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1/26/18

EB1 - Truth-Teller

On December 15, 2017, my last day of work before taking a two-week vacation (only one week of which was paid), Marc Davies called in.

Davies is a British EB1 petitioner who works in business logistics. He retained the firm about four months ago. His case should not have taken more than a month to file because he gave us his brief for his O1 petition, which he had applied for earlier. The requirements for the EB1 and O1 are almost identical. So beyond some cosmetic changes, the case did not need anything else.

Davies was pissed! And he had reason to be. His case had been stuck for six weeks and, at one point, I didn't reply to hiss emails for three weeks. He gave me an earful which frustrated me. However, his ranting saddened me because it had been important to him for his mom--who was dying at the time he retained the firm--to see him get a green card and, due to our delays, the mom had missed the opportunity. So not only was Davies being neglected by the firm, he was also in deep grief! So I took empathy with him, and rather than bullshit him about why his case had not been filed yet, I decided to tell him the truth.

After he finished speaking, I expressed my empathy towards him, and then said, "However, allow me to describe my situation. First, we just had someone quit without notice. Second, even with the loss of this worker, the pace at which clients are being retained has not decreased. So I have found myself with more work than I can handle."

Translation: "The boss is retaining more clients than he can serve and my boss's greed is why you are getting crappy customer service and your mom missed your EB1 approval."

Scarcely one moment after saying this Leisha stormed into the office and yelled to me, "THAT'S NOT OKAY!

She was going to yell more things but Troy stood up from his chair, covered her mouth with his hand, and pulled her out of the office, shutting the door behind him.

Unlike Leisha, Davies took the truth pretty well. He actually said to me that he understood me because he was in the same situation at his own workplace. He just demanded a plan and a timeline to file his case. I gave him that.

I hung up and had begun reorganizing myself when Troy invited me to the conference room. I went and behind me followed Troy and Leisha. Once in the conference room we went back and forth between whether I had, or had not, done the right thing. They berated me for telling Davies the truth and I defended myself insisting that I was protecting my professional integrity from Davies thinking that I was a mediocre worker because I had neglected his case.

"So I told him the truth so he could understand Dick's role in his situation," I said to them.

After realizing that I was not going to be sorry for what I had done, much less pledge that I wouldn't do it again, both of them quit and said that they'd be telling Dick about what had happened.

Well, I went on my two-week vacation and Wednesday, January 3, the day I returned, I quickly came to learn that I had been demoted and that I was no longer allowed to speak to clients without my supervisor being present. 

11/20/17

EB1 Self-Petition Specialist: Shut Up.

Towards the end of the day, Tyler who is suddenly my new supervisor after only four months on the job versus my 15 months, asked if he could "borrow" me for 10 minutes. I got the impression that we were going to work on a task together for which he needed my help. But when he finally called me, he led me into Setareh's office. He had papers in his hands and a serious look so I began to understand.

He was assuming his first task as an official supervisor of me and he had something important to tell me. He sat down across from me and began fussing with the papers in his hand. At the same time, he began talking in an overly cautious, round-about, even clumsy way.

"It has come to my attention. No. There is a little bit of discontent in the office because of a communication you sent Harry."

Harry is the middle-aged white salesperson who spends his weekends yelling at the top of his lungs while UFC athletes beat their brains out. Recently, he retained an IT professional named Anhirud under the High Salary category. However, Harry classified Anhirud under the wrong professional category. If Harry had classified Anhirud accurately, the Petitioner would not have qualified for the High Salary category. Since the professional designation that Harry had assigned to Anhirud was related to the correct one I moved forward with the argument. However, I sent him an email telling him to be careful.

After we finished talking about Harry, Tyler began his second maneuver.

This next intervention had to do with a conversation that was had this Saturday between Dick, Tyler, Delmira, and myself.

This last Saturday, us four went in to work. At noon, Dick arrived with lunch. We had tacos, bowls, and burritos from Chipotle. Towards the end of his meal, Dick began speaking, the way he does whenever he has an audience of his employees in front of him. His favorite subject of conversation is the firm, to be specific, his plans for the firm.

Right now Dick is really in love with Fred, the in-house software developer. Fred is costing Dick an arm and a leg now, but Fred's current work is going to pay off in spades for Dick in the future. Fred is, of course, automating everything in the office that Dick can afford to pay him to do. In addition to Fred, Dick has also hired a sales hired gun. This hired gun is in charge of creating, and closing, a pipeline of corporate accounts. I could see dollar signs form on Dick's retina as he announced this.

Once Dick finished telling Tyler and Delmira about all of his wonderful plans he said something that changed everything.

Dick said, "I am working to get to a place where I can treat my employees better." Read: I want to make enough money so that I can pay my employees a little above the price of peanuts for what they do and are capable of.

Until that moment, I wasn't part of the conversation. I had chosen to eat later and my eyes were on the computer screen trying to do work over Dick's voice. Even without me, however, the conversation was actually a dialogue because Tyler and Delmira were a captive audience. They said nothing to Dick as if they had no thoughts at all. Holding their burritos in their hands near their mouths. they just nodded with each of Dick's points. They could not have been better behaved.

I interrupted Dick and said, "I can see why you would want to wait until you reach a certain goal before increasing your employees' wages but it's also perfectly feasible to raise their wages immediately. See, the reason why employees underperform often is a feeling of lack of investment in the company. But if you pay them a wage they can do something with that not only improves their morale but I think it makes them more invested in the business."

Tyler and Delmira said nothing. They pretended like everything was normal, like I had not just told the boss, to his face, raise our wages now. They just sat straight in their seats and pretended to be nonchalant about the developments.

Following my comments, Dick justified his position and so I came back at him with this: "Dick, the crux of what you're saying sounds a lot like the person who says, 'I want to help my neighbor but I can't afford to right now. However, once I attain all that I wish for, then I'll give back because then I'll be able to afford it.' And when does that day come? Never!"

Dick argued that the comparison was not fair and I challenged him to tell me how it was different. He didn't do it.

Running out of munitions to justify under-paying us in the present he resorted to an old card of his: the tortured boss argument.

"I would raise wages," he said, "but," and here gets really self-righteous, "I have a RESPONSIBILITY to my workers to not go bankrupt. Because if the business goes down then I can't support all of these families that I am responsible for. Sometimes I really wish I didn't have this responsibility. "

To which I argued, "Your employees have urgent responsibilities too. They have medical bills, they need to put enough quality food on the table, they need to buy Christmas presents. So you're not the only one with responsibilities." f

Dick, however, is not the humble type nor one to shut up. He is, after all, a lawyer. So he continued and I extracted myself from the conversation again and re-focused on my screen. I don't know what he ended with and I don't care.

So now, back in Setareh's office, this is Tyler's second order of business. And his message is, basically: Shut. Up. But not in the way a buddy tells you to shut up because he's genuinely  concerned for your well being. That would have been fine. Tyler told me in the "You will not do this," sort of way.

Tyler and I had an interesting end to our conversation. When I walked out of Setareh's office I gave him my entire back and when I left the office for the day I wished everyone a nice evening with an enclosed message that said, "Except you, Tyler."

I'm on thin ice. It doesn't feel good but I wager that it feels worst to be a willing slave. 

11/10/17

EB1 Case Load Worker: Madhup's Story

Yesterday in the morning I dedicated myself to preparing, as much as possible, Madhup Khanna's case for shipping.

Madhup is hospitalist physician who works at a hospital in Texas. He is applying under four categories: Judging, Scholarly Articles, Leading or Critical Role, and High Salary. Madhup was trained in India and practiced there as well as the Caribbean. He's well into middle-age, married, and childless.

His judging categories consist of peer reviewing medical articles. His Scholarly Articles consists of four published articles in Physician's Weekly, his Leading or Critical Role consists of being a special hospitalist physician. His High Salary consists of annual wages of nearly half a million dollars. He more than doubles what the 90th percentile of his peers earn.

So how does Madhup's case stand up? Before I get into the weeds--as Dick likes to say--I should point out that, as a rule of thumb, the firm doesn't usually take on physicians. The thinking is that America already has too many physicians and it's next to impossible to argue extraordinariness for one. So why was Madhup retained? The rationale is that Madhup is a unique kind of physician. He's a hospitalist, that is, a physician who works exclusively in hospitals. That doesn't make any sense to me but it's the reasoning that Britney happened on when she green-lighted the retainer.

In my mind, Madhup's case doesn't stand up that well. Let's go category by category.

As a "judge," he peer reviewed several articles in the online journals Frontiers and Plos One. Okay, everything good here.

In Scholarly Articles, Madhup has published four articles in Physician's Weekly, a weekly professional journal. The most glaring weakness in this category is that all four articles are published in the same magazine and they were all published within the last six months. Well, if Madhup is "extraordinary" then why doesn't he publish in a wider variety of journals? Then the fact that he only recently began publishing makes it look -- to the astute observer -- like he published articles to qualify for the EB1 green card, not because he's actually a dedicated scholar. Then the articles themselves are not extensive or in-depth. The longest is two pages and remains pretty shallow in general. Nevertheless, strictly speaking, he satisfies the category because Physician's Weekly is a legitimate professional journal.

Madhup's biggest problem is within Leading or Critical Roles. The minimum threshold is at least two instances of having played a leading or critical role for a distinguished organization. While the argument has two iterations, one for each alleged role, the careful immigration officer will realize that the idea that he has played two leading or critical roles for his organization is only a fiction. So why are we forging ahead? Because he has two well-written letters to support his claims and there is language in the letters that can be used to try to hoodwink the officer into thinking two distinct roles exist. How did this happen? I share a part of the blame because the problem got past me initially. Another part of the blame rests on Akhiljeet who green-lighted the argument. Finally, the last part of the blame rests on Dick for fostering a climate of dishonesty in the office when it comes to retaining clients. For the sake of bringing in clients into the firm the intake workers gloss or overlook glaring deficiencies in each person's case. I surmise that 10 percent of our cases should never have been retained. They simply should have been turned away.

At a $500K annual salary, Madhup easily satisfies this category.

Here's my prediction: We will succeed in hoodwinking the immigration officer and we'll get Madhup an approval. Despite the LCR argument's flaw, it is well-written and has compelling evidence that, at the very least, Madhup is a special kind of hospitalist.

Here's the next closest probability: Immigration will reject Madhup's Leading and Critical Roles but approve the remaining three categories--which is what he needs. However, Madhup will ultimately be declined on the basis of final merits. The officer will not be convinced that Madhup is at the top of his field and that he's "extraordinary."

I hope to send his case out in the middle of next week. I will keep you posted.