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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy


Rating: 4 votes, 5.00 average.

My friend Cyrus Mehta reports on a disturbing incident that occurred last week at Newark's international airport. Apparently CBP officers got hold of the new Neufeld memorandum on H-1B workers at third party work sites and decided to start applying it on their own. Aside from being contrary to established procedures for revoking visas, CBP officers made inappropriate comments and issued threats that cry out for some form of disciplinary action by DHS:

It is then no surprise that the outrageous singling out of Indians
since the New Year waiting in the line at Newark and other airports by CBP officials is the result of the NeufeldCBP
officialdom but not the public until January 13, 2010. On one fateful
day, January 11, 2010, when Continental Airlines Flight 49 landed in
Newark from Mumbai, India, we know that CBP officer Matt McGirr
and his colleagues, hunted through the lines for Indian H-1B workers
even before they showed up for primary inspection. Their minds were
made up. No detailed questions were asked. The moment they found Indian
H-1B workers who uttered that they were working at a client site in the
IT field, their fates were sealed. They were subjected to expedited
removal orders and sent back to India. Some were luckier and escaped
the ER order, but still had to withdraw their applications for
admission to the U.S. Nevertheless, they were all coerced into making
statements under threat of being detained. CBP
officials also made remarks as to why the H-1B workers, singled out for
deportation, earned more than U.S. workers and should not be paid so
much. The consequence of expedited removal is a 5 year bar from
entering the U.S. It is hoped that higher and saner officials within CBP
will realize that these ER orders were unwarranted and trampled upon
the civil rights of Indian workers, erase them and allow them to
continue to contribute their skills and expertise, which in turn
benefit U.S. corporations.

The dumbest comment made by CBP, however, is the one where the officer complained that Indian IT workers were paid so much more than US workers. Anti-H-1B types (who will no doubt post obnoxious comments after I publish this) regularly argue that H-1Bs are underpaid compared to their American counterparts. That's like when antis claim in one breath that immigrants steal jobs from Americans and then in the next complain that they come here to mooch off the Welfare system.


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  1. rr's Avatar
    A dumb move by me to move from my client's Singapore location to here in their NC location! At least I could visit India whenever I wanted and airport officials never questioned when they saw our EP.
    I should start petioning my client manager to move me back there.
  2. Lakhan Seth's Avatar
    In view of this memo I want to know how else is a consulting company supposed to work - if they do not send their consultants to client site? Consulting is not always a one month affair - all IT organizations need long term consulting on permanent basis from subject matter experts. Again I know for sure that this is a misguided memo from some folks in USCIS who has no practical understanding of the complexity of modern IT organizations?
  3.'s Avatar
    What comes around goes around. Too much fraud in the H1B program. Good luck to all.
  4. john's Avatar
    I thought obama administration will work towards a more business friendly envrionment atleast for now. they have pretty much destroyed consulting industry and cutting the last roots with these stupid rules. and the sad fact is they are not going to get any of these jobs because it is easier now to move this to overseas.
    this is one example how top people cant understand and put their acts together. if there was H1b fraud, you need to fix it. POE is not the solution for the problem. why cant DHS makes that call. In my opinion DHS should take control of this messy situation. they know whom visa should be approved and who should enter.
  5. KJ's Avatar
    I didn't really read the memo in full detail, but didn't it say that the worker had to perform the job at the location of the sponsoring company? Can someone explain?
  6. Ram's Avatar
    Atrocities are in most cases followed by reforms. I hope a comprehensive H1B overhaul follows after this.
  7. AD's Avatar
    Is AILA or AILF filing a lawsuit on this issue? What is AILA's stand on the new memo by Don N?

    How can even USCIS define employer employee relationship in its own terms? Who ever pays an employee and is liable for his/her actions is the employer, not where services are rendered.

    An Accenture/Bearing point employee rarely talks with his manager like an employee in a mom pop consulting shop. While the hierarchies are a bit better established, the consultants pretty much manage themselves and work for a different manager, in or out of the firm, every week (possibly).

    This is nothing but a plan hatched to do cleansing of Indians from the IT sector.
  8. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    Antis are always antis. They will complain that the immigrants are making too little and taking "American" jobs, and right after they will complain that immigrants are paid too much. The goal aways trumps the argument.
  9. Ratika Garg 's Avatar
    On one side they have state dinners with Manmohan Singh and on the other side they deport Indians . We need to have a tit-for-tat response with Americans in India .
  10. BPE's Avatar
    Immigration lawyers and their organizations should take up the issue with CBP and USCIS. They should not wait for someone to approach them with a grievance, especially since names of some of the CBP officers are being quoted.
    Those who have been sent back may not be in a position to initiate a case or a complaint.
  11. YM's Avatar
    Does anyone know about such incidents happening at airports other than Newark and JFK?
  12. clifford's Avatar
    In my opinion if a Guy is working in US it benefits US economy far more than if the job is shifted to an offshore location but may be I am wrong. USCIS memo has provided a gaping loop hole which can always be interpreted against the H1B candidate. It is funny now that it is being quoted the H1B holders are getting more salary , earlier the beef was the they are undercutting the salary of middle class Americans. US citizens ofcouse do not have any problem in buying stuff being made in China, probably because it safes them few bucks. I have not heard that any strict new rules have come to save US manufacturing sector.
  13. clifford's Avatar
    Why can not USCIS deny the visa at the consulate or lower the H1 cap to 10,000 .This is plain bullying and exploitation at the port of entry.It wastes so much money. Imagine a guy living in a rented apartment in Bangalore with his family and he is deputed to US on a project and at the port of entry he is told that go back.
  14. George Chell's Avatar
    "A dumb move by me to move from my client's Singapore location to here in their NC location! At least I could visit India whenever I wanted and airport officials never questioned when they saw our EP.
    I should start petioning my client manager to move me back there."

    Absolutely right! I will move to Singapore if someone offered me a job!
  15. peacekeeper's Avatar
    The heading Officer Targets H1B is a disgrace in itself.
    How does anyone expect an officer to do their job if they
    have to look over their shoulder before they do it. CBP officers are highly trained, they should receive the respect they earned and we all need to respect their authority. This officer obviously had reason so perhaps we need to move on and let them
    do their jobs.
  16. mills's Avatar
    Good to know that finally there's something done against H1B visa abuse!
  17. Joe Consultant's Avatar
    A true consultant-client relationship is one where the consultant and consulting firm are responsible for more than just providing manpower. They are responsible for the management and delivery of the project.

    If the "consultant" is onsite and managed by the client and the consulting firm has no contractual obligations for delivery of the project, that is not a consultant. That is staff augmentation.

    If the new regulations prohibit staff augmentation and the law was violated, the USCIS did their jobs. Is the argument that the regulations were not applied correctly?
  18. Jay's Avatar
  19. AP's Avatar
    I totally agree with the comment posted by "AD" in this blog. Accenture or any other major consulting firm in US will just use some of their workforce purely for consulting at the third party clients. These guys will not have anyone to report other than the third party client manager to do their job. They may interact once in a while with their company but that company cannot make a decision to execute a project on behalf of the client. Typically they do what the client told them to do(nothing more nothing less). If the company is not agreed, then they will be kicked out in the next moment. Client pay money for the work that they want to do as per their requirements. So as per the new memo even those companies should be barred to operate in US.
  20. Tarun's Avatar
    Now this is pure American hypocracy. When America can sell its goods in India, why cant Indians sell their services in US? As per WTO, there should be free flow of goods and services. Americans have always cheated the world and are doing so now. This is nothing new. If there were enough educated Americans, Indians wouldnt come and sell their services here. I should start crying that Americans are selling their cheap notebooks in India and we dont want to buy from them and buy Indian company's products. We can do that in India but we are not as fraudulant and cheats like Americans.
    Indians pay social security and pay for the American's retirement. When they go back to India, they do not get paid by the American government. This is pure robbery. Americans call bribing as lobbying. So they would give a new name to this as well.
    I am here in USA on H1B visa. I am not cheap. I am getting paid more than any american. I am here to sell my services. But the Americans are afraid of Indians. Instead of competing, they are hiding.
    This is the new America. Weak, unfair and with no confidence about their ability to survive in the tough world.
    Either we would do the work here, or in India. If Indians stay here, they add to the economy here by spending most of their salary. But if they work from India, they spend all in India. But I guess I am talking a bit too complicated for a common American to understand.
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