Becoming a fashion designer is on the wish lists of many teenagers, but for this teenager, it is her only wish. Thanks to Make-A-Wish Metro New York, Cindy, 17, who has spinal muscular atrophy with limited use of her hands, was connected with FIT Fashion Design student Veronica Apsan, 21, so that she could design and make her own fashion collection, and then present it in a small runway show. That show took place at FIT on Saturday, November 14 to an audience of family, friends, and faculty who were on hand to give Cindy feedback on her designs.
Veronica Apsan (center), an FIT Fashion Design student, with models showing four looks by Cindy, who had the opportunity to design a small collection through Make-A-Wish Metro New York. See above right
While Make-A-Wish, which grants the wishes of young people with life-threatening illnesses, is well known for granting wishes like meeting a beloved pop star or providing a trip to Disneyland, Cindy's wish to be a designer and see the process through from beginning to end is different. Together, she and Veronica have spent the past year working side by side to create four looks ― a coat, a dress, a pants/blouse ensemble, and a puff skirt/top ensemble. They shopped for fabric, developed the patterns, and made the clothes ― exactly as any fashion designer would. For the aspects that Cindy needed physical help with, Veronica would only work with the fabric or sew under Cindy's direction.
The fashion show was presented with the help of models from FIT's Models and Stylists Association, and Aveda for makeup and hair.
For Joseph Plutz, coordinator, Services for Students with Disabilities, the project and event has been a part of raising disability awareness at FIT, as well as an opportunity to present a very different kind of project.
"Cindy and I have really grown together in this experience," (((Veronica said. "It's been life-changing for both of us. Cindy is so talented. I saw her sketchbook and immediately realized she has a vision.))) I wanted to put all I could into making a difference for her. I feel like this really boosted her self-esteem, and that she feels like a new person with her talent. She may not even have known how talented she is!"
Being an immigrant is a sign of strength. It is to cross to the other side, many times, not looking back. It is to transform oneself, is to know thyself, it is to improve yourself. For the immigrant there is no other choice, but to adapt. To adapt is to survive, and to survive is to be strong.
The power of survival is not measured by physical strength, race, creed, color, sex, or sexual orientation. The power of survival is measured by the most resilient, the most persistent, the most perseverant. Waterloo and Stalingrad were lost by the failure to adapt to the cold weather and other harsh conditions, not due to lack of strength. To be strong is to be determined to succeed. However, to succeed is to adapt, and to adapt in the most swiftly form: to the extent that you become part of the thing you set yourself to adapt towards.
((The true immigrant learns the language of the new country, without forgetting the one left behind)). The true immigrant pledges allegiance to the flag he chooses, not always to the one he was wrapped around when he was born. He must always remember: his land is the land that provides for him and his family. The true immigrant adapts to the land and the ones whose inhabited that land before them, as the ones before them had done.
Being an immigrant is going to hell and back. It is to understand the true meaning of the word: 'sacrifice'. Being an immigrant is to learn how to detach and to embrace. It is learning new laws and new cultures. It is to bring your culture over to enrich those around you, not to bring your beliefs to destroy or affect those around you. The true immigrant is not only a refugee or escapee, but also an adapter. He endures, but he comes in peace. He embraces and loves his new country and he acknowledges that the old one is now his second nation. It takes a strong person to do this. It takes love and pride.
The best way to show the love for your new country is to show that you are not a foreigner, but a learner, and that you are going to become a law-abiding citizen. Immigration should bring the best of everywhere. The true immigrant knows that he will offer the best to the country, which he is now becoming part of. He must sacrifice and never give up. The true immigrant never gives up. He gives his life for the country that feeds him and his family. He becomes one with the country. By becoming one with the country, the country becomes stronger.
The true immigrant is a patriot of the country he immigrated to, not only of the country he emigrated from. He must be courageous and brave and, if necessary, fight to protect the country he adopted, even if against the country he left behind. Being an immigrant is doing the most courageous thing. It is doing what few had the courage to do. Leaving behind part of your heart. Being a true patriot is not always doing what is politically correct, but doing what is correct regardless of politics.
The true immigrant is strong and does not depend on others, but sometimes has others depending on him. He does not depend on the government, but helps the government and honors his obligations, so he can enforce his rights. He, who never met a strong person, never met a true immigrant.
Please find a brief guide to visa options for U.S. real estate professionals looking to expand their foreign clientele here. This guide comes from several years of attending and presenting at real estate conferences and the questions that have been raised by real estate professionals.
Foreign Nationals: Profile of Real Estate Buyers
1. Investment: These individuals have money to burn, and see brick & mortar as a sound investment vehicle. They may or may not be interested in residing in the U.S.
2. Pied-à-terre: These individuals have principal residence in another country and use property in U.S. as vacation home.They too may or may not be interested in residing in the U.S.
3. Primary Residence: They want to live in the U.S. permanently but may not have the immigration status to do so… yet.
How can you expand your real estate clientele to include foreign customers?
— Marketing is important but the potential buyers may want to live, work, and study in the U.S. and that requires immigration solutions.
— One way is to be able to help identify ways to get your clients to the US. Some people do not have access to the U.S.: If you can pair them up with people who have solutions, you may gain new clients.
— If they are in the U.S. full-time, then they are potentially a constant referral source (as well as a repeat customer).
— Selling to employment-authorized visa holders and green card holders mean you can also secure buyers who need a mortgage, so you are not limited to cash-only buyers.
Foreign Investors: 5 Common Profiles
1) Types of Investors: Foreign Students
Foreign Students are usually on an F-1 student visa, which only covers them for the term of study + one year of OPT (Optional Practical Training). They cannot remain in the U.S. unless they are sponsored for employment. Last year only 85,000 visas were available for all foreign university graduates, so odds are low.
Many foreign students who come here to study desire to remain in the U.S. because the cost of education is so high & chances for scholarships and loans are so low, students generally come from upper-class families with substantial resources.
Options for Students
— E-2 visa: For students from countries which have a bilateral treaty with the U.S., they can get a visa to run a start-up or buy an existing business.
— EB-5: For students who do not come from a treaty country (including BRIICS countries), they can invest passively in any project which will create at least 10 full-time jobs. Examples include restaurants, hotels, assisted living centers, factories, etc.
— Funds need to be legally obtained, though need not have to be earned. Funds can be gifted by family members.
2) Types of Investors: Professionals (Employees)
“Un pied et demi” is an idiom that translates into “one and a half feet in the U.S.,” meaning: Foreign professionals who are employed by U.S. employers; they usually come in under 3 categories:
1. H-1B are university degree holders.
2. E-1/E-2 are treaty-based companies set up in U.S. to sponsor people from the same country.
3. L-1 are when a foreign parent company transfers foreign employees to a U.S. subsidiary.
Employees – Why are they such great potential clients?
Foreign nationals with any of these three visa classifications are deemed to have “dual intent.” This means they are not required to maintain a foreign residence, which makes them prime candidates for buying a U.S. residence. They are the most likely to be sponsored for green cards and become permanent residents. They are also eligible for mortgages with many mortgage lenders.
3) Types of Investors: Entrepreneurs/Business Owners
Entrepreneurs and business owners overseas can launch new U.S. companies and can get visas to run the US operations. Since they are basing their visas on either investment or expansion of an existing business, they have money and make for good potential clients. The applicable visa classifications carry dual intent and are eligible for green cards.
4) Types of Investors: Stars
“Stars” means anyone who is considered to have extraordinary ability and at the top of their field. This can be movie stars, serial entrepreneurs, well-known scientists, researchers, journalists, you name it! (No world-famous criminals!) They do not require a sponsor: Self-sponsored petitions can be fast-tracked and processed very quickly.
5) Types of Investors: Retirees with money
While this may be more relevant in Florida or Arizona, foreign nationals wanting to retire in the U.S. can do so, if they have a significant amount of extra money: The EB-5 program allows them to invest in a program or project that meets the job creation requirements for a permanent green card.
Very important caveat: A green card CANNOT be obtained by simply investing in real estate. If 10 full-time jobs are not created as a direct result of their investment, they will not qualify for a permanent green card!!
How to use EB-5
EB-5 allows the broker to “package” the property to be sold as a “combo” of sorts. There are two separate investments: The EB-5 investment and the property purchase. Working with an EB-5 project allows you to use a global budget which takes into consideration the cost of EB-5, and gives you a ceiling of the remaining funds to work with.
For example: Foreign investor has $2 million overall to invest and wants a green card for himself, his wife and their three minor children. The EB-5 project requires $500k plus $100k in administrative / legal / processing fees. This gives you a budget of $1.4 million to work with for your property sale.
In order to attract more foreign national clients, it is good to be minimally familiar with the different options foreign nationals have to procure temporary and permanent residence in the U.S., and the visa classifications that allow them to reside here and get mortgages.
Many times, helping foreign national clients to find a solution to their immigration needs will help you get the client and keep them for the long term. It can also generate more long-term potential referral sources. If you can’t be their problem-solver and resource, they may find someone else who can!Make sure to have someone in your wheelhouse who understands these issues thoroughly in order to be able to maximize your chances of closing the deal, and opening the door to an unlimited amount of future clients!
On June 24, 2015, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security designated Nepal as a country qualifying for Temporary Protected Status (commonly referred to as “TPS”). Many individuals from Nepal are now faced with the question of whether or not to apply for TPS or asylum. To help assist those potentially facing this dilemma, I want to provide a brief explanation regarding the difference between the two benefits.
Temporary Protected Status is a temporary immigration benefit that allows qualifying nationals from a designated country the right to remain in the United States legally until a specific date. TPS also authorizes qualifying nationals to obtain a work permit for the duration of their authorized stay. Some people may also qualify to receive authorization from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) to leave the United States, travel to Nepal, and then re-enter the United States.
In order to be eligible for Nepali TPS, you must provide evidence to USCIS of the following:
1. That you have continuously resided, which means you have been physically present, in the United States since June 24, 2015.
2. That you are a national of Nepal. If you have no nationality (for example you are a Tibetan or Bhutanese refugee), you may still qualify if you can show that the country you last resided in was Nepal.
3. That you have not been convicted of a felony or 2 or more misdemeanors in the United States, and that you are not inadmissible to the United States on other security-related grounds.
TPS is granted on a case-by-case basis, which means that you must apply for TPS in order to receive it. The last date that you can apply is December 21, 2015. If you do not apply by December 21, 2015, you will not be eligible to receive TPS.
Applying for Both TPS and Asylum
It is important to note that TPS is a TEMPORARY immigration benefit and does not lead to lawful permanent resident status. However, you can apply for TPS in addition to other permanent immigration benefits such as asylum. While TPS is available to anyone who meets the qualifications listed above, asylum is a benefit that is only available to those that are able to prove that they were persecuted in the past, or that they fear future persecution on account of a protected ground.
If you believe that you may qualify for both benefits, it is important to understand that asylum leads to permanent legal status in the United States and TPS does not. Furthermore, if you apply for asylum and TPS, you cannot return to Nepal or your asylum claim will be deemed abandoned.
There may be an advantage, however, to applying for both benefits: If you are granted TPS and it is extended by the government (which has happened with many other TPS designated countries), you may remain in a protected status even if your asylum claim is denied.
For more information on the process of applying for asylum, please refer to my previous post, Mission: Securing Asylum for Tibetan Nationals. If you have questions regarding your eligibility for either benefit please don’t hesitate to contact me atKChaltain@smalawyers.com. As always, we are here to help.
The USA welcomes Zeca Pagodinho back to its shores. He will be once again in the New York, New Jersey area to give you a super performance. He will be here once more dazzling the community with his Brazilian personality and customary Samba music.
Award winning singer Zeca Pagodinho has been honored on multiple occasions. He received 3 years back to back best singer, best samba, best disk, and best song. This artist is not only a talented vocalist, but a talented song writer as well. He is one of Brazil’s top sellers in the country. His music fills the room with the spirit of Rio De Janeiro.
You will not want to miss out on this amazing event on Sunday, October 25, 2015. This mega performance is being brought to you by Brazil in Concert. There are still a few tickets available to purchase online at TicketFly for this grand performance that will be held in Astoria, Queens, NY. In the newly renovated Mellrose Ballroom you can experience everything that this musical icon can give you.