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USCIS Will Issue Redesigned Green Cards and Employment Authorization Documents

USCIS Will Issue Redesigned Green Cards and Employment Authorization Documents


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced a redesign to the Permanent Resident Card (also known as a Green Card) and the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) as part of the Next Generation Secure Identification Document Project. USCIS will begin issuing the new cards on May 1, 2017.

These redesigns use enhanced graphics and fraud-resistant security features to create cards that are highly secure and more tamper-resistant than the ones currently in use.

The new card designs demonstrate USCIS’ commitment to continue taking a proactive approach against the threat of document tampering and fraud. They are also part of an ongoing effort between USCIS, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to enhance document security and deter counterfeiting and fraud.

The Redesigned Cards

The new Green Cards and EADs will:

·         Display the individual’s photos on both sides;

·         Show a unique graphic image and color palette:

o    Green Cards will have an image of the Statue of Liberty and a predominately green palette;

o    EAD cards will have an image of a bald eagle and a predominately red palette;

·         Have embedded holographic images; and

·         No longer display the individual’s signature.

Also, Green Cards will no longer have an optical stripe on the back.

How To Tell If Your Card Is Valid

Some Green Cards and EADs issued after May 1, 2017, may still display the existing design format as USCIS will continue using existing card stock until current supplies are depleted. Both the existing and the new Green Cards and EADs will remain valid until the expiration date shown on the card.



What should we know about the Paris climate agreement?

President Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw the United States the the Paris climate agreement. The deal, joined by all but two countries (Syrian and Nicaragua), is a broad framework designed to nudge nations to prevent catastrophic climate change.

The deal was the result of tense negotiations in December 2015 and what it does is pretty simple. Let's have a look:

The goal of the Paris agreement is the global target of keeping global average temperatures from rising by the end of the century. Beyond 2 degrees, we risk dramatically higher seas, changes in weather patterns, food and water crises, and an overall more hostile world.

But the agreement doesn’t detail exactly how these countries should do so. Instead it provides a framework for getting momentum going on greenhouse gas reduction, with some oversight and accountability. Under Trump’s current policies, that goal is impossible.

A lot of countries have agreed to it. But there’s also no defined punishment for breaking it.

So as part of the Paris agreement, richer countries, like the US, are supposed to send $100 billion a year in aid by 2020 to the poorer countries. And that amount is set to increase over time. Again, like the other provisions of the agreement, this isn’t an absolute mandate.

The Paris agreement is largely symbolic, and it will live on even if Trump withdraws the US. But it will for sure weaken the global coalition around climate change.

Iranian National Challenges USCIS Investor Visa Denial

An Iranian national demanded in D.C. federal court Tuesday that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reconsider her petition for an investor visa leading to permanent resident status, alleging that she had complied with the visa requirements by investing $500,000 in a Washington state hotel project and was nevertheless wrongly denied.

Batool Sadeghzadeh claimed to have invested her funds into a Washington limited partnership to finance the development and operation of a 297-room Embassy Suites hotel called the Hotel Tower, rendering her and her young daughter eligible for permanent residency. She claims that USCIS unjustly denied her petition on the basis of what it deemed to be inadequate evidence of the proper legal path of her funds, violating the Immigration and Nationality Act and administrative procedure statutes, as well as her Fifth Amendment due process rights.

Up to 10,000 visas are available through the EB-5 immigrant investor program, which encompasses individuals investing a minimum of $500,000 with required amounts varying by area in a "new commercial enterprise" employing at least 10 new workers.

Sadeghzadeh argued that USCIS had overstepped its authority under the INA, abused its discretion, had conducted an erroneous survey of her supporting documents and had unreasonably delayed the processing of her visa application for years.

"The denial was replete with not only flawed legal conclusions, but also with factual errors, and bizarre claims about document translations, and missing translations or foreign language originals for documents that were in original English," the complaint states.

Sadeghzadeh requested that the court force USCIS to immediately approve her petition and compensate her for attorneys, as well as any other relief deemed proper. Representatives for USCIS declined to comment.


Grassley Pushes for Quick Executive Actions to Curb EB-5 Visa Abuse

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley called on the Homeland Security Secretary to expedite proposed regulations targeting abuse and national security concerns in the EB-5 investor visa program, and to clarify that the department is processing EB-5 applications in a fair and transparent manner.  The request follows a recent extension of the EB-5 program without any reforms and a reported pitch by Kushner Companies implying that potential investors should invest soon to avoid changes in program rules.

The EB-5 program, which has been riddled with well-documented fraud and national security vulnerabilities, was extended last week without any reforms, despite efforts by Grassley and others to restore integrity in the program. Regulations proposed by the Obama Administration and under consideration by the Trump Administration would address some of the program’s weaknesses. Investors typically face a two-year wait for the limited number of EB-5 visas. In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Grassley pointed out that, given the backlog of applicants, new investors would be subject to the program’s rules at the time their visas become available, despite the comments made by representatives of Kushner Companies.

“As you know, EB-5 applicants ordinarily wait at least two years for a petition to be processed and for visas to become available.  Ms. Meyer’s statements, however, could seem to imply that foreign nationals who invest with the Kushner Company will receive special treatment and expedited approval.  It is appropriate for the Department to clarify and affirm that no foreign investors will receive preferential treatment, that applications will be processed in the order in which they are received—subject to any existing backlog—and that future applications will be subject to the proposed regulations, when approved,” Grassley said in the letter.   

In the letter, Grassley called on the Trump Administration to continue moving forward with the regulations in an open and transparent manner.

Senior White House Advisor Jared Kushner, the previous CEO of Kushner Companies, has divested from Kushner Companies, in compliance with Office of Government Ethics requirements.

US sues Google for allegedly paying female employees less than males

The US Department of Labor is suing Google over findings that the company routinely pays female employees less than their male counterparts.

The government agency noted at a hearing before a federal judge in San Francisco last Friday that it “found systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce” at the company. It pointed to pay disparities in salaries from 2015 and has demanded that the company the company disclose additional records to aid in the investigation.

Speaking to The Guardian, DoL regional solicitor Janet Herold said that the probe is still underway, and that the agency has “received compelling evidence of very significant discrimination against women in the most common positions at Google headquarters.”

She added: “The government’s analysis at this point indicates that discrimination against women in Google is quite extreme, even in this industry.”

However, Google disagreed with the claim and said that the agency hadn’t shared any data or disclosed what methodology it used to come to this conclusion.

As a federal contractor, Google is required to allow the DoL to check its records for compliance with equal opportunity laws. The agency has locked horns with the company over a request for such data from last year, with Google claiming that it had already handed over plenty of data but refused to hand over more information that’s necessary to proceed with the investigation.

Last week, Google announced in a tweet that it had closed the pay gap for all roles within its organization’s operations across the globe. Given that and the fact that all eyes are on the tech industry to learn which firms are engaging in unlawful and discriminatory practices, it’d be surprising to learn that the company would be obtuse enough to allow managers to award women with lower salaries than men in 2017.

United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth District granted a petition for review of the denial of a motion to reconsider determination in reinstatement removal proceedings

The panel granted a petition for review of the denial of a motion to reconsider or reopen a negative reasonable fear determination in reinstatement removal proceedings. An immigration judge affirmed an asylum officer’s determination that petitioner failed to establish a reasonable fear of persecution in reinstatement removal proceedings. Petitioner filed a motion to reconsider or reopen, which the IJ denied. Rather than directly petitioning this court for review, petitioner filed an appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the Board dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. Petitioner then filed the present petition for review within 30 days of the Board’s decision. The panel first held that this court has jurisdiction over petitions for review from negative reasonable fear determinations in the context of the reinstatement of an expedited removal order. The panel next held that under all the circumstances of this case, including the fact that the IJ’s decision on the motion advised petitioner of a right to appeal to the Board, even though no such right exists, the Board’s decision constituted the final order of removal, and the petition is therefore timely.

Turning to the merits, the panel held that the IJ abused his discretion in denying the motion to reconsider or reopen. The panel held that the IJ erred in concluding that extortion could not constitute persecution because extortion, plus the threat of violence, on the basis of a protected characteristic, can constitute persecution. Noting that petitioner sought only withholding of removal and not asylum, and therefore needed to establish only that a protected characteristic was “a reason” motivating the extortionate acts, the panel remanded to the IJ to determine whether petitioner established an “extortion plus” claim of persecution, based on her claimed extortion due to her family ties.