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May 31, 2006

Letter from US Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist

Here is a letter I received from Senator Bill Frist, the US Senate Majority Leader from Tennessee. This letter was sent in response to letters I have sent to Senator Frist on behalf of immigration reform;

Dear Mario,
Today I'm proud to say that the Senate has acted on an issue that bears directly on our core responsibility to make America safer by passing a comprehensive immigration reform bill that puts border security first.

We’ve taken a bill that the American people would have concluded was amnesty, and we've taken out the amnesty while putting in the security.

The legislation has a six-year plan to dramatically increase the number of border patrol agents hired, trained, and deployed to the southern border. It provides substantial reinforcement to our borders and to the laws on the books. And it also provides a means for some to earn citizenship while enforcing necessary restrictions.

We passed a bill that rises to the challenge of solving the problem of illegal immigration with a comprehensive plan that balances the needs of our growing economy with our heritage as a land of immigrants.

Every nation must keep its citizens safe, and its borders secure. We shouldn’t have to choose between respect for our history and respect for our laws - and with the bill the Senate passed today, we don't have to.

Bill Frist

Posted by VisaLawyer at 09:19 AM | Comments (0)

FAQ; May an applicant for an E-3 visa use premium processing inside the U.S.?

Thank you for your assistance, please feel free to post this information on the blog. I appreciate your help Mario; it has been somewhat tricky to find this information for such a new visa, some others may be able to benefit.

Best wishes,
Cameron

Yes, as per the premium processing unit you may use premium processing with an E-3 visa. May I post your question to my blog?

Can you advise as to whether this has been put in place yet (I haven't been able to find this in the Fed Reg), and if an Australian citizen working in the US in E-3 status (who wants to change employer) with a new LCA from a different company could apply for Premium Processing today?

Yes. All I-129 forms can use I-907 to process it as premium; Premium Processing Unit.


Posted by VisaLawyer at 08:51 AM | Comments (0)

May 30, 2006

H-1B Cap: Do the Math

From AILA;

USCIS had updated its website to indicate that as of 5/23, 45,150 H-1B quota numbers out of a pool of 61,000 have been used for fiscal year 2007. The total on 5/19 was 42,876. Two of the days between the 19th and the 23rd were weekend days. Do the math.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 01:57 PM | Comments (0)

May 29, 2006

H-1B Cap May Be Imminent

As of 5/25/06, 49,034 H-1B numbers (out of a pool of 61,000) had been used for fy2007. That was a usage of approximately 4,000 in two days--double the rate of usage in the weeks before. As the cap nears, it is reasonable to expect that the rate of usage will continue to climb. Therefore, it is generally believed that the H-1B cap for fiscal 2007 will be reached very shortly.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 08:37 AM | Comments (0)

May 28, 2006

USCIS Posts Updated FY07 H-1B Cap Usage Figures

USCIS has updated its website with the figures for H-1B usage for fiscal year 2007 as of May 19, 2006. Since it began accepting applications on April 1, USCIS has approved 6,934 H-1B beneficiaries with an additional 35,942 applications pending, for a total of 42,876 applications either granted or pending. In this same period, USCIS has approved 1,537 H-1B Advanced Degree beneficiaries with 3,821 applications pending, for a total of 5,358 applications either granted or pending. The respective caps are 58,200 for H-1B visas (with an additional 6,800 set aside for the H-1B1 program until October 1, 2006) and 20,000 for H-1B Advanced Degree visas. USCIS estimates the number of beneficiary applications needed to reach the cap, with an allowance for denials and revocations, at 61,000 for H-1Bs and 21,000 for H-1B Advanced Degrees.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:51 AM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2006

Update from AILA-DOS Liaison Committee on E-3 Visa Issuance

The State Department's Visa Office has provided AILA with the following update on E-3 visa issuance:

“From October 1 thru April 20, there have been approximately 1,150 Australian E-3 numbers used, far short of the 10,500 annual limit. Thus, it appears unlikely that we will hit the limit for fiscal 2006. If it did appear to be likely that the limit would be reached, we would post the numbers in the visa bulletin.”

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:49 AM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2006

Senate Passes Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill, S. 2611!

On Thursday afternoon, the Senate voted 62-36 to pass S. 2611, the "Hagel-Martinez compromise" immigration bill, paving the way for conference negotiations with the House, which enacted the highly damaging "Sensenbrenner Bill", HR 4437, last December. Despite attempts by a handful of Senators to fundamentally alter the bill that was reported out of the Judiciary Committee in March, the basic architecture of comprehensive immigration reform survived intact after nearly four weeks of Senate Floor debate on the measure and votes on more than 40 amendments.

The Senate bill includes a path to permanent legal status for most of the 12 million undocumented immigrants in the country, a new temporary worker program, significant increases in family- and employment-based permanent visas, important reforms to the agricultural worker program, significant reforms to the high-skilled immigration programs, and relief for undocumented high school graduates (DREAM Act). The bill also includes some very harsh enforcement provisions and erosion of due process protections that will need to be addressed and corrected as negotiations move forward.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:54 AM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2006

Senate Passes Comprehensive Immigration Reform!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT: George Tzamaras, May 25, 2006 202-216-2410 or gtzamaras@aila.org

House Remains Obstacle to Enactment

WASHINGTON DC, MAY 25 – The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) applauded the action of a bipartisan coalition of Senators who today voted 62 to 36 to pass a compromise version of comprehensive immigration reform. “This historic action by the Senate creates the possibility that our 20th century immigration laws may finally be reformed to meet the needs of a 21st century America”, stated Deborah Notkin, president of the Association.

The path ahead to enact a bill that can be signed into law is fraught with dangers, as the Senate must now negotiate with the House to achieve a final “conference” bill that both bodies can pass and send to the President. While President Bush has stated unequivocally that he favors a comprehensive approach, House leaders remain stuck in a harsh “enforcement only” mode, having passed the onerous Sensenbrenner bill, H.R. 4437 last December. Recent statements by House leadership adamantly opposing the earned legalization and temporary workers programs contained in the Senate bill illustrate the wide divide that will have to be bridged if final legislation is to be enacted.

“The Senate bill is not perfect”, Notkin continued. “It still contains some overly-harsh enforcement provisions and strips important due process protections. We will continue to push to correct these provisions as the bill moves into conference negotiations. But the bill is a welcome and needed step forward in pointing the way towards a workable, fair, functioning immigration system that rewards work, reunites families, protects refugees, and provides smart border enforcement that facilitates trade while ensuring security.”

The Senate bill contains the following important provisions, in addition to many measures that address border and interior enforcement and create a new employment verification system:
Path to Legal Status for Undocumented Currently in the United States
Undocumented in U.S. for at least 5 years prior to April 5, 2006 (estimated 6.7 million) eligible for 6 years of work authorization and path to eventual permanent legal status, upon payment of $2,000 fine, meeting English and civics requirement, passing background checks and paying taxes owed.
Will get LPR status (“green card”) after current family backlogs are cleared
After 5 years as LPR, can apply for citizenship.
Undocumented in U.S. less than 5 but more than 2 years, (estimated 2.8 million) “Deferred Mandatory Departure (DMD) status, providing work authorization and eventual path to permanent status with following requirements:
Must leave country within 3 years, “touch base” and return
Can apply for readmission before departure
Departure requirement waived for spouses/children, or if substantial hardship on person or immediate family.
Family Unity and Family and Employment Visa Backlog Relief
Those in current family backlogs will get “green cards” before any of the currently undocumented
New family preference cap of 480,000, adding 260,000 new visas per year to eliminate backlogs
New employment-based cap of 450,000 for a 10-year period, adding 310,000 new visas per year; spouses and children of certain employment-based immigrants capped at 650,000, others may remain outside the cap
30% of employment-based cap reserved for “essential” workers
Provisions for widows, orphans, and lower threshold for affidavits of support
High-Skilled Immigration Reforms
Reform of student visa rules to authorize dual intent, expand the period of OPT, and create a direct path to permanent status for certain advanced degree students
Increase in H-1B cap to 115,000 with market-based escalator and exemption for STEM advanced degree holders
Exemptions for the annual employment-based cap for STEM advanced degree holders, aliens of extraordinary ability, and outstanding professors and researchers
New Temporary Worker Program with Labor Protections and Path to Permanent Status
New program for 200,000 new temporary “essential” workers per year
3 year visa, renewal for 3 years, with portability to work for employer of choice
Current undocumented who entered U.S. after January 2004 are eligible, must leave country to apply, 3/10 year bars are waived
Employer has to seek U.S. worker first; labor protections and market wage requirements
Can apply for permanent status (“green card”), within the new employment-based cap; can self-petition if worked for 4 years, otherwise employer can petition
Reforms to Agricultural Worker Program
Farmworkers who show that they performed at least 150 days of agricultural work in the U.S. during the 24 month period ending December 31, 2005 can get temporary resident status (“blue card”); spouse/minor kids get status too
To earn permanent status (“green card”), farmworkers must perform agricultural work for at least 100 work days per year for 5 years, OR perform 150 days per year for 3 years. Participants may work outside agriculture but only if they are continuing to meet the annual agricultural work requirement.
The earned legalization program has a cap of 1.5 million.
The H-2A temporary foreign worker program will allow employers in the dairy industry to hire workers even when they are year-round workers.
Path to Legal Status for Undocumented High School Students (DREAM Act)
Students who enter U.S. before age of 16 and are present for 5 years preceding date of enactment, and who have graduated from high school (or GED), can apply for 6-year conditional status
Within 6 years, if graduated from college or completed two years in a degree program, or served in Armed Forces, conditional status becomes permanent status (“green card”)

Founded in 1946, AILA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that provides its Members with continuing legal education, information, and professional services. AILA advocates before Congress and the Administration and provides liaison with the DHS and other government agencies. AILA is an Affiliated Organization of the American Bar Association.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 04:41 PM | Comments (0)

Senate debate on immigration reform will conclude today

From AILA

Dear Colleagues:

The Senate debate on S. 2611 will conclude today, with 5 amendments slated for about 4 hours of debate starting at 9:15 tomorrow, followed by "stacked" votes on these 5 amendments by early afternoon.

The Senate dodged several serious bullets today, with defeat of a Sessions budget-related "point of order", defeat of a Chambliss amendment undermining the AgJobs provisions, and defeat of a Dorgan amendment that would have sunset the new temporary worker program in 5 years. A Gregg amendment to allocate two-thirds of diversity lottery visas to persons with advanced degrees passed. A complete summary of today's debate and votes, prepared by Danielle Polen, is attached.

The amendments up today are:

Cornyn #4097--eliminating confidentiality protections for denied legalization applicants (OPPOSE)
Bingman #4131--cutting employment-based numbers (OPPOSE)
Sessions #4108 --eliminating the Earned Income Tax Credit for previously undocumented immigrants (OPPOSE)
Feingold #4083 --striking bar to stays of removal pending appeal (SUPPORT)
Ensign #4136 --denying tax refunds and credits to certain immigrants (OPPOSE)

A manager's amendment will be adopted by unanimous consent following these amendment votes. We still do not know what "fixes" will be included in the manager's amendment.

Vote on final passage will take place following all the amendment votes, sometime the middle of the afternoon.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:03 AM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2006

Senate Advances Sweeping Immigration Bill

Associated Press, May 24, 2006

"Washington -- The Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to limit debate on election-year immigration legislation, clearing the way for final passage later this week of a bill that calls for tougher border security as well as an eventual chance at citizenship for millions of men and women in the country
illegally.

The vote to advance the measure was 73-25, 13 more than the 60 needed. Despite the controversy surrounding the bill, the outcome was not a surprise. Even some of the bill's opponents said they were satisfied they had been given ample opportunity over past week to try and give the bill a more conservative cast.

Final passage would set the stage for a difficult negotiation with the House, which passed legislation last year that exposes all illegal immigrants to criminal felony charges.

President Bush has repeatedly urged Congress to approve an immigration bill that generally follows the approach taken by the Senate, and some senators expressed optimism that a deal could be reached".

At www.ap.com

Posted by VisaLawyer at 01:38 PM | Comments (0)

Compromise Remains Intact, Vote on Final Passage Expected on Thursday

This just came in from AILA;

It appears as though the Senate will vote on final passage of S. 2611, the "Hagel-Martinez compromise" immigration bill, on Thursday of this week. A cloture petition was filed last night, a cloture vote will be held Wednesday morning, and additional amendments debated and voted on tomorrow and Wednesday.

Today's proceedings began with a vote on an amendment offered by Senator Feinstein (D-CA), which would replace the bill's three-tiered treatment of undocumented aliens with a single "orange card" system that would provide a path to citizenship for all eligible aliens present in the U.S. on January 1, 2006. Prospective applicants would have to register and submit fingerprints, pass all required background checks, demonstrate presence in the country, work history, an understanding of English, civics and American history, and would have to pay back taxes and a $2,000 fine. In addition, orange card holders would have to fulfill an annual reporting requirement and pay a $50 processing fee on each occasion. After completing the six-year prospective work requirement, orange card holders would be placed at the end of the line to apply for a green card, with their individual place in line corresponding to the length of time they had been in the U.S.

Several Senators who opposed the amendment did so reluctantly, noting that while they agreed with the substance of the Feinstein approach, they believed that passage of the amendment would break the "delicate and fragile coalition" currently supporting the bill and, ultimately, cause the bill to fail. The Senate rejected the Feinstein amendment by a vote of 37 to 61.

In other noteworthy votes occurring since our last edition of Pulse, the Senate beat back an attempt to strike the sections of the bill providing for earned adjustment for the current undocumented population, deferred mandatory departure, and earned adjustment for agricultural workers; killed an amendment to preclude guestworkers from being placed on a path to citizenship and reinstated a provision allowing them to self-petition for permanent residence; approved the placement of the National Guard along the border and the construction of additional border fencing; and rejected a controversial attempt to alter the wage provisions of the AgJobs compromise.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:41 AM | Comments (0)

Senate Expected to Vote on Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill This Week

With Senator Frist having filed a cloture motion on Monday, a vote on S.2611 will happen in the Senate at some point this week. It is imperative that you TAKE ACTION NOW! Even if you have already called your Senators, it is crucial that you begin calling again. Our advocacy efforts between now and Memorial Day must be forceful and sustained. Call your Senators today at 202-224-3121 via the Capitol switchboard. Urge them to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill that provides a path to legal status for the current undocumented population. Then, call them again tomorrow! The restrictionists' rhetoric has reached a fever pitch, and we must keep the pro-immigrant messages coming. If you haven't yet, put your Senators' phone numbers on speed dial, and make sure you call every day. Your clients are counting on you!

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:37 AM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2006

An Immigration Bottom Line

As reported in Hispanic Business on May 22, 2006 in the New York Times

"This week starts the endgame for immigration reform in the U.S. Senate. Months of debate have come down to this: whether the comprehensive solution at the core of the Senate bill will survive the hostile attentions of those who do not want real reform at all. A brace of amendments has already warped and weakened the bill though not fatally, thanks to a bipartisan coalition that has fended off repeated attempts at sabotage. But there is still a danger that any legislation will be further compromised or even gutted to conform with the deplorable bill of the House of Representatives".

At www.hbinc.com

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:47 AM | Comments (0)

May 22, 2006

Visa Office Clarifies E-3 Visa Eligibility of Aliens Subject to INA § 212(e)

The AILA-DOS Liaison Committee has obtained a recent Visa Office advisory opinion confirming that aliens are admissible as E-3 workers, despite being otherwise subject to the two-year home country residency requirement under INA § 212(e).

The Advisory Opinion states:
After consulting with the Department of Homeland Security, our office has confirmed that the ineligibility of section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act do not apply to the E-3 visa category. Please note that the 212(e) provision is not waived at this time, and that this ineligibility remains in place until the applicant in this case receives a waiver or completes the 2 years of residence in the appropriate country.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:14 AM | Comments (0)

May 21, 2006

USCIS Posts Updated FY07 H-1B Cap Usage Figures

USCIS has updated its website with revised figures for H-1B usage for fiscal year 2007. As of 5/12/06, 34,808 have been granted or are pending.

At this rate of usage the H-1B visas may be all used up before the end of June 2006. The next opportunity to apply for those H-1B visa in this class will be April 1, 2007. If you have not applied yet it is extremely important to secure your visa number now.

Mario Ramos

Posted by VisaLawyer at 08:39 AM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2006

A Job Americans Won't Do, Even at $34 an Hour

There is an article which disputes the myth that immigrant jobs are low wage job. Read the article in the Los Angeles Times, by David Streitfeld, Times Staff Writer, on May 18, 2006;

"Cyndi Smallwood is looking for a few strong men for her landscaping company. Guys with no fear of a hot sun, who can shovel dirt all day long. She'll pay as much as $34 an hour. She can't find them.

Maybe potential employees don't know about her tiny Riverside firm. Maybe the problem is Southern California's solid economy and low unemployment rate. Or maybe manual labor is something that many Americans couldn't dream of doing.

"I'm baffled why more people do not apply," Smallwood says.

President Bush is not. In his speech to the nation Monday night, he referred to "jobs Americans are not doing," echoing a point he has been making for years. To fill these spurned jobs and keep the economy humming, Bush says, the U.S. needs a guest worker program".

At; http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-jobs18may18,0,6132825,full.story?coll=la-home-headlines

Posted by VisaLawyer at 01:55 PM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2006

Programa de la Tarjeta Anaranjada

LLAME TODO EL DIA VIERNES Y LUNES! APOYE LA LEGALIZACION PARA TODOS!

La Senadora de California Diane Feinstein va Introducir la Enmienda de la Tarjeta Anaranjada el 22 de mayo

?Qui es el programa de la Tarjeta Anaranjada?

Con la enmienda del la Tarjeta Anaranjada la Senadora Feinstein reemplaza el sistema de tres categorias (0-2, 2-5, 5+ aqos) en Hagel-Martinez S. 2611 (la propuesta de ley ahora siendo considerada por el Senado) con un solo proceso que aplica a inmigrantes indocumentados que han vivido en este pais desde el 1 de enero de 2006 y cumplen con otros requisitos. Para mas informacion, visite http://www.cirnow.org .

Llame al 202-224-3121 y comuniquese con sus Senadores HOY. (En California llamen a la Senadora Barbara Boxer.)

Texto Sugerido:

Hola mi nombre es (Su NOMBRE) y llamo de (Su CIUDAD & el ESTADO). Estoy a favor de la enmienda de la Senadora Feinstein que otorga una Tarjeta Anaranjada y le pido su apoyo a esta enmienda. Es un proceso sencillo que permitira a todos los 12 millones inmigrantes indocumentos legalizar. Esta enmienda dara a inmigrantes indocumentados un camino a la ciudadanma, mantendra las familias unidas y protegera los derechos de inmigrantes en los tribunales de inmigracion. Gracias.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 10:49 AM | Comments (0)

Orange Card Program Amendment by California Senator Dianne Feinstein

Thanks to all your calls, the Ensign, Cornyn and Kyl amendments were defeated! We have an opportunity now to push for an amendment that would strengthen the Hagel-Martinez bill S. 2611.
Call on Today and on Monday, May 22nd and SUPPORT LEGALIZATION FOR ALL!

What is the Orange Card program?

The Feinstein Orange Card amendment replaces the three-tiered system for undocumented immigrants in Hagel-Martinez S. 2611 (the bill now being considered by the Senate) with one single process that applies to undocumented immigrants who have lived in this country since January 1, 2006 and meet other requirements. For more information on this amendment, visit http://www.cirnow.org .

Call 202-224-3121 to reach your Senators via the Capitol switchboard. (Californians should call Senator Barbara Boxer.)

Suggested Script:

Hello my name is (Your NAME) and I am calling from (Your CITY & STATE). I support Senator Feinstein's Orange Card amendment and strongly urge you vote in favor of a simple and single process that will allow all 12 million undocumented immigrants to legalize their status. This amendment will give undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship, keep families together and protect immigrants' rights to due process. Thank you.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 10:47 AM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2006

The Senate debate on Comprehensive Immigration Reform remains in full swing

On Thursday morning, an amendment from Senator Kennedy (D-MA) passed, restoring some of the options for green card self-sponsorship by H-2C temporary workers that were stripped from S.2611 due to passage of an amendment on Wednesday by Senator Cornyn (R-TX). This positive development is due, in part, to YOUR efforts! But the work is not over! It remains imperative that you continue to call your Senators and urge them to oppose bad amendments that gut the meritorious provisions in S.2611; support the positive amendments that will be considered; and, in general, support a bipartisan, comprehensive bill that includes a path to permanent status for the current undocumented population.

To find your Senators' contact information, visit Contact Congress at: http://capwiz.com/aila2/dbq/officials/.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 01:03 PM | Comments (0)

Update from the Senate 5/17/06

From AILA Executive Director Jeanne Butterfield;

The Senate floor action continues to be fraught with dangers, disorganization, and delay, even while producing some significant victories!

A detailed blow-by-blow summary of today's 7 amendments is attached
Highlights:

We won important exemptions and waivers on a Cornyn/Kyl amendment that bars people with certain criminal convictions and removal orders from legalization programs. The modified amendment passed by a 99-0 vote.

We defeated a Vitter amendment that would have deleted all of the legalization provisions in the Senate bill--the vote was 66-33, and a good indicator of the likely vote on final passage of a Senate bill.

Lowlights:

We narrowly lost on a Cornyn amendment that eliminated the ability of new temporary workers to self-petition for permanent status after 4 years of working in the new temporary worker program. 8 Republicans opposed the amendment (Brownback, Chafee, Craig, DeWine, Graham, Lugar, McCain, Specter), but 3 Democrats voted in favor of it (Byrd, Ben Nelson, Stabenow), and 2 Democrats did not vote (Kohl, Rockefeller), so the measure was approved 50-48.

A Sessions amendment to build 370 more miles of fencing along the southern border also passed on an overwhelming 83-16 vote.

Debate will resume tomorrow morning and probably extend until late evening.

The first amendment up tomorrow will be a Kennedy/McCain/Graham amendment to preserve self-petitioning in a modified form, correcting some of the damage done by the Cornyn amendment.

The Brownback/Lieberman amendment that would have addressed detention issues has been put on hold, with DHS opposition apparently giving Senator Brownback pause.

We will keep you posted...it is very difficult to give any advance notice of amendments as leaders on both sides of the aisle are negotiating on the spot about the order and timing of amendments.

If you would like to see how your Senators voted, go to www.senate.gov, click on "legislation" and then on "votes" for roll call records on each amendment.

Stay tuned!

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:45 AM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2006

US Senate, 5/16/06 wrap up; OK, we won two and lost one, more to come tomorrow.

From: Jeanne Butterfield, Director of AILA

WINS:
The following two amendments were defeated:
1--Isakson amendment to delay implementation of legalization until borders are secured
2--Dorgan amendment to strike the temporary worker program from the bill

LOSS:
The following amendment passed:
1--Bingaman amendment reducing the temporary worker program to 200,000 per year (from 325,000) and eliminating the market-based escalator.

Tomorrow's votes will begin in the morning.

First up will be the Cornyn-Kyl-others amendment that will bar from legalization people with criminal convictions (three misdemeanors or one felony) and people with deportation/voluntary departure orders. We won significant modifications in this amendment--to include significant exceptions (for people with in absentia orders) and waivers (on hardship grounds). Since the Republican group of Senators who favor the compromise bill have signed on as co-sponsors of this amendment, it is very likely to pass.

At some point the Brownback/Lieberman amendment will be introdouced, amendment "#4020. This amendment is very significant (see attached summary). Please urge your Senators to VOTE YES on Brownback/Lieberman.

The order of amendments for the rest of the day is unclear. Many amendments have been proposed, drafted, but not filed. The attached list is some reflection of what is still pending.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:11 AM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2006

It’s Round 2 for Immigration in the Senate!

AILA message for this week;

S. 2611, the Senate “compromise” bill is back on the floor this week and it is crucial that every Senator hears calls of support from their constituents who want comprehensive immigration reform! Call your Senators this week, urge them to support and strengthen S. 2611.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:27 AM | Comments (0)

Time to motivate, call your U.S. Senators

If you took time to listen to Pres Bush Monday at 8 p.m. ET. I ask that you also take 2 minutes and remember to call your Senators. We all know the importance of calling, let's do it. We should expect the restrictionist to be calling as well and we need to have our voice heard. It should only take 30 seconds per call.

Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121. Ask for your Senator and leave a message for positive immigration reform. McCain Kennedy Bill. You do not need to explain why; they generally are only counting positive and negative calls. Make a difference.

Forward this to all your contacts let’s lead by example.

Regards,

Mario Ramos

I received this message from Raul E. Godinez, a fellow member of the immigration reform committee of AILA.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:23 AM | Comments (0)

May 15, 2006

Adjustment of status for fiancees

If you were admitted to the U.S. under the I-129F, as a fiancé on a K-1 visa and then married the U.S. citizen who applied for the K-1 visa for you; you may complete adjustment package without I-130.

If you married the U.S. citizen who applied for you but not within the 90-day time limit, your spouse also must now file USCIS Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative to complete your adjustment of status.

Note; If you did not marry the U.S. citizen who filed the K-1 petition in your behalf, or if you married another U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, you are not eligible to adjust status in the United States.

At; http://www.uscis.gov/graphics/howdoi/LPReligibility.htm#d

Posted by VisaLawyer at 08:50 AM | Comments (0)

May 14, 2006

Mother's day

Today is mother's day in the U.S.A. Take the day to celebrate with your mother. Spend this day with your family celebrating and enjoying time with your mother. I will have lunch with my mother and my wife and kids.

Mario

Posted by VisaLawyer at 10:46 AM | Comments (0)

May 13, 2006

Bush to Unveil Plan to Tighten Border Controls

In the New York Times by Jim Rutenberg, published: May 13, 2006;

Washington, May 12 — The White House said Friday that President Bush would open the next phase of the debate over illegal immigration next week with a strong emphasis on border security, including the possible use of more National Guard troops.

Mr. Bush was signaling an effort to reassure conservatives on an issue that has deeply divided his party.

At; http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/13/washington/13bush.html?th&emc=th

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:39 AM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2006

Congressman Steve King Publishes Inflammatory Message on Congressional Website - Tell him to clean up his act!

That Congressman Steve King opposes immigration is no surprise to Iowans. His public attacks on foreign-born workers and their families are regularly aired on local radio and published in local newspapers. His latest essay published in the Des Moines Register, Biting the Hand that Feeds You, is a callous response to the May 1st Day Without an Immigrant demonstrations. The article was met with criticism from activists and community organizers for being hateful and misleading about immigrants and immigration. Despite these negative responses, the Congressman was undeterred from republishing the article on his official Congressional and campaign websites.

In Biting the Hand that Feeds You, Congressman King depicts immigrants as drug smugglers, disease carriers, and sex offenders. Publishing this inflammatory essay on his constituent-funded Congressional website is inappropriate for an elected leader of the community and misrepresentative of the collective views of his District.

This kind of rhetoric is unacceptable for a Member of Congress, and only serves to fan the flames of hatred. Anti-immigrant fervor is on the rise across the country, fanned by talk show hosts calling for shooting undocumented immigrants, as happened in Tennessee last week, or by the formation of a sheriff's posse to round up undocumented immigrants, as happened in Arizona this week. Leaders of both political parties are urging their membership to debate this contentious issue with decency and civility and we invite our activists to do the same. Please send a letter to Congressman King's Chief of Staff and urge her to remove the Congressman's inappropriate letter from his official Congressional website.

The full text of Biting the Hand that Feeds You is available here:
http://www.house.gov/steveking/col_20060505_hand.shtm

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:24 AM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2006

FRIST, HAGEL, MARTINEZ, KYL, MCCAIN, GRAHAM, CORNYN COMMENT ON UNANIMOUS CONSENT AGREEMENT

May 11th, 2006 - PRESS RELEASE

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) today released the following joint statement regarding the unanimous consent agreement to bring comprehensive immigration reform legislation back to the Senate floor Monday:

“Under the unanimous consent agreement reached today, the Senate will resume the immigration debate next week. Senate Republicans are united in their commitment to an open and full debate on multiple amendments -- just as we have done on other bills of this magnitude like bankruptcy and class action reform.

“We are willing to put differences aside so we can get on with the important work to be done securing our borders and grappling with the 12 million illegal immigrants currently living in our country. We are also in agreement that efforts to curtail the debate prematurely will only derail this process. We call on Senate Democrats to allow an open debate and votes on this complex and challenging issue.”

Posted by VisaLawyer at 12:22 PM | Comments (0)

National Call-In Day to Support DREAM Act in House

Help Make Their Dreams of College a Reality! National Call-In Day to Support DREAM Act!

Today Wednesday, May 10, is a national call-in day to support the American DREAM Act. Join thousands of immigration advocates in drawing attention to this important issue. Call your U.S. Representative and ASK him or her to co-sponsor the American DREAM Act (H.R. 5131) - a bill that would remove barriers to higher education and create a path to citizenship for immigrant youth.

This a bipartisan legislation will allow immigrant students who have grown up in this country, graduated from high school, and have no criminal record to go to college and legalize their immigration status. The young people who would benefit from this legislation have done nothing wrong. Yet they are being severely punished.

The DREAM Act recognizes that some of our best and brightest students are prevented from reaching their potential. Thousands of young people each year are prevented from pursuing their dreams of going to college because they have no immigration status and, without the option of in-state tuition, lack sufficient resources.

The American DREAM Act currently has 15 Co-Sponsors and needs plenty more! Here is a list of the 15 co-sponsors, whom we hope you'll thank, and a target list of 18 Representatives who have not yet sponsored the American DREAM Act, but who did sponsor a previous version of this legislation. If you see your US Representative on either list, please be sure to call today during Call-In Day!!

Thank these Representatives for Co-Sponsoring and Supporting the "American Dream Act":

Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA)(202) 225-4695
Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL)(202) 225-4211
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL)(202) 225-2778
Rep. Michael Castle (R-DE)(202) 225 4165
Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX)(202) 225-4865
Rep. Luis Fortuño (R-PR)(202) 225-2615
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)(202) 225-8203
Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA)(202) 225-8220
Rep. Melissa Hart (R-PA)(202) 225-2565
Rep. Ray LaHood (R-IL)(202) 225-6201
Rep. Jim Leach (R-IA)(202) 225-6576
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)(202) 225-3931
Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA)(202) 225-1766
Rep. Martin Sabo (D-MN)(202) 225-4755
Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO)(202) 225-2876

Target list of potential Republican Co-Sponsors- These Republican Representatives co-sponsored a previous version of the DREAM Act. If your Representative is on this list, please make sure to participate in tomorrow's National Call-In Day!

Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-TX)(202) 225-4511
Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT)(202) 225 7751
Rep. David Dreier (R-CA)(202) 225-2305
Rep. James Gibbons (R-NV)(202) 225 6155
Rep. Peter King (R-NY)(202) 225-7896
Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA)(202) 225-5476
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA)(202) 225-2523
Rep. Tom Osborne (R-NE)(202) 225-6435
Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ)(202) 225-2315
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)(202) 225-3031
Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT)(202) 225-5541
Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL)(202) 225-5271
Rep. Robert Simmons (R-CT)(202) 225-2076
Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ)(202) 225-3765
Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS)(202) 225-6216
Rep. James Walsh (R-NY)(202) 225-3701
Rep. Jerry Weller (R-IL)(202) 225-3635
Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM)(202) 225-6316

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:21 AM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2006

Senate Expected to Return to Immigration Debate Next Week

Just in from AILA advocacy;

Although we do not have confirmation, we have heard from our contacts on the Hill that the Senate will take up immigration reform again the week of May 15. We do not yet know what kinds of procedural agreements have been reached behind the scenes. Senate Majority Leader Frist has said that he would like to pass a bill before the Memorial Day Recess, which begins on May 29.

It's time to get back on the phones! Even if you have already called your Senators, it is important to begin calling again. Our advocacy efforts between now and Memorial Day must be forceful and sustained. Call your Senators today and urge them to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill that provides a path to legal status for the current undocumented population. Then, call them again tomorrow! The restrictionists' rhetoric has reached a fever pitch, and we must keep the pro-immigrant messages coming. If you haven't yet, put your Senators' phone numbers on speed dial, and make sure you call every day. We are counting on you!

Senator Majority Leader Bill Frist, Nashville office: 615-352-9411
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid Carson City office: 775-882-7343
To reach other members of Congress go to www.aila.org, click on Contact Congress

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:06 AM | Comments (0)

May 09, 2006

U.S. Immigration Debate Is a Road Well Traveled


Early-20th-Century Concerns Resurface by Michael Powell a Washington Post Staff Writer on May 8, 2006;

”NEW YORK -- They were portrayed as a disreputable lot, the immigrant hordes of this great city.
The Germans refused for decades to give up their native tongue and raucous beer gardens. The Irish of Hell's Kitchen brawled and clung to political sinecures. The Jews crowded into the Lower East Side, speaking Yiddish, fomenting socialism and resisting forced assimilation. And by their sheer numbers, the immigrants depressed wages in the city.

As for the multitudes of Italians, who settled Mulberry Street, East Harlem and Canarsie? In 1970, seven decades after their arrival, Italians lagged behind every immigrant group in educational achievement.

The bitter arguments of the past echo loudly these days as Congress debates toughening the nation's immigration laws and immigrants from Latin America and Asia swell the streets of U.S. cities in protest”.

At; www.washingtonpost.com

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:28 AM | Comments (0)

May 08, 2006

USCIS Posts Updated Fiscal Year 07 H1-B Cap Usage Figures

USCIS has updated its website with the figures for H-1B usage for fiscal year 2007 as of April 24, 2006. Since it began accepting applications on April 1, 2006, USCIS has approved 3,907 H-1B beneficiaries with an additional 8,806 applications pending. In that same period, USCIS approved 898 H-1B Advanced Degree beneficiaries wth 1,460 applications pending. The respective caps are 58,200 for H-1B visas (with an additional 6,800 set aside for the H-1B1 program until October 1, 2006) and 20,000 for H-1B Advanced Degree visas. USCIS estimates the number of beneficiary applications needed to reach the cap, with an allowance for denials and revocations, at 61,000 for H-1Bs and 21,000 for H-1B Advanced Degrees.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 12:36 PM | Comments (0)

May 07, 2006

Australia E-3

The E-3 visa classification of 10,500 visas available annually. Spouses and children do not count against the numerical limitation nor are they required to possess the nationality of the principal. Spouses may work.

Procedure;

1. Professions must meet the definition of "specialty occupation" or 4 year degree as set forth in the respective FTA or submit proof of alternative
2. Job offer letter from the employer
3. Proof of labor attestation (certified ETA 9035 or 9035E)
4. Pay filing fees; I-129 $190.00, I-129 HDC $750.00 ($1,500.00 if 25 or more H-1B employees), if inside of U.S. Premium processing $1,000.00 Total = $1,940.00
Aliens already in the United States as non-immigrants may apply for a change of nonimmigrant status to H-1B1. Such an alien who departs the United States would need an H-1B1 visa to seek readmission as an H-1B1.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 09:36 AM | Comments (0)

May 06, 2006

Chile and Singapore H-1B1

New immigration provisions for Chile and Singapore created annually 5400 and 1400 new H-1B1 nonimmigrant visas for each respective country. A January 8, 2004 Bill Yates memo specifically states: "The annual 6,800 H-1B1 numerical cap will be counted against the H 1B numerical cap", i.e. 65,000 minus 6,800 = 58,200 H-1B visas

Procedure;

1. Professions must meet the definition of "specialty occupation" or 4 year degree as set forth in the respective FTA or submit proof of alternative
2. Job offer letter from the employer
3. Proof of labor attestation (certified ETA 9035 or 9035E)
4. Pay filing fees; I-129 $190.00, I-129 HDC $750.00 ($1,500.00 if 25 or more H-1B employees), if inside of U.S. Premium processing $1,000.00 Total = $1,940.00

Aliens already in the United States as non-immigrants may apply for a change of nonimmigrant status to H-1B1. Such an alien who departs the United States would need an H-1B1 visa to seek readmission as an H-1B1.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 09:34 AM | Comments (0)

May 05, 2006

Losing the family farm

Farmers Worried Over Immigration Debate, by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, filed at 5:18 a.m. ET

"CHAZY, N.Y. (AP) -- Shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the state labor department sent Donald Green III six Mexican migrant workers. He checked their documents and put them to work on his apple orchard.

But weeks later, amid heightened concerns over terrorism and border security, immigration officers caught the men and said they were in the country illegally.

If a bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives becomes law, Green and farmers like him would also be lawbreakers. They would be charged with a crime and face thousands of dollars in fines".

At; www.ap.com

Posted by VisaLawyer at 01:14 PM | Comments (0)

National Public Radio Nashville interview; Nashville's Hispanics Weigh Boycott, March

All Things Considered, May 1, 2006 · With a national day of boycotts and demonstrations slated for May 1, Hispanics in Nashville debate the pros and cons of taking part in the immigrant rights movement. There is an interview by Audie Cornish of NPR news with Yuri Cunza of the Nashville Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Salvador Guzman from Monday on the radio program from National Public Radio.

Listen to the story at; http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5374789

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:57 AM | Comments (0)

May 04, 2006

Business owner indicted for harboring, transporting illegal aliens and money laundering in illegal employment scheme

The owner of an Indiana company that performed stucco-related services at construction sites in at least seven Midwest states has been charged with money laundering, harboring illegal aliens, transporting illegal aliens and making false statements, and now faces a possible 40 years in prison and forfeiture of $1.5 million for his role in the scheme. The indictment is the latest of series of recent criminal cases brought by ICE against businesses and business owners around the country in connection with illegal alien employment schemes.

For more go to;

http://www.ice.gov/index.htm

Posted by VisaLawyer at 12:52 PM | Comments (0)

May 03, 2006

SKIL Bill Introduced in Senate This Morning

This morning, the "SKIL Bill" (Securing Knowledge Innovation and Leadership Bill) was introduced by Senator Cornyn (R-TX). Cosponsors on this legislation, assigned bill number S. 2691, were Senators Allard (R-CO), Allen (R-VA), Bennett (R-UT), Enzi (R-WY), and Lott (R-MS). The aim of the SKIL Bill is to reform both the H-1B visa and employment based (EB visa) green card processes. Many of the provisions in the SKIL Bill are duplicated in the Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill currently on the Senate floor. Among the provisions in the SKIL Bill are the following:

* Exemptions for U.S. educated foreign workers with advanced degrees in math, science, technology and engineering fields from the H-1B and EB quotas

* Market-based H-1B cap

* Extension of foreign students' post curricular optional practical training from 12 to 24 months to allow them to go more easily from student to green card

* Exemptions for EB/green card immigrant spouses and children from the annual cap

AILA strongly supports the provisions in the SKIL Bill, but urges that efforts be focused first on these provisons being passed as part of a Comprehensive Immigration Reform package.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:01 AM | Comments (0)

May 02, 2006

National day of unity

Yesterday in the US Hispanics and immigrant took the day off as a non-violent tactic in favor of comprehensive immigration reform. The message of the day is that we are united as a community.

During the 1960’s boycotts were used as a tactic against discrimination. This was learned from Mahatma Gandhi by Rev. James Lawson who in turn taught Martin Luther King. Gandhi encouraged the Indians to make their own salt instead of buying the taxed salt from the British. It was a crime to make salt so Gandhi marched with several hundred thousand people to the sea. He took out a spoon dipped it into the water and let the sun evaporate the water. Then he licked salt thus boycotting the purchase of salt. Rev. King came to Nashville to learn from Rev. Lawson. Rev. King took this knowledge and led the civil rights movement. I had the honor of meeting Rev. Lawson while I helped to organize the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride to Nashville. Rev. Lawson was expelled from Vanderbilt for his work. Last year Rev. Lawson was offered and accepted a position at Vanderbilt University.

Every day as an immigration lawyer I see families torn apart. I listen to the crying and suffering of husband, wives, father, mother, sons and daughters. I care as a person that families suffer from bad laws. To have a caring heart is the first step to being a democratic person. There is a saying I learned while growing up in Tennessee; broken men plow broken fields.


We have to continue working until we win on immigration reform.

Mario Ramos

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:25 AM | Comments (0)

May 01, 2006

In light of the upcoming May 1st protest events, as well as recent raids, you might find the following links to resources helpful.

They were prepared by the Chicago Workers' Collaborative and the Workers' Defense Committee of the March 10th Movement, AILA, ACLU, NILC, and others.

* Sample petition to employers, Chicago Workers' Collaborative and
Interfaith Worker Justice

English
ee_petition_to_employer_041706.doc>

Spanish
20a%20Empleadores.doc>

Sample Letter to Employer, Letter to Tandum Staffing n.org/dia/organizationsORG/NILC/images/Tandem_Staffing_letter.pdf> from the Chicago Workers' Collaborative

Immigration Protests: What Every Worker Should Know, National Immigration Law Center, American Civil Liberties Union Immigrant Rights Project, and the National Employment Law Project (NELP)

English

Spanish
f>

Know Your Rights Alerts, National Immigration Law Center. See
http://www.nilc.org/ce/ceindex.htm
.

Know Your Rights - Can an Employer Fire an Employee Because the Employee
Participated in an Immigration Rally? American Immigration Lawyers Association
and the law firm of Dorsey and Whitney, LLP. See
http://www.aila.org/content/default.aspx?docid=19203
.

Know Your Rights Pamphlets, National Lawyers Guild and American Civil
Liberties Union Immigrant Rights Project. See
http://www.nlg.org/resources/know_your_rights.htm
.

Know Your Rights if You Have Been Arrested or Detained by the U.S.
Government, CASA of Maryland.

English - http://www.immigrantrights.org/CASAofMaryland.pdf
trights.org/CASAofMaryland.pdf>

Spanish - http://www.immigrantrights.org/CASAdeMarylandDerechos.pdf
immigrantrights.org/CASAdeMarylandDerechos.pdf>

Interfaith Worker Justice Toolkit for Workers who are fired
yinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?key=113928661&url_num=9&url=http://www.democracyin
action.org/dia/organizationsORG/NILC/images/Toolkit_for_Workers_who_are_fired.
pdf>

Posted by VisaLawyer at 12:04 PM | Comments (0)