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Richard A. Gump Jr. P.C. Blog

New Form I-9 Proposed in Federal Register

November 30, 2015

Filed under: Immigration — drgump @ 8:33 pm

New Form I-9 Proposed in Federal Register on November 24, 2015

In 1986, I studied the proposed worksite compliance laws and Form I-9. I handled the 13th worksite enforcement case ever filed in 1987. During that time, I began to wonder if it was time to bite the bullet and move toward a national ID card for U.S. citizens and a similar document for foreign nationals entitled to work in the U.S. Over the years worksite compliance has not gotten easier and we still have no simplified ID system in place. Now, almost 30 years after studying that first I-9, I am pouring over the latest (13th) proposed updated Form I-9 with drop downs for every box and zillions of pages of instructions, all proposed to make the process easier for employers and employees.

I pity the unprepared HR professional next Spring when he/she studies the new Form I-9 with its 15 pages of instructions, reviews all the drop down menus, reads every page of the 65 page M-274 and constantly checks I-9 Central for updates.

E-Verify may cut down on submission of fraudulent documents but it does not speed up the I-9 process and opens employers to scrutiny by ICE and the OSC for document abuse and fines for requesting certain documents from employees. Electronic I-9s may be the coming rage but they only help if the employers are truly compliant with the rules.

I-9 audits and fines for noncompliant employers are necessary to develop a culture of compliance in the workplace, but they are a trap for the unwary.

Happy Veterans Day!

November 11, 2015

Filed under: Holidays,Military,Uncategorized — drgump @ 7:01 pm

The Law Offices of Richard A. Gump, Jr. wants to say thank you to all of our country’s veterans.

In 2010, the Department of Defense launched several of initiatives to assist military members, veterans and their families navigate our complex immigration system. This included assistance with naturalization as well as other immigration benefits. Active duty members of the U.S. Armed Services (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard and National Guard), individuals serving in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve and individuals who previously served, as well as their family members are all eligible to benefit from these initiatives. One of the forms of relief for these individuals is “parole in place”. Parole may be granted to individuals who are already in the U.S., thus allowing them to adjust their status, even if they entered the U.S. illegally. Absent a criminal conviction or other serious adverse factors, parole in place is generally granted to spouses, parents and children of current and former military members.

One of our most rewarding cases was assisting a U.S. citizen in the Army obtain a green card for his wife before he was deployed to Afghanistan. His wife’s status in the U.S. weighed heavily on his mind and her ability to obtain a green card based on his military service enabled him to focus his attention on his military service.

Immigrant Investor Visa Proram

October 30, 2015

Filed under: Immigration,Standard — drgump @ 5:25 pm

The Immigrant Investor Visa Program (also known as EB-5)…have you heard of it? Some people refer to it as a way for wealthy foreign nationals to buy their U.S. green card; however, others see it for what it really is: a program that creates thousands of new American jobs and supports business ventures that would otherwise never gotten off the ground.

The EB-5 program, which is administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), allows foreign national entrepreneurs and their families to apply for a green card (aka permanent residence) if they invest at least $1 million, or $500,000 in a rural or high-unemployment area, in a U.S. business that creates at least 10 full-time jobs for qualified American workers.

Since 1990, the EB-5 program has been used to stimulate the U.S. economy and in FY2012 alone investments made through the EB-5 program supported 42,000 U.S. jobs and contributed $3.39 billion to U.S. gross domestic product. And the statistics keep growing with each passing year.

However, investors must be prudent in the types of business ventures they seek to invest. Without proper research and legal guidance the EB-5 labyrinth can cause serious problems for investors, including governmental investigations that can threaten the investor’s ability to secure his or her green card.

(change language of link to “SEC Announces Asset Freeze Against Alleged EB-5 Fraudster in Seattle Area)


(change language of link to “Judge Asked to Appoint Receiver in Path America EB-5 case”)


First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes……consular processing?

October 2, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — drgump @ 7:38 pm

Let’s face it: people love to be in love.  As the famous playground tune, sung in numerous languages and versions around the world, goes: “[Name] and [Name] sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G, first comes love, then comes marriage…” the institution of marriage is recognized by many cultures as the next step in the circle life once a couple has falling in love.

The great thing about love is that it knows no boundaries; religious, cultural or geographic.  As immigration lawyers, we see this day in and day out as people come to our office looking to bring their foreign fiancées, husbands or wives to the US.  Perhaps they met while studying abroad, travelling for pleasure or business, or online.  Regardless of how they met or the nature of their relationship, the common denominator among them all is that they are in love and want to start a life together in the US.

For individuals trying to bring their fiancée to the US, there are many considerations to take into account.  The process of obtaining the fiancée visa itself is complex and in some countries, may take a year or more to complete. During this time, the foreign national must remain in his or her home country until the visa process has been completed. Many couples fail to understand that immigration law requires that the wedding take place within 90 days of the fiancée entering the U.S. on their K-1 fiancée visa.  As if wedding plans aren’t difficult enough, trying to work out immigration papers in the midst of planning the big day can be a nightmare.

Depending on a couple’s cultural or religious traditions, they may prefer to get married abroad, in lieu of, or in addition to, having a more westernized wedding ceremony.  When a couple marries abroad and decides to process their immigrant visa at the local US consulate, the processing times and potential delays can be discouraging, especially given personal considerations such as family planning and employment goals.

Whether it’s investigating the qualifications for applying at a particular consular post, evaluating the reputation of a consulate to determine where a foreign national should process their immigrant visa or fiancée visa application, or helping the client present a flawless application proving up the bona fides of their relationship, our firm guides our clients through every step of this daunting process to ensure that their immigration matters don’t get in the way of their happily ever after.

Freedom is relative, not absolute!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — drgump @ 7:37 pm

In high school, my civics teachers’ mantra was “Freedom is relative, not absolute!” As a young kid, that phrase didn’t hold a lot of meaning to me.

50 years, a wife and kids, and a successful law practice, have made me realize that freedom is meaningless chaos without responsibility. Even the freedom to drive an automobile requires the responsibility to obey the traffic laws and drive safely.

Let’s look at the U.S. Government, U.S. citizens, and immigrants today:

  • The Senate was free to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill last year which covered more visas for workers at all levels, enhanced border security, and a path for illegal aliens to become legal.
  • The House was free to dislike the Senate bill and last week, passed a bill enhancing border security and overturning the administrative action benefiting illegal aliens brought to the U.S. as children.
  • The President was free to enact an administrative measure called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and consider other administrative actions to enhance border security and defer deportation of other classes of illegal aliens.
  • Illegal alien children from Central America under a 2008 law are free to cross the border, turn themselves in, and have the right to a hearing before being admitted or deported.
  • Illegal adult aliens are free to complain about the lack of comprehensive reform they believe they deserve because they work hard, pay taxes, and aren’t criminals.
  • U.S. citizens are free to complain about the presence of illegal aliens in the U.S. even though they often are hiring them directly or indirectly and complain when they get fined and their illegal alien gets deported because of antiquated laws.

Does anyone else see the disconnect between the freedoms above and the lack of responsibility to come together to find solutions?

The concerns are genuine: border security, humanitarian care, safety and health, and a 21st century international and mobile workforce. The solutions are hard and will demand compromise but isn’t that the role of the U.S. Government and our leaders? Immigrants who are not legally here don’t really have a free voice nor should they but U.S. citizens need to come together and tell our leaders we need solutions and compromise is not a dirty word.

We work hard for our clients to understand the difficult and often conflicting immigration laws that make their business and personal lives a challenge to manage.

The Real Impact of the H-1B Cap

Filed under: Uncategorized — drgump @ 7:34 pm

By failing to address the need for immigration reform, America is losing its ability to attract and secure highly skilled workers, which negatively impacts this country’s economy and global competitiveness.

One example to this negative societal impact is the H-1B nonimmigrant visa, which allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. Specialty occupations are defined as jobs that would normally require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a specific field. In FY 2013, the top 10 H-1B occupations were:

  • Computer Systems Analyst
  • Computer Programmer
  • Computer Occupations – All Other
  • Software Developers – Applications
  • Computer and Information Systems Managers
  • Software Developers – Systems Software
  • Accountants and Auditors
  • Management Analysts
  • Network and Computer Systems Administrators
  • Financial Analysts

Source: http://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/pdf/h_1b_temp_visa.pdf

When the H-1B program was implemented, the US government restricted the number of H-1B visas allowed each fiscal year: 65,000 for individuals with a Bachelor’s degree and an additional 20,000 for individuals with a Master’s degree or higher. Due to the excessive number of H-1B applications received each year (172,500 applications for fiscal year 2015 were received within 6 days of the filing period being opened), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) initiates a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to determine whose H-1B petition is selected for adjudication. Applications not selected in the lottery are returned to the applicant, along with the associated filing fees. In April of 2014 (when applications were accepted for FY2015) this resulted in almost 100,000 applications being rejected by the USCIS.

Employers whose applications were rejected were forced send their H-1B candidates back to their home country, and search for new employees, resulting in significant loss of revenue, technological setbacks and deadlines not being met.

In addition to eliminating the ability of the American employer to secure a highly-specialized “player” to help further its business growth, the H-1B cap creates a significant lost opportunity for the American economy in that these highly-skilled immigrants want to come to our country and contribute. As many American industries still attempt to recover from the latest recession, the avoidance of additional job creation opportunities makes absolutely no sense. According to the Partnership for a New American Economy (PNAE), “H-1B visa denials in 2007 and 2008 caused these [high-tech] areas to miss out on creating as many as 231,224 tech jobs for American-born workers in the years that followed…[as well as] cost U.S.-born, college-educated workers in computer-related fields as much as $3 billion in aggregate annual earnings.”

Unfortunately, the H-1B cap issue is only the tip of the immigration reform “iceberg.” The United States must remain competitive, and the only way to do that, is to fix our broken system immediately.

Hello world!

Filed under: Uncategorized — tntadmin @ 1:21 pm

Welcome to TNT Blogs. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

The Business of Texas

April 23, 2015

Texas is known as a business friendly state – low taxes, moderate regulations, and a good supply of workers. When it comes to immigration we have a mixed bag – (1) immigrants willing to work but may be here illegally and may have a low level of education, (2) resident tuition is available to immigrants but a proposal to abolish it if the individual does not have legal status has been introduced, and (3) local law enforcement focus on crimes, not immigration status but a proposal to forbid “sanctuary cities” has been introduced.

The proposals to limit resident tuition to those with legal status on its face makes sense until we realize it may not be wise to limit the education of children who don’t have status. Likewise, we don’t need to inhibit police efforts to solve crimes in the Hispanic communities by requiring them to check everyone’s immigration status.

We should be practical when it comes to educating children brought to the U.S. at an early age as well as supportive of police who want to focus on fighting crimes rather than be immigration cops frightening entire Hispanic communities.

Now we have a new immigration issue in the form of Executive Order No. RP-80, which requires state agencies under the direction of the governor, and contractors of such agencies, to use E-Verify for current and prospective employees. The problem for employers (the State of Texas agencies as well as private employers with contracts to do work for such agencies) is that federal law is clear that employer who sign up for E-Verify can only use it to verify newly hired employees except in certain limited circumstances (e.g. federal contracts under FAR rule). We don’t need this sort of confusion in Texas. While private attorneys and even the federal government agency responsible for E-Verify (USCIS) have pointed out the inconsistency to the governor’s office, RP-80 remains in effect. We encourage business associations, in particular the Texas Association of Business, which understands and promotes the need for fair and consistent immigration benefits and enforcement, to petition the governor’s office to rescind or amend RP-80 to conform with federal law.

Legal immigration is a net benefit to Texas businesses by encouraging entrepreneurs, trade and investment, as well as creating and filling jobs needed by employers. E-Verify is a wonderful tool to assist employers in determining whether prospective employees are authorized for employment but it must be enforced with one set of federal rules, without conflicting state rules.

Business Immigration Flash – Two Items to Consider

April 16, 2015

Recruiting, hiring and verifying a talented and legal workforce in a burgeoning economic hotspot like the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex is a continuing challenge for employers.

  1. H-1B Visas. The competition for international talent is strong in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex according to a report from the Brookings Institute. H-1B visas for professionals and persons in a specialty occupation are limited by a federal quota. DFW employers had 19,824 H-1B approvals during fiscal year 2013-2014, second only to New York in metropolitan areas and ahead of the Silicon Valley region. Statistics for fiscal year 2014 – 2015 are not yet available, but 172,000 petitions were filed in hopes of receiving one of the 65,000 visas available for that fiscal year.  The USCIS is completing its acceptance of H-1B visa petitions this week for fiscal year 2015 – 2016. Planning ahead and knowing the rules are paramount in being successful in this competition. H-1B wage and public file rules are strict and employers are subject to audits even after the visas are granted.
  2. E-Verify and Texas State Agency Contracts. E-Verify, the online electronic system for verifying employees, keeps gaining steam (500,000 employers currently enrolled at 1.4 million hiring sites, with 1,400 new employers joining weekly). E-Verify is an Internet-based system that compares information from an employee’s Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to data from U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration records to confirm employment eligibility. Is the Texas Executive Order RP 80 (December 3, 2014) requiring all state agency employees and companies (including subcontractors) doing business with Texas state agencies to use E-Verify for all current and new hires legal? The general rule is that only new hires can be run though E-Verify with the exception of the Federal Acquisition Rule. Employers with state agency contracts in Texas are encouraged to discuss this issue with legal counsel before acting.

A Note on the H-1B Visa Cap

April 15, 2015

Why are we capping the entry of professionals and entrepreneurs who create jobs by developing technology and building businesses that enlarge the overall economy?

It hasn’t always been this way. Before 1990 there was no lottery. If you were of distinguished merit or a professional you could get an H-1 visa without a cap in numbers or a particular salary requirement.

Companies constantly complain about the inability to attract foreign talent to fill “C” level positions. Despite the launch of StartUp America in 2011 by President Obama, entrepreneurs have a very difficult time finding an appropriate visa to develop their ideas. Startup America is a White House initiative that was launched to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation:

“Entrepreneurs embody the promise of America: the idea that if you have a good idea and are willing to work hard and see it through, you can succeed in this country. And in fulfilling this promise, entrepreneurs also play a critical role in expanding our economy and creating jobs.”


But here we are today with a story from Bloomberg discussing how the co-founder of Instagram seriously considered packing up and going home in 2010 because he could not get a work visa. He finally received an H-1B visa but it took longer to get the visa than it did to develop Instagram!

We must go beyond words and implement new laws and policies that will move our economy forward and create jobs for Americans, and foreign talent often is needed to do that.

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