Articles in "Immigration Law"

ARMCHAIR ATHLETES – Video Gamers can now get P1A Visas as Professional Athletes

by Adriana

March 14th, 2014


pro-gamers

ARMCHAIR ATHLETES – Video Gamers can now get P1A Visas as Professional Athletes

 

So you say that video gamers aren’t athletes? The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service would disagree with you, as would a rapidly growing fan base and increasingly well compensated joystick jockeys.

 

2013 saw a handful of P1A Visas approved for gamers, and you can bet that their numbers will be increasing. P1A Visas are non-immigrant visas which are issued for up to 5 years which allow professional athletes to live, train, and work in the United States. Until now, these visas were exclusively used for traditional athletes like baseball and basketball players. But changes in technology and culture, coupled with creative lawyering, have extended the playing field to the virtual world.

 

Take, for example, the story of South Korean gamer Kim Dong Hwan, who is a professional gamer in the world of StarCraft 2, according to a recent article on the Huffington Post. (Read the entire article here http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/16/korean-gamer-visa-starcraft-2_n_4453742.html) This young man has earned almost $100,000 in the last three years competing in this game, and is ranked #63 in the world. The World Championship Series for StarCraft tournament last year paid out 1.6 million to the champion.

 

Gaming is a booming industry. League of Legends, created by a Santa Monica company called Riot, is one such success story. It has been estimated by industry analysts that more than 32 million people worldwide play the game, with half that number coming for the US. Tournaments have filled venues as large as Staples Center in Los Angeles, where approximately 22,000 spectators came to watch the latest StarCraft championship.

 

This is an exciting new area for immigration law, and the demands for the P1A visa are quite high. Successful applicants need to demonstrate international recognition of their achievements in the field (individually or as a team), must be sponsored by a US employer (most likely a team of gamers), with a few other requirements. Spouses and children can accompany the successful applicant with P-4 visas as well. As with any Immigrant or Non-Immigrant Visas, it is always advisable to speak with an experienced immigration attorney before applying. For more information on P1A Visas, you can visit the USCIS website http://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/p-1a-internationally-recognized-athlete.

Immigration Reform and the State of the Union

by Matthew Bromund

Principal Attorney
February 24th, 2014

immigration reformJack Seal

Immigration Attorney

Immigration Reform and the State of the Union

 

Last night, President Barack Obama discussed the need to create jobs and greater opportunity for all. He also made it clear that immigration reform and economic recovery go hand-in-hand, and he expects the House of Representatives to make the next move on immigration reform. To watch the address, use the following link: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sotu. The President said:

 

Finally, if we are serious about economic growth, it is time to heed the call of business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders, and law enforcement – and fix our broken immigration system. Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have acted. I know that members of both parties in the House want to do the same. Independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and shrink our deficits by almost $1 trillion in the next two decades. And for good reason: when people come here to fulfill their dreams – to study, invent, and contribute to our culture – they make our country a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs for everyone. So let’s get immigration reform done this year.”

 

As the American Immigration Council explained recently, “The President’s inclusion of immigration as a matter of economic necessity reinforces efforts over the last few years to redefine how we think about immigration reform. Immigrants create jobs as consumers and entrepreneurs and spend their wages in U.S. businesses—buying food, clothes, appliances, cars, etc. This builds our economy as businesses respond to the presence of these new workers and consumers by investing in new restaurants, stores, and production facilities. Also immigrants are 30 percent more likely than the native-born to start their own business. The end result is more jobs for more workers.”

 

The Senate has proposed a comprehensive plan to overhaul the immigration system, but that effort was largely rejected by the Republican majority of the House of Representatives last year. The House indicated that they would prefer piecemeal legislation to a comprehensive bill. The House has failed, however, to put any piecemeal legislation up for a vote to reform any of our broken Immigration system.

 

There may be a change to the House Republicans stance very soon. The Republicans begin a 3-day retreat today to discuss a significant reform bill, which the Los Angeles Times reports will likely include a pathway for millions of undocumented immigrants to attain legal status and possibly a narrow path to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants. It is also expected that the Republicans will discuss new visas for foreign workers and tighter border security. We would expect any legislation to include what has become widely known as the “Dream Act”, which would grant legal status to most undocumented immigrants who entered the country as children.


Hopefully, 2014 will finally be the year of comprehensive Immigration Reform. The House Republicans appear to be moving on the issue, and there seems to be a real push to get this much-needed legislation passed very soon. We will continue to bring updates as they are available, and we will continue to lend our voice and support to the movement for thoughtful and responsible reform of our Immigration System.

 

Jack Seal of Bromund Law Group

Jack Seal

Immigration Attorney

Bromund Law Group

No, No Notarios!

by Adriana

February 20th, 2014

no notarioas

California Assembly Bill 1159 went into effect January 2014. It is designed to stop current and potential opportunism related to the possible passage of a Federal Immigration Reform Bill. The California Legislature is justifiably worried about dishonest attorneys, immigration consultants, and so-called “notarios” who prey on the immigrant population by charging immigrants for services they could not yet provide.

AB 1159 cracks down on those con-men who promise to deliver legal status under the new Federal Immigration Reform Act before its passage. AB 1159 puts greater protections in place and punishes false advertising and fraudulent contracts for services which cannot be provided. Additionally, because “notario” translates to “lawyer” in many Latin American countries, unsuspecting immigrants often assume they are getting representation from a lawyer. AB 1159 forbids someone from identifying themselves as a “notario” unless they are an attorney.

The Calfornia State Bar has put together a PSA on the subject, which is available below. If you have questions about immigration or you want help protecting your rights call the Bromund Law Group for a free consultation with an experienced immigration attorney.

Oprima aqui para ver el PSA

Click Here For More Information in English.

New Developments for Bail Bonds and ICE holds in California

by Adriana

January 16th, 2014

New Developments for Bail Bonds and ICE holds in California

With Immigration reform seemingly stalled in our Federal Legislature, the State of California has taken the lead on some pressing immigration issues on the state level. Assembly Bill 4, which went into effect January 2014, pushes back on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency’s ability to “ICE holds” to force local law enforcement to keep immigrants in custody until they are transferred to Immigration’s custody.

The Legislature has found that ICE holds have been wrongly used to detain both citizens and lawful immigrants without justification. Unlike warrants, ICE holds are not issued by a reviewing authority, and do not need to be supported by any standard of proof, such as reasonable cause. In the past, once an ICE hold was issued, local authorities would not consider releasing the subject of the hold until that person was transferred to Immigration authorities. To read the entire text of the bill, click here : http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140AB4.

cuffsThis development means that unless the immigrant has pending charges or convictions of certain crimes, local law enforcement is required to release him/her from custody. This is an exciting development which gives Immigration Attorneys a new tool to use to assist our clients who are being wrongfully kept from their families. This development makes it possible for a detained person to argue for a bond in certain situations, and requires immediate release in other situations.

If you have any questions about how this new law may affect you or a loved one, please do not hesitate to contact the Bromund Law Group for a free consultation.

Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver

by Adriana

December 24th, 2013

Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver

Jack Seal of Bromund Law Group

On March 4, 2013 USCIS began accepting a new application for a waiver of unlawful presence, called a 601A. This is definitely a step in the right direction! For those who qualify, it means that you can apply for the waiver while still in the United States, and you can get the approval while still in the United States. For those who are granted the waiver, the trip to their country of origin to be formally admitted will take less than a week.

 

Before USCIS began changing this process, the applicant would have to travel to the consulate in their home country (Ciudad Juarez in most cases) and apply for admission before they were even allowed to request a waiver of unlawful presence. This often meant that it would take several months, and upwards of a year to have their waiver processed and hopefully be admitted to the United States.

 

The waiver of unlawful presence is required by most people who are seeking admission to the US (applying for a Green Card in most cases) who have been in the US without permission for six months or more. Current law requires those applicants to wait for several years outside the country (in most cases 10 years) before the US government will allow the applicants to enter. The waiver of unlawful presence is an application for an exception to that rule.

 

The new application (601A) is only available to immediate relatives of US Citizens. It is limited to those applicants who do not require any other waivers, which are usually required for certain criminal convictions. And like the traditional 601 waiver, it requires a showing of extreme hardship to the applicant’s immediate relatives who are already legally present in the United States.

 

I have posted a link below to the USCIS website and the instructions for the form, but call today to schedule a free consultation with the Bromund Law Group if you would like to discuss this, or any other immigration issue!

http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=26215a63d813d310VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=db029c7755cb9010VgnVCM10000045f3d6a1RCRD

 

Jack D. Seal

Attorney at the Bromund Law Group

Immigration Reform

by Adriana

December 20th, 2013

Immigration Reform

 white house

The United States’ Senate continues to work out the details of a comprehensive immigration reform bill, currently referred to as the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, and we remain confident that they will get the reform passed before the end of summer. The basics of the immigration reform seem largely unchanged: those unlawful immigrants who were present before the end of 2011 should have a path to legalization. There will probably be requirements that all applicants have addressed all past income tax issues in the US, and there will probably be some sort of financial penalty. The financial penalty will probably be similar to the penalty we saw a few decades ago with the INA 245(i) penalty of $1000.

 

It looks like applicants will be on some sort of probationary status for an extended period, but will have work authorization and the ability to get a driver’s license. Applicants will be on the path to Lawful Resident status, with the ability to eventually naturalize and become US Citizens.

 

Many issues have yet to be resolved, and any reform is likely to be accompanied by improved border security which will make it far more difficult to enter the US without permission. There is a renewed push to improve biometric technology at the border, which is a hotly contested (and very expensive) issue.

 

There will certainly be strict rules for those with criminal convictions. It is extremely important for any non US Citizen consult an immigration attorney if they are facing criminal charges, and perhaps even more so for unlawful immigrants. For anyone who has been in trouble with the law or who has had contact with Immigration authorities, it is a good idea to submit a request under the Freedom of Information Act to examine the records the government has related to the applicant.

 

http://www.schumer.senate.gov/forms/immigration.pdf

 

Jack D. Seal

Attorney at Bromund Law Group