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  1. PERM Workshop Featured Issues for IT & Software Engineers

    by , 07-17-2013 at 11:58 AM (Joel Stewart on PERM Labor Certification)
    On June 26 we had our best PERM Workshop ever in San Francisco. The attendees and speakers included outstanding immigration attorneys, HR Managers and Recruitment Specialists.

    The speakers grappled with difficult concepts such as Travel Requirements, Unanticipated Work Locations, Relocation, Stacked and Special SVP Requirements, Equivalencies and Relevance in Alternate Requirements, Wage Ranges, Supervised Recruitment, Audits, Requests for Reconsideration, Appeal to BALCA, problems with selection of Recruitment media, 30 day job orders at State Workforce Agencies and Review of Resumes.

    Linda Kim, from the Fakhoury Law Group in Alameda, California, spoke about the new Form 9041 for prevailing wage requests which requires more detailed information about travel requirements for IT workers.

    Edward Litwin of San Francisco, California, spoke on the importance up front planning for the entire residency process, including PERM, I-140 Petition and Adjustment of Status, as one, integral application.

    David Ware of Vancouver, Canada, and Metairie, Louisiana, and Rohit Turkhud, of Fakhoury Law Group in New York City, spoke on Minimum Requirements, Recruitment for Professionals or Non-professionals, and Notices of Filing. Kiran Vailale of Adnet Advertising Agency, Inc., presented a review of advertising trends and recruitment problems at SWAs around the country.

    Larry Rudnick of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, discussed post-filing issues such as audits and supervised recruitment. Nathan Waxman of New York City offered his opinion on alternate, non-traditional procedures available under the PERM Rule, including Special Application Handling and Exceptional aliens, and also discussed National Interest Waivers.

    Michael Piston of Michigan and New York City, gave his views on Post Denial Options, in a special presentation called "Fight or Flight." Michael explained the current judicial trend toward literalism in the federal courts and at BALCA, i.e., the doctrine of literal interpretation of the regulations.

    The speakers all received very high ratings, and the attendees were able to interact with the speakers during the day-long workshop. The take-home lesson from the wokshop was offered by Ed Litwin, who coined the now-famous phrase, "The PERM Rule: Never Leave Home Without It." I concur. It's all about black letter law – the PERM Rule -- with all its inconsistencies, anomalies, and surprises waiting to be discovered.

    Many of the feedback reports from attendees recommended an expansion of future PERM workshops to include special topics, additional days, and separation of entry level and advanced levels. The most experienced practitioners in attendance agreed that a review of the basics is always helpful, while advanced workshops provide cutting edge insights into PERM processing. Our new PERM Book III, published by ILW, contains everything to cover PERM from start to finish, no matter what level of experience.

    The speakers welcome inquiries by e-mail with questions, comments, observations, and inquiries regarding PERM. Please send them along to any of the speakers, or to me personally, at

    For those of you who don’t know, I live and work in Miami, Florida, as a PERM consultant, and am of counsel to the Fakhoury Law Group, a global employment immigration firm in Troy, Michigan, Alameda, California, and New York City.

    Like Ed Litwin and the others, I never leave home without PERM. And I look forward to hearing from you.

    Joel Stewart

    Updated 07-17-2013 at 12:40 PM by JStewart

  2. Can Immigration Reform Succeed in an Age of Austerity?... By Roger Algase

    Can Immigration Reform Succeed in an Age of Austerity? A Native American Perspective

    By Roger Algase

    Even though Native Americans were American before any of the rest of us, they are also impacted by some of the most important issues that affect immigrants today, including racism and inequality.

    An article on immigration reform by a Native American writer, Mark Trahant, makes some useful observations about the immigration reform debate which are largely overlooked in other media comments about this issue.

    Mark Trahant lives in Fort Hall, Idaho and is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. He describes himself as a writer, speaker and Twitter poet. His July 15 article, Failure of immigration reform in age of austerity, is available at:

    Trahant begins:

    "The debate over immigration reform in the House and Senate is an interesting lens to examine the future of austerity...

    The Senate bill is a compromise that calls for an unprecedented buildup of border security, some 20,000 new agents, in exchange for that citizenship route...

    Think about what that means: The United States can't afford to invest in education, health or infrastructure, but it can spend big bucks on border security."

    Trahant continues:

    The Senate compromise also limits eleven million people's right to participate in the health care system, while, at the same time, taxing them for services not rendered. This part of the bill is just mean."

    With regard to the House, Trahant writes:

    "So the [House] alternative is a push for legislation that 'secures' the border and puts off the citizenship question for another day."

    He explains the reason for this stinginess toward immigrants in both Houses of Congress as follows:

    "But the real link between austerity and immigration involves the national psyche because when the economy is strong, immigration is not an issue. But when money and jobs are tight, well, it's easy to blame immigrants."

    Quoting from Benjamin Friedman's book The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth, Trahant continues:

    "Friedman writes: 'Resistance to immigration in America had traditionally combined economic motives with racial and religious prejudice.' "

    Trahant then goes on to point out that the same forces that resist immigration from Latin America today were at work in the past with respect to other immigrant groups, such as Germans, Asians, Catholics and Jews.

    He concludes:

    "The generosity of spirit - or the contrary wave - impacts Indian Country too. It's no accident that the termination era came out of a poor economy. Or that members of Congress can find money to build walls, but come up short on other basic questions of infrastructure.

    A super-secure border is one more way to shrink an economy. What's more, the very nature of the debate shows that austerity isn't ready to fade from public policy. Even though it's another example of why austerity fails."

    One might add that the immigration debate not only involves economic austerity - assuming that throwing $46.3 billion away on payouts to big, well-connected defense contractors for "border security" while cutting off millions of immigrants in provisional legal status for health benefits can truly be called "austerity".

    What is even more relevant to the battle over CIR is an austerity of spirit, austerity of generosity and austerity of tolerance toward immigrants, native Americans, African Americans, the less well off, and all other people who are not members of the affluent white male elite and their supporters in the right wing of the Republican party.

    Immigration reform is not only about legalization, citizenship, the border, high tech visas, economics and a host of other technical issues, critically important though they are.

    Ultimately, immigration reform is about transforming the soul of America from austerity of spirit to an abundance of tolerance and generosity. Without this transformation, the pessimists who expect immigration reform to fail may well turn out to be right.
  3. The Most Important Words in Every Lawyer’s Vocabulary: I Don’t Know

    Recently, I worked on a couple cases where my clients got bad advice, which got them into trouble.
    The first case involved a woman with an otherwise strong asylum claim. As a young girl, she and her family were refugees in Iran. Someone in her community advised her it would be better not to tell the U.S. government (or her attorney) that she had been in Iran. The community adviser thought it would harm my client’s chances for relief if she revealed that she spent time in Iran. The client took this advice and did not tell the U.S. government (or me) that she lived in Iran for a few years. The problem, of course, was that the U.S. government–and the Asylum Officer who interviewed her–knew that she had been in Iran. Nevertheless, she denied having been there. After the interview, she told me that she had, in fact, been in Iran, and we submitted a letter to the Asylum Office explaining what happened. She may still get asylum, but her lie damaged her credibility, which could easily result in a denial. We shall see.
    If you don’t know what you’re talking about: Stifle, would-ya?
    The second case involved a woman who had been in the United States for more than one year. She was still in lawful status when conditions in her country changed causing her to fear return. About eight months after the changed circumstances, she went to a reputable non-profit organization to ask about asylum. She did not speak to an attorney, but was advised by a paralegal (or maybe a secretary) that she was ineligible for asylum since she missed the one year filing deadline. In fact, the client met two exceptions to the one-year filing deadline: First, changed circumstances, since country conditions changed, giving rise to her fear of persecution, and second, extraordinary circumstances given that she was still in lawful status when she went to the non-profit seeking advice about asylum. I recently litigated this case and the Immigration Judge granted asylum, but it was a close call. Had the client filed for asylum in a more timely manner, it would have been a much cleaner case.
    In both cases, the advisers were (probably) well meaning, but in each case, they gave advice that greatly reduced the client’s chances for success. So my question is, when people don’t know what their talking about, why do they feel compelled to open their mouths and release some sort of useless–and worse than useless–noise?
    I remember a similar phenomenon from when I lived in Nicaragua (and I and other people have experienced it in different countries). I would need to find the post office, for example, and so I would ask someone on the street. The person would give an answer, like “Walk two blocks towards the lake, make a left at the church and you’ll see it on the next block.” In fact, the person had no idea where the post office was; he just didn’t want to admit that he didn’t know.
    So what gives? Maybe in part, its because people like to look knowledgeable and don’t like to admit ignorance. People often think they know more than they do, or that they understand the way things work, when they don’t. This can be a particular problem in an area like immigration law, where the rules of logic and common sense often do not apply.
    To quote Noah ben Shea, “To be wise, we only have to go in search of our ignorance.” Indeed, had my clients’ advisers simply stated that they did not know, it would have saved everyone a lot of trouble. And so here is my advice for asylum seekers: Be careful when taking advice from friends or community members who “know how things work.” The law can be complicated and it sometimes changes. Just because your friend got asylum does not make him an expert–no two cases are the same, and what worked for one person might result in disaster for another. It feels uncomfortable and self serving for me to tell people to hire a lawyer, but time and time again, I see people whose cases (and lives) have been screwed up by bad advice. So find a reputable attorney and pay for some decent advice. In the long run, it may save you a lot of money and a lot of heartache.
    Tags: asylum, lawyers Add / Edit Tags
  4. CIR Supporter Marco Rubio Wants to Defund the Affordable Care Act.... by Roger Algase

    CIR Supporter Marco Rubio Wants to Defund the Affordable Care Act. Is He Setting a Precedent for Defunding Immigration Reform Too? by Roger Algase

    Even if the Senate CIR bill, S.744, somehow manages to get through the House and become law, which looks to be considerably less than a sure bet at this point, will it be immune from sabotage by anti-immigrant Republicans even after it is passed?

    Not if they follow the example of Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a Gang of Eight member and prominent CIR advocate. According to Politico: Defund Obamacare or no spending deal (July 11) Rubio has announced that he will vote to shut down the entire government unless the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is defunded.

    Since CIR is no less controversial, and no less hated on the Republican right than the Affordable Care Act, is not Rubio in effect showing anti-immigrant Republicans a way to destroy his own immigration reform law if it is ever enacted?

    Not that anti-immigrant Republicans need Rubio to teach them how to sabotage CIR if it becomes law. The House has already passed a measure to defund President Obama's DREAM initiative. (See, Politico: House sends message to Obama on deportations, June 6.) Even though this bill will go nowhere in the Democratic Senate, it may be a sign of things to come.

    In the current political climate, any immigration reform law would be almost certain to face a defunding challenge from Congressional Republicans.

    It is also worth noting that both CIR and the ACA are intended to help millions of less privileged and minority people, who are prime targets of the GOP. This might explain the sheer intensity of the rage which has been generated against both of these measures on the far right.

    If enacted, CIR may not only face a funding challenge from the extreme right, but also a Constitutional one, as was the case with the ACA.

    If any compromise with House Republicans is ever reached which would allow passage of CIR, reform supporters should be careful to make sure that the final version of the bill does not include Constitutional poison pills, as well as policy ones.

    See, Politico, July 11: GOP points to taxes in rejecting immigration bill.

    In addition, if CIR doesn't pass (and possibly even if it does) it would not be at all surprising if House Republicans try to impeach President Obama over immigration enforcement issues before his second term ends (assuming that Republicans hold onto the House in 2014).

    There will be more about these topics in my future posts.
  5. You Say You Want a Devolution -- in Immigration That Is

    by , 07-15-2013 at 02:39 PM (Angelo Paparelli on Dysfunctional Government)

    Will comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) die a slow and ignominious death in the House? Will the Republican Party, whose thought leaders on the far right chant "Kill the Bill," face a near-term visit by the Grim Reaper?

    Are conservatives abandoning conservatism over immigration, as David Brooks and this blogger maintain? Are lobbyists who were "drinking brandy and smoking cigars" while writing the Senate immigration bill the cause of its apparent failure in the House?

    Will Paul Ryan outflank John Boehner and pull off a twofer (saving CIR and snatching the Speaker's gavel)?

    Is President Obama, whose second term is seen by some as flagging, now apparently channeling Hamlet on CIR ("To travel or not to travel? That is the question.")? Should he stay in the background (as he reluctantly agreed during Senate action on CIR)? Or should he go out on the hustings to drum up CIR support (as some in the Hispanic Caucus have urged)? Does he really think that a weekly address and a nifty White House White Board on the economic benefits of CIR are enough to sway the House?

    Has border-surge mania gone too far? Are House Republicans and Democrats, other than the Gang of Seven, meeting in stealth mode to work out a solution?

    Will John Boehner break the Hastert Rule, or will he allow the House to play house in "regular order," or will a discharge petition dislodge the Senate bill and force a House vote (as Rachel Maddow fancies)?

    These are all Beltway questions for Washington talking heads to ponder. The answer to moving immigration reform legislation in the House can be found on Main Street, in city halls, and in state capitols. It lies in regional and state immigration solutions.

    Some ideas, to be sure, are futuristic (like the Migration Policy Institute's proposal to "[Leverage] "Migration and Human Capital in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America"), while others are far-fetched (check out "The Megamerge Dissolution Solution" which proposes that the U.S. create 10 new American states out of Mexico).

    Despite the focus on Washington, there's a serious movement afoot that's growing in rustbelt cities like Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Dayton, Indianapolis and Lansing. It's about welcoming international students and foreign entrepreneurs, risk takers and job creators, and even their undocumented brothers and sisters, who revitalize metropolitan areas, states and regions.

    The solution in the House -- which either party can coopt -- is devolution. House members should espouse small government solutions that transfer the authority to the states and to regional government entities to pre-approve large allotments of visas and green cards -- far more than the puny quotas of the Senate bill.

    The economies of Mississippi, Alabama, Alaska, New Mexico, the heartland states, and the Great Lakes states, are each different. So why should there be only one federal immigration policy? Some of the federal power to select projects deserving of special-purpose employment-based visas should be conferred on the states. Immigrants create economic opportunities for Americans -- it's our national story.

    Republicans in the House need not take the swift boat to oblivion like a capsized generation of California Republicans in a prior decade. If the GOP House members are unwilling to swallow "a single, massive, Obamacare-like [immigration] bill" -- notwithstanding their devouring of a 600+ page farm bill (while excising food stamps for the needy) -- so be it. They can still use decentralized immigration reform to create jobs and spending in their districts and thereby gain political-risk insurance so that they are not "primaried" on their right flank.

    Republicans worry about building walls but forget that walls are breached or surmounted by those with a will:

    The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They are there to stop the other people.

    Those are not the words of an illegal border crosser in Arizona. (They're actually from the late Randy Pausch and "The Last Lecture.") Still, they could just as well be said by the immigrant strivers who would come, legally, to cities like my hometown of Detroit and other Great Lakes cities to break down the brick walls of blight, unemployment and poverty with the hammer of creatively destructive capitalism and the timeless American energy and will to make life anew for their families and communities -- if only the House would allow them.

    Updated 07-16-2013 at 02:16 PM by APaparelli

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