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Recent Blogs Posts

  1. Passport Day at the Buffalo Passport Agency on October 14th

    by , 09-20-2017 at 01:49 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    FYI:

    Buffalo Passport Agency
    U.S. Department of State

    Passport Day on Saturday, October 14

    The Buffalo Passport Agency is hosting a special passport day on Saturday, October 14 as part of the U.S. Department of State’s Passport Awareness Month.

    This year, the State Department’s public awareness campaign focuses on the benefits of getting a U.S. passport card and how both products (the passport book
    and card) are great forms of photo ID. The event on Saturday is a convenient way to apply for the first time or renew your passport.

    Day: Saturday, October 14
    Time: 10:00am – 3:00pm
    Location: 111 Genesee Street, Suite 101
    Buffalo, NY 14203

    Payment: Credit card, personal check, exact cash (no change is given)

    Applicants may choose routine service (4-6 weeks) or expedited service (2-3 weeks). Expedited service costs an additional $60. Applicants will be seen on a
    first come, first serve basis and no appointment is necessary.

    For information on passport forms and fees, or to learn more about Passport Awareness Month, visit Travel.State.Gov.

    For media inquiries please contact:
    Kristine Knapp
    716-855- 6005
    BuffaloCS@state.gov
  2. MU’S MARIA SCHNEIDER AUTHORS ALABAMA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS NEWSLETTER ARTICLE

    by , 09-20-2017 at 09:16 AM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)
    Maria Schneider, MU’s Senior Associate, recently authored an article for the Alabama Association of Realtors Newsletter.

    Schneider’s article focused on immigration updates under the Trump Administration pertinent to those buying and investing in real estate. The article outlined recent legislative proposals and executive actions, and how these would affect real estate brokers, agents, buyers, and sellers. Schneider closed the article by outlining visa options available for investors in the United States.

    The Alabama Association of Realtors is the largest statewide organization of real estate professionals in Alabama. Members of the Association work as real estate professionals in the sale, lease, appraisal, and development of residential, rural, and resort properties throughout the state of Alabama. The Association is the official voice and advocate of Alabama’s multi-faceted real estate industry and provides members continuing education, public policy advocacy, annual meetings and conferences, as well as several other services.


    Please read the Musillo Unkenholt Healthcare and Immigration Law Blog at www.musillo.com and www.ilw.com. You can also visit us on Facebook, Twitter and LinknedIn.
  3. New Rule Spells Potential Trouble for Asylees

    There’s a new State Department rule in town about misrepresentation, and it could signal trouble for certain asylum seekers and others who enter the country on non-immigrant visas and then seek to remain here permanently or engage in other behavior inconsistent with their visas.

    The State Department has a long tradition of blocking visas for people facing persecution (if you don't believe me, Google "Breckinridge Long").

    To understand the problem, we first need to talk a bit about non-immigrant visas (“NIV”). To obtain an NIV, you have to promise to comply with the terms of that visa. One common NIV requirement is that you must intend to leave the U.S. at the end of your period of authorized stay (some NIVs are exempt from this requirement, most notably the H1b and the L, which are known as "dual intent" visas). Another common NIV requirement is that the visa-holder should not work in the U.S. without permission. If you breach these requirements, there are often—but not always—immigration consequences.

    For example, up until the rule change, if an alien entered the U.S. on a B or F visa, or on the Visa Waiver Program, and then filed to “adjust status” (i.e., get a green card) within 30 days of arrival, the alien was presumed to have had an “immigration intent” at the time of entry, and thus USCIS would assume that she lied about her intention to leave the U.S. at the end of her authorized stay (in government-speak, this is called a misrepresentation). If she violated her status between 30 and 60 days after arrival, USCIS might still decide that she misrepresented her intentions when she got the visa (this was known as the 30/60 day rule). If she filed for the green card on day 61 or beyond, she would generally be safe. There are exceptions and caveats to all this, but you get the picture.

    Enter the new rule, which appears in the State Department’s Field Adjudications Manual (at 9 FAM 302.9-4(B)(3)):

    [If] an alien violates or engages in conduct inconsistent with his or her nonimmigrant status within 90 days of entry… you [the consular officer] may presume that the applicant’s representations about engaging in only status-compliant activity were willful misrepresentations of his or her intention in seeking a visa or entry.

    This change specifically affects people applying for visas at U.S. consulates, but it seems likely that USCIS could adopt the rule as well, which would mean that people who come to the United States on certain NIVs and who engaged in “non-status-compliant activity” within 90 days of arrival will be presumed to have lied in order to obtain their visas. All this means that the 30/60 day rule is dead, at least so far as the State Department is concerned, and probably for USCIS as well.

    This is all pretty boring and confusing, you say. What does it have to do with asylum seekers?

    The issue is, if a person comes to the United States and applies for asylum within 90 days of arrival, he might be considered to have lied about his “immigration intent” in order to obtain a U.S. visa. In other words, requesting asylum (and thus asking to stay permanently in the United States) is not consistent with coming here on most NIVs, which require that you promise to leave the U.S. at the end of your authorized stay.

    This problem is not just academic. I’ve recently heard from a colleague whose client came to the U.S., won asylum, and obtained a green card. But when the client applied for citizenship, USCIS accused him of a “misrepresentation” because he entered the country on an NIV and then sought to remain here permanently through asylum. This example comes amidst several cases—including one of my own—where USCIS seems to have pushed the boundaries of the law in order to deny citizenship to asylees. It also seems part of a larger pattern to "bury lawyers and their clients in requests for more and more documentation, and clarification on points that were already extremely clear in the initial filing."

    I should note that the above examples are not related to the new State Department rule (probably), though if USCIS implements a similar rule, it would potentially expose many more asylees (and other USCIS applicants) to the same fate.

    It’s a little hard to understand what USCIS is trying to do here, or why they are doing it. For one things, there is a waiver available to refugees and asylees who commit fraud (the waiver forgives fraud and allows the person to remain in the United States). Also, when a person fears persecution in her country and qualifies for asylum, low-grade misrepresentations are routinely forgiven. So the likelihood that any asylee would ultimately be deported for having lied to get a visa is close to zero. In other words, USCIS can delay the process, and cause these asylees a lot of stress and expense, but in the end, they will remain here and most likely become U.S. citizens (eventually).

    Perhaps this is the Trump Administration’s implementation of “extreme vetting.” If so, it’s more appearance than substance. It looks as if something is happening, but really, nothing is happening. Except of course that USCIS is mistreating people who have come to the United States and demonstrated that they have a well-founded fear of harm in their home countries. So—like a Stalinist show trial—such people will admit their “misrepresentations” (in many cases, for the second, third or fourth time), go through the hassle, stress, and expense of the waiver process, and then end up staying here just the same.

    It’s too bad. USCIS can do a lot of good—for immigrants and for our national security. But unfortunately, their current path will not lead to improvements in either realm.

    Originally posted on the Asylumist: www.Asylumist.com
    Tags: asylum, fraud, uscis Add / Edit Tags
  4. USCIS RESUMES PPS FOR H-1B CAP PETITIONS

    by , 09-19-2017 at 09:10 AM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)
    by Chris Musillo

    USCIS has resumed Premium Processing Service (PPS) for H-1B cap-subject petitions. Presently, H-1B cap-subject petitions, H-1Bs for cap-exempt employers (e.g. research entities and universities), and H-1Bs for doctors are the only H-1B petitions that may use PPS. H-1B transfers, amendments, and extensions currently are prohibited from PPS.

    USCIS’ press release said that it “plans to resume premium processing for all other remaining H‑1B petitions (i.e. H-1B transfers, amendments, and extensions) not subject to the FY 2018 cap, as agency workloads permit.” The press release did not commit to a time frame for the resumption of PPS for these types of H-1B petitions. However, in a June 2017 AILA Q & A, USCIS HQ indicated that it “anticipates” resuming H-1B PPS processing on or before October 4. This comment did not delineate between H-1B cap petitions and other types of H-1B petitions, such as transfers, amendments, and extensions.

    The USCIS may have decided to prioritize H-1B cap-subject petitions in order to allow some F-1/OPT students to continue to work without work authorization beyond October 1. Certain F-1/OPT students’ will lose work authorizing on October 1 if their H-1B cap-subject petition is not approved before October 1. Please check with your MU attorney or staff member if you have questions.


    Please read the Musillo Unkenholt Healthcare and Immigration Law Blog at www.musillo.com and www.ilw.com. You can also visit us on Facebook, Twitter and LinknedIn.

    Updated 09-20-2017 at 09:16 AM by CMusillo

  5. Effects of Temination of DACA on Employers

    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

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    Since President Trump’s announcement rescinding DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), media focus has been on the 800,000 DACA recipients – as it rightfully should be. However, there is going to be another entity impacted - employers of those 800,000 DACA recipients.

    Not only do employers need to be concerned about the loss of valuable employees, but employers need to be concerned with staying in compliance of immigration laws. It is fundamental immigration law that employees cannot legally work without proof of their identity and work authorization. Thus, when DACA recipients’ Employment Authorization Card (EAD) expire, employers will need to discharge DACA recipients, unless they have found another way to obtain work authorization (which is very unlikely).

    But before employers start discharging employees, one needs to be careful not to do so prematurely. During the period of DACA’s work authorization, even beyond March 5, 2018, when the USCIS will no longer approve DACA renewals, DACA employees can be authorized to legally work. It all depends on the EAD’s expiration date. Although no renewal EAD will be issued after March 5, 2018, this doesn’t mean all DACA recipients are not eligible to work after March 5, 2018.

    As an example, DACA employee Jose has an EAD which expires on March 4, 2018, so he can renew his DACA status and EAD (if the renewal is filed by October 5, 2017). Thus, he will be eligible to work until about March 2020. On the other hand, another employee, Mohammed, has an EAD pursuant to DACA, which expires on March 6, 2018. Unfortunately, March 6, 2018 is the date his employment must terminate. Thus, employers must be observant of the EAD’s expiration date.

    How does an employer even know whether the EAD is through DACA, TPS, or withholding of removal? There is a code on the front of the EAD card. For DACA, the code is C33. This code is different than codes for TPS or withholding - A10, A12 or C19.

    Some employers may ask why can’t I just discharge DACA recipients now. First, they are probably very good employees – as so many of them are proud to be legally working for the first time in their lives. Second, hopefully Congress is going to pass the DREAM Act or some other legislation that will provide for lawful employment for DACA recipients; thus, employers won’t have to face the issue. However, if an employer chose to discharge a DACA recipient based on his DACA status, it is very unlikely that the discharge would be unlawful under the anti-discrimination provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

    Some small employers may be thinking I’m just going to look the other way and not terminate DACA recipients when their work authorization expires. Although I can understand employers not wanting to hurt their DACA employees, employers need to consider their own situation. If an employer continues to employ a worker after his work authorization expires, is not renewed, and no other work authorization is provided, they are subject to “knowingly” employing an undocumented worker. The fines for such a first offense range from $539 to over $4000, with a fine of over $3,000 being the most likely. If you have five DACA employees that you retain without work authorization, you are looking at a fine of $15,000 before Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has even looked at your Form I-9s for substantive violations. So, your heart may tell you to keep DACA recipients without work authorization; but, listen to your head, which is filled with dollar signs for fines and penalties.

    For the answers to many other questions related to employer immigration compliance, I invite you to read my new book, The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0997083379.
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