Archive for April, 2010

Bye Bye Sedona

April 26, 2010

In July of 2010, I decided to take a road trip to the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona. A few days of rest, relaxation and hiking from the daily grind of my law practice in Houston, Texas seemed inviting. So I packed up my 04 Lexus and headed West.

But long before the red rocks of Sedona loomed in the horizon, I was puzzled by a huge sign saying, “Heil Brewer— Death to Brown people.” Since I’m brown, I was kind of taken aback, and decided to watch my speed and obey all traffic laws. After all, this is still America, where I am a naturalized citizen, and I would be Ok, if I did not break any rules.  Wrong.  Within 15 minutes I heard the sirens behind me asking me to stop. I look behind me as I stopped, and there is a police car with pictures of Ms. Brewer and Ms Palin on the dashboard. Once the officer walks up to me, I said, “but officer I was well within the speed limit.”

Officer: Where did you cross the border?

Me: Texas, I am a Texas resident

Officer: Laredo?

Me: No Officer, I am from Houston

Officer: Uh huh, How do you prove it?

Me: See, my driver’s license gives my Houston address.  Same zip code as George H Bush

Officer: So you stole the car with the license?

Me: What…. I did not steal the car. If I was going to steal the car, why would I steal a Toyota?

Officer, You are under arrest

Me: For what?

Officer: For being an illegal and stealing a car….

Me: Are you not going to read me my miranda rights…. I want to see a lawyer, I want due process

Officer: Those are federal laws, they don’t work here in Arizona

Me: But I thought states cannot curb federal laws

Officer: You want to stay in jail forever?

Me: Sorry, Sorry Officer.

The next day I see a judge who says the fine is $20,000/- If I pay it I can go back to Houston.

I told the judge that I hadn’t committed any crime whatsoever.

The Judge told me, Since the Immigration bill was passed, Arizona is loosing money.  That is our rate.  You either pay this and leave the State, or stay jailed forever.

I wake up to the sound of my alarm clock. This was thankfully a nightmare. But it was oh so real.  Bye Bye Sedona, there is a thousand places outside Arizona who could use my tourist dollars.

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

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If you leave the US without submitting the I-94

April 23, 2010

When you entered the US, you had to fill out either a white form if you entered with a visa, or a green form if you did not need a visa. Upon leaving the US, you are supposed to surrender that I-94 form to the US government.  But sometimes that does not happen. For whatever reason, the airlines or whoever it is forgets to take the form. So now the US thinks you are in the country illegally, past the date stamped in the I-94, and you will have problems.

If this happens, please mail the I-94 back (certified mail) other documents to prove that you are out of the country, to:

DHS-CBP-SBU
1084 South Laurel Road
London, KY, 40744
USA

Documents to prove that you are out of the country can include, but is not limited to the following documents:

1. Original boarding passes you used to depart another country, such as Canada, if you flew home from there;
2. Photocopies of entry or departure stamps in your passport indicating entry to another country
3. after you departed the United States (you should copy all passport pages that are not completely blank, and include the biographical page containing your photograph); and
Photocopies of other supporting evidence, such as:

4. Dated pay slips or vouchers from your employer to indicate you worked in another country after you departed the United States,
5. Dated bank records showing transactions to indicate you were in another country after you left the United States,
5. School records showing attendance at a school outside the United States to indicate you were in another country after you left the United States, and
6. Dated credit card receipts, showing your name, but, the credit card number deleted, for purchases made after you left the United States to indicate you were in another country after leaving the United States.

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

Akhil Amar for Next Supreme Court Justice

April 13, 2010

I would like to see Akhil Amar as the next Supreme Court Justice. And that is not only because he knows more about Constitutional Law than most Supreme Court Justices. But as a group, Asians don’t have much clout in Politics.  We have small numbers. Yet, we score the highest SAT scores, we earn the highest average salaries of any other group.  Yet we have negligible representation in Government.

Our children get into the best colleges through merit alone, we don’t have affirmative action or legacy. And very often than not, schools discriminate against us. Princeton was sued recently by Asians because they adversely discriminated against Asians. So all other groups can get in with much lower grades than we do. That is why schools have created this “holistic” approach, so that they can tell Asians that education is not enough.

The legal profession takes this discrimination even one step further. Not many Asians are partners of big law firm.  So even though Neal Katyal convinced the Bush Supreme Court to rule against Guantanamo, he was just a professor at Georgetown. Mr. Amar is a professor at Yale. But Professorships don’t pay. Neither does in house counsel. So most Asians become doctors.

In the process we are loosing some brilliant minds to Law. We need to uphold the image of Asians as effective lawyers. And after all they have the brains and education to prove it.

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

Degree and Work Experience for I-140

April 9, 2010

Immigration is the only place in law where quotas are still permissible, and everybody knows that especially for India and China the quotas for employment based visas disappear very quickly. These are huge countries with many professional people and their quotas get used up resulting in lengthy wait times, especially for third preference visas. Therefore everyone wants to get into the Second Preference.

There are some caveats though:

1. The experience has to be AFTER you get the degree and BEFORE you join the Petitioning Company. The experience in the same job at the petitioning company does not work because the rationale is that if the employer can train the beneficiary, they can train an American graduate as well.

2. To get to the second preference with a Master’s Degree, if that degree is not from the US, there is always a problem.  If the underlying Bachelors Degree and Master’s Degree does not match, then it is not usually counted as a Bachelors Degree.

3. Evaluations are advisory only, and USCIS does not have to follow them. Similarly, work experience cannot be used to substitute years of Degree as you can in H-1B.

4. H-1B standard is much less stricter in terms of Degree equivalency than I-140.

Below are some recommendation by Nebraska Service Center for Degree equivalency:

1.    US master’s degree – as long as it is in the field required no additional documents would be required no additional documents would be required

2.    4 yr bachelor’s degree + 2 yr master’s degree (India) – with degrees in the same or related fields this will generally be considered the equivalent to a U.S. master’s degree with no additional documents required

3.    3 yr bachelor’s degree + 3 yr master’s degree (India) – with degrees in the same or related fields this will generally be equivalent to U.S. master’s degree with no additional documents required

4.    3 yr bachelor’s degree + 1 yr postgraduate diploma + 2 yr master’s degree (India) with degrees in the same or similar field this would generally be considered the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree plus one additional year of education so the beneficiary would also need to have 5 yrs progressive experience. If the postgraduate diploma is determined to be progressive postgraduate education that is a continuation of the 3 yr bachelor’s degree it is possible that this would be considered the equivalent to a Master’s degree and there would be no need to establish 5 yrs progressive experience.

5.    3 yr bachelor’s degree + 2 yr master’s degree (India) – generally this would be the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree + 1 year and would require 5 yrs progressive experience to qualify under the 2nd preference category.

6.    3 yr bachelor’s degree + 2 yr master’s degree (India) + 5 yrs progressive, post master’s degree experience – Generally the educational degrees would be determined to be the equivalent of a US. bachelor’s + 1 year and the beneficiary would meet the statutory requirement

7.    3 yr bachelor’s degree + 2 yr master’s degree + 1 yr postgraduate diploma (India) – generally this would be the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree + 1 year and would require 5 yrs progressive experience to qualify under the 2nd preference category. If the postgraduate education that is a continuation of the 3 yr bachelor’s degree  or the 2 yr master’s degree it is possible that this would be considered the equivalent to a US Master’s degree and there would be no need to establish 5 yrs progressive experience.

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration Attorney Annie Banerjee, for more information

The H-1B is dead on arrival

April 1, 2010

The USCIS announced today (April 01, 2010) that it has killed the H-1B program. I just saw this on their web site.  The press release said that the Service could not control the program, that it went through too many intermediaries and is therefore impermissible. The Spokesperson from the Vermont Service Center, Mr. New Field said that the H-1B petition originated with the employer offering the employee a job. Then the employer had to go through an intermediary, the lawyer, who then goes through the Department of Labor and then through the post office, before submitting the petition to the Vermont Service Center. The Vermont Service Center then has to collect it through the pouring rain. The mail room clerks then collects the fee, and issues the receipts. The officer who ultimately adjudicates the petition cannot control the petition because of all these intermediaries. The USCIS cited Brown Vs Board of Education as precedent in discontinuing the program.

The memo further stated if your new H-1B petition reached their offices today, you need not worry.  The CIS will do what they would have done anyways, deny the petition.

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