Southwest Border Security Bill is not the answer

By | Commentary | 134 Comments

Houston-area immigration lawyer Annie Banerjee has serious concerns about the massive new H.R. 6080 bill recently signed into law.

President Obama’s connotation of the sprawling new Southwest Border Security Bill as a “strategic and integrated southwest border security strategy” may sound reassuring to some, but it might well be something of a misnomer, according to Houston area immigration lawyer Annie Banerjee.

With its estimated $600 million price tag, the signing into law of H.R. 6080 has been perceived as an enforcement-first step. “Hopefully colleagues on both sides of the aisle will now come together and we can pass comprehensive reform,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY).

But even this might be misleading. “I’m not certain if this legislation brings us any closer to what’s really needed – which is comprehensive immigration reform,” Banerjee said. “In some ways, this new law might push any meaningful decisions onto a back burner now that a lust for enforcement measures has been satiated for the time-being.”

In fact, any certainty that legislative attention may turn toward comprehensive reform may well have been considerably diminished. “The hyenas have been given their raw meat now,” Banerjee said. “Why would they suddenly change direction and chew on flesh which isn’t strictly enforcement-oriented? Without any impetus, why would comprehensive reform suddenly become our goal?”

Within the new law, and what Banerjee calls its “teeth without a mouth” approach to immigration issues, Banerjee also questions the hyperbolic designation of “emergency” to describe the urgency for the law’s funding, and also the new fee increases of $2,250 for L visas and $2,000 for H-1B employers – which, while not including all H-1B employers, will still be significant.

“Like AILA, I believe that immigration enforcement needs are legitimate, but should we keep insisting on ‘enforcement-only’ approaches while ignoring other issues?” Banerjee said, describing herself as a naysayer when it comes to enforcement to the exclusion of everything else.

A long-term solution to the immigration problem makes more sense. “Should we keep the undocumented population living in the shadows?” Banerjee asked. “Should we provide incentives for U.S. businesses to hire workers if they can help grow our economy? Shouldn’t due process and equal protection under the law be applicable to potential immigrants?”

The so-called Southwest Border Security Bill is a “politically-motivated, single-faceted, half-measure, not a real solution to our immigration woes,” Banerjee said.

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Prevailing Wage and H-1B

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments

The Department of Labor (DOL) just penalized a Company in Atlanta (Smartsoft International Inc) one million dollars for not paying 135 of its H-1B employees the prevailing wage. In this blog I am NOT defending Smartsoft. If they promised the DOL that they would pay a certain amount to their employees, they should do it. And many Indian run companies operate as they do in India, abusing employees. They forget that employees here have recourse that they would not in India.

However this blog is about fairness where prevailing wage is concerned on the part of the DOL. They just came out with a new prevailing wage system, where most wages are higher than the previous prevailing wage. We are in the midst of a recession, the rate of employment now is higher than it has been in at least a decade. Soon deflation is going to be the reality in the USA, but not in the world of the DOL’s Prevailing Wage. Thus if Smartsoft was paying its H-1B workers the same as their other US Citizen workers,(and I don’t know if they were or not) would that be a crime? After all isn’t Prevailing Wage the Wage that is “prevalent” at a particular place? And why would an employer pay more when there are 50 people who will do the same job for less?

I think the US has realized that they have a cash cow in employment based immigration. H-1B and L-1 fees for certain Companies (mainly Indian Computer based companies) were raised to pay for US border security. Companies don’t have compelling stories, and the democrats don’t like them. But these small companies will simply outsource the jobs to India. And can the US afford a retaliatory price increase if the Indian Government wishes to implement that to secure its borders as well?

For more information contact Houston Immigration Lawyer or Houston Immigration Attorney, Annie Banerjee

Chop Shops and Job Shops the four letter H-1B words

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments

The Senate passed a $600 million border security bill last Thursday, and tucked inside that bill was a provision that would raise the H-1B filing fees. For companies which employs more than 50% of its employees on H-1B, the filing fees for each application would be $4820/- (currently it is $2320/). The bill is now being debated in the House and if passed, will head to President for signature.

This would impact big Indian IT companies like Infosys, but not the US companies like Microsoft or Google. This is of course discriminatory. Borrowing a word that has been used by the Citizenship and Immigration Service (CIS) for Indian IT firms, Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) called Infosys a “chop Shop.” The CIS seems convinced that all Indian IT firms are filing “false petitions.” The Government of India has protested this. The US needs India in the war against Al Qaeda and to keep China in check. Can it afford a bad relationship with any of the BRIC nations?

The President and his party in their socialist type agenda want to “preserve” US jobs. Getting rid of the free market economy in this deep recession will only hurt the US economy more. Infosys and other companies are already paying $2320/- per H-1B beneficiary. $1500/- of that is supposed to educate the US public. I have yet to see an education program funded by that money. The Companies will simply cease to do business in the US. And yes, today the US market is the biggest. But Asia and the BRIC countries are coming up , and together with Europe and Canada, will have more clout than the US.

The history of Immigration Law is ripe with untold discrimination against “colored people”. It is time to end this discrimination. However I cannot forget that Nancy Polosi had once said that if she gave amnesty to the illegal immigrants, she would not make them pay. She would raise the fee on H-1B, because these “legal”employers had the money to pay, which the illegal immigrants did not. So my hopes for the House not passing this bill is slim indeed.

The new N word for Indian Companies have indeed become “job shop” or “chop shop” and this time its our Government who is using these words.

For more information contact Houston Immigration Lawyer or Houston Immigration Attorney, Annie Banerjee

Dr. Virk’s H-1B Case

By | News & Press | 181 Comments

Annie Banerjee, a Houston-area immigration lawyer, offers some of her insight about the legal dilemma facing a dentist named Mahadeep Virk.

The case arose under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). A man named Oshmi Dutta filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division contending that his employer Mahadeep Virk had violated the INA. After an investigation and a three-day hearing in January 2007, Wage and Hour’s administrator determined that Dutta’s complaint was indeed valid. To sum up the story quickly, Virk is a dentist and a partner in Avenue Dental Care clinic in Puyallup, Washington, with affiliated clinics which were added by the same appellative in neighboring Clackamas and Gresham, Oregon. Oshmi Dutta is also a dentist. In June 2002, Virk hired Dutta to work at the clinic in Washington, pursuant to the INA’s H-1B nonimmigrant worker program. At the time of the January 2007 hearing, Dutta worked at both Oregon locations.

To hire Dutta, Virk filed a Labor Condition Application (LCA) on May 7, 2002 to employ Dutta from June 1, 2002 to May 31, 2005 at $108,000 to $150,000 per year. Virk signed the LCA as “Owner Dentist President.” But by June 2003, while the LCA remained in effect, Virk and Dutta established as equal partners “Avenue Dental Care” clinics in Gresham and Clackamas, Oregon. Virk and Dutta agreed that Dutta would be responsible for day-to-day operations of these clinics. In July 2003, Dutta left Washington to work in Oregon. He drew money from the clinics to compensate himself; as of July 1, 2003, the Puyallup, Washington, clinic no longer paid Dutta his H-1B wages. Two years later, in June 2005, “Avenue Dental Care,” Puyallup, Washington, filed a second LCA to employ Dutta from June 12, 2005 to June 11, 2008, in Clackamas, Oregon, at $108,000 per year. Virk signed the LCA as “Owner Dentist President.”

In 2005, conflicts developed between Dutta and Virk. Dutta complained to Virk that Virk had not compensated him as they had agreed and that Virk had not addressed cash flow and management problems at the Oregon clinics. Dutta sought to sell Virk his fifty-percent interest in each Oregon clinic, or alternately to negotiate a new compensation agreement. Virk balked.

“I can see precisely where this is going,” said Houston-area immigration lawyer Annie Banerjee, “hard feelings were engendered. As H-1B wages are stipulated in the LCAs, and they stem from signed agreements, they must be paid.”

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Enforcement at Core of Arizona Immigration Lawsuit

By | Immigration Policy | 137 Comments

From one perspective, Arizona’s controversial new immigration law is not that different from the federal version. But the federal government says treating all 11 million of the nation’s illegal immigrants as criminals would overwhelm the system.

On its face, Arizona’s controversial new immigration law is very similar to the federal version. There’s a key discrepancy, however. Arizona wants every illegal immigrant caught and deported. Considering that an estimated 11 million immigrants may have already entered the U.S. illegally, this is likely to be too tall an order and according to the Feds, will overwhelm the system.

In its recent lawsuit challenging the Arizona law, the Justice Department says its policy is to focus on dangerous immigrants: gang members, drug traffickers, threats to national security. Otherwise law-abiding immigrants without documentation would largely be left alone.

Homeland Security officials say the government cannot possibly find, arrest and deport everyone who is here illegally, and trying to do so would also upset a balance crafted by Congress which takes into account humanitarian interests and foreign relations.

Proponents of the Arizona solution insist that’s no reason not to try and say the state’s toughest-in-the-nation law is a reasonable way to start.

“If it’s really the case that they don’t have enough resources to enforce the laws that Congress has passed, it would seem it’s incumbent on them to go back to Congress and ask for more resources,” said Steven Camarota, research director at the center for Immigration Studies, a group that favors stricter enforcement of immigration laws. “But since they don’t do that, it sort of undermines the argument.”

Arizona’s new law is nearly identical to federal immigration law. At issue is how it is enforced. The federal government says the state law is unconstitutional because it usurps federal authority to protect U.S. borders and American citizens. Arizona counters that the federal government is not doing its job, which forces state officials to step in.

State lawmakers argue that the federal government already enlists local authorities to identify illegal immigrants who have been arrested for other crimes. The new law, they say, just extends that to police patrols.

The federal government says the law goes too far by making it a state crime to be in Arizona illegally and requiring police to question the immigration status of anyone they encounter who is believed to be undocumented.

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

Leaked CIS Memo

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments

On Sunday, July 29, a memo written by 4 chief personnel (including Mr. Neufeld of the now infamous January 8 H-1B memo) wrote a proposal to Director Mayorkas about strategies that the CIS can provide to individuals, to ” promote family unity, foster economic growth ……. and reduce the threat of removal of certain individuals.” Of course the Republicans immediately decried the memo as providing “backdoor amnesty.” However, as the Republicans fail to realize, these are remedies that will make America economically stronger, and promises no one the Permanent Residency.

Amongst the business immigration proposals, is extending the 10 day grace period usually given at the end of a visa before a foreign national has to return to her home country to 45-90 days. In this economy many H-1Bs have lost their jobs. They have homes, their children have schools, etc. Clearly 10 days is not enough to pack up and leave a place that someone called home for years.

The agency might also grant work permits to H-4 non immigrant spouses of H-1B workers. H-1Bs are given to Specialized Professionals. The visa is initially given for 3 yrs and a total of 6 yrs. The spouses cannot work. Human nature demands that people be productive. I have seen marriages break up because spouses cannot work. Letting someone stay in the country for 6 years and beyond, and not granting them the right to work is a violation of a fundamental right.

The third proposal is to grant “dual intent” ie intent to have Permanent Residency to F (students) O (Outstanding category) TN (Nafta treaty visas), P (athletes and Performers) and E (Treaty trader) visa holders. This dual intent is available for H and L visa holders, but not for the above mentioned professionals. However it is in the US National interest to grant Permanent Residency to retain these professionals.

All of these above proposals are for legal non immigrants doing jobs which the majority of Republican and Tea Party supporters cannot do; jobs that require education, training and a brain. However, since this memo was leaked to the media, and there is tremendous Republican backlash, I doubt that any of these proposals will come to fruition.

For more information contact Houston Immigration Lawyer or Houston Immigration Attorney, Annie Banerjee