AZTech, Integra Technologies, Aandwill, and Wireless Update IV – Clarity on the Way?

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Yesterday, ICE announced the arrests of 15 OPT students for claiming “to be employed by companies that don’t exist.”  At its press conference, ICE announced that as a part of its Operation OPTical Illusion, it identified up to 3,300 individuals of interest, and of those individuals, it will seek to deport 1,100.  Of the 1,100, USCIS is in the process of revoking the employment authorizations of 700, with the remainder expected to have the validity periods lapse in the next couple of months.  These employment authorizations were characterized as being “fraudulently” obtained and seem to have been connected with one company. Obviously, this is not good news for the 1,100.  While it is still too early to draw conclusions, it is possible that ICE not only intends to remove these individuals from the United States, but permanently bar them from the United States for engaging in “fraudulent” activity. Apparently, ICE considers…

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The Role of Culture in Visa Denials.

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I recently wrote a blog regarding the OPT scandal advising the victims that “surrender is not an option”, that they needed to be proactive in seeking to resolve the potential drastic consequences.  That thought came to mind again when a gentleman contacted me a few weeks ago about his wife’s visa problem.  She had been denied an immigrant visa and permanently barred from the United States under Section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The stakes for him could not be much higher: his wife may never be able to join him in the US unless an immigrant waiver would be approved.  Yet in talking to him and reviewing the case documents, it was not clear why she had been accused of making a willful, material misrepresentation.    I told him that the consular officer should be contacted and asked to provide a clarification about why this draconian decision had…

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AzTech, Integra Technologies, Aandwill, and Wireless Update III

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We continue to receive a surge of questions from those who have been adversely impacted by the situation surrounding AzTech, Integra, Aandwill, Wireless, and other questionable OPT-related companies. Interestingly, we have also been contacted by those who have not felt any adverse consequences yet nor are aware of any impact, but potentially may have some exposure because of their OPT past.  What should they do?  Reaching out to a lawyer is a good start. Without stating the obvious, these individuals may already have been impacted; they just don’t know it yet.  In the eyes of the government, their mere association with a suspect OPT organization opens the door for adverse action: visa revocation; denial of a future USCIS H-1B or green card petition; refusal of an employment authorization or change of status or adjustment of status application; the opening of removal proceedings in the US; expedited removal and/or the imposition…

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Green Card Holder Stranded Outside the US Due to COVID-19

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As more and more individuals have found themselves stranded outside the US due to COVID-19, the question for permanent residents is more than mere inconvenience.  A US legal permanent resident is bound by fixed time frames. Specifically, an absence from the US of more than six months consecutively may lead to a presumption of an abandonment of US residence. An absence from the US of more than 1 year may impact the validity of the I-551 green card. In the latter situation, US law provides for a special visa: SB-1 Returning Resident Visa.  The SB-1 process actually involves two steps: at the nearest US consulate, the permanent resident submits 1) a DS-117 application to determine whether he or she meets the SB-1 criteria, and if approved 2) an immigrant visa application to determine whether the individual is admissible to the United States.  For the SB-1 part of the process, the…

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The Fat Lady, Stowaways, and Alien Smugglers

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“It ain’t over till the fat lady sings…”  The opera expression widely used in sports has taken on a whole new relevance in the immigration world.  No longer are government agencies approving applications and deferring to previously-approved applications or adjudications. Rather, they are reopening past applications – from 3, 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago – searching for misrepresentations, inconsistencies, and loose ends to thwart applications for visas, changes to status, and adjustment of status. You are so close to getting that long-desired visa or green card, but the “fat lady” – in these cases, USCIS and the State Department consular posts – doesn’t want the “opera” to end. The boundaries are unlimited. Even relatively obscure provisions of immigration law, such as the “stowaway” provision, are being invoked more and more.  A stowaway is someone who obtains transportation without consent and through concealment.  Anyone who enters the US by a…

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Surrender is Not an Option. AZTech, Integra Technologies, Aandwill, and Wireclass Update II

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Thank you for all of your questions related to AZTech, Integra, Aandwill, and Wireclass. The dramatic upsurge in questions corresponds to the mass issuance of Requests for Evidence (RFE) and Notices of Intent to Deny (NOID) by USCIS to I-765 STEM extension applicants and H-1B petitioners. The texts of the NOIDs and RFEs are relatively standard. For example, one of the RFEs states: Provide your complete employment history (including start and end dates) and proof of employment for your initial grant of Optional Practical Training (OPT). Evidence of employment may include but is not limited to: Letters for employer(s) establishing jot title(s), duties, location, pay rate, and number of hours worked per week. Copies of your earning statements/pay stubs. Copies of your W-2s. If you worked for an employment agency or consultancy, you must provide      evidence of the jobs you worked on and dates worked. Additionally, if you…

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AzTech, Integra Technologies, Wireclass and Aandwill Update

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Thank you for your phone calls. After speaking with so many of you, it has become obvious that those who were associated with AzTech, Integra Technologies, Wireclass and Aandwill did so with legitimate intentions and the goal of full compliance with the OPT requirements.  While the common thread binding most of you is a visa revocation, there are several categories of individuals who have been impacted, including: 1)      those in the US who are beneficiaries of a pending H-1B petition and USCIS has issued a Request for Evidence (“RFE”) or Notice of Intent to Deny (“NOID”) related to their prior OPT experience and/or visa revocation; 2)      those in the US who are applying for STEM OPT extensions and USCIS has issued a RFE or NOID related to their prior OPT experience and/or visa revocation; 3)      those who attempted to enter the US with a visa and Customs and Border Protection…

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COVID-19, Extensions of Status, and Section 222(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act

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With the raging of the pandemic, cancelled flights, and travel restrictions, thousands of visitors have been stranded in the United States.  While some legal relief has been provided for delayed departures for those who entered without visas under the Visa Waiver Program, very little has been discussed about those who entered the US with visas and have been unable to leave within the allotted time frame. As a reminder, holders of B-1 and B-2 visas are usually granted 6 months of authorized stay when they arrive in the US.  If a person overstays this authorized time frame, the visa becomes void under Section 222(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. What this means is that even if the visa itself has validity time remaining, it nevertheless becomes null and cannot be used. For example, if in June 2019 a B visa was issued for 10 years through June 2029, and…

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Visa Revocations and OPT

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The consequences of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigation of the US companies Findream, Sinocontech, AzTech, Integra Technologies, Wireclass, and Aandwill are now becoming evident. Thousands of students and young professionals, primarily Chinese and Indian, have had their visas revoked because of their past association with these companies.  Worse, it appears that the US Government has presumed that these individuals were aware of the fraudulent nature of the offers of training to comply with the Optional Practical Training program requirements and is entering decisions to permanently bar them from the United States under Section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (“6C”). For many of these individuals, it does not have to be this way. A US government official can only make this determination based on an individualized review. Everyone’s circumstances were different. What was his or her specific intent at the time of accepting the training offer? Was…

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A Visa Applicant’s Bill of Rights – What the Department of State and Your Local US Embassy/Consulate Often Do Not Want You to Know

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For visa applicants, the cards seem to be stacked against you.  Among the hurdles a visa applicant must face: The law places the burden on the visa applicant to prove eligibility for the visa and that he or she is not inadmissible to the United States. There are inadequate consular resources; at busy posts, consular officers can only allot a few minutes to a visa adjudication. There is no formal administrative appeals process of a visa denial (no Administrative Appeals Office, Board of Immigration Appeals, Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals). With limited exception, there is no judicial review of visa decisions because of the  doctrine of consular reviewability. There is limited public accountability: no Department of State (DOS) Visa Ombudsman, no formal Complaint Procedure, and no formal recusal process. Section 428 of the Homeland Security Act grants the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) a vital role in the visa…

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Trump Executive Order Bans Most Immigration for 60 Days

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Regardless of country, President Trump has banned immigration of those outside the United States as of midnight on April 23, 2020.  This means that a) those seeking admission to the US as immigrants, b) are located outside the US and c) do not yet have an immigrant visa or a travel document valid beyond April 23, 2020 are banned entry to the United States for 60 days.  There are certain classes of individuals that this ban does not apply to, i.e., they are exempted: 1) those who are green card holders (lawful permanent residents); 2) those applying for adjustment of status within the United States; 3) EB-5 immigrant investors and their dependents; 4) certain medical professionals; 5) spouses and children under 21 of US citizens; and 6) other narrow categories (e.g., those entering for law enforcement or national security purposes; certain relatives of US Armed Forces members; certain Iraqi and…

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The Last Chance Provided by Humanitarian Parole

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Today we are publishing an updated article on Humanitarian Parole on this site.  Many people are under the mis-impression that humanitarian parole only applies to medical emergencies. In fact, there are numerous situations that an application for humanitarian parole may be appropriate. For example, sometimes there are imperfections in US law which do not provide a legal solution for a situation which cries out for one.   Trying to fit a “square peg in a round hole” just will not work.  Well, sometimes, humanitarian parole can be the “round peg” that fits. For example, minor children who remain stuck in the home country after parents successfully adjusted status in the United States under the Diversity Lottery program. The law requires that the child receive a Diversity Visa by September 30. If he does not, then his parent would have to file an I-130 family immigration petition for him, which could take…

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212(a)(7)(A)(i)(I) – What To Do If You Are Turned Around at the Airport and Sent Home

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Today we are publishing an article on the site about Section 212(a)(7)(A)(i)(I) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This is the decision of a Customs and Border Protection official at airports and other ports of entry not to allow an individual into the United States because he/she does not have the proper visa.  For visa holders, the CBP inspector revokes the visa with the inscription “22 CFR 41.122(e)(3)”. While CBP does not provide a breakdown on the number of times it actually invokes this Section, it is clear that this number has escalated substantially under the Trump Administration.  In 2017, the number of inadmissibility findings by CBP totaled 216,470.  In 2019, that number increased to 288,523, a 33% jump.  This number only relates to those who tried to enter the US legally – as a Visa Waiver Program participant or visa holder.  When invoking 212(a)(7)(A)(i)(I), CBP sends these individuals back…

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16 Reasons a Consul Finds Your K-1 Case Suspicious

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Today we are publishing a new article about K-1 visas.  In the article we discuss the 16 primary reasons a consul finds a K-1 case suspicious. The article also highlights the 4 steps the American citizen and fiancée can take to prevent denials. Finally, the article discusses in detail how to deal with a 221(g) refusal, an accusation of a sham relationship, and what to do if the petition is sent back to USCIS. The most important takeaway from the article: just because there is a real, sincere relationship does not mean that the K-1 visa will be issued. A lack of evidence, a weak interview, or a skeptical consul who believes he knows the fiancee’s “true intentions” better than the US petitioner can sabotage a K-1 case.  Contact us to discuss your case.

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