When Immigration Matters

Karen Pollak

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Biden's Path to Citizenship for Undocumented Immigrants

Posted by Karen Pollak on Fri, Aug 06, 2021 @ 2:44 PM

On February 18, 2021, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Representative Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA) unveiled President Biden’s pathway to citizenship for the eleven million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States. Referred to as the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, Biden’s plan comprises of an eight-year process during which immigrants live and work in the U.S. After passing background checks and paying taxes, participants of the program are permitted a five-year stay in the United States. Then, upon completing this period, immigrants are able to apply for a green card, granting them permanent citizenship. Lastly, after three additional years, participants of this path have the opportunity to become full citizens.   

While there have been many efforts made to reach bipartisan support regarding immigration reform, Biden’s eight-year path to citizenship seems to only be backed by his Democratic supporters. His plan focuses on making it far easier to enter the U.S. legally by rehabilitating legal points of entry rather than funding border enforcement like his predecessor, which has not pleased Senate Republicans. In fact, after being introduced in February, the bill still remains stalled on the Senate floor, and it is becoming seemingly more unlikely that its status will progress. Hope dwindles as Biden is still short the ten additional votes needed to overcome the filibuster, despite support from all fifty Democrat-controlled seats.  

In the meantime, Senate Democrats and other major players in immigration policymaking recently met with President Biden to discuss the inclusion of immigration reform in his $3.5 trillion federal budget package. Policy change in this form is ideal, as budget bills only require a simple majority, thus enabling Democratic lawmakers to completely bypass Republican opposition. Biden readily reaffirmed his support for immigration reform, assuring the group of Senate Democrats that he would work with them in order to see their long-sought immigration policies signed into law.   

Additionally, the pressure on the Biden administration to achieve success regarding immigration policy reform has been further fueled by a recent Texas ruling that outlawed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, one of the few remnants of immigration policy from Biden’s vice presidency during the Obama era. However, with the inclusion of immigration policy in his Reconciliation federal budget package, Biden and many Democratic lawmakers are working to create a path to citizenship for Dreamers, undocumented essential workers, and those with Temporary Protected Status. Although Biden has yet to disclose the specific details of each pathway as they are spelled out in the budget package, it is his intention, that with full support from Congress Democrats, the 11 million undocumented immigrants will come out of the shadows, stop living in fear of deportation and separation from their families and be granted a path to full citizenship in the near future.   

We would like to thank our Summer Intern Hallie Sternblitz for doing the research and writing this Blog Post. 

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EB-5 Announcement:  Short Window Opens to Invest $500K

Posted by Karen Pollak on Fri, Jun 25, 2021 @ 1:30 PM

A very short window has opened for potential EB-5 investors to invest at the $500,000 level once again after various events affecting the EB-5 industry occurred this past week; On Tuesday, a Federal Judge invalidated the Final EB-5 rules that increased the minimum investment amount from $500,000 to $900,000 in 2019, effectively reverting the investment threshold back to its previous level.  On Thursday, however, efforts to re-authorize the EB-5 program, which is currently set to expire on the 30th of June 2021, stalled on the Senate floor and will only continue once Congress returns from its 4th of July recess. This leaves potential investors with the opportunity to invest at the $500,000 level only until the 30th of June.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley gave hope to the EB-5 industry, which has been struggling under the twofold setback of increased investment amounts and investor uncertainty following the Covid-19 pandemic.  Her ruling concluded that the Department of Homeland Security officials who were responsible for enacting the initial price increase and various other changes to the program through the Modernization Rule of 2019 had not been legally appointed according to the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 and therefore had no legal authority to promulgate the changes.  Brought before the court by Behring Co., a real estate developer and the operator of Behring Regional Center, the judge’s decision effectively nullified the Modernization Rule enacted since November 2019.  In addition to the increasing the investment threshold, the Modernization Rule also made changes to the Regional Center Program’s Targeted Employment Area (TEA) designation process, which removed States’ ability to determine their own TEA eligibility and drastically decreased the number of investments projects that qualified to raise capital through the EB-5 program.

The victory was short-lived, however, after efforts to reauthorize the EB-5 program stalled in the Senate’s last session before breaking for recess until after the 4th of July.  Senators Grassley, Leahy and Cornyn brought the bipartisan EB-5 Reform and Integrity Bill before the Senate floor to request unanimous consent to pass the bill before the June 30thdeadline.  The motion was, however, unsuccessful after South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham registered an objection to the unanimous consent motion.  A short- term extension was unfortunately not brought forward to re-authorize the program while effort to conclude any legislation action continues.  This leaves the regional center to sunset until Congress gets back to work following the 4th of July holiday.

Industry experts believe that efforts to pass legislative reform and re-authorize the program will continue once Congress reconvenes.  However, any legislative action taken will likely re-establish the $900,000 threshold and any action taken by Congress will supersede the ruling of the Behring case.  Those who are considering making use of the small window of opportunity are encouraged to act before 30 June if they wish to partake in the program at the $500,000 level.  It is possible the Government will appeal the decision and the ruling stayed meaning people who do invest $500,000 may have to now invest an additional $400,000 or depending on the terms of the regional center agreement have their $500,000 returned to them.  It is important to review the specific regional center agreement to see what will happen to the $500,000 investment if the decision is appealed before June 30, 2021 and the investor has invested at the $500,000 level. 

The EB-5 program provides its investors with legal permanent residents for the applicant, their spouse and any children aged under twenty-one years of age.

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US Green Card: What You Need to Know About Permanent Residency

Posted by Karen Pollak on Wed, Jul 08, 2015 @ 9:30 AM

Applying for a Green Card or Immigrant visa is the first step in becoming a United States Permanent Resident.  As a Green Card holder, you and your immediate family can live and work in the United States permanently. Most people obtain Green Cards by being sponsored by their employers or their relatives. Others obtain permanent residence through the Green Card lottery, asylum and through various other means. The main ways of applying for a Green Card are through marriage, employment, family, the lottery and through investment.

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What Immigrants Need to Obtain a Texas Drivers License | Immigration

Posted by Karen Pollak on Mon, Oct 17, 2011 @ 7:17 AM

Attached is a useful chart for obtaining a Texas Drivers License for Immigrant and Non Immigrants residing in Texas.  In this chart the Texas DPS lists acceptable documents to evidence proof of lawful status when registering or renewing a drivers license. 

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Visa Bulletin for November 2011 | Immigration

Posted by Karen Pollak on Sun, Oct 16, 2011 @ 9:45 PM
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DV-2013 DV Lottery | Diversity Visa Lottery Begins October 4, 2011

Posted by Karen Pollak on Fri, Sep 16, 2011 @ 4:02 PM

October 4, 2011.  Save the date!  Put in on your calendars!!!    This is the beginning of the DV-2013 Registration Period.  Electronic entries for the 2013 lottery will be accepted between noon (EDT) on October 4, 2011 and noon (EDT) on November 5, 2011.

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Visa Bulletin for October 2011 | Immigration

Posted by Karen Pollak on Mon, Sep 12, 2011 @ 6:19 PM

A. STATUTORY NUMBERS

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Diversity Visa Lottery 2012 (DV-2012) Results Released

Posted by Karen Pollak on Fri, Aug 12, 2011 @ 6:51 AM

The Kentucky Consular Center in Williamsburg, Kentucky has registered and notified the winners of the DV-2012 diversity lottery.  The diversity lottery was conducted under the terms of section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and makes available *50,000 permanent resident visas annually to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.  Approximately 100,021 applicants have been registered and notified and may now make an application for an immigrant visa. Since it is likely that some of the first *50,000 persons registered will not pursue their cases to visa issuance, this larger figure should insure that all DV-2012 numbers will be used during fiscal year 2012 (October 1, 2011 until September 30, 2012).

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Visa Bulletin for September 2011 | Immigration

Posted by Karen Pollak on Thu, Aug 11, 2011 @ 7:47 AM

A. STATUTORY NUMBERS

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USCIS Eases Visa Process For High Skilled Immigrants & Entrepreneurs

Posted by Karen Pollak on Thu, Aug 04, 2011 @ 7:24 AM

On August 3, 2011, USCIS joined with Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to outline new policies that that will help fuel the nation’s economy and stimulate investment by making it easier for high-skill immigrants and entrepreneurs to obtain visas to start and grow companies and create jobs here in the United States.

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