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Congress Passes Physicians for Underserved Areas Act December 15, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Employment-Based Immigration, Immigration Laws and Policies, Info for Doctors and Health Professionals.
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On December 9, 2006, the Senate passed the Physicians for Underserved Areas Act (H.R. 4997) by a voice vote, clearing the bill for enactment by the President. The House approval came three days earlier, also by voice vote, on December 6, 2006. The bill extends a visa waiver program, often referred to as Conrad 30, that allows foreign physicians who work in underserved areas to remain in the country after completing their medical training. The authorization for the program expired on June 1, 2006. Once it is signed into law by the President, H.R. 4997 will reinstate the visa waiver program for an additional period of two years.


Congress Approves Expanded Visa Access for Athletes December 12, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Immigration Laws and Policies, Simply Immigration!.
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On 12/9/06 the House passed the Creating Opportunities for Minor League Professionals, Entertainers, and Teams through Legal Entry (COMPETE) Act of 2006 (S. 3821), following passage by the Senate on 12/6/06. The bill expands P-1 nonimmigrant visa access to allow certain categories of athletes to perform or compete in the U.S.

Change in Who May Sign I-907 December 12, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Employment-Based Immigration, H-1B visa, Immigration Laws and Policies.
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USCIS Service Center Operations has informed AILA that the Form I-907 Request for Premium Processing Service must be signed either by the petitioner, or, by the attorney for the petitioner, but only if the petitioner has filed a Power of Attorney with the USCIS Service Center where the I-907 is being filed authorizing the attorney to sign the I-907, a copy of the power of attorney is attached, and a G-28 is attached. Because the reasons for the processing change are not clear, AILA SCOPS liaison is seeking clarification…


H-1B & EB Advocates Continue to Push for Relief December 6, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Employment-Based Immigration, H-1B visa, Immigration Laws and Policies, Immigration reform, MyComments, Simply Immigration!.
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As the House and Senate reconvene today for the final days of the 109th Congress, the chances of enacting H-1B visa and employment-based (EB) green card relief look increasingly slim. Despite behind-the-scenes efforts by immigration advocates and sympathetic members of Congress, reports suggest that the lame duck session is unlikely to offer an appropriate legislative vehicle for measures that would alleviate the caps and backlogs faced by high-skilled immigrants and their American employers.Plans by Republican leadership to pass a continuing resolution instead of completing appropriations legislation would preclude passage of H-1B and EB relief as part of fiscal 2007 spending bills. However, Congress may vote on a number of authorization bills this week, opening up a small possibility that H-1B and EB relief could be passed as part of authorization legislation.

Improvements to the Visa Waiver Program November 29, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Action, Employment-Based Immigration, Immigration Laws and Policies, MyComments, News and politics, Simply Immigration!, Tips, USCIS Press Release.
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Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Michael Chertoff issued a statement on security improvements to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). It followed President Bush’s announced intention to work with Congress to reform the VWP to encourage some international allies to join the program.

Here is the complete press release–

Release Date: November 28, 2006

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: (202) 282-8010

President Bush has announced his intention to work with Congress to reform the Visa Waiver Program by strengthening security measures to better facilitate the increased interest among some international allies in joining the program. Americans rightly expect this Department to fulfill its legal and moral obligation to secure our borders from those who would do us harm, while maintaining our great legacy as a welcoming country to legitimate foreign visitors. These reforms will accomplish both objectives, and encourage international allies that their goal of joining the Visa Waiver Program is a realistic one.

The Visa Waiver Program began in 1988 in the pre-9/11 world. In a post-9/11 environment, homeland security must be the priority. We can achieve greater security and greater efficiency in our Visa Waiver Program.

We envision a secure travel authorization system that will allow us to receive data about travelers from countries before they get on the plane. Countries that are willing to assist the United States in doing effective checks on travelers could be put on track to enter the program soon. For countries seeking admission to the Visa Waiver Program, this would be an opportunity to set a standard that will be applied to the program generally.

We want to welcome people who are interested in working or traveling in the United States provided they abide by the terms of their admission and, also importantly, provided they don’t furnish a security threat. I want to stress that the United States will equally accept the burden of new security measures and will not require citizens of visa waiver countries to adopt measures that we are unwilling to undertake ourselves. The Department looks forward to working with Congress and our foreign allies to improve the visa waiver eligibility requirements.

Positive Impact on Market Value by Immigrant Entrepreneurs November 27, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Employment-Based Immigration, H-1B visa, Immigration Cases, Immigration Laws and Policies, MyComments, Simply Immigration!.
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Here is an interesting study to share… 

A “first of its kind” study, commissioned by the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) as part of its MAGNET USA initiative (Maximizing America’s Growth for the Nation’s Entrepreneurs and Technologists), reports that immigrant entrepreneurs have had a profound impact on company creation, innovation, and market value in the United States.

The study, entitled “American Made: The Impact of Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Professionals on U.S. Competitiveness” found that over the past 15 years, immigrants have started one in four venture-backed public companies in the U.S., representing a market capitalization of more than $500 billion. Moreover, a survey of today’s private, venture-backed start-up companies in the U.S. estimated that 47 percent have immigrant founders. The study also found that two-thirds of the immigrant founders surveyed believe that current U.S. immigration policy hinders the ability of future foreign-born entrepreneurs to start American companies.

The study was authored by Stuart Anderson of the National Foundation for American Policy, a non-profit, nonpartisan public policy research organization focusing on trade, immigration, and related issues, and Michaela Platzer of Content First, LLC, a public policy research services firm that utilizes research and analysis to bring advocacy data, industry statistics, and policy research to trade associations, businesses, law firms, consulting firms, and the public affairs community.


USCIS Annoucement re Changes to I-539 Student Reinstatement Processing October 27, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Immigration Laws and Policies, MyComments, Simply Immigration!, Tips, USCIS Press Release.
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USCIS announced that beginning October 30, 2006 local USCIS offices will forward new filings for Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, for F-1 and M-1 student reinstatement, to the California Service Center or the Vermont Service Center, depending on where the student is engaged in study.

For the complete notice go to: http://www.uscis.gov/graphics/publicaffairs/statements/FilingChange102506.pdf

Lawsuit to Challenge DHS’Refusal to Follow Perez-Gonzalez, Ninth Circuit I-212 Decision September 30, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Immigration Cases, Immigration Laws and Policies, MyComments, Simply Immigration!, Tips.
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This class action challenges the Department of Homeland Security’s willful refusal to follow the precedent decision of the Ninth Circuit in Perez-Gonzalez v. Ashcroft, 379 F.3d 783 (9th Cir. 2004). The Ninth Circuit determined that individuals who have previously been removed or deported may apply for adjustment of status (under INA § 245(I)) along with an accompanying I-212 waiver application.

The suit is brought by Northwest Immigrants Right Project, the American Immigration Law Foundation, and Van Der Hout, Brigagliano & Nightingale, LLP. The case is Duran Gonzalez v. U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, C-06-1422, and was filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington on Thursday, September 28, 2006.

-source AILA

Senate Appropriators Block Harsh Enforcement Provisions…on DHS Funding September 26, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Action, Immigration Laws and Policies, MyComments, News and politics, Politics and World Events, Simply Immigration!.
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House and Senate negotiators, on 9/25/06, agreed on a $34.8 billion conference report to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in FY 2007 (H.R. 5441). This sum is an increase of $2.3 billion above fiscal year 2006 and $2.7 billion above the President’s request (includes $1.8 in emergency spending). The conference agreement is expected to be cleared by both chambers by the end of the week. Thanks in part to the work of American Immigration Lawyers Associaation members, a group of Senate appropriators prevented the inclusion in the conference report of harsh immigration enforcement measures that House Republicans attempted to attach to it.

DHS Announces SBINET Contract Award to Boeing September 24, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Immigration Laws and Policies, News and politics, Simply Immigration!, USCIS Press Release.
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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today the award of a contract with the Boeing Co. to implement SBInet along the United States northern and southern borders.  The landmark SBInet program will provide DHS, and its agents and officers, with the best possible solution to detect, identify, classify, respond to and resolve illegal entry attempts at our land borders with Mexico and Canada.  

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010
September 21, 2006