BKWSO Lose Immigration Appeal for "Priest" Earning $70,000

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BKWSO Lose Immigration Appeal for "Priest" Earning $70,000

Post16 Mar 2009

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In newly disclosed documents from Robert P. Wiemann, director of the Administrative Appeals Office of the US Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS), evidence emerges of the manner in which the Brahma Kumaris (BKWSO) Texas seek to maneuver immigration legislation for its Indian adherents. These include a software engineer it claims was a "priest", and earning more than $6,600 per month.

Despite widely claiming widely 'not to be a religion', documents from the US Citizen and Immigration Services shows the movement clearly colluding with male adherents presenting them as "special immigrant religious workers" according to section 203(b)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, and entering the USA to "perform services as priests". Presumably "priests" whose role was to earn money for the organization?

Commentators are left asking if assistant immigration is a service offered to all adherents internationally, only Indian adherents seeking to emigrate to the West ... or merely well paid ones? In a religion where it is common for surrendered male followers to hand over their entire wages to female centers-in-charge they call Sisters to manage their finances ... what commissions do the centers take? For most members, suggestion donations are 10% of wages.

Elsewhere, the Brahma Kumari movement is seen to move Indian center teachers around on a regular basis using visitor's visas, assisted by invitations from local followers, claiming them to be "Didis" (or elevated senior Sisters) and offering them high status within the movement. There are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency tourists may bring into India. It has also been suggested that the celibate religion has used marriage in order to circumvent limitations, as followers are normally forbidden to do so.

As the CIS documents mention "other BKWSO cases", how many adherents have the religion assisted entering foreign countries to work where it was "financial advantageous" for both parties? As this appears to be typical of a global strategy, how and by whom is it communication through the internatioan BKWSU organization?

Uniquely for the female led movement, in both these incidents the adherents to be employed as a "priests" or "Brahma Kumars", and as "director of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University sub-center in Austin Texas", were male. In one case, an Indian male follower working full-time as an IBM software engineer and earning a salary of $67,004 and $70,644 per year.

Lawyers claimed that "the petitioner's religious denomination encourages outside employment for its priests". In fact, the Brahma Kumari movement has no such thing as "priests" and very, very few full-time male workers at all. Male workers taking on the traditional role as financial providers.

Although including a statement from the litigious center-in-charge Colonel Hansa Raval, director of Texas Brahma Kumaris, nothing in the official record established a relationship between the center in Austin Texas and the BKWSO, "nor that the proposed employer is covered under a group tax exemption issued to the BKWSO by the Internal Revenue Services", the US government agency responsible for tax collection and tax law enforcement.

Noting confusion between a 1980 letter from the IRS granting the Brahma Kumaris Raja Yoga Centre exemption and a 1988 letter from the IRS acknowledges a change of name to Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual Organization with a mailing address in Los Angeles, California, no document contained the dissolution clause required by the IRS for section 501(c)(3) status.

Despite claiming to be a religion with priests and priestesses, it failed to be able to submit the documentation required by law. Yet, in appeal the BKWSO also asserted that the Citizenship and Immigration Services had approved previous visa petitions for other "religious workers". Would these be the "surrendered" unpaid Indian women workers, largely unable to leave movement, that oganization depends for its dependent, and dependable, frontline?

The director of immigration determined that the BK adherent and BKWSO failed to establish that the organization with which he was associated qualified as a bona fide nonprofit religious organization exempt from taxation and denied the appeals.

Robert P. Wiemann decided that, "If the previous immigration petitions were approved based on the same unsupported assertions ... the approval would constitute material and gross error on the part of the director". He would not approve the applications just because previous ones were made in error.

In the second refused appeal, originally denied by the director of the Texas Service Center, another male "Brahma Kumar" entered the USA to study for a Master of Science degree and then took employment with a software company called Vingette Corporation, USA from July, 2001 to December 2003 as a "petroleum engineer". Presumably working on the Society of Petroleum Engineers website.

Documents supported by the BKWSO claimed that he had been associated with the BKWSO as a "surrendered priest since 1998" and claimed that he also to be employed as a "minister of religion" with the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University sub-center in Austin Texas. Again, the BK adherent failed to submit any evidence establishing the relationship between the Brahma Kumari World Spiritual University and the BKWSO. Not even a complete IRS Form 1023.

Despite being in full-time employment, the adherent claimed to have been "carrying on a religious vocation", stating that it is "not uncommon for their priests/priestesses to work" with the BKWSO representative claiming he had been a surrendered priest 1998 ... despite the evidence showing he had been a student and then worked full-time in a secular job for two years

Brahma Kumaris Raja Yoga Meditation Center is listed as 1823 River Crossing Circle, Unit C, Austin, TX 78741. T: (267) 937-7455

Files, with identities concealed, are available for download, here.
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Re: BKWSO Lose Immigration Appeal for "Priest" Earning $70,000

Post23 Mar 2009

For non-BKs reaching this far, I just wanted to underline ... the Brahma Kumaris have no such thing as "priests" and never had. In fact, its leaders and adherents go to great length to claim they are "not a religion". Indeed, "we are not a religion", is one of their religion's mantras.

The question I want to ask is ... "why is this assistance with visa generally not reciprocal?" That is to say, many Western BK want to go to India or Madhuban (on more than just tourist visas) but have been refused. Why is it not a two way system.

If the BKWSO or BKWSU are in the business of helping Indians come to the West, that is, adherents gain visas to work in wealthy countries, why does it not help Westerners go to India?

I think there are a few exceptions to this rule but it all seems very inconsistent, underhand ... and unspoken yet again.

    I mean, how many BKs know this is going on and do the leadership sanction it? When is it discussed openly?



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Re: BKWSO Lose Immigration Appeal for "Priest" Earning $70,000

Post13 Jul 2010

Here is that BK 'priest' talking about playing fair and winning. :)


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