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Zhang v. USCIS Signals a Victory for EB-5 Immigrant Investors Looking for More Options to Fund Their Investments as USCIS Approves Petition at Heart of the Case Yet Questions Remain

By Taher Kameli and Chathan Vemuri   On October 27 of 2020, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals invalidated a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denial of an EB-5 immigrant investor’s petition under its Loan Proceeds Policy.[1] The DC Circuit invalidated the Loan Proceeds Policy, under which cash from loans were treated as indebtedness and had to be collateralized by the investor’s assets.[2] This policy, which was adopted in 2015, differed from its older policy where the USCIS only looked at “whether capital resulting from secured loans was secured by the assets of the investor (indebtedness),” and that

Biden Raises the Refugee Cap to 62,500 in Response to Pressure, Signaling a Dramatic Improvement in the United States’ Refugee Policy

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By Taher Kameli and Chathan Vemuri   The Biden administration challenged a core controversial feature of the Trump administration’s immigration policy this Monday when President Biden announced that it was abandoning the noticeably low Trump refugee cap.[1] Instead, President Biden has announced that the refugee cap would be raised to 62,500 people for this fiscal year.[2] This was done in response to pressure challenging the President for initially sticking by the Trump-era policy.[3] President Biden also announced that he would set a goal of 125,000 refugee admissions for the next fiscal year.[4] He justified

The USCIS Rescinds Stringent Professional and Educational Requirements for H-1B Petition Adjudications in Response to Ninth Circuit Challenge

USCIS Rescinds Stringent Requirements for H-1B Petition

Written by Taher Kameli & Chathan Vemuri On February 3, 2021, in what is sure to be welcome news for H-1B applicants, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services rescinded the 2017 Policy Memorandum PM–602-0142 that it previously issued under the Trump administration.[1] Under the 2017 Policy Memorandum, the USCIS discarded the US Department of Labor’s (DOL) classification of occupations covered by the H-1B program, specifically rejecting the DOL’s requirement that positions within that particular classification of H-1B occupations required only bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field for entry.[2]   The USCIS also disagreed with

DHS Changes the H-1B Visa Cap Selection Process

DHS Changes the H-1B Visa Cap Selection Process

Written by Taher Kameli & Chathan Vemuri In one of the final acts of the Trump Administration’s hardline anti-immigration policies prior to his departure on January 20, 2021, the Trump-led Department of Homeland Security issued a final rule that upends the traditional selection system for the H-1B visa in favor of highly paid workers, at the expense of those who make less.[1] Every fiscal year, the numerical limit on the number of foreign workers authorized for H-1B visa status is capped at 65,000 initial visas, with an additional 20,000 H-1B visas for workers

USCIS Adds a List of Factors That May Be Relevant in Considering Adjusting an Applicant’s Status

Status Application Adjustments Guidelines Updated by USCIS

Written by Taher Kameli & Chathan Vemuri On November 17, 2020, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) updated their guidelines in their Policy Manual regarding what type of discretion the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should use in adjudicating status application adjustments.[1] Typically, in order to get approval for adjustment of his/her/their immigration status, the applicant must show their eligibility and prove that an exercise of discretion in favor of his/her/their application is warranted.[2]   Whether discretion is positive or negative depends on how the USCIS balances and weighs the

Top U.S. Asylum Official Reassigned As Part Of Trump Administration’s Anti-Asylum Policies

U.S. Asylum Official Reassigned As Part Of Trump Policies

Written by: Taher Kameli, Esq. Asylum has been a basic feature of the U.S. immigration system for immigrants seeking humanitarian refuge in the United States.  Asylum has been under attack by the Trump administration, including President Trump’s comment in a speech that “[t]he asylum program is a scam”.   As further evidence of this attack on asylum, the top U.S. asylum official has been reassigned as part of the Trump administration’s anti-asylum policies. According to an email sent to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) staff on September 4, John Lafferty, who had been

Trump Administration’s Plan to Close USCIS Overseas Offices Will Create More Backlogs

Trump Plan to Close USCIS Overseas Offices Causes Backlogs

Written by: Taher Kameli, Esq.  If you live in a foreign country and have had an issue under the US immigration laws, have you ever used the services of a local office of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in your foreign country?  This local USCIS office may have helped you with a family visa request, an international adoption, a refugee application, or some other matter. Unfortunately, this convenient and accessible support in your foreign country will no longer be available to you under a recent plan announced by the Trump administration. Last

U.S. Government Shutdown: Touching the Lives of Hundreds of Thousands of Federal employees

U.S. Government Shutdown: Touching the Lives of employees

Written by: Taher Kameli, Esq. Three weeks have passed since the federal government shuttered, leaving almost 800,000 federal employees frustrated. Marked as the longest government shutdown in the U.S. history, it has been driven by the disagreement between Donald Trump and the Congressional democrats over the construction of a wall along the Mexico-U.S. border. With Donald Trump persistently refusing to sign a spending bill without the requested $5.7 billion for the border wall, it is hard to predict how long the government shutdown will last. The shutdown has resulted in the closure of some departments including

5 Benefits of a US Citizenship

5 Benefits of a US Citizenship & rewarding opportunities.

Written by: Taher Kameli, Esq. The United States of America is a powerhouse of opportunities, both personal and professional, and is one of the most coveted countries for expats. People from all over the world move to the U.S. looking for rewarding professional growth opportunities. The stunning physical features, highly developed infrastructure, and welcoming people are reasons enough for people to seek green card and settle down there. If you are considering getting U.S. citizenship, be prepared to get a whole new set of privileges, rights, and benefits. But here are a few obvious ones you are likely to