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13 April 2012

Meet the USCIS Entrepreneurs in Residence Tactical Team

USCIS has partnered with business experts to improve the way we approach the employment-based and high-skilled visa categories used by immigrant entrepreneurs. Director Alejandro Mayorkas kicked-off this innovative program, called the Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIR) initiative, with an Information Summit in Silicon Valley in February. Now, USCIS has entered a new phase of the initiative by bringing together the EIR Tactical Team. For 90 days this collaborative team, comprised of both USCIS employees and entrepreneurs from the private sector, will identify opportunities where USCIS can streamline pathways for foreign entrepreneurs. Team members began their work at USCIS in late March. Last week, they traveled to the California Service Center and met with USCIS officers to discuss the visa categories most often used by immigrant entrepreneurs: H-1B, L-1 E-1, E-2, and O-1.

EIR team members come from diverse backgrounds and offer vast business and immigration expertise. The USCIS employees are seasoned professionals with experience in employment-based immigration. The entrepreneurs bring a wide-range of real-world startup experience, including product development, investment and finance, and technology innovation. Together, they have worked with private companies, non-profits, students, and domestic and international startups at all stages of the startup lifecycle. You can read complete team member bios on our website.

Team members include (listed alphabetically):
  • Luis Arbulu, Founder and Managing Partner, Hattery
  • Sunny Choi, Associate Counsel , USCIS Office of Chief Counsel
  • Robert H. Cox, Associate Counsel, USCIS Office of Chief Counsel
  • Liz Elkiss, Counselor to the Director, USCIS
  • Paul Ford, Vice President, Community Development, SoftLayer Technologies
  • Ted Gonder, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Moneythink
  • Mark E. Harvey, Supervisory Immigration Services Officer, USCIS California Service Center
  • Efren Hernandez, Senior Advisor, USCIS Office of Policy and Strategy
  • Tanya Howrigan, Supervisory Immigration Services Officer, USCIS Vermont Service Center
  • Julia C. Kennedy, Adjudications Officer, USCIS Service Center Operations
  • Emery Moore, Supervisory Immigration Officer, USCIS Vermont Service Center
  • Blake Patton, Entrepreneur in Residence, Advanced Technology Development Center
  • Paul Singh, Partner, 500 Startups
  • Catherina Sun, Assistant Center Director, USCIS California Service Center
  • Natalie Tynan, USCIS Office of Policy and Strategy
We are excited for the opportunity to bring together a dynamic team of industry experts and talented USCIS employees to explore ways to better serve our customers and promote American prosperity and job creation. To read more about this program or employment-based immigration visit


At April 13, 2012 at 3:25:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great initiative and excellent work by USCIS.There is a need to set the H1B numerical limit back to 195000 per year,as it used to be till 2006.

At April 13, 2012 at 4:09:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

On August 2, 2011, the USCIS stated it would make Premium Processing available for EB-1, multi-national manager/executive immigrant visa petitions. On October 23rd, it stated that Premium Processing would become available in early 2012. It is now April 13, 2012. When will Premium Processing be made available?

Thank you in advance.

Anthony E. Weigel, Attorney

At April 13, 2012 at 5:16:00 PM EDT , Blogger Unknown said...

Dear Director (Mr. Alejandro Mayorkas) ,
Please allow H-4 Visa holders, depended of H-1b to work in US. At least allow the dependents of H1b holders, who completed 6 +yrs in H1b and waiting for GC in I-140 stage.

Please allow the H-4 holders to utilize their talents when we are in US, which will benefit US economy , at least in the way of tax.

Thanks for considering the request.

At April 13, 2012 at 6:13:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...


At April 14, 2012 at 11:07:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Bobby Escobar said...

May I suggest inviting someone from U.S. colleges and universities, e.g. leaders of international grad student associations or Ph.D. candidates,

who are current F-1s or J-1s,

who will voice the concerns of foreign students who want to incorporate start-ups in the U.S. and

who will eventually create jobs, using their sweat (and brain) equity,

to join the (near-term) tactical team or (long-term) strategic group.

At April 15, 2012 at 9:34:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Zoe Adams said...

As an E2 visa holder, I am extremely pleased to see this initiative taking place.
Maybe the team will realize the worth and potential that E2 visa holders bring to the US in terms of investment and job creation, and give us the opportunity to apply for Green Cards.

At April 20, 2012 at 7:42:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear director and all above mentioned team of experienced ,educated staff

Please do some thing to move India EB3 visa dates . we are waiting since 1999 and 1996. and millions of people like us in this category.

We are educated and hardworking people ,
We are paying taxes ,
We came legally to this country,
We have family back home in India,
We also have dreams to get settled in life like EB2 and EB1 category people and family based categories.

Only difference is you made such policies on basis of educational degrees.
Isnt it like discrimination on grounds of education and countries you belong??

And still Every year you are bringing in thousands of new H1s .Please process old applications first.

Its looks like you are catching new fishes and let old one get rot.

At April 22, 2012 at 10:12:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would be nice if USCIS starts issuing EAD(I-765)/AP(I-131) with a validity until approval/denial of I-485 application. Since with the new fee for I-485, USCIS is not charging any additional fee for renewal of EAD/AP. Due to the huge backlog I-485 pending applicants are required to file multiple EAD/AP renewal, until there I-485 is approved. This causes additional work load and expense for USCIS. Instead, if USCIS starts providing EAD/AP combo card with a validity until I-485 approval/denial, it will save time and money for USCIS and also will be very helpful for all the I-485 pending applicants. I hope USCIS higher authorities will consider this option and bring this in as an administrative fix at the earliest.


At May 11, 2012 at 12:52:00 PM EDT , Blogger Unknown said...

Self-employed entrepreneurs of start-up companies who have a significant ownership interest can't apply for permanent residence the employment-based preferences that require a PERM labor certification because of Department of Labor rules. The Tactical Team should focus on developing clear guidelines for USCIS adjudicators so that these innovative job creators can successfully apply under the employment-based second preference national interest waiver.

Ann Kanter, Attorney


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