When Immigration Matters

Winning a Green Card-The Diversity Lottery Begins on October 2, 2012

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Thu, Aug 09, 2012 @ 2:57 PM

Green card, dv lottery, permanent residencyYou can win the right to live and work in the United States.  The DV 2014 Lottery program begins accepting applications on October 2, 2012 through November 3, 2012 at noon.  All applications are accepted electronically. 

 What is the Diversity Lottery Program

Each year the United States Government grants 50,000 green cards to people from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States of America.  This year’s (2012) Green Card DV-Lottery is called the DV-2014 Lottery because 2014 is the year when winners may enter the USA on their new green card.

 The State Department’s (DOS) computer program randomly selects approximately 100,000 applications since many will not complete the visa process as required.  However, the DV lottery program closes once 50,000 visas are issued or the fiscal year ends.  If you receive a diversity visa through the random selection program DV 2014, you will be authorized to permanently live and work in the United States.  You will also be allowed to bring your spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 to the United States.  After winning the DV lottery and completing the visa process, you, your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old will receive Green Cards.  You may apply for U.S. Citizenship after maintaining permanent residency for five (5) years. 

 What are the requirements to participate in the Diversity Lottery Program

 Most individuals worldwide can enter the Green Card DV-Lottery, as long as they meet two simple, but strict eligibility requirements. First, you must be a national of a country eligible to participate.  Natives from countries who have sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States over the past five years are not eligible to enter the Diversity Visa Lottery. 

In most cases, an applicant is a citizen of the country in which he or she was born. However, there are two other ways a person may be able to qualify. First, if a person is from a country that is ineligible to participate but is married to a person from a country that does qualify, the applicant can claim his or her spouse’s citizenship.  However, the applicant and spouse must be issued visas and enter the U.S. simultaneously. Second, if an applicant was born in a country that is not eligible to participate in the Lottery but neither of his or her parents were born there or resided there at the time of his or her birth, such person may claim to be a citizen of his or her respective parent’s country of birth. 

 Second, the applicant must have a high school education or its equivalent OR within the past five years have two years of work experience in an occupation requiring at least two years training or experience. A "high school education or equivalent" is defined as successful completion of a twelve-year course of elementary and secondary education in the United States or successful completion in another country of a formal course of elementary and secondary education comparable to a high school education in the United States. Documentary proof of education or work experience must be presented to the consular officer at the time of the visa interview.

 How do I enter the DV Lottery Program

 1.  All entries must be submitted electronically.

 2. Only one entry per person is allowed.  Each eligible family member may submit an entry.  For example, a husband, wife and child under 21 can each submit an entry.  You may submit the entry yourself or someone may do so on your behalf.

 3. State your Name, Date of Birth, Gender, City/Town of Birth, and Country of Birth.

 4. State your marital status.  “Legally Separated” replaces the term “Separated” used in previous DV programs as an option under the question “What is your marital status?” Legal separation means that a court has formally declared that you and your spouse are legally separated. Legal separation means that your spouse would not be eligible to immigrate as your derivative.

 5. State the Name, Date of Birth, Gender, City/Town of Birth, Country of Birth of the applicant’s spouse, all natural children, as well as all legally-adopted children and stepchildren who are unmarried and under the age of 21 even if the spouse or child does not currently live with you and/or will not immigrate with you.

 6.  List the Country in which you presently live.

 7.  State your highest level of education.  You must choose one of ten options: (1) Primary school only, (2) High school, no degree, (3) High school degree, (4) Vocational school, (5) Some university courses, (6) University degree, (7) Some graduate level courses, (8) Master degree, (9) Some doctorate level courses, and (10) Doctorate degree.

 8. A digital photo of each applicant, his or her spouse, and each child must be submitted with the Entry Form.  Each digital photo MUST be in .jpg digital format and the camera setting should be either normal or high quality.  The  recommended  digital photo is 300mm by 300mm, with a print resolution of 150dpi.  The background of the photo should be plain white and the applicant should not be smiling in the photo.

 9. State your mailing address.  Email and telephone number are optional.  Signatures are not required on the entry form.

 10.  Finally, there is no fee to enter the DV Lottery

 You can check the status of your entry on the DV Lottery website.  You can access the DV Lottery Entry Form at www.dvlottery.state.gov   Additional information on the DV Lottery program is available at http://www.travel.state.gov

 Good Luck and remember to call us to assist you with processing your visa if you are selected as a  2014 DV Lottery Winner

Arizona's Immigration Law and the Impact on MLB's Latino Rookies

Posted by Karen Pollak on Sat, Jun 19, 2010 @ 2:17 PM

This article really struck me about the impact of Arizona's tough, new immigration law.  Although, they are all living and working in the US legally, they could be adversely impacted as the new law requires state and local law enforcement officials to inquire about immigration status during any lawful stop such as a minor traffic violation. 

While the legislature eliminated language that would prohibit basing a reasonable suspicion that a person is in the country illegally based "solely" on race or ethnicity, it gave no guidance as to what constitutes a reasonable suspicion.  Therein lies the problem.  It is likely that U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and other legal residents and visitors may still be subject to discrimination and racial profiling once the law goes into effect.


PHOENIX - Dozens of these young Latino men have crossed the border into Arizona. Some are just teenagers, some are in the United States for the first time. Many don't speak English.

Illegal immigrant fighter sheriff Joe Arpaio need not be concerned. They already have all the paperwork an immigrant - and baseball player - could want.

Esmerling VasquezThe Arizona Rookie League starts Monday, with some 150 or so prospects from Latin America taking part. Unless a court decides otherwise, the state's much-debated immigration law will take effect on July 29. The season ends a month later.

The Cleveland Indians have taken extra precautions to be sure their young Latin players aren't caught unaware and unprepared.

"We held a seminar under the direction of our cultural development director, Lino Diaz," said Ross Atkins, the Indians' player development director. "We brought in a local police officer to explain the situation and issued each player an ID card so they don't have to rely on carrying around their visas and paperwork with them."

The Milwaukee Brewers believe they are ready for the law, having issued identification cards to their players for the past three years. Each card has the player's photo and information on how to contact Brewers officials if authorities question why the player is in Arizona.

"It's a preventative measure," assistant general manager Gord Ash said. "We haven't had any problems so far."

The Brewers started the program because they were staying in a crime-plagued part of south Phoenix. The club has since moved to a hotel near the Glendale entertainment district but still issues the cards.

The Dominican Republic, as evidenced by big league rosters, is fertile ground for prospects. According to baseballreference.com, 503 Dominicans either have played or are playing in the majors, including Arizona Diamondbacks pitchers Esmerling Vasquez and infielder Tony Abreu.

For Dominican players today, the Arizona Rookie League is often the first step into the pro game.

The preliminary roster of the San Diego Padres includes 10 players from the Dominican Republic and one apiece from Colombia and Mexico. Their ages range from 19 to 21.

This is where concern about the new immigration law comes in.

The statute requires police, while enforcing other laws, to ask about a person's immigration status if there is reasonable suspicion that the person is in the country illegally. A young Latin player who speaks no English might fit that description.

The law ignited protests around the country, including some at Arizona Diamondbacks road games, by those who feel it encourages racial profiling by unfairly targeting Hispanics.

The singing duo of Daryl Hall and John Oates recently canceled a scheduled appearance following a Diamondbacks game to protest the immigration law. There were calls to pull next year's All-Star Game out of Phoenix, but commissioner Bud Selig said play on.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed the bill into law, said the state had to do something about illegal immigration because the federal government wasn't.

Polls have shown wide support for the law in Arizona and around the country, but at least half-dozen lawsuits have been filed challenging it. The U.S. government may file one, too, so it's uncertain whether the law will take effect as scheduled.

Some team officials said they weren't overly concerned because they don't allow players to wander far from the hotel where they are staying.

"Major League Baseball has a great relationship with local authorities," Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. "... We have local police come in and talk about areas players should avoid. There's security at the hotel. You've got to go out of your way to mess up. That's not to say we don't have situations occur. But when it does happen, it's usually centered around alcohol or females."

The issue is not confined to the rookie league. The Cincinnati Reds this year became the 15th major league team to have its spring training facility in Arizona. Players are coming and going all the time, for extended spring training, rehab work or a variety of other reasons. At spring training next year, their numbers will grow to the thousands, from the big league clubs and throughout their minor league systems. A significant percentage will be from Latin America.

Many of the ballparks are at the far edges of the suburban sprawl that is greater Phoenix. The San Francisco Giants, though, play in downtown Scottsdale, within walking distance of restaurants, bars and a big shopping mall.

"We keep players pretty close to the complex, going to the hotel and mall," said Bobby Evans, the Giants' vice president of baseball operations. "Guys don't have cars or a lot of means of getting out. It's a little different now (with the new law). We haven't had any problems and we don't anticipate any. The players have been there a while now, since spring training, so since the law came out and they know about it. Our staff keeps the players apprised."

Tony Reagins, general manager of the Los Angeles Angels, said he's been around player development long enough to know that at some point, some 17- or 18- or 19-year-old will get in trouble.

"So you have to give them the proper resources and information, so that at least you can be ahead of it as opposed to trying to react to it,'" he said. "Our staff down there has done a great job of keeping our guys in line."

It's business as usual for the Angels in the rookie league - almost.

"We haven't altered the way we develop our players in any way," Reagins said. "We're still sending the same types of players to the Arizona Rookie League and into the state of Arizona, so that hasn't changed. We have just made our players aware that they should have their identification with them at all times. But other than that, we don't see any difference in how we're going to operate."

AP Baseball Writer Janie McCauley, AP Sports Writers Colin Fly and Doug Tucker and AP freelance writer Chuck Murr contributed to this report.

Immigration's Definition of "Felony" Not Adopted by Supreme Court

Posted by Michael Pollak on Tue, Jun 15, 2010 @ 2:27 PM

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court voted unanimously in Carachuri-Rosendo v. Holder that a lawful permanent resident who is convicted of minor drug possession offenses does not warrant classification as having been convicted of an "aggravated felony." As a result, the Court held that Mr. Carachuri-Rosendo cannot be deported without an opportunity to make a case for why he should be allowed to remain in the United States.  Benjamin Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council"The decision is an important step toward addressing some of the absurdities of the immigration laws passed in 1996 that treat a shoplifter and a murderer in the same manner. Those laws have largely taken away the ability of immigration judges to look at the facts of a case and determine if the punishment fits the crime," said Benjamin Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council.
Many individuals like Mr. Carachuri-Rosendo, who had two misdemeanor convictions in the criminal court system, then face a separate set of rules under the federal immigration court system. The government had urged the Court to adopt a rule which would allow the immigration authorities to reclassify a misdemeanor conviction as an aggravated felony, which would subject even a lawful permanent resident to mandatory deportation.
The Supreme Court found the folly in this approach and notes in its decision, "It is quite unlikely that the 'conduct' that gave rise to Carachuri-Rosendo's conviction would have been punished as a felony in federal court." Applying a common sense approach, the court found that Carachuri-Rosendo's "petty simple possession offense is not typically thought of as an 'aggravated felony.'"
Before 1996, only the most serious criminal convictions could be defined as aggravated felonies. In 1996, Congress expanded the definition of aggravated felonies - lengthening the list of crimes that could trigger deportation for an immigrant, including even minor crimes where the person did not serve any jail time.
"The Supreme Court's decision restores a level of measure and rationality to immigration policies that often are unnecessarily strict and unforgiving," said Beth Werlin of the American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center. 
"The decision is an important step toward addressing some of the absurdities of the immigration laws passed in 1996 that treat a shoplifter and a murderer in the same manner. Those laws have largely taken away the ability of immigration judges to look at the facts of a case and determine if the punishment fits the crime," said Benjamin Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council.
In far too many cases, immigration judges still lack discretion.  Congress now should follow the Supreme Court's lead and restore immigration judges' discretion to take into account the individual circumstances of each case before taking the drastic measure of ordering a person deported.

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