October 10 – Ebola, Visa Lottery and Immigration Reform Debate

Registration for Diversity Visa Lottery Now Open

Registration for the 2015 diversity visa lottery is now open through Nov. 3, 2014. For fiscal year 2016, 50,000 diversity visas will be available. These visas are randomly given to applicants who meet eligibility requirements and who come from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the U.S.

Newly Vigilant U.S. Will Screen Fliers for Ebola

The New York Times reports that federal health officials will start to require temperature checks for the first time at five major American airports for people arriving from the three West African countries hit hardest by the deadly Ebola virus to help calm the worried public.

Obama Hints at Raising H-1B Visa Cap

Recently President Obama stated that it was political “suicide” for the GOP not to pass immigration reform, reports The Hill. Speaking at a town hall meeting in L.A., Obama also hinted that he may use executive action to expand the H-1B visa program.

Increase in USCIS Requests for Further Evidence (RFEs)

As reported by clients, it appears that USCIS continues to issue an increased number of Requests for Further Evidence (RFE) for nearly all visa categories, including O-1, H-1B, L-1, and even change of status applications from B-2 visitor to F-1 student. USCIS has not issued any formal announcement regarding the increase in question

Judge Allows Southampton Sexual Harassment Suit to Go Forward

U.S. District Judge Margo K. Brodie is allowing a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of immigrant women claiming they were subjected to sexual harassment and a hostile work environment while working at a Southampton laundry company to proceed.

Ex-State Assemblywoman, Sentenced to Prison After Using Sham Marriage to Illegally Get Citizenship

Former Manhattan state Assemblywoman Gabriela Rosa was sentenced to a year and day in prison on October 3rd after claiming that a sham marriage to obtain a green card and bankruptcy fraud should be excused on the basis of being an immigrant trying to purse the American dream and seeking a better life for her mentally ill son. Rosa is now a naturalized citizen from the Dominican Republic and was elected in 2012 to represent Washington Heights and Inwood. Prosecutors contend that Rosa paid $8,000 for a sham marriage to obtain a green card because her husband was actually convicted of narcotics trafficking and they later hid assets to escape $30,000 in credit card debt. She also used her phony citizenship to run for public office. Prosecutors agreed not to seek deportation.

A Smuggled Girl’s Odyssey of False Promises and Fear

As reported by the New York Times, Cecilia, a 16 year old now living in Miami, is one of more than 50,000 unaccompanied minors who have come to the United States illegally from Central America in less than a year. Cecilia agreed to pay $7,000 in order to be smuggled into the United States from Guatemala but before being let go, her smugglers held her for ransom at gunpoint and forced her to pay an addition $1,000. The Obama administration says it is determined to “confront the smugglers of these unaccompanied children,” and the “cartels who tax or exploit them in their passage.” The human export industry is now worth billions of dollars and is employing opportunists who trap, rape and rob the people who are being imported from the point of departure to the end. Thousands of migrants are believed to be kidnapped and abused every year while going through Mexico.