Abtin Bahador's Blog

P-1’s and Pennants

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016 by Abtin Bahador

As Major League Baseball’s (“MLB”) World Series gets under way, let us take a moment to remember a simpler time before the season started, when the hopes of all 30 MLB teams and fans were at their highest. While fans in the U.S. were dreaming of the season ahead, many foreign-born players were getting ready for the season by working out to lose off-season weight, packing their bags, and standing in lines at consulates around the world to apply for visas.

As the American pastime increasingly becomes the Central American pastime, more and more of our favorite major league players are born outside the U.S. The Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs both field several foreign-born players from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and even Brazil.

All foreign workers, including baseball players, require approvals from the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State before they can play ball in the U.S.

Many foreign-born players come to the U.S. and apply their skills in P-1 status. The P-1A classification is designed for Internationally Recognized Athletes to come to the United States temporarily to perform as an athlete, individually or as part of a team, at an internationally recognized level of performance.

As with most employment-based classifications, the P-1 is employer specific. The individual MLB teams apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) during the offseason. The teams need to time the filing of the application to ensure it is approved with enough time to allow for the player to attend a visa interview at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy in their home country before the season starts.

While the actual visa interview itself is typically short, the administrative processing surrounding the issuance of the physical visa can delay things significantly, especially if there are criminal or medical issues that require further information. This can mean weeks of waiting for players to join their teammates.

While you may not own a baseball team, your business can acquire its own foreign-born “heavy-hitter” by applying for one of several non-immigrant employment visa categories. The process to sponsor a foreign employee is similar to the P-1 process described above. Select the applicable category, apply to USCIS for approval, and depending on the employee’s country of origin apply to the Department of State for a Visa.

For further information regarding non-immigrant employment options, please visit, http://www.cascadia.com/resources/temporary-immigration/.

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Second Monday in October: Lots to Celebrate

Monday, October 24th, 2016 by Abtin Bahador

The second Monday in October means many things to many people.

In Canada, it is a day for turkey, and explaining to your American friends on social media that Canada has its own Thanksgiving. In America, it depends on what part of the country you reside. Some places continue to celebrate Columbus Day, while other parts of the U.S., including Washington State, are increasingly celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

In 2015, the Bellingham city council officially declared the second Monday in October as Coast Salish Day. The Coast Salish people are a grouping of many tribes with numerous distinct cultures and languages. Their traditional territories included metropolitan areas including Victoria, Vancouver, and Seattle. Territory claimed by the Coast Salish peoples spanned from Vancouver Island, most of Puget Sound and the Olympic Peninsula and as far south as Oregon.

With the colonization of the Americas, the British and American governments enacted arbitrary borders, and separated many indigenous people from their ancestral lands. The U.S. and British recognized that Native Americans had been separated by the newly created border, and negotiated the Jay Treaty in part to mitigate tensions with Native peoples whose lands were bisected by the recently established borders.

Article III of the Jay Treaty thus gave native peoples the right to freely access the United States. This provision of the Jay Treaty has been included in the U.S. and Immigration Nationality Act at §289:

“Nothing in this title shall be construed to affect the right of American Indians born in Canada to pass the borders of the United States, but such right shall extend only to persons who possess at least 50 per centum of blood of the American Indian race.”

Fundamentally, this passage in the complex maze of U.S. immigration law entitles Canadians, with at least 50% native bloodline, privileges to enter and remain in the United States, virtually unrestricted by U.S. immigration laws.

For a more in-depth review of this fascinating provision of immigration law, Please see “American Indians Born in Canada and the Right of Free Access to the United States” co-authored by Greg Boos of Cascadia Cross-Border Law. The article can be accessed at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2334394 andwww.jaytreaty.com.

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