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Important Immigration Programs Extended

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By:  John Nicholas Mandalakas*

The EB – 5 Regional Center , E-Verify Program, Special Nonminister Religious Worker, and Conrad state 30 J-1 Visa programs were approved for a three year extension late on Friday, September28.

The EB – 5 Regional Center program allows immigrants who invest 500,000 -1,000,000 in ‘regional centers’ which provide at least 10 jobs direct or indirect to apply for an investors visa. Up to 10,000 are rewarded annually. The Regional Center program has been credited with boosting development in markets that have been hit hard by the US financial crisis. Expansion and construction of hotels for example, has gravitated towards EB – 5 funding over the past couple years. Marriot International has built 14 new hotels, for example, based completely on Investor Visa funding.

The E-Verify Program is an internet based government application that allows employers to check the work authorization statuses of potential employees. The program is intended to prevent the hiring of unauthorized workers. It is used by 387,000 human resources managersnationwide.

Special Nonminister Religious Worker Program allows 5,000 special visas for immigrants who are receiving a compensated full time position from a non-profitorganization. This program is separate from the visa process for ministerial religious workers.

The Conrad State 30 J-1 Visa Program is a special accommodation for a small amount of International Students yearly. The program grants 30 international medical students to stay to work in medically underserved areas of the United States.

The programs, which were slated to expire on September 30, will now continue through 2015.  While some may be pleased witht the bill, it is actually a perfect picture of what is wrong with immigration reform in the US government.  These are all successful programs that will almost certainly be extended again, and yet the best we could do was to pass a last-minute extension only immediately before they were to expire.  If you consider what happened, this extension does not constitute any real effort for reform.  Instead, it is indicative of congressional reluctance to upset the status quo on immigration – a status quo that is horribly broken. 

* John Nicholas Mandalakas is an intern at Beach-Oswald Immigration Law Associates, P.C.

Filed under: Immigration Issues

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