Leading Republican Opposed to Trump’s Latest Plan to Cut Legal Immigration in Half

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President Trump has recently proposed the RAISE bill, which would cut legal immigration in half by greatly reducing family-based immigration (limited to only spouses and children) and eliminating the diversity visa lottery (50,000 green cards issued annually).  In addition, the plan would implement a merit-based program that favors immigrants who have advanced skills, are self-supporting financially, and have mastery of the English language.  The President claims this plan mirrors the immigration system in Canada.

However, there are several flaws to the RAISE bill.  First, by focusing only on advanced skills, many needed legal immigrants who don’t possess advanced skills would be excluded and cheating would increase. Republican Senator Lindsay Graham, who is strongly opposed, explains,

“Unfortunately, the other part of this proposal would reduce legal immigration by half, including many immigrants who work legally in our agriculture, tourism and service industries.

“South Carolina’s #1 industry is agriculture and tourism is #2. If this proposal were to become law, it would be devastating to our state’s economy which relies on this immigrant workforce.”

Senator Graham further adds, “It incentivizes more illegal immigration as positions go unfilled.  After dealing with this issue for more than a decade, I know that when you restrict legal labor to employers it incentivizes cheating.”

Second, most immigrants are already barred from receiving Federal benefits under existing law during their first five years in the United States, and thus must be able to support themselves.  Third, in an ever-increasing global economy, immigrants with multi-language skills are even more valued.  Finally, even Canada’s merit-based immigration system allows extended family members to immigrate, not just spouses and children.

President Trump’s RAISE plan is highly unlikely to have a positive economic effect on America.  Instead, it will only increase the difficulty for American businesses and its communities to remain competitive in the world economy.

For all your immigration needs, contact Banerjee & Associates

U.S. Government Resumes Limited H-1B Premium Processing

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The U.S. Government has resumed H-1B Premium Processing, but only for institutions of higher education and nonprofit and governmental research organizations.  Under Premium Processing, H-1B applicants can be eligible for visa approvals within 15 days.  Unfortunately, for-profit businesses are still not eligible for Premium Processing.  For 2017-2018, H-1B visas were capped at 65,000 a year, with an additional 20,000 available for applicants who have earned masters degrees or higher in the United States.

For All Your Immigration Needs, Contact Banerjee & Associates

A Path to Citizenship for DACA

By | Citizenship and Naturalization, DACA, Executive Order, Immigration, Immigration Policy, Uncategorized | No Comments

A bipartisan (Yes, seriously) bill to extend the Dream Act was introduced today on the Senate. It was introduced by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (SC) and Democratic Senator Dick Durbin (IL).
The so called “Dream Act” promises to not deport individuals who were brought to the US when they were kids, had completed High School, and have an unblemished moral character. Introduced by Obama as an Executive Action in 2012, Trump said in June 16, 2017, that he has not made a decision on the DACA program yet, and will not immediately cut it.
Today’s bill would actually extend a path to Citizenship to the Good Hombres. Applicants will receive a Conditional Residency for 8 years. If they prove themselves under the following conditions for 8 years, they get their Permanent Green Card (Permanent Resident Card). 5 yrs after that, they can apply for Citizenship.

They can apply for green card on the basis of:
1. Work track: Demonstrates employment over a total period of 3 years
2. Higher education: Completes at least 2 years of higher education.
3. Military service: Completes at least 2 years of military service or receive an honorable discharge.
4. Waiver: Receiving a “hardship waiver” that exempts an applicant from having to follow the tracks outlined above.

Republican Senator, Lindsey Graham said that the “Day of Reckoning” has come for the Republican party. The Question for the Republican Party is, what do we do with these people? How do we treat them? Here’s my answer: We treat them fairly, we do not pull the rug under them.”

The White House has indicated that Trump won’t sign the legislation. However, if this bill passes the Senate and the House, it will be so huge, that my guess is that Trump will sign.

For All your Immigration needs, contact Banerjee & Associates

Don’t Commit Marriage Fraud

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As immigration attorneys, we do our best to help our clients meet their immigration needs within the confines of the law.  Unfortunately, attorneys must always be vigilant in not allowing their desire to help clients supersede their oath to uphold the law.  Actions do have consequences, as this Dallas immigration attorney recently discovered by being indicted for illegally assisting the commission of marriage fraud.

For All Your Immigration Needs, Contact Banerjee & Associates

Creating Hopes that wont Materialize

By | Citizenship and Naturalization, Houston Immigration, Immigration, Immigration Policy, Uncategorized, Visa | No Comments

From time to time, our lawmakers meet with lobby groups, with Constituents or with other interest groups and promise them the moon. They of course are given gifts and campaign contributions. In return, these lawmakers introduce bills in the Congress or the Senate. The bills might be debated or might be killed immediately. But most of them don’t make it out to the other House, and some that do, might die in the next house. During my career, I have seen countless bills die. Yet for a fleeting moment, they bring hope to people.
Whenever such bills are introduced, we lawyers get a flurry of calls. Can this be true? Can we get work permit? Can we get the green card soon? And as an Attorney, it becomes our duty to crush these dreams.
Good attorneys crush dreams. Bad attorneys sign on clients. For instances, when DAPA was introduced by the Obama administration, giving dreams of working and driving legally, to parents of children born in the United States who entered illegally, many attorneys took retainers and signed on clients. Clients think, they engaged an attorney and will get their dreams realized. But that executive action died in the Supreme Court.
Today, I got calls from Indian tech employees. They are legal residents, working in the tech sector, being productive. Yet, they have to wait 12 to 18 years after they file their petition, to ultimately get their green card. Most are Master’s degree holders and many times, their employers abuse them. They work hard. They make the best of their situation.
How does a lawyer tell them, that bills to alleviate their wait times will probably die?


For your Immigration needs call Banerjee & Associates

Request for Evidence in New H-1B cases

By | H1-B, Immigration, Uncategorized | No Comments

The season for new H-1B Request for Evidence is approaching. Because we cannot control who will make it to the lottery, petitions are often filed in bulk. And Citizenship and Immigration Service looking at small company H-1Bs, issues Request for Evidences, and very often a denial after that.
Its always the small companies that get these insane Request for Evidences. They state:

1. This is not a specialty occupation: Commonly given for Computer professionals, there is no objective criteria to define this. We have had the exact same complex job go through with one adjudicator, and not with another. Generally though, if the pay is high, the petition does go through. The problem is that while filing, the petitioner does not know who will get in, and does not want to promise a lot of money for someone who they may not like.
2. The Beneficiary is not qualified: Recently the Citizenship and Immigration Service has been holding that anyone with a Bachelors in anything other than computer science is not qualified. Unless they have more than 12 years of experience.
For both these above types of Request for Evidence, one can give expert opinions. But often, especially with small Computer Consulting Company, the officers have already made up their mind, and will deny, no matter what evidence you give.
I know small Computer Companies are very often fraudulent, and I am not defending them. I do wish though that the Citizenship and Immigration Service would give objective criteria and also allow substitution in the lottery process.

For more information, contact Banerjee & Associates

Travel Ban-Take 3-The Supreme Court Episode

By | H1-B, Immigration, SCOTUS, Travel, trump, Uncategorized, Visa | No Comments

Suppose you have a petulant child who hates your brother Jim and does not want him to visit your home. You have shut the child down, but the child just whines and screams. You know reasoning does not work. So you just say, OK, Jim cannot come for no reason. But if Jim has a reason, he can come. You are giving your child a lollipop. The child shows off his lollipop. The next time, Jim comes, you tell the child, but Jim wants to visit family. That’s a reason. And he will not come for no reason. I promise. Give the child another lollipop and hope the child forgets about this in 120 days.
That sums up the Supreme Court’s decision to lift the temporary restraining order against Trump’s travel ban. It has no substance, does not really impact anyone, and gives Trump his lollipop.

As I have said in my blog before, there is no justification for the travel ban on 6 countries: Syria, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya. Are there terrorist cells in these countries? Yes, of course. But the procedures in place already have the US Consulate performing extreme security checks before an individual is granted visa to enter the US. At one point in time, during the Obama administration, some suspected terrorists entered the US. They were deported and Obama suspended travel for these countries until a more thorough vetting procedure was implemented. But that was done, and no suspected terrorists have entered since. So clearly Trump just want to appease his intolerant base with the travel ban

The Supreme Court removed the temporary restraining order with a lesser temporary restraining order. The people not impacted are:

1. Anyone with a current visa—even a visitor’s visa issued before June 14, 2017
2. Anyone with a work visa-H, J, L, O,P, R I, F
3. Anyone with an immigrant or non Immigrant (K) family based visa
4. Diplomats

The Only group that is NOT covered are foreign tourists who are coming to USA for visiting sites in the United States. But seriously, how many tourists from these 6 countries do we find, just visiting the Grand Canyon or Disney Land? They have enough problems on their hand to think about expensive vacations. And the super-rich, who can afford to, does have either business or family connections.

B visa holders should bring with them documents showing family ties or business ties. Attending a conference, or lecturing is a valid business tie, and “mother in laws” are valid family relation. (Supreme Court said this, not me). Other visa holders should bring their visa related documents just to be sure.

So in effect, it’s a useless ban. It does affect Muslims, because Muslims are a majority in these countries. Trump said he had “clear victory”,  and the ACLU vowed to fight it.
This ban creates fear among many Muslim legal travelers. Attorney’s make money playing into that fear.

Other than that, it’s just sound and fury, signifying nothing


For more information call Banerjee & Associates

How to cut waste for the H-1B program

By | H1-B, Immigration, Immigration Policy, Immigration Reform, Uncategorized | No Comments

We went through hectic preparation and filing in March; held our breath in April for the lottery results. And now we have finally come to the very painful end of the H-1B process. We are getting the actual petitions filed by us, which did not make the lottery; being returned to us by Citizenship and Immigration Service.
Because H-1B have a high burden of proof, the files are big, and it costs the Citizenship and Immigration Service a lot of money to send it back to us by Propriety mail. Although tax payers don’t have to pay for it, it’s still a waste of resources.
What Citizenship and Immigration Service should do to make the process more efficient is:
1. Take names of the employer/employee, Date of birth, evidence of education and do the lottery. We had one client who got selected twice, thereby taking two visa numbers.
2. Once the lottery and the alternative list is done, we need to file before September 30.
I realize that this is not in the interest of Immigration Attorney’s pocket book. But the above is the best solution. However, if Citizenship and Immigration Service wants to enrich our, (Attorney’s) pocketbook, then it could just send the rejection letter and the checks. They could actually e mail it to us, Attorney’s or to Employers.
To see a tear, (a rejected petition) enclosed in a jewel (expensive Priority mail boxes), makes it that much harder.

For more information contact Banerjee & Associates

Austin vs. Houston, how two Texas cities are taking different approaches in response to SB4.

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SB4 was passed by the State of Texas on May 7, 2017, which bans “sanctuary” cities and prohibits elected officials from refusing to comply with the ban.  Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez have been publicly opposed to the bill from the very beginning.  Sheriff Hernandez declared back in January 2017 that she would no longer honor jail detainer requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  As a result, in February 2017 Governor Abbott cut $1.5 million in funding to Travis County over its sanctuary city policies.  On May 8, 2017, the State of Texas sued Mayor Adler, the City of Austin, Sheriff Hernandez, and Travis County in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, asking the federal court to uphold the constitutionality of SB4.

In Houston, Mayor Sylvester Turner has taken a more measured approach.  Back in February 2017, Mayor Turner refused to call Houston a sanctuary city and was unconcerned with the Houston Police Department’s policy of not asking about immigration status, due to Supreme Court rulings preventing law enforcement agencies profiling someone regarding his immigration documents.  Notably, neither Mayor Turner and the city of Houston, nor any elected officials from Harris County were named as defendants in the State of Texas’ SB-4 lawsuit.  However, Mayor Turner stated on June 8, 2017 that he will ask City Council this month to consider whether to join the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of SB4.   That vote could come as early as June 21.  Since the bill doesn’t take effect until Sept 1, 2017, perhaps Mayor Turner is using his political savvy to avoid to initial wrath of the State of Texas, while placating local city residents who disagree with SB4?

-By Timmy Yip

How “Sanctuary Cities” can Legally Refuse to Comply with Mandatory Federal Immigrant Reporting Laws

By | Uncategorized | One Comment

Under Federal law, local and state governments are required to share information about immigrants’ legal status or citizenship with federal authorities. One of these requirements involves reporting any immigrant who has committed a municipal crime with a maximum year-long sentence. These include petty crimes or misdemeanors such as shoplifting trespassing, initial instances of domestic violence, and simple assault. In past administrations, these immigrants would have been reported by local municipalities, but deportations would have been rare. However, under President Trump, even legal residents have been labeled as “aggravated felons” and have been deported. Moreover, “sanctuary cities” who refuse to comply with this mandate have been threatened with the loss of federal funding.

The city of Denver has a found a legal loophole to avoid complying with federal immigrant reporting requirements, while avoiding the loss of funds from the federal government. In the past, all municipal crimes carried a maximum sentence of 365 days. Now, only the most serious offenses, such as continuous domestic violence and violence assaults, carry a maximum year-long sentence. Other lower crimes such as initial domestic violence, trespassing, and shoplifting would result in only a maximum of 300 days in jail. This change in sentencing laws allows Denver to still be eligible for federal tax dollars, yet removes Denver from the “business of immigration enforcement”
-By Timmy Yip, J.D.