Business Immigration in 2017

By | Business Immigration, Citizenship and Naturalization, H1-B, Houston Immigration, I-94, Immigration, Immigration Policy, Immigration Reform, Uncategorized | No Comments

In 2016, before the elections, my staff and I had a discussion as to what Immigration will look like in 2017, when Hillary wins. One of them asked, “what if Trump wins”. I brushed her off, saying, “oh, then we all will be annihilated, we will think survival, not immigration.” Of course, that was a joke, but here we are after a year with Trump in the White House.

I will confine myself to changes in Business Immigration during this year. In November of 2016, the US published its “final rule” on Employment based Immigration, an Obama era legacy, making life better for most business non immigrants. With a stated purpose of helping US Employers retain highly skilled individuals, the rule clarified porting, grace periods and other issues in non immigrant and immigrant business visas. So the year actually started with this gift from President Obama.

Of course that euphoria was short lived. Around March of every year, businesses get ready to file the new H-1Bs. Each year the quota for new H-1B is 65,000 +20,000 for US educated personnel. Since more than 200,000 people apply, there is a lottery held. One can file 6 months before the Government year, which starts at October 1. Therefore most petitions are mailed on March31, to reach Citizenship and Immigration (CIS) office on April 01.

On March 31, USCIS issued a “guidance memo” where they said that they do not believe that a level I wages for Computer Professionals does not qualify the employees as “professional employees.” While I do understand the Government’s concern about Computer Consulting Companies (See below), this memo is wrong for so many reasons.
1. Wage levels are set by Department of Labor, (not CIS). This memo is thus ultra vires.
2. To selectively have this for one particular industry violates the rule of law.
3. This memo is not backed up by either law or by a notice and comment period, and thus violates 14th Amendment
But then, the Constitution is not a necessary text for Trump supporters. Subsequently many if not most of those consulting company jobs, which were picked in the lottery, was denied. All those quota numbers were wasted.

Now lets look at the way big business gets its computer business needs. Lets say Macy’s wants to build a new website that would allow customers to browse on what is available in their local store and have something held for them before customers went out to shop. Macy’s will need to build a program. That is a temporary job. The Macy’s Corporation does not want to put in the time and effort to secure these temp jobs. So Macy’s will have a contract with a vendor to provide their computer needs. Sometimes these vendors are intermediary vendors, and they have contracts with sub vendors to get the computer professionals.

Now like many businesses (think Greek diners or Chinese laundromats), the business of supplying Computer Professionals were held by Indian. Not even the whole of India, it was utilized mostly by one state-Andhra Pradesh. Many Colleges there had poor standards. Many systems analysts did not know how to do the job and learned “on the job”. Companies like Macy’s are too big to monitor this. Besides many computer consulting companies were engaged in unethical business practices.

The Computer Consulting owners say that American grads don’t want to do these jobs. The lifestyle is hard—-they need to move from one location to the other with the projects. Usually they have a home base, and work long hours from Monday to Thursday. They fly home on Thursday and leave Sun day night.
Whatever the reason is I think the Government has a legitimate interest to cut back on the fraud. The Obama administration tried to deny H-1Bs with the Control issue, saying that those employees work at end client’s places (Macy’s) and are therefore not employees of the H-1B employer. However that has not had much success, since its inception in 2010.

I do think the current administration is in the correct path by insisting that Computer Consulting H-1B jobs are to be paid more. At least that will ensure that the US gets properly trained individuals. However the means which the current Government took to undertake this was underhanded and violated the Rule of Law.

 

For more information contact Banerjee & Associates

Employment Based I-485 Interviews

By | Employer/Employee, Immigration, Immigration Policy, Uncategorized | No Comments

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

Privacy and Record Keeping by the Government

By | Business Immigration, Citizenship and Naturalization, Immigration, Immigration Policy, Privacy, Uncategorized | No Comments

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

Hey You

By | DACA, Immigration, Immigration Policy, Uncategorized | No Comments

I came to America from India. One day, in an undergraduate English class in the top liberal arts college in India, the female Rhodes Scholarship winning teacher said, “for our men we are happy when they get a good job, but for our females, we are happier when they get married.” And that summed up my life in India. I would always be someone’s daughter, someone’s wife, someone’s mother. And so, like you, I came to America—–like you, whose forefathers came for a better life, like you whose parents came illegally, crossing the border so that they could give you a better life. I know you were too young to tell your parents to stop doing any illegal act. I know you were a child.
You went to school, here in America. You made friends and you played football with them. Your parents worked as maid and gardener. You were not rich, you wore second hand clothes. But there was always food on the table. Your parents did not tell you to study. They themselves can barely read. In high school, your parents did not buy you a car like the other kids. But you made it anyways. You graduated high school, you did not get into trouble.
Then you got into graphic design. When DACA came along, you got a job. You got a driver’s license. I remember the look in your face. Gone was a depressed little boy who did much of nothing. You had new enthusiasm. You got a job. In fact 2 jobs. You wanted to save up. You wanted a house, a wife like everyone else. You worked out, ate healthy and lost weight. You started looking good. There was a sense of purpose about you. You are today, what America made you.
And you paid your taxes. Paid for your Driver’s License, your car insurance, your health insurance. You gave back to America everything you could, because you love the only country you’ve lived in, the country that gave you everything.
And then you hear that you may be thrown out. As someone educated in USA, you will find a job in Mexico. But you don’t know anyone there. You don’t celebrate the same things, you don’t eat the same food. If we send you away, you will benefit the country that did nothing for you.

Banerjee & Associates

DACA Rescind

By | CIS, Citizenship and Naturalization, DACA, DAPA, Immigration, Immigration Policy, Immigration Reform, Travel, Uncategorized | No Comments

FACTS:
1. If your Work Permit expires March 5, 2018, you can file DACA extension for 2 more years—–but the application has to be received by Citizenship and Immigration Services before October 5, 2017
2. If your application is pending, the Citizenship and Immigration Services will continue to process them. Do your fingerprinting and answer all Request for Evidences
3. Anyone else cannot apply. It is advisable not to travel, even if you have a valid advance parole

Trump has asked the Congress to come up with an Immigration plan within 6 months

MORAL OBLIGATION:
The Republicans are not going to hear “emotional stories” of family unity. The only explanation is a logical one: We educated the children brought in without intention of coming illegally. They can work and pay taxes. They have already proven to be productive. Besides, they have no ties to their home country.
POLITICAL AGRUMENT:

I think both Democrats and Republicans would be open to extending DACA —-although the Obama era name might go. But if Democrats push for Citizenship, ie votes, then the outcome might get harsher. Republicans control the Legislative, Executive and Judiciary, and Democrats need to be prudent

 

For more information visit Banerjee & Associates

Joe Arpaio—the legacy of hate

By | Immigration, Immigration Policy, Immigration Reform, Uncategorized | No Comments

Once upon a time, not so long ago, in a place not so far away, there was a land ruled by Joe Arpaio. Maricopa County, Arizona in the 1990s and 2000s. If you were brown, you would be caught for anything and everything. If you were lucky to be put in brick and mortar jails, you would be given stale bread and milk, and moved constantly and not be given time to sleep. Coffee and TV were banned in those jails. But if they are going to lock you up for a long time for say drinking and driving, the jails will be overfilled. Then you would be put in one of Araipo’s tents. No matter the weather in the Arizona desert, you would be placed in a tent with just a pink underwear beneath your prison garb. Cruel? Racist? Yes, it was unequal justice. But Joe Araipo thought he was above the law.
In the Mid 90s Joe Arpaio gained enormous popularity in the State. He also increased the cruelty standard. He was sued by the Justice Department for wrongful death in 97, and settled with the family for 8.25 million.
The cruelty continued to rise. Araipo installed webcams in jails, including those of female inmates using the bathroom. Of course those web cams generated millions of views and strengthened Joe’s support in Arizona. Luckily however in 2004, a court ruled that those webcams violated the rights of pre trial detainees who have not yet been convicted.
In 2007, Arpaio turned his hatred full force towards Mexicans, jailing anyone who was brown. A Mexican man, on a valid visa was detained and sued Arpaio. The ACLU went on to have a class action lawsuit against Arpaio for racially profiling Mexican people.
In 2012, the Justice Department also sues Arpaio and so does the ACLU. Arpaio then launches an “investigation” that Obama’s birth certificate is not legitimate. He also of course supports Trump in 2016.
Also in 2016, he loses his reelection to the former police Chief in Maricopa County. Following a pattern that is uniquely Trump’s Arpaio does not produce documents —the first one to not do so in 50 years. He gets convicted, but Trump, his guru pardons him.
Had he served his jail sentence even for 6 months, the sense of justice that the community wanted would be served. But Trump has no desire to unite this country, he is interested in being loyal to his criminal friends. And so the sense of injustice remains, and this is how, Joe Arpaio will be remembered.

 

For more information 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

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

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

Sanctuary Cities in Texas

By | Immigration, Immigration Policy, Sanctuary Cities, Uncategorized | No Comments

Texas Governor Gregg Abbot signed the SB-4 into law via Facebook live on May 7th 2017, and it’s said to take effect on September 01, 2017. The law takes away “sanctuary cities” by allowing Police Officers to ask people’s immigration status if they are lawfully detained. In its present form, police officials who do not believe in immigration will have ample reason to detain people of brown skin color and harass them. It will also prevent undocumented people to seek police help, thereby increasing crime. This law is being challenged in court.
Although the bill does say that it will be at the police officer’s discretion, it has the potential of discrimination and harassment of people based solely on their skin color. This will be especially true in the rural areas where the KKK still has cells.
The problem is that entering illegally is not a “crime”, but rather a civil violation. Thus allowing the Police question that status serves merely to make a segment of the population to go underground. We have all seen them, folks who drive rickety cars, slowly, seldom making eye contacts. Yet they clean our houses, mow our lawns, and construct our homes and offices. They provide valuable service. If Americans would do these jobs, we would not need them. And if undocumented people don’t have jobs, they would go back. But American citizens simply won’t do these jobs. As a society we reap the benefits and comfort that these people provide us, while hiding them in shadows and denying them access to safe living. And it will only serve to make Texas less safe.
The ACLU has already issued a travel ban to Texas. Texas had spent much of last eight years opposing anything the federal government proposed. Now it is all eager to help the federal government. And so:
The people at night
Are frightened and hide
Deep in the heart pf Texas

For all your Immigration needs contact Banerjee & Associates