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  1. Should Watered-Down DREAM Act Pass?

    by , 02-03-2012 at 02:13 PM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    Romney and Gingrich both are backing a GOP-sponsored bill that would gut the DREAM Act to allow a path to permanent residency only for those joining the military. Going to college would not be an option. Senator Durbin, a big backer of the DREAM Act says he's not going to support this plan:

    "I don't support that," said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the lead Senate sponsor of the DREAM Act. "That will literally mean that those who came to this country at an innocent situation early in life have only one way to become legal, and that's to join the military. I want men and women to join the military out of a sense of duty and patriotism, rather than to feel they are desperate and have no other place to turn."

    But other Democrats like Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) are interested in discussing supporting the bill.
    It's a tough call, but I've said many times in this blog that I support piecemeal immigration reform. We have virtually no pro-immigration legislation pass in this country since comprehensive immigration reform was introduced in 2004 and it is largely because pro-immigration groups have blocked everything in hopes of keeping up the pressure to pass a comprehensive bill. That strategy was a logical one, but only up to a point. Once it became clear a few years ago that even with the Democrats enjoying maximum power, Republicans would block comprehensive reform via the filibuster, this strategy should have been dropped (unless the Dems push through filibuster reform but unfortunately, they don't seem to have the will to do so).
    I say take the deal and keep pushing for more.
  2. Reap What you Sow

    by , 02-03-2012 at 01:29 PM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    I listen to public radio's This American Life every week and was pleased to see them covering the Alabama immigration law. Most of their stories are not on major public policy issues, but they do occasionally do in depth reporting and it can be very, very good. This was one of the best reports I've heard on the Alabama law and I recommend listening to the entire piece (which is about a half hour). There's a lot of angles I haven't heard before. One interesting interview is with the Alabama Speaker of the House who has some serious buyer's remorse. When asked whether Jesus would support the law they passed he admitted that the answer is surely no. There's an interesting interview with Kris Kobach who sticks to his guns that there have been no unintended consequences even as the reporter starts to list them. There's also some good stuff on the economic damage the bill is doing to the state including some pretty candid admissions by the House Speaker.
  3. Congressman Gutierrez Responds to my Open Letter

    by , 02-03-2012 at 10:19 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    I just received the following response to my open letter to Congressman Gutierrez, and have been asked to post it here.

    This is very helpful.  I was pushing back on the critics of President Obama and the GOP critics of the DREAM Act in Miami on the day of the Florida primary and I went too far.  I think we have made great strides with prosecutorial discretion and getting deportation cases of DREAMers closed, but to say categorically that they have stopped is overstating the reality, which he accurately points out.
    I did say that if people know of cases, they should call us and I mean that. We are already working on a ton of cases for people facing deportation and are having much more success now than we ever did.  Take a look at the HuffPo piece I wrote on Martha's story in January (http://huff.to/wIR2GZ).
    People with a long time here or who came as children or who have significant equities in the U.S. and no serious criminal background are getting relief more often, but many are falling through the cracks, so I apologize for overstating it and will watch out for that in the future.
    - LVG 

    In addition to this response, Congressman Gutierrez has encouraged people to contact his office if you receive an unfavorable response to a request for exercise of prosecutorial discretion. 
    Thank you Congressman for your response, and for championing fair and just immigration reform.  Your hard work is noticed, and is very much appreciated.
  4. DHS Reforms Affecting Highly-Skilled Immigrants


    http://www.aei.org/files/2011/12/15/img-immigration-and-american-jobs-indian-scientist-lab_091813869279.jpg_item_large.jpg On January 31, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a number of new initiatives meant to aid legal immigrants. This announcement roughly mirrors the White House's recent release of the "Startup America" immigration agenda.

    It should be emphasized that each of these initiatives are still in the planning stage with no set date as to when they will become effective.

    Quoting from the DHS announcement: "The initiatives described below will serve to make the United States more attractive to highly-skilled foreign students and workers, thereby improving the competitiveness of U.S. companies in the world market and stimulating U.S. job creation."


    1. Work Authorization for H-4s

    The government is proposing to grant work authorization to some H-4 spouses.

    Currently, H-4 spouses cannot obtain work authorization until a few months after they apply for adjustment of status. Given the long wait in some of the employment-based categories, they are often prohibited from employment for several years.

    In the future, they may qualify for work authorization after a PERM application is approved for the H-1B spouse, or when an I-140 is filed.

    Stay tuned for details.


    2. Work Authorization for H1-B1s and E-3s

    Persons with H1-B1 visas (professionals admitted to the U.S. under Free Trade Agreements with Chile and Singapore) and E-3 visas (professionals who are citizens of Australia) are already allowed to work in the U.S.

    Where the problem comes in is when they apply for an extension of stay. H-1B professionals with pending extension applications are permitted to keep working for 240 days while their extension applications are pending. H1-B1s and E-3s are not allowed to keep working in such circumstances for even 24 hours. Ridiculous!

    DHS plans to level the playing field a bit, but the question is when?


    3. STEM OPT Extensions

    In 2008, the USCIS began permitting some foreign-born graduates of U.S. universities to extend their work permits (also known as Optional Practical Training or "OPT") for an additional 17 months if they fulfilled each of the following conditions:


    • Currently participating in a 12-month period of approved post-completion OPT;
    • Successfully completed a degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) included in the DHS STEM Designated Degree Program List from a college or university certified by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Student and Exchange Visitor Program;
    • Working for a U.S. employer in a job directly related to the student's major area of study;
    • Working for, or accepted employment with, an employer enrolled in U.S. Citizenship and Immigration


    Services' E-Verify program; and


    • Properly maintaining F-1 status.


    Now, the DHS plans to expand the program slightly. While the present program is limited to students whose most recent degree is in a STEM field, a past degree will soon suffice (e.g., an MBA with a B.S. in Computer Science). Also, DHS plans to expand the STEM Designated Degree Program List.

    In a related proposal, F-2 spouses of foreign-born students will be permitted to enroll part-time in academic courses. The number of Designated School Officials will also be increased.


    4. Outstanding Professors and Researchers

    Currently, to be considered an outstanding professor or researcher for purposes of qualifying for permanent residence, the person must meet 2 of 6 criteria.

    Comparable evidence is not accepted in this category although it is in the Extraordinary Ability category, and the USCIS has recently begun to issue an increased volume of requests for evidence and denials in this category.

    Again, the DHS plans to level the playing field by allowing comparable evidence to be accepted for Outstanding Professors and Researchers.


    5. Entrepreneurs in Residence Program

    On February 22, USCIS officials will meet with academic, business and government leaders. The aim of this program is to streamline procedures for deciding temporary benefit applications commonly utilized by foreign-born entrepreneurs.


    CONCLUSION

    In our view, these are steps, perhaps baby steps, in the right direction. How significant these changes will be and when they will be implemented remains to be seen.

    Subscribe to our free, monthly e-mail newsletter, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.

    Updated 12-02-2013 at 01:31 PM by CShusterman

    Tags: dhs, e-3, h-4, immigration, stem Add / Edit Tags
  5. Feb 3 - Democratic Immigration Foe Quits

    Comment: Democratic Immigration Foe Quits - Politico reports that Rep. Heath Shuler , the staunch anti-immigrationist Democrat in the House of Representatives, announced that he will not seek re-election or run for governor. This goes to show that anti-immigration policies do not pay politically. With the reduction of anti-immigration forces on the Democratic side, and ratcheting up of the rhetoric on the Republican side the contrast between the two parties on immigration appears to be increasing. This will be especially true if the Obama administration energetically implements some of the initiatives it has recently announced. Stay tuned to Immigration Daily to keep your fingers on the constantly changing political pulse, and let us know your thoughts by writing to us at editor@ilw.com.
    Article: Warning: Employers Revisited By ICE For Past I-9 Mistakes by Kevin Lashus
    Article: What's Distinctive About America? by Ilya Somin
    Bloggings: USCIS Introducing More Employment Immigration Reforms by Greg Siskind
    Bloggings: Senate Set To Move On Irish Visa Bill by Chris Musillo
    Bloggings: Dear Congressman Gutierrez, President Obama Continues To Deport DREAMers by Matthew Kolken

    News: ICE Releases New Detainee Transfer Policy

    News: USCIS Announces It Cannot Resume Processing Adoptions From Vietnam

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    Help Wanted: Immigration Paralegal
    Los Angeles, CA - Stone & Grzegorek LLP is seeking a Senior Immigration Paralegal. The Senior Paralegal will primarily support the firm's business immigration caseload, including a highly successful EB-5 investor practice. We are seeking a college graduate (or experience equivalent) with a minimum of 5 years' experience in business immigration. Stone & Grzegorek LLP is a growing immigration law firm located in downtown Los Angeles. Please send your resume and inquiry to: SG@lskglaw.com

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    Help Wanted: Immigration Attorney
    Toronto, Canada - Ernst & Young is seeking an Associate Attorney. Ernst & Young's global alliance of independent law firms cooperate with our offices worldwide to provide our clients with integrated, quality service. The U.S. business immigration specialists at Egan LLP help companies address the challenges associated with managing today's globally mobile workforce. The firm's comprehensive range of U.S. business immigration services include obtaining both immigrant (green card) and non-immigrant status and visas as well as providing a range of U.S. immigration advisory services for employees and their employers. We are currently seeking an Associate Lawyer to manage multiple and challenging U.S. business immigration engagements and to contribute to the delivery of solutions and ideas for our diverse clients. This position offers excellent opportunities for teaming, leadership, and career advancement to the right candidate. The ideal candidate has the following qualifications: JD along with admission to any U.S. state bar, three to five years of business immigration experience, with an emphasis on high-volume H/L NIV and PERM filings Excellent managerial, organizational and verbal/written communication skills. For more information, please visit our website at www.ey.com/CA - Job Code: TOR000J

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    Help Wanted: Immigration Paralegal
    Atlanta, GA - Seyfarth Shaw LLP is seeking a Senior Immigration Paralegal to join its Atlanta office. The ideal candidate will participate in all aspects of the firm's national Business Immigration and Global Mobility practice, including the management of client relationships, case review and analysis, preparing and filing employment-based nonimmigrant and immigrant petitions, including PERM processing, overseeing junior paralegals in case preparation, and serving as the primary contact to numerous prominent clients. Our clients include Fortune 500 corporations, major academic and medical institutions, and performing artists. The ideal candidate must be technologically savvy, efficient and able to successfully multi-task in a fast-paced, deadline driven environment, be able to work independently, when necessary, manage one's own time in addition to being a team player, be able to communicate effectively in writing, and orally, as appropriate for the needs of the audience (clients, governmental agencies, internal and external resources), and be able to use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems. Senior level applicants must possess a minimum of 4 years of progressively responsible business immigration experience. Salary is commensurate with experience. Send resume and cover letter to staffrecruiting.atl@seyfarth.com.. EOE M/F/D/V

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    Help Wanted: Immigration Paralegal
    Washington, DC - Immigration Law Firm in the K Street area of downtown Washington is seeking an experienced paralegal. Ideal candidate will have 3-5 years of experience in business/ family immigration law with an emphasis on AOS, H1B, L1 and PERM filings. Interesting work and clientele; no timesheets; latest technology; competitive salary and benefits (401K w/employer match, health insurance, paid vacation, etc). Successful applicants will have broad knowledge of immigration law and procedures; be detailed-oriented; able to handle volume; highly organized and strong communicators. Please email resume, cover letter and salary requirements, in confidence, to jobs@immigrationgroup.com. No calls please. EOE.

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    Law Practice for Sale
    Very well-known in Colorado, a premier Denver area immigration law firm is for sale. This AV-rated practice has been in existence for nearly thirty years and in the same location for twenty. Annual attorney/paralegal billings have tallied approximately $900K for many years. The firm's practice is predominantly business-related with a prestigious client list, including corporate leaders in thriving industries like mining, agriculture, and tourism. This diverse practice also handles some family, removal, and consular matters. The staff of nine is highly educated and impeccably trained. While the firm has a model management structure, the principal is available to ease the transition for serious buyers. All equipment is included in the sale. Send inquiries in confidence to: ann@allott.com.

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    Immigration Law Certificate
    Classes offered both online and in-person. Master the complex and ever changing maze of immigration policies and regulations with the Immigration Law Studies Certificate Program offered by CUNY's School of Professional Studies. This graduate-level certificate program, consisting of (3) three-credit classes, offers students who complete it a comprehensive understanding of the laws, regulations, and processes surrounding the status of immigrants in the US, including family and employment-based immigration and deportation defense. It is designed for individuals working in law firms, companies, government agencies and nonprofit organizations where they interact with immigrants and immigrant legal concerns on a regular basis and would therefore benefit from greater knowledge of the laws and regulations surrounding immigration. For more information on class schedules, tuition and fees, course applications and to register, see here

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    CLE Immigration Event
    Los Angeles, CA - February 11, 2012 - The EB-5 employment creation green card is the hot ticket in immigration law today. Wealthy investors from around the world see the EB-5 visa as a convenient opportunity to invest in the United States and get an immigrant visa in the bargain. Handling EB-5s offers rich rewards for an attorney, and many potential pitfalls, too. Earn 6.5 CLE credits (including ethics) as you hear from some of the nation's leading subject matter experts (Klasko, Kurzban, Wolfsdorf, Lawler, Stone, Lau and Pederson). They will provide the basics of the EB-5 visa, as well as information on the differences between the private $1million and $500,000 investments, Regional Center investments, and many tips from the trenches. For more information and registration See Here
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