Archive for September, 2011

Advice to Foreign Students

September 14, 2011

A question is sometimes get form foreign students is , “what school should I go to?”  The answer to that is probably simple, the school that is best ranked by US News and World Report. There was an ex Taliban student from Afghanistan, who got a visa to go to Yale.


The rationale for that is US needs bright students. But what if you cant get into Harvard or Yale?


Usually its harder to get a visa from a foreign country (especially India) if you are going to a community college.  Try for at least a 4 year degree college. A community College degree is useless anyways, so dont waste your money on them.  The colege has to be SEVIP approved. Ask and find out if it is.


There are numerous colleges and Universities in the US. Online colleges and degrees obtained from them are not given the F-1 visa. In general, online colleges are not good colleges, and most places dont recognize such degrees.


The procedure is simple.  After getting admission, the College will send you the I-20. One needs to take that, and proof of financial Support to the consulate to get the student visa and come in.



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

The Decade since 9/11 in Immigration

September 9, 2011

I was working on a sunny morning when my legal assistant came in looking agitated and said,”Did you hear, the World Trade Center got hit by a plane.” I did not think much about it. I did not have a TV in the office, so I did not get the impact. Then my husband called and said, the towers are falling. The news took a long time to sink in, actually.  It was unbelievable that such a thing could happen, right in the middle of NYC. 


That past summer we were in NYC, and although we don’t usually do the touristy thing in NYC, we thought it would be fun to take the children on top of the twin towers. That night my son clutched the bear he bought from the gift store on the top and said, “you are safe bear, although a lot of your friends may have not survived.”


Thankfully all our friends who worked at the WTC were safe. Yet the specter of death, the sheer magnitude of it gave rise to tremendous nationalism. Flags went up everywhere, and we could not help but feel solidarity towards the people. We were one America, scared by the ravages of terrorism.


Yet, as so often happens in Nationalism, there was a backlash to internationalism.


Soon people began to discriminate against others who looked like Muslims, or looked foreign. For their part, the Muslims began to bad mouth America as well. Thus began a mutual distrust and hatred, which saw the passing of the Patriot Act. In those early days, Immigration Services showed up at the door of illegal Muslims, without any warrant, or any documents, and deported them, simply because they were from Pakistan, or Iran.


The Immigration Service instituted the ‘Special Registration” a process by which citizens of Muslim countries had to register, with their information to the Government and testify as to whether they know of any terrorists. They had to let the Immigration Service know when they exited the country and when they got back. This process was so similar to the Japanese internment that we all wondered if America, the home of the free was lost forever.


This was followed by the notoriously slow FBI name checks. If you applied to become a Permanent Resident or a Citizen, the FBI had to (1) clear fingerprints, and (2) Do a name check. The fingerprints were unique so they cleared quickly. But the name check involved a computer search of the name or combination of names that could match any known criminals on the FBI database.  That database was never released to the public. Of course since Muslims have common type names like Muhammad , their names would very often get a hit.  But so would Hispanic names or simply names like Jones or Smith. If the name got a hit, an individual officer would have to go into the files and manually make sure that the applicant was not the same as the criminal.  The problem is that this would take 3-4 years.  Our plea that if these people really were criminals, would it not be safer to do the check as soon as possible and deport or prosecute them were not heard.  99% of these cases ultimately cleared, yet these individuals had to wait a long time before they could get their green cards.  Many times they were scared to visit or for legal reasons could not visit their home country until they got their green card. This meant they could not see many a dying parent, although they never committed any crime.


Yes, we went into two wars, we have to go through lengthy process of checks at airports.


Yet, things seem to be getting better.  The FBI name checks eventually got quicker, and is not much of a problem any more. The Special Registration process was scrapped earlier this year.


Of course we can never replace the lives lost that fateful day, and we may never become the trusting country that we were pre 9/11.  Yet maybe that’s a good thing.  The world is becoming very small and the trusting simplicity that America, Canada and UK have are not matched by most other countries. That day 09/11/2001, we had lost our ignorance and we stand now, like the rest of the world, distrusting our citizens.


Even now it is so much easier to pull the wool over the eyes of these countries than it is to do that to the rest of the world. Routinely applicants for Asylum concoct their stories and very often the US government buys those fib. I have been asked by Muslim citizens from certain countries whether they can convert to Christianity and claim Asylum. Thankfully I dont do Asylum. Same is true , although to a lesser extent to many immigration cases. Its time the Government smarten up and treat their citizens like the rest of the world does. No one can do that to the Israeli, Chinese or even Indian Government.


And for my part, I would happily succumb to a search at the airport if this means we all can be safe.






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

Unethical Lawyers—Clients Beware

September 7, 2011

A lot of clients come to me and ask things like: Can you help me find a job? Can I just say something not true. And when they don’t like what I tell them, they go to another lawyer.


Yes, there are lawyers who for a price give them jobs, and the promise of Immigration. And very often deliver.  But what if the lawyer gets caught? CIS investigates every case that the attorney had represented, and investigates. So people who get their green card by dishonest means can loose it after several years, when they are settled here and gotten used to the US lifestyle. Please remember , if the attorney does something illegal for you, he or she is probably doing this for many others. And eventually the CIS will catch on, and investigate the lawyer. And if your case is found to be a fraud, you will be banned permanently from the United States.


Thus the stakes are high.


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

Immigration under Perry/Bachman

September 2, 2011

This blog is obviously not true, but after bad news on job growth, Texas weather, Vermont weather , we need a laugh. So here’s my projection of what the form I-485 would look like if Bachman or Perry was to become President in a Republican dominant legislature.


Instructions on Form I-485, Application to adjust status to Permanent Resident: Do not fill out this form if you are gay, lesbian, transsexual, or bisexual.  We will simply deny your case.




1. Do you believe in God?

2. Is it a Christian God?


Only proceed If the answer to the above two questions are yes


3. Do you believe in Science?

4. Have you ever in your lifetime aided or abetted any terrorism or any scientific endeavors?

5. Do you drink?

6. Do you believe in abortion?

7. Do you believe in Evolution?

8 Did you ever get an A or a B in any of your grades?


Only proceed if the answers to questions 3 to 8 is no


The rest of the form hopefully will look the same as the current I-485.


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


Words, Policy and Results

September 1, 2011

President Obama is going to speak to the Congress today about job creation. The Government speaks, and people get hopeful. But does this translate to policy and if so, how long does that take?


The Obama Administration had before that announced that ICE would use prosecutorial discretion to not deport students brought over the the US when they were very young and not by their own will. Yet shortly after there were reports that the Administration is still deporting these types of individual.


On August 02, 2011, both Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) director, Mr. Mayorkas announced that they are going to promote start up enterprises and entrepreneurs.  Yet, we continue to receive extensive and unnecessary Requests for Evidence for L-1 and other types of entrepreneurial visas.


How long does it take to make it from the words of President Obama, or the Administration to the execution level of the Administrative Department of our Government? And at this level, when will be see a rise in jobs?


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