MySpace and Facebook are Fraudulent Activities Breeding Grounds for Immigration Marriage Fraud Cases

By | News & Press | 233 Comments

One of the missions of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a Fraud Detection and National Security proponent, is maintaining the integrity of the legal immigration system. They perform a variety of fraud detection methods, such as conducting interviews and investigations of immigrants seeking citizenship. One method of fraud detection tools they now use is searching social networking sites such as Facebook, Hi5, MySpace, Classmates.com, and others, to mine for information.

People use these sites to stay connected with friends and families and in some cases to feed their narcissistic tendencies just to see how many “friends” they can add on their list without even knowing them. However, some people think that their identity and information and pictures they share remain within their close network, so they tend to speak honestly and openly, interacting with their friends through instant messages or blogs, posting recent pictures of themselves and others, unknowingly revealing fraudulent-looking activities for FDNS. This gives them evidence of any invalid relationships that were revealed through these social networking sites.

There are international versions of these networking sites that FDNS are also aware of and closely monitors. Inconsistencies are what USCIS look for at the fraud unit. Things that trigger suspicion for fraudulent marriages are large differences in age, language barriers between supposed couples, or different living arrangements.

“USCIS officers use many tactics to try to get information from spouses of suspected fraudulent marriages, such as intimidation tactics, or having those sign statements to withdraw their visa applications,” said Annie Banerjee, a Texas immigration and national lawyer. “So these social networking sites are new territory, and people should seek out immigration lawyers who know immigration law if they are called in for an interview under grounds for suspicion.”

If you are called in for an interview at the fraud unit, there are general questions officers ask to determine and prove whether the marriage is legitimate or not. They range from the details of the development of your relationship, information about you and your spouse, details of your wedding, your relatives and children. If you get an advance notice for an interview, it is advisable that you seek advice from a qualified attorney.

To learn more, visit http://www.visatous.com.

Elections Can Be Swayed By Small Voting Margins of New American Voters

By | News & Press | 148 Comments

The “New Americans” are a rising part of the U.S. population comprising mainly of post-1965 children of immigrants who were raised during the wide-ranging immigration era from Latin America and Asia, but may also include other immigrants who became naturalized citizens, from Palestine, Dominican Republic and India, to name a few.

The New Americans may have been politically overlooked, but they are becoming a more increasing “voting bloc” that can quite possibly turn the tides for the state, federal and local elections and are proving to be a political force to be reckoned with.

Immigrants who have not applied for citizenship are now applying for it in droves; therefore changing certain city and states’ political landscape; something said in light of the current anti-immigrant rhetoric. The New Americans have new immigrant stories that are different experiences from the sometimes romanticized “Ellis Island” immigration era, which are personal associations to the modern immigrant experience, fraught with language barriers, racism, assimilation issues mixed with modern day plight and concerns – their own cultural responses to their structural changes to American life. It is how they cope and deal individually and collectively to life’s trajectories in a new world.

Most New Americans hold their citizenship and legal statuses in high regard and are becoming more vocal and visible in respect to immigration reform, which will more than likely motivate them to cast their vote in the upcoming elections. The New American electorate will be pivotal in battleground states such as Florida, New Mexico, Nevada and California.

For Latino voters, immigration reform ranks as one of the top three issues they are concerned with and should be worrisome to politicians who are anti-immigrant. Therefore, demonizing and discounting an immigrant may in turn affect the immigrant voter, who now account for one in 10 registered voters in the U.S. New American registered voters jumped 101.5 percent between 1996 and 2008.

A. Banerjee is a Houston immigration lawyer in Texas. Before selecting an immigration lawyer in Houston Texas, contact the Law Offices of Annie Banerjee by visiting their information filled web site at http://www.visatous.com.

The Future is ours to win

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments

The title is a quote from President Obama’s State of the Union speech last night. Yet, my blog is not about the State of US, it is about immigration and India.

A couple of years ago, Tata Consulting Company (TCS) was found to have been violating the L-1 requirements. Since the L-1 had no set amount that beneficiaries were to be paid, TCS brought people over on a blanket L, paid them very cheap wages, and farmed them out to other companies at a cheaper rate than US Companies would. This lead to sweeping reforms of the whole L-1 visa.

Last year, several computer consulting companies, owned by Indian Americans were found to be performing many illegal activities in the H-1B visa categories. This led to the now infamous Jan 08, 2010 memo, where USCIS instituted hightened requirements for consulting companies. It also led to the H-1B site visits.

Last week, Tri Valley University was found to have been giving false student visas to Indian students. There was anything but learning going on at this California institution. There were no education standards whatsoever. In fact I personally would not grant an H-1B visa to a Tri Valley student, if I were a CIS officer. This quota is for “professionals”, and if you cannot get entry into a better school, you are NOT a professional. Yet many of these “students” were former H-1B holders, who, having lost their jobs, enrolled in Tri Valley.

Indians are a minority, and when things like these happen, they get sterotyped (albeit unfairly) as corrupt, false, doing anything and everything to stay in the US. The CIS scrutinizes the petitions of all Indians more carefully than other nationalities. And the majority of hard working, and successful Indian American owned businesses suffer.

Tri Valley is in the heart of Silicon Valley. Google will be hiring 6000 people shortly. Will anyone be Indians on H-1B?

We all suffer when things like this happens. And unless we take responsibility, the acts of few corrupt, (or in the case of Tri Valley students— stupid) individuals, will hamper India’s outsourcing business majorly. The future is ours to win.

For more information contact Houston Immigration Lawyer or Houston Immigration Attorney, Annie Banerjee

Immigrants, Parenting and Tiger Mothers

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments

Amy Chua’s book, “The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” has created quite a stir in the US. In it Ms Chua, a Yale Law Professor, describes her hard driving parenting style that achieves the perfect child, rather than the feel good ‘Disneyesque” Western Style of parenting which does not push achievement. In the Wall Street Journal article titled ‘Why Chinese Mothers are Superior”, Ms. Chua defines the term ‘Chinese mothers” as—I’m using the term “Chinese mother” loosely. I know some Korean, Indian, Jamaican, Irish and Ghanaian parents who qualify too. Conversely, I know some mothers of Chinese heritage, almost always born in the West, who are not Chinese mothers, by choice or otherwise

Thus it is clear that at least in Ms. Chua’s view mostly immigrant mothers qualify as the over driven creators of superb children, the Tiger Moms. Why? Immigrants bring with them the drive and the focus to succeed. They choose to come to the US, (as opposed to just being born here,) fight a lot of discrimination, and make it big. The other choice for them is to go back to the life they are fleeing from. No one hands them food stamps, no one gives them Social Security. No health insurance.They have to fight for everything they get, and in the strictest Darwinian terms, for them it is the survival of the fittest. And fittest they become. And so do their children, first generation Americans raised by immigrant parents. Eventually these children become successful adults, going into ivys, having successful jobs, paying lots of taxes. And what happens to the kids of the anti immigration ralliers? Well, at best they do the blue collar jobs, at worst they become KKK members.

For more information contact Houston Immigration Lawyer or Houston Immigration Attorney, Annie Banerjee

Possible DREAM Act Update On The Horizon

By | Houston Immigration | 3 Comments

It has been a long time coming for the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, also known as the DREAM Act, to come true.

After its inception way back in 2001, it is expected to be voted on the Senate floor this weekend in the Lame Duck Session. It appeared in its earlier days in many forms and interpretations. Today, there are approximately 65,000 students graduating from high school who are undocumented. Most have been brought to the United States when they were very young and have been accustomed and acculturated since most of them can remember. However, when undocumented youths graduate, they face an uncertain future and the chance of being deported back to a country they hardly know, and some with no relatives to seek out.

Lacking legal status, the children are kept from obtaining the same benefits that U.S.-born children or those who have been naturalized have. The DREAM Act will provide citizenship to undocumented children who have grown up in the United States by giving them a path for citizenship within five years by enabling them to apply for citizenship in a five-year period and then apply for another 5-year conditional nonimmigrant status for a total of 10 years. If all criteria are met within this timeframe, the student can be adjusted to legal permanent resident and can apply for citizenship after three years of legal permanent status. Certain options such as enrolling in a two-year degree program or joining the armed forces can reduce the number of years.

Persons with nonimmigrant status would be able to legally work and drive and also go to school essentially the same way a United States citizen does, except for when it comes to receiving benefits from the new health care reform, such as federal tax credits. To qualify for The DREAM Act, the child would have to come to United States before 15 years of age, be enrolled in a college, or have graduated or received a GED from high school for conditional nonimmigrant status, and also be 30 years old or younger at the time of the bill has been enacted.

There have been many opposing the bill. Some say that the bill will put a burden on our already dismal financial forecast. However, there have been studies that say that The Dream Act may in turn boost the economy by their generated income throughout the course of their working lives.

A. Banerjee is a Houston immigration lawyer in Texas. Before selecting an immigration lawyer in Houston Texas, contact the Law Offices of Annie Banerjee by visiting their information filled web site at http://www.visatous.com.

ICE Deports Immigrants During Booking Process And Gets Incentives Abound for Racial Profiling

By | Houston Immigration | 175 Comments

Already in more than 650 jurisdictions and in 32 states, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) plans to expand the two-year Department of Homeland Security (DHS) program called “Secure Communities” to every state by 2011.

Unlike other local/ICE partnerships, there is no need for Memoranda of Agreement between local law enforcement agencies, or the need for local law agents to be deputized in order to enforce immigration laws. ICE also plans to extend its reach to 3,100 state and local jails nationally by 2013.

Secure Communities allows ICE to have access to fingerprints sent to the FBI by local law enforcement agencies. This addition has been incorporated into the normal criminal booking process where every arrested person’s fingerprints are checked against DHS’s biometric database. If there is a match, or a “hit”, where the arrested person is matched with possible immigration violation, ICE and local law enforcement are alerted. The arrested person’s immigration status is thus determined, as well as whether the individual is deportable.

Secure Communities might even promote the ability for racial profiling by allowing local police to make arrests based on race and ethnicity, or to even make pre-textual arrests merely to have an individual’s immigration status checked.

“With ICE’s wide net casted, civil rights violation may run unchecked by questionable policing efforts. Most of the immigrants that were swept-up arbitrarily, committed Level 1 (low-level) offenses or have no criminal histories at all,” said Annie Banerjee, a Texas board certified immigration and national lawyer.

Migration Policy Institute wrote a report in 2009 on ICE’s Fugitive Operation Teams, finding that while FOT’s number increased capturing more individuals, 73 percent of the detainees had no criminal convictions and in North Carolina alone 83 percent of arrested immigrants were charged with traffic violations.

It was believed that Secure Communities was an opt-in program, but the agency reversed its position at an Oct. 6 press conference when DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano stated, “we don’t consider Secure Communities an opt in/opt out program.” ICE also does not monitor local or state agencies for civil rights or systematic violations such as ensuring that they are not just arresting persons to check their immigration status.

To learn more, visit http://www.visatous.com.

Does Immigrants actually take jobs?

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments

Meet Mr. Patel. He came to this country from India, illegally at first, many years ago, and then naturalized. He started working at the bottom of the ladder, in his cousin’s motel. He worked at least 12 hour days and saved money. Eventually he bought a motel, then another. Now he has a string of 6 Holiday Inns. He employs a lot of Americans.

Meet Mr. Ebrahim. He came from Pakistan on a visitor’s visa pre 9/11. He bought a convenience store. Initially the whole family worked 24/7 to keep it going. Now he has 3 convenience store. He employs a lot of Americans.

Meet Mr. Oschwitz. He came to the US on an L-1 visa from Romania. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, and the rise of Capitalism, he opened a chain of gas stations in Romania. He brought over a million US dollars. Now he owns 5 gas stations and an apartment complex here. He employs a lot of Americans.

For more information contact Houston Immigration Lawyer or Houston Immigration Attorney, Annie Banerjee

Meet Mr. Reddy. He came over from India on an H-1B, and eventually got his green card. Now he has a big Computer Consultancy Company. He employs a lot of Americans.

Meet Mr. Bose. He came over from India as a student, graduated from MIT, and has his own business where he researches and makes audio equipments. He employs a lot of Americans.

I have altered the names of these individual to provide anonymity, but the stories are true.

Do hard working Immigrants really take jobs from American Citizens? Should we ban immigration, and take away the jobs of all Americans who work for an immigrant?

The Rise of Expectation

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments

I recently visited India, and as everybody knows was amazed by the optimism of the young Indian Professionals. They work hard, six days a week, and speak of India overtaking the world. Yet I cannot but feel that this exuberance is overblown, perhaps created by Indian media. The young middle class Indians feel they are at par with America. Yet here are the things that my Western eyes found are hindrances to its growth.

Population and Poverty—- The Young Indian Professional is completely blind to the millions of people barely subsisting on the “other side of the track.” In Mumbai, there were blind children begging for a morsel of food from a fat middle aged women holding some fried pakoras. She promptly got into her car and her husband nearly ran over the little girl. Yes, I know that beggar kids are a business in Mumbai, and you can avoid them; but do you have to be mean? The haves simply do not even recognize the existence of the have nots. I would vote any day for China’s one child policy.

Traffic—- Everyone gets a car, no one builds roads. The traffic jam situation is horrible. So are the dirty roads. Strangely India is more kind to their stray animals than people. Cows, dogs, monkeys, people just live, eat, defecate on the roads creating health hazards galore.

Expectations—- India has money. Yet the conditions are so bad. We in the US would complain bitterly and not accept these conditions and thus they would not happen. yet people in India take this lying down. Whatever money India has is enough to build roads, feed people, etc. But it is being stolen by corrupt politicians and their innumerable ‘meetings”. I was in Kolkata for 4 days. In one of those days there was a massive rally in the center of the town, paralyzing the traffic in the City. There was no elections coming up. I was told they have this situation at least every 15 days. Yet the corrupt politician get away with almost everything fueled by money from rich business people. Unless this is stopped, India will never achieve first world status.

As someone once said, “china is rising because of their Government, India is rising despite their Government.” If this is the price of democracy, to hell with it. Self Government cannot be condoned for Corrupt Government.

For more information contact Houston Immigration Lawyer or Houston Immigration Attorney, Annie Banerjee

Can't we all get along?

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments

Its a New Year- a time for a new better beginning. And with the Republicans winning most states, there will be plenty of anti immigration related bills in at least 6 or more states, following the lead of Arizona. The Republicans feel that since the federal Government won’t do anything, it will be left up to the states to enact and enforce tough new immigration laws. The laws range from denying illegals right to public colleges to denying birthright citizenship to children of illegal immigrants.

It is not in anyone’s interest to enact these punitive laws. The Republicans will loose the support of certain business interests. A coalition of business groups, including certain Chamber of Commerce is opposed to enacting punitive measures because certain businesses will not be able to find workers. US Citizens don’t work in such jobs as poultry or construction— hard jobs— when they can collect food stamps, etc and survive on that. The increasing Hispanic population, which will be a major voting block in the future will also be opposed to punitive anti immigration measures.

Thus it is time for the feds, and Mr. Obama to enact a comprehensive Immigration bill. And by Comprehensive I mean both legal (mostly business immigration) and illegal immigration. Unlike the health care bill, this time the House controlled by Republicans will not bow down to an entirely Democratic agenda.

President Obama showed that he can be flexible and concede to some Republican demands. The Republicans want to better business immigration, while the democrats care about illegal people. Hopefully now that the house is Republican, and the Senate Democratic, we will be able to reach a happy median.

For more information contact Houston Immigration Lawyer or Houston Immigration Attorney, Annie Banerjee

The Law Office of Annie Banerjee Helps with Immigration Needs and Solves Immigration Problems

By | News & Press | 156 Comments

Applying for a visa or an employment-based green card can be very daunting, time-consuming and expensive. A visa or a green card application can be rejected or denied due to the simplest mistakes made when filling out or submitting the application.

Usually, this happens when the beneficiary tries to save money by trying to fill out the application on his or her own. Sometimes, the mistake can even more costly. Therefore, it is important that those applying for a visa or employment-based green card contact a qualified immigration lawyer.

A qualified immigration law office can guide applicants through the application process and advise clients about the steps and requirements they would need for an employment-based permanent residency green card or the various other categories that best describes their situation.

The Law Offices of Annie Banerjee is a Houston based law practice that can assist applicants and help them navigate through the maze of immigration laws that are mandated by federal law that are applied the same to every state. They can discuss an applicant’s options and the cost of the application process.

The Law Offices of Annie Banerjee can help applicants with:

  • Visas and Green Cards (for foreign nations who seek temporary or permanent residence)
  • Employment based immigration (for employers and foreign professionals)
  • Family based immigration (through the process of brining immediate family members)
  • Adjustment of Status (for people wanting to petition for legal permanent residence)
  • Non-immigrant Visas (for people who don’t plan to stay permanently)
  • Citizenship
  • Asylum (refugees who a seek safe haven from persecution)

“We believe in helping those who are trying to apply for various types of immigration to gain their status legally, the most cost-effective way possible. We will try assisting you and helping you the best way possible,” said Attorney Annie Banerjee. “Problem solving does not involve a ‘one size fits all’ philosophy. We focus on our clients’ needs and goals and then craft a plan of action to achieve an efficient resolution of our clients’ problems.”

To learn more, visit http://www.visatous.com.