DACA UNDER TRUMP

It’s not clear if President-elect Donald Trump will change his view on DACA and many are worried. As of the end of June 2016 there were 750,000 DACA applicants approved and 525,000 DACA renewals. Can Trump undo all this?

Since DACA was created through Executive Order, there is no statutory or regulatory way to fully protect DACA.

Initial DACA applications take more than 9 months to adjudicate. Renewals are processed faster. Therefore, new applications will not be completed before the Inauguration. Should you apply for the first time now? No definite answer can be given.

BRIDGE ACT

Senator Graham (Republican) and Senator Durbin (Democrat) introduced the “Bar Removal of Immigrations Who Dream and Grow the Economy” – Bridge Act. It will provide eligible DACA holders special status which will release them from dependence on the DACA Executive Order.

TRUMP’S DEPORTATIONS?

President Elect Donald Trump most recently (Sunday, November 13, 2016) outlined his Deportation Plan:

First – deport the criminals, drug dealers and gang members. Mr. Trump estimates that there are two million (2,000,000) illegal aliens in this category.

Then – decide what to do about all the other illegal aliens. Mr. Trump describes this category as “Terrific People”.

What this Presidential (almost Presidential) statement means is, that if you are not a criminal, or a drug dealer, or a gang member, you should not worry about deportation for many years to come. As a matter of fact, since you have been recognized, already, as one of the “Terrific People”, there is a very good prospect that President Trump will find a way to grant you some kind of legal status in the U.S.

Amen.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH H-1B VISA LOTTERY?

H-1B visas are for highly skilled temporary workers. The foreign worker is required to have (1) a college, or university, DEGREE, and (2) a job offer in a POSITION which REQUIRES such a DEGREE. The potential American employer must pay FILING FEES of several thousands of dollars (depending on the size of the company) for each foreign worker it wishes to employ.

The number of H-1B visas issued every year is limited to 85,000 (with some exceptions). In the last four years, the number of APPLICATIONS (officially: “petitions”) filed every year by American employers was more than 3 times this CAP: 235,000.

How is this OVERFLOW of applications handled? The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) begins to accept the applications on the first day of April of every year, and continues accepting them for 4 – 6 days. Then CIS takes all applications in their still UNOPENED envelopes and conducts a LOTTERY. The winning envelopes are kept, the others are returned to the American employers. CIS then opens the winning envelopes, cashes the employer’s FILING FEE, examines the applications and grants H-1B WORKING VISAS for the properly filed applications and eligible FOREIGN WORKERS. Statistically, this process is fair, unbiased, quick, and provides solutions to the employment needs of ONE OUT OF THREE American employers.

What is WRONG with this process? The WRONG is that in REAL LIFE it is biased in favor of large companies, and especially in favor of large RECRUITERS whose business is to “PLACE” foreign workers with U.S. companies.

This BIAS stems from the fact that these large companies’ need for GENERIC workers. If such companies project that during the coming year they would need 800 “computer engineers with B.S. degrees”, they do not care who are the engineers that are chosen. As a matter of fact, based on statistics, they may even file 2,400 applications and get their 800 engineers. It does not even cost them much, because the employers’ checks are cashed only AFTER the lottery and only from the “winning” envelopes. (The preparation costs are probably covered by the foreign workers as REGISTRATION fees.)

The result is that smaller American employers, who need only one or two foreign workers, and who need a specific worker with specific SKILLS and EXPERIENCE, have very little chance in filling their needs – last year only one chance in 3 or 4 (next year – maybe 1 in 5).

This situation finally prompted a number of small employers to sue the USCIS in Federal Court in Oregon, challenging the LEGALITY of the LOTTERY. The Government filed a Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit, but the FEDERAL JUDGE denied it. The case itself – the LEGALITY of the Lottery – should be decided in the next few months.

TRUTHFULLY, it is very difficult to design a fair, unbiased, fast system for distribution of H-1B WORKING VISAS as long as the “CAP” of 85,000 visas a year is in place. This CAP simply ignores the REAL LIFE needs of American companies. My proposal to correct the BIAS in the existing lottery is to continue with a LOTTERY, but do it in several ROUNDS: Round 1 – between employers who filed a single application; Round 2 – between employers who filed 2 applications; and so on until all 85,000 visas are distributed. This should not be too difficult, and should not take too much time, with all the COMPUTERS available to the USCIS.

WHAT IS A TERRORIST ORGANIZATION?

The 9TH Circuit Court of Appeals recently decided to permit “Mr. Budiono” to remain in the U.S.   While making this decision, the court also decided what is NOT a “terrorist organization”.

Mr. Budiono is a citizen of Indonesia who came to the U.S. in 2000 and applied for Political Asylum in 2003. The basis for his claim was that he used to be an active member of a certain local group which acted like a “self-help” social organization in Indonesia. But when this group became militantly Islamic, he disagreed with their aims and methods and quit. In retaliation, members of the group came to his house and beat him up and abused his wife. Now he is afraid to return to Indonesia, in fear of this group.

After many procedural twists and turns, the case of Mr. Budiono arrived in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Two of the three judges hearing Mr. Budiono’s appeal decided that even though he provided “material support” to this group, the U.S. government did not have any proof that this was a “terrorist organization”. Why not? Because they did not use “any…explosive, firearm, or other weapons or dangerous device” to further their goals. Just BEATING up people did not make this group a “terrorist organization”. (The third judge on this panel did not agree.)

IMMIGRATION SCAMS

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a WARNING against SCAMMERS, which we copy here word for word:

If someone claiming to be a government official or law enforcement officer calls making threats such as deportation, beware! Hang up and report it!

Here’s How it Works A number appears on your caller ID that may look like a legitimate government number. When you answer, the person on the phone poses as a USCIS or other government official or law enforcement officer.The scammer will say that there is a problem with your application or additional information is required to continue the immigration process. Then, they will ask for personal and sensitive details and may demand payment to fix problems. The scammer may tell you to make a money transfer or go to a store to purchase a money order, voucher or make some other type of money exchange, payment or withdrawal. They may threaten you with deportation or other negative consequences if you do not pay.

If you receive a call like that, we urge you to hang up immediately.

We will never ask for any form of payment over the phone or in an email. If we need payment, we will mail a letter on official stationery requesting payment. Do not give payment over the phone to anyone who claims to be a USCIS official. In general, we encourage you to protect your personal information and not to provide details about your immigration application in any public area.”

So, you need to be on guard against IDENTITY THEFT – of your own identity and also the identity of GOVERNMENT OFFICERS.

SECURITY CHECKS

After you filed your application for a Green Card (Form I-485), you may encounter long DELAYS – six (6) months or more – before being scheduled for an Adjustment of Status interview. Why? Because SECURITY CHECKS have not been completed.

SECURITY CHECKS are separate and different from CRIMINAL RECORDS checks. For criminal records checks, the FINGERPRINTS of the applicant are sent electronically to the FBI – and their response comes quite quickly. For SECURITY CHECKS, the NAME of the applicant is searched electronically in many DATABASES kept by many agencies, and if a MATCH (with the same name) or an ALMOST MATCH (with a similar name) is found – there is a HIT.

A HIT requires a manual, individualized research effort to clarify whether the applicant for a GREEN CARD is actually a SECURITY RISK on some agency’s database, or whether the HIT was a false alarm.

This takes time

MORE REFUGEES TO THE U.S.

The President has the authority to admit REFUGEES to the U.S. in any number – and from any country – if the President believes it is necessary. In 2015, President Obama admitted 70,000 refugees. In 2016, he admitted 80,000. For 2017, President Obama announced his intention to admit 115,000 refugees. This will provide for a large increase in the number of Syrian refugees coming to the U.S.

Refugees apply for admission while being overseas, not in the U.S. The applications are checked with special attention to SECURITY considerations. If approved, they come to the U.S. LEGALLY, get EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION and RESETTLEMENT ASSISTANCE. (The government tries to SETTLE refugees in different localities, all over the U.S.)

After one year, they are eligible to apply for GREEN CARDS. After four more years, they are eligible to apply for NATURALIZATION and become AMERICAN CITIZENS.

SECURITY CHECKS

After you filed your application for a Green Card (Form I-485), you may encounter long DELAYS – six (6) months or more – before being scheduled for an Adjustment of Status interview. Why? Because SECURITY CHECKS have not been completed.

SECURITY CHECKS are separate and different from CRIMINAL RECORDS checks. For criminal records checks, the FINGERPRINTS of the applicant are sent electronically to the FBI – and their response comes quite quickly. For SECURITY CHECKS, the NAME of the applicant is searched electronically in many DATABASES kept by many agencies, and if a MATCH (with the same name) or an ALMOST MATCH (with a similar name) is found – there is a HIT.

A HIT requires a manual, individualized research effort to clarify whether the applicant for a GREEN CARD is actually a SECURITY RISK on some agency’s database, or whether the HIT was a false alarm.

This takes time.

VISA QUOTA NEWS

Good news for FILIPINO immigrants in the EMPLOYMENT-based categories – EB-3 and EB-3W. The “cut-off” date for Filipinos with Approved I-140 petitions made a big jump forward. For the month of SEPTEMBER, 2016, it moved from May 15, 2009 to July 1, 2010. This means that the WAITING TIME for these applicants was shortened: from more than seven (7) years to six years only.

Bad news for INDIANS and CHINESE immigrants in the EMPLOYMENT-based categories – your waiting times on the waiting lists remains the same: many years.

Good News for all other immigrants (MEXICANS included) in the EMPLOYMENT-based categories: the “cut-off” date for your approved I-140 petitions is at May 1, 2016. This means that your waiting time is almost zero, and you may get an IMMIGRANT VISA or a GREEN CARD very fast, after getting an approved I-140 petition.

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