Our Huddled Masses: Site Compiles U.S. Immigration Statistics

October 30, 2007

For a wealth of nuts and bolts statistics on immigration in the United States, check out the website Migration Information Source. The site has compiled numbers from a variety of governmental and non-governmental sources that reveal information and trends about immigrants such as their origins, numbers, characteristics and who has settled where. It also tracks the surge in U.S. government spending to enforce immigration laws.

Topic areas discussed on the site include:

• Current and Historical Numbers and Shares

• Demographic, Educational, and Linguistic Characteristics

• Workforce Characteristics

• Geographic Distribution

• Annual Flows

• Mexican Foreign Born

• Unauthorized Immigrants

• Immigration Control and Enforcement

• Immigrants: Naturalization Trends

• Backlogs


Using A Do-It-Yourself Incorporation Service: One Company’s Tale

October 27, 2007

Do-it-yourself incorporation services abound on the internet, and with their low price they are enticing to aspiring business owners, especially in the start-up phase when the owners are trying to save as much money as possible. In the end, though, they can cost your company a lot more in both time and money if you don’t know what you are doing, as one business owner recently found out.

Read the rest of this entry »

DV (Green Card) Lottery Applications Due by Dec. 2, 2007

October 26, 2007

It’s that time of year again. The Department of State is accepting applications for its annual visa lottery.

The Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery 2009 application and instructions are available on the DOS website. Applications will be accepted through noon (12 p.m.), Eastern Standard Time, Sunday, Dec. 2007.

The DV Lottery is the annual program that provides a maximum of up to 55,000 immigrant visas each fiscal year to randomly selected eligible persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

The eligibility requirements to enter the lottery are simple. The applicant must have either a high school education or its equivalent, defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education; OR two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience to perform. Whether an occupation requires the two years or more of training is determined by the U.S. Department of Labor via the O*Net OnLine database.

Applicants must strictly follow the application process, including photo requirements, or the entry will be rejected. In addition, only one entry per applicant may be filed. If an applicant files more than one entry, the applicant will be disqualified.

Applications may be filed only online. Paper submissions are not accepted.

Individuals born in the following countries are NOT eligible to apply because they have sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. over the period of the previous five years:

Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Peru, Poland, Russia, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. However, persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taiwan are eligible.

Please note that if you were born in one of the above ineligible countries, you may still be eligible based on your spouse’s or a parent’s country of birth. The DV Lottery instructions contain more information about the requirements for eligibility in this situation and should be read carefully.

Winners will be notified by mail between May and July 2008 and will be provided further instructions at that point. Those selected in the random drawing are NOT notified by email. Every year, spam emails circulate the world claiming the recipient to be a DV Lottery winner. These emails are fraudulent and should be reported to the U.S. government.

There is NO fee for entering the DV Lottery. Lottery winners, though, will have to pay the visa fee applicable to their country if they are approved.

Applicants should be skeptical of any unsolicited offers to apply on their behalf or making guarantees of winning. While there are legitimate companies that offer useful information about the DV Lottery and assistance with the technical requirements, some are scams preying on the hopeful. Accordingly, the U.S. government has issued this warning in its instructions:

Some websites may try to mislead customers and members of the public into thinking they are official websites and may contact you by email to lure you to their offers. These websites may attempt to require you to pay for services such as forms and information about immigration procedures, which are otherwise free on the Department of State Visa Services website, or overseas through the Embassy Consular Section websites. Additionally, these other websites may require you to pay for services you will not receive, often including diversity immigration application and visa fees in an effort to outright steal your money. Once you send money in one of these scams, you will never see it again. Also, you should be wary of sending any personal information that might be used for identity fraud/theft to these websites.

If you receive an email solicitation by someone claiming to be the U.S. government, in particular, first look at the email or any referenced website address. The only official government internet sites on the DV Lottery are those with the “.gov” indicator. All others are fraudulent and should be reported to any one of these sites: econsumer.gov, a joint effort of consumer protection agences from 17 countries, or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Internet Crime Complaint Center or IC3. Any other internet fraud related to the DV Lottery should also be reported to those sites. To file a complaint about unsolicited email in particular, go to the Department of Justice anti-spam site.

Furthermore, regardless of any claims made by one of these services, whether you pay someone to fill out and submit the application for you, or you do it yourself, your chance at winning is the same, provided you have completed the application properly.

For more information about the DV Lottery 2009 program, the State Department has posted detailed instructions on its website. Read them carefully, follow them precisely and …

Good Luck!

Revised Contact Info for EB-5 Investor Visa Pilot Program Participant The Redevelopment Agency of the City of Vernon Regional Center

October 26, 2007

We have received a comment from a representative of the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Vernon Regional Center, one of the particpants in the EB-5 Investor Visa Pilot Program, correcting the contact information. The information has been updated on our site’s Regional Center List and is as follows:

 The Redevelopment Agency of the City of Vernon Regional Center

Address: Vernon City Hall, 4305 Santa Fe Avenue, Vernon, CA 90058

Phone/Fax: (323) 583-8811, (626) 336-3408/ (626) 330-5818

Senate Kills DREAM Act

October 25, 2007

The DREAM Act is dead, falling eight votes shy of the requisite 60 to begin debate in the U.S. Senate.

The vote, 52-44, while in favor of starting debate was not enough to prevent a filibuster. The DREAM Act, which stands for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM), was part of the larger immigration reform bill that collapsed earlier this year. Proponents carved it out and put it up as a standalone bill, with bi-partisan support, hoping it would pass on its own, according to an article in the Oct. 25 edition of the Washington Post, also available online.

On the morning of the vote Wednesday, the Bush administration issued a policy statement coming out against the DREAM Act, essentially saying it rewards and encourages illegal behavior, despite having supported it as part of the overall immigration reform package earlier this year.

Other critics opposed the bill not for its substance, but because it was attempting immigration reform piecemeal. They say reform bit-by-bit will only lead to a contradictory and unworkable mess of local, state and national immigration laws, arguing instead comprehensive immigration reform is the responsible solution, reports The Hill online.

The DREAM Act was designed to address the situation faced by the children of illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States years ago and who have grown up here, stayed in school, and kept out of trouble. The legislation would provide a path to permanent residence and citizenship for these immigrant youth if they pursue higher education or serve in the military, according to the position paper written by AILA that summarizes the benefits of the law. 


October 24, 2007

NOTE: This list is from May 2007. See our updated list of active regional centers as of October 2007 here.  

The Immigrant Investor (EB-5) Pilot Program is designed to encourage foreign investment by providing a vehicle for investment in the form of an economic unit called a “Regional Center.” The Regional Centers are private or public entities that have received government approval to participate in the program. They enable the amassing and pooling of capital for targeted investment in designated regions in the United States.

For the Investor, these Regional Centers are attractive because they allow for a less restrictive job creation requirement. Instead of having to prove direct job creation, the investor may show indirect job creation through such methods as economic and statistic forecasting tools.

Please note that this pilot program expires in November 2008 unless reinstated

In May 2007, USCIS released to AILA the following list of regional centers that were “active” as of March 30, 2007. In addition, since the release of that list, two new centers have been approved: the Alabama Center for Foreign Investment Regional Center and the Southwest Biofuels Regional Center (see details below).

Regional Centers that may have been approved, but were not designated as “active” by USCIS are not included in this list.

As the status of these Regional Centers as participants in the Pilot Program can change, before investing any money, verify the center is still approved and active in the Pilot Program.

For more information on the EB-5 Immigrant Investor visa see our other article EB – 5 Permanent Residency through Investment.

In alphabetical order by state, the Regional Centers deemed “active” as of March 2007 include:

Read the rest of this entry »

DREAM Act Senate Vote Wednesday

October 23, 2007

AILA (the American Immigration Lawyers Association) has posted an Action Alert urging everyone to call their senators to support the DREAM Act, which will be voted on by the Senate tomorrow, Wed. Oct. 23, 2007. 

The DREAM Act, which stands for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM), is designed to address the situation faced by undocumented children who were brought to the United States years ago but who have grown up here, stayed in school, and kept out of trouble. The legislation would provide a path to permanent residence for these immigrant youth who want to pursue higher education or military service, enabling them to contribute fully to American society, according to the position paper written by AILA that summarizes the benefits of the law.  

AILA has posted on its site a draft email to send to your Senator and phone numbers of all Senators for those who prefer to call.

Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) has introduced the DREAM Act as a stand-alone bill in the Senate. The bill will need 60 votes to pass the Senate.