Global Immigration Partners

Los Angeles Immigration & Naturalization Law Blog

A Los Angeles voice of reason on immigration

One of the calm voices in the raging immigration debate is well-known to us here in Los Angeles: former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Rosario Marin. The first immigrant to serve in the position, Marin grew up in Huntington Park -- she lives there now with her husband.

The daughter of immigrants, Mexico-born Marin urges both sides of the issue to consider compromise on at least one aspect of immigration she says is important to continued growth of the U.S. economy: allowing more people into the country on employment visas.

Immigration paperwork tears mom from five kids

She sits behind bars. Her five children are back in her home country, waiting anxiously to be reunited with their mother. Her husband is a Los Angeles realtor and U.S. citizen who is working hard to untangle what he describes as a clerical error that has morphed into a nightmare for his family.

The husband became a U.S. citizen 15 years ago. He married his wife, a Russian citizen, back in 2008. She had a conditional green card, but a Los Angeles "immigration consultant" failed to get the paperwork for a permanent residency green card in on time.

What does it mean to be 'paroled into the U.S.'?

For most Americans, the term "€œparole"€ refers to a prisoner who is granted an early release from incarceration. In the context of immigration, however, the term has an entirely different meaning.

Humanitarian parole is granted by the USCIS in certain circumstances involving emergencies (a funeral, illness of a relative, to obtain medical care, etc.). When a person paroled into the U.S., they are allowed to physically enter the country, but that does not mean they have been granted admission or residence. However, the USCIS will in some situations grant an adjustment of status to those who have been paroled into the U.S.

Can a family member get a green card, too?

Virtually everyone agrees that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ rules, regulations and laws are complex and often difficult to fully understand. So let’s take a look at an area of immigration law that enables green card holders to petition for certain family members to a green card so that they, too, can come and live in the United States.

If you are a permanent resident and hold a green card, your spouse and unmarried children (of any age) can be eligible to receive immigration visas. Because there are limits on the number of people who may immigrate in this “family preference category,” there is often a waiting list.

Who is in the top preference category for employment visas?

As Los Angeles readies to ring in a new year, we know people are also readying themselves to apply for immigrant visas. One of the categories of visas given out each year is employment-based visas awarded to people in five different preference categories.

The top preference category of employment visa is referred to as Priority Workers (E1). Let’s take a quick look at the type of workers who fit into the group.

Summary of the President's Executive Action

The following summary of the President's proposed executive action was obtained by the American Immigration Lawyer's Association earlier today:

Information leaked concerning the President's executive orders (Part 1)

Initially reported by Fox News, but subsequently confirmed by the New York Times, a White House memo describing the President's proposed administrative immigration relief has leaked. The memo is said to describe ten separate actions. Between the two reports, it's possible to determine eight of them:

Possible Administrative Immigration Relief

Without a doubt, the hottest topic on our firm’s discussion forum (www.immigration-information.com) has been the subject of possible immigration relief through administrative action. Originally, the President promised to enact such relief “before the end of summer.” Then, for political reasons, he backed off and now says that he will announce it “before the holidays are over.”There are multiple aspects to administrative relief. Some things can be done by changes in administrative regulations. Others can be done through simple changes in policy, while some will require an executive order, signed by the President.The most controversial proposals involve illegal immigrants. There are, however, a number of proposals that will benefit employment-based immigrants, if adopted.The administration has already published a proposed regulatory change to give work authorization to certain H-4 spouses. As proposed, eligibility would be limited to spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who have received extensions beyond six years. The employment authorization grant would be unlimited, meaning that the H-4 spouse could work for anyone, doing anything – full or part time. The final rule could be promulgated as early as the end of this month, though it will likely take longer.The most beneficial proposal, for employment based immigrants, is the notion of reinterpreting the quota statute so that it only applies to principal applicants and not their dependents. Charles Oppenheim of the State Department’s Visa Office has speculated that if this happens, all EB quotas would become “current” immediately, and remain that way for several years at least. This provision was part of Senate bill 744, passed by the Senate last year with a 68-32 vote.The administration is also said to be considering deportation relief for approximately 5.2 million individuals who are here illegally. Eligibility would be based on whether the individual has children (irrespective of their place of birth) in the United States. This would be similar to the DACA program announced in 2012.Qualifying individuals would have to apply to the immigration service for inclusion in the program. If eligible, they would be given permission to remain in the U.S., unrestricted work authorization, and even permission to travel abroad and return.The likely window for announcement of administrative relief, if any, will be between Thanksgiving and Christmas.James R. Gotcher | Attorney

2015 FISCAL YEAR H-1B QUOTA

As you may know, the filing window for the H1b quota for the fiscal year 2015 will open on Tuesday, April 1st\ 2014. Each year, the government allocates 85,000 H1bs for employees who have never previously had an H1b filed on their behalf. Of these, 20,000 are set aside for holders of US Master’s degrees, and this is referred to as the "Master’s cap." It is important to note that in order to qualify for the Master’s cap, the US Master’s program must be either a public or non-profit university and it must be accredited. WHEN WILL THE QUOTA CLOSE THIS YEAR? Four years ago, we saw the quota close in January of the following year. Three years ago, we saw it close in November and two years ago, it closed in June. This past year, it closed in the first week after having received 124,000 petitions for 85,000 spots. Over the past two years, we have seen large consulting companies, who are experiencing numerous L1A and L1B denials, file large numbers of H1bs for their L employees in order to avoid disruption on their projects. As the L1 denials increase, so will the number of H1bs that these companies file when the filing window opens. For this reason, we are advising clients to file their cases on the first possible day (April 1, 2014) and to expect a lottery situation again. WHO IS ELIGIBLE? If the employee has already had an H1b approved on their behalf within the last six years, they are likely to be exempt from the quota unless they received an H1b from a cap-exempt employer like a non-profit or university. Most candidates for the H-1B quota are students on OPT, people overseas who have never had an H1b approved on their behalf, or spouses here in the US who are looking to obtain their first H1b. Based on recent USCIS trends, the candidate must have at a minimum of either a US bachelor’s degree or the foreign equivalent in a field that is directly relevant to the position. The USCIS has recently cracked down on those who have a bachelor’s degree in a field that is not relevant to the position that the petitioner has filed for. A candidate holding a degree that is not directly relevant to the offered position can still be viewed as eligible, if they have about 3 to 6 years of documented experience in a relevant field as they can get an education evaluation that incorporates their experience and education. If you are not sure if you or a candidate, in the case of an employer, meets the requirements for an H1b, we suggest speaking with an immigration attorney before committing yourself to the process. WHAT WILL I NEED TO PROVIDE? In order to have a successful H1b filing, it is important that you have certain evidence for the filing. The USCIS will want to see that the Beneficiary has the education that is required for the H1b, and that the field of study is relevant to the position. The USCIS will also want to see that the position itself qualifies as a specialty occupation and that the Petitioner has non-speculative work for the Beneficiary. Further, the USCIS will evaluate all of the evidence to make sure that there is a valid employer/employee relationship present for the requested validity period. If you are not sure what evidence is required, we highly suggest speaking with an immigration attorney. HOW MUCH WILL IT COST? The H1b government filing fees are as such:• I-129 fee- $325• Fraud Prevention and Detection fee- $500• ACWIA fee o If Petitioner employs 25 or less full-time W2s- $750o If Petitioner employs 26+ full-time W2s- $1,500• If the Petitioner employs 50 or more full-time W2s and over 50% are in H1b or L1 status, there is an additional $2,000 filing fee• If you choose to use premium processing- $1,225• If the Beneficiary has a spouse and they must file an H4 application for them, the filing fee is $290.