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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

USCIS Denies Visa to Head of One of Silicon Valley's Hottest Startups

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From ABC News. This despite the fact that Amit Aharoni has already secured venture capital funding of $1.65 million and created jobs for nine Americans. The basis for the denial - that Aharoni's job doesn't require an advanced degree. The company has plans to hire hundreds of American workers in the coming couple of years, but those jobs might all end up in Canada. Thanks USCIS!

Here's another example of the disconnect between what we hear from the White House and what we see on the ground. The Administration is telling us that it welcomes applications from entrepreneurs. And here we see examiners issuing absurd decisions. Mr. Aharoni noted in the ABC interview that he feels humiliated. And that's something we hear over and over again. We see it at US Consulates abroad where consular officers make applicants feel like petty criminals. We see it with USCIS adjudications where you are presumed to be committing fraud and scamming the system. This is hardly the welcome mat we used to have in this country encouraging people to settle here.

I have a couple of questions for USCIS? Why don't you require college degrees of your adjudicators? You have examiners making determinations in complex business, science, arts and other cases where the person lacks any background at all in the subject matter.  My understanding is that a high school diploma isn't even a requirement and certainly not a college degree. I'd love to be wrong on that and expect someone at USCIS will correct me if that's not the case. It's only speculation, but I would venture to suggest that the number of poor qualify denials of employment-based cases would drop significantly if the requirements to be an examiner in those cases was raised.

And why do examiners get to issue decisions anonymously? A signature means someone is holding themselves publicly accountable for their actions.  USCIS examiners should be required to sign their decisions and no longer remain anonymous. I'm not aware of any other federal agency that operates this way whether it's the IRS auditing your tax returns or the SEC investigating your trading activity. I've asked this question to senior USCIS officials in the recent past and they look dumbfounded as if they can't believe that an examiner's anonymity might affect their behavior. But the adjudication system has become one in which examiners are effectively one-person star chambers. We hear about the consequences of this when an Amit Aharoni gets denied. How many others lack the fame and resources to get our attention, however?

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  1. Another Voice's Avatar
    Somebody should send the post to the president's council for "jobs" or Steve Case formerly CEO of AOL he is always tweeting on the topic!!!
  2. Sam's Avatar
    Another big problems that immigrants from India face is the "3-year degree issue".

    The USCIS does not consider a 3 year indian degree as a Bachelor degree. On top of that, any degree that is done after 3-year degree is ignored. Even if the person finishes PhD it does not count, since the first 3-year is null & void. This is the procedure that is followed for EB2 applicants.

    In USA, you can trasnfer credits and do a Bachelor degree in 5 different colleges. But if you are from India, your 3+2 year degree is not considered as a Bachelor degree.
  3. George Chell's Avatar
    Everyone is surprised when George Chell says that jobs move abroad if skilled immigration is not liberalized...this is one such example. The problem is Dick "Dumb" Durbin, Charles "the ***" Grassley and Bernie "the Braindead" Sanders have no clue...deluded in their arrogance that one less foreigner means one more job for Americans. If that is the best we can do, we need more skilled immigration not less!
  4. Nurse Waiting's Avatar

    Person who stared snapdeal was rejected visa by USCIS. Worked out for him.
  5. George Chell's Avatar
    I dont care for the welfare of these entrepreneurs. They will do well. But, we are not really floating in tax revenues. Even as I write this politicians a few miles away are debating how to cut the deficit. One way of cutting the deficit is to create jobs and keep them in this country. The attitude of USCIS does not inspire confidence. I am really worried about my social security.
  6. Backlogged's Avatar

    I guess if its reported by media, then things get reversed.
  7. George Chell's Avatar
    Since publicity forced USCIS to reverse the ruling, may be we need to keep hammering. I will definitely contribute, and hurl abuse when needed. Please keep these stories coming. America needs all the jobs it can get and I will start drawing on my Social Security in about fifteen years or probably even less...I need my social security!
  8. Damn right's Avatar
    USCIS is the most incompetent organization in the US, they should be held wholly responsible for the decline of the US as a superpower
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