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By Marie Puertollano, Esq.

Our firm has started to work on H1B visa applications for our clients. We want to be sure none of our clients miss the April 1st deadline. April 1 is the date when H-1B can be filed at the earliest. Only 65,000 visas are available for applicants with a Bachelor’s Degree and 20,000 for applicants with a Master’s degree. Last year, USCIS had received too many applications by April 11. Since the economy is improving, we expect that the H-1B cap will be reached very fast.

Once you apply on April 1, if your case is approved, you can start working on H-1B status as of October 1, 2015.

If you think you qualify for H-1B, here are some steps to follow for a successful H-1B application:

  • First you must have a H-1B petitioner:

You cannot petition yourself for a H-1B, unless you own your own company. A company must petition you, which will include providing their EIN number, signing the different forms and issuing the checks made payable to the U.S Department of Homeland Security. Once the H-1B is approved, the petitioner must abide by the conditions described in the H-1B application and do the proper recordkeeping.

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What is President Obama’s Executive Action?

It is not a path to permanent residency. It is not a permanent solution. It is not an option for felons, undocumented individuals with criminal histories, inadmissibility issues, and recent border crossers. In fact, recent border crossers will be made a priority for deportation under the order. The order also makes border security a number one priority, increasing the chances of apprehension for recent border crossers. If you commit fraud by knowingly misrepresenting or failing to disclose the facts, you may be subject to prosecution or removal from the United States. Always be truthful and careful when presenting information and documentation to USCIS. Eligible immigrants must demonstrate that they have resided in the United States continuously for a period of at least five years. Only immigrants who have been living in the United States for at least five years are allowed to reap the benefits under the executive action. The order grants eligible individuals a temporary status allowing applicants to remain in the United States legally without fear of deportation.

Eligible individuals must be either:

  • A parent of a U.S. Citizen or lawful permanent resident as of the date of the President’s announcement of November 20, 2014, have been residing in the United States continuously for at least five years (beginning on January 01, 2010), must not be an enforcement priority, and not have inadmissibility issues

OR

  • Individuals who arrived in the United States before turning 16 years old and who can prove that they have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years (beginning on January 01, 2010) regardless of their age today. Applicants must not be an enforcement priority and not have inadmissibility issues.

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Capitol

Today, January 14, 2015 the Republican-led House of Representatives made their first step toward attempting to dismantle major provisions of Obama’s executive order, an order which will make millions of undocumented immigrant’s eligible for employment authorization and will prioritize deportations based on criminal history. For those who believe all Republicans will be supporting the vote, think again. Many republicans have voiced their concern in the House, fearing that the GOP will have to endure backlash from the immigrant and more liberal population for many years to come. Democrats have said that they will filibuster the bill, while some reluctant Republicans plan on joining the ranks of the opposition. It is very unlikely that there will be enough votes, for the bill to gain momentum, and of course Obama will not be giving his support by signing the bill. The existence of the bill indicates that there is a lack of consensus between Republicans and Democrats as to what comprehensive immigration reform will look like and how far each party is willing to push the envelope.

The majority of Republicans simply do not believe the order is within the purview of Obama’s executive powers and do not want the President overstepping his boundaries. The bill however is helpful in that it has stimulated much debate between the parties which is exactly what is needed to bring about bipartisan support for comprehensive immigration reform. The House will be discussing the budget it will appropriate to the Department of Homeland Security, which will run out of congressional funding at the end of February. Congress can use the power of the purse to their benefit and withhold financing, in opposition of Obama’s executive order.

All in all, 26 House Republicans voted in opposition to an amendment that would end Obama’s 2012 executive order which allowed undocumented immigrant children, known as Dreamers, to stay in the country legally. The amendment passed 218 to 209, all votes from Republicans. The funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security passed 236 to 191. Further amendments of the bill are expected. What is clear: Republicans are making their voice heard. We will keep you updated on the final outcome in the coming months.

For more information please contact our office.

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If you are a foreign national that will be a potential investor or will participate in commercial or professional business activities in the United States, you may qualify for a B-1 Temporary Business Visa by applying through the consulate nearest to you.

Business activities, according to USCIS, that are of a commercial or professional nature include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Consulting with business associates
  • Traveling for a scientific, educational, professional or business convention, or a conference on specific dates
  • Settling an estate
  • Negotiating a contract
  • Participating in short-term training
  • Transiting through the United States: certain persons may transit the United States with a B-1 visa
  • Deadheading: certain air crewmen may enter the United States as deadhead crew with a B-1 visa

There are several eligibility requirements that a B-1 Temporary Business Visa applicant MUST fulfill when they apply for their visa through consular processing. They are the following:

  1. The applicants must demonstrate that the purpose of the trip is to enter the United States for legitimate business reasons
  2. The applicants must demonstrate that they will remain in the United States for a specified temporary period of time to take care of the intended business activities
  3. The applicants must demonstrate that they have sufficient financial resources to sustain themselves and their expenses during their stay in the United States
  4. The applicants must also demonstrate that they have a permanent residence abroad that they do not intend to abandon, as well as provide other proof of ties with the home country
  5. If you have any inadmissibility issues, you must consult with an attorney

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imagePresident Obama closed off the year by announcing his highly anticipated executive action on November 20, 2014 which will go into effect early this year, but the executive action was only one of many important initiatives that occurred in 2014.

2014 was a big year for immigrants for several reasons:

  • AB 60 California Driver’s License Applicants: Beginning January 01, 2015 undocumented immigrants can start the process of obtaining their driver’s licenses under AB 60 at their local DMV field office
  • Executive Action: Beginning February 2015, eligible applicants can apply for the expanded DACA program which shields undocumented individuals from deportation who were brought to the United States illegally as children, our office will be providing you with further updates early this year
  • Beginning May 2015 eligible parents of U.S. Citizens and lawful permanent residents can apply for deferred action thereby protecting them for deportation and allowing millions of parents to be eligible for employment authorization

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The Law Offices would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

We expect a lot of changes in the US immigration law during the year 2015.

Here are some of the reforms that should be implemented:

  • A new removal policy prioritizing people with a criminal background such as convicted felons. Prosecutorial discretion should be expanded;
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) will encompass more people as the upper age limit requiring to be born before June 1981 will not exist anymore;
  • Deferred Action to Parents of US Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) will be implemented. DAPA will apply if the parent of a USC or LPR child born as of the time of the executive order, has resided in the US since January 1, 2010, and is not an enforcement priority;
  •  I-610A waivers will now include the spouses, sons and daughters of a green card holder as well as the sons and daughters of US citizens;
  •  Business Immigration: talented foreign entrepreneurs, inventors, researchers, founders of startups could be paroled in the US if their entry is of significant pubic economic benefit. The PERM process should also be improved. L-1B guidance will be released, the H-4 EAD regulation will be finalized, and the length of time permitted on OPT for STEM graduates will be expanded. PERM system will also be modernized.
  •  Parole-in-place will include spouses, parents, and children of US citizens or LPR who seek to enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces;
  •  Visa backlog modernization. Under the initiative, the agencies will make the necessary changes to optimize the use of visa numbers available under law and to recapture unused visas. Those who are caught in visa backlogs with approved employment-based petitions will be eligible to file for adjustment of status.

Follow our blog and website for updates on implementation of each of those initiatives.

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The purpose of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) administrative inspection is to determine whether the employer has violated the prohibitions against hiring or continuing employment of unauthorized aliens and Form I-9 violations. Usually, a 72-hour notice will be given to employers preceding the ICE Form I-9 administrative inspection. The Notice of Inspection indicates the date, time, and place for the inspection and the documentation that the employer is requested to produce.

Form I-9 inspection may be conducted by any of the three authorized government agencies: Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), or the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Special Counsel. DHS may initiate investigations after public complaints. Form I-9 inspection may be conducted either on the employer’s premises, at an agency office, or at the agency’s discretion. Employers that use electronic Form I-9 storage systems need only retrieve and reproduce the forms electronically retained in the storage system and supporting items requested by the inspecting agency.

If the employer does not comply with the request to present the forms and supporting documents, ICE may compel production by issuing a subpoena. A delay in the production of the forms and supporting documents may be considered a violation of compliance requirements. After a Form I-9 inspection, ICE will notify the employer as to its results. The current procedure is to notify the employer in writing of the result of the completed inspection. However, informal manner of notification may also been recognized as a valid notification as the Ninth Circuit has held that “even after an informal oral government notice, it is important for the employer to terminate the employee promptly to avoid knowingly continuing to employ violation.”

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Jose came into our office yesterday.  He had been here before.  About a year ago he came in to have a consultation with us and it seems we didn’t have the “right” answers that he wanted to hear.  This led to Jose searching for what he really wanted to hear.

For the past year, Jose has visited several immigration attorneys to confirm the information we had already given him.  The answer was always the same; except one day he found one attorney who gave him hope.  Unfortunately, the attorney took his hope, his money, and didn’t do anything to help.

We hear this story often and there isn’t a week that goes by where we don’t see a person who has entrusted their life and their savings to an inexperienced attorney, or worst yet, to an unscrupulous attorney or immigration consultant.  There are times that we have to give people the bad news – that there is nothing that can be done to help them.  The person is usually devastated and in their desperation will state “I’ll find a better attorney and he will be able to help me.”  The truth is, if you search for the answer you want to hear, you will always find someone who are willing to help you; that is they are willing help you be separated from your money – leaving you hopeless.

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The Law Offices of Jacob J Sapochnick is currently hosting a toy drive for children in need this holiday season. The toy drive will benefit an orphanage in Tijuana.

If you are interested in contributing, please bring your unused toys to our law office at 1502 Sixth Avenue San Diego CA 92101 by Thursday, December 18th.

We thank you for your support, Happy Holidays!

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