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February 28, 2007

Senate Judiciary Committee to Hold First Hearing on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on Comprehensive Immigration Reform on today on Wednesday, February 28, at 10:00am in 216 Hart Senate Office Building.

Wednesday's hearing will be the first official consideration of immigration reform since the 110th Congress convened. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez will testify at the hearing, and both are expected to present the Committee with a framework for immigration reform that closely tracks the plan supported by the President. Secretary Chertoff's testimony and Secretary Gutierrez's testimony are both available on InfoNet in advance of the hearing.

The Senate hearing marks the beginning of what will soon become a full-fledged debate on Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR). Although the Senate immigration reform bill (S. 9) currently exists only as a "Sense of the Congress" resolution in support of CIR, legislators in both chambers are expected to introduce comprehensive, bipartisan immigration reform bills sometime in March.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 09:13 AM | Comments (0)

February 27, 2007

The Myth of Immigrant Criminality and the Paradox of Assimilation: Incarceration Rates among Native and Foreign-Born Men

NEW RELEASE February 26, 2007

by Ruben G. Rumbaut, Ph.D. and Walter A. Ewing, Ph.D.

"Because many immigrants to the United States, especially Mexicans and Central Americans, are young men who arrive with very low levels of formal education, popular stereotypes tend to associate them with higher rates of crime and incarceration. The fact that many of these immigrants enter the country through unauthorized channels or overstay their visas often is framed as an assault against the rule of law, thereby reinforcing the impression that immigration and criminality are linked. This association has flourished in a post-9/11 climate of fear and ignorance where terrorism and undocumented immigration often are mentioned in the same breath.

However, data from the census and other sources show that for every ethnic group without exception, incarceration rates among young men are lowest for immigrants, even those who are the least educated. This holds true especially for the Mexicans, Salvadorans, and Guatemalans who make up the bulk of the undocumented population. The problem of crime in the United States is not caused or even aggravated by immigrants, regardless of their legal status. But the misperception that the opposite is true persists among policymakers, the media, and the general public, thereby undermining the development of reasoned public responses to both crime and immigration.

Among the findings of this report:

Even as the undocumented population has doubled to 12 million since 1994, the violent crime rate in the United States has declined 34.2 percent and the property crime rate has fallen 26.4 percent.

Among men age 18-39 (who comprise the vast majority of the prison population), the 3.5 percent incarceration rate of the native-born in 2000 was 5 times higher than the 0.7 percent incarceration rate of the foreign-born.

The foreign-born incarceration rate in 2000 was nearly two-and-a-half times less than the 1.7 percent rate for native-born non-Hispanic white men and almost 17 times less than the 11.6 percent rate for native-born black men.

Foreign-born Mexicans had an incarceration rate of only 0.7 percent in 2000more than 8 times lower than the 5.9 percent rate of native-born males of Mexican descent. Foreign-born Salvadoran and Guatemalan men had an incarceration rate of 0.5 percent, compared to 3.0 percent of native-born males of Salvadoran and Guatemalan descent.

Foreign-born Chinese/Taiwanese men had an extremely low incarceration rate of 0.2 percent in 2000, which was three-and-a-half times lower than the 0.7 percent incarceration rate of native-born men of Chinese/Taiwanese descent.

With the exception of Laotians and Cambodians, foreign-born men from Asian countries had lower incarceration rates than those from Latin American countries, as did their native-born counterparts.

The children and grandchildren of many immigrants as well as many immigrants themselves the longer they live in the United States become subject to economic and social forces, such as higher rates of family disintegration and drug and alcohol addiction, that increase the likelihood of criminal behavior among other natives.

The risk of incarceration is higher not only for the children of immigrants, but for immigrants themselves the longer they have resided in the United States. However, even immigrants who had resided in the United States for 16+ years were far less likely to be incarcerated than their native-born counterparts.
Read the entire report here.

For more information contact Tim Vettel (at 202-742-5608 or tvettel@ailf.org) or visit the Immigration Policy Center website at www.immigrationpolicy.org.

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) is dedicated exclusively to the analysis of the economic, social, demographic, fiscal, and other impacts of immigration on the United States. The IPC is a division of the American Immigration Law Foundation, a nonprofit, tax-exempt educational foundation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

American Immigration Law Foundation
918 F Street, NW - Washington, DC 20004
202-742-5600


Posted by VisaLawyer at 11:58 AM | Comments (0)

February 26, 2007

FAQ; can an H-1B1 self petition for the visa?

Answer; Yes, you may incorporate a business in the U.S. to sponsor yourself. Because the corporation is a legal entity it may apply for you the individual. The salary may be paid by your U.S. or Singapore business. The U.S. corporation must have a U.S. tax id number. For a start-up company, there may be ability to pay issues; the corporation has to be solvent, with financial documentation that guarantees both employment and the beneficiary’s salary.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 02:10 PM | Comments (0)

February 25, 2007

Immigration Reform, National Security After September 11, And the Future of North American Integration

The events of September 11, 2001 marked a watershed moment in United States history. In the wake of these events, and in an attempt to soothe the understandably tense and rattled nerves of the American public, nearly all political focus was placed on improving national security. As a consequence of this shift in focus, both the Government and a majority of the public became ready and willing to trade off civil liberties--particularly those of minorities--in exchange for a feeling of greater safety and security. This has resulted, in the five years since September 11, in some of the most egregious and reprehensible violations of civil rights this nation has seen in its entire history: the Patriot Act; Special Registration of Male Arabs and Muslims in the U.S.; and the ever-expanding, secretive and selective electronic surveillance efforts by the Bush Administration.

As part of a symposium on national security, the reports for which are soon to be published by the Minnesota Law Review, Law Professors Kevin Johnson (Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, University of California, Davis) and Bernard Trujillo (University of Wisconsin) analyze this turn of events, and focus in particular on the toll on immigration law this national security emphasis has taken. Prior to September 11, the authors argue, Congress was in the process of liberalizing the restricitive immigration laws of 1996; but after that date, the momentum for positive immigration reform was lost, and not only came to a screeching halt, but actually reversed course. Rather than becoming more liberal and humane, immigration laws became increasingly more restrictive, as immigrants became the scapegoat for all the ills of the country. To be pro-immigrant was to be unpatriotic, it was argued, despite the fact that the United States was built on the backs of immigrants, and was founded as a nation of immigrants, a veritable "melting pot."

To rectify this situation, and to return clarity to the country's vision regarding its immigrant foundation without sacrificing national security, the authors argue that what is necessary is a truly comprehensive immigration reform program, one that legalizes the undocumented population and brings them out of the shadows, and one that adopts immigration policies that help, rather than alienate, this country's immigrants.

A summary of the report is available on the Social Science Research Network website;
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=962963

Posted by VisaLawyer at 12:45 PM | Comments (0)

February 24, 2007

FAQ What is the salary an H-1B1 visa holder must receive?

Answer; If you enter the job title at this website it will tell you the estimated salary. Go to;

http://www.flcdatacenter.com/OesWizardStart.aspx

Posted by VisaLawyer at 02:09 PM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2007

Navigating immigration passage; U.S. legislators discuss what a successful immigration bill needs

Monday, February 19, 2007, by Dena Bunis; 202-628-6381; dbunis@ocregister.com

The Orange County Register

WASHINGTON - The debate about how to reform the nation's immigration system will soon heat up again on both sides of the Capitol.

With the Democratic takeover of Congress, two lawmakers long active in this issue will lead the House and Senate immigration subcommittees where policy decisions start. At his news conference Wednesday, President Bush reiterated his support for a comprehensive fix and said he believed this was an issue he could work on with the new majority.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, leads the House panel, and Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., heads the Senate subcommittee.

Lofgren recently sat down with The Orange County Register to talk about her plans for immigration. Kennedy declined an interview but answered by e-mail the questions posed to Lofgren.

Here are excerpts.

Q: What is your main goal as chair of the subcommittee?

Lofgren: Craft and guide to passage a comprehensive bipartisan, practical immigration reform bill.

Kennedy: We all agree that America's immigration system is broken. Millions of families wait for years to be reunited with their loved ones. Tens of thousands of employers are unable to obtain immigrant visas for the workers they depend on. The result is a growing crisis of illegal immigration. There's an urgent need for legislation and policies to fix the broken system.

Q: What will it take to get that done?

Lofgren: We're going to start right away and build on the work we did last year. The House passed the Sensenbrenner bill (an enforcement-only measure by Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis.), but most House members really never had the full issue before them. There's an educational effort that will have to happen here in the House and some reaching out to some people who think they disagree, and find common ground with them.

Kennedy: Right now, we have the elements in place to enact the reforms the American people have been calling for. The president and the House of Representatives are genuine partners in this debate. I am confident we can pass a tough but fair immigration plan that protects our borders, upholds our values, strengthens our laws and ensures our prosperity.

Q: Why has getting a comprehensive bill been so difficult?

Lofgren:People have strong views on this subject. I think that the section of the Republican caucus that Mr. (Tom) Tancredo (R-Colo.) seems to speak for seems very adamant about their opposition to immigration, and I don't expect that he and I are likely to find common ground. That doesn't mean we can't find common ground with others on the other side of the aisle. I think also that it was an issue that some thought could be used to political advantage, and there was a lot of angry rhetoric that made it more difficult to reach agreement. What I've been talking to some of my colleagues about is if we just stop yelling about this and just methodically work our way through the outstanding issues, we'd probably get a lot further.

Kennedy: On the issue of immigration, emotions run high, and divisiveness gets in the way of progress.

Q: The conventional wisdom is that the Senate will act on a comprehensive bill first. Is that so? Will something get to Bush's desk this year?

Lofgren: They probably will. We want to act promptly, and we also want to be inclusive. But we have some work to do. They did a lot of that already, and there's some things that we didn't have a chance to do last Congress. (Q: So you think it will get to the president this year?) Yes. I'm an optimist so I hope we will.

Kennedy: Yes, we can. (Sen.) John McCain (R-Ariz.) and I are working together to put forward a solid bill that will pass both the House and the Senate this year. The Senate spent weeks on our bill last year, so it makes sense for the Senate to take the lead. But our colleagues in the House are just as determined to pass a good bill, and we're working closely together....".


http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/news/nationworld/washingtonbureau/article_1583663.ph

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:13 PM | Comments (0)

February 22, 2007

FAQ H-1B1 Porting

If you have an H-1B1 visa before you begin to work for another employer you must apply to change your H-1B visa to the new employer. When your porting application is received by immigration you may begin to work.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 02:06 PM | Comments (0)

February 21, 2007

FAQ How soon may I apply for a H-1B1 visa?

Answer; the H-1B/I-129 may be filed 6 months early; Pursuant to 8 CFR 214.2(h)(9)(i)(B), the Service has accepted I-129 cases filed less than six months prior to the requested date of employment. The cited regulation pertains to the filing and approval of H-1 petitions; neither can occur prior to six months before the employment is to commence or the alien's current stay expires.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 02:03 PM | Comments (0)

February 20, 2007

FBI fingerprint backlog delays permanent residency

One of my clients case was stuck in CIS Memphis waiting on the FBI to complete its background check. My client had already gone for their interview. Months go by and we were still waiting on the FBI. We decided to have the US citizen husband visit their local U.S. representative for assistance. Within one month we received notification that the background check was complete by the FBI. Within a week his wife andstep-daughter were approved for Permanent Residency. Yesterday I metwith a very happy and satisfied client who strongly recommends getting the U.S. representative involved to help the process.

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

February 19, 2007

AILA Lobby Day

I have arranged a meeting is with Tennessee Senator Corker’s office is at 2:00 p.m. on March 15, 2007. Each AILA Mid-South member should seek to arrange a meeting with their respective State Senator and representative. You may use the Contact Congress on the AILA website to help set up your meetings; www.aila.org. Once you arrange a meeting ask them if they need any information to help understand immigration. On the AILA website there are great tools to use under the Legislation and Advocacy button. Help them to understand the impact of immigration locally in your city and state.

Please plan to attend on this day as this is the year that immigration reform will be in play in Congress.

Mario Ramos

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

February 18, 2007

The Bad Man of Nolensville Road

In the Nashville Scene there is an article by P.J. Tobia
"Detailing the sleazy practices of an influential Hispanic business leader Roberto Chavez"

I resigned as Vice President of the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber Commerce in August 2005 after the President Robert Chavez refused to disclose any information about the finances of the organization. This was over 1 1/2 years ago since I raised questions as to the practice of Robert Chavez and his control over the Chamber. For more go to;

http://www.nashvillescene.com/Stories/Cover_Story/2007/02/15/The_Bad_Man_of_Nolensville_Road/index.shtml

Posted by VisaLawyer at 09:25 AM | Comments (0)

February 17, 2007

FAQ: H-1B1 visa for Chile and Singapore; questions 13, 14, 15

Here are the last three of the FAQs;

13. Can you have dual intent? No, you cannot apply for change to permanent residency while holding the H-1B1.
14. Can s13, 14, 15 pouses and children work under the principal’s H-1B1? No, they need their own H-1b1 visa to work.
15. Can spouses and children study in the U.S.? Yes.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 05:53 PM | Comments (0)

February 16, 2007

A Change of Heart on Guest Workers

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/09/AR2007020901947.html

By Janet Murguía, Washington Post, Sunday, February 11, 2007; B07

"After President Bush highlighted the need for a temporary-worker program as part of a larger immigration reform in his State of the Union address, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) compared the president's proposal to slavery. Rangel is right to be concerned. Our nation's history with such programs has been dreadful.

Many Latinos still have searing memories of the infamous bracero program, which more than 50 years ago became synonymous with worker abuse. The current guest-worker programs for agriculture and other "non-skilled" labor are not much better. Experience tells us that there is good reason to be concerned that a new worker visa program could repeat these mistakes, creating a permanent, sizable subclass of workers who endure harsh treatment while simultaneously undercutting their American co-workers.

Despite these concerns, after decades of strongly opposing temporary-worker programs for the very reasons that Rangel articulates, my organization and many Latino leaders find ourselves in the interesting position of being principal advocates for a significant new worker visa program as part of comprehensive immigration reform.

Some think we got here as the result of some devil's bargain with our allies among business leaders: They get a new worker program, and we get a path to citizenship for undocumented workers. Not so. We have concluded that a new legal pathway for the future flow of immigrant workers to the United States is the safest, most reasonable path for immigrant workers, for their co-workers in this country, and for a nation hungry for order and control at the border.

We share that hunger. Latinos know that even if we pass immigration reforms that include a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants who work, pay taxes and otherwise contribute to the United States, we will have failed to fix our nation's broken immigration system unless we do what previous reforms did not: Acknowledge that there will continue to be a flow across the border and that we will do everything we can to control and regulate it...".

The writer is president and chief executive of the National Council of La Raza.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 11:42 AM | Comments (0)

February 15, 2007

FAQ H-1B1 visa for Chile and Singapore; questions 10, 11, 12

Here are next three of the FAQs;

10. How long may you work in the U.S. with an H-1B1? One year stay.
11. Can you renew the H-1B1? Yes, it may be re-newed indefinitely.
12. Can you change status or adjust to permanent residency? No.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 05:52 PM | Comments (0)

February 14, 2007

A Humanitarian Crisis at the Border

Immigration Policy Center (IPC)
...providing factual information about immigration and immigrants in the United States.

NEW RELEASE February 9, 2007

New Estimates of Deaths Among Unauthorized Immigrants. In the mid-1990s, the U.S. governments deterrence approach to immigration control militarized the U.S.-Mexico border, closed off major urban points of unauthorized migration in Texas and California, and funneled hundreds of thousands of unauthorized immigrants through southern Arizonas deserts and mountains. As a result, immigrant deaths along the border have increased dramatically. Experts estimate that the bodies of 2,000 to 3,000 immigrants have been found along the Southwest border since 1995. According to one expert, this border has been more than 10 times deadlier to migrants from Mexico during the past nine years than the Berlin Wall was to East Germans throughout its 28-year existence. In this IPC Policy Brief, authors Raquel Rubio-Goldsmith, M.Melissa McCormick, Daniel Martinez, and Inez Magdalena Duarte summarize their report for the Binational Migration Institute at the University of Arizona.

at ; http://www.ailf.org/ipc/policybrief/policybrief_020607.shtml

Posted by VisaLawyer at 02:36 PM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2007

White House Budget Would Increase Spending for Border Security and Immigration Enforcement

President Bush released his $2.9 trillion budget proposal for fiscal year 2008 on Monday, unleashing debate over the Administration's plans to balance the budget while preserving the President's first-term tax cuts.

While many domestic programs would face funding freezes or reductions under the White House budget proposal, The Department of Homeland Security budget would increase significantly. Immigration enforcement and border security operations would result in a substantial increase of $1 billion for border fencing and surveillance and also fund an additional 3,000 border patrol agents. The administration's proposal would increase appropriations for U.S. Customs and Border Protection by 31 percent, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services by 29 percent, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement by 7 percent.

The proposed budget also includes the first funding request for the land portion of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, with $252 million allotted for technology and staff at land ports of entry.

The Administration's budget would also bolster DHS's interior enforcement efforts, providing increased funding for a program to identify and deport undocumented immigrants in U.S. prisons, as well as continued funding for the Basic Pilot program. An additional $78 million - a 50 percent increase over FY 2007 - would go to train state and local law enforcement officers in federal immigration law and authorize them to identify and remove undocumented immigrants.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 08:25 AM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2007

Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell vetoes English First law

I attended today’s mid-day press conference were Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell vetoed the English First law passed by the City Council last week. Mayor Purcell stated that English is our language”…. “We do not need a law to tell us what language we are already speaking”… The proposed law was not what Nashville is as a city. Rather the City is a collection of people of many languages and from many countries. It was great to see the mayor reject the law. Councilman Eric Crafton, the law sponsor wanted the City to take an English First stance. The room was full of people from all walks of life. This is what it took to defeat this law, a multitude of people and networks. Even though it is a cloudy overcast day in Nashville the sun came out today. I applaud Mayor Purcell on his veto of this bad law.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 11:06 AM | Comments (0)

February 11, 2007

Border Fence Could Cost $49 Billion

If the United States government actually decides to build a 700-mile fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, the final cost could be as much as $49 billion over the next 25 years. And, according to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the nonpartisan research arm of Congress, even then the fence might not effectively protect the border against drug smugglers and others who want to cross the border undetected. The $49 billion price tag is based on estimates from the Army Corps of Engineerswhich helped build the existing 14-mile long fence in San Diegoand would cover the cost of the 700-mile fence Congress authorized last year. But the U.S. has a 1,952-mile long border with Mexico. So, CRS suggests, a $49 billion, 700-mile border fence really would not be effective in preventing people from crossing the border illegally.

The pdf version of the CRS report is available at; http://www.ailf.org/ipc/spotlight/spotlight_020807.pdf

Posted by VisaLawyer at 02:34 PM | Comments (0)

February 10, 2007

FAQ: H-1B1 visa for Chile and Singapore; questions 7, 8, 9

7. What are the H-1B1 filing fees outside the U.S.? I-129 $190.00, I-129 HDC $750.00 ($1,500.00 if 25 or more H-1B employees) and the consular fee.
8. What are the H-1B1 filing fees inside the U.S.? I-129 $190.00, I-129 HDC $750.00 ($1,500.00 if 25 or more H-1B employees) and Premium processing $1,000.00 to receive a response within 15 business days.
9. Are there any special fees outside of filing fees? No, special fee is required.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 05:50 PM | Comments (0)

February 09, 2007

Tancredo quits immigration panel

“By Christa Marshall, Denver Post Staff Writer, 02/07/2007
Washington - Rep. Tom Tancredo has decided to step down as the chairman of the House Immigration Reform caucus to focus more on his 2008 campaign for president and provide others an opportunity to lead on the immigration issue.

The Littleton Republican handed the chairmanship to Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Calif., but will continue to actively participate in the congressional caucus, which was established by Tancredo in 1999.
Since its creation, the caucus has grown to more than 90 members and played a key role in rallying support in 2006 for passage of a tough House immigration bill that called for strict border enforcement measures and penalties for employers that hired illegal immigrants…”.

http://test.denverpost.com/extremes/ci_5176440

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

February 08, 2007

FAQ H-1B1 visa for Chile and Singapore; questions 4, 5, 6

Here are next three of the FAQs;

4. Do you need proof of labor attestation (certified ETA 9035 or 9035E? Yes, the forms are approved by the U.S. Department of Labor.
5. Can you apply for an H-1B1 inside of the U.S.? Yes, non-immigrants may apply to DHS for a change of non-immigrant status to H-1B1.
6. Do you need an H-1B1 visa if you depart the U.S.? Yes, an alien who departs the United States will need an H-1B1 visa to seek readmission.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 05:49 PM | Comments (0)

February 07, 2007

Nashville, Tennessee approves divise English first law

"Council passes controversial law

By Michael Cass, Staff Writer

English is the official language of Nashville — and Metro government must use it whenever possible — after Metro Council passed a controversial bill into law Tuesday, ending months of debate.

But the "English-first" measure, described by some supporters and opponents as having little practical effect, could wind up costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees.Along with making English the city's official language, the law says Metro government must communicate in that language "except when required by federal law or when necessary to protect or promote public health, safety or welfare."

The council approved it 23-14 on the third and final vote, with three members absent...

Ralph Schulz, president of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, which lobbied against the bill, said, "From our perspective, the job just got a little tougher to prove to the world that Nashville is the inclusive city it is.""

to contact members of Nashville City Council go to;

http://www.nashville.gov/council/council_roster.htm

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:32 AM | Comments (0)

February 06, 2007

FAQ for H-1B1 visa for Chile and Singapore; questions 1, 2, 3

I have prepared a 15 question FAQ for H-1B1 visas. Here are the first three of the FAQs;

1. How many H-1B1 visas are available for Chile and Singapore? Chile 1400 & Singapore 5400.
2. Who may apply? National from Chile or Singapore who are professionals who meet the definition of "specialty occupation" set forth in the Free Trade Agreement or submit proof of alternative credentials.
3. Do you need a job offer to apply? Yes, you must submit a job offer letter from a prospective employer.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 05:44 PM | Comments (0)

February 05, 2007

English-only Ordinance up for 3rd and final reading before Metro Council on Tues., 02-06-07

Here is a reminder from Greg Ramos: The English-only Ordinance is up for 3rd and final reading before the Metro Council on Tues., 02-06-07. The Metro Council meets on the 2nd Floor of the newly renovated Metro Courthouse in Downtown Nashville, Tennessee. The Council meeting itself starts at 7:00 p.m., but we would like people to get there as soon after 6:00 p.m. as you can so the Council can see how united we are on our opposition to this divisive and unnecessary ordinance. Thanks for all your help and support and remember, yellow is our color. Gracias a todos. Gregg Ramos

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:01 PM | Comments (0)

February 04, 2007

AILA Opposes Proposal by USCIS to Increase Immigration Filing Fees

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 31, 2007

CONTACT INFORMATION: George Tzamaras; 202-216-2410

WASHINGTON, DC - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) opposes the proposal by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to increase immigration filing fees by an average of 66%. "This increase would create a barrier for some immigrants and serve as a new tax on applicants seeking to immigrate or to become citizens," said Carlina Tapia-Ruano, President of AILA.

"USCIS may well be the only government agency other than the Postal Service that tries to operate 99% on user fees," added Tapia-Ruano. "These fees are expected to pay not just for the services delivered to the applicant, but for the agency's overhead and for law enforcement activities such as investigations and security checks. It is well past time that the Administration requested, and the Congress appropriated, funds to allow this agency to properly do its job. Funding an entire agency on the backs of immigrants and their U.S. citizen spouses is beyond the pale."

"Also, AILA is concerned that the public will not get significantly improved services to go with the significantly increased fees," said Tapia-Ruano. "USCIS Director Gonzalez has stated a goal for the agency of a 20% improvement in processing times by the end of 2009. A 66% increase in fees now for at best a 20% improvement in service three years from now is simply not acceptable."

Over the past 12 years we already have seen a fourfold increase in the cost of applying for citizenship. This proposed hike would result in a more than sevenfold increase. In 1994 the cost was only $95, now the total fees are $400, and under this proposal they will become $675. AILA is unconvinced that the money from new increases will be put toward improving the antiquated systems that have caused years-long delays in the path to citizenship.

"Raising the cost of immigration applications is not a viable solution," added Tapia-Ruano. "It is time for the Administration and Congress to step up and fund the government's fair share of the process."

Founded in 1946, AILA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that provides its Members with continuing legal education, information, professional services and expertise through its 35 chapters and over 75 national committees. AILA also advocates before Congress and the Administration, as well as provides liaison with government agencies in support of pro-immigration initiatives. AILA is an Affiliated Organization of the American Bar Association.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 10:50 AM | Comments (0)

February 03, 2007

U.S. Immigration Policy in Global Perspective: International Migration in OECD Countries

The United States possesses a number of competitive assets in the global war for talent: most notably, its huge and flexible labor market and an abundance of leading-edge multinational corporations and world-class universities. However, the United States also faces growing competition in the global labor market from other countries within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), as well as from the expanding economic opportunities available in the home countries of Indian and Chinese professionals who constitute a vital talent pool for U.S. high-tech companies.These trends underscore the need to make sure that U.S. immigration policies are responsive to the demands of an increasingly competitive global economic environment.

In a special report issued by the Immigration Policy Center earlier this month, David Bartlett, PhD., President of the Minneapolis-based Global Economics Company and Adjunct Professor in the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, argues that the current quota-based system regulating the flow of high-skilled immigrants into the U.S. is simply inadequate to meet the needs of this country and allow it to remain competitive in the global economy. According to Dr. Bartlett, the best antidote to curing this problem is to replace the current H-1B program, along with its arbitrary numerical limits, with something akin to the points-based systems currently being used or considered in places like Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the U.K. Professor Bartlett acknowledges, however, that such a system is unlikely to be implemented in the U.S. anytime soon, given the current Congressional preoccupation with security concerns. Instead, he argues that in the absence of such a points-based system, an increase in the H-1B cap like that proposed last year in the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform bill (S. 2611) is a necessity if the U.S. is to remain competitive with the other increasingly competitive economic powers of the world.

The full report is available on the IPC's website; http://www.ailf.org

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:55 AM | Comments (0)

February 02, 2007

Senate Judiciary Committee Finalizes Immigration Subcommittee Membership

Senate Judiciary Committee Finalizes Immigration Subcommittee Membership

On 1/25/07, the Senate Judiciary Committee finalized the membership of the newly named Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Refugees (formerly the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims).

The nine-member Subcommittee has jurisdiction over matters related to: (1) immigration, citizenship, and refugee laws; (2) oversight of the Department of Homeland Security U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the immigration functions of the U.S Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Directorate of Border and Transportation Security; (3) oversight of the immigration-related functions of the Department of Justice, the Department of State, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement, and the Department of Labor; (4) oversight of international migration and refugee laws and policy: and (5) private immigration relief bills.

Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) will chair the Immigration Subcommittee, and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) will serve as Ranking Member for the minority party. Other members of the Subcommittee include: Senators Joseph Biden (D- DE), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Charles Grassley (R-IA), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Charles Schumer (D-NY), and Jeff Sessions (R-AL).

The Immigration Subcommittee is part of the larger Senate Judiciary Committee, which has one of the broadest jurisdictions in the Senate. In addition to immigration-related issues, the Committee has jurisdiction over matters ranging from criminal justice and anti-terrorism policy to antitrust and intellectual property law. Along with the members of the Immigration Subcommittee, the membership of the full Senate Judiciary Committee includes: Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ranking Member Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), and Senators Sam Brownback (R-KS), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Russell Feingold (D-WI), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Herb Kohl (D-WI), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:48 AM | Comments (0)

February 01, 2007

Hispanic Nashville

On Monday, January 29, 2007 I was featured on John Lamb's website at www.hispanicnashville.com.

Here is the entry;

"Mario Ramos recognized for "outstanding advocacy" by American Immigration Lawyers Association

From the December 26, 2006 edition of the AILA publication The Pulse:

Featured Activist
Mario Ramos, Mid-South Chapter
AILA Advocacy can be just as easy and routine as getting your coffee fix. AILA Mid-South Chapter member Mario Ramos met one key staff person from the Nashville Chamber of Commerce for coffee one time and introduced him to the issue of immigration. Two more meetings and two more months later, executive members of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce came to Washington, D.C., to lobby for comprehensive immigration reform. Read about Mario's outstanding advocacy on pages 6 & 7 of the July/August 2006 issue of AILA's Dispatch".

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:16 AM | Comments (0)