FBI Name Check Delays to End

By | News & Press | One Comment

According to an article published in Immigration Daily (HTTP://WWW.ILW.COM/IMMIGDAILY/DIGEST/2007,1130.SHTM) FBI name check delays will be ending soon.

When immigrants apply for benefits like Citizenship and Permanent Residency, their names are sent by CIS to the FBI. The FBI then feeds the names through a computer which has a list of all criminals. If the name does not match anything, it clears instantly. However if the name gets a hit, (ie, it has a combination of names similar to the one in their database) then the name gets stuck. An officer would have to physically go in, check and make sure that the beneficiary is not the same one that is on their database, listed as a criminal. Although most names are cleared; due to the sheer number of names and the scarcity of officers, the process takes years.

Until the names clear, the beneficiary cannot get the green card or the citizenship. In the best case scenario, the beneficiary (who in most cases are innocent) has to renew their work and travel permit every year, a costly process, which takes time and money. In the worst case scenario, if the beneficiary has illegal time, she cannot leave the country and is stuck here for years.

What is more dangerous however is that if there really was a criminal whose name got a hit, we would not know that for years, during which time they could plot and execute any number of crimes.

Moreover some individuals would sue, and the courts would force the FBI to work on those individuals’ cases. But lawsuits are costly, and those who could not sue, would be pushed further down the waiting list since the FBI had to follow the court order and adjudicate those who sued first.

What is frustrating is that the FBI (probably since the J Edgar Hoover time) is one Government institution which does not answer to the public. Their rotten image does not seem to hamper them a bit.

Hopefully this frightful scenario will end and FBI name checks be done fast.

Diwali Greetings

By | Commentary | 133 Comments

Today is the Hindu festival of Diwali, and I heartily wish everyone a very happy Diwali. In India we celebrated it with light and fireworks. When I first immigrated here in the 80s, few people had heard of Diwali. The day came and went, without so much as a faint sound of firecracker echoing from distant India. So much has changed in these years. During my kids high school years their non religious private school started celebrating the festival. The City of Sugar Land, TX started hosting a Diwali celebration in their City Hall, much the same way as a Christmas tree lighting ceremony. I find Diwali cards at my local Walgreens.

The reason for this prominence is that the number of Indian American have grown in the past few years, due to the fact that India has some of the most qualified software engineers, and the whole world needs them. Our numbers rose from 1700 in 1900 to 1.1 million in 1997. (This number is still 1/300 of our population). So the obvious question is what have we, Indian Americans given back to America?

We represent over 40% in Silicon Valley, and generate more than $200 billion worth of business in the US. In 1997 31,000 of our children (USCs of Indian origin) were enrolled in colleges. The total number of Asians in the ivy leagues (I could not find statistics for Indian students) was 7.1% and probably none of them got admission through legacy or affirmative action. And anyone who is in medicine knows that quite a few of their classmates are Indian Americans. “Paging Dr. Gupta” is a common saying in US hospitals.

Yet numbers only tell half the story. What we Indian immigrants brought with us is our values. My own two children are in the ivys. While the majority of American school children roamed the malls on week ends, my children studied. While the others played video games, mine played chess or piano. However even though they are in ivys, I cannot ask them to become lawyers, when the American Bar Association acknowledges that there are very few minority partners in big law firms. How can my children witness their lower qualified white male colleagues been given the choice spots, in a society that still judges them “by the color of their skin,” and not “by the content of their character?”

And yet we, Indian Americans forge ahead. We ask not what America can do for us, but we do what we can to improve the American economy in terms of wealth and brain power. And if you’ve been reading this blog until now, thinking that immigrants come and mess up our country, we only ask that you think again.

US Green Card for Investors

By | Visa | 6 Comments

With the value of US Currency down, a lot of foreign investors are finding it cheap to invest $500,000/- in the US. That will lead to a Permanent Residency card under EB-5 Program. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services has made the process easier, because they want immigrant investors. Thus for people who want to invest in the US and has at least $500,000/-, this might be the best option.

However, if the investor has a profitable business in their home country, and want to open a branch office in the US, the L-1A visa is easier to obtain. You need much less amount, even as little as $20,000/- or $10,000/- As long as there is a profit in both countries, and the Company employs US personnel, it is easier to get the Permanent Residency through this route than through the EB-5 programs.