Buying the American Dream—The EB-5 visa

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EB-5 Job creation and money in US

 

I know Trump makes for a great opening line in any blog, so I will start with Trump.  Trump criticized Mr. Khan, the Gold Star parent by saying that Khan, a lawyer took money from Muslims so that they could buy their citizenship.  What he was referring to is the EB-5 investor visa program which is controversial.  But before I go into any details, let me say that Trump used EB-5 foreign money to build his luxury rental apartments in New Jersey called Trump Bay Towers.

 

The EB-5 is a program where investors can invest 1 million USD (or $500,000 in underdeveloped areas) and create at least 10 jobs.

The funds have to be obtained “lawfully” and USCIS traces the source of the funds meticulously.  If for instance, one inherits a property and sells it to obtain funds, the Citizenship and Immigration Service will demand that one traces the source of funds used by the buyer to buy the property.  This requirement is very strict

The investors have to put the funds “at risk”.  That means that the investor has to invest the money into a for profit, new venture. Very often, people invest in “regional Centers”—- businesses which pool a lot of these investment and build a new project.  However they create very little interest, and the money is tied up for about 10 years.  The interest is not enough to be able to live in the US

 

Over the years investors in this program have invested billions of dollars and have created thousands of jobs.  So why is this program criticized?  .  The problem with this program is not what Mr. Trump thinks, Muslims bringing in illegal money.

 

The problem is China.  90% of the individuals and capital come from China.  At first it would seem that China sells so much goods to us, that it is wonderful for them to invest capital in the US.  But PRC is not a free country, and that’s the problem.  Ordinarily PRC does not allow money to be brought outside the country. However, it turns a blind eye to the EB-5 program.  The investors do not directly find investment opportunities in the USA. China has state run brokers who liaise with owners of Regional Centers in the US. So these state run brokerage have access to how real estate is done in the US. They also have access to computer files.  They also can invest and control flow of capital in strategic areas.  Some have criticized that China is using economic, information and technological “warfare” with us through this EB-5 program.

The program expires on September 30th, 2016. But my guess is that this Congress will simply extend the program for one year, and let this be the problem of the new administration.

 

For more information, contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, Annie Banerjee

Undocumented Immigration Into Texas At Lowest Levels In 20 Years

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The number of undocumented immigrants entering Texas has reached its lowest pint in two decades.

Immigration advocates believe that the unprecedented drop in the number of undocumented immigrants entering Texas may have a lot to do with the struggling U.S. economy, as well as increased border security. According to a demographic study released by the Center for Migration Studies and just published in the journal International Migration Review, 2000 was the biggest year for immigration in the state; more than 180,000 immigrants illegally entered Texas in that year.

As of 2010, the number of undocumented immigrants dropped to barely 55,000, a number so low, it had last been seen in the 1980s. The study tracked similar trends nationally, is one more factor for politicians unable to decide on the best approach for immigration reform. Fewer people are entering the state and more people are leaving, researchers found. The state of Texas is currently in a position of net zero growth, which may be seen as a positive atmosphere for pro-immigration reform advocates.

The study is similar to others which looked at population flux for undocumented immigrants for the past few years. But this study is one the first that offers concrete data on the choices made by the more than 1.6 million illegal residents that have left the U.S. since 2007. The census showed researchers that some 50 percent of those who left stated that they did so intentionally (i.e., not deported), while 27 percent were removed by immigration authorities. Others either were able to obtain legal residency or passed away.

Texas has an estimated 1.6 million undocumented residents curtly residing in the state, second in population only to California. And even as the U.S. economy continues to rebound, researchers have found that immigrants are still returning to their own countries or searching out new places outside the U.S. in record numbers. What will these new numbers do to affect the immigration reform debate? Advocates hope that they can make the argument that present budget estimates should cover current border security. Contrary to some arguments, say advocates, the net zero population statistics indicate that the border has never been more secure. But critics contend that as the U.S. economy continues to improve, immigrants will once again find coming to the county attractive, whether by legal or illegal means.

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.

National Immigration Reform Summit Held in California

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A national immigration reform summit was held on March 16 at UC Riverside in Southern California.

The summit was organized by UCR AIR, a student-led Alliance for Immigration Reform, and helmed by a UCR professor of ethnic studies, Armando Navarro. the immigration summit is deigned to allow hundreds of human rights advocates work together; the invited include legislators, human rights representatives, immigrant groups and immigration policy scholars to come together to discuss on depth the issues surrounding immigration reform in the U.S.

According to Navarro, the U.S. is at a critical juncture when it comes to immigration reform not unlike the way the country struggled with immigration issues leading up to the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. That Act legalized millions of undocumented people who were residing in the U.S.

The National Leadership Summit for Immigration Reform invited attendees to learn about current proposals on immigration policy as put forth by Congress and the White House. They were asked to discuss the recent proposals and then attempt to reach a widespread consensus on what legislation should be enacted to move immigration reform forward. They were also asked to hammer out the best approach for that legislation, and make compelling arguments for the approach.

Speakers scheduled included legislative representatives from across California, as well as California former state senators, the ACLU staff attorney, representatives from the Texas Immigration Law Enforcement Monitory Project, attorneys for the Coalición de Derechos Humanos, based in Arizona, the Committee on Chicano Rights, California, and a representative from Justice for Immigrants Coalition-Inland Empire.

The summit was the brain child of students enrolled in one of Navarro’s courses, “Chicano Contemporary Issues.” The students decided to launch the summit as a “practicum in political change,” and is the only event of its kind in the U.S., inviting a wide range or immigration reform leaders to debate and discuss the issue in an open forum.
The UC Riverside campus is situated in Riverside, California, and is known for the diverse student population.

Immigration Reform and Texas: Why The Republicans Are Shifting Focus

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Why are more conservatives supporting immigration reform?

Many conservatives, writes author Steve Deace in Breitbart.com, wonder why potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates Rand Paul and Marco Rubio are supporting comprehensive immigration reform, better known as an “amnesty program” among most conservatives.

Deace says it’s all about Texas. If immigration reform by the Republicans does include the amnesty approach, that will allow some 40 percent of the national Hispanic vote to go to the Republican Party in future elections. But, if true, that would also tip some 1.5 million new Hispanic voters to the democrats, if the numbers trend continues. So, says, Deace, there is not much for the Republicans to gain by allowing immigration reform, unless the focus is on the state of Texas, which would be where the biggest Republican boost would originate.

President Obama won Florida, Ohio, and Virginia in the 2012 election, but his average margin was less than two points; indicating that those states may be a toss up for the next election. It is up to Republicans to work to regain those states in these next few years; if they lose Texas, all national elections will be lost to them as well. Texas, argues Deace, is the cornerstone of the next presidential election and imperative to the GOP.

Is it true? Might Texas “turn blue?” A survey taken in January by Public Policy Polling found that a number of Texans said they would vote for Hilary Clinton if she were on the presidential ballot in 2016. Clinton (D) would defeat Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) by 50 percent; she would beat  New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) by as much as 45 percent, and she would beat Florida’s US Sen. Marco Rubio (R) by as much as 46 percent –  at least according to the survey results.

Demographics in Texas are shifting. According to the Hoover Institution, 65 percent of the state’s population boom since 2000 is Hispanic. Between 2000 and 2010, Texas added more than one million children to the census; 95 percent of them Hispanic. Hispanic children are the majority ethnicity of the almost 5 million children in public schools in Texas, as well as in pre-kindergarten and child care centers. Those children will likely grow up to be voters in Texas, and the Republicans need them. If Republicans cannot hold onto Texas, they would likely need to win 70 percent of the Electoral College votes in order to win the next presidency.

Only time will tell what new players may or may not be seen on Texas’s political stage, and what that means for the U.S.

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

New Proposed Legislation In Texas Keeps Immigration Reform At the Forefront

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Immigration continues to be a polarizing topic for Texas.

The U.S. has close to 11 million undocumented residents as of January 2010, says the Department of Homeland Security. Texas is second in the country when it comes to the percentage of   undocumented immigrants: 1.77 million. California, with 2.57 million, has the highest rate in the U.S. But of those 1.77 million undocumented people, how many of them are going to school, or holding down a job, supporting family and loved ones, and working hard in numerous other ways to contribute to their state and local economy and community?

The bipartisan “Gang of Eight,” a group of senators in Washington, D.C., put together their proposed principles for immigration reform. The Gang, made up of Democrats and Republicans, suggests putting at the front of the immigration line people who have already applied to enter the country. They also recommend that employers work within a citizen verification program to weed out the hiring of unauthorized workers, and that the feds makes a concerted effort to speed up citizenship efforts for workers in U.S. industries where they would be sorely missed, such as agriculture.

President Obama has mapped out his planned approach to immigration reform, which includes streamlining the entire process, increasing border security, putting into place stricter penalties for employers who hire undocumented workers, pushing immigrants to learn English as a second (or third) language, and allowing the waitlisted to come in first. Texas lawmakers, meanwhile, have largely been silent, though bills that could be viewed as anti-immigration have been drafted: Rep. J.M. Lozano, R-Kingsville, supports a bill that would make it illegal to” transport an undocumented person.” State Rep. Patricia Harless, R-Spring, meanwhile, supports a bill  that would trigger a labor law violation report from the Texas Workforce Commission in the event someone employed an “unlawful resident alien.”

According to a 2012 University of Texas opinion poll, more than 75 percent of the people surveyed stated that they were in favor of stricter limits on immigrants coming to live in the U.S. Of those polled, roughly 62 percent stated that they felt Texas state and local police should have the option of routinely checking people’s immigration status during stops or in the course of other routine police work. Immigration reform advocates have stated that these polls show that Texas is in serious need of immediate immigration reform.

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

ICE Changes Detention Policy

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The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency has announced that it is cancelling a program which would allow some specifically trained state-level law enforcement officers to enforce federal immigration law. On December 21, ICE released a statement that it would not to renew its standing agreements with local and state law enforcement agencies that oversee task forces under its 287(g) program. ICE stated that there are other enforcement programs, such as “Secure Communities,” as a more efficient use of resources, with a focus on priority cases.

In 2009, the Obama administration instructed state and local law officials to view illegal immigrants as a lower priority, establishing tiers of concern and prioritization for detention and arrest, which effectively weakened the 287(g) program. Priority for detention and arrest include illegal immigrants who are deemed a national security threat, who have broken criminal laws, who have repeatedly violated immigration law, or who are considered immigration court fugitives. ICE has recently also issued a policy which restricts detainment of suspected illegal immigrants arrested and/or convicted of petty offenses, including minor traffic violations. ICE uses a system of detainers to identify and start deportation proceedings on illegal immigrants currently convicted and serving time in jails and prisons.

As envisioned, federal officials as part of Secure Communities determine when and if to enforce immigration actions. Since 1996, ICE has overseen 21 states with more than 1,300 officers trained in 57 active 287(g) partnerships.

According to ICE statistics, it deported almost 410,000 people during the 2012 fiscal year. More than 95 percent of those deported were in high-priority categories, states ICE.
More than 50 percent of those individuals were convicted of misdemeanors or felonies. Of those criminally convicted individuals who were deported, more than 95,000 were tagged as repeat immigration violators or fugitives, while almost 70,000 had just recently crossed the border illegally. More than 1,000 of them were convicted of homicide and more than 5,00 had sexual assault convictions.

Under the new ICE guidelines, priority detention includes an individual who has a prior felony conviction or has been charged with a felony, has three or more prior misdemeanor convictions (if in tandem with another detention issue), or has a misdemeanor due to assault, drug dealing, violence, sexual abuse, driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident, unlawful possession or use of a firearm, immigration fraud, or is considered a significant risk to national security or border security or to public safety.

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.

Texas Lawmakers Take Some of the Focus Off Immigration Policies

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Texas lawmakers, preparing for the 2013 session, have been oddly silent on the topic of undocumented immigrants. Compare this to 2010, when Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Tomball, parked herself on the Capitol steps, so eager was she to be the first person to propose lack of legal identification as a state crime for immigrants.

While many politicians made it their priority to push for stricter immigration laws prior to the 2012 Presidential election this last November, the end of 2012 was mostly silent. Perhaps it is because the focus was overwhelmingly on passing the Texas state budget, but Gov. Rick Perry’s “emergency” ban on sanctuary cities simply withered on the vine during a recent late-night committee hearing.

Rep. Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio, has stated that he is attempting to introduce a dialog about immigration in Texas by supporting a bill which would repeal in-state college tuition to undocumented students, and would require schools and hospitals to note the immigration status of individuals receiving their services. Larson has stated that he would like a reckoning of how much support is given by local service providers to undocumented immigrants. He even asked then-Mexican President Felipe Calderón for compensation for the state of Texas for the money the state had spent on services for Mexican immigrants who were in the state illegally. Calderón did not respond. Larson, says the chairman of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus and San Antonio Democratic Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, is advocating for extreme policies when it comes to immigration.

Meanwhile, Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington, is proposing a law which would prevent day labors centers from receiving funds from local government agencies. But as noted by Steve Munisteri, chairman of the Texas Republican Party, illegal immigration is currently at a low and immigration reform has subsequently moved to the back burner. Topics such as guest-worker programs, “sanctuary cities,” and other hot-button topics simply have given way to more pressing issued, such as the federal budget crisis and state budget concerns.

The assumption after the 2012 Presidential election is that the harsh anti-immigration stance held by Republicans helped alienate voters and propel Obama to a second term, and may well adversely affect the current Republican majority in Texas.

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.

Immigration is Key to the Healthy Growth of the U.S. Economy

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As Chris Farrell so eloquently states in a recent column in Businessweek.com, more immigration is key to the healthy growth of the U.S. economy. As soon as the fiscal cliff issue is dealt with, President Obama must turn his attention to overhauling the clogged, dysfunctional, faulty immigration system. Obama has stated that immigration reform is a major focus of his second term, and the 2012 election results may have finally convinced many Republican lawmakers that their hard-line stance on undocumented immigrants needs to be revisited.

Farrell outlines some suggestions for Washington, including the development of a fast-track system to process into citizenship the more than 11 million undocumented U.S. workers, excluding the individuals convicted of violent crimes and/or multiple felonies. For the undocumented in the U.S. who are working, attending school, and are enmeshed in their community, allowing them to gain citizenship status acknowledges that they have worked like previous generations of immigrants before them to be part of the American dream.

The fast-tracking would also be healthy as public policy, Farrell argues. Legal workers can change jobs and move up the economic ladder, which lets them invest in their careers, buy homes, feel comfortable moving out of the shadows and into more visible roles in their communities, and start their own businesses. Entrepreneurship, home ownership, and community action are all ways to help a local economy grow and thrive.

But, as Farrell points out, a fast-tracking to citizenship will likely not be rubberstamped by politicians. The very concept of amnesty for hard-working, undocumented workers has continued to be a hot button topic. And yet the boon from foreign-born entrepreneurs is a large part of U.S. economic success. While foreign-born workers currently make up just over 13 percent of the U.S. population, a solid one-third of patents filed in the U.S. originate from that small group.

The economy also reaps the benefits of lower-wage workers. Immigrant workers move into failing neighborhoods and revive the microeconomies there with small, family-owned businesses. The work of immigrant workers currently fuel the nation’s agriculture, hand-work, cottage and meat-packing industries. In contrast to the fear that immigrant workers “take jobs,” the reverse is often true: studies show that middle-class families enjoy the benefits of affordable immigrant labor for child care, landscaping and house care and other services. Newly immigrant workers, on average, are not as fluent in English as native-born citizens, nor do they have the same level of education, and thus there is seldom a competition for same-level jobs.

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.

Colorado Pushes For Inclusive Immigration Reform with The Colorado Compact

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The Colorado Compact may help bridge the gap between the Republican Party and Hispanic voters. Sen. Michael Bennet (Dem), former Sen. Hank Brown (Rep), along with multiple community and business leaders, announced at the University of Denver that they had finalized the Compact. The group worked together for some 18 months to find a common immigration policy that would work; the Compact has the signatures of more than 100 backers, and outlines six points they present as a bipartisan, collaborate approach.

In part, the Compact states that law enforcement needs to be focused on more serious crime issues, that immigration policies should be drafted to keep immigrant families together, that businesses need an easy, reliable, accurate, affordable system with which to ensure their employees are of good standing, and that any policies need to include a way for legally-abiding immigrants to become citizens, if so desired. Solid, inclusive, sensible immigration policy should be part of a larger system of economic growth, health care and social change.

The bipartisan group stated that though they did not agree on all the details of policy reform during their more than 200 meetings around the state over a period of eighteen months, they did agree that the current atmosphere and policies in place were not working, and they pushed for more civil discourse. It is hoped the Colorado Compact will be a stepping stone to true, lasting reform as a more “common sense” approach to the emotionally-charged issue. Recent polling indicated that an overwhelming number of Hispanic voters opposed the GOP’s immigration stance.

The Colorado Compact urges Coloradans to come together to discuss how to manage the much-needed immigration reform on a national level. Signers include politicians, small business owners, ranchers, farmers, faith leaders, law enforcement agencies, and immigration advocates – all of whom have stated a wish to help change immigration policies in the U.S. The Colorado Compact was crafted as a way, drafters hope, to help push federal reform by stating guiding principles as well as by setting an example in Washington for civil discourse.

The six-point compact is in line with similar “guiding-principle documents” that were drafted in Utah, Indiana and Idaho, but Colorado’s includes some specific changes in the suggestions, including a flexible visa system.

Though the Colorado Compact is not a legally binding document, drafters hope that it will send a message.

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.

Many Hoping Election Means Movement For High-Skill Immigration

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Numerous U.S.-based companies are publically stating that they hope the Obama administration will turn its focus to immigration reform. Large companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Intel and Microsoft have openly called for the H-1B visa program, pushing highly-skilled foreign-born workers, and for a lessening of the restrictions on the intra-company transfers of foreign-based employees to U.S.-based offices, known as L-1 visas. The company Microsoft has begun advocating for new $10,000 H-1B visas.

Immigration reform for both illegal residents and high-skilled workers is at the forefront of the immigration issues both Congress and the Obama administration will have to hammer out, along with the looming budget deficit. But many lawmakers are unsure how to approach immigration reform, when illegal immigration remains a hot-button issue. Though it is possible Congress will work toward resolving high-skill immigration issues, it has long been a high-visibility issue in Washington, with little change. The last large push for comprehensive immigration reform was during President George W. Bush’s reign in 2007. President George W. Bush together with Senator Ted Kennedy teamed to map out a bill to work on how to manage the country’s undocumented residents, tighten border security issues and open up the high-tech foreign workforce, but buzzwords like “chain migration” and “pathways to citizenship” hit a bipartisan wall, and nothing meaningful was done.

Issues facing comprehensive immigration reform include how to work out the details of the DREAM Act, how to decide which highly-skilled tech workers should be placed, and how to weigh both family-based and employment-based immigration. There is some hope: some Republicans and Democrats are teaming together to draft a new employment-based visas plan for foreign college graduates with STEM (Science, Technology, Education and Math) degrees. Last month, the House of Representatives voted on a bill which failed mostly for internal reasons, but may soon be back for reconsideration. The push for an influx of a creative, innovate workforce to help develop intellectual property to boost the U.S. economy and invigorate the tech sector has never been more important. For companies large and small, the addition of more highly-skilled workers are needed to meet the constant demands of the tech industry.

Peter Muller, Director of Government Relations and Immigration Policy at Intel Corporation, recently stated that Intel advocates for legislation which will provides additional STEM visas for their new employees and U.S.-based foreign employees. Those foreign-born employees typically must wait years and sometimes decades to get permanent work status, and they have proven to generate, on average, three new U.S. jobs with their skills.

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.