Updates from June, 2017 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 3:05 pm on June 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    Busy Week for Immigration News 

    bacpostjuneWhile my staff and I have been hard at work helping individuals and companies to solve their immigration issues this week, there have been many stories about immigration in the news.

    The top story this week was the Supreme Court‘s decision to set aside part of the injunction that stopped the travel ban ordered by the president.

    The government acted quickly and the travel ban is now back in effect.  As a result, individuals from six mostly-Muslim countries, are prohibited from entering the United States. The one exception carved out by the court is for individuals with “a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”  While that seems simple enough, in the opinion of this Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer,  the Supreme Court muddled that exception by saying “a close familial relationship is required.” That opened the door for Homeland Security to exclude most family members as not being “close” enough.

    In other immigration news, the government continues to give a hard time to immigrant investors who start a business or are part of a group investment that hires at least ten USA workers. These immigrants have invested either $500,000 or $1million, and are often challenged by the government as not fully meeting all the other parts of the complex regulations. The new thing for the government is to deny the green card application (or its renewal), and then put these million-dollar-job-creating immigrants into deportation proceedings. This week, one of my lawyer friends won such a case in deportation court in Los Angeles. I encourage all investors to fight to keep their green cards and their American business.

    In today’s newspaper, I saw a story that the government is now going to target parents who paid a smuggler to bring their children to the U.S.  I’ve met many of these parents and they are generally very unsophisticated and certainly have no criminal intent. In fact, there is a waiver in the law for parents who smuggle their own children. As of today, the government has not said what law will allow them to prosecute these parents.

    This week also saw the release of a new green card form (I-485 for adjustment of status) that now contains 42 pages of instructions and 18 pages of complicated questions. For those who felt they could do the forms by themselves, this new form and its instructions will certainly make applicants think twice about self-representation before Homeland Security.

    On the positive side of immigration news, the government continues to approve work visas, green cards, self-petitions for highly skilled and accomplished individuals, investor visas, etc. and this Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer enjoys opening “most” mail that I receive from the immigration office each week.

    For questions or further information, I may be reached at bruce.coane@gmail.com, or 713.850.0066 and 305.538.6800.

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 9:06 pm on June 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    Fox News Anchor and other Exciting Developments at Coane and Associates 

    FOXnewsIt’s been another very busy week at our law firm. First, on Thursday, I had the honor of meeting Gretchen Carlson, former news anchor at Fox News. This is a picture of me with Gretchen Carlson. She came to speak at our National Employment Lawyers Association annual conference in San Antonio, Texas. Some may recall that she was the victim of sex harassment, and of course, our law firm handles cases like that on a very regular basis. Because of an arrangement I made with her today, this Houston employment lawyer and Miami employment lawyer will be giving Ms. Carlson’s book about sex harassment to each client who comes to see us for a sex harassment consultation. Her book will be released in October of this year.

    Also this week, I spoke at the Texas Employment Lawyers Association conference on the matter of Settlement of Employment Discrimination cases. My law firm has achieved over $10 million in settlements for our clients, and I shared my views about settlements with my colleagues from across the State of Texas.

    With regard to our employment discrimination cases in litigation, we spent significant time working on our clients’ two cases against Wells Fargo. In one of those cases where my client is claiming she was fired for discriminatory reasons, the bank has sued her back. That’s right, Wells Fargo Bank, of all companies, had the gall to sue an employee who has a lawsuit pending against them for discrimination. Could this be a signal to others who sue the popular target that they better think twice, lest Wells Fargo sue them back? Now my poor client who was fired by Wells Fargo, must defend herself against their counterclaim lawsuit.

    In our other client’s case, we scheduled depositions this week, for July, in a case where my client says Wells Fargo fired her due to her medical condition.  Of course, the bank denies that, and claims they had valid reasons for firing my client. We’ll see how their defenses hold up under the scrutiny of depositions.

    On the immigration side of our law practice, we were hired on a couple of new immigration EB-1 extraordinary worker cases this week. In both cases, the client has an L-1A working visa and they desire to establish roots in America. Unfortunately, their employer won’t sponsor them for a green card, so this Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer, is helping them to get a green card through the self-sponsored EB-1 extraordinary worker process. One of my favorite parts of this visa is that we often get the case approved in less than 15 days, and the actual green card approved and received in less than 6 months. It is truly an amazing way to get a green card and requires no college degree and no sponsoring employer.

    Also this week, two of our clients with cases in immigration court got a reprieve from a trial date for June and the other for July. Surprisingly, the Houston judge in their cases suddenly resigned her job. So, with no immigration judge to hear their deportation trial, it will be reassigned and probably allow them to stay another year or two or three before facing trial. This is huge for them because they both had very weak political asylum cases.

    Additionally, in our case against Hobby Lobby, we had a mediation, but the case failed to settle. So, that case where our client states he complained about his boss Glenn Lucadou discriminating against female employees, and then was retaliated against and fired, will be heading for a jury trial in a Houston courtroom.

    Finally, this Houston employment lawyer is excited about our client’s deposition next week in his case against Baylor College of Medicine. In that case, it is alleged that his supervisor was hanging up on job reference calls and otherwise implying our client did a bad job. This was rubbing salt in the wounds of our client after Dr. Robert Bryan Jr. fired our client. The lawsuit claims that our client was fired because of his medical condition in violation of the Americans with Disabilities  Act.

    For further information, I may be reached at 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800, or by email at bruce.coane@gmail.com

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 2:35 pm on June 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    Your First Hearing at Immigration Court 

    Here is a video that I recorded a few years ago about the immigration court process. The procedures have not changed and hopefully the viewer will find this Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer explanation to be helpful and informative.

    It is very important for a foreign national to be properly prepared for court. Moreover, no one should be going to court without a lawyer. In Houston, there are various court venues, including the jail court on the north side of town, and two different federal buildings in downtown Houston. In South Florida, there are jail courts at the various immigration jails, plus the non-detained courts which are all housed in one building in downtown Miami.

    For further information, I can be reached at bruce.coane@gmail.com and at 713.850.0066 and 305.538.6800.

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 3:09 am on June 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    Why Waste $500,000 on an EB-5 Green Card? 

    eb5coane

    There is a lot of news concerning the EB-5 method of investing in the U.S. in order to get a green card. What gets little publicity, however, is how these EB-5 investors get any return on their investment (nominal at best), but more importantly, how can they extract, or “sell” their $500,000 interest in the investment. This important information is missing from every article I read about EB-5.

    These are very important questions for any investor to ask. The investor should also investigate and do due diligence to determine whether they ever really will be able to extract their investment. Ultimately, most investors have a partnership interest in an enterprise, and that interest is worth whatever a willing buyer will pay the investor to buy it. This Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer says  that the partnership interest is very unlikely to be able to be sold for $500,000 or more, and most likely cannot be sold at all, or has very little  value ($10,000?). Of course, each investment is different, but due diligence is the key.

    In light of the foregoing, an investor must ask themselves if it is worth it to pay $500,000 to invest in EB-5 where the investment may very well be worthless, and there is no guarantee of getting a green card, or is it better to explore other visa avenues.

    In my own personal experience as a board certified immigration lawyer, it is much better and safer to look at other options. I have found that, of my clients who had $500,000 available and ready to “invest” in EB-5, it was a much safer investment to spend less than 5% of that amount to try an EB-1 extraordinary visa for a green card. Most of my clients who have over $500,000 of available cash, have qualified for EB-1 green card status. Moreover, the EB-1 green card is significantly faster to get than EB-5.

    I urge all potential immigrants considering EB-5 to take a more serious look at the EB-1, self-sponsored green card for extraordinary workers.

     

    For further information, this Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer may be reached at bruce.coane@gmail.com or 713.850.0066 and 305.538.6800

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 8:44 pm on June 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    Police Right to Act as Immigration Officers 

    CBP Officers pay tribute to fellow fallen officers during a Law Enforcement memorial service in Washington D.C.

     

    In certain parts of the country, police are taking it upon themselves to act as immigration officers. In the most recent case of illegal arrests and detentions, Ariel Vences-Lopez, a 23 year old from Minneapolis was detained by a transit rail police officer. Mr. Lopez failed to pay his fare and refused to verbally respond. This led to police officer, Andy Lamers, proceeding to taser and detain Mr. Lopez due to his immigration status.

    In the New York Times article, police Chief John Harrington states that, “it is not his department’s policy to question riders about their immigration status. Harrington said the officer who questioned Vences-Lopez in the video is no longer with the department”. The police officer who over-stepped his power was disciplined.

    While most state governments ensure to keep the line between police officers and immigration officers very clear and even punishable if crossed, the State of Texas encourages their police officers to ask for immigration status under Senate Bill 4 (SB4). This new law signed by Governor Gregg Abbott, grants local police the power to act as federal immigration officers. In an attempt to curb illegal immigration, Texas has taken a very tough stand against immigrants.

    Senate Bill 4, which goes into effect on September 1, 2017 is already creating a lot of negative backlash.  Now a simple act like driving without a license can get you detained and even deported if you are of color. Police are even encouraged to ask for immigration status in domestic violence calls.  In another controversial news story from The Washington Post, a woman was detained after seeking domestic abuse protection at a Texas courthouse.

    For further information, this Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer can be contacted at 713.850.0066, 305.538.6800 or bruce.coane@gmail.com.

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 3:56 pm on May 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    Self-sponsored Green Cards, Especially for L-1 Visa Holders 

    usicscoane

    I meet with many potential clients who are on an L-1A or L-1B visa and want to get a green card. Sometimes, however, their employer will not sponsor them for a green card. This is especially true if they work for a giant multi-national company. In such cases, I often will suggest the EB-1 extraordinary worker green card, which does not require employer sponsorship.

    To qualify, an individual needs to have some superb accomplishments in their work history, and have a few people willing to write a reference letter talking about their accomplishments. They do not need a letter from their employer. We simply need to show, among other things, that the person played a critical role for a business with a distinguished reputation. Plus, if the person had original business-related contributions of major significance in the field, this too, is compelling evidence.

    So, workers who are employed or were employed by a large company, will often easily meet the requirement of a company with a distinguished reputation. Moreover, if they were part of a team, they likely will meet the requirement of original business-related contributions.

    There is the FAQ about whether this work needs to have been done in the U.S., and the answer is, “no.” In fact, the applicant is not required to have ever been in the U.S. So, no USA experience is required.

    This category of immigration allows for a green card for any worker, anywhere in the world, who has worked at a large company, or has created his own company with success, or has been part of a team at a company, as long as they meet the regulatory requirements to be considered extraordinary in their field.

    For further information, this Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer can be contacted at 713.850.0066, 305.538.6800 or bruce.coane@gmail.com.

     
    • Helen 5:29 pm on May 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Simply thank you for keeping me updated and informed. Much appreciated.

    • Anonymous 6:13 pm on May 31, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      You’re welcome.

  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 3:24 pm on May 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    This Week’s Visit to Twitter Headquarters 

     

    JDcrop

    I had the opportunity to visit the San Francisco headquarters of Twitter today, and got to meet the Twitter founder and CEO, Jack Dorsey.

    For those of you who know me well, I am a big fan of social media, so what a tremendous honor to meet the leader of Twitter and to hear about all the innovations in the works at Twitter and his vision for the future.

    As an immigration lawyer, it was also nice to see the mix of workers at Twitter, including immigrants as well as American-born employees. The General Counsel, herself, of Twitter, is an immigrant  (now a citizen) just like many of my clients. Thanks to the H-1B visa and EB-1 and EB-2 green card status, high tech companies have been able to recruit the best and the brightest to work at their companies, along with the best and brightest American workers.

     

    About the author: Bruce Coane is an attorney who specializes in employment law and immigration law, with offices in Florida and Texas. He may be reached at bruce.coane@gmail.com, 713-850-0066 or 305-538-6800.  

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 7:23 pm on May 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    EB-1 Green Card for Individuals with Extraordinary Abilities 

     

    One of my favorite immigration topics is the EB-1 extraordinary worker green card. The great part of this is that it is a law which permits a foreign national to sponsor themselves for a green card. No American sponsor is necessary and no one signs the forms except the foreign national.

    One other important point is that the foreign national is not even required to be in the U.S. In fact, there is no requirement that the person has ever been to the U.S. I have done a number of cases where the person lived in Asia or the Middle East and had never been to the U.S., yet we got their green card case approved.

    To be qualified, the person must have some accomplishments in life, which could be in science, business, sports, art/music, etc. If they also have some notoriety in their own country or elsewhere, that is helpful, but not required.

    In this short video, I talk about the EB-1 green card  immigration process based on extraordinary skills in art.

     

     

     

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 11:11 pm on May 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    Alternatives for H-1B Visa Cap 

    viscon

    Within the first 5 days of April 2017 U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it reached the annual 85,000 H-1B visa cap. Although, USCIS did not make the number of applications received public, the computer generated lottery to select petitions to process will continue. Those applicants selected and approved can begin working for their U.S. employer under the H-1B Visa on October 1, 2017.

    The Trump administration is making many changes to the immigration laws in order to put American workers first. In a news release that USCIS issued on April 3, 2017 they announced that, “The H-1B visa program should help U.S. companies recruit highly-skilled foreign nationals when there is a shortage of qualified workers in the country. Yet, too many American workers who are as qualified, willing, and deserving to work in these fields have been ignored or unfairly disadvantaged. Protecting American workers by combating fraud in our employment-based immigration programs is a priority for USCIS”. They also mentioned site visits across the country to worksites of H-1B employees. Most of the USCIS site visits will occur in cases where, USCIS cannot validate the employer’s basic business information through commercially available data; H-1B-dependent employers (those who have a high ratio of H-1B workers as compared to U.S. workers, as defined by statute); and employers petitioning for H-1B workers who work off-site at another company or organization’s location.

    Since the H-1B window has closed for employers and foreign nationals seeking to apply in 2017, there are alternative Visa options. The following Visas have no cap and are available throughout the year.

    • EB-1 Visa: For foreign nationals of extraordinary ability who have achieved national and international recognition for extraordinary achievements in their field of endeavor.
    • L-1 Visa: For intracompany transferees who have worked for a foreign entity for one year and are seeking to transfer to a U.S. subsidiary, affiliate, parent, or branch office in the U.S. in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity
    • TN Visa: For Canadian and Mexican citizens employed in certain professional categories seeking to engage in U.S. employment. Examples of qualifying TN professional occupations include, but are not limited to Engineer, Accountant, Architect, Computer Systems Analyst, Geologist, Geophysicist, Graphic Designer, Management Consultant, Scientific Technician, Engineering Technicians, and many occupations in the medical and allied health field.
    • H-3 Visa: For foreign nationals coming to the U.S. to engage in a course of training.
    • E-3 Visa: For Australian citizens who will be employed in a specialty occupation in the U.S. (similar requirements to the H-1B visa).
    • E-1/E-2 Visa: For international investors or traders from certain treaty countries looking to engage in substantial trade between the U.S. and their foreign country or to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which the foreign national has invested. The E-1/E-2 visa is a great option for foreign entrepreneurs seeking to work in an essential capacity for their U.S. entity.

    My law firm does many self-sponsored EB-1 green card cases for petroleum engineers and others upstream and downstream in the oil and gas business. This has become an effective way to get a green card in an environment where the employers will not sponsor their workers for a green card.

    About the author: Bruce Coane is an attorney who specializes in labor and employment law and immigration law, with offices in Florida and Texas. He may be reached at bruce.coane@gmail.com, 713-850-0066 or 305-538-6800.  

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 3:06 pm on April 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    USA-Mexico Border: Immigration Enforcement 

    The attached video is from my live broadcast at the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico on April 23.2017. This Houston immigration lawyer discusses immigration enforcement and some changes under the Trump administration.

    In particular, I discuss the fact that Homeland Security and ICE have said that they plan to arrest and detain anyone who is out of status, even if they have a case pending or an extension pending. While they claim that such cases are not a priority, they have said that if they come across such individuals they will be arrested and detained. Moreover, from my own experience and those of my colleagues, we have observed that ICE is not granting bonds to those detained. That means that such detained individuals will sit in immigration jail for 2-4 weeks, or longer, until a judge sets bond.

    For further information, I may be reached at bruce.coane@gmail.com or at 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800. http://www.coane.com

     
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