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Sarasota Immigrants Can Find Professional Legal Advocate with Greg Band

Posted: August 7th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

About Greg Band

Greg Band is a Sarasota native.  He obtained his undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania where he was a Varsity letterman in Tennis.  His Juris Doctor is from the University of Florida Law School where he served on the law review – a distinguishing honor for law students.  After UF, he obtained a Masters in Tax Law from New York University School of Law.  His practice areas include estate planning, probate, asset protection, charitable giving, taxation, and business law.

Estate Planning and Probate

Estate Planning for Immigrants

Sarasota immigrants often present unique and complicated estate planning issues.  With many professionals and business owners coming from overseas and retaining their overseas assets.  It takes a highly capable and dedicated attorney to know how to find the right individual solutions.

Mr. Band understands the unique situations of immigrants when it comes to estate planning.  His experience includes work with high net worth individuals with multinational assets.  Band Law Group has a sophisticated and creative trusts and estates practice with decades of experience in helping clients transfer wealth in a tax efficient manner.  Their attorneys assist individuals with traditional estate planning documents such as wills, revocable trusts, residence trusts and insurance trusts.  They also regularly structure and implement more complex techniques including:

  • Charitable planning; 
  • Estate freezing strategies such as installment sales to grantor trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs) and self-canceling installment notes;
  • Generation-skipping transfer tax planning;
  • Planning for business succession;
  • Valuation techniques designed to produce lower tax values upon transfer through the use of family limited partnerships or limited liability companies. 

Individual & Corporate Taxation

Tax Law for Immigrants

The complex and far-reaching US Tax Code can be daunting for anyone, especially immigrants.  The IRS taxes US residents and citizens on worldwide income and can tax non-resident aliens on income gained in the US.  It takes a highly specialized and experienced attorney to navigate the law.

Greg Band’s firm has extensive experience in handling a broad range of tax matters for businesses, executives and owners of businesses, including the following:

  • Structuring tax-free reorganizations, including tax-free spinoff transactions.
  • Structuring the purchase and sale of businesses and the financing of business transactions for regular corporations, subchapter S corporations, and venture capital funds.
  • Structuring real estate and real estate financing transactions with partnerships and limited liability companies, including real estate syndications and like-kind exchange transactions.
  • Planning estate and business succession, including advice to owners of businesses about strategies for transferring the ownership of their business to family members and/or successor management so as to minimize income, gift and estate taxes.

Elder Law

Elder Law for Immigrants

Many immigrants come to Sarasota in their golden years, attracted by the ideal climate and abundant sunshine.  Immigrants’ latter years also present many unique legal challenges made more complicated by their far-flung assets and competing national laws.

Greg Band’s elder law practice focuses on the diverse and unique needs of senior citizens.  They work with clients to help them address current issues and anticipate evolving needs as they grow older:

  • Guardianship and Conservatorship
  • Retirement, Survivor and Pension Benefits
  • Incapacitation and Disability
  • Livings Wills 
  • Social Security Disability Claims and Appeals

Contact Information

To assist in these and other areas of legal expertise, Sarasota immigrants can contact Mr. Band and his associates via:

  • Phone: 941-917-0505
  • Email: gband@bandlawgroup.com

 


AILA: Renewal Process for DACA Opens; Get Started As Soon as You Can!

Posted: August 6th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Deferred Action | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Visit our website, DeferredActionFlorida.com for more information on DACA and fill out our form to apply.

Cite as “AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 14060545 (posted Jun. 5, 2014)” 

2014.0806.DACA Renewed

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) commends U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for releasing details of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewal process so that applicants can begin their renewal process in a timely manner.

“It is great to see USCIS continue this important initiative,” said T. Douglas Stump, President of AILA. He continued, “These two-year grants of deferred action have already made a tremendous impact on the lives of so many young people and on the communities in which they live, study, and work. It is vital that those granted deferred action not let those important grants lapse.”

The temporary grant of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is given in increments of two years and offers the chance for work authorization, in most cases a driver’s license, and in some areas, in-state tuition for public colleges and universities. Renewal applicants will need to submit Form I-821D “Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” Form I-765 “Application for Employment Authorization,” and the I-765 Worksheet. The $465 fee for filing and biometrics will need to be paid; USCIS will conduct a new background check for those renewing DACA.

“My message to DACA recipients is to start work on it now, so that you are ready to file when you come within about 120 days of the expiration of your current grant period,” Mr. Stump warned. He added, “Processing could take months and you do not want to lose your work authorization because you didn’t get your forms in on time. For anyone who has a question, has had a change in their circumstances since receiving DACA, or is still deciding whether to apply, I encourage you to seek the advice of qualified counsel. Sometimes an immigration attorney will find that you are eligible for another, more permanent type of relief or may help you discover that a change in circumstances changes your eligibility or your risks. Getting help is a good idea for anyone with questions to avoid submitting erroneous information to USCIS and clouding your future.”


Update from AILA CFC: Immigration Lawyers Advocate for Unaccompanied Children, End Unlawful “Detainers”

Posted: August 6th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Deferred Action, Jaensch Immigration Law Firm | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

AILA CFC Advocates for Unaccompanied Children at Border

Country conditions in Central American countries such as El Salvador and Honduras have resulted in over 50,000 unaccompanied minor children making treacherous journeys to seek safety in the U.S. since October 2013. Some may be able to stay in the U.S. if they can demonstrate that their lives will be jeopardized if they returned to their country of origin. The Obama administration has started to speed up the process of scheduling immigration hearings on these children. AILA National, AILA Central Florida and legal aid organizations in Central Florida are working together to ensure that children in this region at least have basic legal representation.

The Obama Administration is considering administrative fixes due to Congressional inaction on immigration reform. These include potential remedies for undocumented parents of U.S. citizens here, and revising the way available green card numbers are counted so as to reduce waiting times in employment and family-based categories. An announcement could come as early as this month. AILA has been on the front line of presenting potential administrative fixes to the administration.

 AILA CFC Works to End Unlawful “Detainers”

Detainers are the so-called “immigration holds” that local police engage in on behalf of ICE. When someone suspected by law enforcement to be undocumented is detained by local police such as for a traffic stop, Sheriff’s offices are permitted to hold that individual for 48 hours while ICE determined their immigration status or whether to pursue removal proceedings against them.

Often Sheriff’s offices hold people for much longer than 48 hours. Some of these individuals are U.S. citizens or green card holders.  Immigration violations are a civil matter, not a criminal matter, and these individuals should not be held indefinitely without probable cause that they have committed a crime. Counties incur substantial costs and liability in breaking the law on behalf of ICE.  

Due to efforts by the ACLU, The Miami Law School Immigration Law Clinic, AILA Central Florida, and AILA South Florida, and other organizations, Sheriff’s offices throughout the state are ceasing these detainers unless there is probable cause to detain.


LED USA Provides Energy Savings to Businesses Nationwide

Posted: July 14th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Founded by a Florida immigrant, LED USA is a new Florida enterprise that provides commercial lighting solutions with the goal of reducing costs and environmental impacts for your building.  ImmigrationSarasota.com recently spoke with Ric Robideau of LED USA to learn more.

Discover LED USA on Facebook

Discover LED USA on Facebook. Click on the image.

The company was formed in April 2014 by Giovanni Giannini, an architect from South Africa.  Ric, an electrical engineer who’s worked on projects for Tervis Tumblr and other major corporations in Florida, is the projects manager.

Ric and Giovanni noticed a problem.  Commercial building owners were wasting money on outdated and inefficient lighting (lighting costs can reach up to 70% of a building’s electric bill).  Moreover, owners were going to have to switch their lighting eventually as the government is actually phasing out incandescent and fluorescent lights.  But there were few providers with the expertise and business savvy to properly help them.  They decided to become the solution.

For their first project, they took on the landmark Palm Towers in downtown Sarasota.  Palm Towers was using a combination of fluorescent and incandescent lighting.  With a free energy audit, LED USA found that the building could save $.9 per lightbulb.  In addition, LED USA found they could introduce smart technology to further lower energy costs.  They estimated the retrofit would cost $60,000 but the savings would begin immediately; $39,000 in savings per year to be exact.  In only 2.1 years the savings would pay for the initial investment.  What’s more, LED lights have a warranty of 10 years so the savings would continue.  By the end of 10 years the building should save a net of about $312,000 on its energy bills.

LED USA has also performed an energy audit on a nearby restaurant.  The bill for that retrofit would come to $3,000 but the savings would start at $4,300 per year; producing an even quicker return than the Palm Towers.

Today, LED USA is quoting companies on projects of up to $250,000.

LED USA rests on the quality of its products.  They offer GE or Cree LED lights, which meet the highest underwriting standards.  There’s no compromise on the amount of light.  In fact, some would argue that switching to LEDs improves the light quantity and quality in a building, as these before and after photos show.  

LED USA Saves Businesses Money on Energy Costs

LED USA Saves Businesses Money on Energy Costs

LED USA is also a LEED qualified lighting provider, the most widely-recognized environmental vetting a company can achieve.

Financing is available for projects up to $3 million.  Even with financing charges, companies still see positive cashflow after their building starts saving energy.

For more information feel free to contact Ric (ric_ledusa@verizon.net) or Giovanni (LEDGiovanni@verizon.net).


Immigrant Students Can Find Enhanced Resources at DHS Website

Posted: July 7th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Employer & Student Visas | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Reposted from DHS bulletin.

Photo by Charles Reed

Numbers and origin of international students in US from January-April 2014.  Image by Charles Reed

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launched an enhanced Study in the States website Monday with four new features.  The features enable the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), housed within U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), to convey pertinent information to stakeholders about the international student process in a clear and interactive manner.

The new features include: 

  • An interactive glossary
  • An “Ask a Question” section
  • An enhanced School Search page
  • A mobile-ready version of Study in the States

“Being an international student is a complex process that involves several government agencies, and the new Study in the States tools will help students and schools easily find the latest news, information, interactive guides and videos they need,” said SEVP Director Lou Farrell.

The revamped site also features streamlined navigation and a blog geared to international students and school officials. Users can translate the site into multiple languages.  

The Study in the States website serves as an information hub for the international student community.  It brings together the various federal agencies that play a role in implementing our student visa and exchange visitor programs, including ICE, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Study in the States was launched by former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in 2011, as part of a larger DHS initiative to enhance economic, scientific and technological competitiveness by finding new ways to encourage the most talented international students to study and learn about expanded post-graduate opportunities in the United States.  This initiative includes a focus on streamlining the student visa process, enhancing coordination among government agencies and keeping international students better informed about student visa rules and regulations.  

SEVP monitors approximately one million international students pursuing academic or vocational studies (F and M visa holders) in the United States and their dependents. It also certifies schools and programs that enroll these students.  The U.S. Department of State monitors exchange visitors (J visa holders) and their dependents, and oversees exchange visitor programs.

Both use the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) to protect national security by ensuring that students, visitors and schools comply with U.S. laws.  SEVP also collects and shares SEVIS information with government partners, including CBP and USCIS, so only legitimate international students and exchange visitors gain entry into the United States.

HSI reviews potential SEVIS records for potential violations and refers cases with potential national security or public safety concerns to its field offices for further investigation. Additionally, SEVP’s Analysis and Operations Center reviews student and school records for administrative compliance with federal regulations related to studying in the United States.


NEW Florida Business Opportunity on Anna Maria Island

Posted: June 24th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Investor Visas, Jaensch Immigration Law Firm | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Today we learned about a new business opportunity for Florida immigrants who are searching for good investments that can help them qualify for an E-2 or EB-5 visa.  It comes in the form of a 3,088 sq-ft restaurant on a barrier island near Sarasota with a cozy 3-bedroom apartment above – makes for an easy commute.

2014.0624.Restaurant

STOCK image of restaurant interior. Contact the broker for real photos.

The details:

  • 3,088 SF restaurant with full bar (4-COP) located in Holmes beach, with gulf views.
  • Additional 1,400 SF 3BD apartment above.
  • Sale price: $475,000.
  • Rent would be $5,000 per mo. (including the apt. above) plus Tenant pays
  • Property taxes, insurance & Maint. (about $13,000 yr)
  • The restaurant did about $500k for 2013 (open only for dinner 7 nights)
  • Cash flow: $183,000.
  • If you deduct the expense of rent and NNN charges ($73,000) the net to a new operator would be about $110k.
  • Real estate is also for sale for $1.3M

Interested parties should contact Mr. John Caragiulo, an experienced business broker, at jcaragiulo@hembreeco.com.

As always, the attorneys at Jaensch Immigration Law Firm stand ready to advise you on making any investment with the goal of securing a temporary E-2 or immigrant EB-5 visa.


Sarasota Attorney Victoria Karins Elected Chair of AILA

Posted: June 18th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Jaensch Immigration Law Firm, Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

Victoria Karins Re-Assumes Role as Leader of Central Florida Immigration Attorneys

Sarasota Immigration Attorney Victoria Jaensch Karins

Sarasota Immigration Attorney Victoria Jaensch Karins

Sarasota, FL 6/16/2014: Sarasota attorney Victoria Jaensch Karins was re-elected Chair of the Central Florida Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association in June.  She assumes this leadership role amid an era of change in immigration law.

The announcement of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals has been followed by the stall of immigration reform in the House.  During this time, the Obama Administration has made additional changes at the Federal level to immigration procedure that build on Deferred Action.

Changes have also occurred at the state level.  Bills that allow undocumented childhood arrivals to qualify for in-state tuition and to practice law in Florida are among a few of the latest developments.

Ms. Karins brings continuity and experience to her role as Chair.  This is the second year in a row she’s been elected to the leadership and she has practiced immigration law for almost 20 years.

She has been taking an active part in her role; traveling to DC twice to speak before lawmakers and blogging for the AILA website.

“I’m honored to have been elected to the leadership by such dedicated and hard-working peers,” Ms. Karins said.  “It’s very interesting to be so involved at this time of transformation,” she continued.


Events and Opportunities for Germans in Florida Including Possibility of Working at German Parliament

Posted: June 7th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Sarasota Immigrants | No Comments »

2014.0607.German Consulate

German immigrants in Florida might be interested in the events and opportunities shared with us by the German consulate.  We’ve copied the description of an internship opportunity at the German consulate below.

Please take a look at the full Event Newsletter from June 6, 2014 here.

Would you like to work at the German Parliament?

The German Bundestag invites you, in cooperation with the Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität Berlin, and Technische Universität Berlin, to apply for an International Parliamentary Scholarship (IPS) to spend five months in Berlin. The IPS program is aimed at highly qualified young men and women who will return home after the program with the determination to play an active and responsible role in shaping their countries’ democratic future. The German Bundestag, the German Parliament, offers young people the opportunity to get to know the German parliamentary system and political decision-making processes and to gain practical experience of parliamentary work during a 15-week work placement with a Member of the Bundestag. The scholarship-winners are chosen by the German Bundestag’s independent selection panel. The program takes place from March 1 to July 31, 2015. The selection interviews are held in the United States.

Requirements:

-US citizenship

-University degree

-Very good knowledge of German

-Knowledge of German politics, society and history

-Under the age of 30 at the start of the scholarship

Scholarship:

-Free accommodation

-Insurance and travel expenses

Deadline for applications: June 30, 2014.

Additional information is available online at:

http://www.bundestag.de/bundestag/europa_internationales/internat_austausch/ips/


90-year-old Sarasota Immigrant Becomes Citizen

Posted: May 21st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Jaensch Immigration Law Firm, Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Congratulations to Don Fisher for recently completing the naturalization process and becoming a U.S. citizen at the age of 90.  Don first moved to the U.S. in 1984 and had E-2 Treaty Investor visa status from 1987 to 2010.  After six consecutive E-2 visas Don married a U.S. citizen and became a permanent resident in 2010.  

At age 90, Don is believed to be the oldest client in the 30 year history of Jaensch Immigration Law Firm to become a U.S. citizen.  We took a picture of Don in the office with his Naturalization Certificate.

Don says the following about the process, “it was a challenge, but we did enjoy the chase.” 

Congratulations again to Don Fisher!

-P. Christopher Jaensch


Q&A for Diversity Visa Applicants Attempting to Log into Entrant Status Check Website

Posted: May 12th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: National News, Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

This post is related to our earlier post about the issues the Kentucky Consular Center has been having with the Entrant Status Check website.  The technical problem with the Entrant Status Check system has led to many questions.  We contacted the Kentucky Consular Center for answers and are posting them below.

How will I know if I have been selected?

  • The only proof that you have been selected to process further in the DV-2015 program is a notice with your name on it that states you have been selected.  When you log into the Entrant Status Check (ESC) on the dvlottery.state.govwebsite you will see one of two responses:
  • If you see a message that says you were selected, and it includes your name, you have been selected to process further in the DV-2015 lottery.  Please review the website at www.dvselectee.state.gov for full instructions on how to proceed.
  • If you see a message that says you were not selected, you have not been selected to process further in the DV-2015 lottery.  You may enter again next year.  This message will not include your name.

When I logged in, I got a message saying I was not selected, but there was no name on the screen. What does that mean?

  • That means you were not selected.  If you were not selected for further processing, you will receive a standard message that applies to anyone who was not selected.  It will not have your name on it.

 I saw a selection notice, but it had someone else’s name on it. What do I do? 

  • If you log into the ESC now and see a notice that says you were selected, but it is addressed to another person, this does not mean that you have been selected. You should contact KCC at KCCDV@state.gov for further information.  Include your name and confirmation number, and tell KCC at what time you tried to log in to the ESC.  (If this happened to you on May 1, there is no need to tell KCC. If it happens to you now, please let us know.)

Will these results change?  Should I check back again later to see if I was selected in the future?

  • These results are final.  We do not anticipate that there will be any additional names selected for DV-2015. 

 I am having problems logging in, or I am confused by my results.  Can KCC tell me if I was selected?

  • KCC cannot tell you if you have been selected for further processing.  The ESC is the only means by which you may check your status.

If you are unable to log into the ESC, please check to be sure you are entering your confirmation number correctly.  Some letters and numbers look similar to one another.  If the ESC web page is experiencing a high volume of requests, it may work very slowly and some connections may time out.  If this happens to you, please try again later. 

If you have lost your confirmation number, please try to retrieve it using the “forgot confirmation number” link on the ESC website.  If you cannot retrieve your confirmation number by providing the information required, there is no way for you to check your status.

If you have read all of this information and still have questions, please contact KCC at KCCDV@state.gov.  Include your full name and, if you know it, your DV case number.


Talented German Artist Shares Her Work With Jaensch Immigration Law Firm

Posted: May 8th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Athlete & Artist Visas, Jaensch Immigration Law Firm | Tags: , | No Comments »

EBBA Kaynak, accomplished German sculpture artist, has been creating art based on the theme of “in-between” for years.  When our firm helped one of her friends she heard about us and decided to get in touch.

Here below is a short description of her story with images of her work interspersed.  Anyone interested can visit her website to learn more.


My life surely has quite a lot do do with the big question, where do I belong to… where is my “Heimat”?

My grandfather was a Sudet German lawyer in Reichenberg, the German part of former Chechoslovakia. After World War II all Germans were thrown out of that country, and my family moved to the soft hilly southwest of Germany. Although the landsape was similar to their beloved former home, the mentality of the Svabians was strange for them. My father, coming from Alsace, the German region of France met my mother in the Black Forest. Their love didn’t last long, so I grew up with my “Sudet German” family.

Cheurbin Chrysolith

Growing up I always felt different from the others. In school I studied languages and mastered English, French and Latin. I went on to study Art in the Academy in Stuttgart, and learned Greek as well.  During my summers at the academy I would go to Greece. That’s where I came to feel most “at home.”

At the end of my studies I met a Turkish man in Istanbul.  We married, I learned the Turkish language, and we built a house in western Turkey. Changing my culture was not complicated for me, even though I was completely veiled. I loved my big Turkish family and raised my children there. Unfortunately, it all came to a bitter end.

Coming back to Germany was the beginning of feeling home there for the first time of my life. I bought a house, took care of my mother and children, rented a room in an old factory for atelier and began to work as an artist.

My connection to dance is very important to me. I discovered Salsa when I was 26 on a trip in South America. I got connected with the Salsa movement in Germany and I am still practicing. Most of the movement in my sculptures gets its origin in that rythm and motion.

Dancer

I started my career as a sculpturor with a chainsaw and natural wood. My firth themes were either spirals or archaic round erotic female objects: Venus and AN-NA.

ANNA

Later on I began to pose my AN-NAs between two shelves, creating the effect out of a single piece of wood.  It was an expression of my situation of being “in between.” Soon I understood this new form as being the synonym for my own life in between all places and cultures. The situation of being “in between” became itself a sculptural body. The fictional walls at the left and at the right became arms and legs of a new art creature. This form changed over time from very abstract to more realistic.

In Between

In my hometown I’m now one of the best known artists.  I make a living from selling my sculptures and pictures. The last four years I created a new form: the Cherubins on wheels, so described by Ezechiel in the old testament of the Bible. As he describes these angels as having wheels like “chrysolith,” I started making very small silver figures with wheels of chrysolith.

Ebba Kaynak

EBBA Kaynak, Schorndorf / Germany 2014


What’s Happening to Florida?

Posted: May 8th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Immigration Reform, Jaensch Immigration Law Firm | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Attorney Victoria Karins was asked to write a guest blog post on the AILA Blog.  We reposted the article below.

Author:  on 05/08/2014

shutterstock_33919990Last week, the Florida legislature passed two bills that are heading to Governor Rick Scott, who has stated that he will sign them. One grants in-state tuition to undocumented “Dreamers.” Another will allow Jose Godinez-Samperio, a DACA recipient and law school graduate, the ability to be a licensed attorney in the State. Jose was in Tallahassee in the gallery on the day the Florida House passed the bill. He was given a standing ovation.

I am still shaking my head. What happened to Florida? Gov. Scott ran on a platform in 2010 that called for Arizona-type laws to be enacted. Four years later, he is supporting significant pro-immigration legislation. I thought we could easily count on current Florida leadership to remain oppositional to any pro-immigration issue that was not forced upon them.

It would be easy to be cynical and chalk it up to politics. It is an election year, after all, and perhaps some politicians are finally realizing it is not a bad idea to try to garner favor in the immigrant community.

Certainly I believe that is a big part of it. But, I also think that we may be witnessing a change in attitude across the board.

After the vote last Friday, I was contacted by a local newspaper columnist who had written earlier in the week in support of the Jose Godinez-Samperio bill. He had received responses from readers asking questions such as “Why didn’t he apply for citizenship?” “Why does he need a special law, couldn’t he have started the citizenship process during law school?” “Didn’t he want to become a citizen?”

He contacted me to make sure he was not missing anything – that there had been no change to federal immigration law recently of which he was not aware. I assured him that no, there had been no recent change.

The columnist, Tom Lyons, from the Sarasota Herald Tribune, then wrote a follow-up column clarifying that Jose did not have the option of obtaining citizenship and said of the questioners:

the more I thought about those people who wanted to know why that would-be lawyer hadn’t applied for citizenship, the more I thought kindly of them. Though they apparently missed a key point in the nation’s immigration debate, I think their question was based on a nice assumption. They assumed that U.S. law couldn’t be as rigid and mean as it actually is.

This illustrates what I believe is also happening in Florida; people are becoming more educated about the issues. And as they get more educated, they may be becoming more compassionate…and passionate to do the right thing.

I only hope that the individuals in office at the national level take a look at what is happening in Florida since I hear Florida might just be a tad bit important when it comes to presidential elections.  I hope they realize that the House really needs to follow Florida’s lead and move forward on immigration reform.

By Victoria Jaensch Karins, Chair, AILA Central Florida Chapter


75% of International Students Come from Asia

Posted: May 7th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Employer & Student Visas | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Reposted from USCIS Press Release

Summary: International student enrollment up 2 percent at US schools, 75 percent of students from Asia

Photo by Charles Reed

Photo by Charles Reed

WASHINGTON – The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), released “SEVIS by the Numbers,” a quarterly report of international students studying in the United States, Wednesday. The report is based on data from the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), a Web-based system that includes information on international students, exchange visitors and their dependents while they are in the United States.

As of April 1, almost 1.02 million international students were enrolled in nearly 9,000 U.S. schools using an F (academic) or M (vocational) visa. This marks a two percent increase from January. Seventy-five percent of all international students were from Asia, with 29 percent from China. Saudi Arabia and India had the greatest percentage increase of students studying in the United States at 10 and eight percent, respectively, when compared to January statistics. The top 10 countries of citizenship for international students included: China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Mexico and Brazil.

The April report also included key insight into which international students pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) coursework. Sixty-seven percent of international students studying STEM fields were male. Forty-three percent of all international STEM students studied engineering. Seventy-eight percent of international students from India studied STEM fields, while only eight percent of international students from Japan studied STEM fields.

Other key points from the report include: 77 percent of SEVP-certified schools had between zero and 50 international students; 72 percent of international students were enrolled in bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral programs; and California, New York and Florida had the most SEVP-certified schools. A school must be SEVP-certified before it can enroll international students.

The full report can be viewed here. Report data was extracted from SEVIS April 1. It provides a point in time snapshot of data related to international students studying in the United States. Data for the previous “SEVIS by the Numbers” was extracted from SEVIS Jan. 15.

SEVP monitors approximately one million international students pursuing academic or vocational studies (F and M visa holders) in the United States and their dependents. It also certifies schools and programs that enroll these students. The U.S. Department of State monitors exchange visitors (J visa holders) and their dependents, and oversees exchange visitor programs.

Photo by Charles Reed

Photo by Charles Reed

Both agencies use SEVIS to protect national security by ensuring that students, visitors and schools comply with U.S. laws. SEVP also collects and shares SEVIS information with government partners, including CBP and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, so only legitimate international students and exchange visitors gain entry into the United States.

HSI reviews potential SEVIS records for potential violations and refers cases with potential national security or public safety concerns to its field offices for further investigation. Additionally, SEVP’s Analysis and Operations Center reviews student and school records for administrative compliance with federal regulations related to studying in the United States.

Learn more about SEVP at www.ICE.gov/SEVP.


Repost: Historic Vote in Florida House Clears Way for Noncitizen to Practice Law

Posted: May 6th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Deferred Action, Immigration Reform | Tags: , , | No Comments »

 Reposted from Tampa Bay Times.

Samperio

Samperio

TALLAHASSEE — In a historic vote with strong political overtones, the Florida House joined the Senate on Thursday in backing a Pinellas County immigrant’s bid to practice law even though he’s not a U.S. citizen.

A beaming Jose Godinez-Samperio, 27, of Largo offered a grateful thumbs-up from the House gallery as members gave him a resounding ovation following a 79-37 vote that Speaker Will Weatherford called “an act of justice.” The Florida State University law school graduate has tried without success for 2½ years to gain admission to the Florida Bar and fulfill his dream of becoming an immigration lawyer.

The Florida Supreme Court ruled unanimously in March that it could not help Godinez-Samperio because federal law prevents giving taxpayer-funded public benefits to undocumented immigrants. Justices urged the Legislature to intervene and exempt Florida from that law, which led to Thursday’s vote.

The House amended the bill, though, adding that for a noncitizen to get a Florida law license, he must register for the military draft, which Godinez-Samperio has done. The Senate is expected to agree today, the last day of the session, which would send the bill (HB 755) to Gov. Rick Scott, who said Thursday he will sign it.

“I couldn’t believe how much support there was in the Legislature,” said Godinez-Samperio, a paralegal at Gulf Coast Legal Services. “I feel great that we have been able to educate a lot of people who felt differently.”

He has spent weeks meeting with individual lawmakers and his legal team has emphasized that Godinez-Samperio has met all of the Bar’s admission requirements, including a background check for character and fitness. Another key argument they made is that for other state-regulated occupations, citizenship is not a requirement to obtain a professional license.

As a so-called “Dreamer,” Godinez-Samperio is in the United States legally, but not permanently. He has work authorization, a Social Security card and a Florida driver’s license.

Thursday’s vote, combined with lawmakers’ support for cheaper in-state college tuition for undocumented immigrant students, are two watershed policy changes affecting undocumented immigrants that would have been unthinkable a year ago in Tallahassee.

“This is truly transformative,” said Patsy Palmer, one of Godinez-Samperio’s lawyers.

It also reflects a dramatic election-year shift in the Republican Legislature at a time when Scott appears to face an uphill battle winning re-election in a state where Hispanics are the fastest-growing minority.

Born in Mexico, Godinez-Samperio came to the United States with his parents at age 9, and never left because they overstayed their tourist visas. He learned English, became an Eagle Scout, was valedictorian of his senior class at Armwood High in Seffner and an honors student at FSU’s law school.

The opposition in the House was strongest among a group of conservative Republicans, some of whom described Godinez-Samperio as “illegal,” a term senators avoided. But Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, a lawyer and Iraq war veteran, championed the legal scholar’s cause and said that he was ready to defend his adopted country was “very compelling.”

Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Trinity, criticized Godinez-Samperio’s lobbying. “He knew the rules of the game before he started playing and we shouldn’t change the rules at the end of the game,” said Corcoran, who will become House speaker in 2016. “He won, and he shouldn’t have.”

How Tampa Bay members voted

Votes Thursday on HB 755, which includes a provision that will allow a noncitizen to be admitted to the Florida Bar.

Yes: Janet Cruz, D-Tampa; Mark Danish, D-Tampa; Dwight Dudley, D-St. Petersburg; James Grant, R-Tampa; Ed Hooper, R-Clearwater; Amanda Murphy, D-New Port Richey; Kathleen Peters, R-South Pasadena; Dan Raulerson, R-Plant City; Betty Reed, D-Tampa; Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg; Rob Schenck, R-Spring Hill; Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel; Dana Young, R-Tampa; and Carl Zimmermann, D-Palm Harbor.

No: Larry Ahern, R-Seminole; Richard Corcoran, R-Trinity; Jimmie Smith, R-Inverness; and Ross Spano, R-Dover.

Not voting: Jake Raburn, R-Lithia.

 


IMPORTANT: Re Diversity Visa

Posted: May 6th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: National News | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

To All Diversity Visa entrants who attempted to log into the Entrant Status Check (ESC) website on May 1, 2014.

For a brief period on May 1, the ESC website experienced a technical problem. As a result, some people who logged into the site to check the status of their applications were shown the wrong information. If you logged into the ESC website on May 1 and saw a notice of selection that did not include your name, or if you saw a notice that you were not selected, you must re-check your status to find out whether or not you were selected.

You must see a notice that is addressed to you by name as proof of selection to process further in the DV-2015 program. We regret any confusion this technical problem may have caused.

Please note that the Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) will not send you unsolicited e-mail that includes your confirmation number or that asks you to provide any personal information. You must log into the ESC website to check your status. If you have further questions about the ESC website or the content of this e-mail, you may contact KCC by e-mail at KCCDV@state.gov. The KCC telephone number is 606-526-7500 (7:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. EST).