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conchshell
07-22-2008, 05:38 PM
Among the jubilation of July visa bulletin, associated EB2/EB3 discussion, pleas to do something about EB3 India, and now people suffering from COLTS ... a scary thought came to my mind. What if against our wishes USCIS does not act fast enough and not able to use all the visas for this year?

To me the DOS announcement seems like the stroke of a genius!! No one is talking about the bills pending at Congress, legal immigrant community is effectively divided between EB2/EB3, no one with EB2 India will get two year EAD, most of the EB2 India GC warriors are now curiously waiting to see what happens in August, and EB3 India busy planning a convertion to EB2 ... no one is talking about administrative reforms at USCIS ... and last but not the least ... congressmen and senators are not getting those annoying calls from IV members anymore!!

This seems to be a perfect escape route for USCIS-DOS-Congress .... keep the priority dates where they are in August visa bulletin ... people will remain hopeful ... retrogress heavily in September (Please remember what happened after July 2007 visa bulletin). By that time election will be on the door step ... congress will be in recess ... USCIS will give us a deaf ear ... and we will not have any other option except to wait for the election and the new administration.

May be I am suffering from advanced stage of COLTS, but don't you think that we should stop, take a deep breath, see where we are in our struggle for legal immigration reforms, and start planning our next course of action, if things don't turn out the way we want them to turn out in August/September 2008? Otherwise, we are bound to see those emotional emails, appeals for unity and actions on IV once again in September/October this year. My point is shall we get satisfied with this present too good to be true scenario, or shall we learn from our past mistakes and start preparing ourselves just in case we end up facing the worst case scenario??

Please ... purpose of this thread is not to spoil the party or offend people, but to think forward and prepare ourselves to what awaits in future.

bskrishna
07-22-2008, 06:55 PM
none of the above entities seem to have the ability to work in unison or will ever do so. I think it is beyond them. We should continue our efforts to call senators and congressmen/women. Although we do not know currently where it is all stuck.....

trueguy
07-22-2008, 08:01 PM
What can we do to make sure these bills are approved this year?

GCOP
07-22-2008, 08:09 PM
Can IV arrange meeting with Law makers to request to bring the 3 bills on Floor for vote . At least we can try.
What can we do to make sure these bills are approved this year?

rajuseattle
07-22-2008, 08:14 PM
With current economic conditions, chances of any imigration reform is NULL.

Any politician who talks about immigration reform will get attention in the media and will be labled as pro-imigrant. With American loosing jobs noone in this country including the new LPRs wants to increase the number of legal immigrants.

So hope for the US economy to be on track which will start sometimes at the end of 2009 or beginning of 2010. Only after that we have some hopes.

If US congressmen/women agrees on removing the per country limit on employment based VISAs to give some relief to folks from India/China/Mexico and Phillipines, we have some slim chances of improving the backlog, else nothing until 2010 begins.

We dont even know by that time we will have jobs or need to go back to our home country. Its rough time, and we have to stay up in the rough waters.

GCOP
07-22-2008, 08:35 PM
We tried to bring the bill in 2006, 2007 and nothing happened some members of the congress wanted to pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform. I do not know, which year is a good year for us. All we are asking is , Recapture of unused visa numbers, not increase in Visa Numbers.
We still do not know, How the visa Numbers being issued to 245i ( Year 2000 245i Act) cases from Regular 140,000 quota; will be recaptured , which is one of the reason for EB3 Retrogression.

kumarc123
07-22-2008, 08:47 PM
I agree with the original poster and his thoughts.

We all seem to be sighing a relief - its a mirage :).

A few lucky ones will walk the streets with GCs in their pockets - we all will still be suffering from COLTS and cursing the USCIS!

Better to make use of the time & opportunity - work to introduce the 3 bills and focus on getting at least one of them passed.

CORE - advice?

I agree with the person who started this post. We should not loose focus till we have the plastic in our hands. also to help our EB3 folks.

GCOP
07-22-2008, 08:59 PM
Thanks to All those members who are thinking of EB3 members. Thanks for keeping up the momentum . EB3 has suffered a Lot, mostly due to 245i visa numbers being pulled out from regular quota.

trueguy
07-22-2008, 11:54 PM
Opening a thread is not the solution. I have participated in every campaign so far (except going to DC) . We need a solid campaign starting today bcoz we have only few days left for this year before Congress goes on vacation.

Any thoughts? Any initiative?

conchshell
07-23-2008, 01:56 AM
Opening a thread is not the solution. I have participated in every campaign so far (except going to DC) . We need a solid campaign starting today bcoz we have only few days left for this year before Congress goes on vacation.

Any thoughts? Any initiative?

Trueguy ... an initiative always starts from within an individual and as an individual least we all can do is Stop Apartheid. To be precise, in last couple of weeks we have bitterly segregated ourselves in EB2 and EB3 categories. One year back when we started fighting against July 07 visa fiasco, we never had this division among us. We all fought together, and won a major battle. But I strongly believe that we can not get true success unless we stand on high moral grounds, and aim for something higher than just a green plastic card.

I have firm belief that if we are here just to get a green card for ourselves by hook or crook, by overtaking others, by any possible (fair/unfair) means ... than we have no moral ground to ask for each others support. In that case probably we are just a group of opportunist, forced to join hands because of the problems we face. But trust me, if that's the case we will never win the war (we may win small battles here and there), and that's because as and when people will get their GC, they will move on with their life, leaving others behind to struggle and suffer alone. That's precisely has happened in the past ... that's exactly which may happen in future.

It was quite painful for many of us to see the war of words going on between EB2 and EB3 folks. In the joy of July VB 08, EB2 ignored the pain of our EB3 friends (some of us even tried to justify the situation), and their sheer frustration EB3 guys reacted sharply against EB2. We have successfuly created yet another caste system (EB2/EB3) among ourselves ... this what I am referring as "Apartheid", and urging everyone to please stop this. This is high time EB2 folks show some humanity and understand the pain of our EB3 friends. If we don't, and if somehow August-September 08 does not turn out to be as promising as it looks, we will loose our face and will not be in a position to ask for their support anymore. At the same time, EB3 group need to offer good wishes to EB2 community for the coming months, and request them for their continued support for legal immigration reforms. We must fill the divide that we have created among ourselves. If we can not unite, we have a bleak chance of success.

So what is that higher moral ground that has the power to bind us together? I must stress that this is something beyond a green card or citizenship. Is ImmigrationVoice always gonna be a small "delta" set of people who are stuck in USCIS queue, or its truly gonna represent the immigrants in this country? I would like to see IV as a platform where people can not only get their GC/Citizenship but can also stand for the social-political rights of immigrants after immigration. And this platform should not be bound to any pre-immigration nationality or any such apartheid group. Its high time, when IV should convert from just a forum to a social network of immigrants, where immigrants can not only post their success stories but can also network with other immigrants to give and take help. Only when we aim this high, and stand on this high moral ground, we would be able to ignore petty issues like EB2/EB3 and would be able to fight together.

So Trueguy ... sorry for a long writeup ... but before we decide on any action, we first must unite ourselves ... bridge the EB2-EB3 gap ... plan for post GC collaboration ... I have some thoughts on possible actions, and I will post them later ... lets have a healthy debate on our possible options ... but before all this we all would like to see this Apartheid come to an end ... otherwise no action will ever get implemented.

Once again, Apartheid is a strong word, and I apologize in advance if this hurts someone, but please trust me ... my word selection may not be in proper place but the feelings are ...

paskal
07-23-2008, 02:31 AM
As we all are aware, the bills continue to meet roadblocks from both the CHC and the Republican leaders for diametrically opposite reasons.

The campaign to call Rep. Smith's office attracted 200 or so people in an organization of more than 30,000. I will grant the benefit of the doubt since everyone does not add their names to the list- say 500 calls.

If that's all we can do, and that's all we are suffering, then why bother?
the GC will come when it will.

The bills have very slim chances of passing in this environment. Even if the don't, our efforts will count when the new Congress collects in January. An issue that is brought to the lawmakers radars is much more likely to be considered for relief. But are we even interested? Or are we all waiting for someone else to do it?

And while that someone does the deed, we all indulge in philosophical musings and armchair criticisms. Also needless bashing- read the disgruntled crowd on and see their little hurt egos spill out. Many in our community want to see "success first", then they will contribute. Yeah right, after they get their GCs they will be back to help us when they won't bother now. I truly wonder if it's worth fighting for this "community". We are divided into those that spend their time writing anonymous crap and those that take offense at it. Those that treat every effort with disdain or just a yawn and those that will participate...tomorrow.

i remember a thread that was all about bad experiences at Heathrow, and degenerated into bashing the English in general. It was the most shameful display of why we are not an "immigrant community".

The idea that iv should be a community beyond the current struggle transcending the effort to get a GC and representing immigrants as a whole, is not new, in fact it is Waldenpond's vision for the future.
I think it's a pipe dream. If we cannot even stand together when the need is strong, how in the world can we do it when that need is over?

Sorry...just venting.

mpadapa
07-23-2008, 10:53 AM
conchshell, Thanks for creating this thread. Yes the whole community just fell for the head fake moves of DOS. One month back the whole community was united for a cause "to end retrogression", just one bulletin ripped the whole community into groups like EB2 I/C/ROW, EB3 I/C/ROW, what a pity.

Unless people realize the extent of the problem, they will fall for the head fake. We need members to call their lawmakers to gather support for the Lofgren bills. This is the only true relief the entire community can benefit.

People just dream that once the new president takes office in 2009 all the retrogression will be solved. How naive? Even if the new President comes in, relief for the community will come only through a legislation. For that we need to start from scratch to draft a new bill. With the kind of support the community is providing for the Lofgren bills, I am very skeptical if a lawmaker will draft a legislation (in the next congress) for providing relief to the community. IV members have to realize how much effort has gone into get out the Lofgren bills, all members have to do is provide their support by contacting their lawmakers to support the Lofgren bills

We have to unite and fight until the retrogression is ended. Thats is IV goal.

Among the jubilation of July visa bulletin, associated EB2/EB3 discussion, pleas to do something about EB3 India, and now people suffering from COLTS ... a scary thought came to my mind. What if against our wishes USCIS does not act fast enough and not able to use all the visas for this year?

To me the DOS announcement seems like the stroke of a genius!! No one is talking about the bills pending at Congress, legal immigrant community is effectively divided between EB2/EB3, no one with EB2 India will get two year EAD, most of the EB2 India GC warriors are now curiously waiting to see what happens in August, and EB3 India busy planning a convertion to EB2 ... no one is talking about administrative reforms at USCIS ... and last but not the least ... congressmen and senators are not getting those annoying calls from IV members anymore!!

This seems to be a perfect escape route for USCIS-DOS-Congress .... keep the priority dates where they are in August visa bulletin ... people will remain hopeful ... retrogress heavily in September (Please remember what happened after July 2007 visa bulletin). By that time election will be on the door step ... congress will be in recess ... USCIS will give us a deaf ear ... and we will not have any other option except to wait for the election and the new administration.

May be I am suffering from advanced stage of COLTS, but don't you think that we should stop, take a deep breath, see where we are in our struggle for legal immigration reforms, and start planning our next course of action, if things don't turn out the way we want them to turn out in August/September 2008? Otherwise, we are bound to see those emotional emails, appeals for unity and actions on IV once again in September/October this year. My point is shall we get satisfied with this present too good to be true scenario, or shall we learn from our past mistakes and start preparing ourselves just in case we end up facing the worst case scenario??

Please ... purpose of this thread is not to spoil the party or offend people, but to think forward and prepare ourselves to what awaits in future.

RNGC
07-23-2008, 11:28 AM
We have called the law makers, well not all IV folks did, but the active guys did call. Even if most of the law makers agree, there are few who do not support these bills. What we do now ? what is our "plan B" ?

I am not directing this question to anyone, but as a group, what is our next step ?

GCOP
07-23-2008, 11:33 AM
Do we need to organize another Rally. We already have called congress members, CHC Members. For EB-3 members like me, it is really very frustrating, because we do not know when we are going to get our Green Cards. IV is requested to provide us direction for Next Step. Thanks

conchshell
07-23-2008, 01:02 PM
Sorry...just venting.

Paskal, its good to vent. I agree that IV member mass has not come forward for the cause, but we can not give up. Just to change the mood (but not to distract from this discussion) let me quote this story 'Two Frogs In Trouble" by Paramhansa Yogananda. This story is a lesson for all of us, and specially for my EB3 friends ....

Big Frog snoozed near the pond as the Sun warmed the large hump on his back. “What a great day for doing nothing,” he thought. But Little Frog bounced in and out of the sunshine as he hopped from toadstool to pond and back again. It was morning at the farm, and Little Frog was ready for fun.

“Wake up! Wake up!” he called to Big Frog. “It's time to play.”
Plip! Plip! Plip! Little Frog took off for the pond. Big Frog's eyes were wide open now. Plop! Plop! Plop!

He followed Little Frog, and together they crossed the pond into the barnyard, playing leapfrog and hide-and-seek along the way. They were having such fun that they forgot it was milking time at the barn. Plop! Plip! They jumped straight into a pail of fresh milk.

The sides of the pail were slippery, and the frogs couldn't get out. “Help! Help!” yelled Big Frog. But it was of no use. No one came. Hoping somehow to escape, the two frogs paddled in circles around the milk pail. They swam for hours. Big Frog began to swim slower and slower. Finally he groaned, “Why should we keep trying? We will die in this pail. I'm so tired, I can't swim any longer.” “Keep on! Keep on!” cheered Little Frog as he splashed around the pail. “You must have courage, or you will drown. Don't give up!” And so they went on together for a while. But soon Big Frog stopped swimming. “Little friend,” he gasped, “It's no use. We can't get out. I'm going to quit trying”. And so he did.

Now only Little Frog was left. He said to himself, “Well, if I give up, I'll be dead. So I will keep on swimming!” Two more hours passed, and Little Frog's legs could hardly move. “I can't swim another stroke,” he moaned. But then he thought of what happened to Big Frog. With every speck of strength in him, Little Frog cried out, “Even if I die, I won't give up.” “While there is life, there's hope!”

Bursting with courage, Little Frog felt tingling new life and energy came to his legs. He raced around and around the milk pail. “Splash! Splash! Splash!” For a long time that was the only sound he heard. But then he began to hear a new sound. “Glop! Glop! Glop!” The white waves had turned to the thickest cream. Now it was even harder to swim, but Little Frog kept on with all his might...

Suddenly, he felt something under him. He looked down and saw his feet resting on a small hill. His swimming had churned the milk to butter! With a great leap of joy, Little Frog jumped out of the pail ... to freedom! That night, as he hopped happily through the tall grass, Little Frog smiled up at the moon and thought, “Now I know it's true! There is always hope.” “From now on, I will never give up.” And he never did.

Trust me guys ... I am not going to stop after this story telling. I am finalizing my thoughts as to what can we do to solve the problem. I am scratching my head, and I will ask everyone to do the same ... and discuss those ideas here.

GCOP
07-23-2008, 01:43 PM
Thanks for inspiring story. All of us EB3 also want to keep on working to find the solution for depressing EB3 Retrogression.

Paskal, its good to vent. I agree that IV member mass has not come forward for the cause, but we can not give up. Just to change the mood (but not to distract from this discussion) let me quote this story 'Two Frogs In Trouble" by Paramhansa Yogananda. This story is a lesson for all of us, and specially for my EB3 friends .........

Trust me guys ... I am not going to stop after this story telling. I am finalizing my thoughts as to what can we do to solve the problem. I am scratching my head, and I will ask everyone to do the same ... and discuss those ideas here.

miapplicant
07-23-2008, 05:05 PM
Can someone please explain? Thanks.

SkilledWorker4GC
07-23-2008, 05:46 PM
Ask Peyton Manning:d
Can someone please explain? Thanks.

panky72
07-23-2008, 07:12 PM
:DCan someone please explain? Thanks.

Look at this thread and you will understand "COLTS Disease"
http://immigrationvoice.org/forum/showthread.php?t=20386

abigel
07-23-2008, 09:12 PM
I agree with a lot of things that were written on this thread - I think that there is a lot of conquer and divide going on etc... etc... The calls for higher moral ground are really noble, but I have my own doubts - just like I have my doubts about IV - or any similar group's - ambition to represent the immigrant community in a meaningful way.

I think for most immigration is a foremost and almost exclusively personal issue - of course they are opportunistic and focus on their own green cards and really care about the process, system etc.. only to the extent that it affects them in a good or bad way. So an EB3 India will whole-heartedly support visa recapture and country limit elimination, an EB3ROW will go for the first, but will staunchly oppose the second etc. Also new LPRs may completely reassess the entire immigration issue once they reach the status and may either become neutral or even adverse to some of the key components of EB immigration - will they view H1Bs as potential threats to their own job security etc?

I think the problem is that for any grass root immigration organization to be successful they should be able to define the benefits of immigration for and to the general citizenry of the US, as well. In other words they should have a very clear and highly crystallized idea of how and why legal employment-based immigration benefits the US, what the threats and dangers are and should actively pursue the formulation of a more comprehensive and clearly communicable process that would allow tis beneficial immigration to effeciently - both from the perspective of the aspiring immigrants, as well as from the eprspective of the US government and taxpayers -- but safely and securely flow. (We have to be sensitive to all issues and concerns relating to homeland security, as well as job security, etc.) Without this the movement will always remain on the sidelines, will be petty and marginalized - why would most Americans to whom the congressmen and women owe responsibility and accountaibility to would really care about X, Y or Z's slow to arrive EAD cards or the retrogessed dates, what is in it for them etc..? - and easy to divide. Think about the Civil Rights Movement - it could not have been successful without MLK's ability to communicate to the whole of America what they were about, what they wanted and what was really at stake for the whole of the USA. And if legal employment-based immigration cannot clearly articulate this, then maybe it is indeed a marginal and personal issue of those thousands and tens of thousands who volunteered to enter this process.

conchshell
07-24-2008, 04:34 PM
I agree with a lot of things that were written on this thread - I think that there is a lot of conquer and divide going on etc... etc... The calls for higher moral ground are really noble, but I have my own doubts - just like I have my doubts about IV - or any similar group's - ambition to represent the immigrant community in a meaningful way.


Abigel ... you have hit the nail effectively. If members have doubt about our ability to represent the immigrant community in a meaningful way ... than I think the time has come for an organization to do some serious thinking, come up with concrete information and bring major changes to remove these doubts.

As promised, I am going to write three articles. All three of them full of self analysis and ideas. First will address where we are with IV. Where we want IV to be in the future, and how to achieve it.

Second article will address the problems with USCIS, and what should we do to get those problems fixed.

A third and last one will try to explore the possibilities of some actions with congress, and how to get relief for affected people.

This is going to be just aloud thinking. Please interrupt me, if you find something inappropriate, I won't hesitate to apologize and correct myself. My purpose is not to raise questions about people, hurt someone, or cause unnecessary interruption, but to bring overall improvement in our day to day life.

conchshell
07-24-2008, 04:41 PM
Emerson once said “An organization is nothing but the shadow of its founder”. Its more than two years when Waldenpond and his friends started ImmigrationVoice. IV is one of a kind unique non-profit organization, which represent legal immigrant's voice in USA. Unlike other portals, it is not owned by an immigration attorney, but actually operated by the affected legal immigrants themselves. Unlike , IV is an organization which not only provide discussion forums, tracker etc, but also actively run various campaigns, does lobbying for the benefit of legal immigrants. July 2007 visa fiasco came as a turning point for IV, we started the well known Flower Campaign ... and what happened after that is a popular history. Today, its almost impossible that a legal immigrant comes to America and does not hear about Immigration Voice.

However, every organization at a regular interval need to self actualize. Change is constant, and every organization needs to change with time. When an organization starts ignoring the vital needs of its members, or starts failing to attract new members, the base starts eroding and even great organizations fade away with time. So at this point we need to identify what are our strengths, what are the weaknesses, what is our long term vision and mission, and how do we achieve it. So lets discuss our strengths first:

Strength 1: Our numero uno strength is USCIS
It may sound funny but this is the truth. We are all here because USCIS is inefficient. If USCIS becomes efficient overnight, we as an organization will wither away.

Strength 2: We are run by immigrants
IV Core is made of people affected by immigration problems, thus they better understand the problems of legal immigrants. This brings credibility to our organization. IV is not operated by an immigration attorney or a consortium of corporations, so its free from anyone's own possible vested interests.

Strength 3: We take actions
Unlike other organizations, which only serve as information portal, we actively discuss problems, and than start various campaigns to highlight the problem. We stay in touch with USCIS to convey the problems legal immigrants face. We also approach senators-congressmen to suggest a permanent solution.

Strength 4: Monopoly
We have an almost monopoly in representing the legal immigrant community. So far no other immigration organization exists which is standing up for the similar cause.

Strength 5: We are young and tech savvy
We are still a young organization and decision making process is open, democratic, and often quick. We have not yet adopted the functioning of a large lethargic body.

After the euphoria of strength, lets examine what are our weaknesses, and how can we overcome them.

Weakness 1: No publicly stated long term mission and vision.
Take a look at the mission statement we have stated at IV website. Its high time when we should start realizing who we are and why are we here. Immigration is a very large umbrella, which include people who start their journey from H/L/F visas. Most of these visas are dual intent, and this is the origin of a person's immigration journey. Green card is only a middle ground where people stay for a span of five years, and then proceed to their citizenship. Even after citizenship, legal immigrant's continue to face social/political issues related to immigrants. So lets not have our mission so short-term that once green card backlogs are finished, we cease to exist as an organization. Its high time, when we come out with our larger scope mission, and vision for the future. May be its there somewhere is founding father's mind, but now its time when we should convey it to our members.

Weakness 2: Inadequate communication
When an organization grows fro 50 members to 30K members, a clear and effective communication strategy should emerge. Many of us still do not understand the motive behind our state chapters and how do they provide effective communication to chapter members. Majority of state chapters are inactive. When a major campaign/initiative is taken no one takes the pain of explaining the rational behind certain decisions. Members are expected to come out in large numbers and start following what has been asked. In the absence of regular updates from core, chapter leaders feel like blinds leading the blinds.

Weakness 3: Inactive member base
We are not able to clearly articulate what as an organization, we currently offer to our members, and what do we intend to offer in the future. Current membership is built based on the frustration generated from the USCIS goof ups. The single most hike in membership was witnessed during July 2007 visa fiasco. We do not run any membership campaign to attract the people who are entering US on non-immigrant visas, nor we brainstorm as to how can we attract people who have their green cards/citizenship. So current membership consists of people who are stuck in green card queue.

Unfortunately, within this small membership base, we are not able to assure people that we actually stand for everyone, no matter what the problem is. A large number of people could not file for 485 in July 2007 because they were stuck at backlog elimination center. Instead of officially recognizing their problems and any actions to help them, we just moved on. Worst, some of us told them that “face it dude ... its an unjust world!!”. Now EB2 looks promising, and EB3's are feeling left alone, and without support. We do not have a clear message for them. We never put pressure on employers that harass immigrants who are working as their employees, almost never try to bring these issues as Human Rights violation.

Retaining the existing membership base is yet another problem. This is an accepted fact that after years of struggle, when we get a GC, its our right to move on with life. We are not able to articulate how will we keep our members engaged not only after their GC, but also after their citizenship oath. The idea of an immigrant community which helps people in recognizing their struggle, success, social-economic-political aspect before and after their immigration is not catching up. An idea of transforming IV into a social network of legal immigrants has not emerged so far.

Weakness 4: No talent recognition
It almost funny to see that our members are fighting for green dots and red dots. This tells us one thing... our members want to get visibility in the legal immigrant community, and there is nothing wrong with that. As a matter of fact there is lots of talent hidden in our member base. When we started a thread on predicting the visa bulletin, a lots of members came up with meaningful data analysis, and some were dead accurate. I think we should start identifying these individuals and start forming different sub-committees. For example members in Visa Bulletin subcommittee will brainstorm and will try to come up with a possible prediction. Similarly we can form a committee for new ideas, and as and when people do expletory work, they will be recognized and placed in those committees. This will promote innovation and exponential progress.

Weakness 5: No problem analysis
We still do not understand why only 300 members out of 30K participate in our various campaigns. We have not yet started any effort to hear directly from horse's mouth as to what stops them from participating in IV activities. Member's who are already participating will never be able to tell the answer. We have to find out ways to mobilize our support base and activate the existing non participating members. Just slogan posts, appealing people to help themselves by helping IV, are in fact not working.

Weakness 6: A Gloomy outlook
IV forums and posts are filled with moaning, and grumpy stories. But its amazing that every now and then humor erupts from these posts. I think we should have a link to “handling stress with humour” section on our front page. When something funny happens, lets promote the post to that section. Lets promote humor.

Weakness 7: No intermediate projects
In between when USCIS goofs up and we all become active, with our vast pool of technology knowledge, can we run some innovative technology projects, where we can demonstrate that we are not here only to complain and get a GC, but to also do something meaningful for the immigrant community? This area need a lots of thinking. On a lighter note, may be we can deliver some Open Source software applications to USCIS, showing how can they improve their efficiency. After all they have only a four member IT team running entire www.uscis.gov

conchshell
07-24-2008, 04:42 PM
Weakness 8: No clear future plans
There is no clear plan for future. Even we have not discusses what precise improvements we want from USCIS. What the most important fix for us, and in what order we would like them to be to addressed. All we know is the per country limit removal, and visa recapture related bills are our immediate goals.

Weakness 9: Campaigns started as knee-jerk reaction
Most of the time, a frustrated member comes up with a campaign idea, posts a date, and details of the targeted authority, and the brohaha begins. With no clear planning or idea as to how long this campaign will run, what would be the exit criterion, and who are the stakeholders, we get into these campaigns in a knee jerk reaction mode. Flower campaign is the only one which was successful, rest all were executed half heartily. We need to formulate a clear process to initiate a campaign from IV forums.

Weakness 10: Inability to join forces with like minded organization
At times it feels like we are part of a TRP race. Who get the news first to the immigrant community. Why don't we join forces with organizations like . They too have a great tracking center and discussion forum. Instead of members fuming against each other on these forums, may be we should start talking to their leaders on how can we find common grounds and how can we coordinate.

Weakness 11: Inability to see immigration as a global phenomenon
We choose to stay mum when immigrants in other countries stand for their rights. Like RCMP in UK or students in Australia. We know that we can do much but extending moral support to these events help in giving international limelight to their cause and build pressure on the concerned authorities. This also leads to a better international image for IV.

Weakness 12: Inability to garner support from major entities
We have not heard any major business corporation supporting us. We are not able to garner support from Ministry of Immigrant Indians (Govt of India), or get their lobbyist help us. We never officially contacted the Consulates/Ambassadors to hear what do they think about us?

There can be several other strength/weaknesses that our members can actively bring up. But in a nutshell that how IV look's in Conchshell's own little world. May be I am totally off the mark. But I think before reforming USCIS, we should reform us. Any organization is not free from problems, and we have our own too. I think the most important thing is how do we identity, address, and solve those problems.

Once again, its a cumbersome task to create an organization like IV. It was possible because some people took a right initiative at the right time. Iron was hot, and it appealed to people's sentiments, and that's why we have 30K plus members. It would be a shame if after getting their GC's members just go away, and IV disppear from scene, couple of years from now. I think that the time has come when IV should reinvent itself.

Constructive criticism is welcome. Let the discussion begin.

Pineapple
07-24-2008, 05:07 PM
I feel what we need is an effort to go out in the immigrant community and become well known there - move beyond the handful of professionals who are most active on IV website.

The only way, I think, is to take a break this year and focus money and effort on advertising IV on media channels targeting immigrants (as opposed to general media channels like big news papers targeting Americans): Publications, radio, TV etc. In return, we can give media ad space on IV website, so we may not need to spend a lot of hard cash.
Only when we have the critical mass in terms of name recognition will we have funds coming in from other sources, and will we have the necessary clout to make a real difference.

Of course, this is not a new idea.. but if enough people agree, we can think of what we can do to move in this direction.

pappu
07-24-2008, 05:30 PM
Thanks conchshell . Great thoughts. Pls. think about how we can raise enough capital to be effective. That I think is one of our weakness. We can do much more for the immigrant community and the cause if we were financially strong as an organization.

While other websites and businesses try to make money from immigrants, we actually try to serve the community for free and think in the interest of the community. This is our strength and I hope IV members recognize that and value us.

If we can brainstorm on innovative ways of generating funds and for a long term, we can be far more effective in our lobbying as well as focus on other items that will help all immigrants.

Our other weakness is that we are a volunteer organization (so only few people work when they have time between work or after work or on weekends. They have to sacrifice their personal time and family time. We spend our own resources and never ask for any money from IV. ). We need to be run like other big organizations where there are paid employees, an office and own lobbyists on payroll. This will give more visibility to IV and we can do far more work for everyone.

Thus everything boils down to funds. If there are funds we can invest in many ideas and make this organization extremely powerful.

Also a lot of points you have raised have been already tried and were not successful. However we are very open to ideas from committed IV members and willing to implement.

vine93
07-24-2008, 05:52 PM
Well writeup Cochshell. I am sure you gave plenty of hours thinking of it.

If it was predicting EB2/EB3 visa dates you would have seen 10 page 1000 messages in this thread. I don't see many people writing anything on this thread. Or are we waiting for some annoucement from Core people.

If thats the case then please annouce, that We are having a meeting and will decide next course of action. As a small member I can not over rule core members even if I have an innovative idea. I need to share with core people and then execute it.

But first action should come from Core people. then rest can volunteer.

Thanks Vinay

conchshell
07-24-2008, 06:36 PM
Pls. think about how we can raise enough capital to be effective. That I think is one of our weakness. We can do much more for the immigrant community and the cause if we were financially strong as an organization.

Also a lot of points you have raised have been already tried and were not successful. However we are very open to ideas from committed IV members and willing to implement.

Pappu, thanks for adding this vital point. Funds are lifeline for any organizations. I certainly will scratch my head on this issue and I urge that we all should think about it. Money and the cause are always inter-mingled with each other. We certainly can raise the money, but before that we need to come in a presentable shape. We need to identify our target audience (which I guess would be immigrant community living in USA) and broaden our thinking, mission, and vision accordingly. We just can not go to the immigrant community and tell them that we want money, so that I can fight for my green card. We all know the answer, we will hear in that case.

I will try to post a model to generate funds. However, my knee-jerk reaction :) is to mimic the fund generation model that Charter Schools follow in USA. A funding manager responsible for formulating the fund generation strategy, funding targets for the year, and how that funding will be used, along with the measures to bring complete transparency in this process. My son goes to a Charter School, so I will talk to the funding manager I know over there and see if we can learn something from there.

Our state chapters (if active) can play a great role in fund generation. We can start dialogs with local temple, and restaurants. We will have to convey them that thriving of their operation-business greatly depends on how our immigrant community does in USA. We can start programs like "Eat out" in a particular ethnic restaurant on a particular day, and a percentage of bill goes to our cause. Or arranging programs in local Temple/ Church, where profit of the program will go to our cause. Joining hands with regional Indian associations to get sponsorship. Places where someone will ask "would you like to donate a dollar for building a social network of immigrants?" But once again, we will not ask donations because someone is struggling for the green card, but because we want to use that money for a greater cause .. for the benefit of the community itself!!

As Pinapple said: we also need to use intelligent advertising to give a new image to IV. A new IV.

BTW, when a particular initiative fails, we just can not say that we tried and it doesn't work. I guess we need to do a root cause analysis, as to how and when it was tried, why it did not worked, and what can we do better next time. My 2 cents.

raj3078
07-24-2008, 07:55 PM
Funds are the biggest issue for IV and I understand IV's commitment of keeping this organization free but lets face it, frequent appeals for funds dont get enough response as IV would like to. If this organization is indeed for people's benefit and even if 1K of 30K thinks so then they should able to contribute. I keep on wondering why IV would not create membership fee? A modest fee of $% or even $1 per month will create means to keep organization well funded. Lets say we only get 10K people sign up for $1 per month, that means we have assured supply of 10K per month (I dont know what it cost to run IV but I can certainly see that there are times in which we had hard time raising 30K for weeks). I am sure most members wont mind $5 as membership fee. This would solve two purpose
1. Make every member equally responsible and stakeholder in the cause, rather than few contributing members having resentment for non-contributers. I have contributed couple times in the past and have not done so recently because of all the bitterness these contribution threads depicts on account of people who have contributed. They feel that everyone else is free-riders and so on. Common guys, either consider non-contributing members on equal basis or else consider them as non-members. You cant have two ways. On one side, you curse them for not contributing while on the other side you want them to take part in your campaigns. If I were a non-contributing member (Which I am not), then I would be offended by comments of contributing members, so where is the motivation for me to take part in IV phone call campaigns.
2. Of course, creates continuous funds for IV as well as creates a meaningful membership base which is truely interested in IVs cause rather than just checking out msg board.

I agree for the most parts on the issues raised by conchshell. We need to introspect. We need to analyze why only 300 people participated in a phone campaign even though we had 30K members....May be we really need a sanity check on our membership total...Is it really 30K or much lower....Frankly guys, I would have 1000 dedicated members than 30K careless ones....but again, these are just my thoughts....Open for criticizm

cygent
08-13-2008, 06:36 PM
These days 1/2 the threads in the front-page are just about "EB2 filers from <year> Do you see LUD..." Just check how many there are now. It's like they are hyenas and pouncing on any LUDs. We have totally lost our direction.

raj3078
08-13-2008, 07:39 PM
These days 1/2 the threads in the front-page are just about "EB2 filers from <year> Do you see LUD..." Just check how many there are now. It's like they are hyenas and pouncing on any LUDs. We have totally lost our direction.

Couldnt Agree more....Even though I am EB2.....Frankly, I feel that IV is not going forward due to lack of serious organization discussion beyond single motive of getting GC...So moment people realize that they are getting GC, IV cease to exist :(..No one responded to my earlier comments either... :(

JazzByTheBay
08-13-2008, 07:48 PM
Reminds one of "Chak De India" where someone's from MP, UP, Maharashtra, Punjab, Andra, etc. (Nobody said they're form India.) Sad!

(The following dialog was/is is the best one I've heard in a long long time... for those who've seen the movie).

jazz



Thanks for inspiring story. All of us EB3 also want to keep on working to find the solution for depressing EB3 Retrogression.

JazzByTheBay
08-13-2008, 07:50 PM
Let's be honest with ourselves - those have been the undercurrents. We've failed to evolve into the organization we could've been, imho. We should collectively take the blame for this, imho again...

jazz

Couldnt Agree more....Even though I am EB2.....Frankly, I feel that IV is not going forward due to lack of serious organization discussion beyond single motive of getting GC...So moment people realize that they are getting GC, IV cease to exist :(..No one responded to my earlier comments either... :(

calboy78
08-13-2008, 09:46 PM
I totally agree with the original post.
We need to re-focus to have DoS/DHS/USCIS fix EB3 problems ..rather than wasting our time on figuring out meaning of LUDs; predicting VBs etc.

I am EB2 but I will help EB3 in all ways I can. Go IV!!

And my request to EB2, EB1 folks - please help IV help us (all employment based GC aspriants). If there is something just for EB3, still back it.

sc3
08-13-2008, 10:18 PM
what is COLTS?? I see it used many places... but could not find the definition.

here4gc
08-14-2008, 03:04 AM
I know that travelling to DC is not possible for everybody..why not take a pre-decided TOKEN day off...talk to your managers...I am sure they will be supportive and HECK..organize a small rally in each area/town...like..southern california meets in DOWNTOWN LA...or people in Bay Area (Freemont, Sunnyvale, S C - etc meet at a designated spot) - generate some media hype by announcing the plan in advance and make it out to be a NO WORK DAY!!!....

Guys, shoot me down if you want to..but I think we need something like this..peaceful rallies in our shirts and ties (And pants of course!!)..can we do something like this ??

I am willing to work with the local state chapter and come up with things, maybe state chapters can help and we can see if this generates interest in the forum..we can just see if it works ?

sandy_77
08-14-2008, 04:14 AM
I wholly agree with concshell and abigel and others in this discussion thread. IV needs to come up with a new vision, mission and goal statements and they don't have to be set in stone. We can modify these every year or whenever needed but they must focus on our core problems as an immigrant community. Any time we don't meet a goal, we must brainstorm as a community about the causes and any remedial measures. Anytime we succeed, there must be a lessons learned discussion. For example our vision could be successful assimilation of a new immigrant into the American society. Based on this vision we could model our website on e.g. canadian immigration portal (with one stop shop for everything that new immigrant needs and may be also have sponsored links to the immigration related websites for Republican, Democrats, libertarians, ACLU, Hispanic caucus, African-American Caucus etc.). These new immigrants can be from any part of the world but we can give them one voice and one place to get all the information where they can form their new political and cultural opinions about the life in USA. Common lingo that we come across in everyday US life can be discussed and interpreted so that people can assimilate better. This vision will probably be better received by the american public, the media and organizations because they know we are talking about assimilation legally and for the betterment of all. Our mission statements could be based on the problems that legal immigrant community is having in this country...viz. Bill of Rights for immigrants (fighting against bonded labor policies of immigration law, No judicial oversight of Visa officers/immigration officers for their decisions, etc.), Support USCIS/DOS in streamlining their operations for maximum benefits to the legal immigrants can be another mission statement, Fair and reasonable wages for immigrants, Media relations so that they can get the real information without hype, Interface with new GCs and Citizens can be other mission statements. The above vision and mission statements are sufficiently long term and may not need revision often. Then the goals can be charted for ever quarter of the year to many years in future based on the mission statements. We can assign senior members (who have the desire and vision) to lead these goals with a core group of other members as a team to focus on each goal. They can be given financial benefits like bonuses/token amount every year. Initially this token amount may be small but as paid membership increases, they may get more benefits. Coupons to restaurants who advertise on IV or support IV and other freebies can be given to all the dedicated teams. Non-profit organization tax benefits can help paid members as well.

Raising funds for such a professional organization will be a daunting task. We all need to brainstorm on all possible ways. I think funding from advt dollars from all new immigrant entrepreneurs businesses (they get access to one of the largest customer base), sponsored links on the website from all organizations that seek new immigrants (political, jobs, entrepreneurship, etc.), advt for buying and selling items by unpaid members, etc. can be sought in addition to other sources such as paid membership to get expert advice on any immigration or other issues. Charities from various big organizations can be sought.

We also need to break ice with the groups opposing us by promoting each others common causes and acknowledging any legally sound arguments by the opposing side. The laws may need changing (because of unintended consequences and hardships to a common man) which can be one of the goals for the organization.

sandy_77
08-14-2008, 05:20 AM
about some of the problems we have recently landed ourselves into. About people wanting to move from EB3 to EB2, I think we genuinely need to acknowledge the problems that each group is facing. While it is unjust for the EB3 guys to be stuck for so long in the GC process, it is equally hard for a person who has studied hard to be in the EB2 queue and who has been in the queue for years and then all of a sudden he realizes that his destination is getting further and further away with each passing day instead of getting closer just because a huge number of people may be eligible to move from their EB3 queue into his queue and ahead of him. This is all because both groups are frustrated with being in this queues and having to keep track of these status on a daily basis. Letting a few people in front of you may be easy to accept but letting many in front of you in a queue with more and more expected with each passing day can be very unnerving whether you are magnanimous or selfish in nature. I think heir might be some myth to the numbers of people wishing to switch the lanes and about the ease with which they can do so. But the problem remains nevertheless because once a person moves from EB3 to EB2 their might be still more in EB3 (because of unending and torturous retrogression in that category) who would want to move to EB2 and in front of the person who has just moved to EB2. Soon this person will see that the whole EB2 gets retrogressed with no end in sight because every few years more and more people will become eligible to move to EB2 from EB3.

I think we need to look into possible administrative fixes for this problem because getting pro-immigration laws passed in this country is next to impossible. What i am proposing here is my opinion and I am not sure whether it will need changing laws or a some admin fix. What I think we should propose to govt is to allow people to move from EB2 to EB1 without necessarily satisfying the stringent criteria for EB1, i.e., allow movement based on education and experience but giving priority to those who file directly in EB1.Similarly, we can ask govt to allow movement from EB3 to EB2 but again giving priority to those who file directly into EB2 category. This way people who want to move to a higher category get recognition for their seniority in the GC process as well as access to any unused visa numbers in the higher category (their ultimate goal). Other possible solution is to just have two categories for immigrants...the EB1 and EB2. In EB1 there should be only super-specialized folks who have a lots of academic or entrepreneurial credentials. These guys should possible have no quotas and should possibly be current for ever because which country would want to turn such people down. I don't think US public against immigration can oppose that. It would be a privilege for US to have such talent. EB2 guys can move into this category if they eventually meet this criteria. EB2 should comprise of all others with priority being given to a US Masters/PhD holders (to keep the American universities and in general american public happy). The rest should get first cum first serve type service. This will prevent any current problems and the american congress/public can get an exact number of people waiting in line. They can then decide how many to allow in a given year.

I am not trying to see this problem only from the EB2 category folks perspective as I am one of them. I can understand the problems of the EB3 category folks too because I am currently in a situation where I don't know when my wait (just like the unending wait for the EB3 guys) to just come back to US will get over, just to be able to live normally again. I have been stuck in the Visa stamping problem for the last 6 months and this wait has no end. Who knows may be this EB2/EB3 discussion may not matter to me after all.

Apologize in advance if I have hurt anybodies sentiments.