1st Presidential Debate Lacking Immigration Talk

Yesterday’s 1st Presidential Debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump touched on many issues ranging from job creation, the economy, trade, gun violence, racial tensions, and national security. Interestingly, while the topic of securing America was addressed, immigration was not. Moderator Lester Holt failed to ask any questions regarding Trump’s plan to build a wall along the Mexican border, deporting the 11 million undocumented individuals in the U.S., or his proposals to keep Muslims from immigrating to the U.S. Similarly, Clinton was not asked any questions about her plan to allow a pathway for citizenship for millions of the undocumented population.

Polls have consistently shown that immigration is one of the most popular and pressing issues of the election season. Further, it helped catapult Trump’s popularity during the Republic primaries. Interestedly, the issue was missing during the 1st Presidential Debate.

Couple Pleads Guilty to $20M Visa Fraud

Per The United States Department of Justice:

“ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Raju Kosuri, 44, and Smriti Jharia, 45, a married couple from Ashburn, pleaded guilty today to charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States and visa fraud, among other charges.

Kosuri and Jharia were indicted on April 27. According to the statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Kosuri, Jharia, and their co-conspirators fraudulently applied for more than 900 illegal immigration benefits under the H-1B visa program. Since 2008, and at much greater scale since 2011, Kosuri has built a staffing business that amounts to a visa-for-sale system, in violation of federal law. Kosuri and Jharia also admitted to defrauding the Small Business Administration in connection with a scheme to obtain HUBZone certification for a business named EcomNets Federal Solutions. Kosuri agreed to forfeit proceeds of his fraud schemes in the amount of $20,900,000.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Clark E. Settles, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington; Bill A. Miller, Director of Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), U.S. Department of State; and Robin Blake, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Office of Inspector General; and Kimberly Zanotti, Washington Field Office Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), made the announcement after the pleas were accepted by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul K. Nitze and Angela Fiorentino-Rios are prosecuting the case.”

CBP Global Entry for Colombian Nationals

Per U.S. Customs & Border Protection:

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced today the expansion of Global Entry to citizens of Colombia. Global Entry, a CBP Trusted Traveler Program, allows for expedited clearance of pre-approved, low-risk travelers.  Colombian citizens can begin applying for Global Entry through the Global Online Enrollment System (GOES) website. Colombia becomes the first country in South America and the eighth country overall whose citizens will be eligible to enroll in Global Entry.

U.S. citizens, U.S nationals and U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents may apply for Global Entry as well as citizens of certain countries with which CBP has trusted traveler arrangements, including Mexico, the Netherlands, Panama, the Republic of Korea, Germany, Singapore, the United Kingdom and now Colombia. Canadian citizens and residents enrolled in NEXUS may also use the Global Entry kiosks.

The non-refundable application fee for a five-year Global Entry membership is $100 and applications must be submitted online. Once the application is approved, a CBP officer will conduct a scheduled interview with the applicant and then make a final eligibility determination.”

Visa Bulletin October 2016

The Department of State published its Visa Bulletin for October 2016. The Visa Bulletin is a monthly report on visa availability. USCIS has determined that for the month of October 2016, applicants for all family-sponsored and employment-based preferences may use the Dates for Filing Visa Applications chart.

Congress annually sets the numbers of immigrant visas that may be issued for the family-sponsored and employment-based immigrant preference categories. If you are a prospective immigrant in any of these categories, the Visa Bulletin shows when a visa is available to you based on your priority date.

For the bulletin, refer here.

Immigration Bloggers Wanted

Agarwal Law Offices is currently seeking enthusiastic, diligent, and informed college and grad students to assist us with blogging and following current immigration events. The position would be assignment based on a weekly basis and start time would be immediately. Great for full-time students looking for a little extra work. Pay is negotiable.

Caribbean Immigrants in the U.S.

The Migration Policy Institute has released a report outlining Caribbean Immigrants in the U.S:

“In 2014, approximately 4 million immigrants from the Caribbean resided in the United States, accounting for 9 percent of the nation’s 42.4 million immigrants. More than 90 percent of Caribbean immigrants came from five countries: Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Haiti, and Trinidad and Tobago (see Table 1). Immigrants from the Caribbean vary in their skill levels, racial composition, language background, as well as migration pathways to the United States, depending on origin country and period of arrival…On average, most Caribbean immigrants obtain lawful permanent residence in the United States (also known as receiving a green card) through three main channels: They qualify as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, through family-sponsored preferences, or as refugees and asylees. Compared to the total foreign-born population, Caribbean immigrants are less likely to be Limited English Proficient (LEP), but have lower educational attainment, lower median incomes, and higher poverty rates.” Migration Policy Institute.

To view the entire report, click here.
By Jie Zong and Jeanne Batalova

TPS Extensions – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone

Per USCIS News:

“Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson is extending TPS benefits for beneficiaries of TPS under the designations of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone for 6 months for the purpose of orderly transition before the designations terminate, effective May 21, 2017. After reviewing country conditions and consulting with the appropriate U.S. government agencies, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has determined that conditions in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone no longer support their designations for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The widespread transmission of Ebola virus in the three countries that led to the designations has ended.

To provide for an orderly transition, current TPS beneficiaries will automatically retain their TPS and have the validity of their current Employment Authorization Documents extended through May 20, 2017. Beneficiaries do not need to pay a fee or file any application, including for work authorization, in order to retain their TPS benefits through May 20, 2017.

Although TPS benefits will no longer be in effect starting May 21, 2017, TPS beneficiaries will continue to hold any other immigration status that they have maintained or acquired while registered for TPS. The Department of Homeland Security urges individuals who do not have another immigration status to use the time before the terminations become effective in May to prepare for and arrange their departure from the United States or to apply for other immigration benefits for which they may be eligible.”

Visa Bulletin September 2016

The Department of State published its Visa Bulletin for September 2016. The Visa Bulletin is a monthly report on visa availability. USCIS has determined that for the month of September 2016, applicants for all family-sponsored and employment-based preferences may use the Dates for Filing Visa Applications chart.

Congress annually sets the numbers of immigrant visas that may be issued for the family-sponsored and employment-based immigrant preference categories. If you are a prospective immigrant in any of these categories, the Visa Bulletin shows when a visa is available to you based on your priority date.

For the bulletin, refer here.