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Accomplished Bradenton Immigrant Builds Team, Tennis Academy

Posted: April 29th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Athlete & Artist Visas, Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

The Sarasota-Bradenton area enjoys a preponderance of very high-quality athletic training facilities.  For this reason many foreign athletes come to this area to train and pursue careers as professional athletes.  Maria Sharapova, Anna Kournikova, Tommy Haas, and Boris Becker are just a few of the names of top-notch immigrant athletes who trained in the Sarasota-Bradenton area.  The presence of so much athletic talent in this area would not be possible without equally talented coaches and trainers to support and mentor it.  Denis Pelegrin is one of those coaches.

Denis Pelegrin

Denis Pelegrin

Denis Pelegrin is a Sarasota-Bradenton immigrant from the Dominican Republic.  He played tennis as a young man and found his true calling as a coach.  He coached for the ITF, becoming internationally known, and in 2004 he was hired by IMG Academy to coach tennis there.  IMG helped him obtain an O-1 visa.  The O-1 visa is for aliens with extraordinary ability and is issued for up to three years.  To qualify, the athlete or trainer must show he or she has received sustained national or international acclaim and recognition for achievement in the sport.  Denis qualified and worked for IMG for 5 years.  In the meantime he obtained his green card and began outsourcing himself, becoming a contractor for IMG.  In 2010 Denis left IMG completely and establish his own academy, ProTennis Academy, in Bradenton.  He reformed his old team of coaches, including his partner, Rodrigo Vallejo.

ProTennis Academy

ProTennis Academy

Today Denis Pelegrin and his fellow coaches offer private and semi-private lessons at an athletic facility he rents on 33rd Avenue Dr W in Bradenton.  Including Denis there are 4 tennis coaches and 1 fitness coach.  The facility includes hard and clay courts, a gym, and an Olympic sized pool.  Denis and his coaches are currently working with up to 20 students.  They concentrate on providing truly personalized training, only allowing two players per coach while other academies often place 4 or 5 students with each coach.

Denis plans on holding more clinics and traveling to coaching seminars in the future.  The clinics would be  3-day quick courses on tennis, personalized to each athlete’s needs.  The author is hoping to participate and report on one in the near future.  Further ahead, Denis is developing plans to buy some land and set up his own, independent, athletic facility.  We wish him all the best!

To contact Denis Pelegrin you can visit his website,, or call (941) 580-7794.

Press Release: In Wake of Boston Bombings Congress Takes a Closer Look at Immigration Reform Bill

Posted: April 25th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: National News, Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Download this press release in English and Spanish.

Sarasota, FL – On April 16 the long-awaited Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill, written by the “Gang of 8″ – Senators Schumer, McCain, Durbin, Graham, Menendez, Bennet, Flake, and Rubio – entered Congress.

The bill makes border security a prerequisite to legalization and reform of the legal immigration system.  It seeks to achieve an Effectiveness Rate (the number of apprehensions and turn backs in a specific sector divided by the total number of illegal entries) of 90%. 

The bill would appropriate $3 billion for border security.  It asks for additional resources such as more border patrol agents, the use of the National Guard, and drones.  It would also appropriate $1.5 billion for additional fencing on the southern border.

The bill lists several border security measures it would enact including the creation of an exit visa system to track visitors who overstay their visas.

In the wake of the Boston bombings it’s likely that the bill will experience a few changes to its security measures.

“We expect to see more security measures added to the bill as it goes through the legislative process in response to the Boston bombings,” says Cesar Gomez of Jaensch Immigration Law Firm. “The revelation that the Boston bombers were foreign will cause many Congressmen to scrutinize the bill more closely but we do not foresee this tragedy completely derailing the possibility of reform.”

Jaensch Immgration Law Firm is working closely with Manatee Community Federal Credit Union to help area residents prepare for the potential changes in the law.  “We will continue to work together for as long as immigration reform stays alive in Congress,” says Sherod Halliburton, EVP of Strategic Initiatives.  “Reform has the potential of helping millions of hard-working folks in this country and, if it passes, we will be ready,” he continued.

The other day Marco Rubio made a statement reinforcing his commitment to immigration reform, using the Boston attacks as further justification of the need for reform, and asking for cooperation in his attempt to improve the immigration system so attacks like that are less likely to happen again.

Sarasota, FL – El 16 de abril, el “Gang of 8”, que incluye a senadores Schumer, McCain, Durbin, Graham, Menendez, Bennet, Flake, y Rubio, entrego su propuesta de reforma migratoria comprensiva.  El proyecto de ley entró en el Senate Judiciary Committee donde empezará el proceso legislativo.

Los senadores proponen que se fortalezca la seguridad en las fronteras antes de que se abra un camino hacía la legalización.  Si entrara en efecto, intentaría lograr una tasa de efectividad (el número de arrestos dividido por el número total de entradas ilegales) del 90%.

El proyecto de ley se utilizaría un presupuesto estimado en los $3 billones de dólares para medidas de seguridad en la frontera.  Para esto el Congreso pedirían recursos adicionales como agentes fronterizos (border patrol agents) adicionales, el uso de la guardia nacional, y drones.

También ampliaría la cerca que ayude a proteger la frontera del sur de los Estados Unidos.  Este proyecto usará un presupuesto estimado en $1.5 billones de dólares.

Medidas adicionales incluirán la creación de un sistema para asegurarse de que ningún extranjero con visado temporal se quede más de lo que su visado permite.

Debido al atentado en Boston, es probable que la reforma migratoria experimente algunos cambios.

“Creemos que veremos algunos cambios y medidas adicionales en cuanto a las propuestas de seguridad en la reforma migratoria,” dice Cesar Gomez de Jaensch Immigration Law Firm.  “La revelación de que los terroristas en Boston eran inmigrantes hará que muchos congresistas estudien la propuesta más cuidadosamente pero no creemos que esto sea negativo para la reforma.”

Jaensch Immigration Law Firm y Manatee Community Federal Credit Union se han asociado para ayudarles a las personas de los condados de Sarasota y Manatee prepararse para cambios potenciales en la ley.  “Vamos a continuar a trabajar juntos mientras este proyecto de ley se quede vivo en el congreso,” dice Sherod Halliburton, EVP de iniciativas estratégicas.  “La reforma tiene la posibilidad de ayudarles a millones de personas muy trabajadoras en este país y, si la aprueban, estaremos listos,” continuó.

De hecho, hace unos días, Marco Rubio salió con un mensaje para la prensa que manifestó su apoyo para la reforma y pidió cooperación con sus intentos de mejorar el sistema migratorio.

From “Credit Union Times”:

Posted: April 18th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Florida Credit Union Reaches Out to Immigrants


April 18, 2013 

As the president and Congress continue to hash out immigration reform, the $25.5 millionManatee Community Federal Credit Union in Bradenton, Fla., is already working on ways members of its community can afford to become citizens.

Manatee has teamed with the Jaensch Immigration Law firm in Sarasota, Fla., to allow immigrants to begin preparing for the costs of reform such as penalties and naturalization fees.

“Manatee was chartered to serve the low wage earning agricultural employees of the Tropicana Company,” said Sherod Halliburton, executive vice president for strategic initiatives at Manatee FCU.

“As a result of the credit union’s long history of successfully meeting the needs of agricultural workers and of underserved Latinos who make their living in theSherod Halliburtonagricultural industry it’s a natural fit. We stand behind the residents of this community,” Halliburton said.

A February 2013 report from the Pew Hispanic Center said there may be as many as 11 million immigrants in the country illegally.  The report also suggests that 20% of the 8.5 million now eligible for citizenship have not sought it because of the high cost.

The Senate is now considering a bill that imposes penalties of up to $2,000 per person over 12 years plus application fees. In addition, immigrants may have to pay back taxes, lawyer fees and other costs to gain a lawful status in the U.S. 

“The members of our community are striving to make a better life for themselves,” Halliburton said. “And we want to help them any way that we can.”

Halliburton said that with proper identification – which can include the Matrícula Consular – the program enables an immigrant or family member to establish credit or improve a credit score to be eligible for future loans. 

Eligible immigrants will be able to open a credit union account and receive a secured loan for $1,000, with the loan proceeds remaining on deposit as the loan recipient pays back the loan and interest.

Immigration Attorney Chris JaenschA payment history is established, and the loan proceeds may be used for immigration-related expenses when paid off.

“The price will be well worth it, since they will be able to live, work and study in the U.S., travel internationally, and get driver’s licenses,” said P. Christopher Jaensch of Jaensch Immigration Law Firm.  “But, it will be a costly process over a 10- to 12-year period. A credit union may be the best partner they have to help them achieve this critical financial goal.”

Bipartisan Framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Response

Posted: April 13th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Jaensch Immigration Law Firm, National News | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Gang of Eight

Gang of Eight

The Gang of 8, made up of Senators Schumer, McCain, Durbin, Graham, Menendez, Rubio, Bennet, and Flake released their framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform in anticipation of the imminent full-text bill which we should see early next week.  The attorneys at Jaensch Immigration Law Firm read it and presented their thoughts below.

The framework rests on four legislative pillars:

  • Creating a “tough but fair” path to citizenship
  • Easing the immigration process for families and workers
  • Creating an effective employment verification system
  • Improving the process for admitting future immigrant workers

In their discussion of a path to citizenship, the Gang of 8 does not have much to say that is new.  They will require those who entered or stayed in the US without permission to register with the government.  Registrants will have to pass a background check and pay a fine and back taxes.  In return they will receive a legal probationary status that will allow them to live and work in the US.  If a registrant has a “serious criminal background,” or poses a threat to national security, they will be subject to deportation.  If they pass the first background check they will proceed to “the back of the line” for a potential green card.  In order to obtain a green card they will have to pass an additional background check, pay taxes, learn English and civics, and demonstrate a work history and current employment, among other requirements.  They will not receive a green card until “every individual who is already waiting in line for a green card…has received their green card.”

What is new is that no one will be able to even get in line for a green card until the border is fully secure.  The framework calls for improved use of technology, more drones, more agents, more fence, the creation of an entry-exit system that will ensure that those who enter the country on temporary visas leave on time, and the creation of a commission of southwest state governors, attorneys general, and community leaders that would determine when security measures are adequate.

Lastly, the framework seems to promise a different path to legal status for those who entered the country as young children, referring to the DREAMers and DACA, and agricultural workers.

From there the framework goes on to discuss improving the legal immigration system.  It mentions the need to reduce backlogs in the visa processing system but no specific measures for how to do so.  It announces that immigrants who get a Master’s or PhD in a science, math, engineering, or technology field will obtain a green card immediately.

The framework discusses employment verification next.  It declares that employment verification should be necessary.  Prospective workers will be required to demonstrate both legal status and identity through electronic means that cannot be forged (easily).  Whether the Gang of 8 intends to expand the currently operating but not mandatory E-Verify system or create an all new employment verification system remains to be seen.

Lastly, the framework touches on what the future immigration system might look like.  It seems to advocate for improving the H1-B work visa process to make it easier for employers to find and hire labor from abroad.  It specifically mentions creating a workable system to meet the agricultural industry’s needs, perhaps hinting at the creation of a new temporary visa for agricultural workers.  It proposes making our immigration system more adaptable.  It proposes permitting, “workers who have succeeded in the workplace and contributed to their communities over many years to earn green cards.”  This could mean creating a path to legal permanent resident status for H1-B holders and, perhaps E-2 visa holders.  We are definitely in favor of that.

Download the FINAL Bipartisan Framework For Immigration Reform.

Press Release: New Legal/Financial Alliance Will Help Sarasota Immigrants Pay for Immigration Reform

Posted: April 11th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Jaensch Immigration Law Firm, Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Download the Jaensch and MCFCU Press Release.

Download the Jaensch and MCFCU Press Release in Spanish.


Sarasota, FL – Preparing for possible immigration reform, Jaensch Immigration Law Firm is building relationships with local financial institutions in order to help area immigrants get access to credit and obtain the funds necessary to pay the associated costs of immigration reform.

We will probably see an immigration reform bill very soon.  The “Gang of 8,” which includes Marco Rubio, is finalizing a bill.  Their plan will most likely include a path to legalization for the 11 million or so undocumented immigrants living in this country.  Applicants will likely have to pay a penalty fee in addition to the normal government fee connected with the application.  The total costs for immigrants and their families are uncertain, but expected to be in the thousands of dollars.  

Jaensch Immigration Law Firm has developed a program with Manatee Community Federal Credit Union that will allow immigrants and their families to begin preparing now for these costs.  In many cases, the immigrant and his or her family may have no credit or tarnished credit.  The new program will enable an immigrant or family member to establish or improve his or her credit score in order to be eligible for future loans.

Under the new joint-initiative, any person with a social security or tax ID number who lives, works, attends school or worships in Manatee County will be eligible to open an account with the credit union and receive a secured loan for $1,000.  The loan proceeds will remain on deposit with the credit union.  During that time, the loan recipient will pay back the loan in full plus interest. 

When the recipient pays off the loan, the proceeds remain as deposit money and he or she will have established a payment history with the credit union.  The recipient may then use the funds to pay for immigration-related expenses and may be eligible for an unsecured loan which could be used for other costs associated with immigration reform.

“We see this as a triple-win for area immigrants,” says Managing Attorney P. Christopher Jaensch.  “Immigrants would establish a relationship with a financial institution that understands their needs and educates them on financial management.  They could build a credit history even if they have had problems in the past.  And they could begin to save and prepare for the costs of comprehensive immigration reform, which could be significant.”

A key participant in developing this partnership is Sherod A. Halliburton, the current EVP of Strategic Initiatives at Manatee Community Federal Credit Union.  “We believe that the immigrant population and their families may be underserved by local financial institutions and we are proud to create a program that improves their ties to the community and helps them achieve their goals,” says Halliburton.

Jaensch Immigration Law Firm seeks other financial industry partnerships to help as many area immigrants as possible. 

Sarasota, FL – Preparándose para una posible reforma inmigratoria, Jaensch Immigraiton Law Firm está desarrollando relaciones con instituciones financieras locales con la meta de ayudar a los inmigrantes de Sarasota y Manatee Counties (MCFCU) a establecer buen crédito y obtener fondos para pagar los costos que llevará la reforma.

Creemos que veremos una propuesta para la reforma esta semana.  El “Gang of 8” grupo de ocho senadores, que incluye a Senador Marco Rubio, está terminando su propuesta  y es muy probable que su plan incluirá un camino hacia la legalización para los indocumentados.  Para ser elegible un solicitante probablemente tendrá que incurrir en pagos de una multa, más los costos de gobierno para tramitar la solicitud.  El costo final para inmigrantes y sus familias no es cierto, pero creemos que será entre los miles de dólares.

Una nueva asociación de Jaensch Immigration Law Firm y Manatee County Federal Credit Union permitirá a los inmigrantes y sus familias prepararse para poder costear los costos de legalización.

Bajo el nuevo programa que han diseñado, cualquier persona con número de seguro social o Tax ID que vive, trabaja, asiste a la escuela, o que está vinculado de alguna forma con el Condado de Manatee será elegible para abrir una cuenta con MCFCU y recibir un préstamo asegurado de $1,000.  Los fondos se quedarán en el credit union por 12 meses y, mientras tanto, el recipiente paga el préstamo más interés.

A punto de pagar el préstamo, las ganancias se quedan como depósito y el recipiente tendrá una historia de pagos con el credit unión.  El recipiente puede usar sus nuevos fondos para pagar los costos relacionados con la reforma inmigratoria y será elegible para un nuevo préstamo.

“Este es un triple-win para inmigrantes,” dice abogado gerente de Jaensch Immigration Law Firm, Chris Jaensch.  “Inmigrantes establecerán una relación con una institución financiera que comprende su situación y les ayuda a manejar bien sus fianzas, forjar buen crédito no obstante problemas pasados, y empezar a ahorrar para los costos asociados con la reforma inmigratoria, que pueden ser significantes.”

Sherod A. Halliburton, EVP of Strategic Initiatives en MCFCU concurre: “Nosotros sabemos que los inmigrantes y sus familias no tienen acceso a los servicios financieros que les corresponde.  Estamos orgullosos de diseñar un nuevo programa que mejorará  sus conexiones con la comunidad y les ayuda a lograr sus metas financieras.”

Jaensch Immigration Law Firm busca asociaciones con otras instituciones financieras locales para ayudar al máximo número de inmigrantes posible.

Guest Post: Foreign Residents’ Health Insurance Options Are Changing

Posted: April 9th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , | 3 Comments »
Sarasota immigrants should be aware that European and foreign insurers will NOT be able to sell coverage to any US citizen or legal permanent resident living continuously in the US after the Affordable Care Act goes into effect in January 2014.  We learned this from our friend, and Sarasota immigrant, Peter Matthiessen.  Read on to find out more about the implications of this act.  We are posting this news as a guest post below:
Beginning January 2014, the new ACA (ObamaCare) Rules take effect.  That means that all persons residing permanently in the USA, whether Citizens or Legal Aliens (Green Card or long term Visa Holders) are required to purchase a valid health insurance policy.
As a result of the new law (ACA-Affordable Care Act), European and foreign insurers do not have permission to offer or sell coverage to any resident (US Citizens or legal Aliens) living continuously in the USA. However, if you have any valid, currently active policy, you are not subject to this rule.
Travel policies covering only emergencies, for a limited specified time, are only possible when it concerns true travel arrangements (hotel, ticket receipts etc).  Foreign health insurance policies are only available for transferred workers up to 36 months.
Surely you do not want to take on the risk yourself of unimaginable costs of health care.  There is an easy way out.  Act today to obtain relevant information without obligation.  Suitable coverage and benefits with reasonable premiums are available by clicking on the blue links below.  
We recommend the low-cost, indemnity coverage with fixed benefits offered by the century-long established Assurant/Time Insurance Company.  Click on the link and proceed to “Access” for a free quotation. An online application may be made by clicking on “apply”.
A second recommendation is the well known Insurer United Health Care.  For free quotes and application, click here.
With these links you can call up detailed information, brochure describing benefits of various plans.  For help, explanations and recommendations send us an email.  We would be pleased to hear from you.  
CEO Peter Matthiessen
AWI International Inc.,

Accents Away Helps Sarasota Immigrants Improve Their English-Speaking Abilities

Posted: April 8th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Sarasota immigrants who need help preparing for an interview, understanding idioms, or just improving their social skills can find it with Accents Away.

Marcia Hoodwin is a certified speech pathologist living in Sarasota, FL.  She learned her craft at Indiana University where she received her bachelor’s degree and San Diego State University where she received her Master’s in Speech Pathology.  She worked for a small contracting business in New Mexico for several years before moving to Chicago and founding her own company, Accents Away.  In Chicago she worked with corporate clients whose employees needed assistance improving their English-speaking abilities.

After a few too many Chicago winters, she was looking for a warmer climate and got a contract for a job in North Port, FL.  The contract was for 3 months.  18 years later Marcia still lives in the Sarasota area and works improving the English-speaking skills of Sarasota and Tampa Bay area immigrants.

Accents Away offers accent modification, vocational rehab, and pediatric speech therapy.  Marcia works mostly with foreign-born professionals looking to improve their language skills.  She has helped all types, from doctors and nurses, to young children with speech impediments and she has quite a few success stories.

One story is about a young woman from Colombia, named Ruth, who immigrated to the United States with barely any English language ability.  She worked her way through an accounting degree and is currently finishing a master’s degree in taxation.  She had difficulty with interviewing and sought help with Marcia.  Last year Ruth obtained her citizenship and recently accepted a lucrative job at a CPA’s office in Ft. Lauderdale.  Everyone is inspired by Ruth’s work ethic, even her boyfriend who recently decided to enroll in engineering school himself!

Accents Away Success Story, Ruth

Accents Away Success Story, Ruth

Another story involved a young woman from Japan who ran a successful Internet-based business and spoke English well but had difficulty in social situations.  Marcia designed a 13-week course for her that touched on social situations.  This helped the woman gain confidence and speak English better.  Now Marcia is proud to report that her former client is quite active; dating and volunteering.

Accents Away can be helpful for foreign-born professionals who wish to improve their English skills, children with speech impediments, or foreigners who simply want to gain confidence in the use of English.  Marcia’s #1 tip: Open your mouth and speak slowly.

Sarasota Speech Pathologist Marcia Hoodwin

Sarasota Speech Pathologist Marcia Hoodwin

Marcia can be contacted via:

  • 941-921-9533

Victoria Jaensch Karins Graduates from Leadership Manatee

Posted: April 3rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Jaensch Immigration Law Firm | Tags: , , | No Comments »

We are very proud to have a Leadership Manatee graduate in our midst!

Victoria Jaensch Karins graduated from the Leadership Manatee program in March.  The program, administered by the Manatee Chamber of Commerce, is designed to expose current and future leaders to all aspects of Manatee County.  It is Manatee County’s premier leadership training program and has more than 850 graduates.

The program’s purpose is:

  • To identify community leaders of diverse backgrounds
  • To develop their potential and desire to accept civic responsibilities and leadership roles
  • To expose community leaders to the problems and opportunities that face Manatee County
  • To build a realistic understanding of leadership in today’s complex society
  • To open a dialogue among emerging and current community leaders
  • To acquaint leaders with the processes, programs, opportunities and challenges for individual involvement in Manatee County

“I felt honored to be a part of Leadership Manatee,” said Ms. Karins, “I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the opportunities in our community and meeting my fellow leaders.  I congratulate them and I wish them all the best.”

Ms. Karins plans on using what she learned in the Leadership Manatee program to better assist immigrants in the Sarasota-Bradenton area.  The immigration work she performs brings diversity and vibrancy to the Gulf Coast.

Victoria Jaensch Karins at Leadership Manatee Graduation

Victoria Jaensch Karins at Leadership Manatee Graduation

Undocumented Aliens Can Get Insured

Posted: April 2nd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

It is easy to generalize about the 11 million+ undocumented aliens living in the United States.  In order to give this large group a more human face we share stories about individual immigrants and the people that help them.

Immigrants come to the United States to work and start a family but their efforts are curtailed by several sources of uncertainty.  The first, for those who are undocumented, of course, is their legal status.  Another is insurance.  Generally, it is difficult for an immigrant, much less an undocumented alien, to obtain life insurance.

Last week, insurance agent Carolyn Piano, LUTCF, told us a story of how she successfully helped an undocumented immigrant in Sarasota obtain a valuable life insurance policy despite his legal status and lack of documentation.  The immigrant was a hard-working business owner with a young wife and 3 young children.  Carolyn understood how important it was to ensure that even if something tragic happened to this man, his family could achieve the dream that he had for them; to get a good education, go to college, and become successful.  Carolyn told us about her relationship with this man, how hard she knew he worked, how much he loved his family.  She wanted to make sure he was protected and undertook the project of getting him insured.

Life insurance is useful because it is one of only 2 creditor-proof assets.  The other is annuities.  It can be used, as in this case, the ensure that a father’s family does not suffer financially if something tragic were to happen to him.

Carolyn spoke with her insurance providers, offering full disclosure.  Due to the recipient’s lack of documentation the process was complicated and laborious.  But, as Carolyn said, this was a “labor of love.”  She succeeded in underwriting a $1 million policy for her friend – no mean feat.

We want other immigrants in the Sarasota-Bradenton area who might be thinking about getting insurance to know that Carolyn is willing to help.  She now has experience underwriting policies for immigrants, event those who may be undocumented.

Carolyn Piano can be reached over the phone or via email:

Carolyn Piano Can Help Immigrants Get Life Insurance

Carolyn Piano Can Help Immigrants Get Life Insurance