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May 31, 2007

S 1348 & amendment 1223

Senator Sanders Independent from Vermont succeeded in passage of this amendment which will increase the H-1B filing fee by $5,000.00. The amendment passed by a vote of 59 to 35. All cases filing for an H vise will have a fee increase of $5,000.00 on top of already existing fees. The reason for the fee increase is to train U.S.workers and scholarship programs.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 08:21 AM | Comments (0)

May 30, 2007

DHS Announces 18-Month TPS Extensions for Nationals of Honduras and Nicaragua

Press Release

Employment Authorization Documents Automatically Extended through January 5, 2008

WASHINGTON - The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced the publication of Notices in the Federal Register designating an 18-month extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nationals of Honduras and Nicaragua. Under this extension, those who have been granted TPS and who re-register are eligible to live and work in the United States for an additional 18 months. There are approximately 78,000 nationals of Honduras and 4,000 nationals of Nicaragua (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in Honduras or Nicaragua) who may be eligible for re-registration.

DHS has also automatically extended the validity of Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for eligible Hondurans and Nicaraguans for six months through January 5, 2008. This extension will allow sufficient time for eligible TPS beneficiaries to apply for and receive a new EAD without any lapse in employment authorization.

The extension of TPS for nationals of Honduras and Nicaragua is effective July 5, 2007, and will remain in effect until January 5, 2009. Nationals of Honduras and Nicaragua who have been granted TPS previously must re-register for the 18-month extension during the 60-day re-registration period, which begins May 29, 2007 and ends July 30, 2007. This re-registration period is for Honduras and Nicaragua only. Information about the El Salvador re-registration period will be forthcoming. Re-registration applications from nationals of El Salvador will not be accepted at this time.

To re-register for TPS under the extension, a TPS beneficiary must submit: (1) Form I-821 (Application for Temporary Protected Status) with no fee, (2) Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) with fee if requesting a TPS-related EAD or an extension of a TPS-related EAD, and (3) a Biometric fee if 14 years of age or older or under age 14 and requesting an EAD. Applicants requesting an EAD may request that the Form I-765 fee be waived in accordance with the regulations. However, the Biometric fee cannot be waived. Both the Form I-765 and I-821 must be submitted for re-registration. If the applicant is only seeking to re-register for TPS and not seeking employment authorization, a filing fee for the Form I-765 is not necessary.

The fee for Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization , is $180 and the fee for biometrics service is $70 as of the date of publication of the most recent Federal Register Notices governing the TPS designations of Honduras and Nicaragua.

To facilitate processing of TPS re-registrations, applicants are strongly encouraged to file as soon as possible after the start of the 60-day re-registration period, (Insert Date). Failure to submit the required filing fees will result in the rejection of TPS re-registration applications.

More information is available from the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 800-375-5283. TPS forms are available from the toll-free USCIS Forms line (800-870-3676) or from the USCIS web site at www.uscis.gov .

- USCIS -


Posted by VisaLawyer at 01:10 PM | Comments (0)

May 29, 2007

S 1348 and the loud crowd

Call and support members of the U.S. Senate who have joined the 63 members voting for S 1348. Call the 37 Senators against S 1348 and ask them to change. The time to act is now; together we can stand against the loud crowd.

Visit www.aila.org and click on the Contact Congress button to locate your Senator.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 08:55 AM | Comments (0)

May 28, 2007

Immigration judges lack apt backgrounds

growing number of the jurists have little or no experience in that area of law. Some have strong Republican resumes.
By Richard B. Schmitt
L.A. Times Staff Writer

May 26, 2007

WASHINGTON — Over the last two years, U.S. Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales has appointed more than two dozen individuals as federal immigration judges.

The new jurists include a former treasurer of the Louisiana Republican Party, who was a legal advisor to the Bush Florida recount team after the 2000 presidential election. There is also a former GOP congressional aide who had tracked voter fraud issues for the Justice Department, and a Texan appointed by then-Gov. George W. Bush to a seat on the state library commission.

One thing missing on many of their resumes: a background in immigration law.

These lawyers are among a growing number of the nation's more than 200 immigration judges who have little or no experience in the law they were appointed to enforce...".

http://www.latimes.com/services/site/premium/access-registered.intercept

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

May 27, 2007

Texas business leaders push immigration bill

Open letter in Dallas paper urges Hutchison, Cornyn to back measure

By SUZANNE GAMBOA, Associated Press

"WASHINGTON - Texas business leaders are pressuring the state's Republican senators to back the immigration reform bill being debated in the Senate.

A coalition of Texas businesses published an open letter to Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn in Thursday's editions of The Dallas Morning News, to "express the urgency in supporting passage of comprehensive immigration reform."

"We hope both Republican senators from Texas would get behind this bill. We think it's a unique opportunity, and we need to finish the job," said Bill Hammond, president of the Texas Association of Business and a board member of Texas Employers for Immigration Reform.

The coalition members said the state and national economy will be damaged and businesses will face a labor shortage if Congress doesn't complete work on an immigration bill.

In a conference call with reporters, business leaders said nothing can be gained from requiring the illegal immigrants to leave and re-enter the country.

"To ask them to return home and touch back is going to put a unique burden on them and on employers," said Cliff Butler, vice chairman of Pilgrim's Pride, based in Pittsburg...".

at http://www.theeagle.com/stories/052607/nation_20070526001.php

Posted by VisaLawyer at 01:08 PM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2007

CIR Update & Memorial Day Recess Alert

Advocates

Last night, the Senate wrapped up its first week of debate on the Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Reform Act (S. 1348), the negotiated comprehensive immigration reform bill. The AILA Advocacy department would like to extend a warm thank you to everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to call their senators, sometimes several times a day, to voice support for, or opposition to, the amendments under consideration. We know how hard it can be to get through when the switchboards are flooded with calls, as they certainly were this week. Yet the persistence of dedicated callers made a difference: the Senate managed to defeat several troubling amendments and adopt a number of positive reforms. For a run down of votes and floor action this week, please view our archive of CIR Daily Updates.

Next Step: Memorial Day Recess--Building Momentum, Voicing Support
The debate, however, is far from over. Before the Senate resumes consideration of S. 1348, Congress will adjourn and many legislators will return to their home states and districts for the Memorial Day recess (May 26-June 3). This recess could have a critical impact on the outcome of CIR legislation, and it is crucial that AILA members meet with their legislators or district staff next week to voice support for fair and meaningful immigration reform. Restrictionist groups are already mobilizing to inundate district offices and Town Hall meetings with anti-CIR messages. AILA members must take responsibility for making pro-immigrant, pro-CIR voices heard!

The Advocacy department will send Town Hall Meeting Alerts later today to AILA members whose legislators have scheduled public meetings. To set up individual meetings with your legislators or their district staff, simply use your legislators' district office contact information, available on Contact Congress.

After the Recess: Prepare for Renewed Debate, Vote on Final Passage
The Senate will resume debate during the week of June 4, when we expect to see a number of extremely important amendments brought to the floor for consideration. These amendments could make or break the Senate bill. A vote on final passage is expected to occur sometime toward the end of the week, around June 7-8. Please prepare to take urgent action during the second week of floor debate by perusing AILA's CIR resources and programming your senators' phone numbers into your cell phone.

Your senators' phone numbers are:

Sen. Lamar Alexander: (202) 224-4944
Sen. Bob Corker: (202) 224-3344

Not your senators? No phone numbers listed go to Contact Congress at http://www.aila.org/

Posted by VisaLawyer at 12:32 PM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2007

National Call-In Days!

Our friends at the Campaign for Comprehensive Immigration Reform and at the National Immigration Forum are promoting National Call-In Days:

Use the number set up by the Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform 1-800-417-7666 (or use the numbers you've programmed into your cell phone)to call your Senators.

Tell your Senators:

• Congress must fix the broken immigration system this year and pass comprehensive immigration reform.

• Comprehensive immigration reform means providing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who have been working and paying taxes, but forced to live in the shadows.

• Comprehensive immigration reform means supporting family unity and protecting workers from exploitation.

• Comprehensive immigration reform means making sure immigrants come legally with a visa instead of with a smuggler.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:19 PM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2007

Meeting with U.S. Senator office on S 1348

Yesterday I met with Michael Schulz, the state field representative who handles immigration for Lamar Alexander, Senator for Tennessee, Republican Party. We discussed S 1348 and the 5 AILA concerns; see my blog entry dated 5/21/07.

Michael told me that they are receiving about 1,000 plus calls a day; 20 to 1 against any “amnesty for law breakers”. The talk show radio hosts have gotten the loud crowd to call and vent over this issue. Michael has not hear from many businesses in support of S 1348.

We also talked about the need to have the current family, business categories respected, 245i etc.

This meeting shows that there is a lot of work to be done. The loud crowd is trying to present the image of a public against reform. Call your Tennessee Senators' phone numbers are:

Sen. Lamar Alexander: (202) 224-4944
Sen. Bob Corker: (202) 224-3344

Posted by VisaLawyer at 05:25 PM | Comments (0)

Amendment Alert - Call Sen. Lamar Alexander and Sen. Bob Corker

Advocate –

The Senate is scheduled to continue voting on CIR amendments today. As we send this email out, we expect the Senate to vote on the Coleman Amendment (#1158) on local law enforcement around 12:15 pm EDT. This amendment is UGLY! Please call your senators NOW and urge them to vote NO!

Beyond the Coleman amendment, we expect the Senate to vote on an unpredictable mix of amendments today--some GOOD, some BAD, and others UGLY! Immigration advocates MUST CALL ABOUT THESE AMENDMENTS when they come up for consideration! AILA staff will prepare you to call your Senators by posting up-to-the-minute amendment information and talking points to the front page of InfoNet. We may need you to call MULTIPLE TIMES A DAY!

TODAY's POSSIBLE AMENDMENTS:

This is a tentative list and is subject to change. AILA National will not take a formal position on any amendment until provided an opportunity to read the complete text which, in many cases, is not available until moments before consideration.

Anticipated today:

Coleman - OPPOSE - allows any government entity with probable cause to inquire about an individual's immigration status

Akaka - SUPPORT - exempts children of certain Fillipino WWII veterans from numerical limitations on immigrant visas

Grassley - OPPOSE - eliminates judicial review of visa revocations

Cornyn - OPPOSE - erodes due process, expands definition of aggravated felony, excludes large numbers of the current undocumented population from legalization program

Dorgan - OPPOSE - sunsets the Y visa new worker program

Posted by VisaLawyer at 09:32 AM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2007

Today'Possible Amendments to S 1348

This is a tentative list and is subject to change. AILA National will not take a formal position on any amendment until provided an opportunity to read the complete text which, in many cases, is not available until moments before consideration.

Anticipated before noon tomorrow:

Bingaman - cutting the number of new workers in half

Grassley - eliminating judicial review of visa revocations

Graham - relating to mandatory minimum penalties for certain crimes

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:17 PM | Comments (0)

Senate Bill 1348

GOOD, BAD, and UGLY amendments will be offered to the Senate immigration bill (S. 1348) throughout each day of the debate. Immigration advocates MUST CALL ABOUT EACH AMENDMENT! e posting up-to-the-minute amendment information and talking points. We may need you to call MULTIPLE TIMES A DAY!

The amendment process moves very quickly and information that is good in the morning is often stale by the afternoon.

STAY INFORMED! CHECK INFONET FREQUENTLY!
CALL YOUR SENATORS ABOUT EACH AMENDMENT!

Your Tennessee Senators' phone numbers are:

Sen. Lamar Alexander: (202) 224-4944

Sen. Bob Corker: (202) 224-3344

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:15 PM | Comments (0)

May 22, 2007

CIR Daily Update 5/22/07: Debate Begins, Dorgan Amendment Defeated

On 5/22/07, the Senate began formal debate and consideration of amendments to S. 1348. In a 31-64 vote, the Senate defeated the Dorgan/Boxer amendment that would have eliminated the Y visa new worker program. However, other amendments to curtail the program are likely to follow, beginning with possible consideration of the Bingaman amendment on Wednesday morning. Senator Bingaman’s (D-NM) amendment would cut the number of Y visas from 400,000 down to 200,000 annually.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:13 PM | Comments (0)

Senate Votes to Proceed with Floor Debate

From AILA; CIR Daily Update 5/21/07:

The Senate voted today to begin formal consideration of comprehensive immigration reform legislation. Immediately following this vote, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) agreed to extend debate by one week and indicated that the Senate will resume debate after the Memorial Day recess. Consideration of amendments to the placeholder bill S. 1348 is expected to begin tomorrow with a substitute amendment that would replace the current contents of the bill with the “Grand Bargain” legislation negotiated last week.

Summary of Senate Proceedings—5/21/07

The Senate began debate this afternoon on comprehensive immigration reform.

Senator Sessions (R-AL) opened today’s proceedings with a speech detailing why the Senate should not proceed to a cloture vote today (to place a time limit on further informal consideration of comprehensive immigration reform off the Senate floor, and thereby overcome a filibuster and bring it to formal debate on the floor), and cited his general opposition to the measures currently being proposed in the so-called “Grand Bargain” comprehensive immigration reform bill negotiated last week. Senators Bunning (R-KY), Vitter (R-LA), Corker (R-TN) and Nelson (D-NE) echoed this opposition, and also urged the Senate to take more time debating this complicated bill and not proceed to a cloture vote and subsequent debate prematurely.

Senators Salazar (D-CO), Kennedy (D-MA), Graham (R-SC), Leahy (D-VT), Martinez (R-FL), Domenici (R-NM), Specter (R-PA), Menendez (D-NJ) and McConnell (R-KY) then spoke in support of a cloture vote on the bill, and urged their colleagues in the Senate not to delay bringing the bill to the Senate floor for debate. While many of these Senators who spoke in support of cloture expressed concern over certain provisions in the bargain bill, all stated that the only chance to make any headway on immigration reform this year was to begin formal debate on the Senate floor immediately.

At 5:40 pm, the motion to proceed on S. 1348, the bill that the Senate passed last year and that was introduced as a placeholder by Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) earlier this year, was put to a cloture vote. This vote passed 69-23 in favor of invoking cloture and beginning formal debate.

Next, after cloture was invoked, Majority Leader Reid announced that his timetable for passing the bill in the Senate would be amended. Citing the need for extensive debate on this complex issue, the deadline for a final vote on the bill was moved from this Friday, and extended an additional week. Debate will therefore begin this week, halt during the Memorial Day recess next week, and begin again the following week. A final vote is expected to take place at the end of the second week of debate, around June 8.

After this announcement, Senator Kyl (R-AZ) announced that the bargain bill negotiated last week would be offered tomorrow as a substitute amendment to replace the contents of S. 1348. As of now, no agreement has been announced as to the number of other amendments that will be introduced.

AILA believes this “bargain” is unacceptable and unworkable in its current form. However, while the process is still very much in flux, we are working closely with our allies to improve the bargain as much as possible during Senate floor debate over the next few weeks. We will keep you posted about amendment information as it becomes available.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:10 AM | Comments (0)

May 21, 2007

Top 5 Concerns with Senate “Grand Bargain” Bill

AILA;

The Senate "Grand Bargain" bill that will be debated on the Senate floor starting Monday, May 21, contains several unacceptable and unworkable provisions that must be addressed before any bill is passed in the Senate. While the "bargain" certainly contains many important and positive provisions-broad legalization, family backlog clearance, Agjobs, DREAM Act-these provisions cannot be accepted as a "trade-off" for devastating provisions that would harm families and workers for decades to come.

1. Decimation of Family Immigration: The bill eliminates current family preference categories and limits future family immigration to spouses and minor children of citizens and permanents residents, caps parents of citizens at 40,000, and makes no provision for those who have been in the family backlog for two years or less. This legislation flies in the face of other reform proposals which increase the 2A category or place it the immediate relative category

2. Decimation of Employment-Based Immigration: The bill eliminates current employment-based immigration categories and puts in their place a new "merit-based" point system with totally inadequate numbers (approximately 40,000 per year while current backlogs are cleared over 5-8 years). The new "point system" would be wildly skewed toward highly educated, English-speaking professionals, with few visas for essential workers or adult children or siblings of citizens. The point system contains no provisions for multinational managers, extraordinary ability aliens, outstanding professors or researchers, or those doing work in the national interest. There would be no labor market test to protect native-born workers.

3. Lack of Path to Permanent Status for Future Flow Essential and Highly Skilled Workers: The new Y temporary worker program would create a constantly churning workforce, as it provides only a two-year non-immigrant visa and requires that workers leave the U.S. for one year before being eligible to renew their work visa for a subsequent 2-year period. There is no "bridge" to allow essential and highly skilled but non-degreed workers a path to eventual permanent lawful status. There is a carve-out of 10,000 green cards per year for "essential" Y workers, but it appears they could not seek a permanent visa while in the United States.

4. Lack of Adequate Future Green Cards for Families and Workers: The future legal immigration program (after 8 years of backlog clearance) provided for in the Senate bill contemplates a legal immigration system composed of 380,000 work visas and 127,000 family-based visas, plus unlimited visas for spouses and minor children of citizens, and some number of refugee visas. These numbers are totally inadequate. All economic projections and assessments of family unity needs point to the need for at least 1.8 million visas per year in the future. The provisions of the current Senate bill guarantee that new backlogs will grow immediately, and that undocumented immigration will continue. This is no solution.

5. Obstacles to Legalization: The legalization provisions in the Senate bill require currently undocumented workers to register for a temporary work permit, and then, before receiving final lawful permanent status in 8-13 years, travel to their home countries and file applications with the U.S. consulate there. The cost for a single Z visa holder to legalize would be at least $8,500, and could be as high as $11,500. Z holders would not be permitted to sponsor spouses or minor children who are outside the U.S. as of January 2007. While the legalization program provisions are broad and include a generous cut-off date of January 2007, the obstacles inherent in too-tight deadlines, costs and required contact with overseas consulates are obstacles that must be addressed to assure that all who qualify for legalization can obtain permanent status.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:33 AM | Comments (0)

CALL YOUR SENATORS: Demand Workable Immigration Reform, Reject Bad Provisions in Senate "Bargain"!

The bipartisan Senate immigration reform "bargain" announced last week is unacceptable and unworkable in its current form. AILA is strongly opposed to the provisions that gut family and employment-based immigration, that provide no path to permanent residence for new temporary workers, and that provide insufficient numbers of permanent visas going forward, among other concerns. At the same time, we are working closely with our allies to improve the "bargain" as much as possible during Senate floor debate this coming week.

You can make a difference this week! Please call your Senate offices and tell them why the bill in its current form is unworkable.

WE WILL BE SENDING YOU A DAILY EMAIL TO INFORM YOU ABOUT WHICH AMENDMENTS TO SUPPORT AND WHICH TO OPPOSE. Please set aside time each day to make your Senate calls, and please alert your colleage us, your friends, your clients and ask them to do the same! Use "Contact Congress" on AILA InfoNet, or call the Senate Switchboard directly to be connected to your Senator's office: 202-224-3121.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND:

Senate: The "bargain" has been introduced as a bill. A "cloture" vote on a "motion to proceed" has been scheduled for 5:30 pm on Monday, May 21. Debate will begin through the day Monday, but the amendment process cannot start until after the cloture vote. It is expected that an agreement will be reached for each side to offer a limited number of amendments--somewhere between 6 and 12. Debate and votes on amendments will happen through Tuesday and Wednesday, May 22-23, and perhaps part of Thursday, with a vote on final passage of an amended bill coming as early as Thursday or as late as Friday, May 24 or 25.

IF THE SENATE PASSES AN IMMIGRATION BILL NEXT WEEK, action will shift to the House. IF THE SENATE DOES NOT PASS A BILL, the House will not take up any comprehensive immigration legislation this year.

House: The House will complete a series of hearings this week, and following its Memorial Day recess, it will begin "markup" of an immigration bill in the immigration subcommittee chaired by Rep. Zoe Lofgren. Rep. Lofgren has made remarks critical of a "point system", but has not indicated whether she will begin committee markup with the STRIVE Act or with something else she may draft.

Markup will include a variety of amendments and is expected to take several days. Following subcommittee markup, the full Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. John Conyers, will take up the bill reported by the subcommittee, and will hold its own markup, with additional debate and amendments.

The bill that comes out of the House Judiciary Committee will then go to the Rules Committee, which will determine which and how many amendments will be allowed to be offered during House floor debate.

House floor debate is expected to take place sometime in July.

Following House floor action, any House bill will then go to "conference" with whatever bill was voted out of the Senate. Rep. Conyers and Senator Kennedy will lead the conference deliberations, which could take several days or weeks. Whatever compromise bill is reported out of conference, reconciling House and Senate differences, will then have to go back to the House and Senate floors for final passage (no amendments allowed at that stage) and then, if passed, be sent to the President to sign.


Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:31 AM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2007

Interview with Jose Castro

Today I will do an interview with Jose Castro on La Saborsita 810 am to talk about immigration reform. The show starts at 11:00 am central time. If you have time listen in Spanish to us discuss reform.

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

May 19, 2007

Tennessean article May 18, 2007; "Reform plan stirs Tennessee passions"

John Lamb, www.hispanicnashville.com; FYI - I have posted Ramon's clarification on HispanicNashville.com so that the word gets out


Mario Ramos; Hello Ramon,

I read the quote in the Tennessean article and appreciate your trying to correct it. How about scheduling a press conference or sending a letter to the editor? The current system of immigration prohibition encourages illegality. Those who seek to uphold the law actually are fostering criminal enterprises which benefit from the destruction of families. The reform is needed as we all know to establish fair and just laws which unify families and allow for workers to enter the U.S.


Ramon Cisneros; For those who read The Tennessean today

My quote was..

"This is a country of laws, Undocumented immigrants break the law just as much as those who employ them and the government that fails to enforce them. An Immigration Reform is needed to return everyone to a system of laws"

The Tennessean wrote...

"We have to restore the law... These illegal immigrants are breaking the law."

Pathetic.

I thought I needed to clarify this...

Ramon Cisneros...

Posted by VisaLawyer at 09:33 AM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2007

Senate Agreement

Yesterday the US Senate announced their agreement on immigration reform. The details are beginning to be released and the U.S. House still allows a better deal to be reached. Lets continue working toward reform to help the millions who need help for them and their families.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:25 PM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2007

Agreement reached on immigration reform

By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, Associated Press Writer 8 minutes ago

"WASHINGTON - Key senators in both parties announced agreement with the White House Thursday on an immigration overhaul that would grant quick legal status to millions of illegal immigrants already in the U.S. and fortify the border.
ADVERTISEMENT

The plan would create a temporary worker program to bring new arrivals to the U.S. A separate program would cover agricultural workers. New high-tech enforcement measures also would be instituted to verify that workers are here legally.

The compromise came after weeks of painstaking closed-door negotiations that brought the most liberal Democrats and the most conservative Republicans together with
President Bush's Cabinet officers to produce a highly complex measure that carries heavy political consequences.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., said he expects Bush to endorse the agreement.

"Politics is the art of the possible, and the agreement we just reached is the best possible chance we will have in years to secure our borders and bring millions of people out of the shadows and into the sunshine of America," Kennedy said.

Anticipating criticism from conservatives, Sen. Arlen Specter (news, bio, voting record), R-Pa., said, "It is not amnesty. This will restore the rule of law."

The accord sets the stage for what promises to be a bruising battle next week in the Senate on one of Bush's top non-war priorities. The president has said he wants to sign an immigration bill by summer's end.

The key breakthrough came when negotiators struck a bargain on a so-called "point system" that would for the first time prioritize immigrants' education and skill level over family connections in deciding how to award green cards.

The draft bill "gives a path out of the shadows and toward legal status for those who are currently here" illegally, said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif.

The immigration issue also divides both parties in the House, which isn't expected to act unless the Senate passes a bill first.

The proposed agreement would allow illegal immigrants to come forward and obtain a "Z visa" and — after paying fees and a $5,000 fine — ultimately get on track for permanent residency, which could take between eight and 13 years. Heads of household would have to return to their home countries first.

They could come forward right away to claim a probationary card that would let them live and work legally in the U.S., but could not begin the path to permanent residency or citizenship until border security improvements and the high-tech worker identification program were completed.

A new temporary guest worker program would also have to wait until those so-called "triggers" had been activated.

Those workers would have to return home after work stints of two years, with little opportunity to gain permanent legal status or ever become U.S. citizens. They could renew their guest worker visas twice, but would be required to leave for a year in between each time.

Democrats had pressed instead for guest workers to be permitted to stay and work indefinitely in the U.S.

In perhaps the most hotly debated change, the proposed plan would shift from an immigration system primarily weighted toward family ties toward one with preferences for people with advanced degrees and sophisticated skills. Republicans have long sought such revisions, which they say are needed to end "chain migration" that harms the economy, while some Democrats and liberal groups say it's an unfair system that rips families apart.

Family connections alone would no longer be enough to qualify for a green card — except for spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens.

New limits would apply to U.S. citizens seeking to bring foreign-born parents into the country".

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070517/ap_on_go_co/immigration_congress;_ylt=Am4jMkN3mq72HRfpH3Zti0Ks0NUE

Posted by VisaLawyer at 11:29 AM | Comments (0)

U.S. Company H-1B Fees and Taxes Support Education

Policy Spotlight

Opponents of the H-1B visa program often criticize participating employers for recruiting foreign professionals to perform highly specialized jobs, generally those that require expertise in finance or science. Instead, they argue, the U.S. government and U.S. businesses should focus on funding programs that train American citizens to perform these jobs themselves. Yet, as a recent policy brief from the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) points out, there is no reason that U.S. businesses cannot concurrently recruit the foreign talent they need using H-1B visas and contribute to efforts to enhance U.S. math and science education.

In fact, American businesses are already doing just that. Through a combination of taxes, H-1B training and scholarship fees, and charitable contributions, employers of H-1B workers have already contributed billions of dollars to improve educational opportunities in math and science for U.S. citizens. According to NFAP analysis, the total amount of H-1B fees paid toward training and scholarships for American citizens since 1999 (when such fees were instituted) will exceed $1.75 billion by the end of this year.

Moreover, major employers of H-1B workers, such as Microsoft and Intel, have taken the lead in better equipping American schools and students through charitable contributions. Since its inception, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has contributed more than $3 billion in grants to improve education in the United States, and the Intel Corporation spends approximately $100 million annually on U.S. math and science education. On a broader level, U.S. businesses contribute over $91 billion a year in state and local taxes that fund public education. It would certainly seem that employment of H-1B workers and substantial support of American education are not mutually exclusive.

Read the entire NFAP Policy Brief: U.S. Company H-1B Fees and Taxes to Support Education; http://www.nfap.net/pdf/0507brief-business-immigration.pdf

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:41 AM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2007

Happy Outcome from yesterday appointment at CIS

My client went to the CIS interview; there the officer asked for proof of identity; passport and offer of employment. Next the officer told my client that there was a memo from the Department of State informing that there would be no more "other visas" until October 1, 2007. The attorney present showed the officer the June Visa Bulletin with the Oct 1 2001 priority date. The CIS officer went to double check and confirmed availability on the 1st of June 2007. The officer will request their permanent residency on the first of June. Needless to say my client and her husband are extremely happy with our level of service.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:17 AM | Comments (0)

May 15, 2007

Example of how my office works while out of the office

This morning I checked my e-mails at home before going to work. An update from AILA arrived with the new Visa Bulletin for June 2007. I went to the employment page to check the date on other workers category. One of my clients was in Memphis immigration office for an interview later this morning. Her priority date was current in the Visa Bulletin for April 06 and then unavailable for May 06. So I called my client to give her the good news and sent her an e-mail with the bulletin as an attachment. Next I called the attorney who we contracted to attend the interview. He will go to his office to print the bulletin I sent to him. Then I called my client to let her know that he will take a copy of the June Bulletin with him. We will find out later today how their adjustment of status interview went at CIS.

We set up this system for cases like this one. This allows us to improve efficiency and achieve a positive result for our clients.

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

H-1B voyage of the damned

in its latest update USCIS Explains H-1B Receipt Notice Delay for Non-Premium Cases;

In a 5/11/07 announcement, USCIS confirmed a fee receipt and data entry front log for H-1B petitions that were not filed premium processing.

Avoid the H-1B cap trap apply for workers using the H-1B1 at www.sacvisa.com

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

May 14, 2007

CIR Negotiations Reach “Make or Break” Point in Senate, Urgent Action Needed!

From AILA;

Your urgent action has never been needed more than now, when the debate and negotiations on comprehensive immigration reform legislation are nearing a "make or break" point. Contrary to what you may be reading in the press, the negotiations between a White House-led group of Republican senators, and a Kennedy-led group of Democratic senators, have NOT yielded any substantive agreement. In fact, the negotiations have exposed a very troubling dynamic - the Republican effort is being controlled by Senator Kyl (R-AZ), who is insisting on:

* Zero increase in worldwide ceiling on "green cards" in future years;
* Complete elimination of all family preference categories except 2A in exchange for a flawed legalization program;
* Complete elimination of current employment-based categories, to be replaced by new "merit/point" system;
* No path to permanent residence for any new essential nonimmigrant workers;
* Incomplete reduction of family backlogs, leaving nearly a million family members already in line without any relief.

This current "offer" on the table is a program that would decimate family and employment based immigration for the coming 8 years, create a new bracero program, impose daunting impediments to legalization for the 12 million undocumented, and deny basic due process to millions of legal immigrants already in the country. Any "deal" on these terms is totally unacceptable.

For their part, the Democrats have been flexible and willing to negotiate. They have accepted a less-than-ideal legalization program, but demanded that it be workable. They have been willing to discuss new limits on family immigration provided that family members be given priority in any new merit-based or "point" system being proposed by the Republicans. And they have insisted that due process not be further eviscerated.

Senator Reid (D-NV) has committed two weeks of Senate floor debate to CIR starting Monday, May 14, 2007. If there is no "negotiated" bill to introduce, Senator Reid has stated that he will introduce last year's Senate bill, S. 2611, as a starting point for debate. Republicans are threatening to block a "motion to proceed," thereby preventing any debate or any CIR bill from moving to the Senate floor for consideration.

What can you do? Call your Senators NOW and urge them to start the public debate, and to support a CIR bill that:

* respects family values and keeps families united;
* provides a path to eventual citizenship for the undocumented and for new essential workers; and,
* preserves and protects due process.

Tell your Senators that you are watching and that you won't stand for anything less than reasonable, workable, comprehensive immigration reform!

Find your senators' phone numbers and join AILA's rapid response advocacy campaign by programming their numbers into your cell phone at: http://capwiz.com/aila2/home/10to1.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:45 AM | Comments (0)

May 13, 2007

Jesus and Lou Dobbs

"At our press conference on Monday announcing the formation of Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, I remarked, "If given the choice on this issue between Jesus and Lou Dobbs, I choose my lord and savior, Jesus Christ."

As you might imagine, Lou didn’t like that very much. In his column on CNN.com, "A call to the faithful," rather than addressing the need for reforming a broken immigration system, he accuses us of being "hell-bent on ignoring the separation of church and state" as we "conflate religion and politics" by our "political adventurism." Then he suggests:

... before the faithful acquiesce in the false choice offered by the good Reverend, perhaps he and his followers should consult Romans 13 where it is written: "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves."

I don’t think Lou read our statement, where we clearly said:

We believe in the rule of law, but we also believe that we are to oppose unjust laws and systems that harm and oppress people made in God's image, especially the vulnerable (Isaiah 10:1-4, Jeremiah 7:1-7, Acts 5:29, Romans 13:1-7).

The current U.S. immigration system is broken and now is the time for a fair and compassionate solution. We think it is entirely possible to protect our borders while establishing a viable, humane, and realistic immigration system ...

Dobbs doesn’t understand that compassion is not amnesty, and that reforming an unworkable system is not simply flinging open our borders. But then, he long ago stopped being a journalist, and is now one of the leading advocates against comprehensive immigration reform.

He also doesn’t seem to understand that most people now believe that bringing our faith into public life is not undermining the separation of church and state. As I’ve said many times, where would America be if Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had kept his faith to himself? And on this issue, given a choice between Jesus and Lou Dobbs, I’ll still choose Jesus".

at; http://www.beliefnet.com/blogs/godspolitics/2007/05/video-jim-wallis-on-jesus-and-lou-dobbs.html

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:44 AM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2007

Dollars without Sense: Underestimating the Value of Less-Educated Workers

Policy Spotlight

A new report from the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) examines the false premise and conclusion derived by Heritage Foundation analysts in a highly publicized study of essential workers. According to authors Walter A. Ewing, Ph.D., and Benjamin Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Law Foundation, the recent Heritage report is one in a long line of deeply flawed economic analyses which claim to estimate the contributions and "costs" of workers based solely on the amount of taxes they pay and the value of the public services they utilize. By this line of thinking, if the taxes paid by workers do not cover the cost of the public services and benefits they receive, then these workers are draining the public treasury and, ostensibly, the economy as a whole. However, this kind of simplistic fiscal arithmetic does not accurately gauge the impact that workers of any skill level, foreign-born or native-born, have on the economy. It also is a dehumanizing portrayal of all workers who labor for low wages in physically demanding jobs that are essential to the economic health of the nation.

Visit the IPC website to read the complete report; http://www.ailf.org/ipc/ipc_index.asp

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:15 AM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2007

Congress' clock ticking on immigration debate

Senate Republicans pledge to block any measure that sidesteps bipartisan efforts at negotiation. By Jay Newton-Small Bloomberg News, Article Last Updated: 05/10/2007 03:10:40 AM MDT

Senate Republicans said they will try to block the start of debate on an immigration overhaul because negotiators haven't yet reached an agreement on the details of the legislation.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is trying to force lawmakers to come to an agreement by beginning debate on legislation that the Senate approved and the House refused to take up last year. Reid said debate must proceed next week because the issue has been scheduled for months, and the Senate has no other time for what may be a two-week debate.

"Any effort to move legislation on this issue that isn't the result of the ongoing bipartisan discussions would be a clear signal from Democrats that they are not yet serious about immigration reform," said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and three other Republicans wrote in a letter to Reid that they "will only support moving forward with legislation that is a product of the ongoing bipartisan discussions."

Lawmakers are trying to reach an accord on legislation to increase border security, create a temporary worker program and create a path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented workers already in the U.S. illegally.
Negotiators have said they are close to a deal, though there are still some sticking points, particularly on whether those seeking to come to the U.S. should be judged on a points structure where education and skills become factors.

Speaking at the news conference, Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., said there's "a long way to go" to break the current immigration logjam, but emphasized the window for compromise was closing rapidly.
"If it does not happen in the next two weeks, it probably will not happen under the administration of George Bush," Salazar said.
Salazar said Reid gave "fair warning" to the White House by saying months ago that he planned to move immigration legislation through the Senate in May.

Denver Post staff writer Christa Marshall contributed to this report.

at; http://www.bloomberg.com

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:40 AM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2007

ILF Director Ben Johnson to Testify before the House Small Business Committee

On Thursday, May 10, Ben Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Law Foundation, will testify before the House Small Business Committee on "Immigration Policies and their Impact on Small Business." The hearing will take place at 10 am in 2360 Rayburn House Office Building. Other witnesses will include:

Craig Silvertooth, Director of Federal Affairs, National Roofing Contractors Association
Maureen Torrey, Torrey Farms, Inc.
Ralph J. Folz, CEO, Molecular, Inc.
Robert Rector, Senior Research Fellow, Heritage Foundation
Mark S. Krikorian, Executive Director, Center for Immigration Studies

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

May 09, 2007

Update on the continuing saga og H-1B masters applicants

From AILA, May. 8, 2007;

AILA: Was the master's cap random lottery, for cases received on 4/30/07, already conducted? We are getting questions from members whose cases were received on 4/30/07 and who received receipt notices dated 5/2/07. Does that mean they made the lottery, or, is this going to be handled like the regular lottery in that receipts between 5/1/07 and the day of the lottery are just informational? Members are also reporting receiving approvals (under premium processing) for cases filed on 4/30/07 so we would like to confirm that they are valid.

SCOPS: Yes, the random number generator (RNG) has been run for H-1B Master's cap-exempt cases received on 4/30/07. Only cases received on 04/30/07, the final cut-off date for this particular grouping, were subject to the RNG. These cases have been subsequently sent to the "floor" for adjudication and as you note, some have already been approved with notices sent to the appropriate parties. These are legitimate approvals. Cases received on 5/1/07 or later will be rejected and fees will be returned. If a case was received on 5/01/07 or later and was data entered, it will be rejected as well and the fee will be refunded to the petitioner or his or her attorney of record.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:51 AM | Comments (0)

May 08, 2007

FAQ: My relative has an immigraiton hold, can they have a bond?

Answer; To determine if they may receive a bond an investigation of the case has to be done. Some persons may bond out while others may not. Confusing the matter is that some may receive a state bond if immigration does not take the person into custody.

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

May 07, 2007

Help! Restrictionists are Outnumbering us 10 to 1!

Angry restrictionists are calling Congress every chance they get! Their hateful calls outnumber ours 10 to 1! Senators and Representatives think that we are in the minority when the reality is that almost 75% of Americans support a comprehensive solution to our broken immigration system. The silent majority must speak up.

Prepare to be heard! Let's not be outnumbered when Congress takes up immigration reform in the coming weeks. Program these numbers into your cell phone so you can call Congress at a moment's notice when you get AILA action alerts. It will only take 90 seconds of your time. Get With the Program Today!

Your Senators are:
Senator Lamar Alexander: (202) 224-4944
Senator Bob Corker: (202) 224-3344

Your Representative is:
Representative Jim Cooper: (202) 225-4311

Let AILA know that You're With the Program!

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:00 AM | Comments (0)

May 06, 2007

IS YOUR WORLD H1B FLAT?

IF YOUR COMPANY STILL TRAVELS WITH AN H1B, YOUR WORLD IS FLAT….AND THE JOURNEY IS OVER;

SAC VISA CAN REACH AROUND THE WORLD THROUGH THE H1B1;

WITH SACVISA YOUR JOURNEY HAS JUST BEGUN;

SAIL BEYOND THE H1B PARADIGM BEFORE THE COMPETITION;

www.sacvisa.com

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:53 PM | Comments (0)

May 05, 2007

H-1B Masters Cap reached!

As I predicted the H-1B Masters cap was reached on April 30th, 2007. There will be no more H-B visas under regular or masters for fiscal year 2008. There is an exception for universities or non-profits doing work with universities.

If you are a for profit company and need skilled workers go to WWW.SACVisa.com to begin the process to find a skilled worker.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:49 PM | Comments (0)

May 04, 2007

FAQ: How can I find a job in the US?

Question; I work for a US company. I couldn't find a decent job which can help me with H1-B visa. Most employers denied to support me.
What are my options?I need your advice about this matter.

Answer; Call my office to arrange an appointment so that we may discuss your immigration options. Visit www.SACVisa.com to enter your resume to locate a job offer.


Posted by VisaLawyer at 08:20 AM | Comments (0)

May 03, 2007

National Call-In Days for CIR: May 3rd!

Take Action

Call your senators and urge them to move quickly to get real comprehensive reform done now!
The country needs action!

Keep the momentum for immigration reform surging ahead.
Your senators need to hear from you!

Call this number, and follow the instructions to connect to the offices of your senators. 1-800-417-7666
www.cirnoworg.

Tell your senators to ACT NOW IN FAVOR OF COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM!

Comprehensive immigration reform is the solution to fixing our broken immigration system, and now is the time to act. Families, workers, and communities across the country are counting on Congress to get it done, get it right, and do it now. You can help make it happen with your call - join the effort!

Posted by VisaLawyer at 08:46 AM | Comments (0)

May 02, 2007

FAQ: Can I change from OPT to H-1B after receiving a MBA in the US?

Question; I am an international student and I obtained MBA degree from a U.S. University in 2006. I received my optional practical training (OPT)last year and it will expire in July, 2007. I would like to change my student visa status to H1-B and I need a legal advice about this matter.

Answer; On April 26, 2007 USCIS published that 19,673 applications have been received for the 20,000 masters H-1B visa for this year. This means that there are 337 left for fiscal year 2008. If you want to apply you and your employer need to contact me today! We can file and amend the application later on.


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

May 01, 2007

FAQ: How can my husband does he automatically become a US citizen?

Question; After marrying an United States citizen, does a Non-U.S. citizen automatically becomes an American citizen? I am wondering if an alien from a different country marries an U.S. citizen does the alien automatically becomes an American citizen? I would like to know if a foreigner marries a legal American citizen does the foreigner automatically becomes a legal American citizen too? Thank you for your consideration.

Answer; Non-US citizens, aliens and foreigners are all treated equally under U.S. immigration law. All have to receive “permanent residency” before they are eligible to apply for U.S. Citizenship. There are different paths towards these goals depending on which country they are from and how they entered the U.S.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 01:08 PM | Comments (0)