Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘American Immigration’

6th January 2019

As the year 2019 opens, it appears as though the process of obtaining and maintaining a Thai or American visa will be more difficult compared to years past. Although certain aspects of each process may involve increased laxity, flexibility, or efficiency the overall theme from immigration authorities in the United States and Thailand would seem to be one of heightened scrutiny and increasingly stringent enforcement measures.

American Immigration Issues

Some facets of the US visa process look to be improving. For example, the Department of State through the National Visa Center and various Embassies and Consulates abroad are becoming more efficient by shifting away from paper documentation over to a new digitized interface allowing faster processing of supporting documentation for immigrant and non-immigrant visa applications. This blogger can say from personal experience that the new system still has some issues to be worked out, but the overall system would suggest that faster processing times at NVC are likely to be a mainstay in the future.

That stated, the overall process of obtaining a US visa would appear to be getting more difficult especially in light of the current administration’s addition of a National Vetting Center tasked with adding scrutiny to the overall adjudication of visa petitions. Meanwhile, policy changes regarding adjudication of visa applications are likely to have substantial impact upon the amount of denials which are issued by USCIS in coming years. A memorandum which came into effect in September of 2018 allows officers of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service to deny visa petitions much more easily compared to times past when a Request For Evidence generally had to be issued before a denial. These developments coupled with creation of bodies such as the DeNaturalization task force and the prospect of a prolonged government shutdown would suggest that matters pertaining to American immigration are likely to prove more difficult moving forward.

Thai Immigration Issues

Meanwhile, as the United States’ Immigration apparatus becomes more cumbersome, Immigration authorities in Thailand do not seem to be backing down from their position regarding immigration and immigration enforcement in the Kingdom. In the lead up to 2019, the overarching policy of “Good Guys in Bad Guys Out” (a policy of encouraging lawful visitors and immigrants to the Kingdom while attempting to discourage travelers with more nefarious motives) manifested itself in terms of enforcement with “Operation X-Ray Outlaw Foreigner“. By the end of 2018 Surachate “Big Joke” Hakparn had announced that tens of thousand of illegal aliens had been arrested, deported, and blacklisted from returning to Thailand. In December of 2018 further statements would suggest that although a great number of visa violators have been precluded from remaining in Thailand, the Immigration office’s vigilance will not decrease. Concurrently, the process of obtaining extensions of Thai retirement visas and Thai marriage visas are likely to become more difficult for some people as it will no longer be possible to obtain an income affidavit for such extensions. This comes at the same time as immigration authorities make comments that would indicate prospective increased scrutiny on those using visa services to obtain retirement and marriage visa extensions by dint of funds on account in a Thai bank.

All of the above developments would indicate that immigration matters in both countries will continue to be complex if not downright difficult in the coming year and beyond.

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15th August 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that a senior American diplomat was recently noted for discussing matters pertaining to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Asia-Pacific region. In order to provide further insight into these developments it is necessary to quote directly from the DAWN website, DAWN.com:

Kurt Campbell, the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, added in an interview with The Australian newspaper that there was more to US-Asia diplomacy than Washington’s relationship with Beijing. “One of the most important challenges for US foreign policy is to effect a transition from the immediate and vexing challenges of the Middle East to the long-term and deeply consequential issues in Asia,” Campbell said. He made clear this did not mean Washington would neglect its responsibilities in the Middle East, but was rather a desire to deepen relations with the Asian region. And while efforts were being made to enhance Washington’s dialogue with China, it was more than just relations with Beijing that were important. “I think what you see is an across-the-board effort (by the US) to articulate India as playing a greater role in Asia,” said Campbell, a key aide to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton…

This blogger asks readers to click on the hyperlinks noted above to read this interesting article in detail.

It was interesting for this blogger to note that there appears to be something of a shift in attitude toward the ASEAN region as Asia in general is viewed as playing an increasingly important role in the global economy. As the Asia-Pacific and ASEAN regions continue to show signs of future growth it stands to reason that countries such as China and India, or any of the so-called BRICS countries for that matter, will become economically more connected to the geographic area. Meanwhile, hopefully American policies in the region will be such that further Asian-American trade and business is generated.

In matters related to American immigration, it recently came to this blogger’s attention that the American Bar Association has recently made resolutions regarding the unlicensed practice of law in an immigration context. In order to provide further details on these developments it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of Law Professor Blogs, LawProfessorBlogs.com:

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association supports measures to combat the unauthorized practice of immigration law (UPIL) and immigration practitioner fraud.
FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association encourages federal, state, and local governments to adopt laws that:
(a) Create a private right of action for victims of UPIL or immigration practitioner fraud.
(b) Provide criminal penalties for engaging in UPIL or immigration practitioner fraud that would give federal and state authorities the right to investigate and prosecute those engaging in UPIL or immigration practitioner fraud.
FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) to make accommodations for victims of immigration practitioner fraud, including:
(a) Allowing the withdrawal without prejudice of submissions in cases in which a noncitizen can establish that his or her immigration filings were created or submitted by an individual engaged in UPIL or immigration fraud or alternatively, developing a means for submitting corrected filings which will supersede the documents previously filed.
(b) Allowing the U non-immigrant visa to be available for victims of immigration fraud who cooperate with federal, state, or local law enforcement, as well as state bars…

The administration of this web log asks readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to read these resolutions in detail.

Clearly the ABA is taking policy stances in an attempt to reverse the trend of unlicensed legal practitioners preying upon an unsuspecting public in immigration matters. As previously noted in the pages of this web log, those seeking advice and counsel regarding US visa matters are well advised to check the credentials of anyone claiming qualification to practice American immigration law as only a licensed American attorney is permitted to accept client fees in order to engage in the practice of American law. Hopefully, policies will be officially promulgated to address the problem of unscrupulous individuals and organizations defrauding the public.

For information related to legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

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2nd August 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that personnel of the United States Justice Department have filed a case challenging the provisions of a recent State immigration law enacted by the sovereign State of Alabama. In order to provide further information this blogger is compelled to quote directly from the website AL.com:

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — The U.S. Justice Department today filed a lawsuit challenging Alabama’s new immigration law, which is slated to go into effect next month. In its lawsuit, the Justice Department says Alabama’s law unconstitutionally interferes with the federal government’s authority over immigration. “To put it in terms we relate to here in Alabama, you can only have one quarterback in a football game. In immigration, the federal government is the quarterback,” said Joyce White Vance, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. Justice Department lawyers write in the lawsuit that the department is filing the action “to declare invalid and preliminarily and permanently enjoin the enforcement of various provisions” of the state law, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Birmingham this afternoon. Provisions within the state’s immigration law “are preempted by federal law and therefore violate the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution…”

The administration of this web log asks readers to click upon those relevant hyperlinks noted above in order to read this insightful article in detail.

Frequent readers of this blog may have noted that this blogger has rather strong feelings regarding inherent States’ Rights and the inherent prerogatives which are reserved to State sovereigns notwithstanding the enumerated powers of the federal government pursuant to the United States Constitution. That stated, American immigration is one of the relatively few fields in which Congress has virtually monopolistic power regarding the imposition of laws, rules, and regulations. This is due to the fact that immigration falls into the jurisdiction of Congressional and executive plenary power. Therefore, it is little wonder that this recent case was filed since the Alabama law would seem to be operating in violation of that aforementioned plenary power. How this case will ultimately be resolved remains to be seen, but clearly issues pertaining to US immigration can be dramatic in a political context.

Of further interest to those who find the information above to be noteworthy, it recently came to this blogger’s attention that the American Congress seems to be attempting to create some sort of extra-Constitutional body for legislative purposes. To provide further elucidation regarding these developments it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of the Huffington Post, HuffingtonPost.com

This “Super Congress,” composed of members of both chambers and both parties, isn’t mentioned anywhere in the Constitution, but would be granted extraordinary new powers. Under a plan put forth by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his counterpart Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), legislation to lift the debt ceiling would be accompanied by the creation of a 12-member panel made up of 12 lawmakers — six from each chamber and six from each party. Legislation approved by the Super Congress — which some on Capitol Hill are calling the “super committee” — would then be fast-tracked through both chambers, where it couldn’t be amended by simple, regular lawmakers, who’d have the ability only to cast an up or down vote. With the weight of both leaderships behind it, a product originated by the Super Congress would have a strong chance of moving through the little Congress and quickly becoming law. A Super Congress would be less accountable than the system that exists today, and would find it easier to strip the public of popular benefits. Negotiators are currently considering cutting the mortgage deduction and tax credits for retirement savings, for instance, extremely popular policies that would be difficult to slice up using the traditional legislative process…

This blogger asks that readers click on the appropriate hyperlinks above to read this article in detail.

This blogger would argue that this proposed so-called “Super Congress” is a prima facie violation of the United States Constitution since there is no explicit reference to such an institution within the text of the Constitution itself and because Congress cannot delegate their lawmaking function to this institution per the doctrine of nondelegation. As noted in the quotation above, under the proposed scheme “rank and file” Representatives and Senators would not be able to make amendments or changes to proposed legislation emanating from this questionably Constitutional body, but would be required to vote “yes” or “no” only. This blogger would not have a Constitutionality issue with the proposed scheme if it were proposed as an Amendment to the Constitution and not as a statute since, again, the Nondelegation precludes such a transfer of power and therefore any law passed pursuant to this scheme may not be in compliance with notions of due process of law in American jurisprudence since there is a specific Constitutional framework for enacting legislation which does not include a “Super Congress”. For those who wish to understand this issue through the prism of analogy there are certain parallels between the argument that this scheme violates the Nondelegation doctrine and the argument that the so-called federal “line item veto” violated the Presentment Clause of the American Constitution. The future circumstances of this scheme have yet to unfold, but clearly there are many legal aspects of this plan which could face challenge down the road.

– Benjamin Walter Hart

For information pertaining to legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

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31st July 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that there are increasing instances of Western commentators discussing the Pan Asia Gold Exchange (PAGE). As these discussions can have implications for the wider business community it may be prudent to quote directly from an article written by Ned Naylor Leyland and posted on the website 24hgold.com:

Today was the inauguration ceremony replete with myriad ministers and mandarins from central and regional government. This initiative is supported at the highest levels in China with SOEs as shareholders, the support of the Beijing Gold Exchange and SAFE (State Administration of Foreign Exchange). PAGE are buying into the concept that leverage has its limits and that leasing must also be carefully monitored…The biggest bombshell however, is the offer of Rmb contracts for international investors, agreed by SAFE. The international part of the Exchange’s business is expected to be available by Q4…

This blogger strongly encourages readers to click on the hyperlinks noted above to read this insightful article in detail.

Issues related to business and capital movement in the jurisdictions which comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam) have been of increasing interest to those who monitor international trade and geopolitics. Meanwhile, many in the business community would appear to be anticipating how the ramifications of further business in China will impact Greater Asia and the global economy. Hopefully, these developments will be beneficial for all concerned.

In news pertaining to American immigration, it recently came to this blogger’s attention that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is apparently trying to encourage further use of the T visa. To quote directly from the Daily Journal website, DailyJournal.net:

PHILADELPHIA — Federal immigration officials are working with authorities in Philadelphia and other cities around the U.S. to try to increase the use of a special visa to help victims of human trafficking, a visa that has been underutilized since its creation nearly a decade ago. At issue is the nonimmigrant “T visa,” which U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials say is an underutilized tool that can be used to help victims of human trafficking who have been brought into the country — using deception in many cases — and then used as sex slaves or forced into other types of involuntary servitude. There is a 5,000 yearly cap on the visa, which allows eligible victims and family members to stay in the country up to four years. But fewer than 5,000 have been approved in total since it was instated in 2002…

The administration of this web log asks that readers click upon the relevant hyperlinks above to read this article in detail.

Unfortunately, the scourge of human trafficking has yet to be fully eradicated in either an international or national context. Hopefully, USCIS can effect some change to this situation through astute use of the T visa noted above. Meanwhile, as noted previously on this blog, there are other agencies of the United States government taking proactive measures to decrease incidents of human trafficking. Hopefully these efforts results in tangible benefits for all people since the issue of human trafficking is something which effects everyone.

For information pertaining to legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

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19th July 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the naval chiefs of the nations which comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are set to meet in Hanoi, Vietnam in upcoming days. To provide further insight it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of China Daily, ChinaDaily.com.cn:

HANOI – The 5th ASEAN Naval Chiefs’ Meeting (ANCM-5) will be held in Vietnam on July 26-29, with participation of naval commanders from nine ASEAN member countries and the Lao defense attache in Vietnam. According to Vietnam News Agency on Tuesday, it is the first time Vietnam hosts such defense cooperation event, during which delegates will share views and discuss cooperative measures to respond to security challenges in the region, among other issues…

This blogger asks readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to learn more from this insightful article.

This news comes upon the heels of news that the American President is scheduled to attend an upcoming ASEAN meeting. Meanwhile, ASEAN leaders are apparently in continued discussion regarding a communique pertaining to the South China Sea. Finally, it would appear as though there may be further discussion regarding an ASEAN visa which would operate in a similar manner to the Schengen Visa. How all of these developments will ultimately play out remains to be seen, but they are certainly of interest for those in the region.

In news related to the struggle for LGBT Equality this blogger recently came upon an interesting posting discussing the current legal position of the LGBT community in light of continued enforcement of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA). To quote directly from a posting by Peter J Reilly on the official website of Forbes, Forbes.com:

One of my earliest and most popular (pre-Forbes) posts was on the case of Rhiannon G. O’Donnabhain, who wanted to deduct the cost of gender reassignment surgery as a medical expense.  The IRS argued that the procedure was “cosmetic surgery” and not deductible.  Ms. O’Donnabhain prevailed.  Then came Gill V OPM.  As I noted in my inaugural Forbes post, marital status impact over 1,000 “benefits, rights and privileges” in the United States Code.  Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) holds that a couple is not married for any federal purpose unless they are of the opposite gender and that the word spouse means a person of the opposite gender.  In Gill v OPM a district court ruled that Section 3 of DOMA had no rational basis.  There were several plaintiffs in Gill, all legally married in Massachusetts, arguing for a variety of benefits including that of filing a joint return…

Those interested in such issues are strongly encouraged to click upon the relevant hyperlinks above to read this interesting posting in detail.

Section 3 of DOMA also has significant ramifications in an American immigration context as even those who have entered into a same sex marriage in a State which legalizes such unions cannot use said marriage as a basis to petition for spouse visa benefits (such as the CR-1 visa and the IR-1 visa). Concurrently, as such unions are not recognized by the United States federal government a petition for a same sex K-1 visa would also not be permissible so long as DOMA remains in place.  Bearing that in mind the reader should note that legislators such as Representative Jerrold Nadler and Representative Mike Honda have introduced legislation such as the Respect for Marriage Act, the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), and the Reuniting Families Act in order to provide some sort of remedy for the current discrimination being borne by same sex bi-national couples and the LGBT community as whole. As of the time of this writing none of the above legislation has seen passage although with an upcoming Senate Judiciary Committee hearing set to discuss DOMA there is hope that this discrimination will not continue indefinitely.

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6th July 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has been noted by various media outlets for launching a new ad campaign to encourage those present in the United States as lawful permanent residents to naturalize to American Citizenship. In order to provide further insight into these developments it is best to quote directly from the website of China Daily, ChinaDaily.com.cn:

NEW YORK – The US Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has launched its first ever paid ad campaign urging roughly 7.9 million green card holders to become naturalized citizens. The $3.5 million multilingual campaign will be used for three years and is part of an $11 million allotment from Congress meant to promote integration of immigrants. This year’s campaign in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese will run in print, radio and digital formats between May 30 and Sept 5, primarily in states with large immigrant populations, such as California, New York, Florida and Texas. ”You’ve got to create that sense of urgency, and until they’ve reached that sense of urgency, they’ll just coast,” Nathan Stiefel, division chief of policy and programs for the Office of Citizenship at USCIS, told the Associated Press…

This blogger asks readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to read this article in detail.

For those who are unfamiliar with matters pertaining to American immigration it should be noted that those who enter the United States of America on a CR-1 visa or an IR-1 visa are accorded lawful permanent residence (also colloquially referred to as Green Card status). After spending a specified period of time physically present in the United States it may be possible for an immigrant to naturalize to American citizenship. There are many benefits to be had by undergoing the naturalization process including, but not limited to: the right to vote, the right to a US Passport, as well as the various privileges and/or immunities of citizenship. Those interested in learning if they are eligible for such benefits are encouraged to contact a licensed American attorney.

In somewhat unrelated news, it recently came to this blogger’s attention that the government of Japan is apparently preparing to conduct tests on various nuclear facilities in that country. For further insight it is necessary to quote directly from the Channel News Asia website at ChannelNewsAsia.com:

TOKYO : Japan said Wednesday it will run “stress tests” on all its nuclear reactors in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi accident sparked by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disaster. The ongoing crisis, the world’s worst atomic accident since Chernobyl 25 years ago, has ignited debate in Japan about the safety of nuclear power, which before the disaster accounted for a third of its electricity needs. The centre-left government ordered a round of initial tests on the country’s other atomic power plants after the disaster, and said the new stress tests aimed to reassure the public that the facilities are safe…

The administration of this blog asks readers to click on the appropriate hyperlinks above to read this article in detail.

For those unfamiliar with the ongoing situation in Japan it should be noted that an Earthquake which occurred in March of this year resulted in a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima facility noted above. This situation had tremendous ramifications for both the Asia-Pacific region and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). As this tragic state of affairs continues to play out it is hoped that positive endeavors can mitigate some of the damage caused by this disaster. No doubt the Japanese citizenry remain in the hearts and minds of conscientious people the world over.

For related information please see: Certificate of Citizenship or Certificate of Naturalization.

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9th January 2011

Those who keep up with the news in the United States of America may have seen recent news reports regarding the recent shooting of a United States Representative and Federal District Court Judge. To quote directly from the website Indianexpress.com:

Representative Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, and 18 others were shot Saturday morning when a gunman opened fire outside a supermarket where Giffords was meeting with constituents.

Six of the victims died, among them John M Roll, the chief judge for the United States District Court for Arizona, and a nine-year-old girl…

It seems as if the shootings were motivated by the suspected gunman’s opposition to the political and legal positions held by some of the victims with respect to United States Immigration policy. To quote Indianexpress.com further:

The shootings raised questions about potential political motives, with Pima County Sheriff Clarence W Dupnik blaming “the toxic political environment in Arizona”.

Giffords, who represents the Eighth District in Arizona, has been an outspoken critic of the state’s tough immigration law, which is focused on identifying, prosecuting and deporting illegal immigrants, and she had come under criticism for her vote in favour of the health care law. Friends said she had received threats over the years.

Generally, immigration issues are considered somewhat mundane by those who are interested in American policy, but the American immigration debate has grown increasingly intense since the State of Arizona recently passed controversial legislation aimed at stemming the inflow of illegal and/or undocumented immigrants entering the State of Arizona by way of the international border between the United States of America and its southern neighbor Mexico. To quote directly from an article in the New York Times from April 2010:

Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona signed the nation’s toughest bill on illegal immigration into law on Friday. Its aim is to identify, prosecute and deport illegal immigrants. The move unleashed immediate protests and reignited the divisive battle over immigration reform nationally. Even before she signed the bill at an afternoon news conference here, President Obama strongly criticized it.

It is interesting to note that American Presidents rarely ever even comment upon legislation passed at the State level as State legislation is often viewed as being within the exclusive bailiwick of State authorities. However, there are strong arguments that Arizona’s passage of the aforementioned legislation represents an infringement upon the Federal government’s right to set and maintain United States Immigration policy. The New York Times’ article went on to note further:

The Arizona law, he added, threatened “to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and our communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe.”

The law, which proponents and critics alike said was the broadest and strictest immigration measure in generations, would make the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and give the police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. Opponents have called it an open invitation for harassment and discrimination against Hispanics regardless of their citizenship status.

The Arizona law represents an interesting controversy from a legal perspective as fundamental Constitutional issues such as Separation of Powers and Federalism are directly impacted by the enactment and subsequent enforcement of this law. The tragic aspect of this situation is that the immigration issue is one which could, and arguably should, be solved through the legislative process and reasoned debate. The fact that American immigration policy may be at the source of the recent shootings is tragic due to the loss of life. Also, it is likely that this shooting will exacerbate an already heated debate on the issue of Comprehensive Immigration Reform and the enforcement of US Immigration law in general.

For related information on American immigration please see: I-601 waiver or Department of Homeland Security.

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16th December 2010

This blogger recently cam across an interesting report from the Department of Homeland Security. As discussed in previous postings on this blog, the Southwestern border of the USA has been the scene of increasing efforts by American State, Federal, and local authorities to stem the flow of undocumented immigrants to the USA. To quote directly from the report:

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today held a quarterly conference call with sheriffs and police chiefs from 30 jurisdictions along the Southwest border to discuss the Department’s ongoing support for state and local law enforcement in their efforts to keep their communities safe from violence and other threats.

It would appear the the Department of Homeland Security is working more closely with local authorities in order to increase security along the United States-Mexican border. The aforementioned report went on to further note:

Since January 2009, DHS has committed unprecedented resources along the Southwest border. The Border Patrol is better staffed today than at any time in its 86-year history, having doubled the number of agents from approximately 10,000 in 2004 to more than 20,500 today. In addition, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has doubled the number of personnel assigned to Border Enforcement Security Task Forces; increased the number of intelligence analysts working along the U.S.-Mexico border; quintupled deployments of Border Liaison Officers; and begun screening 100 percent of southbound rail shipments for illegal weapons, drugs, and cash—for the first time ever.

Secretary Napolitano also highlighted critical programs that assist state and local law enforcement in making their communities safer. In July, DHS announced more than $47 million in fiscal year 2010 Operation Stonegarden grants for Southwest border states. Based on risk, cross-border traffic and border-related threat intelligence, 82 percent of 2009 and 2010 Operation Stonegarden funds went to Southwest border states—up from 59 percent in 2008.

DHS has also expanded the Secure Communities initiative—which uses biometric information and services to identify and remove criminal aliens in state prisons and local jails—from 14 jurisdictions in 2008 to more than 800 today, including all jurisdictions along the Southwest border.

The Department of Homeland Security’s role has increased dramatically along the Southern border of the USA. In a previous blog post this author noted that the Department of Homeland Security’s United States Customs and Border Protection Service (USCBP) has been using sophisticated technology such as iris scanners in an effort to bio-metrically monitor travelers crossing the border between the USA and Mexico. Pursuant to legislation passed in the 1990s Customs and Border Protection has the authority to place foreign individuals into expedited removal proceedings which can result in a bar to admission for the foreign national for 5 years after the proceedings have concluded.

The situation along the Southern US border may become more tense as inflows of undocumented immigrants are likely to continue necessitating further action by authorities such as USCBP and local law enforcement. It is hoped that this problem can be dealt with in such a way that it does the least amount of harm to all concerned.

Fore related information please see: I-601 waiver or US Visa Denial.

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14th December 2010

Since recent economic developments have caused turmoil in the American economy, it is this blogger’s opinion that few are willing to look at the positive aspects of the United States economy. As a business platform the United States of America is still one of the best countries to host businesses conducting trade, providing services, or conducting manufacturing. To quote directly from another website, locationusa.com, which discusses issues surrounding the United States economy at length:

U.S. affiliates of foreign companies employ more than five million U.S. workers and support millions more indirectly. There is no question that investing in the United States brings with it many advantages. With a population of more than 300 million and the largest economy in the world, the United States is the most important market for any global company. The American work force ranks as one of the best educated, most productive, and most innovative in the world. As a place to do business, the United States offers a predictable and transparent legal system, outstanding infrastructure, and access to the world’s most lucrative consumer market.

Although it may seem counter-intuitive at first blush, legal immigration has a tremendous positive impact upon local economies. This is especially true where immigrants are investing in the United States economy or setting up a business in the USA. One of the primary ways in which immigrants can be beneficial to the USA is through foreign direct investment. Any money invested in the United States could be viewed as a net positive if one were looking at global competition for foreign direct investment as a “zero sum” game. Furthermore, investment in the USA creates jobs. As stated above, the United States labor market is one of the most sophisticated and efficient on the planet. This is one of the many reasons why foreign companies set up offices in the United States as American Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents are some of the best educated and best equipped to handle complex and difficult tasks. Also, the infrastructure of the United States is ranked high compared to other nations around the globe. In short, the United States of America is an optimal location to engage in business activity aimed at attracting customers from both the USA, which has a very dynamic consumer market, and the world at large.

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor visa is a very useful travel document for those who wish to both invest and work in the United States. This visa is a highly sought after travel document since it provides the bearer with lawful permanent residence upon lawful admission to the USA at a Port of Entry. Those interested in obtaining an EB-5 Visa should conduct research and take note of the fact that Immigrant Investors wishing to enjoy an EB5 visa should be willing to invest a minimum of five hundred thousand (500,000) United States dollars. Those seeking to invest in an “un-targeted” EB-5 program should note that such an investment must generally be at least one million (1,000,000) US dollars.

Those who wish to invest in a small business in the United States may find the the US E-2 visa beneficial as this travel document may be used to travel to the USA to oversee an enterprise located stateside. It should be noted that the E-2 is a non-immigrant visa and therefore, those wishing to immigrate to the USA to reside may not be well served by an E-2 visa.

For related information please see: EB-5 Visa China or EB-5 Visa Thailand.

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30th October 2010

In recent weeks, some websites have been abuzz with information pertaining to a recent memorandum from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) which discussed Social Media platforms and their relevance in the context of United States Immigration.  To quote sections of the memo directly, as posted on the EFF.org (Electronic Frontier Foundation) website:

The Internet has made it increasingly easier for people to get connected with each other whether that is with long-distance family, fiiends [sic], or to find new loves and friendships. Social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, Classmates, Hi-5, and other similar sites are designed to allow people to share their creativity, pictures, and information with others. Sometimes people do this to find romance, sometimes they do it to find fiiends [sic] with similar interests, and sometimes they do it to keep in touch with family…This provides an excellent vantage point for FDNS to observe the daily life of beneficiaries and petitioners who are suspected of fraudulent activities. Generally, people on these sites speak honestly in their network because all of their friends and family are interacting with them via lM’s (Instant Messages), Blogs (Weblog journals), etc. This social networking gives FDNS an opportunity to reveal fraud by browsing these sites to see if petitioners and beneficiaries are in a valid relationship or are attempting to deceive CIS about their relationship.

Visa and Immigration Fraud are fundamental concerns of the Department of Homeland Security, the USCIS, and Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS). Therefore, investigation into the bona fides of a relationship that is the basis for submission of a visa petition can be rather routine in circumstances where a United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident has submitted a petition for immigration benefits on behalf of a foreign loved one. That said, the implications of USCIS’s monitoring social media sites can be somewhat unnerving for many as evidenced by a recent quote from a blog post on the ImmigrationEquality.org website:

While we would never encourage anyone to engage in immigration fraud, it is disturbing to think of government officials “friending” unknowing immigrants to use the information in their personal posts against them. In these times of technology speeding forward, it’s important to remember that when you post anything on a public site you have to anticipate that it could be used against you.

Immigration fraud is a serious issue as the integrity of United States immigration law must be upheld both by those seeking immigration benefits and those adjudicating immigration petitions. New technologies offer new ways to stay connected to friends, family, and loved ones in a global context.  However, comments made on social media sites which may seem innocuous or humorous to an online poster at the time of a comment’s posting could be taken out of context by immigration adjudicators who are not personally acquainted with the person or persons making such comments. At the end of the day, the main themes that may be gleaned from the recent revelation of this memo: DO NOT EVER attempt to defraud the U.S. government in an attempt to obtain immigration benefits and even those seeking immigration benefits for bona fide reasons should be cognizant of the fact that information posted on social media websites could, at some point, be heavily scrutinized by immigration officers and/or adjudicators.

For related information please see: US Visa Processing Time or I-601 waiver.

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