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Invest New Hampshire Regional Center Enters the EB-5 Field

October 28th, 2013 No comments
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Northern New England’s immigrant investment playing field just became more crowded. A new EB-5 regional center, based in Campton, N.H., was approved Monday by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The Invest New Hampshire Regional Center aims to raise $10.5 million in $500,000 increments from 21 investors. The money will fund expansions at the Owl’s Nest Resort and Golf Club in the White Mountains, according to USCIS documentation published on its website.

The center’s manager, Kelly Wieser, is the daughter of Owl’s Nest developer and regional center principal Thomas Mullen. A January report in New Hampshire Business Review quoted Mullen as saying the group plans to expand their EB-5 investment portfolio beyond Owl’s Nest. Representatives from Invest New Hampshire could not be reached before publication time for this article.

Invest New Hampshire is the fourth such regional center approved to operate in New Hampshire. The New Hampshire EB-5 Regional Center was created to raise $35 million to turn Ragged Mountain Resort into a four-season destination, much like plans for the EB-5-funded Jay Peak and Burke Mountain expansions in Vermont.

“You’ve heard of the term, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?” Bill Stenger said. “This applies.”

The Jay Peak co-owner is the public face of a combined $425 million set of EB-5 projects promising thousands of jobs in the Northeast Kingdom. In addition to Jay Peak and Burke Mountain, Stenger and his business partner, Ariel Quiros, are working to bring a Korean biotech firm to Newport and develop a city block and waterfront lot in the town.

For more information on the EB-5 program in general, click here.

If you are considering the EB-5 Investor Visa Program, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you to help you better understand the process and whether the EB-5 program is a viable option for you.

The contents and information provided in this post should in no way be considered an endorsement or recommendation by The Nunez Firm, P.C. in favor of the investment opportunities or regional centers mentioned herein. The contents are strictly for informational purposes. As with any investment, investors considering the EB-5 program should consult a financial advisor and perform the necessary due diligence.

Marco Rubio Says It’s Time for Immigration Reform Proponents to be Realistic on Immigration Reform

October 24th, 2013 No comments
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President Barack Obama is hoping that Congress passes a comprehensive immigration reform bill before 2013 ends, but some Republicans have news for him and other proponents: it’s time to be get back reality about what’s possible on that issue.

If you ask U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a member of the tea party factions, if Obama and Democrats want to see some movement on immigration reform then they are going to have to be willing to find some common group with Republicans. That common ground, based on his interview on “Fox and Friends” Tuesday morning, is to focus on where there is bipartisan agreement on the issue.

“First of all, I think we need to be realistic about it,” Rubio told the Fox News. “We’ve been lectured now for the better part of a month about how my side needs to be realistic about what was possible on Obamacare because the president controls the White House and the Democrats control the Senate. Now, I think it’s time for proponents of immigration reform to be realistic about what’s achievable on immigration.”

What’s more, president himself last week –pointing to immigration as one of three priorities where there is bipartisan agreement — said the way business is done in Washington, D.C. needs to change and urged lawmakers, “If we disagree on something we can move on and focus on the things we agree on and get some stuff done.”

The sticking point on immigration reform? What to do with the 11 million people who are in the United States without legal papers. Hence, the question now is whether Democrats and proponents of reform are willing to let lawmakers proceed to pass legislation in areas of reform where there is bipartisan agreement such as legal migration, border security, and more employer accountability.

Securities Exchange Commission Warns Foreign Investors of EB-5 Scams

October 23rd, 2013 No comments
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The Securities and Exchange Commission is warning international investors of potential scams offered through the EB-5 visa program, which presents investors in qualified projects a path to a residency visa.

The program is popular with property developers, who see EB-5 as a way to attract foreign investors. But the SEC and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services are prosecuting companies that allegedly abused the system.

The SEC is “aware of investment scams targeting foreign nationals who seek to become permanent lawful U.S. residents through the Immigrant Investor Program (“EB-5″),” the agencies reported. “In close coordination with USCIS, which administers the EB-5 program, the SEC has taken emergency enforcement action to stop allegedly fraudulent securities offerings made through EB-5.”

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Under the EB-5 program, which was first developed in 1990, investors can earn a fast-track path to a residency visa if they invest $1 million in a job-creating commercial enterprise, or $500,000 in a “targeted employment area.”

In Chicago, the SEC alleges the promoter of the “world’s first zero carbon emission platinum LEED certified hotel and conference center” used false and misleading information to solicit investors. The complaint charges the developer with a “$156 million investment fraud,” including allegations that the individual falsely claimed that the project had received necessary permits and had received backing from major hotel chains.

The SEC is also prosecuting a case in Texas, where they allege the creators of a regional center falsely promised returns of 5 percent on their investment and started marketing the project before the business was designated as a regional center. The defendants also misused investor funds on personal projects, including the funding for a Cajun-themed restaurant, the complaint alleges.

“The fact that a business is designated as a regional center by USCIS does not mean that USCIS, the SEC, or any other government agency has approved the investments offered by the business, or has otherwise expressed a view on the quality of the investment,” the SEC warns. “The SEC and USCIS are aware of attempts to misuse the EB-5 program as a means to carry out fraudulent securities offerings.”

If you are considering the EB-5 immigrant investor program, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez

INA 245(i) – What is a Grandfathered Alien Under INA 245(i) And Why Is It Significant

October 20th, 2013 No comments
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INA 245(i) was first enacted in 1994 to allow certain aliens to adjust status in the US despite entering without inspection or being otherwise barred from adjustment of status under INA 245(c). The LIFE Act reinstated INA 245(i) until April 30, 2001. The LIFE Act also added a physical presence requirement for aliens who are grandfathered by a visa petition or labor certification filed after January 14, 1998 and on or before April 30, 2001.

“Grandfathered alien” means an alien who is the beneficiary of a visa petition filed under INA 204 (Form I-140, I-130, I-360 or I-526) which was properly filed on or before April 30, 2001, and which was approvable when filed. The spouses and children of grandfathered aliens are also included in this category. Grandfathered alien also includes beneficiaries of labor certification applications (FORM ETA 750) properly filed on or before April 30, 2001 and which was approvable when filed.

The term “properly filed”, as it pertains to a visa petition, means the the application was physically received by INS or postmarked by April 30, 2001 and accepted for filing by INS. Regarding labor certification, “properly filed” means the application was properly filed and accepted pursuant to the Department of Labor regulations.

The term “approvable when filed” is a complex issue and often the subject of debate with USCIS officers. “Approvable when filed” means that, as of the date of the filing of the qualifying visa petition or labor certification, the visa petition or labor certification was properly filed, meritorious in fact, and non-frivolous. This determination is made based on the circumstances as they existed at the time of filing. A visa petition or labor certification that was later withdrawn, revoked or denied due to circumstances that arose after the filing will still preserve the alien’s “grandfathered’ status.

Once an alien is grandfathered under INA 245i, he or she remains grandfathered and eligible to apply for adjustment of status even if the alien adjusts status based on a different visa petition or labor certification than the one initially filed on or before April 30, 2001. If the alien is not in an authorized period of stay, the fact that she or he is a grandfathered alien does not prevent the accrual of unlawful presence.

If you or a loved one is considering adjustment of status based on INA 245i, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. We regularly handle 245i cases and managing attorney Jay Nunez will help you better understand the process and whether it will work for you.

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AEGEA Signs Agreement With South Asia Group for EB-5 Funding Commitment

October 17th, 2013 No comments
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NORTH PALM BEACH, FL–(Marketwired – Oct 14, 2013) – AEGEA (OTCBB: AEGA) (“AEGEA” or the “Company”), a planned mega-resort destination and international community in Florida, announced today that in furtherance of its EB-5 foreign investment program it has signed an agreement with a South Asia group, ADN Consulting, Inc. (“ADN”) which represents potential EB-5 investors residing throughout southern Asia. ADN expects to close on funding commitments for $6 million from its first wave of EB-5 investors over the next 60 days. Thereafter, ADN expects to close on funding commitments from EB-5 investors during the coming months. Under this agreement, ADN will use its best efforts to introduce investors to AEGEA and coordinate with their U.S. Immigration counsel’s efforts to qualify, prepare and file USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) EB-5 application petitions associated with their investments. AEGEA will support the efforts of its prospective EB-5 investors by supplying documentation and information on AEGEA’s planned resort project, including marketing and promotional materials. Part of AEGEA’s financing strategy is obtaining foreign investment through the USCIS EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program.

Under the USCIS EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, certain foreign investors, who can demonstrate that their at-risk investments are creating U.S. jobs, become eligible to apply for conditional lawful permanent residency in the United States. The purpose of the EB-5 program is to help boost the U.S. economy through foreign investment, by creating jobs and providing venture capital.

Congress created the EB-5 program in 1990 to encourage new investment capital into the United States and to create new jobs for U.S. workers. The EB-5 program is based on our national interest in promoting immigration for individuals that will stimulate the economy by investing their capital in new, restructured, or expanded businesses in the United States.

Under the EB-5 program, foreign-born individuals who invest their capital in job-creating projects in the U.S. receive conditional permanent resident status for two-years. Towards the end of the two year period, the immigrant must file an I-829 Form to remove the conditions on permanent residence. As part of the filing, the immigrant must prove that the requirements of the EB-5 program have been satisfied. If the I-829 Form is approved, the alien becomes an unconditional permanent resident whose green card is valid indefinitely. Congress created the conditional status period to help ensure compliance with the statutory and regulatory requirements and goals pertaining to the infusion of foreign capital and job-creation.

If you are considering the EB-5 Investor Visa Program, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you to help you better understand the process and whether the EB-5 program is a viable option for you.

The contents and information provided in this post should in no way be considered an endorsement or recommendation by The Nunez Firm, P.C. in favor of the investment opportunity or regional center mentioned herein.

President Obama Vows to Make Immigration Reform a Priority Once Fiscal Crisis is Resolved

October 16th, 2013 No comments
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“Once that’s done, you know, the day after, I’m going to be pushing to say, call a vote on immigration reform,” he told the Los Angeles affiliate of Spanish-language television network Univision.

The president’s domestic agenda has been sidetracked in his second term by one problem after another. As he coped with the revelation of domestic surveillance programs, chemical weapons in Syria, and a fiscal battle that has shut down the U.S. government and threatens a debt default, immigration has been relegated to the back burner.

But Obama, who won re-election with overwhelming Hispanic backing, had hoped to make reforms easing the plight of the 11 million immigrants who are in the United States illegally.

In June, the Senate passed an immigration overhaul, but House of Representatives Republicans are divided over the granting of legal status to those in the country illegally, a step many see as rewarding lawbreakers.

Although the president had sought comprehensive reform, he said last month he would be open to the House taking a piece-by-piece approach if that would get the job done.

Obama on Tuesday blamed House Speaker John Boehner for preventing immigration from coming up for a vote.

“We had a very strong Democratic and Republican vote in the Senate,” he said. “The only thing right now that’s holding it back is, again, Speaker Boehner not willing to call the bill on the floor of the House of Representatives.”

K-1 Fiance Visa – What If the Marriage Occurs Outside the First 90 Days After Entry?

October 16th, 2013 No comments
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Under INA 101(a)(15)(K), the fiance of a US citizen may seek to enter the United States solely to conclude a valid marriage with the petitioner within 90 days of entry. The alien fiance enters the United States on a K-1 Fiance Visa. Under the regulations, the alien may not adjust status unless the marriage occurs within the first 90 days after admission. However, the 90 day rule does not appear in INA 245(d). Under INA 245(d), the alien fiance may not adjust status to conditional permanent resident unless the marriage is to the US citizen that filed the K-1 visa petition. The alien fiance becomes deportable if the marriage does not occur within the first 90 days. INA 214(d).

However, under some circumstances a couple might be unable to get married within the first 90 days. What if there is a death or illness in the family or the US citizen petitioner is deployed abroad as a member of the Armed Forces? If the alien and spouse get married outside the first 90 days, there is a loophole that can be used to obtain conditional permanent residence.

The spouse must file a new visa petition for the alien spouse, who is ineligible to adjust status as a K-1 nonimmigrant. The I-130 visa petition and the adjustment of status application (I-485) can be filed concurrently. Since the alien’s adjustment would still be based upon his or her marriage to the citizen petitioner, Section 245(d) would not clearly bar the alien’s adjustment.

The alien clearly may not seek adjustment under the preference system, nor on the basis of a marriage to a different citizen. However, INA 245(d) does not clearly preclude the citizen petitioner from filing a new visa petition on the alien’s behalf after the untimely marriage. Approval of the citizen spouse’s alien relative visa petition would qualify the alien spouse as an “immediate relative,” eligible for a marriage-based green card. The alien could then apply for adjustment, notwithstanding the fact that the failure to marry within the time allowed by Section 214(d) renders the alien’s status unlawful.

It is important to note that the alien and US citizen spouse must file the I-485 within the first two years of marriage, because, under INA 216, the alien spouse that enters as a K-1 fiance may only adjust status to conditional permanent resident.

The Nunez Firm handles countless marriage based immigration cases every year including fiance visas, consular processing, adjustment of status and removal of conditions on permanent residence. If you are currently in the process of any marriage based immigration case, contact us to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you to help you better understand the options and the pros and cons of each. Every case is different and the facts of each case will determine which approach is best.

150 Mile Walk To Raise Awareness for Immigration Reform

October 14th, 2013 No comments
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TAMPA — More than 2,000 supporters of immigration reform are expected to gather in Tampa on Monday night to mark the end of a seven-day walk designed to draw attention to their cause.

Plans call for the group to meet at 7 p.m. at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in downtown Tampa. Bishop Robert N. Lynch, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg, plans to join the group and lead a prayer service and candlelight vigil.

The group’s efforts called, “The Way for Citizenship,” are part of a campaign lead by PICO United Florida, a coalition of congregations, to influence immigration reform. For the last seven days, 11 people have participated in a 150-mile walk from Orlando to Tampa, making stops at churches along the way. The 11 walkers, known as pilgrims, are symbolic of the country’s 11 million undocumented immigrants, organizers said.

Polls Show GOP Would Benefit From Immigration Reform

October 11th, 2013 No comments
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A trio of polls in key GOP-held House districts being released Thursday show that voters overwhelmingly back immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship, and suggest the Republican Party would improve its image in these predominantly Latino areas if Congress passes a rewrite of U.S. immigration laws.

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The polls, conducted in the districts of California Republican Reps. Jeff Denham, Devin Nunes and David Valadao on behalf of advocacy groups, are meant to pressure them on enacting immigration reform, which generated much momentum earlier this year but sputtered when the debate moved to the House.

More than 70 percent of likely voters in all three districts said they would support a bill that mirrored the comprehensive immigration reform bill in the Senate in June, according to the polls. And in the three districts, 69 percent of voters said they would favor a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the United States, as long as the applicants paid fines, learned English, passed background checks, and waited at least 13 years. That’s the pathway sketched out in the Senate bill.

All three districts, located in California’s Central Valley, have populations that are all at least 40 percent Latino. Valadao’s district is 70 percent Latino. Read more at Politico.

What Happens With Immigration Cases If There Is A Government Shutdown?

September 30th, 2013 No comments
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The short answer is it depends on which immigration-related branch is involved and what type of case it is. The various immigration related government entities (USCIS, ICE, Department of State, EOIR, Department of Labor, etc.) have not released much info regarding what will happen; however, a similar issue arose in 2011, and the contingency plans in place then may be instructive. The following is merely speculation and should not be relied upon as conclusive (but hopefully it helps).

USCIS: Many USCIS functions will continue, because USCIS is primarily funded by filing fees rather than appropriations. E-Verify might shut down.

Department of Labor: The DOL is funded by appropriations; therefore, many tasks will be put on hold and some workers will be furloughed. DOL will not process labor condition applications, audit responses, prevailing wage determination applications, applications for temporary or permanent employment certification. The DOL iCert Visa Portal System would be inoperable as well.

Executive Office of Immigration Review: Other than the detained docket, most EOIR functions would likely cease due to a shutdown. This was the plan in 2011.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement: ICE attorneys will continue to work on detained docket cases; however, other cases will not be considered essential and will cease during the shutdown.

Department of State: Visa processing will not continue unless it is a “life or death” matter.

Customs and Border Protection: Borders will remain open during a shutdown; however, it is not clear if applications eligible to be processed at the border will be handled during a shutdown. Inspection and law enforcement are considered essential personnel and will continue to work.

 

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