Archive for December, 2009

The Decade in Immigration— 2000-2009

December 30, 2009

If this decade started with a bang for immigration law, it is definitely ending with a whimper. The two influences in immigration law are economy and politics. The decade started with the dot com boom and the signing of the AC-21 bill easing numerous provisions of business immigration law, including the ability to port petitions from different employers, the increase of H-1B numbers to 195,000. Yet even before the ink dried on that bill 9-11 happened, followed by the dot com bust. The H-1B quota, although always filled before the end of the CIS fiscal year, reverted back to the original 65,000; never to be increased again.

The Bush years saw NO immigration bills being passed. We, immigration attorneys did not need to learn any new things, except for a procedure change in the filing of the PERM. The Labor filings got better, best and now its back to being late again. We have traveled a full cycle there.

For the last couple of years the buzz words “comprehensive immigration reforms” created numerous bills all dying on the floors of either the senate or the house. Amongst the earlier ones with promise and somewhat of a bi-partisan support was the McCain-Kennedy. Ted Kennedy has since died, and John McCain unsuccessfully ran for President. Also dead on the floors are the ‘Dream Acts” legalizing college grads who were brought to the United States as little children by their parents illegally. These promising students are illegal through no fault of their own, studied here, went to college here, but cannot work legally.

The economic recession of 2009 saw a rise in anti immigration feelings, along with raids by Government agencies to businesses hiring illegal immigrants. This was followed by the Obama administration on the H-1B raids. Small businesses, the backbone of the American economy is seeing their H-1B petitions denied in record numbers because the CIS believes that employers want to commit fraud. Which small employer can afford to pay $1570/- filing fees for each H-1B employee just to commit fraud?

Can the two parties with their divergent political views ever be able to pass one “comprehensive” immigration bill in the next decade? The Republican with people like
Joe “you lie” Wilson conservatives want to make life harder for illegal immigrants who work as day laborers or gardeners. Amnesty is a bad word for these “religious” right wing conservatives. The Democrats don’t want business immigration, and cracks down on H-1B and other programs. At a debate on immigration Nancy Pelosi wanted to increase further the H-1B filing fees (because the businesses have the ability to pay)to account for the illegal immigrants which are hired by non H-1B employers.

Can these conflicting factions ever come together and pass a comprehensive immigration bill? Unlike the health care bill the impetus to cut deals with senators to get their vote will not be there, because the bill will benefit a non voting section of society. Hopefully we will have a brave new decade.

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, Annie Banerjee, for more information.

The H-1B and the CIS

December 2, 2009

In a letter to Senator Grassley, the CIS defended their H-1B adjudication practices and their everything under the kitchen sink Request for Evidences.

The CIS is looking into revising the form I-129 to have Petitioner and beneficiary both attest that:

The beneficiary has been advised of the offsite placement and accepts the terms of the H-IB employment, including the job location and possible relocation;

Really? Does anyone working for the software industry not know that they have to work off site. These people are always traveling, the beneficiary KNOWS they have to work off site. Same with Oil Company Engineers. Its the nature of their work. Does CIS seriously think the beneficiary does not know?

2. Placement of the beneficiary offsite during the period of employment will be in compliance with the statutory and regulatory requirements of the H-IB nonimmigrant classification;
3. The beneficiary will be paid the prevailing rate of pay at any offsite
location; and,

This is in line with the question on the I-94 application on the plane, “Are you a terrorist.” Has anyone ever answered yes to that question? Similarly, will anyone filing an H-1B petition ever say they will not comply with the law?

4. The work itinerary is attached.

The H-1B is given for 3 years. It is difficult to predict the itinerary for all those 3 years. If the work itinerary is for less than 3 years, then the employer has to file the whole H-1B again, with the high fees. And even if they have the work itinerary, the job may be canceled, etc. So what is the point of private employers filing job itineraries with the Government?

All of this simply penalizes the small employers who form the backbone of the American economy.

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, Annie Banerjee, for more information