ALO Location Update

Agarwal Law Offices is excited to announce that we will be expanding our practice to the Western Massachusetts area, particularly Framingham, Worcester, Westborough, Milford, Bellingham, Ashland, Shrewsbury and Marlborough.  Our Andover office will remain for our clientele in the North Shore and Lawrence-Metro area.  We are excited to serve this growing and diverse population.  We hope to post office locations in the coming weeks.  We look forward to meeting with you soon!

Vote on November 8!

With the conclusion of the Presidential debates, the race for the White House is nearing a close.  Now, it is up to us to make a decision on which candidate is most fit to serve as the next Commander in Chief of the United States of America.

ALO urges all U.S. citizens, who meet their state’s residency requirements, are 18 years or older before Election Day, and are registered to vote by your state’s voter registration deadline to exercise their right to vote on Tuesday, November 8, 2016.

As President Obama recently urged: “There’s no such thing as a vote that doesn’t matter. It all matters…Go vote!”

For more information on the process, please visit the following:

Updated Passport Requirements

Per the U.S. Department of State, beginning November 1st, 2016, customers applying for their U.S. passport or U.S visa or renewing their U.S. passport must remove glasses for their photo.

Last year, more than 200,000 U.S. passport customers submitted poor quality photos which couldn’t be accepted due to issues with glasses. Many U.S. visa applications have been delayed due to the same problem. If you must wear eye glasses for medical reasons, you’ll need to obtain and submit a signed statement with your U.S. passport or U.S. visa application from a medical professional or health practitioner.

For more information on photos, check out passport photo requirements here or contact ALO at 978-905-9992.

Deferred Enforced Departure Extended for Liberians

President Obama has announced an extension of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for certain Liberian nationals through March 31, 2018. USCIS will automatically extend employment authorization documents for Liberian nationals covered by this extension of DED. Current DED-based EADs that have an expiration date of Sept. 30, 2016, will now be valid through March 31, 2017. The six-month automatic extension of existing EADs will allow eligible Liberian nationals to continue working while they file their applications for new EADs.

Certain individuals are not eligible for DED, including:

Liberians who did not have Temporary Protected Status (TPS) on Sept. 30, 2007, and are therefore not covered under current DED;
Certain criminals;
People subject to the mandatory bars to TPS; and
Those whose removal is in the interest of the United States.

For more information, contact ALO at 978-905-9992.

1st Presidential Debate Lacking Immigration Talk

Yesterday’s 1st Presidential Debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump touched on many issues ranging from job creation, the economy, trade, gun violence, racial tensions, and national security. Interestingly, while the topic of securing America was addressed, immigration was not. Moderator Lester Holt failed to ask any questions regarding Trump’s plan to build a wall along the Mexican border, deporting the 11 million undocumented individuals in the U.S., or his proposals to keep Muslims from immigrating to the U.S. Similarly, Clinton was not asked any questions about her plan to allow a pathway for citizenship for millions of the undocumented population.

Polls have consistently shown that immigration is one of the most popular and pressing issues of the election season. Further, it helped catapult Trump’s popularity during the Republic primaries. Interestedly, the issue was missing during the 1st Presidential Debate.

Couple Pleads Guilty to $20M Visa Fraud

Per The United States Department of Justice:

“ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Raju Kosuri, 44, and Smriti Jharia, 45, a married couple from Ashburn, pleaded guilty today to charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States and visa fraud, among other charges.

Kosuri and Jharia were indicted on April 27. According to the statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Kosuri, Jharia, and their co-conspirators fraudulently applied for more than 900 illegal immigration benefits under the H-1B visa program. Since 2008, and at much greater scale since 2011, Kosuri has built a staffing business that amounts to a visa-for-sale system, in violation of federal law. Kosuri and Jharia also admitted to defrauding the Small Business Administration in connection with a scheme to obtain HUBZone certification for a business named EcomNets Federal Solutions. Kosuri agreed to forfeit proceeds of his fraud schemes in the amount of $20,900,000.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Clark E. Settles, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington; Bill A. Miller, Director of Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), U.S. Department of State; and Robin Blake, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Office of Inspector General; and Kimberly Zanotti, Washington Field Office Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), made the announcement after the pleas were accepted by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul K. Nitze and Angela Fiorentino-Rios are prosecuting the case.”

CBP Global Entry for Colombian Nationals

Per U.S. Customs & Border Protection:

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced today the expansion of Global Entry to citizens of Colombia. Global Entry, a CBP Trusted Traveler Program, allows for expedited clearance of pre-approved, low-risk travelers.  Colombian citizens can begin applying for Global Entry through the Global Online Enrollment System (GOES) website. Colombia becomes the first country in South America and the eighth country overall whose citizens will be eligible to enroll in Global Entry.

U.S. citizens, U.S nationals and U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents may apply for Global Entry as well as citizens of certain countries with which CBP has trusted traveler arrangements, including Mexico, the Netherlands, Panama, the Republic of Korea, Germany, Singapore, the United Kingdom and now Colombia. Canadian citizens and residents enrolled in NEXUS may also use the Global Entry kiosks.

The non-refundable application fee for a five-year Global Entry membership is $100 and applications must be submitted online. Once the application is approved, a CBP officer will conduct a scheduled interview with the applicant and then make a final eligibility determination.”

Visa Bulletin October 2016

The Department of State published its Visa Bulletin for October 2016. The Visa Bulletin is a monthly report on visa availability. USCIS has determined that for the month of October 2016, applicants for all family-sponsored and employment-based preferences may use the Dates for Filing Visa Applications chart.

Congress annually sets the numbers of immigrant visas that may be issued for the family-sponsored and employment-based immigrant preference categories. If you are a prospective immigrant in any of these categories, the Visa Bulletin shows when a visa is available to you based on your priority date.

For the bulletin, refer here.

Immigration Bloggers Wanted

Agarwal Law Offices is currently seeking enthusiastic, diligent, and informed college and grad students to assist us with blogging and following current immigration events. The position would be assignment based on a weekly basis and start time would be immediately. Great for full-time students looking for a little extra work. Pay is negotiable.

Caribbean Immigrants in the U.S.

The Migration Policy Institute has released a report outlining Caribbean Immigrants in the U.S:

“In 2014, approximately 4 million immigrants from the Caribbean resided in the United States, accounting for 9 percent of the nation’s 42.4 million immigrants. More than 90 percent of Caribbean immigrants came from five countries: Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Haiti, and Trinidad and Tobago (see Table 1). Immigrants from the Caribbean vary in their skill levels, racial composition, language background, as well as migration pathways to the United States, depending on origin country and period of arrival…On average, most Caribbean immigrants obtain lawful permanent residence in the United States (also known as receiving a green card) through three main channels: They qualify as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, through family-sponsored preferences, or as refugees and asylees. Compared to the total foreign-born population, Caribbean immigrants are less likely to be Limited English Proficient (LEP), but have lower educational attainment, lower median incomes, and higher poverty rates.” Migration Policy Institute.

To view the entire report, click here.
By Jie Zong and Jeanne Batalova