictions were shown to have been wildly inaccurate, a debate arose over whether Johnson administration officials were misleading in their presentations to Congress or simply mistaken.

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