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Monday, February 26, 2024 - 9:44 pm

USCIS Announces Outreach to Chinese Immigrant Community

On February 6, 2012, USCIS held a teleconference announcing that, on February 16, 2012 the agency would launch a series of public engagements in Chinese, called Jiao Liu.  The following is a brief transcript of Mr. Mayorkas’ announcement during the teleconference.

“We will conduct a first session in a series of national public engagements in Chinese called Jiao liu. And this is part of our ongoing effort to reach the diverse communities we serve.”

He went on to state that (continued below):

I don’t know if all of you are familiar with the fact that in 2010 and 2011 we launched a series of public engagements in the Spanish language called “Enlaces,” which, like Jiao liu, means engagement.

And we did so understanding and recognizing the fact that many of the individuals that seek to access our services are most comfortable in the Spanish language.

And we – because of the success of that engagement series – we reached more than 1000 people in 2010, 2011 through our Spanish language engagements -we decided to expand the multi-lingual engagements and decided that we should next do it in the Chinese language because of the demographics of our customer base.”

For more on this program, please click here.

Amadu Edward Swaray to give Immigration Speech!

Amadu Edward Swaray will speak about issues affecting illegal immigrants, and what to do now to adjust their status.  Come hear Mr. Swaray speak at Recreational Fire Miracle Ministries on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 5:00 PM and learn what you can do to help your immigration status.

More details about the event to come–stay tuned!

Ice Implements Secure Communities in MN; Immigrant Communities fight back

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced last week that the Secure Communities Program is now fully operational in Minnesota’s 87 counties, making it the 27th state to fully join the program.

Secure Communities is a program through which the fingerprints of those who are arrested are submitted to FBI and immigration databases. When a fingerprint search yields a hit for an immigration violation, the person arrested is typically held on a voluntary immigration detainer until they are picked up by ICE to face deportation proceedings.

Click here to read more.

To protect and safeguard your rights as an immigrant, please call us today at 763-549-0670 763-549-0670 to see how Swaray Law Office can assist you.  We are always ready to help!

Se habla Español.

DHS Announces Publication of Final Rule For Permanent Global Entry Program

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has recently announced the publication of a final rule that would establish as a permanent program, the ‘Global Entry’, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) voluntary initiative that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers.

The final rule becomes effective on March 7, 2012.

For more on the Global Entry Program, please see the following links:

Illegal Immigrants with Mental Illnesses Cannot Fend for Themselves in Legal Battles

Are you an illegal immigrant (or family member of an illegal immigrant) who suffers from a mental disability?  You cannot represent yourself in court.  Read more about Ever Martinez’s case here.

If you are in need of assistance, call Swaray Law Office LTD today and let Mr. Swaray assist you with your immigration case.

USCIS Announces Expansion of E-Verify Self Check

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced that Self Check, a free online service of E-Verify that allows workers to check their own employment eligibility status, is now available in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.

Read more about this development here.

Students Visas: The Passage of the Young to the United States

student visas

Student visas, one of the visas granted in a large quantities, is one of the most used passages by young people from other countries to the United States. Currently, this visa is granted with great care after the September 11, 2001 incident. However, compared to many other types of visas, it is still the visas granted in large quantities.

The visa falls in the non-immigrant category. This means that a person comes to the United States with the expectation of leaving at the end of his course of study. There are two ways a student visa is acquired. A person already in the US can apply for it. But to do so, he must be in status. If granted, he then changes his status to a student visa holder. If not in status at application, he may have to leave the US to be able to apply. If he leaves, he must make sure that he has not overstayed to the point where he may not be eligible to re-enter the US for three or ten years, depending on how long he had overstayed. The person may also apply from outside the US. If granted he can then come to engage in his course of study.

In general, there are four types of visas for study. They are the F, M, H-3 and J visas.

The F

The principal holder has the F1 visa, and his spouse or child that accompanies him has the F2. To qualify, among others, the applicant must have a foreign residence, which he has no intention of abandoning, pursue a full course of study, and have sufficient financial support. The applicant does not have to possess the funds to meet the financial support requirement, but must show that the funds are available.

To obtain the visas, the applicant must identify a school in the US, and get admission. After the admission, he will be given an I 20, with which he applies for the F visa. If he is outside the country, the American Embassy of his country processes the visa. But if in the US, the I 20 and supporting documents is filed on an extension or change of status form to the INS. In either case, if the INS approves the visa, the student can then start his course of study.

In school, the student may have work opportunities. In the first academic year, and during the entire course of study, he can only work on campus. He could work off campus in the case of a severe economic hardship or for practical training. Practical training can be one required by the course of study of the student’s choice. The student may also transfer from one school to the other. But he needs a completed I 20 from the school he intends to transfer and must inform his current school of the transfer. Additionally, he must be pursuing a full course of study and not engaged in unauthorized work

An F student visa holder may run into immigration problems if not careful. These include running out of status or into problems with the law. A student is out of status if he engages in employment without authorization, not pursuing a full course of study, transfers without permission or fails to complete a course of study on time fails to extend his I 20, and ineligible for resintatement when due. When a student is out of status, he is deportable.

Sometimes, an out-of status student may be reinstated if the out of status was due to circumstances beyond his control or it would result in extreme hardship if deported, currently pursing or intends to pursue a full course of study, not engaged in unauthorized employment and not deportable at the time of the reinstatement petition. The student must prove the cases above with supporting documents.

If an F1 visa holder loses his visa, his derivative beneficiaries automatically lose their statuses.

Vocational Students

These carry the M visas. They must meet all the requirements of the F visa holder, except that they must be admitted at a vocational or nonacademic institution.

J Visas

These are visas for trainees or professors or short-term scholars, who come to the US to participate in an exchange visitor program. Many of them are subject to the requirement of returning to their home country or country of last residence upon completion of their two years. Some are not. Sometimes, the two-year residence requirement is waived if the J visa holder can prove possible persecution in his home country, exceptional hardship to his U S citizen or Permanent Resident spouse or child or the holder’s country does not object t his going back home.

H-3 Visas

An H-3 visa applicant must meet the following requirements: He must have a foreign residence to return after the training; will not be placed in a position in which citizens and resident workers are regularly employed; and will not engage in productive employment unless incidental and necessary to the training and will benefit outside the US.

Divorce Rate Amongst African Immigrants

american flagAfrican immigrants are all Africans from the African continent who come to the United States to reside permanently. Many of them eventually become US citizens. Some come as a family i.e. with their wives and children. Some come as single individuals. Many of these eventually meet women in the United States and get married to them. They may deliberately marry someone from their home countries. Many of those who do so told me that the cultural and regional similarities make the relationship easier. Many of them also marry women of other races and cultures in the United States.

Compared to their countries of origin, divorce among African families in the United States is very high. The average span of an African married couple in the United States is, unfortunately, only about seven years.

Why is the divorce rate so high? One factor is the impact of the new American culture. Africans in America stumble on the American culture of rights, and, in many cases, do not know how to handle it. In Africa, women are inferior to men, and men have more rights than women. In a typical family, women play domestic roles, while the men are the bread winners. Women do household chores, raise the kids and serve the husband. In America, the women find that they have rights just like, if not, more than men. They hold important non-domestic jobs and are financially strong just like the men. They have equal say on issues in the home, and can financially contribute. They also find that household chores and raising kids should be shared with the men.

The men resent some of these rights, and deem it unacceptable. They see them as challenges to their masculinity. In most cases, their reactions lead to frictions, which in turn, cause marital problems, and many of the marital problems lead to divorce.

Domestic abuse incidents are very high in African families. In Africa, it is normal for a husband to physically or verbally abuse his wife when the wife does something wrong. Wrong things may include extra-marital activity, not treating the kids very well, breaking something in the house, refusing to have intercourse or saying something disrespectful to the husband. The beating is an exercise of the man’s masculinity and punishment of the woman for the wrongful act. The beating does not subject the man to any punishment. There are rare cases, such as if the beating results in murder, where the man is prosecuted.

In the United States, domestic abuse is, fortunately, a crime that goes with serious consequences. If a man is charged with domestic abuse or assault of his wife, and is found guilty, he is subjected to a serious punishment. If the man is an immigrant, who has not become a citizen, he is also subject to deportation. Sometimes African wives take advantage of the consequences, and frequently lie to the police that their husbands have beaten them. There are instances when a wife that is offended by a dispute between herself and her husband, calls the police to lie that her husband has beaten her to cause the police to arrest the husband. Many marriages do not survive instances of domestic abuse.

The highest number of divorces occur in African cross-culture and or racial marriages i.e. an African married to a Caucasian or Mexican or Asian or African American etc. Some of the divorces are simply rooted in the desire of a party to get an immigration “Green Card”, and deserting the marriage once the desire is achieved. Many are rooted in deep different cultural and racial problems. The spouses usually accept their racial differences. They have to look beyond it to get married. Their cultural problems are, however, tougher to overcome. They initially suppress their cultural identities and feelings during courtship. But the differences get out of control in the marriage. The differences come across in daily communication, likes and dislikes, relationships with friends, and most especially their extended family members.

The African initially absorbs everything but eventually reacts against cultural traits that he dislikes. Both at some point do not understand that their different cultural experiences are subverting their relationship, and before they know, the marriage is mired in an acute difficulty. Frictions between the spouses and the African and his or her American spouses’ extended family members are rife, the solution to which becomes divorce.

When divorce occurs, the American domestic relations law governs. Issues of custody, child support, visitation (if there are children), property division (if there is property) and liability allocation (if any) are decided. The divorce leaves behind deep relationship cleavages and sometimes fatal animosities. For a while, the African’s quest for happiness, a strong component of his American dream is lost.

The author of this article is an attorney who does general practice that includes family, immigration and criminal law. No portion should be deemed as legal advice. If you need legal advice on issues raised in the article, see a family, criminal or immigration attorney. If you need advice or legal assistance from the author, call his office at 763-549-0670, or write to him at the Law Offices of Swaray & Associates, Golden Valley Corporate Center, 1710 Douglas Drive, Suite 107, Golden Valley, MN 55422.

H-1B Employment Visa

american flagThe H-1B is one of the most used employment visas in the United States. Big and small companies, including banks, manufacturing, medical, educational institutions, and the like, have frequently used it to obtain visa statuses for qualified and experienced employees from overseas countries or here in the US, but happen to be non-citizens or non-permanent residents.

To be eligible, the position to be occupied must be a specialty occupation, and the potential beneficiary must have the required qualifications. To be a specialty occupation, the position should require a theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge, and the potential employee must have attained, as a minimum, a bachelors or higher degree (or its foreign equivalent) in the field.

The position must satisfy one of the following two factors:

1. A bachelors or higher degree or its equivalent; or
2. The industry, for example engineering, medicine etc, commonly requires a degree for the position. An employer may also attempt to show that the duties of the position are so complex and unique that only an individual with a degree can perform them.
See, 8 CFR, Section 214.2(h) (4) (iii) (A); Tapis v. INS, 94 Federal Supplement 2d 175 (D. Mass 2000)

In addition, the potential employee must be qualified to perform services in the specialty occupation. To be qualified, the employee must meet one of the following requirements:

a. Have a bachelor’s or higher degree that the specialty occupation requires from an accredited college or university; or
b. Have a foreign degree that is equivalent to a US bachelors or higher degree from an accredited college or university; or
c. Have an unrestricted state license, registration or certification, which authorizes her to fully participate in the specialty occupation and be immediately engaged in that profession in the state of intended employment; or
d. Have an education, specialized training, and or progressively responsible experience equivalent to the completion of a US bachelors degree in the specialty occupation.
See, Shanti v. Reno, 36 F. Supplement 2d 1154 (D. Minn. 1999).

When these two requirements are met, the United States based employer (petitioner) can file a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the Department of Labor (DOL) When it is approved, the employer then files a Form I 129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker together with the approved LCA and supporting documents with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). If the DHS approves the application, the issued visa is initially for three years, which can be extended for an additional three years since its full life span is six years.

Examples of professions that may qualify for a specialty occupation position are law, medicine, dentistry, accounting, acupuncture, chiropractic, computer programming, dieticians, electronics, fashion designing, complex general managerial work, graphic designing, interior designing, nursing, journalism, library science, medical technology, ministers, orthopedists, pharmacists, social workers, technical publications, writers, vocational counselors, etc.

H-1B visas for fiscal year 2004, with a quota of 65,000 available visas, have reached its cap, and applications for this fiscal year are no longer being processed. However, prepared applications can be re-submitted for fiscal year 2005 beginning April 1, 2004.

This article is not intended to be legal advice. If you need legal advice, contact, The Law Offices of Swaray and Associates, which specializes, among others, in processing H-1Bs for companies and individuals. If you are interested in benefiting from our services, call us at 612-481-1865. An immigration attorney should be available to assist you.