5 Years? 10? 20? How Far Back Will a Consular Officer Look for a Misrepresentation or Alien Smuggling?

Posted on 

People thought that with the passing of the Trump Administration, Department of State visa policies would become more tempered and that enforcement would moderate from the Trump-era extremes.  People, unfortunately, could not have been more wrong. Statutes of limitations exist for good reason: due process, basic fairness, evidence that becomes stale over the years, the disappearance or death of witnesses, fading memories, and to prevent inconsistent decisions.  But as discussed in a previous blog, there is no statute of limitations in visa law. And so consular officers are free to go back and review previous visa applications and time spent in the United States to determine whether a misrepresentation (Section 212(a)(6)(C)(i))  had been made at the time of the visa application or at the time of entry to the United States, or whether the individual had engaged in alien smuggling (Section 212(a)(6)(E)).  Critically, this holds true whether a consular officer…

Read more

AZTech, Integra Technologies, AndWill, and Wireclass Update VI: Operation Bad Apple.

Posted on 

We have been able to review some of the government documents relating to the DHS investigation of these companies. Needless to say, the documents are eye-opening.  The government investigation into the OPT scandal is entitled Operation Bad Apple. But unfortunately, DHS considers not only the people behind AZTech, Integra, Wireclass and AndWill as the “bad apples,” but the F-1 students who were associated with them as well. Lest there be any doubt, the DHS documentation makes clear: these OPT sponsors were “shell companies”. These companies produced “fraudulent employment letters for F-1 students on OPT, STEM OPT, and CPT.” They used “virtual offices” and are not “legitimately operating businesses.”  In retrospect, we all know that. But the broad brush which DHS paints the students – as knowing participants in fraud – is alarming. There does not appear to be any gray area. Per DHS, the students did not work for these…

Read more

AZTech, Integra Technologies, Andwill, and Wireclass Update V: Disconcerting Dysfunction – 4 Government Agencies Each Going Own Way Provide Lack of Closure to Victims

Posted on 

After the ICE press conference in October, it appeared that the US Government was winding down its investigation of AZTech, Integra, Andwill and Wireclass.  It appeared that those associated with The Four companies would be getting resolution one way or another. That conclusion, it turns out, was premature. As you know, there are four US government agencies primarily involved in the administration and enforcement of US immigration laws. They are Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and the Department of State through its local embassies and consulates.  ICE are the immigration police; it also is responsible for the administration of the SEVIS and OPT programs.  CBP includes the airport and port-of-entry inspectors who verify the admissibility of individuals to the United States. USCIS adjudicates immigration benefits, including H-1B petitions, I-765 employment authorization applications, changes/extensions of status, and green card applications….

Read more

AZTech, Integra Technologies, Wireclass and Andwill Update

Posted on 

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 Andwill 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…

Read more

Visa Revocations and OPT

Posted on 

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…

Read more

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

Posted on 

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…

Read more

The Value of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Posted on 

One critical tool in challenging errant visa decisions of consular officers is through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  While the FOIA process with the Department of State is extremely limited in visa cases, sometimes consular officers rely on inaccurate information contained in US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) files or improperly make visa decisions based on materials contained in those files. In such cases, FOIA requests can be extremely helpful. Lawyers can assist in three aspects of Freedom of Information Act requests: 1) properly formulating and lodging requests; 2) filing lawsuits when FOIA processing is delayed; and 3) assisting in appeals of government responses to FOIA requests.  The proper formulation of a request can mean the difference between a process that can take 3 months or 12 or more…

Read more

Before Seeing Hollywood, You Gotta Get Through Customs and Border Patrol: A Tour of LAX Airport

Posted on 

On Tuesday I had the honor of taking a behind-the-scenes tour of the international terminal of the airport in Los Angeles.  While it was not quite as interesting as some of Los Angeles’ other attractions – Venice Beach or Zuma, anyone? – for an immigration lawyer, there was much to see and learn. What many people forget is that possession of a visa does not guarantee entry to the US.  It is the inspector at the port-of-entry to the US who decides – allow the person to enter or not.  For example, a dependent child who receives an immigrant visa and marries before entering the US is no longer considered a dependent and thus not eligible to enter as an immigrant on that visa.  A more typical example is when an individual possesses the wrong type of visa – a student in possession of a tourist visa or a tourist…

Read more