Incorrect. Law does not mention 5 years. It simply says advanced degrees or their equivalent. Read for yourself (again!)
INA: ACT 203 - ALLOCATION OF IMMIGRANT VISAS
Sec. 203. [8 U.S.C. 1153]
(2) Aliens who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees or aliens of exceptional ability. -
(A) In general. - Visas shall be made available, in a number not to exceed 28.6 percent of such worldwide level, plus any visas not required for the classes specified in paragraph (1), to qualified immigrants who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees or their equivalent or who because of their exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, will substantially benefit prospectively the national economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare of the United States, an d whose services in the sciences, arts, professions, or business are sought by an employer in the United States.
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Real estate is always a local phenomena. So those of you who are following national guidelines are misleading yourselves. Unless you are major investor, who would like to keep his/her real estate portfolio diverse, national level real estate indicator is not of much use.
I bought a foreclosed house few months ago, but before that did thorough study at personal level. Not only analytically study your market, but also "go to genba". Feel the pulse, find where and what kind of people live in those sub-divisions.
If you are leaning towards investing, lean with good intent. Avoid risk by thouroughly understanding your financial situation. I went with 30 yr fixed, to be conservative.
Finally, have guts to make a call, either way. It's the right time, I would say.
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Thanks but flattery will get you nowhere.
Instead of getting emotional if we look at the point Rolling_Flood is trying to make, it makes perfect sense.
I don't see why there are so many angered arguments...
1. EB2/EB3 is decided by Job Profile - correct. Its always option to say NO if your employer is filing it in EB3. My previous company wanted to file my labor in EB3, I said NO and left them. Filed in EB2 with new employer.
Its easy to be sympathetic with people whose employer filed them in EB3, but remember they always had option to say NO.
2. If someone have EB3 priority date before other guy who filed EB2 from beginning, the porting EB3 to EB2 and getting ahead of EB2 guy is grossly incorrect. I can't believe USCIS lets this happen.
If someones job profile was eligible for EB3 only when they filed and now fits in EB2, they should file fresh application based on EB2 job profile.
Looking at previous trashing of thread opener, I am expecting lots of reds - so go ahead but that not going to change the truth.
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If two recent events are compared, then they would ostensibly appear to be disconnected. Nevertheless, they ought to evoke considerable interest because of the actual linkage between them. The first is Swaranjit Sen, former Director General of Police (DGP) of Andhra Pradesh, is to be anointed as the vice-chancellor of the troubled Osmania University, which of late has been a hotbed of Telangana agitation. His appointment would be a historic occasion since for the first time an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer will be a vice-chancellor in the state.1 Second, the Maoists called for a bandh in the Andhra-Orissa border area on December 22. Their agenda was to protest against the killing of five of their comrades in an encounter by the elite Andhra Greyhounds personnel at Cheruvuru near Korukonda in Chintapalli mandal.2 These two events represent different facets of the Maoist movement in Andhra. And the connection is manifested when it is remembered that Sen is known in the state for his ‘hard line’ image against the Maoists.
On one hand, Sen’s appointment shows that the police force in Andhra commands significant confidence among the political leadership. That is why an IPS officer has been entrusted with task of sorting out a trouble-torn university. For instance, media reports say that the Andhra government has, in principle, approved a suggestion by Governor Narasimhan to nominate senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) or IPS officers to head the three strife-torn universities of Osmania, Kakatiya and Andhra.3
On the other hand, these events also portray the fact that the Maoists are trying their best to reclaim lost territories. Hence, a more severe skirmish is in the offing in Andhra Pradesh. In fact, the Maoists have a grandiose plan to create ‘liberated zones’ in the state.4 Moreover, it is not at all unlikely that the left-wing ultras are not aiding and abetting the Telangana movement and would continue to do so in future through their frontal student and other mass organisations.
To corroborate, quite recently, the Telangana Praja Front (TFP) was floated by Maoist sympathiser and balladeer Gaddar. Reportedly, he has demanded that the central government honour its commitment by immediately tabling a bill in parliament for the formation of Telangana.5 Gaddar’s actions, though in the garb of democracy, needs to be conceived as a covert move of the insurgents. Moreover, when some Telangana groups have already warned of a 'bloodbath' if the Sri Krishna Commission makes no recommendation for the formation of Telangana state by December 31 2010, the inherent liaison between these militant pro-Telangana groups and the Maoists simply cannot be rejected outright.
Against this backdrop, Gaddar’s TFP, acting as an open party to subvert the democratic processes of the state, is basically what the outlawed outfit wants or rather badly needs. It is a natural tactical belief of the Maoists that overt military acts in the Andhra-Orissa border region can be effectively compounded with mass agitations around Hyderabad to weaken the existing political structures of Andhra Pradesh. Moreover, when the issue is as emotive as Telangana, the rebels do have a solid ground from which to launch their tactics.
There is another reason to believe that the ongoing agitation for a separate Telangana state may have a Maoist ‘hand’. There are allegations of extortion against Telangana activists which seem to follow the ‘extortion regime’ of the Naxalite movement in Andhra.6 Pro-Telangana activists believe that taking donations to propel the movement forward is a reasonable step. However, Lok Satta Party president Jayaprakash Narayan asserted in the state assembly that there is heavy extortion involved in the Telangana movement. Furthermore, there have been allegations that local leaders were collecting huge amounts to the tune of Rs. 10,000 to 20,000 from businessmen, government employees, contractors and others to conduct even cultural programmes.7 This is quite interesting considering the fact that this is a standard modus-operandi of the Maoists to garner finances.
Operating from their headquarters at Abujhmar in Chattisgarh, the Maoists are essaying into other states. Most importantly, along with the historically rebel-dominated district of Srikakulam, the districts of Vizianagram, Vishakhapatnam, East Godavari and Khammam are the disturbed areas of Andhra Pradesh. Khammam shares a long border with Chhattisgarh whereas the other districts are contiguous with Orissa.
The Maoists are now celebrating the 10th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) and hence have taken up a month-long recruitment drive in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chattishgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal. Their party spokesperson Gudsa Usendi and Dandakaranya special zone military commission in-charge Sudhakar said that the 10th anniversary of the PLGA, which began on December 2, will continue till January 2, 2011. They proclaimed that during the period, revolutionary propaganda, processions, meetings and rallies would be conducted in every village.8
The Maoists had been physically driven out from Andhra from a law and order point of view almost five to six years back. But in June 2008 at Balimela reservoir in Malkangiri district of Andhra-Orissa boarder, the elite greyhounds suffered casualties at the hands of the Maoists.9 That could be interpreted as the ‘come back’ event for the latter in Andhra. And the present surge in militancy is in sync with that. Additionally, since the Maoists are losing ground in other states, they need to regain their lost forte in their old backyard so as to have an edge in the psychological war with the Indian state.
In addition, it is quite disturbing for the Maoists not to have a mass base in Andhra since most of their top leadership hail from the very region. Hence, they are trying to cash in on major issues to extract maximum dissatisfaction of the masses towards the political system. Telangana is one such. Along with it, it seems natural that the Maoists may focus on the issue of suicide of farmers too in the foreseeable future through their frontal organisations.
In this regard, the porous border with Orissa is a major cause of concern for the Andhra authorities. The ultras have bases in the Malkangiri, Koraput and Rayagada districts of Orissa that adjoin the Andhra border. There are no border check posts except on the highway and main roads. Furthermore, on both sides of the border the same Kondh tribals live who provide the mass base for the ultras.
The Andhra government might have won the first phase of the civil war with the Maoists. But the renewed violence in the area portends ominous signals for the future. A far more dangerous future situation was reflected by an opinion poll published by the Times of India on September 28 201010. According to it, a clear 58 per cent of the populace (who were polled) in the Maoist-dominant areas of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Orissa said that Naxalism had actually been good for their area. In Andhra, Khammam was one of the districts where the poll was conducted. Four districts of the Telangana region – Adilabad, Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Warangal – were also chosen.
Probably the vital aspect of ‘winning the hearts and minds’ of the people in counterinsurgency is yet to be accomplished by the Andhra authorities. And the continued failure to do so would have serious ramifications in the long run.
“Swaranjit may be first IPS to be Osmania VC (http://www.deccanchronicle.com/hyderabad/swaranjit-may-be-first-ips-be-osmania-vc-983),” December 19, 2010,
“Maoist bandh in AOB region tomorrow (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/Maoist-bandh-in-AOB-region-tomorrow/articleshow/7135743.cms),” TNN, December 21, 2010,
“Maoist-hunter top cop to be Osmania University V-C (http://www.deccanherald.com/content/121994/maoist-hunter-top-cop-osmania.html),” December 19, 2010, DHNS,
G. Siva, “Maoists plan janata sarkar in AOB (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/Maoists-plan-janata-sarkar-in-AOB/articleshow/7068037.cms),” TNN, December 9, 2010,
“Telangana groups observe 1st anniversary of centre’s announcement (http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/politics/telangana-groups-observe-1st-anniversary-of-centres-announcement_100471551.html),” IANS, December 8, 2010,
“T activists following extortion line of Naxals? (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/T-activists-following-extortion-line-of-Naxals/articleshow/7147670.cms),” TNN, December 23, 2010,
“Maoists on a major recruitment drive (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/Maoists-on-a-major-recruitment-drive/articleshow/7108340.cms),” TNN, December 16, 2010,
Santosh K. Agarwal, “Maoist Insurgents Hit Back Greyhound Commandos Killing 35 (http://www.groundreport.com/Arts_and_Culture/Maoist-Hit-Back-Greyhound-Commandos-Killing-35/2864225),” Alarm Bells, July 01, 2008,
“58% in AP say Naxalism is good, finds TOI poll (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com//india/58-in-AP-say-Naxalism-is-good-finds-TOI-poll/articleshow/6639631.cms),” TNN, September 28, 2010,
I wont give red dots to anyone who has a political point of view, at this point in time we cannot decide on anything. The economy is going through a very rough patch, no one can can conclude anything.
But I feel something good is going to come for the immigrants, as the us population knows, highly skilled immigrants have a buying power and not to forget the highest number of new business are opened by immigrants in this country.
Lets no loose our focus on discussing Obama or his opponent, we need to focus on our Eb community and measures on making it stronger.
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That case had a lot more things in it.
1) person never worked at the location as specified by the greencard labor
2) person acknowledged he wasn't going to work there upon greencard approval
3) person was claiming ac21 within same employer for different location
Administrative appeals office; concurred that ac21 wasn't specific to geographic location and didn't have to be done with another company; it could be done within same company.
Then AAO went another way and picked on some other issues: Other issues they picked on was information on his g-325a and his work locations. They picked onthat he didn't have h-1b's approved for those particular locations or LCA's and he was out of status. he was good on the ac21 but was out of status prior to filing 485.
So when they started picking on these other things, do you know what eventually ended up happening - denial/approval?
I tried looking on immigration.com, a lot of hits came up when i searched for "baltimore AC21" but none of them were this particular case.
Aren't there many consulting scenarios where the labor is filed in a certain state but the employee (although worked for the same employer) worked in another location on H-1B (with due LCA amendments of course). Is that not acceptable from a GC perspective?
sorry, I don't mean to drag this topic on forever.
Last time the CIR bill died because a lot of people are against granting amnesty to illegal immigrants ( both Republicans and democrats ) . The president alone ( read Obama ) cannot decide that he wants to pass this bill because remember last year Bush was strongly in favour of the CIR bill and even had a conference with Senate leaders to push it through but it failed . The politicians know that the American people don't like the bill but they have to show that they are concerned with solving the illegal immigrant issue. This CIR bill is only a political gimmick. It came into picture because of the upcoming elections and next year I am pretty sure with no more elections the interest would not be that much to get it passed ( although I am sure there will be a lot of people interested in getting it to the House and the Senate ).
As someone said before if they try to bring some anti - highly skilled workers bill then the big companies are sure to cry out loud ( Microsoft , Cisco , Oracle etc etc ) and the politicians don't listen to us but they will surely listen to them. They have got the clout to get themselves heard.
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U.S. authorities are investigating whether an Indian software giant repeatedly violated American visa laws in order to place its own foreign employees in temporary jobs at some big corporate clients in the U.S.
The probe is examining whether Infosys Technologies Ltd. used inexpensive, easy-to-obtain visas meant to cover short-term business visits to the U.S.�instead of the appropriate, but harder to get, work visas�to bring in an unknown number of its employees for longer-term stays, according to people familiar with the matter.
These so-called B-1 business visas are intended for foreign nationals who come to the U.S. for purposes such as attending business conventions, consulting with business associates or installing machinery.
A State Department spokeswoman said the department is investigating Bangalore-based Infosys but declined further comment.
A spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, part of the Department of Homeland Security, said ICE agents had visited Infosys's U.S. offices. However, she said that "as a matter of policy, the agency can neither confirm nor deny the existence of an ongoing investigation."
In a statement Tuesday, Infosys said it "received a subpoena from a grand jury in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The subpoena requires us to provide information to the grand jury regarding our sponsorships for, and uses of, B-1 business visas."
In a filing Tuesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said it "intends to comply with the subpoena and to cooperate with the grand jury's investigation."
Infosys is best known as an outsourcing company that provides India-based computing and other technology services to Western clients. But it also boasts thousands of U.S.-based employees who develop and install software for back-office accounting, logistics and supply-chain management for companies in the retail, finance and manufacturing industries. Infosys doesn't disclose the identity of its clients.
The visa investigation comes amid a national debate in the U.S. over whether foreign workers, particularly in the software sector, are displacing qualified Americans because they are cheaper to employ.
The investigation has spurred the government to say it intends to tighten visa regulations to close loopholes that critics say enable employers to abuse the immigration system.
The probe was sparked by a lawsuit filed in Alabama state court earlier this year by an Infosys employee named Jack "Jay" Palmer Jr., alleging that Infosys misused the B-1 visa program. The lawsuit, which was recently moved to federal court, alleges that Infosys should have used a different visa program, known as H-1B, under which high-skilled professionals, such as software developers, are allowed into the U.S. for longer-term work.
The U.S. issues just 65,000 H-1B visas a year, and demand sometimes exceeds supply. H-1Bs take several months to get and can cost upward of $3,000 per individual. The is no cap on B-1 visas, which can be obtained in a matter of days for $140 each.
In a court filing, Infosys, which acknowledges using B-1 visas, denied the lawsuit's allegations that it had abused them.
In an interview, Paul Gottsegen, Infosys's chief marketing officer, said he couldn't comment on a matter before the court, but he added: "We are currently in the midst of a detailed internal review to understand whether we need to change or tighten controls with the visa-application process. We are moving as quickly as possible on this important work."
After learning of Mr. Palmer's lawsuit, Sen. :DChuck Grassley (R, Iowa):D wrote a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, his staff said, citing the suit and demanding an investigation of the B-1 visa program.
"I'm concerned about fraudulent actions that at least one foreign-based company has allegedly been taking in order get around the requirements and U.S. worker protections�.," said the April 14 letter, a copy of which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
Visa fraud can carry penalties of 10 years in prison, in addition to fines. Companies found to violate the terms of a visa program such as H-1B can be temporarily suspended from participating in the program.
For the fiscal year ended March 31, Infosys had revenue of $6 billion, about two-thirds of which came from North America. To service its U.S. clients, Infosys has become one of the top users of the H-1B visa program, employing about 10,000 H-1B holders in the U.S., according to its annual report. Other large users of the visas include Microsoft Corp. and Indian tech titans Wipro Ltd. and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd.
H-1B visa holders can remain in the U.S. for as long as three years and are paid locally; their employers withhold federal and state income tax. B-1 visa holders are paid by the employer from their home country.
In his lawsuit, Mr. Palmer, a principal consultant at Infosys, alleges that Infosys was affected by the limited number of H-1Bs in 2009 and began using B-1s to circumvent H-1B requirements.
His attorney, Kenny Mendelsohn, said: "We are cooperating with investigators from the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security."
In March 2010, Mr. Palmer attended meetings in Bangalore, where Infosys officials discussed the need to find "ways to creatively get around the H-1B limitations and process to work the system to increase profits and the value of Infosys' stock," according to the lawsuit. Infosys denies the allegation.
Later, according to Mr. Palmer's complaint, he was asked to prepare letters in support of B-1 applications stating "the employee was coming to the United States for meetings, rather than to work at a job."
After he refused to write such letters, Mr. Palmer was instructed "to keep quiet" by a manager sent from India who confirmed the violations, according to the suit�a claim Infosys denies.
Mr. Palmer reported his concerns to Infosys' corporate counsel, Jeff Friedel, who told him to report them to the company's whistle-blower team, which he did in October 2010, according to the lawsuit. Mr. Friedel didn't reply to a request for comment.
Mr. Palmer's suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages for, among other things, breach of terms of employment and emotional distress. Mr. Palmer remains employed by Infosys, but he is not currently doing any work, according to his attorney.
In recent years, Congress has introduced anti-fraud, training and other fees that have significantly raised the price of securing an H-1B visa.
"As Congress has made the H-1B visa category more expensive and more difficult to obtain, companies have searched for alternatives. The B-1 is one such alternative," said Stephen Yale-Loehr, an immigration-law professor at Cornell University.
"Because the B-1 is nebulous, some companies may be going beyond its intention," he added.
According to State Department regulations, a B-1 visa holder cannot engage in "local employment or labor for hire."
U.S. Moves from Rhetoric to Action on Visas (http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2011/05/25/u-s-moves-from-rhetoric-to-action-on-visas/) By Megha Bahree and Amol Sharma | IndiaRealTime
What the Infosys Whistleblower Said on Visas (http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2011/05/26/what-the-infosys-whistleblower-said-on-visas/) By Amol Sharma | IndiaRealTime
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But I have also seen many ignorant, anti-capitalist, anti-government, conspiracy theorist freaks out there, blogging from their basement, and writing articles suggesting that the government is somehow brain washing the public into buy a house so that they'll become the government’s slaves for the rest of their lives. These guys have actually never ever made any real money. They come up with short sighted calculations to prove that renting for life is better than owning a home. In my opinion no one should be listening to these people. I have yet to hear from a successful investor, or a businessman, or anyone that has what you may call reasonable wealth, saying that real estate is bad in the long run. I would take these people's advice any day because they have the money to show for their sound investment strategies, one of them being investment in a house, or a piece of real estate.
We as immigrants who are not sure of where we'll be in the next 5 years may want to consider the fact before investing in a house. But anyone else that has no such worries would be foolish not to buy a house thinking it is a doomed investment.
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It seems that he acknowledges that 11 million people will have to be given some sort of visa or they will remain in the country and no one will be able to do anything about it without spending billions of dollars.
Thats an interesting change in his strategy.
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If you offended by mention about Mumbai and terrorist, I am sorry.
Anger about the terrorist and their supporters in the name of religion.
See the previous posts have links in you tube, and find out the way the kids are trained for hatred.
You are best example of hypocrites and double standard:cool:. You will be very successful in your life, take my words.....
I read your all post, the above post just makes me confused. How could you just bash one community , their beliefs ,make fun of their Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him and all the prophets ), his teaching , saying the that Mohamed has fooled his followers , let him , we want to be fools what can you do about it? and then later come up with such a statement.
If it makes you furious , so does it to us.
How do you justify your anger and hatred towards one community.
I used to be very involved in all the immigrationvoice.org matters. When I was in a small town in Florida( moved to another city), there were lot of Indians unaware of immigrationvoice.org and immigration issues. I did lot of efforts to educate them and made them aware of this site and its efforts. My wallet and heart was always open for immigrationvoice.org . But after Mumbai attacks and this link, I can see the hatred towards my community.
people have justified the killing of small kids saying that let them die today anyhow they are going to be terrorist in future. Pathetic, sad to hear this from so called highly educated people..
I am out of this discussion , out of immigarionvoice...
Peace Amen !!!!!
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No one is taking on or poking at USCIS.
On another note - what is permanent job? There is absolutely no such thing called future job - ie job that will come into place after 5 or 10 years. A permanent job is a job which is permanent at the time of employment.
When we talk about good faith employment - it is the relationship that exists during the terms of employment.
While your analysis makes sense - we really never know what is happening behind the scenes.
I had little knowledge of immigration and of the type of people on h-1b and the type of companies who sponsor greencards when I first started perusing immigration boards. I thought many people were like me.
Back in 2002 and 2003 when USCIS hardly approved any EB greencards; people were pretty emotional on immigration.com.
Rajiv Khanna did a class action lawsuit against USCIS to start approving cases. He wanted some plaintiffs. Now; people on immigration.com were so emotional about their approvals and cursing USCIS all over the place. Of the thousands of people who would post; there was only something like 13 people who actually signed up to be plaintiffs. I volunteered myself to be a plaintiff but my case had only been pending for about six months at that time so I didn't think I would be a good candidate. However; only 13 people signed up compared to the thousands who were bellyaching about it. I didn't understand at that time why there was so little people who were willing to step u.
In 2007 AILF specifically wanted people to join the lawsuit but were very clear that they wanted "clean" cases. I thought it odd that they had to specifically mention this.
Murthy didn't want to file lawsuit because they thought it would have negative repurcussions against their existing clients in future cases.
USCIS is pretty much the toughest agency to deal with and people who deal with them regularly know this. Time is on their side. They can deny cases and it takes years to get through the system and people have to have a legal way to stay in the country while this goes on. Because of this hardly anybody challenges them.
I concluded that not many people have clean cases. Many people faked things on their f-1 applications; had bench time; worked in different locations then where h-1b was approved for, etc., etc.
If you look at the different positions people take on these immigration boards; it is usually based on their own situation or people they know of and that leads them to post in a certain way.
eb3 versus eb2
permanent jobs versus consulting
country quota, etc.
The lawyers are the ones who see thousands of cases and what USCIS does and generally do not want to challenge them because it will spell bigger problems.
btw; I am still a little suspicious of the OP. Local offices mainly do family base cases and not employment base cases. Their requests for information are pretty standard and follow the lines of family base information. They do not regularly do employment base interviews. If what the OP is saying is true then this would be a directive coming from headquarters. If that is the case then asking for "contracts" is going to be very problematic as they are going after the temporary versus permanent job.
Texas service center has been known to call candidates/companies but it is usually for very simple information (ie., company tax return, asking verbally whether person is still in same job or verifying current address). They don't call and ask verbally for complex information like OP has stated.
In fact just about every local USCIS office makes you sign a statement that you are not being represented by a lawyer and they "swear" you in that you are going to tell the truth under penalty of perjury.
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Weren't you the one who said India should gift kashmir to pakistan to solve all terrorrist activities and war ?
How come you became a patriot and started caring about india all of a sudden ?
Do you have any consistent opinion ?
I think SunnySurya changed his mind. People and their opinions change. Let's ignore what he said in earlier posts.
Gifting Kashmir will not solve anything. Now they want Kashmir, tomorrow they will want South India. Before long, we may all be converted to islam because Pakistan is an islamic republic not a secular democracy and the country is ruled by military dictators and hardliners.
Yes, in India, there have been attacks by Hindus on innocent muslims but imagine the plight of Hindus, if it had been a muslim majority and an islamic republic of india!
There are many good thinkers and hard-working folks in Pakistan but you can never trust the hardliners there and these hardliners seem to be grabbing power in the country all the time.
Did you know that the original demand for Pakistan 1947 was a long stretch of corridor stretching the north and the south and the east and the west, connecting different muslim dominated pockets together?
Which meant India was to be divided into 4 quadrants and to get from one quadrant to another, an Indian had to cross Pakistan...it was simply ridiculous!!
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The day after voters returned Democrats to power in the House and Senate last year, the AFL-CIO held a press conference at its Washington headquarters to announce that union members had come to the polls in large numbers to vote Democratic.
They also promised to remind the new rulers of Congress that labor put them there, and that unions would be back in 2007 looking for support. So far, all indications show Democrats in Congress have been happy to oblige one of their most loyal constituencies.
Legislation backed by labor that was left on the shelves when the House was under Republican rule has been dusted off by Democrats and moved to the floor. This includes so-called card-check legislation approved by the House earlier this year, which was the subject of a huge lobbying fight between labor and business.
By contrast, free-trade agreements opposed by labor and negotiated by the Bush administration have been delayed, some apparently until after the 2008 election.
�There�s been a dramatic change since January,� said Bill Samuel, a top lobbyist for the AFL-CIO who is in frequent communication with Democratic leaders. �Issues that have been long ignored are now getting the attention they deserve.�
�I think they�ve done a fair job in recognizing what our priorities are and addressing them,� agreed Fred McLuckie, legislative director of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
House Republican Conference Chairman Adam Putnam (R-Fla.) agreed with the labor leaders, but put a different spin on the changing tides.
�The brazenness with which they�ve paid back Big Labor is astonishing,� said Putnam, who thinks the loyalty will come back to haunt Democrats next year, particularly since labor unions now represent less than 8 percent of the nation�s private workforce.
Putnam said the shifting fortunes for labor reflect �a blatant return to the old stereotype of Big Labor bosses pulling the strings of Democrats.�
Few Democrats, however, seem to think helping labor will hurt them. For example, only two House Democrats voted against the card-check legislation despite intense lobbying by business groups and negative advertisements in some districts. In the Senate, every Democrat voted in favor of card-check on the floor, as did Republican Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.).
Pro-business Democratic Rep. Adam Smith (Wash.) said he has some differences with unions on trade. But he has no problem supporting card-check or other pro-union bills that he sees as helping low- and middle-income workers get a share of the economic pie.
While card-check legislation, formally known as the Employee Free Choice Act, received the lion�s share of headlines over the first half of the year, dozens of other measures designed to help the labor movement have been inching forward.
For example, lawmakers have attached to several bills language requiring that workers be paid a prevailing wage � and the tactic has helped highlight divisions within the Republican Party. Fifty House Republicans voted to keep prevailing-wage language in a water-resources bill earlier this year.
In addition, the Teamsters and the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers won a provision in the House Federal Aviation Administration bill that makes it easier for employees of Federal Express to form unions, which could be a boon to the Teamsters and the machinists union. A second provision backed by labor would force the administration back to the negotiating table with air traffic controllers.
And just last week, the House approved a bill providing collective-bargaining rights for firefighters and other first responders in all 50 states. The lower chamber also passed a Department of Labor funding bill that offers increased dollars for workplace enforcement offices like the Wage and Hour Division, which looks into claims that overtime is not being paid, while cutting funds for an office that investigates union corruption.
In the second half of 2007, the AFL-CIO expects to push for bankruptcy law reforms as well as legislation overturning a National Labor Relations Board ruling that broadly defined workers considered to be supervisors. Overturning the decision could allow many more workers to qualify for collective bargaining rights.
Furthermore, the Teamsters will continue to press Democrats to prevent the administration from carrying out plans to allow Mexican trucks access to U.S. roads, McLuckie said.
Meanwhile, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which split from the AFL-CIO a few years ago, is lobbying aggressively on several broad policy issues, including an expansion of the State Children�s Health Insurance Program, according to Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger.
The debate over ending the war in Iraq is also a top priority for SEIU members, who are even more anti-war than the rest of the nation, Burger said, explaining that the SEIU sees the Iraq war as diverting funds that could be used to provide universal healthcare and other priorities.
Still, while union proposals have won momentum, only one union priority � an increase in the minimum wage � has actually become law. Other measures have been held up in the Senate by Republican-led filibusters or are threatened by presidential vetoes.
While the AFL-CIO�s Samuel admits that moving from a defensive posture to offense has been exciting, he said there is frustration that labor issues have been held up in the Senate. And he insists Democrats have not given labor a blank check, even though he and his colleagues are spending more time in the offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) in this Congress. �You still have to argue your case on its merits,� he said.
�For the last 12 years we were for the most part on the defensive,� Samuel continued. �It was other people who were making decisions which we were reacting to. I think now we are able to make decisions, to decide what issues to promote.�
AFL-CIO officials meet weekly to decide which issues to push for. They are also in frequent contact with other labor leaders, who say there�s no evidence that Democratic leaders are playing favorites among the sometimes-fractious labor movement.
SEIU and the Teamsters left the AFL-CIO a few years ago and formed the Change to Win coalition. But McLuckie said he hadn�t heard any complaints within the Change to Win coalition about access to Democrats.
For their part, Republicans hope to use labor�s successes to portray Democrats as too compliant with union demands. For example, the National Republican Senate Committee is already trying to raise money from small businesses spooked by the card-check bill.
It has produced an ominously scored video featuring grainy footage of Senate Democrats rallying for the card-check legislation to convince businesses to donate to the GOP next year. In the video, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) tells the crowd, �We have a majority in the U.S. Senate because of you.� Meanwhile, the figure $1,389,489 flashes on the screen to reflect the contributions Reid has received from �Big Labor.�
The video closes with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) promising to sign the bill into law when she is president, and notes Republicans need only two seats to regain control of the Senate.
While unions are holding off on their presidential endorsements for now, the video reflects their long-term plan for card check. In 2009, labor hopes to have a Democratic president and a larger majority in the Senate, which would make business-backed filibusters more difficult.
�I think it will be easier next time,� said Samuel, who thinks the labor agenda in Congress will help Democrats in next year�s elections. �I think these measures are generally very popular.�
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Just remember that there are a lot of EB3 out there with Masters degrees, like myself, and waiting since early 2002.
EB3s - mail out the letter PLEASE!!!!!
Go ahead do it..... send a badly written letter.
The content of the letter does not read like it was written by a college graduate - at least seek help with writing a professional letter, it sounds very archaic ! Bad expression, poor grammar, poor reasoning, unreadable.
The letter will fare better if it is at least readable.
I'm in EB2 but i will continue to help in IV efforts, and contribute $$ when i can for all efforts EB2 or EB3. I understand the pain of EB3 applicants, so do several (most) others.
Your posts like ".....crying like little babies...." will not help......
Please forward the text of this bill to all your employers and ask them to join hands with IV.
Members working for consulting companies can talk to their employers about this. Let us know their response.
Here is a recommended motto for our currency(in replacement of "Satyamev Jayate")
One Side : "Chalta Hain"
Other Side : "Khao Khujao , Batti Buzao"
Let's move on ( yes, that's the only option with any breed of politicians that may come to power in India).