Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /var/www/vhosts/visa-pros.com/httpdocs/wp-content/plugins/cb-simple-video/shortcode.php:32) in /var/www/vhosts/visa-pros.com/httpdocs/wp-includes/feed-rss2.php on line 8 Weinstock Immigration Lawyers http://www.visa-pros.com Uniting Families and Securing Global Talent Fri, 23 Jun 2017 20:48:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Uniting Families and Securing Global Talent Uniting Families and Securing Global Talent Weinstock Immigration Lawyers http://www.visa-pros.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://www.visa-pros.com DACA is In Place… For Now http://www.visa-pros.com/daca-is-in-place-for-now/ http://www.visa-pros.com/daca-is-in-place-for-now/#comments Thu, 22 Jun 2017 08:34:44 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=3215 Continue reading ]]> Late Thursday night, on the fifth anniversary of DACA, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly issued a memo on immigration policy that keeps the DACA memo in place at this moment.
At the same time, the memo withdrew two other key immigration protections, one that would have expanded DACA and DAPA, which would have protected undocumented parents of citizens and legal permanent residents. Neither of these programs had been implemented because they have been held up in the court system for over a year.
Keeping the original DACA program in place is absolutely critical for 800,000 beneficiaries, their families, and our nation. Administration officials have also said to various news outlets that no permanent decision on DACA has yet been made. We need to keep fighting to keep this program in place and for a clear public signal – but we also can’t let Congress off the hook for the permanent solution our nation desperately deserves and needs.
The 800,000 hardworking young people whose lives have been transformed by this program are going to continue contributing to and improving our country every day, and they deserve a firm commitment from the Administration and Congress that they will continue to be allowed to live and work in America.

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What Happens with Cuba now? http://www.visa-pros.com/what-happens-with-cuba-now/ http://www.visa-pros.com/what-happens-with-cuba-now/#comments Tue, 20 Jun 2017 13:32:57 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=3198 Continue reading ]]> CubaIf you were thinking about traveling to Cuba, think twice. Last Friday the President announced changes in the policy issued by Obama. Here are some FAQ that hopefully will help answer your questions.

  1. What is individual people-to-people travel, and how does the President’s announcement impact this travel authorization?

Individual people-to-people travel is educational travel that: (i) does not involve academic study pursuant to a degree program; and (ii) does not take place under the auspices of an organization that is subject to U.S. jurisdiction that sponsors such exchanges to promote people-to-people contact. The President instructed Treasury to issue regulations that will end individual people-to-people travel.

  1. Will group people-to-people travel still be authorized?

Yes. Group people-to-people travel is educational travel not involving academic study pursuant to a degree program that takes place under the auspices of an organization that is subject to U.S. jurisdiction that sponsors such exchanges to promote people-to-people contact. Travelers utilizing this travel authorization must maintain a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities that are intended to enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities, and that will result in meaningful interaction between the traveler and individuals in Cuba.

  1. How do the changes announced by the President on June 16, 2017 affect individual people-to-people travelers who have already begun making their travel arrangements (such as purchasing flights or hotels)?

The announced changes do not take effect until OFAC issues new regulations. Provided that the traveler has already completed at least one travel-related transaction (such as purchasing a flight or reserving accommodation) prior to the President’s announcement on June 16, 2017, all additional travel-related transactions for that trip would also be authorized, provided the travel-related transactions are consistent with OFAC’s regulations as of June 16, 2017.

  1. How do the changes announced by the President on June 16, 2017 affect other authorized travelers to Cuba whose travel arrangements may include direct transactions with entities related to the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services that may be implicated by the new Cuba policy?

The announced changes do not take effect until OFAC issues new regulations. Consistent with the Administration’s interest in not negatively impacting Americans for arranging lawful travel to Cuba, any travel-related arrangements that include direct transactions with entities related to the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services that may be implicated by the new Cuba policy will be permitted provided that those travel arrangements were initiated prior to the issuance of the forthcoming regulations.

  1. How do the changes announced by the President on June 16, 2017 affect companies subject to U.S. jurisdiction that are already engaged in the Cuban market and that may undertake direct transactions with entities related to the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services that may be implicated by the new Cuba policy?

Consistent with the Administration’s interest in not negatively impacting American businesses for engaging in lawful commercial opportunities, any Cuba-related commercial engagement that includes direct transactions with entities related to the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services that may be implicated by the new Cuba policy will be permitted provided that those commercial engagements were in place prior to the issuance of the forthcoming regulations.

  1. Does the new policy affect how persons subject to U.S jurisdiction may purchase airline tickets for authorized travel to Cuba?

No. The new policy will not change how persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction traveling to Cuba pursuant to the 12 categories of authorized travel may purchase their airline tickets.

  1. How does the new policy impact other authorized travel to Cuba by persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction?

The new policy will not result in changes to the other (non-individual people-to-people) authorizations for travel.

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Ninth Circuit Also Rejects the Travel Ban http://www.visa-pros.com/ninth-circuit-also-rejects-the-travel-ban/ http://www.visa-pros.com/ninth-circuit-also-rejects-the-travel-ban/#comments Thu, 15 Jun 2017 16:44:47 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=3196 Continue reading ]]> Barely three weeks after the Fourth Circuit ruled that President Trump’s travel ban “drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination” and thus violated the First Amendment by discriminating against Muslims, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the travel ban also violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
In upholding a Hawaii federal district court decision that blocked the travel ban nationwide, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found that Trump violated the INA because he didn’t follow the law’s requirement to provide a sufficient rationale to block the entry of “more than 180 million” people. The Court also found that the travel ban violates the INA’s prohibition on national origin discrimination in the issuance of immigrant visas. Taken together, the two decisions emphasize that the president’s authority over immigration is limited by both the Constitution and Congress.
The Ninth Circuit’s decision comes after it heard arguments in an appeal of federal Judge Derrick Watson’s March order preventing the Trump administration from implementing the travel ban and blocking all nationals of six predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States. A second judge in Maryland also blocked the order. That decision was appealed to the Fourth Circuit, which last month ruled that the travel ban was essentially the same “Muslim Ban” which President Trump had argued for on the campaign trail.
The Trump administration has appealed that other decision to the Supreme Court and asked the Court to issue an emergency stay. Undercutting their claim to urgency, earlier today the government asked the Court for an extra week to respond to the Ninth Circuit.
The Ninth Circuit also held that the travel ban violates the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, which provides that “no person shall… be discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person’s… nationality.” While groups such as the American Immigration Council have brought this claim in lawsuits against the travel ban, the Ninth Circuit’s decision is the first to find that the nondiscrimination provision provides an independent reason that the travel ban is unlawful.
Now that both the Ninth and Fourth Circuits have ruled against it, the Trump administration’s only hope is for the Supreme Court to overturn both courts. Monday’s decision makes this more difficult for the government. By ruling against the travel ban without invoking the Constitution, the Ninth Circuit has given the Supreme Court a roadmap to strike down the travel ban without diving into the question of whether or not the travel ban is a “Muslim Ban.”
On Monday, challengers to the travel ban filed briefs asking the Supreme Court to leave both injunctions in place. Now, the Supreme Court has two weeks to act before it recesses for the summer; if it fails to act before then, the Court would have to wait until it returns in October to take the case.

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Immigrants been deported at check-ins http://www.visa-pros.com/immigrants-been-deported-at-check-ins/ http://www.visa-pros.com/immigrants-been-deported-at-check-ins/#comments Tue, 13 Jun 2017 10:02:29 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=3191 Continue reading ]]> For years, immigrants facing deportation have been allowed to stay in the U.S. when attending regular check-ins with federal deportation agents and stay out of trouble. After a brief meeting, they’re usually told to return later to check in again. Some of these immigrants are now being told their time here is up.

Immigrants who have deportation orders and were allowed to stay in the country under the prior administration have become a target under President Donald Trump’s new immigration policies, with some getting arrested on the spot during check-ins with officers. These arrests have shocked family members and spread fear through immigrant communities.

Or, immigrants have been fitted with ankle-monitoring bracelets. Others have been released like they were during President Barack Obama’s administration in what appears to be a random series of decisions based more on detention space than public safety.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it is tracking nearly 970,000 immigrants with deportation orders. The vast majority — 82 percent — have no criminal record, according to the agency. ICE declined to say how many must regularly report to authorities or are tracked by ankle monitors, and it is unclear how many are being arrested.

Trump boosted immigration arrests by 38 percent in the early days of his administration, but deportations fell from a year ago as activity on the U.S.-Mexico border slowed.

For authorities keen on showing they’re beefing up immigration enforcement, immigrants who already have deportation orders are seen as an easy target. They can be removed from the country more quickly than newly arrested immigrants, whose cases can drag on for years in immigration court proceedings and appeals.

Many immigrants with old deportation orders have lived in the United States for years and — despite having no legal status — set down roots here, which deportation agents were known to weigh to decide who was a priority for removal.

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Who Watches Over the Watchmen? http://www.visa-pros.com/who-watches-over-the-watchmen/ http://www.visa-pros.com/who-watches-over-the-watchmen/#comments Thu, 08 Jun 2017 18:39:17 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=3189 Continue reading ]]> Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed The Anti-Border Corruption Reauthorization Act (H.R.2213). The measure is designed to weaken Customs and Border Protection hiring standards by exempting some applicants from polygraph testing before being hired. Unfortunately the bill will not do anything to ensure good hiring practices by the Border Patrol, which has a history of staffing issues related to corruption, excessive use of force, and abuse.

These problems prompt Congress to pass the Anti-Border Corruption Act of 2010, which required additional hiring measures including mandatory polygraph testing. This bill will now go to the Senate, where the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee passed a similar bill last month.

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Important DHS notice http://www.visa-pros.com/important-dhs-notice/ http://www.visa-pros.com/important-dhs-notice/#comments Tue, 06 Jun 2017 13:25:14 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=3186 Continue reading ]]> We are sharing the Department of Homeland Security notice that will mean further documentation will be requested:

DHS notice of request for emergency OMB approval and public comment on a new Form DS-5535, Supplemental Questions for Visa Applicants, to collect information from visa applicants who have been determined to warrant additional scrutiny in connection with terrorism or other national security-related visa ineligibilities. Comments are due 5/18/17. If granted, the emergency approval is only valid for 180 days. (82 FR 20956, 5/4/17)

DEPARTMENT OF STATE

[Public Notice: 9984]

Notice of Information Collection Under OMB Emergency Review: Supplemental Questions for Visa Applicants

ACTION: Notice of request for emergency OMB approval and public comment.

From the notice:

The Department proposes requesting the following information, if not already included in an application, from a subset of visa applicants worldwide, in order to more rigorously evaluate applicants for terrorism or other national security-related visa ineligibilities:

  • Travel history during the last fifteen years, including source of funding for travel;
  • Address history during the last fifteen years;
  • Employment history during the last fifteen years;
  • All passport numbers and country of issuance held by the applicant;
  • Names and dates of birth for all siblings;
  • Name and dates of birth for all children;
  • Names and dates of birth for all current and former spouses, or civil or domestic partners;
  • Social media platforms and identifiers, also known as handles, used during the last five years; and
  • Phone numbers and email addresses used during the last five years.

Most of this information is already collected on visa applications but for a shorter time period, e.g. five years rather than fifteen years. Requests for names and dates of birth of siblings and, for some applicants, children are new. The request for social media identifiers and associated platforms is new for the Department of State, although it is already collected on a voluntary basis by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for certain individuals. Regarding travel history, applicants may be requested to provide details of their international or domestic (within their country of nationality) travel, if it appears to the consular officer that the applicant has been in an area while the area was under the operational control of a terrorist organization as defined in section 212(a)(3)(B)(vi) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(3)(B)(vi). Applicants may be asked to recount or explain the details of their travel, and when possible, provide supporting documentation.

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Take a look at P.C.’s Story in our Monthly Newsletter http://www.visa-pros.com/take-a-look-at-p-c-s-story-in-our-monthly-newsletter/ http://www.visa-pros.com/take-a-look-at-p-c-s-story-in-our-monthly-newsletter/#comments Wed, 31 May 2017 20:28:55 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=3182 Continue reading ]]> This month we want to introduce you to P.C., one of our clients from Brazil. He initially came to the U.S. with a training visa to improve his knowledge and skills in the highly specialized aluminum manufacturing field.

After some time working with an aluminum manufacturing company, both he and the company realized they wanted to continue the relationship as he was the perfect fit for an opening they had after the training was completed. After consideration and long conversations with his family, he decided to accept the position and move here with his family permanently.  They reached out to us to help with a way to make it happen.

The first option we offered was to apply for an H-1B visa to get a temporary work visa in the short term, so last year we helped the company to apply on P.C.’s behalf for him and his family. However, the H-1B did not work out because the government only grants a limited number of H-1B visas per year, and P.C.’s as petition was not selected in the H-1B lottery. We then had another meeting and offered to apply for an immigrant visa for him and proceeded with it with the company’s approval. The company is a manufacturing company located in a rural area in a very specialized industry and it is very difficult for them to find the right people with the skillset they need to fulfill their complex manufacturing needs.

We are happy to share that his green card has just been approved and both P.C. and the company are very pleased that he is here to stay for the long term.

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Memorial Day- Also remember your Foreign-Born Heroes http://www.visa-pros.com/memorial-day-also-remember-your-foreign-born-heroes/ http://www.visa-pros.com/memorial-day-also-remember-your-foreign-born-heroes/#comments Tue, 30 May 2017 16:52:53 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=3179 Continue reading ]]> This Memorial Day, Americans honored U.S. service members who died while serving their country. Enlisting in the military and risking one’s life is a powerful demonstration of courage and loyalty to one’s nation. For many, this decision is also one to serve their adopted country.

Immigrants have a long history in the U.S. military, dating back to the Civil War. An estimated 43 percent of Union soldiers were immigrants or the sons of immigrants.

Their contributions continue to this day. In 2016, for example:

An estimated 511,000 veterans living in the United States were foreign born.

The majority, (85 percent) of immigrant veterans became naturalized citizens.

2 million veterans come from an immigrant background—roughly 11 percent of all U.S. veterans.

Immigrants also make up an estimated 5 percent of today’s active-duty force. The Department of Defense has stated that around 18,000 noncitizens serve in the military at any given time, with 5,000 legal permanent residents (green card holders) enlisting annually.

Despite this and the foreign born’s ongoing dedication to American ideals, many immigrants who have risked their lives for their adopted country face serious immigration challenges.

For some immigrant veterans, the benefits—including citizenship—they believed they were also signing up for have yet to materialize. Beginning 2001, an expedited process for citizenship was established for eligible noncitizen military personnel in recognition of the risks that service members take on. Since then, nearly 110,000 service members have naturalized.

While the current administration has confirmed that the expedited path to citizenship for immigrants in the military is still in effect, veterans have come forward with their stories of the immigration battles they now face, after fighting for their adopted homeland.

While the government does not track deportations of veterans, a 2016 report by the American Civil Liberties Union counted at least 250 deportations of U.S. veterans since 1996, though other veteran support organizations estimate the real number is in the thousands.

Immigrants are vital to this country, and those who have served the United States in the armed forces deserve respect, due process, and support when they return home.

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Happy Memorial Day Weekend! http://www.visa-pros.com/happy-memorial-day-weekend-3/ http://www.visa-pros.com/happy-memorial-day-weekend-3/#comments Fri, 26 May 2017 14:57:40 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=3175 memorial-day-clipart-memorial-day-pictures

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About Last Week… http://www.visa-pros.com/about-last-week/ http://www.visa-pros.com/about-last-week/#comments Wed, 24 May 2017 08:32:36 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=3168 Continue reading ]]> May 2017 Collage

Last week the WIL team was busier than usual.

Besides looking after and taking care of our clients, we attended a corporate relocation-focused conference where we met some very interesting corporations that work with ex-pats and immigrants and learned a lot about global mobility future trends. We also had some team building while making chocolate deliciousness.

 

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Border Crossings Declining for Years. Know Why? http://www.visa-pros.com/border-crossings-declining-for-years-know-why/ http://www.visa-pros.com/border-crossings-declining-for-years-know-why/#comments Tue, 16 May 2017 14:22:37 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=3164 Continue reading ]]> UntitledNew government data points to a decline in apprehensions of undocumented immigrants along the U.S.-Mexico border over the past few months. This can be attributed to a range of factors. It is also important to note that this decline was a trend since 2006, so it is not really something new.

Apprehensions normally go up and down over the year, and they were trending downward in the years before Trump was president. This was a result not only of intensified immigration enforcement, but also improving economic prospects in Mexico—as well as growth in the United States of the less-skilled jobs most commonly filled by undocumented immigrants.

As a result, there were more Mexicans in the United States heading back home from 2009 to 2014 than there were Mexicans coming to the United States. Regardless, declining apprehensions over the first four months of the Trump administration don’t mean that unauthorized immigration has fallen substantially. There are many factors aside from the administration’s rhetoric.

For example, cartels play a role in how many individuals cross the border, and there are reports that the price “coyotes” charge is on the rise. Higher costs could mean fewer people attempting to cross.

During the last few years the Mexican economy has improved and its unemployment rate is below 4%. More opportunity at home translates into fewer people leaving the country. The decline in apprehensions could also be due to the fact that the Border Patrol is unlawfully turning away asylum-seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border.

All of these factors make it very difficult to determine what is actually happening at the U.S.-Mexico border. There is no way to accurately measure the effectiveness of border-enforcement measures. The number of apprehensions is only assumed to reflect how many undocumented immigrants are trying to enter the country. But apprehension statistics don’t give any indication of how many undocumented immigrants actually make it into the country successfully.

Info from www.immigrationimpact.com

 

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Happy Mother’s Day! http://www.visa-pros.com/happy-mothers-day/ http://www.visa-pros.com/happy-mothers-day/#comments Thu, 11 May 2017 08:39:09 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=3156 Continue reading ]]> Love. Is the purest of emotions and a natural one. We are programmed for it, it is our deepest instinct and we need it to live. And the purest and most unconditional of all loves is a Mother’s love to her children.  Happy Mother’s day to all the wonderful mommies! 20170426_190337

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News On the “Travel Ban” court process http://www.visa-pros.com/news-on-the-travel-ban-court-process/ http://www.visa-pros.com/news-on-the-travel-ban-court-process/#comments Tue, 09 May 2017 16:06:33 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=3160 Continue reading ]]> The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond heard arguments from both sides yesterday about President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban. A 13-judge panel is examining a ruling that blocks the administration from temporarily barring visas for citizens in six countries – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

An attorney for President Trump is urging the court to focus on the religiously neutral text of Trump’s revised travel ban rather than the Republican’s anti-Muslim campaign statements.

Outside the courthouse, anti-ban protesters marched with signs and chanted. Inside the courthouse, the panel of judges questioned the attorneys about the constitutionality of the travel ban.

A major line of questions from the judges focused on whether President Trump’s campaign promise to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. can be considered the intent of this ban on travelers from predominantly Muslim countries.

There is no date set for when the judges will announce their decision. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Hawaii will hear oral arguments on May 15 on the other injunction on the travel ban. If parties in either case choose to appeal their verdicts, the case could go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Latest Nomination For The Citizenship and Immigration Services department http://www.visa-pros.com/latest-nomination-for-the-citizenship-and-immigration-services-department/ http://www.visa-pros.com/latest-nomination-for-the-citizenship-and-immigration-services-department/#comments Thu, 04 May 2017 13:18:20 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=3150 Continue reading ]]> 13680366_1262721410427636_6467469965092443199_oThe Trump administration does not cease to surprise us with its nominations. Just yesterday, the new Ombudsman for the Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) department was appointed, and the person chosen is Julie Kirchner.

Kirchner was the head of the Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR) for the last 10 years. This has been designated as a hate group with proven ties to white supremacists and eugenicists. The organization was also very well known for its anti-immigrant positions.

If you wonder what the role of the ombudsman is, it is basically the nonbiased figure whose role is to give assistance to both immigrants and the Department of Homeland Security, independent from the influence of the agency or White House. In her new position, Kirchner will act in a number of roles, including as a connection between immigrants and their employers who are unable to resolve their immigration cases. She will also be responsible for submitting an annual report to Congress identifying and offering suggestions to fix issues with DHS.

Kirchner has called for reductions of refugee admissions and she has previously campaigned against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. During her term at FAIR, she helped launch an initiative to end the 14th Amendment’s birthright citizenship provision (it grants citizenship to all individuals born on U.S. soil, regardless of the status of their parents).

We believe that appointing Kirchner as Ombudsman undermines the purpose of the agency and shuts down one more opportunity for holding the government accountable to the rights and needs of non-citizens in this country.

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This is what our people say http://www.visa-pros.com/this-is-what-our-people-say/ http://www.visa-pros.com/this-is-what-our-people-say/#comments Tue, 02 May 2017 13:30:44 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=3147 Continue reading ]]> Our clients are our best ambassadors. That is why we want to share one of the latest reviews we received from one of them. Our prize is knowing that they are happy with the work that we do. Thank you for your nice words, Yingjie!

http://bit.ly/2qoDar1

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Dealing with Problems http://www.visa-pros.com/dealing-with-problems/ http://www.visa-pros.com/dealing-with-problems/#comments Thu, 27 Apr 2017 09:52:14 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=3139 Continue reading ]]> What is one thing that everyone has in common? We’ve all got problems. No matter who you are, or what you’re doing, you will run into one of them eventually. And what can you do to avoid them?

I’m sorry to tell you this but the answer is nothing. Problems cannot be avoided, or perfection would be reality. But the truth is that nothing goes perfectly. Instead of trying to focus on perfection and to make sure that everything is ideal, try to work on your reaction to situations when something doesn’t go as planned. You have basically 3 options:

Number 1: Freak out, lose control and cry yourself to sleep in the fetal position.

Number 2: Ignore the problem and hope for the best.

Number 3: Try to stay positive, open minded and look for a solution.

I don’t know which one of those sounds the best to you, but probably number 3 is a safe bet. The truth is that when things go wrong, all you can do is try to fix them or to find an alternative. Sometimes, the alternative ends up being better than the original, but you can’t experience that if you just freak out and freeze.

As Joyce Meyer said “You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind.”

Almost as important as thinking positively throughout hardships, is that people around you do it too. If you are in a leadership position, you have to lead this attitude by example. If others see you calm, with a smile on your face, they will know that everything is okay and they will also be calm and think clearly. Let’s be honest: if you look back in five years at a bad moment, and it doesn’t seem that bad, then your problem really isn’t that big. And with a calm demeanor and positive thinking, you can always come up with a solution that will smooth things over.

Next time when you find yourself in a difficult situation, and you feel like there is nothing else that can do to fix it, take a moment, or a day, or a week; breathe and stay positive, then you will come up with an alternative or a solution for it.

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New Executive Order concerning H-1B visas http://www.visa-pros.com/new-executive-order-concerning-h-1b-visas/ http://www.visa-pros.com/new-executive-order-concerning-h-1b-visas/#comments Tue, 25 Apr 2017 09:58:16 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=3137 Continue reading ]]> On April 18, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order entitled “Buy American and Hire American.”  The EO calls for the enforcement and administration of laws governing both the promotion of domestic manufacturing of goods and the entry of foreign workers to the United States, as well as the issuance of new guidance and the revision of existing rules to protect the interests of U.S. workers and prevent fraud and abuse.  With respect to the H-1B program, this is what it says: “In order to promote the proper functioning of the H-1B visa program, the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall, as soon as practicable, suggest reforms to help ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries.”

It is still a mystery how it is going to be determined who those beneficiaries are, and if there will be a change in the process of selection for the visas and companies. As you know, the petitions are drawn into a lottery, because the number of available visas is a total of 85,000 (of which 20,000 are for Master degree level applicants) and the number of petitions is around the 200,000. Actually, FY 2018 is the first in 5 years that USCIS received less than 200,000 petitions (they received 199,000).

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They are Wasting YOUR Taxes. Agree? http://www.visa-pros.com/they-are-wasting-your-taxes-agree/ http://www.visa-pros.com/they-are-wasting-your-taxes-agree/#comments Thu, 20 Apr 2017 08:40:34 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=3115 Continue reading ]]> Jeff Sessions, Attorney General, announced a big shift in policy for the Department of Justice last week. U.S. Attorneys will prioritize criminal immigration enforcement and expand federal court prosecutions of immigration violators in the country.

The Attorney General is demanding of all 94 U.S. Attorney offices in the country to focus their resources away from prosecution of serious criminals and national security threats, to prosecuting individuals who crossed the border without inspection. This will end up in rushed processes and overpopulation of prisons that will be filled with low risk immigration offenders paid by the taxpayers.

To ensure this is enforced, the U.S. Government will also make sure that every office has a Border Security coordinator as of last Tuesday, April 18. These will have the mission of collecting and reporting on statistics, giving legal advice to U.S. Attorneys, and overseeing prosecutions.

This looks like a waste of taxpayer money by prosecuting people who crossed the border without permission, many just looking to join their families and make a living, rather than going after violent offenders and gun and drug smugglers who pose a threat to American communities.

This further criminalization of border crossers is troubling but not really surprising in the world of federal law-enforcement, where half of all arrests are already for immigration-related offenses like entering or re-entering the United States without authorization.

Considering that the vast majority of unauthorized immigrants entered the country to work or reunite with family members, this new policy announcement represents a very poor use of federal resources and is a huge step backwards.

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Has your petition been chosen? http://www.visa-pros.com/has-your-petition-been-chosen/ http://www.visa-pros.com/has-your-petition-been-chosen/#comments Tue, 18 Apr 2017 14:19:34 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/es/?p=3111 Continue reading ]]> On April 7, 2017, USCIS announced that it received enough H-1B petitions to reach the cap of 65,000 visas for fiscal year (FY) 2018. USCIS has also received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the U.S. advanced degree exemption, also known as the master’s cap.

USCIS received 199,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period, which began April 3, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption. On April 11, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select petitions to meet the 65,000 general-category cap and the 20,000 cap under the advanced degree exemption. USCIS will reject and return all unselected petitions with their filing fees, unless the petition is found to be a duplicate filing.

The agency made the selection process for the advanced degree exemption first. All unselected advanced degree petitions then became part of the random selection process for the 65,000 cap. As announced on March 3, USCIS has temporarily suspended premium processing for all H-1B petitions, including cap-exempt petitions, for up to six months. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions exempt from the cap. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap will also not be counted towards the congressionally mandated FY 2018 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:

* Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;

* Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;

* Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and

* Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently

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9 statements you should avoid to increase your emotional intelligence http://www.visa-pros.com/9-statements-you-should-avoid-to-increase-your-emotional-intelligence/ http://www.visa-pros.com/9-statements-you-should-avoid-to-increase-your-emotional-intelligence/#comments Thu, 13 Apr 2017 13:57:35 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/es/?p=3089 Continue reading ]]> immigration diversity

  1. You look tired. Tired people are extremely unattractive. Sad eyes, messy hair, problems to focus and bad temper. All these are things we can see in someone tired, so just remember whenever you make that statement you are telling someone all that.
  2. Wow, you lost a ton of weight. Here, a well-intentioned compliment gives the impression you are criticizing someone. You will be suggesting they looked fat. Instead, you can just say “you look fantastic!” instead of comparing with how they looked before.
  3. You were too good for him/her anyway. Look at you, just telling someone their relationship choice was a bad one that led to this situation.
  4. Always/never. People don’t see themselves as having one dimension, which is what you are implying by using these. It will get them to be defensive and closed to your message, which can be really bad because there is a high chance that you are using them when there is something important to discuss.
  5. You look great for your age. Again, just avoid the comparison part. Leave it at “you look great” and you will have an appreciated compliment.
  6. Like I said before… We are all human and forget things sometimes. This sounds insulting for having to repeat yourself, which is never going to be appreciated. Unnecessary. Just avoid it.
  7. Good luck. This is a very subtle one. It is certainly not the end of the world, but it can give the impression that we believe someone needs luck in order to succeed because they don’t have the necessary skills. Use with caution.
  8. It’s up to you. You may not care about the question, but your opinion is important to the person asking (or they wouldn’t have asked in the first place). Instead of that, you may say “I don’t have a strong opinion about it, but a few things to consider are…”
  9. Well, at least I never… this is a very aggressive way of taking the focus off your mistake and pointing out an old, potentially irrelevant mistake, the other person made. Unnecessary.
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H-1B cap Reached Once again http://www.visa-pros.com/h-1b-cap-reached-once-again/ http://www.visa-pros.com/h-1b-cap-reached-once-again/#comments Tue, 11 Apr 2017 14:47:26 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/es/?p=3078 Continue reading ]]> U.S. employers are fighting for the chance to hire skilled foreign workers, but unsurprisingly once again, the annual H-1B cap was reached within five business days. USCIS began accepting H-1B petitions on April 3, 2017 and by April 7, USCIS announced that it had received more petitions than the entire H-1B cap for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 allows. USCIS will carry out a lottery to determine which companies will be able to employ the workers they chose to sponsor. This illustrates the contrast between the economic demand and a cap that does not accommodate this economic potential.

The Congressional limit on H-1B new hires is 65,000, and an additional 20,000 for foreign professionals who graduate with an advanced degree from U.S. universities that meet certain requirements. For FY 2017, USCIS received more than 236,000 petitions during the five-business-day filing period.

The Trump administration declared that it would target the H-1B program and other employment-based visa programs to detect and prevent fraud and abuse and protect U.S. workers. It is unclear how they intend to define fraud and abuse, but the initial focus would appear to be on whether H-1B workers are receiving the proper wage for, and working in, their petitioned occupation. USCIS announced changes to the H-1B program that may predict larger changes likely to have repercussions for U.S. employers.

USCIS also announced that it has established a dedicated email address through which anyone, including H-1B workers, can report their suspicions about possible “fraud or abuse.” Unfortunately, this approach is along the lines of other DHS attempts to publicly shame individuals or jurisdictions that they believe are uncooperative.

There are many problems with these approaches. For example, with respect to their inability to validate basic information, USCIS used Dunn & Bradstreet’s Validation Instrument for Business Enterprise (VIBE) Program information for several years. When USCIS cannot confirm information in VIBE that an employer has included about itself in an H-1B petition, the agency issues a request for additional evidence. But many employers, especially small ones and non-profits, do not submit information to VIBE. This can result in VIBE having either no information or information that does not match with what the petitioning employer submitted to USCIS directly. Thus this is not a sign of fraud or abuse, and will likely result in additional delays and obstacles for those employers.

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The Most Vulnerable in the Whole Situation- children http://www.visa-pros.com/the-most-vulnerable-in-the-whole-situation-children/ http://www.visa-pros.com/the-most-vulnerable-in-the-whole-situation-children/#comments Thu, 06 Apr 2017 14:16:17 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/es/?p=3075 Continue reading ]]> When we hear the news about immigration, deportation and its consequences, a very important and extremely impactful one is rarely mentioned: U.S. citizen who are the children of an undocumented parent. What happens to them if their parent is deported?

We are borrowing this from the LA Times:

http://www.latimes.com/politics/92820589-132.html

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Who said you can’t? http://www.visa-pros.com/who-said-you-cant/ http://www.visa-pros.com/who-said-you-cant/#comments Thu, 30 Mar 2017 13:29:00 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/es/?p=3068 fd091dcc608bdb926c8b02bf6915a508

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They are Now Going Against Sanctuary Cities http://www.visa-pros.com/they-are-now-going-against-sanctuary-cities/ http://www.visa-pros.com/they-are-now-going-against-sanctuary-cities/#comments Tue, 28 Mar 2017 08:00:02 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/es/?p=3061 Continue reading ]]> Alert-2We can say the battle for immigration rights has begun here, in the United States. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, just threatened sanctuary cities with a $4k million cut in federal funding if they refuse to collaborate with the President’s plan.
Attorney General has numbered the sanctuary cities (118) and given the first names that will be reprimanded, such as Boston, Cambridge or Northampton. This is the beginning of a plan to fulfill the electoral promises.
Last February the scope of detainees was increased to mostly every undocumented person- before, it was prioritized to individuals with criminal records. DHS established hiring 15,000 new agents, increased the competencies of local enforcement and extended the possibility to apply immediate deportation to most of undocumented people. Since then, raids and panic between the population has only gone up. Just last week, ICE published a report detailing all the requests made to local authorities that had been denied. To this “black list”, General Attorney’s office added that they believed the attitude of sanctuary cities as a “danger for public safety.”

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New Regulations for Flights http://www.visa-pros.com/new-regulations-for-flights/ http://www.visa-pros.com/new-regulations-for-flights/#comments Thu, 23 Mar 2017 13:09:28 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=3024 Continue reading ]]> immigration

 

 

 

 

 

Earlier this week, the government has banned all electronics in flights arriving from 10 airports in certain countries, as announced by DHS. Devices will have to be checked in along with luggage. The restriction, a response to a supposed terrorist threat, includes devices such as laptops, tablets or cameras. Cell phones and certain medical equipment are excluded from it.

The measure only affects foreign airlines that fly from 8 countries of Muslim majorities: Egypt, Turkey, Kuwait, Qatar, Morocco, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Emirates. The restriction does not apply to flights leaving the United States, but only in the ones arriving into US soil. Airlines affected by it must start applying the measure by tomorrow, which will stay in effect indefinitely.

Airlines affected are Saudi Arabian Airlines, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Emirates, Etihad, Qatar Airways, Kuwait Airways, Turkish Airlines, Egypt Air y Royal Air Maroc—. The new norm will involve the following international airports: El Cairo, Estanbul, Kuwait, Doha, Casablanca, Ammán, Riad, Jeddah, Dubái y Abu Dhabi. This measure is part of the new immigration approach by the new government.

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World Poetry Day http://www.visa-pros.com/world-poetry-day/ http://www.visa-pros.com/world-poetry-day/#comments Tue, 21 Mar 2017 16:25:31 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=3021 Poetry helps make the world a more beautiful place and it is one of the ways to express the most extreme feelings.

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Citizenship is unlikely to be indicator of terrorist threat to the United States http://www.visa-pros.com/citizenship-is-unlikely-to-be-indicator-of-terrorist-threat-to-the-united-states/ http://www.visa-pros.com/citizenship-is-unlikely-to-be-indicator-of-terrorist-threat-to-the-united-states/#comments Thu, 16 Mar 2017 07:20:55 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=3016 Continue reading ]]> In a paper requested by the DHS, AILA (the American Immigration Lawyer Association) recently published research assessing the international terrorist threat by citizens of the seven countries impacted by the initial Executive Order on travel.
The key findings of the paper are:
• Country of citizenship is unlikely to be a reliable indicator of potential terrorist activity. Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict (2011), the foreign-born US-based individuals inspired by a foreign terrorist organization to participate in terrorism-related activity were citizens of 26 different countries, with no country representing more than 13.5% of the foreign-born total.
• In comparison to other neighboring countries, few citizens of the countries impacted by the E.O. maintain access to the United States.
• Terrorist groups in Iraq, Syria and Yemen pose a threat of attacks in the United States while groups in Iran, Libya, Somalia and Sudan are regionally focused.
Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict in March 2011, the top seven origin countries of the foreign-born individuals who died in the pursuit of or were convicted of any terrorism-related federal offense inspired by a foreign terrorist organization, according to DHS are: Pakistan (5), Somalia (3), and Bangladesh, Cuba, Ethiopia, Iraq and Uzbekistan (2). Of the countries impacted by Executive Order, Iran, Sudan and Yemen had 1 each and none from Syria.

With these numbers, we can´t really say that the countries banned are the ones with the most likelihood to be a terrorist threat.

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First Reactions to Trump´s New Travel Ban http://www.visa-pros.com/first-reactions-to-trump/ http://www.visa-pros.com/first-reactions-to-trump/#comments Tue, 14 Mar 2017 14:25:26 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=3009 Continue reading ]]> In the week following President Trump’s issuance of a second travel ban, now targeting six Muslim-majority countries, several states and a number of immigrant rights groups immediately returned to federal courts throughout the country to urge that this ban, like the first, be enjoined.

Significantly, both a ban on visa issuance and a suspension of refugee processing were included in the first Order and were enjoined by the Seattle district court. The proper method for seeking a modification of an injunction is to either request a reconsideration from the court that issued the injunction—which Trump tried and lost—or to appeal the injunction to the court of appeals. Within days of issuing the second Executive Order, Trump dismissed his pending Ninth Circuit appeal of the injunction, thus closing this second proper avenue for review. As the States of Washington and Minnesota argue in response to the second Order in Washington v. Trump, the federal government is attempting to evade the injunction by improperly repackaging previously enjoined conduct as a new Executive Order.

Other lawsuits also have renewed their challenges to the travel bans in response to the second Executive Order. Hawaii was the first, followed soon by the American Immigration Council, which on Friday filed an amended complaint, a new request for injunctive relief, and a new motion class certification in Ali v. Trump. The plaintiffs in these and the other cases updated this past week make a strong showing that the second order continues the unlawful discrimination against Muslims contained in the first Order, and must be rejected on this basis.

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DACA in jeopardy? http://www.visa-pros.com/daca-in-jeopardy/ http://www.visa-pros.com/daca-in-jeopardy/#comments Thu, 09 Mar 2017 16:52:43 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=3005 Continue reading ]]> Undocumented immigrants are been advised not to enroll in DACA over fears that the Trump administration will use their personal information to detain and deport them. The caution reflects the anxiety over new enforcement guidelines from Homeland Security Secretary that intend to ramp up deportations of the nation’s undocumented immigrants.

Kelly’s directives do not overturn the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). But the expansion of the Department of Homeland Security’s enforcement powers has heightened the risk for immigrants registered with the agency. Under the program, applicants are required to present proof of their identity, such as a passport or birth certificate, and show documentation of where they go to school or work.

The uncertainty threatens to place the program in a state of limbo and lower participation levels even if President Trump does not formally end it. Trump had mocked DACA as an “unconstitutional executive amnesty” in a speech in August, but he has been evasive since taking office.

DHS officials said concerns that DACA recipients would be targeted for deportation were unfounded, and they emphasized that the agency continues to process applications as it had under the Obama administration.

The mixed signals from the Trump administration have convinced us that DACA’s future remains doubtful and that its protections are flimsy. A White House draft executive order leaked last month, showed that Trump was considering a plan to halt new DACA applications, while allowing those already enrolled to continue until their two-year work permits expired. Trump has not signed that order.

But alarm grew this month after 23-year-old DACA recipient who was born in Mexico was arrested. Authorities have alleged that he has gang ties and he remains in federal custody. His attorneys deny any gang affiliation and are suing for his release. The arrest came after Immigration and Customs Enforcement (a division of DHS) apprehended 683 undocumented immigrants in six cities earlier this month.

DHS officials said that DACA requirements stipulate that recipients who commit crimes or have ties to gangs can be stripped of their protections. Since 2012, about 1,500 people have been removed from DACA over such infractions.

Obama’s creation of DACA in 2012 was viewed as a major victory for the “dreamers,” a group estimated at almost 2 million, who have lived most of their lives in the United States.

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International Women´s Day http://www.visa-pros.com/international-womens-day/ http://www.visa-pros.com/international-womens-day/#comments Wed, 08 Mar 2017 14:47:53 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2999 Continue reading ]]> PhotoEssay_WorldOfWork_00_WorldOfWork_Opener_Feb2017_960pxWide

As a women owned and all-women company, we fully support women´s rights and the fight for equality. This year fighting for Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030. “The education and empowerment of women throughout the world cannot fail to result in a more caring, tolerant, just and peaceful life for all.” -Aung San Suu Kyi

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BREAKING: Trump Signs New Order Blocking Arrivals From 6 Countries http://www.visa-pros.com/breaking-trump-signs-new-order-blocking-arrivals-from-6-countries/ http://www.visa-pros.com/breaking-trump-signs-new-order-blocking-arrivals-from-6-countries/#comments Mon, 06 Mar 2017 17:14:10 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2994 Continue reading ]]> Alert-2

President Trump just signed a new executive order blocking visas from being issued to citizens of six countries to replace a controversial, now-suspended executive order known as “the travel ban.”

Like the one signed Jan. 27, the new executive order blocks arrivals from specific majority-Muslim countries for 90 days and suspends the refugee program for 120 days.

The new order blocks people traveling from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. Iraq is no longer included because the country has promised to “increase cooperation with the U.S.” and share more information about its citizens.

Unlike the original order, the ban announced today:

  1. no longer includes Iraq,
  2. explicitly doesn’t apply to lawful permanent residents (green card holders) or existing visa holders,
  3. and will have a delayed implementation — going into effect at 12:01 a.m. ET on March 16.
  4. Syrian refugees are not banned indefinitely, like they were in the Jan. 27 order, and
  5. refugees already formally scheduled for travel to the U.S. will be permitted to enter the country.

Administration officials left open the possibility that other countries could be added to future visa bans, or that countries on the list could be removed.

It also omits a section about prioritizing refugees of minority religions — the part of the initial order that was one reason the order was challenged as a form of “Muslim ban.”

The Trump administration maintains that it will triumph in the legal battle over the original executive action, based on the president’s broad authority on immigration issues.

The issue could eventually end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Trump Administration May Release the Private Data of Immigrants and Foreign Visitors http://www.visa-pros.com/trump-administration-may-release-the-private-data-of-immigrants-and-foreign-visitors/ http://www.visa-pros.com/trump-administration-may-release-the-private-data-of-immigrants-and-foreign-visitors/#comments Thu, 02 Mar 2017 16:25:55 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2992 Continue reading ]]> Over the last month, the Trump administration started a war on the rights of immigrants and foreigners — including by issuing a policy that strips away basic privacy protections provided for decades.

This policy shift was inserted into Trump’s immigration enforcement executive order released on January 25. It could let the Trump administration release the names and private information of non-U.S. citizens — including refugees, college students, tourists, and people here on work visas. The new policy could also make it easier for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to obtain information from other agencies that can be used to detain or deport people.

What the executive order did was exclude all of these people from receiving the protections of the Privacy Act of 1974, which limits the government’s sharing of personal information without permission. There are all kinds of personal information about noncitizens that the federal government collects that could be vulnerable to disclosure. Those who submit immigration applications could have their personal information — including home addresses — shared publicly, threatening their safety. Immigrant workers who report violations of workplace laws to the Department of Labor could have their information easily disclosed to hostile employers or immigration enforcement officials. The same could happen to refugees who have been resettled in the United States.

Federal agencies would also have to make sure that any record does not contain information about someone from the European Union or other designated countries that are entitled to privacy protections as a result of the Judicial Redress Act, passed by Congress last year and was a precondition of the U.S.-E.U. “Umbrella Agreement.”

The U.S. government promised it would protect Europeans’ personal data as a condition of these agreements. But both agreements may be in jeopardy if the Trump administration goes forward with its plans.

This policy change is flawed, unwise, and will needlessly strip away the rights of millions. Privacy is a human right that isn’t just for American citizens and permanent residents.

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Your Guide To Dealing with Immigration and the Police http://www.visa-pros.com/your-guide-to-dealing-with-immigration-and-the-police/ http://www.visa-pros.com/your-guide-to-dealing-with-immigration-and-the-police/#comments Tue, 28 Feb 2017 06:59:49 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2987 YOUR GUIDE TO DEALING WITH IMMIGRATION

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Extreme Measures Bring Extreme Outcomes http://www.visa-pros.com/extreme-measures-bring-extreme-outcomes/ http://www.visa-pros.com/extreme-measures-bring-extreme-outcomes/#comments Thu, 23 Feb 2017 09:34:31 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2984 Continue reading ]]> A Mexican migrant who had been recently deported from the US committed suicide on Tuesday by jumping off a bridge near the border crossing of San Ysidro, which connects Tijuana and San Diego. Mexican authorities have confirmed that José Luis Jiménez, 44, had been deported last week. Lying next to his body was a plastic bag containing personal items, such as those usually handed out by US immigration officials during repatriation procedures.

According to eyewitness reports cited in local media, the man screamed out in distress over being returned to Mexico, shortly before jumping. The incident took place on the same day that the Department of Homeland Security issued documents detailing Trump’s new deportation procedures, which expand the pursuit to nearly every irregular migrant who has been in the country less than three years.

The guidelines include an order “to hire an additional 5,000 border agents and to empower state and local law enforcement to support federal enforcement of immigration law, to the maximum extent permitted by law”.

“All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to enforcement proceedings, up to and including removal from the United States,” reads the fact sheet released on Tuesday.

According to official sources, it has still not been registered a considerable increase in deportations, but this event illustrates the risks to come. Given the wage differences, and the cases of people who have been living in the US for a long time, these measures will result in great desperation.

Mexico has been a target of Trump’s from the beginning, both in migratory and in trade issues. Yet for the last five years, more Mexicans have been returning to their home country from the US than have been entering. In 2014, the migration balance showed a record 140,000 more exits than entries. And the deportation of undocumented migrants – most of them Mexican – fell for the second year in a row. The total number of removals in 2015 was the lowest since 2007, according to official immigration statistics.

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Immigration Memos Leaked http://www.visa-pros.com/immigration-memos-leaked/ http://www.visa-pros.com/immigration-memos-leaked/#comments Tue, 21 Feb 2017 09:23:18 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2982 Continue reading ]]> We are borrowing this from AILA, the American Immigration Lawyer association because we believe it is very important for everyone to know.

Over the weekend, the media obtained two leaked memos signed by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly implementing the President’s Executive Orders on immigration enforcement. Although much attention has been focused on the building of the border wall, these memos also direct the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to drastically escalate harsh immigration enforcement nationwide. The memos reveal that DHS intends to take our nation backwards in terms of guaranteeing due process, providing a safe haven for those who need it, and building productive and safe communities where everyone can thrive.

What is in the memos?

  1. An end to long-standing protections for children. DHS intends to strip many children arriving alone at our border of basic protections and to penalize their parents for seeking to reunite with their children in the United States. They will do this by narrowing the definition of “unaccompanied alien child” in order to limit those protections and by launching either civil or criminal enforcement against the parents.
  2. A massive expansion of detention. The memos contemplate a massive expansion of detention, including a requirement that DHS officers detain nearly everyone they apprehend at or near the border. This detention space expansion means that more children, families and other vulnerable groups seeking protection in the United States will end up detained, at great financial and human cost.
  3. Prosecution priorities and discretion are gone. The new memos rescind earlier policies on whom to prosecute and deport and whom to deprioritize because they pose no threat to our communities. The new enforcement priorities are extremely broad covering nearly all undocumented individuals in the United States. They even include individuals simply charged or suspected of having committed crimes.
  4. Creation of a deportation force. The memos order the hiring of 5,000 additional Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents and 10,000 additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. They direct a massive expansion of 287(g)—a law that allows DHS to deputize state and local law enforcement officers to perform the functions of immigration agents. And, they reinstate Secure Communities and terminate the Priority Enforcement Program, which expand the ways in which local police collaborate with ICE.
  5. Plans to bypass immigration courts and short-circuit due process. The memos indicate that many people in the interior of the country – not just those at the border – could be subject to expedited deportation without going before a judge, the details of which DHS said will be forthcoming in a notice in the Federal Register. This expansion of “expedited removal,” will allow the government to bypass the backlogged immigration courts in order to deport people rapidly and with little-to-no due process.

While the feasibility of many of these depends on Congressional willingness to fund them and whether they pass muster in the courts, undeniably, these policies are thin on humanity and thick on punishment. They will separate families, cultivate fear among immigrant communities, and destabilize our economy.

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A Day Without Immigrants http://www.visa-pros.com/a-day-without-immigrants/ http://www.visa-pros.com/a-day-without-immigrants/#comments Thu, 16 Feb 2017 14:23:33 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2978 Continue reading ]]> 16807435_1731541667157970_3813563358988302352_nThe campaign, spread on social media and messaging apps, has called for a “day without immigrants.” It asks foreign-born people nationwide, regardless of legal status, not to go to work or go shopping in a demonstration of the importance of their labor and consumer spending to the United States’ economy.

Activists and groups in cities across the country have picked up the call, reposting fliers found online, and in some cases organizing demonstrations to coincide with the event. Several activists said that they did not know how the campaign began or how many people would heed it, and that as far as they knew, there was no national organization behind it.

In a city with more than 2,000 restaurants, the day of closures and absences may not be enough to prevent anyone from getting a table. But given the upscale, popular businesses involved, it will be noticed.

Adding to the uncertainty, a variety of fliers and Facebook pages were used online to promote the campaign, some announcing demonstrations or urging people to patronize immigrant-owned businesses.

So if you are an immigrant, do your part and if you are not, please be understanding and patient.

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I´m Not an Immigrant. What can I do to help? http://www.visa-pros.com/im-not-an-immigrant-what-can-i-do-to-help/ http://www.visa-pros.com/im-not-an-immigrant-what-can-i-do-to-help/#comments Tue, 14 Feb 2017 16:39:22 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2974 Continue reading ]]> love, heartIn a season where the government’s openness to outsiders has shifted, many people long to respond strategically. In spite of all the division, a window of opportunity has swung open. Around the globe, communities are abuzz with new questions about how to welcome strangers.

The new administration has made lots of promises to tighten our borders and take a harsher stance on immigration—like deporting millions of undocumented workers, building a wall along the southern border, terminating executive amnesty and tripling the number of immigration enforcement agents. But the question lingers: What will actually happen? And when?

In this new and uncertain year, we must thoughtfully organize for reflection and action.

Ask your immigrant friends how they’re doing. Take special care. Invite them into your homes. There’s no better time than now. Find good legal counsel.

Unless you’re an expert, avoid giving legal advice. You can best serve your immigrant brothers and sisters by helping them access good, accurate information and legal services. Watch out for “false lawyers”—notarios—who may look to defraud and exploit fears in this time of uncertainty.

Leverage your voice. Use your privilege to speak up for our immigrant friends. If you see or hear about discrimination, investigate and report it. With hate crimes on the rise, we must be a strong source of support for those who may be targeted. If there are people who have been emboldened toward injustice at this time, we must take extra measures of courage.

Wherever you live, stop and think for a minute about your unique context. Should you stop using your energy to debate on social media, and channel it toward local action? How might your community leverage this moment to host a similar dialogue? Who could you invite to join?

In this new and uncertain year, we must thoughtfully organize for reflection and action. Then, let’s lean into every opportunity to stand with our immigrant brothers and sisters.

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Latest News! http://www.visa-pros.com/latest-news/ http://www.visa-pros.com/latest-news/#comments Fri, 10 Feb 2017 14:25:25 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2970 Continue reading ]]> We are sharing the American Immigration Council information received last night.

The America Immigration Council believes in judicial independence and commends the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Washington v. Trump which found that:

1. The President’s Executive Orders Are Reviewable by the Courts.  The court rejected the federal government’s claim that the President’s immigration policies—even those involving national security concerns—are unreviewable by the courts.   In fact, it is the court’s role to consider constitutional challenges to executive action. The court explained:  “[t][here is no precedent to support this claimed unreviewability, which runs contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy.”

2. The States Have “Standing” to Challenge the Executive Order.  In order to bring a lawsuit, a plaintiff must have “standing,” which is a legal stake in the outcome of the case.  The Court found that Washington and Minnesota have an adequate stake because the states’ universities will suffer harm from the executive order.  Specifically, the executive order prevents students and faculty from the banned countries from travelling for academic or personal reasons.  It affects the universities’ ability to attract students and faculty from these seven affected countries.  And, some of their students and faculty will be stranded outside the United States.

3. The Federal Government Is Unlikely to Win Its Appeal Because the States Have Alleged a Due Process Violation.
The court declined to “stay,” or lift, the TRO because it concluded that the federal government was not likely to win on the appeal of the TRO. In fact, the court indicated that the district court properly issued a TRO because the plaintiffs have a viable due process claim.  The court stated that the federal government has not shown that “the Executive Order provides what due process requires, such as notice and a hearing prior to restricting an individual’s ability to travel.”

4. The Federal Government Did Not Establish Harm Resulting From the TRO.
  The Court found that the federal government failed to allege any harm that would warrant staying the TRO. It pointed out that the government did not allege that any noncitizens from the seven countries perpetrated terrorist attacks against the United States. By contrast, the states did show harm to their public universities if the Executive Order were reinstated.

5. There Is A Strong Public Interest in Both Security AND the Free Flow of Travel, Family Relationships and Non-Discrimination.
The Court noted the competing public interests on both sides of this suit: “On the one hand, the public has a powerful interest in national security and in the ability of an elected president to enact policies. And on the other, the public also has an interest in free flow of travel, in avoiding separation of families, and in freedom from discrimination. We need not characterize the public interest more definitely than this; when considered alongside the hardships discussed above, these competing public interests do not justify a stay.”

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On Being Good: 4 Behaviors That Push People Away (And How To Stop Them) http://www.visa-pros.com/on-being-good-4-behaviors-that-push-people-away-and-how-to-stop-them/ http://www.visa-pros.com/on-being-good-4-behaviors-that-push-people-away-and-how-to-stop-them/#comments Thu, 09 Feb 2017 09:51:40 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2967 Continue reading ]]> Social situations give us opportunities to showcase behaviors that we are not sometimes proud of and at times, not even aware of. It can be hard to identify behaviors that are actually damaging us socially when we’re in a crowd or enveloped by a conversation. There are certain traits and behaviors, however, that when exhibited, almost always push people away.

Here are four of the most compelling of these… As well as some tips on how to avoid them.

  1. COMPLAINING. The old saying “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all!” applies pretty universally. Complaining tends to bring everyone down without adding anything helpful to the conversation. Even a positive conversation can take a 180 degree turn by someone who is complaining.You CAN stop complaining, though. Reframing your point of view, getting some perspective on things, making a gratitude list, and accepting responsibility appropriately are all helpful ways to curb your complaining tendencies.
  2. SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS. We all know someone who always thinks they’re right, no matter what (hopefully, it isn’t you). Not only are you insistent upon being right, doing it means you are out to prove someone else wrong and being overly committed to the notion that you’re right typically means you’re closed to other perspectives, too. Recognizing these behaviors within ourselves is relatively easy, but overcoming it can be hard. One of the key factors to conquer self-righteousness is the recognition of self-possession: you are only responsible for your own feelings and opinions, and they do not apply to others. Coming to terms with this and accepting it can help you move away from the notion of always having to be right, and opening your mind to the ideas and opinions of others.The greater reward of learning to overcome self-righteousness is that in time, your opinion will be valued by others as well, and instead of avoiding you for being overbearing, people may seek you out for your ideas instead.
  3. CONCEITEDNESS. Casting yourself in the spotlight is a great way to make friends and let your true nature show through…unless you’re doing it over and over and over again. Conceit pushes others out of the way so that you can constantly be the center of attention: it’s ego-driven, narcissistic and terribly unattractive. It always pushes people away. Try to make sure you’re sharing the stage equitably. If you notice someone on the sidelines of a social situation, give them an opening into the conversation. Keep your anecdotes light, amusing and relatable, so that others will want to share theirs.
  4. SELFISHNESS. Selfishness is tricky, because while you have to take care of yourself and ensure your needs are met before attending to others, you want to also be considerate of others and generous towards them. Selfishness becomes problematic when you take advantage of someone else’s generosity, kindness of spirit or intuitive appreciation. Pretty much anytime you are taking advantage of a person, you’re acting in a selfish manner that is unhelpful. As tough as it can be to determine when this is happening, though, it is one of the easiest behaviors to fix. Stop being selfish simply by doing the opposite of what you’re currently doing and look for ways to reach out and help others instead of demanding they help you.
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She made it back! http://www.visa-pros.com/she-made-it-back/ http://www.visa-pros.com/she-made-it-back/#comments Tue, 07 Feb 2017 15:26:41 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2963 Continue reading ]]> We are very happy to share that after all the trouble Nazanin is back home in South Carolina. After a long trip and the uncertainty when she boarded that she would be allowed entry through customs, she is finally home in Greenville, SC. More about the story here.

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News! http://www.visa-pros.com/news/ http://www.visa-pros.com/news/#comments Mon, 06 Feb 2017 17:58:57 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2960 Continue reading ]]> Here is the restraining order that Friday stopped the Executive Order from January 27 that banned entry to the United States to all people from 7 countries:

On February 3, 2017, the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington issued a temporary restraining order, prohibiting the federal government from enforcing Sections 3(c) [90-day travel ban on “immigrants and non-immigrants” from designated countries], 5(a) [120-day ban on U.S. refugee program], 5(b) [prioritization of certain refugee claims], 5(c) [indefinite suspension of Syrian refugee admissions], and 5(e) [case-by-case refugee admissions] of the January 27, 2017 Executive Order on a nationwide basis. All U.S. land and air ports of entry are prohibited from enforcing these portions of the Executive Order until further order from the court.

DOS: DOS has confirmed that assuming there are no other issues in the case, provisionally revoked visas have been reversed and are once again valid for travel.

CBP: All CBP Field Offices have been instructed to immediately resume inspection of travelers under standard policies and procedures. All airlines and terminal operators have been notified to permit boarding of all passengers without regard to nationality.

AILA has also confirmed with CBP that individuals who arrived last weekend and had their visas physically cancelled as a result of the EO will not need to reapply for a new visa and absent any other admissibility issues will receive an I-193 waiver (Application for Waiver of Passport and/or Visa) upon arrival to the U.S. For those traveling by air, airlines have been instructed to contact CBP to receive authorization to permit boarding.

The Trump administration declared its intention to file an emergency stay of the order “at the earliest possible time.”

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TOMORROW: Karen will be Discussing News & Events in the EB-5 Industry with Analysts, Experts and Newsmakers http://www.visa-pros.com/tomorrow-karen-will-be-discussing-news-events-in-the-eb-5-industry-with-analysts-experts-and-newsmakers/ http://www.visa-pros.com/tomorrow-karen-will-be-discussing-news-events-in-the-eb-5-industry-with-analysts-experts-and-newsmakers/#comments Thu, 02 Feb 2017 15:14:21 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2957 Continue reading ]]> Along with other five experts, Karen will be live tomorrow discussing the latest news and events and how this is going to affect companies.

The issues that will be discussed are:

  • President Trump’s Executive Order banning certain immigrants from entering the U.S.
  • Investors and Regulators taking action against EB-5 Regional Center Principals and other service providers accused of fraud and misrepresentation
  • Recent and Proposed changes to the program by USCIS
  • Upcoming Events

Join tomorrow, at 2:00 pm EST here

 

 

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Barred From Returning Home http://www.visa-pros.com/barred-from-returning-home/ http://www.visa-pros.com/barred-from-returning-home/#comments Tue, 31 Jan 2017 18:57:04 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2953 Continue reading ]]>

We want to share Nazanin Zinouri’s terrible story which is an example of how last week’s discriminatory rules affect bright people and U.S. companies. We are working with Nazanin now to help her get her H-1B visa. She is a very smart, hard working industrial engineer who obtained a Ph.D. degree and has done a lot of good to the South Carolina community where she has been living during the past seven years. She is very valuable member of the team at her current job in a cutting edge engineering company helping American companies with increasing their safety and productivity. Also, among others, she cooperates with several associations to help promote engineering to young students and girls based on her passion for mathematics and problem solving, as well as her high academic performance. Nazanin is a shining example of the type of foreign nationals we want to encourage to come and stay here because they contribute so much.

She left South Carolina last week to go visit her family, as she does every year. She says her life is here but misses her family so she goes once a year to spend a few days with them and was going to stay until February 10. She left her puppy Dexter with a friend, parked her car at the airport and boarded a plane, not knowing that she was not going to be allowed to return home. Following the news and getting scared by the rumors, we advised her to return early in case these were true and so she changed her ticket.

In her layover from Tehran in Dubai on Saturday, she was asked to leave the boarding area as she was banned from getting on the plane to Washington without been given any more information. We still don’t know what is going to happen; hope that eventually some sense will prevail and allow Nazanin and so many others in the same situation to come here, to their home. The home they so hard worked on and which is been taken away from them for no reason. You can read her full story, told by herself, here:

“I was born in a middle-class family in Tehran, Iran. I was raised by parents who taught me to love and respect people regardless of their race, religion or background. I learned to value education for its contributions to community life, its role in advancing social justice, for its capacity to open to people worlds of cultural and artistic excellence, and in the largest sense for its contributions to human flourishing.

My passion for mathematics and problem solving started as a young girl. I studied hard for years and performed highly in university entrance exam, that is mandatory in Iran to get in college and university. I was admitted in one of the top ranked universities in Iran with full scholarship to study Industrial Engineering. Soon after I started the program, I knew I wanted to go to graduate school. I started considering options to study abroad. After lots of research, I decided America was a great choice. There were lots of universities offering great graduate programs in Industrial Engineering, well known professors that would have been great advisors. I knew I could achieve my educational and professional goals. Also, having friends in the United States, I had heard great things about how nice American people are and how the always welcome immigrants warmly. I took TOEFL and GRE test and prepared all my documents to apply to universities. I got admission from several universities and full scholarship from Northern Illinois University.

Unfortunately, around the same time my sister who is also a highly educated young woman with a masters degree in Electrical Engineering, was diagnosed with MS. This was heartbreaking for my family and made the decision of leaving my family even harder for me. However, I knew I could become a better person and help my family and society more by the education I could receive in the United States. I had to pursue my American dream to become a young professional that can make a positive change.

The process was not easy. Not having a United States embassy in Iran, I had to travel to Turkey for my visa interview. None of this was financially easy for me and my family but I didn’t give up because I had hope of a bright future. My visa was approved but had to undergo additional clearance process before getting issued. This was typical procedure for Iranian citizens and was understandable because any country needs to assure the person they are admitting to their country is not a threat. I was clear and granted a student F1 visa. I entered the United states August 13, 2010 for the first time.

I started my Masters program in the department of Industrial Engineering at Northern Illinois University. Soon I was offered multiple opportunities such as working as engineer in residence at Caterpillar Inc. I was granted membership to Alpha Pi Mu, Industrial Engineering honor society based on my high performance. I was also part of Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE), and Society of Women Engineers (SWE) promoting engineering to young students. I received my Masters degree from Northern Illinois University with a 4.0 GPA.

My F1 visa was single entry and unfortunately, I didn’t leave the country to visit my family. I hadn’t seen them for almost three years, in January 2013, I got a phone call informing me that my father has been killed in a car crash. Despite the horrifying news, I managed to finish the semester, but I was determined to go be with my family. Even though I knew I had to re-apply for visa, I had to see my family and I had faith that I will be granted another visa without any issues since I had dedicated my life in the United States to education and academic activities. I didn’t have anything to worry about so I left for Iran in May 2013. I re-applied for visa and my visa went through clearance process again. I received my new visa without any issues after the clearance was completed and returned to the United States to pursue a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering at Clemson University with full Scholarship in August 2013.

 During my graduate studies, I wrote several papers and participated in multiple national and regional conferences. I promised myself to visit my family at least once a year to help my sick sister and my mother who was left with no help after my father’s death. I visited Iran again in March 2014. Once again, I applied for visa and I was granted a multiple entry visa this time which was the best news to me and my family. This enabled me to visit again in 2015 without having to re-apply for visa. After several accomplishments including receiving scholarships from IIE and Clemson University, I graduated with my Ph.D. in August 2016.

Soon I found a job at a technology firm in Greenville area and started working as a data scientist. I couldn’t be happier with my job and the team I was working with. I have always loved animals and I felt like after years of being in school, this was the time to adopt a puppy. I rescued a puppy that had multiple issues including GI problems. I knew he had less chances of getting adopted because of his issues. I knew he was the one and I adopted my adorable dog, Dexter.

I had my OPT on F1 and employment authorization form, legally enabling me to work and live in the United States. My company also started my greencard application process. Late January I took a three-week vacation to visit my family. I had a valid multiple entry F1 visa with valid OPT and employment authorization card. I had my employment letter and pay stubs, even my old visas just in case! I arrived to Tehran on Monday 1/22/2017. Before I could even enjoy being with family, on Wednesday I heard rumors about a new executive order that will ban citizens of seven Muslim countries including Iran from entering the United states for 30 days. It was shocking and I couldn’t believe a country like United states that is all about acting based on law and supporting human rights, will keep someone who has lived there for almost seven years and have valid visa and documents from returning to her home.

On Thursday morning on president’s agenda, I saw signing executive orders. I got alerted and looked for the first available flight back to the United states with Emirates Airline. But it was too late… The order got signed that evening. I still got on my flight and made it to Dubai, at Dubai International airport I was denied boarding the plane heading from Dubai to Washington. I was shocked, was that real? Did this happen to me? A million thoughts rushed through my mind, what happens to Dexter now? He is waiting for his mom to come home. Who is going to take him for doctor visits? What happens to my car at the airport parking? What happens to all my life’s possessions from the last six and a half years living in my home in the United States? What happens to my lease? Is my landlord going to think I just left and didn’t care? What happens to my job, my life, and my American dream?

No one warned me when I was leaving from Atlanta airport for Tehran. No one told me what to do when I was deported in Dubai. No one told me what to do with my life in the United States. No one even cared how I am going to go back to Tehran from Dubai, they said I don’t belong there, they said my life in the United States didn’t matter. They said that by removing me from that flight… And now no airline will board Iranians, except those with American passport, on any plane heading to the United States.

I humbly ask for your support in my return to the United States, to my home, my dog, my car, my career, and my friends.   My story will be much like others who dedicated their lives to their dream – the American Dream – and whose intentions and lives were turned upside-down on Friday without notice or reason.  

I very much look forward to having the freedom to return to my home.”

Nazanin Zinouri

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Executive Actions on Immigration http://www.visa-pros.com/executive-actions-on-immigration/ http://www.visa-pros.com/executive-actions-on-immigration/#comments Thu, 26 Jan 2017 14:11:20 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2948 Continue reading ]]> 13680366_1262721410427636_6467469965092443199_oPresident Donald Trump started to reshape US immigration enforcement policies via executive action, taking his first steps toward fulfilling some of the most contentious pledges that defined his campaign — building a border wall and speeding the deportation of undocumented immigrants.
Trump signed yesterday two executive orders directing the construction of a wall on the US-Mexico border, boosting border patrol forces and increasing the number of immigration enforcement officers who carry out deportations. The orders also call for stripping sanctuary cities of federal grant funding and announced new criteria that could make many more undocumented immigrants priorities for deportation.
But while Trump directed the “immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border,” the executive orders do not cover the cost of the wall. Trump has repeatedly promised that Mexico will reimburse US taxpayers for the construction costs, a suggestion Mexican officials have rejected.
Trump also indicated he does not need Congress to pass new legislation to implement the border control and immigration reform agenda he outlined during his campaign for president, saying he would “work within the existing system and framework.”
The executive orders Trump signed call for boosting the ranks of Border Patrol forces by an additional 5,000 agents as well as for 10,000 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers to carry out deportations. The orders noted that the increases were subject to Congress’s appropriation of sufficient funds.
Trump confirmed his plans to build the wall with federal funds and then seek reimbursement from Mexico, an idea Mexico has rejected. But negotiations, he said, would begin “relatively soon.”
There remained little question about whether Trump would push to increase deportations of undocumented immigrants. His increases in the number of border patrol and immigration officers – adding 10,000 immigration officers to an ICE workforce of just 20,000 – raised the specter of Trump’s campaign promise of mass deportations.
One of Trump’s executive actions was expected to call for tripling “enforcement and removal operations/agents” of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which is charged with arresting and deporting undocumented immigrants living in the US.
Trump also outlined new criteria for determining which undocumented immigrants should be prioritized for deportation, putting hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions more people at the top of the federal government’s list of people to deport.
Any undocumented immigrant convicted or simply charged with a crime that hasn’t been adjudicated could be deported under the Trump administration’s new policy.
New priorities for deportation under Trump also include any undocumented immigrants who abuse public benefits, or simply those considered “a risk to public safety or national security… in the judgment of an immigration officer” — an entirely open-ended premise.
Now, his actions yesterday took a big first step toward satisfying his political base of support that hitched to his campaign amid Trump’s bold promises of building a wall, deporting undocumented immigrants and in the process “creating a safer country”, despite a total lack of evidence tying undocumented immigrants to higher crime rates.

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Spanish-Language Link Removed From White House Website http://www.visa-pros.com/spanish-language-link-removed-from-white-house-website/ http://www.visa-pros.com/spanish-language-link-removed-from-white-house-website/#comments Tue, 24 Jan 2017 10:38:23 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2943 Continue reading ]]> Barely two days into office, Donald Trump seems to be sending a message to the US Hispanic community. After announcing a Cabinet with no Latinos in it (the first time this has happened in three decades) the new team at the White House closed the government’s Spanish-language accounts on social networks. Furthermore, nobody has been announced to replace the Obama administration’s spokesperson for policies or topics relating to the country’s Latino community.
At midday on Friday, while a newly sworn-in Trump was making his inauguration speech, the White House was changing hands, analogically and digitally. President Obama’s Twitter account was handed over to Trump, as was the White House website, which soon posted a photograph of the new incumbent. That wasn’t the only change: aside from removing the new government’s links to topics such as climate change policy, Cuba, or the Iran nuclear deal, the “En Español” option also disappeared.
This link not only provided a route to a Spanish-language version of the White House website, but also to topics of interest to the Hispanic community, such as Obama’s executive decisions to temporarily regularize the situation of hundreds of thousands of undocumented minors through the Differed Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Under the Obama administration, the White House also ran a Spanish-language blog that discussed topics of special interest to the country’s Hispanic community, ranging from immigration to normalizing relations with Cuba or the economic crisis in Puerto Rico.
Despite the incoming president’s predilection for Twitter – aside from his presidential account, Trump has kept his personal one – the White House’s Spanish-language version has been blocked. The last tweet in Spanish is dated January 13, and was sent by the Obama administration.
Somebody should tell him that speaking more than one language enriches a country and its people.

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New Administration Starting today http://www.visa-pros.com/new-administration/ http://www.visa-pros.com/new-administration/#comments Fri, 20 Jan 2017 19:29:25 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2938 Continue reading ]]> As you know, today was the inauguration of the new president Donald J. Trump. With the new administration will likely be new immigration policies. Our hope is that he will do the right thing for America by expanding the H-1B visas and supporting the immigration reform that could benefit so many people.

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A Good Win For Students http://www.visa-pros.com/a-good-win-for-students/ http://www.visa-pros.com/a-good-win-for-students/#comments Thu, 19 Jan 2017 11:33:23 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2924 Continue reading ]]> A judge says the Georgia university system must allow immigrants to pay in-state tuition if they’ve been granted temporary permission by the federal government to stay in the U.S.

Georgia’s state colleges and universities require verification of “lawful presence” in the U.S. for in-state tuition. The Board of Regents had said students with temporary permission to stay under a 2012 program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, didn’t meet that requirement.

A lawyer for 10 young immigrants who meet all the other requirements and who have been granted deferred action status argued in a petition filed in April that the federal Department of Homeland Security has said people who have qualified for the program are “lawfully present.”

Lawyers for the university system rejected that argument, saying the statement about lawful presence appeared in an FAQ section of the department’s website and not as an official policy or regulation.

Fulton County Superior Court Chief Judge Gail Tusan said that while an official policy would be helpful, the fact that it is part of the department’s official website means it should be taken as an accurate statement of the federal government’s position.

The judge found, therefore, that the Regents have refused to accept the “federally established lawful presence” of the students who filed the petition and many others who find themselves in a similar situation.

Trump has not clarified his plans for the Obama administration program that protects certain immigrants brought to this country as children. While campaigning, he called it an “illegal executive amnesty” and pledged to end it immediately. But he softened his stance after his election.

But what Trump decides to do may not matter in Georgia. State Sen. Josh McKoon, a Republican from Columbus who has been vocal in his opposition to illegal immigration, said he disagrees with the judge’s interpretation and plans to introduce legislation during the legislative session that begins next week that would limit in-state tuition to people who have legal status in this country, not just lawful presence.

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A Hostile System to Asylum Seekers http://www.visa-pros.com/a-hostile-system-to-asylum-seekers/ http://www.visa-pros.com/a-hostile-system-to-asylum-seekers/#comments Tue, 17 Jan 2017 11:33:59 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2922 Continue reading ]]> 13680366_1262721410427636_6467469965092443199_oEntire jurisdictions in the United States have become so hostile to asylum seekers and their representatives that the U.S. government, and its immigration court system, is failing to deliver on its international and national obligation to protect them. The asylum-seekers who end up in one of these hostile jurisdictions, which advocates call “asylum-free zones,” face numerous challenges to obtaining humanitarian protection as a result.
To highlight this troubling trend, the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR) held a public hearing focused on the prevalence of asylum free zones in certain immigration courts around the country. In these asylum free zones, it is virtually impossible for asylum-seekers to obtain, or even seek, asylum due to a culture of intimidation by the Courts and the lack of competent counsel.
The petitioners presented numerous crushing examples of jurisdictions with abysmal approval rates. Two of these asylum-free zones are Atlanta, Georgia, and Charlotte, North Carolina.
Petitioners at the Commission told of the disproportionately low asylum grant rates in these jurisdictions (less than 2 percent in Atlanta and less than 13 percent in Charlotte), and troubling practices in the courts (judges rolling their eyes, disparaging statements from the bench, a practice of not recording the entirety of the hearings, giving asylum seekers representing themselves only 1 to 2 weeks to prepare their applications).
According to the petitioners, many asylum seekers in these jurisdictions do not even appeal after Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), the immigration court system, denies their asylum case because they know the case will go back before the same judge, and because they have been made to understand that the process is fundamentally unfair. The petitions said EOIR discourages asylum seekers by failing to believe in the validity of the claim, or not allowing them to even file their applications for relief in the first place.
Numerous organizations from around the country, spearheaded by the Centers of Excellence, petitioned the IACHR for this hearing and made certain asks. They included:
• Issuing a public statement acknowledging concerns about these asylum-free zones;
• Conducting visits to immigration courts around the country to investigate disproportionately low asylum rates;
• Production of a report on the disparity among jurisdictions.
During the hearing, the government responded by noting various efforts it has made to address concerns like these in the past and that they take these concerns very seriously.

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The Importance of a Conversation 2/2 http://www.visa-pros.com/the-importance-of-a-conversation-22/ http://www.visa-pros.com/the-importance-of-a-conversation-22/#comments Thu, 12 Jan 2017 09:05:53 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2911 Continue reading ]]> FreeCompliment

10 keys to make a conversation great:

  1. Even if we are sure that the other person is completely wrong, instead of arguing it is advisable to change the topic. It makes no sense to expect everyone to agree with us.
  2. We should never interrupt or anticipate what the person is going to say. Knowing how to listen is the golden rule of the great conversationalist.
  3. We have to avoid looking bored while the other person is talking as well as getting distracted with something. Examples of distractions, are looking at the clock, or checking our cell phone.
  4. Been modest will save us from a lot of trouble. It is not good to show off knowledge, merits or belongings that will make the others feel bad.
  5. Avoid bragging, unless you are asked. Our conversational partner will know our virtues without us having to point them out.
  6. Been short is always more effective than giving in to long speeches or boring stories.
  7. Criticizing or comparing people to others can seem fun but we will create a bad impression.
  8. Never point out or correct mistakes in other people’s language, because they will feel humiliated and shy to speak in the future.
  9. Don’t offer your “expert advice” unless you are asked to.
  10. Excessive praising makes people suspicious, because they may think you have a hidden agenda.
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The Importance of a Conversation 1/2 http://www.visa-pros.com/the-importance-of-a-conversation-12/ http://www.visa-pros.com/the-importance-of-a-conversation-12/#comments Thu, 05 Jan 2017 09:48:51 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2907 Continue reading ]]> uh173-a7d3f42b-b1b1-4ff7-9f13-0a4cea662442-v2

Since the prevalence of social media and mobile messaging, having an actual face to face conversation is something almost exotic. We are in contact for short periods of time and in a very superficial way with a growing number of people but we feel lonelier.

To improve our relations with others, understanding them and been understood, it is essential to get back the good habit of talking with time and paying attention.

It is proved that not enough conversation makes people more prone to suffer psychological problems. Lack of communication with other people who can give their opinion and put things into perspective means that these will stay trapped in one’s mind.

When an experience gets stuck in the closed circuit of an individual, emotions are amplified and the facts end up distorted, which is something that can be avoided by a talk in good company.

An informal conversation is the first step so there can be empathy between two people. Even if we chat about a non relevant topic, in that first contact we are saying a lot because we start creating a bond with the other person. How many couples, great business or friendships start with an informal conversation? Probably, most of them. The art of conversation can be learned and promoted.

In another post we will share 10 tips to turn any conversation into a great one.

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New Year Resolutions http://www.visa-pros.com/new-year-resolutions-2/ http://www.visa-pros.com/new-year-resolutions-2/#comments Tue, 03 Jan 2017 09:17:08 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2900 Continue reading ]]> Many people fail to achieve their New Year’s resolutions. Many times that is because people set unrealistic goals and then give up too quickly. For example wanting to lose 20 lbs in four weeks.

To help you achieve your goals you must structure them in the SMART way.

SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Results oriented and Time sensitive. When making your New Year’s resolutions, make sure your goals fit all of these criteria otherwise they are more likely to fail.

Specific – Write down the specific aspects of your goals and also outcomes and specific behaviors you need to do and also write interim steps to achieving them.

For example: I want to get my green card by the end of 2017.

  • First step: consult with an immigration attorney.
  • Second step: sign agreement and gather documents as soon as possible.
  • Third step: ensure my forms and petition prepared by the immigration law firm are complete and accurate.
  • Fourth step: pay filing fees and ensure the petition is filed.
  • Fifth step: prepare for and attend an interview if applicable.

This makes the smart goals because it is very specific results oriented and actionable there’s a lot of things that the person would need to do it at the same time it’s easy to measure whether somebody will get a green card or not by a specific date. If the goal includes a behavior change you will need to write what behaviors you will need to eliminate and what behaviors you will need to adopt. And of course start taking actions on both fronts.

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Happy New Year!! http://www.visa-pros.com/happy-new-year/ http://www.visa-pros.com/happy-new-year/#comments Fri, 30 Dec 2016 09:54:57 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2887 loonapix_14822763501916741466_max

Happy New Year from the Weinstock Immigration Lawyers team!

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California To Fight For its Immigrants http://www.visa-pros.com/california-to-fight-for-its-immigrants/ http://www.visa-pros.com/california-to-fight-for-its-immigrants/#comments Tue, 27 Dec 2016 11:51:28 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2868 Continue reading ]]> Lawmakers in Democrat-controlled California have begun preparations to fight the President-elect’s conservative populist agenda. Earlier this month, leaders of both houses of the legislature introduced measures to protect undocumented immigrants in the state from efforts by a Trump administration to deport them once the billionaire businessman takes office on January 20.

The legislature passed resolutions urging Trump to abandon his deportation promise, and introduced two bills aimed at protecting immigrants. One measure would set up a fund to pay for lawyers for immigrants facing deportation. Another would train criminal defense attorneys in immigration law.

As things stand, 68% of undocumented migrants being held in prison are not represented by a lawyer; neither do a third of those not being held but still facing deportation. Trump has said he will focus on deporting criminals, but also he intends to immediately deport two to three million immigrants. About 820,000 undocumented immigrants have been convicted of crimes, according to the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan research group.

The bills followed closely on Democratic Governor Jerry Brown’s nomination of US Representative Xavier Becerra as attorney general, a high-ranking Latino Democrat who challenged the incoming administration to “come at us” on such issues as climate change, immigration and worker protections.

At a news conference on Monday, Brown and Becerra avoided antagonistic language about Trump. But both men promised to protect the state’s interests. California, which voted decisively for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November 8 presidential election, has been readying for a battle with the White House over the coming four years. The Democratic Party has a two thirds majority in both houses, and its members hold most senior post in the state.

Democrats hold two-thirds majorities in both houses of the legislature, and every statewide office. The most populous US state, California has more than 2.7 million undocumented immigrants – about 7% of its 39 million population. Latinos make up 39% of the population of California, and has around 4 million undocumented migrants, the largest number in any state, the majority of them Mexican.

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Happy Holidays! http://www.visa-pros.com/happy-holidays/ http://www.visa-pros.com/happy-holidays/#comments Fri, 23 Dec 2016 07:15:29 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2866
The sweetest way we have found to wish you all a Merry Christmas and happy holidays!! And remember, if your soul is young and you really put your mind to it, you can do almost anything! #happyholidays #merrychristmas

 

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Pak’s story http://www.visa-pros.com/paks-story/ http://www.visa-pros.com/paks-story/#comments Thu, 22 Dec 2016 16:46:37 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2918 Continue reading ]]> Pak and his wife have been married for 13 years and have 3 boys. They are originally from Ghana and own a successful and well known car rental and chauffeur business there.  The tough economical conditions in Ghana combined with the lack of special needs educational services and support needed for two of their children in their home country made them decide to move to the United States.

They initially contacted three immigration attorneys in the Atlanta area who were recommended by family members and friends. However, they couldn’t assist with their immigration challenges. As a result this caused a lot of money and time wasted with the wrong attorneys. A bad strategy by one of the attorneys led to a rejection of an H-1B visa application that they presented to the U.S. authorities.

Before losing all hope, they reached out to Karen Weinstock after reading great reviews about her on the internet. They say they were impressed with Karen after their very first meeting. She was very professional and quickly identified the best option and approach to resolving their immigration challenges, which resulted in securing a L-1A visa for Pak.

Thanks to this L-1 Visa, Pak was able to start running a great daycare business in Stone Mountain, Good Foundation Academy for the Gifted Children. They believe in the uniqueness of every child and the importance of encouraging their talents. Both he and his family are now settled and happy and he is in the process of negotiating on securing a second business here in Atlanta as an investor. Their 3 boys are well adjusted and are able to get the special need education and support they need for their development and Pak’s wife, who has degrees in law and MBA can now get a job with her status as an L-2 work authorization.

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Hope for DREAMers? http://www.visa-pros.com/hope-for-dreamers/ http://www.visa-pros.com/hope-for-dreamers/#comments Tue, 20 Dec 2016 11:37:10 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2884 Continue reading ]]> Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin and South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham are filing a bill that would continue to protect DREAMers — who were granted temporary protection against deportation — in case President-elect Donald Trump acts on the hard-line immigration views he campaigned on.
Durbin and Graham are co-sponsoring the bill, called the BRIDGE Act, with Alaska GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski and California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Durbin told reporters Friday that several other Democrats want to sign on to the legislation to protect young immigrants, but the bill’s co-sponsors are working first on getting more Republicans on board.
The bill would provide “provisional protected presence” for three years to young immigrants if they register with the government, pay the required processing fee and pass a criminal background check.
If passed by Congress, the legislation would extend the protections for the more than 740,000 young immigrants, or “DREAMers,” that were granted through executive order by President Obama and allow more immigrants who meet the same requirements to also apply. Trump campaigned on repealing the executive order, but has since given mixed signals.
Durbin and Graham were both part of the Gang of Eight — the group of senators that pushed comprehensive immigration reform through the Senate in 2013. Most other Republican senators in that group have not yet signaled support for the legislation. Arizona GOP Sen. Jeff Flake said last week he would back a bill dealing with this issue, but has not yet signed on to the BRIDGE Act.
Durbin said they’re encouraged by Trump’s recent comments on the issue and will reach out to the incoming administration and urge them to work with members of Congress on this bill if they plan on repealing Obama’s executive order.

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About Immigration and Federal Enforcement http://www.visa-pros.com/about-immigration-and-federal-enforcement/ http://www.visa-pros.com/about-immigration-and-federal-enforcement/#comments Tue, 13 Dec 2016 11:46:57 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2872 Continue reading ]]> Immigration remains the major focus of federal criminal enforcement efforts. The latest available data show that criminal prosecutions for illegal entry, illegal re-entry, and similar immigration violations made up 52 percent of all federal prosecutions in FY 2016. During the 12 months ending September 30, immigration prosecutions totaled 69,636.

This number compares with just 63,405 prosecutions for all other federal crimes—including drugs, weapons, fraud, and violations of the thousands of other criminal provisions that the federal government is responsible for enforcing.

These comparisons are based on case-by-case records obtained as a result of lengthy litigation brought by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) against the U.S. Department of Justice.

The number of immigration prosecutions in FY 2016 was down 6.9% from levels in FY 2015 when such prosecutions totaled 74,791. It was also down 15.3% from the levels of five years ago when they totaled 82,250. Prosecutions over the past year are still much higher than they were ten years ago. Overall, the data show that prosecutions of this type are up 85.6% from the level of 37,529 reported in 2006 and up 823% from the level of 7,543 reported in 1996.

“Entry of alien at improper time or place; etc.” (Title 8 U.S.C Section 1325) was the most frequent recorded lead charge. Title 8 U.S.C Section 1325 was ranked 1st a year ago, while it was the 1st most frequently invoked five years ago. It was ranked 2nd ten years ago and 3rd twenty years ago.

Ranked 2nd in frequency was the lead charge “Reentry of deported alien” under Title 8 U.S.C Section 1326. Title 8 U.S.C Section 1326 was ranked 2nd a year ago, while it was the 2nd most frequently invoked five years ago. It was ranked 1st ten years ago and 1st twenty years ago.

Ranked 3rd was “Bringing in and harboring certain aliens” under Title 8 U.S.C Section 1324. Title 8 U.S.C Section 1324 was ranked 3rd a year ago, while it was the 3rd most frequently invoked five years ago. It was ranked 3rd ten years ago and 2nd twenty years ago.

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in prosecutions compared to one year ago—down 35  percent—was “False statement in application and use of passport ” (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1542 ). This was the same statute that had the largest decrease—76%—when compared with five years ago.

The Southern District of Texas (Houston)—with 24,549 prosecutions—was the most active through September 2016. The Southern District of Texas (Houston) was ranked 1st a year ago, while it was ranked 2nd five years ago. The district’s position ten years ago was 1st and 3rd twenty years ago.

The Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 2nd. The Western District of Texas (San Antonio) was ranked 3rd a year ago as well as five years ago. The district’s position ten years ago was 3rd and 2nd twenty years ago.

The District of Arizona now ranks 3rd. The District of Arizona was ranked 2nd a year ago, while it was ranked 1st five years ago. The district’s position ten years ago was 2nd and 4th twenty years ago.

A recent entry to the top 10 list was Northern District of New York (Syracuse), now ranked 10th. This district ranked 11th one year ago and 15th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in immigration prosecutions compared to one year ago—15.9 percent—was Western District of Texas (San Antonio). This was the same district that had the largest increase—29.6%—when compared with five years ago.

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in immigration prosecutions—26.3 percent—was Arizona.

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There May Be Changes in Detention Centers http://www.visa-pros.com/there-may-be-changes-in-detention-centers/ http://www.visa-pros.com/there-may-be-changes-in-detention-centers/#comments Tue, 06 Dec 2016 16:06:37 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2863 Continue reading ]]> The Supreme Court heard arguments last week in what may be the most important immigration case on its docket this fall, Jennings v. Rodriguez.

Currently, the government detains many immigrants for prolonged periods without an opportunity to request release on bond. Alejandro Rodriguez, the lead plaintiff in the case and a lawful permanent resident who came to the United States at the age of one, was detained by immigration officials after pleading guilty in 2004 to misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance, for which he received probation. After being detained, immigration officials denied him the right to ask a judge to release him for bond, asserting that he was ineligible for bond due to his controlled substance conviction and a conviction from five years prior for joyriding. Mr. Rodriguez was detained for over three years while fighting his immigration case, without being allowed to ask a judge for bond. After Mr. Rodriguez and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a class action lawsuit challenging his detention, Mr. Rodriguez was released from detention. He was later granted cancellation of removal, a form of relief which allowed him to remain in this country as a lawful permanent resident.

The Ninth Circuit has held that immigrants like Mr. Rodriguez, as well as asylum-seekers who turned themselves in at the border, must be given bond hearings every six months, and that the government had to justify continued detention by presenting clear and convincing evidence that an individual posed a danger to the community or a flight risk.

Arguing for the Respondents, Ahilan Arulanantham of the ACLU directly addressed the Solicitor General’s reliance on individual habeas petitions as a remedy. He noted that the majority of detained immigrants are unrepresented, unfamiliar with our legal system, and thus, as a practical matter, unable to file habeas petitions. He then pointed out that, due to backlogs in the federal courts, habeas petitions take many months to adjudicate, which defeats the purpose of challenging an unreasonable delay.

The outcome of the case was far from clear at the end of the argument. However, as Mr. Arulanantham stressed throughout his argument, the case has strong implications for individuals who are caught up in immigration detention system. Many detained for immigration are held in conditions identical to jail, and languish in detention for months and years, even where they have very strong ties to the United States and have committed nonviolent offenses. More often than not, those who are detained without bond have families in the United States who suffer greatly when a parent, spouse, or child is detained. However the Justices rule, they should bear in mind how their decision will affect real people.

A decision is expected sometime next year.

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Make Sure You Know Your Rights! http://www.visa-pros.com/make-sure-you-know-your-rights/ http://www.visa-pros.com/make-sure-you-know-your-rights/#comments Tue, 29 Nov 2016 11:50:44 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2854 Continue reading ]]> Alert-2President-Elect Donald Trump’s proposed immigration policies are causing anxiety among immigrants and the immigrant rights community. It is still unclear how and when these changes will come but our system of checks and balances as well as pushback from the immigrant rights community will ensure that there will be limits on what the President-Elect can do. Regardless, it is always important for immigrants to understand their rights.

As a reminder to immigrant communities, the National Immigration Law Center released a helpful guide which explains what individuals should do if they encounter law enforcement or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.

The reminders include:

  • You have the right to remain silent. You may refuse to speak to immigration officers.
  • Do not open your door (ICE must have a warrant signed by a judge to enter).
  • You have the right to speak to a lawyer.
  • Before you sign anything, talk to a lawyer.
  • Always carry with you any valid immigration document you have.
  • If you are worried that ICE will arrest you, let the officer know if you have children.
  • Carry a “know-your-rights card” and show it if an immigration officer stops you.

It’s also important to avoid “notarios” and other unethical people who make promises about immigration relief that are fraudulent or that they cannot deliver on.

The next few years may be a challenging time for the immigrant community. However, it’s important to educate ourselves and our loved ones and to continue to stand together.

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Happy Thanksgiving! http://www.visa-pros.com/happy-thanksgiving-2/ http://www.visa-pros.com/happy-thanksgiving-2/#comments Wed, 23 Nov 2016 11:21:34 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2845 Continue reading ]]> This Thanksgiving we want to express to you our appreciation and gratitude for your confidence and loyalty to us. We are deeply thankful and extend to you and your loved ones our best wishes for a joyful Thanksgiving Day and upcoming holiday season.

The Weinstock Immigration Lawyers team

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What Will the Future of Tech Worker Visas Be? http://www.visa-pros.com/what-will-the-future-of-tech-worker-visas-be/ http://www.visa-pros.com/what-will-the-future-of-tech-worker-visas-be/#comments Mon, 21 Nov 2016 17:03:26 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2851 Continue reading ]]> The main U.S. visa program for technology workers could face scrutiny under President-elect Donald Trump and his proposed Attorney General, Senator Jeff Sessions, a long-time critic of the skilled-worker program. H-1B visas admit 65,000 workers and another 20,000 graduate student workers each year. The tech industry may now have to fight to protect it.
Trump sent mixed signals on the campaign trail, sometimes criticizing the visas but other times calling them an important way to retain foreign talent. Sessions, however, has long wanted to restrain the program and introduced legislation last year intended to make the visas less available to large outsourcing companies. These, by far the largest users of H-1B visas, provide foreign contractors to U.S. companies looking to cut information technology costs.
The H-1B visa is intended for specialty occupations that require a college education. Tech firms such as Microsoft and Google hire highly skilled, well-paid foreign workers that are in short supply. H-1B visas are assigned through a lottery once a year by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. This year, companies filed 236,000 petitions for the 85,000 available visas. They are awarded to employers – not employees – and tied to specific positions.
Several constituencies have called for program reforms, including the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, that industry’s largest trade group. It wants the lottery replaced in favor of a system that would award visas to companies offering the highest-paying jobs.
Tech industry groups also want changes. FWD.us – the immigration lobbying group backed by Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg – supports setting higher minimum wages and giving priority to companies that sponsor H-1B workers for green cards.
Some Trump allies expect him to keep the program mostly intact. The top 10 recipients of H-1B visas in 2015 were all outsourcing firms, according to government data compiled by the IEEE. Tata Consultancy Services topped the list by securing 8,333 H-1B visas. Amazon, by contrast, ranked number 12 and was awarded just 826 H-1B visas. Google and Microsoft ranked No. 14 and 15, with Facebook at No. 24 and Apple at No. 34.

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Raising a bilingual child is a goal for many parents. For others, it is just the first step http://www.visa-pros.com/raising-a-bilingual-child-is-a-goal-for-many-parents-for-others-it-is-just-the-first-step/ http://www.visa-pros.com/raising-a-bilingual-child-is-a-goal-for-many-parents-for-others-it-is-just-the-first-step/#comments Thu, 17 Nov 2016 10:57:21 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2832 Continue reading ]]> Stefano Striuli, an IT executive in Atlanta, speaks to his daughters, Letizia, 10, and Maite (Mah-ee-tay), 7, in his native Italian. The girls speak to their mother, Pilar Guzman, in her native Spanish. The girls switch into English when speaking to each other at home, and they are learning French at school. When the whole family is together, they speak mostly Italian, or English when in public.

There are many reasons for encouraging children to learn a third or fourth language. Parents from two different countries often want to create a home for their children where both native languages are spoken. A bilingual family temporarily living overseas might want to encourage children to become fluent in the local language.

To work, a trilingual household needs rules, and rules must be enforced. Mr. Striuli says if his daughters get confused and use English at home, he ignores them—“but not in a rude way”—until he hears Italian.

“They know that Daddy equals Italian and Mommy equals Spanish,” he says.

The right time to commit to introducing a second or third language to a child is at birth. Parents need to create an environment where children are comfortable speaking, says Annick De Houwer, professor of language acquisition and multilingualism at the Universitat Erfurt in Erfurt, Germany.

“Children do not just pick up a language,” she says. “They must be in a continuous language bath, where they also get a chance to talk.”

Before elementary school age, children usually can learn a second, third or even fourth language without much formal instruction, says Xiao-lei Wang, acting dean at the School of Education, at Pace University, in New York City, and author of a book, “Growing Up With Three Languages.” In many trilingual households, the unwritten rule is each parent speaks only one language to the children and encourages the children to reply only in that language, she says.

Parents can start with baby talk, Dr. De Houwer says. Language-based play groups or frequent video chats with grandparents all help children understand the value of learning another language and culture. “It’s a lot of work,” she adds.

There are more than 1,000 language-immersion programs in U.S. public schools, says Nancy Rhodes, a foreign language education consultant at the Center of Applied Linguistics, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit that works to promote language learning and cultural understanding.

Being bilingual or trilingual can put young children somewhat behind their peers in English vocabulary development or grammar, but most catch up by seventh grade, says Camille Du Aime, head of the primary school at the Atlanta International School, a private school with immersion programs in Spanish, French and German. “We see some delay in the mechanics of spelling or punctuation,” she says.

But eventually, when efforts pay off, the result is the envy of any adult struggling to learn a foreign language—a child who can converse with ease in three languages. Mr. Striuli’s daughter Letizia says she is the go-to translator between English and Spanish in her fifth-grade class. It’s a bother sometimes, she says, but ultimately “really cool.” She is still searching for the perfect translation for one of her favorite English adjectives: “I haven’t found the substitute for ‘awesome’ yet,” she says.

The downside? When one parent and a child share a language, the other spouse can feel left out. “There’s concern about family cohesion” in trilingual families, Dr. Wang says.

Patrick Pélata, father of 14-year-old twins Chloe Ami and Zoe Ai, says he often stays out of the conversation when his daughters converse in Japanese with their mother, Ayami Nakao. When the discussion turns to soccer, though, he says he asks them to switch to French. “It’s very pragmatic,” says Mr. Pélata, 61, a San Francisco-based management consultant. “If I see I’m not very important, I will just let them go on.”

Magdalena Sikora, mother of 5-year-old Livia and 3-year-old Beatrice, speaks Polish with the girls. Her husband, Dr. Eugen Ivan, speaks Romanian with them. Dr. Sikora, a 39-year-old physician in Lawton, Okla., says pulling the plug on American television made it easier to enforce family language rules. Rather than give in when the girls want to watch English-language cartoons, Dr. Sikora permits them to watch DVDs or play games in Polish or Romanian.

“They’ve learned already that if they watch it in Polish or Romanian then I’ll let them watch it longer,” Dr. Sikora says.

As children get older and spend more time at school and friends’ homes, it can get harder to maintain second and third language skills.

Caroline Scriven, a 37-year-old stay-at-home mother in Princeton, N.J., put time into studying and refreshing her Spanish skills, and spoke the language with her sons when they were very young. Her husband, Thomas Scriven, speaks to the boys in his native Swiss German.

Lately, though, 6-year-old Oliver and 4-year-old Henry often use English to reply to one of her questions in Spanish. And she has reverted to English when explaining concepts to them such as death, or the Hail Mary pass.

As they get older, she says, “we can’t pretend we don’t speak English.”

Vanessa Liu speaks her native Cantonese at home in New York City with her children, 8-year-old Nara and 6-year-old Vik. Her husband, Harold Brunink, uses English when disciplining the children, she says, so they have a positive association with his native language, Dutch. When they are all together, they converse in one of the three languages, using Dutch most often outside the home, so they can discuss private matters in public, Ms. Liu says. “We refer to Dutch as our ‘secret language.’ ”

http://www.wsj.com/articles/raising-a-trilingual-child-1478110620

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Entrepreneurship and Immigration http://www.visa-pros.com/entrepreneurship-and-immigration/ http://www.visa-pros.com/entrepreneurship-and-immigration/#comments Tue, 15 Nov 2016 11:57:22 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2835 Continue reading ]]> Immigrants to the U.S are almost twice as likely to become entrepreneurs as native-born U.S. citizens. But why? While immigrants represent only 13% of the U.S. population, they make up 27.5% of the countries’ entrepreneurs, according to Inc.com. A quarter of all technology and engineering companies started in the U.S. between 2006 and 2012 had at least one immigrant cofounder, according to the Kauffman Startup Activity Index.

So what inspires immigrants to start successful companies? Is it work ethic? Systemic discrimination? According to a study recently written about in the Harvard Business Review, the answer is in cross-cultural experiences. “By living in different cultures, they encounter new products, services, customer preferences and communication strategies. This exposure may allow the transfer of knowledge about customer problems or solutions from one country to another.”

The researchers cited Huffington Post’s Arianna Huffington (Greece), Red Bull’s Dietrich Mateschitz (Austria), Tesla’s Elon Musk (South Africa) and Google’s Sergey Brin (Russia) as prime examples of the trend. But being born outside the U.S. wasn’t the only road to inspiration. The researchers discovered the ability to think creatively also surfaced in students who had spent time studying abroad.

The researchers tested the entrepreneurial capabilities of 128 students before and after a semester of living and studying abroad. They asked them to come up with business ideas in the context of media and food retailing. The researchers did the same for a control group of 115 students that continued their studies at their home university. The business opportunities were then rated by four venture capitalists and industry experts blind to the source.

The group with the cross-cultural experience saw a 17% increase in their VC/expert ratings of their business ideas after the semester abroad. The ratings of the control group’s business ideas actually declined 3% at the end of the semester.

The researchers added that their findings imply that managers ought to pay special attention to people who have such cross-cultural experiences, since they’ve been primed to identify opportunities that others without those experiences are less likely to recognize.

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Trump ganó. ¿Y ahora qué? http://www.visa-pros.com/so-trump-won-what-now/ http://www.visa-pros.com/so-trump-won-what-now/#comments Wed, 09 Nov 2016 18:10:36 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2839

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Included Among the Best Law Firms in Immigration! http://www.visa-pros.com/included-among-the-best-law-firms-in-immigration/ http://www.visa-pros.com/included-among-the-best-law-firms-in-immigration/#comments Thu, 03 Nov 2016 09:31:01 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2829 Continue reading ]]> ID-10052063We are happy to share with you that we have been selected to be included in the best law firms in immigration in Atlanta, Georgia for 2017. It is published by Best Lawyers®, which is the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession, and a partner of U.S. News & World Report.

We are very proud to be selected in this list and we work hard every day to maintain the highest quality in our services and to offer the best client experience. It is a wonderful recognition to our efforts and we want to thank our clients, colleagues and outstanding staff, who altogether make our office the go-to immigration firm in Atlanta.

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Immigrants Fuel Innovation. Let’s Not Waste Their Potential http://www.visa-pros.com/immigrants-fuel-innovation-lets-not-waste-their-potential/ http://www.visa-pros.com/immigrants-fuel-innovation-lets-not-waste-their-potential/#comments Tue, 01 Nov 2016 07:39:05 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2819 Continue reading ]]> Noe arrived in the US after a treacherous two-month journey to flee El Salvador. He hiked through the jungle, rode on top of trains, slept on the streets of Mexico City, and trekked through the desert. Eventually he made it to San Francisco. When Noe enrolled in high school, he discovered a passion—and a talent—for chemistry and calculus. Noe graduated with a 4.2 GPA and was accepted to UC Berkeley. He graduated from there a year ago with a degree in architecture and economic policy, having benefited from California’s commitment to provide undocumented students with access to financial aid. But instead of beginning his career as an architect, he is working as an apartment manager in exchange for rent—because his undocumented status bars him from putting that world-class education to work for his community. Noe had the bad luck of arriving just after his 16th birthday, so he could not benefit from the DACA program.

In Silicon Valley, the immigration discussion has centered mostly on those who come to America to study at universities and who are skilled in technology or the sciences—only to be forced out before they can apply their skills in the US workforce. Barring the door to these people is wrong and socially self-defeating. But even in Silicon Valley, calls for immigration reform shouldn’t just be a matter of keeping high-skilled technologists and scientists in the country. A much larger group of immigrants

remain trapped in an agonizing state of limbo. The result is that some of our nation’s most industrious individuals are barred from employment in the formal economy. And their talents, creative energies, and ideas are often trapped with them. These are the people who, in this ugly and alarming political season, have been demonized when they should be welcomed.

Individual success in America always heavily depends upon the qualities people bring to their endeavors. But many of those are also immigrant qualities—the resourcefulness, the patience, the craving for work and opportunity, the resilience, the self-reliance. First-generation immigrants are significantly more likely than the general population to become entrepreneurs, according to data from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor.

What is most maddening about this is also what is most hopeful: Granting legal status to undocumented immigrants would unleash massive potential, add an estimated 150,000 new jobs annually, and $1 trillion to America’s GDP. Rarely in our complex world exists such a clean and comprehensive policy solution. A majority of Americans supports a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. According to a recent Gallup poll, 84% of all adults take this view, including 76% of Republicans.

The trouble is that exclusionary and even xenophobic views are overrepresented right now in our political discourse. We cannot allow the views of that minority to drive policy. When we start dividing people into the ones we accept and the ones we reject we jeopardize the social compact at the very heart of the American experiment.

More than ever, we need the contribution of every American to power our next era of growth. But the economic argument for inclusion is not the most fundamental one. Immigrants have not only made our society wealthier and more productive but also more decent. They have enhanced our national character and made us more ethical people. For America, this is our identity crisis: How a society treats immigrants is a great test of its decency, and we are failing.

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An End to a Bureaucratic Nightmare http://www.visa-pros.com/an-end-to-a-bureaucratic-nightmare/ http://www.visa-pros.com/an-end-to-a-bureaucratic-nightmare/#comments Fri, 28 Oct 2016 06:45:21 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2820 Continue reading ]]> Two years ago, Richard filed an application for Naturalization. After having his interview, he had not heard any decision from USCIS (neither approval nor denial). Every time he contacted immigration to know the status of his case he was told to wait. Or that his case was still pending or processing. Or that an officer will be reviewing his case, etc. After waiting for almost two years he was about to lose hope on ever getting his citizenship.

Before throwing in the towel, he decided to take one last chance and contacted us for an expert opinion in his matter. He came to our office asking whether something could be done to get his case resolved and make him a U.S. citizen. He talked to Nellie Navidi, our specialist in family immigration, about filing a mandamus law suit to sue the government for all the waiting and the hassle he was encountering. Nellie asked him to give her one last chance- a single shot at going to immigration for him herself to try to resolve the matter once before filing the law suit. We are happy to share that just a few hours later, Richard’s case was rescued from the bureaucracy black hole where it had been lost and due to Nellie’s assistance he was approved and his naturalization ceremony scheduled for a week later (see picture here).

Richard’s case is not unique, however. Sometimes, applications get lost or stay in the bottom of a shelf. When this happens, it is important to have by your side someone who knows how to deal with the administration to make sure it is rescued and moves forward.Untitled1 Untitled2 Untitled

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Something to Know Before You Deposit your Vote http://www.visa-pros.com/something-to-know-before-you-deposit-your-vote/ http://www.visa-pros.com/something-to-know-before-you-deposit-your-vote/#comments Tue, 25 Oct 2016 13:46:50 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2817 Continue reading ]]> The 2016 presidential debate cycle is now complete and little was said on the topic of immigration until the final one. No new information came to light.  In fact, each of the candidates basically assumed their fallback positions on immigration: Donald Trump believes in enforcement-first, focusing on building a wall on the southern border, and Hillary Clinton supports more comprehensive immigration policy solutions.

Trump accused Clinton of being in favor of “amnesty”—the short-cut word used to describe any policies that are not punitive or enforcement-centric or that favor a more holistic approach. He also said that President Obama (and Clinton’s) border policies have led to increased drug trafficking, which he claims can only be thwarted by “stronger borders.”

In Trump’s naively conceived world, platitudes take the place of real policy solutions. This is most apparent when he talks about the border. Trump ignores the history and efficacy of past efforts at border security. In fact, it’s been well-documented that more targeted law-enforcement efforts, like narrowing in on drug cartels and their funding sources, are far more effective for dealing with “bad hombres” than throwing more money at a border wall which can be easily penetrated or hiring thousands more border guards.

In fact, the Border Patrol’s massive growth over the past decade has done little to minimize the illegal flows of humans and drugs. It is now the nation’s largest law-enforcement agency and plagued by scandal and mismanagement.

Clinton, in contrast, began her answer to the immigration question by talking about families. She also reiterated her promise to quickly begin efforts to pass immigration reform early in her term, if elected.

While she had little time to provide more specifics in this final debate, in a speech in July before the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) she promised to create a path to citizenship for those in the country without authorization, ensure future legal flows of immigrants, and to end the practice of detaining families seeking refuge in the country.

With the election a few weeks away, the final debate provided no clarity, but reaffirmed what we have learned over the past year on where the two candidates land on the issue of immigration. Trump will begin with enforcement and then see where he lands, and Clinton will begin with a holistic view of reforming and updating the immigration system. Now it’s up for voters to decide who has the right vision for America.elections_081212

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A Solution for Employment and Retirement Issues? http://www.visa-pros.com/a-solution-for-employment-and-retirement-issues/ http://www.visa-pros.com/a-solution-for-employment-and-retirement-issues/#comments Thu, 20 Oct 2016 14:19:39 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2813 Continue reading ]]> A senior official at the Fed indicated earlier this month that immigrants could help jump-start the U.S. economy. Though the Census Bureau estimates America holds more than 324 million citizens and is among the most populous countries in the world, one of the biggest problems with the U.S. economy is simply a lack of workers. That’s according to Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Patrick Harker, who in a speech recently regretted the country’s lack luster labor force participation – which measures the percentage of working-age Americans who are either employed or actively looking for work.
Americans’ participation in the workforce has fallen noticeably since the late 1990s. And with more people sitting on the sidelines, productivity metrics – and, ultimately, economic growth – suffer. But how does the country go about drumming up more capable employees? One of the most promising options, according to Harker, would be an increase in high-skill immigration.
The regional Fed president’s answer may come as a surprise to those who subscribe to the theory that skilled immigrants take jobs from natural-born Americans. A study published earlier this year by the National Foundation for American Policy, highlighted 87 privately held startups valued at $1 billion or more in the U.S. that were either founded or co-founded by immigrants. On average, these companies created around 760 jobs each.
Another report published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine found that the “inflow of labor supply” associated with immigration “has helped the United States avoid problems facing other economies that have stagnated as a result of unfavorable demographics, particularly the effects of an aging workforce and reduced consumption by older residents.”
The U.S. is among a host of developed economies that are gradually getting older. And with more citizens retiring, participation naturally sinks. Government support programs have been strained by the country’s aging population, and services like Social Security are widely expected to be diminished or dried up by the time today’s millennials reach retirement age.
But thanks in part to America’s appeal to skilled workers overseas and its H-1B visa system, the U.S. economy hasn’t floundered nearly as much as other aging nations in Europe and beyond. Continuing to introduce young, skilled immigrants into the system, Harker said, could help boost the country’s pool of consumers and taxpayers even further while stimulating domestic productivity.

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A solution is Really Needed on Immigration http://www.visa-pros.com/a-solution-is-really-needed-on-immigration/ http://www.visa-pros.com/a-solution-is-really-needed-on-immigration/#comments Tue, 18 Oct 2016 11:45:59 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2807 Continue reading ]]> At the beginning of this month, the United States Supreme Court declined to rehear arguments in United States v Texas, the case challenging expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). This means that the Fifth Circuit’s decision endorsing the district court’s preliminary injunction against these initiatives remains in place. The ruling does not impact the original DACA program launched in 2012.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) had filed a petition for rehearing with the Supreme Court in July, asking that a full nine-Member Court hear the case because this is a case of significant importance. While the U.S. Senate is yet to confirm a ninth justice to the court, there was no deadline requiring the Supreme Court to reject the petition this week.

This is not the end of the case as it will now go back to Judge Hanen’s district court in Texas for further proceedings.

At the same time there is another lawsuit ongoing which may offer relief for some individuals to get DAPA and expanded DACA. Filed in late August 2016, the case, Batalla Vidal v. Baran, et al., involves Mr. Batalla Vidal, a New York resident and DACA beneficiary, whose three-year employment authorization was rescinded and shortened by one full year due to the United States v. Texas litigation.  Mr. Vidal argues that the federal court judge in Texas did not have the authority to issue a nationwide injunction that harmed residents of New York such as Vidal. Therefore, Vidal argues, DAPA, expanded DACA, and other provisions from the November 2014 executive actions on immigration should be permitted to move forward in New York and the 23 other states that did not join the Texas suit.

The decision by the Supreme Court and the ongoing litigation emphasize the need for Congress and the next administration to find permanent solutions for the millions of individuals who live under the constant fear of being separated from their family members and loved ones.

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Thinking and Feeling Depend on the Language You Do It http://www.visa-pros.com/thinking-and-feeling-depend-on-the-language-you-do-it/ http://www.visa-pros.com/thinking-and-feeling-depend-on-the-language-you-do-it/#comments Thu, 13 Oct 2016 11:55:36 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2799 Continue reading ]]> Many a mother has turned to her children in exasperation and asked rhetorically: “What language do you need me to use so you’ll pay attention?”

It turns out that there is some truth behind the question. A series of recent scientific studies suggests that we think and make decisions differently if we process the information in a language other than our mother tongue. For instance, the proportion of people willing to sacrifice a person for the larger good shot up from 20% to nearly 50%.

Even if we grasp the notion equally well in both languages, our final decision on the matter will tend to be better thought out, less emotional and more results-oriented.

The proportion of people willing to sacrifice a person for the larger good shot up from 20% to nearly 50%, with the only difference being that they processed the question in a second language.

Many other studies have confirmed these findings. It appears that processing information in a foreign language makes us less prone to emotional thinking and more focused on efficient results. We become less moralistic and more utilitarian.

Tests have been conducted on fully bilingual individuals, and tried with Spanish, English, Italian, German and other languages. The particular language used in each case does not seem to affect the outcome.

The research also finds that thinking in another language increases our tolerance for risk-taking on anything from planning a trip to embracing a new breakthrough in biotechnology. These insights might be useful during negotiations that require participants to put personal feelings aside.

Also, we are less offended by insults delivered in a different language.

As the Nobel winner Daniel Kahneman explains, our brain seems to have a System 1, which focuses on fast, instinctive and stereotypic thinking, and a System 2, which deals with issues requiring greater consideration.

In our native language, we may be more prone to using System 1, while the additional effort required for thinking in a foreign language might trigger System 2. This could explain the higher percentage of people who overcome loss aversion and moral dilemmas in a foreign language.

For instance, these insights might be useful during negotiations that require participants to put their personal feelings to one side and focus on the greater good.W08-Welcome-ColorOnWhite-poster

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An Immigration Story Told in First Person http://www.visa-pros.com/an-immigration-story-told-in-first-person/ http://www.visa-pros.com/an-immigration-story-told-in-first-person/#comments Tue, 11 Oct 2016 11:01:44 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2803 Continue reading ]]> Today, we are sharing the story of Sam Solakyan on his own words. It is so impactful and interesting that it is the best way of doing it…

The modern definition of success lies in the eye of the beholder. As an immigrant, how I define success is largely influenced by my life experiences. Over the years, my perspective has changed: from when I was a child watching my parents struggle to make ends meet to becoming an adult entrepreneur chasing the American dream, and eventually to the present day, as a husband, a father to twin boys and the CEO of an international corporation.

What has remained constant over that time is my identity as an immigrant. My experience has had a lasting effect on what defines me both personally and professionally. As second-generation Americans, I hope my children maintain that aspect of their identity—grateful for the opportunitiesafforded to them as citizens, understanding and appreciative of the sacrifices my parents made, and maintaining an emphasis on the value of hard work and determination. Perhaps easier said than done in this hyper-connected age where, as The New York Times noted last year, “For the first time in modern memory, a whole generation might not prove wealthier than the one that preceded it.” But, as I said earlier, success is a personal definition.

As a child, I watched my parents struggle to build a life for our family in America. Like so many immigrants, we experience inauspicious beginnings. My parents exhausted their life savings to emigrate from Armenia and arrived in California—unable to speak English—when I was 6 years old. With the rest of our family still back in Armenia, we had no support network to call on for guidance or assistance. My father eventually secured a position working at a parsley farm. Shortly thereafter, my mother found a job at a local bakery.

My parents’ goal was to provide us with a better future. I saw my parents regularly skip meals to ensure my siblings and I had enough to eat. I saw them work countless hours at multiple jobs, seemingly never sleeping. I saw them sacrifice any semblance of a life of leisure by devoting their time, energy and spirit to the needs of their children.

Although my family struggled, I’m aware that our situation could have been exponentially worse (and for many Americans—recent immigrants or otherwise—that is the unfortunate reality they experience each day). I merely mention some of these struggles to demonstrate how they shaped my perception of success, as well as my motivation and work ethic. Witnessing the sacrifices my parents made in an effort to provide a better life for our family has been the primary source for motivating me to succeed since I was 6 years old. Ensuring their sacrifices were never in vain remains of utmost importance.

My childhood perspective helped me understand the important of taking nothing for granted. That environment instilled a hunger inside of me, a desire to succeed at all costs. My parents were never shy about conveying the ills, and in some cases atrocities, present in our native Armenia, and reminding us of what life would be like if we didn’t succeed in America. For me, this instilled a visceral fear of failure and strengthened my appreciation for our new life. That fear generated motivation and a sense of urgency and necessity. Necessity is often referred to as “the mother of invention,” which I believe often determines the success of immigrants during their first years in America—for if they don’t succeed, their only remaining option is failure. These factors influenced and pushed me to succeed as an entrepreneur.

The impetus for immigrating to America is traditionally rooted in a desire for a better life. Whether that involves seeking freedom from persecution, obtaining an education, securing a successful career or simply forging a new beginning that provides greater opportunities, the common denominator among immigrants is typically the hope for a better future.

Last year, a Pew Research study found that the poverty rate among second-generation Americans was actually lower than that among all U.S. adults. Additionally, the study found that children of immigrants are more educated than their peers and—when compared to the general public—place more importance on hard work and success.1

A 2012 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor U.S. report that was issued jointly by Babson College and Baruch College indicated that “first-generation immigrants are starting businesses at nearly twice the rate of their children’s generation and a 27 percent higher rate than Americans who are not immigrants.” Donna J. Kelley, lead author of the study and an associate professor of entrepreneurship at Babson college concluded that first-generation Americans “see more opportunities, perhaps because they view their surroundings with a different frame of reference than those who have been in the U.S. for a long time.”

Perhaps there is a unique sense of urgency, an appreciation for how devastating failure would be, that serves to motivate American immigrants, and is somewhat responsible for their success. From my experience, achieving success has much to do with the magnitude of one’s initial sacrifice. Immigrants often risk everything for the opportunity at a better life.

Having achieved financial and professional success, my greatest challenge now comes from my role as a father. How will I raise my children—proverbial “trust fund babies” who will never want for anything—to be self-motivated and maintain that sense of urgency, to appreciate the sacrifices my parents and I have made, and to strive to achieve success themselves. What will be their motivation to become productive members of society, given their level of privilege?

I’ve worked hard to ensure they have every advantage in life. But to maintain my identity as a second-generation American (not to mention a respectable citizen with morals and convictions), I want them to appreciate how fortunate they are. I want them to live their lives with a work ethic that reflects that of my parents. I want them to learn to never take anything for granted and—once they reach an appropriate age—will insist they undertake traditional jobs of the manual labor or fast-food service variety. They will be introduced to the concept of work as if they had no advantages, and it is my hope that, in doing so, they will understand how fleeting and uncertain success and financial stability can be.

A positive aspect of all this is that once they have developed a strong work ethic and demonstrated their appreciation for the privileges they are blessed to have, they will eventually have the freedom to pursue any field, unencumbered and with the unconditional support of their parents. My children’s success will entail pursuing a field of work for which they have a true passion, and striving to meet and exceed their potential for excellence. They will be successes to me if they apply a respectable work ethic in each of their endeavors, and demonstrate an appreciation for the value of hard work, regardless of what they do or much money they make. If they live their lives to reflect that, failure is impossible.

Some might argue that the American dream is not what it used to be, that the opportunity to become a self-made success story is growing increasingly impossible. I am living proof that the American dream is alive and well, and the opportunity to achieve one’s dream remains possible for anyone willing to make the effort and devote themselves entirely to it.

 

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Physicians for Underserved Areas. Yes or No? http://www.visa-pros.com/physicians-for-underserved-areas-yes-or-no/ http://www.visa-pros.com/physicians-for-underserved-areas-yes-or-no/#comments Thu, 06 Oct 2016 14:10:25 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2796 Continue reading ]]> 3 - PhysiciansThe Conrad State 30 visa waiver program, which places foreign physicians in underserved U.S. communities, might become an innocent victim of congressional wrangling over the EB-5 immigrant investor program. Foreign physicians who complete their medical residencies in the U.S. on J-1 visas must return to their home countries for two years before they can work here. The Conrad State 30 program, set to expire Sept. 30, waives that requirement if the physician agrees to practice in a rural area or medically underserved region for three years. Each state gets up to 30 slots per fiscal year for physicians granted the waiver.
Historically the program’s reauthorization has been tied to the reauthorization of the EB-5 immigrant investor program. With the EB-5 program under fire in Congress, the future of the physicians program is uncertain.
But they face opposition from both those who disagree with their proposals and those who don’t want the program to lapse, even if it means maintaining the status quo. Even if lawmakers can get an EB-5 deal, they aren’t likely to spend time on the Conrad State 30 program.
The bill would make the Conrad State 30 program permanent and introduce various program changes. But the legislation so far hasn’t seen the light of day. The Association of American Medical Colleges projected last April a shortage of between 61,700 and 94,700 physicians by 2025. Primary care shortages range from 4,900 to 35,600, with shortages in medical specialty areas ranging from 37,400 to 60,300.
And those shortages are being felt most intensely in the rural areas the Conrad State 30 program targets. A Sept. 20 report from the pro-immigration Partnership for a New American Economy said eight of the 10 states with the highest ratios of available health-care jobs to unemployed health-care workers are states where at least 75% of the counties are rural.
In the U.S. as a whole, the ratio of job advertisements to unemployed physicians and surgeons is 26.54, the report said. According to data provided Sept. 20 by the American Medical Association, there are 239,056 international medical graduates actively practicing across the country.
The measure also would allow physicians who can’t work in a state that’s used up all of its 30 slots to apply to another state that still has openings. Right now, physicians who apply to an oversubscribed state don’t have that option and end up having to leave the U.S.
In addition, the bill would specify what needs to be in physicians’ employment agreements, such as the number of on-call hours they’ll be responsible for and whether they need to buy malpractice insurance.
There are also program changes that can be made without Congress. One has to do with how the J-1 and H-1B visa periods align. Physicians who participate in the Conrad State 30 program work on H-1B highly skilled guestworker visas.
The agency did seek feedback on the Conrad 30 program during a Sept. 8 teleconference. But what, if anything, comes out of it remains to be seen.

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Need more proof that immigration is good for our economy? http://www.visa-pros.com/need-more-proof-that-immigration-is-good-for-our-economy/ http://www.visa-pros.com/need-more-proof-that-immigration-is-good-for-our-economy/#comments Tue, 04 Oct 2016 10:16:29 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2781 Continue reading ]]> Last week, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) released a new report, The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration, which takes a comprehensive look at the fiscal and economic impact of immigration. This new report confirms extensive data from the past decade which shows that immigrants and their descendants make valuable contributions to economic growth, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the United States. Immigrants complement the native-born workforce in important ways, and as the Baby Boomers retire, immigrants and their children will be key to supplying the new workers and taxpayers the U.S. economy needs. Some of the report’s findings include:

  • Between 2015 and 2016, the estimated GDP growth due to contributions of immigrant workers amounted to nearly $2 trillion.
  • Immigration helps to slow the aging of American society, and labor force growth from 2020 and 2030 will “depend completely on immigrants and their U.S.-born descendants.”
  • There is little to no negative effects on the wages or overall employment levels of native-born workers. Any negative effects were small and were experienced primarily by other recent immigrants and those who did not graduate high school.
  • The children of immigrants are among the strongest economic and fiscal contributors in the U.S. population overall. Thus, educating all children is an important investment that will reap large rewards for the nation in the future.
  • Everyone in the Unites States contributes to government finances by paying taxes and also adds to expenditures. However, while on average, first generation immigrants are more costly to governments than the native-born (mainly because they earn less and pay less in taxes), by the second generation, they are better-educated, pay more in taxes, and are strong economic and fiscal contributors.
  • Immigrants have also contributed to the reduction in the cost of consumer goods and services such as child care, food preparation, house cleaning and repair, and construction—meaning Americans spend less.

Ultimately, the NAS study shows that, even without reforming our outdated immigration system, the contributions of immigrants are overwhelmingly positive and that America’s proud two-century-long tradition of welcoming immigrants is paying off.

 

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Meet Jennifer, our Newest Team Member! http://www.visa-pros.com/meet-jennifer-our-newest-team-member/ http://www.visa-pros.com/meet-jennifer-our-newest-team-member/#comments Thu, 29 Sep 2016 12:00:21 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2785 Continue reading ]]> Jennifer Moore joined Weinstock Immigration Lawyers this May. Born and raised in Chicago, IL, she has lived in Atlanta for 10 years now. She is the newest case manager in our team and helps our attorneys with family-based immigration, waivers and defense against deportation.
Jennifer has a master’s degree in psychology. She also lived in London for a few years and got to experience world traveling while doing research for her master’s degree throughout Eastern Europe and parts of Asia. She landed in the immigration field by chance, when a friend offered her an internship to help with an asylum case. She found a passion for immigration law and fell in love with helping immigrants.
We are very happy to have her as a part of our team. Jennifer has a unique sense of humor and always finds the upside in a situation. Jennifer is also looking for a solution to obstacles that she faces. She is an avid yoga lover, and she would like to be certified and teach a few classes in East Atlanta, where she resides. Right now she is busy with wedding plans as she is about to get married in November.
She is a compassionate, perfectionist and hard working addition to our team of talented women. If you want to immediately win her over, just mention how cute Milo, her dog is.

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Health Issues and Immigration http://www.visa-pros.com/health-issues-and-immigration/ http://www.visa-pros.com/health-issues-and-immigration/#comments Tue, 27 Sep 2016 11:36:09 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2778 Continue reading ]]> For thousands of consumers, proving they are legal U.S. residents so they can keep their Obamacare plans can be a bigger health care challenge than affording them. Documentation issues over immigration or citizenship status affect more than a half million people who bought plans last year. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell noted 85% fewer people had their plans terminated for these “data matching” issues for the first three months of 2016 — the most recent information available — than the first quarter of 2015. That’s 17,000 people in the first quarter of this year compared with 117,000 people in early 2015.

For those trying to find the correct forms to show they’re legal residents, the challenges are intimidating and can mean the difference between having insurance or going without it.

Consumers who haven’t provided adequate citizenship or immigration status documentation within 95 days have their plans terminated. Data issues go beyond health or inconvenience for the individual consumers. It jeopardizes the balance of sick and healthy individuals insured, which increases insurers’ costs and makes them more likely to raise premiums or drop out of the market.

About 11 million people are currently insured on the federal and state health exchanges. The uninsured rate is now below 9% — the lowest in history — but the National Health Interview Survey showed the rate of progress has slowed dramatically.

Retention of those already enrolled was a top concern mentioned by Burwell, but enrolling the healthier people who haven’t felt the need for insurance is at least as critical.

Data problems appear most tied to HealthCare.gov, the federal Affordable Care Act exchange that handles insurance sales for 38 states that don’t have their own marketplaces for individual health plans.

When it comes to increasing the number of healthy people getting insurance, immigration advocates say HHS should take a bigger step and allow health coverage for the young people covered by the immigration policy known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Unlike others who are here legally, these likely healthy young people can’t buy insurance on the exchanges.

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Have things changed in the last 15 years? http://www.visa-pros.com/have-things-changed-in-the-last-15-years/ http://www.visa-pros.com/have-things-changed-in-the-last-15-years/#comments Thu, 22 Sep 2016 13:15:42 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2776 Continue reading ]]> Fifteen years ago on September 11, 2001, it came into sight that comprehensive immigration reform was imminent. The prior week, President Fox of Mexico visited the U.S. and spoke to President Bush and Congress about the need for reform, and serious momentum was growing. However, the tragic events on September 11 set the immigration debate back and in the post-9/11 world, immigration policy has become defined by “securitization.” Once it became apparent that the attacks were carried out by foreigners, pressure rose for the adoption of new immigration restrictions in the name of security and any talk of other reforms was dead.

Many changes have been made to the immigration system in the last fifteen years and while many were intended to target terrorism, these policies have had a b impact on all immigrant communities. Some of the most notable include:

  • The National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) program, which was most immediately implemented and required select male noncitizens from countries with a “significant terrorist presence” to be fingerprinted and photographed. Despite the fact that NSEERS officially ended in 2011, the rhetoric of “extreme vetting” has reemerged.
  • Refugees and asylum-seekers, many of whom are fleeing terror, have been the focus of post-9/11 security measures. Despite the fact they were already one of the most heavily-vetted immigrant groups, security-related checks of refugees have become even more intense, often delaying the process and often reducing the number of refugees admitted annually to the U.S.
  • States and localities have become more involved in immigration enforcement. State and local governments have further entered the immigration arena with a wide range of laws and policies intended to dissuade immigrants and refugees from settling there.

Not all of the post 9/11 response has been negative, however, with some states and localities promoting policies intended to welcome immigrants and integrate them into social, cultural, and economic life in their communities. State level-policy making has recognized that strategies that embrace newcomers rather than ostracize them will be more successful at combating the isolation and resentment that can fuel acts of violence.

Fifteen years after 9/11, advocates and political leaders must return to a broader approach to reforming our immigration system. Keeping the nation safe will always be important, and many steps have been taken to ensure that those entering the U.S. do not do us harm. However, we must look at immigration reform more broadly and create a new system for the twenty-first century that keeps us safe without compromising the ways in which immigration benefits the country economically, culturally, and socially.

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Thank You, Donald! http://www.visa-pros.com/thank-you-donald/ http://www.visa-pros.com/thank-you-donald/#comments Tue, 20 Sep 2016 11:45:17 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2772 Continue reading ]]> A poll from the Washington Post and ABC News shows Donald Trump’s immigration proposals are very  unpopular with the American people — so much that Trump actually appears to be increasing sympathy for immigrants and depressing support for his harsh enforcement techniques.

The poll shows the number of Americans who say that immigrants “strengthen American society” has increased from 55% in January to 64% in September of this year.

Similarly, only 15% say they support deporting all illegal immigrants. This 15 percent who favor mass deportation is in contrast to the 79 percent who instead favor a pathway to citizenship with background checks. Previous Post-ABC polls asked a different question — whether people would support or oppose an effort to deport all illegal immigrants (with no alternative named). In March, 36% supported this approach.

The 64% who say immigrants strengthen American society — a new high in the 2016 campaign — is spurred by an increase in Democrats (up 14 percent) and independents (up 12 percent) who say they agree with that statement. The increase among Republicans is smaller.

All of which suggests Trump’s polarizing approach to illegal immigration may be having the opposite of its intended effect. It may not be damaging Trump’s campaign in a direct way,  but it does appear to be helping immigration reform activists rally supporters.

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Four Career (probably useful for life too) Tips http://www.visa-pros.com/four-career-probably-useful-for-life-too-tips/ http://www.visa-pros.com/four-career-probably-useful-for-life-too-tips/#comments Thu, 15 Sep 2016 15:14:01 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2767 Continue reading ]]> holistic

  • Get out of your comfort zone. Daring to take risks and stepping outside your comfort zone is the first step to seizing career opportunities.
  •  Be strategic. You shouldn’t necessarily take the first job offer that comes along: it’s important to have a long-term view and a carefully planned career strategy.
  •  Accept feedback and criticism. Maintaining a certain level of humility allows you to really listen to feedback and criticism, act on them and take your career to the next level.
  •  Balance purpose and pleasure. Purpose pushes you to overcome challenges in your career while pleasure motivates you in your daily tasks. Find the perfect balance and you’re all set.
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Are you sure you know the first thing about immigration? http://www.visa-pros.com/are-you-sure-you-know-the-first-thing-about-immigration/ http://www.visa-pros.com/are-you-sure-you-know-the-first-thing-about-immigration/#comments Tue, 13 Sep 2016 15:28:09 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2764 Continue reading ]]> Chinese and Indian newcomers to the U.S. are now outnumbering Mexican arrivals in most regions of the country, a marked reversal from a decade ago, when immigrants from America’s southern neighbor dwarf arrivals from the large Asian countries. A Wall Street Journal analysis of census figures shows that in a lot of states, more immigrants from China and India arrived than from Mexico in 2014. As recently as 2005, Mexico sent more than 10 times as many people to the U.S. as China, and more than six times as many as India.
These include people who come legally and illegally, but don’t distinguish between the two. While Chinese and Indian immigrants are more likely to be in the U.S. legally than those from Mexico, Asians represent one of the fastest-growing segments of undocumented immigrants in the country. People from Mexico and other Central American countries account for about 71% of the U.S. unauthorized immigrant population, while Asians account for the second-largest share at 13%, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has made stopping illegal immigration from Mexico a centerpiece of his campaign. But demographers say the quick shift in migration flows shows that the campaign discussion’s emphasis on illegal crossings at the nation’s southern border doesn’t tell the whole picture.
In 2014 there were 31 states where more immigrants arrived from China than from Mexico. Newly arrived immigrants from India in 2014 outnumbered those from Mexico in 25 states. Even in California, a top destination for latinos, Chinese immigrants outnumbered Mexican immigrants in 2014, and the number from India was only slightly below that of Mexico. A swirl of forces is driving the shift. Highly educated technology workers from China and India are coming to the U.S. for skilled jobs as the U.S. moves toward a more knowledge based economy. China and India now send more international students to the U.S. than any other countries while fewer Mexicans are coming to the U.S. as Mexico’s own job market improves and its birth rate has declined.

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A few words on political experiments http://www.visa-pros.com/a-few-words-on-political-experiments/ http://www.visa-pros.com/a-few-words-on-political-experiments/#comments Fri, 09 Sep 2016 15:14:52 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2760 Continue reading ]]> Two weeks ago, Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto extended an invitation to two US politicians: one was a man who had repeatedly insulted and offended his compatriots; the other was a woman who throughout her high-profile career had spoken of her rapport with the United States’ neighbor.

The first politician accepted the invitation, the second turned it down.

Hillary Clinton said on Monday that unlike her rival, Donald Trump, she wouldn’t be meeting with Peña Nieto. In an interview with ABC television, Clinton politely said that for the moment she preferred to stay focused on the US economy.

Peña Nieto met with Trump last week, surprising just about everybody.

Peña Nieto sent a letter to Clinton and Trump on August 26 inviting them to meet him. Trump, whose campaign has seen him insult Mexicans and Mexico time and again, saw an opportunity and on Wednesday, August 31, arrived in Mexico City aboard his private jet.

After the meeting, which lasted more than an hour, Peña Nieto and Trump held a press conference. During the question-and-answer session with reporters, Trump said that he and the Mexican president had not discussed who would pay for the wall he has said he will build along the border between the United States and Mexico if he is elected president. He has repeatedly insisted that Mexico will finance the project.

Once Trump was in the air and on his way back to the United States, Peña Nieto tweeted that he had told the Republican presidential nominee that Mexico would not pay for the proposed wall.

On the same day, at a meeting in the border state of Arizona, Trump reiterated his anti-immigration stance, insisting that Mexico would indeed pay for a wall. “[The president] just doesn’t know it yet,” smirked Trump.

The meeting with Peña Nieto provided Trump with a rare opportunity to play the statesman thanks to the press conference at the official residence of the Mexican president. His speech a few hours later in Arizona showed that he had not moderated his message, and indeed had toughened his rhetoric.

If, by inviting both candidates, Peña Nieto’s plan was to meet the next president of the United States, then the move has backfired badly. Clinton, who was secretary of state between 2009 and 2013, and who has already met the Mexican president, has avoided any possible embarrassment, preferring to leave diplomatic experiments to Trump.

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Here’s why restricting immigration won’t improve work opportunities for US citizens http://www.visa-pros.com/heres-why-restricting-immigration-wont-improve-work-opportunities-for-us-citizens/ http://www.visa-pros.com/heres-why-restricting-immigration-wont-improve-work-opportunities-for-us-citizens/#comments Wed, 07 Sep 2016 12:44:03 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2752 Continue reading ]]> On average, immigrants and the native-born differ in terms of formal education, job experience, and English-language skills. As a result, immigrants and the native-born tend to “complement” each other rather than compete. Even among workers with the same level of education immigrants and natives differ in terms of the abilities they have acquired in their lifetimes and their degree of literacy in English.

Not surprisingly, immigration restrictionists have chosen to ignore the growing body of evidence on the “complementarity” of immigrants and natives. Rather than acknowledge the enormous economic contributions that immigrants make, they persist in their nonsensical quest to scare the native-born population into believing that immigrants are the greatest threat to their livelihoods.

However, even by the shaky intellectual standards of the restrictionist movement, a September 6 report from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) makes little sense. The report, titled Immigrants Replace Low-Skill Natives in the Workforce, begins with the observation that “the United States has been a magnet for low-skill immigration even as low-skill natives have worked less and less.” The report notes, correctly enough, that “this does not imply that immigrants push out natives from the workforce, but it does mean that immigrants replace natives.” More precisely, “as natives leave the workforce—whether because of competition from immigrants, insufficient wages, overreliance on welfare, distaste for manual labor, or some other reason employers turn increasingly to immigrants.” If immigrants are replacing less-skilled natives in the labor force for reasons that may have nothing to do with immigration, then what exactly is the point of the report? Apparently, the point is that:

“…immigration functions as a band-aid over the problem. Instead of searching for ways to get natives back to work—through higher wages, less access to welfare, or social pressure—government and business leaders have brought in immigrants to do the work. Limiting immigration would not solve all the problems facing low-skill natives, but it would provide the incentive to get them back to work and back into the mainstream of society.”

This is nonsensical. Why would you use immigration policy to solve a problem that you acknowledge may not be related to immigration policy? Isn’t the first step in solving a problem to correctly identify the cause? CIS’s reasoning is comparable to saying that you’re going to reduce the number of medical mistakes at hospitals by shutting down all hospitals. Yes, that would “fix” the problem, but it’s a “solution” that kind of misses the point.

Beyond CIS’s reasoning about employment levels, it is important to recognize that workers aren’t just workers. All workers create jobs as consumers and entrepreneurs. They spend their wages buying food, clothes, appliances, and cars. Moreover, businesses respond to the presence of these new workers and consumers by investing in new restaurants, stores, and production facilities. And immigrants are more likely than the native-born to start their own business. The end result is more jobs for more workers.

Immigrants don’t “steal” jobs—they fill necessary jobs in the labor market that suit their skills and they also create jobs. CIS might want to mention this in its next report on immigrants and the economy.

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Immigrants Missing Out On Workforce Development Services http://www.visa-pros.com/immigrants-missing-out-on-workforce-development-services/ http://www.visa-pros.com/immigrants-missing-out-on-workforce-development-services/#comments Fri, 02 Sep 2016 14:23:47 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2749 Continue reading ]]> Reproduced with permission from Daily Labor Report, 166 DLR A-3 (Aug. 26, 2016). Copyright 2016 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) <http://www.bna.com>

Policy barriers are one main obstacle for immigrants seeking workforce development training and services, but other significant challenges remain, such as a lack of cooperation between workforce organizations and immigrant-serving organizations, according to a report released Aug. 25 by the Aspen Institute Workforce Strategies Initiative. Immigrants and their families are an increasingly important part of the country’s economy, making up 13 percent of the U.S. population and 16 percent of the labor force, according to the report. However, immigrants are much more likely than the native population to live in poverty and they’re underserved by public workforce development programs, according to available data, the authors said. Although immigrant workers ‘‘demonstrate significant need’’ for employment and skill-building services, the public workforce development system appears to serve ‘‘very few’’ of them, according to the report. ‘‘We think that immigrants are a critical part of our labor force, and recent developments have raised the urgency to think about how to better connect immigrants to workforce training and development services,’’ Marcela Montes, a co-author of the report and a senior research associate for Aspen WSI, told Bloomberg BNA Aug. 26.
Overall, the report found a lack of partnering and communication between organizations that work directly with immigrants and organizations that provide support for workforce training, Montes said. These two pieces of the puzzle ‘‘don’t work in the same space,’’
she said. Significant constraints to access exist for immigrant and workforce organizations, such as lack of knowledge and understanding about each other’s types of organization and work; lack of leadership, information and support to wade into new partnership territory; and lack of time and resources to engage in the time consuming
and sensitive work of building partnerships, the report found.
Policy and system reforms can help to address these barriers, but additional approaches are needed as well, such as leadership development, capacity building, peer learning, technical assistance and documentation/ dissemination of good practices and models, it said. The report, ‘‘Improving Immigrant Access to Workforce Services: Partnerships, Practices, and Policies’’ is based on interviews with leaders across the immigrant and workforce development fields, conducted in fall 2015. Lack of Funding, Understanding at Local Level. The report found that partnerships between grass-roots immigrant-serving and workforce organizations can be very valuable. But getting them up and keeping them
going are hampered by a lack of time, resources and committed partners willing to work through organizational and cultural differences.
For example, respondents said leaders aren’t encouraging such partnerships enough, and without commitment from the heads of organizations, the alliances usually don’t even get off the ground. It’s a new type of partnership, outside the norm, so organizational leaders
may find it difficult to give them a high priority in terms of resource allocation, according to the report. The authors also cited barriers stemming from a lack of partnerships between immigrant-serving organizations and entities in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity
Act system, such as public one-stop job centers, in favor of partnerships between immigrant serving organizations and community colleges. In many communities, respondents identified a general lack of knowledge among WIOA-funded entities of the existence of immigrant-serving organizations, and vice versa.
This lack of understanding could be due to many immigrant-serving organizations perceiving the workforce system as underfunded and overtaxed with serving too many special populations. Immigrant-serving organizations tend to not reach out to the workforce system, believing it likely would be a fruitless effort, the report said. Increased communication between these two separate fields would greatly help in overcoming these barriers, Montes said, and community colleges are good starting points. In addition, the report found that including worker centers and unions as partners with community colleges or immigrant integration organizations could also be a promising approach to serving immigrants better. Montes said many of these efforts are very localized to the unique needs of a particular community and more research is needed to figure out how these problems are addressed.
Policy Barriers and Legal Status. The number one problem that prevents people from trying to find these services is their undocumented status, Karen Weinstock, managing attorney at Weinstock Immigration Lawyers, told Bloomberg BNA Aug. 26. ‘‘Part of the solution is to fix the broken immigration system’’ to give undocumented workers an opportunity to legalize their status, said Weinstock, who wasn’t affiliated with the report. Implementing this solution would also be a path to improving access to English education and career advancement and job training services, she added.
Given that comprehensive immigration reform is stalled at the federal level, the report said, local solutions at the state or municipal level might help immigrants access workforce development programs more quickly. However, the report found that success might vary depending on the state. For example, interviewees said partnership and policy work at the state and local level is more easily conducted in states such as New York and California,
which have historically been more amenable to reforming policies affecting immigrants, versus states like Texas and Arizona, where the political environment is more difficult.
BY GENEVIEVE DOUGLAS
To contact the reporter on this story: Genevieve
Douglas in Washington, D.C., at gdouglas@bna.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tony
Harris at aharris@bna.com

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New Potential Immigration Options for Entrepreneurs http://www.visa-pros.com/new-potential-immigration-options-for-entrepreneurs/ http://www.visa-pros.com/new-potential-immigration-options-for-entrepreneurs/#comments Wed, 31 Aug 2016 11:43:09 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2740 Continue reading ]]> DHS (Department of Homeland Security) is proposing a rule that would allow certain international entrepreneurs whose stay in the United States would provide a significant public benefit to be considered for parole on a case-by-case basis. Under the proposed rule, entrepreneurs who can show that their start-up entity has substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation may be granted an initial stay of up to two years to oversee and grow their start-up entity in the United States. A subsequent request for re-parole for up to three additional years may be considered.

The proposed rule would allow the Department of Homeland Security to use its existing discretionary statutory parole authority for entrepreneurs of startup entities whose stay in the United States would provide a significant public benefit through the substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation. Under this proposed rule, DHS may parole, on a case-by-case basis, eligible entrepreneurs of startup enterprises:

  • Who have a significant ownership interest in the startup (at least 15%) and have an active and central role to its operations
  • Whose startup was formed in the United States within the past three years; and
  • Whose startup has substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation, as evidenced by:
    • Receiving significant investment of capital (at least $345,000) from certain qualified U.S. investors with established records of successful investments;
    • Receiving significant awards or grants (at least $100,000) from certain federal, state or local government entities; or
    • Partially satisfying one or both of the above criteria in addition to other reliable and compelling evidence of the startup entity’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.

Under the proposed rule, entrepreneurs may be granted an initial stay of up to two years to oversee and grow their startup entity in the United States. A subsequent request for re-parole (for up to three additional years) would be considered only if the entrepreneur and the startup entity continue to provide a significant public benefit as evidenced by substantial increases in capital investment, revenue or job creation.

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Are you Eligible? Apply Now! http://www.visa-pros.com/are-you-eligible-apply-now/ http://www.visa-pros.com/are-you-eligible-apply-now/#comments Tue, 23 Aug 2016 13:19:28 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2728 Continue reading ]]> Since the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative was implemented in August 2012, it has positively changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of young individuals in the United States. According to the most recent official statistics, as of March 2016, 820,000 individuals have applied for DACA, and 728,285 have received it. But there are still hundreds of thousands of potentially eligible individuals who have not applied. Some of these meet all of the eligibility requirements and there are others could become eligible if they enrolled in an adult education program.
According to the new MPI (Migration Policy Institute) estimates, 1.3 million undocumented young adults were immediately eligible for DACA in 2016. This means that, as of March 2016, almost half a million immediately eligible individuals had not applied for the program. In addition, MPI estimates that there are approximately 400,000 young individuals who meet all the criteria except for high school graduation or current school enrollment and could therefore become eligible if they enrolled in an adult education program
What is it that these young adults are missing out on? As previous studies have shown, by offering deportation reprieve and work authorization, DACA has positively affected the lives of its recipients in multiple ways. With its limitations (considering that it is not a permanent solution), DACA has also fostered a sense of inclusion among its recipients, by implicitly telling them they belong in the United States.
With no legislative solution on the visible horizon and broader deferred action initiatives suspended, DACA remains the only available large-scale initiative offering relief from deportation to undocumented immigrants.
The next election will be key in determining the future of DACA. And it will be key in shaping U.S. immigration policy more generally for years to come.

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Beware! They are not following the procedure http://www.visa-pros.com/beware-they-are-not-following-the-procedure/ http://www.visa-pros.com/beware-they-are-not-following-the-procedure/#comments Thu, 18 Aug 2016 09:35:47 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2723 Continue reading ]]> A Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) report found that undocumented immigrants with no criminal record continue to be targeted for federal detention despite DHS’s Priority Enforcement Program (PEP). During the first two months of FY2016, half of the detainers issued by ICE targeted individuals without a criminal record—up slightly since DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson announced PEP in November 2014. In addition, despite Secretary Johnson’s directive for ICE to replace requests for detention with requests for notification, the report found that four out of every five detainers issued by ICE asked that an agency hold an individual beyond the point at which he or she would otherwise be released.

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Please join us in celebrating Karen been appointed as one of the Best Lawyers in immigration! http://www.visa-pros.com/please-join-us-in-celebrating-karen-been-appointed-as-one-of-the-best-lawyers-in-immigration/ http://www.visa-pros.com/please-join-us-in-celebrating-karen-been-appointed-as-one-of-the-best-lawyers-in-immigration/#comments Mon, 15 Aug 2016 09:01:15 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2720 Continue reading ]]> Karen close up 1 IMG_0468-2We are proud to say that Karen Weinstock, our Managing Attorney, has been listed by Best Lawyers® as one of the best lawyers in immigration in the United States. This is the sixth consecutive year that Karen is recognized with this honor from the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession, and a partner of U.S. News & World Report.

This is a great recognition to her and our efforts and we are happy to share this news with all our clients and colleagues. Congratulations, Karen!

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Perseids http://www.visa-pros.com/perseids/ http://www.visa-pros.com/perseids/#comments Thu, 11 Aug 2016 14:45:04 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2717 Continue reading ]]> 1470312963_651770_1470313206_noticia_grandeAs far as meteor showers go, the Perseids occupy a special place in the skies. They’re so well-known that references to them can even be found in Chinese records from 36 AD. They have an impressive meteoric resume. The name The Tears of St. Lawrence came into use much later, during Medieval Europe, to honor the Catholic martyr.

“Shooting stars” are actually just different-sized particles of dust, some finer than a grain of sand, that comets and asteroids leave behind during their orbits around the Sun. The resulting particle cloud (called meteoroids), thawed by the Sun’s heat, disperses in the space around the comet, and every year our planet crosses through it during our orbit around the Sun. During this meeting, the dust specks disintegrate upon their high-speed entrance into Earth’s atmosphere, creating those famous streaks of luminescence. From our point of view, all the trajectories of different shooting stars converge into a point of the sky called the radiant. The constellation where that radiant point is found determines the name of the meteor shower. Thus, the Perseids meteor shower is found in the Perseus constellation, while the Geminids are found in the Gemini constellation.

According to standard models, the Perseids’ activity will include about 100 meteors per hour (Zenithal Hourly Rate). Like every year, the Perseids’ reach their peak in the middle of August. For 2016, with maximum visibility expected between 13:00 and 15:30 UT/GMT. While they’re active between July 17 and August 24, the nights of August 12 and 13 will be the best moment to observe the shower. A crescent moon, which will disappear for the second half of the night, should not pose a problem for seeing the Perseids; on average, a stargazer will be able to see one every two minutes, including some very bright ones (due to the high speeds at which they enter into the atmosphere) for those watching from dark places with clear horizons, far from light contamination.

So just get a little away from the city and look up!

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Well Represented in the Olympics http://www.visa-pros.com/well-represented-in-the-olympics/ http://www.visa-pros.com/well-represented-in-the-olympics/#comments Tue, 09 Aug 2016 09:41:08 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2712 Continue reading ]]> 奧運As the Olympics kicked off in Rio de Janeiro last Friday, the U.S. is well-represented by its citizens – both native and foreign born. Forty-seven of those competing on Team USA were born outside of the country.

Some like basketball star Kyrie Irving, Boyd Martin who competes in equestrian, rugby player Madison Hughes, and water polo player Tony Azevedo were born abroad to U.S. citizen parents. Others, like sailor Bora Gulari, tennis player Denis Kudla, and fencer Dagmara Wozniak, came to the U.S. as children with their parents. Still other Olympians, like canoeist Michal Smolen, immigrated for college or as adults.

Other athletes are the children of immigrants who came to the U.S. to make a better life for their families. Their stories remind us how immigrants come from all over the world and contribute their talents to the U.S.

Here are some New American athletes to watch:

  • Hillary Bor, Paul Chelimo, Shadrack Kipchirchir, and Leonard Korir were all born in Kenya. Since coming to the U.S., they enlisted in the Army, trained with the military’s World Class Athlete Program (WCAP), acquired U.S. citizenship, and will compete for the U.S. in track and field.
  • Shooter Enkelejda Shehaj competed for her native Albania for many years. She eventually fled to the U.S. in 1999 and became a citizen in 2012.
  • Runner Charles Jock was born in a refugee camp in Ethiopia after his parents fled civil war in Sudan. He came to the U.S. with his family at age three where they were granted asylum and settled in San Diego.
  • Nick Delpopolo, who competes in Judo was born in Montenegro where he spent his first 21 months in a dirt-floor orphanage. He was adopted by American parents and grew up in New Jersey.
  • Jay Shi, who is on the shooting team, came to the U.S. for medical treatment at age 11 after suffering an eye injury. He and his family stayed and became U.S. citizens.
  • Gymnast Danell Leyva was born in Cuba. His family defected to the U.S. when he was a baby.

All members of Team USA–foreign born and native born alike–are proudly representing their country in the Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro.

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IMPORTANT: Immigration Law Changes (Video in Spanish) http://www.visa-pros.com/important-immigration-law-changes-video-in-spanish/ http://www.visa-pros.com/important-immigration-law-changes-video-in-spanish/#comments Thu, 04 Aug 2016 14:17:07 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2709 Continue reading ]]> U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a final rule expanding the existing provisional waiver process to allow certain individuals who are family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs), and who are statutorily eligible for immigrant visas, to more easily navigate the immigration process.

The changes in the rule, which goes into effect on Aug. 29, 2016, expands eligibility for the provisional waiver process to all individuals who are statutorily eligible for the waiver of the unlawful presence ground of inadmissibility. USCIS expects to update its Policy Manual to provide guidance on how USCIS makes “extreme hardship” determinations in the coming weeks.

Until now, only immediate relatives of U.S. citizens were eligible to seek such provisional waivers before departing the United States for the processing of their immigrant visas. This regulation expands eligibility for the process to all individuals who are statutorily eligible for the waiver.

To qualify for a provisional waiver, applicants must establish that their U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouses or parents would experience “extreme hardship” if the applicants are not allowed to return to the United States.

If you qualify for this extension, call us today! 770-629-9515 or 770-913-0800

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CHANGES TO THE IMMIGRATION LAW http://www.visa-pros.com/changesinimmigrationlaw/ http://www.visa-pros.com/changesinimmigrationlaw/#comments Tue, 02 Aug 2016 14:55:10 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2698 Continue reading ]]> Get information about the NEW changes in immigration law. Thousands of people can qualify now. If you are married to a Legal Permanent resident or if your parents are permanent residents, you can now obtain a waiver! This new change will be available starting August 29 2016 so call us now to start your process: 770-913-0800.13680366_1262721410427636_6467469965092443199_o

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Temporary Protected Status Extended for El Salvador http://www.visa-pros.com/temporary-protected-status-extended-for-el-salvador/ http://www.visa-pros.com/temporary-protected-status-extended-for-el-salvador/#comments Thu, 28 Jul 2016 07:09:03 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2675 Continue reading ]]> Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is now extended for eligible nationals of El Salvador (and those without nationality who last habitually resided in El Salvador) for an additional 18 months, effective Sept. 10, 2016, through March 9, 2018.

Current TPS El Salvador beneficiaries who want to extend their TPS must re-register during the 60-day re-registration period that runs from July 8, 2016, through Sept. 6, 2016.

Employment Authorization:

The 18-month extension allows TPS re-registrants to apply for a new Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Those who re-register during the 60-day period and request a new EAD will receive one with an expiration date of March 9, 2018.

USCIS recognizes that some re-registrants may not receive their new EAD until after their current work permits expire. Therefore, we are automatically extending current TPS El Salvador EADs with a Sept. 9, 2016 expiration date for six months. These existing EADs are now valid through March 9, 2017.

To re-register, current TPS beneficiaries must submit:

  • Application for Temporary Protected Status (re-registrants do not need to pay the Form I-821 application fee);
  • Application for Employment Authorization, regardless of whether they want an EAD;
  • Application fee (or a fee waiver request) only if they want an EAD. If the re-registrant does not want an EAD, no application fee is required; and
  • The biometric services fee (or a fee waiver request) if they are 14 years old or older.

If you qualify for this process, we can help you  with it! give us a call today! 770-913-0800

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“Trump-English” Translations http://www.visa-pros.com/trump-english-translations/ http://www.visa-pros.com/trump-english-translations/#comments Tue, 26 Jul 2016 10:33:18 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2667 Continue reading ]]> We all know Donald Trump’s speeches are outrageous in everything from word choice to content. In an average Trump speech, you will probably note words such as “stupid,” “loser,” or “clown.” His vocabulary is vulgar and insulting. But it is also simplistic: “great,” “wall,” “huge,” “amazing.”

According to Politico magazine, when run through the Flesch-Kincaid grade test, Trump’s speeches score at a fourth-grade reading level. This means his vocabulary and sentence structure are on a par with those of a nine-year-old. Nevertheless, his strategy has been useful and brought him to become the Republican Party’s only candidate for the US presidential elections next fall. His anti-establishment attitude and opposition to “political correctness” has tapped into a fraction of Americans who champion Trump’s disrespect for other individuals and religions, as he demonstrated in his response speech to the Orlando attacks, to cite an example.

Just like a fourth grader, Trump picks his fights. He rants and freestyles, he bashes on anyone who criticizes him and uses a large amount of simple taglines to conquer his audience. In the past months, he has left behind some astonishing remarks: “Our leaders are very, very stupid;” “I don’t have a lot of respect for Jeb [Bush]. Jeb is a lightweight, he’s a spoiled child.” And he doesn’t just take on politicians, he also targeted journalists. Last August, following a Republican debate, Trump said of female moderator Megyn Kelly that her questions were “ridiculous” and “off-base,” and stated: “You could see she had blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”

In line with such comments, here’s a compilation of the most notable Trumpisms:

  • “Make America Great Again” – his campaign slogan. Although general opinion does not seem to know what Trump means by this, his plans seem to include a potential ban on Muslims entering the US, “bombing the hell out of ISIS,” and reversing many of Obama’s policies.
  • “Believe me…” – because I am Trump, I am the best businessman in New York, I have made lots of money in real estate, and “my whole life is about winning. I don’t lose often. I almost never lose.” Trump has not advanced many policies to address any of the issues he so frequently criticizes, however, he expects his followers to trust him because he can fix it all.
  • “A loser/ lightweight” – anyone who criticizes him. Or anyone except himself. When using these adjectives, Trump has referred to other politicians such as his formal rivals Jeb Bush or Ted Cruz.
  • “Big league, or bigly” – there is still some confusion about what Trump actually says when he pronounces this set of letters together. Regardless, he refers to the grandiosity of himself and his potential presidency. Some stellar examples are: “We are going to win big league,” or, “We are going to reverse that trend big league.”
  • “Think about it…” – a phrase often used by Trump in a philosophical and intellectual fashion, to denounce otherwise unseen phenomena: for example, to suggest conspiracy theories, such as the possibility that Mr Obama might be acting in a strange way with regard to the massacre in Orlando, given his resistance to condemning it using the phrase “radical Islam.”
  • “Look, folks…” – or, look everyone, here is what is happening and you guys are not understanding. I know it all, so pay attention; let me show you the path we have to follow to save this country.
  • “It’s ridiculous” – most things President Obama or Hillary Clinton say or do. The last example that Trump qualified as ridiculous is the “protection that Hillary Clinton receives from President Obama.” But this phrase has also been extended to refer to many things some fellow Republicans have criticized him for. They are “stupid” and naïve – only The Donald knows how to run the country.
  • “Huge (Yuge)” – Synonym of great, it is used by the candidate to refer to all of his plans, strategies, thoughts, and ideas.
  • “China” – The country that is “stealing our [Americans’] jobs; beating us in everything; they are winning, we’re losing.”
  • “Winning” – It’s all he does. “We will have so much winning if I get elected you may get bored with winning. Believe me. We are going to start winning big league.”
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Department of Justice seeking Rehearing on Immigration matter http://www.visa-pros.com/department-of-justice-seeking-rehearing-on-immigration-matter/ http://www.visa-pros.com/department-of-justice-seeking-rehearing-on-immigration-matter/#comments Thu, 21 Jul 2016 13:16:03 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2695 Continue reading ]]> Last Monday, the Department of Justice filed a petition for rehearing with the Supreme Court in United States v. Texas. In June, the Court issued a 4-4 one sentence nondecision affirming the Fifth Circuit’s preliminary injunction of DAPA and expanded DACA.
In this new petition, the federal government asked that a full nine-Member Court hear the case. DOJ urged that this is a case of significant importance.
Although the Court rarely grants rehearing, at the same time, this has been done in the past where a similar situation happened and it appeared likely that upon reargument a majority one way or the other might be mustered.
Perhaps there is another chance for the millions of people that could benefit from it. Stay tuned!

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Strong is the new Pretty http://www.visa-pros.com/strong-is-the-new-pretty/ http://www.visa-pros.com/strong-is-the-new-pretty/#comments Tue, 19 Jul 2016 10:39:35 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2683 Continue reading ]]> Who said that girls can´t be powerful and strong? And yet, we don´t see them pictured as such often. Kate T. Parker is doing an incredible job about it sharing this perspective. Here are some of the images of “Strong is the new Pretty”, a series about girls doing things that girls like to do. And no, there are no tutus. Enjoy. http://katetparker.com/ 

strong_is_the_new_pretty_las_fotos_de_kate_parker_que_presentan_a_las_ninas_sin_estereotipos_262255251 strong_is_the_new_pretty_las_fotos_de_kate_parker_que_presentan_a_las_ninas_sin_estereotipos_470066284 strong_is_the_new_pretty_las_fotos_de_kate_parker_que_presentan_a_las_ninas_sin_estereotipos_488821178 strong_is_the_new_pretty_las_fotos_de_kate_parker_que_presentan_a_las_ninas_sin_estereotipos_620190475 strong_is_the_new_pretty_las_fotos_de_kate_parker_que_presentan_a_las_ninas_sin_estereotipos_771730764 strong_is_the_new_pretty_las_fotos_de_kate_parker_que_presentan_a_las_ninas_sin_estereotipos_887046504

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Creativity is the new literacy? http://www.visa-pros.com/creativity-is-the-new-literacy/ http://www.visa-pros.com/creativity-is-the-new-literacy/#comments Thu, 14 Jul 2016 10:17:31 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2680 Continue reading ]]> You probably know who Sir Ken Robinson is. You have reads his books. Followed his conferences. Perhaps the name rings a bell but you are not sure why. Or maybe you have no clue as of where this is going.

One of his main interests is Education. With capital “E”. and he says that we are not educating the generations to come properly. We are harming them by extirpating feelings and creativity from the classroom.

Now that school is in a break and the new academic year is soon to start, what do you think?

Here is his talk for to you listen and decide.

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Two Anti-Immigrant Bills get stopped by Senate http://www.visa-pros.com/two-anti-immigrant-bills-get-stopped-by-senate/ http://www.visa-pros.com/two-anti-immigrant-bills-get-stopped-by-senate/#comments Tue, 12 Jul 2016 11:51:34 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2672 Continue reading ]]> Last week, the Senate defeated cloture on motions to proceed —a motion to begin debate—on two “Sanctuary City” bills sponsored by Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). Both bills take an enforcement-only approach to immigration reform and fail to address the nation’s outdated immigration laws or the need to enact comprehensive reforms.

Senator Toomey’s “Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act” literally transforms state and local law enforcement officers into federal immigration enforcement agents and distracts from their ability to protect and serve their local community. The bill also tries to punish these so-called “sanctuary” jurisdictions by taking away millions of dollars in federal funding for programs that make communities stronger, including the Community Development Block Grant from any city, state or county that does not fully comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers and notification requests.

The term “sanctuary city” is often used incorrectly to describe a trust act or community policing policy that limits entanglement between local police and federal immigration authorities. These policies, in reality, make communities safer and increase communication between police and residents without imposing any restrictions on federal immigration agents in carrying out their job of enforcing immigration laws.

Community policing policies also help ensure that law enforcement officers do not run afoul of the law by detaining persons they do not have legal authority to hold.

Senator Cruz’s bill which seeks to increase mandatory minimums for certain immigration penalties, would further criminalize immigration which has proven to do nothing to deter unauthorized immigration and would cost tax payers billions.

Instead of spinning their wheels on punitive, piecemeal legislation, Senators should focus on passing more meaningful reforms that move our nation forward.

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Atlanta Welcoming Policies Towards Immigrants Awarded http://www.visa-pros.com/atlanta-awarded-for-its-welcoming-policies-towards-immigrants/ http://www.visa-pros.com/atlanta-awarded-for-its-welcoming-policies-towards-immigrants/#comments Thu, 07 Jul 2016 13:28:43 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2663 Continue reading ]]> Atlanta_Downtown_Skyline

The Obama administration responded Thursday at last week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on immigration with an awards ceremony honoring more than 50 cities and counties, including Atlanta, for their innovative immigrant-friendly programs.

At a White House ceremony, Atlanta and the other cities were celebrated for creating a friendly environment for immigrants, including education initiatives to help guide the newcomers through the citizenship process.

Such policies not only are the right thing to do ethically, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said. Welcoming immigrants also is smart. According to the numbers, foreign-born individuals start companies at a higher rate than US citizens. And not only that, they grow their businesses faster.

During a conference call with reporters, Reed and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti expressed disappointment with last week’s court ruling. But both pledged their cities would continue moving forward with programs to ease immigrants’ adjustment to their new homes.

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Would you dare question who you really are? http://www.visa-pros.com/would-you-dare-question-who-you-really-are/ http://www.visa-pros.com/would-you-dare-question-who-you-really-are/#comments Tue, 05 Jul 2016 09:39:08 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2653

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Happy 4th of July! http://www.visa-pros.com/happy-4th-of-july-2/ http://www.visa-pros.com/happy-4th-of-july-2/#comments Fri, 01 Jul 2016 13:59:24 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2660 267437-Happy-4th

 

 

We want to wish you a happy 4th of July weekend!

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Does he really speak in the name of the American people? http://www.visa-pros.com/does-he-really-speak-in-the-name-of-the-american-people/ http://www.visa-pros.com/does-he-really-speak-in-the-name-of-the-american-people/#comments Tue, 28 Jun 2016 19:08:18 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2649 Continue reading ]]> Donald Trump may claim to speak in the name of the “American people,” but the fact is that most Americans continue to reject his fear and hate language. This is apparent from the results of a survey conducted by the Brookings Institution and Public Religion Research Institute between April 4 and May 2, 2016. The survey reveals that, despite a great deal of collective anxiety over terrorism and the impact of growing immigrant communities on U.S. society, most Americans do not buy into harsh views on immigration.

As a starting point, the survey examined how many Americans are worried about a terrorist attack. Given the terrorist shootings in San Bernardino and in Paris at the end of 2015 (it was conducted before the Orlando massacre), just over half (51 %) of survey respondents “report feeling somewhat or very worried that they or a member of their family will become a victim of terrorism.” This marks an increase of 18% points since late 2014, when only 33% of respondents harbored such a fear.

Yet, despite these fears, most respondents did not give in to the temptation to scapegoat all immigrants or all Muslims for the actions of a relatively small numbers of terrorists. For instance, 58% “oppose placing a temporary ban on Muslims from other countries entering the U.S.,” compared to 40% who support such a measure. Likewise, 55% “oppose passing a law that would deny Syrian refugees entrance to the U.S.,” while 44% support such a law.

Nor did most respondents buy into Trump’s views on the U.S.-Mexico border, undocumented immigration, or the economic impact of immigrants. Among the respondents:

61% “say immigrants living in the U.S. illegally should be allowed a way to become citizens,” compared to 21% say that they should be deported.

58% oppose building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, while 41% support the wall.

47% believe that “immigrants strengthen our country because of their hard work and talents,” while 43% say that “immigrants are a burden on the country because they take jobs, housing, and healthcare.”

68% say that “new immigrants mostly take jobs Americans do not want,” compared to 25% who believe that these “immigrants take jobs away from American citizens.”

So is he really speaking what the people think? Or just trying to continue spreading information which is simply not true?

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Need an Immigration Attorney? http://www.visa-pros.com/need-an-immigration-attorney/ http://www.visa-pros.com/need-an-immigration-attorney/#comments Thu, 23 Jun 2016 14:38:20 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2646

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World Refugee Day http://www.visa-pros.com/world-refugee-day-2/ http://www.visa-pros.com/world-refugee-day-2/#comments Tue, 21 Jun 2016 16:45:31 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2643

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Changes for H-1B? http://www.visa-pros.com/changes-for-h-1b/ http://www.visa-pros.com/changes-for-h-1b/#comments Tue, 14 Jun 2016 13:31:49 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2622 Continue reading ]]> Pay for H-1B workers may increase if a draft bill authored by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) gets the bipartisan backing it will need to pass Congress.
The bill relies on salary to distribute the visas. Firms that pay salaries well above the prevailing wage will have the best chance of getting a visa.
The “High-Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act of 2015″ has been in the works since last year, is already drafted and appears to be complete. But that doesn’t mean it will actually be introduced. Both sides continue to talk and there are no immediate plans to move forward on the legislation.
The H-1B visa is distributed via a lottery because requests for visas exceed the annual 85,000-visa cap. While the bill doesn’t eliminate the lottery in its entirety, it minimizes its importance.
The proposal is designed to encourage employers to pay 150% or 200% of the prevailing wage level. These employers will probably be assured of visa approval.
Wages alone don’t set a priority in the visa distribution. Priority is given first to employers “that hire mainly U.S. workers.” Next in line are H-1B dependent employers.
There are different thresholds for determining dependency, but for large users a dependent employer is someone with 15% or more of their employees on temporary visas.
The legislation sets aside 20% of the annual allocation of H-1B visas to firms with 50 or fewer employees. Small and start-up businesses would not be subject to the wage-based allocation.
For H-1B-dependent employers, the bill changes the $60,000 salary exemption level to a formula that would raise the minimum to about $130,000, based on the 35th percentile above the median for the most recent national annual wage for Computer and Mathematical Occupations.
H-1B dependent firms pay salaries of at least $60,000 – a figure set in 1998 – to get an exemption from rules that bar them from displacing a U.S. worker. The bill also eliminates the master’s degree exemption.
But the legislation also includes what may be a new loophole by excluding workers from this higher wage if their employer has petitioned for permanent residence or a green card.
The bill also eliminates per-country caps on green cards. Employment-based green cards are capped at 140,000 a year, with no more than 7% from any one country. Such a move would help green card applicants in China and India, in particular, who make up the majority of those seeking permanent residency.

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Now, what do YOU think? http://www.visa-pros.com/now-what-do-you-think/ http://www.visa-pros.com/now-what-do-you-think/#comments Thu, 09 Jun 2016 14:18:03 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2616

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Don´t Believe Everything You Hear on the Radio http://www.visa-pros.com/dont-believe-everything-you-hear-on-the-radio/ http://www.visa-pros.com/dont-believe-everything-you-hear-on-the-radio/#comments Tue, 07 Jun 2016 11:30:59 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2613 Continue reading ]]> Media outlets are reporting on the increase in the number of individuals crossing the southern border into the U.S. This trend is not surprising given the ongoing violence in Central America. The conditions in the region are not improving, and as a result people continue to flee while the Administration’s refugee policy to discourage the people from crossing the border is failing.

The Department of Homeland Security reports higher numbers of arrivals this year compared to last year, but still not as high as 2014. Many of the individuals crossing are mothers and children who are immediately confronted with inhumane, often hostile conditions.

A National Public Radio story reported that, upon arrival, Border Patrol agents pack “bewildered young immigrants elbow-to-elbow into frigid cells.” Unfortunately, the story went on to make multiple mistakes, first suggesting that the crowded, cold holding cells were a practice of the past and stating, “today, the government has new family holding facilities, and unaccompanied kids are sent to cheery church camps.”

The truth is that the initial processing of family units and adult border crossers still takes place in Customs and Border Protection’s short-term detention facilities, known as “hieleras,” or ice-boxes. Attorneys working directly with these families confirm this ongoing practice, and litigation against DHS is attempting to unseal the conditions of these facilities and stop the government from detaining individuals in horrific conditions.

The family detention facilities in Texas to which many families are transferred after being held in the “hieleras” are jails owned and operated by private prison corporations. The conditions of these have been the subject of ongoing complaints that describe a lack of access to legal counsel, insufficient or nonexistent access to medical care, and inhumane living conditions.

The asylum process is very difficult for anybody to complete. When individuals express a fear of return to their native country, they begin the asylum process with an initial screening interview, known as a “credible fear interview” with an asylum officer. Only if they receive a positive determination from that initial interview are they then considered for release with a “Notice to Appear” in immigration court to pursue their claims for asylum. They must attend a series of hearings, submit an application for asylum (with accompanying evidence), and prove they are eligible—this without the assistance of a lawyer, unless they are able to retain one because the government refused to guarantee appointed counsel to everyone in court, even children.

Therefore, being represented by an attorney is often the exception. If for any reason the individual misses a hearing, they can be ordered deported “in absentia.” And the government has said it will go after families with deportation orders, and has, in fact, rounded up hundreds of families in raids and swiftly deported them. And as was recently reported, many Central American families are being removed to worse conditions than the ones they originally fled.

The U.S. asylum process is a difficult and complex journey for any individual to undertake and so far the U.S. government’s treatment of asylum-seeking families from Central American is not something to be proud of.

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Atlanta is Probably One of The Worst Places to be Undocumented http://www.visa-pros.com/atlanta-is-probably-one-of-the-worst-places-to-be-undocumented/ http://www.visa-pros.com/atlanta-is-probably-one-of-the-worst-places-to-be-undocumented/#comments Thu, 02 Jun 2016 11:20:29 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2610 Continue reading ]]> ImmigrationCourtsMap_1Immigration agents detained 336 undocumented immigrants — a lot of them Central American teenagers who came to the U.S. as unaccompanied minors — in a series of raids earlier this year. More than a third of the people detained under what the government calls Operation Border Guardian were from the Atlanta area, more than any other ICE jurisdiction.

There’s a reason for this. Immigration law doesn’t vary from state to state or court to court. But immigrants’ odds do, and by the numbers, Atlanta is one of the worst places in the country to be an undocumented immigrant hoping to avoid deportation. Justice Department-appointed judges in that court denied asylum 98% of the times in the 2015 fiscal year, the highest rate of any immigration court that heard more than five cases. 88% of cases that went before Atlanta immigration courts ended with a removal order. That’s way over the national average: In the country as a whole, immigration judges denied about 52 percent of asylum claims, and 69 percent of cases resulted in a deportation order.

Atlanta immigration judges have been accused of bullying children, badgering domestic violence victims and setting standards for relief and asylum that lawyers say are next to impossible to meet. Given Atlanta immigration judges’ reluctance to grant asylum, some immigrants who fear returning to their native countries don’t even try.

ICE is set to ramp up its raids in coming months on Central Americans who came to the U.S. in or after a 2014 surge in border apprehensions of mothers and children. Officials won’t say where they’ll focus their efforts, other than that they will target people who were already denied asylum or other deportation relief in the courts. In Atlanta, that’s almost everyone.

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The Numbers behind Immigrant Children in Court http://www.visa-pros.com/the-numbers-behind-children-in-court/ http://www.visa-pros.com/the-numbers-behind-children-in-court/#comments Tue, 31 May 2016 11:02:32 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2598 Continue reading ]]> Over the past few years, thousands of children have arrived at the U.S. border in need of protection. Most of them are placed in deportation proceedings before an immigration judge, where they will carry the legal burden of proving that they should be allowed to remain in the United States. The government does not guarantee them the right to a lawyer, even if they are alone (i.e., without a parent) and/or unable to hire one. As a result, many children must navigate the complicated immigration system without legal representation.
These children, many of whom experienced trauma, are new to this country and often do not speak English. They face many obstacles that may prevent them from appearing for their court proceedings, including their lack of understanding of the process and their dependence on adults for transportation. Yet, despite these obstacles, a majority of children do attend their immigration proceedings and the attendance rate is especially high (95 percent) for those who are represented by lawyers.
The data also is sorted by in absentia status, which measures whether a “child was absent at the hearing in which a decision was reached by the Immigration Judge.” In cases described as in absentia, an Immigration Judge generally has ordered a child removed after a child fails to appear in court. (The immigration statute permits an Immigration Judge to enter a final removal order against a person who fails to appear for his or her hearing). In non-in absentia completed cases, an Immigration Judge has issued a decision (e.g., a removal order, a dismissal (or “termination”) of the case, or a grant of immigration relief such as asylum) to a child who was present in court. Cases in which children challenge the charge of removability and/or apply for immigration relief typically involve multiple court hearings before the Immigration Judge issues a decision.
EOIR (Executive Office for Immigration Review)  has been collecting data that shows that a majority of children appear when their case is decided in immigration court and that most children represented by lawyers appear.
For completed cases overall, 67.6 percent of children appeared in immigration court.
95.4 percent of children represented by lawyers appeared for their court proceedings. This number is historically consistent; it has never fallen below 91 percent since FY 2005.
A majority—75.6 percent— of cases initiated in 2015 and 2016 are currently pending. Moreover, 45.8 percent of cases filed in 2014 are still pending.
In absentia decisions are typically issued more quickly than decisions in cases where a person appears for court. Therefore, it is likely that the in absentia decisions are front loaded for more recent years, skewing appearance rates.
In addition, the rate of in absentia orders may have increased in late 2014 and early 2015 due to government policies that made it difficult for children to appear. In the summer of 2014, EOIR decided to prioritize the cases of unaccompanied children and families with children in response to increased numbers of children fleeing violence in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Children’s cases were conducted on an expedited schedule. These expedited dockets left children little time to find an attorney and led to some children being ordered removed even though they received very little or no notice at all of the date of their hearing. These issues related to notice could help explain the significant number of in absentia orders in recent years.

EOIR’s data suggests that children appear in immigration court—and that when children are represented by counsel, appearance rates are even higher. This data suggests that children who do fail to appear are victims of the system’s deficits. Given the relationship between representation and attendance, the appointment of counsel to children would help ensure attendance at proceedings in a more cost-effective, humane, and fair manner.

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HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND! http://www.visa-pros.com/happy-memorial-day-weekend-2/ http://www.visa-pros.com/happy-memorial-day-weekend-2/#comments Fri, 27 May 2016 11:00:53 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2589 Continue reading ]]> Happy Memorial day backgroundDo you know what we celebrate on Memorial Day?

It honors men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades.

Cities and towns across the United States host Memorial Day parades each year, often incorporating military personnel and members of veterans’ organizations. Some of the largest parades take place in Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. Americans also observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials.

 

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10 Lessons from The Little Prince for the Every Day Life (part 2 of 2) http://www.visa-pros.com/10-lessons-from-the-little-prince-for-the-every-day-life-part-2-of-2/ http://www.visa-pros.com/10-lessons-from-the-little-prince-for-the-every-day-life-part-2-of-2/#comments Thu, 26 May 2016 11:00:56 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2569 Continue reading ]]> 6. “I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies.”maxresdefault (1)

7.  “Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.”el-principito-pelicula

8. “Grown-ups like numbers. When you tell them about a new friend, they never ask questions about what really matters. They never ask: “What does his voice sound like?” “What games does he like best?” “Does he collect butterflies?” They ask: “How old is he?” “How many brothers does he have?” “How much money does his father make?” Only then do they think they know him.”turkish

9. “One must require from each one the duty which each one can perform. Accepted authority rests first of all on reason.”rodrigo-lujan-principito

10. “Nothing in the universe remains the same if somewhere, we don´t know where, a sheep ate, or not, a rose.”Untitled

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Muslim Immigrants’ petitions been Delayed on Purpose? http://www.visa-pros.com/muslim-immigrants-petitions-been-delayed-on-purpose/ http://www.visa-pros.com/muslim-immigrants-petitions-been-delayed-on-purpose/#comments Tue, 24 May 2016 11:27:20 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2584 Continue reading ]]> According to a lawsuit filed last Wednesday in St. Louis, USCIS unlawfully delays the citizenship applications of Muslim immigrants due to a secretive immigration program.

CARRP (Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program), which first began in 2008, is designed to identify security risks among immigrants who apply for visas, asylum, green cards, and naturalization in the U.S.

In January, a BuzzFeed News investigation revealed how the FBI, against their own guidelines, offered immigration assistance to Muslim immigrants affected by CARRP’s delays in exchange for spying on their communities.

For years immigration lawyers and civil liberty organizations have claimed that CARRP is unconstitutional because it violates the right to due process and the right to a timely review of immigration files as guaranteed by the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Due to its secretive nature, it is unclear how many people currently fall under CARRP, nor what fraction is Muslim. What is known is that between 2008 and 2012, the case files of over 19,000 people from 18 Muslim-majority countries were rerouted through that program.

 

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10 Lessons from The Little Prince for the Every Day Life (part 1 of 2) http://www.visa-pros.com/10-lessons-from-the-little-prince-for-the-every-day-life-part-1-of-2/ http://www.visa-pros.com/10-lessons-from-the-little-prince-for-the-every-day-life-part-1-of-2/#comments Thu, 19 May 2016 11:08:42 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2557 Continue reading ]]> The Little Prince is translated into over 180 languages. Read by both children and adults, religious and atheist alike; the innocent story of a child who lives in a world separated from our reality hides a deep reflection on mankind.

UntitledAntoine de Saint-Exupéry lived in a time where society was in a free fall straight into despair. As an aviator, he traveled around the world. This is how he found that every human being, regardless of religion or skin color hid a unique treasure: the power of love.

Back then, love was hiding because of hatred among European nations. He found the need to rescue the positive values that seem to be doomed to extinction. In a beautiful metaphor, Saint-Exupéry used a child´s innocence to remind us what we really are.

We take these ten lessons from The Little Prince that can help us live a fuller happier life:

  1. “What is essential is invisible to the eye.”El-Principito
  2. “What matters most are the simple pleasures so abundant that we can all enjoy them…Happiness doesn’t lie in the objects we gather around us. To find it, all we need to do is open our eyes.”little-prince-cannes-film-festival-7
  3. “You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.”el_zorro_y_el_principito_dibujo_en_maracador_by_zephyr_fresco-d5kjjo9
  4. “It is much more difficult to judge oneself than to judge others. If you succeed in judging yourself rightly, then you are indeed a man of true wisdom.”el-principito1
  5. “What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well…”img18-19
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A Real Democracy? http://www.visa-pros.com/a-real-democracy/ http://www.visa-pros.com/a-real-democracy/#comments Tue, 17 May 2016 11:31:25 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2553 Continue reading ]]> elections_081212

More than 185,000 citizenship applications were submitted in the final three months of 2015, a 14% increase from 2014 and up 8 percent compared with the same period prior to the 2012 elections.

Experts are attributing the rush in naturalization partially to Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and policy positions during the presidential campaign.

A new report from the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials finds that eight million Latino voters could be impacted by new voting laws. In 2013 the Supreme Court invalidated a provision of the Voting Rights Act which obligated certain states with a history of discrimination to obtain “pre-clearance” from the U.S. Department of Justice to make any modifications of electoral laws. According to NALEO, approximately 8 million Latino voters live in jurisdictions that must no longer be pre-cleared by the federal government despite their histories of discriminatory voting practices.

19 states have enacted or implemented new restrictive laws since the November 2012 election that will make it harder for some voters to cast ballots in 2016. Eight states have laws that make it more difficult to register to vote by making voters register much further in advance, restricting community volunteers from helping with voter registration efforts, or requiring additional documentation. Six states have laws making it more difficult to vote by shortening early voting periods, and another six have placed restrictions on absentee voting. Nine states have passed voter ID laws, requiring potential voters to present certain documents proving citizenship either to register to vote or to vote. Multiple studies have found that Latinos and other minorities are less likely to possess the necessary documents.

All of these restrictions have passed despite evidence that voter fraud is a problem.

NALEO estimates that more than 875,000 Latinos and other in these 19 states could be seriously held back from participating in the 2016 Presidential election. While Latinos and other immigrants and new citizens feel compelled to exercise their constitutional right to vote in the elections, many may be discouraged from having their votes counted. The barriers to full civic participation in the U.S. are troublesome and must be addressed.

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Not Such a Joyful Mother’s day for Everyone http://www.visa-pros.com/not-such-a-joyful-mothers-day-for-everyone/ http://www.visa-pros.com/not-such-a-joyful-mothers-day-for-everyone/#comments Tue, 10 May 2016 12:07:10 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2548 Continue reading ]]> Mothers who risked everything to escape from horrific violence in their home countries, only to be held in immigration detention, gathered alongside advocates in front of the White House last week in honor of Mother’s Day.
Pressure has been mounting on the Obama administration to end ICE’s practices of sweeping up Central American families in raids and housing children and their parents in detention centers, including statements by both Democratic Presidential candidates.
Take a moment to hold a thought for the mothers currently held in immigration detention centers and for those released and pursuing their claims for protection in the U.S. and attempting to recover from the trauma of their incarceration with their children. Next Mother’s Day, let’s hope asylum seeking mothers will be free to celebrate with their children outside secure immigration detention centers.

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Need Ideas for a Vacation? Here’s one http://www.visa-pros.com/need-ideas-for-a-vacation-heres-one/ http://www.visa-pros.com/need-ideas-for-a-vacation-heres-one/#comments Tue, 03 May 2016 15:33:01 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2542 Continue reading ]]> Cuba

The Adonia just got to Havana. The first cruise connecting the U.S. and Cuba in over a half century arrived yesterday to the port surrounded by great expectation. A numerous group of people was there to welcome them from the Malecón.

This historic trip means the first step of months of negotiations. It is also one of the clearest moves forward in the normalization of the relationship between United States and Cuba. While we wait for this to happen, why not take a peak and go visit the island?

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What we were doing earlier this week http://www.visa-pros.com/what-we-were-doing-earlier-this-week/ http://www.visa-pros.com/what-we-were-doing-earlier-this-week/#comments Fri, 29 Apr 2016 14:33:26 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2529 Continue reading ]]> Our representatives went to Alabama on Wednesday afternoon in an event that we organized with La Jefa radio station to inform people about their rights and opportunities to file for green cards under the current law. The response was overwhelming and we met some very nice people and were able to hear their stories. Some of these were very sad. The majority of the participants came to the U.S. undocumented and later married a U.S. citizen.

It was heartwarming to meet and be able to talk to all of them. Listening to their stories made us reinforce why we are working in immigration law, helping people to keep their families together. Below are some pictures of the event.

One of these couples had a very sad story. They met and got married and went to an attorney in Alabama to file their immigration paperwork. The U.S. citizen wife was disabled and could not work, and her husband who came from Mexico was her only means of support. The attorney who did not know about the waiver process, which our firm has done hundreds of times successfully, took their money and gave them the wrong advice. That attorney recommended to the couple to leave the U.S. and for them to get married there and file the paperwork from there lying about the fact that they were living here. At the end of the case the agency found out about this material misrepresentation and denied the case. The husband became subject to a permanent bar for the misrepresentation all the while thinking the attorney was there to help them! Had they stayed in the U.S. and told the truth they could have been approved for a hardship waiver and the husband could have gotten his green card because he meets the qualifications.

The requirements include that the person has only one entry without a visa, that they are married to a U.S. citizen and that the U.S. citizen spouse would suffer extreme hardship in their absence. If you know of anyone who meets those requirements, give us a call.
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Deporting Veterans? http://www.visa-pros.com/deporting-veterans/ http://www.visa-pros.com/deporting-veterans/#comments Tue, 26 Apr 2016 12:28:34 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2524 Continue reading ]]> A group of House members who served in the Armed Forces are calling for an end to the deportations of military veterans who are immigrants. The lawmakers introduced a bill that would reunite deported veterans with their families and prevent the deportation of veterans in the future. If you are unaware, foreign born veterans are legal residents, which is required to serve in the military. Immigrants here illegally are barred from serving.

The bill urges the Department of Homeland Security to readmit veterans who have been deported and have not committed a serious crime. It also prevents the deportation of veterans who have served in the military at least six months and have not committed a serious crime.

An immigration law passed in 1996 makes many immigrants, including those who have established legal residency, deportable for non-violent crimes, such as drug possession. The law also allows the deportations to be retroactive.

It seems extremely unfair that those who fought for our flag and put their lives on the line be subject for deportation unless they committed some serious crime. Don´t you think?

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About the U.S. vs Texas Case http://www.visa-pros.com/about-the-u-s-vs-texas-case/ http://www.visa-pros.com/about-the-u-s-vs-texas-case/#comments Thu, 21 Apr 2016 13:57:45 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2519 Continue reading ]]> U.S. Supreme Court arguments were very engaging and the justices were very involved and asked probing questions.

The two justices who may side with the U.S. government are Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy.

It was very interesting that Texas was actually not able to challenge the President’s authority for the executive action.

The challenge that Texas and the other states raised were involving having to issue and subsidize driver’s licenses for millions of people who they were not planning on doing so because Texas subsidizes its driver’s licenses, meaning the fee the DMV charges is less than the cost to produce the license.

The issues that Texas was not able to adequately overcome is standing – how can the state have standing to sue the federal government when it is clear that the federal government has the authority to issue deferred action and EADs to immigrants? Will every time the state has to incur a cost to implement a federal rule or regulation will they be able to sue? That will open up the flood gates to many law suits from states that do not want to implement federal laws. Also there is no direct injury to Texas as a state.

We hope that at least Chief Justice Roberts will rule for the federal government and we will have a 5-3 decision overturning the injunction and allowing the DAPA and expanded DACA to continue.

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(Español) Argumentos a favor y en contra http://www.visa-pros.com/espanol-argumentos-a-favor-y-en-contra/ http://www.visa-pros.com/espanol-argumentos-a-favor-y-en-contra/#comments Tue, 19 Apr 2016 17:53:38 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2516 Continue reading ]]> Uno de los pilares de la política interna de Obama, la reforma migratoria que anunció en 2014 y que podría regularizar a casi cinco millones de indocumentados, llegó ayer al Tribunal Supremo, donde los jueces se mostraron divididos sobre su legalidad. Los magistrados escucharon los argumentos a favor y en contra de un caso que será resuelto en junio y cuya sentencia puede tener un profundo impacto en la campaña electoral por la presidencia y marcar el legado del mandatario demócrata.

En el centro del caso están dos cuestiones. La primera es si el Estado de Texas tiene legitimidad para declararse en perjuicio por la regulación de indocumentados. La segunda es si el presidente se excedió en sus competencias al decidir que se cancelasen las deportaciones de un grupo específico de sin papeles y otorgarles un permiso de trabajo y residencia temporal.

La reforma migratoria es uno de los casos que se verán afectados por la falta de un sustituto al juez conservador Antonin Scalia, fallecido el pasado mes de febrero. Faltando un miembro, un empate a cuatro votos hará prevalecer la sentencia de la Corte de Apelaciones que estudió el caso por última vez y que dictaminó en contra, por lo que las reformas seguirían bloqueadas. También cabe la posibilidad de que el Supremo rechace la viabilidad de la demanda porque estime que Texas no ha demostrado que le afecte directamente la regulación de indocumentados ni que Obama se haya excedido en sus competencias. Cualquiera de estos dos últimos casos resultaría en un dictamen favorable a la reforma, que entraría en vigor inmediatamente. Obama cerraría así su presidencia con el legado de haber sacado de las sombras a casi cinco millones de personas.

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H-1B Cap Reached (Anybody surprised?) http://www.visa-pros.com/h-1b-cap-reached-anybody-surprised/ http://www.visa-pros.com/h-1b-cap-reached-anybody-surprised/#comments Tue, 12 Apr 2016 13:33:01 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2503 Continue reading ]]> On April 7, the H-1B cap for fiscal year 2017 was reached. For the fourth consecutive year, it was reached in this short period of time. What this means now is that USCIS will conduct a lottery to choose the companies that will be able to employ the skilled foreign workers they need.

Every year, U.S. employers seeking highly-skilled foreign professionals submit their applications for the pool of H-1B visas beginning on April 1 each year. U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science, engineering and computer programming.

Congress has a limit of 65,000 visas for new hires and 20,000 additional visas for foreign professionals who graduate with a Master’s or Doctorate from a U.S. university. In the last years, demand for H-1B visas has outstripped the supply and the cap has been quickly reached. In FY 2015, more than 230,000 petitions were received. This leaves some employers with no ability to access the workers they have determined they need. This year is no exception. USCIS also noted that it received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the U.S. advanced degree exemption.

This shows how far away from reality our immigration law is, and how they are hurting businesses and economic growth. If a company cannot hire the people they need, how are they going to compete in an ever changing global economy?

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(Español) ¿Qué resultados puedes obtener? http://www.visa-pros.com/espanol-que-resultados-puedes-obtener-2/ http://www.visa-pros.com/espanol-que-resultados-puedes-obtener-2/#comments Thu, 07 Apr 2016 14:12:17 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2498 Sorry, this entry is only available in Español.

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New Office Signs http://www.visa-pros.com/new-office-signs/ http://www.visa-pros.com/new-office-signs/#comments Tue, 05 Apr 2016 13:40:23 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2485 Nobody will miss our office with these, don’t you think?

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Scam Alert! http://www.visa-pros.com/scam-alert/ http://www.visa-pros.com/scam-alert/#comments Thu, 31 Mar 2016 09:48:03 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2481 Continue reading ]]> Alert-2Just like it happens with many other things, immigrants all over the country are being targeted for phone scams. Don’t be one of the victims!

Scammers pretend to be a government official and call immigrants saying there is a problem with their immigration record. Sometimes they know personal information about the immigrant. They ask for personal and sensitive details, and demand immediate payment to fix the problem. They get angry and threaten people with deportation if payment is not made immediately with electronic money transfers.

Sometimes, scammers use special software to make it look like USCIS 800 number is calling. Other times they leave a message to call a number that sounds exactly like USCIS 800 number.

Remember, USCIS officials rarely call customers on the phone, and THEY WILL NEVER ASK FOR PAYMENT OVER THE PHONE. If they need payment, you will receive a letter on official stationery requesting payment.

If you receive a call like this, hang up and report it to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov

Visit www.uscis.gov/avoidscams for information on where to report scams in your state. If you have a question about your immigration record, please call customer service at 800-375-5283, or make an InfoPass appointment at http://infopass.uscis.gov

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Toddlers Defending Themselves in Court? http://www.visa-pros.com/toddlers-defending-themselves-in-court/ http://www.visa-pros.com/toddlers-defending-themselves-in-court/#comments Tue, 29 Mar 2016 09:30:15 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2478 Continue reading ]]> A federal district court in Seattle heard arguments in a lawsuit last Thursday seeking to ensure that all children in immigration court have legal representation. The case received attention when press reports revealed that an immigration judge deposed in the case said he had successfully taught three-year-olds immigration law. The focus of the hearing was on who could potentially benefit from the lawsuit and thus whether, regardless of the outcome of the case, thousands of children in immigration courts across the country will continue to face deportation without legal representation.

Professor Susan B. Long, Co-Director of the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse research center at Syracuse University, analyzed data provided by the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). She found that, in immigration proceedings completed between July 2014 and August 2015, 44% of unrepresented unaccompanied children present in court for their hearings were ordered to leave the United States, as compared to 14% of children with legal representation. Of the remaining unrepresented children, half had their cases put on hold through a process called “administrative closure,” and only the remaining 28% ended in a decision allowing the child to remain in the United States.

Given that the government’s own “expert” on vulnerable populations, Judge Weil, believes that three and four year olds can be trained on immigration law, it is not surprising that the government continues to insist that children can obtain a fair hearing without legal representation. Meanwhile, courts order thousands of unrepresented children deported each year.

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H-2B Cap Reached http://www.visa-pros.com/h2b-cap/ http://www.visa-pros.com/h2b-cap/#comments Thu, 24 Mar 2016 11:42:12 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2472 Continue reading ]]> USCIS received a sufficient number of petitions to reach the H-2B cap for the first half of Fiscal Year (FY) 2016. March 15, 2016 was the final receipt date for new H-2B worker petitions requesting an employment start date before April 1, 2016.

What Happens Now that The Cap Has Been Reached?

Except as noted below, USCIS will reject new H-2B petitions that were received after March 15, 2016 and that request an employment start date before April 1, 2016.

Petitions That Are Exempt from the Cap

USCIS will continue to accept H-2B petitions that are exempt from the congressionally mandated cap. This includes the following types of petitions:

  • For FY 2016 only, workers identified as “returning workers” who were previously counted against the annual H-2B cap during FYs 2013, 2014, or 2015;
  • Current H-2B workers in the U.S. petitioning to extend their stay and, if applicable, change the terms of their employment or change their employers;
  • Fish roe processors, fish roe technicians and/or supervisors of fish roe processing; and
  • Workers performing labor or services from November 28, 2009, until December 31, 2019, in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam.

Petitions Including H-2B Returning Workers

To avoid processing delays, petitioners who are including H-2B returning workers on their petition must complete and include the H-2B Returning Worker Certification and are encouraged to write “H-2B Returning Workers” prominently on the envelope and any cover page. You can find more information about this in the web alert, H-2B Returning Workers Exempted from the H-2B Cap for Fiscal Year 2016.

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Education Should Not Be For Political Sale http://www.visa-pros.com/education-should-not-be-for-political-sale/ http://www.visa-pros.com/education-should-not-be-for-political-sale/#comments Tue, 22 Mar 2016 12:07:27 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2468 Continue reading ]]> The Georgia Board of Regents is being dragged into court over its highly-controversial policies that limit young immigrants’ access to higher education. A federal lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the Georgia Latin Alliance for Human Rights and two college students with DACA status. The students graduated from Georgia high schools and live in the state, but are charged international students rates rather than in-state tuition rates due to the Board of Regents’ policies.

Filed on March 9, 2016, the lawsuit argues that two policies, which bar undocumented students from attending the state’s five best public universities and force undocumented Georgia residents to pay international student rates at the state’s public universities, are unconstitutional. The Georgia Board of Regents, an unelected body that oversees the University System of Georgia, approved the policies in 2011.

The federal lawsuit names each Board of Regents member as a defendant in the case. They argue that this system violates the Constitution because the policy is preempted by federal immigration law and the federal government’s authority to regulate immigration.

Rather than encourage Georgia’s young immigrant community to come forward and enroll in higher education, the Board of Regents is putting up road blocks to student success. It’s unfortunate that those responsible for the oversight of the state’s higher education system are so short-sighted.

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Spring is Here! http://www.visa-pros.com/spring-is-here/ http://www.visa-pros.com/spring-is-here/#comments Mon, 21 Mar 2016 13:25:02 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2464 Continue reading ]]> hyde-park-sydney-spring-time-wallpapers

Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come. Robert H. Schuller

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Karen on WSVA yesterday http://www.visa-pros.com/karen-on-wsva-yesterday/ http://www.visa-pros.com/karen-on-wsva-yesterday/#comments Wed, 16 Mar 2016 13:25:19 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2454 ]]> http://www.visa-pros.com/karen-on-wsva-yesterday/feed/ 0 What if Regulating Immigrants Was Good for The State Economy? http://www.visa-pros.com/regulating-immigrants/ http://www.visa-pros.com/regulating-immigrants/#comments Tue, 15 Mar 2016 05:28:50 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2447 Continue reading ]]> A big part of the case against President Barack Obama’s immigration policy is that it imposes undue costs on states. But as the Supreme Court considers the policy it should consider the benefits too.

Two new pieces of research detail those benefits. For undocumented immigrants, Obama’s plan would raise incomes and decrease poverty. For state and local governments, the changes could increase tax revenue by more than $800 million.

Obama’s executive actions on immigration would provide temporary relief from deportation and enable qualifying immigrants to gain work authorization. Issued in 2014, they are designed for parents of legal residents and undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. A federal court temporarily blocked the program in February 2015, an appeals court upheld the ruling in November and last month the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.

Texas and 25 other states argue that Obama’s plans impose “substantial costs” – for health care, law enforcement, education, even issuing driver’s licenses. This argument falls apart when you look at U.S. Census data.

The majority of the 3.6 million undocumented immigrant parents eligible for the DAPA program have lived in the U.S. for more than a decade, and 85 percent of their minor children are U.S. citizens. If the parents were authorized to work, average annual family income would rise by 10 percent. Poverty among these families would decline by about 6 percent. Nor would this cost Americans jobs, because most eligible men are already in the work force.

None of this should be a surprise. A lot of studies have found that legal work status or citizenship for undocumented immigrants would set free entrepreneurial energy and allow immigrants to invest in businesses, homes or simply their own human capital to improve their situation and the community they live in. New York, California and 13 other states argue that their economies would gain if undocumented immigrants gained lawful employment.

Before the Supreme Court accepts the weak economic arguments put forth by Texas, it should look at the evidence that refutes it. Keeping people in limbo, it turns out, is expensive.

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Immigration Process through the Eyes of One of Its Victims http://www.visa-pros.com/immigration-process-through-the-eyes-of-one-of-its-victims/ http://www.visa-pros.com/immigration-process-through-the-eyes-of-one-of-its-victims/#comments Thu, 10 Mar 2016 16:15:35 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2443 Continue reading ]]> We came across this and can´t help but share it. We see news about deportation all the time. Numbers, dehumanized stories not containing names or faces.
However, we see these names, faces and stories every day. And it is the reason why we cannot understand some of the comments we hear from people, not realizing everything that happens when somebody is deported.

Well, here is Madeline telling the world about it.

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Improving the Relationships http://www.visa-pros.com/improvement-of-the-relationships/ http://www.visa-pros.com/improvement-of-the-relationships/#comments Thu, 03 Mar 2016 15:49:02 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2432 Continue reading ]]> The Rolling Stones will be providing the soundtrack for Cuba’s historic political and cultural liberalization. For years, the communist regime prohibited the sale of the band’s records, considering its music a symbol of capitalism. But now the Raúl Castro administration has opened the door to the greatest rock‘n’roll band in the world. The Rolling Stones will perform on the Caribbean island for the first time on March 25.
Natacha García, communications director for Cuba’s National Institute of Music, says the Ministry of Culture had to move the concert from March 19 to March 25 because of another historic visit. United States President Barack Obama will make an official trip to Havana on March 21. American and Cuban players are expected to play a baseball game at Estadio Iberoamericano to celebrate the event.
There have been rumors about this concert since Mick Jagger visited the island a year ago. British ambassador Timothy Cole was another key person in the negotiations. Jagger visited him while he was in Cuba. And National Music Institute President Orlando Vistel met several times with the band’s promotional team.
The event will be free for all Cubans and cost foreigners “a few pesos”. They want it to be a gift to the people. This “free concert” could become one of the largest in history. In 2006, more than 1.3 million people gathered to hear the Stones play at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro. Will this concert come close to that?
This is an act of reparation for a historic injustice against The Beatles and the Stones. Listening to these groups could lead to arrest, charges of hostility to the regime, and prison time for liking “the rhythms of capitalism.”
The Stones began a Latin American tour in Chile on February 3. The group will play at Ciudad Deportiva in Havana on March 25.

 

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A Few things on Taxes and Those Who Actually Pay Them http://www.visa-pros.com/a-few-things-on-taxes-and-those-who-actually-pay-them/ http://www.visa-pros.com/a-few-things-on-taxes-and-those-who-actually-pay-them/#comments Tue, 01 Mar 2016 17:13:18 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2427 Continue reading ]]> 61056391_31343afdc6_b

Undocumented immigrants contribute to the U.S. economy in many ways: they fill essential jobs, sustain U.S. businesses through their purchase of goods and services, and pay taxes to federal, state, and local governments. Their contributions would be even greater if they had a chance to earn legal status and didn’t have the danger of deportation constantly hanging over their heads. A winning scenario for the immigrants themselves and the native-born population, right?

In a recent report titled Undocumented Immigrants’ State & Local Tax Contributions, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) explores in depth not only the present tax contributions of undocumented immigrants, but how much these would increase under two different scenarios. One is the temporary reprieve from deportation and the renewable three-year work authorization that the Obama administration is trying to grant to some undocumented immigrants via executive action. The other is the granting of legal permanent resident (LPR) status to all undocumented immigrants. Not surprisingly, immigrants with legal status pay more in taxes than those who are undocumented.

Undocumented immigrants pay sales taxes. And they also pay property taxes, even if they rent. ITEP estimates their current and possible future tax contributions at the state and local level. Let’s see how.

Current contributions: Undocumented immigrants paid $11.6 billion in state and local taxes in 2013. Range goes from roughly $2.2 million in Montana (only 4,000 undocumented immigrants) to $3.1 billion in California (more than 3 million).

  1. Executive Action: The Obama administration’s executive actions would grant a reprieve to more than 5 million undocumented immigrants. The state and local tax contributions of this group of immigrants would increase by $805 million per year once the actions were fully in place.
  2. Legalization: Granting LPR status to all undocumented immigrants would increase their state and local tax contributions by $2.1 billion per year.

These estimates should be kept in mind as political commentators and presidential candidates debate how best to deal with the 11 million undocumented immigrants who now live in the United States. Despite their undocumented status, these immigrants—and their family members—are adding value to the U.S. economy; not only as taxpayers, but as workers, consumers, and entrepreneurs as well. If they had legal status, they would contribute even more. On the other hand, the only alternative—mass deportation—would be very costly and needlessly destructive. Common sense should dictate which route to take.

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New Technology! Longer Live to your Battery! http://www.visa-pros.com/new-technology-longer-live-to-your-battery/ http://www.visa-pros.com/new-technology-longer-live-to-your-battery/#comments Thu, 25 Feb 2016 18:06:23 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2420 Continue reading ]]> Nowadays we need to charge our devices’ batteries very often because of the massive use we make of them. The screen, apps, data sync… also WiFi. Even though manufacturers are already working on really fast charging methods and long lasting batteries, there are also other possibilities on the table.

A team of engineers and computer experts of the University of Washington have developed a method called Passive WiFi. This will use 10.000 less energy than traditional WiFi networks and 1.000 times less energy than other wireless platforms, such as Bluetooth. Passive WiFi allows transmitting at 11megabits per second at distances longer than 900 feet. A connection of this kind could not only be useful to get your battery to make it through the day but it would also be able to push forward having objects connect to the Net without having to link them to a computer or phone.

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Let’s Hear Those Names! http://www.visa-pros.com/lets-hear-those-names/ http://www.visa-pros.com/lets-hear-those-names/#comments Tue, 23 Feb 2016 14:12:25 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2418 Continue reading ]]> A federal appeals court is facing the question of whether the government should be forced to make public the names of immigration judges accused of misconduct either on or off the job. A three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit heard arguments for nearly an hour last Tuesday over a Freedom of Information Act request the American Immigration Lawyers Association filed for all records related to the discipline process for immigration judges. The Justice Department released portions of those files, but redacted the names of the judges and replaced them with codes.
Two of the three judges on the panel, Patricia Millett and Sri Srinivasan appeared to have some sympathies with the immigration lawyers’ group position. Millett seemed to reject the government’s position that immigration judges were similar to other highly-skilled but low-level employees.
Millett appeared to be eager to differentiate immigration judges’ alleged misconduct on the bench or in rulings from their misdeeds in the office or in their private lives. She repeatedly suggested the parallel there to junior government employees was more apt. For his part, Srinivasan seemed focused on differentiating what he called “one off” unsubstantiated complaints from instances where judges were the subject of numerous complaints from their colleagues or the public. Srinivasan also dwelled at some length on another aspect of the case: the Justice Department’s decision to delete information it deemed “non-responsive” from email chains discussing immigration judge discipline issues.
The immigration lawyers’ group objected to that move, saying it unfairly narrowed their FOIA request.
What do you think? Should these judges’ names be published?

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Positive Thought of the week http://www.visa-pros.com/positive-thought-of-the-week/ http://www.visa-pros.com/positive-thought-of-the-week/#comments Thu, 18 Feb 2016 12:01:54 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2414 A veces, las piedras en el camino no son obstáculos, sino un puente para seguir nuestra marcha. #actitudpositivaSometimes, the rocks we find in your way are not obstacles, but a bridge we can use to continue walking forward.

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Nobody To Court Without Legal Representation http://www.visa-pros.com/no-court-without-lawyer/ http://www.visa-pros.com/no-court-without-lawyer/#comments Tue, 16 Feb 2016 03:49:41 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2408 Continue reading ]]> Every day children are sent into immigration courts all around the country. They can be asked to make their own immigration cases before a judge, often while a government attorney argues that they should be deported. This is because the government maintains there is no right to appointed counsel in immigration proceedings, not even for children. According to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), almost 50 percent of unaccompanied children are unrepresented at any point in their court process.

To begin to remedy this injustice, Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), along with Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Patty Murray (D-WA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ), introduced the “Fair Day in Court for Kids Act.” The bill would provide unaccompanied children and other vulnerable populations with attorneys to guide them through the complicated immigration court process. The legislation would also require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Attorney General to make sure that legal orientation programs (trainings that give a basic overview of immigration law and the court process) are available to all detained immigrants.

KIND and other groups provide legal assistance to kids facing immigration court alone, but do not have the resources to represent all children that are forced to go through the immigration courts on their own. About half of minors and about 70 percent of families still go through the process without legal counsel.

It is out-of-line that a country that values due process has allowed such an unjust practice to go on for so long. Fortunately, it looks like some members of Congress are looking for a remedy.

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Have You Ever Wondered? http://www.visa-pros.com/have-you-ever-wondered/ http://www.visa-pros.com/have-you-ever-wondered/#comments Thu, 11 Feb 2016 15:43:01 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2394 Continue reading ]]> How do you write a smile on the other side of the world?

Regardless of the language we speak, something we all humans share is laughter. And it tends to sound the same in every language. However, with social media, expressing it is very different depending of the culture and the language we communicate in.
Here are a few examples: 1872_926649164116024_9100921369093801710_n

6018_926649027449371_186626749539644418_n

1931443_926649017449372_8563221166060241545_n12391222_926649217449352_8703278795221589717_n

1934066_926649074116033_523349378675468492_n

10277763_926649110782696_1679506690318624333_n

12390958_926649107449363_4420549174345253820_n10334253_926648984116042_6338953191475224962_n

10438910_926649104116030_2487746279054411695_n12369223_926649157449358_6547607285100809156_n

11215891_926649070782700_8511586823769594863_n

 

12376562_926648987449375_54955471822219562_n

 

 

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City Projects that Work http://www.visa-pros.com/pilot-projects-that-work/ http://www.visa-pros.com/pilot-projects-that-work/#comments Tue, 09 Feb 2016 14:53:29 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2388 Continue reading ]]> Three geographically diverse cities have created more welcoming environments for immigrants and each has implemented initiatives that promote immigrant entrepreneurship and innovation in their communities, to the benefit of all residents. Chicago, Dayton and Nashville have successfully proved that it is possible.

The country’s demographics and economic mainstays are changing. For example, more retirements and fewer births mean a smaller native-born workforce. Manufacturing companies are in decline.

Immigrants play an outsize role in establishing “main street” businesses (retail, accommodation and food services, and neighborhood services), which are important for generating neighborhood-level economic growth and revitalization.

Ensuring that immigrant entrepreneurs can maximize their potential is important for states and localities, especially those struggling with an economic or population dip. In Chicago, those business owners operate the majority of stores in the city’s “Little Village,” an area that contributes the second most business tax revenues to the city. In 2011, Chicago recognized it could do more to foster immigrant entrepreneurship and began drafting its New Americans Plan, to lower barriers to entry for immigrant-owned businesses.

On top of the economic benefits, welcoming initiatives and integration plans are building stronger communities and pushing back against anti-immigrant sentiment.

These local efforts partially address a gap in U.S. immigration policy: the lack of federal attention to immigrant integration. They also provide the foundation for national efforts and give an example to other areas and cities of how it is possible to integrate immigrants in a way that everybody (locals and immigrants) benefits from it.

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Time to Change Hate for Love http://www.visa-pros.com/time-to-change-hate-for-love/ http://www.visa-pros.com/time-to-change-hate-for-love/#comments Thu, 04 Feb 2016 02:50:26 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2385 Continue reading ]]> Earlier in January music and solidarity got together in Arizona.

Musicians Juanes and John Legend visited an immigration jail there and offered a small concert outside the facility to draw attention on a huge problem: terrible conditions of detainees and unjust detention of people fleeing violence in Central America.

With this gesture they wanted to offer hope to the inmates, show them that they are not alone. They wanted to witness the situation and put the spotlight on what is happening on detention centers.

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Something Is Seriously Wrong http://www.visa-pros.com/something-is-seriously-wrong/ http://www.visa-pros.com/something-is-seriously-wrong/#comments Tue, 02 Feb 2016 08:13:29 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2379 Continue reading ]]> As we already mentioned last month, the New Year began with a new wave of government raids targeting immigrants from Central America and Mexico. About 120 were rounded up for deportation – mostly women and children, many of whom came to the U.S. fleeing violence in their home countries.

The raids are yet another depressing sign of the failed state of American immigration policy.

More than 2 million people have been deported in the last eight years alone. The vast majority are not criminals. One-quarter of the recent deportations have been of a parent of a U.S. citizen child. In the name of enforcing our laws, we are breaking up families.

The immigrants in our communities came to this country with hopes and dreams for a better life for their children. They are no different from the generations that came before them, such as the Irish and Italian families. Most of the 11 million undocumented people in the U.S. have been here for five years or more. About two-thirds have been here for at least a decade. And this is why our failure to enact comprehensive reforms is so cruel.

Millions right now are living in the shadows of this society in a limbo, without full human rights and hope for the future. It is hard to imagine the stress and anxiety they feel – the constant fear that one day without warning they won’t be coming home for dinner and may never see their families again.

The DAPA and DACA programs together would provide immediate relief and peace of mind to up to 5.2 million of these people. About 5.5 million U.S. citizen children could benefit directly from their parents receiving deferred action under the DAPA program.

Right now, U.S. immigration policy betrays our country’s founding principles and historic commitment to be a beacon of hope for the peoples of every nation. The common good can never be served by deporting some little girl’s dad. A just and compassionate society must not allow this.Family-based-green-cards-for-individuals

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Really Banning is The Answer to Immigration? http://www.visa-pros.com/really-banning-is-the-answer-to-immigration/ http://www.visa-pros.com/really-banning-is-the-answer-to-immigration/#comments Thu, 28 Jan 2016 19:02:25 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2372 Continue reading ]]> We found this article that explains really well the truth about the effects and implications of two completely opposite approaches to immigration and wanted to share it with you.

What is the answer to immigration? Banning international travelling and closing borders? This seems like a rather utopian option in a world so interconnected and dependent as it is the one we live in.

So maybe the answer is, instead of been skeptical and rejecting what immigrants bring into our communities, to embrace them and help them integrate into our society. What do you think?

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Extension of TPS for South Sudan http://www.visa-pros.com/extension-of-tps-for-south-sudan/ http://www.visa-pros.com/extension-of-tps-for-south-sudan/#comments Tue, 26 Jan 2016 10:00:31 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2365 Continue reading ]]> Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has redesignated South Sudan for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and extended the existing TPS designation for that country from May 3, 2016, through November 2, 2017, due to the ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions in South Sudan that prevent its nationals from safely returning. These actions will allow eligible nationals of South Sudan (or persons without nationality who last habitually resided in South Sudan) to register or re-register for TPS in accordance with the notice published yesterday in the Federal Register.

Untitled

Individuals re-registering for TPS:

Current beneficiaries under South Sudan’s TPS designation seeking to extend their TPS status must re-register from January 25, 2016 through March 25, 2016. U.S.

Individuals applying for TPS for the first time:

For South Sudanese nationals (and persons having no nationality who last habitually resided in South Sudan) who do not currently have TPS, the TPS redesignation allows them to apply for TPS if they have continuously resided in the United States since January 25, 2016, and have been continuously physically present in the United States since May 3, 2016. Applicants must meet all other TPS eligibility and filing requirements.

If you qualify for this Temporary Protected Status, call us today and we will file it for you: 770-913-0800.

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Is Executive Action Going to be Implemented Soon? http://www.visa-pros.com/is-executive-action-going-to-be-implemented-soon/ http://www.visa-pros.com/is-executive-action-going-to-be-implemented-soon/#comments Tue, 19 Jan 2016 17:57:16 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2355 Continue reading ]]> The Supreme Court announced this morning that it will decide the fate of President Barack Obama’s immigration executive action this term.

The President unveiled the programs in November 2014; implementation was blocked in response to a challenge brought by Texas and 25 other states. Since then, the nearly 4.3 million immigrants who would have been eligible have been caught in legal limbo.

If the Court gives a green light to the programs, Obama will see them implemented before he leaves office. The Supreme Court’s ruling will come down in the midst of the presidential campaign and will settle an issue that has been pending for over a year now.

At issue is the implementation of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) aimed at the approximately 4.3 million undocumented immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, as well as an expansion of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) targeting teenagers and young adults who were born outside of the U.S. but raised in the country.

In the case that the Supreme Court finally lets the Obama administration move forward with it, this could be his legacy on immigration matter.

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Cuban Refugees Start Their Trip to The U.S. from Costa Rica http://www.visa-pros.com/cuban-refugees-start-their-trip-to-the-u-s-from-costa-rica/ http://www.visa-pros.com/cuban-refugees-start-their-trip-to-the-u-s-from-costa-rica/#comments Thu, 14 Jan 2016 17:03:46 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2352 Continue reading ]]> They were hoping to reach the United States by Saturday, but first they had to fly to El Salvador from Costa Rica, where they have been stranded for two months following a diplomatic showdown with neighboring Nicaragua. Once they reach El Salvador, they will have to travel by land across Central America and Mexico.

The first 180 Cuban refugees were scheduled to fly to El Salvador as part of a coordinated effort with the Costa Rican and other Central American governments. There are some 8,000 Cuban refugees waiting in Costa Rica to travel to the United States.

In November, the Nicaraguan government closed its borders and prohibited the Cubans from crossing over after Managua accused the government of San Jose of violating international laws by allowing the refugees to travel without transit documents. Hundreds were deported after they reached Nicaragua.

The Cubans had arrived by plane in Ecuador, which had lifted travel visas for those from that country, and crossed to Colombia and Panama before they found themselves stranded and living in makeshift camps on the Costa Rican border.

The refugees hope to obtain US residency under the Cuban Adjustment Act.

While many are excited, the refugees have mixed feelings about their journey because they are unclear how they will cross Mexico once they arrive by bus in the southern city of Tapachula.

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SHOULD ICE’S PROCEDURES BE QUESTIONED AND CHANGED? http://www.visa-pros.com/should-ices-procedures-be-questioned-and-changed/ http://www.visa-pros.com/should-ices-procedures-be-questioned-and-changed/#comments Tue, 12 Jan 2016 15:58:39 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2349 Continue reading ]]> After a series of immigration raids earlier this month, resulting in a reported 121 children and mothers being rounded up, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) quickly transferred many of these families to the family detention center in Dilley, Texas to process them for deportation.
Few have been able to access legal counsel since being apprehended, but some of the detained in Dilley found their way to the CARA Family Detention Pro-Bono Project’s on-the-ground volunteers. CARA volunteer attorneys have succeeded in halting the removals of four Central American families (12 individuals total), whose deportations were imminent.
Based on intake interviews, the CARA attorneys discovered that the families had not appealed their asylum cases to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), and they assisted them in doing so, requesting emergency stays of deportation, which the BIA granted in record time.
While the circumstances of each family vary, these trends have become clear: the women interviewed have fled some of the most violent areas in the Western Hemisphere; most don’t understand the legal process or their right to appeal a negative determination by the immigration judge; ICE is, in many cases, refusing to let certain women meet with attorneys to discuss their cases; and none of the family members saw a warrant before ICE entered their homes.

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New Year Resolutions http://www.visa-pros.com/new-year-resolutions/ http://www.visa-pros.com/new-year-resolutions/#comments Sun, 03 Jan 2016 09:03:34 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2895 Continue reading ]]> Many people fail to achieve their New Year’s resolutions. Many times that is because people set unrealistic goals and then give up too quickly. For example, wanting to lose 20 lbs in four weeks.

To help you achieve your goals you must structure them in the SMART way.

SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Results oriented and Time sensitive. When making your New Year’s resolutions, make sure your goals fit all of these criteria otherwise they are more likely to fail.

Specific – Write down the specific aspects of your goals and also outcomes and specific behaviors you need to do and also write interim steps to achieving them.

For example: I want to get my green card by the end of 2017.

  • First step: consult with an immigration attorney.
  • Second step: sign agreement and gather documents as soon as possible.
  • Third step: ensure my forms and petition prepared by the immigration law firm are complete and accurate.
  • Fourth step: pay filing fees and ensure the petition is filed.
  • Fifth step: prepare for and attend an interview if applicable.

This makes the smart goals because it is very specific results oriented and actionable there’s a lot of things that the person would need to do it at the same time it’s easy to measure whether somebody will get a green card or not by a specific date. If the goal includes a behavior change you will need to write what behaviors you will need to eliminate and what behaviors you will need to adopt. And of course start taking actions on both fronts.

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Happy New Year!! http://www.visa-pros.com/and-a-happy-new-year/ http://www.visa-pros.com/and-a-happy-new-year/#comments Thu, 31 Dec 2015 09:17:32 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2318 DSC00470

We want to wish all our friends and clients a very happy New Year 2016. May this new year turn all your dreams into reality and all your efforts into achievements!

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How To Improve your Relationships http://www.visa-pros.com/how-to-improve-your-relationships/ http://www.visa-pros.com/how-to-improve-your-relationships/#comments Thu, 24 Dec 2015 16:06:56 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2335 Continue reading ]]> As promised last week, here are 10 tips to improve the quality of your relationships with others and ultimately your quality of life.

  1. It is extremely difficult to have a good relationship with somebody stubborn and inflexible. Been able to adapt to different situations is a smart move that requires flexibility. Compromising is not a weakness. It takes empathy and recognizing that someone else’s option is also a good one. When you compromise, other people do in return.
  2. We can find it in the volume, your tone, facial expression or the words you choose. Sweet people transmit sincere warmth. Their expression invites to return the smile and makes you feel appreciated and loved. Sweetness is the best weapon against aggressiveness and rudeness.
  3. Speak up, say how you feel, what is going on or what worries you. Make sure you do it in a natural way. Trying to be mysterious and having people around us find out what is going on only makes it difficult to connect with us and it takes an extra step to build trust.
  4. We said it before: facial expression. Work your facial expression and your gestures. A smile will be inviting for someone to smile back and you will be seen as someone open to networking and socializing. A smile will open a lot of doors for you. It will not come out naturally at first, but with a little bit of work you will see how far it can take you.
  5. Have fun. The more you enjoy life and develop a great sense of humor you will be more satisfied and happy. We don’t like to deal with resentful, greedy people. You can just do everything you do having more fun. There are many ways to improve your mood. Do not allow a situation to overcome you and let you down. Change your world and you will change yourself.
  6. Listen and pay attention when you do. Everybody likes to deal with people that show interest on the things that worry us. Make your loved ones feel good by paying attention to them, appreciating their progress and complimenting some details. Avoid criticism and unwanted advice. It is about having a good time, not lecturing other people.
  7. Ask questions and show interest about other people. Try not to be the center of attention. People love to talk about themselves and they feel comfortable when they have the opportunity to share their life changes, interests, job accomplishments…
  8. Do some favors. It is really rewarding to forget about our needs to think how to help others.
  9. It is better to have peace than to be right. It is wonderful to not have to over think everything, to not have to argue and document your ideas. It is exhausting to deal with people who always try to be right. It is not nice to talk to them.
  10. Be discreet, especially with other people’s information. Gossiping about other people’s life is not compatible with trust and you will never be seen as somebody reliable.

Perhaps the New Year is a good time to start making some small changes towards a happier life!

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A new destination for your travels http://www.visa-pros.com/a-new-destination-for-your-travels/ http://www.visa-pros.com/a-new-destination-for-your-travels/#comments Tue, 22 Dec 2015 16:04:22 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2332 Continue reading ]]> Cuba and the United States have agreed to restore scheduled commercial flights between the two countries for the first time in decades.

After months of negotiations that ended last Thursday, the agreement was finally reached on the first anniversary of President Barack Obama and Cuban leader Raúl Castro’s historic announcement that Washington and Havana would begin normalizing relations.

The importance of the “Memorandum of Understanding” that restores daily commercial flights is that it will serve to pressure the US Congress into lifting travel restrictions against US citizens despite the 54-year-old trade embargo.

Although US citizens are still officially barred from traveling to Cuba for tourism purposes, trips to Cuba by US citizens have increased by more than 50 percent since the normalization of relations was announced, according to Jeffery DeLaurentis, business chargé d’affaires at the American Embassy in Havana. Republicans in Congress have held up the naming of an ambassador to Cuba.

Since the announcement of the normalization of relations American companies such as Netflix and Airbnb have begun to set up businesses, while some ship cruise lines are ferrying passengers on a limited basis.

Since Obama and Castro announced the normalization of diplomatic ties on December 17, 2014, the countries have taken some steps towards bringing their nations closer together. Washington and Havana reopened their own embassies in both countries this past year.

The re-establishment of direct mail service between the two nations was also announced several weeks ago.

But conversations about human rights, the closing of the Guantánamo naval base, the trade embargo, and compensation for US companies nationalized following the Cuban revolution have hit stumbling blocks.

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Goal: Easy going person http://www.visa-pros.com/goal-easy-going-person/ http://www.visa-pros.com/goal-easy-going-person/#comments Thu, 17 Dec 2015 20:03:01 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2323 Continue reading ]]> You know them as “easy going people”. The one who greets you with an honest smile, who offers help and speaks in a nice tone. The person that it feels good to spend time with.

Take time to relax every day and you will enjoy life much more. The relationships we establish can be a source of happiness or just the opposite. We are in contact with others on a daily basis, from your partner, children, coworkers, cashiers or the taxi driver that takes you to your destination. It is not easy to have a life that you are proud of and still be happy if you don’t enjoy yourself. And ultimately, if social relationships are stressful, your life will be also.

Easy going men and women are people that it is nice to count on and share free time with and they become the model that we would like to follow. The reason is very simple: their presence makes us feel good.

Don’t worry, changing our way is possible. Run away from “this is how I am” and learn some new skills. You may need to work on a few of them, but you cannot fail at them all. Don’t stress, change requires the will to renovate.  Plan, take action train through repetition and be patient. Look for the good side  of things. If you have doubts on the intention of the comment of somebody, it is better to ask him/her before assuming it was said or done to irritate or hurt you. If you constantly think that everyone has bad intentions, you will never know how many good things they can do for you.

In another post next week we will give you 10 tips to follow in order to be a person that everybody wants to be around. Could be a New Year’s resolution. Stay tuned!

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Changes in Visa Waiver Requirements and Countries http://www.visa-pros.com/changes-in-visa-waiver-requirements-and-countries/ http://www.visa-pros.com/changes-in-visa-waiver-requirements-and-countries/#comments Tue, 15 Dec 2015 09:21:37 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2316 Continue reading ]]> The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows travelers from certain countries to enter the United States without obtaining a visa in advance and it is valid for 2 years. Currently, 38 countries, including France, the United Kingdom and Taiwan, are part of this program, with over 20 million visitors utilizing it each year. It was created to facilitate more efficient inbound travel to the U.S. and requires pre-screening of travelers who are pre-approved through the program.
Last Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed a bill having to do with this program. The bill terminates VWP travel privileges for all citizens of VWP countries who are also nationals of Iraq, Syria, Iran, or Sudan, essentially singling out and discriminating based on nationality and national origin. It also excludes all individuals who have traveled since March 1, 2011 to certain countries– including Syria, Iraq and other designated countries. The bill also establishes additional reporting and eligibility requirements for VWP countries and enhancements to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).
While this may look and probably is intended to prevent future terrorist attacks, many organizations have already expressed concerned, as it may be counterproductive. It will make it much more difficult for journalists and humanitarian aid workers. We will see if this is a temporary measure or if this change in the program stays permanently.

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Texas sues Government over refugees http://www.visa-pros.com/texas-sues-government-over-refugees/ http://www.visa-pros.com/texas-sues-government-over-refugees/#comments Tue, 08 Dec 2015 15:23:53 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2311 Continue reading ]]> We see in shock how last week Texas filed a lawsuit against the federal government and International Rescue Committee (IRC). Now, this is not something surprising, given the fact that this state seems to enjoy challenging the federal government, as they did with the Immigration Executive Action.

However, this time the lawsuit is to prevent the resettlement of one Syrian refugee family in the state. Texas is the first to take legal action to try to block refugees.

The federal government and experts have stated repeatedly that governors do not have the power to decide whether or not refugees can resettle in their state. The Refugee Act of 1980 directs the federal government to manage resettlement of refugees and the Supreme Court and several lower courts have maintained that immigration—which includes refugee and asylum matters—is the responsibility of the federal government.

It is important to keep in mind that refugees are subject to rigorous screening processes prior to be considered for resettlement—many individuals and families undergo these security checks for a two-year period before ever stepping foot on U.S. soil. Not only this, Syrian refugees, including many children, are fleeing violence and had to abandon their lives and their homes and should be welcomed by all states, Texas included. It is a lack of compassion to try to block the resettlement of these families.

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One year since President Obama’s announcement of Immigration Executive Action http://www.visa-pros.com/one-year-since-president-obamas-announcement-of-immigration-executive-action/ http://www.visa-pros.com/one-year-since-president-obamas-announcement-of-immigration-executive-action/#comments Tue, 01 Dec 2015 18:23:42 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2309 Continue reading ]]> One year ago, we watched hopeful how the President announced an Executive Action on immigration that would benefit many families and workers. The actions he announced were meant as common-sense reforms to an immigration system that has not been upgraded in more than 20 years. The series of reforms range from temporary protections for an expanded group of unauthorized young people (expanded DACA) and parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (DAPA), to modernizing the visa application process, to new guidance to better prioritize the immigration agencies’ use of their enforcement resources and a replacement of Secure Communities with the PEP program.

Today, the Administration is fighting to defend these initiatives. The Supreme Court has said it is well within the executive’s power to decide how and when to use its enforcement resources. In fact, every Administration since 1956 has used its discretion to grant temporary immigration relief to one or more groups in need of assistance.

Unfortunately, the slow pace of progress on the executive actions announced last year, coupled with the suspension of the expanded DACA and DAPA initiatives, has real-life consequences for millions of immigrants who live and work in this country. The Administration should continue to push forward in the areas where its authority is unchallenged: better prioritizing enforcement and modernizing the visa process. It must aggressively defend expanded DACA and DAPA in the courts, in hopes of being able to begin implementation of these initiatives before the President leaves office.

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Happy Thanksgiving! http://www.visa-pros.com/happy-thanksgiving/ http://www.visa-pros.com/happy-thanksgiving/#comments Tue, 24 Nov 2015 15:57:44 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2304 We want to wish all our clients and friends a very Happy Thanksgiving! Click in the link to see our eCard to you! Click here! 

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Updated Guide to Welcome New Residents http://www.visa-pros.com/updated-guide-to-welcome-new-residents/ http://www.visa-pros.com/updated-guide-to-welcome-new-residents/#comments Thu, 19 Nov 2015 17:01:44 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2301 Continue reading ]]> USCIS recently updated and republished the guide to welcome new residents into the country.
This guide has information to help understand important aspects of every day life in the United States and government.
You can find it in 14 languages, it is a free downloadable document that you can find here.

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Yes, there Has To Be Hope http://www.visa-pros.com/yes-there-has-to-be-hope/ http://www.visa-pros.com/yes-there-has-to-be-hope/#comments Tue, 17 Nov 2015 18:43:40 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2294 After a weekend of terror and horrific news, this is the message that we want to share and spread.

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Questions, questions… http://www.visa-pros.com/questions-questions/ http://www.visa-pros.com/questions-questions/#comments Thu, 12 Nov 2015 16:21:19 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2288 Continue reading ]]>
preguntasWe normally share with you news and information related with immigration matters. Today, we want to try and answer some of the questions you probably have in your head while surfing our website.
Many people ask things like, “Why should I hire you instead of a big firm?”. Or “What do you have that makes you different from others?”.
These and other questions are very frequent and we want to take this opportunity to answer them. Please follow this link and you will see what our clients say. It will probably answer many of the questions you are asking yourself.

Also, if you have any questions, feel free to use the comment box and we will be happy to answer them. Don’t be shy!

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News related to the Executive Action in Immigration http://www.visa-pros.com/news-related-to-the-executive-action-in-immigration/ http://www.visa-pros.com/news-related-to-the-executive-action-in-immigration/#comments Tue, 10 Nov 2015 16:14:56 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2281 Continue reading ]]> One year after President Obama announced an Executive Action in Immigration, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans has again ruled against it, upholding a lower court’s injunction barring the plan from taking effect while awaiting the outcome of a full trial on the lawsuit’s underlying arguments.

This policy, called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, was announced in November 2014 and would allow for more than 4 million undocumented immigrants nationwide to apply for three-year renewable work permits and reprieves from deportation proceedings.

The next step for the administration will likely be an appeal before the U.S.  Supreme Court. Only time will tell if the high court, which began its current term last month, will take the time to consider the case and what the outcome will be.

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Is he finally losing momentum? http://www.visa-pros.com/is-he-finally-losing-momentum/ http://www.visa-pros.com/is-he-finally-losing-momentum/#comments Thu, 05 Nov 2015 15:48:42 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2279 Continue reading ]]> A group of 67 intellectuals, artists, scientists, writers and filmmakers from the United States, Latin America and Spain have signed a statement condemning the hate speech espoused by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. The business mogul used xenophobic language in reference to Mexican immigrants during the press conference where he announced his candidacy in June and has continuously used it ever since, offending more and more people on the way.

The statement also notes the many contributions the Hispanic community has made to the US economy and cites examples such as California where its input accounts for $70 billion each year. This happens in the week where the polls are showing that Trump is losing support and Carson climbing up to a leading position.

Below is the full statement released by Enrique Krauze and Carmelo Mesa-Lago:

The undersigned – Hispanics who occupy academic positions in the United States, as well as intellectuals, artists and scientists from Mexico, other Latin American countries and Spain – cannot remain silent in the face of alarming statements from the candidate to the Presidency of the United States, Donald Trump. Since the announcement of his candidacy, Mr. Trump has accused Mexican immigrants of being criminals, rapists and drug traffickers; and has promised to deport 11 million of them and build a big wall along the border with Mexico. Trump’s hate speech appeals to xenophobia, sexism and political intolerance; it recalls historical campaigns against other ethnic groups that led to millions of deaths. Physical attacks on Hispanics and public assertions that Spanish should not be spoken in public have already occurred.

Mr. Trump’s verbal assaults are not based on tested facts, but only on his personal, baseless opinions. Not only does he disdain Hispanic immigrants, but he also exhibits a dangerous attitude toward his opponents, stigmatizing them as stupid or weak. He has insulted and expelled a prominent Hispanic reporter from a press conference who asked him an uncomfortable question and made sexist comments about female interviewers, while his supporters and personal bodyguards have attacked peaceful demonstrators.

The expulsion of Mexican immigrants would be catastrophic for states such as California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, where Mexicans carry out most manual work. In California our immigrants harvest 200 agricultural products, serve in hotels and restaurants, and collect garbage. California is the leading producer of wine in the country and the principal destination for tourism. These sectors generate $70 billion per year. Without Mexican workers, the economy of the state, followed swiftly by the rest of the country, would go to ruin.

Several of the undersigned are Hispanic immigrants who have been well-received by this great nation and contributed through their various endeavors toward greater knowledge, scientific progress, entertainment, and prosperity for all Americans. Mr. Trump’s conduct is not worthy of a candidate to the Presidency of the United States, the most powerful country in the world. All of us condemn his behavior and hope that the American people will no longer tolerate his absurdities. 

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We are Included among the Best Law Firms in Immigration! http://www.visa-pros.com/we-are-included-among-the-best-law-firms-in-immigration/ http://www.visa-pros.com/we-are-included-among-the-best-law-firms-in-immigration/#comments Mon, 02 Nov 2015 09:31:07 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2264 Continue reading ]]> downloadWe are happy to share with you that we have been selected to be included in the best law firms in immigration in Atlanta, Georgia for 2016. It is published by Best Lawyers®, which is the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession, and a partner of U.S. News & World Report.

We are very proud to be selected in this list and we work hard every day to maintain the highest quality in our services and to offer the best client experience. It is a wonderful recognition to our efforts and we want to thank our clients, colleagues and outstanding staff, who altogether make our office the go-to immigration firm in Atlanta.

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Third GOP Debate http://www.visa-pros.com/third-gop-debate/ http://www.visa-pros.com/third-gop-debate/#comments Thu, 29 Oct 2015 15:24:00 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2272 Continue reading ]]> During the 2h debate, candidates tried to improve their chances of been the candidate of the Republican Party. Marco Rubio had the best night of his campaign, showing the political talent that insiders had long seen in him. He and Mr. Carson, who is now leading in several polls, faced the toughest questions but emerged largely unharmed.

Irritability and sharpened jabs infused the night as struggling candidates like Mr. Bush and Gov. John R. Kasich of Ohio ripped into their less experienced rivals and tried to portray them as unqualified for the White House.

The free-for-all of verbal assaults reflected the new volatility in a race that Donald J. Trump dominated for months. It appears to be shifting in favor of candidates like Mr. Rubio and Ben Carson as the first nominating contests near and voters start paying closer attention to the field.

There is still a long way until the election so we will see how this all evolves.

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Texas is denying U.S. born children their Citizenship rights http://www.visa-pros.com/texas-is-denying-u-s-born-children-their-citizenship-rights/ http://www.visa-pros.com/texas-is-denying-u-s-born-children-their-citizenship-rights/#comments Tue, 27 Oct 2015 16:12:16 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2262 Continue reading ]]> Last May a lawsuit was filed against the State of Texas for denying birth certificates to the children of undocumented parents by a group of undocumented parents, represented by South Texas Civil Rights Project and Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid. They also asked the judge to issue a preliminary injunction to force the state to issue birth certificates while the case moves forward in court.

The reasons that the State of Texas is using to deny the certificates is that they are no longer accepting the parents “Matricula” card, which is an identification card issued by the Mexican Government through its consulates.

The parents of these children are arguing that their kids are denied the certificates because their parents lack proof of U.S citizenship or legal status. Children born on U.S. soil are entitled to U.S. Citizenship regardless of the immigration status of their parents. The Supreme Court has consistently upheld birthright citizenship over the years and this seriously calls into question Texas’ decision to deny these children birth certificates.

We are expecting to see if the trial date is set soon and what happens.

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Beware of Extremists http://www.visa-pros.com/beware-of-extremists/ http://www.visa-pros.com/beware-of-extremists/#comments Tue, 20 Oct 2015 18:13:57 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2260 Continue reading ]]> North Carolina state lawmakers voted earlier this month to prohibit the so-called sanctuary ordinances in cities and counties throughout the state. Under this new law many immigrants will be removed of their identification and left undocumented. This new law will likely increase the number of deportations even for minor offenses and it will prevent immigrant communities to safely interact with local authorities.

The message they are delivering is clear: immigrants are not welcome. However, this is not the only state letting the anti-immigrant movement influence its policies: Texas and Michigan have had a similar type of initiative proposed.
While this legislation is a major setback for immigrant rights, it does not come out of the blue. It is the result of a long-standing strategy promoted by a powerful anti-immigrant lobby.

The truth is that anti-immigrant groups like CIS (Center for Immigration Studies) are less concerned about public safety and more concerned with reducing levels of immigration, particularly people of color. (As their own words and actions have long indicated, the contemporary anti-immigrant movement has deep roots in racism and nativism.)
Nor will CIS stop until they’ve increased the number of immigrants swept up in the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportation scheme regardless of status. Truth is that many immigrants are victims of crime, survivors of domestic violence, community members targeted by racial profiling or criminalized based on the color of their skin, kids getting into mischief, and people genuinely making mistakes but ultimately not deserving of family separation.

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Who is Who? The Democrat Candidates for the White House http://www.visa-pros.com/who-is-who-the-democrat-candidates-for-the-white-house/ http://www.visa-pros.com/who-is-who-the-democrat-candidates-for-the-white-house/#comments Thu, 15 Oct 2015 16:57:56 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2254 Continue reading ]]> democratic-candidates-debate-cnn

Hillary Clinton

She is the favorite of the polls. Her political experience includes serving as Secretary of State, former Senator for the State of New York and First Lady. In the last years she led the Clinton foundation together with her husband and her daughter Chelsea. During her political career she has defended women’s and girls’ rights around the world, access to education and opportunity equality. She also defended the Iraq war and has foreign policy views more aggressive than President Obama. In the current campaign she is her biggest enemy because of the email scandal during her time in the Department of State which is still under investigation.

Bernie Sanders

The Senator of Vermont is one of the big surprises of the Democrat Party in this campaign. He has managed to attract some of the younger voters through one of the more liberal proposals that have been heard in the last years. His weakness point is his left wing policies and the fact that he defines himself as a democratic socialist, which is seen as a negative term here.

Martin O’Malley

The ex governor of Maryland has always had the Support of the African American and Hispanic voters. He can also boast about approving one of the most ambitious immigration policies at state level regulating the situation of Dreamers and proving that this reform was good for his state. He is also one of the main defenders of the prison system reform to end jail overpopulation and to help social reintegration.

Lincoln Chafee

He is former governor of Rhode Island. He was the only Senator who voted against the Iraq war in 2002. His followers are the democrats who are more reluctant to military interventions overseas He uses this argument as his main weapon against Clintonbut struggles to expand his proposal further.

Jim Webb

Former senator in Virginia State and veteran of the Vietnam War. He is one of the more conservative candidates, especially when it comes to foreign policy and economics. He is far from the mainstream tendency on topics like inequality, education, immigration or gun control.

Lawrence Lessig

He is a University Harvard professor who runs in the race with only one proposal: to reform the United States electoral system. He wants to stop the influence of the donations from SuperPACS on the electoral process.

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Changes on DHS procedures http://www.visa-pros.com/changes-on-dhs-procedures/ http://www.visa-pros.com/changes-on-dhs-procedures/#comments Thu, 08 Oct 2015 16:11:40 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2251 Continue reading ]]> It seems like lately the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is putting its immigration enforcement resources to deporting people who represent a real threat to public safety.

The number of people deported in the last year is the lowest since 2006 and the percentage of individuals deported on criminal grounds rose from 56 to 59%. This is a good indicator because it shows that they are focusing on quality over quantity. In prior years, DHS had spent too many enforcement resources deporting individuals who have minor criminal convictions or no criminal records at all. In November 2014, one of the measures announced in the executive action on immigration was to focus resources on individuals who pose threats to “national security, public safety, and border security.”

This doesn’t mean that the enforcement is diminished, but rather it shows a better use of the resources and an improvement in the efficiency. DHS has not necessarily seen the light and is now deporting only dangerous criminals. Recent illegal entrants remain a high priority target for ICE, even though being a recent unauthorized border-crosser says nothing about whether or not an individual has a criminal history or violent proclivities; it also does not speak to a person’s ties to the United States or past residence here. But if DHS is investing more time and resources focusing on potentially deportable immigrants who may be a danger to society than trying to deport every potentially deportable immigrant this seems like a turn in the right direction, don’t you think?

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Express Happiness. 8 Tips to be happy NOW! http://www.visa-pros.com/express-happiness-8-tips-to-be-happy-now/ http://www.visa-pros.com/express-happiness-8-tips-to-be-happy-now/#comments Tue, 06 Oct 2015 15:43:54 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2244 Continue reading ]]> download

We all have bad days. This is why it becomes so important to be able to cheer ourselves up. If going to a meditation retreat or jogging for a couple of hours is simply not an option, we can try other things to come back to a good mood. The great news is that just a few seconds can change everything.

So what could you do in just 30 seconds to improve your mood and become your own cheerleader? Here are 8 easy tips (oh, and free!):

  1. Smile. It is as easy as moving your mouth muscles upwards. It is worth a try because it is proven that posture has a direct effect in the emotion. Of many psychologists studying the matter, some even say that “if the person does not express the emotion, they don’t even feel it.” It states that facial expressions are connected to what we feel.
  2. Tell a joke about what made you mad. This works because it facilitates the change in attitude. According to the Rational Emotional Therapy, ideas, jokes and parodies help us see the problem smaller and get passed the bad emotion.
  3. Send an emoji to a friend. Or a picture that he/she likes, a link to a song or simply a “hi”. Solitude leads to misery, according to many studies. Therefore, one solution is socializing. If we cannot do it face to face then that’s what we have our gadgets for, right?
  4. Give up your seat in the underground. Going one step forward from social and being attentive has a very positive effect on ourselves. It will actually make us happier than being hedonistic. Now this may take more than 30 seconds, but its effects will last longer.
  5. Eat some candy. Even though eating too much is a bad sign, it is also true that while we eat we don’t become anxious. Therefore, eating a piece of candy in a high stressful moment can help soothe the emotion and comfort us a little.
  6. Online pseudoshoppingThis is one of the biggest clichés of consumerism but it is true that few things are so effective to improve your mood. In order for your credit card not to suffer the consequences, just do an online purchase and don’t process it. Your brain will feel the effects of the dopamine but your wallet will not be hurt.
  7. Write down something beautiful about your life. Being grateful is one of the pillars of positive psychology, very used in coaching. It is about focusing in the present to appreciate your life as it is. Writing down a couple of positive aspects of your life will take just a few moments and have great results in your mood.
  8. Watch a kitten video. The viral phenomenon of freezing in front of a screen looking at short movies of kitten is not a coincidence. University of Indiana did research last year and among their conclusions were that these videos made viewers feel more energetic and positive, as well as they reported a reduction of emotional discomfort.
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Sign the Petition! http://www.visa-pros.com/sign-the-petition/ http://www.visa-pros.com/sign-the-petition/#comments Mon, 05 Oct 2015 15:55:58 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2242 Continue reading ]]> Please join us and sign this White House petition urging the administration to restore the September 9, 2015, October Visa Bulletin, which was superseded on September 25, 2015, by a revised October Visa Bulletin that rolled back the “Dates of Filing” for several visa categories. Here is the link, please sign today: Sign the Petition

 

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A Life-changing Decision http://www.visa-pros.com/a-live-changing-decision/ http://www.visa-pros.com/a-live-changing-decision/#comments Wed, 30 Sep 2015 15:12:09 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2233 Continue reading ]]> Our story goes back to the year 2000, when young Leah’s mom encouraged her and her sisters to learn Spanish. It was not an easy task for four American girls, as it was a foreign language that they were not familiar with and no one in their family spoke, but with time and faith they eventually started making progress.

Little did Leah know that learning Spanish would change her life, as six years afterwards she met Victor, an immigrant from Mexico who did not speak any English. Leah felt like it was love at first sight. But just like any good story, it had a big obstacle: Victor was undocumented. He didn’t want anybody to think that his relationship with Leah was an interested one, so for several years he refused to pursue legal status through Leah. They got married and he finally agreed to search an attorney and start the green card process after having an accident at work and having time to reflect about his future. Two months after they made the decision, we started the application and Victor applied for the provisional waiver based on extreme hardship to Leah, which was approved.

The final step, the consulate appointment in Mexico was coming. Getting Victor there was not easy, as it was a costly trip and they were still facing significant financial hardships after losing a job. At first a friend of theirs offered to drive with him and suggested that her brother would let them stay with them for the two weeks in El Paso so Leah could wait for Victor.  But right before they left, their friend could not go. They were disheartened but moved heaven and earth to find an alternative and Leah accompanied him. At last, a family member who works for an airline graciously gave them tickets which allowed them to attend the interview on time.

Victor went to the consulate appointment and got his immigrant visa approved. He also go to see his mother and sister in Mexico for the first time after 15 long years of separation and spent some time with his family rejoicing in these moments. After only being outside of the U.S. for a short time, Victor now has his green card and is back in the U.S. with his family.

The Pinedas have been wonderful and cooperative clients, very proactive and even when they encountered setbacks they continued on to find alternatives. It has been our pleasure to be part of their story and to facilitate their family stability and their happiness. Here are some pictures of Leah and Victor and the family reunion.

tu y yo reunionvic and his pa victor

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Are there no limits to profit-making? http://www.visa-pros.com/are-there-no-limits-to-profit-making/ http://www.visa-pros.com/are-there-no-limits-to-profit-making/#comments Tue, 29 Sep 2015 13:52:17 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2224 Continue reading ]]> Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently announced a pilot case management program as an alternative to holding mothers and children in detention. The annual $11 million contract was awarded to a subsidiary of the Geo Group (the second largest private prison company in the U.S.).

The growing call to end family detention has brought more attention to the abuses and problems in both privately and government – operated immigrant detention facilities. Yet family detention is one part of a larger industry using taxpayer dollars to lock up immigrants.

ICE’s pilot program with Geo might seem like an ideal option. But the fact that a for-profit company will operate the program points to another problem: private prison companies have expanded their presence in the immigration detention system. About 62 percent of detention beds are in privately-run facilities, according to a 2015 Grassroots Leadership analysis. When government functions are contracted to entities motivated by profit, oversight mechanisms are compromised.

The involvement of private prison companies in immigrant detention was scrutinized last week, when several Senators of both sides of the aisle introduced the Justice Is Not for Sale Act. The bill calls for the elimination of private prisons in both the criminal justice and immigrant detention industries in an effort to take profit out of the equation.

As more research sheds light on the deep problems in immigrant detention, Congress and the Administration have the power to choose whether taxpayer dollars are used to implement responsible, humane and effective immigration policies or to help companies make profit.

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Hakuna Matata http://www.visa-pros.com/hakuna-matata/ http://www.visa-pros.com/hakuna-matata/#comments Thu, 24 Sep 2015 15:59:35 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2220 Continue reading ]]> Collage

We all learned the phrase Hakuna Matata 21 years ago thanks to a Disney movie. Did you know this is a real expression? It summarizes the attitude of Kenyan citizens.

Kenya, a place of golden savannahs, undulating prairies, jungles and volcanic flatland, goes from the idyllic coasts of the Indian Ocean all the way to the Mount Kenya summit. It is very easy to let this magical place trap you because it offers infinite options. Safari means “trip” in Swahili, and it is precisely in Kenya where this word was coined.

In the 56 national parks and sanctuaries, Kenya has some of the oldest and most diverse species on Earth. The reserves are among the best in Africa and nearly 10% of the country is protected land. Perhaps what the tourists don’t know is the magnificence of its beaches. It is one of the few places in the world where you could do snorkel in one of the most beautiful coral reefs.

On top of its natural resources, Kenya is a living museum. Dhows are the oldest vessels that plow through the sea with the sails unfurl. These ships have brought monkeys and peacocks, so precious for King Solomon. And they were also used to bring the leopards and lions that the Romans used for their entertainment.

But Kenya is also known for its culture. The country is shared by 40 different ethnical communities who speak about 80 different dialects that form a country full of contrast in miraculous harmony.

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A difficult Labor Day for some of the most in-demand workers in America. http://www.visa-pros.com/a-difficult-labor-day-for-some-of-the-most-in-demand-workers-in-america/ http://www.visa-pros.com/a-difficult-labor-day-for-some-of-the-most-in-demand-workers-in-america/#comments Tue, 22 Sep 2015 17:59:56 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2216 Continue reading ]]> Early next year, as many as 50,000 workers in the science, technology, engineering and math fields born abroad but educated in the U.S. may be forced to leave the country. For decades, the OPT (Optional Practical Training) visa has allowed students and new graduates to extend their F-1 visa student status in the U.S. to gain on-the-job learning for up to a year. Amid the financial crisis in April 2008, Homeland Security tacked on an additional 17 months for STEM students and graduates.
High-tech firms welcomed the extension, saying they were desperate for workers. Labor unions and conservative immigration groups, by contrast, allege it created a loophole that robs American workers of some of the fastest-growing and highly paid jobs in the country by making it easier for companies to hire young, recent graduates who, thanks to their student-visa status, are largely tax-exempt and therefore may be cheaper to hire.
The District Court of the District of Columbia did not entirely agree – but it did vacate the extension last month. Immigration advocates contend the extension has provided a much-needed bridge to obtaining a longer-lasting H-1B work permit, which only a third of the roughly 240,000 applicants received in the last fiscal year.
Rather than having just one shot at an H-1B when applications open each April 1, workers on the OPT STEM extension can get a second or even third chance if their application isn’t accepted the first time, reducing the likelihood they’ll be forced to either re-enroll in a university to retain their student visa or take their U.S.-educated skills overseas.
So do we really want these highly skilled workers to go back to their home countries and get hired by our competition?

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A Couple Things on Welfare and Immigration http://www.visa-pros.com/a-couple-things-on-welfare-and-immigration/ http://www.visa-pros.com/a-couple-things-on-welfare-and-immigration/#comments Tue, 15 Sep 2015 14:16:36 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2209 Continue reading ]]> One of the arguments used by some conservatives is that immigrants need to be deported in masse because they benefit from welfare and prevent American people in need to make use of it. What if that is simply not true?

First, let’s look at the requirements to apply for welfare as an immigrant:

  1. Only green card holders and refugees granted asylum qualify for welfare.
  2. Before they can apply, they need to spend 5 years in the country.

A recent study from the Center for Immigration Studies (an organization that advocates for reducing immigration to the United States) has concluded that 51% of all households created by immigrant receive welfare. How is this number even possible? The answer is that it is by counting households as unit of analysis. When doing so, a household with an American spouse who therefore qualifies for welfare is categorized as “an immigrant household using welfare”.

However, groups such as the American Immigration Council argue that immigrants have long given more to the welfare system than take from it. Their estimation is that they pay around $90 billion and year in taxes and use about $5 billion in public benefits.

A report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2013 found that more than half of undocumented immigrants have federal and state income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes automatically deducted from their paychecks. So even though they don’t qualify to benefit from it, they are helping to underwrite the welfare system.

Under the light of these facts, can they really say that immigrants take welfare benefits from American-born citizens?

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Midtown Business Radio interview Podcast http://www.visa-pros.com/midtown-business-radio-interview-podcast/ http://www.visa-pros.com/midtown-business-radio-interview-podcast/#comments Mon, 14 Sep 2015 17:42:50 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2205 As promised, here is the podcast in case you missed the interview with ExpandaBrand USA​ at Midtown Business Radio!

http://midtown.businessradiox.com/?powerpress_pinw=16181-podcast

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NEWS FLASH! Early Adjustment Applications Allowed Now http://www.visa-pros.com/news-flash-early-adjustment-applications-allowed-now/ http://www.visa-pros.com/news-flash-early-adjustment-applications-allowed-now/#comments Thu, 10 Sep 2015 17:27:09 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2200 Continue reading ]]> USCIS now allows applicants for adjustment of status to file their applications earlier than the time the visa is available, based on a new “Dates for Filing Visa Applications” charts indicated on the Visa Bulletin issued by the U.S. Department of State. What it means for applicants, especially for Indian and Chinese nationals whose employment-based visa numbers remain retrogressed by years,  is that USCIS now allows them to pre-file their adjustment of status applications before the time the visa is actually available to be approved. Applicants with approved I-140s can now use the “Dates for Filing Visa Applications” charts to file adjustment of status applications for them and their derivative family members listed at the bottom of the Visa Bulletin instead of having to wait for the “visa current” dates. “Application Final Action Dates” are consistent with the prior Visa Bulletins as the date when USCIS can approve the applications, when the visa numbers are current. Similar steps are implemented by the U.S. Department of State and the NVC.

For example, for this month, the final action date for citizens of India in the EB-2 category is May 1, 2005 and now Indian nationals can file their adjustments if they have priority dates prior to July 1, 2011 (a 6-year lead).

  • EB-3 India final action date is at March 8, 2004, while people with priority dates of July 1, 2005 are now eligible to file.
  • EB-2 for China final action date January 1, 2012, however people with priority dates of May 1, 2014 or earlier are now eligible to file.
  • EB-3 for China final action date January 1, 2006, however people with priority dates of October 1, 2013 or earlier are eligible to file their adjustment of status.

This new measure will save a few years of waiting for adjustment of status benefits which includes work authorization documents and travel documents independent of visas, being stuck out of the country for visa stamping and receiving work authorization and travel documents for derivative spouses and children. This is great news for many of our clients waiting in line.

If you think you are eligible, if you have an employee whom you think is eligible, or know of someone who may be eligible, please contact our office at 770-913-0800 or e-mail Alina at ACox@visa-pros.com.

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Will Congress have done its summer homework? http://www.visa-pros.com/will-congress-have-done-its-summer-homework/ http://www.visa-pros.com/will-congress-have-done-its-summer-homework/#comments Thu, 10 Sep 2015 12:39:04 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2198 Continue reading ]]> Congress returned to work yesterday after its annual August recess. Just before, Congress was talking about immigration. It will be affected by any congressional action or inaction, as four programs are scheduled to expire this month unless Congress does anything about it.
These three programs are:

  • The EB-5 program: It was created to stimulate job growth and capital investment. It is the only visa program for investors that leads to permanent residence, and it requires that applicants invest $1 million (or $500,000 if the investment is in a rural or high-unemployment area) and the creation of at least 10 jobs.
  • Conrad 30 Program: This program, created in 1994, allows certain physicians trained in the United States on J-1 visas to obtain a waiver of the two-year home residence requirement. In exchange for the waiver, the physician must work for at least three years treating medically underserved populations in the United States.
  • Special Immigrant Non-Minister Religious Worker Program: This program allows non-ministers or other lay religious workers to come to the United States as lawful permanent residents.

In addition to this immigration programs, E-verify, the web-based program through which U.S. employers can attempt to verify work authorization, will expire on September 30, 2015.

Members of Congress have introduced bills that would re-authorize these programs, with changes in them, in some cases. However, it is unclear what (if anything) will happen by September 30. It is possible that these programs could be reauthorized without change for a short period as part of the continuing resolution. It also is possible Congress will fail to reauthorize them and they will sunset. There also could be a last minute reauthorization of all or parts of these programs. We will wait to learn what happens.

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Happy Labor Day! http://www.visa-pros.com/happy-labor-day/ http://www.visa-pros.com/happy-labor-day/#comments Sun, 06 Sep 2015 12:51:19 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2189 Happy-Labor-Day-Vintage-1

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10 Years after Katrina http://www.visa-pros.com/10-years-after-katrina/ http://www.visa-pros.com/10-years-after-katrina/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2015 09:06:21 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2192 http://elpais.com/elpais/2015/08/29/album/1440844983_913563.html#1440844983_913563_1440845081

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Immigration judges needed http://www.visa-pros.com/immigration-judges-needed/ http://www.visa-pros.com/immigration-judges-needed/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 14:53:28 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2187 Continue reading ]]> This year, presidential candidates are talking a lot about immigration. However, the discussion is revolving around hot-button issues like border walls and birthright citizenship.
In the meantime, some equally important problems go unaddressed. Take as an example immigration court backlogs. While all candidates raffle about how they will create an immigration system better functioning than the current one, none of them says much about one of the most critical core problems of it: the shortage of immigration judges.
This is a problem with severe humanitarian, public safety and national security consequences. To start with, long delays keep applicants with valid claims pending and delay their integration into the community.
Delays also cause family separation. Many immigrants are detained for the duration of their hearings, including families and children fleeing persecution, which can negatively affect their health.
Furthermore, pressure on judges to accelerate hearings undermines the integrity of the whole system: overburdened judges are more likely to make mistakes when they must make split-second decisions about complex cases. These accelerated proceedings put children and asylum seekers at risk, for whom the decision can mean the difference between life and death.
Providing the immigration court system with adequate resources and staffing should be a noncontroversial, non-partisan issue upon which everyone can agree. But it doesn’t resonate on the campaign trail, which perhaps explains why it is so seldom mentioned.

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They say an image is worth 10,000 words. Judge for yourself http://www.visa-pros.com/they-say-an-image-is-worth-10000-words-judge-for-yourself/ http://www.visa-pros.com/they-say-an-image-is-worth-10000-words-judge-for-yourself/#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 14:36:55 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2183

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Mythological creatures: The Anchor Baby http://www.visa-pros.com/mythological-creatures-the-anchor-baby/ http://www.visa-pros.com/mythological-creatures-the-anchor-baby/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 15:48:55 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2181 Continue reading ]]> If you have seen the news lately you have probably heard this term a few times. Donald Trump said it. Jeb Bush said it. But just as the Loch Ness Monster, the “anchor baby” is not something real.
It refers to the nearly 150-year-old practice of granting citizenship to anyone born in the United States.
This, known as “birthright citizenship,” is delineated in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. And as all sorts of public figures have discussed the future of the 14th Amendment this week, the more colloquial term “anchor baby” has come up over and over again.
This is the basic concept: People (women) come to the United States illegally and give birth to children, generally for the specific purpose of bolstering legal attempts of the child’s parents remain in the United States or even become citizens themselves.
Now, does this happen in reality? The answer is no.
What a USC child of an undocumented immigrant can do for his/her parent is this: if and when a U.S. citizen reaches the age of 21, he or she can then apply for a parent to obtain a visa and green card and eventually enter the United States legally.
In order to apply for such an option, the parent of a so-called anchor baby would need to do all of the following:

  1. Wait for his or her child to reach the age of 21.
  2. Leave the United States.
  3. Return to their home country.
  4. Have their child begin the lengthy process of applying for a family reunification immigration request.
  5. Clear consular interviews and a U.S. State Department background check.

If a person has lived in the United States undocumented for a year or more, there is a 10-year ban on that person reentering the United States. So, in that case, there would be the 21-year wait for the child to mature to adulthood, plus the 10-year wait.
All told, the parents of the so-called anchor baby face a 31-year wait to even enter the United States, much less obtain a visa and green card or become a citizen.
Immigration courts reject claims that an undocumented parent must remain in the United States to care for a U.S. citizen child. The rare legal exceptions are for children who are so seriously ill or profoundly disabled that one parent must care for them full-time, or for a child in need of medical care unavailable in their parents’ home country.
These parents are given something called “humanitarian parole”. And this is very rarely applied to people already living in the United States illegally. And, even then, humanitarian parole is generally granted for limited period of time.
In 2011, there were at least 5,000 children in state custody or foster care because an undocumented parent or parents has been deported, according to a study released by the Applied Research Center, a New York-based think tank that focuses on racial and social justice issues. Some estimates put that figure even higher today.
So really, do you still think that the anchor baby is an immigration option?

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Isn’t legal representation in court a right? Apparently, not for everybody http://www.visa-pros.com/isnt-legal-representation-in-court-a-right-apparently-not-for-everybody/ http://www.visa-pros.com/isnt-legal-representation-in-court-a-right-apparently-not-for-everybody/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 17:02:40 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2176 Continue reading ]]> It seems a no brainer that no child should ever have to stand before a judge without having an attorney as advocate. Especially younger children, who probably don’t understand the relevance of their presence in court or how it can impact the rest of their lives. This becomes critical in the case of minors who have fled gang violence in Central American countries, as for them, a deportation order could mean death.
However, numbers show that this is not happening. According to Politico (media covering politics and government) and an analysis they made recently, in 38% of the cases completed since December, the child was without counsel.
The problem that lies behind it is that deportation orders are being issued for children who did not have legal representation and who are returning to situations that put their lives in danger. 60% of Salvadoran children list gang threats and violence as reasons for their emigration.
For these children and their parents, the decision to embark upon a clandestine and potentially fatal journey through Mexico and into the United States is not taken lightly. It is a last resort to save the children from being murdered or forced to join a gang. Not surprisingly, many of these children qualify for protection under international law. In fact, a survey by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) found that 72 percent of the children from El Salvador, 57 percent from Honduras, and 38 percent from Guatemala could merit protection.
However, the response of the U.S. government to this humanitarian crisis has been not to protect the victims. Instead, fast-paced “rocket dockets” have been established to quickly dispatch the cases of unaccompanied children, sending a message to other Central American families that they shouldn’t try to send their endangered children to the United States. Lost in the shuffle are the children themselves, many of whom are, for all intents and purposes, refugees fleeing violence.

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Included in The Best Lawyers in America© http://www.visa-pros.com/included-in-the-best-lawyers-in-america/ http://www.visa-pros.com/included-in-the-best-lawyers-in-america/#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2015 18:45:17 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2157 Continue reading ]]> Karen half purple dress arms crossed soft IMG_0505-2We are very happy to share that Karen Weinstock, our managing attorney has been again listed by Best Lawyers®, which is the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession, and a partner of U.S. News & World Report. This is a great recognition to her and our efforts and we are happy to share this news with all our clients and colleagues. Congratulations, Karen!

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Couldn’t help but share the thought… Do you agree? http://www.visa-pros.com/couldnt-help-but-share-the-thought-do-you-agree/ http://www.visa-pros.com/couldnt-help-but-share-the-thought-do-you-agree/#comments Thu, 13 Aug 2015 18:51:58 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2154 motivational-quotes-thoughts-that-encouragement-success-images-wallpapers-picture

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First Primary Debate. What About Immigration? http://www.visa-pros.com/first-primary-debate-what-about-immigration/ http://www.visa-pros.com/first-primary-debate-what-about-immigration/#comments Tue, 11 Aug 2015 17:50:40 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2152 Continue reading ]]> Last Thursday, Republican presidential candidates had the first primary debate of the season. Given the urgent need to reform our obsolete immigration system, it is not a surprise that one of the first questions asked was about immigration.

None of the candidates openly supported a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Moreover, some of them who had previously talked in a positive way about it backed up and started talking about enforcing the law and securing the border.

However, their approaches are different. While Jeb Bush began by saying that those who come to the U.S. do so seeking a better life, Trump refused to back down from his previous controversial statements and said he would build a wall in the border. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and the other candidates all endorsed the increase of security and border control and focused on more enforcement mechanisms.

This approach has failed to work for the last thirty years, so these candidates would be wiser to rethink their immigration policies.

It is still early to anticipate who will be the candidate and what will be their proposals but we will keep an eye on all of them to see how this unfolds.

 

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Battle of the sexes over air conditioning? http://www.visa-pros.com/battle-of-the-sexes-over-air-conditioning/ http://www.visa-pros.com/battle-of-the-sexes-over-air-conditioning/#comments Thu, 06 Aug 2015 21:30:01 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2146 Continue reading ]]> A man about 40 years old, 155 pounds, white and wearing a suit. That is the measured standard for air conditioning temperatures.
At some point in the 1930s, someone defined “metabolic equivalents” — how much energy a body requires while sitting, walking and running. Almost a century later, the calculations are considered a standard for many things, including air conditioning.
But using that metabolic equivalent could be unnecessarily ramping up energy bills during summertime, researchers say, and it’s time to plug in the right numbers so that air conditioning settings aren’t biased toward men, and fewer women are reaching for the sweater.
In general, women feel colder than men do at the same air temperature. They prefer rooms at 77 Fahrenheit, while men prefer 72. Body size and fat-to-muscle ratios are largely to blame for that discrepancy.
There have been many studies over the years, from Japan to Finland, concluding that bodies of different sizes work differently, depending on their dimensions, age and gender. Men and women of exactly the same size will produce different amounts of energy, because of slight variations in body function, skin surface area, organ size and fat distribution.
In the summer, international standards recommend temperatures between 73 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit. However, a lot of places have their temperatures set 68 to 73.
We know that this also affects productivity; uncomfortably chilly or hot offices can puncture concentration and increase errors in basic tasks like typing. Multiple studies have found that 72 degrees Fahrenheit is the best temperature for productivity and learning.
Air conditioning temperature is just one standard that is coming under scrutiny as people start overhauling outdated standards based primarily on one body type.
Redesigning things to more accurately reflect the population, she says, can make life better for all, like when the cockpits of military aircraft were redesigned to fit female pilots, or when osteoporosis was reconsidered to include male patients.
What do you think about this? Do you also freeze in air conditioned places?

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Detaining families is illegal http://www.visa-pros.com/detaining-families-is-illegal/ http://www.visa-pros.com/detaining-families-is-illegal/#comments Tue, 04 Aug 2015 16:12:54 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2144 Continue reading ]]> A year ago we saw how 70,000 people from Central America crossed the U.S. border asking for asylum. The government was overwhelmed and unprepared to accommodate this large number of refugees, most of which were women and children. Meanwhile, all these families were detained in several facilities in deplorable conditions.
On July 24th, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee ruled that the Obama Administration’s practice of detaining immigrant families violates the 1997 settlement in Flores v. Meese and that all families, excluding those who pose a flight or national security risk, must be released as soon as possible.
The Flores settlement sets guidelines for the detention of unaccompanied migrant children. If detained, they must be held in the least restrictive environment possible and cared for by licensed professionals. Judge Gee ruled that this also applied to children detained with their mothers. She has given the federal government until August 3, 2015 to respond, or she will implement measures to enforce her ruling.
Currently, 1,700 mothers and children are being detained, even after Department of Homeland Security began the release of some of them who have demonstrated a credible fear of returning to their country. According to the Women’s Refugee Commission, 88% of recently detained mothers have passed screenings for credible fear of return to their countries of origin.
Advocates and immigrant associations welcomed Judge Dolly Gee ruling and are waiting to see the government’s reaction.

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Meet Alina http://www.visa-pros.com/meet-alina/ http://www.visa-pros.com/meet-alina/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 18:32:00 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2138 Continue reading ]]> My name is Alina Cox and I was born and raised in Romania. I never had the fascination about America like other people do. I simply did not think that one must live in the U.S. to be happy. I lived in my own bubble in Cluj- Napoca, not knowing that bigger and better things could happen in my life until I met Jonathan, an American citizen who was visiting my country.

At that time I was attending law school and about to graduate from the university. We immediately fell in love and decided to get married. The big question arose, how do we even make this union possible? Romanian citizens cannot travel to the U.S. unless they have a tourist visa and at that time most tourist visas were denied to Romanian citizens. We wanted to do the right thing, play by the book and get the right visa. Jonathan is a very cautious person, he likes to research a lot and he took this huge task on himself and decided to apply for a fiancée visa by himself. He built a strong case by documenting every detail about our relationship. We were very nervous. Our whole destiny depended upon approval by the American government. After the USCIS application was approved, the next step was for me to attend the interview at the U.S. Embassy in Bucarest.

I still remember that day. It was very nerve-wrecking. I was so nervous that I even forgot my engagement ring at home. I played so many scenarios in my head about how to explain to the officer why I did not bring my ring with me. At the interview, a girl in front of me got denied and she left the Embassy crying. Now, it was my turn. Can you guess what happened? I stood in front of the officer, she asked a lot of questions but nothing about the ring, and then she said: “Have a nice trip to America!” I was amazed. Speechless. A new chapter in my life was starting to unfold. I flew to America soon after the interview. I remember how my husband held my hand into his telling me that everything was going to be “OK”.

Looking back, the only thing I would have done differently is hiring an attorney. It took us months of research and being separated, as well as very high stress levels that could have been avoided if we had quality legal representation. Now, after 7 years of living here and after becoming a U.S. citizen, I can say that I found my happiness in America next to my husband and our daughter.

The major difference I still encounter in the American culture versus the Romanian one is that America has a great ability to embrace so many different people from all over the world and offer them a home. Even though I could practice law in Romania, I can only work as a paralegal in the U.S. because of the U.S. BAR requirements. I love being an immigration paralegal because I want to help other foreigners like me to obtain legal status in the U.S. and I like Weinstock Immigration lawyers because they are so determined to make this dream come true for their clients.

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WORLD DAY AGAINST TRAFFICKING http://www.visa-pros.com/world-day-against-trafficking/ http://www.visa-pros.com/world-day-against-trafficking/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 15:26:16 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2134 Continue reading ]]> IMG_0493

Each year millions of women, men and children are trafficked for profit. They are sexually exploited, made to undertake work in homes, farms and factories across the globe, and find themselves victims of one of the many other forms of abuse such as forced marriage or organ removal.

At least 152 countries of origin and 124 countries of destination are affected by trafficking in persons, and over 510 trafficking flows crisscrossing the world, so no country is immune. A closer look shows that Atlanta is at the top of the national list in human trafficking in the U.S. Society’s most vulnerable appear to be increasingly targeted by those responsible for this crime: 33 per cent of known victims are children. Girls make up two out of every three child victims. Together with women, they now account for 70 per cent of trafficked persons worldwide.

Yet legislation in some countries still fails to cover all forms of trafficking and their victims, leaving billions of people inadequately protected and vulnerable. In some areas this has resulted in extremely low levels of action against traffickers.

There is an equal urgency to provide support services to those directly affected by traffickers.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his statement for the World Day urged support for the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons. This is a mechanism which works with NGO partners across the globe to help survivors of this crime, providing shelter, basic health services, vocational training and schooling, as well as psychosocial, legal and economic support.

If you are or know somebody who is suffering this, ask for help. You can call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1 (888) 373-7888.

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2,600 DACA 3-YEAR GRANTS TO BE TAKEN AWAY http://www.visa-pros.com/2600-daca-3-year-grants-to-be-taken-away/ http://www.visa-pros.com/2600-daca-3-year-grants-to-be-taken-away/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 16:25:42 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2132 Continue reading ]]> Last week the federal government announced that it would take more aggressive steps to retrieve 2,600 3-year DACA grants. This move stems from developments in Texas v. United States, the legal challenge to expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA).
Expanded DACA and DAPA were announced in a memo. Among other things, that memo says that effective November 24, 2014, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) was to begin issuing 3-year DACA grants to people who meet the requirements for the DACA program. And that’s exactly what the government did. In fact, after that date, USCIS issued around 108,000 3-year DACA grants in the form of work permits. On February 16, 2015, Andrew Hanen handed down a preliminary injunction that ordered a temporary halt to the implementation of expanded DACA and DAPA. That injunction, however, does not apply to the original (2012) DACA program, which has been and continues to operate normally.
After February 16, 2015, the government stopped issuing 3-year work permits. However, USCIS mailed about 2,600 3-year work permits after the injunction. The judge considers the issuance of these to violate his injunction. The government has been able to obtain some of these 3-year work permits, but not all. And Judge Hanen is up in arms. Judge Hanen has set a deadline of July 31 for an update on the status of the retractions.
Only those 3-year DACA work permits that were issued or mailed to the DACA recipient after the date of the preliminary injunction in Texas v. United States (February 16, 2015) must be sent back.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association has posted a Practice Alert that breaks everything down. It identifies all of the steps the government has taken and will continue to take in order to comply with the judge’s order. It also includes hyperlinks to the letters sent to affected individuals.

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Modernizing the application process http://www.visa-pros.com/modernizing-the-application-process/ http://www.visa-pros.com/modernizing-the-application-process/#comments Tue, 21 Jul 2015 16:51:01 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2103 Continue reading ]]> There is clearly not an answer of how to fix the U.S. immigration system. It is such a difficult issue that politicians on both side of the aisle are not even capable to agree on what exactly it means to fix the U.S. immigration process.
However, there is one thing we can all agree on: apply for a U.S visa is a long complicated process. And this has nothing to do with politics and all to do with paper. When applying for a visa, the candidate has to deal with mountains of paper which will later manually handled from one government agency to another.
One of the not-so talked about things to fix named by President Obama in his executive action last November was to modernize the way visa applications are processed.
After months of research, the U.S. Digital Service Team aims to cut down the amount of paper involved in the visa application and recommending systems that would improve communication between government agencies. They also released a report where they include recommendations such as making sure that applicants can pay all the fees for the visa process at once, rather than facing intermittent fees throughout the process.
Some of the recommendations in the report are already being tested by government agencies. A so-called modern immigrant visa program is being piloted this year at consulates in Montreal, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, and Sydney, and the program is set to expand next year.
These fixes are just a bandaid on the gaping wound that is our convoluted and at times unjust immigration system. And yet, they could at least serve to ensure that no one has trouble securing a visa simply because the application is too complex. That, at least, is a good place to start.

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ARE COMPLIMENTS GOOD OR BAD? http://www.visa-pros.com/are-compliments-good-or-bad/ http://www.visa-pros.com/are-compliments-good-or-bad/#comments Thu, 16 Jul 2015 09:00:14 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2075 Continue reading ]]> If our self-esteem is low, nice words, no matter how sincere, fall on deaf ears. There are extremely worthy people that even feel negligible. No matter how much you try to encourage them by mentioning their strengths, words don’t even get in their heads. You feel completely useless trying to make them see themselves through your own eyes.

We reject compliments when we believe we are not worthy of them. But this is not the only reason- sometimes, rejecting a compliment is a ploy of our ego. At times, we are not the ones reacting to them, but our body. We blush and look down as if we wanted to be invisible.

Not accepting praise is almost a matter of good manners. If we did, we could be implying that we think we deserve them; paradoxically, that is not well received in our society. Therefore, when somebody confirms that our work is well done, what the rule says is that we should follow protocol and not accept it.

Even though accepting a compliment may seem vain, deep down it is a sign of humbleness. Insecurity lives inside every human being. It is a sign of identity. Precisely because of this, we need and must accept a compliment. By doing so, we are showing that we need it. Arrogance would make us act like we don’t need it because we are completely self assured.

FreeCompliment

There are, however, disingenuous compliments. How to expose these, distinguish from the authentic? It is not an easy task.  Maybe it is not a matter of separating the real from the fake compliments, but look at where they take us. For instance, if you are complimented on how well you do something, and right after you are asked to do a project and you accept it. The important thing here is not if the compliment was or was not real, but if you wanted to do the job or not.

At times, praise changes from good to bad. We cannot live without them. And we fall in the trap of forgetting what we really like to go searching the praise. A good example is the Facebook “like”: do we enjoy more eating a wonderful meal or the amount of “likes” that it gets online?

Not all compliments are received equally. Some are self-interested and turn out toxic. Others smell like politeness and don’t really have any effect. The ones that really nourish us are the ones that come from deep down. What we like about them is the specifics- it is not the same “good job” that “I like how you worded your paper, it has a really good structure and presentation”. Detailing it makes it more authentic and helps us improve.

Knowing this, what would happen if today everybody would start giving honest compliments to others and avoiding the “polite” ones?

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New study shows the benefits of DACA http://www.visa-pros.com/new-study-shows-the-benefits-of-daca/ http://www.visa-pros.com/new-study-shows-the-benefits-of-daca/#comments Tue, 14 Jul 2015 15:11:37 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2072 Continue reading ]]> The opportunities of children who were brought undocumented before the age of 16 have improved since the DACA program came into action in 2012. Last week a study showed the improvement in the lives of the so-called Dreamers.

The report, by the Center for American Progress, National Immigration Law Center, and Tom K. Wong of the University of California, surveyed Dreamers to gauge economic and educational effects of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.

The survey found that 76 percent of DACA recipients were employed, while 20 percent were in school and not working. Forty-five percent were working and in school. Of those who were working, 69 percent said they had better pay after gaining coverage from the program and 54 percent said they had better working conditions.

The higher wages mean more tax revenue and economic growth, suggesting that the program benefits the economy, according to the study. Many of the findings had already been seen in other studies, but the significant jump in wages was a surprise. Theoretical studies projected wages would rise an average of about 8.5 percent for DACA recipients — far less than the 45 percent jump shown in the survey.

The report found that 89 percent of DACA recipients had received a driver’s license, and 21 percent bought their first car. Undoubtedly this helps the economy positively, unlike what the lawsuit against the Executive Action proposed by the President in November suggest. Maybe this study has some effect in the decision that will be made after the hearing last Friday on U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

A decision date by the Fifth Circuit Court on the legality of Obama’s 2014 deferred action programs is unknown.

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Turning away foreign talent will be costly for US competitiveness http://www.visa-pros.com/turning-away-foreign-talent-will-be-costly-for-us-competitiveness/ http://www.visa-pros.com/turning-away-foreign-talent-will-be-costly-for-us-competitiveness/#comments Thu, 09 Jul 2015 15:10:17 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2053 Continue reading ]]> We’ve known for years now about the growth potential of the tech sector, but we had no idea that it would outpace other sectors so quickly. There aren’t enough native-born people to fill highly specialized STEM field vacancies, and yet critical positions seem to multiply.

The reality in many STEM education programs at American universities is that more than half of the graduate students are foreign-born, and nearly a third of them will be forced to turn down opportunities to work at American tech companies. And so, with their diploma in hand, much of our domestically educated but foreign-born talent is forced to leave the country after graduation to return to their home or other countries where they will use their top-tier American education for the benefit of the U.S.’s global competitors.

Additionally, the infrastructure that supports our technology sector crosses borders. If we don’t do something, we may wake up tomorrow to find that the next or even current era of tech companies have set up shop in Dublin or Shanghai. Microsoft is exemplifying this with its decision to open a new training center in Vancouver, Canada, only a few hours’ drive from its global headquarters in Washington State.

Other companies are seeking the more modern immigration regulations to the north. Amazon, Salesforce, Twitter and Facebook purchased additional office space in Canada and posted numerous job openings to fill the new expansion efforts. Whether it’s Canada or Costa Rica, major U.S. tech companies are demonstrating a willingness to shift operations wherever they need to remain competitive.

To compound the problem, some American policy-makers, like Mr. Trump, are looking at immigration in the wrong way. Immigration reform is vital to sustaining U.S. economic growth and ensuring American competitiveness through an increased talent pool of STEM workers, but it also happens to bolster, rather than detract from, native-born U.S. workers’ incomes.

Since 1990, skilled STEM immigrants have accounted for more than a third of total U.S. productivity, meeting demand for skilled workers and driving industry innovation and productivity. The data shows that 187 new American jobs are created for every 100 H-1B visa holders admitted. That’s real growth.

Should America’s tech industry continue to outgrow immigration reform, we may one day be waving as it leaves our shores and goes abroad altogether. Perhaps then, Mr. Trump, you will understand that technological innovation, much like your merchandise, can also be “made in China.”

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A 4 year old US citizen been deported? Yes, it happens. http://www.visa-pros.com/a-4-year-old-us-citizen-been-deported-yes-it-happens/ http://www.visa-pros.com/a-4-year-old-us-citizen-been-deported-yes-it-happens/#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2015 13:31:48 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2050 Continue reading ]]> After more than two years of litigation, the U.S. government has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by Leonel Ruiz on behalf of his youngest daughter, alleging that in 2011 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) detained and deported his then 4-year-old U.S. citizen daughter.

When the child arrived at Dulles Airport in Virginia she was detained and deprived of any contact with her parents; then held for twenty hours in CBP custody with her grandfather and given nothing to eat other than a cookie and soda and no place to nap—and then deported to Guatemala as her parents awaited her arrival in New York.

After her deportation, the child’s father hired a local attorney to fly to Guatemala to retrieve her. Once home she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of her detention and her separation from her parents. The lawsuit, filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), sought damages for the harm she suffered as a result of this ordeal. In June, the government agreed to pay her family $32,500 to settle the case.

This is the latest indictment of an agency that treats individuals with little regard, humanity or decency. This small measure of justice is a victory, but much more has to be done to hold CBP accountable for the way it treats individuals in its custody.

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HAPPY 4TH OF JULY! http://www.visa-pros.com/happy-4th-of-july/ http://www.visa-pros.com/happy-4th-of-july/#comments Sat, 04 Jul 2015 09:00:30 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2035 happy-4th-of-july-2012-fireworks-flag-usa

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You are fired, Mr. Trump! http://www.visa-pros.com/you-are-fired-mr-trump/ http://www.visa-pros.com/you-are-fired-mr-trump/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 10:00:00 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2042 Continue reading ]]> Donald Trump’s fortune has a new use for him: financing his racist speech. The millionaire’s insults to the Mexican immigrants (who he defined as drug dealers and rapists- see post below) is having consequences for him in the last days.

It was first Univision and NBC followed publicly saying that they were breaking their contracts with his companies because of his statements about the Mexican immigrants. This Monday Carlos Slim, the second richest man of the world, and Televisa (the biggest media group in Spanish) turned their backs on him too.

Both Ora Tv, founded by Slim and presenter Larry King, have canceled a project for a program they had together with one of Trump’s companies. This was announced by Slim’s spokesperson with the argument that cooperation with somebody so narrow-minded would not work for them. According to them, Trump’s comments were unmistakably racists.

Televisa has also said that they will not participate in any communication project related with Donald Trump. They argue that he has not showed any understanding or respect towards the Mexican immigrants and he has offended the whole Mexican population. It is important to remember that Televisa has 46% of the Mexican television audience.

The reactions to Trump’s words continue. On Tuesday it was announced that Mexico will not be competing in Miss Universe pageant 2015 and celebrities such as Rob Schneider or Cher have openly criticized his speech.

Both Univision’s and NBC’s reject create an urgent problem to the millionaire, as they were the broadcasters of Miss USA pageant in July and Miss Universe in January. Ironically these two show the big presence of the latino world. Their current queens are the Colombian Paulina Vega (Miss Universe 2014) and Miss USA Nia Sanchez, granddaughter of a Mexican.

In addition to this, Macy’s declared yesterday that they are removing Donald Trump brand merchandise from their stores, saying that the company “stands for diversity” and have zero tolerance for discrimination.

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PYGMALION EFFECT http://www.visa-pros.com/pygmalion-effect/ http://www.visa-pros.com/pygmalion-effect/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 16:45:59 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2038 Pygmalion effect. Is it real or just how we justify our choices? Do we fulfill the expectations on us regardless of what we would be capable of? What do you think?

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six keys for happiness (according to Harvard University) http://www.visa-pros.com/six-keys-for-happiness-according-to-harvard-university/ http://www.visa-pros.com/six-keys-for-happiness-according-to-harvard-university/#comments Thu, 25 Jun 2015 14:00:13 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2021 Continue reading ]]> It seems clearer that the new gold fever has nothing to do with becoming a millionaire or finding the source for eternal youth. The most hoped for is happiness; an abstract, subjective idea that everybody talks about. Israeli professor Tal Ben-Shahar, expert in Positive Psychology in Harvard University, has been testing some keys with his own Psychology students. He says that happiness is something that can be learnt, like a sport or a foreign language.
According to him, the secret resides in accepting life as it is, and this will free you from fear of failure and perfectionist expectations.
These are his six top pieces of advice to feel lucky and happy. They are worth a try, don’t you think?
1. Forgive your failures. Moreover, celebrate them! Just like it is useless to complain about the gravity effect on Earth, it is impossible to try to avoid negative emotions. They are part of live itself and are as natural as joy, happiness and well-being. Accepting negative emotions we will be able to open to enjoy positivity and happiness. It is about giving us the right to be human and forgive our weakness.
2. Don’t take the good things for granted: be thankful for them. Big things as well as small things. We have the fixation to believe that good things are supposed to come to us and will always be there and this is not realistic at all.
3. Exercise. You don’t need to spend long hours in the gym or run 15 miles every day. All you require is to do some gentle exercise, like walking 30 minutes a day so that your brain secrets endorphins, the substance that makes us feel drugged with happiness by causing pleasure and reducing pain.
4. Aim for simpler options, both in your leisure time and at work. Identify what is the truly important and focus on it. It is better to do this than to try to do everything at the same time. This can not only be applied for your job, sometimes it is better to turn off your phone and disconnect from everything when you are spending time with the family.
5. Learn to meditate. It is proven that it is a stress reliever. In the long run, it helps coping better with the bad things in life, overcoming crisis with more strength and being ourselves under any circumstance. It is also the perfect time to direct our thoughts towards the positive side. Even though it may not guarantee success, it will for certain bring you a wonderful moment of peace.
6. Practice a new ability: resilience. Happiness depends on our mental state. More specifically, it is determined by what do we focus on and attribute success and failure. Resilience, a concept very popular due to the recent economic crisis, has to do with the opportunity offered in failure. It is a term that, when we talk about people, refers to the ability of a person to deal with difficult live conditions or traumatic situations, being able to overcome them with more strength.
So, want to try if these work? Do you have any more keys that you want to share?

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The race to the White House starts http://www.visa-pros.com/the-race-to-the-white-house-starts/ http://www.visa-pros.com/the-race-to-the-white-house-starts/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 15:27:23 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2019 Continue reading ]]> As the 2016 Republican presidential field toughens its tone on border security and enforcement, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has drawn a distinction on immigration by embracing comprehensive reforms such as a pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers already in the United States.
The contrast between Clinton and the Republican White House prospects grew sharper this week with the entry into the race of real-estate developer Donald Trump, who announced his candidacy with a speech describing Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and vowing to build a border wall at Mexico’s expense. “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people,” Trump said of immigrants from Mexico. Trump’s comments were a distraction from the official entry into the race of Jeb Bush, a more moderate GOP presidential candidate who supports immigration reform.

One political scientist said that while the Republicans must finesse immigration-related issues so as not to alienate anti-“amnesty” conservatives who are influential in the GOP primary, Clinton’s pro-reform stance appeals not only to Democratic primary voters but also to less partisan general-election voters.
Even so, Clinton’s pro-immigration agenda is a recent development for her and a break from the policies of her husband, former President Bill Clinton, under whose administration, the United States started the “big militarization of the border” through Operation Gatekeeper, which was aimed at stopping illegal immigration along the U.S.-Mexico border south of San Diego by deploying more Border Patrol agents, and installing fencing, ground sensors, lights and other technology.

Clinton also signed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, a sweeping bill passed by the Republican-controlled Congress that was aimed at cracking down on undocumented immigrants through a wide range of punishments. However, there is big doubts that Bill Clinton’s old positions on border security and immigration enforcement will hurt Hillary Clinton with Latinos.

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Our talk with Midtown Business Radio http://www.visa-pros.com/our-talk-with-midtown-business-radio/ http://www.visa-pros.com/our-talk-with-midtown-business-radio/#comments Thu, 18 Jun 2015 21:25:34 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=2014 Karen, our managing attorney, was in an interview with Charles Hall from Midtown Business Radio last Tuesday.
We are happy to share the podcast here with you all. Just hit play! And feel free to comment below.

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They are parents, not numbers http://www.visa-pros.com/count-them-as-parents-not-numbers/ http://www.visa-pros.com/count-them-as-parents-not-numbers/#comments Thu, 11 Jun 2015 20:41:59 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1991 Continue reading ]]> Recent studies show that at least one of every 15 children living in the United States has an undocumented parent, and nearly all of those children are native-born United States citizens.

Think of this number next time you go pick up your child at school, or when you drive by a playground. Does it seem fair to take away the parents of these children? While it is debatable whether there is blame to attach to the parents, there is no reason to punishing their children, who are citizens of the United States. And yet, they are been punished every day and deprived of fair chances that other children have.

Fear and uncertainty live in their homes and they know that their parents can be deported at any time. A Los Angeles study found that 43 percent of children with a father legalized in the 1986 immigration reform act received some college education, compared with 14 percent of similar children whose father remained an unauthorized immigrant. Legalization can place these young people on a life trajectory equal to that of their peers.

If we look at this evidence, the challenge is not so much to close the borders, but to protect and offer a better chance to these children.

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How to boost highly-skilled immigration? http://www.visa-pros.com/how-to-boost-high-skilled-immigration/ http://www.visa-pros.com/how-to-boost-high-skilled-immigration/#comments Thu, 11 Jun 2015 00:43:11 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1994 Continue reading ]]> Representatives from both parties seem to agree that highly-skilled immigrants are a valuable asset to the U.S. economy. However, they disagree on what to do about it and how to regulate the immigration process for highly skilled professionals, the best and the brightest.

While the Democratic party seems to support a comprehensive reform, increasing the number of visas, green cards and easing the process for foreign entrepreneurs, the Republicans talk about a step-by-step change and are more focused on the economic side of it. Many Republican representatives say they support legal immigration but they object to increasing the H-1B cap and employment-based immigrant visas concealing their true colors as anti-immigrants.

The problem seems to be the specifics of how to do it. This is something that requires a long term solution, as it has a really big impact on millions of people’s lives as well as our economic growth. One highly skilled immigrant supports at least one U.S. additional jobs, and in many case more than that.

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It might seem crazy, but less and less people are coming through the southern border http://www.visa-pros.com/it-might-seem-crazy-but-less-and-less-people-are-coming-through-the-southern-border/ http://www.visa-pros.com/it-might-seem-crazy-but-less-and-less-people-are-coming-through-the-southern-border/#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 18:28:35 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1997 Continue reading ]]> Maybe this will come to you as a shock, but fewer people are trying to come into the United States across the southern border than in the last decade and a half.

At the peak of the immigration crisis in 2000, 1.6 million undocumented immigrants entered the country. Since 2012, the numbers are around 400,000 and estimates are that it will be even lower for this fiscal year. However, conservatives are crying wolf about an illegal invasion that threatens our way of life and our values. If we look at numbers, demographers, who get their numbers from the Census, estimate the undocumented immigration population to be around 12 million, versus the 30 million that conservatives are claiming.

Additionally, a number of studies show a remarkable decline not just in the number of Mexicans immigrating without visas, but also in the number who wish to come here overall.

Wayne Cornelius, who surveys Mexicans from the state of Yucatan, found a decline in the number who said that were planning to come to the United States. In 2006, 24% of those surveyed said they were planning to come in the next 12 months. By 2009 the number had dropped to 8 percent. This year, it is down to 2.5%.

These numbers are supported by official statistics that show Chinese immigrants replaced Mexicans as the largest group of new foreign-born persons last year.

Another reason this number has declined is the increased presence of enforcement in the southern border. We’ve more than doubled our number of border agents to more than 18,000 now.

We spend more on Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection and the Office of Biometric Identity Management — some $16.2 billion last year — than on all other federal criminal law-enforcement combined (including the FBI, Drug Enforcement, Secret Service, Federal Marshal Service and Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives).

So why continue to talk about an “immigration invasion” from Mexico? Who does it benefit?

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What happens behind immigrant detention centers’ doors? http://www.visa-pros.com/what-happens-behind-immigrant-detention-centers-doors/ http://www.visa-pros.com/what-happens-behind-immigrant-detention-centers-doors/#comments Tue, 02 Jun 2015 16:27:43 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1989 Continue reading ]]> Any given day, up to 34,000 undocumented immigrants are held in Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers. ICE says its mission is to “find and remove illegal aliens who are criminals, fugitives or recent arrivals.” 61 percent of undocumented immigrants who are detained and deported are not criminals. More specifically, 50 percent of those who do have criminal records were convicted of non-violent crimes, like traffic offenses. So why are they still detaining and deporting them? Here is a possible answer, by AJ+’s Francesca Fiorentini:

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Patrizia, actress & model http://www.visa-pros.com/patrizia-actress-model/ http://www.visa-pros.com/patrizia-actress-model/#comments Fri, 29 May 2015 21:12:44 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1980 Continue reading ]]> Patrizia arrived in NYC in October 2011. She is an Italy born German citizen who worked in major TV productions in her home country, Germany. At that point in her life, she felt that she needed a change. She first thought of doing volunteering work in Africa, but the organization required a long term commitment so she changed her plans and decided to fly to New York instead, for some cultural experience and inspiration. As a German citizen, Patrizia could enter the United States with the ESTA visa waiver program. She felt that the cultural activities and the fun that the city offered were exactly what she needed as a time-off period to rethink about her life and plan for the future.

Patrizia soon discovered that the US and New York in particular had a lot to offer her with respect to her acting career. She met many people from the film industry and received several offers and auditions for film productions. When she met filmmaker Ric Klass, who wanted her to take part in his upcoming projects, she decided to move to the US for a while and pursue the opportunities that unfolded to her.

After two years of going back and forth from Germany to the US with ESTA to participate in several of Ric’s projects, Patrizia decided she would give it a try and live more permanently in the United States. Through a friend, she was recommended to us and thanks to our team’s hard work she got her O-1 artist visa for three years. This enabled her to live in New York City and pursue her dream of acting and modeling.

She was last seen in the motion picture Avalanche Sharks and has been doing acting and modeling work in the last several months and who knows? She may be starring in the next blockbuster film that you go to the movie theater to see. Here are some pictures she gladly shared with us.

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Another stone in the way of Executive Action http://www.visa-pros.com/another-stone-in-the-way-of-executive-action/ http://www.visa-pros.com/another-stone-in-the-way-of-executive-action/#comments Thu, 28 May 2015 14:28:10 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1978 Continue reading ]]> A federal appeals court has denied this Tuesday a request from Justice Department attorneys to allow President Barack Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration to go into effect.

The decision made public this Tuesday is not the end of the matter, as the federal district court still must decide the ultimate issue of whether Obama’s program is constitutional.  Meanwhile, the Administration still could appeal the decision not to lift the injunction to the U.S. Supreme Court.

This is also something that will most likely effect the candidates for the presidency in the election next year, as immigration is one of the key topics discussed during their campaigns so we will see the reaction of the different candidates.

We will wait to see how it all unveils and keep you informed.

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Hillary Clinton’s new hire for her campaign http://www.visa-pros.com/hillary-clintons-new-hire-for-her-campaign/ http://www.visa-pros.com/hillary-clintons-new-hire-for-her-campaign/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 15:55:03 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1975 Continue reading ]]> Perhaps the name Lorella Praeli is not familiar to you. She is the new director of Latino outreach for Clinton’s campaign. The announcement was made last week and it shows the intentions of the Democrat candidate. Lorella is a DREAMer. She came from Peru when she was 10 years old and has been director of policy and advocacy for United We Dream for a few years now. She received her green card an 2012 and knows very well the issues and problems that an immigrant has to face. Her sister is now under DACA program and her mother is a potential applicant for the executive action program announced by the President in November 2014 if it goes forward.

Lorella’s background as an activist is very important as she’s part of a cohort of young immigrant rights activists (mostly DREAMers) who have learned the ins and outs of how political change happens largely on their own. You don’t have to agree with their goals or their tactics to recognize how influential they’ve become, not just with other immigration advocacy groups but within Latino politics as a whole. They’ve become effective organizers, seasoned lobbyists, and political strategists. They led the push for executive action on immigration in the first term of the Obama administration, and made it something that both the Obama administration and the Clinton campaign are staking their relationship with Latinos on.

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Happy Memorial Day Weekend!!! http://www.visa-pros.com/happy-memorial-day-weekend/ http://www.visa-pros.com/happy-memorial-day-weekend/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 14:47:13 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1971 Happy Memorial day background

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Do you remember Elian? http://www.visa-pros.com/do-you-remember-elian/ http://www.visa-pros.com/do-you-remember-elian/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 18:05:35 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1968 Continue reading ]]> 2000+Elian+Gonzalez

How could we forget the picture? It was June 2000, a six year old was in a closet with a US military pointing at him with a weapon. This put an end to six months of litigation between his father, who lived in Cuba and family members residing in the US about his custody.

It all started when a five year old boy was rescued from the sea after the boat in which he traveled from Cuba with his mother capsized in the Atlantic. All the 12 adults in the boat died at sea, while Elián was found floating a few miles from Miami. His grandfather lived in Miami and asked that the child stay with him, while his father started a fight to bring his son back to Cuba.

The first part of the story is the same as hundreds of Cubans’ who try to get to the US every day in search of a better life. What makes this story unique is the fact that it divided the Cubans living in Miami and the public opinion about who should Elián stay with. A family issue was turned into a political fight between two governments.

Six months after he got to Miami, he was brought back with his father in Cuba and he became a symbol for the Cuban government. In recent interviews, a 20 year old engineering student remembers that traumatic experience as a kidnapping. He is happy that his father won the battle and that he got to grow up in the country he was born with his family. However, in an interview yesterday with ABC he stated that he would like to come to the US to visit and he would forgive his family members living here if they apologized.

 

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The “Door of Hope” http://www.visa-pros.com/the-door-of-hope/ http://www.visa-pros.com/the-door-of-hope/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 16:55:59 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1966 Continue reading ]]> This last Sunday was Mother’s day. However, not all moms could have the opportunity to celebrate with their children and families. In the border between Tijuana and San Diego families have to see each other and talk through a fenced door. And so days, months and years go by and women who are deported won’t leave Tijuana so they can be a little closer to their USC children even if they can only see them through a fence.

However, thanks to the organization “Angels of the border” (Angeles de la frontera), two of these moms had the opportunity to hug their children for two minutes. Lourdes Barraza was deported two and a half years ago and since then didn’t have the opportunity to hug her 9 and 11 year old children. Yolanda Varona hadn’t seen her daughter and granddaughter in 5 years until border patrol agents allowed her to cross the “door of hope” to hug them for two minutes. Closely watched to make sure she was not crossing the white symbolic line that separates the two countries, she could feel the touch of her daughter and encourage her to be brave while she is trying to find a way to reunite with her again.

You can see a video here.

 

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Awaz’s family reunion http://www.visa-pros.com/awazs-family-reunion/ http://www.visa-pros.com/awazs-family-reunion/#comments Thu, 30 Apr 2015 16:32:41 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1959 Continue reading ]]> Awaz and her husband came to the United States from Iraq years ago escaping the unrest and turmoil in hopes of a better life for themselves and most of all for their newly born daughter. Awaz left everything behind including her parents and all of her family for the chance to raise her daughter in a place that offers the best opportunities for her future. After becoming a U.S. citizen, Awaz wanted nothing more than to bring her parents to the United States. She had not seen them for years because she could not travel back to Iraq and they were not allowed visas to the United States. She started the process but faced endless and frustrating delays with the National Visa Center. She continuously provided the necessary documents only for the National Visa Center to ask for them all over again. Her parents’ case went on for several years unnecessarily. Meanwhile, the conflict in the region where her parents lived in the North was escalating after the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. Desperate to complete the green card process for her parents, she reached out to our firm to handle her case. She recounts that all she wanted was the luxury of having her parents over for dinner and to sit in her own living room, and be involved in their granddaughter’s life, something she had not ever been able to do in her lifetime and something people often take for granted. After a few months of working with our office and the U.S. embassy in Iraq, Awaz’s parents received their immigrant visas and were able to be reunited after so many years.

Awaz, her husband, and her daughter have lived the United States for more than 20 years but finally their happiness and family is now complete. Awaz does not regret her sacrifice so many years ago. Her parents received their permanent residency but also the opportunity to finally live with their family in a place where they do not have to fear for their daily safety.

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Over 11,000 Dreamers are having delays in their work permit renewals http://www.visa-pros.com/over-11-000-dreamers-are-having-delays-in-their-work-permit-renewals/ http://www.visa-pros.com/over-11-000-dreamers-are-having-delays-in-their-work-permit-renewals/#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 14:36:27 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1956 Continue reading ]]> Over 11,000 young immigrants in the United States who could get the DACA program in 2012 have been suffering stress due to the delay of the renewal of their work permit. According to the regulation, they are supposed to request renewal between 120 and 150 days before it expires. However, the administration has suffered delays. USCIS admitted the situation and argued that the reason why it happened is that they needed to check the information of the applicants and making sure that it did not change from when they applied. Over 600.000 young people are under DACA program since it started in 2012. The government approved 148,171 renewals of work permit as of today, according to USCIS. For a lot of these people, the issue was not the non possibility of working, but also the driving license. It is a very stressful situation to be waiting for the renewal once the permit has already expired.

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NEW STUDY FINDS UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS PAY $11.8B IN TAXES http://www.visa-pros.com/new-study-finds-undocumented-immigrants-pay-11-8b-in-taxes/ http://www.visa-pros.com/new-study-finds-undocumented-immigrants-pay-11-8b-in-taxes/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 17:42:07 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1947 Continue reading ]]> A new study of the fiscal implications of illegal immigration nationwide shows that millions of undocumented immigrants are paying billion of dollars in taxes. This would substantially increase if President Obama’s executive action goes forward.

The 50-state analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy released on Thursday found that roughly 8.1 million of 11.4 million undocumented immigrants who work paid more than $11.8 billion in state and local taxes in 2012, even while they were living illegally in the country.

These results come as we are waiting for news on the court challenge brought by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and other Republican state officials who claim Obama exceeded his constitutional authority and that the measures proposed would harm the economy of their states.

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) is a non-profit, non-partisan research organization that works on federal, state, and local tax policy issues. Here are its key findings:

Undocumented immigrants contribute significantly to state and local taxes, collectively paying an estimated $11.84 billion in 2012.

The effective state and local tax rate for undocumented immigrants’ nationwide   is about 8 percent.

Under the light of these numbers, who can really argue that there will be benefits for all the states and cities welcoming these immigrants? Estimations say that if the 11.4 million undocumented immigrants were able to regularize their status, state and local tax contributions would go up by an estimated $2.2 billion a year.

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First overview on H-1B petitions for FY2016 http://www.visa-pros.com/first-overview-on-h-1b-petitions-for-fy2016/ http://www.visa-pros.com/first-overview-on-h-1b-petitions-for-fy2016/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 18:18:16 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1942 Continue reading ]]> “Business Plan” by patrisyuUSCIS announced that it finished the H-1B lottery, to select petitions to meet the FY2016 cap. USCIS stated it will begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases by April 27, but no later than May 11, 2015. USCIS received nearly 233,000 H-1B petitions during the FY2016 filing period, for a total quota of 85,000 per year, so the percentages do not bode well for employers or employees this year, or about 36%, which is the most H-1B petitions.

USCIS has started sending receipt notices to employers and attorneys and also unfortunately rejection letters for petitions that were not selected in the lottery…. Stay tuned in the next 2-3 weeks to receive news regarding H-1B petitions that we filed…

This arbitrary cap hurts U.S. employers, it hurts job creation and stifles economic growth. Unfortunately with the current deadlock in Congress the situation is not likely to be improved in the near future….

 

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Challenges for Obama http://www.visa-pros.com/challenges-for-obama/ http://www.visa-pros.com/challenges-for-obama/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 18:07:27 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1927 Continue reading ]]> The bridge that US President Barack Obama began to build this past weekend via a historic meeting with Raúl Castro in Panama City doesn’t quite reach Havana yet. But Obama still took a major step toward connecting Washington with the rest of Latin America on Saturday.

After the 7th Summit of the Americas held in Panama, the US leader seemed to have patched up relations with the rest of the continent by formally recognizing, and meeting with, the Cuban president.

This change was well viewed by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who, after more than a year of differences with Washington over spying allegations, will travel to the United States for her first official visit on June 30. But the US president, who will leave office in January 2017, is still facing a tough battle on Capitol Hill.

Despite prior speculation, Obama didn’t announce that the US will remove Cuba from its official list of the countries that sponsor terrorism. And there is still no date set for when the two nations will reopen their embassies in Havana and Washington after more than 50 years.

Washington lawmakers will have to decide whether the United States will lift its trade embargo with Cuba – tough negotiations between the president and Congress that are expected to be hammered out in the coming months. In another thorny issue, Havana is also demanding that the United States return the land at Guantánamo Bay, which the US navy has occupied for more than a century.

Obama has not complied with his first campaign pledge to shut down the prison facility in Guantánamo, where the United States has run a military holding center for alleged terrorists since 2002.

Obama has not complied with his first campaign pledge to shut down the US prison in Guatánamo

Nevertheless, time is running out for Obama and the Democrats who will have to defend their new policy toward Cuba.

With Sunday’s announcement by former Secretary of State and former first lady Hillary Clinton that she will seek the party’s nomination for president next year, the race for the White House is expected to be tenacious if she ends up facing Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who is opposed to Obama’s foreign policy.

But it is not only Rubio. Obama still has to convince many Democrats that his nuclear pact with Iran was the best course of action.

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so, what is life? http://www.visa-pros.com/so-what-is-life/ http://www.visa-pros.com/so-what-is-life/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 18:28:45 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1924 chaplin-quote-on-life

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New program to re-unite families from Central America http://www.visa-pros.com/new-program-to-re-unite-families-from-central-america/ http://www.visa-pros.com/new-program-to-re-unite-families-from-central-america/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 15:58:40 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1921 Continue reading ]]> In recent months, the Obama administration has released a new program that allows Central American immigrants who live legally in the United States to bring family members to the country.
This new policy applies to children from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala who are facing danger. In some cases, spouses and grandchildren can also apply for this program.
This program was implemented in December, although the administration has not really promoted it besides posting announcements on agency websites. Vice President Joe Biden announced it at a summit on economic development which took place with Central American leaders in November.
The objective of this program is to prevent children from risking their lives crossing the border and protecting them from the gangs and smuggling networks.
This program applies to Central Americans because of 2008 anti-trafficking law that seeks protection of minors from that area of the world. It allows children to qualify for refugee status, apply for a green card and eventually U.S. citizenship.
If you think that you or a family member qualifies for this program, give us a call! We will be happy to help you bring your family together.

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Appeal filed to reverse a hold placed on President Barack Obama’s immigration executive action http://www.visa-pros.com/appeal-filed-to-reverse-a-hold-placed-on-president-barack-obamas-immigration-executive-action/ http://www.visa-pros.com/appeal-filed-to-reverse-a-hold-placed-on-president-barack-obamas-immigration-executive-action/#comments Thu, 02 Apr 2015 16:08:31 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1913 This Monday, the Justice Department filed an appeal to reverse a Texan judge injunction on President Obama immigration executive action.

We will be on the lookout to see what happens with this. Let’s hope it gets solved soon!

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Some of the good (scientific) reasons to laugh more http://www.visa-pros.com/some-of-the-good-scientific-reasons-to-laugh-more/ http://www.visa-pros.com/some-of-the-good-scientific-reasons-to-laugh-more/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 17:46:04 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1908 Continue reading ]]>  Photo by AKARAKINGDOMS

Photo by AKARAKINGDOMS

  1. A guffaw increases the blood pressure, boosts your immune system and makes you exercise your muscles.
  2. It increases endorphines and dopamine that get to our brain to give a wonderful feeling of pleasure.
  3. Laughter is the equivalent of a brain training, which allows you to think with more clarity.
  4. Laughing improves your heart activity and immune system. When you laugh, your blood vessels dilate and therefore, blood circulates better.
  5. Eliminates stress and lightens depression, increases your self-esteem and trust in yourself.
  6. It allows you to fight fears and phobia, as well as shyness because it is a facilitator of communication and expressing your emotions.
  7. It soothes tension, strengthens creativity and imagination.
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A family’s quest to stay together http://www.visa-pros.com/a-familys-quest-to-stay-together/ http://www.visa-pros.com/a-familys-quest-to-stay-together/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 16:39:49 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1898 Continue reading ]]> My name is Laura. I was born in Ecuador and came to the States when I was just 2 years old. Married at a young age, I had to face the biggest of fears. We had just celebrated our son’s 10th birthday and we were looking forward to go on a hiking trip the following weekend. But that all changed on the night of February 8th, 2010. That night, like every night I was waiting for my husband to come home from work so that we could have dinner together. What I didn’t know was that this night my world and that of my family would completely change. It was past midnight and he hadn’t come home nor did he answer my calls, which was very unusual of him. I finally called his job and they informed me that he had left an hour before. I thought of the worst scenarios, a car accident, someone hurting him, his car breaking down. I was terrified by the thought that something might have happened to him so I decided to drive down the road that he usually took in hopes of finding him but I could not. As I was driving back home I remembered watching the news that morning about the large number of deportations in the state of Georgia. Fear rendered through my body of the possibility that this could have happened to MY husband. Shaking and crying I hoped that this wasn’t the case, I looked up his name through the Gwinnett Co. Police department and indeed he had been detained because one of his headlights was out and he was driving without a driver’s license. They were asking for a $1,000 bond. I gathered the money to pay his bond but it was too late, as they had already put an immigration hold on him. This was only the start to what turned out to be the worst experience of my life.
My next step was to hire a good yet economical immigration attorney that could help me with my case, a decision that I would later regret. I had heard of a “good attorney” on the radio and made an appointment. Unfortunately, I did not know how to choose the right attorney. I spent thousands of dollars on an attorney who did absolutely NOTHING. The “good economical immigration attorney” ended up getting thousands of dollars from me and my husband was eventually deported back to Ecuador. One would think that a hard working father of three children that worked doubles, paid taxes and had no criminal background would be granted the opportunity to stay with his family, but unfortunately this was not the case and my family was torn apart by a broken immigration system. Feeling betrayed and deceived by my attorney and the immigration court systems I took it upon myself to research the options that I had to bring my husband back home. Although it took a little over 3 years to bring him home to us, I learned so much during the process. I learned to be strong, to never lose hope and to help many families that were going through the same situation as me. I marched for immigration reform on October of 2013, signed many petitions, made calls to senators demanding the liberation of many fathers and mothers that were detained in immigration detention centers and eventually brought my husband back to his family with a green card.

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More international students in U.S. colleges http://www.visa-pros.com/more-international-students-in-u-s-colleges/ http://www.visa-pros.com/more-international-students-in-u-s-colleges/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 14:39:41 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1896 Continue reading ]]> Over the past year the number of foreign students in U.S. schools has gone up 14 percent. They are spread around nearly 9,000 schools, but in just 5 university there are more than 10,000: the University of Southern California, Purdue University, Columbia University, the University of Illinois and New York University.

A 37% of these students are enrolled on STEM coursework (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). 86% of them are from Asia.

In the last five years, the number of female international students has gone up 68%, most of them been from China or India. A lot of U.S. technology companies would like to keep a lot more of those students in their staff than they can right now after they graduate, but at the moment offering green cards to STEM graduates and other immigration changes look a bit difficult to achieve.

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A new language was born recently. Do you speak it? http://www.visa-pros.com/a-new-language-is-born-do-you-speak-it/ http://www.visa-pros.com/a-new-language-is-born-do-you-speak-it/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 18:18:51 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1893 Continue reading ]]> Around 40 million people in the US speak a mixture of English and Spanish known as “Spanglish”. This means that this is the biggest verbal phenomenon of the last decade in the country. Latino immigration is the main reason for this. In the US there are 60 million Hispanic immigrants, which makes them the biggest minority. The reason for “Spanglish” is the immigration. However, there is not just one type, we can find “dominicanish” (Dominican Spanish and English), “Tex mex” (Mexican and English) or “Cubonix” (Cuban and English). It is a border hybrid language, as it finds the highest amount of speakers between the US-Mexico border and Puerto Rico.

Even Broadway and big cable channels have incorporated the language in their programming, as some plays and tv programs are in Spanglish. Do you speak Spanglish? Do you think it should be studied in school? Is this a new language or just the misuse of two?

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Change http://www.visa-pros.com/change/ http://www.visa-pros.com/change/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 15:59:15 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1886 Everybody can change. All it takes is to really want to and do everything in your hands to make it happen.

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2,059 immigrants arrested in the last two weeks http://www.visa-pros.com/2059-immigrants-arrested-in-the-last-two-weeks/ http://www.visa-pros.com/2059-immigrants-arrested-in-the-last-two-weeks/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 17:01:22 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1880 Continue reading ]]> In the beginning of the month, ICE did a national campaign which ended with 2,059 immigrants with criminal record arrested. The campaign, called Cross Check, resulted with 2,059 people arrested between March 1st and 5th. There have been arrests nationwhide among which there are a thousand people convicted for serious crimes, such as murder, child pornography, theft and rape. In Georgia 92 immigrants with criminal record were detained. Most of the arrests were due to minor crimes, such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

This operation is part of the Executive Action announced by President Obama, who said there would be priority of deportation of gang members and people convicted of serious crimes. However, during this operation there were also arrested 15 people who were under the DACA program.

They need to find a way to identify the people under this program to not prosecute them and only arrest the people who are a danger to society.

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H-1B applications starting soon http://www.visa-pros.com/h-1b-applications-starting-soon/ http://www.visa-pros.com/h-1b-applications-starting-soon/#comments Thu, 12 Mar 2015 19:26:37 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1878 Continue reading ]]> On April 1st USCIS will begin accepting applications for H-1B visas for FY 2016. U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science, engineering and computer programming among many others. The cap on these visas is 65,000 plus 20,000 for applicants with Master degree or higher. It is expected that the number of applicants will be significantly higher than the number of visas that will be granted. If you haven’t yet, start preparing all your documents and application forms and consult with an experienced attorney to make sure that if you are selected by the lottery everything is in order and you don’t lose your opportunity. More information about H-1B visa here.

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New regulation will allow H-4 spouses to work http://www.visa-pros.com/new-regulation-will-allow-h-4-spouses-to-work/ http://www.visa-pros.com/new-regulation-will-allow-h-4-spouses-to-work/#comments Tue, 10 Mar 2015 17:03:14 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1875 Continue reading ]]> DHS issued a regulation to extend the eligibility for work authorization to H-4 dependant spouses of certain H-1B workers. Note, it does not apply to all H-4 spouses. It only applies to people whose H-1B spouse either has (1) an approved I-140 or (2) AC-21 extension.

The AC-21 extension refers to an approved H–1B extension of stay because the H-1B worker is the beneficiary of a permanent labor certification application or an employment–based immigrant petition that was filed at least 365 days prior to reaching the end of the sixth year of H–1B status.

Currently, an H-4 spouses of H-1B worker is not allowed to work. This new regulation is not yet effective, it will take effect on May 26, 2015 and we will keep you updated soon. We are very happy DHS issued this rule, because it helps many people who wait for a long time for their employment-based green cards to come through. Now at least they will have a temporary measure to be able to legally work in the U.S.

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Love always get its way, sometimes it only takes a little help http://www.visa-pros.com/love-always-get-its-way-sometimes-it-only-takes-a-little-help/ http://www.visa-pros.com/love-always-get-its-way-sometimes-it-only-takes-a-little-help/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 14:59:44 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1868 Continue reading ]]> Four years ago, Devery Rogers, a U.S. citizen born and raised, went to Monrovia, Liberia on a missionary trip with his church. The trip really opened Devery’s eyes to the extreme poverty and living conditions in Liberia and how life there can be so very difficult.               The house where they were staying with the other missionaries had ground keepers and staff including house keepers, cooks and maids. These are locals who help the visitors in all the things they need on a daily basis. Devery used to be a chef in his previous career and loves to cook. One evening, he suggested cooking an American dinner for the staff as a gesture to thank them for their hard work helping the missionaries during their trip. They accepted and the dinner was organized for the following day. In the afternoon, two of the people took him to the local market to buy the ingredients to make an American dinner in an African kitchen. When he entered the kitchen, he was struck. It was love at first sight. From the very beginning there was a spark between him and Lovetta, one of the cooks he met that day. They became close friends immediately and maintained a long-distance relationship for some time. After some time had passed and the relationship grew, Devery proposed to Lovetta. With our help, Lovetta came to the U.S. in June 2012 with a fiancée visa and just two weeks later they got married. Now they are a happy family, which now also includes a 2-year old beautiful little girl.

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We attended the AILA conference http://www.visa-pros.com/we-attended-the-aila-conference/ http://www.visa-pros.com/we-attended-the-aila-conference/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 15:13:05 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1863 We attended the AILA annual conference on immigration law last Friday. Both Karen Weinstock and Leslie Diaz led two of the sessions, sharing their knowledge and learning from other experts.

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Obama’s executive action temporarily paralyzed http://www.visa-pros.com/obamas-executive-action-temporarily-paralyzed/ http://www.visa-pros.com/obamas-executive-action-temporarily-paralyzed/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 18:47:01 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1858 Continue reading ]]> The immigration battle gets uglier. A federal judge has temporarily put a stop to the executive action announced by the President. The White House has already confirmed that they will appeal the decision, as according to them Obama was acting within his legal authority.

The legal battle has just begun. However, due to this decision the measures are temporarily paralyzed. The first of measures announced by Barack Obama (the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals expansion) was going to be available starting tomorrow, February 18th. DACA has allowed over half a million young undocumented people who were brought to the country as children and grew up here to stop their deportation and obtain a temporary work permit over the past two years.

All the organizations that support the immigration reform have said they will continue to work for the measures announced in the executive action to be available. We will have to wait to see what happens. In the meantime, we would like to warn you: please beware of scams and don’t pay anyone to start the process until they are confirmed or effective. If you have any doubts, consult with an experienced attorney before doing anything.

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Jeb Bush seeks to attract Hispanic vote http://www.visa-pros.com/jeb-bush-seeks-to-attract-hispanic-vote/ http://www.visa-pros.com/jeb-bush-seeks-to-attract-hispanic-vote/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 15:03:47 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1856 Continue reading ]]> He is a potential candidate to the White House next year. Hispanic vote will be key in the next President election. He is married to a Mexican woman, speaks a nearly perfect Spanish and defends the immigration reform. The ex- Governor of Florida and potential White House candidate in 2016 Jeb Bush used his “biculturalism and bilingualism” as tools to bring the Republican Party closer to the Hispanic community, whose vote will be essential in the next election. He is positioned as one of the Republican candidates better positioned to attract the Hispanic vote given the fact that he is married to a Mexican, speaks very good Spanish and supports the immigration reform. One of the strategic challenges of the Republican Party is to change the perception as hostile by immigrants, who opposed the Executive Action announced by Barack Obama and is now threatening with removing the funds for it, affecting the future of over 5 million people. Mitt Romney, who took a step back and announced that he will not compete for Presidency in 2016, prepares the ground for Jeb Bush, the best positioned among the moderate fraction of the party.

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Bipartisan legislation introduced to authorize permanent EB-5 program http://www.visa-pros.com/bipartisan-legislation-introduced-to-authorize-permanent-eb-5-program/ http://www.visa-pros.com/bipartisan-legislation-introduced-to-authorize-permanent-eb-5-program/#comments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 14:58:16 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1854 Continue reading ]]> A new American Entrepreneurship and Investment Act is giving a new life to the EB-5 industry. The act is a continuum of the one introduced last year with the same name. The bill would allow for continued job creation and a more reliable stream of foreign capital.

The legislation makes improvements, by making the regional center program permanent and creates new designations for targeted employment areas. It would also require that USCIS implements a transparency policy. Processing times would be streamlined too. Proposals would have to receive an answer no later than 180 days after filed.

Regional Centers are made more resistant to fraud under the newly proposed legislation as well. New standards would be set for owners, operators, and managers to be regulated to combat fraudulent activity.

On top of this, the legislation tries to alleviate visa congestion by not requiring spouses and children of immigrant investors to count against annual visa limit.

Hopefully, the Act will be passed and changes will cooperate to tend to the high demand from foreign investors. It is exciting to see that there is discussion in the House of Representatives and comprehensive program reform might happen.

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New group photos – we are growing! http://www.visa-pros.com/new-group-photos-we-are-growing/ http://www.visa-pros.com/new-group-photos-we-are-growing/#comments Thu, 05 Feb 2015 18:37:26 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1836 group 1 standing center IMG_0078

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Instagram co-founder wants easier process for immigrants entering tech http://www.visa-pros.com/instagram-co-founder-wants-easier-process-for-immigrants-entering-tech/ http://www.visa-pros.com/instagram-co-founder-wants-easier-process-for-immigrants-entering-tech/#comments Tue, 03 Feb 2015 17:07:12 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1833 Continue reading ]]> Instagram co-founder has recently said that there is a lot to be done to help skilled workers to enter the country to work at tech companies. He foresees an increase of about $11 billion to around $27 billion in California’s GDP over the next decade because of the president’s new immigration policy, but the federal government still needs to ease the immigration process for high-skilled workers, according to him.

As a part of the new immigration policy announced in November by President Barack Obama, Deferred Action will be expanded starting this very month, providing temporary protection from removal for millions of unauthorized immigrants already in the United States.

In the last few years, a big number of Silicon Valley  companies have been requesting a higher number of H-1B and F-1 visas, which allow companies to hire more highly skilled international workers.

Instagram’s co-founder Mike Krieger knows about the immigration process. He came from Brazil to study at Stanford University before forging his path in the tech industry. One of his frustrations is to not be able to hire talented employees because of H1-B cap not allowing them to stay in the country.

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Arizona dreamers can now have driver’s license http://www.visa-pros.com/arizona-dreamers-can-now-have-drivers-license/ http://www.visa-pros.com/arizona-dreamers-can-now-have-drivers-license/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 15:04:28 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1829 Continue reading ]]> Arizona’s ban on issuing driver’s licenses to young immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and affected by President Obama’s Dream Act program in 2012 is no longer effective.

A permanent injunction was issued on Thursday, based on the harm caused to the young immigrants by not being able to have a license.

The known as Dreamers are now able to get driver’s licenses since last month, after the United States Supreme Court let stand a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to stay the ban.

Some of the reasons given by supporters are that this would mean access to employment and education for immigrants.

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Attorneys General from 12 States file brief in support of Executive Action on Immigration http://www.visa-pros.com/attorneys-general-from-12-states-file-brief-in-support-of-executive-action-on-immigration/ http://www.visa-pros.com/attorneys-general-from-12-states-file-brief-in-support-of-executive-action-on-immigration/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 19:24:36 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1826 Continue reading ]]> Texas is leading a lawsuit challenging President Obama’s executive action on immigration. They are arguing that the president’s actions will harm states economically and socially.

Challenging these claims, Washington State filed its own “friend of the court” brief, joined by attorneys general from Washington, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Vermont, and the District of Columbia. They argue the states are not harmed, and will benefit economically from the President’s actions. Furthermore there will be the additional societal benefits that come from keeping families together and improving public safety.

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Bipartisan Senate bill addresses immigration reform for tech workers http://www.visa-pros.com/bipartisan-senate-bill-addresses-immigration-reform-for-tech-workers/ http://www.visa-pros.com/bipartisan-senate-bill-addresses-immigration-reform-for-tech-workers/#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2015 17:52:46 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1823 Continue reading ]]> Two days ago, a bipartisan team of senators introduced a legislation to reform the immigration system for highly-skilled workers.

The bill was introduced in 2013 but did not move to Congress. Based on it, major Silicon Valley firms would be allowed to bring programmers to keep up with the demand. Even though an immigration reform doesn’t seem to hit Congress, there is hope that a more targeted bill to help the tech sector would move forward.

The current cap of high-skilled workers allows 65,000 H-1B visas per year. The new bill would increase it to 115,000. It also would allow the annual cap to go up to 195,000 depending on demand. It would also allow the spouses of people with those visas to get a job in the U.S.

Besides that, the bill would let the government reissue green card numbers that were approved in previous years but never used and allow more people with advanced degrees enter the country.

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Driving licenses for undocumented immigrants a reality in California http://www.visa-pros.com/driving-licenses-for-undocumented-immigrants-a-reality-in-california/ http://www.visa-pros.com/driving-licenses-for-undocumented-immigrants-a-reality-in-california/#comments Thu, 08 Jan 2015 18:04:36 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1814 Continue reading ]]> We start 2015 with a light of hope. As we mentioned in a previous post (see here) the state of California has now approved the driving licenses for undocumented immigrants. Since a few days ago, a lot more people will be driving safely in the roads of California. These immigrants will not be any more under the risk of been deported because they are caught in a random police control, them not having a driving license been their only crime.

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World Human Rights Day http://www.visa-pros.com/world-human-rights-day/ http://www.visa-pros.com/world-human-rights-day/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 18:22:23 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1808 Continue reading ]]> Yesterday, December 10th, was World Human Rights day. Unfortunately there is not much reason to celebrate. As they say, an image is worth more than one thousand words. This is just a little selection of this year’s Human Rights violations, many more injustices were and are still happening in our world. We all need to fight against it.

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Mayors are supporting Obama’s Immigration Executive action http://www.visa-pros.com/mayors-are-supporting-obamas-immigration-executive-action/ http://www.visa-pros.com/mayors-are-supporting-obamas-immigration-executive-action/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 17:18:51 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1791 Continue reading ]]> All around the country, mayors are confirming their support for executive action on immigration and finding ways for their cities to help with the White House plan. At least 25 mayors all over the country have formed Cities United for Immigration Action, a coalition to support and implement executive action on immigration.

Leaders of big and small cities consider the actions taken by the President will help stabilize their communities and help the American economy grow stronger. The executive action adds support to the local leaders and organizations that have been working already on immigrant integration. It is a first step but it can only be changed by Congress.

Actions like this encourage people to feel accepted, share their talents and ideas with those around them. Communities around the country and across the globe already are recognizing that a welcoming approach helps all residents.

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Some Schools Need to remember their Obligation to Educate All Children http://www.visa-pros.com/some-schools-need-to-remember-their-obligation-to-educate-all-children/ http://www.visa-pros.com/some-schools-need-to-remember-their-obligation-to-educate-all-children/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 15:27:12 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1789 Continue reading ]]> In the past year over 50,000 children have come to the US escaping from the violence in Central American countries and seeking protection. Most of them were reunited with their parents or other family members while waiting for their immigration court dates. In the meantime, these children should be enrolled in school. The problem is that a number of them have been denied or found obstacles in accessing education.

A survey of New York school districts conducted by New York Civil Liberties Union found that as many as 20 percent of schools on Long Island were erecting illegal barriers to unaccompanied or undocumented students.

In May, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice attempted to preempt such issues by issuing a letter to local and state school officials around the country making it clear that minors who are in the country without proper documents must be allowed to enroll in schools. This letter reminds school authorities of their obligation to provide equal education opportunities to all children living in their district.

It is hard enough for immigrant children to be in a foreign language to also be deprived of the right to education.

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President Obama’s Immigration Plan: Change in Enforcement Priorities http://www.visa-pros.com/president-obamas-immigration-plan-change-in-enforcement-priorities/ http://www.visa-pros.com/president-obamas-immigration-plan-change-in-enforcement-priorities/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 14:29:29 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1784 Continue reading ]]> Below we will explain in detail President Obama’s plan for changing the way the government deals with removal cases and deportation, and other enforcement of immigration law matters:

  1. Ending Secured Communities: In recent years, ICE and local law enforcement have collaborated to apprehend suspected undocumented immigrants – often with disastrous results for the U.S. citizen relatives of those immigrants – through a program called Secured Communities. This program used data-sharing to identify those individuals arrested by local law enforcement who did not appear to have any immigration status so that those individuals would be held until they could be placed in ICE custody. After years of public outcry against Secured Communities, the President will now end this program. It will be replaced with a Priority Enforcement Program. It will still involve data-sharing with local law enforcement, but apparently ICE will only seek to hold those who are considered enforcement priorities, instead of holding everyone who is arrested an appears to be undocumented. There is still very little detail about how and when this program will be implemented.

2.      Changes to Enforcement Priorities: Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the                  enforcement arm of USCIS, has a list of priorities it uses to determine which                        undocumented immigrants are the most dangerous and should be deported first. ICE          will now change these priorities slightly to clarify which are the most dangerous                  immigrants to deport and when to use their discretion to not deport people or enable            them to apply for lawful status.

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President Obama’s Immigration Plan: Expansion of the I-601-A waiver program http://www.visa-pros.com/president-obamas-immigration-plan-expansion-of-the-i-601-a-waiver-program/ http://www.visa-pros.com/president-obamas-immigration-plan-expansion-of-the-i-601-a-waiver-program/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 15:26:17 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1780 Continue reading ]]> Below we will explain in detail President Obama’s plan for the expansion of 601-A provisional waiver program, to spouses and children of Lawful Permanent Residents. Now it is only available for U.S. citizens.
In 2013, the Immigration Service implemented a stateside provisional waiver for those undocumented immigrants who entered the United States illegally and are the spouses of U.S. citizens. These individuals would still be required to return to their country to process for their permanent resident status, but they could be pre-approved for a waiver based on extreme hardship to their spouse before they left the United States, so that they would not need to fear leaving the country and being unable to return. The President will now expand this program to those undocumented immigrants seeking permanent residence who are the spouses of permanent residents or the sons and daughters of U.S. citizens.
It is not clear when this provision will go into effect.

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President Obama’s Immigration Plan: Deferred Action for Parents of USCs and LPRs http://www.visa-pros.com/president-obamas-immigration-plan-deferred-action-for-parents-of-uscs-and-lprs/ http://www.visa-pros.com/president-obamas-immigration-plan-deferred-action-for-parents-of-uscs-and-lprs/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 16:09:42 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1778 Continue reading ]]> Below we will explain in detail President Obama’s plan for the expansion of Deferred Action to allow parents of U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents to stay in the U.S., receive work authorization, driver’s license and relief from deportation.
The President plans to extend deferred action of the same type as DACA to certain undocumented immigrants who are the parents of children who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. The eligibility requirements that have been announced so far are:
1 Continuous residence in the United States since January 1, 2010;
2. Being the parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident who was born prior to November 20, 2014.
3. Not being considered an enforcement priority for removal from the United States, meaning you have not been convicted of a felony or three significant misdemeanors and are not considered a threat to national security.
4. Pass required background checks.
All other details on this program are sketchy at this point. The President indicated that the applicants will need to commit to paying taxes, but it is unclear what specifically this will involve, whether back taxes or just going forward.
Those who are eligible will receive work authorization cards that are valid for three years, and will be able to obtain social security numbers and driver’s licenses once they are approved. They also will be assured that they will not be deported during this period unless they violate the law.
This program should go into effect in approximately 180 days.

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President Obama’s Immigration Plan: Expansion of DACA http://www.visa-pros.com/president-obamas-immigration-plan-expansion-of-daca/ http://www.visa-pros.com/president-obamas-immigration-plan-expansion-of-daca/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 15:55:01 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1776 Continue reading ]]> Below we will explain in detail President Obama’s plan for the expansion of DACA:
Expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals: Two years ago, the President initiated the DACA program, which allows certain undocumented immigrants who came to the United States before age 16 and had been living here for at least 5 years to obtain work permits and be safe from deportation.
The president will now expand the eligibility requirement for this program so that it applies to many people who were not previously eligible. Under the new proposal, the following people will qualify, including those who:
1. Entered the United States prior to age 16 (regardless of how old they are now);
2. Have been continuously residing in the United States since January 1, 2010 (instead of June 15, 2007, as it was before);
3. Were present in the United States on June 15, 2012;
4. Are currently enrolled in school, have a high school diploma or GED, or are enrolled in a GED program;
5. Have not been convicted of any felony or three significant misdemeanors.
The changes will also expand the DACA approval period from two years to three. If you currently have a DACA initial or renewal application pending, you will be approved for three years. If you are currently in the middle of your two-year period, you might be extended for one year, but the details of this are still unclear.
These changes will go into effect in approximately 90 days.

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President Obama’s New Immigration Plan http://www.visa-pros.com/president-obamas-new-immigration-plan/ http://www.visa-pros.com/president-obamas-new-immigration-plan/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 17:39:19 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1774 Continue reading ]]> Last night, in a historic speech, President Obama announced that he will use his executive powers to help millions of undocumented immigrants come out of the shadows and obtain temporary permission to live in this country without fear of deportation. The President is releasing a sweeping package of policy reforms to alter the way the immigration laws are enforced in this country. We know some of the specifics, but all of these changes will be worked out more fully in the next few weeks.
Note that none of these changes have gone into affect yet, and there are currently no new applications that you can file to obtain immigration benefits. Therefore, if any person or organization offers to file an application for you under this program, they are likely not legitimate. Make sure that you consult with a competent and reputable attorney who specializes in immigration law. Below please find a summary of the information we know so far about President Obama’s immigration plan:

1. DACA or Deferred Action for Childhood arrival will be extended to include all people who arrived here as young children without age limitation. Currently the program is limited to people who are under age 30. Other eligibility requirements include good moral character, graduation from high school or enrollment in a GED program.
2. Deferred Action to parents of U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents, which like DACA will give work authorization, driver’s license and defense from removal for immigrants who are here illegally. Some other eligibility requirements include length of time in the U.S., good moral character, payment of taxes, etc.
3. Expansion of the 601-A provisional waiver program, to spouses and children of Lawful Permanent Residents. Now it is only available for U.S. citizens.
4. Ability of employment based immigrants caught in visa retrogression to pre-apply for Adjustment of Status and receive work authorization documents in the mean time
5. Termination of secure communities program joint with police and a new program for enforcement of criminals.
6. Expansion of prosecutorial discretion for removal cases, stopping deportation for people except those who are in top enforcement priorities including terrorists, criminals, etc.

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Executive action on Immigration http://www.visa-pros.com/executive-action-on-immigration/ http://www.visa-pros.com/executive-action-on-immigration/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 14:22:06 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1769 Continue reading ]]> In case you missed it last night, here is Obama’s announcement on Immigration. We are analyzing the outcomes, will share information as we gather it.
In the meantime, you can learn more about what DACA and I-601A waiver are here. Please note this is NOT immediate. It will take some time before it is open for applications. In the meantime, you can start consulting with a good immigration attorney and gather your documents.
DACA
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Executive action on its way? http://www.visa-pros.com/executive-action-on-its-way/ http://www.visa-pros.com/executive-action-on-its-way/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 16:27:19 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1758 Continue reading ]]> We have been talking about it. The President’s executive action looks near. According to Fox, as close as next week, although the White House has not confirmed this information yet.
We are not going to evaluate anything until it is fully confirmed and we know exactly what he will do, but these are some of the key points that are on the draft:
• Up to 4.5 million undocumented immigrants parents of USC children would be allowed to stay
• Deferred Action will be expanded to more people
• Military’s delayed entry program will allow citizenship to family members
• 50-percent discount to the first 10.000 naturalization applicants
• 500.000 technology jobs offered through State Department visa program
• Border security increased

Now what do you think about these measures? Are they excessive or are they not enough?

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Election is passed. What are you going to do now, Mr. President? http://www.visa-pros.com/election-is-passed-what-are-you-going-to-do-now-mr-president/ http://www.visa-pros.com/election-is-passed-what-are-you-going-to-do-now-mr-president/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 15:12:45 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1756 Continue reading ]]> After the midterm elections, Republicans control the House and Senate until 2016 president elections. According to the polls, immigration was a key issue this year for Latino voters. 45 percent of them said immigration reform was the most important issue that should be addressed. Two-thirds said that it was either the most or one of the important issues in their vote decision.
Some are saying that the decision to delay taking administrative action on immigration until after the election did more harm than good. Besides, the delay caused that many who could have been benefited by it ended up deported.
Now it is time to move on. The election is over and it is the time for President Obama to act on immigration and offer a solution to the situation of millions of undocumented immigrants who continue to wait for a solution from Congress.

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We have been selected as Best Law Firms in Immigration! http://www.visa-pros.com/we-have-been-selected-as-best-law-firms-in-immigration/ http://www.visa-pros.com/we-have-been-selected-as-best-law-firms-in-immigration/#comments Fri, 07 Nov 2014 22:11:28 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1749 Continue reading ]]> ID-10052063We are proud to announce our firm has been selected to be included as one of the Best Law Firms in Immigration in Atlanta, Georgia for 2015, published by Best Lawyers®, which is the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession, and a partner of U.S. News & World Report. This is a great recognition to our efforts and we are happy to share the news with all our clients and colleagues, especially since this is only our first year as an independent firm. We are truly thankful for our clients and colleagues and phenomenal team who all together make our firm the go-to immigration firm in Atlanta.

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While a Political Decision is Made, Churches Offer Immigrants Sanctuary http://www.visa-pros.com/while-a-political-decision-is-made-churches-offer-immigrants-sanctuary/ http://www.visa-pros.com/while-a-political-decision-is-made-churches-offer-immigrants-sanctuary/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 22:44:21 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1747 Continue reading ]]> Congress does not seem to be taking a decision on immigration reform, and the President has not yet announced what executive actions will be taking after the election today. In response to this situation, churches across the country are sheltering undocumented immigrants facing deportation by providing them with sanctuary.
There are different cases of people seeking refuge within the walls of churches of all creeds throughout the country. The common element of these situations is that they all have a family that depends on them and most of them have been in the country for years.
This is not the first time congregations have offered sanctuary to undocumented immigrants in the U.S., as in the 1980s people opened their houses to immigrants escaping from violence in Central American countries. Because of the sanctuary provided by these congregations, many of these undocumented immigrants were protected from deportation and later on became citizens.
Even though there is no law preventing officials from entering a place of worship to enforce deportation, they do have a policy of not doing so in sensitive areas unless there is a matter of national security or terrorism.
In the current situation, where politics is not offering a solution to the millions of undocumented immigrants in the U.S., churches are providing help to these people, positioning themselves in the humanitarian side of the problem, which is ignored in the discussions.

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White House eyes limits of immigration powers http://www.visa-pros.com/white-house-eyes-limits-of-immigration-powers/ http://www.visa-pros.com/white-house-eyes-limits-of-immigration-powers/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 15:03:25 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1741 Continue reading ]]> Top administration officials are trying to determine how far President Obama can act on immigration reform through executive action while remaining on the right side of the law.

Without legislation, the president is handcuffed by how far he can go to help the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

Immigration activists and human rights groups have pressed Obama to act aggressively, urging the White House to halt deportations for as many illegal immigrants as possible. But the administration says it is determined to act only within the law.

Those experts suggest Obama has options to act, although there are some limits on what he can do.

There are different ways the president could act:

• Issue a prioritization memo on deportations. President Obama could direct prosecutors to focus deportation efforts on individuals convicted of serious crimes —not those with minor criminal convictions.

• Expand DACA. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, announced in 2012, affords temporary legal status and work permits to children brought to the country illegally. The administration is reviewing whether to extend it to those children’s parents or to illegal immigrants with children born in the U.S.

• Roll back Secure Communities. Activists have asked the president to limit the program, which allows local governments to share the fingerprints of individuals who are arrested with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Those flagged as illegal immigrants can be deported, even if they are not convicted of a crime.

• Reinterpret existing law. The administration could more charitably define waivers and visa requirements to allow individuals — especially those with family ties to the U.S. — greater opportunity to enter the country, even if they had previously violated immigration law.

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Latinos start to pull away from Democrats http://www.visa-pros.com/latinos-start-to-pull-away-from-democrats/ http://www.visa-pros.com/latinos-start-to-pull-away-from-democrats/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 14:46:17 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1739 Continue reading ]]> The decision of the President to delay the executive orders on immigration reform until after midterms may cost Democrats Latino support in November.

The fact that President Obama is not issuing executive orders on immigration reform until after the midterm elections is making Latino voters support decrease. Comparing polls released in June and October respectively, Democrats’ approval rating dropped from 49 to 37%, with the only difference been the announcement of not taking executive action until after the midterm election.

Lower Latino participation in next month’s election would be hurting Democrats more than Republicans. This is an opportunity for Republicans, who see as an urgent priority to improve their perception among this group in 2016, when voter turnout will be higher and the electorate more nonwhite.

We will have to see how things evolve and what are the actions taken by the government.

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Obama uses the Spanish chef José Andrés as an example of success story of an immigrant http://www.visa-pros.com/obama-uses-the-spanish-chef-jose-andres-as-an-example-of-success-story-of-an-immigrant/ http://www.visa-pros.com/obama-uses-the-spanish-chef-jose-andres-as-an-example-of-success-story-of-an-immigrant/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 19:51:41 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1732 Continue reading ]]> José Andrés, con Barack Obama. / CORDON

The president highlighted last week the career of the popular Spanish chef as an example of success story of an immigrant in the nation when given access to the opportunity. “José Andrés is the number one example of what happens when we give immigrants the opportunity to put down roots and create jobs and business”, he said in a fundraiser in one of the restaurants owned by the Spanish in DC. José Andrés is very popular in the US, where he arrived 23 years ago with Spanish cuisine as a standard and got his citizenship in November last year. The president and the first lady chose his restaurants for several special occasions, like Valentine’s Day the last two years.

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New startup to help with immigration process http://www.visa-pros.com/new-startup-to-help-with-immigration-process/ http://www.visa-pros.com/new-startup-to-help-with-immigration-process/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 19:40:56 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1726 Continue reading ]]> Romish Badani belongs to a family that came to the US from India and knows how stressful and expensive this process is. This is what inspired him to fund Bridge US, a company that built a platform where foreign nationals can cooperate with attorneys and employers to work through the visa process.

Greg Raiten, general counsel at 500 Startups., said his firm sees big potential for Bridge US as it is tackling a major pain point for startups and large corporations alike – struggling with an immigration process that could be improved greatly with software and automation.

The innovation they are offering is tracking what documents are needed and when they need to be submitted, sending notifications to avoid missing deadlines.

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If you know somebody in this situation, please encourage to come http://www.visa-pros.com/if-you-know-somebody-in-this-situation-please-encourage-to-come/ http://www.visa-pros.com/if-you-know-somebody-in-this-situation-please-encourage-to-come/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 16:43:17 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1708 10678741_852242678142180_1382081718190975198_n

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President Commits to Action on Immigration This Year http://www.visa-pros.com/president-commits-to-action-on-immigration-this-year/ http://www.visa-pros.com/president-commits-to-action-on-immigration-this-year/#comments Fri, 03 Oct 2014 21:55:16 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1706 Continue reading ]]> Yesterday the president said he understand the frustration of the Hispanic community for the inaction on immigration reform efforts to solve the current broken immigration system.

He also assured that we will take executive measures before 2015. Obama spoke in the annual gala of the Institute of Hispanic Caucus in Congress (ICHCI), where an attendant interrupted his speech and asked him to stop deportations. The President said he shared the pain and frustrations of the families and he guaranteed that he will take action before the end of 2014. President Obama confirmed it will be between the November election and the end of the year. He mentioned that Congress has failed to do its duty and solve the  problem of the 11 millions of undocumented people who live in the country through legislation. However, he pointed that he needs support so the measures can last. He committed to advocate on immigration reform and why it’s good for the economy before the elections, and he also asked the Hispanic community to come and vote.

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Are there too many immigrants in our country? http://www.visa-pros.com/are-there-too-many-immigrants-in-our-country/ http://www.visa-pros.com/are-there-too-many-immigrants-in-our-country/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 19:01:49 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1703 A recent study has asked this question. See the answers of the people who did not hear the real number and how they differ from those of the people who did. Why the difference?http://blogs.elpais.com/files/trends_2014_complete.pdf

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Who are we? How can we help you? Meet our team here: http://www.visa-pros.com/who-are-we-how-can-we-help-you-meet-our-team-here/ http://www.visa-pros.com/who-are-we-how-can-we-help-you-meet-our-team-here/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 16:02:08 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1678 Click here: How we help you?

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(Español) El gobierno de EEUU denunciado por un proceso de deportación que amenaza la vida de madres e hijos que escapan de la violencia extrema en América Central http://www.visa-pros.com/espanol-el-gobierno-de-eeuu-denunciado-por-un-proceso-de-deportacion-que-amenaza-la-vida-de-madres-e-hijos-que-escapan-de-la-violencia-extrema-en-america-central/ http://www.visa-pros.com/espanol-el-gobierno-de-eeuu-denunciado-por-un-proceso-de-deportacion-que-amenaza-la-vida-de-madres-e-hijos-que-escapan-de-la-violencia-extrema-en-america-central/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 16:33:29 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1674 Sorry, this entry is only available in Español.

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U.S. Government sued over Life-Threatening Deportation Process Against Mothers and Children Escaping Extreme Violence in Central America http://www.visa-pros.com/u-s-government-sued-over-life-threatening-deportation-process-against-mothers-and-children-escaping-extreme-violence-in-central-america/ http://www.visa-pros.com/u-s-government-sued-over-life-threatening-deportation-process-against-mothers-and-children-escaping-extreme-violence-in-central-america/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 20:12:32 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1672 Continue reading ]]> Various immigration advocacy organizations have sued the U.S. Government over the procedure to quickly deport mothers and children escaping violence in Central America.

The groups filed the case on behalf of mothers and children locked up at an isolated detention center in Artesia, New Mexico. The complaint blames the Obama administration of enacting a new strong-arm policy to ensure rapid deportations by holding these mothers and their children to an erroneous standard to prove their asylum claims, and by placing obstacles before them.
According to the complaint, DHS is violating the law by enacting policies that have:

  • Prejudged asylum cases with a “detain-and-deport” policy, regardless of individual circumstances.
  • Restricted communication with the outside world for the women and children held at the remote detention center, including communication with attorneys.
  • Given no notice to detainees of important interviews used to determine the outcome of asylum requests.
  • Led to the intimidation and coercion of the women and children by immigration officers, including being screamed at for wanting to see a lawyer.

Not only illegal, this is an outrageous treatment by DHS of thousands of human beings fleeing violence and seeking the protection of the U.S. Has DHS lost its humanity?

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The 10 companies hiring more foreign talent http://www.visa-pros.com/the-10-companies-hiring-more-foreign-talent/ http://www.visa-pros.com/the-10-companies-hiring-more-foreign-talent/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 16:59:40 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1657 Continue reading ]]> Some companies recognize the culture diversity within the office. They are aware of the value of having different points of view in their team and how this increases their possibilities to expand globally. The website myvisajobs.com has made a study which shows the US companies hiring the highest number of foreign talent in 2012:

1. Infosys
Average salary of the company is $75.062.15.800 foreigners were part of their team.

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2. Wipro
The US offices welcomed 7.178 indian employees. They had a $76.920 income.
Photo: wipro.com

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3. Tata Consultancy

Among their workforce were 6.732 foreign workers, receiving $64.350.
Photo: tcs.com

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4. IBM
Paid an average $82.630 to the 6.190 foreign employees hired.

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5. Deloitte Consulting
The company employed 4.735 people from different nationalities with an average salary of $98.305.

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6. Microsoft
The technology giant included in its team 4.067 foreigners with a $109.566 salary.

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7. L&T Infotech
They included 3.253 non-US employees, receiving $59.241.

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8. Accenture
The company with Dublin headquarters hired 2.653 foreign workers in 2012. The average salary paid was $72.704.

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9. Ernst & Young

Among its workers counted 2.316 foreign nationals whose income went up to $86.428.

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10. Mahindra Satyam
With offices worldwide, including 8 in the United States, Mahindra hired 2.310 non US workers and paid them a $70.495 salary.
Photo: techmahindra.com

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http://www.visa-pros.com/1655/ http://www.visa-pros.com/1655/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 16:20:08 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1655 IMG_20140911_091415

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Intel: Let spouses of H-1B immigrant employees work, too http://www.visa-pros.com/intel-let-spouses-of-h-1b-immigrant-employees-work-too/ http://www.visa-pros.com/intel-let-spouses-of-h-1b-immigrant-employees-work-too/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 19:39:20 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1647 Continue reading ]]> Intel is backing a proposal from the Department of Homeland Security that would grant federal permission for the spouses of foreign employees to take jobs in the United States, too.

In a letter to DHS supporting the change, Intel wrote that the proposed rule should do more and authorize children of H-1B employees to work, too.

Intel received 1,455 new and renewed H-1B visas in 2012, equivalent to 3 percent of its total U.S. work force. Intel says it needs those visas because it can’t find enough workers with advanced technical skills in the United States.

Immigration reform has been one of Intel’s top lobbying priorities for many years but congressional leaders have essentially ruled out taking action before the November elections.

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(Español) Los magnates conservadores de EE UU se ponen del lado de los inmigrantes indocumentados http://www.visa-pros.com/espanol-los-magnates-conservadores-de-ee-uu-se-ponen-del-lado-de-los-inmigrantes-indocumentados/ http://www.visa-pros.com/espanol-los-magnates-conservadores-de-ee-uu-se-ponen-del-lado-de-los-inmigrantes-indocumentados/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 14:27:15 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1644 Sorry, this entry is only available in Español.

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California DMV Begins Hearings on Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants http://www.visa-pros.com/california-dmv-begins-hearings-on-drivers-licenses-for-undocumented-immigrants/ http://www.visa-pros.com/california-dmv-begins-hearings-on-drivers-licenses-for-undocumented-immigrants/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 21:43:28 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1642 Continue reading ]]> California Assembly Bill 60 requires the DMV to issue a driver’s license to applicants who cannot submit proof that their presence in the United States is authorized by federal law. The applicant must meet all other qualifications for a driver license in California, including written and driving tests required by the Department of Motor Vehicles. The identity requirements proposed by the DMV provide four options for applicants, including foreign passports.

More than a dozen options are available to applicants to satisfy the California residency requirement, including a lease agreement, mortgage bills, home utility bills, tax returns, federal government-issued IDs and other documents.

An estimated 2.5 million undocumented immigrants live in California. The DMV estimated that about 1.4 million individuals will become licensed with the enactment of AB60.

After the public hearings, the department will deliver its final recommendations to the Office of Administrative Law for review. The law requires the DMV to begin issuing licenses to undocumented applicants by Jan. 1.

Cards provided to approved applicants will indicate on the back that they are only IDs for driving. The cards do not establish eligibility for employment, voting or public benefits. Approved drivers also become eligible for insurance and training, including written and driving tests required by the Department of Motor Vehicles. A great move by California to ensure people who are driving have the ability to get driver’s licenses legally and obtain insurance, both public safety concerns.

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Local authorities not cooperating with ICE http://www.visa-pros.com/local-authorities-not-cooperating-with-ice/ http://www.visa-pros.com/local-authorities-not-cooperating-with-ice/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 18:44:17 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1632 Continue reading ]]> Sheriffs across Georgia have received a letter from the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) being encouraged to stop cooperating with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) in the light of latest litigation, where some of the people detained have sued the cities and counties and won their cases.

Things like a traffic stop can lead to deportation for somebody who entered the U.S. undocumented. Just a few months ago, the city of Philadelphia stopped cooperating with ICE through an executive order signed by the mayor, Maria Quinones-Sanchez. But this is not the only case, other cities and counties have decided to reduce or stop cooperation with federal immigration enforcement.

Even if somebody is in the country undocumented, it is unconstitutional to hold somebody without a probable cause. When an undocumented alien is arrested for allegedly violating the law, they could be subject to a detainer to turn them over to ICE.  According to the letter, 54% of the people subject to detainer requests had no criminal records. If we consider individuals with minor offense in their history, the percentage goes up to 86%. This reality makes immigrants distrust police, as they fear that any contact with them (even reporting a crime) could lead to their deportation.

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Obama to ask for more than $2 billion in emergency funds to stem immigration influx http://www.visa-pros.com/obama-to-ask-for-more-than-2-billion-in-emergency-funds-to-stem-immigration-influx/ http://www.visa-pros.com/obama-to-ask-for-more-than-2-billion-in-emergency-funds-to-stem-immigration-influx/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 15:17:43 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1629 Continue reading ]]> In light of the humanitarian and immigration crisis of Central American children at the southern U.S. border, the Obama administration has requested more than $2 billion in emergency funds to help stem an influx of Central American women and children entering the country illegally, as well as new measures to deport those already here quicker.

The administration will ask lawmakers to modify existing statutes to make it easier to return unaccompanied children to their home countries.

Over 52,000 unaccompanied children and 39,000 women with children have been detained on the border this year so far, a large increase over previous years. The surge, mostly from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, has caught the administration off guard and pushed Obama to order a multi-agency response to the crisis.

The escalation of enforcement is likely to be met with skepticism from immigration advocates, who have expressed concerns about the treatment and welfare of the children. The Obama administration had announced plans to send more immigration judges to South Texas, where most of the influx is occurring, and build more detention facilities for families that have been apprehended and are awaiting hearings.

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US visa database system down causing issues in consulates http://www.visa-pros.com/us-visa-database-system-down-causing-issues-in-consulates/ http://www.visa-pros.com/us-visa-database-system-down-causing-issues-in-consulates/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 18:59:05 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1627 Continue reading ]]> American visas became unobtainable in all consulates worldwide for nearly two weeks as IT specialists have struggled to fix the country’s malfunctioning consular database.

The real problems emerged after the Bureau of Consular Affairs updated the software for the Oracle-based CCD on July 20, as recommended by the operating company.

The system was down until July 23, when its operations were partially restored. However, the system is still not working at full capacity.

The glitch has already affected a large number of potential visitors to the US, as over 200 US consulates around the world issue thousands of visas on a daily basis.

The problem is hitting travelers during peak vacation season, as those who applied for a US visa cannot travel to other countries while their passports are with US authorities. They have to have patience and wait until the situation is resolved.

Even diplomats who need to visit the UN headquarters or financial institutions in New York for urgent negotiations have not been spared the delays.

In 2013 alone, the US Bureau of Consular Affairs issued 9.1 million non-immigrant visas and nearly half a million immigrant visas, along with issuing some 13 million passports.

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New Immigration relief measures to nationals of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in the U.S. due to the Ebola outbreak http://www.visa-pros.com/new-immigration-relief-measures-to-nationals-of-guinea-liberia-and-sierra-leone-in-the-u-s-due-to-the-ebola-outbreak/ http://www.visa-pros.com/new-immigration-relief-measures-to-nationals-of-guinea-liberia-and-sierra-leone-in-the-u-s-due-to-the-ebola-outbreak/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 19:58:19 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1620 Continue reading ]]> U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is monitoring the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. On Friday, August 15th, information was released where it was explained that they are offering relief measures to nationals of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone who are currently in the United States.

The measures that may be available upon request include:

  • Change or extension of nonimmigrant status for an individual currently in the US (even if the request is filed after expiration of authorized period of admission).
  • Extension of certain grants of parole made by USCIS.
  • Expedited adjudication and approval (where possible) of requests for off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students with severe economic hardship.
  • Expedited processing of immigrant petitions for immediate relative of U.S. citizens currently in the United States.
  • Expedited adjudication of employment authorization applications where appropriate.
  • Consideration for waiver of fees associated with USCIS benefit applications.

If you meet these requirements, we advise you to contact us at your earliest convenience so we can help you benefit from these measures.

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(Español) Ni siquiera en la muerte se respetó la dignidad de los inmigrantes http://www.visa-pros.com/espanol-ni-siquiera-en-la-muerte-se-respeto-la-dignidad-de-los-inmigrantes/ http://www.visa-pros.com/espanol-ni-siquiera-en-la-muerte-se-respeto-la-dignidad-de-los-inmigrantes/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 14:50:19 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1612 Sorry, this entry is only available in Español.

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Business keep pushing immigration reform, but border crisis makes it harder http://www.visa-pros.com/business-keep-pushing-immigration-reform-but-border-crisis-makes-it-harder/ http://www.visa-pros.com/business-keep-pushing-immigration-reform-but-border-crisis-makes-it-harder/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 15:20:52 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1610 Continue reading ]]> Various business groups have recently met in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. for a joint news conference to make the economic and political case for immigration reform. Unfortunately, their arguments on behalf of immigration reform were overshadowed by the debate over what to do about the recent surge of women and children immigrants from Central America.

All the business leaders said immigration reform is needed to grow the economy, fill employers’ needs for both low-skilled and high-tech workers, and bring undocumented workers out of the shadows.

A new poll conducted for the Partnership for a New American Economy found that 85 percent of voters think America’s immigration system needs to be fixed. More than 60 percent said they would support “an immigration reform plan that secures our borders, expands visas for high-skill workers and farm workers, provides an employer verification program, allows young persons brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents an opportunity to earn citizenship, and provides visas to live and work here legally to undocumented immigrants without a criminal record who pay penalties and back taxes.”

House Speaker John Boehner  won’t act on immigration reform . 72 percent of voters said enforcement concerns are no reason for Congress not to address the problems with our current broken immigration system. We hope it plays a role in the upcoming midterm elections.

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U.S. plans to step up detention and deportation of migrants http://www.visa-pros.com/u-s-plans-to-step-up-detention-and-deportation-of-migrants/ http://www.visa-pros.com/u-s-plans-to-step-up-detention-and-deportation-of-migrants/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 17:52:04 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1607 Continue reading ]]> The Obama administration is stepping up efforts to reduce the influx of Central American migrants crossing the Southwest border illegally, will detain more of those migrants and accelerate their cases in immigration courts so they can be deported more quickly.
DHS will open more detention centers for families with children and will expand the use of monitoring devices, such as ankle bracelets. By doing this, the administration hopes to dissuade other central Americans from crossing the border illegally.
Many migrants think the U.S. is offering an entry permit, or that they qualify for asylum. Clearly, there is no such entry permit and most people would not qualify for asylum.
Asylum is available to a person suffered persecution in his or her home country on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. The persecution must consist of having suffered severe physical or emotional harm or threats of harm in the past, or if the person has not been harmed in the past, he must demonstrate that he has a well-founded basis to believe that he will be harmed if he returns to that country. It is not sufficient to have suffered harassment or to have been the victim of a crime or general lawlessness in the country, or that conditions in the home country are bad. Unfortunately many immigrants are misinformed and it is very sad that people are risking their lives, and their children’s lives to come here, only to get deported.
The sharp increase of illegal migrants in recent months includes more than 47,000 minors traveling without their parents, which has created a humanitarian crisis. Therefore, the Obama administration has ordered FEMA to coordinate an effort to maintain detention shelters for these children and help reunite them with relatives living in the U.S.

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New York City Approves ID for Undocumented Immigrants http://www.visa-pros.com/new-york-city-approves-id-for-undocumented-immigrants/ http://www.visa-pros.com/new-york-city-approves-id-for-undocumented-immigrants/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 20:55:45 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1600 Continue reading ]]> Great news for immigrants living in New York City, finally it authorized issuance of IDs for undocumented immigrants. In order to apply to the new card the only requirement is to show a birth certificate or valid foreign Passport. It will also be compulsory to prove residency in NYC with proof payroll or utility bills. It will ease the hassle in dealing with banks, renting homes, healthcare and libraries or reporting to the police. The New York City Council approved the creation of an ID that will allow undocumented immigrants to have access to different types of services instead of having immigrants living in the shadows. Besides helping undocumented immigrants, the new card, which is expected to be issued by the end of the year or beginning of 2015, will help identify other groups, such as transgender or homeless. The new ID will not be valid as driving license, nor allow searching for jobs or buying tobacco or alcoholic drinks.

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Another view on the children immigration crisis http://www.visa-pros.com/another-view-on-the-children-immigration-crisis/ http://www.visa-pros.com/another-view-on-the-children-immigration-crisis/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 21:04:51 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1588 Jon Stewart has an opinion on the topic we were talking about yesterday. Click here to see it

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Immigrant Children Crisis at Mexico Border http://www.visa-pros.com/immigrant-children-crisis-at-mexico-border/ http://www.visa-pros.com/immigrant-children-crisis-at-mexico-border/#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 21:50:31 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1585 Continue reading ]]> A huge number of underage migrants have arrived over the last weeks to the U.S. border from Central America, making the Obama administration look at the immigration problem. It has also exposed the dire situation of some children living in these countries.

In countries like El Salvador, poverty and violence make some parents confront the choice of sending their children away to an uncertain future or stay with them and live in poverty and be exposed to gangs to recruit them or have them killed.

Poverty used to be the main reason for young people to immigrate to the United States, however, the resurgence of violence and gangs have shifted. The gangs in El Salvador and the increase of violent deaths and human trafficking in Guatemala are forcing children of these countries and their families to face a very difficult decision.

But how is this affecting not only the present, but the future opportunities of those children? Do their parents know that if they are caught and deported the possibility of having a future in the U.S. will be taken away for them? Entering the U.S. after an order of deportation is entered against the person is extremely difficult and in some cases impossible. We will follow up on this story soon.

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5 Reasons Why Immigration Reform May Happen This Year http://www.visa-pros.com/5-reasons-why-immigration-reform-may-happen-this-year/ http://www.visa-pros.com/5-reasons-why-immigration-reform-may-happen-this-year/#comments Mon, 16 Jun 2014 18:09:55 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1494 Continue reading ]]> In an excellent op-ed by Kent Hoover, he explains why some business groups think there is still a chance of immigration reform this year.

  1. Because Kevin McCarthy will probably be the next House majority leader, now that Eric Cantor is gone, he is more likely to support immigration reform as he supports the measure. McCarthy also comes from a heavily agricultural district in California that is 35% Latino.
  2. Cantor didn’t lose because of immigration reform, but because he lost touch with his district. However many analysts think Cantor’s loss will make other Republicans afraid of supporting immigration reform out of fear they could be vulnerable to similar challenges from the right in their districts.
  3. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), an avid immigration supporter, easily won his reelection campaign.
  4. Obama said will take executive actions to implement partial immigration reform if the House does not act, for example, what he has done on DACA so far.
  5. Blocking immigration reform could hurt Republicans come election time, perhaps not immediately in the House, but longer term in the Senate and presidential race of 2016 as they are losing support with Hispanic voters, who represent a large vote.
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H-1B RECEIPTS COMPLETED, STATISTICS ANNOUNCED http://www.visa-pros.com/h-1b-receipts-completed-statistics-announced/ http://www.visa-pros.com/h-1b-receipts-completed-statistics-announced/#comments Fri, 06 Jun 2014 21:59:45 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1487 Continue reading ]]> USCIS has announced that it completed the receipting of all FY2015 H-1B cap cases. That means that those who have not received their receipt notices by now are most likely not selected under the lottery and next the petitions that were not selected will be returned to the petitioners or attorneys by USCIS.

Also, the DOL OFLC (Office of Foreign Labor Certifications) released statistics regarding the H-1B LCA data for Q3 of 2014. Unsurprising, the top 10 occupations were computer-related, with the top 3 computer systems analysts, software developers and programmers. The top state, by far, requesting H-1B employees was California, followed by New York and Texas. The top employers requesting H-1B visas were the consulting companies. See below:

H-1B_Selected_Statistics_FY2014_Q3

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JUNE 2014 VISA BULLETIN IS OUT http://www.visa-pros.com/june-2014-visa-bulletin-is-out/ http://www.visa-pros.com/june-2014-visa-bulletin-is-out/#comments Fri, 09 May 2014 15:17:43 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1469 Continue reading ]]> The U.S. State Department just issued its June 2014 Visa Bulletin that contains a few surprises. On the family visa side, the F-2A category for spouses and minor children of permanent residents retrogressed a few months back to May 2012 because of heavy demand, probably due to all the filings last summer when the visa category was current. It will probably not advance much in the near future.

The employment-based EB-3 retrogressed to April 2011, or about 1.5 years back from where it was just a month ago. People with 2012 priority dates for EB-3 need to hurry up and get their I-485 applications filed in May before the visas retrogress further.

EB-2 for China retrogressed to May 2009 and EB-2 for India is at November 2004. China may move forward some after unused visas from EB-2 third countries are released closer to the end of the fiscal year. But it doesn’t look very promising for Indian nationals. Only immigration reform can fix that.

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H-1B RECEIPTS AND SPOUSES http://www.visa-pros.com/h-1b-receipts-and-spouses/ http://www.visa-pros.com/h-1b-receipts-and-spouses/#comments Thu, 08 May 2014 21:00:42 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1467 Continue reading ]]> USCIS issued a release that they have finalized the issuance of H-1B visa receipts. Now they will start returning petitions that were not selected in the lottery to companies or their attorneys. What does it mean? If you have not yet received a receipt, it may be slow to come in the mail or it may be that the application was not selected in the lottery. This week we still received some receipt notices so we are advising to wait another week or two before giving up hope of selection…

In better news, the proposed rule allowing work for spouses of H-1Bs will benefit H-4 spouses whose H-1B principal either has an approved I-140 form, or have been granted an AC21 extension by having a labor certification or I-140 pending for over 1 year. This is a more generous proposal that we originally thought and may benefit more people.

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H-1B SPOUSES MAY BE ABLE TO WORK!!! http://www.visa-pros.com/h-1b-spouses-may-be-able-to-work/ http://www.visa-pros.com/h-1b-spouses-may-be-able-to-work/#comments Tue, 06 May 2014 20:46:40 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1458 Continue reading ]]> The Obama administration through DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, announced today a proposed rule that would allow spouses of H-1B workers who are in the process of obtaining their green card, to qualify for work authorization and be eligible to work in the United States legally. Current DHS rules do not allow H-4 spouses to work.

The proposed changes will be published in the Federal Register this week and then be open to 60 days of public comment before the administration can implement them. It’s a great step in the right direction, especially since Congress is not moving on immigration reform and visa numbers are extremely retrogressed, especially for Indian nationals.

(Photo: Mandel Ngan, AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo: Mandel Ngan, AFP/Getty Images)

 

 

Kudos to the Obama administration and lobbying groups like Zuckerberg’s FWD.us who push for these changes politically!

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FLORIDA TO PROVIDE IN-STATE TUITION FOR UNDOCUMENTED http://www.visa-pros.com/florida-to-provide-in-state-tuition-for-undocumented/ http://www.visa-pros.com/florida-to-provide-in-state-tuition-for-undocumented/#comments Mon, 05 May 2014 20:39:42 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1456 Continue reading ]]> Florida just passed a law that will allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition to attend its public colleges and universities. Florida is the latest of 20 states to enact such a measure. Although the state is not predominately Republican or Democrat – but could fall either way – it does point out an issue that immigration reform is widely supported at both political parties, except for in Congress.

The Washington Post reports that this signals a good shift towards immigration reform as it increases the pressure on the local and state level which may in turn increase the debate in the federal level. It just needs to happen very fast before the midterm elections…

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After Criticizing Republicans, Boehner Blames Obama http://www.visa-pros.com/after-criticizing-republicans-boehner-blames-obama/ http://www.visa-pros.com/after-criticizing-republicans-boehner-blames-obama/#comments Fri, 02 May 2014 21:26:46 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1453 Continue reading ]]> In a typical flip-flop move by U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, after criticizing his fellow Republican members last week because of their resistance to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill, this week Boehner blames who? Surprise! President Obama. He said that any positive move in immigration will depend on a new White House attitude toward Republicans in Congress. A bunch of meaningless words put together. If Boehner put the immigration bill up for a vote, it would pass. But he won’t, so it’s totally his fault!

According to the NY Times, there may be narrow window for an immigration bill that will open early in the summer — after most of the midterm Republican primaries — if Congress and President Obama build cooperative good will on smaller bills in the coming weeks. Let’s hope this prediction will actually happen and at least something passes other than hot air in Congress.

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CBP Arrests Undocumented Returning Voluntarily! http://www.visa-pros.com/cbp-arrests-returnees/ http://www.visa-pros.com/cbp-arrests-returnees/#comments Fri, 25 Apr 2014 21:27:50 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1431 Continue reading ]]> This is simply astounding – NPR reports that CBP has a new practice of checking cars of people returning to Mexico through the land borders and if they find out the person has no legal status – they arrest them and detain them. Yes, even though the person is trying to leave on their own and has committed no crime. This is a ridiculous policy that is not only inhumane as we are talking about non-criminals, but it is costing taxpayers $160 per each day per person. They will be deported anyway so why burden the system which is already burdened by arresting people on the border on their way back? The government of course has no comment so far.

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2015 H-1B Cap Premium Processing To Begin April 28 http://www.visa-pros.com/2015-h-1b-cap-pp-delay/ http://www.visa-pros.com/2015-h-1b-cap-pp-delay/#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 21:12:53 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1427 Continue reading ]]> We have received this week electronic receipts of H-1B 2015 cap cases that were accepted into the lottery – those that were filed through premium processing service.

USCIS reminded the public today that the premium processing 15-day window does not start immediately but will start on April 28, 2014 because of the volume of cases received and the time it will take to issue the receipts.

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USCIS Receives Twice As Many H-1Bs http://www.visa-pros.com/many-h-1bs-filed-2014/ http://www.visa-pros.com/many-h-1bs-filed-2014/#comments Fri, 11 Apr 2014 19:13:14 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1403 Continue reading ]]> USCIS announced that it received about 172,500 H-1B petitions during the first week of filing in April. This large number is more than double than what the cap allows for (65,000 plus 20,000 for people with advanced U.S. degrees), however the real numbers are lower due to free trade agreements with Singapore and Chile.

While USCIS did not say in the release how many advanced degree petitions were received, it is more likely that on the advanced degree cap most applicants will get selected, but for the regular cap perhaps 50% or lower chance of selection. Keep your fingers crossed!

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H-1B Visa Cap Reached http://www.visa-pros.com/h-1b-cap-reached/ http://www.visa-pros.com/h-1b-cap-reached/#comments Thu, 10 Apr 2014 20:20:11 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=1401 Continue reading ]]> USCIS announced that no more H-1B visas are available for Fiscal Year 2015 that will start on October 1, 2014. As of April 7th they have received more applications than there are H-1B visas available to give so the cap is exhausted. How many applications received will be revealed by USCIS in the next few weeks, as well as the chances of acceptance into the lottery.
USCIS will first conduct the lottery for applicants with a U.S. master’s degree or higher. USCIS received more than the allotted 20,000 petitions. Once selected, any master’s degree applicants that were not selected under the master’s degree lottery pool will be placed in the regular lottery pool of 65,000.
If your application is selected for the lottery, you will receive a receipt notice with the case number. If you filed a premium processing request and your application was selected, the 15-day clock will start on April 28, 2014. Any applications not selected in this random lottery system will be returned along with the filing fees.
We patiently await USCIS’ lottery results. It is a shame that the H-1B visa cap is so low. It is really hurting businesses and individuals. Congress – get your act together!

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Weinstock Immigration Lawyers Opens http://www.visa-pros.com/weinstock-immigration-lawyers-opens/ http://www.visa-pros.com/weinstock-immigration-lawyers-opens/#comments Thu, 06 Feb 2014 16:09:32 +0000 http://www.visa-pros.com/?p=914 Continue reading ]]> Acclaimed immigration lawyer Karen Weinstock has opened her own immigration law firm to serve immigration clients in Atlanta and throughout the world with U.S. inbound immigration services. The new Atlanta Immigration law firm is called Weinstock Immigration Lawyers.

Karen Weinstock, an immigration attorney who has practiced immigration law in Atlanta for the past 12 years, opened the new firm to provide a full-service immigration practice for businesses and individuals with a different approach.

“I am so pleased that I still have my entire team with me at my new firm,” said Atlanta immigration attorney Weinstock. “I have been working with my team members for many years, and I know that each one of them is committed to helping our immigration clients as much as I am. I know our clients will be in good hands no matter which person they choose amongst our team members. We will continue to provide the same high level of immigration expertise and quality customer service that our clients have always received,” added the immigration lawyer.

Weinstock Immigration Lawyers has a diverse team of professional immigration attorneys and paralegals who are sensitive to cultural differences. The firm offers services in English, Spanish, French, German, Turkish, Russian and Hebrew. “What sets us apart is that we are very proactive in our representation and immediately responsive to our clients, keeping our clients very well-informed during their process. We advise our clients ahead of time on all possible scenarios so they stay informed, and we do not let things fall through the cracks,” said Weinstock.

Karen Weinstock, the managing attorney, specializes in solving complex immigration problems and providing case strategy and management for organizations and individuals. Her expertise is in representing U.S. and international companies in the technology and healthcare industries as well as universities, researchers, physicians and investors with their immigration needs. She is the author and editor of “The H-1B Book,” and is a speaker on immigration law topics in conferences around the world.

Weinstock Immigration Attorneys’ team includes the following top-rated attorneys:

Raju Patel, manages the firm’s business and employment-based immigration practice areas. Raju has been practicing law for 12 years. She has successfully worked with both small and large companies in meeting their business needs and making sure they are able to keep their important employees legally in the United States or bring them from abroad.

Leslie Diaz, who manages the firm’s litigation and removal defense practice areas. Leslie has been practicing law for 13 years. She has successfully won relief from removal proceedings and approval of permanent resident or citizenship status for hundreds of clients. This Atlanta immigration lawyer is an expert in handling immigration cases involving criminal matters. Several of her appeal cases in federal circuit courts of appeals have been granted. She is well-respected by the immigration judges and the government attorneys.

Zulma Lopez, who manages the family-based immigration practice of the firm. Zulma has been practicing law for 10 years. She is driven to provide excellent advocacy to her clients in order to guide them through the oftentimes complicated immigration process, both before the government agencies and in the community at large, serving in a leading role in a number of organizations. This Georgia immigration attorney is a native of Puerto Rico, she is fluent in Spanish and understands the special needs and cultural sensitivities of the Hispanic community.

“Together we have a collective 37 years of experience in immigration law,” said Weinstock, the immigration attorney in Atlanta. “Together, we were able to achieve some major successes, awards and recognitions that most others do not achieve in a lifetime, such as Best Immigration Law Firm and Best Lawyers in America. I am certain that better and greater things are yet to come because of our shared unique values and culture and strong commitment to zealous and proactive client representation.”

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HOW DOES THE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN EFFECT U.S. IMMIGRATION SERVICES? http://www.visa-pros.com/how-does-the-government-shutdown-effect-u-s-immigration-services/ http://www.visa-pros.com/how-does-the-government-shutdown-effect-u-s-immigration-services/#comments Wed, 02 Oct 2013 14:43:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/how-does-the-government-shutdown-effect-u-s-immigration-services/ Continue reading ]]>
The government shutdown has created some confusion in the immigration community. Certain governmental services that are an essential part of my work as an immigration attorney have either shut down or began operating on a limited basis. Until Congress gets it together and passes a new budget, this will become the operating status quo for my industry. Below is a quick list of governmental resources and a brief description of how the shutdown affects them. 
EOIR: Only Immigration Court functions that support the detained caseload will continue, but other functions are suspended. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) is processing emergency stay requests as well as detained cases only, including case appeals, motions, federal court remands, and bonds. For all our non-detained clients, cases will not be heard and moved to future hearing dates.
ICE:  ICE detention and enforcement operations will continue as it is considered an essential function. However ICE chief counsel trial attorneys will work only on detained docket during the shutdown. The ICE Community and Detainee Helpline will remain operational.
USCIS: All USCIS offices worldwide are open and individuals should report to interviews and appointments as scheduled. Since USCIS is supported by filing fees and not congressional appropriations it is not affected at all by the shutdown. However, its E-Verify program is not working during the shutdown. 
Customs and Border Protection operations are considered to be essential functions and would not be disrupted. However, if there are staffing cuts, it is possible that there would be some delays in processing applications presented at the U.S. border and at border crossings. There may also be delays in waiver adjudication.
Department of State functions will be delayed although most services will remain open. Travel plans for State Department personnel will mostly be put on hold, as will all new employment offers. The State Department has not released exact numbers of furloughs, but in previous shutdowns, furloughs were felt more heavily at the department’s headquarters in Washington than at posts overseas.
Consular operations will continue which means that people would be able to get visas (and passports) in the U.S. and abroad at consular sites but these services could be heavily delayed. The shutdown of ancillary consular operations, including building support and the employment of local personnel, may impact the delivery of visa services, resulting in cancellation of visa appointments or delays in the processing of visa applications. In past shutdowns, visa processing was slowed down significantly and they only processed “life and death” situations. However now many of the visas are fee-supported so they promise not to delay visa processing. So short answer is nobody knows how they will be affected so foreign nationals should be prepared for delays in consular visa processing and, where feasible, may want to consider postponing travel outside the United States if a new visa would be required to reenter the United States if not absolutely necessary.

Passports: Passport processing will be delayed as many offices are inside buildings that will be shut down.

CIS Ombudsman: The CIS Ombudsman’s Office will be closed and will not be accepting any inquiries through their online case intake system.
OFLC functions are not “excepted” from a shutdown and its employees would be placed in furlough status should a lapse in appropriated funds occur. Consequently, the OFLC will neither accept nor process any applications or related materials (such as audit responses), it receives, including Labor Condition Applications, Applications for Prevailing Wage Determination, Applications for Temporary Employment Certification, or Applications for Permanent Employment Certification. As of now, OFLC’s web site, including the iCERT Visa Portal System and the PERM system, are inoperative and unable to process any cases. PERM applications that need to be filed due to expiring recruitment or the need to preserve H-1B AC21 eligibility could presumably be filed by mail if necessary. There is a problem for H-1B extensions that cannot be filed without the LCA – USCIS has been contacted about this issue by AILA to allow filing without the LCA for now. 
DHS: Due to the lapse in federal funding, DHS’ website will not be actively managed.
DHS OIG: The majority of DHS OIG staff has been furloughed due to the lapse in appropriations.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform: The shut down will create even more of a delay for the immigration reform cause as Congress will completely shift gears to address their inept bargaining tactics instead of addressing this key piece of legislation. However, the nationwide immigration event, known as the March for Immigrant Dignity and Respect will still continue as planned on October 5. To learn more, please click here.

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Comprehensive Immigration Reform’s Second Wind http://www.visa-pros.com/comprehensive-immigration-reforms-second-wind/ http://www.visa-pros.com/comprehensive-immigration-reforms-second-wind/#comments Wed, 25 Sep 2013 14:10:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/comprehensive-immigration-reforms-second-wind/ Continue reading ]]>
I was encouraged to learn this week that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is introducing legislation to combine the comprehensive bill that passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in May with a bipartisan border-security bill from the House Homeland Security Committee. Both bills received bipartisan support but not enough support from the GOP leadership to bring it to the House floor for a vote. To answer this bureaucratic stalling, Pelosi has announced her strategy to bring comprehensive immigration reform back into the spotlight with her mash-up of the year’s most well-supported, bipartisan attempts at immigration reform.
Whether or not her bill will win any favors with the GOP leadership is dubious – to be honest, I don’t think it was really her end goal. I think her goal is much more strategic. Immigration reform is such a heated debate, it’s unlikely any singular proposed bill will win over the GOP leadership at this time and I trust she and her aides recognize that. It is more likely that her strategy is to smoke out the GOP leadership. From this point, the GOP can either reveal themselves as unwilling to act on immigration reform by continuing to keep all immigration reform bills off the floor or they can call one of these bills to a vote. Either way, the conversation on reform can shift to one of action or inaction by the GOP.
The most immediate benefit of her strategy is that it will renew news coverage for immigration reform. Pelosi’s bill will debut (tentatively) on Oct.5th, which is now National Day of Action. On this day, rallies and marches for immigration reform will take place nationwide – in over 40 U.S. cities – to demand comprehensive immigration reform.The need for comprehensive immigration reform is real. Families across the nation are suffering and have suffered due to politics and inaction by our representatives.With the spotlight back on immigration reform, it is Pelosi’s hope, and mine as well, that Congress will take action and pass something comprehensive reform. The good news is that the GOP has promised to make immigration reform a priority. But until something other than border patrol measures gets to the House floor for a vote, I’d be cautious to believe them.
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CIR WINNING http://www.visa-pros.com/cir-winning/ http://www.visa-pros.com/cir-winning/#comments Tue, 27 Aug 2013 18:09:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/cir-winning/ Continue reading ]]> The American people are speaking and they’re saying “yes” to immigration reform. From both sides of the aisle, and all parts of the political spectrum, the left, the right, and the center are all coming out and registering their voices in support of immigration reform.  
Congressmen are actually listening as immigration advocates count 23 Republican members of Congress who have publicly come out in support of not just immigration reform for legal immigrants but a path to citizenship for current undocumented immigrants.
The Atlantic published a great article last week boldly exclaiming that Immigration reformers are winning in August. But despite the show of numbers for immigration reform, Roy Beck, executive director of the anti-immigration group NumbersUSA remains unconvinced that immigration reform will happen. He asserts that protests, rallies and shows of numbers do not necessarily correspond to votes in Congress. I have to say Beck is right – but only to a point. He is right when he says that our work is not done. Until a comprehensive immigration reform bill is signed into law, we can only be “winning” but we have not won. Even still, it is encouraging to see less and less people show up to anti-immigration rallies – like the sort Beck organizes, Turnout is so low that major anti-immigrant rallies have to be cut back and events have to be cancelled due to low participation. To this setback, Beck argues that his side does not need to come out in numbers in the same way as reform advocates since anti-reform advocates have the House in their pocket. Beck and his like minded supporters count on the House rejecting the Senate bill, which is the most immediate way comprehensive reform could be signed into law. 

The great thing about this fight for comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) is that even if the House rejects the Senate bill forthright – the call for CIR  is becoming so loud – the House cannot possibly disregard this call to action. In fact, the House is under increasing pressure to pass something immigration related as their first order of business, And like Beck, I have trust in the political process because at the end of the day, it is in their best interest as politicians to take note of the changing tide of public opinion – which is shown by show of numbers. After all, the same people most likely to be involved in the political process now are most likely going to stay involved during re-election time. 
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BLURRED LINES http://www.visa-pros.com/blurred-lines/ http://www.visa-pros.com/blurred-lines/#comments Wed, 21 Aug 2013 22:49:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/blurred-lines/ Continue reading ]]>
The need for a more distinct line between the role of local law enforcement and Immigration and Customs Enforcement  (ICE) agents is becoming more and more apparent. Pressure from advocacy groups to more strictly define the role of local law enforcement as their duties relate to undocumented immigrants is garnering some hopeful results with Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Cook County, Il, and Newark, NJ passing legislation to significantly limit the reach of ICE.


A recent civil rights lawsuit in New Orleans has brought attention to the unconstitutional practice of “excessive and unlawful custody” local police forces have taken to assist ICE beyond their duty to prevent crime and punish criminals. The New York Times reports that New Orleans Sherriff Marlin Gusman complied with an ICE request to detain two undocumented immigrants until ICE could come and take them  into custody. These two men were jailed at the time for minor offenses but were jailed for an additional 90+ days without a federal charge because of this ICE hold. The explicit limit for detaining someone for ICE is 48 hours – after which, the men should have been released. These men’s constitutional rights were clearly violated and in response to their case’s victory, New Orleans has opted to limit the role local law enforcement will play in future ICE detention cases.


California, recognizing this trend, is now considering a bill that would limit the role of local law enforcement in feeding inmates to ICE. Criminals charged for serious offenses such as felonies, would still be turned over for deportation, but others in jail for minor offenses would not be held on ICE’s behalf beyond the 48 hour maximum. I hope this legislation passes in California and I hope more legislation like this will surface soon in other states. Even an undocumented immigrant should not be detained for prolonged periods of time just because they are in the country without status if they are not criminals or if they only have minor offenses such as traffic offenses, which is most often the case. It’s a cruel and unusual punishment. Think about someone detained for90 days in jail for jaywalking. The punishment does not fit the crime.

We want local police officers to prioritize their efforts in a way that will make our communities safer and not to become an extension of ICE. 

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PIECEMEAL APPROACH BY THE HOUSE MAY HASTEN DREAMERS’ LEGALIZATION AT COST OF COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM http://www.visa-pros.com/piecemeal-approach-by-the-house-may-hasten-dreamers-legalization-at-cost-of-comprehensive-immigration-reform/ http://www.visa-pros.com/piecemeal-approach-by-the-house-may-hasten-dreamers-legalization-at-cost-of-comprehensive-immigration-reform/#comments Fri, 16 Aug 2013 17:18:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/piecemeal-approach-by-the-house-may-hasten-dreamers-legalization-at-cost-of-comprehensive-immigration-reform/ Continue reading ]]> There is some good news to report this week on the immigration front:
The Huffington Post reported yesterday that 400,562 young people or 72% of the estimated total eligible for DACA, have applied and been approved for deferred action since it was approved last August.

In response to overwhelming public support for aiding the Dreamers, 2 House Republicans who voted against the DREAM Act in 2010 are working on a Dream Act-like bill, called the Kids Act that would legalize, not just defer the deportation of Dreamers.
Due to wide public support and the President’s action the case to legalize Dreamers is a done deal as it seems like Congress will be able to come together for their cause. The issue now is to make the case to legalize their parents which is a much tougher case to make. There is still a long road ahead for comprehensive immigration reform but as the case for Dreamers show, civic action and public support can play a substantial role in influencing policy makers.

As a recent Washington Post article notes, there is a danger in the Houses’ piecemeal approach to immigration reform as it could be possible that the GOP concession to legalizing Dreamers will come at a cost of killing attempts at comprehensive immigration reform for the remaining 11 million undocumented immigrants. This is why this strategy is problematic. We need comprehensive immigration reform and to strike while the iron is hot as there is great public support for it now.
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CONGRESS’ RECESS BRINGS GREAT IMMIGRATION REFORM LOBBYING OPPORTUNITIES http://www.visa-pros.com/congress-recess-brings-great-immigration-reform-lobbying-opportunities/ http://www.visa-pros.com/congress-recess-brings-great-immigration-reform-lobbying-opportunities/#comments Thu, 08 Aug 2013 16:59:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/congress-recess-brings-great-immigration-reform-lobbying-opportunities/ Continue reading ]]> The New York Times reports that immigration advocates see Congress’s 5-week summer recess as a crucial window to lobby the House to hold a vote for the comprehensive immigration bill that is currently tabled there. Should the House pursue its piecemeal approach to immigration reform, advocates fear issues like increasing border security will take precedence and leave the issue of a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. unresolved for a much longer time or leave the issue completely unresolved. This is unacceptable as deportations are increasing at a record pace every day.

Since a path to citizenship is included in the Senate’s comprehensive bill, immigration reform advocates are moving forward to launch several campaigns to get the House to vote on the Senate’s bill. One campaign that was both poignant and topical involved sending cantaloupes to more than 200 House members, with a note that said “This cantaloupe was picked by immigrants in California. You gave Steve King a vote. Give us a vote for citizenship.” In a speech last week, Steve King (R-IA), stereotyped immigrants as drug runners who taped marijuana to their calves making them the “size of cantaloupes.” This is not the first time that he made bigoted remarks.

Advocates also mentioned that if the Senate’s comprehensive bill were to be voted on in the House today, there would be enough bipartisan support to pass the bill. Therefore, advocates believe efforts to rally enough outcry from key constituent groups and the accompanying media coverage over the next 5 weeks can help pressure House GOP members and its leadership to act on this bill.

I want to encourage everyone to contact their Congress members in the month of August to support immigration reform, whether by calling their Washington D.C. office, local offices, writing letters or visiting with them if possible. Please do this as we need a final push to get the immigration reform bill passed!

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HEAVY REPUBLICAN DONORS WROTE A LETTER TO CONGRESS TO SUPPORT IMMIGRATION REFORM http://www.visa-pros.com/heavy-republican-donors-wrote-a-letter-to-congress-to-support-immigration-reform/ http://www.visa-pros.com/heavy-republican-donors-wrote-a-letter-to-congress-to-support-immigration-reform/#comments Tue, 30 Jul 2013 20:34:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/heavy-republican-donors-wrote-a-letter-to-congress-to-support-immigration-reform/ Continue reading ]]> The New York Times reports that over 100 big name donors to the Republican Party have written a letter to Republican members of the House urging them to pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
The letter says: “Immigrants are often entrepreneurial, family-minded and guided by faith. These are Republican values. Immigrants play key roles at every level of the American economy. From high-skill workers to seasonal laborers, from big-city neighborhoods to small-town main streets, immigrants help drive our economic growth. These are Republican issues. Republicans ought to be welcoming immigrants and be seen as doing so.”

The effort was organized by Carlos Gutierrez, who was secretary of commerce under President George W. Bush and was a founder of a “super PAC,” Republicans for Immigration Reform.

It’s great to start having pressure on these politicians from within. If they are all afraid to lose their seats maybe losing some donors for their re-election campaign will force them to do the right thing for this country and support immigration reform.

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REP GUTIERREZ EXPLAINS HOW IMMIGRATION REFORM BILL GETS OUT OF THE HOUSE http://www.visa-pros.com/rep-gutierrez-explains-how-immigration-reform-bill-gets-out-of-the-house/ http://www.visa-pros.com/rep-gutierrez-explains-how-immigration-reform-bill-gets-out-of-the-house/#comments Mon, 29 Jul 2013 17:49:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/rep-gutierrez-explains-how-immigration-reform-bill-gets-out-of-the-house/ Continue reading ]]> In a very lengthy interview and opinion, the Washington Post talks to Rep. Gutierrez (D-IL), one of the influential House members on the immigration reform bill.
In short, Rep. Gutierrez explains that E-Verify is here to stay, and will be a part of a final bill. More enforcement for everyone.
He is optimistic about the passage of some form of DREAM Act with a pathway to citizenship for people who arrived here as children, even though it did not pass Congress in 2010.
Interesting read on one politician’s take on the issue.

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BOEHNER OPTIMISTIC ON IMMIGRATION BILL? http://www.visa-pros.com/boehner-optimistic-on-immigration-bill/ http://www.visa-pros.com/boehner-optimistic-on-immigration-bill/#comments Tue, 23 Jul 2013 21:52:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/boehner-optimistic-on-immigration-bill/ Continue reading ]]> Who knew?
The New York Times blog wrote an op-ed piece on how House Speaker Boehner is all of a sudden optimistic about immigration reform. If that is really true – great!
On the other hand he does not want to pass anything close to the Senate bill – which sends a signal that he would not be supportive of reform. Perhaps if the House votes in favor of some immigration reform, however partial, it will advance somewhere in conference committee.

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IMMIGRANTS ARE DRIVING THE HOUSING RECOVERY http://www.visa-pros.com/immigrants-are-driving-the-housing-recovery/ http://www.visa-pros.com/immigrants-are-driving-the-housing-recovery/#comments Mon, 22 Jul 2013 20:16:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/immigrants-are-driving-the-housing-recovery/ Continue reading ]]> CNN reports that the influx of immigrants into the United States has boosted the American economy by driving the housing market recovery.
U.S. Census Data suggests that immigrants have contributed approximately $3.7 trillion to the U.S. housing market. When there are more immigrants coming into the nation or a neighborhood, there is a higher demand for housing, which essentially renews local housing markets.
When immigrants stimulate neighborhoods, the local community prospers which in turn attracts U.S. native to it as well.
Because many immigrants look towards neighborhoods with low-cost housing, they are able to spur growth in once declining neighborhoods.
Immigration is good for the housing market recovery and economy as a whole.

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USCIS RELEASES REPORT ON H-1B WORKERS CHARACTERISTICS http://www.visa-pros.com/uscis-releases-report-on-h-1b-workers-characteristics/ http://www.visa-pros.com/uscis-releases-report-on-h-1b-workers-characteristics/#comments Thu, 18 Jul 2013 22:04:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/uscis-releases-report-on-h-1b-workers-characteristics/ Continue reading ]]> USCIS just issued a report to Congress “Characteristics of H-1B Specialty Occupation Workers” for Fiscal Year 2012. Some interesting facts outlined in the report:
1) The number of H-1B petitions filed increased 15% from 267,654 in FY 2011 to 307,713 in FY 2012. Due no doubt to the economic recovery.
2) The number of H-1B petitions approved decreased 3 percent from 269,653 in FY 2011 to 262,569 in FY 2012. Due no doubt to increased scrutiny from USCIS on all H-1B petitions and increased RFEs even though USCIS issued memos not to issue needless RFEs. I suspect in percentages it is actually worse because FY2012 had substantially more filings, so denial rate is probably more than 7% higher overall compared with FY2011.
3) 72% of H-1B petitions approved in FY 2012 were for workers between the ages of 25 and 34.
4) 46% of H-1B petitions approved in FY 2012 were for workers with a bachelor’s degree, 41% had a master’s degree, 8% had a doctorate, and 4 percent were for workers with a professional degree.
5) 61% of H-1B petitions approved in FY 2012 were for workers in computer related occupations followed by engineering and architecture.
6) The median salary of beneficiaries of approved petitions remained at $70,000 for both FYs 2011 and 2012.
7) After the IT industry, the higher education industry commanded the most petitions. The good news is that the higher education positions are cap-exempt.
8) Healthcare workers represent about 5% of the total number of cases.
You can find the full report here.

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NAPOLITANO RESIGNING http://www.visa-pros.com/napolitano-resigning/ http://www.visa-pros.com/napolitano-resigning/#comments Fri, 12 Jul 2013 21:25:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/napolitano-resigning/ Continue reading ]]> Surprising news this morning. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, one of the longest serving members of the President’s Cabinet, announced this morning that she is resigning as of early September to accept a position as the head of the University of California system. No word yet on replacements. Conceivably, this could make it a little easier to negotiate an immigration reform bill as Secretary Napolitano has – unfairly in our view – been labeled as soft on immigration enforcement and has been the frequent target of criticism from Republicans.
It may also make it much more difficult for reform to pass the House, giving them the perfect excuse not to act because they do not know who will lead the agency.

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WHERE DOES REFORM GO FROM HERE? http://www.visa-pros.com/where-does-reform-go-from-here/ http://www.visa-pros.com/where-does-reform-go-from-here/#comments Thu, 11 Jul 2013 22:00:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/where-does-reform-go-from-here/ Continue reading ]]> A general pessimism has settled over the pro-immigration community after the House GOP caucus failed to endorse a comprehensive Senate-ish approach to immigration reform after meeting to talk about dealing with immigration this year. But I’d argue that the news is a bit or a mix.
House Republican Leaders issued the following statement after the caucus meeting today:
Today House Republicans affirmed that rather than take up the flawed legislation rushed through the Senate, House committees will continue their work on a step-by-step, common-sense approach to fixing what has long been a broken system. The American people want our border secured, our laws enforced, and the problems in our immigration system fixed to strengthen our economy. But they don’t trust a Democratic-controlled Washington, and they’re alarmed by the president’s ongoing insistence on enacting a single, massive, Obamacare-like bill rather than pursuing a step-by-step, common-sense approach to actually fix the problem. The president has also demonstrated he is willing to unilaterally delay or ignore significant portions of laws he himself has signed, raising concerns among Americans that this administration cannot be trusted to deliver on its promises to secure the border and enforce laws as part of a single, massive bill like the one passed by the Senate.
So we know that the leadership is not a fan of a comprehensive bill and wants individual bills. And they emphasized that they want border security measures before a legalization program starts.
Other statements that emerged today from people like Raul Labrador and Daryl Issa made it sound like a legalization program is not off the table, but there should not be a special path to citizenship with the exception of DREAMers.
So while many are assuming immigration reform is dead, I can see the House – after the August recess – considering a legalization bill that would create a legal status similar to the RPI status in the Senate bill but which would not begin until after various border security triggers are met. There would only be a special path to citizenship for DREAMers but others could eventually get green cards through existing green card categories after more triggers are hit.
The question would then be whether Democrats would consider such a plan or simply ignore the House. Politically, the Democrats can do nothing and reap major rewards down the road since no matter what GOP members may be saying, the WILL be blamed for this failure and they will eventually lose the House when gerrymandering can no longer disguise demographic realities. On the other hand, Democrats could take a deal like this and wait until they’ve retaken the House to get a better program. And they WILL retake the House. Even if an immigration bill passes, the GOP’s handling of the issue has effectively branded them as the anti-immigrant party and that is suicidal in 21st century America.

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DOL RELEASES H-1B AND PERM STATISTICS http://www.visa-pros.com/dol-releases-h-1b-and-perm-statistics/ http://www.visa-pros.com/dol-releases-h-1b-and-perm-statistics/#comments Tue, 09 Jul 2013 16:11:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/dol-releases-h-1b-and-perm-statistics/ Continue reading ]]> U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification just issued statistics about FY 20013 year-to-date on the H-1B temporary program. Note that this information only relates to the LCAs, not the final numbers by USCIS. According to their data, so far to date they have received 323,866 LCA applications. They have processed all of them in a timely manner, meaning within the 7 business days as required by their own regulations.
The top 10 occupations were computer related, including computer systems analysts, computer programmer, software developers and computer and information system managers. The next group were accountants, auditors, management and financial analyst and the final group of occupations were engineers.
The state with the most filings was California with almost 120,000 filings, which more than doubled that of New York and Texas with over 55,000 each.
Top employers were consulting companies, including Syntel, Cognizant, Wipro, Infosys, PWC, Tata consulting and Deloitte.
On the PERM front, they have received so far almost 51,000 applications for PERM, out of which 26% have been audited and 11% are pending appeal. So far 25,668 applications were certified, 5,251 were denied and 1,828 were withdrawn. Not great statistics on PERMs… Here again over 56% of the occupations were computer and math related, then architecture and engineering about 11% and management 8%. Top work site was California with 23%, then New Jersey, New York and Texas.

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USCIS ISSUES Q&A TO ACCEPT SAME-SEX MARRIAGE FILINGS http://www.visa-pros.com/uscis-issues-qa-to-accept-same-sex-marriage-filings/ http://www.visa-pros.com/uscis-issues-qa-to-accept-same-sex-marriage-filings/#comments Wed, 03 Jul 2013 21:39:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/uscis-issues-qa-to-accept-same-sex-marriage-filings/ Continue reading ]]> USCIS just issued a Questions and Answers following SCOTUS’ ruling that DOMA was unconstitutional. USCIS says that same-sex married couples may file a Form I-130 to petition for a spouse and can no longer  be automatically denied as a result of the same-sex nature of the marriage.
If the couple was married in a U.S. state that recognizes same-sex marriage, or in a foreign jurisdiction that allows it, even though they are living in a state that does not recognizes same-sex marriage the couple can still file the petition. In evaluating the petition, as a general matter, USCIS looks to the law of the place where the marriage took place when determining whether it is valid for immigration law purposes.

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ISSA’S SKILLS ACT PASSES HOUSE JUDICIARY http://www.visa-pros.com/issas-skills-act-passes-house-judiciary-2/ http://www.visa-pros.com/issas-skills-act-passes-house-judiciary-2/#comments Wed, 03 Jul 2013 21:10:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/issas-skills-act-passes-house-judiciary-2/ Continue reading ]]> Great news!
The House Judiciary Committee has just passed the Supplying Knowledge Based Immigrants and Lifting Levels of STEM Visa Act (SKILLS Act), sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) along with 20 co-sponsors.
The SKILLS Act would nearly triple the H-1B cap and also increase employment-based green card numbers and add 4,000 immigrant visas for health care occupations, including nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and other allied health care workers who work in rural or undeserved areas.
Unlike the current situation where these employees are subject to 6-7 year backlogs in the EB-3 category, these additional  immigrant visas are immediately available and not subject to retrogression.
This is the first step toward a House comprehensive immigration bill like the one passed in the Senate. However, the House is expected to debate the Senate bill and change many of its provisions. The House may administratively decide to have several smaller bills, rather than one large immigration bill. We hopefully await and see.

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ISSA’S SKILLS ACT PASSES HOUSE JUDICIARY http://www.visa-pros.com/issas-skills-act-passes-house-judiciary/ http://www.visa-pros.com/issas-skills-act-passes-house-judiciary/#comments Wed, 03 Jul 2013 21:06:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/issas-skills-act-passes-house-judiciary/ Continue reading ]]> Great news! The House Judiciary Committee has just passed the Supplying Knowledge Based Immigrants and Lifting Levels of STEM Visa Act (SKILLS Act), sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) along with 20 co-sponsors.
The SKILLS Act would nearly triple the H-1B cap and also increase employment-based green card numbers and add 4,000 immigrant visas for health care occupations, including nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and other allied health care workers who work in rural or undeserved areas.
Unlike the current situation where these employees are subject to 6-7 year backlogs in the EB-3 category, these additional  immigrant visas are immediately available and not subject to retrogression.
This is the first step toward a House comprehensive immigration bill like the one passed in the Senate. However, the House is expected to debate the Senate bill and change many of its provisions. The House may administratively decide to have several smaller bills, rather than one large immigration bill. We hopefully await and see.

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The Essential Economy http://www.visa-pros.com/the-essential-economy/ http://www.visa-pros.com/the-essential-economy/#comments Wed, 26 Jun 2013 19:19:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/the-essential-economy/ Continue reading ]]> Please read this great op-ed on immigration reform by my friend Todd Stein:
Immigration Reform: AJC.Com


The Essential Economy
By

Sam Zamarripa and Todd Stein

Immigration reform is vital to America’s economy. That simple reality is driving four Republican senators, some of whom are the most conservative members of Congress, to champion the immigration reform bill now being debated on the floor of the US Senate.
Sen. Marco Rubio recently wrote that an immigration reform bill that includes bringing millions of undocumented aliens out of the underground economy “will improve the labor market, increase entrepreneurship and create jobs, leading to a net increase in economic growth.”
For Georgia, the economic stakes are high because of what immigration reform could do to sustain and boost Georgia’s “Essential Economy,” defined by a recent report by Georgia Tech’s Innovation Services Group as the goods and services that are essential to our way of life and that have to be produced right here in Georgia.
A significant percentage of the approximately 440,000 people in the state illegally makeup the workforce that drives Georgia’s essential economy.
That workforce includes the men and women on the frontlines of Georgia’s agriculture industry, harvesting crops, picking produce, and staffing the state’s many poultry plants. It also includes the hotel maids and restaurant workers, the backbone of the hospitality sector that makes Georgia an attractive place to visit or to start or relocate a business.
The essential economy workforce is made up of truck drivers, warehouse personnel and construction workers who have turned manufacturing, logistics, and trade into three of Georgia’s most promising prospects for long-term economic growth. And it includes landscapers as well as nursing home attendants and personal care assistants who are in increasing demand as the state’s population ages.
According to the Georgia Tech report, the essential economy contributed $49 billion in 2010 to Georgia’s gross domestic product and its workforce contributed more than $110 million in sales tax revenue through purchases of goods and services in 2011. Despite the national recession that began in 2008, the essential economy has remained a steady and often times growing part of the economies in Georgia’s 159 counties for the past nine years.
These numbers illustrate that the future of Georgia’s economy depends on sustaining and growing the essential economy, which in turn, creates the foundation for all the jobs in the aspirational economy – the high-skilled, high-wage jobs that Georgia continuously tries to create and attract.
The alternatives to immigration reform – maintaining the status quo or trying to deport the 11 million immigrants in the country illegally – are both impractical and potentially disastrous for the state’s economy.
The status quo does not work in part because Georgia’s population, like the rest of the country is aging. More than 60 percent of the state’s population will be more than 60 years old by 2030, according to the Department of Human Services.
As Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican pushing immigration reform, recently explained, “Unless there is another baby boom in America, the only way to bring new workers into the country is through legal immigration – hi-tech, low-tech, and everything in between. We will be cutting our throat economically if we don’t improve our immigration system to have more legal immigration.”
As for deportation, which Sen. Rubio explains is not a practical solution, many of Georgia’s business leaders can tell you that it is the worst thing we do could to the essential economy. Georgia learned that lesson with House Bill 87, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011. After the state legislature passed that law, approximately 40 percent of the state’s agriculture labor needs went unmet as unpicked crops rotted in the field, costing Georgia businesses more than $140 million.
 Republicans championing immigration reform in the Senate have been instrumental in identifying bipartisan solutions to challenging issues like improving border security and addressing the inadequacies and dysfunction of our current immigration system. But they have also kept their focus on the issue Americans say they care the most about – improving the nation’s economy.
One of the best ways we can achieve a stronger economy in Georgia is to support bi-partisan immigration reform in Washington that gives business owners and their employees certainty about their futures, and ensures that our essential economy has what it needs most to thrive – a robust and vibrant workforce.

Sam Zamarripa, a former Georgia state senator, is founder and co-president of  The Essential Economy Council.  Todd Stein, who served as majority counsel on the  U.S . Senate committee on homeland security and governmental affairs, is a lawyer with Kitchens New Cleghorn LLC and a lecturer at the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at Georgia Tech.

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7-11 FRANCHISEES ALLEGE IMMIGRANT FRAUD http://www.visa-pros.com/7-11-franchisees-allege-immigrant-fraud/ http://www.visa-pros.com/7-11-franchisees-allege-immigrant-fraud/#comments Wed, 26 Jun 2013 17:38:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/7-11-franchisees-allege-immigrant-fraud/ Continue reading ]]> Federal agents seized the franchise rights of 14 Seven-Eleven stores and announced criminal charges against 9 people responsible for bringing undocumented immigrants from Pakistan and the Philippines to work in these stores, paying them a fraction of required wages for working up to 100 hours per week or more and putting them in employer housing from which they could not escape.
The allegations state that these owners earned $180 Million in this scheme, with stores located in New York City, Virginia and other places. The feds say they used identities and social security numbers of legal U.S. residents for this, as a way to avoid detection for over 10 years.
If true, horrible and ugly indeed. It is sad to see how immigrants could be brutally exploited by unscrupulous people.

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WHAT’S NEXT FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM? http://www.visa-pros.com/whats-next-for-immigration-reform/ http://www.visa-pros.com/whats-next-for-immigration-reform/#comments Tue, 25 Jun 2013 20:34:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/whats-next-for-immigration-reform/ Continue reading ]]> Courtesy of Greg Siskind: It was a good day for immigration reform. 15 Republicans joined a solid block of every Democrat to pass a cloture vote 67-27 for the Hoeven-Corker substitute immigration bill – a key test vote on immigration reform. Today’s vote s a pretty good indicator of what will happen on Thursday on the final vote in the Senate on the immigration bill. Six Senators couldn’t make the vote because of flight delays. Two were definite Democrat votes meaning that 70 votes is a real possibility.

I mentioned earlier that I was able to watch the proceedings from the Senate gallery. Though I’ve made dozens of trips to DC over the years to work on immigration issues, this was actually my first time in the gallery for one of the two chambers in the Capitol. The atmosphere was somewhat party-like as the Senators gathered for a vote that turned out to be more lopsided than many would have initially imagined.

It’s a pretty sure bet that the final vote on a Senate bill will come on Thursday. But there could still be more amendment votes. Senator Corker told reporters this afternoon that a deal for 10 amendments to be offered by each side might be considered. No word yet on which amendments might make the cut. Things are moving on the House side as well. The House Judiciary Committee is set to mark up the E-Verify and high-skilled worker bills. Those bills and the other enforcement bills that have already passed. This week we could also see the much-awaited House bipartisan bill (written by the Gang of 7) finally be introduced. It’s writers clam to be finished with negotiating the framework.Whether that bill will be considered is still not known. Speaker Boehner says he would like a bill passed on the floor by the end of July. That would then lead to the House and Senate setting up a conference committee to try and hammer out a compromise. So there are many steps remaining before the bill would make its way to the President’s desk for his signature.

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ALL GEORGIA COMPANIES WITH 11 EMPLOYEES OR MORE MUST E-VERIFY ON JULY 1 http://www.visa-pros.com/all-georgia-companies-with-11-employees-or-more-must-e-verify-on-july-1/ http://www.visa-pros.com/all-georgia-companies-with-11-employees-or-more-must-e-verify-on-july-1/#comments Mon, 24 Jun 2013 16:14:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/all-georgia-companies-with-11-employees-or-more-must-e-verify-on-july-1/ Continue reading ]]> Pursuant to HB87, as of July 1, Georgia companies with 11 employees or more will be required to enroll in E-Verify, the federal online system to determine the immigration status of newly hired workers, in order to maintain their business license in the state.
Larger companies with over 100 employees were already required to participate as of last year, but as of next week all companies, other than the smallest with 10 employees or less, will have to participate in E-Verify.
This will not help to curb illegal immigration as proponents of HB87 would argue, but that now law in Georgia.

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CBO SAYS IMMIGRATION REFORM WOULD CUT BUDGET DEFICITS http://www.visa-pros.com/cbo-says-immigration-reform-would-cut-budget-deficits/ http://www.visa-pros.com/cbo-says-immigration-reform-would-cut-budget-deficits/#comments Wed, 19 Jun 2013 22:31:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/cbo-says-immigration-reform-would-cut-budget-deficits/ Continue reading ]]> The Congressional Budget Office or CBO, issued an analysis of the Senate bill S. 744 Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, saying that immigration reform as suggested in the bill would have a positive impact on the federal budget, and pay for itself .
The CBO estimates that the bill would increase the population of the U.S. by 10.4 million people and increase federal direct spending by $262 billion over the next decade, but revenue would jump by $459 billion because of additional collections of income taxes and payroll taxes due to an increase in the legal work force in the U.S. That means the bill would decrease federal budge deficits by $197 billion over this 10-year period. Beyond 2023, immigration reform would increase the number of people eligible for federal benefits such as Social Security and Medicare. But CBO expects the additional revenues generated by additional workers in the U.S. would outpace this extra spending. It projects that immigration reform would reduce federal deficits by $700 billion over the 2024-2033 period.
This is good news because it is clear that the arguments against the bill  are not economically viable.

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GA VOTERS POLL SUPPORTS IMMIGRATION REFORM http://www.visa-pros.com/ga-voters-poll-supports-immigration-reform/ http://www.visa-pros.com/ga-voters-poll-supports-immigration-reform/#comments Thu, 13 Jun 2013 20:53:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/ga-voters-poll-supports-immigration-reform/ Continue reading ]]> The Atlanta Business Chronicle reports that a poll by likely Georgia voters recently conducted shows that Georgia voters strongly support the immigration reform legislation now before the U.S. Senate.
61% of the voters said they “strongly support” or “somewhat support” the immigration bill currently proposed by the “Gang of Eight” in the Senate. A whopping 78% of the respondents said they would strongly or somewhat support an immigration reform plan requiring “undocumented immigrants” to the U.S. to pay a penalty, learn English, pass a criminal background check, pay taxes and wait at least 13 years before becoming eligible for citizenship.
This is overwhelming support of the bill by the majority of Georgia likely voters, and Georgia is traditionally a conservative state so conservative members of the Senate and House be on notice that your voters support this reform and do something good about it.

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OBAMA: "MOMENT IS NOW" FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM http://www.visa-pros.com/obama-moment-is-now-for-immigration-reform/ http://www.visa-pros.com/obama-moment-is-now-for-immigration-reform/#comments Wed, 12 Jun 2013 15:50:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/obama-moment-is-now-for-immigration-reform/ Continue reading ]]> And the President is right. Not only that the moment is now, the need for immigration reform is something that our Congress stalled for over a decade. We hope something will get done soon.
Washington Business Journal’s Kent Hoover wrote an interesting article about the President’s remarks as well as various comments from Republican leaders such as Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who things the border security measures in the new bill are not strong enough. Is he kidding? They have a proposal to quadruple the budget at the border and use drones.

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SCHUMER PREDICTS IMMIGRATION BILL WILL PASS BY JULY 4 http://www.visa-pros.com/schumer-predicts-immigration-bill-will-pass-by-july-4/ http://www.visa-pros.com/schumer-predicts-immigration-bill-will-pass-by-july-4/#comments Thu, 06 Jun 2013 15:31:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/schumer-predicts-immigration-bill-will-pass-by-july-4/ Continue reading ]]> The Hill reports that Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Sunday predicted the Senate would pass its immigration reform bill by July 4 and said a strong vote for the measure could force House Republicans to embrace the Gang of Eight’s bill, despite Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) vow to the contrary. They hope to win 70 votes in the Senate, including nearly a majority of Republicans.
This would be great news indeed if it passes the Senate with a large Republican majority.
The Republican party needs to pass this because now even the Tea party ultra conservatives Koch brothers support the measure. If they do not pass it they will alienate Hispanic voters for a very long time and the few hard hat voters who actually oppose the bill will not exactly vote Democrat next time around…
The full Senate is expected to begin debating the bill on June 10. The House is going to be very problematic, especially because of its Speaker Boehner but we’ll see.
It’s going to be interesting.

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IMMIGRATION REFORM IS GOOD FOR ECONOMY http://www.visa-pros.com/immigration-reform-is-good-for-economy/ http://www.visa-pros.com/immigration-reform-is-good-for-economy/#comments Tue, 04 Jun 2013 20:53:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/immigration-reform-is-good-for-economy/ Continue reading ]]> I just read this great Washington Post editorial that argues that restricting the labor market by keeping out immigrant workers is inconsistent with free market principles and is bad for the economy. 
Stephen Moore talks about surveying the top 75 economists on their views on immigration and 9 to 1 are in favor of immigration as good for the economy, with even Milton Friedman, a very conservative economist saying that both legal and illegal immigration has a very positive impact on the U.S. economy.
I liked this part the most: “It is ironic that the right-wingers who argue against protectionism, against the minimum wage, against unions (which inflate wage rates) and against Obamacare want to keep domestic wages artificially high by restricting the labor market (e.g. keeping out immigrant workers). That effort is not only inconsistent with free market principles, but, according to stacks of research, it also is empirically dubious.”
Yes, the anti-immigration reform politicians rely on dubious data and “research” to support their position where the evidence points in the other direction.

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IMMIGRATION REFORM IS GOOD FOR ECONOMY http://www.visa-pros.com/immigration-reform-is-good-for-economy-2/ http://www.visa-pros.com/immigration-reform-is-good-for-economy-2/#comments Tue, 04 Jun 2013 20:47:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/immigration-reform-is-good-for-economy-2/ Continue reading ]]> I just read this great Washington Post editorial that argues that restricting the labor market by keeping out immigrant workers is inconsistent with free market principles and is bad for the economy.
Stephen Moore talks about surveying the top 75 economists on their views on immigration and 9 to 1 are in favor of immigration as good for the economy, with even Milton Friedman, a very conservative economist saying that both legal and illegal immigration has a very positive impact on the U.S. economy.
I liked this part the most: “It is ironic that the right-wingers who argue against protectionism, against the minimum wage, against unions (which inflate wage rates) and against Obamacare want to keep domestic wages artificially high by restricting the labor market (e.g. keeping out immigrant workers). That effort is not only inconsistent with free market principles, but, according to stacks of research, it also is empirically dubious.”
Yes, the anti-immigration reform politicians rely on dubious data and “research” to support their position where the evidence points in the other direction. 
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SUMMARY OF HATCH-SCHUMER DEAL http://www.visa-pros.com/summary-of-hatch-schumer-deal/ http://www.visa-pros.com/summary-of-hatch-schumer-deal/#comments Fri, 24 May 2013 19:51:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/summary-of-hatch-schumer-deal/ Continue reading ]]> A couple of days ago I reported about the Hatch-Schumer Deal going through the Senate judiciary committee. Below please find the summary regarding provisions involving H-1B visas courtesy of my colleague Greg Siskind:

Section 4101 changes. The language creates a new concept of having a base H-1B allocation for each fiscal year and then a possible addition to that base number depending on how strong demand is for H-1Bs. The cap will float between 115,000 and 180,000 depending on market conditions.
The base cap is 115,000. The cap can rise based on the following formula:
- If the cap is hit before day 45 then 20,000 more numbers will be made available beginning on day 46
- If the cap is hit between day 46 and 60, then 15,000 more numbers will be made available on day 61
- If the cap is hit between days 61 and day 90, then 10,000 more numbers will be made available on day 91
- If the cap is hit between day 91 and day 275, then 5,000 more numbers will be made available on day 276 The cap can also be lowered based on the following formula:
- If the number of approved petitions is at between 5,000 and 9,999 fewer than the base allocation for that fiscal year, then the base will decrease for the next year by 5,000
- If the number of approved petitions is at between 10,000 and 14,999 fewer than the base allocation for that fiscal year, then the base will decrease for the next year by 10,000
- If the number of approved petitions is at between 55,000 and 19,999 fewer than the base allocation for that fiscal year, then the base will decrease for the next year by 15,000
- If the number of approved petitions is more than 20,000 fewer than the base allocation for that fiscal year, then the base will decrease for the next year by 20,000

Changes Section 4102 regarding work authorization for H-4s.
Previous version only gave EADs to H-4s if their countries reciprocated rights to US employees. New language gives DOS discretion on this issue.

The non-displacement language in Section 4211 is modified and no longer applies to all employers. “For an H-1B skilled worker dependent employer” that is not an H-1B dependent employer, the employer cannot have displaced and will not displace a US worker in the 90 days before and after the filing of the H-1B. H-1B skilled worker dependent employers aren’t subject to the provision unless the employer is filing the petition with the intent or purpose of displacing a US worker from the position to be occupied by the beneficiary of the petition or workers are displaced who provide services at government work sites or are public school teachers. In the case of applications filed by H-1B-dependent employers, the employer did not displace and will not displace a US worker employer by the employer during the period 180 days before and after the filing of the H-1B.
“H-1B Skilled Worker Dependent” means an employer who employs H-1Bs in the US in a number greater than 15% of its full-time equivalent workers in the US employed in jobs in O*NET Job Zone 4 and Job Zone 5. H-1Bs who are intending immigrants don’t count in making this determination. The Hatch amendment makes changes to S.744’s H-1B recruiting requirements. The amendment increases recruiting requirements by adding a provision that says an employer must take “good faith steps” to recruit US workers using procedures that meet industry-wide standards and offering compensation at least as great as that required to be offered to H-1B non-immigrants. The DOL web site recruiting is still required and an additional requirement has been added to require posting positions on a State labor or workforce agency web site.
 There is a significant change in the advertising rules. In the original S.744, the employer must have offered the job to any US worker who applied and is “equally or better qualified” for the job for which the non-immigrant is sought. Now, this requirement only applies to H-1B skilled worker dependent employers. Modifies the rules that exempt counting certain employees from the H-1B dependency count if an employer has filed green card application. Previously, covered employers had to file I-140s for not less than 90% of the people for whom an employer filed a labor certification during the 1-year period ending on the date the employer filed an application for a labor certification for the worker. Labor certification cases pending for longer than a year would be treated as if the employer filed an immigrant status petition. The language is modified and a “covered employer” is an employer that has filed I-140s for not less than 90% of current employees who were the beneficiaries of labor certifications that were approved during the 1-year period ending 6 months before the filing of an application for which the number of intending immigrants is relevant.

A new Section 4225 is added and is entitled “Transparency of High-Skilled Immigration Programs.”
The new Bureau of Immigration and Labor Market Research shall submit an annual report to Congress providing data on H-1B beneficiaries and employers.  A similar report on L-1s is to be prepared annually. An additional annual report is to be prepared describing the methods employers are using to meet the good faith recruiting requirements.
Section 4236 is modified to state that the non-displacement provisions do not apply to petitions filed on behalf of existing employees.
There is a new Section 4237 entitled “Portability for Beneficiaries of Immigrant Petitions.”
Changes the adjustment portability rules. Regardless of whether an employer withdraws an EB-1, EB-2 or EB-3 petition, the petition shall remain valid with respect to a new job if the beneficiary changes jobs or employers after the petition is approved and the new job is in the same or a similar occupation for which the petition was approved. Current law requires the petition to be pending 180 days before portability kicks in. The employer’s legal obligation with respect to the petition shall terminate at the time the beneficiary changes jobs or employers.
DOL shall develop a method for enabling workers to verify that a new job is in a same or similar occupation.
In a very important change, concurrent adjustment applications are available even if a visa number is not available. In such a case, a supplemental fee of $500 will be collected. Applicants filed under this provision cannot be approved until a visa number becomes available.
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SB744 GETS OUT OF JUDICIARY http://www.visa-pros.com/sb744-gets-out-of-judiciary/ http://www.visa-pros.com/sb744-gets-out-of-judiciary/#comments Wed, 22 May 2013 19:05:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/sb744-gets-out-of-judiciary/ Continue reading ]]> Good news, the immigration reform bill SB744 got out of the Senate judiciary committee yesterday with a few wonderful amendments. 
One great amendment included adding the dual intent language to students (F-1), exchange visitors (J-1) which includes foreign doctors, E, O, P, V or W. 
It also allows for a waiver for people previously removed in some cases. 
There was a settlement between Senators Hatch and Schumer on H-1B cap – to go up to 180,000 based on market demand/need. 
Also, increased portability for people applying for employment-based green cards and other provisions which are mostly positive. 
Now the vote… 
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SB744 GETS OUT OF JUDICIARY http://www.visa-pros.com/sb744-gets-out-of-judiciary-2/ http://www.visa-pros.com/sb744-gets-out-of-judiciary-2/#comments Wed, 22 May 2013 19:04:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/sb744-gets-out-of-judiciary-2/ Continue reading ]]> Good news, the immigration reform bill SB744 got out of the Senate judiciary committee yesterday with a few wonderful amendments.
One great amendment included adding the dual intent language to students (F-1), exchange visitors (J-1) which includes foreign doctors, E, O, P, V or W.
It also allows for a waiver for people previously removed in some cases.
There was a settlement between Senators Hatch and Schumer on H-1B cap – to go up to 180,000 based on market demand/need.
Also, increased portability for people applying for employment-based green cards and other provisions which are mostly positive.
Now the vote…

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H-1B AMENDMENTS TO THE IMMIGRATION LAW DO NOT PASS JUDICIARY COMMITTEE http://www.visa-pros.com/h-1b-amendments-to-the-immigration-law-do-not-pass-judiciary-committee/ http://www.visa-pros.com/h-1b-amendments-to-the-immigration-law-do-not-pass-judiciary-committee/#comments Mon, 20 May 2013 19:51:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/h-1b-amendments-to-the-immigration-law-do-not-pass-judiciary-committee/ Continue reading ]]> Last week I reported on a number of proposed changes to the H-1B visa rules that are part of the new immigration law proposal by the Gang of Eight.
The discussions were part of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s markup of the bill. Senators pitched several amendments, including positive ones such as from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) to increase the limit five-fold to 300,000, after he called the legislation as a “a step in the right direction” but not nearly enough even with the cap of 180,000 being “arbitrarily low.” However, this amendment was voted down 15-4 by the committee.
There were also amendments by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), calling to ease the extra requirements for H-1B employers this new bill would impose, saying the U.S. cannot supply enough skilled workers, but this also feel through.
So right now the original proposals is staying in the bill markup.

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HIGH TECH COMPANIES PUSH FOR H-1B AMENDMENT IN SENATE BILL http://www.visa-pros.com/high-tech-companies-push-for-h-1b-amendment-in-senate-bill/ http://www.visa-pros.com/high-tech-companies-push-for-h-1b-amendment-in-senate-bill/#comments Sat, 18 May 2013 00:12:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/high-tech-companies-push-for-h-1b-amendment-in-senate-bill/ Continue reading ]]> Another clash between two interest groups in Washington, D.C. as the debate over immigration reform continues.
What is going on with mark-ups in the Senate on the immigration reform bill is that High-tech companies that need to bring more skilled workers to the U.S. are pushing for more concessions. The main issue of contention between the high tech groups and the unions is proposals by one of the bill’s sponsors Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) to add a number of restrictions on the program first, including trying to recruit for U.S. workers first. While the overall goal of the legislation is good, and will increase the number of H-1B visas, the price to pay for these amendments may be too high for many companies that use this visa to recruit talent, especially in IT, computer software, engineering, and other positions in shortage.
However, the labor unions claim that Silicon Valley had already gotten enough in the legislation and further changes risked chipping away at protections for U.S. workers. This argument is ridiculous because unemployment in these occupations is generally less than 3% which is nothing more than people moving between jobs in normal economical terms. The reason that Sen. Durbin added these restriction to the bill in the first place was to garner wide support especially from the unions for passage of the bill.
Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah has stepped up to help the tech companies, proposing many amendments to help ease the requirements of the H-1B visa program, not increase them. He may be a swing vote on the immigration bill so the bill sponsors would like to get his support, and Utah is becoming a major high-tech employer.
The good thing about the bill would be that the H-1B cap would be raised from the current 65,000 annually to 110,000, with the potential to adjust upward to 180,000 depending on how many visa applications are received and what the unemployment rate is. However, High-tech companies say the unemployment rate should not be a factor because it might not reflect actual demand for skilled workers, which especially in IT has historically been very low. There is also concern that the companies would have to recruit U.S. workers first, a condition that is not required under the law right now. It makes sense for H-1B dependent employers which are those who have a large percentage of H-1B workers but not on most employers whose H-1B employees rate is less than 15%.
Other positive provisions in the bill exempt advanced degrees STEM graduates from U.S. schools, from annual limits on the permanent resident visas and creates a new visa for foreign entrepreneurs coming to the U.S. to start companies. Overall the bill is good but the restrictions on H-1B employment should go away.

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USCIS FINISHED ENTERING H-1B RECEIPTS FOR FY2014 – IS SENDING REJECTION NOTICES http://www.visa-pros.com/uscis-finished-entering-h-1b-receipts-for-fy2014-is-sending-rejection-notices/ http://www.visa-pros.com/uscis-finished-entering-h-1b-receipts-for-fy2014-is-sending-rejection-notices/#comments Fri, 17 May 2013 23:54:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/uscis-finished-entering-h-1b-receipts-for-fy2014-is-sending-rejection-notices/ Continue reading ]]> AILA reports that USCIS Service Center Operations indicated that as of Friday, May 10th all data entry was completed and receipt notices have been sent. If receipt notices are not issued or received, it probably means that the case was rejected or not selected in the lottery for H-1B cases for FY2014.
Rejection notices have also started to be sent out and they request to allow until the end of May for delivery of receipt or rejection notices.

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METRO ATLANTA CHAMBER SUPPORTS IMMIGRATION REFORM http://www.visa-pros.com/metro-atlanta-chamber-supports-immigration-reform/ http://www.visa-pros.com/metro-atlanta-chamber-supports-immigration-reform/#comments Fri, 17 May 2013 01:25:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/metro-atlanta-chamber-supports-immigration-reform/ Continue reading ]]> The board of the Metro Atlanta Chamber agreed today to certain immigration reforms, adopting a position similar to the U.S. Chamber and other business organizations. The Chamber says expanding the EB-5, J-1 and H-1B visa programs are critical to increased competitiveness.
The Metro Atlanta Chamber said employment, investment and student-based visas are of particular interest to it. It supports removing barriers to recruiting highly-skilled talent and expertise. The Metro Chamber’s position states: “Strengthening visa policy to allow the world’s best and brightest to work and invest in the U.S. is a path toward economic growth and expansion.”

Great move by the chamber!

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ECONOMISTS AGREE IMMIGRATION REFORM WOULD BOOST U.S. ECONOMY http://www.visa-pros.com/economists-agree-immigration-reform-would-boost-u-s-economy/ http://www.visa-pros.com/economists-agree-immigration-reform-would-boost-u-s-economy/#comments Thu, 09 May 2013 02:23:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/economists-agree-immigration-reform-would-boost-u-s-economy/ Continue reading ]]> Economist at the Milken conference agree that immigration reform would boost the U.S. economy. Unlike the biased opinions recently appearing in the media by one economist saying it will cost a whole lot, most economists of note agree that immigration reform would boost the U.S. economy. Read more at:

http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-milken-immigration-strategy-20130429,0,3473468.story?utm_source=AILA+Mailing&utm_campaign=9b99cb18c6-AILA8_5_1_13&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3c0e619096-9b99cb18c6-287750013

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CBP DOES AWAY WITH I-94S http://www.visa-pros.com/cbp-does-away-with-i-94s-2/ http://www.visa-pros.com/cbp-does-away-with-i-94s-2/#comments Thu, 09 May 2013 02:19:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/cbp-does-away-with-i-94s-2/ Continue reading ]]> U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) started implementing the automated version of Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, at air and sea ports of entry. Implementation will continue across the nation through May 21, to include air and sea ports of entry that support international arrivals.
CBP will stop giving away I-94s and instead stamp each foreign national’s passport with the entry date, admission status and expiration date listed on the admission stamp and enter all their data into the electronic system. The individuals will be able to access their electronic Form I-94 by visiting www.cbp.gov/I94 and print out their I-94s.
As evidence of lawful admission submitted with a benefit request, USCIS will accept the electronic Form I-94 in paper format obtained from CBP’s website as equivalent to the paper versions of Form I-94. In lieu of submitting the electronic Form I-94 in paper format, USCIS will also accept photocopies of the passport pages that contain the individual’s biographical information, visa and admission stamp.
We’ll have to wait and see how smooth this process will actually be…

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CBP DOES AWAY WITH I-94S http://www.visa-pros.com/cbp-does-away-with-i-94s/ http://www.visa-pros.com/cbp-does-away-with-i-94s/#comments Thu, 09 May 2013 02:18:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/cbp-does-away-with-i-94s/ Continue reading ]]> U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) started implementing the automated version of Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, at air and sea ports of entry. Implementation will continue across the nation through May 21, to include air and sea ports of entry that support international arrivals.
CBP will stop giving away I-94s and instead stamp each foreign national’s passport with the entry date, admission status and expiration date listed on the admission stamp and enter all their data into the electronic system. The individuals will be able to access their electronic Form I-94 by visiting www.cbp.gov/I94 and print out their I-94s.
As evidence of lawful admission submitted with a benefit request, USCIS will accept the electronic Form I-94 in paper format obtained from CBP’s website as equivalent to the paper versions of Form I-94. In lieu of submitting the electronic Form I-94 in paper format, USCIS will also accept photocopies of the passport pages that contain the individual’s biographical information, visa and admission stamp.
We’ll have to wait and see how smooth this process will actually be…

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SOME NON-CAP H-1B CASES TAKE 30 DAYS OR MORE FOR RECEIPTS http://www.visa-pros.com/some-non-cap-h-1b-cases-take-30-days-or-more-for-receipts/ http://www.visa-pros.com/some-non-cap-h-1b-cases-take-30-days-or-more-for-receipts/#comments Thu, 02 May 2013 21:02:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/some-non-cap-h-1b-cases-take-30-days-or-more-for-receipts/ Continue reading ]]> AILA is reporting that NCSC has indicated that non-cap H-1B and other Form I-129 receipting is taking 30 days or more.
AILA Liaison is raising the reported delay in receipting with service centers and Service Center Operations at USCIS HQ. This is a problem for visa extension, AC21 portability for H-1B cases etc. so it must be addressed very quickly – even E-Verify may not match if there is no new receipt.
I will update as I know more.
Another H-1B cap update as of today we have received all but a few of the H-1B cap case receipts and even a few approval notices for NON-PREMIUM H-1B cap cases! This is amazing speed from USCIS!

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BILL GATES, STEVE BALLMER, BRAD SMITH AND SEAN PARKER JOIN ZUCKERBERG SUPERPAC http://www.visa-pros.com/bill-gates-steve-ballmer-brad-smith-and-sean-parker-join-zuckerberg-superpac/ http://www.visa-pros.com/bill-gates-steve-ballmer-brad-smith-and-sean-parker-join-zuckerberg-superpac/#comments Mon, 29 Apr 2013 16:19:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/bill-gates-steve-ballmer-brad-smith-and-sean-parker-join-zuckerberg-superpac/ Continue reading ]]> In a great move of support for Mark Zuckerberg’s new SuperPac or political advocacy group for immigration reform called FWD.us four tech giants have joined to render their names and support: Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, Brad Smith (CEO of Intuit) and Sean Parker (Napster’s co-founder who also helped Zuckerberg in the early Facebook days).
It’s a great show of support for the topic Zuckerberg is spearheading and a great opportunity for these technology giants to put their money where their mouths are… Two thumbs up!
http://allthingsd.com/20130426/please-welcome-bill-gates-steve-ballmer-brad-smith-and-sean-parker-to-the-zuckerpac/

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MARK ZUCKERBERG BACKED IMMIGRATION GROUP LAUNCHES TV ADS http://www.visa-pros.com/mark-zuckerberg-backed-immigration-group-launches-tv-ads/ http://www.visa-pros.com/mark-zuckerberg-backed-immigration-group-launches-tv-ads/#comments Fri, 26 Apr 2013 20:35:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/mark-zuckerberg-backed-immigration-group-launches-tv-ads/ Continue reading ]]> Politico reports that the Mark Zuckerberg-backed organization pressing for immigration reform will launch its first wave of television ads Tuesday, in a move aimed at gathering support for a large-scale immigration deal on the right.
FWD.us, the organization formed to push Silicon Valley’s priorities in Washington, will advocate for a new immigration law through a subsidiary group created specifically to court conservatives. It’s a great initiative since the Democrats largely support this bill and this bill need a strong Republican support in order to pass Congress.
The ads feature clips of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio to make its case to Republican-leaning voters who normally would not support immigration reform. No one on the right can “blame” Sen. Rubio of being a liberal since he is very conservative on almost every other issue out there so I command him for taking such a stand against his own party about this issue of immigration reform to do the right thing.
Read more at Politico: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/04/mark-zuckerberg-immigration-group-launches-tv-blitz-90511.html#ixzz2RbSl6BSy

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H-1B RECEIPTS SLOWLY TRICKLING http://www.visa-pros.com/h-1b-receipts-slowly-trickling/ http://www.visa-pros.com/h-1b-receipts-slowly-trickling/#comments Fri, 26 Apr 2013 20:23:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/h-1b-receipts-slowly-trickling/ Continue reading ]]> So far we have received all of our U.S. master’s cap H-1B cases filed on the April 1 week. Our clients with the U.S. master’s cap were very lucky and they all got selected in the lottery.
Now we are slowly also getting cases from the regular H-1B cap, but only a small percentage so far of receipt notices compared to the cases that we filed.
USCIS expects to send receipt notices well into May for cap cases.
I hope our H-1B regular cap clients are as lucky as the master’s ones!
Update soon to follow.

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GOVERNOR DEAL SIGNS SB160 http://www.visa-pros.com/governor-deal-signs-sb160/ http://www.visa-pros.com/governor-deal-signs-sb160/#comments Thu, 25 Apr 2013 21:38:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/governor-deal-signs-sb160/ Continue reading ]]> Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal just signed Senate Bill 160, a second bill after the notorious HB87 cracking down on illegal immigration. Not. This bill just denies further benefits to immigrants.
SB160 was passed late last month during the final hour of the legislative session, and will take effect on July 1, 2013. It will increase the list of public benefits that people without legal authorization to live in the U.S.  may not receive to include grants, housing assistance, retirement benefits and driver’s licenses.
People without a legal immigration status are not eligible anyway to receive grants, housing assistance  retirement benefits or driver’s license but now thanks to this law abused women and children now cannot go to state sponsored shelters…
The only good thing about this bill (yes there is one good thing but only one) is that it will reduce delays in business license renewals. Right now an unintended consequence of HB87 requires Georgians holding professional licenses to prove they’re U.S. citizens or are in this country legally each time they apply for a renewal of the license (and the initial license of course). This requirement unduly burdened the Secretary of State’s Professional Licensing Boards Division and many delays (sometimes months) were reported for critical occupations such as nurses.

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DRONES TO BE USED AT SOUTHWEST BORDER? http://www.visa-pros.com/drones-to-be-used-at-southwest-border/ http://www.visa-pros.com/drones-to-be-used-at-southwest-border/#comments Fri, 19 Apr 2013 16:32:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/drones-to-be-used-at-southwest-border/ Continue reading ]]> I did not have a chance to go through all the part of the new immigration law proposal but here is something to pick up conversations: a proposals to use drones as part of the border enforcement at the southwestern border of the United States with specifically the states of Texas and Arizona (and perhaps New Mexico) as a way to monitor illegal entries. If only the U.S. government would be able to look at underground tunnels…

http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/news/2013/04/17/immigration-bill-calls-for-247-drone.html?ana=e_abd&u=smOEobGGOoSmz+5vyFsVIcfkh+E&page=all

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SISKIND’S ANALYSIS OF THE IMMIGRATION REFORM ACT http://www.visa-pros.com/siskinds-analysis-of-the-immigration-reform-act/ http://www.visa-pros.com/siskinds-analysis-of-the-immigration-reform-act/#comments Thu, 18 Apr 2013 01:21:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/siskinds-analysis-of-the-immigration-reform-act/ Please read the very thoughtful analysis from my law partner Greg Siskind’s summary section by section of the Immigration reform act introduced today at the Senate:

http://discuss.ilw.com/content.php?1706-Blogging-Section-by-Section-Summary-of-Senate-Immigration-Bill-Title-II-Legal-Immigration-Reform-by-Greg-Siskind

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SISKIND’S SUMMARY OF IMMIGRATION REFORM ACT http://www.visa-pros.com/siskinds-summary-of-immigration-reform-act/ http://www.visa-pros.com/siskinds-summary-of-immigration-reform-act/#comments Thu, 18 Apr 2013 01:20:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/siskinds-summary-of-immigration-reform-act/ Please read the very thoughtful analysis from my law partner Greg Siskind’s summary section by section of the Immigration reform act introduced today at the Senate:

http://discuss.ilw.com/content.php?1706-Blogging-Section-by-Section-Summary-of-Senate-Immigration-Bill-Title-II-Legal-Immigration-Reform-by-Greg-Siskind

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LAURENE POWELL JOBS SUPPORT FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM http://www.visa-pros.com/laurene-powell-jobs-support-for-immigration-reform/ http://www.visa-pros.com/laurene-powell-jobs-support-for-immigration-reform/#comments Tue, 16 Apr 2013 20:33:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/laurene-powell-jobs-support-for-immigration-reform/ Continue reading ]]> Laurene Powell Jobs, Steve Jobs’ widow who usually is media shy,  interviewed with NBC last night on “Rock Center with Brian Williams.” This is her first interview since husband Steve Jobs died in October 2011.
Powell Jobs interview focused on immigration reform especially for the youth or young adults who were brought here as children. Powell Jobs and documentary filmmaker David Guggenheim are promoting “The Dream is Now,” which follows young immigrants who cannot become U.S. citizens.
It’s great that someone like her gets involved in this, we need more outspoken promoters of reform right now with Congress debating this.

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D.C. RALLY TO SUPPORT IMMIGRATION REFORM http://www.visa-pros.com/d-c-rally-to-support-immigration-reform/ http://www.visa-pros.com/d-c-rally-to-support-immigration-reform/#comments Fri, 12 Apr 2013 19:33:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/d-c-rally-to-support-immigration-reform/ Great story at the Washington Post about the immigration ralley to support reform this week:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/rally-for-immigration-reform-expected-to-draw-tens-of-thousands/2013/04/10/466c9d14-a152-11e2-9c03-6952ff305f35_story.html

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IMMIGRATION REFORM BILL ALMOST READY http://www.visa-pros.com/immigration-reform-bill-almost-ready/ http://www.visa-pros.com/immigration-reform-bill-almost-ready/#comments Wed, 10 Apr 2013 21:07:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/immigration-reform-bill-almost-ready/ Continue reading ]]> Politico is reporting more details on the Senate immigration bill. All terms appear to be negotiated and it could be introduced as early as tomorrow, but more likely next week. The timetable for the bill will be somewhat slower than what President Obama hoped. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold hearings first and then begin markup in early May, according to the report. Great news, hope this passes this year!  http://www.politico.com/story/2013/04/senates-gang-of-eight-immigration-deal-89832.html

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USCIS RECEIVED APPROXIMATELY 124,000 H-1B PETITIONS http://www.visa-pros.com/uscis-received-approximately-124000-h-1b-petitions/ http://www.visa-pros.com/uscis-received-approximately-124000-h-1b-petitions/#comments Tue, 09 Apr 2013 16:46:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/uscis-received-approximately-124000-h-1b-petitions/ Continue reading ]]> USCIS received approximately 124,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period from April 1, 2013 to April 5, 2013, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption. On April 7, 2013, USCIS conducted its lottery (computer-generated random selection process) to select the 85,000 petitions (probably a number closer to 82,000 petitions) to fill the cap.
For cap-subject petitions not randomly selected, USCIS will reject and return the petition with filing fees. The agency conducted the selection process for advanced degree exemption petitions first. All advanced degree petitions not selected were part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit.
So, this means that applicants have about 67% or about 2 out of 3 changes of getting selected. Not great at all.

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H-1B CAP FOR 2014 REACHED; LOTTERY WILL HAPPEN http://www.visa-pros.com/h-1b-cap-for-2014-reached-lottery-will-happen/ http://www.visa-pros.com/h-1b-cap-for-2014-reached-lottery-will-happen/#comments Mon, 08 Apr 2013 17:14:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/h-1b-cap-for-2014-reached-lottery-will-happen/ Continue reading ]]> U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced late Friday that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap for fiscal year (FY) 2014. USCIS has also received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the advanced degree exemption.
USCIS will not accept H-1B petitions subject to the FY 2014 cap or the advanced degree exemption after Friday April 5, 2013. USCIS will use their lottery system (a computer-generated random selection process) among all FY 2014 cap-subject petitions received through April 5, 2013. They will run a lottery on the advanced degree cases first and then all the advanced degrees not selected will join the pool with the other cases.
USCIS received very high volume and they do not know yet what date the lottery results will be announced.  Also, USCIS is not providing the total number of petitions received, so no one knows as of yet.
Congress, what more proof do you need that we need more H-1B numbers???

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AP DROPS "ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT" TERM http://www.visa-pros.com/ap-drops-illegal-immigrant-term/ http://www.visa-pros.com/ap-drops-illegal-immigrant-term/#comments Thu, 04 Apr 2013 01:22:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/ap-drops-illegal-immigrant-term/ Continue reading ]]> Some good news for immigrants this week.
Two years ago the Society of Professional Journalists passed a resolution urging all journalists to stop using the term “Illegal immigrant.” The Associated Press finally announced today it would stop using this term too. Other organizations like the NY Times still are using the term, though they are said to be reviewing the policy now.
Here is part of the AP’s explanation: The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term “illegal immigrant” or the use of “illegal” to describe a person. Instead, it tells users that “illegal” should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally.
Why did we make the change? The discussions on this topic have been wide-ranging and include many people from many walks of life. (Earlier, they led us to reject descriptions such as “undocumented,” despite ardent support from some quarters, because it is not precise. A person may have plenty of documents, just not the ones required for legal residence.)
So how should AP reporters write about these immigrants? Here’s what the AP manual now says on the topic: illegal immigration entering or residing in a country in violation of civil or criminal law. Except in direct quotes essential to the story, use illegal only to refer to an action, not a person: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant. Acceptable variations include living in or entering a country illegally or without legal permission. 
Except in direct quotations, do not use the terms illegal alien, an illegal, illegals or undocumented. Do not describe people as violating immigration laws without attribution. Specify wherever possible how someone entered the country illegally and from where. Crossed the border? Overstayed a visa? What nationality? People who were brought into the country as children should not be described as having immigrated illegally. For people granted a temporary right to remain in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, use temporary resident status, with details on the program lower in the story.
I never liked these words, they alienated and dehumanized the subjects which is what they were intended to do. We are talking about people, not aliens from the outer dimension an saying that a person is illegal is just plain wrong. I am glad these phrases will soon be gone from the press.

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ILW.COM PREDICTS H-1B VISAS WILL NOT RUN OUT NEXT WEEK http://www.visa-pros.com/ilw-com-predicts-h-1b-visas-will-not-run-out-next-week/ http://www.visa-pros.com/ilw-com-predicts-h-1b-visas-will-not-run-out-next-week/#comments Fri, 29 Mar 2013 15:10:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/ilw-com-predicts-h-1b-visas-will-not-run-out-next-week/ Continue reading ]]> Despite USCIS’ announcement last week that anticipated H-1B usage may trigger a lottery for all H-1B petitions that are receipted by April 5, 2013, Immigration Law Weekly through its daily newsletter Immigration Daily stands by its observation that a lottery will likely not be triggered.  ILW believes that usage numbers for this season are headed higher than the previous season, but are still not large enough to trigger a lottery.
ILW’s prediction stems from the fact that less than a dozen companies account for the vast majority of the new numbers, all of these companies are in the IT sector, and only these companies matter in projecting whether a lottery will be triggered or not (e.g., Microsoft). As best as ILW can tell, none of these companies are intending to file the kinds of numbers necessary to trigger a lottery – despite the fact that a whole lot more petitions, which would last year have been L petitions, are being filed this year as Hs.
I hope this is true because clients are coming out of the woodwork to get H-1B petitions filed, although we worked out a plan to get all of our cap cases filed today for delivery early next week.

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FACEBOOK’S ZUCKERBERG ORGANIZING SUPER PAC FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM http://www.visa-pros.com/facebooks-zuckerberg-organizing-super-pac-for-immigration-reform-2/ http://www.visa-pros.com/facebooks-zuckerberg-organizing-super-pac-for-immigration-reform-2/#comments Fri, 29 Mar 2013 02:01:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/facebooks-zuckerberg-organizing-super-pac-for-immigration-reform-2/ Continue reading ]]> According to the Silicon Valley Business Journal, Facebook’s founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is organizing a Super PAC – political advocacy group for immigration reform issues that are near and dear to the tech community in the area. According to the San Francisco Chronicle Zuckerberg is ready to personally invest up to $20 million, and other technology leaders in the area may follow his suit. If this new advocacy group is going to be registered as a nonprofit, it could also be treated as a Super PAC – which is exempt from some donor disclosure rules, thanks to the 2010 Supreme Court case Citizens United v. FEC.

Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert made powerful examples against allowing Super PACs to continue during his coverage of the 2012 presidential elections last year. However, since Congress is unlikely to do anything about that any time soon, I am very happy that some of the tech leaders are putting serious money towards immigration reform specifically needed to combat our legal immigration crisis – no sufficient H-1B visas and immigrant visas for legal, skilled, professional and advanced degree workers.

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FACEBOOK’S ZUCKERBERG ORGANIZING SUPER PAC FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM http://www.visa-pros.com/facebooks-zuckerberg-organizing-super-pac-for-immigration-reform/ http://www.visa-pros.com/facebooks-zuckerberg-organizing-super-pac-for-immigration-reform/#comments Fri, 29 Mar 2013 01:56:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/facebooks-zuckerberg-organizing-super-pac-for-immigration-reform/ Continue reading ]]> According to the Silicon Valley Business Journal, Facebook’s founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is organizing a Super PAC – political advocacy group for immigration reform issues that are near and dear to the tech community in the area. According to the San Francisco Chronicle Zuckerberg is ready to personally invest up to $20 million, and other technology leaders in the area may follow his suit. If this new advocacy group is going to be registered as a nonprofit, it could also be treated as a Super PAC – which is exempt from some donor disclosure rules, thanks to the 2010 Supreme Court case Citizens United v. FEC.
Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert made powerful examples against allowing Super PACs to continue during his coverage of the 2012 presidential elections last year. However, since Congress is unlikely to do anything about that any time soon, I am very happy that some of the tech leaders are putting serious money towards immigration reform specifically needed to combat our legal immigration crisis – no sufficient H-1B visas and immigrant visas for legal, skilled, professional and advanced degree workers.

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USCIS EXPECTS H-1B CAP TO BE REACHED BY APRIL 5 http://www.visa-pros.com/uscis-expects-h-1b-cap-to-be-reached-by-april-5/ http://www.visa-pros.com/uscis-expects-h-1b-cap-to-be-reached-by-april-5/#comments Tue, 19 Mar 2013 22:03:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/uscis-expects-h-1b-cap-to-be-reached-by-april-5/ Continue reading ]]> USCIS recently announced that it expects to receive more than the 85,000 petitions than the H-1B cap allows for the entire year between April 1, 2013 and April 5, 2013.
This is confirming our empirical data of handling a larger volume of H-1B cases this year that the cap will most likely be reached in early April, perhaps even on the first day.
Because USCIS expects to receive a large number of H-1B cases in the first week of April, they announced that they will be suspending the premium processing program for H-1B cap cases by 15 days, and will allow premium processing of these cases starting on April 15, 2013 or later.
If more cases than the cap allows for are receipted, a lottery system that was utilized in previous years will take place by randomly selecting a certain number of petitions and rejecting the ones not selected.
Requesting premium processing service does not guarantee lottery selection or an advantage in that process if a lottery will happen.
We are working very hard to make sure all of our cases will be filed on April 1, 2013.
Call us at 770-913-0800 or go to http://www.visalaw.com/atlanta.html to contact us if you have any questions.

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IMMIGRATION REFORM FOR PHYSICIANS http://www.visa-pros.com/immigration-reform-for-physicians/ http://www.visa-pros.com/immigration-reform-for-physicians/#comments Fri, 15 Mar 2013 20:50:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/immigration-reform-for-physicians/ Continue reading ]]> With the immigration reform debate going on in Congress and in the media these days, few efforts are being made to improve the physician shortage and the shortage faced in other healthcare workers like nurses and technicians. The U.S. already employs a substantial proportion of physicians and other health workers (between 20%-25%) who were educated or trained overseas, and we could employ more of them without taking jobs away from Americans. As the nation ages and more previously uninsured individuals seek treatment under the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), the health of millions of Americans may depend on the availability of more physicians and health workers from abroad.
There is already a significant shortage of physicians and healthcare workers in rural areas and inner cities. HHS has almost 6,000 primary medical health professional shortage areas which would need about 16,000 physicians to cover the medical needs of patients living in these areas. The American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) estimates a shortage of over 90,000 physicians, including 45,000 primary care physicians, by the end of 2020. There just are not enough medical schools in the U.S. to meet this demand.
Granting additional temporary and permanent visas to international medical graduates would meet our national interest and help alleviate physician shortages across the country. For one, hospitals and medical clinics located in a health professionals shortage area should be granted an exemption from the H-1B cap so that they could hire physicians all year long. Also, we need to increase the green card quotas for physicians from India and China whose permanent residency cases are dragging for years on end due to per-country limits on immigrant visas. Removing barriers and allowing international medical graduates to get to the U.S. quicker will help alleviate the shortage and help many Americans receive quality healthcare no matter where they live.

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GANG OF 8 AGREES ON PATH TO CITIZENSHIP http://www.visa-pros.com/gang-of-8-agrees-on-path-to-citizenship/ http://www.visa-pros.com/gang-of-8-agrees-on-path-to-citizenship/#comments Tue, 12 Mar 2013 21:55:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/gang-of-8-agrees-on-path-to-citizenship/ Continue reading ]]> From the LA Times:
Eight senators who have spent weeks trying to write a bipartisan bill to overhaul immigration laws have privately agreed on the most contentious part of the draft — how to offer legal status to the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants. According to aides familiar with the closed-door negotiations, the bill would require illegal immigrants to register with Homeland Security Department authorities, file federal income taxes for their time in America and pay a still-to-be-determined fine. They also must have a clean law enforcement record.
Once granted probationary legal status, immigrants would be allowed to work but would be barred from receiving federal public benefits, including food stamps, family cash assistance, Medicaid and unemployment insurance. The eight Senators still have not decided how long it will be before immigrants could file for permanent residency. The President has proposed eight years. The LA Times reports that the Senate will likely make the path at least ten years.
Other unresolved issues: – how many visas for highly skilled workers – how the guest worker program will work – exit tracking of immigrants – how much money can be allocated for border enforcement. Finally, the goal of introducing the bill by March 22nd appears to be slipping and early April may now be the time frame.

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HB125 INSERTS UNJUST AND UNNECESSARY CHANGES TO HB87 http://www.visa-pros.com/hb125-inserts-unjust-and-unnecessary-changes-to-hb87/ http://www.visa-pros.com/hb125-inserts-unjust-and-unnecessary-changes-to-hb87/#comments Mon, 04 Mar 2013 20:41:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/hb125-inserts-unjust-and-unnecessary-changes-to-hb87/ Continue reading ]]> In a last-minute attempt, some immigrant haters in Georgia added language to House Bill 125 that adds unjust and unnecessary changes to HB87. HB87 is bad enough, now HB 125 will exclude foreign passports from the list of “secure and verifiable” documents and add a driver’s license to the list of “public benefits” although people have to pay to get them!

This is insane because many legal immigrants only have their foreign passports as proof of I.D. at least for the initial time in the country.

The ACLU of Georgia issued a very detailed letter explaining all these changes.
http://www.acluga.org/files/1913/6240/9299/HB125summarysheetFINAL.pdf

This is bad for people, including the legal immigrants in the state of Georgia. Call Governor Deal at (404)656-1776 and ask him to veto HB125.

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H-1B SEASON FOR APRIL 1, 2013 FILINGS http://www.visa-pros.com/h-1b-season-for-april-1-2013-filings/ http://www.visa-pros.com/h-1b-season-for-april-1-2013-filings/#comments Fri, 01 Mar 2013 20:52:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/h-1b-season-for-april-1-2013-filings/ Continue reading ]]> It’s H-1B season again with everyone in our office working very hard to make sure all of our H-1B cap cases are going to be filed on time by April 1, 2013. For our many clients who have been waiting around since last June when the cap was reached, it is a good time.
April 1, 2013 represents the first day when H-1B petitioning employers and H-1B employees will be able to apply to USCIS for an H-1B petition for employment in government fiscal year 2014 (which starts on October 1, 2014). All H-1B visas for FY2013 have already been exhausted as of June 2012.
Employers who wish to hire professionals utilizing the H-1B visa program and employees who are looking for visa sponsorship will have to act much quicker this year than before. While we do not think that the H-1B cap will be reached on the first day available (April 1, 2013), we do think the cap will be reached in April and we are planning to file all of our cases on April 1 or April 2, 2013, so we do not take any chances.
Remember, these are for H-1B visas for start date on October 1, 2013, but USCIS allows people to file up to 6 months in advance. It is important to file in advance for two important reasons: one, by October 1, all the visas will be gone. Second reason is that students in F-1 OPT status can receive an automatic extension of stay and ability to continue working throughout October 1, 2013 if they file on time for a change of status from F to H-1B.
Our firm continues to help employers to obtain H-1B visas for their employees and we urge everyone that is interested to contact our office as soon as possible to start the process to secure their visas. Please call 770-913-0800 or e-mail atlanta@visalaw.com or go to Our office URL which is http://www.visalaw.com/atlanta.html 

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TECHNOLOGY VIRTUAL MARCH FOR INNOVATION http://www.visa-pros.com/technology-virtual-march-for-innovation/ http://www.visa-pros.com/technology-virtual-march-for-innovation/#comments Fri, 01 Mar 2013 02:41:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/technology-virtual-march-for-innovation/ Continue reading ]]> The technology industry will use social media for a virtual march on Washington so it can win support for very needed immigration reform. The March for Innovation, launched by the Partnership for a New Economy with technology and venture capital leaders is designed to build grass-roots support for providing visas to high-skilled workers and entrepreneurs, and giving green cards to foreigners who graduate from U.S. universities with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and math.
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LAWSUIT DISMISSED AGAINST SANDERSON FARMS http://www.visa-pros.com/lawsuit-dismissed-against-sanderson-farms/ http://www.visa-pros.com/lawsuit-dismissed-against-sanderson-farms/#comments Fri, 22 Feb 2013 21:28:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/lawsuit-dismissed-against-sanderson-farms/ Continue reading ]]> A lawsuit that accused poultry company Sanderson Farms, Inc., of knowingly hiring undocumented immigrants at a Moultrie, Georgia plant was recently dismissed by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia. Sanderson Farms (Nasdaq: SAFM) is the country’s third-largest chicken processor.
The law suit was filed by former employees of that plant, claiming that plant managers and human resources staff conspired in illegal hiring practices, accepting “obviously fake” employment documents from immigrants in order to save millions of dollars in labor costs.
The plaintiffs have filed an appeal of the dismissal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

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IMMIGRATION REFORM RECEIVES SUPPORT FROM U.S. CHAMBER AND AFL-CIO http://www.visa-pros.com/immigration-reform-receives-support-from-u-s-chamber-and-afl-cio/ http://www.visa-pros.com/immigration-reform-receives-support-from-u-s-chamber-and-afl-cio/#comments Thu, 21 Feb 2013 20:34:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/immigration-reform-receives-support-from-u-s-chamber-and-afl-cio/ Continue reading ]]> This is some good news for the immigration reform effort in Washington, D.C. Both the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AFL-CIO announced they had reached agreement on how to create a visa program for low-skilled workers. I actually like to call these employee highly skilled, because they are very skilled at what they do, but work in jobs that require less educated workers.
This is a key part of immigration reform which would create a work visa program that would meet the demands of employers without hurting the wages or job opportunities for U.S. workers. They agreed on a guest worker program, which is a huge step in the right direction.
Kent Hoover reports that he support of these two powerful organizations — which fight each other on most issues — could lead more members of Congress to vote for the bill. Read Kent Hoover’s article in full here: http://www.bizjournals.com/bizjournals/washingtonbureau/2013/02/21/immigration-reform-gets-a-boost.html?ana=e_du_nat&s=article_du&ed=2013-02-21&u=smOEobGGOoSmz+5vyFsVIcfkh+E&page=all

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ACLU OF GEORGIA SENDS LETTERS RE ICE DETAINERS http://www.visa-pros.com/aclu-of-georgia-sends-letters-re-ice-detainers/ http://www.visa-pros.com/aclu-of-georgia-sends-letters-re-ice-detainers/#comments Mon, 11 Feb 2013 22:58:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/aclu-of-georgia-sends-letters-re-ice-detainers/ Continue reading ]]> The ACLU of Georgia has sent letters to Sheriffs across the state of Georgia about ICE detainers and the “show me your papers” provision of HB87 advising them about how local law enforcement detention practices may be violating individuals’ constitutional rights.
The letter reminds Sheriffs that ICE detainers are mere requests. Constitutionally, local law enforcement offices are shielded and supported by the right to set protocol under the Tenth Amendment, which prohibits federal commandeering of state officers by the federal government.
It also reminds the Sheriffs that ICE detainers do not have the force of “arrest warrants” and are issued by ICE administratively, rather than typical arrest warrants which are issued by judicial approval.
The letter further reminds Sheriffs that ICE detainers cannot substitute probable cause for arrests without a warrant and that they expire after 48 hours.

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HB87 CAUSES LICENSE RENEWAL DELAYS FOR GEORGIA NURSES http://www.visa-pros.com/hb87-causes-license-renewal-delays-for-georgia-nurses/ http://www.visa-pros.com/hb87-causes-license-renewal-delays-for-georgia-nurses/#comments Thu, 07 Feb 2013 18:52:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/hb87-causes-license-renewal-delays-for-georgia-nurses/ Continue reading ]]> WABE reports that licenses for more than 2,500 registered nurses are now on hold.
Who’s to blame? HB87, Georgia’s anti-immigration law….
The law created additional administrative burdens on each person trying to renew a professional state license (yes even U.S. citizens) to prove their legal status and the Secretary of State’s office is faced with problems.
Secretary of State Brian Kemp says he does not have enough staff to handle the flood of renewal documents.
Debbie Hackman, the CEO of the Georgia Nurses Association, says the new requirement has caused a lot of hassle for Georgia’s 110,000 nurses. She also said out of all the licenses they have renewed, there’s only been one attempt by someone who was an illegal. And now these 2500 nurses who are mostly U.S. citizens cannot work.
HB87 needs to go away, another ridiculous consequence.

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BIPARTISAN HOUSE GROUP WANTS TO BEAT SENATE ON IMMIGRATION BILL http://www.visa-pros.com/bipartisan-house-group-wants-to-beat-senate-on-immigration-bill/ http://www.visa-pros.com/bipartisan-house-group-wants-to-beat-senate-on-immigration-bill/#comments Tue, 05 Feb 2013 17:30:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/bipartisan-house-group-wants-to-beat-senate-on-immigration-bill/ Continue reading ]]> From the LA Times:
A secretive group of House members from both parties is racing to complete an immigration bill in the next two weeks with an eye toward introducing legislation before President Obama’s State of the Union address on Feb. 12, said two congressional aides who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations.
The draft bill, written behind closed doors by three Democrats and three Republicans, so far includes a path to legal status, new border security measures and tighter restrictions on employers. It tracks closely with the blueprint laid out by the bipartisan group of senators on Tuesday, said the aides. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) said in a statement that the senators’ principles “are compatible with discussions in the House.”
Diaz-Balart would not give details about those discussions and would not explicitly confirm he is a member of the group. Congressional aides confirmed that along with Diaz-Balart, Republicans John Carter and Sam Johnson, both of Texas, are part of the group, with Democrats Luis V. Gutierrez of Illinois, Zoe Lofgren of San Jose, and the chairman of the House Democratic caucus, Xavier Becerra of Los Angeles.

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NEW IMMIGRATION INNOVATION ACT GREAT FOR PROFESSIONALS http://www.visa-pros.com/new-immigration-innovation-act-great-for-professionals/ http://www.visa-pros.com/new-immigration-innovation-act-great-for-professionals/#comments Thu, 31 Jan 2013 02:35:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/new-immigration-innovation-act-great-for-professionals/ Continue reading ]]> The new immigration innovation act, also called ISquared proposed in the Senate contains a number of great fixes to the backlogs and shortages in the H-1B visa category and the green card categories for professional workers.
The first piece of good news is that the H-1B visa cap would immediately increase to 115,000 per year and allow for additional visas if the cap is reached within the fiscal year. Market based demand versus the fixed low number of 85,000 we have today.
Also, the proposal allows for unlimited H-1B visas for people with advanced degree graduates of American universities and unlimited green cards for them also. Woohoo!
There is great support for this bill out of the business community. Great news for a change!

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IMMIGRATION REFORM MAY HAPPEN THIS YEAR AFTER ALL http://www.visa-pros.com/immigration-reform-may-happen-this-year-after-all/ http://www.visa-pros.com/immigration-reform-may-happen-this-year-after-all/#comments Wed, 30 Jan 2013 21:19:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/immigration-reform-may-happen-this-year-after-all/ Continue reading ]]> Congress is still bickering about many issues, finances probably top the list, but immigration reform, a very tricky and sticky subject, may be passed this year after all. Congress has long struggled, so far without success, to create a way to legalize over 12 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. and expand existing visa programs to allow more foreigners to work here, both higher educated professionals and entrepreneurs and skilled manual laborers.
We are hopeful that Republicans become more open to immigration reform after witnessing Romney’s dismal voting record with Hispanic voters, probably thanks to his “self-deportation” suggestion and anti-immigration positions. As Hispanic voters become a larger percentage of the voters in this country, it would be difficult for Republicans to ignore them and still win elections in the future.
Although most Republican members of Congress still consider immigration reform an amnesty, leading figures in the Republican party are now stepping in to voice strong support for immigration reform.
It is encouraging to see Republicans like Florida Sen. Marco Rubio backing immigration reform. Rep. Gutierrez (D-IL) for example, announced recently that he would forego 20 years of seniority on the House Financial Services Committee to join the House Judiciary Committee which would be crucial to pass immigration reform in 2013.
Even conservative darling and VP candidate Rep. Paul Ryan and former Senator Santorum who almost won the Republican nomination who is highly conservative support immigration reform as a high priority in the legislative session for 2013.
A new Super PAC was also recently formed by Carlos Gutierrez, a Citigroup vice chairman who was secretary of Commerce in the Bush administration and former chairman and CEO of the Kellogg Co. It seeks to raise funds and awareness to immigration reform.
It is also wonderful news that the business sector is pushing this time. U.S. businesses have been suffering shortages in both highly skilled and low skilled workers. Now, we hear more business groups coming together to discuss the need for immigration reform so that these companies can hire the employees they need now instead of struggling or off-shoring these jobs away. There also needs to be serious money involved in the lobbying effort. Unfortunately, this is the way it has become in Washington D.C.
Another surprising ally of immigrants is now the evangelical Christians, including the Southern Baptist Convention, who more than just praying, now began lobbying members of Congress for immigration reform as a moral issue to treat these “strangers” well, especially since the vast majority of these strangers are Christians. It’s just wonderful and the right thing to do. See: Kent Hoover’s article, Washington Bureau Chief for The Business Journals.
Contact our office at 770-913-0800 with any questions.

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COLLEGE-EDUCATED IMMIGRANTS IN THE UNITED STATES http://www.visa-pros.com/college-educated-immigrants-in-the-united-states/ http://www.visa-pros.com/college-educated-immigrants-in-the-united-states/#comments Thu, 17 Jan 2013 18:54:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/college-educated-immigrants-in-the-united-states/ Continue reading ]]> A recent report by Qingqing Ji and Jeanne Batalova for Migration Policy Institute paints an interesting picture about college-educated immigrants in the United States.
Contrary to a widely held view, immigrants in the United States have an expansive range of education levels, with about one in three immigrants having obtained a college degree.
Among the key highlights:

  • One in six college-educated adults was born abroad. 
  • The college-educated immigrant population grew faster than their native counterparts in the 1990s and 2000s. 
  • College-educated immigrants were younger than their native counterparts. 
  • Almost three-quarters of foreign-born, college-educated adults were Asian and white. 
  • About 17 percent of college-educated immigrants were of Latino origin. 
  • The foreign born were more likely to hold a doctorate or professional degree than the native born. 
  • Of the 9.4 million college-educated foreign born, one-third arrived in the last 11 years. 
  • Over half of all college-educated immigrants came from Asia, with India, the Philippines, and China being the top three origin countries. 
  • College-educated immigrants were more likely to be unemployed than the native born. 
  • About one in ten college-educated adults was self-employed. 
  • Foreign-born, college-educated workers were more likely to be in high-tech, science, or engineering occupations.

It is amazing that such a large percentage of our college-educated people living in the United States were born abroad. Unfortunately, the immigration system in our country prevents many qualified college graduates to get here and remain here. It’s time for immigration reform!

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THE STATE OF PLAY http://www.visa-pros.com/the-state-of-play/ http://www.visa-pros.com/the-state-of-play/#comments Thu, 17 Jan 2013 17:33:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/the-state-of-play/ Continue reading ]]> Courtesy of Greg Siskind:

Huffington Post’s Elise Foley has a great piece laying out where we are in the immigration reform debate.

Surprise! Kris Kobach Doesn’t Favor Obama’s Not Yet Announced Immigration Plan
The anti-immigrant crusader thinks that Obama is out of touch with the public. This from the guy who convinced the whole GOP that self-deportation was an electoral winner. I guess we should ask President Romney and Majority Leader McConnell what they think.

Paul Ryan Backs Rubio Immigration Plan
This has got to be a disappointment for the hardcore right wingers. Tea Party darling Paul Ryan is embracing immigration reform by endorsing Marco Rubio’s immigration plan. The Rubio plan looks pretty similar to comprehensive immigration reform packages of the past and includes legalization of illegally present immigrants. So at least three Republican contenders for the presidency – Jeb Bush, Rubio and Ryan – are now backing immigration reform plans that include legalization paths for illegally present immigrants. Two of them – Ryan and Rubio – are recent converts to the cause. And one of them – Paul Ryan – carries a lot of weight in the Republican House of Representatives. A good day politically for the cause of immigration reform.

Maybe immigration reform is going to happen?

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GOVERNMENT SPENDS $18 BILLION ON IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT http://www.visa-pros.com/government-spends-18-billion-on-immigration-enforcement/ http://www.visa-pros.com/government-spends-18-billion-on-immigration-enforcement/#comments Tue, 08 Jan 2013 02:44:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/government-spends-18-billion-on-immigration-enforcement/ Continue reading ]]> Not to be outdone by the George W. Bush administration, the Obama administration spent more money on immigration enforcement in the last fiscal year than all other federal law enforcement agencies combined, according to a report on the government’s enforcement efforts from a the Migration Policy Institute, a non-partisan Washington think tank focused on global immigration issues.
In FY2012 the government spent about $18 billion on immigration enforcement programs run by ICE and CBP, which includes the Border Patrol. It is alarming as this budget exceeds the combined budgets of the FBI, ATF, DEA and the U.S. Secret Service by about $3.6 billion dollars.
According to the report, “Immigration Enforcement in the United States: The Rise of a Formidable Machinery,” federal immigration-related criminal prosecutions also outnumber cases generated by the Justice Department. The 182-page report concludes that the Obama administration has made immigration its highest law enforcement priority.
It is very sad that immigration enforcement is the federal government’s highest criminal law enforcement priority. How else can this gigantic budget and increased prosecution can be explained? And how does immigration enforcement help our security and well-being by deporting the vast majority of non-criminals? This year about 400,000 people were deported or removed.
Immigration reform should be a priority of the Obama administration, not only priority in speeches  but real action to change our broken immigration system. If the Republicans will not play ball and agree to some reform, President Obama should take a bold step and mandate orders from the top down, like he did with the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) in helping these young adults who came to this country illegally.

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NEW ICE MEMO CALLS FOR DETAINERS ONLY OF SERIOUS CRIMINALS http://www.visa-pros.com/new-ice-memo-calls-for-detainers-only-of-serious-criminals/ http://www.visa-pros.com/new-ice-memo-calls-for-detainers-only-of-serious-criminals/#comments Fri, 28 Dec 2012 21:56:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/new-ice-memo-calls-for-detainers-only-of-serious-criminals/ Continue reading ]]> by Greg Siskind
Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton has issued a new guidance memo to the field directing the agency’s officers only to call on local law enforcement agencies to detain individuals accused of serious offenses. According to the guidance: Consistent with ICE’s civil enforcement priorities and absent extraordinary circumstances, ICE agents and officers should issue a detainer in the federal, state, local, or tribal criminal justice systems against an individual only where (1) they have reason to believe the individual is an alien subject to removal from the United States and (2) one or more of the following conditions apply:
the individual has a prior felony conviction or has been charged with a felony offense;
the individual has three or more prior misdemeanor convictions;
the individual has a prior misdemeanor conviction or has been charged with a misdemeanor offense if the misdemeanor conviction or pending charge involves violence, threats, or assault;
sexual abuse or exploitation;
driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance;
unlawful flight from the scene of an accident;
unlawful possession or use of a firearm or other deadly weapon;
the distribution or trafficking of a controlled substance;
or other significant threat to public safety;
the individual has been convicted of illegal entry pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1325;
the individual has illegally re-entered the country after a previous removal or return;
the individual has an outstanding order of removal;the individual has been found by an immigration officer or an immigration judge to have knowingly committed immigration fraud;
or the individual otherwise poses a significant risk to national security, border security, or public safety.
The New York Times covered the announcement in an editorial this morning and answered the question of how this differs from existing ICE policy for the last two and half years: But wait, you ask, shouldn’t ICE have been doing this all along? Didn’t Mr. Morton say in a memo two years ago that ICE would use its “prosecutorial discretion” to focus on the most dangerous illegal immigrants? He did. But for nearly as long as President Obama has been in office, ICE has been vastly expanding its deportation efforts, enlisting state and local agencies to expel people at a record pace of 400,000 a year — tens of thousands of them noncriminals or minor offenders. By outsourcing “discretion” to local cops through a fingerprinting program called Secure Communities, it has greatly increased the number of small fry caught in an ever-wider national dragnet.
Some cities and states have resisted cooperating with ICE detainers for the very reasons of proportionality and public safety that Mr. Morton cited on Friday. California’s attorney general, Kamala Harris, told her state’s law enforcement agencies this month that ICE had no authority to force them to jail minor offenders who pose no threat.
Secure Communities and indiscriminate detainers have caused no end of frustration for many police officials, who rely on trust and cooperation in immigrant communities to do their jobs. They know that crime victims and witnesses will not cooperate if every encounter with the law carries the danger of deportation. They have shied away from a federal role that is not theirs to take.
ICE’s announcement seems to make those efforts unnecessary. It puts the Obama administration on the same page as states and cities that have tried to draw a brighter line between their jobs and the federal government’s. A stricter detainer policy is better for police and sheriffs, who can focus more on public safety. It makes people less vulnerable to pretextual arrests by cops who troll for immigrants with broken taillights. And it helps restore some sanity and proportion to an immigration system that has long been in danger of losing both.

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USCIS DENIES FEWER H-1B CASES IN 2012 COMPARED WITH 2011 http://www.visa-pros.com/uscis-denies-fewer-h-1b-cases-in-2012-compared-with-2011/ http://www.visa-pros.com/uscis-denies-fewer-h-1b-cases-in-2012-compared-with-2011/#comments Wed, 19 Dec 2012 20:46:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/uscis-denies-fewer-h-1b-cases-in-2012-compared-with-2011/ Continue reading ]]> Some good news regarding H-1B statistics data. USCIS recently released statistics on H-1B receipts, approvals, denials and other statuses such as administrative closures for FY2012.
According to the statistic, in Fiscal Year 2012, USCIS received 93,152 application and approved 85,273 H-1B cap cases (the others are transfers or change of employers).
Out of all H-1B cases, USCIS has denied 3,899 cases (versus 5,575 denials the year before on approximately the same number of filings in FY 2011), so this is a good trend that less of these petitions are denied overall. However, no statistic was issued on the number of H-1B RFEs (or requests for additional evidence). This is a significant improvement over FY 2010 where 102,343 H-1B petitions were filed and a whopping 12,120 were denied. This was mainly due to the issuance of the Neufeld memo on the employer-employee relationship and a high rate of denial for IT consulting companies that have been hammered by that memo. Now it is better and approvals are forthcoming even for IT consulting clients.
Overall, there is some good news here with less denials – however the administrative closure and other actions – in 2,163 petitions versus 1,719 in FY2011 may indicate that more petitioners withdrew H-1B petitions versus last year for unknown reasons.

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AIC: THE 287(G) PROGRAM IS A FLAWED AND OBSOLETE METHOD OF IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT http://www.visa-pros.com/aic-the-287g-program-is-a-flawed-and-obsolete-method-of-immigration-enforcement/ http://www.visa-pros.com/aic-the-287g-program-is-a-flawed-and-obsolete-method-of-immigration-enforcement/#comments Mon, 10 Dec 2012 21:19:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/aic-the-287g-program-is-a-flawed-and-obsolete-method-of-immigration-enforcement/ Continue reading ]]> A recent update from the Immigration Policy Center released a fact sheet about the 287(g) program, in which DHS/ICE deputizes state and local law enforcement officers to perform the functions of federal immigration agents. These officers are not federal employees but are local law enforcement employees, but have access to federal immigration databases and may interrogate and arrest non-citizens believed to have violated immigration laws and issue detainers to keep them in custody.
Some jurisdictions were found to violate the program and they terminated the agreement, such as Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Maricopa County in Arizona and Alamance county in North Carolina. ICE is conducting a nationwide review to determine which agreements should be renewed in 2013. It costs localities money they do not have and arrest very few real criminal. The main people arrested under the program are offenders who are not a threat to public safety or individual with no criminal record or minor traffic violations.
Most jurisdiction wither 287(g) programs have a higher rate of Latino populations and these program divest necessary police resources from dealing with serious crimes into enforcing immigration laws.
The update is available at: http://www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org/just-facts/287g-program-flawed-and-obsolete-method-immigration-enforcement

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USCIS DIRECTOR ACKNOWLEDGED WEAKNESS OF IMMIGRATION SYSTEM http://www.visa-pros.com/uscis-director-acknowledged-weakness-of-immigration-system/ http://www.visa-pros.com/uscis-director-acknowledged-weakness-of-immigration-system/#comments Fri, 07 Dec 2012 02:01:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/uscis-director-acknowledged-weakness-of-immigration-system/ Continue reading ]]> From ILW.COM:
Speaking at MIT recently, USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas acknowledged that our current immigration system is stifling economic prosperity, particularly in the high-tech and start-up fields. To combat this, Mayorkas notes the service is training additional adjudicators to handle petitions like H-1B’s and that adjudicators have been advised to be somewhat less critical of petitions coming from start-ups than they were five years ago. Professor Vivek Wadhwa lauded Mayorkas’ moves, but also raised the continuing issue of human error that USCIS has not been able to properly address – that the same petition before different adjudicators might yield disparate results. Wadhwa was also critical of the USCIS policies that make movement by entrepreneurs difficult and time consuming, often to a point where those bright people choose not to bother with hassle that accompanies immigrating to the U.S. USCIS deserves some credit for publicizing immigration options for entrepreneurs, like through the new “Entrepreneur Pathways” website, but the service has not yet done the heavy lifting, so to speak – relaxing its draconian policies that Mayorkas publicly admits no longer work in today’s global economy and cutting out unnecessary red tape. How else can and should the service tackle this growing problem?

Here are a few ideas of my own:
First, get rid of the Neufeld memo requiring “employer-employee” relationship in the H-1B context. This is ridiculous that an entrepreneur who is a majority shareholder in a business cannot legally work in it under an H-1B visa. It was allowed before and should be allowed now. Other temporary visa types permit this, why is the H-1B different?
Second, limit the RFEs or request for additional evidence in legitimate cases. Open up communications with immigration lawyers who can pinpoint problems in the system and punish/discipline USCIS officers who are abusing the system and creating problems for legitimate applications.
Third, approve National Interest Waiver or NIW petitions for entrepreneurs that have technology inventions or employ a certain number of U.S. citizens.
I have a few more ideas but the top 3 are the most critical right now.

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REPUBLICANS NOW CALLING FOR PIECEMEAL IMMIGRATION REFORM http://www.visa-pros.com/republicans-now-calling-for-piecemeal-immigration-reform/ http://www.visa-pros.com/republicans-now-calling-for-piecemeal-immigration-reform/#comments Fri, 07 Dec 2012 01:41:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/republicans-now-calling-for-piecemeal-immigration-reform/ Continue reading ]]> By Greg SiskindHow very 2010. Separate reports have Senate Immigration Subcommittee Chair Jon Cornyn (R-TX) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) calling for passage of individual pieces of immigration reform such as STEM legislation and the GOP’s DREAM-lite bill.
In the past, I advocated for this strategy arguing that the perfect was the enemy of the good and trying to pass smaller measures made more sense than going for the whole enchilada. But that was during a time when the GOP (particularly the anti-immigrant forces within the party) had a lot more power than they do today. 
The times have changed. First, we obviously know the message from the election and have a number of emboldened GOP members interested in comprehensive reform. Second, it’s looking like we’ll get filibuster reform next month which should make passing a Senate bill easier. Finally, there’s a sense that people want to get immigration done and off the table and not drag on.

Paul Ryan Interested in Immigration Reform
This is a bit surprising given everything said during the campaign. From Politico: Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said Wednesday that Paul Ryan had reached across the aisle to work with him on immigration reform and added that the Wisconsin Republican told him, “I want to do it because it’s the right thing.” “I saw my good friend just coming off running for vice president of the United States, Congressman Ryan, we’re going to see each other next week. We’re talking. He says to me, ‘Luis, I want to do it because it’s the right thing. I don’t want to deal with it from a political point of view.’ I think that’s very, very encouraging,” Gutierrez said on MSNBC. Not to be cynical, but perhaps Ryan wants a high profile role in immigration reform because of this guy.
Lindsey Graham Suggests Full Citizenship for Legalization Beneficiaries Possible Refreshing.
From America’s Voice: In an interview with CQ yesterday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) reiterated his support for comprehensive immigration reform and even “suggested that he could support citizenship…with preconditions, including an emphasis on granting citizenship first to immigrants who are currently waiting to receive it,” writes CQ reporter, John Gramlich. Said Graham, “I don’t like the European model of having millions of people in our country who can’t assimilate. It’s just not good for the culture. It’s just not good policy.”

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GEORGIA DEMOCRATS DEMAND REPEAL OF ANTI-BUSINESS PROVISIONS OF HB87 http://www.visa-pros.com/georgia-democrats-demand-repeal-of-anti-business-provisions-of-hb87/ http://www.visa-pros.com/georgia-democrats-demand-repeal-of-anti-business-provisions-of-hb87/#comments Wed, 05 Dec 2012 20:36:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/georgia-democrats-demand-repeal-of-anti-business-provisions-of-hb87/ Continue reading ]]> Georgia House Democrats, headed by Rep. Debbie Buckner, filed the “Citizenship Protection Act” to repeal a controversial provision of HB87 that requires U.S. citizens to repeatedly prove their citizenship to renew professional licenses, to obtain business licenses and in other dealings with state or local governments.

This is a very annoying requirement of HB87 and has caused lots of problems in delaying renewal of professional licenses by several weeks per person, the majority of whom are American citizens. A U.S. citizen should not have to prove his or her citizenship every year to keep their business or professional license. Instead, this should only be required once.

“This requirement that Americans prove their citizenship to do their jobs is contrary to the goal of getting Georgians back to work and should be immediately repealed in January”, said House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams. “We are pleased that Rep. Buckner is moving forward to tackle this issue. This should be a bi-partisan bill that everyone can support to support professionals and small businesses.”
For more information, visit www.gahousedems.com

I hope this passes… but doubt the Republican controlled Congress in Georgia will do anything…

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HOUSE PASSES STEM BILL http://www.visa-pros.com/house-passes-stem-bill/ http://www.visa-pros.com/house-passes-stem-bill/#comments Tue, 04 Dec 2012 15:43:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/house-passes-stem-bill/ Continue reading ]]> The STEM Jobs Act (H.R. 6429) has passed the U.S. House of Representatives. This is a bill to allow 55,000 additional immigrant visas to U.S. graduates of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in advanced degree programs.
However, the House bill is not likely to pass the Senate because this is not really an increase of the overall immigrant visa pool, which is what is really needed (both for the advance degree category known as EB-2 and the professionals or skilled workers known as EB-3).
The STEM Jobs Act would end the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery program that awards visas to people from countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S. to increase the diversity of immigrants coming to the U.S. Many Democrats oppose ending that program and President Obama also opposes the STEM bill because he wants it as part of comprehensive immigration reform, which he wants to pass next year.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform is sorely needed but smaller steps would also be very helpful. There are many things the President and USCIS Director Mayorkas could do now to fix without the need to wait for Congress. I am waiting on Director Mayorkas to call me at 770-913-0800 and I will explain (but I will not be holding my breath)…

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OBAMA OBJECTING TO STEM BILL – HIGH TECH VISA REFORM http://www.visa-pros.com/obama-objecting-to-stem-bill-high-tech-visa-reform/ http://www.visa-pros.com/obama-objecting-to-stem-bill-high-tech-visa-reform/#comments Fri, 30 Nov 2012 17:37:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/obama-objecting-to-stem-bill-high-tech-visa-reform/ Continue reading ]]> Bad move by President Obama on immigration – the White House just opposed the STEM immigration reform bill backed by many technology companies to allow U.S. educated graduates in science, including computer science, engineering and mathematics to have a faster route to a green card or permanent residence in the U.S.
The White House just announced today that it is objecting to the Republican-backed STEM Jobs Act of 2012, which proposed to add 55,000 immigrant visas available to foreigners who earned a master’s or doctoral degree in certain science or technology area from a U.S. university. The STEM bill has been supported by Apple, Microsoft, Adobe, Cisco, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Oracle, Qualcomm, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The reason for the White House objection is that the Obama administration wants an overhaul of the immigration system by enacting a Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR). 
While it is true that CIR is badly needed for the country, the President should focus on fixing the problem in smaller steps and not object to any measure that would alleviate visa backlogs and hardship to people. Passing smaller measures  like the STEM bill would still help tens of thousands of immigrants achieve permanent status. 
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CONSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGE TO GEORGIA’S DRIVER’S LICENSE LAW http://www.visa-pros.com/constitutional-challenge-to-georgias-drivers-license-law/ http://www.visa-pros.com/constitutional-challenge-to-georgias-drivers-license-law/#comments Tue, 06 Nov 2012 20:40:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/constitutional-challenge-to-georgias-drivers-license-law/ Continue reading ]]> Fernando Castillo-Solis, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico is challenging the constitutionality of the state’s driver’s-license law. The case is set to be heard by the Georgia Supreme Court on Monday.  He is arguing that the law that requires motorists who have lived in Georgia for 30 days or more to get a state-issued license before driving and does not allow issuing such license for undocumented immigrants  discriminates against them. Since undocumented immigrants are ineligible for Georgia licenses, they don’t have the same protection.
Mr. Castillo-Solis was cited at a traffic stop in Gwinnett County in 2010, where he was charged with driving without a license and failing to register his vehicle.
This argument was thrown out by the lower court judge and this individual appealed. I don’t know what he is thinking or what his lawyer advised him, but I don’t think he has any good chance of winning this argument with the Georgia Supreme Court.

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ACLU FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST DHS AND ICE DEMANDING FOIA TRANSPARENCY http://www.visa-pros.com/aclu-files-lawsuit-against-dhs-and-ice-demanding-foia-transparency/ http://www.visa-pros.com/aclu-files-lawsuit-against-dhs-and-ice-demanding-foia-transparency/#comments Wed, 31 Oct 2012 20:45:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/aclu-files-lawsuit-against-dhs-and-ice-demanding-foia-transparency/ Continue reading ]]>
While I was out of the country last week, the ACLU of Georgia and the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR) filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The suit seeks public records which they have filed under FOIA or Freedom of Information Act documenting the effects of Georgia’s increasing involvement in immigration enforcement, including information that will shed light on increasing reports of racial profiling and police abuse. 

The two organizations requested the records over six months ago and DHS/ICE has not yet released the records. 

The records sought in the lawsuit will reveal who is being targeted for immigration enforcement, and how increased immigration enforcement by police is impacting public safety and civil rights and may cause abuse under HB87.

Under the Freedom of Information Act, the agency should release the record within 20 days. Six months is certainly excessive under that standard. I will blog on updates when available. 



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DOCTOR SHORTAGE COULD WORSEN http://www.visa-pros.com/doctor-shortage-could-worsen/ http://www.visa-pros.com/doctor-shortage-could-worsen/#comments Tue, 30 Oct 2012 21:29:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/doctor-shortage-could-worsen/ Continue reading ]]> A recent article by USA today talks about the fact that the U.S. suffers from a significant Doctor shortage and it is about to get much worse.
The Association of American Medical Colleges predicts that by 2020, the shortage will amount to more than 90,000 doctors, including 45,000 patient care physicians. The shortage is expected to worsen as the boom generation is getting older and will require more medical care in the near future and the new healthcare mandate would add more people to the patient pool. To make matters worse, a third of all doctors plan to retire this decade.
Generally, the states with high median incomes tend to have more doctors per capita, while poorer states tend to have substantially fewer because they are less attractive to doctors.
This is why expanding immigration programs for foreign doctors is a key in alleviating this shortage. Expanding the Conrad 30 program (where more than double the spaces are needed in most states), creating more federal programs (such as the USDA had but closed) and increasing the H-1B quota will help make the U.S. more attractive for foreign doctors.
Read the full article at: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2012/10/20/doctors-shortage-least-most/1644837/

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U.S. IMMIGRATION POLICY STIFLES IMMIGRANT ENTREPRENEURSHIP http://www.visa-pros.com/u-s-immigration-policy-stifles-immigrant-entrepreneurship-2/ http://www.visa-pros.com/u-s-immigration-policy-stifles-immigrant-entrepreneurship-2/#comments Wed, 17 Oct 2012 03:03:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/u-s-immigration-policy-stifles-immigrant-entrepreneurship-2/ Continue reading ]]> A new study by the Kauffman Foundation indicates that since 2005, less U.S. companies were founded by immigrants or foreign-born entrepreneurs, with the most significant drop in the state of California within technology firms.
The Kauffman Foundation is right on the money. Our immigration system is more and more unwelcoming to immigrant entrepreneurs. Coupled with a recession and more difficult business environment in the U.S. in the past few years, less immigrant entrepreneurs are finding the U.S. an attractive place.
The Kauffman Foundation report shows that the proportion of companies founded by immigrants nationwide has dropped to 24.3 percent from 25.3 percent in the past five years. In Silicon Valley, the decline was worse: dropping to 43.9 percent from 52.4 percent.
This is alarming for anyone who cares about innovation, job creation or U.S. competitiveness in the global marketplace. This is what we have been telling everyone for years, that we have a broken immigration system that needs to be fixed and welcome entrepreneurs.
The U.S. can reverse the trend of declining immigrant entrepreneurship with changes in policies and opportunities. We really ought to have start-up business visas for these entrepreneurs and expand the number of green cards for skilled foreigners to work in these start-ups in order to make the U.S. more attractive.
USCIS has started taking encouraging steps like their entrepreneurs in residence program, which had little effect so far. What we need is opening doors and our immigration system for entrepreneurs who bring innovation, investments and jobs to the U.S.
Hopefully the new elections will bring a different Congress which will actually do something about the problems in this country, instead of the “do nothing” mode we have endured so far.

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U.S. IMMIGRATION POLICY STIFLES IMMIGRANT ENTREPRENEURSHIP http://www.visa-pros.com/u-s-immigration-policy-stifles-immigrant-entrepreneurship/ http://www.visa-pros.com/u-s-immigration-policy-stifles-immigrant-entrepreneurship/#comments Wed, 17 Oct 2012 03:01:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/u-s-immigration-policy-stifles-immigrant-entrepreneurship/ Continue reading ]]> A new study by the Kauffman Foundation indicates that since 2005, less U.S. companies were founded by immigrants or foreign-born entrepreneurs, with the most significant drop in the state of California within technology firms.
The Kauffman Foundation is right on the money. Our immigration system is more and more unwelcoming to immigrant entrepreneurs. Coupled with a recession and more difficult business environment in the U.S. in the past few years, less immigrant entrepreneurs are finding the U.S. an attractive place.
The Kauffman Foundation report shows that the proportion of companies founded by immigrants nationwide has dropped to 24.3 percent from 25.3 percent in the past five years. In Silicon Valley, the decline was worse: dropping to 43.9 percent from 52.4 percent.
This is alarming for anyone who cares about innovation, job creation or U.S. competitiveness in the global marketplace. This is what we have been telling everyone for years, that we have a broken immigration system that needs to be fixed and welcome entrepreneurs.
The U.S. can reverse the trend of declining immigrant entrepreneurship with changes in policies and opportunities. We really ought to have start-up business visas for these entrepreneurs and expand the number of green cards for skilled foreigners to work in these start-ups in order to make the U.S. more attractive.
USCIS has started taking encouraging steps like their entrepreneurs in residence program, which had little effect so far. What we need is opening doors and our immigration system for entrepreneurs who bring innovation, investments and jobs to the U.S.
Hopefully the new elections will bring a different Congress which will actually do something about the problems in this country, instead of the “do nothing” mode we have endured so far.

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HB87 CREATING SIGNIFICANT LICENSING DELAYS IN GEORGIA http://www.visa-pros.com/hb87-creating-significant-licensing-delays-in-georgia/ http://www.visa-pros.com/hb87-creating-significant-licensing-delays-in-georgia/#comments Wed, 10 Oct 2012 20:45:00 +0000 http://69.0.245.110/hb87-creating-significant-licensing-delays-in-georgia/ Continue reading ]]> Another bad outcome of HB87 part of the law of unintended consequences: Now, because the state needs to check a person’s identification and legal status in the United State, and they are short-staffed, thousands or even more U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents are stuck unable to renew their license on time. Over 200 professions require licensing in the state of Georgia, and they are now taking weeks or months to be renewed instead of days that it took in the past. For some nurses, one of the critical shortage occupations in the state, the wait can be as much as 3 months.
Of course, no one could prove that there were significant numbers of undocumented immigrants receiving state licenses for any occupation. Now, because of HB87, people have to show a “secure and verifiable document” to obtain the license, which many people do not have and is not even required to vote.
The Georgia Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, said his office cannot keep up with all the calls (almost 500,000 calls) due to the delays. The state licenses about 500,000 people. HB87 took an automatic process and made it much more bureaucratic, with no increase in funds or a way to go through rough patches.
Yes, people might die because a U.S. citizen nurse cannot get her license on time, what a sad state of affairs all because some hot heads in the Georgia legislature wanted to look like they were “cracking down on illegal immigration” and passed HB87.

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ROMNEY WOULD KEEP DACA IF ELECTED http://www.visa-pros.com/romney-would-keep-daca-if-elected/ http://www.visa-pros.com/romney-would-keep-daca-if-elected/#comments Tue, 02 Oct 2012 19:38:00 +0000