Category: News

NORCOR, last jail in Oregon to house immigration detainees, officially ends ICE Contract

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By: Rachel Horner A unanimous agreement was made by the board who oversees Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facility in The Dalles to forbid NORCOR from housing immigration detainees, which had been the lone jail left in Oregon permitted to do so. While the board has not yet commented on their exact reasoning behind the sudden end to the contact, which was announced August 20, they did mention in a statement that there was a decrease in detainees -- which had lead to a decrease in revenue for the jail. NORCOR’s contract with ICE was found to be controversial by many. For one, it is situated in Oregon, a “sanctuary state.” The law which marked Oregon as such was enacted in 1987, and ...

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Are USCIS Furloughs Still Coming?  What Happens Now to H-1B and Other Processing Times? A chat with Lynn O’Brien

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As hurricane season heats up, many in the business immigration world are beginning to wonder if USCIS will be able to weather its own stormy outlook. Furloughs and higher fees almost certainly seem to be on the agenda, with the service’s for-profit structure leaving it unequipped to handle the visa freeze instituted by President Trump’s June executive order (likely causing a reduction in petitions filed for employees outside the US who require visas to enter). Petitioning organizations seeking H-1B and L-1 visas, which have formed the backbone of the business immigration world for several years now, are faced with doubts as to the predictability in processing of these categories in the short term. Many businesses do not know ...

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Indian national arrested in $21 million H-1B visa scandal. How did it go unnoticed?

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By: Rebecca Anderson An Indian National was caught in a $21 million scam and arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit visa fraud. Well, that escalated quickly. Arrested last week, 48-year-old Ashish Sawhney allegedly used four separate companies in Virginia to submit illegal visa applications, federal prosecutors said. The incident was first reported in the Times of India publication. According to prosecutors, Sawhney was charged with two counts of conspiracy, three counts of inducing an alien to come to and reside in the U.S. for commercial advantage or private financial gain, and one count of attempted naturalization fraud—the illegal admittance of a foreigner to the citizenship of a country. Sawhney allegedly gained gross profits of approximately $21 million over the span of five years from 2011 to 2016. So, how did it go unnoticed all this time? Court documents claim that statements ...

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What You Need to Know About the Hike in H-1B Visa Costs

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By: Rachel Horner The Actual Numbers Starting in October, the basic H-1B Visa fee will increase from $460 to $550 -- a 21% increase.  The H-1B visa is one of many visa categories that will see a change in price. The proposal put forth in November of 2019 states that there will be different fees for form I-129, depending on which visa category is used. The proposal will also directly affect “50/50” employers (employers who have 50% of their workforce on the H-1B or L -1 Visa.) For these employers, the extension fee will double in price -- specifically $4,000 for an extension of an H-1B visa (previously $2,000), or $4,500 (previously $2,250) for an L visa. Why the Increase? After a back-and-forth with the ...

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International students hit hard by the pandemic

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How Columbia, Harvard are trying to keep their students in the U.S. this fall with classes operating solely online. By: Rebecca Anderson The coronavirus pandemic is truly a global crisis, especially for international students trying to remain in the U.S. this fall. Confirmed in early July, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said its granting of visa flexibility to students outside the country applies to only those who were actively enrolled in American schools on March 9 of this year. "Nonimmigrant students in new or initial status after March 9 will not be able to enter the U.S. to enroll in a U.S. school as a nonimmigrant student for the fall term to pursue a full course of study that is 100 percent online," the agency said in a statement ...

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Former U.S. President George W. Bush is releasing 43 portraits of immigrants and it’s nothing short of beautiful

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By: Rebecca Anderson With the looming uncertainty of what seems to be a never-ending global pandemic, furloughs across national companies—including within the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services—the increase of filing fees for foreign nationals and threats of potential deportation for students studying solely online in the fall, the complexities of working in immigration relations can seem a bit, well, concerning. But even in the darkest times, there is light. And that light comes in the form of previous U.S. President George W. Bush and his prolific output of amateur oil paintings. Forty-three individual portraits highlighting different foreign nationals will be presented in an upcoming book titled Out of Many, One. The artwork will be published in March of next year in conjunction with an exhibition on the importance of American immigration. In a statement given to CNN, Bush emphasizes how immigration policies should unify the country and remain a non-partisan issue. "While I recognize that immigration ...

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A Look at the Latest Exemptions to Trump’s Travel Ban

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By: Rachel Horner Proclamation 10052, also known as the H-1B or L-1 Travel Ban, was enacted in August as a response to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the Trump Administration has relaxed restrictions and created several exemptions. Want to know who’s exempt? Read below. Those Applying for the Same Position with the Same Company H-1B and L-1 visas can now be issued for employees who are “seeking to resume ongoing employment in the United States in the same position with the same employer and visa classification.” Healthcare Workers Those who are working within the healthcare sector, especially on the frontlines for the battle against COVID, and other deadly diseases, like cancer, are exempt from the travel ban. H1B Visa Criteria Broadly speaking, the present criteria for H1B visas ...

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A Close Look at the Looming USCIS Furloughs and What’s Being Done to Prevent It

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By: Rachel Horner A new emergency bill was created and passed over the weekend in an attempt to halt the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) furloughs set to happen August 30 (originally August 3). Of the nearly 20,000 employees, 13,400 are to be possibly furloughed at the end of the month. What brought all of this on? Like the U.S. Post Office, USCIS is not funded by taxes. Its funding is generated through the fees it charges to applicants seeking U.S. citizenship or Visas to visit the country. A decrease in number of petitions points to one of the main reasons behind the proposed furloughs. As the Trump Administration enacted more restrictive policies, such as ending Temporary Protected Status for ...

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