BANISHING THE BEST & THE BRIGHTEST: One Would-Be H-1B Nonimmigrant’s Tale Of How The Bureaucracy & America’s New Anti-Immigrant Attitude Sent Her Packing!

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/23/opinion/immigration-visa-h1b-trump-.html

Frida Yu writes in the NY Times:

“Six months ago I won the lottery — the H-1B visa processing lottery for skilled foreign workers. I called my thrilled parents and celebrated with friends. I’m from northeastern China and have an M.B.A. from Stanford, and was planning to stay in Silicon Valley to help start a company based on a promising new technology to improve the use of data. I was overjoyed because, historically, being selected in the lottery was a near guarantee that an applicant could remain in this country at least three more years.

But at the end of July, I received the dreaded Request for Further Evidence from immigration authorities. I provided the extra information that United States Citizenship and Immigration Services asked for. In September, I got another request. I complied again. Finally, on Oct. 11, half a year after my celebration, I learned I had been denied a visa.

After earning law degrees in China and at Oxford, after having worked in Hong Kong as a lawyer at a top international firm, after coming to United States three years ago for an M.B.A. and graduating and joining a start-up, I was given just 60 days to leave the country. I have 17 days left.

In the past, it was fairly safe to assume that once you were selected in the lottery, your H-1B petition would be accepted by immigration officials. In 2016, this happened about 87 percent of the time. But things began to change in April when the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice announced measures to increase scrutiny of the highly skilled applicants who use the H-1B program, and President Trump signed an executive order calling for federal agencies to suggest reforms to the program.

While it’s unclear exactly what percentage of petitions have been approved so far in 2017, requests for evidence like the ones I received have increased by 44 percent compared with last year, according to immigration statistics, strongly suggesting that more people are being denied than before Mr. Trump took office.

Many of my fellow international students are in situations similar to mine. Some had job offers from companies like Google, Apple and PwC when they learned that their applications had been denied or did not even make it into the lottery. For those whose employers have only United States offices, losing the lottery meant losing jobs and going home, with no real way to use the skills they were on the verge of contributing to the American economy.

And some classmates who, like me, were picked in the H-1B lottery last spring are still waiting for an answer. The Trump administration on April 3 announced that it would suspend the “premium processing” service that, for a fee, guaranteed applicants responses to their petitions within 15 days. This has caused problems for students who needed a quick decision because their work authorization expired over the summer or because they wanted to plan overseas trips that they couldn’t make while their status was in limbo. My mom had surgery for cancer in July, but I simply couldn’t go back to China to be with her and risk being denied at the border upon my return because I didn’t have H-1B approval.

My two requests for evidence asked me to prove my job was a “specialty occupation” — that is, work that only someone with a bachelor’s degree or higher can do. My work involves artificial intelligence and big data, and my letters of support came from an authority in my industry and veteran start-up investor, and a Nobel Prize winner. But it wasn’t enough to convince the government that my job requires advanced skills.

While I gave up my law job and used my savings and my parents’ to pay my Stanford graduate school tuition, in the grand scheme of things, I know my situation is much better than that of many immigrants who are forced to leave this country: Just this week, thousands of Haitians in the United States learned that they may have to return to Haiti as a result of the administration’s decision to strip them of the Temporary Protected Status they were granted while their country recovered from disasters.

It’s true that I’m brokenhearted about missing the chance to return to China to care for my mother (she insisted that I stay and pursue the visa that was her dream for me), but I’m not looking for sympathy. As much as I hate to leave, I know I will be fine.

Rather, I’m frustrated, because I know I’m part of a pattern: America is losing many very skilled workers because of its anti-immigrant sentiment, and while this is a disappointing blow to me and my classmates, it will also be a blow to the United States’ competitiveness in the global economy. Tech giants such as Google and Tesla were founded by immigrants.

I can’t make sense of why an administration that claims to want this country to be strong would be so eager to get rid of us. We are losing our dreams, and America is losing the value we bring.

As I make plans to go back to China, I find myself wondering: If I am not qualified to stay in the United States, then who is?

 

 

OUR BETTER ANGELS: The Gibson Report For 09-05-17 & “A Message For Dreamers”

“We are here for you.

We are inspired by you.

We know you belong here.

We share your dream.

We will fight alongside you.”

—- From The Gibson Report

The Gibson Report 09-05-17

Here are this week’s headlines:

Memorandum on Rescission Of Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

 

Effective immediately, the Department:

  • Will adjudicate—on an individual, case-by-case basis—properly filed pending DACA initial requests and associated applications for Employment Authorization Documents that have been accepted by the Department as of the date of this memorandum.
  • Will reject all DACA initial requests and associated applications for Employment Authorization Documents filed after the date of this memorandum.
  • Will adjudicate—on an individual, case by case basis—properly filed pending DACA renewal requests and associated applications for Employment Authorization Documents from current beneficiaries that have been accepted by the Department as of the date of this memorandum, and from current beneficiaries whose benefits will expire between the date of this memorandum and March 5, 2018 that have been accepted by the Department as of October 5, 2017.
  • Will reject all DACA renewal requests and associated applications for Employment Authorization Documents filed outside of the parameters specified above.
  • Will not terminate the grants of previously issued deferred action or revoke Employment Authorization Documents solely based on the directives in this memorandum for the remaining duration of their validity periods.
  • Will not approve any new Form I-131 applications for advance parole under standards associated with the DACA program, although it will generally honor the stated validity period for previously approved applications for advance parole. Notwithstanding the continued validity of advance parole approvals previously granted, CBP will—of course—retain the authority it has always had and exercised in determining the admissibility of any person presenting at the border and the eligibility of such persons for parole. Further, USCIS will—of course—retain the authority to revoke or terminate an advance parole document at any time.
  • Will administratively close all pending Form I-131 applications for advance parole filed under standards associated with the DACA program, and will refund all associated fees.
  • Will continue to exercise its discretionary authority to terminate or deny deferred action at any time when immigration officials determine termination or denial of deferred action is appropriate.

 

Trump administration announces end of immigration protection program for ‘dreamers’

WaPo: “The Trump administration announced Tuesday it would begin to unwind an Obama-era program that allows younger undocumented immigrants to live in the country without fear of deportation, calling the program unconstitutional but offering a partial delay to give Congress a chance to address the issue…The Department of Homeland Security said it would no longer accept new applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which has provided renewable, two-year work permits to nearly 800,000 dreamers. The agency said those currently enrolled in DACA will be able to continue working until their permits expire; those whose permits expire by March 5, 2018, will be permitted to apply for two-year renewals as long as they do so by Oct. 5.”

 

From NYIC:

  • The Mayor will have some type of press conference at 5, after which there will be a rally/civil disobedience starting at City Hall. Text “NYIC” to 864-237 for updates. The NYIC will also email updates and put them on our social media.
  • Immigrant ARC is working with MOIA for a large scale event. More details coming soon.
  • If you are an Immigrant ARC member and develop materials etc. that can be shared, please send them my way and I will upload them into the databank.
  • We will be uploading flyers for events, etc onto the nyic calendar (link on our front page).

 

TOP UPDATES

 

Article: Immigration Agency May Be Expanding Anti-Fraud Program

Posted 8/31/2017

Bloomberg reports that immigration attorneys are seeing what could be an expansion of a USCIS effort to root out fraud in the immigration system. It’s “clear” the agency is looking for fraud across all visa categories, AILA Treasurer Allen Orr said.

AILA Doc. No. 17083138

 

Article: Federal Judge Blocks Texas Ban on Sanctuary Cities in Blow for Trump

Posted 8/31/2017

The Guardian reports that a federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction that blocks key parts of Texas’s ban on sanctuary cities, two days before the law was scheduled to go into effect. AILA moved its 2018 conference out of the Dallas area in protest at SB 4.

AILA Doc. No. 17083140

 

CALLS TO ACTION

 

DACA Rally – The Mayor will have some type of press conference at 5, after which there will be a rally/civil disobedience starting at City Hall. Text “NYIC” to 864-237 for updates.

 

NYIC SIJS Request: As a follow up to ongoing conversations that have come out of our liaison meetings and other conversations with the local USCIS office, they have asked me to put together a list of A numbers of over 18 year old SIJS cases that have been pending with no movement or decision so that they can get more information from the NBC. If you have cases like that could you let me know. I would love to get this to them in mid-September so that they have the information by our next liaison meeting.

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In times like these, all of us on the “right side of history” —  who have reflected on things like the causes of World War I and World War II, the horrors of Communism, Jim Crow Laws, the failure of the American Legal System to stand up to racism during most of the century following the Civil War, and the costs of “science deniers” —  need to stick together and work as a team to resist and ultimately defeat the forces of darkness and evil that have taken over our Government, our country, and are now threatening the future and safety of our world. They can’t be allowed to prevail with their ignorant, yet disturbingly arrogant, messages and actions of hate, disdain, racism, and selfishness.

Time for the “good hombres” to stand up and be counted in opposition to the “bad hombres!”

PWS

09-05-17

 

FLYNN COLEMAN IN GLOBAL CITIZEN: “We Are All Immigrants”

https://community.globalcitizen.org/post/we-are-all-immigrants?utm_source=Iterable&utm_campaign=iterable_campaign_US_Mar_21_2017_citizenship_newsletter_2_actives&utm_medium=email

Coleman writes:

“The immigrants and refugees you see in this country today are the next generations of every single American who is not a Native American. It’s only a temporal difference. Irish, Roman-Catholics, Russians, Poles, Jews, all of the ethnicities of my heritage, have all been discriminated against, turned away, and have made this country a better place. We were all immigrants, refugees, strangers of this land once, until this country said, you are welcome here.

If we truly care about keeping our country safe while protecting the ideals it was founded on, we need to look at what works. Canada has opened its doors to immigrants, and not just on a governmental level. And Canada is seeing more and more people pouring into its borders, including those who have lived in the U.S. for years and are afraid of the new policies. Homeland Security has been told to round up people without papers, and people are panicked and bracing for potential assaults on DACA and Sanctuary Cities as well. Is this our country? People have come together from all walks of life in Canada to sponsor immigrants and refugees. Take a look at how successful that has been, how they speak about people coming to find a safe home in their country, and follow their example. And then read about how we can focus on truly fighting and defeating terrorism in all of its insidious and evil forms.

Then read a story about a Jewish and a Muslim family, who met by happenstance at an airport protest in support of immigrants and refugees. Read about what happened after their children looked at each other as they held signs in support of their neighbors, and then what happened when they shared a meal together.

Once I arrived back home, I walked along the Brooklyn eights Promenade, where the sun was setting behind the Statue of Liberty. I looked out across the water and thought about the millions who passed through Ellis Island to get here, including the very first three, who were children. I thought about those who were accepted, and those who were turned away, and the fact that each one of them has a story and a voice that deserves to be heard.”

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Coleman “is an international human rights attorney, an author, a public speaker, a social entrepreneur and innovator, an educator, and a founder and CEO.” Read her full op-ed at the above link.

PWS

03/21/17