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by | Jan 2, 2019

Video 1: “Trump Administration Proposes Changes to Popular H-1B Program”

“Trump Administration Proposes Changes to Popular H-1B Program”

According to the article, the Trump administration wants to reform a popular American work visa program.

The Department of Homeland Security released a proposal recently that would increase the number of H-1B visa recipients who have master’s degrees or higher level degrees and would move the registration process online.

The government has been working to crack down on the H-1B program — a result of President Donald Trump’s direction that agencies implement a “Buy American, Hire American” strategy.

The H-1B visa is a work visa that’s valid for three years and can be renewed for another three years. Many companies use H-1B visas to help fill their workforces. But tech is the sector most commonly associated with H-1Bs. Tech firms big and small say they need the H-1B program to hire trained talent that they can’t find at home.

65,000 H-1B visas are granted annually, with another 20,000 reserved just for people who hold advanced degrees from US higher education institutions. Demand for the visa often exceeds the supply, triggering a lottery system.

The proposed rule would change the selection process so that all registrations — including those from people who are eligible for the advanced degree exemption — are applied to the regular cap of 65,000 first. After that, US Citizenship and Immigration Services would select from the remaining to fill the degree cap.

The agency says this new process could increase the number of H-1B holders who have advanced degrees by up to 16% — ensuring that “more of the best and brightest workers from around the world come to America” under the program, said USCIS spokesperson Michael Bars.
The proposal also includes plans to modernize the registration process by moving it online. That would cost the government nearly $280,000 to develop in the first year, and an estimated $200,000 in fees in each subsequent year.

USCIS says that part of the rule would decrease costs for applicants by cutting down on paperwork, making the process more efficient for the government.

“The cost signals that the new system will be complex and comprehensive,” said immigration attorney Tahmina Watson of Watson Immigration Law.

She said she was concerned about whether the government is rushing to put out the new system before it is ready.

It’s unclear whether the system would be ready in time for the spring, which is when H-1B registrations are due.

The public can weigh in on the proposed rule December 3, 2018 through January 2, 2019.
Note: In addition to the video, please also see the following article included at the above-referenced internet address:

Discussion Questions

1. Describe the H-1B program.

As the article indicates, The H-1B visa is a work visa that is valid for three years and can be renewed for another three years. Many companies use H-1B visas to help fill their workforces. Technology is the employment sector most commonly associated with H-1Bs. Both large and small technology firms claim that they need the H-1B program to hire trained talent they cannot find at home.

2. Discuss the proposed changes to the H-1B program. In your reasoned opinion, would the proposed changes result in improvement to the program? Why or why not?

This is an opinion question, so student responses may vary.

3. As the article indicates, the public can comment on the proposed H-1B rule December 3, 2018 through January 2, 2019. What is the purpose of the “public comment” period? In your reasoned opinion, does the public comment period have import and relevance? Is it necessary? Explain your response.

Administrative agencies, like the Department of Homeland Security, are typically required to allow the public to review proposed administrative rule changes and lend input regarding such changes through a “public comment” period. Obviously, the public comment period only has import and relevance if the subject administrative agency considers public reaction, advice and recommendations in good faith.

Video 2: “What We Know About the Case behind the Deutsche Bank Raids”

“What We Know About the Case behind the Deutsche Bank Raids”

According to the article, Deutsche Bank AG is back at the heart of a scandal.

Recently, 170 law enforcement officials descended on the lender to raid it in connection with suspected money laundering. The pictures of police cars with flashing lights lined up in front of the bank’s Frankfurt headquarters sent the share price to a record low as investors considered the possibility of new distractions for top management and the potential of fines. Here’s what we know so far.

Frankfurt prosecutors, who are in charge of the investigation, allege that Deutsche Bank helped clients set up companies in tax havens, and that it failed to report evidence to authorities that clients used its accounts to transfer money from illicit sources. The allegations target the period from 2013 to 2018, according to a statement published by Deutsche Bank. The prosecutors’ case is based on an assessment of a large trove of documents, commonly known as the Panama Papers, which were leaked to the press in 2015 and first reported on in 2016.

The investigation targets two Deutsche Bank employees, only identified as being aged 50 and 46, as well as others whose identity is as yet unknown, according to the prosecutors’ statement. One of the two suspects works in the bank’s anti-financial crime unit, the other one in the private wealth division, a person familiar has said. No current or former board members are among the suspects, the bank said on November 30. Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing said in a recent interview with a German newspaper that the bank had investigated the issues raised by the Panama Papers in cooperation with its supervisors and had assumed the matter was closed.

Back in 2016, Deutsche Bank severed ties with a Cypriot lender named in the Panama Papers and which was identified in a media report as arranging as much as $2 billion in offshore transactions linked to associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin. That year, Deutsche Bank was among more than a dozen foreign banks ordered by New York’s banking regulator to turn over information about their contact with a Panamanian law firm that helped register tens of thousands of shell companies. The banks weren’t accused of wrongdoing.

The Deutsche Bank unit at the center of last week’s raids was called Deutsche Bank Global Trust Solutions, part of the lender’s private wealth business. It had a British Virgin Islands subsidiary called Regula Limited. Prosecutors say a Deutsche Bank business there had more than 900 clients and assets under management of 311 million euros ($353 million) in 2016.

Deutsche Bank sold the GTS business to Bahamas-based Bank of N.T. Butterfield & Son Ltd. in March this year. Deutsche Bank’s global head of wealth management Fabrizio Campelli said at the time of the sale that the move was a step in simplifying the business and represented a focus on its core markets such as Asia, the U.S. and the U.K. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

At best, it’s another hit to morale for the bank and an unwelcome distraction for its CEO. Just a day before the raids, Sewing gave a pep talk to an annual executive gathering that several described as upbeat. But images of dozens of police cars in front of the bank’s offices quickly sapped any optimism and pushed the share price briefly below 8 euros for the first time.

At worst, it could expose the bank to a heavy fine and other regulatory punishments, and even put some executives at risk of litigation. As yet, there’s no indication that will happen. A review of the Panama Papers showed that the 11 German banks probed had “largely” complied with existing money laundering rules, Felix Hufeld, the head of the German financial regulator Bafin, said in January.

Prosecutors have said they’ve made “very rapid and very good progress” during the raids and Deutsche Bank has said it’s cooperating “comprehensively.” Prosecutors are scheduled to meet with Deutsche Bank’s lawyers Friday for talks over their initial findings and whether more information will be needed. Still, the review of the papers collected in the raids could take several months.

The next thing to watch is the fallout for Deutsche Bank’s management board. The lender, which has also drawn scrutiny in recent weeks for its role in a dirty money scandal at Danske Bank A/S, was considering replacing Chief Regulatory Officer Sylvie Matherat even before the latest developments. It has long been in the spotlight for deficiencies in money laundering controls — which fall into a unit ultimately headed by Matherat — and the raids certainly don’t help.
Note: In addition to the video, please also see the following article included at the above-referenced internet address:

Discussion Questions:

1. What is money laundering?

Money laundering is defined as the concealment of the origins of illegally obtained money, typically by means of transfers involving foreign banks or legitimate businesses.

2. Why is money laundering a crime?

In laundering money, the financial institution involved may be serving as an accessory-after-the-fact in terms of concealing the illegally-obtained money. Money laundering also likely involves tax evasion.

3. The article refers to a law enforcement “raid” on Deutsche Bank. In your reasoned opinion, is that a fair and accurate use of the word? In the United States, are corporations entitled to Fourth Amendment (to the United States Constitution) protection? If so, what specifically is that protection?

One definition of raid is “a surprise attack to commit a crime, especially to steal from business premises.” An alternate definition is to “quickly and illicitly take something from a place.” The point here is that although the term raid can have a negative connotation, if law enforcement was conducting a lawful search consistent with a validly-obtained search warrant, it was doing what it was legally entitled and obligated to do. In the United States, corporations are entitled to Fourth Amendment protection, but the Fourth Amendment would not prohibit law enforcement from legally obtaining a search warrant (pursuant to “probable cause” evidence demonstrated to a judge) and executing the warrant.