Archive for March, 2012

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Immigrant Visa Program Phishing Scam

March 30, 2012

If you need assistance obtaining your Visa, or any other Immigration matter in NY, contact Susan B. Henner at (914) 358-5200 for a free consultation or more information.

Green card phishing scam preys upon visa hopefuls

By Perry Chiaramonte
March 28, 2012
A cruel new email phishing scam preys on visa holders with the phony promise of a green card in return for cash, FoxNews.com has learned.

The emails, under an official-looking U.S. State Department letterhead, tell recipients they are among 50,000 winners drawn at random from more than 12 million entries in the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, known more commonly as the green card lottery. But the elaborate emails are just a scheme to bilk money from recipients, authorities confirmed.

“We always advise people that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is,” a spokeswoman for the FBI told FoxNews.com. “We have received complaints about this particular scam that claims to be from the U.S. government.  If someone receives these emails unsolicited, they should be treated with a healthy amount of skepticism.”

Ian Jopson, an Australian citizen living in the U.S. with a work visa, received one such email as recently as Monday and figured out quickly that it was a sham.

“The header said, ‘Congratulations, you’ve won!’ I was overwhelmed because I’ve been in the [green card] lottery for years,” said Jopson. For a fleeting moment, he thought it was legitimate. Then he saw a request for nearly $900 in "processing fees," to be sent to an "embassy representative" in London through Western Union.

“It was a red flag," said Jopson, a web designer for FoxNews.com. "It’s general knowledge that Western Union is used for these things."

Another signal that something was amiss was a request that after payment, he send a confirmation message of the transfer to the email address, “lottery[at]usa-green-card-dv-lottery.com.”An email from a U.S. government agency would likely end in ".gov."

Jason Stern, a New York-based attorney who specializes in Internet issues, told FoxNews.com the scam is similar in many ways to the most famous cyber hoax of all.

"The green card lottery scam is really no more sophisticated than your garden-variety Nigerian Bank email phishing scam, except that it specifically targets immigrants — who are particularly vulnerable to a message bearing the official looking seal of the US Department of State," Stern said.

A spokesman for the State Department told FoxNews.com the scam has been making the rounds, prompting the agency to stop sending emails out for the visa lottery altogether. The spokesman said that the government only asks for fees when applicants first apply for visas.

“You actually have to log onto the system to check the status," the spokesman said. "We do this specifically to prevent the issue of fraud.”

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Anti-Immigration Law Blocked by Appeals Court in Alabama

March 23, 2012

If you need help with an Immigration Law issue, contact NY Immigration Attorney Susan B. Henner now at (914) 358-5200 for more information.

Victory! Appeals Court Blocks Additional Provisions of H.B. 56, Alabama’s Anti-Immigrant Law
Posted by Cecillia Wang, Immigrants’ Rights Project

A federal appeals court issued an order Thursday blocking two draconian provisions of Alabama’s immigration law, H.B. 56. The order brings immediate relief to the countless Alabamians who have suffered under these provisions, which were intended "to attack every aspect" of their lives and to expel them from the state.

The court’s order first restored the right of Alabamians to enter into contracts without fear. Section 27 of H.B. 56 would effectively void any contract where one party knows or has reason to know that another party to the contract is an undocumented immigrant. Under this measure, such contracts would be unenforceable in Alabama state courts.

The Alabama law takes aim at immigrants but affects all Alabamians by destabilizing contract law, a basic building block of our civil liberties as Americans. Even U.S citizens, as well as immigrants with and without lawful status, would be viewed with suspicion and denied the right to rent a home, or to lease a car or buy a new dining table on an installment plan. If you speak English with an accent, or you somehow seem "foreign" to a landlord or a salesman, Alabama’s law would make it impossible for you to do your everyday business and to keep a roof over your family’s head. Section 27 would turn neighbor against neighbor, forcing Alabamians to view each other with suspicion based on stereotypes.

The Court also blocked Section 30 of H.B. 56, which makes it a felony for an undocumented immigrant to enter into "any transaction" with the state government. We’ve already seen the human rights crisis caused by this law. Families who tried to pay for life necessities like water and electricity were turned away by state-run utilities. Alabamians were forced to show proof of their citizenship or immigration status when paying their property taxes. And so entire neighborhoods emptied overnight as families abandoned their homes and fled with only the belongings they could carry with them. This measure worked just as the state legislature intended – it literally made it impossible for people to live in Alabama.

The federal court ruling does not only restore the civil rights of Alabamians. It also puts things back into a constitutional order. As Americans, we have the right to disagree with one another in good faith about immigration policy. But one thing is for sure, as yesterday court order demonstrates: State laws that authorize discrimination and systematic violations of the U.S. Constitution cannot stand.

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Obtaining a Green Card

March 9, 2012

A green card is essential for all immigrants who wish to reside in the United States legally and permanently. Though there are a few exceptions, within five years of obtaining your green card you will be able to apply for citizenship.

Any immigrant that legally marries a U.S. citizen will be eligible to apply for citizenship after only three years. There are also many benefits for military personnel that wish to be granted the opportunity to become permanent residents as well.

There are many benefits that come with acquiring a green card, including the legal right to not only live in the United States, but also the right to work, or start a business. The process of getting a green card can be hampered if you have a criminal past, or if you have entered the United States illegally; but not impossible.

Working with a competent immigration attorney will make the process of completing the necessary steps much easier. You may also dramatically improve your chances if you fall into any of the following 7 categories:

•You have been found eligible for Asylum or Refugee status.

•You have invested a considerable amount of currency to the United States.

•Your employer has sponsored you by providing labor certification.

•You are considered an alien of extraordinary ability and are capable of petitioning for yourself.

•A close family member of substantial status sponsors you.

•You have resided in the United States for more than ten years, and have demonstrated that you are a person of good moral character.

•You are facing deportation that may result in extreme or unusual hardship such as physical harm to your person.

If you are currently an immigrant residing in the New York area who needs Immigration assistance, or if you or someone you know is facing the possibility of deportation, please contact Immigration Attorney Susan B. Henner now at 914-358-5200 for a free consultation.

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Are you an Immigrant with Extraordinary ability?

March 7, 2012

Did you know that the United States offers the opportunity to attain specialized visas to those who are considered Aliens Of Extraordinary Ability? An Alien Of Extraordinary Ability is someone the United States deems valuable, or a worthy candidate to be an asset to the US. One way in which this occurs is via O Visas.

O Visas may be granted to scientists, educators, artists, athletes, and business professionals, allowing them to come to the U.S. temporarily if a U.S. employer vouches for them in the form of a petition. The O visa also allows aliens of extraordinary ability to live in the U.S. and work in their field of expertise for a specific amount of time, after which point the alien of extraordinary ability may renew, or request permission to become a permanent resident of the United States.

What qualifications are helpful in acquiring an O Visa?

Non-United States citizens may be considered outstanding if they achieved internationally recognized awards such as the Nobel Prize, or specialized training in rare or difficult fields of study. They may be asked to provide documentation that validates any claimed abilities or qualifications. Sometimes O visas may be granted for members of exclusive scholarly associations known for contributing to society academically.

Another Visa that may be granted to Aliens of Outstanding ability is the O1B Visa, which is granted to artists such as performers, painters, musicians, actors, film makers and writers. If you are an immigrant in or outside of the United States and want to know if you qualify for an Alien of extraordinary ability Visa, please contact Immigration Attorney Susan B. Henner now at 914-358-5200 for a free consultation.