Under Trump, the number of Muslim refugees entering the U.S. is plummeting

With the sharp decline in Muslim refugee resettlement, "At least, in part, we play into the rhetoric of Islamic extremists who says the U.S. is anti-Islam," said Bill Holston, executive director of Human Rights Initiative of North Texas. "Barring people who have are fleeing persecution doesn’t make us safer. It never has. Our failure to admit refugees prior to the Holocaust is something we are rightly ashamed of." David Bier, a policy analyst with the libertarian Cato Institute think tank, noted that lowered refugee admissions can aggravate foreign policy relationships and the willingness of other countries to cooperate with the U.S. In the fight against terrorism, creating animosity toward certain groups of people, such as Muslims or Iraqis, can be counterproductive and even been used to assist terrorist groups, Bier said. “If they can portray the U.S. as singling out Iraqis as a group as undesirable to Americans that aids their recruitment efforts,” Bier said. But Trump’s tough refugee policies have fans among conservatives who have long been pushing for more immigration restrictions. “Extreme vetting is supposed to get at whether a refugee or prospective immigrant has beliefs in totalitarian ideology even when they don’t belong in a terrorist organization,” said Mark Krikorian, who runs the D.C.-based Center for Immigration Studies. As for the decline in Muslim resettlement, Krikorian said it reflects the target countries in Trump’s calls for deeper vetting.  ”There aren’t any ISIS members among Christian refugees,” Krikorian said. 'A wasted life' Every day, there’s a second ritual for Sara and her family: She, her father and her brother make a morning Skype call to Amman, Jordan, where it’s nightfall. Sama answers. A smile spreads across her father’s face when he hears the crystal-clear, high voice of his youngest daughter. His daughter and wife have Continue Reading

China wants to enter the U.S. car market, but a rough road lies ahead

Germany was first. It shipped the Volkswagen Beetle to the United States in 1949. It got off to a slow start only to be embraced by an enthusiastic American public. Japan came next, winning U.S. customers in the 1970s with its own mass-market cars. After that, South Korea offered its Hyundais and Kias. Now, it’s China’s turn. Or is it? Big, state-controlled Chinese automaker GAC Motor plans to start selling a gas-powered seven-passenger SUV priced around $40,000 in the U.S. next year. The company said more models will follow — including all-electric cars. Chinese automakers have tried to enter the U.S. market before and failed, crippled by subpar quality, failure to meet tough U.S. safety standards, lack of consumer awareness and ill-conceived import partnerships. But GAC says this time is different. “A few years ago, we were not ready enough to enter the U.S. market with our level of technology, quality and competitiveness,” GAC Motor President Yu Jun said. But he said the company is now “well prepared.” That’s a plausible assertion, said David Sargent, global quality research head for J.D. Power. “Over the last 10 years, the quality of Chinese vehicles in China, as measured by Chinese consumers, has gotten dramatically better,” he said. GAC stands for Guangzhou Automobile Group. Located near the concentration of Japanese auto suppliers in southern China, GAC was an early adopter of Japanese quality standards, analysts say. First, though, the company must establish a U.S. dealer network. In March, GAC executives will fly to Las Vegas, where they will glad hand potential distributors at the National Automobile Dealers Association annual convention. China’s rise in production volume and quality has been breathtaking. A minor player as recently as the late 1990s, when it sold about 2 million vehicles, almost all of them in China, the country is now the world’s largest automobile producer. However, Continue Reading

Chinese automaker to scrap Trump-sounding brand when it enters the U.S. market

DETROIT — Chinese automaker GAC Motor will scrap the brand name it uses in China when it enters the U.S. market next year because it could be confused with President Donald Trump’s surname. For the past eight years, GAC has sold cars and SUVs under the brand Trumpchi in its home market, but is now researching new names before the company’s expected U.S. debut in the fourth quarter of 2019. “We want to provide the best service for American customers, so we want to not be closely linked with politics,” Wang Qiujing, GAC president, said through an interpreter in an interview at the Detroit auto show. “This is the reason we want to rename the brand.” GAC picked the Chinese name Trumpchi in 2010, well before Trump was elected. The similarity to Trump is just a coincidence, Wang added. GAC will continue to use Trumpchi in China, where the word means legend and good fortune. GAC’s first vehicle in the U.S. will be the GS8, a loaded-out full-size SUV that will cost about $35,000. Two more vehicles are being researched for U.S. sales, but have not been selected yet. The company showed seven different of its models on a video and unveiled two more at the Detroit show. One is a gull-wing compact electric SUV called the Enverge, which is still in the concept phase. The automaker says it will go over 370 miles on a single charge. Also unveiled was the GA4 midsize sedan that will go on sale in China later this month. The GS8 would be comparable to a big luxury SUV, many of which go for more than $60,000. Wang said he didn’t know what the brand’s lowest-price vehicle would be in the U.S. GAC sold just over 500,000 automobiles in China last year, up 37 percent from 2016. The company says it is negotiating with partner Fiat Chrysler about possible distribution of vehicles. Wang said GAC is the top-ranked domestic brand for initial quality in China in J.D.Power and Associates surveys, and it ranks fourth or fifth when joint Continue Reading

White House considering asking foreign visitors to reveal social media activity and cell phone contacts before entering the U.S.

White House officials are discussing the possibility of checking on foreign visitors' social media accounts and cell phone contacts before allowing them to enter the United States, according to a report. Policy director Stephen Miller spoke to officials from multiple departments, including Customs and Border Patrol, to tell them that the President is committed to enforcing his new executive order on immigration, despite the chaos that has ensued, CNN reports. Miller allegedly said that Trump administration officials are considering asking foreign visitors to reveal their social media profiles, websites they visit and to disclose their cell phone contacts. He reportedly said that those who refuse could be denied entry into the United States. The idea has not yet been implemented as policy and is only being discussed, CNN reported. Miller allegedly referred to the social media posts made by San Bernardino terrorist Tashfeen Malik, who expressed extremist views in private Facebook posts before the December 2015 attack. Multiple background checks failed to uncover her activity because she posted under a pseudonym and employed privacy settings that limited the public's ability to view her account. Under the Obama administration, the U.S. government had already begun asking certain foreign visitors to share their social media accounts, Politico reported in December. The controversial move was designed to help identify potential terrorists. President Trump's executive order indefinitely bars Syrian refugees from entering the United States, suspends all refugee admissions for four months, and temporarily bars citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the country. Continue Reading

Imam Explains Why He Agrees With Trump’s Ban on Muslims Entering the U.S.

Rubio: If You Can't Be Vetted - Muslim or Not - You Should Not Be Allowed Into the U.S. Investigators: Wife in San Bernardino Massacre May Have Been 'an Operative' On "Hannity" tonight, a Muslim imam explained why he actually agrees with Donald Trump's proposed ban on Muslims entering the U.S. Imam Nidal Alsayyed, religious director of the Islamic Society of Triplex in Houston, Texas, told Sean Hannity that Trump is concerned about Muslims and Islam being associated with radical terror groups. Alsayyed said it's a "very wise move" to take safety and security measures, including putting a temporary hold on Muslim immigration, until we have figured out what's going on. He explained that many Muslims don't understand what it takes to live in Western countries, such as not following Sharia law. "The issue is a matter of different backgrounds, from different places," Alsayyed said. Watch more above. Greta: Moderate Muslims Need Obama, Hillary to Call out 'Radical Islam' O'Reilly Explains How Trump's Muslim Ban Would Hurt the War on Terror Terror Expert: Don't Expect Calif. Attack to Be the Last on US Soil Continue Reading

Immigrants who entered the U.S. ‘without inspection’ may be able to interview for a green card by traveling back to their home country

Q: I managed to sneak into the U.S. from Mexico without encountering an immigration officer, what you lawyers call “entry without inspection.” Now I am married to a U.S. citizen. We have two boys born here. What’s my path to legal status? My parents brought me here when I was just 4 years old. I’m now 27. A lawyer filed for me but I later learned that because of how I entered, I don’t qualify to interview here for my green card. A new lawyer said that traveling home for my green card interview will be risky. I have Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, but I want my green card. Name Withheld, Nashville, TN A: You have two paths to permanent residence. If you travel abroad with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services permission, called advance parole, you can interview here for permanent residence. DACA status holders can sometimes get advanced parole. You can read my recent column on that topic at nydailynews.com. If advanced parole doesn’t work for you, you can travel home for your green card. That may seem scary, since traveling abroad subjects you to the “unlawful presence” bar to permanent residence. However, under a recent policy change, you can apply for a waiver of the bar before traveling abroad. Do that, and you can get your waiver approval before you go to your immigrant visa interview. To get the waiver you must prove that a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse or parent will suffer extreme hardship if the family is separated. Q: Our son suffers from autism, requiring special medical care. Can his condition be a basis for us getting legal status? We are from St. Maarten. We came here to get our son good medical care. We work and pay taxes, but we haven’t found a way to get legal. Name Withheld, New York A: It’s a longshot, but the law provides for a way for you to stay here legally: deferred action. This is similar to the deferred action for undocumented youth, except that Continue Reading

Female shooter in San Bernardino, Calif., entered the U.S. on fiancee visa

The young mother and bride suspected of helping kill 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif., met her American-born husband online and married him after moving from Saudi Arabia to join him in the United States.Tashfeen Malik, 27, carried a passport from Pakistan, where she was born. She entered the U.S. on a fiancée visa in 2014, while traveling with Syed Farook, her husband-to-be, David Bowdich, assistant director of the FBI's Los Angeles office, said Thursday.She later married Farook, a San Bernardino County restaurant inspector. He was born in the U.S. to a Pakistani family, was raised in Southern California and had been a county employee for five years, the Associated Press reported. The couple had a 6-month-old daughter.Not much more is known about Malik, but the process she used to enter the country was probably the quickest way to gain an extended-stay U.S. visa, said Kamal Nawash, an immigration attorney and president of the Free Muslims Coalition, a Washington think tank that promotes secular democratic institutions in the Muslim world.Farook apparently posted at least one dating ad on the dating site iMilap.com, for people of Indian descent. In the undated ad, he said he was looking for marriage and described himself as "religious but modern." He said he enjoys working on vintage and modern cars, reading religious books "and just hang out in the back yard doing target practice with younger sister and friends."Nawash, who has used Muslim dating sites himself, said a lot of American Muslims turn to online dating in search of a relationship with someone of their background."Especially if you want to meet someone from your own religion, chances are you won't meet someone in your neighborhood or town because there aren't that many," Nawash said.For some people, especially ultra-conservative Muslims "who don't do dating," because they don't believe in out-of-wedlock interaction with the opposite sex, dating sites allow people to get to know each other without Continue Reading

Options for staying in the U.S. legally

Q. My friend's daughter came here from Jamaica on a B-2 visitor's visa. Her mother is a permanent resident. The daughter is 17. The mother will qualify for U.S. citizenship in four years. By the time her mother naturalizes, the daughter will be over 21. Eventually, the daughter wants to become a permanent resident, but if her mother petitions for her now, it will take years. She doesn't want to be here illegally and put her green card at risk. She is considering two options: returning home or applying for a student visa. Which one do you think is best? Name Withheld, Staten Island A. If the young woman would like to study here, she should apply to change to F-1 international student status. Even if the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) were to deny her change of status request, she could leave the U.S. then without risking her right to get permanent residence. You are right to be concerned. If the daughter overstays more than 180 days, she could have a hard time getting permanent residence. However, under USCIS rules, if she applies to change status before her visitor's stay expires, she is not considered unlawfully present unless and until the agency denies her change of status application. She would count the 180 days of unlawful status from the day of that denial. If the USCIS approves the change of status, she can begin studies and stay here if she stays a full-time student. She need not go home to get an F-1 visa. If she did travel abroad after changing status, she would need to get an F-1 student visa before returning. Some students find that risky. A couple of points about changing from visitor to student status: First, a B-2 visitor applying for a change to F-1 student may not enroll in school until the USCIS grants the change. Starting school before the USCIS grants F-1 status voids the change of status application. Second, to improve the chances that the USCIS will approve the change of status Continue Reading

If I help my cousin move to the U.S., must I support her?

If I file an affidavit of support for a green card lottery winner, what will be my financial responsibilities? My distant cousin in Cuba won the green card lottery. I'd like to help her come to the United States, but I am concerned that I will be obligated to provide her with financial support once she gets here. Orlando Rodriguez, Manhattan A. Your obligation to support your cousin will be moral, not legal. Unlike affidavits of support for family-based immigrant visa applicants, affidavits for lottery winners do not create a legal obligation that the affiant - that's you - support the new immigrant. Seaman wants legal status I came  here 12 years ago on a C1/D seaman's visa and married a U.S. citizen. Can I get legal status? Sinan Potur, Huntington Station, L.I. A. Unless you qualify to interview here under the 245i rule discussed below, you'll have a hard time getting permanent residence. The alternative to interviewing here is interviewing abroad. That means possibly getting stuck outside the U.S. for 10 years. Applicants here unlawfully one year or longer who leave the U.S. usually need special permission from the U.S. citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to return. If the USCIS denies the special permission (called a "waiver"), you will be stuck abroad for 10 years. C transit visitors and D crew members usually cannot interview here for permanent residence. This an exception to the general rule that someone inspected and admitted to the U.S. who marries a U.S. citizen can adjust status here. It's been a while since I listed which categories of immigrant visa applicants can interview here, the process the law calls adjustment of status. If you are applying in one of the family categories, you qualify to adjust status if: 1.An immigration officer inspected you when you entered the U.S., you were never out of status, and you never worked without permission. 2.An immigration officer inspected you upon entry (even Continue Reading

Immigrants from some countries must prove ‘substantial’ ties to their homeland to get a visitor’s visa to the U.S.

Q: I am Nigerian. I am an honors student. I would like to visit New York City, but the U.S. consul here three times has denied my B-2 visitor’s visa application. If I say that I’m going to Texas or some other state, will my chances improve? Name Withheld, Nigeria A. I doubt it. People in developing countries, like Nigeria, often have a hard time getting visas because the officers think that applicants are coming to stay to find a better life. To get a visitor’s visa, you must prove that you have a residence abroad that you have no intention of abandoning. After three denials, you will need to show substantial new ties to your home that would compel you to return. You say you are an honors student. Have you considered studying in the U.S.? I wrote about getting a student visa recently. Q: I am a resident of Westchester. Can I get an IDNYC identification card? Gilberto Rios, via email A. No. The new card is for New York City residents only. Designed to provide a government I.D. to undocumented immigrants, millions of New Yorkers now want the card no matter their immigration status. The card allows for free admission to many of New York’s most popular museums and cultural institutions. New Yorkers can make an appointment to apply for the card and learn more about it at http://www1.nyc.gov/site/idnyc/index.page. Q. My 72-year-old sister has had her green card since 2006, but she spends only 10 to 12 weeks a year here. She says the winters are too cold. So far, she hasn’t had a problem entering the U.S. What can we do to prevent her from losing her green card? Concerned Brother, Brooklyn A. I sympathize with your sister. I’m from Southern California. New York winters are too cold for me also. To maintain permanent residence status, the U.S. must be your sister’s primary home. Unless she spends more time here, it will hard for her to pass that test. Nevertheless, Continue Reading