When Immigration Matters

Employment Authorization for Spouses of H-1B Visa Holders?

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Tue, May 06, 2014 @ 11:06 AM

H1_B, DHS, USCIS H-4Today May , 2014, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today announced the publication of two proposed rules, including a rule to extend employment authorization to spouses of certain H-1B workers, and a proposal to enhance opportunities for certain groups of highly-skilled workers by removing obstacles to their remaining in the United States. It is hoped that Together these actions will help attract new businesses and new investment to the U.S. and ensure that the U.S. has the most skilled workforce in the world.

“The proposed rules announced today provide important support to U.S. businesses while also supporting economic growth here in the U.S.,” said Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. 

“These steps will help the U.S. maintain competitiveness with other countries in our efforts to attract the best and the brightest high-skilled workers from around the world to support companies here at home. Businesses continue to need these high-skilled workers, and these rules ensure we do not cede the upper hand to other countries competing for the same talent.”

“These two proposed rule changes are an integral part of the Administration’s efforts to strengthen entrepreneurship and innovation, and to help the United States attract and retain highly skilled immigrants,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. “The fact is, we must do more to retain and attract world-class talent to the United States and these regulations put us on a path to doing that. These actions promise to unleash more of the extraordinary contributions that immigrants have always made to America’s innovation economy.”

Both Notices of Proposed Rulemaking will soon publish in the Federal Register. DHS encourages the public to comment on the proposed rules through www.regulations.gov.  All public comments will be considered before the final rules are published and go into effect.

Proposed Rule to Extend Employment Authorization to Spouses of Certain H-1B Workers

This proposed rule will amend existing regulations to allow H-4 dependent spouses of certain principal H-1B workers to request employment authorization.

U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as science, engineering or computer programming.  Frequently, employers will petition for an immigrant visa for an H-1B worker, which enables individuals to become lawful permanent residents.  Lawful permanent residents are generally eligible to become naturalized U.S. citizens after five years.

Under existing regulations, DHS does not extend employment authorization to dependents (also known as H-4 nonimmigrants) of H-1B nonimmigrant workers. The change proposed by DHS, would allow H-4 dependent spouses of certain H-1B nonimmigrant workers to request employment authorization, as long as the H-1B worker has already started the process of seeking lawful permanent residence through employment.

Eligible individuals would include H-4 dependent spouses of principal H-1B workers who:

  • Are the beneficiaries of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or
  • Have been granted an extension of their authorized period of stay in the United States under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 (AC21) as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act. AC21 permits H-1B workers seeking lawful permanent residence to work and remain in the United States beyond the six-year limit.

Proposal to Enhance Opportunities for Highly-Skilled Workers
This proposed regulatory change would enhance opportunities for certain groups of highly-skilled and transitional workers by removing obstacles to their remaining in the United States.   

Specifically, the change to the regulation would regulation would:

  • Update the regulations to include nonimmigrant high-skilled specialty occupation professionals from Chile and Singapore (H-1B1) and from Australia (E-3) in the list of classes of aliens authorized for employment incident to status with a specific employer,
  • Clarify that H-1B1 and principal E-3 nonimmigrants are allowed to work without having to separately apply to DHS for employment authorization. 
  • Allow E-3, H-1B1 and CW-1 nonimmigrant workers up to 240 days of continued work authorization beyond the expiration date noted on their Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, while the extension request is pending.

It would affect workers in specialty occupation nonimmigrant classifications for professionals from Chile and Singapore (H-1B1) and Australia (E-3), as well as Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Island (CNMI)-Only Transitional Workers (CW-1).

Under current regulations, employers of workers in E-3,  H-1B1, or CW-1 status must generally file a petition requesting the extension of the employee’s status well before the initial authorized duration of status expires.

Finally, this proposal would also expand the current list of evidentiary criteria for employment-based first preference (EB-1) outstanding professors and researchers to allow the submission of evidence comparable to the other forms of evidence already listed in the regulations.  This proposal would harmonize the regulations for EB-1 outstanding professors and researchers with other employment-based immigrant categories that already allow for submission of comparable evidence. 

Together these actions will help attract new businesses and new investment to the U.S. and ensure that the U.S. has the most skilled workforce in the world.

“The proposed rules announced today provide important support to U.S. businesses while also supporting economic growth here in the U.S.,” said Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.  “These steps will help the U.S. maintain competitiveness with other countries in our efforts to attract the best and the brightest high-skilled workers from around the world to support companies here at home. Businesses continue to need these high-skilled workers, and these rules ensure we do not cede the upper hand to other countries competing for the same talent.”

“These two proposed rule changes are an integral part of the Administration’s efforts to strengthen entrepreneurship and innovation, and to help the United States attract and retain highly skilled immigrants,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. “The fact is, we must do more to retain and attract world-class talent to the United States and these regulations put us on a path to doing that. These actions promise to unleash more of the extraordinary contributions that immigrants have always made to America’s innovation economy.”

Both Notices of Proposed Rulemaking will soon publish in the Federal Register. DHS encourages the public to comment on the proposed rules through www.regulations.gov.  All public comments will be considered before the final rules are published and go into effect.

Proposed Rule to Extend Employment Authorization to Spouses of Certain H-1B Workers

This proposed rule will amend existing regulations to allow H-4 dependent spouses of certain principal H-1B workers to request employment authorization.

U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as science, engineering or computer programming.  Frequently, employers will petition for an immigrant visa for an H-1B worker, which enables individuals to become lawful permanent residents.  Lawful permanent residents are generally eligible to become naturalized U.S. citizens after five years.

Under existing regulations, DHS does not extend employment authorization to dependents (also known as H-4 nonimmigrants) of H-1B nonimmigrant workers. The change proposed by DHS, would allow H-4 dependent spouses of certain H-1B nonimmigrant workers to request employment authorization, as long as the H-1B worker has already started the process of seeking lawful permanent residence through employment.

Eligible individuals would include H-4 dependent spouses of principal H-1B workers who:

  • Are the beneficiaries of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or
  • Have been granted an extension of their authorized period of stay in the United States under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 (AC21) as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act. AC21 permits H-1B workers seeking lawful permanent residence to work and remain in the United States beyond the six-year limit.

Proposal to Enhance Opportunities for Highly-Skilled Workers
This proposed regulatory change would enhance opportunities for certain groups of highly-skilled and transitional workers by removing obstacles to their remaining in the United States.   

Specifically, the change to the regulation would regulation would:

  • Update the regulations to include nonimmigrant high-skilled specialty occupation professionals from Chile and Singapore (H-1B1) and from Australia (E-3) in the list of classes of aliens authorized for employment incident to status with a specific employer,
  • Clarify that H-1B1 and principal E-3 nonimmigrants are allowed to work without having to separately apply to DHS for employment authorization. 
  • Allow E-3, H-1B1 and CW-1 nonimmigrant workers up to 240 days of continued work authorization beyond the expiration date noted on their Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, while the extension request is pending.

It would affect workers in specialty occupation nonimmigrant classifications for professionals from Chile and Singapore (H-1B1) and Australia (E-3), as well as Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Island (CNMI)-Only Transitional Workers (CW-1).

Under current regulations, employers of workers in E-3,  H-1B1, or CW-1 status must generally file a petition requesting the extension of the employee’s status well before the initial authorized duration of status expires.

Finally, this proposal would also expand the current list of evidentiary criteria for employment-based first preference (EB-1) outstanding professors and researchers to allow the submission of evidence comparable to the other forms of evidence already listed in the regulations.  This proposal would harmonize the regulations for EB-1 outstanding professors and researchers with other employment-based immigrant categories that already allow for submission of comparable evidence. 

USCIS ANNOUNCES H1B CAP REACHED FOR NEW H1B VISAS

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Mon, Apr 07, 2014 @ 11:40 AM

H1B cap, H1B, H1B visaWASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap for fiscal year (FY) 2015.  USCIS has also received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the U. S. advanced degree exemption.   

Before running a random selection process, USCIS will complete initial intake for all filings received during the filing period which ended today. Due to the high number of petitions, USCIS is not yet able to announce the date on which it will conduct the random selection process.

A computer-generated process will randomly select the number of petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 visas for the general category and 20,000 under the advanced degree exemption. USCIS will reject and return filing fees for all cap-subject petitions that are not selected, unless found to be a duplicate filing. 

The agency will conduct the selection process for the advanced degree exemption first. All advanced degree petitions not selected will become part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit.

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap will not be counted towards the congressionally mandated FY 2015 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:

  • Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;

  • Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;

  • Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and

  • Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.

Immigration Reform? Tell the White House What You Want

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Mon, Dec 09, 2013 @ 1:52 PM

immigration reform, comprehensive immigration reformRecord your question about immigration reform via Skype on Bing ASAP.  The questions are to be answered by Vice President Biden and the President's Domestic Policy Advisor, Cecelia Munoz Wednesday.  

The  White House put up a site last week giving people the opportunity to Skype questions about immigration law and immigration reform that will then be viewed and addressed by Vice President and the President's Domestic Policy Advisor on Wednesday. So far there are only a couple questions posted.  It is very important that we get the word out about this and have the pro-immigration community post lots of questions so that the White House knows that immigration should be one of their top priorities.

http://www.bing.com/politics/pulse/whitehouse

More about the Bing/Skype video Q&A from the Whitehouse website...

Ask Vice President Biden and Cecilia Muñoz Your Questions About Immigration Reform

 

Our nation's immigration system is broken – and fixing it is an economic, national security, and moral imperative. That’s why President Obama is deeply committed to working to pass a common sense, comprehensive set of reforms that ensures everyone plays by the same rules. And we want to answer your questions about the issue.

On Wednesday, December 11th, Vice President Biden and Cecilia Muñoz, the President’s Domestic Policy Advisor, are sitting down to answer your questions about immigration reform. During the conversation hosted by Bing and Skype, the Vice President and Cecilia will speak with folks from around the country via live Skype Video Call, answer questions submitted through Skype Video and from social media.

What are your questions about immigration reform? Ask a question by Skype Video Message now and join the conversation on Twitter with #AskTheWhiteHouse, then be sure to tune in live on Wednesday, December 11th at 3:45 p.m. ET at Bing.com/WhiteHouse  and WhiteHouse.gov/live.

DOJ Fines IBM for Discriminatory H1-B Hiring Practices

Posted by Michael Pollak on Thu, Oct 03, 2013 @ 10:48 AM

H1-B; H1; DOJ, USCISThe Justice Department announced that it reached an agreement yesterday with International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) resolving allegations that the company violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) when it placed online job postings for application and software developers that contained citizenship status preferences for F-1 and H-1B temporary visa holders.  F-1 visas are issued to foreign students studying in the United States, and H-1B visas are issued to foreign nationals with technical expertise in specialized fields.  

Under the INA, employers may not discriminate on the basis of citizenship status unless required to comply with law, regulation, executive order or government contract.  Although IBM’s job postings were for positions that would ultimately require the successful candidate to relocate overseas, the anti-discrimination provision of the INA does not permit employers to express or imply a preference for temporary visa holders over U.S. workers, such as U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, for any employment opportunity in the United States.

 Under the settlement agreement, IBM has agreed to pay $44,400 in civil penalties to the United States.  IBM further agreed to revise its hiring and recruiting procedures and train its human resources personnel to ensure compliance with the INA, and to be subject to reporting requirements for a period of two years.

 

Government Shutdown-What happens to Immigration Services?

Posted by Michael Pollak on Tue, Oct 01, 2013 @ 1:33 PM

 Dept. of Homeland Security, ICE, USCISCIS Ombudsman: The CIS
Ombudsman's Office will be closed
and will not be accepting any inquiries
through their online case intake system.

DOL:
OFLC functions are not "excepted" from a shutdown and its employees would be
placed in furlough status should a lapse in appropriated funds occur.
Consequently, in the event of a government shutdown, OFLC will neither accept
nor process any applications or related materials (such as audit responses), it
receives, including Labor Condition Applications, Applications for Prevailing
Wage Determination, Applications for Temporary Employment Certification, or
Applications for Permanent Employment Certification. OFLC's web site, including
the iCERT Visa Portal System and the PERM system, would become static and unable
to process any requests or allow authorized users to access their online
accounts.

DOL's Office of Administrative Law Judges will be unable
to perform any case-related activities
, including conducting hearings.
Hearings that have been previously scheduled will therefore be cancelled prior
to the date of the hearing, and they will not be rescheduled for hearing until
an appropriations bill or continuing resolution takes effect.

DHS: Due to the lapse in federal, DHS’s
website will not be actively managed
.

DOS: The Department will continue as many normal operations
as possible; operating status and available funding will need to be monitored
continuously and closely, and planning for a lapse in appropriations must be
continued. Review their “Guidance
on Operations”
for more information.

EOIR: EOIR has indicated that its response to a potential
shutdown is the same as it was in 2011. EOIR has been advised to "put its
shutdown plans in place." As with other agencies, personnel who are not
considered "essential" will be furloughed. EOIR has indicated that the detained
docket would likely be considered an essential function and would therefore be
able to continue in operation.

Update from EOIR on October 1, 2013: Court functions that support the
detained caseload will continue, but other functions are suspended. The Board of
Immigration Appeals (BIA) is processing emergency stay requests as well as cases
where the alien is detained, including case appeals, motions, federal court
remands, and bonds. Please review their
notice for more information
.

ICE: From ICE Community Outreach - ICE detention and
enforcement operations shall continue. ICE chief counsel trail attorneys will
still work on the detained docket only during a shutdown. Please coordinate with
your local Chief Counsel Office on more specifics. The ICE Community and
Detainee Helpline will remain operational.

USCIS: All USCIS
offices worldwide are open
and individuals should report to interviews and
appointments as scheduled. E-Verify is currently unavailable due to a government
shutdown.

Immigration Reform: How the Bill is Debated in the Senate

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Wed, Jun 12, 2013 @ 12:24 PM

 Dept. of Homeland Security, Comprehensive Immigration Reform, DREAMers, DREAM ActThe American Immigration Lawyers Association ("AILA") explains what is happening as S.744 is debated on the Senate Floor:

Process (Starting the Week of June 10th)  

Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (D-NV), filed cloture on the motion to proceed on 6/6/13

 The Senate will debate the motion to proceed for two calendar days and will conclude with a cloture vote on 6/11/13 at 2:15pm and a final vote at 4:00pm.  If cloture is

invoked (requires 60 yes votes—which should not be a problem as Minority Leader McConnell (KY) has indicated he will vote yes), and the motion to proceed passes then the Senate will begin debate of the bill.

 The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will release a score for the bill—estimating how much the bill will cost the government (add or reduce the deficit) over the next ten years.

 Debate will begin with opening statements from both parties and then time will be divided evenly between Democrats and Republicans

o Sen. Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, will work with Sen. Reid and the four Democratic members of the “Gang of Eight” to lead the Democratic efforts for the bill.

o For Republicans, the time will be divided between proponents (the four Republican members of the “Gang of Eight” and others) and opponents (Senators Sessions (AL), Grassley (IA), and others).

 Amendments (offered over the next three weeks) see attached  filed as of 6/11/2013 http://www.immigrationbn.com/Portals/52046/docs/amend.pdf

 We anticipate that hundreds of amendments will be filed to S. 744; however, just because an amendment is filed does not mean it will be called up for a vote—in fact most won’t (similar to what happened in the committee process).  

 Time will be allotted to debate the amendments. Many (typically non-controversial) amendments will be accepted on a bipartisan basis.  We expect that the most controversial amendments will be held off until the third week of debate (June 24th), right before the cloture vote on the bill.

 Some amendments may require a higher 60 vote threshold, while others will only need a simple majority.

 Senators may offer amendments in any order to any part of the bill that has not already been amended. The order in which amendments are offered depends largely on the convenience of the Senators proposing them, not on requirements imposed by standing rules or precedents. 

 Senators can offer 2nd degree amendments to any amendment being debated on the bill.  After voting on any second degree amendments, the Senate votes on the first degree amendment as it may have been amended. Third degree amendments—amendments to second degree amendments—are not in order.

 

 

Final Votes on Bill as Amended (Most Likely Week of June 24th)

Filibuster: Because Senate rules establish no generally applicable limits on the length of debate, nor any motions by which a majority could vote to bring a debate to an end, or even limit it, the only formal procedure that Senate rules provide for breaking filibusters (endless amendments being offered, one senator speaking at length, etc…) is to invoke cloture.  

 When Senator Reid has decided that the time for offering amendments has expired, he will invoke cloture to end debate on the bill.  If any Senator objects to cloture it will then require 60 yes votes to end debate and move to a final vote.  If cloture is invoked successfully (60 yes votes) there will still be an additional 30 hours (or two calendar days) of debate when amendments can continue to be offered.

 If cloture is invoked, and after the bill has ripened (the 30 hours have elapsed), the Senate will then move to a final vote on the bill as amended.  This vote only requires a simple majority of the Senate for passage.

Immigration Reform Soon?

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Fri, Jan 11, 2013 @ 12:27 PM

immigration lawyerWhite House press secretary Jay Carney on Wednesday alluded that President Obama could present his proposal for immigration reform in his State of the Union address.

"I would say, broadly speaking, that State of the Union addresses tend to include at least a sample of a president's agenda," Carney said at his daily press briefing. "And immigration reform, comprehensive immigration reform, is a very high priority of the president's. But I don't want to get ahead of the speech."

At a press conference in November, Obama said he was "very confident that we can get immigration reform done," citing rising Latino populations and political participation." His desired immigration package, although he did not provide specifics.

"I think it should include a continuation of the strong border security measures that we’ve taken, because we have to secure our borders," Obama said. "I think it should contain serious penalties for companies that are purposely hiring undocumented workers and taking advantage of them. And I do think that there should be a pathway for legal status for those who are living in this country, are not engaged in criminal activity, are here simply to work."

Fifth Circuit Holds Immigrants Can Pursue Cases From Outside the USA

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Mon, Oct 01, 2012 @ 5:33 PM

ICE, department of homeland security, removalLast week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rejected the government’s ongoing attempt to bar noncitizens from seeking reopening and reconsideration of their cases from outside the United States. Ruling in two companion cases, the court found that the “departure bar”—a regulation barring noncitizens from pursuing their cases after departure or deportation— is unlawful. In so doing, the court adopted arguments offered by the American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center (LAC) and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG) in an amicus brief to the court. These decisions are an important step toward ensuring that all noncitizens are afforded the opportunity to fully present their cases to an immigration judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals.

In the first of the two cases, Lari v. Holder, the court struck down the departure bar in the context of a motion to reconsider. Mr. Lari was represented by Matthew Hoppock of Dunn and Davison, LLC. The LAC and NIPNLG filed an amicus brief and argued in support of Mr. Lari. In the second case, Garcia Carias v. Holder, the court struck down the departure bar in the context of a motion to reopen. Mr. Garcia Carias was represented by Boston College’s Post-Deportation Human Rights Project and Nixon Peabody LLP.  

The LAC and NIPNLG have coordinated post-departure litigation nationwide. To date, nine circuit courts have rejected the departure bar. Nonetheless, the Board of Immigration Appeals continues to deny certain motions (including some involving asylum applicants) where ICE deported the noncitizen before the motion was decided. The LAC and NIPNLG are working to prevent the government’s attempted end run around the favorable court decisions. 

DHS Indicts Hotel Owners for Hiring Undocumented Workers

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Fri, Sep 14, 2012 @ 10:25 AM
ICE, I-9, USCISThe owners of an Overland Park, Kan., hotel have been indicted on charges of knowingly hiring undocumented aliens who were paid less than other employees, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.

Munir Ahmad Chaudary, 51, and his wife, Rhonda R. Bridge, 40, both of Overland Park, are charged with the following crimes:

– One count of conspiracy to harbor undocumented aliens for personal gain.
– Five counts of harboring undocumented aliens for personal gain.
– Four counts of wire fraud.

The government is seeking to forfeit the proceeds of the crimes including two hotels the couple owns: The Clarion Hotel at 7000 W. 108th St. in Overland Park, and the Clarion Hotel at 11828 NW Plaza Circle in Kansas City, Mo.

“The grand jury’s indictment alleges these defendants knew they were hiring undocumented workers,” Grissom said. “They paid the undocumented workers less and they paid them in cash. Their economic motive was to cut their costs and to get an advantage on other hotels that abided by the law.”

In addition to the charges against the owners, one of the employees is being charged. Syed Naqvy, 34, Overland Park, Kan., a desk clerk, is charged with one count of making a false statement to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and one count of failing to depart from the United States as ordered.

None of the other undocumented workers is being arrested, Grissom said. They have been interviewed by immigration officials, who will decide what to do about their immigration status after the case has been concluded, Grissom said.

“This prosecution is aimed at unscrupulous employers who are a driving force behind illegal immigration,” Grissom said.

The indictment alleges that in December 2011 investigators from DHS Homeland Security Investigations and the Kansas Department of Revenue received information that the two Clarion hotels were employing undocumented aliens. Investigators interviewed hotel employees and learned that most of them were unlawfully in the United States.

In June 2012, an undercover agent took a job as a housekeeper at the Clarion hotel in Overland Park. The agent made it clear to Chaudary and Bridge when he was hired that he was unlawfully in the United States and had no documents allowing him to be employed, according to the indictment.

The agent learned that Chaudary and Bridge, through their business holdings including Rhonda & Son’s Inc., and Mac & Sons LLC, paid employees who they believed were illegally in the United States a lower hourly rate than other employees. When the undercover agent asked Chaudary why he was paid less, Chaudary told him it was because nothing was being withheld from wages to employees who were illegal.

The indictment alleges Chaudary, Bridge and their business holdings lowered their operating costs because:
– Illegal workers were paid less than other workers.
– The defendants did not pay the employer’s share of Social Security payments.
– The defendants did not pay workers compensation, unemployment insurance or other benefits.

Upon conviction, the alleged crimes carry the following penalties:

Conspiracy to harbor aliens: A maximum penalty of five years in federal prison without parole and a fine up to $250,000.
Harboring illegal aliens for financial gain: A maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison without parole and a fine up to $250,000 on each count.
Wire fraud: A maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison without parole and a fine up to $250,000 on each count.
Making a false statement to the government: A maximum penalty of five years in federal prison without parole and a fine up to $250,000.
Failing to depart the United States as ordered: A maximum penalty of four years in federal prison without parole and a fine up to $250,000.

The government is seeking to forfeit the proceeds of the crimes including two hotels the couple owns: The Clarion Hotel at 7000 W. 108th St. in Overland Park, and the Clarion Hotel at 11828 NW Plaza Circle in Kansas City, Mo." - DOJ, Sept. 11, 2012.

"We want to send a very clear message. ... We are going to enforce immigration laws, and we are going to enforce them equally," Grissom said in a news conference in Kansas City, Kan.  "We're not going to enforce them merely on the backs of (undocumented workers). We are going to go after the people hiring them."  That symbolizes a switch from years past when employees often were the target.  The indictment marks the government's first attempt to seize a hotel in Kansas in a case involving undocumented workers."

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Kansas Department of Revenue (KDOR) investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Anderson is prosecuting.

In all cases, defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. The indictments merely contain allegations of criminal conduct.

 

Immigration 101: Moving to the US from Europe: A Checklist for Expats

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Thu, Sep 13, 2012 @ 10:53 AM

visa, uscis, immigration In today’s world, many of us are psychologically attached to our belongings.  So, what does that mean when we need to move overseas? Do you take everything?

Moving from one country to another can be a real challenge, especially when you are moving an entire household.  There is no need to face an international move with anxiety or extra expenses as long as you do plenty of planning and preparing.

 As you plan your international move, there are many things to consider. Before you even choose a moving company, you need to figure out how you will be handling the move.  What will you do with all your stuff?  Will you have a garage sale?  Will you rent a couple of storage units?  What about getting a visa?  Do you have a job lined up?  What about the kids?  The list of questions goes on and on.  Read on for some helpful tips if you are planning on moving to the U.S. from Europe.

 What to move with you

 If you are making your move to the U.S. on a permanent basis, then you must decide what to pack up and take with you and what to leave behind.  There may be things you just can’t live without, such as family heirlooms and antiques – so inquire with your moving company as to how to best ship them overseas.  However, leave the appliances behind.  That includes ovens, refrigerators, DVD players, and other household appliances.  Remember, the U.S. and Europe have different voltages and plugs, which may not be compatible, even with an adapter.  Do your research before you move, because shipping appliances can also be very expensive.

 Getting a visa

 If you haven’t already heard, getting an American visa can be tricky.  The process is complicated and extremely technical.  It can be a good idea to file multiple visa petitions, especially if you are planning on getting a green card through a family member already in the U.S.  This can be useful if a waiting list gets long or your sponsor passes away.  It is also important to be prompt for every scheduled appointment involving your visa petition; arriving late can cause months of delays.

 As you are going through the visa process, it is crucial that you avoid visa violations, as the U.S. is very strict.  Always read the fine print on your visa, green card, or work permit and be sure to follow the rules.  Even the slightest violation can result in your deportation.  Throughout the process, it is a good idea never to leave any loose ends.  Keep a copy of all paperwork and track it.

 Be prepared for the tax system

 Did you know that the United States taxation system is one of the most convoluted in the world?  While some states have only one tax regime, others may involve up to four levels of taxes, all for individuals.  The tax rate that you will end up paying will be determined not only by your income over the tax year, but also where you live.  If you are new to the U.S. tax system when you arrive, you may want to seek the advice of a tax professional.

 

 

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