President Trump Tightens Visa Waiver Program

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Starting Friday, December 15, 2017, the Trump administration’s tighter rules for the Visa Waiver Program will go into effect.  The Program affects 38 countries who citizens are permitted to travel without visas to the United States, including its closest political and military “allies” such as Australia, Germany, United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.

The three new grounds of scrutiny include:

  • The countries must screen all travelers entering their country against databases provided by the U.S. of known terrorists and others who may pose a national security threat.
  • The U.S. will assess the safeguards used by each country against “insider threats” at their airports.
  • The U.S. will require that no more than 2% of travelers from each country end up staying in the U.S. past the expiration date of their visa.

The last requirement refers to “visa overstays”, which represent roughly 40% of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.  Countries whose visitors  exceed the 2% threshold of overstays will be required to conduct public information campaigns to raise awareness of the consequences of overstays.  Using 2016 data, this third requirement currently affects Hungary, Greece, Portugal and San Marino.

For more information contact Banerjee & Associates

Is Trump’s Travel Ban Permanent?

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On Monday, December 4, 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that President Trump’s latest immigration travel ban against eight countries can take full effect, despite two ongoing legal challenges in lower courts.  Six of the eight countries are Muslim-majority: Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen.  The two other countries are North Korea and certain citizens of Venezuela.  The lower courts ruled that travelers who had a “bona fide” relationship to the United States, such as grandparents, could still come in.  The latest Supreme Court order overrides these lower court rulings.  By allowing the travel ban to be fully enforced now (equivalent to a temporary stay from lower court challenges), some legal analysts believe it portends that the Supreme Court is likely to uphold the ban’s merits at a later date.

The latest ban does allow certain exceptions to travelers from the eight countries on the list.  For example, student exchange citizens from Iran can still travel to the United States, albeit under enhanced scrutiny.  Somalis may also visit the U.S. under enhanced scrutiny, but will no longer be allowed to emigrate.

In essence, the Supreme Court is waiting for a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in Seattle and the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond to issue their verdicts within the next two months.  The losers of those verdicts are expected to appeal to the Supreme Court.  If those cases are heard by the Supreme Court, it is anticipated that a final ruling on President Trump’s travel ban will be made by the end of June 2018.

P-1 Athletes

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1. Who Qualify?

1) Individual Athletes
2) Athletes who are members of a team or league has to:
3) Amateur Athletes and Coaches

2. Requirements:

1- An individual has to be internationally famous
Coming to USA to compete in competitions

2 Athletes who are members of a team or league has to:
Be a member of a team that is affiliated with 6 or more sports teams. These teams total revenue should exceed 10 million

3 Amateur Athletes and Coaches
If they are part of a team or franchise that is located in the US, and is also a member of a foreign team in their country that is affiliated with at least 15 teams.

3 Documents:

1. Contract with the US team

And at least two of the following:

Participated significantly in prior season’s sport team or College team
Participate in the National or International Event
A letter from a member of a governing body; member of sport media or a person recognized in sport about how the athlete or the team is internationally recognized
Evidence of a high rank
Evidence of a significant win, or award

 

For more information contact Banerjee & Associates

Employment Based I-485 Interviews

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Who will get the interview?

Anyone who filed the I-140 application after March 17, 2017

What is the process?

The Service Center, ie Texas or Nebraska Service Center will send the case to National Benefits Center. The NBC will send the files to the various field offices.
Will the field offices Adjudicate the I-140 ?
According to Citizenship and Immigration Service, the field office will not adjudicate the I-140. But the service center will check for:
• Authenticate documents—ie Actual educational documents, Employer’s taxes, or Beneficiary’s paystub proving “ability to pay.”
• Family member’s relationship to the principal beneficiary, ie spouses will be interviewed for whether it’s a valid marriage—Take Original marriage certificate, birth certificate, joint documents like joint children/mortgage, financial documents
• Eb-1 and NIW will have to take all their original works.
• Take all status documents—–ie original H-1B approvals, and/or Employment Authorization Document cards, Sevis cards, etc.
• Valid Passport and I-94
• Paystubs and W-2—- a letter from the Employer and the Supplement J
• New Medical, if original medical is a year old

Interviewing Officer:

Field Officers adjudicate family petitions. They are used to adjudicating relationships. In our previous appointments with Employment cases, we have found the interviewing officers do not have knowledge of any employment law. I have had to point out the law on several issues. American Immigration Lawyer’s Association concurs. Although Citizenship and Immigration Service is saying that they have “trained” their officers, American Immigration Lawyer’s Association is recommending a lawyer be present, at least for the first few months.

Field officers may not get the concept of “future employment”, and definitely wont be able to define NIW or EB-1.

 

For More information, contact Banerjee & Associates

Do Immigrants Have to Register with Selective Service?

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Selective Service is an independent branch of the United States government that retains information on all U.S. males who qualify for potential military conscription.  All males between ages 18 & 25 who are either U.S. citizens or non-citizen immigrants must register within 30 days of their 18th birthday.  However, registration with Selective Service is not the same as signing up with the U.S. Armed Services, since Selective Service is not a part of the Department of Defense.

A non-citizen immigrant is one who possesses an immigrant visa with an intent to remain in the United States. Non-citizen immigrants include parolees, undocumented immigrants, legal permanent residents, asylum seekers, and refugees.  As a result, non-citizen immigrants between 18 & 25 years or age who attain an immigrant visa must register with Selective Service within 30 days of arriving in the United States.  Dual nationals are mandated to register with Selective Service because they are, by definition, also U.S. immigrants.

There are allowed exceptions, such as conscientious objectors, medical disabilities, and active military/National Guard/Reserve.  Non-immigrants are not required to register, i.e. B-2, H-1B, F-1 visas.

Government Efficiency Trickles Down to Work Permits and Social Security Cards

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The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration and Services (USCIS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) have finally agreed to share information, resulting in less paperwork for foreign nationals in certain categories.  In the past, applicants had to apply for an employment authorization document (EAD), informally known as a “work permit”, from USCIS via Form I-765.  Then, applicants had to apply again for a social security number in-person from their local Social Security office.

There are numerous benefits resulting from this change.  Applicants will no longer have to visit their local Social Security office, since USCIS is automatically forwarding I-765 information to the SSA.  Moreover, applicants can save hours by not having to make appointments, fight traffic, and stand in line at the SSA office.  The SSA would also save money due to efficiency gains, as resources formerly devoted to processing in-person appointments could be redirected elsewhere.  Promisingly, applicants should be receiving their SSA cards just 2-3 weeks after receiving their EADs from USCIS.

Privacy and Record Keeping by the Government

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In view of the fact that there are many fake or exaggerated assumptions  going on about what information Citizenship and Immigration Service might collect as proposed in their notice in the Federal Register. The notice was published on 09/18/2017. Consistent with Federal Notice and Comment period you have 30 days to comment on this.
The Notice deals with WHAT information the Government can keep if one applies for any Immigration benefits. Please note that if ANYONE applies for a benefit, a file is created. For Immigrants, that file is called an A File. Also please note that the Government still has an open file on John Lennon, (yes the Beatles guy) for drug possession in the UK, with which they were seeking to deport him.
The Citizenship and Immigration Service retains information on applications, and any material the applicant or their attorney sent to them. Please note that applications to Citizenship and Immigration Service is still for a vast majority of people filed with paper files. Now this notice seeks to expand this to include electronic materials as well. This is nothing new, the Citizenship and Immigration Service was already using the “internet” to verify facts stated in the applications. For instance the Citizenship and Immigration Service conducted tests in VIBE program to check business information with D&B. In family context, it sought to see if their application matched their internet profiles. Say for instance one files a marriage based application. His FB status shows single, looking for a date. His page has posts of his recent dates with other people, while he stated to Citizenship and Immigration Service that he is married. Is this a legitimate intrusion on the part of the Government to validate the information, which is by the way, their job?
As I said before, it had been the practice of Citizenship and Immigration Service do their internet searches already. What’s new is that the Govt is saying they will KEEP such record. This includes attorney’s information as well. They will also keep the paper file information including medical record given to Citizenship and Immigration Service as part of the Green Card (Permanent Resident Card) process. For businesses, this might include transactional records. Additionally, Citizenship and Immigration Service can seek to examine publicly available social media post of Naturalized Citizen. If you don’t know this, Citizenship and Immigration Service only has jurisdiction over naturalized citizen. If you were born here, the FBI has jurisdiction to check your publicly available social media post. So can I, by the way. But do I or the Govt have the resources or the time to check everyone’s public posts? The answer is that simple.

Anyone using the internet should know that the internet is forever, anyways. What is new is that the Citizenship and Immigration Service might ask for closed Social media pages to verify information applied for. The notice on federal register says: The purpose of this system of records is to facilitate administration of benefits and enforcement of provisions under the INA and related immigration statutes. A-Files (whether paper or electronic), immigration case files, CIS, MiDAS, and NFTS are used primarily by DHS employees for immigration processing and adjudication, protection of national security, and administering and enforcing immigration and nationality laws and related regulations and policy. These records also assist DHS with detecting violations of immigration and nationality laws; supporting the referral of such violations for prosecution or other appropriate enforcement action; supporting law enforcement efforts and inspection processes at the U.S. borders; as well as to carry out DHS enforcement, immigration, intelligence, and or other homeland security functions.

My feelings? I will say, in the words of Lennon, Let it be. If you have a problem, go comment on it

 

For more information, contact Banerjee & Associates

Will All Social Media Posts by Immigrants Now Be Collected by Homeland Security?

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On September 18, 2017, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed measures to collect vast amounts of data regarding social media posted by immigrants.  In the past, United States Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS), a branch of DHS, has routinely collected information publicly available on the internet in regards to immigration benefits applications and the adjudication of petitions.

The new DHS proposal would allow additional categories of data, such as social media identities and aliases and their respective posts, to be retained by USCIS.  Social media posts by green card holders (permanent residents) and naturalized U.S. citizens would be kept as well.  Unfortunately, posts made in jest, sarcastic in tone, or even innocent expressions of opinion could be misinterpreted and trigger a Request for Evidence (RFE) or a personal interview with an officer from USCIS.  This latest DHS proposal is slated to go into effect on October 18, 2017.

India and China EB-1 AOS

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To file the EB-1 I-485 adjustment of status with medical or not—-that is a valid question.
The way that the Citizenship and Immigration Service is supposed to work is that they adjudicate cases first in first out. In September 2017, the final action dates for EB-1 for both India and China was backlogged to 2012. It’s current from October 1.
However both nations were current for their filing dates for EB-1. That leaves the question whether the I-485 application should be filed with the Immigration medical or not. Immigration medicals are valid for one year only. Thus if your petition takes more than 1 year to adjudicate, you have to do another medical. The second medical if necessary should be an update only, and should not include fresh vaccines.
Immigration Medical/Physical consists of the applicant going to a doctor prescribed by the Citizenship and Immigration Service. That Doctor should give you form I-693 to fill out your name. Then the doctor checks whether you have Tuberculosis, any sexually transmitted disease, (Syphilis, Gonorrhea etc) and whether you’ve had your vaccines. They also check general physical and mental health, including substance abuse.

Hepatitis B
DTP
IPV
HiB
MMR
Chicken Pox (varicella)
PPV and PCV
TD Booster
FLU (in flu season)

If you have taken any of these vaccines in your home country, please take your shot records with you to your emergency medical

 

For more information contact Banerjee& Associates

Will the Supreme Court Rule Against Trump’s Latest Travel Ban?

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On September 11, 2017, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy issued a temporary order halting the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ previous ruling, which would have granted admittance to roughly 24,000 refugees if “a resettlement agency had promised that it would provide basic services for them.”  In effect, Justice Kennedy’s ruling restored President Trump’s original ban on individuals from six predominantly Muslim countries.

The original ban only allowed exceptions in cases where there was a “close familial relationship”, which the Administration defined as only parents, children, siblings, spouses and fiances.  The Ninth Circuit upheld the expansion of that definition to include grandparents, other extended family members, and refugees with formal assurances of support from resettlement agencies.

The full Supreme Court is scheduled to begin hearing arguments about the Administration’s ban on October 10, 2017.  Former National Security officials with the highest security clearances from both Democratic and Republic administrations have strongly urged the Supreme Court to rule against President Trump’s ban.  Their statement to the Supreme Court declares, “All available evidence suggests that the order was not based on national security judgment at all, but rather, on a deliberate political decision to discriminate against a religious minority.”