Senate Judiciary Chairman Leahy Supports Gay Immigrant Rights

By | Audits, News & Press | No Comments

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy has pushed an amendment to grant full immigrations rights to LGTB couples.

Leahy told the news site, Politico, in a recent interview that at least one dozen U.S. states now legally recognize same-sax marriage. It does not make sense, Leahy said, for the federal government to help one married couple with immigration issues, but not another, simply based on their same-gender marriage.

One of the amendments backed by Leahy includes green cards for a foreign-born partner of a gay or lesbian U.S. citizen. Another amendment would give green cards only to a foreign-born partner if the couple is married.

Leahy stated that his goal is a fair and transparent process when it comes to the changes to immigration law, and for all people for whom it is important to get their say about those changes. In addition to the LGTB amendments, Leahy stated that the “trigger” issues are a number of border security benchmarks which must be agreed upon prior to allowing the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants apply for legal status. But critics are concerned that the compromise crafted by the Gang of Eight does not adequately address real border security issues and have countered with much tougher amendments.

The trigger encompasses extensive, new border fences; an agreed-upon, operational border security plan; the E-Verify system which would allow employers to check on the citizenship status of existing and potential employees; and a tracking system for both entry and exits at seaports and airports. Leahy said that he hopes any controversy is not enough to derail the important bill. Though the issues are serious, he said, they really should not be bones of contention. If the Senate truly wants an immigration bill, they will agree upon amendments to improve it and vote on them. Only people who really do not want a workable immigration bill, he said, will raise amendments with the intention of stalling it.

Currently, for married heterosexual couples, the spouse of a U.S. citizen can get immigration benefits, but the noncitizen of a same-sex couple cannot get the same benefit. This is due to DOMA, the Defense Of Marriage Act, a federal law which defines legal marriages as between one man and one woman. DOMA is currently under review in front of the Supreme Court. Will the majority of Justices strike down DOMA or will LGTB equality come into the country through the federal “side door” – immigration rights for same sex couples? We will know soon enough.

[footer block_id=’902′]

H-1B Auditers, what they have to fill out

By | Audits, H1-B | One Comment

H-1B Auditers, what they have to fill out

The following is a simplified version of the instruction sheet that the H-1B Audit inspectors have to fill out:

1. Does the facility visually appear to be that of the organization? (Take pictures if possible of the building with Number of building.

Include in narrative box:
1) Description of the location:
• Commercial office unit;
• Apartment or condominium complex;
• Single family residence;
• Mail center/postal location; or
• Virtual office (a business with multiple small workstations leased to numerous entities).
indicate if any other businesses are sharing the site location and the names

2. Was an organizational representative authority present?

In cases where contact cannot be made
Inquire with neighboring businesses and/or residents to determine:
• . If the business actively engaged in business activities.
• The business’ normal hours of operations.
• It they are familiar with the benefic1ary and/or petitioner.

3. Did results of site visit suggest the presence of a legitimate organization

Include In narrative:
1) Indicate the product end/gr service the company provides.
2) Number of employees.
3) Number of H1B employees that work full time.
4) Number of H1B employees that work part time.
5) Number 01 employees working on-site at this location, verses off site.
6) Number of clients the company has where their H1B employees are working.
7) Number of employees how that are non immigrant aliens.
8} Number of employees that are lawful permanent residents.
9) Length of time the organization has been in business.
10) Number of other locations the organization is located. List other.locations.

4. Did the organization have knowledge of the beneficiary and the petition filed on Please note that even if the employer’s secretary has knowledge of who the beneficiary is, and the signatory of the petition is not present, the secretary should only state that, and not try and guess on answers that the Auditors are asking

5. Was the beneficiary working for the organization on behalf of the beneficiary?

Include in the narrative:
1) Whether or not the beneficiary is employed by the organization and what supporting documentation was reviewed (i.e., recent pay stubs, business cards, Employee ID).
2) If the beneficiary is not currently employed by the organization:
• Indicate where the beneficiary is currently working; and
• Why the beneficiary Is not employed by the organization.
3) The hours the beneficiary works.
• Full-time or part-time position.
4) If the beneficiary Is employed somewhere else:
• Where?
• What type of work?

6: Were you able to identify and speak to the beneficiary

7. Was the beneficiary knowledgeable, cooperative, and forthcoming with questions

8. Was the beneficiary being paid the salary as indicated?

9. Was the beneficiary performing the duties as indicated?

10. Do you recommend further inquiry?

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, Annie Banerjee for more details

H-1B raids increase

By | Audits, H1-B, Houston Immigration | 3 Comments

Office of Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS)is conducting raids to H-1B business in an effort to detect and deter immigration fraud. The following blog is borrowed from an article by American Immigration Lawyer’s Program, and is meant to advise employers as to what to expect.

Employers should right now have the public access files for their H-1B employees ready. This file should contain the wage determination, the LCA, and a note on when the LCA was posted. It should also contain a copy of the H-1B petition.

The Government raids are conducted without warrants, and without prior notice. The Officer usually carries a copy of the H-1B petition. The officer then inspects the premises (and can take pictures). They will request to speak to the person signing the petition, but since the visits are unannounced, the officers are fine if the person who signed is unavailable. They may ask for copies of the beneficiary’s pay records, W-2 and also the employer’s tax records, quarterly wages, etc to prove that business is being conducted.

Then they also interview the beneficiary. They may ask details about the job description, employment dates, position, dependents etc. After this they might also want to speak with the beneficiary’s supervisor or colleague.

Here are some suggestions from AILA if the Government shows up:

1. Call your attorney, they can be present over the phone while the raids are being conducted.

2. If there is no designated official in the Company at that time, who is knowledgeable about the petitions, the officials should be told about that. Company Employees should not guess and say answers if they don’t know about the petition. Also if your company has strict policies against photographing, etc, please advise the officials accordingly.

2. File amended petitions, LCAs as necessary to keep files updated with changing situations. Wrong information could lead to a denial of the H-1B, even though the initial adjudication was an approval.

3. Request the name, title, and contact information for the site investigator. Ask for a business card and phone number. Multiple agencies are doing these visits, and it is important to determine which one is doing the site visit.

4. Don’t speak to the investigator without a witness present. Make notes of what transpired as soon as the meeting ends. Keep a list of all documents submitted.

5 If the beneficiary has been placed at a client site not controlled by the client, the client should notify the end user about the current FDNS H-1B assessment program and the possibility of a site visit. If there are multiple companies between the H-1B employer and the end user, the end user should be made aware of the identity of the H-1B employer and review the terms of the assignment. The employer should request that the end user company contact the employer at the beginning of an FDNS site visit so that the employer and/or its representative may be present either in person or by telephone during the site visit at the end user’s location.

Vermont Service Center has sent about 20,000 companies to be audited, and California would also send about the same.

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, Annie Banerjee for more details

I-9 Audit

By | Audits, Houston Immigration | 5 Comments

Every Employer in the US has to fill out a valid I-9 form for every employee. The form addresses whether the employee has the legal authority to work in the United States. The Employer is supposed to keep copies of documents like H-1B approval, or Green card, etc in their file, and update them as it becomes necessary. It has so far been an honor driven system, and the Citizenship and Immigration Services rarely audited them.

However the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced on July 01, 2009 that it will step up its audit for the employers. It has already issued 652 notices of Inspections to businesses. The Employers will have to surrender all I-9s within 3 days. For large employers there may be many instances that the I-9 has not been updated. Small employers may not even know about the requirement to keep I-9s.

The US Government has instituted the E-verify system, where the employer has to input the Social Security numbers of their new hires into the Government computers, and they will know if the employee is legal to work. However, if the employee used false IDs and SS Numbers, and the employers knew about it, they will not be immune, simply because E verify passed it.

Recently Krispy Kreme Doughnut Company was fined $40,000/- for I-9 valuation.

All Companies should do their own audits of their I-9 and update everything as soon as possible.

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, Annie Banerjee for more details