Last week in Downtown San Jose, the family owned Cafe Pomegranate laid off all its employees and abruptly closed for good. The family owned the cafe for a little over a year. Cafe owner Khaled Alterkeet got denied an L1 visa, which is a business visa. Jessica Stopper and Yale Wyatt talked to Alterkeet’s lawyer, Steve Riznyk, regarding the circumstances that forced the family out of the country.
Riznyk wished to not be recorded during the interview.
However, Riznyk gave us valuable information. Like how Alterket had two other companies he was investing in, which should have given him even more of a chance to have his business license renewed.
Steve Riznyk says that an extension of the L1 visa is normally a simple process, and that Alterkeet fit the “formula” of what is usually accepted. But for some reason, Alterkeet was deemed not qualified to get his L1 license renewed, despite clearly demonstrating he could operate two separate businesses.
This case is still in the works, but Riznyk said if Alterkeet did in fact qualify for a business visa, things can work out in his favor.
Riznyk said that the officer administering the visa extension process was insistent on Alterkeet providing the day to day details of the future of his business.
Riznyk argued that the way we treat those who wish to do business in our country will leave a lasting impression on how others view the United States.
After he was denied the extension of his Business Visa, Alterkeet went back Kuwait to settle some personal matters, before returning to the United States on a visitor’s visa to make preparations to permanently move back to his home country. Riznyk said he was detained in San Francisco for nearly four hours, where he was “treated like a prisoner.”