Immigration News

If I Had a Million Dollars… And I Create 10 New Jobs, How Long Will it Take Me to Receive a Permanent Resident Card?

Under U.S. immigration law, there are approximately 10,000 immigrant visas or Permanent Resident positions available each year to non-citizens who invest one million dollars in a new enterprise in the United States and create 10 new fulltime jobs.  By law, the one million dollar amount is reduced to $500,000 if the new enterprise is located in a designated high unemployment or rural area.  Currently, 3,000 of the total number of immigrant visas available in this category (EB5) are set aside for high unemployment /rural areas and 3,000 are set aside for Regional Centers.

To be considered a new commercial enterprise, the business must have been created after November 29, 1990.  However, the non-citizen investor is not required to start the business and is allowed to purchase an existing commercial enterprise.

In addition, if the investment is made in a pre-approved Regional Center, the 10 new jobs do not have to be directly employed by the enterprise and indirect job creation may be counted towards the total.  In Hawaii, there are currently six pre-approved Regional Centers.  In Oregon, there are currently 8 Regional Centers, including Seattle’s Golden Rainbow and Gateway Freedom Fund.

Initially, an Investor’s application (I-526) for Permanent Resident status is considered conditional and is only valid for 2 years. After 2 years, the Investor is required to file a second application with USCIS, an I-829 Petition to Remove the Condition, in order to demonstrate that the required capital has been invested and the requisite number of new jobs have been or are being created.

According to the latest processing times posted by USCIS, as of March 18, 2014, USCIS was processing initial I-526 applications filed on April 3, 2013, and adjudicating I-829 petitions for the Removal of Conditions […]

Federal Court Orders Immigration Bond Hearings for Non-citizens Detained in Tacoma, Washington

By Nicholas Costa, Associate Attorney, NELSON | SMITH, LLC

On Tuesday, March 11, 2014, the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington made a declaratory judgment to forbid immigration authorities from denying a bond determination for certain individuals while they are detained in immigration custody.   This decision is a landmark victory against immigration authorities’ longstanding rule that certain individuals be held without bond no matter when they were picked up by immigration.  This new rule affects those residing in the Western District of Washington and includes all non-citizens detained at the Northwest Detention Center (“NWDC”) in Tacoma, WA.

For over a decade, immigration authorities have maintained that individuals with certain criminal convictions are subject to mandatory detention during the pendency of their removal proceedings under the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”) § 236(c) no matter when they were picked up by immigration.   This allowed Immigration and Custom Enforcement (“ICE”) to arrest and detain people without the hope of release — no matter how old the conviction was.   Congress enacted INA § 236(c) and bestowed immigration authorities with the power to mandatorily detain individuals without bond “when released” from custody for that conviction.  For example, when a non-citizen is found guilty in a criminal court, sentenced, and then released from criminal custody, immigration authorities have the power to immediately detain the person without hope of bond while their removal proceedings are pending.   However, immigration authorities have overstepped this statutory grant for over a decade.  Based on a decision entitled Matter of Rojas, 23 I&N Dec. 117 (BIA 2001) – a decision that has been overwhelmingly rejected by the United Stated District Court of Washington and other district courts around the country – immigration […]