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    by , 05-29-2009 at 12:32 PM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    OK, I don't normally plug my immigration practice or otherwise make this a commercial space. But it so happens that I've written a book that is co-published by ILW, the host of this blog, so this is Kosher. The new book is called the Employer's Immigration Compliance Desk Reference and it is co-published with SHRM - The Society for Human Resource Management. It is designed for HR professionals, business owners and lawyers and covers subjects like I-9s, E-Verify, worksite raids, the Social Security No-Match rule, and immigration consequences of mergers and acquisitions. You can see the full table of contents and purchase the book by going here.

    by , 05-29-2009 at 07:24 AM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    One more nail in the coffin when it comes to the GOP's chances of getting Hispanic voters to consider returning to the party.


    by , 05-29-2009 at 06:32 AM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    Hizzoner and major companies like American Express, Macy's and Pfizer sign on to a letter urging Congress to move this bill. It's a similar letter to one signed recently by Microsoft.

    Bloomberg endorses DREAM Act -
  4. Don't Ask, Can't Tell: Immigration Inequality for Same-Sex Families

    by , 05-28-2009 at 08:50 PM (Angelo Paparelli on Dysfunctional Government)
    Family reunification, at least as far back as the Quota Law of 1921, has been and remains today a cornerstone of America's immigration laws. Yet, one growing segment of family immigration is disfavored by operation of law. These are the families of same-sex life partners who must live under a legal system that imposes family-separation rather than unity.
    Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) provides:

    In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word "marriage" means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word "spouse" refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.
    DOMA prevents America's immigration officials from recognizing marriages and civil unions that are legal in the state or nation where a same-sex couple is wed or the civil union is registered. As a result, a U.S. citizen may not petition the immigration authorities to grant a green card to a foreign life partner of the same sex, no matter the length of the relationship or the couple's level of commitment to each other.
    This puts the United States out of synch with the 19 nations that recognize same-sex life partnerships for immigration purposes: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
    Inexplicably, while America prohibits same-sex family unity for green-card purposes, it allows committed life partners to come to this country, and remain for sometimes prolonged periods, as visitors, if the foreign life partner can prove that s/he won't stay permanently.
    Don't ask (me to explain), because I can't tell (why).
    Well fortunately, for the first time ever, the Senate Judiciary Committee, at the direction of its chair, Sen. Patrick Leahy, will convene a June 3 hearing on a bill that would end this injustice, the Uniting American Families Act of 2009 (UAFA).
    UAFA provides the same benefits under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)as are granted to opposite-sex spouses. It grants these benefits to the permanent partner of a U.S. citizen, defining the phrase to mean "an individual 18 years of age or older who (A) is in a committed, intimate relationship with another individual 18 years of age or older in which both parties intend a lifelong commitment; (B) is financially interdependent with that other individual; (C) is not married to or in a permanent partnership with anyone other than that other individual; (D) is unable to contract with that other individual a marriage [recognized as valid under the INA]; and (E) is not a first, second, or third degree blood relation of that other individual."
    Sometimes the ground beneath our feet shifts and we can't be sure why. This time it may just be that the stunning tectonic movement is caused by the marching feet of the supporters of civil rights for binational gay and lesbian couples.
    Don't ask, don't tell; just call your federal legislators and urge them to enact UAFA.
    Blogger's note:
    In June, I'll be attending the annual conferences of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) in Las Vegas and the American Council for International Personnel (ACIP) in Arlington, Virginia. If you plan on being at either event, please share with me your personal pet peeves about America's dysfunctional immigration system and offer your best ideas on how to fix things. I'm all ears.
    Angelo Paparelli
  5. Velarde Memo Issues New Guidance To Adjudicators On Requirements for H-1B Beneficiaries Seeking To Practice In Certain Health Care Occupations

    by , 05-28-2009 at 10:02 AM (The H-1B Visa Blog by Siliato and Malyk)
    The May 20, 2009 Memo from Barbara Velarde, Chief of USCIS Service Center Operations, ("Velarde Memo" or "Memo") provides some important guidance  to adjudicators on the requirements for H-1B beneficiaries seeking to practice in certain health care occupations, which is of significant import to occupational therapists ("OTs") and physical therapists ("PTs"). The crux of this guidance is as follows: advanced degrees are not required for health care professionals enumerated under 8 CFR 212.15(c) (including OT and PT candidates) applying for the H-1B nonimmigrant visa classification--thereby reversing a recent trend of USICS in denying H-1Bs for OTs and PTs who do not possess an advanced degree.
    More specifically, the Velarde Memo instructs that if the petitioner (employer) provides documentary evidence that the beneficiary has a valid license to practice in the state in which the beneficiary seeks to be employed, the adjudicator should not look beyond that license. Such beneficiary will be deemed to meet the qualifications to perform services in a specialty occupation as outlined in 8 C.F.R. 214.2(h)(4)(iii)(C)(3).  Importantly, the Memo specifies that this guidance "applies regardless of whether the beneficiary is in possession of a bachelor's degree, master's degree or doctoral degree in the health care occupation."
    The Velarde Memo further instructs that if the beneficiary is in possession of an unrestricted license, and the petition is otherwise approvable, an adjudicator should approve the petition for the full H-1B period requested - up to three years - but may not approve the petition beyond the validity of the labor condition application ("LCA").  Of note, the renewal date of an unrestricted license should not be considered when determining the validity period of the H-1B approval. 
    If, however, the beneficiary is in possession of a restricted license, (e.g. a license approved except for mandatory supervised practice), and the petition is otherwise approvable, the Velarde Memo instructs the adjudicator to approve the petition for a period of one year, or the duration of the restricted license, whichever is longer. 
    To the extent the beneficiary does not have a license from the state in which he/she will be working (e.g. beneficiary cannot obtain a license due to a state statute mandating the possession of a social security card or a valid immigration document as evidence of employment authorization) the Velarde Memo instructs the adjudicator to ascertain the requirements for that particular licensure (including educational degree requirements) in the health care occupation in that state to determine whether the beneficiary is qualified to perform the specialty occupation as outlined in 8 CFR 214.2(h)(4)(iii)(C). If, after conducting such research, the adjudicator is unable to determine the state's requirements for licensure, he/she may send the petitioner a request for evidence ("RFE") asking the petitioner to provide documentary evidence of the state's requirements.
    In such a situation, the petitioner is instructed to, among other things, provide evidence that the beneficiary has (i) filed an application for a license in accordance with state or local rules and procedures; and (ii) cannot obtain a full unrestricted license in the state in which he/she will practice due to the requirement for possession of a social security card, etc.
    Assuming the petition is otherwise approvable under the above-listed standards, the validity period for such a petition will be one year.
    For additional information and frequent updates on a variety of employment-based immigration law issues, please click here to navigate to Meyner and Landis LLP's Corporate Immigration Law News Blog.
    Post Authored By: Anthony F. Siliato, Esq. and Scott R. Malyk, Esq. of Meyner and Landis LLP
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