Thursday, May 24, 2012
The amazing Salma Hayek was born on September 2, 1966, in of Coatzacoalcos, Mexico. Robert Rodriguez and his producer wife Elizabeth Avellan happened to be watching and were immediately smitten with the intelligent, opinionated young woman. He soon gave her her big break--to star opposite Antonio Banderas in the now cult classic Desperado (1995), which put her on Hollywood's map. The moviegoers proved to be as dazzled with Hayek as he had been. After her break, she was cast again by Rodriguez to star in his From Dusk Till Dawn (1996). Although her vampy role opposite George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino was a small one, it was a good credit to her box office name. Hayek's first star billing came later that year with Fools Rush In (1997) opposite "Friends" (1994) actor Matthew Perry. The film was a modest hit, and Hayek continued to rise her star in both commercial and artistic films such as: Breaking Up (1997) with an unknown Russell Crowe; 54 (1998) about the rise and fall of the legendary New York club; Dogma (1999), playing the muse in a somewhat odd comedy co-starring Matt Damon and Chris Rock; In the Time of the Butterflies (2001) (TV), the small artistic film which won Hayek an ALMA award as best actress; and the 1999 summer blockbuster Wild Wild West (1999). Her production company "Ventanarosa" produced the 1999 Mexican feature film No One Writes to the Colonel (1999), which was shown at the Cannes Film Festival and selected as Mexico's official Oscar entry for best foreign film.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
May 18, 2012 H-1B Cap Count (Updated 5/22/12) USCIS updated its count of FY2013 cap-subject H-1B petitions & advanced degree cap-exempt petitions receipted. As of 5/18/12, nearly 42,000 H-1B cap-subject petitions were receipted. Additionally, USCIS has receipted 16,000 H-1B petitions for aliens with advanced degrees.
Juan Carlos Oviedo has received a pardon from the U.S. State Department for admitting to falsifying his identity and is expected to secure a work visa soon. A newspaper in the Dominican Republic reported earlier that Oviedo had already acquired his visa, but that won't happen for another couple of days. The 28-year-old right-hander (formerly named Leo Nunez) will then have to serve an eight-week suspension handed down from Major League Baseball.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
WASHINGTON, DC - Today one branch of Congress voted to undo nearly two decades of bi-partisan commitment to the protection of victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, and sexual assault. In passing H.R. 4970, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2012 (VAWA) (Adams, R-FL), the U.S. House of Representatives aims to eviscerate protections created by VAWA to ensure that battered immigrants are not further exploited by their abusers. "This is a sad and frightening day for girls who have been raped, spouses who are trapped in abusive relationships, and all other immigrant victims of violence," said AILA President Eleanor Pelta. "As an attorney, how do I tell a battered woman that she should cooperate with the prosecution of her batterer but that she will likely get deported as a result?" Pelta continued, referring to a particularly harsh provision in H.R. 4970. The U visa is available for victims of specific crimes who cooperate in the investigation or prosecution of the persons charged with the criminal activity. The provision in H.R. 4970 makes U visa protection merely temporary in almost all cases and takes away the protections a victim can receive by applying for a green card. "When reporting a crime will ultimately end in deportation, victims of crimes will not go to the police. That makes no sense. This bill makes no sense," Pelta said. H.R. 4970 also establishes an extremely onerous adjudication process for victims to be granted self-petition under VAWA. "Why would we require two investigators, two interviews, and two different USCIS offices to review the application of an abused spouse? Nowhere else in our immigration law do we require such scrutiny of an applicant," said Pelta. "This process adds insult to injury for victims of abuse and creates administrative burdens for DHS adjudicators. It's a waste of government resources." "Allegations of widespread fraud in VAWA programs are wholly unfounded," continued Pelta. "For every isolated incident of fraud, VAWA has saved thousands of lives by protecting victims. Moreover, DHS officials already screen cases with a high level of scrutiny. Adding more interviews or evidentiary checks goes far beyond what we require in any other area of law." When Congress enacted VAWA in 1994 and reauthorized it twice in 2000 and 2005, it recognized that the noncitizen status of battered immigrants can make them particularly vulnerable. Abusers often exploit their victims' undocumented status, leaving the victim afraid to report the abuse to law enforcement and making them fearful of assisting with the prosecution of these crimes. "AILA calls upon both chambers of Congress to enact a bi-partisan bill that retains the vital protections for battered immigrants that have functioned effectively for years. We recommend taking up the Senate's bill S. 1925 and scrapping the House bill," said Pelta.
Friday, May 11, 2012
From Mashable's Chris Taylor Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, whom you may remember portrayed as the disgruntled friend of Mark Zuckerberg’s who smashes his laptop in The Social Network, has officially renounced his U.S. citizenship — and joined the tiny nation of Singapore. As first reported by Bloomberg, Saverin’s name is on a Federal register called the Quarterly Publication of Individuals Who Have Chosen to Repatriate. That means he renounced citizenship before April 30, according to the IRS. “Eduardo recently found it more practical to become a resident of Singapore since he plans to live there for an indefinite period of time,” Saverin’s spokesman told Bloomberg in an email. He said the switch happened “around September.” Why do it? One word: taxes. With Facebook’s IPO approaching, the 30-year-old Saverin stands to become a very rich man indeed. He owns around 4% of a company that is set to be valued in the range of $100 billion. (And that’s his share after it was diluted by Zuckerberg and Co, which was the reason for that smashed laptop.) The high-tech Asian powerhouse of Singapore isn’t just a nice place to settle — it also doesn’t have any capital gains tax. Saverin will still have to give some cash to Uncle Sam in the form of an exit tax, which looks at potential capital gains on stock that hasn’t been sold.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
AILA Liaison received the following information from the Department of State regarding the recent priority date movement for China-mainland born and India EB-2 categories, as well as information on projections for visa availability in the EB-1 and EB-2 preference categories. The following information will be included in the June 2012 Visa Bulletin, which should be posted soon. D. CHINA-MAINLAND AND INDIA EMPLOYMENT SECOND PREFERENCE CATEGORY IS_UNAVAILABLE Despite the retrogression of the China and India Employment Second preference cut-off date to August 15, 2007, demand for numbers by applicants with priority dates earlier than that date remained excessive. Such demand is primarily based on cases which had originally been filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for adjustment of status in the Employment Third preference category, and are now eligible to be upgraded to Employment Second preference status. The potential amount of such "upgrade" demand is not currently being reported, but it was evident that the continued availability of Employment Second preference numbers for countries other than China and India was being jeopardized. Therefore, it was necessary to make the China and India Employment Second preference category "Unavailable" in early April, and it will remain so for the remainder of FY-2012. Numbers will once again be available for China and India Employment Second preference cases beginning October 1, 2012 under the FY-2013 annual numerical limitations. Every effort will be made to return the China and India Employment Second preference cut-off date to the May 1, 2010 date which had been reached in April 2012. Readers should be advised that it is impossible to accurately estimate how long that may take, but current indications are that it would definitely not occur before spring 2013. USCIS has indicated that it will continue accepting China and India Employment Second preference I-485 filings during May, based on the originally announced May cut-off date. E. EMPLOYMENT FIRST AND SECOND PREFERENCE VISA AVAILABILITY Item F of the May Visa Bulletin (number 44) provided projections regarding visa availability in the coming months. Information received from the USCIS after the publication of that item requires an update in the projections for the Employment First and Second preference categories. Employment First: Based on the current rate of demand, it may be necessary to establish a cut-off date at the end of the fiscal year in an effort to limit number use within the annual numerical limit. Employment Second: Based on the current rate of demand, it may be necessary to establish a cut-off date for this category for all countries other than China and India. Such action may be required at any time during the next few months. Please be advised that the above are only estimates for what could happen during the next few months based on applicant demand patterns experienced in recent months.