Houston Immigration Attorney Explains How to Choose a Good Immigration Lawyer

By | News & Press | 248 Comments

It can be daunting and frustrating to undergo the immigration process. Most people will find themselves overwhelmed when they start to sit down and mull over all the immigration forms. Most straightforward cases can be lucky enough to go through the immigration process without too many snags along the way. However, reasons for hiring a good immigration lawyer to guide you through the process are many.

To start off, complicated and complex cases should seek the advice of a good immigration lawyer, as the one who does not have the time to dedicate or lacks confidence in preparing the forms themselves. But selecting a good immigration attorney requires homework. There are many scams out there that claim that they can do so much for your case, take money and fees, but come out with no results.

“Firstly, it is important to get references by asking family, friends or co-workers. What happens is that people generally are apt to tell someone about a good lawyer or good service and are quicker to tell someone who isn’t good or what to avoid,” said Annie Banerjee, a Houston immigration attorney from the Law Offices of Annie Banerjee.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is a database where the public can search for attorneys who either teach or practice immigration law. By doing research on this website, it is possible to narrow down a good immigration lawyer while being more certain that they have considerable knowledge of immigration laws.

Set up interviews with the lawyers and narrow it down some more. Then compare their fees and rates. Some charge by the hour, while some lawyers charge a flat rate. Be careful to ask if they tack on those additional fees that involve stamps, long distance calls or courier fees.

Lastly, be sure to check their credentials by simply checking with your state local bar to confirm whether or not the lawyer is in good standing, is licensed in the state and if there were any disciplinary actions on him or her in the past.

To learn more, visit Visatous.com.

Sputnik Moment for the arts?

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments

This weekend I’m going out with some friends to a Korean restaurant in Houston. Not the kind of place where the menu is in Korean and the food looks like it could be in Seoul. We don’t have such places in Houston, or New York, or LA. To find authentic food, other than that country, you need to travel to Canada. Why? Because we will simply not give immigration to Chefs.

President Obama reiterated our Sputnik moment, a moment when we competed with Russia in the space war and won it. And yes, we want the brightest and the best. But only the brightest and the best in Science. We give an additional 17 month work permit for foreign students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The rest of the subjects don’t matter to us. In general Extraordinary Ability visas are easier for Scientists to obtain than artists. And yes, the measly budget that the Government spends on the National Endowment for the Arts gets slashed every time, to increase budgets like the military.

As a Society we consciously chose to become a melting pot. And we did that with great success. Countries like Canada, England or France which chose multiculturalism created sub classes of immigrants with awful race relations. Yet we are not adding to our melting pot.

During New York’s Fashion Week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg argued that the country’s immigration policies jeopardize New York’s status as “the fashion capital of the world,” saying they limit visas for designers, manufacturers and, yes, models. Similarly throughout the country artistic performances get canceled because artists don’t get visas. And what’s strange is that most politicians, including President Obama are humanities majors. Yet until they realize the importance of the arts, I have to be content with my American version of Korean food.

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

Houston Immigration Lawyer Looks at the Ever Varied Immigrant Experience

By | News & Press | 138 Comments

When most Americans think of immigrants, they think of Mexicans or Latinos because of the latest Arizona anti-immigration laws and the anti-immigration sentiment that is running through the fabric of the country. However, the immigrant experience actually runs the gamut as they come from all over the world.

But imagine every imaginable variable thrown into the spoke of a bicycle wheel. That is how far and wide the human drama continues as the stories of each complex and unique immigration story develops. Heartbreaking stories, such as the one about an uninsured immigrant in California, have been featured in places like the New American Media website. The woman, having learned that she has breast cancer, will be battling the disease alone, because she is alone in the United States – her family in another country can’t be by her side when they desperately want to.

And how about the Filipina, who after having arranged to meet her longtime boyfriend, gets stranded at the airport because she fell suddenly ill and had to be hospitalized because of a colitis flare-up? Her fiancé now cannot help her come down to see him. Stranded and all alone, she is forced to go back. Not knowing how or why, nor reason or rhyme.

“The immigrant experience is not just the undocumented migrant farm worker but encompasses many cultures from many walks of life, and affects the lives of these men, women and children in ways most of us can’t even fathom,” said Annie Bannerjee, an immigration lawyer at The Law Offices of Annie Banerjee in Houston.

There are many ways illegal immigrants come into the country that are not the stereotypical crossing-the-border over-the-Rio Grande, or floating on a small boat floating haphazardly from Cuba. There are a myriad of horror stories. It is a wonder how they even survive. Some involve women and children without anything to their name and no affiliations to call upon.

Sometimes people make their way by being lured and connived by someone promising a way to get here and then find themselves slaving away in a sweatshop, not knowing where they are, having no one to speak to, having no money in their pockets. Stranded. There are stories about a sex-worker who was trucked in by a human trafficker and forced to perform acts not of her will.

What do most immigrants have in common? It is the dream for having a better tomorrow, which is a common human trait and a fundamental human right.

To learn more, visit Visatous.com.

Texas Governor Rallies Against So Called Sanctuary Cities

By | News & Press | 102 Comments

In the light of anti-immigration rhetoric during the mid-term elections and the ongoing political debate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has proposed to take away the language of “sanctuary cities”.

Sanctuary cities are the cities that provide “sanctuary” from police officers enforcing immigration laws, prohibiting them from enforcing immigration policies as part of their policing efforts. There are several cities in Texas that are considered to be sanctuary cities, including San Antonio, Houston and El Paso.

However, Gov. Perry has not named any sanctuary cities, making contradictory remarks on his stance on immigration reform. Recently, 30 bills were filed in Texas legislature concerning a lot of talking points issues regarding immigration. Some of the items at the forefront of the legislature session are state services, immigration records, fees for money transactions, deeming English the official language, and redistricting.

Gov. Perry has deemed the selection of sanctuary cities as an emergency priority item, and by doing so will push the issue in front of other issues. Sanctuary cities are a large part of the Texas Republican platform that opposes amnesty to immigrants in any form, a position offensive to much of the Texas population. In 2009, it had been reported that Hispanics or Latinos make up at least 36.9 percent of the Texas population.

It is uncertain when the term “sanctuary city” came about, but more and more cities across the country, such as Detroit and 30 other cities, are standing behind the “don’t ask, don’t tell” practice of police enforcement not subjecting its citizens to the question of their immigration status. It is suggested that the notion of sanctuary cities came about when churches started providing aid to migrant workers who fled from the 1980s civil war in Central America.

Technically, sanctuary cities go against the grain of the 9/11 Commission Report, yet training and support at state and local levels is still lacking and municipalities are having a hard time with allocating resources to enforce immigration policies and to blatantly go against civil right policies. Gov. Perry is being criticized by his peers for making sanctuary cities an emergency issue, rather than Texas’ budgetary issues that can affect Texas schools and the Texas public health system.

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 https://www.visatous.com.

The PERM Game

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments

In order to do a Labor Certification, commonly known by its acronym, PERM, the US employer has to “test” the labor market to prove that no Americans are available to do the job. They do this by advertising in various places. The Department of Labor prescribes to us which particular places we can advertise. And that’s where this game starts. Its a stilted process which has no resemblance to real life. We have to advertise in the Sunday edition of a newspaper. While this might keep the newspaper industry in the US afloat, in real life especially for jobs like “software engineer”–nobody reads print newspapers anymore. Then we have to advertise in the State Workforce Agency’s web site. I bet you did not know that each state has a job search website run by the workforce agency. I did a google search on “Engineering jobs in Texas” and the workforce agency’s website did not come up in the first two pages.

Yet when employers use a private Recruitment firm to do the “test” of labor market, they can get denied unless they have adequate documents to delineate exactly how they conducted recruitment. In re Unica Corporation, Balca 2010-PER-00006

So my advise to Employers is play the game by the DOL rules. In this game, the referee (DOL) is unforgiving, so avoid fouls by keeping meticulous records of all advertisement and recruitment report before starting to play the PERM game. If you are using any private recruitment agency, have a signed statement from them as to what they did, and keep it in the file. Follow the letter of the law, not its intent. Is this contrary to American jurisprudence? You bet.

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

Immigration Scams that you should know about

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments

Immigration Scams are easy jobs. The immigrants are trusting, and willing to give everything for immigration. And the scam artists know that. Here are some common things to look out for:

In the United States, ALL Government web sites end with dot gov. So if the web site says dot com, dot org or anything else, it is not a Government web site.

No one, not even the President of the United States can promise immigration. In fact, President Obama’s aunt, his father’s sister, (someone who President Obama did not know existed) was living here illegally. The Government deported her, even though her nephew was the President. This is the United States, and this is why people want to come here.

Similarly, many lawyers in big law firms promise that they are tight with the CIS, can can process the papers faster, better. Not true. There is NO influence peddling in the Government. The biggest Immigration law firm in the United States was audited by the Department of Labor when they were suspected of illegal practices, and each and every case suffered.

Immigration lawyers can only process immigration papers. They cannot give you a job, an office for L-1 a spouse or anything. Anybody who promises that is fraudulent. A Houston lawyer was found to be doing that with L-1 visas. Now she is in jail, and all her cases are being audited.

The Diversity visa is done through a lottery. The lottery is done by computers. Many people claim they can influence the results— NOT TRUE.

Notarios are not lawyers in the United States. They are not supposed to be practicing law. They can only attest to the fact that if someone signs, that the person is really the one signing.

And finally, check out the lawyer’s credentials before hiring her. Ask questions. Most lawyers have their degrees and licenses to practice law framed in their offices. Read those to determine that it is indeed a true LAW degree. Many times a degree in a certain law: “Bachelors in Criminal Law” or “Bachelors in Environmental law” are not true JD degrees.

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

Patriot Act dying a slow death

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments

The House Republican majority failed to pass the Patriot Act, set to expire at the end of February. The Patriot Act is the Act that denudes Americans of their privacy, enables the Government to tap into their phone, e mail, library books, etc. 26 Republicans voted against the bill, while 67 Democrats voted with the Republicans for the bill.

This shows that House delegates do not necessarily vote on party line. The Republican controlled House cannot just assume that they can pass their agenda, despite Obama holding out carrots to them with the tax bill and other recent things.

Or maybe the house members are realizing how it feels to have your privacy eroded, with the Wiki leaks.

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

Laissez Faire and Immigration

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments

Two seemingly unconnected things happened this week, yet they are connected by a broad policy issue. The 65,000 H-1B quota finished last week. And a Florida Judge ruled that Obama’s health care was unconstitutional. Yes, health care and immigration has nothing in common, but the laissez faire policy reaches out to every facet of Government.

The Florida judge ruled that the State cannot compel an individual to buy public health care. In a 78 page opinion, the judge goes back to American history, and the founding father’s intentions of creating a society founded on freedom, where State does not interfere on individual’s life. The Republican and tea party are rejoicing in that decision. Yet, the same people have no problem establishing quotas on business immigration.

There are only 65,000 (and 20,000 for US Master’s holders) H-1B visas given annually. In years when the economy was better, there were more than 200,000 petitions filed on the first day (April 01). When the economy got worse, the filings slowed down. Last year, the numbers finished in late December, this year it was late January.

Thus filings mirror the marketplace. It is this imposition of an unnatural quota that is contrary to the founding father’s intentions. Even now, there may be a doctor, who cannot give services due to the numbers, or a highly needed software professional, who cannot get an urgent work done.

Why don’t we go back to the original intentions of our nation, as a Capitalist Laissez faire economy, abolish unnatural quotass, and have the market place determine what is necessary?

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

The Effect of the New Immigration Policies

By | News & Press | 113 Comments

For those behind the new immigration policies, nothing has become more real than the horrific stories that have come from the new and harsh reforms that are sweeping states across the country. The everyday human drama continues to unfold and even cross borders and cross lines within and of itself.

One piece that appeared in The Atlantic told tragic individual stories, such as the tale of a California border patrol agent who was charged for sheltering his own undocumented father from being deported. Another story involved a Mexican teen who was killed for throwing rocks near a border patrol agent. Another was about a middle aged man who was deported for very old drug charges that had already been dealt with.

On the surface level, all these cases involved undocumented citizens. However, what does not matter in respect to the new immigration policies are their lives, intertwined and deeply rooted here. Moms and fathers with small children and an exceptional college student in a small town have been ripped away without any consideration or any concern about whom else is affected in the aftermath of their disappearances. In essence, everyone will feel the ripple effects from it.

The scapegoat, the fall guy, the alien that belongs to another planet who needs to vacate the premises and go back where he came from seems to be the blatant rhetoric that has reverberated throughout the political arena of this country. However, immigrants and undocumented workers are human beings, too, and have largely been a part of American history. Yet, according to the Migration Policy Institute, immigrants are deeply tied to the U.S. business cycle and create a positive impact, though small, over American income in the long term, according to the consensus of economists.

Moreover, what seem to be highly ignored are the effects of globalization and its role on migration. Trade programs in Mexico inevitably pushed many Mexican laborers and migrant farmers across the border in search for jobs. This is part of the harsh reality of globalization. What has also been highly ignored or not mentioned enough in the same breath of immigration reform is that the influx of undocumented workers has become the impetus for immigration reform but in reality much of the interdependent workings between the U.S. and Mexico has polarized both Mexican and U.S. citizens.

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 https://www.visatous.com.