We the People

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments
Today is Diwali. In the North Eastern Province of Bengal, where I’m originally from, it is celebrated , like the rest of India with lighting rows of oil lamps called the Diya and with fireworks.  But the day before this festival is the day of the ghosts, and in the evening the ghosts are rumored to come out.  With the lighting of the diyas on Diwali, the Ghosts disappear. This is similar to All Hallows Eve, and Dia de los Muertos. Its a celebration of life as opposed to death. The shortening of days make people aware of their own mortality and the festivals reinforce life.

Similarly in the spring there is a renewal of life which is celebrated in different cultures, in different ways. Be it Easter, or the Indian festival of Holi, color plays a dominant part.

We may come form different regions, different religions and cultures, yet we are fundamentally all equal.  The Restrictionists in our Immigration policy cannot see beyond these differences in color, race or religion. But we are becoming one world. The internet today unites the world, and outsourcing forces us to compete globally.  Yet when it comes to Immigration, we try to restrict our borders and try to unnaturally preserve our jobs.  But the reality of the marketplace is that people only come if there are jobs, if they can compete.  If not, the jobs are outsourced anyways.

Maybe some day we will have one  world where there will be no Xenophobia, and  no barriers.

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration Attorney Annie Banerjee, for more information

Houston Immigration Integration Efforts Praised by White House

By | Houston Immigration | 107 Comments

The White House Office of Public Engagement singled out Houston as a model city for immigrant integration. The city is home to 88 consulates and many community organizations dedicated to immigrants. Many of the city’s residents come from Latin America and Asia, and find a strong network to connect to when they arrive in Houston. More than 20 percent of the population is made up of immigrants. In a city of almost six million residents, this means that close to 1.3 million come from a diverse, international background.

“Houston is recognized to have a more favorable receiving community climate for immigrants than many cities and generally has well-informed stakeholders and community leaders,” said Stephanie Valencia, the Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.

In Houston, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (MOIRA) helps with citizenship and immigration matters. The mayor and many community organizations offer classes and groups for immigrants to learn more about the city, the English language, and economic opportunities. The focus is on helping them integrate into society better and contribute to the local and regional economy. Many of the city’s citizenship programs help them get involved in social and cultural activities around the area.

The mayor’s office has an advisory committee that oversees all the immigration and refugee programs to ensure that programs utilize “…non-biased and non-discriminatory practices in the delivery of services and benefits for all.” MOIRA also has a very thorough guide for individuals who want to find out more about educational, civic, and legal resources.

Houston has received micro-loans for English as a Second Language programs and naturalization as there is such a big population to serve that the federal government sometimes needs to step in to help on a local level. Federal funds and support help to foster stronger foundations for immigrants across the country. Of particular concern is when immigrants are looking to get legal help. Many immigrants are being charged by unauthorized notarios to fill out forms and double billed for services. Individuals and their loved ones should only seek a qualified Houston immigration attorney that has handled hundreds of cases to successfully maintain their citizenship. Otherwise, online business and notarios without qualification can just lead to fraudulent fees and delayed proceedings.

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 website at https://www.visatous.com.

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.

Entrepreneurs in Residence

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments
The USCIS recently announced an “entrepreneurs in residence initiative.” This follows President Obama’s speech welcoming foreign entrepreneurs who would want to invest in the US for Permanent Residency. It makes sense, since money brought over by these entrepreneurs will be used towards building businesses and jobs in the US.

Towards that end, the USCIS is launching this Initiative to gather information about these programs. Especially targeted is the EB-5 program, and also on Eb-2 and L-1Bs. The EB-5 applicants will have direct access to adjudicators through e mail. All this is positive development, yet, the adjudicators themselves are still giving out under the kitchen sink Requests for Evidence. This is especially true of L-1 A, new Office where an entrepreneur is bringing in money to start the business here. Sometimes it’s apparent that the officer has not even looked at the file, since they want evidence already included in the original petition.

I think the adjudicators have to meet a certain quota, and some adjudicators are happier to give out requests for evidence (RFE) rather than meeting that quota. What the USCIS should do is require the officers to notate the petition. Also such notations should be included in the actual RFE as well. Clients ask me why, when they are bringing in money and investing in US, should the US Government want every single piece of paper they could possibly generate. Such a burden is a big deterrent in many people investing here. It’s much easier to invest in Canada than the US, so why would people looking towards investing bother with us?

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration Attorney Annie Banerjee, for more information

Approval Notices

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments
Recently the Citizenship and Immigration Service instituted a new rule whereby the approval notices of visas, with the original I-94s are being sent to employers instead of the Attorney. The attorneys get the courtesy copy. The American Immigration Lawyer’s Association is protesting against this move.

However I think this is a good move by Citizenship and Immigration Service. First it cuts down on fraud. Fraud is very prevalent in the Immigration petition system. Although the forms require signatures from the employers, those signatures can be forged. Documents can be manufactured. And if employers get a representative’s copy, the lawyer can give the actual copy to the fraudulent employee, who would then get false status. Granted maybe one attorney in the country will do this, but still its fraud.

Secondly the clients can get the approval notice expeditiously. In most states clients need the approvals to renew their driver’s license. Sending that approval notice to the attorney means the attorney has to mail it to the client. Even if the attorney fedexes, it still takes time. And most large law firms take forever to send the documents. This way everything can be done expeditiously.

American Immigration Lawyer’s Association has complained that the attorneys can check and see mistakes in the I-797, and correct them. But attorneys can simply ask their clients to scan and send them that approval notice. On the contrary attorneys cannot scan and send the original to the client, since they need the original approval. My clients have no problem scanning and sending the copies to me.

I feel that many lawyers have an inflated sense of ego, and feel that the Citizenship and Immigration Service is slighting them by sending originals to the employer. I applaud this move by the Citizenship and Immigration Service. This is probably the only time, in years, that I think that the Citizenship and Immigration Service is doing something sensible.

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration Attorney Annie Banerjee, for more information

Immigrants with Advanced Degrees Can Qualify for EB-2

By | Immigration Policy | 146 Comments

Immigrants who hold advanced degrees can qualify for special visas through the EB-2 immigrant visa program. EB-2 allows immigrants with a U.S. job offer and a Department of Labor certification a way to come to America and contribute to the workforce. Individuals can also qualify under a National Interest Waiver with at least 10 years of experience in a specific field.

Individuals must show documentation regarding their extraordinary ability and have three of the following records:
Relevant documentation of a higher degree from a university or institution
Letter from employer showing 10 years of experience in the industry
License to practice in the profession
Salary demonstrating exceptional ability
Membership in professional organizations
Evidence of achievements and contributions to the field

Individuals with science, business, and tech backgrounds are particularly sought after. An individual’s spouse and children under the age of 18 can also qualify to come to the United States through the E-21 and E-22 visa. A skilled immigration attorney can vastly help expedite the process and ensure that all paperwork is filled out completely.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has rolled out these new policies and outreach efforts to make it easier for these highly qualified immigrants to come to the United States. Most immigrants who qualify under this category must show their diploma or related certificates. Reference letters, salary history, recognition in the field, and other documentation is acceptable for the USCIS requirements.

“Encouraging the kinds of streamlining measures USCIS is taking today has been one key focus of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness because they help ensure that America can continue to out-innovate and out-compete the world in a global economy,” said USCIS’ director Alejandro Mayorkas.

The streamline process hopes to attract multinational executives and managers from overseas. New businesses and start-ups are also encouraged. Premium processing guarantees a 15 calendar day turnaround time by paying a premium service fee. The clock starts ticking when form I-907, request for premium processing, is received by the USCIS.

Many people that have qualified under this visa are in the field of engineering, medicine, teaching, architecture, and law. The petitioning employer must submit a labor certificate on behalf of the immigrant to show that the foreign worker is not displacing a qualified U.S. worker out of a job.

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.

My hats off to Arizona and Alabama

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments
When Arizona enacted the most restrictive Immigration Laws in the book, I was wondering why the deep south was lagging behind. They just take time to think up legislation, and Alabama delivered with a far more severe punch than Arizona. The law even  forbids undocumented school children from attending schools.

The common concern of all these States is that we have too many illegal immigrants. The Federal Government is not going to do anything for it. So these States take Federal law enforcement in their own hand.

Yet these States bring forth the importance of Comprehensive Immigration Reform. The only problem is that the legislature cant agree on anything. Even the Dream Act, which gives amnesty to children brought over illegally here by their parents, and educated here have  not passed. They don’t have any criminal records. Yet the Republicans don’t want to give the Permanent Residency to these people.

The Democrats are no Saints either. They have effectively killed the work visa process for small businesses. Especially hit is the small IT industry, where the Obama Administration “legislated on their own” stating that employers should “control” their employees. They effectively nullified third party contracts for H-1B employees for smaller employers in IT industry.  Yet such contracts are Ok for the health care industry.  Talk about the Rule of Law and Obama’s lofty principals.

In a Country where even economic reforms gets shot down, willl there be a Comprehensive Immigration Reform? I dont think so.

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration Attorney Annie Banerjee, for more information