Category: Immigration law

Recent Executive Orders – Report to Clients: Be Prepared
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Recent Executive Orders – Report to Clients: Be Prepared by Jeff Margolis

On January 27, 2017, President Trump signed the Executive Order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” The following is an explanation of the executive order and how it may affect you, your employees, or your family. This report attempts to explain who is affected by the ban, the effects on travelling outside the US based on advance parole, and the steps you can take to secure your status in the United States.

Click here to read Jeffrey Margolis' full article...

Winning the H-1B Lottery — Part 2
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{3:42 minutes to read} In Part 1 of this series, we covered the basics of the H-1B visa and the lottery used to randomly pick the 85,000 “winners.” In Part 2, we look at some of the controversy surrounding the H-1B.

Unfortunately, there are abuses in the system. These abuses generally focus on a relatively small number of companies that file thousands of visa applications in the hope that a certain number of those will be picked. These businesses are generally computer consulting companies who function largely out of India and provide computer programmers for US employers.

On H-1Bs and Travel Bans
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On H-1Bs and Travel Bans | Jeff Margolis

Two recent events have come to light that might affect your immigration matters. In this issue of our newsletter, we will cover the following: 1) H-1B Deadline Looming 2) H-1B Premium Processing Service Suspension 3) New Presidential Executive Order – Travel Ban 2.0 Urgent Reminder – There is Still Time to File for Your H-1B Visa

Click here to read Jeffrey Margolis' full article...

Temporary Protective Status for Haitians
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Temporary Protective Status for Haitians | Laraine Schwartz

On January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, killing 300,000 people. Because of the devastation, 50,000 Haitians residing in the United States were provided Temporary Protective Status (TPS)—a designation that comes with certain privileges granted by the United States Customs and Immigrations Service (USCIS).   The new administration is considering allowing Haiti’s TPS to expire, supposedly to cut costs. However, the amount of potential savings is minimal compared to the economic impact of disrupting the lives of thousands of people and their place in the United States workforce.

Click here to read Laraine Schwartz's full article...

Winning the H-1B Lottery — Part 1
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Winning the H-1B Lottery — Part 1 | Mitchell Zwaik

{2:42 minutes to read} The H-1B program provides temporary work visas for professionals, largely in the computer programming field. IT professionals are the largest number of H-1B visas, but all professionals are covered by the H-1B, meaning people who have a bachelor’s degree or better; engineers, architects, et cetera. There are 85,000 visas allotted to the H-1B category, divided into two distinct groups: 65,000 for those with bachelor’s degrees and 20,000 for those with master’s degrees.

The Budget Reconciliation Bill Significantly Increases H-2B Visas
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The Budget Reconciliation Bill Significantly Increases H-2B Visas |  Mitchell Zwaik

{2:12 minutes to read} The budget reconciliation bill that was recently passed through Congress has an important immigration provision in it, which allows for significantly increased H-2B visas for this fiscal year.

An H-2B is a visa that allows people to enter the United States legally in order to perform work for seasonal businesses. A perfect example in Long Island is people who work in the restaurants, hotels, motels, pool companies, coffee shops, et cetera on the Eastern End and South Shore of Long Island during the holiday/summer season.

AILA Lobby Day 2017
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AILA Lobby Day 2017 | Laraine Swartz

It was with a heavy heart that I had to miss the annual American Immigration Lawyers Association’s (AILA) Lobby Day this year. Having attended for two years in a row, I know the impact my colleagues at AILA have when meeting with representatives and senators—and how fulfilling the day can be to all the participants. With the new administration has come new enforcement policies that have captured the attention of the world. But while Americans with foreign ties were grappling to understand the hastily put together travel ban and its successor, the problem of unaccompanied minors, or unaccompanied alien children (UAC) as referred to by Immigration, continues to grow.

Click here to read Laraine Schwartz's full article...

American Immigration Lawyers Association — National Day of Action 2017
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American Immigration Lawyers Association — National Day of Action 2017 | Mitchell Zwaik

{4:18 minutes to read} On April 6th, I was in Washington DC as part of a contingent of immigration lawyers from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). This was our National Day of Action, the purpose of which is to meet with members of the House and the Senate, in order to work with or at least discuss the issues in immigration law that we feel are most important. Attendance this year numbered over 550 members, which is far and away the largest group that's ever appeared for the National Day of Action.

Click here to read Michael Zwaik's full article...

Are You in One of Immigration’s Targeted Groups?
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Are You in One of Immigration’s Targeted Groups? | Mitchell Zwaik

{4:54 minutes to read} Among the many “hot topics” surrounding immigration these days, one is about people being rounded up and detained. There is an old cliché: When everybody's a priority, nobody's a priority. There are a lot of people who are priorities, but within that priority system, there are certain people in particular who are being targeted by immigration and need to be careful. People with a Criminal Record

Anybody who has any kind of a criminal record is a target. The Administration talks about deporting drug dealers, gang members, rapists and child molesters, but the people they are picking up are people who have relatively minor offenses, such as DUIs or driving without a license.

Click here to read Michael Zwaik's full article...

What to Do If ICE (Immigration Agents) Comes to Your Home
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What to Do If ICE (Immigration Agents) Comes to Your Home | Laraine Schwartz

Frequently, and most recently, immigrants have been relating that they are fearful about what to do if ICE goes to their home. In this blog, I share advice from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) about what to do if ICE knocks on your door.

  • If any officers come to your door, keep the door closed and ask if they are from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), or if they are immigration agents. If they are, ask them why they are there. Although opening the door does not give the agents permission to come inside, it still is safer to speak to ICE through the door. If the agents do not speak your language, you can ask for an interpreter.

Click here to read Laraine Schwartz's full article...

Bar or Ban: The Impact Could Be Devastating
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Bar or Ban: The Impact Could Be Devastating | Mitchell Zwaik

Note: Since we created this article there have been numerous developments. Last week, President Trump issued his “reworked” Executive Order effective March 16. This order is substantially the same as the first one. Its legality is being challenged by a number of states.
{4:30 minutes to read} Although there is currently a nationwide stay in effect that blocks President Trump's Executive Order of Friday, January 27, the administration is said to be considering a reworking of the legislation that would allow individuals from the seven “banned countries” to enter the US if they had visas that were issued before the ban went into effect.

Is the H-1B in Danger From the Trump Administration?
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Is the H-1B in Danger From the Trump Administration? | Mitchell Zwaik

{2:48 minutes to read} H-1B season is upon us. H-1Bs are visas for professional workers. They are used primarily for high-tech companies bringing in computer programmers, engineers, etc.
The start date for the new visas is October 1st, the beginning of the government's fiscal year. You can apply for the visas six months before the start date, which is April 1st.
The limit on H-1B visas is 65,000 for people with bachelor's degrees, plus 20,000 for people with master's degrees. This limit is exhausted every year. Last year there were about 240,000 applications filed on April 1st for the 85,000 visas.

Will the Actions of the President be Counterproductive to His Goals?
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Will the Actions of the President be Counterproductive to His Goals? | Mitchell Zwaik

{4:00 minutes to read} Within a few days of his inauguration, the new President threw more than sixty years of US immigration policy into the shredder. He began with a war of words with Mexico and ended with a Muslim ban he later claimed was neither a ban nor directed at Muslims. This offensive is not only counterproductive in terms of cooperation with other countries in the general sense of the word, but it may very well become counterproductive in terms of his immigration policies. It sent a signal to the rest of the world that the US no longer welcomes immigrants.

Click here to read Michael Zwaik's full article...

The Unfolding Story of Immigration in the U.S.
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The Unfolding Story of Immigration in the U.S. | Mitchell Zwaik

{3:00 minutes to read} What is going to happen with regard to immigration when the new administration takes office on January 20th? The simple answer is, we don’t know. Many immigrants in the United States, including some who have green cards, are experiencing a feeling of angst and fear. This is particularly true with undocumented Hispanics and many Muslims, including those in legal status in the US. The level of fear and concern is the highest I've ever seen. In many respects, it's worse than immediately after 9/11 when Muslims living in this country, legally and illegally, were terrified of what was going to happen.

Click here to read Michael Zwaik's full article...

H1-B Visas in the Crosshairs
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H1-B Visas in the Crosshairs | Laraine Schwartz

With the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, the Immigration community is left wondering which, if any, of his proposed policy changes will come to fruition. One issue that has the support of several key congressional leaders is restricting H1-B visas. The H1-B visa is specifically for foreign workers in “specialty occupations” which require “theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in a field of human endeavor.”

Click here to read Laraine Schwartz's full article...

Immigration: 2 Things to Do Before the New Administration Takes Office
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Immigration: 2 Things to Do Before the New Administration Takes Office | Mitchell Zwaik

{3:36 minutes to read} What is going to happen with regard to immigration when the new administration takes office on January 20th? The simple answer is, we don’t know. There are 2 things I’m recommending that people do ASAP. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) There's a bill pending in the Senate, which would extend DACA. DACA is the Obama Executive Order that provides employment authorization for individuals who came to the U.S. under the age of 16, have lived here since June of 2007, and graduated or are attending school in this country.

Click here to read Michael Zwaik's full article...

Can Your Business Investment Bring You to the United States?
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Can Your Business Investment Bring You to the United States? | Steve Maggi

{3:00 minutes to read} Business owners and investors are using Treaty Investor visa, also known as the  E-2 visa, to set up shop in the US. The E-2 visa allows passport holders from any of the 80 E-2 countries that have treaties with the US to set up businesses in the US. Those businesses can be franchises or operations that the foreign national purchased.

Click here to read Steve Maggi's full article...

DHS Takes First Step Towards Using Social Media to Investigate Applicants for Entry to U.S.
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DHS Takes First Step Towards Using Social Media to Investigate Applicants for Entry to U.S. | Claudia Slovinsky

{7 minutes to read} The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has proposed a regulation aimed at broadening its authority to gather information about immigrants’ social media presence. The proposal is to add the following question to the I-94W (Nonimmigrant Visa Waiver Arrival/Departure Record) and the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), both of which are required to be completed by travelers under the Visa Waiver Program prior to being admitted into the US. (The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens or nationals of 38 participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business stays of 90 days or less, without first obtaining a visa.)

Click here to read Claudia Slovinsky's full article...

When Don’t You Need an Affidavit of Support to Get a Green Card?
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When Don’t You Need an Affidavit of Support to Get a Green Card? | Claudia Slovinsky

{5:36 minutes to read} The Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) is a requirement for most family-based green card cases and some employment based green card applications. It is a legally enforceable contract to ensure that the green card applicant—the family member applying for his/her green card—will have adequate means of financial support and is unlikely to become a “public charge” after entering the United States. A “public charge” refers to a person who becomes reliant on the government for certain public assistance or benefits. An applicant for a green card must prove that he or she is not likely to become a public charge, otherwise he or she will be found to be inadmissible to the United States.

Click here to read Claudia Slovinsky's full article..

I Have Temporary Protected Status. Can I Adjust Status to Legal Permanent Residence in the U.S.?
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I Have Temporary Protected Status. Can I Adjust Status to Legal Permanent Residence in the U.S.? | Claudia Slovinsky

{ 7:54 minutes to read} There are currently more than 340,000 foreign nationals in the United States with Temporary Protected Status (TPS). These are individuals who arrived before a designated date from countries that the U.S. government has determined to not be safe to return nationals because of conditions there, including war, hurricanes, earthquakes, disease epidemics and other catastrophes.

Click here to read to read Claudia Slovinsky's full article...

DHS Proposed Filing Fees Will Increase Financial Burden on Immigrants
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DHS Proposed Filing Fees Will Increase Financial Burden on Immigrants | Claudia Slovinsky

By Leena Khandwala, Associate Claudia Slovinsky and Associates, PLLC {6:18 minutes to read} The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is seeking to raise the filing fees charged by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which, if successful, would significantly increase the cost of applying for most immigration benefits. The average proposed increase across the board is 21%. While the most significant increases are for visas in the employment-based categories, including H-1B visas for professionals in specialty occupations, L-1 visas for intra-company transferees, and EB-5 visas for immigrant investors, family-based categories will see substantial increases as well.

Click here to read Claudia Slovinsky's full article...

What to Consider When Transferring H-1B Workers Overseas
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What to Consider When Transferring H-1B Workers Overseas|Claudia Slovinsky

au{4:35 minutes to read} By Dominic Kong, Claudia Slovinsky and Associates, PLLC Recently, an employer asked me whether it can send one of its H-1B workers to manage an assignment at its overseas office in Shanghai, China, for a 2-year period and what impact this would have on his immigration case.  This is one of the frequently asked questions for companies with a global presence. To answer it, we need to analyze how this outbound immigration may or may not impact the foreign national employee’s H-1B status and pending employment-based Green Card process, as well as the employer’s obligations and liabilities in regard to these applications.

Click here to read Claudia Slovinsky's full article...

Popular Visa Waiver Program Gets New Restrictions
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Popular Visa Waiver Program Gets New Restrictions | Claudia Slovinsky

{4:18 minutes to read} A law went into effect on January 21, 2016, that puts new restrictions on the U.S. entry program utilized by millions of tourists and business visitors from 38 countries. The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens from these designated countries to bypass the general requirement of applying for and obtaining a visa from a U.S. Consulate abroad before being able to enter the U.S. Those individuals who are now excluded from the program under the new law will have to make an application for a visa at a U.S. Consul before traveling to the U.S.

Click here to read Claudia Slovinsky's full article...

 

“Sorry Boss, those documents that I gave you years ago for Form I-9 were phonies!”
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“Sorry Boss, those documents that I gave you years ago for Form I-9 were phonies!” | Claudia Slovinsky

By Dominic Kong Senior Associate Claudia Slovinsky and Associates, PLLC What do you do as an employer when your employee presents you with a new social security number and an employment authorization document and tells you that the documents that he or she previously provided to you were not genuine? The Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice has discussed this scenario in a letter responding to an employer’s inquiry. The letter only discusses the potential liability of the employer and the corrective action the employer should take. It does not address any issues the employee may face in having used false documents or documents that were not his or hers.

Click here to read Claudia Slovinksy's full article...

 

Say “no” to Fear and Hatred and “yes to America”
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Say no to Fear and Hatred and yes America | Laraine Schwartz

Winograd and Schwartz, PC, would like to wish each of you a peaceful and healthy holiday season. These are certainly troubling times. As Americans, we value the power of the vote – democracy at work. This year’s presidential race is proving a challenge to the mind and our country. Along with the repercussions of Citizens United, money in politics has taken on a new meaning. And with his own bankroll of his campaign,

Click here to read Laraine Schwartz's full article...

What Happens When the I-130 Petitioner Dies?
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What Happens When the I-130 Petitioner Dies? | Claudia Slovinsky

{ 11 minutes to read} Family reunification is a key principle underlying U.S. immigration policy. And family based sponsorship remains the most frequently used means of immigrating to the U.S. According to the Congressional Research Service, 66% of foreign nationals admitted to the United States in fiscal year 2013 as lawful permanent residents (LPRs) were admitted on the basis of family ties. U.S. Immigration law allows for U.S. citizens and LPRs to sponsor various categories of family members, including:

  • Spouses;
  • Parents;
  • Children; and
  • Siblings.

Click here to read Claudia Slovinsky's full article...

The Right Side of History
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The Right Side of History | Laraine E. Schwartz

The images pouring out of the Middle East right now are heartbreaking. Men, women and children are fleeing war by piling into rafts that are not seaworthy and often sink. For a brief moment, it looked like the world was waking up to the reality of this nightmare when little Aylan Kurdi’s lifeless body was photographed face-down and sinking into the sands of a Turkish beach. Aylan had been the victim of a capsized raft. Gone, too, were his mother and brother, leaving his father as the only member of his family left alive. And the world did react, with Europe opening its borders ever so slightly only to shut them a week later. Canada joined effort, taking in thousands of refugees as did Syria’s neighbor, Jordan. In the United States, President Obama committed to accepting 10,000 refugees – only to be greeted by howls of protest.

Click here to read Laraine E. Schwartz's full article...

USCIS Proposes Positive Change to Extreme Hardship Evaluation in Waiver Cases
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USCIS Proposes Positive Change to Extreme Hardship Evaluation in Waiver Cases | Claudia Slovinsky

{ 4:36 minutes to read} The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued a proposed change to their policy guidelines as to how “extreme hardship” will be determined in deciding various waivers of inadmissibility that require extreme hardship to a qualifying relative. Public comment on the change can be submitted until November 23, 2015. Foreign nationals who are applying for green cards can be found to be inadmissible on a number of different grounds:

  • Fraud;
  • Some criminal convictions;
  • Having overstayed in unlawful presence in the United States.

Click here to read Claudia Slovinsky's full article...

DAPA and DACA Arguments Heard by the Fifth Circuit
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DAPA and DACA Arguments Heard by the Fifth Circuit | Laraine E. Schwartz

On July 10th, President Barack Obama’s Executive Orders on deferred action for undocumented immigrants were argued before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. Both Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, (DAPA) are being challenged by a group of 26 states that assert Obama overstepped his authority with these Executive Orders.

Click here to read Laraine E. Schwartz's full article...

H-1B/H-4 Visas
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Starting May 26, 2015, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B extension of stay petitions until July 27, 2015. During this time frame, petitioners will not be able to file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, for a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, requesting an extension of the stay for an H-1B nonimmigrant. Premium processing remains available for all other Form I-129 H-1B petitions, including petitions subject to the H-1B cap that are requesting a change of nonimmigrant status or consular notification.

Click here to read Charles Goldsmith's full article...