Archive for May, 2011

Documents That Shows Extraordinary Ability (EB1/O-visa)

May 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Whether applying for EB1 green card or O-visas, one of the question I am often asked is what documents shows “extraordinary ability.” Below is a list of documents I often suggest clients to look for and consider when judging whether they qualify for visas that requires “extraordinary ability.”

1. Internationally acclaimed award/prizes

2. Membership in prestigious associations

3. Publications in major journal or well recognized mass media

4. Publications about you or your work in major journal or mass media

5. Participation as judge in your field of work

6. Leading role in distinguished organization

7. Commercial success

8. High salary compared to other

9. Reference letter from well recognized clients, colleagues, or business partners

10. Display/Performance of work in prominent space


Arizona Law Upheld By Supreme Court

May 27, 2011 Leave a comment

The Supreme Court upheld Arizona’s “business death penalty” law in a 5-3 decision on May 26th 2011. The Legal Arizona Workers Act of 2007 is controversial because of a a provision that threatens companies that repeatedly hires illegal aliens with revocation of their corporate charters. It also contains a provision which requires employers to check E-Verify system before hiring new workers.

The significance of this ruling is not only that the Legal Arizona Workers Act of 2007 is constitutional because it is not preempted by federal immigration law. This ruling emphasized that state has the power to use its licensing law to punish EMPLOYERS for hiring illegal immigrants.

This ruling is not directly related to the even more controversial Arizona law involving police power to enforce immigration law against illegal immigrants. The police enforcement law is put on hold by the U.S. 9th Circuit of Appeals.

Diversity Immigration Visa Lottery: Friday the 13th Computer Glitch

May 17, 2011 Leave a comment

On May 13th, 2011 (Friday the 13th), the US Department of State announced that due to computer glitch the result of this years lottery is invalid and voided. The department will select a new group of lottery winner and announce the results by mid-July. About 22,000 applicants were erroneously informed that they were picked in the lottery before the results of this year’s lottery was voided. The lottery is the first step to immigrating to the US without employee or family sponsorship. Lottery winners would go through a series of medical examination and interviews, afterwhich approximately 50% will be granted an immigration visa.

Civil Penalties for Hiring Illegal Immigrant

May 12, 2011 1 comment

Due to President Obama’s recent speech, there are a lot of attention on immigration issues. One of the main issue of interest is the policy on hiring immigrants. The other posts on this blog have some information on how to apply, who can apply, and how long it takes to apply for different work visa. This post will be dedicated to discussing the penalties of hiring ILLEGAL immigrants.

Illegal immigrants are loosely defined as immigrants who does not have the authorization to work in the US. This can be individuals who illegally entered the US or individuals entered the US with a visa that does not allow them to work. The punishment for knowingly hiring an illegal immigrant is set out by Sec. 274A(e)(4)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA):

(i) not less than $250 and not more than $2,000 for each unauthorized alien with respect to whom a violation of either such subsection occurred,

(ii) not less than $2,000 and not more than $5,000 for each such alien in the case of a person or entity previously subject to one order under this paragraph, or

(iii) not less than $3,000 and not more than $10,000 for each such alien in the case of a person or entity previously subject to more than one order under this paragraph; and
There may also be more charges based on Sec. 274A(e)(5):
With respect to a violation of subsection (a)(1)(B), the order under this subsection shall require the person or entity to pay a civil penalty in an amount of not less than $100 and not more than $1,000 for each individual with respect to whom such violation occurred. In determining the amount of the penalty, due consideration shall be given to the size of the business of the employer being charged, the good faith of the employer, the seriousness of the violation, whether or not the individual was an unauthorized alien, and the history of previous violations.
In addition, any company or individual who is found to have violated the law by knowingly hiring an illegal immigrant will face higher level of scrutiny when sponsoring future employee for visa or green card. All together, for first time violators, the fee and penalty is not overly severe (especially compared to the amount in fees to legally hire an alien); however, if after one does not change one’s practice after found to have violated the law, the penalties increase drastically and the Attorney General may proceed with a criminal complaint if Attorney General found that there is a pattern of violation.

The Case of Jessica Cototl

May 4, 2011 Leave a comment

Jessica Cototl, a student at Kennesaw State University, was in danger of being removed from US a week from her graduation. Ms. Cototl was born in Mexico and entered the US illegally when she was 11. In March 2010, she was stopped by police for traffic violation and could not produce US diver license. Soon after, she was arrested and turned over to immigration officials. According to, in May of 2011,  ICE (immigration and custom enforcement) has allowed her to stay in US until her graduation. However, even with this decision, Ms. Cototl will have to leave US when her one year extension is up.

The purpose of the DREAM ACT was to create a new pathway for citizenship for children who were illegally entered into the US before the age 0f 16. The blocking of the act in Senate in Dec. 2010 denied immigrants such as Jessica Cototl a pathway to become US citizen and stay in the US.   The proposed act was:

Six-year conditional status will be granted to immigrants who (1) entered the US illegally as  children under the age of 16, (2) have lived in US for at least five years, (3) obtained a high school or General Education Development diploma and (4) demonstrated “good moral character.
To apply for permanent residency (green card), the immigrant would need either: (1) attend  college or (2) serve in the military for at least two years and pass criminal background checks.

“Stapling a green card to a diploma would be a very smart thing to do”

May 3, 2011 Leave a comment

Mayor Bloomberg, mayor of NYC, recently made the comment, “Stapling a green card to a diploma would be a very smart thing to do”. He also said that immigrants contribute about $200 billion to New York City’s economy each year and that immigrants comprise more than 30 percent of the city’s professional and managerial work force.

Recognizing the impact immigrants have on US economy is nothing new. This fact is argued by the American Immigration Council (“AIC”) and American Immigration Lawyer Association (“AILA”) in their support of Mr. Badrawi in April 2011.  However, more support is needed for real immigration reform (such as DREAM Act  which was blocked in Dec. 2010) to be passed.

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