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John F. Kelly confirmed as homeland security secretary

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Blog from Other Experts Leave a comment

The Senate confirmed John F. Kelly as secretary of homeland security on Friday, putting the blunt-spoken retired Marine general in charge of securing the nation’s borders, including construction of the controversial southwest border wall that was a centerpiece of President Trump’s campaign.

Senators approved Kelly’s nomination to run the Department of Homeland Security, a sprawling entity of more than 240,000 employees who do everything from protecting the president to safeguarding the nation’s electrical grid.

Kelly, who retired in February as chief of the U.S. Southern Command, is part of the first wave of Cabinet secretaries who will begin to implement the expansive plans of the nation’s 45th president.

DHS will be at the forefront of some of the most highly charged parts of that agenda, including the wall, which would be designed to keep out illegal immigrants. Kelly appeared to play down the wall’s importance at his recent confirmation hearing, telling a Senate committee that “a physical barrier in and of itself will not do the job’’ and that technology such as drones and sensors are also needed to secure the border.

Read the full article at The Washington Post

HCC board votes to protect rights of immigrant students

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Law Leave a comment

As students living in the country without legal permission and their families worry about what a Donald Trump presidency could mean for them, Houston Community College’s board on Thursday adopted a resolution pledging to protect all of its students, regardless of national origin or immigration status.

The 7-1 vote, with one abstention, came after HCC Trustee Zeph Capo organized a rally before the meeting to denounce the proposed education policies of Trump and Betsy DeVos, his pick to lead the U.S. Department of Education.

Capo, the president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, said the actions were meant to show that educators will not stand for any potential discrimination by the incoming administration.

“This is standing up to make sure every student has access to a great public school or university that is safe and welcoming, focused on the well-being of students,” Capo said. “That’s what we owe our students, and we will stand united against any effort to undermine public education.”

The central focus of the resolution and rally was Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. The federal policy mimics Texas’ version of the DREAM Act, which allows students living in the country illegally to attend and pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities.

Students, educators and immigration activists worry that Trump’s sharp rhetoric on illegal immigration could foreshadow an end to such programs.

Already, state Rep. Jonathan Strickland, R-Bedford, has filed a bill that would eliminate in-state tuition for students living in the country illegally, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has expressed support for the idea.

David Johnson, Houston ISD’s director of college readiness, said such a repeal could deter immigrant students from attaining post-secondary education.

“The fear that we hear in the district from students is that they’ll be deported if DACA is repealed,” Johnson said. “Part of what I do is to make sure students have the opportunity to attend college and feel safe and aren’t living in fear that they’ll be exposed or that their information will be sent to immigration officials.”

Read the full article at Houston Chronicle


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New Rule Welcomes International Entrepreneurs

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New Rule Welcomes International Entrepreneurs
By: Texas Board Certified Immigration Attorney, Ruby L. Powers
January 20, 2017


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has enacted a provision that would make it easier for immigrant entrepreneurs to build start-ups in the United States. On January 17, 2017 DHS published the final rule titled, “International Entrepreneur Rule”.  The rule will be effective on July 17, 2017. The purpose of this rule is to improve the ability of start-up founders to begin growing their companies within the United States and help improve the nation’s economy through increased capital spending, innovation and job creation.


The new rule allows the DHS to use its discretionary parole authority to allow foreign entrepreneurs who would demonstrate that their stay in the United States would spur a public benefit through the potential for rapid business growth, job creation, attracting investment and generating revenue.


The final rule may allow eligibility of up to three entrepreneurs for each start-up entity, which would include spouses and children. If an entrepreneur is granted stay, they will be eligible to work only for their start-up business. The spouses of the entrepreneurs may apply for work authorization in the United States, but their children will not be eligible for work authorization.


To be considered under the International Entrepreneur Rule, the applicant must meet the following criteria:
  • The applicant must possess a substantial ownership interest in a startup up within the past five years in the United States that has substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.
  • The applicant needs to have a central and active role in the start-up entity such that the applicant is well-positioned to substantially assist with the growth and success of the business.
  • The applicant can prove that his or her stay will provide a significant public to the United States based on the applicant’s role as an entrepreneur of the start-up entity by:

    A. Showing that the start-up entity has received a significant investment of capital from certain qualified U.S. investors with established records of successful investments. The applicant would be able to meet the investment standard by demonstrating that the start-up entity has received investments of capital totaling $250,000;

    B. Showing that the start-up entity has received significant awards or grants for economic development, research and development, or job creation (or other types of grants or awards typically given to start-up entities) from federal, state or local government entities that regularly provide such awards or grants to start-up entities;

    C. Or by showing that they partially meet either or both of the previous two requirements and providing additional reliable and compelling evidence of the start-up entity’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.


In addition, DHS is modifying this provision so that an entrepreneur may qualify for re-parole if the start-up entity created at least 5 qualified jobs with the start-up entity during the initial parole period.


This new rule promises an alternative for individuals that would not be eligible for other business visas but have significantly invested in the United States. If you believe you qualify, or would like more information regarding the International Entrepreneur Rule, please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced immigration attorneys.
Sources used: USCIS Bulletin on Final International Entrepreneur Rule and The Federal Register

New Standard for the National Interest Waiver

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New Standard for the National Interest Waiver
By: Texas Board Certified Immigration Attorney, Ruby L. Powers
January 20, 2017


On December 27, 2016, the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) announced a new framework to be used when adjudicating National Interest Waiver (NIW) petitions. The previous standard was based on a 1998 case, Matter of New York State Department of Transportation, “NYSDOT”. This new standard clarifies and revises the standard in which the USCIS officials should determine if the foreign worker qualifies for a NIW.


  •  What is a NIW? The NIW is a pathway to an immigrant visa that is available to qualified aliens who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees or their equivalent or who because of their exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, will substantially benefit prospectively the national economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare of the United States. The NIW was created to exempt individuals from the labor certification process if they can prove that their presence will advance the National Interest of the United States. The NIW also exempts the Foreign National from the requirement of having a job offer.
  • The new standard laid out in Matter of Dhansanr states that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Officer may grant a NIW if the petitioner demonstrates:
  1. That the foreign national’s proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance
    1. This prong focuses on the specific endeavor that the foreign national proposes to take. The endeavor’s merit may be demonstrated in a range of areas such as business, entrepreneurialism, science, technology, culture, health, or education.
    2. In considering national importance, the case provides as an example that an individual’s undertaking may have national importance because of its national or even global implications within a particular field, such as those resulting from certain improved manufacturing processes or medical advances.
  2. That he or she is well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor. To determine whether the individual is well positioned to advance the proposed   endeavor, the adjudicators should consider: the individual’s education, skills, knowledge and record of success in related or similar efforts; a model or plan    for future activities; any progress towards achieving the proposed endeavor; and the interest of potential customers, users, investors, or other relevant entities or individuals.
  3. On balance, it would be beneficial to the United State to waive the requirement of a job offer and labor certification requirement.
    1. The USCIS may evaluate factors such as: whether it would be impractical either for the foreign national to secure a job offer or for the petitioner to obtain a labor certification; whether, even assuming that other qualified U.S. workers are available, the United States would still benefit from the foreign national’s contributions; and whether the national interest in the foreign national’s contributions is sufficiently urgent to warrant foregoing the labor certification process.
    2. For example, if a doctor holds three (3) graduate degrees in the field tied to the field of endeavor, and the record demonstrates that he possesses considerable experience and expertise in a highly-specialized field. The evidence further shows that innovations in anesthesiology and pain management hold significant implications for the U.S. healthcare industry and its global competitiveness. On balance, the adjudicators could find that the petitioner’s contributions would benefit the United States even assuming that other qualified U.S. workers are available.
The clarification of the NIW standard essentially makes it more flexible for employers and self-petitioning individuals to qualify for this non-immigrant petition. USCIS Officials have wide discretion in granting or denying the NIW. Therefore, it is imperative to have an experienced immigration attorney to help navigate this process. If you have any questions regarding this new standard, or would like to apply for a National Interest Waiver, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.


Source Used: Matter of Dhanasar

Escogiendo al abogado correcto en inmigración para su caso de asilo

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Escogiendo al abogado correcto en inmigración para su caso de asilo

Por la abogada en inmigración certificado por la Junta de Texas Ruby L. Powers

Enero 3, 2017

Cada caso de asilo es único. Dado a la naturaleza de estos casos puede ser difícil encontrar el abogado correcto que le pueda ayudar. Se recomienda obtener un abogado que lo asiste en su caso considerando la complejidad del proceso. Cuando se busque abogados de inmigración, hay varias cosas por considerar. Estos son algunos consejos o preguntas para tener en mente para la consulta;


1.- Cual es la cantidad de aplicaciones aprobadas en casos de asilo, por el abogado?

a.- Cuantas aplicaciones de asilo ha archivado el abogado y cuál fue el éxito obtenido en esas aplicaciones?

b.- Son estos casos afirmativos o defensivos (corte)?

2.- Por cuanto tiempo ha estado este abogado practicando y cuanto de su práctica está enfocada en leyes de inmigración?

a.- Averigüe por cuanto tiempo ha estado practicando el abogado, y cuántos de esos años han sido dedicados a la ley de inmigración.

b.- Generalmente, si el abogado no practica en mayor parte leyes de inmigración, puede ser difícil estar al tanto de tantos cambios ocurridos en las                      leyes de inmigración.

3.- Tiene el abogado conocimiento de mi país?

a.- Haga preguntas al abogado acerca de su país. Calibre el conocimiento que tiene acerca de la actual economía, la política y el ambiente social de                   su país.

4.- Para casos afirmativos de asilo, el abogado me prepara para la entrevista e ira a esta conmigo?

a.- Pregunte si el abogado ofrece preparación para entrevistas y si asistirá a la entrevista con usted.

b.- Puede que usted y/o su abogado necesitan viajar a la oficina de asilo que tiene jurisdicción en su caso. Asegúrese de discutir todos los arreglos                     del viaje para ambas partes con anticipación.

Cuando haya llevado a cabo su elección para un abogado, sea competente de estos factores, ya que le ayudaran a ser más productivo de forma efectiva comunicando y exponiendo su caso ante los oficiales de USCIS (por sus siglas en ingles).

Powers Law Group ofrece asistencia para casos de asilo.

  • Nuestra firma tiene un gran número de casos éxitos por caso afirmativos de asilo.
  • La abogada Powers ha practicado por anos y el abogado Muniz por 4

– El bufete tiene experiencia con clientes de los siguientes países: Venezuela, Iraq, Irán, Siria, Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda, Paquistán, Nepal, Zimbabue, El Salvador, China, Nigeria, Angola, Turquía, Jordán, Palestina, Honduras, y más.


Este es el mejor momento para aplicar para un perdón provisional, por qué?

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Law, Immigration Trends Leave a comment

Este es el mejor momento para aplicar para un perdón provisional, por qué?

Por la Abogada en inmigración certificada por la Junta de Texas, Ruby L. Powers.

El 5 de Diciembre del 2016, el servicio de inmigración y ciudadanía de los Estados Unidos (USCIS) por sus siglas en inglés, publicó una nueva política aclarando los perdones provisionales, haciéndolo fácil para las personas navegar por el proceso de enviar perdones.

La guía política emitida por la USCIS explica y consolida la extrema privación estándar que los oficiales de USCIS deben usar cuando determinan si el perdón es aprobado. Estos son cuatro cambios que los nuevos estándares han producido:

1.- Agregando privaciones

o Aclara que los factores, individuales o agregados, pueden ser suficientes para cumplir con las normas. En otras palabras, un solo factor no puede ser determinativo como extrema privación, aplicantes pueden presentar varios factores y tomadas en conjunto estas pueden sumarse para un caso de extrema privación.

2.- Separación o reubicación

o Previamente, oficiales requerían a los aplicantes de perdones que demostraran que el familiar calificado sufriría de privación extrema, si fuese reubicado al país del aplicante, y fuese a quedarse en los Estados Unidos separados del aplicante. El nuevo requerimiento permite al aplicante establecer privación extrema para un familiar calificado que intente ya sea trasladarse al país donde residirá el aplicante, o separado del aplicante.

3.- Privación extrema para otros familiares no calificados

o Típicamente los niños no son familiares calificados para obtener un perdón provisional. Sin embargo, la nueva dirección permite que el oficial de la USCIS tome en consideración la privación indirecta, que el familiar no calificado, por ejemplo un niño, tendrá en el familiar calificado. Esto, también se le conoce como privación derivada.

4.- Factores particularmente significativos

o USCIS ha también fijado algunos factores particularmente significativos que pueden ser la base de lo que podría resultar una privación extrema. Los siguientes son los factores dados:

• Si el familiar calificado fue previamente aprobado un estatus especial de inmigrante Iraquí o Afgano, estatus de no-inmigrante T, asilo o estatus de refugiado.

• La existencia de esta circunstancia, puede usualmente demostrar el aumento significante de riesgo, que la reubicación al país del cual él o ella recibió protección puede resultar en represalias violentas, persecución u otro peligro a el familiar calificado.

• Familiar calificado o miembro de la familia con discapacidad

• El gobierno de los Estados Unidos debe haber hecho una determinación formal de discapacidad, y el aplicante debe demostrar que los servicios disponibles para el individuo discapacitado en el país de reubicación no están disponibles o son significativamente inferior a aquellos disponibles en los Estados Unidos.

• Familiares del servicio militar calificados

• Si el familiar calificado es un miembro del servicio activo de cualquier rama de las fuerzas armadas de los Estados Unidos, la negación de su admisión puede causar danos psicológicos los cuales pueden afectar la preparación militar, y esto puede subir a un nivel el cual pude constituir una privación extrema.

• Advertencia de viaje del Departamento de Estado (DOS)

• Si se es posible demonstrar que el país de reubicación está actualmente sujeto a la advertencia de viaje por todo el país del departamento de estado, y el familiar calificado puede enfrentar un peligro significativo si este es reubicado a ese país

• Desplazamiento substancial para el cuidado del hijo del aplicante.

• Dependiendo de los factores de su caso, si se es posible demonstrar que se continúa con los deberes de cuidado existentes bajo nuevas circunstancias, o asumiendo que los deberes de cuidado de alguien más pueden ser suficientes para elevar el nivel de privación extrema.

Dadas estas aclaraciones de lo que USCIS está buscando para determinar una privación extrema si al aplicante se le niega la entrada a los Estados Unidos, ahora es el mejor momento para aplicar a un perdón provisional. Si usted cree que califica, o tiene alguna pregunta, por favor contacte nuestra oficina para agendar una consulta.


Fuentes usadas: Manual de políticas USCIS Volumen 9- perdones)

Finding the Right Immigration Attorney for Your Asylum Case

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Finding the Right Immigration Attorney for Your Asylum Case

By Board Certified Immigration Attorney Ruby L. Powers

January 3, 2017

Every asylum case is unique. Due to the nature of these cases it can be difficult to find the right attorney that can help you. It is advised to get an attorney to assist you with your case considering the complexity of the process. When inquiring with immigration attorneys, there are several things to consider. Here are some general tips or questions to keep in mind at your consultation;

  1. What is the approval rate of the attorney’s asylum applications?
    1. How many asylum applications has the attorney filed and what was the success rate for those applications?
    2. Are these cases affirmative or defensive (court)?
  1. How long has this attorney been in practice and how much of their practice is immigration law?
    1. Look into how long the attorney has been practicing law and how many of those years have been dedicated to immigration law
    2. Generally, if the attorney doesn’t practice a majority of immigration law, it can be difficult to keep up with all the changes in the law
  1. Does this attorney have knowledge of my country?
    1. Ask the attorney questions about your country. Gauge their knowledge of the current economic, political and social environment of your country.
  1. For affirmative asylum cases, will the attorney prepare me and attend the interview with me?
    1. Inquire if the attorney offers interview preparation and whether they will attend the interview with you
    2. You and/or your attorney may need to travel to the Asylum office that has jurisdiction over your case. Make sure to discuss travel arrangements for both parties in advance

When making your choice for an attorney, be cognizant of these factors as they will help you be more productive in effectively communicating and laying out your case before USCIS officials.

The Powers Law Group offers asylum immigration assistance.

  • Our firm has a high success rate for affirmative asylum cases
  • Attorney Powers has been practicing for 8 years and Attorney Muniz for 4 years
  • The firm has experience with clients from the following countries: Venezuela, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda, Pakistan, Nepal, Zimbabwe, El Salvador, China, Nigeria, Palestine, Angola, Turkey, Jordan, Palestine, Honduras, and more
  • As part of our services we include case development, application and supporting document submission as well as a legal brief, client preparation and attorney attendance to the interview

Why this is the Best Time to Apply for a Provisional Waiver

Posted on by Ruby Powers in I-601 Waivers, I-601A waivers Leave a comment

By Texas Board Certified Immigration Attorney, Ruby L. Powers

December 30, 2016

On December 5, 2016, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published new policy clarifications regarding provisional waivers, making it easier for individuals to navigate the process of submitting waivers.

The policy guidance issued by USCIS explains and consolidates the extreme hardship standard that USCIS Officials must use in determining whether to grant the waiver.  Here are four changes that the new standards have brought forth:

  1. Aggregating Hardships
    • It clarifies that factors, individually or in the aggregate, can be sufficient to meet the hardship standard. In other words, one sole factor will not be determinative of the extreme hardship, applicants can present several factors, and taken together they can add up to extreme hardship.


  1. Separation or Relocation
    • Before officials required waiver applicants to demonstrate that the qualifying relative would suffer extreme hardship if they were to relocate to the applicant’s country, and they were to remain in the United States separated from the applicant. The new requirement allows an applicant to establish extreme hardship to a qualifying relative who intends to either relocate to the country where the applicant will reside, or separate from the applicant.


  1. Hardship to Other Non-Qualifying Relatives
    • Typically children are not qualifying relatives for the purposes of obtaining a provisional waiver. However, the new guidance allows for the USCIS Officer to take into account the indirect hardship that the non-qualifying relative, for example a child, will have on the qualifying relative. This is also known as derivative hardship.


  1. Particularly Significant Factors
    • USCIS has also set out some particularly significant factors that can be a basis on what could result in extreme hardship. The following are the factors given:


  • If the qualifying relative was previously granted Iraqi or Afghan Special Immigrant Status, T Nonimmigrant Status, or Asylum or Refugee Status.
    • The existence of this circumstance can usually demonstrate the significantly heightened risk that relocation to the country from which he or she received protection could result in retaliatory violence, persecution or other danger to the qualifying relative.


  • Qualifying Relative or Related Family Member’s Disability
    • The United States governments must have made a formal disability determination, and the applicant must show that the services available to the disabled individual in the country of relocation are unavailable or significantly inferior to those available in the United States.


  • Qualifying Relative’s Military Service
    • If the qualifying relative is an Active Duty member of any branch of the U.S. armed forced, denial of the applicant’s admission can cause psychological harm that can affect military preparedness, and this can rise to a level that would constitute extreme hardship.


  • Department of State (DOS) Travel Warning
    • If can demonstrate that the country of relocation is currently subject to a DOS country-wide travel warning and the qualifying relative would face significantly increased danger if they were to relocation that country with the applicant.


  • Substantial Displacement of Care of Applicant’s Children
    • Depending on the facts of your case, if can demonstrate that either continuing one’s existing caregiving duties under new circumstances, or assuming someone else’s caregiving duties can be enough to rise to the level of extreme hardship.


Given these clarifications on what USCIS is looking for to determine extreme hardship if the applicant is denied entry into the United States, now is the best time to apply for a provisional waiver. If you believe you qualify for this relief, or have questions, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.


Source Used: USCIS Policy Manuel (Volume 9- Waivers)


Aclaración sobre la extrema dificultad por perdones de inadmisibilidad, entrada en vigor

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Powers Law Group P.C.

Por la Abogada Certificada en inmigración, Ruby L. Powers

 Aclaración sobre la extrema dificultad por perdones de inadmisibilidad, entrada en vigor Diciembre 5, 2016.

USCIS (por sus siglas en inglés) emitió una política orientada, para determinar las dificultades extremas de los familiares que califican y se es requerido para algunos perdones de inadmisibilidad. Esta asesoría se hará efectiva el 5 de Diciembre, 2016.

Esta aclaración beneficia a ambas partes, a los clientes y a los practicantes ya que promueve consistencia en la adjudicación de los perdones y también asistirá a los practicantes al momento de preparar los perdones, que probablemente serán aprobados ya que el estándar ha sido aclarado. Como ya hemos visto en el pasado, el envió de los perdones ha aumentado, USCIS acelero la  contratación y el entrenamiento de jueces. Ahora con pautas más aclaradas, llevará a unos resultados más consistentes. Estamos agradecidos por esta aclaración tan esperada.

En esta política, USCIS:

  • Enlista los perdones de inadmisibilidad que requieren una muestra de extrema dificultad para uno o más de los familiares calificados.
    • Esto incluye perdones de inadmisibilidad para:
      • 3 y 10 años de presencia ilegal;
      • crímenes que involucren bajeza moral, varias condenas criminales.  prostitución, comercialización y viceversa y algunos ofensas criminales serias por las cuales el extranjero nacional recibe inmunidad de acusación.
      • una violación por substancia controlada, relacionado con una sola ofensa de simple posesión de 30 gramos o menos de marihuana; y
      • algunos tipos de fraude de inmigración o una mala representación voluntaria de hechos material
  • Aclara que un solicitante puede establecer extrema dificultad para un miembro de familia calificado a quien:
    • tiene la intención de trasladarse a el país donde el solicitante residirá, si se le niega admisión; o
    • se separa del solicitante y continúa en los EE.UU
  • Aclara que para que un caso de dificultad califique como “extremo,” tiene que involucrar sufrimiento o perdida mayor que las dificultades que usualmente resultan por la sola negación de admisión.
    • Esto significa que las dificultades extremas involucran el comprobar más que solo:
      • Separación de familia; daño económico; problemas para re-ajustarse a una nueva vida en el nuevo país; la calidad y disposición de oportunidades de educación en el extranjero; una menor calidad de servicios médicos y hospitales; y la habilidad de conseguir un empleo de su elección en el extranjero.
    • Aclara que las dificultades extremas son dependientes de las circunstancias de cada individuo y de cada caso en particular.
    • Provee una lista no exhaustiva de factores que USCIS puede considerar al momento de determinar dificultades extremas incluyendo:
      • Impacto en lazos familiares
      • Impacto en lo social y cultural
      • Impacto en lo económico
      • Condiciones de salud y de cuidado
      • Condiciones del País
    • Se discuten en particular factores significantes que frecuentemente tienen un peso mayor y asisten en la búsqueda de dificultades extremas para familiares calificados, incluyendo:
      • (1) Miembros calificados que han sido previamente otorgados un estatus migratorio especial Iraquí o Afganistán, T status de no inmigrante, asilo o estatus de refugiado.
      • (2) Miembros calificados o parientes con discapacidad.
      • (3) Miembros calificados con familia relacionada con el servicio militar
      • (4) DOS con advertencia de viaje
      • (5) Considerable eliminación de cuidado para el solicitante de un niño
    • Aclara que los factores, individuales o en conjunto podrían ser suficientes para satisfacer los estándares de dificultades extremas.
    • Aclara que las dificultades de uno o más de los familiares calificados puede subir el nivel de “extremas” en conjunto, aunque ninguno de los parientes a calificar sufra de dificultades por si solo suficientemente severas para ser “extremo.”

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