Integrity Legal

Archive for May, 2011

31st May 2011

In a previous posting on this blog the discussion centered upon the EB-3 visa. To remain on a similar topic, the Employment Based visa preference category 4 is another type of travel document which is somewhat similar to other employment based visas although some of the criteria are different. To quote directly from the official website of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), USCIS.gov:

Employment-Based Immigration: Fourth Preference EB-4

You may be eligible for an employment-based, fourth preference visa if you are a special immigrant. The following special immigrants are eligible for the fourth preference visa:

  • Religious Workers
  • Broadcasters
  • Iraqi/Afghan Translators
  • Iraqis Who Have Assisted the United States
  • International Organization Employees
  • Physicians
  • Armed Forces Members
  • Panama Canal Zone Employees
  • Retired NATO-6 employees
  • Spouses and Children of Deceased NATO-6 employees

Petitioning for an Employment-Based Fourth Preference Immigrant

To petition for an employment-based fourth preference immigrant, your employer must file a Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant. However, there are certain situations where you, the employee, may self-petition on your own behalf. Please review the form instructions to see if you are eligible to self petition and what required supporting evidence needs to be included.

Readers are asked to remember that the above citation is not a satisfactory substitute for a full analysis of issues associated with the EB-4 visa especially as each individual immigration case is adjudicated pursuant to the unique factual circumstances present in the given situation.

This blogger has found that some of those who research this area confuse the EB-4 visa with the E-1 visa or the E-2 visa. In some cases, this category gets confused with the EB-5 visa. Regardless, the EB-4 visa is a stand alone visa category which provides the benefit of lawful permanent residence to the bearer upon lawful admission to the United States of America. Clearly, the criteria for EB-4 visa issuance are less stringent than, say, the EB-1 visa; but this visa category is still heavily scrutinized by adjudicators and for this reason prospective EB-4 visa seekers should be prepared to undergo such an adjudication by USCIS.

Concurrently, it should also be noted that those foreign nationals seeking an EB-4 visa abroad are likely required to undergo Consular Processing at a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad in order to ultimately hope to receive a visa. Consular Officers at US Missions abroad are tasked with the responsibility of adjudicating visa applications for those foreign nationals wishing to travel to the United States of America.

For related information please see: US Visa Thailand.

 

 

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31st May 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Republican position regarding same sex marriage in the District of Columbia (Washington D.C.) is being analyzed by both media and political observers. To quote directly from a recent article written by Ben Pershing and posted on the website of the Washington Post, WashingtonPost.com:

[D]espite past efforts, Republicans have not mounted an assault this year on the District’s same-sex marriage law: No bill has been introduced to overturn it, nor has any lawmaker publicly sought support from colleagues for such a measure.

Those unfamiliar with the United States Constitution are wise to take note of the fact that the United States Congress is responsible for administering the American capitol city. The scope of such jurisdiction extends to matters which in the context of a sovereign State could be viewed as intrastate issues. However, as the District of Columbia is substantially different in nature from sovereign States the same legal rules and analysis that applies to States may not apply to the District. To quote further from the aforementioned article:

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said he knew of no campaign to repeal the law. “My committee has no intention at this time of overturning gay marriage,” Issa said this month, although he later clarified that he was speaking for himself as chairman and not for individual lawmakers. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), now chairman of the D.C. oversight subcommittee, responded similarly Tuesday. He said that he would support a bill to overturn the same-sex marriage law if one were introduced but that he had no interest in spearheading such an effort. “I was not elected to be D.C. mayor, and I don’t aspire to be,” Gowdy said, echoing a previous comment by him on local issues. The fact that no Republican has introduced a bill this year could be a sign that the majority plans to use a different tactic…

The administration of this weblog strongly encourages readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks above to view this article in its entirety.

The observations noted above go to the heart of any analysis of the current struggle for the LGBT community to gain at least some modicum of equal protection pursuant to United States law. In a previous posting on this blog it was noted that in order for the LGBT community to hope to see passage of legislation such as the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), the Respect for Marriage Act, or the Reuniting Families Act broad based bipartisan support may prove crucial. That stated, it would appear that where once there was stiff resistance toward a compassionate or tolerant policy towards the LGBT community, now there are signs of something of a “thaw” on the right especially as States’ Rights issues have been raised regarding the Constitutionality of the current application of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA).

Currently, sovereign American States such as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have heeded the call of their Citizenry and taken measures to legalize, solemnize, and/or recognize same sex marriages or marital unions. Notwithstanding this fact, the United States federal government still will not accord federal benefits (including immigration benefits) even to those legally married in a sovereign American jurisdiction.

It is this blogger’s opinion that the issue of same sex marriage in the United States may ultimately be resolved by activity emanating from US Courts, especially if a case on point is heard by the United States Supreme Court. This blogger forms this opinion after contemplating the issues associated with Full Faith and Credit and the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution. Bearing this in mind, the reader is urged to remember that these issues have yet to see full resolution.

Meanwhile, it would appear that activists in the international LGBT community are taking steps to secure further equality in other parts of the world as The Nation newspaper’s print edition in Thailand reports that LGBT activists are seeking political support for the cause of same-sex marriage in the lead up to Thai elections. To quote directly from the Nation’s official website, NationMultimedia.com:

Rights activists for the so-called “third sex” – gays, lesbians and transsexuals – have urged political parties to allow a same-sex marriage law. Natee Teerarojjanapongs, president of the Sexual Diversity Group and the Gay Political Group of Thailand, and transsexual singer known as Jim Sarah (Sujinrat Prachathai) said yesterday they would visit the Democrat and Pheu Thai parties today to submit a letter asking them to issue such a law for the “third gender” if they lead the next government…Their groups will seek commitments from the parties and say they will reward promises of action by campaigning for votes among their supporters…

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to learn more from this insightful and well written article.

Readers should be aware of the fact that the Kingdom of Thailand is one of the most tolerant jurisdictions on the face of the Earth when it comes to matters pertaining to LGBT issues. As a tourist and recreational destination, Thailand ranks among the top tier of destinations frequented by the LGBT individuals and couples as Thailand boasts a vibrant LGBT community. That stated, under Thai law in its current form same sex marriage is not recognized. Therefore, it is not possible for a same sex couple to register a Thai marriage at, say, an Amphur Office (Civil Registrar Office), in the same manner as a different-sex couple. As noted above, Thai advocates may be taking measures in the near term to change this state of affairs. How this issue will play out in the run up to a Thai election remains to be seen, but it may prove interesting.

In analyzing United States immigration in a Thai context the reader should note that if Thailand began allowing registration of same sex marriage and the United States passed legislation such as the aforementioned UAFA it is conceivable in the future that a same sex bi-national Thai-American couple could register their marriage in Thailand and thereby use that marriage as a basis for seeking American immigration benefits such as a K3 visa, CR1 visa, or an IR1 visa. That stated, such a scenario would require a departure from current law and policy.

For related information please see: US Visa Thailand or K1 Visa Thailand.

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30th May 2011

In a previous posting this blogger discussed issues associated with the EB-2 visa. On the same note, the following posting is a brief discussion of the Employment Based visa in the preference category 3. Readers should take note of the fact that Employment Based visa categories, classified as EB, are substantially different from the E-1 visa and the E-2 visa which are Treaty Trader and Treaty Investor visas, respectively, and somewhat dissimilar from employment based visas.  To quote directly from the official USCIS website, USCIS.gov:

Sub-categories Evidence Certification
Skilled Workers
  • You must be able to demonstrate at least 2 years of job experience or training
  • You must be performing work for which qualified workers are not available in the United States
Labor certification and a permanent, full-time job offer required.
Professionals
  • You must be able to demonstrate that you possess a U.S. baccalaureate degree or foreign degree equivalent, and that a baccalaureate degree is the normal requirement for entry into the occupation
  • You must be performing work for which qualified workers are not available in the United States
  • Education and experience may not be substituted for a baccalaureate degree
Labor certification and a permanent, full-time job offer required.
Unskilled Workers (Other Workers) You must be capable, at the time the petition is filed on your behalf, of performing unskilled labor (requiring less than 2 years training or experience), that is not of a temporary or seasonal nature, for which qualified workers are not available in the United States. Labor certification and a permanent, full-time job offer required.

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to keep in mind that the chart above is not an exhaustive explanation of the criteria associated with EB-3 visa issuance, but should merely be viewed as a brief overview of eligibility criteria for those thinking about petitioning for EB-3 visa benefits. The criteria for EB-3 visa issuance differ from the EB-1 visa and EB-2 visa criteria by some degree especially in the case of the EB-1 visa as that visa category is generally reserved for extraordinary recipients.

Those pondering petitioning for United States immigration benefits such as the EB-3 visa should bear in mind that the petition adjudication process is not necessarily the only phase of what could be a longer overall process if the proposed beneficiary resides outside of the United States and therefore must submit a US visa application and undergo Consular Processing at a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad.

For related information please see: American Embassy.

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30th May 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that an increase in Asian consumerism may have a possible impact upon the global economy overall. To quote directly from a recent article written by Gregory White and posted on the website of Business Insider, BusinessInsider.com:

Yesterday, we told you about the Soc Gen research note “The China Domino has Fallen!” and its alarming conclusion that the world needs to expect significantly more inflation in the near term. Included in that report is a rather complex, but explanative chart, on just why this is happening. It displays the global supply and demand curve. While there are a great deal of variables at work here, the key, according to Soc Gen’s latest, is the expected surge in Asian consumers from China’s rebalancing…

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click on the hyperlinks noted above to learn more.

It stands to reason that as an economy as substantial as that of China makes its presence increasingly felt in the world economy the other players in the world economy will feel the ramifications of economic activity occurring in China and the surrounding region. To a lesser degree, the same might also be said for economic activity occurring in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as such activity can have ramifications for economic actors in other parts of the world. That stated, it seems unlikely that ASEAN‘s economic impact upon the global economy of the future will be as significant as that of China since China’s economy is more cohesive and streamlined compared to the more loosely arranged economies of ASEAN.

In other news pertaining to China it recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Chinese island of Taiwan may soon be the site of robotic immigration checkpoints at some point in the future. To quote directly from an article written by Loa lok-sin posted on the official website of the Taipei Times, TaipeiTimes.com:

In a few years, visitors could pass through unmanned immigration booths following instructions given by smiling robots when they step off the plane at Taiwan’s international airports, National Immigration Agency (NIA) -Director–General Hsieh Li-kung (謝立功) said yesterday. The first unmanned immigration inspection booths were installed on Tuesday at Shueitou Pier (水頭碼頭) in Kinmen County, from which ferries depart to Xiamen, China. “At this point, automatic immigration inspection booths have been installed only at Shueitou Pier, and are open only to [Republic of China (ROC)] nationals,” Hsieh told the Taipei Times during a telephone interview. “We plan to install the system at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport next month — but only for [ROC] nationals as well.”

The administration of this blog encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to learn more.

Clearly, the conditions of international travel are likely to change in the future as technological improvements continue to present themselves. However the idea of passing through a robotic immigration and/or customs checkpoint still seems somewhat alien, at least to this blogger. One wonders if such technological innovation will soon change the face of ports of entry to the United States or if robots of the United States Customs and Border Protection Service (USCBP) will one day usher in American Citizens upon their return to the United States of America. Such developments remain to be seen as of the time of this writing.

For related information please see: Legal.

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29th May 2011

In a previous posting on this blog the eligibility criteria for the EB-1 visa were briefly discussed. In that same vein, this blogger felt further elaboration on other Employment Based visa categories was warranted to provide insight to readers about issues associated with other employment based preference categories. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service‘s (USCIS) official website posted an enlightening chart to provide an overall glimpse of the eligibility criteria which this blogger felt could be of interest to readers. To quote directly from the official website of the USCIS, USCIS.gov:

Sub-Categories Description Evidence
Advanced Degree The job you apply for must require an advanced degree and you must possess such a degree or its equivalent (a baccalaureate degree plus 5 years progressive work experience in the field). Documentation, such as an official academic record showing that you have a U.S. advanced degree or a foreign equivalent degree, or an official academic record showing that you have a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent degree and letters from current or former employers showing that you have at least 5 years of progressive post-baccalaureate work experience in the specialty. 

Exceptional Ability You must be able to show exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business.  Exceptional ability “means a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.” You must meet at least three of the criteria below.*
National Interest Waiver Aliens seeking a national interest waiver are requesting that the Labor Certification be waived because it is in the interest of the United States.  Though the jobs that qualify for a national interest waiver are not defined by statute, national interest waivers are usually granted to those who have exceptional ability (see above) and whose employment in the United States would greatly benefit the national.  Those seeking a national interest waiver may self-petition (they do not need an employer to sponsor them) and may file their labor certification directly with USCIS along with their Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker. You must meet at least three of the criteria below* and demonstrate that it is in the national interest that you work permanently in the United States.

Readers are encouraged to conduct their own research into these issues as the chart above is merely presented to provide something of an overview regarding eligibility. The chart above should not be viewed as an exhaustive analysis of the issues at play in a EB-2 petition.

It should be noted that second preference Employment Based petitions are carefully scrutinized as issuance of such visas is intended for those foreign professionals holding an advanced degree or an alien national of “exceptional ability”. Therefore prospective visa seekers are encouraged to note the rather high standards by which those seeking this visa category will be compared during the adjudication process.

Those seeking the visa categorized as an EB-2 are well advised to remember that adjudication of a visa petition at the Department of Homeland Security‘s USCIS may be only one phase of the overall visa process as those residing outside of the United States may be required to undergo Consular Processing at a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad.

For readers who have happened upon this blog in the past, the mention of the “national interest waiver” may bring to mind the I-601 waiver or the I-212 waiver which could be argued to be somewhat similar. Another type of waiver that could be construed as similar to the “national interest waiver” is the waiver sometimes granted by USCIS to permit the filing of multiple petitions for a K1 visa within a relatively short period of time notwithstanding the provisions of the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA).

Frequent readers may recall that the EB-5 visa is also classified as an Employment Based Visa although the criteria for EB-5 visa issuance is different from those of the EB-2 most notably as the EB-5 visa petitioner must demonstrate that a substantial investment has been made in the United States in order to hope to attain eligibility for EB-5 visa status.

The United States visa process can be overwhelming at times and for this reason many opt to retain the assistance of counsel. That stated, when retaining the services of anyone purporting to be qualified to provide advice and/or assistance regarding immigration matters it may be prudent to ascertain credentials as, pursuant to relevant US law, only a licensed American attorney is permitted to take in client fees while engaged in the practice of United States immigration law.

For related information please see: Legal.

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29th May 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that there may be some geopolitical tensions arising in Asia in connection to issues associated with the use of water. To quote directly from a very insightful article apparently written by Santha Oorjitham of the New Straits Times and posted by chellaney on the blog Stagecraft and Statecraft:

[T]he lower Mekong states of Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam have a water treaty. India has water-sharing treaties with both the countries located downstream — Bangladesh and Pakistan. There are also water treaties between India and its two small upstream neighbours, Nepal and Bhutan. But China, the dominant riparian power of Asia, refuses to enter into water-sharing arrangements with any of its neighbours. Yet China enjoys an unrivalled global status as the source of trans-boundary river flows to the largest number of countries, ranging from Vietnam and Afghanistan to Russia and Kazakhstan…

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks above in order to read more from this fascinating article. For readers who are unfamiliar with matters pertaining to Asia, particularly Southern Asia or Southeast Asia, it should be noted that water issues can be extremely important for Asian political actors and policy makers. Issues associated with water can have ramifications upon the economies, political institutions, and business environments in Asia and around the globe. As regional associations such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and nations such as India and China begin to become increasingly important players on the international stage it stands to reason that water issues pertaining to Asia will be considered increasingly important by those seeking news and information about the area.

Meanwhile it also recently came to this blogger’s attention that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is taking measures in an effort to transform that agency into a more electronic environment compared to the current primarily paper-based environment in which it now apparently finds itself. To quote directly from a USCIS Executive summary as posted upon the website ILW.com:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS or Agency) is undertaking an agency-wide effort to move immigration services from a paper-based model to an electronic environment. This effort is known as USCIS Transformation. Transformation will deliver a simplified, Web-based system for benefit seekers to submit and track their applications. The new system is account-centric and will provide customers with improved service. It will also enhance USCIS’s ability to process cases with greater precision, security, and timeliness. In March 2011, the Office of Transformation Coordination and the Office of Public Engagement hosted a series of listening sessions and webinars with participants representing customers, attorneys and community-based organizations (CBOs). The purpose of these listening sessions was to inform USCIS about the benefits and challenges of moving to an electronic environment…

Those interested in learning further about this transformation from the USCIS Executive Summary are well advised to click upon the relevant hyperlinks above to find out more.

This blogger is personally pleased to see the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), an agency under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security, taking measures to create a more efficient system for adjudication of immigration and visa related petitions or applications. Frequent readers of this blog may have taken note of the fact that USCIS is the initial adjudicator of petitions for the K-1 visa (US fiance visa) as well as the CR-1 visa (US Marriage Visa) and the IR-1 visa. Hopefully, USCIS’s transformation will result in more streamlined processing of the aforementioned petitions.

For related information please see: US-Thai Treaty of Amity or Consular Processing

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28th May 2011

There are many different visa categories statutorily designed for those wishing to work and/or invest in the United States of America. The very plethora of visa categories can make researching immigration issues somewhat confusing for the layman. One visa category that relatively few prospective visa seekers seem to understand is the Employment Based First Preference Visa Category, or to put it more succinctly: the EB-1 visa. The eligibility criteria for this visa category are somewhat stringent compared to other visa categories. To elucidate this fact it may be best to quote directly from and eligibility chart found by this blogger on the official website of United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) at USCIS.gov:

Categories Description Evidence
Extraordinary Ability You must be able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim. Your achievements must be recognized in your field through extensive documentation. No offer of employment is required. You must meet 3 of 10 criteria* below, or provide evidence of a one-time achievement (i.e., Pulitzer, Oscar, Olympic Medal) 

 

Outstanding professors and researchers You must demonstrate international recognition for your outstanding achievements in a particular academic field. You must have at least 3 years experience in teaching or research in that academic area. You must be entering the United States in order to pursue tenure or tenure track teaching or comparable research position at a university or other institution of higher education. You must include documentation of at least two listed below** and an offer of employment from the prospective U.S. employer.
Multinational manager or executive You must have been employed outside the United States in the 3 years preceding the petition for at least 1 year by a firm or corporation and you must be seeking to enter the United States to continue service to that firm or organization. Your employment must have been outside the United States in a managerial or executive capacity and with the same employer, an affiliate, or a subsidiary of the employer. Your petitioning employer must be a U.S. employer. Your employer must have been doing business for at least 1 year, as an affiliate, a subsidiary, or as the same corporation or other legal entity that employed you abroad.

Readers should be aware that the above citation is not intended to be utilized as an exhaustive tool for determining EB-1 visa eligibility, but the chart above does shed light upon some of the overall eligibility criteria which will likely be scrutinized during adjudication of a petition.

There are many factors which must be taken into consideration during the adjudication of an Employment Based visa petition. Frequent readers of this blog may recall that there is another visa category classified as EB that is sometimes discussed within these pages. That specific visa is the EB-5 visa which was designed for prospective immigrants wishing to come to the United States to make a substantial investment in the American economy. In the case of the EB-1 visa, the prospective visa holder would be asked to make an investment of sorts in that their extraordinary abilities would be invested in the United States as a likely consequence of issuance of a United States travel document which grants lawful permanent residence to the bearer upon lawful admission to the US by officers of the United States Customs and Border Protection Service (USCBP).

Readers should be aware that often USCIS adjudication is not the only phase of the EB visa process as Consular Processing at a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad may also be required depending upon the unique circumstances of a given case.

For Information Related To Family Based Visa Petitions Please See: US Visa Thailand.

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28th May 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that there appears to be some further international competition occurring within discussions in the context of the recently vacated IMF Managing Directorship. To quote directly from a very insightful article appearing on the website rediff.com:

The scramble for International Monetary Fund managing director’s chair has escalated into a war of sorts with developing nations calling for a change in the power equation. Most of the developing nations seek an end to European dominance over the IMF’s top job. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said the developing countries should be together in the attempt to reform the global financial institutions.

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read this story in full in order to gain further insight into the developing nature of this situation.

It is interesting to note that this posting brings up the apparently increasing international intrigue which seems to exist as the jockeying for the position of IMF Managing Director appears to continue unabated. The aforementioned post was recently vacated upon the arrest of former Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn in New York City. Mr. Kahn has yet to be proven guilty of a crime to the best of this blogger’s knowledge and therefore remains innocent until proven guilty pursuant to United States law. Relevant to that news the Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) raised the issue of broader international representation within the IMF in favor of developing nations with specific emphasis upon an Asian context. This announcement occurred virtually simultaneously (in a relative context) with a joint statement from the so-called BRICS nations. To quote further from Rediff.com:

Although some European nations have declared their support for French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, the BRICS nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — have issued a joint statement in Washington questioning the methodology of selection of IMF chief on the basis of nationality.

Although the BRICS have something relevant to say on that issue, certainly as relevant as the opinions held by the member nations of ASEAN, it is interesting to note that there appears to be some speculation regarding the efforts of China to secure some sort of position for a Chinese national within the International Monetary Fund. To quote further directly from Rediff.com

BRICS said it is time to ‘abandon the obsolete unwritten convention that requires that the head of the IMF be necessarily from Europe’. Meanwhile, unconfirmed news reports said that the European Union has offered the post of the deputy managing director of the IMF to a Chinese candidate in exchange for its support to Christine Lagarde.

Again, this blogger encourages readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks above to learn more.

This blogger was somewhat amused upon reading the paragraph noted above as the scene is placed in perspective as the angling for positions at the IMF can be seen to have the same political dynamics that may develop when seeking positions in other official capacities, in both a national and international context, as competition for such positions can be as political as the competition in the United States of America for an office in the public service at both the federal and State levels. It would seem that under the circumstances there must be someone whom all of these various factions can agree upon, but by all appearances a consensus is far from reached. An inability to find someone to fill the void could theoretically require further discussion.

In political matters of a more national complexion for American readers it recently came to this blogger’s attention that headway might be made in the struggle for equal LGBT rights. To quote directly from a very inspirational posting by the administration of the UnitingAmericanFamilies.Net website:

Immigration Equality reports that a hearing on UAFA before the Senate Judiciary Committee has been scheduled for June 3. I just have to believe that every phone call, every letter, every blog entry has got to have contributed to this. But this is just a hearing – not a vote, and then, even if it gets voted out of committee in the Senate, the same will have to happen on the House side, and then there will have to be votes by the full House and Senate (IF there are enough votes in the Senate to stop a Republican filibuster). So don’t for a second think that our work is done! Call your two senators and your one Congressperson. Tell your story…

The administration of this blog strongly recommends that readers check out the hyperlinks noted above as well as the overall website as it has a great deal of very pertinent information regarding the Uniting American Families Act, previously introduced into the United States House of Representatives by Representative Jerrold Nadler. There is an especially intriguing article regarding the difference between passage of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) and the repeal or overturning of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA), which this blogger finds repugnant to the Constitution on the grounds that it unnecessarily usurps the Several States’ sovereign power to license marriage within their jurisdiction, but it would appear that some feel the more modest measure of UAFA enactment would be a more effective remedy for this particular discrimination suffered by the American LGBT community, in both a bi-national and national context, at the hands of an overreaching federal government in a pique over the fact that they are not legally entitled to dictate to the several States what shall constitute a valid marriage. Six States, notwithstanding the District of Columbia, have already permitted such unions which in this blogger’s humble opinion, should be accorded Full Faith and Credit pursuant to the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution.

Bearing all of the above in mind, those interested in seeing the Uniting American Families Act, or any act like it; become law, are well advised to contact relevant federal representatives as any equitable relief to same sex bi-national couples currently separated by legislation such as DOMA would be better than the current legal situation in which they are now placed. Due to the currently applicable provisions of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” same sex bi-national married couples (even those who have a had a marriage solemnized and/or legalized by a sovereign American State) are not permitted to apply for the same United States immigration benefits as their different-sex counterparts. Passage and ultimate enactment of UAFA would at least permit same sex bi-national couples to petition and apply for substantially the same immigration benefits routinely accorded to different-sex couples.

For related information please see: Legal.

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27th May 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has called for the nomination of a candidate for the post of IMF Managing Director who hails from Asia or a developing nation. To quote directly from a very interesting article apparently written by Umesh Pandey and posted on the official website of the Bangkok Post, BangkokPost.com:

TOKYO : Asean secretary-general Surin Pitsuwan has called on Asian countries to jointly nominate a candidate for the post of managing director of the International Monetary Fund. As the leading engine of global economic growth, Asia needs to assert itself in the way international institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF operate, Mr Surin said yesterday. “The time is for Asia to field a candidate and it doesn’t have to be an Asian. They could be a member of a Third World country but not the European Union and they surely must not be a North American,” said the Asean chief.

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click on the hyperlinks noted above to gain further insight into this developing story.

Clearly, the economies which comprise the ASEAN community are becoming increasingly important in a global context. This fact coupled with the fact that there seems to be little tangible reason why the IMF directorship should continue to be exclusively held by a European leaves one to wonder what the nationality of future IMF directors will be. It seems both likely and logical that an Asian will eventually take the helm of the International Monetary Fund, but the question remains: when? Hopefully this question will one day be answered to the satisfaction of all concerned.

On a somewhat unrelated note, it also came to this blogger’s attention that a United States Senator has recently introduced legislation to provide immigration benefits to families of America’s brave servicemen and women. To quote directly from an article written by Elise Foley and posted on the Huffington Post website, HuffingtonPost.com:

WASHINGTON — Sen. Robert Menendez introduced a bill on Thursday that would allow the immigrant parents, spouses and children of active duty military service members to gain legal status, part of a push by Democrats to allow small sectors of the undocumented population to avoid deportation. “I just can’t believe that you can risk your life for America, and America can’t let you stay united with your family,” the New Jersey Democrat said at a press conference. “It seems to me that’s more than a fair trade-off.” The Military Families Act, which so far has zero Republican supporters, would grant legal permanent residence to the immediate family members of military men and women in active duty…

Readers are urged to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to learn more from this insightful and interesting article.

This blogger was relieved to hear that Senator Robert Menendez has taken up the cause of America’s military families as it is unfortunate that current law and regulation can sometimes result in adverse consequences for alien family members of those serving in the United States Armed Forces. Hopefully the proposed legislation will create a more compassionate immigration environment for the families of American Armed Forces personnel. It should be noted that those non-US Citizens serving in the American military are often eligible for expedited immigration benefits including, but not necessarily limited, expedited naturalization to United States Citizenship.

Those who read this blog with any frequency may also be aware that there is currently legislation being proposed in the American federal legislature which would go far in uniting American same-sex bi-national families. The passage of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), the Reuniting Families Act, and/or the Respect for Marriage Act would likely result in changes to relevant American law thereby allowing those who have entered into a same sex marriage, or similar marital union, to obtain federal benefits (including immigration benefits) in the same manner as their different-sex counterparts. How this legislation will fare in the current legislature remains to be seen, but hopefully passage of such legislation, along with the Military Families Act, will result in a tangible benefit to all American families.

For related information please see: Certificate of Naturalization.

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26th May 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the US business visas categorized as the B-1 visa and the H-1B visa are making headlines on the World Wide Web. To quote directly from the official website of First Post, FirstPost.com:

Infosys announced on Tuesday that it had received a subpoena from a US District Court demanding documentation of its B1 visa usage, which is  the subject of a criminal investigation by the US Department of Justice (DOJ).

Those reading this web log are strongly encouraged to click upon the hyperlinks above in order to gain more perspective on this developing story. Concurrently, readers are also asked to remember that those accused of an illegal act, whether a natural person or a corporation, are innocent until proven guilty pursuant to America law.

Those unfamiliar with these visa categories should note that the B-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa designed for use by those who intend to remain in the United States for a short period of time for business meetings or training. Such travel documents do not permit the bearer to take up employment within the jurisdiction of the United States. Meanwhile, the H-1B visa is intended for those who wish to  undertake employment in the United States of America. In much the same way that a Thai business visa does not confer the right to work in the Kingdom of Thailand, only a Thai work permit entails such privileges, so too does a B-1 visa exclusively permit the bearer lawful status in the USA upon admission. Therefore, those wishing to work in the USA are generally required to obtain a visa which permits the bearer to work or obtain Employment Authorization. Those who have lawful permanent residence pursuant to entry in the USA on a CR1 Visa or an IR1 Visa are allowed to work in the USA.

The aforementioned article went on to note:

The DOJ’s criminal investigation is not the only legal claim Infosys is facing in relation to B1 visas. As Firstpost has previously reported, an Alabama-based employee named Jack “Jay” Palmer filed a civil lawsuit against the company in February alleging that Infosys used the B1 visa as a way to “creatively” manoeuvre around H-1B visa caps. (Infosys has consistently been the top recipient of H-1B visas in the US.)

Those seeking American immigration benefits should be aware of the fact that the privilege of working in the United States is not always easily obtained. Furthermore, those pondering immigration benefits should note that it is never prudent to be anything but 100% honest with American immigration officials as failure to be candid regarding one’s bona fide immigration intentions could have tremendous adverse ramifications. Consequences for failure to be forthright with immigration authorities could include fines, penalties, incarceration, or a finding of legal inadmissibility. Those found to be legally ineligible for admission to the United States of America may be able to rectify such inadmissibility through use of either an I-601 waiver or an I-212 waiver, depending upon the circumstances of the case.

Meanwhile, it appears that the Department of Homeland Security‘s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is taking criticism from a federal legislator regarding the methodology surrounding the groping of individuals passing through airports in the USA. To quote directly from the official website of Real Clear Politics, RealClearPolitics.com:

The Hill reports: “I walked through … right behind me there was a grandmother — little old lady, and she was was patted down,” Rep. Paul Broun (R-Georgia) said on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal.” “Right behind her was a little kid who was patted down. And then right behind him was a guy in Arabian dress who just walked right through. Why are we patting down grandma and kids?”

The administration of this blog strongly encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to learn more.

It is certainly a credit to Representative Paul Broun that he is questioning TSA policies regarding groping of prospective passengers as it is this blogger’s personal opinion that such searches violate the provisions of the 4th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. This news comes on the heels of a recent announcement that lawmakers in the sovereign State of Texas have withdrawn a recent bill brought before that State’s legislature to curtail the activities of the TSA. To quote directly from the website of the Texas Tribune, TexasTribune.org:

A threat from the federal government to shut down Texas airports or cancel flights may have killed legislation by Tea Party conservatives in the Texas Capitol to prohibit federal Transportation Security Administration agents from conducting “invasive searches.” “I don’t cave in to heavy handed threats by the federal government,” said an angry Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, the Senate sponsor of the bill, who ultimately withdrew the bill. House Bill 1937, which was passed by the House earlier this month, would make it a misdemeanor offense for a federal security agent to “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly [touch] the anus, sexual organ, buttocks, or breast of the other person, including touching through clothing, or touching the other person in a manner that would be offensive to a reasonable person.” Two TSA officials visited Patrick at the Capitol earlier today to discuss the legislation. They warned him that the legislation “could close down all the airports in Texas,” he said…

This blogger encourages readers to click on the hyperlinks above to find out more.

Clearly, the issue of TSA “pat downs” is controversial and can raise tempers. This blogger encourages readers to keep abreast of the stories above at it seems likely that the underlying issues will continue to be poignant in the days and weeks ahead. This may be especially true in the context of an upcoming election as issues pertaining to U.S. immigration and the 4th amendment may be of concern to prospective voters.

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