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  1. TRUMP BACKS DOWN ON AN H-1B THREAT TO 6+ YEAR H-1Bs

    by , 01-09-2018 at 12:07 PM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)
    by Chris Musillo

    McClatchy reports that the Trump Administration has backed down from a threat that would have eliminated the ability of H-1B workers with long-pending green card cases to extend their H-1B status beyond 6 years. They had previously reported that the Trump Administration was considering the change to H-1B extensions.

    In a recent MU Law blog, we outlined the reasons that such a policy change was contrary to law. We explained that The Trump Administration would have lost if challenged in court. While Section 104 of AC21 might provide arguable cover for a Trump policy change, by law Section 106 of AC21 could not have been changed. Therefore any policy change to Section 104 would have simply resulted in USCIS granting H-1B extensions in one-year increments.

    McClatchy quotes an unnamed USCIS official who confirms our analysis and the analysis of many members of the business immigration bar:

    “What we can say, however, is that USCIS is not considering a regulatory change that would force H-1B visa holders to leave the United States by changing our interpretation of section 104(c) of AC-21, which provides for H-1B extensions beyond the 6 year limit,” the agency told McClatchy. “Even if it were, such a change would not likely result in these H-1B visa holders having to leave the United States because employers could request extensions in one-year increments under section 106(a)-(b) of AC21 instead.”

    ___________


    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.
  2. Business Owner Goes to Jail for Fraudulent H-1B Scheme

    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

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    The owner of two employment staffing companies was sentenced in federal court to 52 months in prison and a $50,000 fine for engaging in a scheme to submit fraudulent H-1B petitions for foreign workers. Previously, Sunitha Guntipally had pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud, obstruction of justice, use of false documents, mail fraud and witness tampering.

    Judge Lucy Koh stated the defendant’s conduct undermines respect for our legal immigration system and does tremendous damage to our institutions and affects the rights of others to immigrate to the United States.

    Guntipally and her husband, who own employment staffing companies DS Soft Tech and Equinett, and two co-conspirators submitted more than 100 fraudulent H-1B petitions to foreign workers to be placed at companies that either did not exist or never received the workers, according to federal prosecutors. The U.S. attorney’s office said the applications were intended to create a pool of H-1B beneficiaries who could then get hired by other companies, thereby unfairly giving Guntipally and her co-conspirators an advantage over other competing employment staffing firms.

    This case is another example of individuals being criminally liable for immigration law violations. For more information about immigration compliance issues, I invite you to read The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, which I co-authored and is available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0997083379.
  3. Waiting Is the Hardest Part

    The asylum backlog--both in court and at the asylum office--is years long. Hundreds of thousands of applicants are waiting, seemingly forever, to present their cases and to receive decisions. Many of these people are separated from children and spouses. Even for those who are not separated from family, the lengthy waits and uncertain outcome can have a serious psychological impact. Indeed, the human tragedy of the asylum backlog is apparent to anyone involved with the system.


    Some liminal spaces are more fun than others.


    A recent article by Professor Bridget M. Haas, Citizens-in-Waiting, Deportees-in-Waiting, Power, Temporality, and Suffering in the U.S. Asylum System, helps quantify the psychological suffering of those who wait. Prof. Haas followed 26 asylum seekers from seven countries between 2009 and 2012. Only four of the study participants received asylum from the Asylum Office. Twenty-two were referred to court, and the majority of those had their asylum cases denied. Seven of Prof. Haas's subjects left the U.S. or were deported during the period of her study.

    The Professor's findings largely comport with what you might expect--

    For asylum seekers, my data demonstrate that the liminality associated with asylum—of being “betwixt and between” a particular status or identity—is best understood not as a time of transition but rather as a time of rupture, as “a discontinuity of subjective time, in which powerful forces operate to change perceptions of time, space, and personal values.” The discontinuity wrought by asylum-seeking manifests as suspended life.

    In other words, the uncertainty of the waiting period leaves asylum applicants unable to move forward with their lives. They are literally stuck waiting. The problem seems to be compounded by the disconnect between asylum seekers’ expectations and the reality of the asylum process—

    Most participants had expected the asylum process to last “a couple of days” or “a matter of weeks.” That the process... would be such an arduous and protracted one was beyond their imaginations. Before filing an asylum application... participants had not conceived of a scenario in which their stories and personal histories would be denied credibility or be deemed undeserving of protection…. Ultimately, the disjuncture between expectations of treatment in the United States and the reality they faced was a source of confusion and distress for asylum seekers.

    Prof. Haas characterizes the asylum waiting period as one of "existential limbo” where "the very viability of their lives [is] in a state of profound uncertainty." This manifests in different ways, including "extreme anxiety," "powerlessness," and even suicidal thoughts. Asylum applicants had a "sense of being beaten down" by the process. They felt "hopelessness, despair, and futility." Many felt traumatized by the wait, and "experienced waiting itself... as a form of violence," which "inflict[ed] enduring psychic distress." Also, "waiting in limbo was understood as traumatic because of the life-and-death stakes it inhered for asylum seekers and the profound anxiety this produced."

    The state of limbo often prevents asylum seekers from "taking future-oriented actions," such as furthering their education, because of a "sense that these actions would be done in vain if [they] were to be deported."

    All this rings true for me. I observe my clients' suffering first hand, and in some cases--especially for those separated from young children--the damage caused by the asylum process can be worse than the harm caused by the persecution.

    Prof. Haas writes about her subjects' coping methods. She notes that "asylum seekers often engaged in activities that offered a distraction from the pain of waiting." "Other asylum seekers attempted to resist suffering through the refusal to acknowledge the present state of limbo." Still others turn to their religion for a sense of hope.

    These observations align with how I see my clients coping. I also think it is helpful to try to exert some control over the situation. For example, asylum seekers can attempt to expedite their cases. Even if this does not succeed, it provides an avenue for action, which may be better than passively waiting. Asylum seekers can also try to overcome the inertia of limbo by "taking future-oriented actions," even if that is difficult: Take a class, go to therapy, buy a house, start a family. In a case of giving advice that I probably could not accept myself, I advise my clients to live as if they will be staying here permanently. It's not easy, but it beats the alternative (of going insane).

    Finally, Prof. Haas's article has prompted me to think about the concept of "liminality" in asylum. The word "liminal" derives from the Latin "limen," meaning "threshold" or doorway. It refers to the in-between times and places in life.

    In Judaism, and I imagine in many other religions, liminal spaces are often viewed as holy. We place a mezuzah (a decorative case containing verses from the Torah) in the doorway of our home. We get married under a chuppah (a temporary canopy that symbolizes the new home the couple will create). We Jews spent 40 years wandering the dessert in order to transform from slaves to free people. And of course, the Bar or Bat Mitzvah marks the traditional transition from child to adult.

    Who are these rituals for? And how do they help? Prior to the Exodus, when G-d decided to kill the first born sons of Egypt, G-d instructed the Jews to place blood on their door posts, so the Angel of Death would pass over their homes. One rabbinic discourse explores whether the blood was on the outside or the inside of the doors. Was it meant for G-d, the Egyptians or the Jews? I like the idea that the blood was on the inside of the door, that it was meant to remind the Jewish people of why we were being spared, and of the sacrifice that all Egyptians were making for our freedom. I think there is value in such reminders.

    Perhaps by specifically noting these liminal times as transitory, and by recognizing their transformative nature, we can more easily endure the waiting. Whether it is even possible to view the asylum wait time in these terms, I do not know. But one way or another, this period will end. Each of us has only so much control over our own destinies. For asylum seekers, the future is more uncertain than for many others. We are all left to do our best in the time that we have. Put another way, we are all precarious fiddlers on the roof, and so we might as well play the best song that we can.

    Originally posted on the Asylumist: www.Asylumist.com.
    Tags: asylum, delay Add / Edit Tags
  4. Law Prof. and Former USCIS Counsel Blasts Trump for Blaming All Immigrants for Acts of Few; as Ethnic Cleansing of Salvadorans Proceeds. Roger Algase

    In a January 4 opinion piece in The Hill, Stephen Legomsky, a former USCIS General Counsel and a distinguished law professor whose textbook on immigration law is in standard use at 185 law schools throughout the United States, strongly criticized Donald Trump for blaming all immigrants for the actions of a few. See:

    Trump lumps all immigrants together at America's risk

    http://thehill.com/opinion/immigrati...-americas-risk

    Legomsky gives four examples of Trump's entire classes of immigrants for the heinous actions of one or two only:

    1) Calling for a ban on all Muslim immigrants after a Muslim immigrant and her Muslim USC husband killed some Americans,

    2) Drastically cutting all refugee admissions because some refugees commit crimes,

    3) Calling for repeal of the Diversity Visa program because one diversity visa immigrant committed a terrorist act,

    4) Calling for large classes of family immigration (pejoratively called "chain migration") to be eliminated because ot a terrorist act committed by an immigrant who came to the US as a child in a family visa category.

    Legomsky writes:

    "The absurdity of condemning an entire group because of the actions of a single member seems self-evident."

    He might well have added that this is a time-worn tactic which has been used by dictators and autocrats throughout history, Now, under Trump, stigmatizing and demonizing all immigrants for the actions of a criminal or dangerous few appears about to become the new normal as a basis for America's immigration policy.

    Meanwhile, the Trump administration is moving ahead with its ethnic cleansing of non-white immigrants by revoking TPS for 200,000 vulnerable and desperate Salvadoran immigrants, who will be forced to return to their crime ridden, poverty stricken country, one of the most dangerous in the entire world.

    See, alternet.org (January 9):

    Donald Trump Goes Full White Nationalist With Salvadoran Decision


    https://www.alternet.org/news-amp-po...doran-decision

    See also, vox.com (January 8):

    Trump's attacks on humanitarian immigration just became a full blown war

    https://www.vox.com/policy-and-polit...s13-immigrants

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    algaselex@gmail.com


    Updated 01-09-2018 at 07:53 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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