The Immigration Legacy of President Obama

By | Commentary, DACA, H1-B, Houston Immigration, Immigration, L-1, Uncategorized | No Comments

On this last day of Obama’s presidency, I want to, no need to, look at all the Immigration actions he took, including ones that were the right thing to do, yet made him unpopular with his party.
DEPORTATION:
He has been called by Democrats as the “Deporter in Chief”. Yes, he deported more people than anyone else. But let’s be clear, we ONLY deport criminals. These are people who have come in illegally, or are not yet citizens of the US, and they have committed a felony. If these people get a lawyer, the process stretches out indefinitely. Do we, as a society need more felons, or drug users? I applaud Pres. Obama on standing up to his party.
DACA:
The legislature would not cooperate with President Obama and openly said that they wanted him to fail. Yet, despite that, he started the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals through executive action. This makes sense, because these people were educated by us, the US Taxpayers. They had to have at least a high school diploma and have no criminal records. If we don’t deport them, (we simply don’t have the resources to), you might as well let them earn and pay taxes. They get Driver’s license and car insurance. I do hope this program continues with the next President, because if this is scrapped, we will all lose.
ENDING CUBANS WET FOOT DRY FOOT POLICY
Again, breaking with the Democratic Party ideal, the ending of the absurd policy of Cubans getting Immigration as soon as they land in American soil. Unlike the 70s, when actual Cuban refugees came through, in the 80s, Castro opened Mariel Island, from where people could come by boat to Miami. Castro also opened up the jails and mental asylums. So people coming into Florida were either hard core criminal or criminally insane. Others came in from different countries and since they were born in Cuba, they were given residencies, but did not suffer any hardship from the Castro regime.
BUSINESS IMMIGRATION
The Democratic Party does not favor Business Immigration. Nancy Pelosi once said that businesses should pay the filing fees of the illegal Immigrants. But Pres Obama was hard where he needed to be, and soft in other places. In 2010, under his administration, the Citizenship and Immigration Service introduced the Control memo, which along with the Semieo case has been helpful to cut down on H-1B fraud. On the flip side, Obama with executive order has given H-1B’s spouses work permit, if the H-1B had an approved I-140. That helped save a lot of marriages. His executive order also clarified and simplified L-1 filings.

Thus the 43rd and 44th President of USA did what was fair and just despite opposition from both parties. Pres. Obama, you are my President, you always shall be.

For more information contact Banerjee& Associates 

Buying the American Dream—The EB-5 visa

By | Commentary, Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy, Visa | No Comments

EB-5 Job creation and money in US

 

I know Trump makes for a great opening line in any blog, so I will start with Trump.  Trump criticized Mr. Khan, the Gold Star parent by saying that Khan, a lawyer took money from Muslims so that they could buy their citizenship.  What he was referring to is the EB-5 investor visa program which is controversial.  But before I go into any details, let me say that Trump used EB-5 foreign money to build his luxury rental apartments in New Jersey called Trump Bay Towers.

 

The EB-5 is a program where investors can invest 1 million USD (or $500,000 in underdeveloped areas) and create at least 10 jobs.

The funds have to be obtained “lawfully” and USCIS traces the source of the funds meticulously.  If for instance, one inherits a property and sells it to obtain funds, the Citizenship and Immigration Service will demand that one traces the source of funds used by the buyer to buy the property.  This requirement is very strict

The investors have to put the funds “at risk”.  That means that the investor has to invest the money into a for profit, new venture. Very often, people invest in “regional Centers”—- businesses which pool a lot of these investment and build a new project.  However they create very little interest, and the money is tied up for about 10 years.  The interest is not enough to be able to live in the US

 

Over the years investors in this program have invested billions of dollars and have created thousands of jobs.  So why is this program criticized?  .  The problem with this program is not what Mr. Trump thinks, Muslims bringing in illegal money.

 

The problem is China.  90% of the individuals and capital come from China.  At first it would seem that China sells so much goods to us, that it is wonderful for them to invest capital in the US.  But PRC is not a free country, and that’s the problem.  Ordinarily PRC does not allow money to be brought outside the country. However, it turns a blind eye to the EB-5 program.  The investors do not directly find investment opportunities in the USA. China has state run brokers who liaise with owners of Regional Centers in the US. So these state run brokerage have access to how real estate is done in the US. They also have access to computer files.  They also can invest and control flow of capital in strategic areas.  Some have criticized that China is using economic, information and technological “warfare” with us through this EB-5 program.

The program expires on September 30th, 2016. But my guess is that this Congress will simply extend the program for one year, and let this be the problem of the new administration.

 

For more information, contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, Annie Banerjee

Texas A&M Foreign Student Exchange Programs Enriching U.S., Other Nations

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy, News & Press | No Comments

Texas is already a well-known magnet for immigrants and businesses seeking to put down roots in its relatively strong employment market and business-friendly environment. Recently, Texas A&M University has gained a reputation for extending that connection to students. Through its College Station campus in Texas and its overseas exchange programs, Texas A&M has become a hub for international learning and collaboration.

International students who intern at Texas A&M — mostly from India, Brazil and China — usually begin with a summer program, often at the university’s renowned Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering. Many of these students are drawn from top academic and research facilities in their home countries, including Kanpur University in India. Texas A&M clearly hopes that these summer interns will eventually become Aggies as graduate students.

“The goal is to showcase our research projects in the cutting edge technologies, with the hope that these students will gain very positive interactions with their faculty members, and would apply to our Ph.D. program in due course,” said Dr. Nazmul Karim, head of the chemical engineering department.

The university also sends out its American students to study overseas in new countries. This exchange of students through Texas A&M has made the university 13th among U.S. institutions of higher learning for sending students abroad to participate in credit-bearing academic programs. Indeed, more than 3,000 Aggies have studied at more than 90 locations around the world for a semester while sponsored by the university’s Study Abroad Programs Office.

American students studying abroad are enriched by an immersion in their host country’s traditions and culture, and they, in turn, share their outlook on and experiences in U.S. culture and its democratic process with their hosts. And Texas A&M University officials have a vision for what they expect of their American students when they return to Texas.“In order for Aggies to assume their place in the Texas economy, they will need to have a familiarity with how other societies function and markets in other countries work,” said Dr. Jane Flaherty, director of Texas A&M’s Study Abroad Programs Office. “Going abroad facilitates the development of this knowledge.”

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Pentagon Emphasizes Tech Developments, Seeks More Foreign-Born STEM Workers

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments

Many industries in Silicon Valley, Texas and the Northeast already rely on highly skilled, foreign-born workers for a significant portion of their workforces. Such workers are particularly valuable in sectors of the U.S. economy tied to the so-called STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Last year, a National Foundation for American Policy study found that up to 70 percent of students in a few key U.S. STEM graduate programs are foreign-born. 

And now, the U.S. defense industry is adapting to a national military strategy more reliant on technological superiority than on amassed hardware or troops. As defense professionals at the Pentagon and beyond revise their military plans, they are seeing an increasingly acute need for these talented STEM workers.

The importance of keeping foreign-born, graduating STEM students in this country cannot be overestimated.

Part of the need for foreign-born STEM workers is driven by a simple principle of supply-and-demand economics. The number of available H-1B visas is limited, and many of these STEM workers need the visas to immigrate to the United States. Currently, only 85,000 visas are granted each year. Many foreign-born, would-be STEM professionals come to the United States to study on student visas, but when they graduate, those who cannot obtain an H-1B visa must return to their respective home countries.

The recent budget-driven sequester cut spending in all federal departments, and those cuts have impacted the outlook for future defense strategy. The Obama administration has already reduced military outlays in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, it seeks ways to cut back troop levels and jettison unnecessary, expensive weapons systems in order to maintain an efficiently lean, economical military.

As part of that strategy, the Defense Department has placed a premium on technological advances. But restrictive policies on immigration limit the number of H-1B visas to a total that does not meet the existing demand. The shortage of visas may crimp the Pentagon’s objectives.

Immigration policy troubles the Pentagon, but it is not their only quandary. Competition also affects requiting: many foreign-born STEM graduate students primarily seek a career in Silicon Valley or Austin, Texas. Employment with the defense establishment is often less tempting and, even more often, less lucrative.

A bill that would grant U.S. citizenship to immigrants with advanced STEM degrees passed the U.S. Senate last year, but it has sputtered in the House. Meanwhile, Defense Department officials have publicly emphasized the need for new technologies.

“We must maintain our technological edge over potential adversaries,” said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

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In Texas, Nominal Political Allies Stand at Odds Over Immigration Reform

By | Citizenship and Naturalization, Employer/Employee, Houston Immigration | No Comments

How generous should Washington, D.C. be in granting work-related visas? A largely conservative camp argues that immigrants displace American workers. In general, conservative mindsets will not favor a a standardized, government-sanctioned flow of foreign workers into the United States.

But the agriculture industry, a powerful constituency generally aligned with conservatism, resoundingly advocates for immigration reform. And that rural call is perhaps loudest in Texas.

The American Farm Bureau Federation and the Texas Farm Bureau, its local chapter, have repeatedly ventured to Capitol Hill this year to lobby for immigration reform. They call for legislation that would provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, similar to a bill that passed the U.S. Senate in 2013. The agricultural sector has been full-throated in its support of what it perceives to be its interests, especially since the timing of the immigration debate coincides with an important debate over a new farm bill. Whether through price supports or through a guaranteed flow of immigrant farm workers, agricultural supporters are hoping to protect their farms.

“Let’s just cut to the chase on this thing: 85 percent of the agricultural labor that goes on in the state of Texas … is done by either undocumented or illegally documented people,” said Steve Pringle, legislative director for the Texas Farm Bureau. “If and when that labor supply is not there, that production simply goes out of business.” Representatives for the Texas Farm Bureau are among the most avid supporters of immigration reform. 

However, if one considers the importance of the agricultural sector in the overall economy of Texas, the farm lobby’s stance acquires a more general appeal.

Agriculture’s importance to the Lone Star State’s economy is quite clear:

Texas ranks second in the nation for total agricultural receipts (behind California)
Texas is first in the nation for total livestock and livestock product receipts, which includes 20 percent of the nation’s beef cattle and its largest concentration of sheep
As the nation’s top producer of cotton, Texas accounts for 29 percent of U.S. cotton revenues
Texas is the third biggest producer of nursery and greenhouse products as well as a leading producer of various grains, fruits and nuts

The increasingly noticeable rift between the agricultural sector and conservative political figures has grown at home as well as in Washington. Indeed, all the leading candidates for statewide offices (including lieutenant governor and agriculture commissioner) have been have been diametrically opposed to the position on immigration reform supported by the Texas Farm Bureau.

“Let’s just put it this way,” Pringle said. “We are finding conservative Republicans less and less supportive of agriculture.”

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The House' Immigration Deal

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments
Joe Biden, and even President Obama supports the House’ piecemeal approach to Immigration.  And this is because Immigration is simply too complex an issue.  While I completely understand the frustration that most illegal people face, being in this country, working for years, a quick comprehensive bill, supported by one party can never be the solution to this complex problem.
According to Bob Goodlatte, R Va, head of the House Judiciary Committee,  used to practice Immigration law.  He will give Immigration a top priority in 2014.  Among the pieces he will be looking at will be visas for high skilled workers, Ag workers E-Verify and securing the border.  Once employers are hiring legal immigrants, the border is secured, and the high skilled (H-1B) and Ag workers (H-2B) here legally, and the country has a need for them—is taken care of, we can talk about the dreamers.  And although the Dreamers were brought into this country as kids, and have known no other country, most of them have merely a high school diploma, and little skill beyond that to get a job.  To have given them a path to citizenship in 13 years as the President wanted, while Master’s Degree holding legal individuals, with job, born in India currently takes 14 years to become a citizen would simply not be fair.
Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration Attorney Annie Banerjee, for more information

Immigration Reform

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments
I applaud the fact that President Obama has accepted the piecemeal approach instead of Comprehensive Immigration Reform (read citizenship to Mexicans so they vote Democratic) approach. For many the Immigration issue consists of ONLY illegal people from Mexico. Yet Immigration is a complex issue.
And to the heckler in the crowd who said that his family has been separated for 19 months because apparently they were deported, I say, go live with your family wherever they are. 11 million people are not being deported. It’s the people doing crime who are being deported. And the Democrats scream against it, as if possession of drugs is so insignificant, that it’s USA’s fault for deporting the drug users. The Democrats also put up pictures of Jose Antonio Vargas, as the quintessential dreamer, yet most dreamers have barely a high school certificate.
And as for the Republicans, they are deeply divided. The tea party just wants Obama to fail, no matter what the issue. The conservative Christians want immigration for the illegal Mexicans. And the business factions want Business Immigration reform.
Immigration as it is now is based on country quota. A person born in India, holding a Bachelor’s Degree, and completely legal has to wait right now for more than 10 years to become a Green Card (Permanent Resident Card) holder. Then she has to wait another 5 years to become a Citizen. A master’s Degree holder, even from the USA, has to wait for 14 years to become a citizen if he was born in India. How can I look them in the eye and tell them that an illegal immigrant with no education will get citizenship in 13 years?
The Senate bill, which the House rejected, had a point system. But it was more generous with the point system based on family than on education and experience. When people choose to come into this country, they make a conscious decision to leave their family. Why should someone with no education come in simply by being adult siblings of a United States Citizen, or worse, simply by lottery, when it takes 14 years for Master’s Degree holders whose ONLY crime was being born in India?
Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration Attorney Annie Banerjee, for more information

Immigration Reform

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments
The shutdown proves that we are a deeply divided country.  And the ONLY reason that the Republicans gave in is because their constituents, big business said no to them. It was survival for them, an economic necessity.
When it comes to immigration and the shutdown, the media seems to harp upon how people waiting in line was affected.  But Citizenship and Immigration Service was open, and legal people had NO EXTRA wait time.  The shut down merely hindered illegal people. 
The media never paid attention to businesses.  Business lost immensely because they could not file transfers of H-1B visas.  The Department of Labor was closed.  Before filing the H-1B visa, the Department of Labor has to certify that the beneficiary is being paid a fair wage.  The Department of Labor was closed.  Professionals who were reaching the end of their stay could not file PERM- Labor Certification or H-1B extensions.  These individual came into this country legally, and perform professional services mainly in sectors where not enough qualified US Citizens exist.
Yet the Democrats have made immigration into an illegal Mexican issue.  However it will be up to the Republicans to champion their side.  During the passing of the Affordable Care Act, the Republican just chose not to participate.  As a result we have a one party Act, which does not address for instance, tort reform.  Even though tort reform is a State issue, the federal Government could easily have limited it under the Act.  Ambulance chasing law suits add to useless and expensive tests that greatly increase health care costs, and will continue to do so.  But the tort lawyers support Democrats.  Lets not make Immigration a one party law.
Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration Attorney Annie Banerjee, for more information

When Government Reopens

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments
Yes, the Government is back up, but not their web site.  When the Government shut down, it took them 2 seconds to shut everything down and go home.  Now that they are supposed to show up for work again, they are forming their “post shutdown” schedule. 
We are monitoring the progress and will let you know when the web sites go up again.  Meanwhile H-1Bs cannot be filed without certified labor condition applications.
PERM- Labor Certification website is still down.
Any package that we sent to Department of Labor was held by fedex, and will be delivered today.
Any question that you might have as to how long it will take has one answer: “who knows”.  Hopefully shortly.  Hopefully labor condition applications and Prevailing Wages will be adjudicated swiftly.
With that in mind, we are sending advertisements for quotes.
Once the web sites are back up, employers can register for PERM- Labor Certification again, and file labor condition application.  And yes, we will file all the PERM- Labor Certifications waiting us. 
Contact  Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration Attorney Annie Banerjee, for more information

When Government Reopens

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments
Yes, the Government is back up, but not their web site.  When the Government shut down, it took them 2 seconds to shut everything down and go home.  Now that they are supposed to show up for work again, they are forming their “post shutdown” schedule. 
We are monitoring the progress and will let you know when the web sites go up again.  Meanwhile H-1Bs cannot be filed without certified labor condition applications.
PERM- Labor Certification website is still down.
Any package that we sent to Department of Labor was held by fedex, and will be delivered today.
Any question that you might have as to how long it will take has one answer: “who knows”.  Hopefully shortly.  Hopefully labor condition applications and Prevailing Wages will be adjudicated swiftly.
With that in mind, we are sending advertisements for quotes.
Once the web sites are back up, employers can register for PERM- Labor Certification again, and file labor condition application.  And yes, we will file all the PERM- Labor Certifications waiting us. 
Contact  Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration Attorney Annie Banerjee, for more information