AZTech, Integra Technologies, Andwill, and Wireclass 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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AZTech, Integra Technologies, Andwill, and Wireclass 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, Andwill, Wireclass, 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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FAQ on New Birth Tourism Rules

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The Trump Administration announced new rules regarding birth tourism, which took effect on January 24, 2020.  Already, misinformation has cropped up. So to provide some clarity, the below FAQ is provided: Whom do the new rules affect? They only affect applicants for B visitor visas; they do not impact current holders of visas nor citizens of  Visa Waiver Program countries who can enter the US without a visa. May current holders of visas and those who hold passports from Visa Waiver Program countries enter the United States to give birth? The Department of Homeland Security, which include Customs and Border Protection inspectors at ports-of-entry, has not announced any new policies or reinterpretations of allowing entry for those who enter to give birth.  In the past inspectors permitted women to enter the US to give birth as long as they could show the ability to cover the cost of birth.  However,…

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The Value of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

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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…

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Top 12 Reasons for Visa Revocation

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Over the past couple of years, we have seen a dramatic surge in the number of visa revocations. Every day our office is contacted by individuals who have had the misfortune of having their visas revoked, so we thought this would be a good opportunity to catalog the most prolific reasons for visa revocations. This blog is not about the Trump Travel Ban and the more than 100,000 visas revoked under it.  It also is not about the revocation of visas at US airports upon arrival, nor consular recommendations to revoke USCIS approvals of employment petitions.  Rather, it is about the tens of thousands of visa revocations initiated by the Department of State and consular officers around the world every year.  This article will list the 12 most “popular” reasons for visa revocations. These visa revocations are triggered by new material information which crops up after the original issuance, calling…

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Myth #4 – Having a real relationship with a US citizen means you will get a fiancée or spousal immigrant visa

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From India to Saudi Arabia to Armenia to the Philippines to Vietnam, the US Government is cracking down on bogus relationships – and real ones too. The events in San Bernardino a couple of years ago – when a woman who came to the US on a fiancée visa and her US citizen husband killed 14 people – triggered a government crackdown and more rigorous scrutiny of fiancée and spousal visas.  Unfortunately, we are seeing how many legitimate visa applicants are being victimized – and ending up in Visa Hell as a result. Consular officers have a difficult job – trying to distinguish between a real relationship and a sham one. The visa applicant is asked a lot of questions at the interview about the US citizen petitioner, his family, employment, and meetings. Where does he live? Where do his parents live? How many people attended your wedding? When was…

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US Visa Revocation Campaign Intensifies

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The phone calls keep coming in to our office. From Australia, South Africa, India, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Russia, Lebanon, all from US visa holders who have had their visas revoked without explanation.   It appears that the US government has intensified its visa revocation campaign, particularly against Muslims. The problems encountered by Muslims in dealing with US immigration authorities was the topic of a recently published ACLU  report about the discriminatory USCIS Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program (“CARRP”). The report highlights how USCIS misidentifies national security concerns; encourages FBI interference and harassment; mandates pretextual denials; and deprives due process of green-card holding applicants, primarily Muslim, during the naturalization process.  These thousands are left in legal limbo for years. If there is one glimmer of hope, it is that these applicants at least are able to wage their battles while in the US, where lawyers, courts, and public opinion can at…

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US Embassy in Moscow – Part IV: Referral of Approved Work Petitions Back to USCIS or “How to Avoid the Black Hole”

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Individuals seeking to receive a visa to work in the United States go through a two-step process: 1) the US company employer files a petition with the USCIS, and 2) after approval, applies for a visa at the consulate abroad.  The consular officer must issue the visa to the visa applicant unless 1) he is not admissible (problem of a criminal, medical, etc… nature); 2) there was fraud or material misrepresentations in the process; or 3) the officer discovers new, material, adverse information at the time of the visa application.  Referrals back to USCIS are supposed to be rare; consular officers are prohibited from substituting their judgment for the judgment of the USCIS because USCIS is the lead agency in approving employment petitions.  The consequences of referral back to USCIS: a 6-12 month black hole in which the petition awaits re-adjudication by USCIS and the visa applicant is not permitted…

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