Advocates Push for Poland to Make VWP List

By | News & Press | One Comment

A steady drumbeat of voices for Poland’s inclusion in the Visa Waiver Program is becoming deafening as Congress considers visa reform legislation.

Nowy Dziennik, a Polish-language newspaper published in New York launched a new online campaign to raise awareness at

David Harris, the executive director of the American Jewish Committee wrote an opinion piece for the Chicago Tribune in October refreshing American memories of all the times Poland has stood by the United States during wartime and has been a pivotal ally.

“Ask any Pole,” Harris wrote. “I have on many occasions and always received the same answer: The issue is seen as a slap in the face to Poland and its traditional friendship with the U.S.”

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, a Democrat from New Jersey, mentioned Poland’s eligibility for the VWP as he sponsored legislation called the Enhanced Security and Reform Act to update the program.

“Since the end of the Cold War, Poland has become one of the United States’ strongest allies, and it makes sense that we should change the law governing visa waivers to reflect the world we live in today,” Pascall said in a press release.

The Visa Waiver Program was started in 1986 as a way to cut down on administrative costs and to promote goodwill between the United States and individual countries. Citizens of the 36 countries on the list are able to travel to the United States for tourism or business without a visa for up to 90 days. To get on the VWP and to remain on it, countries must have advanced passport security technology and a low non-immigrant refusal rate.

Poland misses out on the VWP because its refusal rate is too high, which means the consular officers there believed that many of the visa applicants would overstay their 90-day trip. Some advocates of reform have suggested using actual overstay numbers instead of refusal rates to determine eligibility.

Citizens of countries that must go through the visa process to visit the United States on vacation or business must wait longer, fill out more forms, pay more fees and sit through interviews with their consulate. Advocates of keeping the VWP list short say the consular interviews and forms help keep the United States safe. All moves to open the borders for tourists or businesspeople no matter where they are from is going to be met with caution from the Department of Homeland Security.

Poland is on the short list of “road map” countries being considered for inclusion in the VWP.

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

Arizona Gov. Rejects NY Senator’s Invitation to Explain Immigration Law

By | News & Press | 99 Comments

Before the Supreme Court takes up Arizona’s controversial immigration law in April, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York is planning a subcommittee hearing on the issue.

The high court is scheduled to begin hearing the case on April 25. One day earlier, Schumer will have the state bill’s original author at the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship. Schumer is the chairman of that committee.

Schumer asked Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to come before the subcommittee hearing on immigration to speak about the law. She will already be in Washington, D.C., to testify before the Supreme Court. She declined his invitation, calling it a publicity stunt.

Former Arizona State Sen. Russell Pearce will testify before Schumer’s subcommittee despite losing a recall election last year brought about partly because of the outrage over the bill, according to the Huffington Post.

Schumer wrote a letter to Gov. Brewer asking for her participation in a dialogue about the border.

“As you frequently ask the President to visit the southern border to discuss border security, we expect that you will be eager to engage in a productive dialogue with the Congressional Committee responsible for acting upon any border security recommendations you provide,” Schumer wrote, according to the Arizona Republic.

Arizona’s SB 1070, the anti-illegal immigration law that has sparked controversy across the country, makes it a misdemeanor for an alien to be in the state without proper documents. A federal court judge in Arizona struck down the portion of the law that requires law enforcement to investigate the immigration status of people at traffic stops and make routine arrests. The Supreme Court will make a decision this year in part because other states are passing similar immigration laws.

Federal efforts have had a profound affect on border security over the past two years since the Emergency Border Security Supplemental Appropriations Act pushed more than $600 million to support law enforcement. Border patrol numbers are up and illegal crossings are down significantly. Seizures of guns, cash and drugs are all up as well, according to the Post.
Schumer said he would like Brewer to speak to his subcommittee to explain if she thinks the bill is still necessary since federal efforts have been so successful. He said he would like her to share whether she thinks the new law will always be necessary.
For her part, Brewer has explained the law on countless television programs, radio broadcasts and interviews with media of a variety of political leanings.
With the spotlight on illegal immigration, it has been difficult for those who want progress on reforming the legal immigration laws to be heard. Efforts to reform the visa program are moving through Congress, but with significantly less press attention than Arizona’s law.

Annie Banerjee is an immigration lawyer in Houston, Texas, who helps legal immigrants come to this country to seek permanent citizenship or for travel or work.

Contact the Law Offices of Annie Banerjee by visiting their web site at

PERM and Form over Matter

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments
The filing of a labor certification is like a game. It has all these utterly inconsequential rules. And if you don’t dot your I s and cross your T s, it gets denied. This is totally contrary to our doctrine of substance over matter.  This common law doctrine has been in our legal system since ages, but of course, that would require thinking, something that Department of Labor (DOL) employees are not required to do.

And the Board of Alien Labor Certification (BALCA)  over the years has upheld some and denied some of those rules. BALCA has said that if you advertise on a Sunday and by mistake put down a Monday date, that is fine. The court has said its not required to put in “magic language” if you want alternative qualifications. Now the case, World Agape Mission Church has done away with 2 other inane requirements.

The Employer had advertised in the website of the State Workforce Agency. (SWA) But did not have the documentation to prove that during the audit. The Board of Alien Labor Certification (Balca) said that the regulations does not require the Employer to keep such documentation. Most SWAs have crappy websites. I wonder which American would go looking for a job in the SWA database rather than going to Monster or other such engines.

The Employer also does not need to print its name if they advertise in Private Employment Firm.

Other inane requirements still in force: advertise in Sunday newspaper. This is DOL’s way of preserving this dinosaur we have called newspapers.  At the rate that newspapers are closing, and at the rate that DOL changes their regulations, the DOL will have that regulations at least 2 years after the last newspaper closes.

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