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University Instructor and Multicultural Education Researcher did not qualify for a National Interest Waiver

The Chicago immigration lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer is following  National Interest Waiver  decisions  under the new AAO network under Matter of DHANASAR, 26 I. & N. Dec. 884 (AAO 2016) and is providing summaries of decisions applying the facts to the new framework.

In a recent appellate decision following a denial of a national interest waiver by the Texas Service Center, the AAO determined that a University Instructor and Multicultural Education Researcher failed to qualify for a National Interest Waiver as she did not all three prongs of the  National Interest Waiver framework that the AAO announced in Matter of DHANASAR, 26 I. & N. Dec. 884 (AAO 2016).  We outlined in more detail the framework in our earlier blog.  The framework imposes three prongs on the petitioner:

  1. That the proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance;
  2. That the foreign national is well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor; and
  3. On balance, it would be beneficial to the United States to waive the requirements of a job offer and thus of a labor certification.

Petitioner’s Claim: The alien is an expert in multicultural education who seeks to continue her research in “improving educational practices for minority populations,” focused “more on the application and teaching of the integration of culturally and linguistically appropriate approaches and implementations in pedagogy and classroom practices.”  She claimed that the work has “direct and tangible applications in both public schools and in educational methods and research.”

Evidence presented: PhD in curriculum and instruction; Two Masters Degree: in Sociology and in Anthropology.  Experience in teaching online anthropology courses as an associate faculty member;  Appointments in the department of chemistry and biochemistry teaching college classes (Chemistry, General Sociology, Race, Class, and Gender, Social Physiology, and Cross-Cultural Perspectives).  Research articles, evidence of participation in academic conferences, alumni and honor society membership, graduate assistantships,  teaching evaluations; Evidence of downloads  PhD research, profile page, a copy of a 2016 book, webpage showing that the book is available for purchase, an invoice that 5 books have been sold.  Evidence that she had drafted another book which has been submitted for publication; Letters from a professor emeritus, explaining that increasing diversity in US classrooms is “requiring teacher candidates to acquire competencies in addressing the needs of their student population;” A letter addressing how the research will develop new training methodologies to equip teachers with skills that make them “culturally competent to teach in diverse settings.”  Other letters discuss how the research concerning the learning needs of CLD students will help ensure that they have equitable access to quality education.  Some of the articles and the book were published after the I-140 was submitted.

  1. Proposed endeavor merit and national importance (Yes, meets this prong): The alien will continue research in educational sociology and multicultural education. The research “will broadly continue to examine issues of social justice with specific remits on access, progression, and general equal opportunity issues.”  It will address “understanding of the importance of social factors, cultural diversity, and social communications patterns as critical issues to address the conflict between the dominant ideological structures and social values and the sensitivity to diversity [that] exist within the social institutions especially educational institutions.”   The work in multicultural education research, which aims to improve teacher competences and learning environment for culturally and linguistically diverse students (“CLD”) has substantial merit and is of national importance.  The letters show potential benefit for the multicultural education research, which has broader implications, as the result from the work is disseminated to others in the field through publication in educational journals and books.  The teaching activities do not meet the “national importance” element of this prong.  Nevertheless, the research does, and therefore the alien met this prong.
  2. Whether the alien is well positioned (No, doesn’t not meet this prong): The alien’s qualifications as a multicultural education researcher are not sufficient to render her well positioned to advance her proposed endeavor.  Evidence does not show that once published or presented, the research has been frequently utilized by other professionals in the field, has affected practices in various school systems, has generated substantial positive discourse in the broader academic community, has garnered a significant number of independent citations, or has otherwise impacted education initiatives in the field.  Although one letter contends that the “competency model can be integrated and modified in collaboration with other researchers to expand it into new models that would be adapted by many school districts and teacher education programs nationwide,” it does not identify any school districts that have adopted the model or intend to utilize it to improve their teaching practices.  There are not any examples of school systems that have implemented the petitioner’s specific approaches.  Evidence of download and view of the graduate work, does not demonstrate the level of impact of the research or that the findings have affected the multicultural education.  Claims that the alien helped a colleague in developing a culturally sensitive curriculum for a classroom practices, without evidence that the joint work itself is influential, is not sufficient to meet this prong.
  3. Balancing (No, doesn’t meet this prong): Alien claimed she “possesses unique knowledge and skills that serve the national interest, but are not easily articulated in a labor certification”. Alien has not demonstrated that she presents benefits to the US through her proposed endeavor that outweighs those inherent in the labor certification process.  Her level of progress and success does not outweigh the benefits inherent in the labor certification process.  The alien has not shown an urgent national interest in her own contributions to achieve the proposed endeavor, nor has she demonstrated instructional innovations or other contributions that would benefit the nation even if there are US workers.

If you would like to explore your immigration options contact an immigration attorney. Our office is well versed in filing National Interest Waivers and will be following decisions under the new test