Birth Tourism: Pregnant Nigerian Women To Be Denied United States Visa Under New Policy – Motherhood In-Style Magazine

The United States Government on Thursday gave visa officers more power to block pregnant women abroad including those from Nigeria from visiting America. Under a new rule, the US Department of State directed visa officers to stop “birth tourism” — trips designed to obtain citizenship for children of pregnant women to the country.

The President Donald Trump’s administration is using the new rule, which takes effect on Friday, to push consular officers abroad to reject women they believe are entering the United States specifically to gain citizenship for their child by giving birth.

The visas covered by the new rule are issued to those seeking to visit for pleasure, medical treatment or to see friends and family, a report by The New York Times, said.

Conservatives have long railed against what they call “anchor babies,” born on American soil and used by their parents to bring in other family members.

President Trump has also criticised the constitutional provision that grants citizenship to most babies born on American soil.

It is not clear whether such “birth tourism” is a significant phenomenon or that “anchor babies” do lead to substantial immigration, but many conservatives believe both issues are real and serious.

“Birth tourism poses risks to national security,”

Carl C. Risch, Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs at the State Department, wrote in the final rule.

“The birth tourism industry is also rife with criminal activity, including international criminal schemes.”

Consular officers were already unlikely to grant visa to women, who they believe were travelling to the United States solely to give birth. But with the new rule, the White House seems to be signalling to officers abroad that those close to delivering a child would be added to a growing list of immigrants unwelcome in the United States.

Nigeria is number three on birth tourism list in the United States after Russia and China. On Tuesday the US announced plans to impose fresh visa restrictions on countries including Nigeria.

Trump’s administration said the move was necessary to prevent potential acts of terrorism, as countries on the list don’t adequately vet their travelers to America.

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US will no longer issue Visas to foreigners for birth purpose

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Nigeria News | Laila’s Blog
US will no longer issue Visas to foreigners for birth purpose

The United States Government under Donald Trump administration on on Thursday says it will no longer issue visas to foreigners who want to give birth in the country.

The new United State Visa rules restricts “birth tourism,” in which women travel to the U.S. to give birth so their children can have a coveted U.S. passport. Henceforth, applicants will be denied tourist visas if they are determined by consular officers to be coming to the U.S. primarily to give birth, according to the rules in the Federal Register.

Foreigners who want to gets visas to give birth in the United States will now have to prove that they are traveling to the U.S. because they have a medical need and not just because they want to give birth there and must prove they have the money to pay for it — including transportation and living expenses.

According to a statement released by the office of the press secretary, the rule will be effective from Friday, January 24.

The statement reads;

Beginning January 24, 2020, the State Department will no longer issue temporary visitor (B-1/B-2) visas to aliens seeking to enter the United States for “birth tourism” – the practice of traveling to the United States to secure automatic and permanent American citizenship for their children by giving birth on American soil.  This rule change is necessary to enhance public safety, national security, and the integrity of our immigration system.  The birth tourism industry threatens to overburden valuable hospital resources and is rife with criminal activity, as reflected in Federal prosecutions. Closing this glaring immigration loophole will combat these endemic abuses and ultimately protect the United States from the national security risks created by this practice.  It will also defend American taxpayers from having their hard-earned dollars siphoned away to finance the direct and downstream costs associated with birth tourism.  The integrity of American citizenship must be protected.

This is coming amidst speculation that the US government is planning to place Nigeria and some other countries on ‘travel ban list‘.

Follow us on Facebook – @Lailasnews; Twitter – @LailaIjeoma for updates

US will no longer issue Visas to foreigners for birth purpose
Damilola Ismail

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Nigerians React As Oyedepo Sacks Church Officials For Stealing Millions

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David Oyedepo
David Oyedepo

Mixed reactions have trailed the decision of David Oyedepo, presiding bishop of the Winner’s Chapel, to sack some church officials for allegedly looting the church’s treasury.

Oyedepo, who during an empowerment summit organized for the church’s ordained workers on Saturday, said some “very high up officials,” including accountants, turned themselves into a network of fraudsters — the very vices they were “trusted to prevent.”

He said, “We had no choice but to dismiss them. You can imagine top church officials engaging in doubling figures and other dubious practices. After we dismissed them, we discovered more fraud. ”

“Those who should discover the fraud were the ones involved in it. One of them refused to confess until the last minute. Can you imagine accountants perpetrating fraud in the house of God?

“Don’t employ them, don’t sympathize. Whoever sympathizes with the wicked is wicked himself. Don’t sympathize with any perpetrator of fraud, otherwise, you are a partaker of the evil act.”

This statement has stirred mixed reaction from many Nigerians on Twitter, as they have taken to the platform to either bash or defend the cleric over his decision.

Read Also: Oyedepo Fumes As Highly Placed Church Officials Steal Millions

See some reactions below

I see nothing wrong with Oyedepo dismissing those thieves that stole from God 🙏🏼 but asking others not to employ them is totally wrong, even God forgives who is Oyedepo not to. And besides those private Jets and luxury life style was not handed over to him directly from heaven 🚶🏼‍♂️

— Warlord (@BalogunGambari) January 12, 2020

“Don’t employ them and don’t sympathise with them. Whoever sympathises with the wicked is wicked himself.” – Bishop Oyedepo on church members who stole church money.

But same person has “sympathised” with the wicked and wanted Nigerians to “employ” him.

What has changed? 🤔

— Musa Ahmed (@Kempez2017) January 11, 2020

There are real prophets and there are fake prophets.. For sure.

I can’t say which oyedepo belongs to..
But y’all that derive joy in jumping into every pastor bant, you think you’re “woke”, you think you’re the modern day “3wise men” all in one body. 👇🏾👇🏾👇🏾

— captain steam 👨🚀 (@nielo_2wit) January 12, 2020

Many People Especially The So Called “Born Again” Claim They Don’t Believe In Karma But It’s Clearly Playing Out To Business Man Oyedepo,

When He’s Dinning With Looters, Wailing & Supporting Them He Didn’t Know Looting Shall Be His Portion Too,

SHIOR! pic.twitter.com/YlfWqPprAG

— Iké Nná (@IKENNA_____) January 12, 2020

But How Come The God Of Oyedepo That Gives Him All The Visions And Prophecies That He Always Shouts Didn’t Show Him When The Officials Were Looting His Church Treasury?

Is This Not A Confirmation That This Oyedepo Man Is Just A Business Man?

God Cannot Allow Such To His Own! pic.twitter.com/8qp95qot0G

— Iké Nná (@IKENNA_____) January 12, 2020

So a church treasury was looted and bishop oyedepo dismissed thoes that were involved, so one fool said he should have seen it in a vision before it happened….

Well he should have but he still caught them so we move 💪.

— Australia visa specialist 💯 🇦🇺 (@Haryurlar1) January 12, 2020

The church officials stole millions and the pastor sacked them. Where is the forgiveness once preached and visionary of Christ Jesus advocacy? By their fruits ye shall know them, Oyedepo isn’t different from end time pastors. After una go say nah pastor matter e no concern me 😡

— Ijaw Damsel 🚣🏽‍♀️ (@Dabobelemabo) January 12, 2020

I’m not concerned on why Bishop David Oyedepo is trending…
I’m concerned as to why @OfficialAPCNg Bots and handles, APC sympathizers are the ones launching these attacks…

Is Oyedepo contesting elections or has he hammer Buhari recently? 🤔🤔🤔

— The Puppeteer * (@AkporCharles) January 12, 2020

The post Nigerians React As Oyedepo Sacks Church Officials For Stealing Millions appeared first on Information Nigeria.

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‘Death to America’: We will take hard and definitive revenge ― Iranians chant

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Iran is considering 13 scenarios to avenge the killing of a top Iranian military commander in Iraq by a U.S. drone attack, a senior Tehran official said on Tuesday as the general’s body was brought to his hometown for burial.

In Washington, the U.S. defense secretary denied reports the U.S. military was preparing to withdraw from Iraq, where Tehran has vied with Washington for influence over nearly two decades of war and unrest.

The killing of General Qassem Soleimani, who was responsible for building up Tehran’s network of proxy forces across the Middle East, has prompted mass mourning in Iran.

U.S. and Iranian warnings of new strikes and retaliation have also stoked concerns about a broader Middle East conflict and led to calls in the U.S. Congress for legislation to stop U.S. President Donald Trump going to war with Iran.

“We will take revenge, hard and definitive revenge,” the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, General Hossein Salami, told tens of thousands of mourners in Soleimani’s hometown of Kerman.

Many chanted “Death to America” and waved the Iranian flag.

READ ALSO: Iran threatens to ‘unleash Hezbollah’ in Israel and Dubai

Soleimani’s body has been taken through Iraqi and Iranian cities since Friday’s strike, with huge crowds of mourners filling the streets.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and military commanders have said Iranian retaliation for the U.S. action on Friday would match the scale of Soleimani’s killing but that it would be at a time and place of Tehran’s choosing.

Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, said 13 “revenge scenarios” were being considered, Fars news agency reported. Even the weakest option would prove “a historic nightmare for the Americans,” he said.

Iran, whose southern coast stretches along a Gulf oil shipping route that includes the narrow Stait of Hormuz, has allied forces across the Middle East through which it could act. Representatives from those forces, including the Palestinian group Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, attended the funeral.

Despite its strident rhetoric, analysts say Iran will want to avoid any conventional conflict with the United States but assymetric strikes, such as sabotage or other more limited military actions, are more likely.

Trump has promised strikes on 52 Iranian targets, including cultural sites, if Iran retaliates, although U.S. officials sought to downplay his reference to cultural targets.

Reuters and other media reported on Monday that the U.S. military had sent a letter to Iraqi officials informing them that U.S. troops would be repositioned in preparation to leave.

“In order to conduct this test, Coalition Forces are required to take certain measures to ensure that the movement out of Iraq is conducted in a safe and efficient manner,” it said.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said there had been no decision whatsoever to leave Iraq.

“I don’t know what that letter is,” he said.

U.S. Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the letter was a “poorly worded” draft document meant only to underscore increased movement by U.S. forces.

The letter, addressed to the Iraqi Defence Ministry’s Combined Joint Operations and confirmed as authentic by an Iraqi military source, had caused confusion about the future of the roughly 5,000 U.S. troops still in Iraq, where there has been a U.S. military presence since Saddam Hussein was toppled in a 2003 invasion.

On Sunday, Iraq’s parliament, dominated by lawmakers representing Muslim Shi’ite groups, passed a resolution calling for all foreign troops to leave the country.

Iraq’s caretaker Prime Minister Abdel Abdul Mahdi told the U.S. ambassador to Baghdad on Monday that both sides needed to work together to implement the parliamentary resolution.

Friction between Iran and the United States has risen since Washington withdrew in 2018 from a nuclear deal between Tehran and other world powers.

The United States has imposed economic sanctions on Iran and Tehran said on Sunday it was dropping all limitations on uranium enrichment, its latest step back from commitments under the deal.

The U.S. administration has denied a visa to allow Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to attend a U.N. Security Council meeting in New York on Thursday, a U.S. official said.

“The United States will get the decisive, definite answer for its arrogance at the time and place when it will feel the most pain,” Zarif said in a speech broadcast on state television.

Trump’s U.S. political rivals have challenged his decision to order the killing of Soleimani and its timing in a U.S. election year. His administration said Soleimani was planning new attacks on U.S. interests but has offered no evidence.

U.S. general Milley said the threat from Soleimani was imminent. “We would have been culpably negligent to the American people had we not made the decision we made,” he said.

Trump administration officials will provide a classified briefing for U.S. senators on Wednesday on events in Iraq after some lawmakers accused the White House of risking a broad conflict without a strategy.

Reuters/NAN

The post ‘Death to America’: We will take hard and definitive revenge ― Iranians chant appeared first on Vanguard News.

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Not to be underestimated: Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card review


If you qualify for Bank of America Preferred Rewards, the Bank of America®️ Premium Rewards®️ Visa®️ credit card has the potential to be quite a lucrative card to use on everyday spending. For those who prefer other banks, there are better earning travel cards available. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐½

*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.

I’ll be honest. I haven’t always been a fan of Bank of America credit cards. Though affordable with low or nonexistent annual fees, most lacked the perks that I’ve always associated with my favorite cards. However, the more familiar I get with the Preferred Banking Rewards program (and the more useful fixed-value points currencies become), the more I see the benefits of having a Bank of America card.

This card isn’t like other products that have $450 annual fees and a ton of perks; this card has a modest $95 annual fee and a more modest selection of benefits. Still, it offers great flexibility in redeeming points and yields extraordinary earn rates if you can maximize BofA’s Preferred Banking Rewards program.

In This Post

Who is this card for?

The Premium Rewards credit card has wide appeal to both points fans and credit card novices. It might not have the most lucrative points or numerous transfer partners, but what it does offer is flexibility.

I think of it as a stress-free travel card, since points are worth 1 cent apiece no matter what you redeem them for — you don’t have to worry about getting the maximum value out of every point, which can sometimes be time-consuming and frustrating.

If you like the idea of redeeming your points as a statement credit against big purchases that aren’t covered by points — such as new luggage or a TV — then this would be the card to get. You can redeem points for any purchase, whether it’s a flight, a new car or an over-the-top dinner. The points function essentially like cash.

The Premium Rewards card is also a strong option for those who tend to spend in broad bonus categories like travel and dining (2x and up with this card), but who also want solid rewards (1.5x and up) for non-category bonus spend.

The earning rate is even better if you’re already a Bank of America customer and can maximize the Preferred Rewards Program (more on that later).

It’s also a great choice for semi-frequent travelers since it comes with valuable perks like an up to $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit, an up to $100 airline credit, trip delay/cancellation insurance, baggage loss/delay insurance and no foreign transaction fees, so you won’t be hit with any surprise charges when using your card abroad.

Further reading: Is the Bank of America Premium Rewards card worth the $95 annual fee? 

Modest but valuable welcome bonus

With the Premium Rewards card, you’ll receive 50,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. These points have a fixed value of 1 cent each, meaning that 50,000 points are worth $500. This far from the most lucrative bonus out there, but $500 can go a long way towards airfare, hotel costs or anything in between.

When you consider that BofA is essentially paying you $5 every year (after you redeem the up to $100 airline credit) to have this card, you’re basically getting $500 for free just for signing up and meeting the minimum spend. Use the sign-up bonus to treat yourself to something extravagant, like a helicopter or private jet ride on Blade.

The sign-up bonus alone is worth enough to get me 2.5 trips on Blade Bounce in NYC. (Photo by Blade)

While Bank of America doesn’t have any published restrictions that apply specifically to earning welcome bonuses, remember that it does have a 2/3/4 rule when it comes to card applications. You can only get approved for two Bank of America cards in a two-month period, three cards in a 12-month period and four cards in a 24-month period.

There have also been recent reports of a threshold similar to Chase’s 5/24 rule that limits how many cards across issuers you can get within a year in order to be approved for a new BoA card, though the exact threshold is uncertain and Bank of America has not confirmed the existence of a set policy.

Perks and benefits

While the Premium Rewards card doesn’t hold a candle to top-tier cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express, it does come with a nice set of perks for the low annual fee — a lot more than basically any other mid-tier card out there. Here are my favorite perks and their value:

$100 airline incidental credit. This credit works like the Amex airline fee credit in that you can only use it for purchases such as seat upgrades, baggage fees, in-flight services and lounge fees (though not airfare). You receive the credit every year and if you’re able to use the full amount, you’re essentially getting paid $5 a year to be a cardholder. Unfortunately, it’s not as flexible as the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s travel credit or the Citi Prestige’s air travel credit, but it’s still a great benefit for someone who travels a few times a year. It only works on certain domestic airlines but it’s processed automatically, so you don’t have to call in and apply it to a certain purchase.

Global Entry. I love having Global Entry — it’s saved me from standing in countless hours of security and customs lines. Premium Rewards cardmembers get an up to $100 credit (every four years) that can be applied toward purchasing Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. It’s surprising that this card offers a Global Entry credit, as that’s usually only offered by top-tier rewards cards with higher annual fees (although the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is another mid-tier card that offers this benefit). And if you’re already part of the program, you can still use the credit for a friend or family member’s application.

Trip insurance. It’s always important to have trip insurance since you never know when your travel plans will go awry. This card provides reimbursement of up to $5,000 per person, per trip, for any unused, prepaid, non-refundable travel expenses including passenger fares, tours and hotels if you have to cancel due to a covered reason. And if your flight is delayed for more than 12 hours, you’re eligible for reimbursement of $500 in expenses per ticket. With many issuers ditching trip insurance, this benefit continues to be a compelling reason to use this card to book travel.

Baggage delay/loss insurance: Similar to trip insurance, you’ll be eligible for protection if your baggage is lost, stolen or damaged. This provides up to $100 per day (up to five days) when your bag is delayed for more than six hours. If your luggage is stolen or lost by a travel provider, you’ll be eligible for reimbursement for the contents of the bag.

IMG-Away-Luggage
If your bag is lost, stolen or damaged, the card’s protection plan will help pay to replace all of your items. (Photo courtesy of Away)

Purchase protection. I’ve used purchased protection many times and it’s saved me thousands of dollars over the last year — Amex paid me $1,400 for a broken watch and my Sapphire Reserve reimbursed me $2,600 for a painting that was damaged in transit. You’ll get similar protection with the Premium Rewards card, which will repair, replace or reimburse you up to $10,000 for lost or damaged items purchased on the card. If you want to return an item within 90 days of purchase but the retailer won’t accept the return, you can submit your receipt and be reimbursed up to $250 (up to $1,000 annually).

Rental car insurance. Last, this card will give you secondary coverage when renting a car — meaning it will kick in only after you’ve filed a claim with your personal insurance. While not as good as many of Chase’s cards that offer primary coverage, it’s pretty good for a no-annual fee card (after maximizing the airline credit).

Further reading: Reasons to get the Bank of America Premium Rewards card

Earn points

With this card, you’re earning 2x points on travel and dining and 1.5x point on everything else. Travel and dining are defined broadly, meaning there are a lot of expenses that can qualify for double points. The real value for me personally is the 1.5x on everyday spending. As a member of the Preferred Rewards program, you can earn up an impressive 2.625x on non-bonus spending. That’s higher than any flat-rate card out there.

The Premium Rewards card doesn’t earn traditional points or miles that can be transferred and redeemed with travel partners but rather acts more like a cash-back card with huge earning potential. I honestly never thought I’d be thinking about cash back, but as airlines have devalued frequent flyer programs, the idea seems more appealing.

Although we value most airline miles at more than 1 cent each, that’s mainly based on being able to find premium cabin saver seats. With it becoming harder and harder to get good value out of points and miles, that’s where this card can come in handy.

As I mentioned earlier, points are flexible with the Premium Rewards card; you can use them on anything — airlines, the gym, etc. — essentially anywhere that accepts Visa. Your points can go toward paying for those purchases (as a statement credit) and the credit posts automatically.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
With the Premium Rewards card, you can earn up to 3.5x on hotel stays — including getaways to the W Aspen Hotel pictured here. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Further reading: How I earned and redeemed with BoA Premium Rewards 

Redeem points

Another thing I like about this card is that it’s zero stress and consumes very little time. You don’t need to jump through hoops to find award availability and you don’t have to go to a specific portal if you want to use your points to pay for your gym. Since points are worth the same no matter what you redeem for, you’re not penalized for redeeming for cash back. You just redeem for whatever you want.

There a few ways to redeem points:

  • Cash back — You can receive cash back as a statement credit or deposit it into an eligible BofA checking or savings, Merrill or 529 college savings account
  • Travel purchases — You can book flights directly through the BofA travel portal. This is a good way to redeem points because you’ll still be eligible to earn award miles and elite credits by flying on a paid ticket (although personally I’d recommend buying directly from the carrier because sometimes when buying through a travel portal you’ll get a lower fare class).
  • Gift cards — A final option allows for converting points into gift cards at popular merchants such as Amazon, Whole Foods and Starbucks. I wouldn’t plan on going this route since it’d be smarter to just purchase the items and redeem your points as a statement credit in case you have to return the item.

I especially love that you can convert points directly into cash that can go straight into a 529 college savings account. Last year, I converted the points from my sign-up bonus and deposited them directly into 529 accounts for my nieces and nephews. From there, I used my points as statement credits against BLADE trips to my office, which saved me hours of time.

And if you’re solely focused on travel rewards, this card can cover travel expenses that you can’t redeem miles for, like offsetting surcharges on an award ticket or amazing experiences on the ground.

Jack Skellington from Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” hosts the new “Disney’s Not So Spooky Spectacular” fireworks show at Magic Kingdom Park. This spellbinding display of state-of-the-art projection effects, lasers, lighting and dazzling fireworks will delight guests during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, a separately ticketed event held on select nights Aug. 16-Nov. 1, 2019, at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (David Roark, photographer)
Because points are always worth one cent each, you can use points to pay for travel experiences like your tickets to Disney World for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. (Photo by David Roark)

Originally when I heard that points were worth only 1 cent each, I was a bit disappointed. But it’s honestly nice that I don’t have to jump through hoops to find award availability and I don’t have to feel bad about redeeming these points for maximum value. I can use them whenever and for whatever I want.

Further reading: How to redeem points using the BoA Premium Rewards card 

Using the Preferred Rewards program to your advantage

To get the best value out of your Bank of America cards, you need to understand Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program. Those who hold considerable assets in eligible BofA or Merrill accounts — including retirement or investment accounts — are eligible for increased rewards when spending on the Premium Rewards card. To enroll in BofA Preferred Rewards you’ll need:

An eligible Bank of America personal checking account and a 3-month average combined balance of $20,000 or more in a Bank of America account and/or Merrill investment accounts.

There are three tiers in Preferred Rewards, and your tier is based on how much money you have in your accounts. This will determine your earning with the Premium Rewards card.

Spend Categories Regular Cardholder Tier 1 – Gold ($20,000 – $50,000) Tier 2 – Platinum ($50,000 – $100,000) Tier 3 – Platinum Honors ($100,000+)
Travel/Dining Earnings 2x points 2.5x points 3x points 3.5x points
Other Earnings 1.5x points 1.875x points 2.25x points  2.625x points

At the base level of 2x points on travel and dining and 1.5x points on everything else, the card is pretty standard. It’s good, but the Citi® Double Cash Card and Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card are cash-back cards with higher earning rates on everyday spend and no annual fees (though those cards don’t come with any perks).

But the numbers get pretty spectacular when you’re able to get 2.625x points on everyday spend and 3.5x points if you meet the highest banking threshold. That said, I’ll still probably put most of my travel and dining spend on my Sapphire Reserve because I value Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents each — meaning I get 6x points (toward travel per dollar spent). But 3.5x points back on travel and dining and 2.625x points on everything else for those who don’t value travel as much as I do — and want flexibility when redeeming points — is quite strong.

airline

The way I see it is that if you can maximize Preferred Rewards, you’re essentially getting a no-annual-fee card (after using the airline credit) that gives you 3.5x on travel and dining and 2.625x on everything else. If you’re looking for a straight cash-back card, no other card comes close to that.

The moment I heard of this card, I immediately moved $100,000 into a Merrill investment account so I could start qualifying for Platinum Honors. BofA also allows the option to roll over an existing 401(k) account into a Merrill retirement account, so that this could be an easy way to qualify for Preferred Rewards.

Further reading: Stop ignoring the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program 

Bottom line

In general, this card is about diversifying your stock of points and using them for the purchases that normal airline miles or credit card points can’t cover. It’s great if you want to use your points to splurge on a crazy watch or piece of jewelry. Or you can be generous and use the points to better your family.

It’s also an interesting option for small business owners — I know a lot of doctors and executives, and at a certain point there is mileage overload where they have too many Amex points and physically can’t redeem all of them for travel (because that is the best way to redeem MR points). So if you own your own business, this card can offer 2.625x points on all of your spend and 3.5x points on all travel and dining, which you can easily redeem for cold hard cash.

For those who have been eyeing a straight-up cash-back card, this could be your best option. Simply put, it’ll be improving your bottom line — either for you personally or for your business. You don’t have to waste time figuring out how to get the most value out of your points, as the stress-free redemptions make this an easy card to manage.

BofA is obviously telling customers that they will be rewarded with its Preferred Rewards program if they move their assets to BofA. On top of the earning and redeeming possibilities, it comes with a solid sign-up bonus and some pretty nice perks, which are worth far more than the card’s annual fee. For these reasons, I continue to be excited to have status with Preferred Rewards banking and the Bank of America®️ Premium Rewards®️ Visa®️ credit card in my wallet.

Official Application Link: Apply for the Bank of America Premium Rewards Visa Credit Card 

Additional reporting by Madison Blancaflor.

Featured photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy.

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Desperate to fill teacher shortages, US schools are hiring teachers from overseas

Algorithmia AI Generated Summary

 

(CNN)When Joevie Alvarado became a teacher, she never expected to teach American students 7,600 miles away.

“For the first year, it’s a little bit of a struggle because I’m the kind of person who misses family that easily,” said Alvarado, who taught for a decade in the Philippines before moving to Arizona. com/cnnnext/dam/assets/191004143748-01-international-teachers-us-shortage-super-169.


 

(CNN)When Joevie Alvarado became a teacher, she never expected to teach American students 7,600 miles away.

“For the first year, it’s a little bit of a struggle because I’m the kind of person who misses family that easily,” said Alvarado, who taught for a decade in the Philippines before moving to Arizona.
But “in terms of pay, let’s just say my previous pay was multiplied by eight or 10 when I got here,” she said. “So having that kind of pay, it enticed me to be here.”
news
Some parents may be surprised to learn their children are now being taught by international teachers.
Tom Trigalet, who was principal at Casa Grand Union High School when Alvarado was hired, said there’s not much choice.
“When you really don’t have any other applicants, how are you going to fill those spots?” Trigalet said.
But hiring teachers from overseas is only a temporary fix to a widespread problem.

A nationwide crisis

Across the US, schools are hemorrhaging teachers while fewer college graduates enter the profession.
In 2018, the US had an estimated shortage of 112,000 teachers, according to the Learning Policy Institute.
us
Arizona alone had 7,000 teacher vacancies going into this year, said Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association.
Some of those vacancies are filled by people who don’t have a standard teaching certificate, he said. Others are being plugged by long-term substitutes, contracted agencies or teachers who must add an additional course to their day.
So schools like Casa Grande Union High have hired several Filipino teachers using J-1 visas. Those visas allow teachers to stay in the US for up to five years.
Alvarado is one of several Filipino teachers in their fourth year at Casa Grande teaching science — a notoriously hard subject to fill with US teachers.
“People that have math and science degrees can make so much more money in research and in analytics and in other areas that their degree opens doors to,” Thomas said.
“The average starting pay (for teachers) in Arizona is about $36,300.”
While that salary may seem paltry for many Americans, Filipino teachers like Noel Que say their jobs in the US are much more lucrative, allowing them to live better.
US schools are hiring teachers from overseas - CNN
“You can buy anything here — not like back home,” said Que, who teaches high school biology and biotechnology at Casa Grande
“We can eat whatever we want. We can buy whatever we want of the salary that we’re getting. … We just need to budget that salary that we’re getting.”
The Casa Grande Union High School District says its international teachers are on the same pay scale as its American-born teachers.
Que, like other Filipino teachers at his school, lives with roommates to cut down on expenses.
While teaching in America has brought financial rewards, there are also emotional costs.

Leaving his family behind

Que said he made the difficult decision to move from the Philippines to Arizona about four years ago.
“The economic condition in the Philippines is very different … it’s not really enough,” he said.
“There is always a trade-off in everything that you want to get. I want this job (for) my family, and then the trade-off of that is I need to leave them there first.”
Desperate to fill teacher shortages
But ultimately, Que said he made the right decision.
“I’m a family man, so it’s like my responsibility to provide for my family, for my parents, also for my mom most especially,” he said. “Half of my money goes back home and then half stays with me.”

‘We are not just certified, we are very qualified’

Que and Alvarado came to the US through one of several placement agencies that connects foreign teachers with American schools in need.
It’s a booming business. In some cases, Filipino teachers pay an upfront fee, and the agency sets up the online interviews, tests and paperwork.
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“The whole process just took two months for us to complete everything,” Alvarado said.
Over the past decade, the number of Filipino teachers coming to the US to teach on J1 visas increased from 21 to almost 800, according to the US State Department.
But why do many Filipino teachers get selected to go to the US?
“Filipinos are very known to be patient and hardworking, and that’s probably one of the reasons why mostly Filipinos are the participants of the J1 (visa) teacher program.,” Alvarado said.
And unlike some teachers in the US who aren’t certified in the subjects they teach, both Alvarado and Que have years of expertise in science.
It’s a win-win scenario, Que said.
“It’s a very good opportunity for the Filipinos to come here in America, to experience the life that we have here rather than the one that is being told to us or the one that we look at (in) the movies,” he said.
“I think it is also beneficial for the state (where) the number of teachers are lacking, especially on subjects like science, math, special education, things like that,” Que said.
“And they look into the Philippines, because many of our teachers are actually qualified on the subjects that they are teaching. … We are not just certified, we are very qualified.”

Learning to adapt in the US

When Que came to America, he experienced culture shock — but in a good way.
“This is the first time that I notice that every person that you will pass by, they will ask you, ‘How are you? Good morning!’ Things like that,” he said.
“I don’t know you, why are you asking me how I am?” he joked. “We’re not used to that back home.”
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The cultural differences were obvious in the classroom, too.
“Our students in the Philippines [are] quite different from the students that we have here,” Que said.
In the Philippines, “they are very disciplined in terms of education because they look into education as how they are going to escape poverty,” he said. “Discipline-wise, we don’t really have a problem.”
Alvarado said she also noticed more of an initial challenge when some students pushed back.
“When I came, they were like … ‘Why do (you) have to make us do this, do that?” And I was like, ‘Well my dear, I am here to teach you to make you learn. I am not just here to babysit all of you.’ So that was part of my struggle, classroom management,” Alvarado said.
“But slowly, I get the hang of it, and I was able to adjust it and show that hey, I’m the teacher, not you. What I say, you do,” she said.
Alvarado now makes all her students sign a contract on classroom policies, including cell phone use and requiring everyone be seated and ready to learn before the tardy bell rings.
“You need to get the respect, and once you do that with them, it’s easy to teach American kids,” she said.
Alvarado said she loves hearing students tell her she’s made a positive impact on their lives.
“They come back to you and say, ‘Miss, can you please be in my graduation?’ Or, ‘Miss can you please be in my quinceanera?’ … And I find it so sweet,” Alvarado said.

Inspiring a new generation

Marissa Yap, another Filipino teacher in Arizona, said she also had challenges with some students who weren’t as well behaved as those she taught in the Philippines.
Despite her small frame, she commands attention in the classroom where she teaches chemistry and AP physics.
But the secret to making students behave isn’t just about being strict. It’s also about listening to students.
US schools are hiring teachers from overseas - CNN
“I have observed that kids over the world … they have common thing(s). They want to be listened to, and they want to be stay motivated and be interested,” Yap said.
“Some of the kids are actually working (jobs), so in my case like when the student is sleepy, I just talk to her: ‘So, how are you doing? So did you work last night?’ “
The drowsy student responded: “I just arrived at home at 12 a.m.”
That’s when Yap turns the problem into a moment of positive reinforcement:
“So you’re very sleepy, but you’re still doing your work. I really appreciate that,” she told the student.
Desperate to fill teacher shortages
Since then, “I have (had) no problem with her.”
“Whenever I talk to the kid(s), they feel like a connection that I care for them, and I realize that’s … way back home, also the same time. It’s actually just the same,” Yap said.
“When you talk to the kid and you establish that good relationship, the kids will actually also give you the respect that you deserve.”
Elizabeth Vitela said Yap has made a profound impact on her daughter, Genevieve, who was in Yap’s chemistry class last year. On some days, the teacher stayed late to work with Genevieve until 6 p.m. or later.
“My daughter didn’t know what she wanted to do. Because of (Yap), she’s choosing science as something she wants to do for a career,” Vitela said.
She said Yap “just has the passion and the love to teach kids … to bring something out of them that they didn’t even know they had.”

The clock is ticking

Regardless of how much the Filipino teachers love their students, or how much student and school districts love them, everyone knows their time in the US is limited.
Yap, Alvarado and Que all have less than two years before their visas expire.
“That would probably be a sad day for us,” Yap said. “One kid already told me, ‘Oh, Miss Yap, how long are you going to be here? Are you going to be in my graduation?’ “
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Alvarado said some of her students know she has to go back to the Philippines. They make it a point to tell her how grateful they are.
“It makes me feel so good when they would say, ‘Miss I am very happy that you are one of my teachers because I’ve learned a lot from you.’ ” Alvarado said.
“When it comes to that point, when they would say thank you, it’s a reward to myself that I have touched probably some lives of these people. But it’s just so sad that we have to say goodbye.”
Vitela, whose daughter didn’t know what she wanted to do before she met Yap, started crying when she learned the Filipino teachers at Genevieve’s school had to leave in two years.
“I think we need to change that,” Vitela said. “Seriously.”
“Because if you don’t change that … we’re going to be doomed with education here in Arizona.”

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