Category: فيز عمل اميركا

USCIS Issues New Memorandum On L1-B Adjudications

Yesterday, USCIS issued a Memorandum relating L1-B adjudications. This is an interim Memorandum, meaning that the government is asking for comments from the public. The comment period will end on May 8, 2015 and the Memorandum will be effective on August 31, 2015. As you may recall, President Obama made this one of his priorities in his November 20, 2014 announcement.

Perhaps the best thing in the Memorandum is the clarification of the applicable burden of proof. I have handled several of these cases where the AO asked for more information than necessary. These officer often forget that immigration is a civil matter and the applicable burden of proof is “preponderance of evidence” and is not “beyond a reasonable doubt” as it is in criminal cases. This is a very important distinction since a violation of this burden is arguably a violation of a Petitioner’s due process rights.

The Memorandum tries to clarify the meaning of the terms “advanced” and “specialized” knowledge. The Memorandum also lists things that the L1-B beneficiary does not have to possess. For example, the  memorandum mentions that an L1-B beneficiary does not have to be a manager or executive, and the Petition does not have to test the US Labor market. The Memorandum also mentions that the specialized knowledge does not have to be narrowly held in the petitioning organization. Lastly, the Memorandum also mentions that eligibility for another non-immigrant classification does not bar someone from holding the L1-B classification. The Memorandum also lists some needed documentation that would help a Petitioner show that the Beneficiary is eligible for L1-B classification.

The one great thing about the Memorandum is the fact that it adds much more details regarding the issue that its predecessors. For example,  the 12/02/2002 Memorandum regarding the same issue was less that one page long. However, there ares some issues relating to the present Memorandum that should be addressed. For example, I am afraid that the list of evidence would be used by adjudicators as the all inclusive list and would not allow other evidence to be admitted. Additionally, there is always the issue of misinterpretation. For example, I had an case where the adjudicator asked for patents held by the Petitioner, when the Memorandum clearly states that knowledge does not have to be exclusive to the Petitioner.

I welcome the Memorandum because it is desperately needed. I think the problem as I see it is not a problem of Memos, but a problem of adjudicators not following the law and applying their own interpretations. What do you think?

Hatch Introduces I-Squared Act of 2015 To Help Skilled Workers

Senator Hatch introduced the ‘‘Immigration Innovation Act of 2015’’ or the ‘‘I-Squared Act of 2015’’ on the Senate today. The Act aims to get more skilled immigrants into the United States. It has three components:

1. It raises the amount of H1B visas available for skilled immigrants. The Act raises the number of visas depending on the time-frame during which the current numbers are exhausted. The Act also codifies giving H1B dependents Employment Authorization Documents (EAD). Dependents are not currently allowed to work.

2. The Act also aims to move the backlog on immigrant visa by increasing the available number of visas available for immigrant visa petitions by changing the per capita numbers for countries.

3. The Act allows immigrants to move employer more easily by allowing them to stay in status for 60 days after their employment is terminated.

The Act deals with some other things, including raising funding for STEM programs.

Visit this link to read the Act.

The I-Squared Act of 2015 tries to fix many of the persistent problems that have led to the departure of many American educated students from the United States.

Don’t Hire a Non-lawyer in 2015!

There’s an Arab proverb that roughly translates to “let your baker bake your dough even if he took half of it”. I often wonder why some people hire non-lawyers to apply for their immigration benefits. There are usually two reasons: money and the tricks these notaries pay on unsuspecting immigrants that believe that they could help them.
As to the first reason,  I believe that hiring these notaries could really end up hurting you financially in the long run.  I’ve met many victims ended up paying as much as ten folds what they paid the non-lawyer to deal with their mistakes.  I once represented a very sweet couple from a former Russian republic for whom the non-attorney applied even though they had a standing removal order.  The couple had to go through the agony of fear of deportation while I worked with the government to reopen the case.  Buttom line, if they had hired a licensed attorney,  that would not have happened. 
As to the latter reason,  impersonating an officer of the court is a third degree misdemeanor in most states.  So engaging a non-lawyer to help you with your documents would be akin to helping someone commit a crime.  I know that these notaries are masters at telling you that you do not need an attorney.  At the end of the day,  attorneys have gone through the rigors of dealing with clients and had attended law school to deal with your exact situation. So why not hire someone who has your interests in their mind and have spent the time and energy to train to deal with your needs?
The best advice that anyone would give you,  is to how the right person for the job.  After all,  proverbs come from real life situations. 

BIA Issues Three Decisions Dealing with the Adam Walsh Act

The Board of Immigration Appeals issued three decision dealing with issues related to the Adam Walsh Act. The Adam Walsh Act prevents USCIS from approving any visa petition filed by a United States citizen if the Petitioner was convicted of a charge relating to the abuse of a minor. The Service could approve the petition if the Petitioner proves that he poses no risk to the beneficiary. The standard used for this discretionary decision is very unclear and convoluted. The decisions clarified nothing.

Unlike other immigration laws, the Adam Walsh Act does not seek to prevent an immigrant from receiving an immigration benefit but prevents a United States citizen from ever moving past a mistake he has committed. Despite the numerous arguments made by advocates to limit the law’s interpretation, the Board decided that the law was retroactive, meaning it applies to cases with convictions before its enactment. The Board also refused to delineate the standard of proof the Petitioner must meet to show that he poses “no risk” to the beneficiary, and in the third case, the Board ruled the the Petitioner bore the burden of proof in showing that his conviction is not a “specified offense against a minor”. The latter allowed the Service to use a case-by-case analysis, and permitted the Service to abdicate the long-standing categorical approach in analyzing such offenses.

As I argued before, there are several constitutional problems with the law. The Board can not rule on constitutional challenges to the laws which it applies. The task of determining the constitutionality of these laws falls on circuit and district courts around the nation. I look forward to the constitutional challenges that advocates will bring forward against this injurious law.

To read the three decision visit here.

Report Shows that Majority of Deportations are Done Through Expedited Removal Proceedings

The American Immigration Council published a report today showing that the majority of removals are being conducted through expedited removal procedures like expedited removal, reinstatement of removal, and stipulated removal. These three mechanisms, in my opinion violate basic constitutional rights including Due Process.

The three mechanisms  allow immigration officials or an immigration judge to hasten an immigrant’s removal. The first two, expedited removal and reinstatement of removal, allow an immigration officer to remove an applicant for admission at a port of entry or if found within 100 miles from the border. The procedures does not take into account the person’s contacts in the United States. The only possible recourse for the immigrant is to exhibit fear of returning to his country, after which he will be subjected to a credible fear interview. Oftentimes, the immigrant is not informed of his right to counsel or know that he had been deported.

Lastly, an immigrant could also stipulate to be removed from the United States. The report speaks about the coercive nature of the interrogation process, which raises serious Due Process concerns. During these interviews, immigration officers usually use coercive tactics to “convince” the immigrant to stipulate to be removed. These individuals are usually in detention, which raises serious issues regarding the voluntary nature of these stipulations.

The removal system is plagued with injustice and the odds are usually stacked against individuals who do not know the system and usually do not speak English.  While some might believe that these expedited removal proceedings might be the right procedures to deport people who have no right to be in the United States in the first place, they are, in my view, illegal and a slap in the face of our judicial system. America could simply do better.

[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]

Applying for Asylum? Should you?

This week, I will be traveling to Miami to represent a client in an asylum interview. In this post, I will be discussing eligibility for asylum in simple terms.  I will also provide a list of important resources one could use when applying for asylum.
Asylum law is the international community’s recognition that some individuals would be threatened if they were forced to return to their homeland. According to the High Commissioner of Human Rights, this practice is one of the oldest traditions in human history. National laws are used to establish eligibility for this form of protection. Under our laws, the process of establishing eligibility is a complicated one. An asylum seeker could apply for protection overseas, where he or she applies for asylum through an international agency. However, one a person is in the US, the Department of Homeland Security adjudicates these petitions.
To qualify as an asylum seeker, one must meet the definition of refugee under the Immigration and Naturalization Act. The Act defines a refugee as :”any person who is outside any country of such person’s nationality . . . and who is unable or unwilling to return to, and is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of, that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. INA § 101(a)(42)(A), 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(42)(A).
It seems like such definition should encompass many categories and should be straightforward. It suffices to say that one of the most appealed petitions in immigration law is the petition for asylum I-589. Most of the immigration cases that reach circuit review around the United States involve asylum petitions. Many people believe that the application is a straightforward one. Sometimes, the application is such; however, when the threats are not crystallized or there is a fear of future harm, one should really hire an attorney. Most of these appeals involved applicants whose petitions were not clear enough to convince the adjudicator that they were harmed or would face harm if returned to their countries.  It is very important to consult an attorney before you apply, and if you can not afford one, please visit this link to find a free attorney in your state. Please do not apply on your own, and consult an attorney, specially since the chances of success are very low (see graph below).
So to answer the question above,  consult an attorney before you apply and do discuss other options if the attorney recommends against filing. Please comment if you have any questions.
Asylum Statistics
[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]

Board of Immigration Appeals Holds that Admission of Conviction Might not Trigger Stop-Time Rule

I have been an advocate of changing the Supreme Court’s decision that removal proceedings are civil and not criminal. The main reason being my argument is the fact that criminal law has infiltrated removal proceedings since the criminal grounds for removal have been expanded by Congress on several occasions.

One of the problems in removal proceedings is the definition of “conviction” for immigration law purposes. The common sense definition of the term does not apply in these “civil” proceedings, since a mere admission of enough facts makes you removable for immigration purposes. The consequences that come from such “conviction” are tremendous in the immigration context, including triggering the stop-time rule, a rule that would make a person ineligible for discretionary relief like Cancellation of Removal for non and lawful permanent resident.

The Board in a recent unpublished decision ruled that admission, without being informed of the possible consequences of such conduct and the true definition of the crime, did not trigger the stop-time rule under Matter of K,I&N. Dec. 59 (BIA 1957).  Unfortunately, this is an unpublished decision by the Board, which under guidance, the Board does not have to follow. However, I have used these decisions in court proceedings and they were very persuasive. 

I ask you to please comment and let me know what you think. Also, please feel free to add me or follow me on social networks. Thank you for following me.

first_illegal_immigrants

[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]