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  1. Anti-Union Gov. Walker Opposes Work Visas "To Protect US Workers". By Roger Algase

    Arguably no one in America is better known for preventing US workers from bargaining for higher wages or more benefits than Wisconsin Governor and Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker, whose union-busting tactics forced him into a recall election which he narrowly survived not too long ago (with the alleged help of "dark money" from the Koch brothers, who are now backing him for president in the full light of day and pledging to spend nearly a billion dollars to elect him).

    See: Huffington Post: The Koch Brothers Are Reportedly Ready To Back Scott Walker (April 20)

    Therefore, if there were any truth to the claim that employment based legal immigration, such as H-1B and L-1 visas, lowers the wages of American workers, one would logically expect Scott Walker, more than anyone else, to be on the side of increasing legal work visas in order to bring in more foreign workers and keep US workers' wages down.

    But, to the contrary, Walker has now joined the far right wing members of his party who not only want to prevent reform of illegal immigration, but who also want to restrict legal immigration.

    As the Huffington Post points out in its April 20 article: Scott Walker Tacks Far Right On Immigration

    Walker is now putting himself at odds with his own party's other announced or likely presidential candidates, including former Florida governor Jeb Bush, and Senators Marco Rubio (FL), Rand Paul (KY) and Ted Cruz (TX). All of these, except for Walker, have either supported or refrained from criticizing legal skilled and professional worker immigration.

    Indeed, while most Republican politicians are well known for their hard line on illegal immigration, they have, in general, been outspoken and consistent in their support for employment-based legal immigration.

    The most recent example of this is the bipartisan bill introduced by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) which would increase H-1B visas to reasonable levels more in line with actual demand, and also do much to end the unconscionable backlogs in employment-based green card quotas. A more detailed analysis of this worthy and badly needed bill, which is now being opposed by the extreme anti-immigrant wing of the GOP, led by Senate Judiciary Committee Charles Grassley, will appear in a future post.

    Gov. Walker, who as mentioned above, is known more than anything else for being on the side of keeping American wages low, is now arguing against legal immigration because of a sudden, very new-found interest in "protecting American workers and American wages". One can only wonder how genuine Walker's sudden conversion to the cause of keeping American wages high and preserving American jobs is.

    If that is his real motivation, rather than pandering to nativist anti-immigrant feeling in order to gain right wing votes, one can assume that Walker will take prompt steps to repeal the anti-union legislation in his own state which he himself so eagerly pushed through.

    While waiting for Walker to act (which might be a very long wait indeed), advocates of a fair and rational employment-based immigration system (which, to their credit, most Republicans support) would do well to take the vocal right wing opposition to raising the H-1B visa cap and reforming the green card quota system in the avowed interest of "protecting American wages and jobs" with more than a few grains of salt.

    Few if any of the politicians who now want to restrict employment-based immigration in order to "protect American workers" have ever voted for real worker protections, such as supporting union rights or raising the minimum wage.
    Roger Algase is a New York lawyer and graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School who has been practicing employment-based and family-based immigration law for more than 30 years. He has helped immigrants from many different parts of the world overcome the obstacles of our complex immigration system and achieve their goals of living and working in America.

    Roger welcomes comments and questions sent to

    Updated 04-21-2015 at 06:48 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  2. AAO Provides Clarification on the Meaning of “Doing Business” for EB-1 Petitions

    On April 9, 2015, the Administrative Appeals Office (“AAO”) issued a decision in which it discussed the meaning of “doing business” for EB-1 petitions. In Matter of Leacheng International, Inc., the Petitioner filed an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker in the classification of multinational manager or executive. To qualify for this classification, it must be established that a petitioner has been doing business for at least one year. Doing business is defined as the “regular, systematic, and continuous provision of goods and / or services by a firm, corporation, or other entity.” See 8 C.F.R. § 204.5(j)(2). The Petitioner is an affiliate of an entity based out of Hong Kong. Both organizations are owned by a Chinese parent company. The Petitioner was responsible for importing and selling the parent company’s products in the U.S. Starting in 2012, the Petitioner began “providing marketing, sales, and shipping services in the United States pursuant to a service agreement with its Hong Kong affiliate.” The case was initially denied on the basis that the evidence “does not indicate ‘doing business’ with independent corporations or entities’ for a full year preceding the filing of the petition, but rather ‘only demonstrate[s] the shipment of goods from the foreign company to the U.S. company.” In reviewing the case, the AAO determined that there was nothing in the regulations that requires that a “petitioner for a multinational manager or executive must provide goods or services to an unaffiliated third party.” Rather, a petitioner may prove that it is doing business “by demonstrating that it is providing goods and / or services in a regular, systematic, and continuous manner to related companies within its multinational organization.” In reviewing the evidence, the AAO instructed that the totality of the record should be reviewed and “the fact that a petitioner serves as an agent, representative, or liaison between a related foreign entity and its United States customers does not preclude a finding that it is doing business.” This case provides important information on what types of activities will qualify as “doing business” for purposes of an EB-1 filing. This post originally appeared on HLG's Views blog by Cadence Moore.

  3. Immigration's Dark Side, Pt. 2: Europe, South Africa - and America, by Roger Algase

    Update, April 20 at 1:58 pm:

    According to Reuters and other April 20 news reports, the number of refugees who have drowned in the latest shipwreck while attempting to reach Italy from chaotic, ungovernable, ISIS-threatened Libya may have reached 900 instead of 700, as initially reported.

    My original post follows:

    Continuing news about the dark side of immigration, i.e. ongoing intolerance and inhumanity toward immigrants, many of whom are fleeing from intolerable conditions in their countries of residence, by the actual or intended host countries, has been available in abundance during the weekend of April 18-19.

    First, there is an April 19 Reuters report:

    Hundreds drown off Libya, EU leaders forced to reconsider migrant crisis

    According to this article, as many as 700 migrants seeking refuge in Europe from North Africa were feared dead on Sunday, April 19, after their boat capsized and sank of the Libyan coast, bringing to 1,500 the number who have died trying to reach Europe this year. The report quotes Pope Francis as follows:

    "They are men and women like us, our brothers seeking a better life, starving, persecuted, wounded, exploited, victims of war. They were looking for a better life, they were looking for happiness."

    Unfortunately, the response of anti-immigrant groups in Italy was less sympathetic, as the above article also reports:

    "The leader of the anti-immigrant Northern League party, Matteo Salvini, called for an immediate naval blockade of the coast of Libya while Daniela Santanche, a prominent member of Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party said Italy's navy must "sink all the boats"

    Whether she knew it or not, Ms. Santanche was repeating the same inhuman sentiment that Virgil ascribed to the vengeful goddess Juno 2,000 years ago in Book 1 of the Aeneid, when Juno urges Aeolus, god of the winds, to sink the boats of the legendary first immigrants to Italy and founders of what was eventually to become the Roman empire:

    incute vim ventis summersasque obrue puppis /aut age diversos et disice corpora ponto.

    ("Put force into your winds, and sink their ships, or tear apart their [sailors'] bodies and scatter them into the sea.")

    One can only wonder what Virgil, arguably the greatest poet whom Italy has ever produced (certainly in the opinion of Dante) would have thought if he could have heard someone who might be able to claim to have inherited the Roman tradition speaking with such hatred and cruelty toward innocent, defenseless refugees.

    This could truly equal, if not exceed, the hatred of Juno toward the legendary hero, Aeneas, and his fellow survivors of the Trojan War, as Virgil describes in the following line (also in Book 1 of the Aeneid):

    saevae memorem Iunonis ob iram

    ("Because of savage Juno's never forgotten rage")

    Virgil also asks, in the same Book 1:

    tantaene animis caelestibus irae ("Can gods possess such anger?")

    In the same way, one can also ask whether someone who has any vestige of normal feeling left could possibly give in to the vicious and inhuman wish to drown every refugee trying to reach Europe from North Africa, as expressed by the contemporary European politician mentioned above.

    On a more humanitarian note, Reuters also quotes Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat as follows:

    "A tragedy is unfolding in the Mediterranean, and if the EU and the world continue to close their eyes, it will be judged in the harshest terms as it was judged in the past when it closed its eyes to genocides when the comfortable did nothing."
    (Bold added.)

    An even more ominous sign of the fate that could have been awaiting some of the drowned immigrants if they had remained in Libya appears in a Huffington Post story of the same date:

    ISIS Video Purports To Show Killing Of Ethiopian Christians In Libya

    (I do not have a URL for this article, but it should be available through

    This article describes yet another ISIS video purporting to show shooting and beheading of its victims, this time consisting (according to the report) of Ethiopian migrants who were presumably trying to reach Europe through Libya.

    It is highly unlikely that Virgil could have possibly imagined a group of people resembling ISIS in any way whatsoever when he wrote as follows, again in Book 1 of the Aeneid, about the "noble" Romans whom his great epic work was intended to glorify:

    hinc populum late regem belloque superbum / venturum exidio Libyae;

    "From there a people wide in rule and skilled in warfare would come to destroy Libya".

    Professor Greg Woolf, in his book Rome: An Empire's Story (Oxford University Press, 2012), refers to the "atrocities", including riots, lynchings and cold-blooded political murders, which took place in Rome at the end of the Republic during the first century B.C.

    But, just in case there is anyone who thinks that atrocities were only associated with ancient Rome, the treatment of immigrants seeking refuge in certain supposedly "advanced" countries of Europe and America in the early 21st century of our present era has a good deal to teach us.

    Nor is anti-immigrant hatred, accompanied by violence or threats of violence, limited to Europe and America, but it is also alive and well in South Africa, according to an April 19 Huffington Post article (which should be available at the same site as that given above for the ISIS story) entitled:

    Immigrants Describe Facing Threats and Violence In South Africa

    This article describes violence and terror directed against immigrants to South Africa mainly from neighboring Southern African Countries, but also from Asia, at the hands of individual or informal groups of South African citizens, not the government, which appears to be trying to protect them, with only partial success.

    The Huffington Post article reports:

    "The attacks stem from a perception that immigrants are taking jobs at the expense of South Africans in a country with high unemployment. Many people from other countries have entered South Africa illegally, though the government has said that a large number are working legally and contributing to economic development."

    The report continues:

    "Some African countries are arranging to repatriate their fearful citizens and there have been protests and calls for a boycott of South African goods...Immigrants from Asia and the Middle East have also been affected by the violence in South Africa."

    As I mentioned in Part 1 of this 2-part series, hundreds of immigrants drowning while trying to reach EU countries from North Africa, or the existence of anti-immigrant violence in South Africa, may seem remote from the current issues which immigration advocates on both sides of the issue are concerned with in the US, such as whether to raise the annual cap on H-1B visas for skilled workers or ease the backlogs for employment-based permanent resident applicants (as contained in a sensible and badly needed bi-partisan Senate bill introduced by Senator Orrin Hatch - R-Utah - which some experts give very little chance of passage - no doubt precisely it is so rational and timely).

    But behind the surface debates over economic statistics and arcane legal provisions which inevitably accompany every discussion of immigration in the US, there is also a streak of irrational anger and scapegoating of immigrants among some sections of the public and our political classes that wish to sink, if not the ships of skilled immigrants in the US, at least their chances of being able to stay and work in this country.

    And while drownings of immigrants trying to find refuge in America from conditions in Mexico and Central America that are almost as dangerous as those in chaotic and ungovernable countries such as Libya (now that Virgil's benevolent legendary queen Dido has long since been replaced and is now being supplanted by ISIS) are few, deaths in the desert are high.

    So is the level of cruelty directed against Central American mothers and their children seeking asylum in America in our private, for profit immigration detention system, which also qualifies as an atrocity by any reasonable humanitarian standard.

    Americans of good will should be following these developments in Europe and Africa closely, and with a good deal of concern, lest our own country, which already has its own share of prejudice and hate, go even further down the road of anti-immigrant madness which is now breaking out in some other parts of the world.
    Roger Algase is a New York lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been helping skilled workers and family-based immigrants overcome the obstacles of our complex immigration system and achieve their goals of living and working in America for more than 30 years.

    Roger welcomes questions and comments addressed to

    Updated 04-20-2015 at 12:59 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  4. H-1B Cap Crisis is Due to Anti-Immigrant Paranoia, Not H-1B Defects, by Roger Algase

    In the wake of the unprecedented number of skilled foreign workers who will be turned away from America because of the shortage of H-1B visas caused by the USCIS's receipt of almost 233,000 cap subject petitions this year, employers, skilled workers themselves, lawyers, and immigration advocates all over America are asking the same question. Carl Shusterman puts it succinctly in the title of his April 17 Immigration Daily post:

    H-1B Cap: Congress Needs to Do its Job

    But why can't Congress do its job in raising the H-1B cap? This year's visa cap train wreck may be unprecedented, but it was hardly unforeseen.

    While this year there were almost four times as many H-1B petitions as the annual 65,000 visas for workers who do not have a US master degree. last year there were almost three times as many. That also qualifies as a major train wreck by any standard.

    Nor was last year exactly the first in which the annual H-1B quotas were over-subscribed. This is a problem which Congress saw coming more than a decade ago and has stubbornly refused to do anything about ever since.

    The question everyone is asking is - why? Carl Shusterman points to alleged abuses in the H-B program, at least as identified by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, a long time bitter foe of the entire H-1B program and opponent of other work visas as well.

    Carl Shusterman speaks for every reasonable H-1B observer when he writes:

    "Many of their concerns are valid. When a few H-1B companies use H-1B workers to displace US workers, I think we can all agree that this is wrong, and that the law needs to be changed to prevent this from happening."

    Nor would anyone who genuinely cares about finding a real solution to the visa shortage dispute Carl Shusterman when he continues:

    "But why can't the H-1B cap be raised and loopholes in the law be closed at the same time? That would be a reasonable compromise and Congress is supposed to be adapt at the art of compromise, especially when the H-1B program is so clearly in [our] national interest."

    The problem is that, like so much else in immigration today, the H-1B cap issue involves rational considerations only on the surface. But there is a lot else going on underneath.

    First, however, it is useful to consider what kind of compromises might be possible with regard to the H-1B cap if Congress were willing to look at this issue rationally.

    One such compromise was included in the late, lamented, bipartisan 2013 S.744 Senate immigration reform bill of blessed memory. Essentially, it would have raised the H-1B cap, while at the same time turning at least part of the H-1B program into a labor certification requiring a test of the market for US workers as a pre-condition for issuing an H-1B approval.

    This is, arguably, an extremely dangerous road to travel. In all likelihood, it would lead, probably sooner rather than later, into turning the entire H-1B program into another PERM. Imagine what would be left of H-1B if employers had to go through months of expensive recruitment, loaded with technical minefields, and wait many more months to receive the labor certification - or, in many cases, an invitation to wait two years or more for a BALCA decision, just to hire a temporary worker.

    That would be the end of the H-1B program.

    But, as I have indicated above, the main obstacle to finding a rational compromise on the H-1B issue is not that it is impossible to come up with reasonable solutions, but because of irrational attitudes toward immigration in general which are poisoning the entire H-1B well.

    Yes, there are no doubt some abuses in the H-1B program, as there are, unfortunately, in any immigration program. But that is not a reason for gutting H-1B as we know it, any more than it is an excuse for throwing out any other immigration program.

    If Senator Grassley and other diehard H-1B opponents were really interested in improving this program, as opposed to killing it, it would not be difficult to find reasonable ways to make whatever changes are needed to reduce the chances of abuse and add even more protections than there already are for the wage levels of US workers, while increasing the annual visa limit at the same time.

    Nor, despite the arguments of some, is the executive branch totally helpless to come up with at least some partial solutions to the H-1B visa shortage, as I will discuss in a forthcoming post.

    H-1B issues may seem to be light years removed from the issues facing Central American women and their children who are being traumatized and humiliated in our privately run, for-profit, immigration detention system with its 34,000 Congressionally mandated beds, influenced by lobbyists for a handful of well-heeled, influential prison companies that need to lock up as many immigrants as possible to maintain their profits.

    H-1B may seem even more removed from the plight of North African refugees who are drowning in their failed attempts to reach European countries that are unwilling to spend a single cent to rescue them - at least according to the Huffington Post reports mentioned in my two-part series: Immigration's Dark Side: Europe and America.

    (This series will also discuss the violence and terror directed against immigrants in today's South Africa - it is not only white countries that are engaging in fundamental human rights violations against immigrants.)

    But the same xenophobia, paranoia and scapegoating of minorities that are causing so many problems for other immigrants in America and elsewhere are also the main reason why finding a solution to the H-1B cap continues to elude the US Congress. If we ignore this reality, we are just kidding ourselves.
    Roger Algase is a New York lawyer and advocate for immigrant rights who has been practicing H-1B and other employment-based and family-based immigration law for more than 30 years. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.

    Roger welcomes questions and comments at

    Updated 04-18-2015 at 12:14 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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  5. Immigration's Dark Side: Europe and America - Pt. 1, by Roger Algase

    Huffington Post reports on April 15 that another 41 refugees trying to reach Italy from North Africa were believed dead in a shipwreck in the Mediterranean Sea, in addition to at least 400 others missing and presumed to have died when their boat capsized while making the same journey earlier this week. The same report states that, according to the UN's refugee agency, 219,000 refugees and migrants crossed the Mediterranean last year, and 3,500 died trying.


    More Than 40 Feared Dead In New Mediterranean Shipwreck Tragedy

    Just by way of comparison, the above number of virtually unnoticed, ignored people who lost their lives seeking to escape from poverty and dangerous conditions in North Africa is greater than the total number of people killed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

    The Huffpost also reports:

    "...none of the 28 nations from the world's wealthiest trade bloc has pledged a single plane, a single ship or a single cent to add to the rescue effort."

    The report also attributes this, at least in part, to "a growing anti-foreigner electorate" in many EU countries.

    This gives a new and somber meaning to Virgil's line in the Aeneid 2,000 years ago, when he has the goddess Juno complain:

    gens inimica mihi Tyrrhenum navigat aequor ("People whom I despise are sailing on the waters of the Tyrrhenian [Mediterranean] sea.")

    Those people, as everyone familiar with the history of Europe knows, were also trying to reach Italy, according to legend. Virgil's lengthy poem, written toward the end of the 1st century BC, relates that they actually wound up in North Africa first, before eventually completing an arduous but finally successful journey to the Italian mainland, despite Juno's intense efforts to stop them from doing so at all costs.

    Now, in the 21st century of our era, it is as if Juno were speaking, not just for herself, as in Virgil's immortal epic, but for many of the white countries of Europe when she uses the fateful words: gens inimica mihi.

    Meanwhile, here in America, a group of detained mothers at the privately run Karnes City, Texas, immigration family detention center has launched a second hunger strike in protest against the Obama administration's policy of detaining Central American women and children even though they may have legally valid asylum claims.

    In its April 14 article: Mothers Launch A Second Hunger Strike At Karnes City Family Detention Center, Huffington Post Latino Voices reports that some women and children have been detained at the facility for several months, and that signers of a petition to the ICE director calling for their release are facing retaliation by prison guards, including being locked up in isolation and denied the right to call their lawyers.

    According to the same report, the private prison industry is partly responsible for the large number of detentions. In response to lobbyists for the industry, Congress has mandated that 34,000 immigrants must be detained at all times.

    See also, Huffington Post Latino Voices:

    Some Hunger - Striking Mothers Were Put In Isolation At Karnes Immigrant Detention Center, Lawyers Say

    (April 2, 2015 - I do not have URLs for the above articles, but they should be accessible on the Huffpost website).

    Arguably the biggest disgrace of all to America in the immigrant family detention scandal, even more that the casual brutality and inhumanity meted out by the private prison guards to women and children who had looked to America as a refuge from the very real fears of violence and death that so many of them have experienced in the gang ridden countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, is the evident stranglehold that private prison companies have over the immigrant family detention system.

    Huffington Post
    provides more details in a third article, dated April 15, entitled:

    "Bed Quota Fuels 'Inhumane' and 'Unnecessary' Immigrant Detention: Report"

    The Huffpost article, among other things, reports:

    "The [34,000] detention bed mandate was first inserted into the Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2010. Today, private companies control about 62 per cent of the immigrant detention beds used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to the report [by Grassroots Leadership, an Austin, Texas-based non-profit]...Of the ten largest immigrant detention centers in the country, nine are operated by private companies."

    But this is only the beginning of the disgraceful facts regarding control of America's immigration system by private companies whose profits depend on locking up as many immigrants as possible, and for as long as possible.

    To be continued in Part 2.

    Roger Algase is a New York lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been helping employment-based and family-based immigrants overcome the obstacles of our immigration system and attain their goals of living and working in America legally for more than 30 years.

    Roger welcomes questions and comments at

    Updated 04-17-2015 at 12:57 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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