Tag Archives: Iran

The Travel Ban Turns into an H1-B Fight | Feb 7, 2017

Trump’s ban becomes an H-1B fight

– Computerworld | Security

“The U.S. technology industry warned President Donald Trump that his immigration order will hurt the U.S. economy by making it more difficult for businesses to attract overseas workers. The administration’s seven-country ban is, for the tech industry, a blinking caution sign to the world’s highly skilled population delivering this message: Come here at your own risk.

Tech firms see the market for highly skilled workers as being “globally competitive,” and any changes to immigration rules may inhibit their ability to recruit overseas. Most of these companies hire Indian nationals, who account for as many 70 percent of the H-1B visa holders.

Two hundred and fifty-one H-1B visa applications for people born in the seven banned countries were approved in fiscal year 2015 for computer-related jobs, according to a Computerworld analysis of government immigration data for that year. If new and renewed H-1B visas are counted for multiple years, the number will rise. The seven countries where the immigration ban would apply are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

FY2015 H-1B visas approved for people born in countries affected by Trump travel ban

Source: Computerworld analysis of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services data. Totals include fiscal year 2015 visa applications approved for renewal and change of status as well as new applicants, computer-related jobs only.
Country Total
Iran 203
Libya 20
Syria 15
Iraq 10
Yemen 2
Sudan 1
Somalia 0



India freaks out over U.S. plans to change high-skilled visas

– CNN Money

“Amid the hue and cry over President Trump’s travel ban, news of another potential change to American immigration rules has set off a panic attack in India’s tech industry.

Major Indian tech shares took a nosedive on Tuesday on reports that Trump is planning to make changes to the H-1B visa program that allows skilled foreigners to work in the U.S.

Shares in Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India’s biggest private sector employer, plunged more than 5% on Mumbai’s stock exchange, while other top firms like Infosys (INFY) and Wipro(WIT) fell by more than 4%.

TCS and Infosys declined to comment. Wipro did not respond to requests for comment.

India’s vast outsourcing industry employs millions of people. Its business in the U.S., where it provides engineering and other tech services to firms such as IBM (IBM, Tech30), Microsoft(MSFT, Tech30) and Citibank (C), is highly dependent on the H-1B visa.

The U.S. is worth about $65 billion to India’s tech industry. Indian media warned of a major setback ahead.

“[It] is a fact that these categories of workers are in short supply in the U.S.,” said R Chandrashekhar, president of Nasscom, which represents India’s software industry. Restricting H-1B visas would “have implications for both Indian companies and American corporations as well,” he told CNNMoney.

The former U.S. ambassador to India, Richard Verma, estimated last year that 70% of the 85,000 H-1B visas issued annually go to Indian workers. The visas, which are currently allocated by a lottery system, are hugely oversubscribed — demand for them in 2016 was three times more than the number available.”

….Continue reading @ CNN Money


The tech workers affected by the travel ban: ‘Things are confusing and scary’

– Guardian UK

“Murtadha al-Tameemi, 24, is an Iraqi software engineer for Facebook who lives and works in Seattle. Most weekends he drives for three hours across the border into Canada to visit his family – his mother and two brothers – who live in Vancouver. That is, until now.

Since Donald Trump issued an executive order blocking the immigration of people born in seven predominantly Muslim countries including Iraq, al-Tameemi won’t be able to leave the US because he might not be allowed back in, even though he has a working visa (H1B). Nor will his family be allowed to visit the US.

“It’s pretty upsetting,” he told the Guardian. His family fled Iraq as refugees and spent two years in Jordan before settling in Canada in 2015. “Ever since then I’ve made a point to spend as much time with them as I can, because we missed out on a lot of each other’s lives.”

He was in Vancouver attending the opening night of his younger brother’s first play when he received a “frantic call” from his lawyer last week telling him to return to the US immediately, before the executive order was signed. He’s now back in the US and has no idea when he’ll next see his family.

Al-Tameemi is one of many people born in Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen affected whose lives have been torn apart by the executive order.

The ban dealt a blow to the technology industry, which relies heavily on foreign-born software engineers. Not only have families such as al-Tameemi’s been separated, but many visa holders are now afraid to leave the United States in case they are refused re-entry and detained.

Anahita Moghaddam was born in Iran, is a German citizen and has lived in the United States since the summer of 2010. Also a green card holder, she is a Buddhist and runs a coaching practice to teach mindfulness and compassion to individuals and companies, many of which are based in Silicon Valley.

Since Trump’s executive order, Moghaddam’s lawyer has advised her not to leave the country.

“It feels absurd that I am affected by this ban to filter out terrorists. I cannot get my head round it. This is not the way to counter terrorism, it’s just creating separation and anger,” said the 34-year-old, who lives in New York.

Obama Pays 400 Million Ransom for Iranian Hostages in Cash | Aug 2016

Obama Sent Laundered Cash to Iran as Americans Were Freed and Got Caught

– Wall Street Journal

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Did Obama Pay Cash for Hostages to Iranian kidnappers?

“WASHINGTON—The Obama administration secretly organized an airlift of $400 million worth of cash to Iran that coincided with the January release of four Americans detained in Tehran, according to U.S. and European officials and congressional staff briefed on the operation afterward.

Wooden pallets stacked with euros, Swiss francs and other currencies were flown into Iran on an unmarked cargo plane, according to these officials. The U.S. procured the money from the central banks of the Netherlands and Switzerland, they said.

The money represented the first installment of a $1.7 billion settlement the Obama administration reached with Iran to resolve a decades-old dispute over a failed arms deal signed just before the 1979 fall of Iran’s last monarch, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

The $400 million was paid in foreign currency because any transaction with Iran in U.S. dollars is illegal under U.S. law. Sanctions also complicate Tehran’s access to global banks.

“Sometimes the Iranians want cash because it’s so hard for them to access things in the international financial system,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on the January cash delivery. “They know it can take months just to figure out how to wire money from one place to another.”

The Obama administration has refused to disclose how it paid any of the $1.7 billion, despite congressional queries, outside of saying that it wasn’t paid in dollars. Lawmakers have expressed concern that the cash would be used by Iran to fund regional allies, including the Assad regime in Syria and the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, which the U.S. designates as a terrorist organization.”

….Continue reading more @ Wall Street Journal




– NTK Network

“What is your response to critics….that this was a ransom payment…..a payment that was held up for almost four decades was suddenly sent at the exact same time that the American prisoners were released…..and can you assure to the American people that the none of that money went to support terrorism?”

“Ok, the uh……uh, it’s……it’s…it’s been interesting to watch this story surface…”

– CJ gave Pres Obama exactly 89 seconds to answer a pretty straight forward question. He failed. We didn’t need much more.

However, the follow up question should have been, had the president not evaded and dodged:

Did the White House lawyers advise or caution of the risk that this money might fall into the hands of international terrorists since Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism?”

If not, did you pose this question and if not, why not?/CJ

…More @ ntknetwork.com




Guiliani On Obama’s Ransom Payment to Iran for Hostages

– Youtube | Fox Business

“I’d call that money laudering….I’d call that trading with the enemy…”     – Rudy Giuliani


U.S. Has Taught Iran a Lesson: Hostage-Taking Pays

– Bloomberg

If Americans were detained, cash was exchanged, and Americans were released, that looks like a ransom payment, right? Using the razor of Occam.

Those are the facts as reported in extraordinary detail by the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday: The U.S. arranged for the delivery of $400 million worth of cash just as Iran released four U.S. citizens.

Senior Obama administration officials insist this was not a ransom payment. They point out that different teams of experts negotiated the cash payment and the prisoner release. The cash payment was part of a larger $1.7 billion settlement over an arms sale from 1979. The prisoner release was part of a deal that released Iranians from U.S. jails. Hence the White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on Wednesday that the payment was not a ransom.

There is a reason government officials stick to this convoluted story. U.S. policy for decades has prohibited official ransom payments. As President Barack Obama himself said a little over a year ago in remarks clarifying U.S. policy on hostage-taking: “I am reaffirming that the United States government will not make concessions, such as paying ransom, to terrorist groups holding American hostages.”

And yet, when it comes to Iran at least, ransom payments are standard operating procedure. It goes back to the Reagan administration. In the early 1980s, Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy in Lebanon, had taken several Americans hostage. In 1984, the Reagan administration began what it had hoped was an opening to Iranian moderates (sound familiar?). Eventually, that secret diplomacy turned into a deal to exchange anti-tank missiles from Israel for the release of hostages in Lebanon. The profits from the arms sale later went to fund the Nicaraguan Contras, but that’s another story.

Reagan didn’t get his story straight at first. In an address in November 1986 he acknowledged the arms sale, but insisted it was not part of a deal to free the hostages. By March 1987, Reagan came clean to the American people and acknowledged the arms-for-hostages deal with Iran.”


…Continue reading more @ Bloomberg

National Insecurity – Jan 2016

DHS: Iran travel could be exempt from tighter visa rules

– Washington Examiner Jan 21


“The Obama administration announced Thursday that it has started to implement a law passed last month that will deny foreign nationals from using the U.S. Visa Waiver Program if they’ve traveled to Iran, Iraq, Sudan and Syria.

But it also outlined the different kinds of waivers it might grant people who have traveled to those countries, exceptions that were already ginning up political opposition from Republicans.

One of these is a specific waiver for people doing “legitimate” business in Iran. The State Department has warned for weeks that this kind of exception might be possible under the law, and the Department of Homeland Security said in a press release Thursday that there were several other kinds of travel that are “eligible” for a waiver of the tighter visa rules.”

– Read more @ Washington Examiner



GOP explodes in anger as Obama creates Iran exemption for visas

– The Hill Jan 21


“The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Thursday announced changes to the easy-entry visa waiver program, which allows citizens from 38 countries — including Australia, France and Japan — to enter the United States without a visa.

The DHS said its new policy will not prohibit people from the 38 countries from entering the U.S. if they have recently traveled to or are dual citizens of Iran, Iraq, Sudan and Syria, which are considered hotbeds of terrorism.

Instead, those people — who otherwise would have been eligible to participate in the visa waiver program — will have to obtain a visa through the State Department.

However, the administration is also creating a carve-case-by-case basis” to people who have traveled there for “legitimate business-related purposes” following adoption of the nuclear deal last year. ”

Read more @ The Hill