Immigration News




08/27/2014: White House considers proposals to sharply increase legal immigration

The White House is considering proposals from business and immigrant rights groups that are pressing President Obama to provide hundreds of thousands of green cards for high-tech workers and the relatives of U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

Although the efforts to relieve pressure on some of the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants are expected to be the centerpiece of the president's action, the administration also is weighing measures that would streamline the legal immigration system by reducing huge backlogs of foreigners hoping to obtain legal permanent residency. - Washington Post

08/21/2014: Nonimmigrant Admissions to the United States: 2013

Nonimmigrants are foreign nationals granted temporary admission to the United States. The major purposes for which nonimmigrant admission may be authorized include temporary visits for business or pleasure, academic or vocational study, temporary employment, or to act as a representative of a foreign government or international organization. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) collects information on the characteristics of certain nonimmigrant admissions from I-94 arrival records. This Office of Immigration Statistics Annual Flow Report presents information gathered from I-94s on the number and characteristics of nonimmigrant admissions to the United States in 2013. - DHS

Nonimmigrant Admissions (I-94 only) by Country of Citizenship: FY-2011 to 2013
Country of Citizenship FY-2013 FY-2012 FY-2011
Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
Mexico 17,980,784 29.5 16,462,118 30.5 17,052,559 32.1
United Kingdom 4,566,669 7.5 4,486,666 8.3 4,547,728 8.6
Canada 4,445,881 7.3 1,466,120 2.7 1,868,179 3.5
Japan 4,298,081 7 4,141,299 7.7 3,777,643 7.1
Germany 2,359,681 3.9 2,308,207 4.3 2,182,441 4.1
Brazil 2,143,154 3.5 1,792,425 3.3 1,539,015 2.9
China 2,098,801 3.4 1,756,747 3.3 1,364,078 2.6
France 1,959,424 3.2 1,913,551 3.6 1,845,227 3.5
Korea, South 1,656,795 2.7 1,527,085 2.8 1,460,972 2.8
India 1,491,712 2.4 1,296,276 2.4 1,222,302 2.3
Other 17,886,490 29.3 16,461,702 30.5 15,737,991 29.6
Unknown 164,788 0.3 275,090 0.5 484,151 0.9
Total 61,052,260 100 53,887,286 100 53,082,286 100

08/18/2014: Behind Closed Doors, Obama Crafts Executive Actions

Mr. Obama's increasingly expansive appetite for the use of unilateral action on issues including immigration, tax policy and gay rights has emboldened activists and businesses to flock to the administration with their policy wish lists. It also has opened the president, already facing charges of executive overreach, to criticism that he is presiding over opaque policy-making, with the potential to reward political backers at the expense of other interests, including some on the losing side who are threatening to sue. - NYTimes

08/12/2014: USCIS Customers Can Select Delivery Service to Receive Documents

USCIS customers can use the overnight delivery or courier service of their choice to receive certain documents. This option provides greater customer service by allowing you to select your preferred delivery service provider to receive documents such as approval and denial notices, requests for evidence, and most travel documents.

    To ensure your overnight delivery requests are not delayed, please remember to:
  • Include a prepaid air bill when you submit your application, petition, or response to a request for evidence. The best way to avoid delivery errors is to provide a prepaid shipping label obtained directly from the delivery service. This will avoid the need to write in an account number. Enter your name in both the "to" and "from" fields on the air bill.
  • Never list USCIS as the sender and do not mark "bill to sender."
  • Pay all delivery costs in advance and include the prepaid air bill with your submission.

If the delivery costs are not paid in full, USCIS will send the documents to you by regular U.S. mail. - USCIS

08/12/2014: September 2014 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for September 2014. The table below shows cut-off date movement from the previous month, for all major employment-based categories. For more information please refer to our Visa Bulletin Toolbox.

Chargeability Preference Cut-off Date Movement (Days)
China Second (EB2) 0
India Second (EB2) 99
ROW Third (EB3) 0
China Third (EB3) 0
India Third (EB3) 0
Mexico Third (EB3) 0
Philippines Third (EB3) 304

"INDIA Employment-based Second Preference: The use of potentially "otherwise unused" Employment numbers prescribed by Section 202(a)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) has allowed the India Employment Second preference cut-off date to advance very rapidly in recent months. Continued forward movement of this cut-off date during the upcoming months cannot be guaranteed, however, and no assumptions should be made until the dates are formally announced. Once there is a significant increase in India Employment Second preference demand it will be necessary to retrogress the cut-off date, possibly as early as November, to hold number use within the fiscal year 2015 annual limit." - DOS

08/08/2014: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals(DACA) Toolkit

USCIS began accepting requests under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on August 15, 2012. The DACA process was created by the Secretary of Homeland Security to offer relief from removal (in 2-year increments) for undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children and who met several key criteria. DACA is an exercise of prosecutorial discretion and does not provide lawful status. - USCIS

08/04/2014: Technical Glitch Clogs Up U.S. Visa System

A technical glitch has hampered the U.S.'s ability to issue visas around the globe, stranding thousands of foreign businesspeople, high-tech workers, performers and athletes trying to travel into the country. The data-processing system experienced significant performance issues, including outages, between July 19 and July 23. The database was brought back online on July 23, but the system still isn't fully functional, according to the State Department. Experts estimate tens of thousands of visas are working their way through the pipeline. - WSJ

07/31/2014: Suspect in Fatal USC Attack Entered Country Illegally, Feds Say

A 19-year-old charged with murder in connection with last week's fatal assault on a USC graduate student told immigration officials that he entered the country illegally about seven years ago, a federal official said.

DelCarmen is one of four teenagers charged with capital murder in the July 24 assault that killed Ji, an engineering graduate student from China. Police said Ji was walking home from a study group about 12:45 a.m. when he was attacked near campus, just blocks away from his apartment. - LA Times

07/29/2014: July 2014 USCIS Pending I-485 Inventory Released

USCIS published the pending I-485 inventory with data as of July 21, 2014. Our Green Card Tracker has been updated with the new data. To learn more, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions or contact us.

07/29/2014: Two thousand miles from the border, Syracuse finds itself in immigration debate

The immigration rallies — the protesters and the buses of undocumented immigrants that upended Southern California in early July — had already been on the news for a week when, 2,000 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner got an e-mail. - WashingtonPost

07/23/2014: Unaccompanied Alien Children—Legal Issues: FAQ

Recent reports about the increasing number of alien minors apprehended at the U.S. border without a parent or legal guardian have prompted numerous questions about so-called unaccompanied alien children (UACs). Some of these questions pertain to the numbers of children involved, their reasons for coming to the United States, and current and potential responses of the federal government and other entities to their arrival. Other questions concern the interpretation and interplay of various federal statutes and regulations, administrative and judicial decisions, and settlement agreements pertaining to alien minors. This report addresses the latter questions, providing general and relatively brief answers to 14 frequently asked questions regarding UACs. - DOS

07/18/2014: DACA Statistics by USCIS

USCIS has released a report titled "Characteristics of Individuals Requesting and Approved for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)" with data aggregated for August, 2012 to September, 2013 (13 and 1/2 months). Below is one of the tables in the report:

DACA Requests by Requestor Country of Birth (8/2012 - 9/2013)
No. Country of Birth No. of DACA Requests Percent
1 Mexico 443,500 76
2 El Salvador 22,000 4
3 Honduras 14,900 3
4 Guatemala 14,600 3
5 Korea, Republic of 7,600 1
6 Peru 7,500 1
7 Brazil 6,200 1
8 Colombia 5,700 1
9 Ecuador 5,500 1
10 Philippines 3,700 1
11 Argentina 3,500 1
12 Jamaica 3,100 1
13 India 2,900 -
14 Venezuela 2,600 -
15 Dominican Republic 2,500 -
16 Trinidad and Tobago 2,300 -
17 Bolivia 1,700 -
18 Costa Rica 1,700 -
19 Uruguay 1,600 -
20 Pakistan 1,500 -
21 Chile 1,400 -
22 Poland 1,400 -
23 Nicaragua 1,200 -
24 Nigeria 1,200 -
25 Guyana 1,100 -
  Other and Unknown 19,200 3
  Total 580,000 100

07/17/2014: As Immigration Crisis Grows, a Protest Movement Gains Steam

Anti-illegal immigration activists are planning several hundred protests in cities across the country on Friday and Saturday, part of a growing backlash against the federal government's efforts to temporarily house migrant children detained at the border. Protesters say they are concerned about safety, as the Obama administration pushes to move detainees from Texas to shelters run by nonprofits in other states. - NPR

07/14/2014: Sen. Ted Lieu Wants Fox News Host to Resign over 'Xenophobic' Remarks

Democratic state Sen. Ted Lieu of Torrance called on Fox News host Bob Beckel to resign Saturday after he said on the air Thursday that "Chinamen" are the single biggest threat to national security.

During an episode of the "The Five," Beckel said: "As usual, we bring them over here and teach a bunch of Chinamen -- Chinese people -- how to do computers and then they go back to China and hack into us." - LATimes

07/14/2014: Endless Wave of Illegal Immigrants Floods Rio Grande valley

Life jackets of all sizes and the occasional punctured raft are strewn along the banks of the Rio Grande, just south of Mission, Texas, where a relentless onslaught of illegal immigrants eagerly surrender to beleaguered Border Patrol agents around the clock. It's a cycle for which there is no end in sight.

"We used to chase after them; now they are chasing us," one official said. - Fox

07/08/2014: Prediction of Visa Cutoff Dates from August Visa Bulletin

"The China-mainland born Employment Third and Third Other Workers cut-off dates have advanced for the month of August, and could do so again for September. There are two reasons for this advance after the retrogression of the cut-off date earlier this summer: 1) The heavy demand by applicants with priority dates significantly (years) earlier than the previous cut-off date has declined during the past two months, and 2) declining number use in the Family preferences during May and June, combined with updated estimates of such number use through the end of the fiscal year, has resulted in availability of several hundred numbers for use in the China-mainland born Employment Third preference.

During the past two months, the India Employment Second preference cut-off date has advanced very rapidly based on the projected availability of "otherwise unused" numbers under the worldwide preference limit. It must not be assumed that this cut-off date will continue to advance at the same pace during the coming months. A cut-off date does not mean that everyone with a priority date before such cut-off date has already been processed to conclusion. It remains to be seen how heavy the demand for visa numbers by applicants will be in the coming months, and what the priority dates of such applicants may be. Heavy demand by applicants with priority dates significantly earlier than the established cut-off date is expected to materialize within the next several months, at which time the cut-off date is likely to retrogress significantly." - August 2014 Visa Bulletin

07/08/2014: August 2014 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for August 2014. The table below shows cut-off date movement from the previous month, for all major employment-based categories. For more information please refer to our Visa Bulletin Toolbox.

Chargeability Preference Cut-off Date Movement (Days)
China Second (EB2) 99
India Second (EB2) 143
ROW Third (EB3) 0
China Third (EB3) 762
India Third (EB3) 7
Mexico Third (EB3) 0
Philippines Third (EB3) 516

07/03/2014: Immigration Protest: Murrieta Crowd Boos Feds After Migrant Standoff

An overflow crowd in a Southern California community where protesters turned back Homeland Security busloads of immigrants gave a harsh reception to federal officials behind the decision to bring them to Murrieta in the first place. Local politicians calling for secure borders proved far more popular with the crowd Wednesday night. - FOX

07/02/2014: CIS Ombudsman Annual Report 2014

The Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman's (Ombudsman) 2014 Annual Report contains:

  • An overview of the Ombudsman's mission and services;
  • A review of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) programmatic and policy achievements during this reporting period; and
  • A detailed discussion of pervasive and serious problems, recommendations, and best practices in the family, employment and humanitarian areas, as well as in customer service.

06/30/2014: Obama's Bid to Deport Children Complicates Immigration Reform Effort

The administration is asking Congress to approve $2 billion in emergency funding for beefed-up border security and assistance, as the children — many traveling without their parents under the mistaken impression that they will be allowed to stay — slip across the Southwest border. Amid a growing humanitarian crisis, many of the children are being sent as far away as California and Oklahoma for processing and shelter.

The request, expected to be formally made Monday, seems intended to blunt criticism that White House immigration policies have inadvertently encouraged the crush of youngsters. - LA Times

06/23/2014: DHS Open Letter to the Parents of Children Crossing U.S. Southwest Border

"This year, a record number of children will cross our Southern border illegally into the United States. In the month of May alone, the number of children, unaccompanied by a mother or father, who crossed our southern border reached more than 9,000, bringing the total so far this year to 47,000. The majority of these children come from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, where gang and drug violence terrorize communities. To the parents of these children I have one simple message: Sending your child to travel illegally into the United States is not the solution." - DHS

06/22/2014: White House Unveils New Plan to Address Immigration Crisis

The White House unveiled a new plan Friday that would effectively speed up deportations of the recent surge of immigrants trying to cross illegally into the United States through the southwestern border. The changes include opening new detention centers that can accommodate families, expanded use of ankle bracelets to monitor immigrants awaiting hearings and sending more immigration judges to southern Texas that would expedite and streamline the court hearing and removal process, according to administration officials and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), a border-state lawmaker who was briefed on the changes by the White House Friday morning. - Politico

06/10/2014: July 2014 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for July 2014. The table below shows cut-off date movement from the previous month, for all major employment-based categories. For more information please refer to our Visa Bulletin Toolbox.

Chargeability Preference Cut-off Date Movement (Days)
China Second (EB2) 40
India Second (EB2) 1386
ROW Third (EB3) 0
China Third (EB3) 0
India Third (EB3) 17
Mexico Third (EB3) 0
Philippines Third (EB3) 366

06/09/2014: Supreme Court: Children over 21 Go to Back of Visa Line

A divided Supreme Court ruled Monday that immigrant children who waited for years with their parents to obtain visas still have to go to the back of the line when they turn 21. In a 5-4 decision, the justices sided with the Obama administration in finding that immigration laws offer relief only to a tiny percentage of children who "age out" of the system. The majority no longer qualify for the immigration status granted to minors. - Politico

06/05/2014: DHS Announces Process for DACA Renewal

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson today announced the process for individuals to renew enrollment in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has submitted to the Federal Register an updated form to allow individuals previously enrolled in DACA, to renew their deferral for a period of two years. At the direction of the Secretary, effective immediately, USCIS will begin accepting renewal requests. USCIS will also continue to accept requests for DACA from individuals who have not previously sought to access the program. As of April 2014, more than 560,000 individuals have received DACA. - USCIS

06/03/2014: White House Seeks Extra $1.4B to Address Surge in Children Crossing Southern Border

President Obama on Monday described a surge in unaccompanied immigrant children caught trying to cross the Mexican border as an "urgent humanitarian situation," as the White House asked Congress for an extra $1.4 billion in federal money to cope. Obama said the U.S. will temporarily house the children at two military bases.

In its new estimates, the government said as many as 60,000 children, mostly from Central America, could be caught this year trying to cross the Mexican border illegally, costing the U.S. more than $2.28 billion to house, feed and transport the children to shelters or reunite them with relatives already living in the United States. - Fox

05/27/2014: Obama Orders Delay of Immigration Deportation Review

Obama instructed Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to continue his review, but the results will not be announced before lawmakers take their summer recess in August, officials said. The White House is concerned that Republicans would balk if the administration takes unilateral action to stem the deportation of undocumented immigrants, ending any slim remaining hopes of a legislative compromise. - Washington Post

05/20/2014: What Are the Biggest Immigrant Groups in Your State?

The data used to create the map are from the Department of Homeland Security. In 2012, slightly more than 1 million people were granted legal permanent resident status in the U.S. (Legal permanent residents may also be referred to as "permanent resident aliens" or "green card holders.") About 15 percent of these new immigrants are from Mexico. China and India come in second and third with roughly 8 and 6 percent of 2012's new legal permanent residents. - Slate.com

05/12/2014: U.S. Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Travel Card Program

This interim final rule establishes the U.S. Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Travel Card Program. APEC is an economic forum comprised of twenty-one members, including the United States, whose primary goal is to support sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. One of APEC's initiatives is the APEC Business Travel Card Program. The U.S. APEC Business Travel Card Program will provide qualified U.S. business travelers engaged in business in the APEC region or U.S. Government officials actively engaged in APEC business the ability to access fast-track immigration lanes at participating airports in foreign APEC economies. This rule sets forth the parameters of the program, the eligibility requirements, the application procedures, the duration of the program and the fee. In accordance with the authorizing law, DHS will not issue any new U.S. APEC Business Travel Cards or renew any U.S. APEC Business Travel Cards after September 30, 2018. Unless the law is amended to extend the duration of the U.S. APEC Business Travel Card Program, all U.S. APEC Business Travel Cards will expire by September 29, 2021. - DHS

APEC members include Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam.

05/10/2014: Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses - Proposed Rule

The Department of Homeland Security proposes to extend the availability of employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of principal H-1B nonimmigrants. The extension would be limited to H-4 dependent spouses of principal H-1B nonimmigrants who are in the process of seeking lawful permanent resident status through employment. This population will include those H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants if the H-1B nonimmigrants are either the beneficiaries of an approved Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140) or who have been granted an extension of their authorized period of admission in the United States under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 (AC21), as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act. This regulatory change would lessen any potential economic burden to the H-1B principal and H-4 dependent spouse during the transition from nonimmigrant to lawful permanent resident status, furthering the goals of attracting and retaining high-skilled foreign workers. - DHS

05/08/2014: April 2014 USCIS Pending I-485 Inventory Released

USCIS published the pending I-485 inventory with data as of April 1, 2014. Our Green Card Tracker has been updated with the new data. To learn more, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions or contact us.

05/07/2014: June 2014 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for June 2014. The table below shows cut-off date movement from the previous month, for all major employment-based categories. For more information please refer to our Visa Bulletin Toolbox.

Chargeability Preference Cut-off Date Movement (Days)
China Second (EB2) 37
India Second (EB2) 0
ROW Third (EB3) -549
China Third (EB3) -2192
India Third (EB3) 14
Mexico Third (EB3) -549
Philippines Third (EB3) 61

"The unexpected and dramatic increase in demand being received from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service Offices during the past several months has resulted in number use approaching the annual limit for this category. As a result, it has been necessary to retrogress the Worldwide, China, and Mexico cut-off dates for the month of June.

Notices were included in several Visa Bulletins during the past year alerting readers to the possibility of such retrogressions. While corrective action in some categories has become necessary earlier than was anticipated based on the information available earlier, it is hoped that readers are not caught off guard by these retrogressions." - DOS

05/06/2014: DHS Announces Proposals to Attract and Retain Highly Skilled Immigrants

As part of the Administration's continuing commitment to attract and retain highly skilled immigrants, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today announced the publication of two proposed rules, including a rule to extend employment authorization to spouses of certain H-1B workers, and a proposal to enhance opportunities for certain groups of highly-skilled workers by removing obstacles to their remaining in the United States. - DHS

05/04/2014: Record Numbers Renounce U.S. Citizenship - And Many Aren't Counted

The number of Americans renouncing United States citizenship or terminating long-term residency is on a record pace. Every 3 months, the government publishes the names of individuals who renounced U.S. citizenship or gave up a green card. This public outing puts Americans on notice who relinquished their rights...the Treasury Department's published list states explicitly this is just those about whom the Secretary of the Treasury has data. It means these numbers are under-stated, some say considerably. Statistics are also not available for why people say good-bye. - Forbes

05/02/2014: Data Entry of all FY15 H-1B Cap Petitions Completed

USCIS announced today that data entry of all FY15 H-1B cap petitions has been completed. USCIS will now begin returning all H-1B cap petitions that were not selected in the lottery. U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science, engineering, and computer programming.

05/01/2014: I-94 Arrival/Departure History Now Available on CBP.gov Website

The new CBP webpage allows nonimmigrant travelers to access arrival/departure records going back five years from the request date. This electronic travel-history function means that travelers may no longer need to file Freedom of Information Act requests to receive their arrival/departure history, greatly speeding their process. Travelers will have electronic access to the date and port of entry of their arrivals and departures. - CBP

04/29/2014: USCIS Will Accept Only the Current Version of Form N-400 Beginning May 5

Beginning May 5, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept only the current edition of Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, dated 9/13/2013. USCIS will reject and return all naturalization applications using previous versions of Form N-400 after Sunday, May 4, 2014. You can find the edition date at the bottom of any Form N-400 page. - USCIS

04/27/2014: Why Immigration Reform Isn't the Answer to Republicans' Demographic Woes

Because reforming the nation's immigration laws could very well create a whole bunch of new Democrats, including in some key swing states. Let's break it down.

If many of the Hispanic non-citizens across the country became voting eligible citizens through immigration reform, some of those states become much more interesting politically. Take Texas, where only 22 percent of voters were Hispanic, but they make up 37 percent of the total population of the state. The pattern is similar in Arizona, where 17 percent of voters were Hispanic but they accounted for 29 percent of the total population. - Washington Post

04/21/2014: Immigration Reform: If Obama Moves on His Own, How Big a Political Risk?

President Obama has long insisted he does not have the power to waive deportations of illegal immigrants on his own. But under pressure from political allies, Mr. Obama may be headed for some changes of immigration policy via the Department of Homeland Security. DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson is considering limiting deportations of undocumented immigrants who do not have serious criminal records, the Associated Press reported Monday.

Such a move would fall short of the larger changes pro-immigrant activists are hoping for, such as granting work permits to the illegal-immigrant parents of American-born children. At the same time, any unilateral move by the administration that grants new rights to certain illegal immigrants would likely anger Republicans, who accuse Obama of abusing his executive powers. - CSMonitor

04/16/2014: Administrative Site Visit and Verification Program for L1 Visas

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) invites you to participate in a stakeholder teleconference on Thursday, April 24, 2014, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Eastern) to discuss the extension of the Administrative Site Visit and Verification Program (ASVVP) to L1 visas. The ASVVP is a site-inspection program designed to complement the Department of Homeland Security's existing anti-fraud efforts. As part of our ongoing commitment to strengthening the integrity of immigration benefit processing, USCIS is expanding the ASVVP to include L1 beneficiaries. - USCIS

04/15/2014: Immigration Activists Push House GOP in Last-Ditch Campaign for Vote

In a last-ditch effort to bring an immigration overhaul to a vote in Congress, House Democrats on Tuesday began targeting key GOP lawmakers in hopes of pressuring House Speaker John A. Boehner to act. The election-year campaign against 30 House Republicans, who have expressed interest in changing the nation's immigration laws, was framed by Democrats as one last opportunity to engage in a legislative debate before President Obama begins taking executive actions. - LA Times

04/10/2014: FY-2015 H-1B Lottery Completed

USCIS received about 172,500 H-1B petitions during the filing period which began April 1, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption. On April 10, 2014, USCIS completed a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select enough petitions to meet the 65,000 general-category cap and 20,000 cap under the advanced degree exemption. For cap-subject petitions not randomly selected, USCIS will reject and return the petition with filing fees, unless it is found to be a duplicate filing. - USCIS

04/09/2014: May 2014 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for May 2014. The table below shows cut-off date movement from the previous month, for all major employment-based categories. For more information please refer to our Visa Bulletin Toolbox.

Chargeability Preference Cut-off Date Movement (Days)
China Second (EB2) 38
India Second (EB2) 0
ROW Third (EB3) 0
China Third (EB3) 0
India Third (EB3) 16
Mexico Third (EB3) 0
Philippines Third (EB3) 139

04/07/2014: USCIS Reaches FY 2015 H-1B Cap

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap for fiscal year (FY) 2015. USCIS has also received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the U. S. advanced degree exemption. Before running a random selection process, USCIS will complete initial intake for all filings received during the filing period which ended today. Due to the high number of petitions, USCIS is not yet able to announce the date on which it will conduct the random selection process. - USCIS

03/30/2014: Father Of California Girl Who Met With Pope Francis Released From Immigration Detention

After a 10-year-old California girl traveled to the Vatican to plead with Pope Francis for help as her father faced deportation, the man was released Friday on bond from immigration detention. Mario Vargas was freed from a detention facility in Louisiana after he posted $5,000 bond. A relative who saw the girl on television pleading with the pope during a public audience helped with the funding, said his wife, Lola Vargas. - Fox News

03/25/2014: USCIS Guidance on H-1B FY-2015 Cap Season

USCIS has published a guide on FY2015 H-1B cap season including important information such as:

  • How USCIS Determines If an H-1B Petition Is Subject to the FY 2015 Cap
  • Cap Eligible Petitions
  • When to File an FY 2015 H-1B Cap-Subject Petition
  • How to Ensure You Properly File Your H-1B Cap-Subject Petition
  • Additional Documents Required With Your Petition
  • Multiple or Duplicative Filings
  • Where to Mail Your H-1B Petition
  • Filing Fees and Premium Processing Service
  • Organizing Your H-1B Package

03/25/2014: USCIS to Accept H-1B Petitions for FY-2015 Beginning April 1, 2014

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year (FY) 2015 cap on April 1, 2014. Cases will be considered accepted on the date that USCIS receives a properly filed petition with the correct fee. USCIS will not rely on the date that the petition is postmarked. The congressionally mandated cap on H-1B visas for FY 2015 is 65,000. The first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of individuals with a U.S. master's degree or higher are exempt from the 65,000 cap. - USCIS

03/24/2014: Harsh Immigration Realities Set in for Many 'Dreamers'

But since the [DACA] program started, more than 40% of participants have failed to land new jobs after receiving work permits, and only 45% reported getting pay increases, according to early results from a 2013 survey of 2,381 participants, conducted by Roberto G. Gonzales, an assistant professor at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education.

He said the "prototype dreamer" that most immigration activists talk about — straight-A students and valedictorians who are now free to pursue successful, productive careers — represents the minority. Most participants, he said, are having "a hard time reentering mainstream life." - LA Times

03/24/2014: Founder of Tri-Valley University Convicted in Immigration Scheme

In a case that highlighted the growing problem of so-called "visa mills," a federal jury on Monday convicted the founder and president of Tri-Valley University of dozens of fraud charges related to a multimillion dollar scheme to illegally provide immigration status to foreign nationals. After two days of deliberations, the jury convicted Susan Su of 31 counts, ranging from conspiracy to commit visa fraud to money laundering to alien harboring in connection with allegations she ran a scam school in Pleasanton from 2008 until her arrest in 2011. - Mercury News

03/19/2014: USCIS Webinar on Online Customer Service Tools

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) invites you to participate in a webinar on Thursday, April 3, 2014, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (Eastern) to discuss our online customer service tools. During this engagement, we will share an overview of the updates to our self-help tools, which include Case Status Online, Processing Times, Change of Address and e-Request. The redesigned e-Request service, which launched on Feb. 14, allows customers to submit a service request to USCIS in certain instances and now offers customers the option to submit online requests for disability accommodations. USCIS officials will be available to answer your questions. - USCIS

03/17/2014: New York Senate Rejects 'Dream Act' for Illegal Immigrant Students

The New York Senate rejected a bill Monday that would open up state tuition assistance to students in the country illegally, dashing long-held hopes of immigration advocates and prompting finger-pointing among rival Democrats.

Texas, New Mexico, California and Washington state allow students who are in the country illegally access to state financial aid. - Fox

03/16/2014: Deportation Policy Shift Is Signaled by Obama

President Obama and his top aides have for months rejected demands from Hispanic activists that Mr. Obama wave a magic wand to end deportations, an action the White House saw as so antagonistic to Republicans that it would destroy any hope for a bipartisan immigration overhaul and even open the door to impeachment.

ut the growing sense of desperation among Latinos about the deportation of nearly two million illegal immigrants has engulfed top Democrats on Capitol Hill, who fear that Hispanic voters' anger at the president could disastrously sink turnout in the coming midterm elections. - NYT

03/11/2014: AILA/SCOPS Teleconference Minutes

A variety of important topics were discussed in this meeting: H-1B, PERM, RFE, OPT, etc. - USCIS

03/07/2014: April 2014 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for April 2014. The table below shows cut-off date movement from the previous month, for all major employment-based categories. For more information please refer to our Visa Bulletin Toolbox.

Chargeability Preference Cut-off Date Movement (Days)
China Second (EB2) 21
India Second (EB2) 0
ROW Third (EB3) 30
China Third (EB3) 30
India Third (EB3) 0
Mexico Third (EB3) 30
Philippines Third (EB3) 45

03/06/2014: White House Executive Order to Impose Visa Restrictions on Russians

"Sec. 2. I hereby find that the unrestricted immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens determined to meet one or more of the criteria in subsection 1(a) of this order would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of such persons. Such persons shall be treated as persons covered by section 1 of Proclamation 8693 of July 24, 2011 (Suspension of Entry of Aliens Subject to United Nations Security Council Travel Bans and International Emergency Economic Powers Act Sanctions)." - White House

03/03/2014: U.S. Supreme Court Declines Immigration Cases

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected attempts by towns in Texas and Pennsylvania to revive local laws that cracked down on illegal immigration. The court decided against hearing appeals filed by the towns of Farmers Branch, Texas, and Hazleton, Pennsylvania, which were seeking to overturn appeals court rulings that said the ordinances were trumped by federal immigration law. In doing so, the court left intact the appeals court rulings and avoided wading into the divisive issue of immigration at a time in which reform efforts have stalled in the U.S. Congress. - Reuters

02/24/2014: January 2014 USCIS Pending I-485 Inventory Released

USCIS published the pending I-485 inventory with data as of January, 2014. Our Green Card Tracker has been updated with the new data. To learn more, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions or contact us.

Note that for this Release USCIS only mentioned the pending I-485 data were as of January 2014, without specifying an actual date. We put in January 15 as an estimate to keep the date format consistent with all previous releases.

02/20/2014: USCIS Clarification onICE-Granted DACA Renewal Guidance

On Feb. 19, 2014, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) posted a notice on its website outlining the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewal process for certain individuals. Please note that this notice contains renewal information only for those individuals granted DACA by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from June 15, 2012 until August 15, 2012, when USCIS started receiving requests. Our records indicate that this notice only applies to a small fraction of the DACA population. This notice does not apply to any individuals who received deferred action by making a request to USCIS using Form I-821D on or after August 15, 2012. In the coming months, USCIS will issue guidance about the renewal process for this group. - USCIS

02/20/2014: Visitor Visa (B Visa) Refusal Rate by Nationality

Ever wondered what is your statistical chance of getting a B visa to visit the U.S.? Here is all the data from FY-2006 to FY-2013. For the original Department of Statement publication click here.

02/19/2014: ICE-Granted DACA Renewal Guidance

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has recently posted a notice on its website with important information for individuals granted deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) prior to August 15, 2012. If you were granted DACA by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement prior to August 15, 2012 or are a DACA recipient with an employment authorization document (EAD) that will expire in the next 120 days, you must apply for DACA renewal to avoid any lapse in your employment authorization or accrual of unlawful presence in the United States. - USCIS

02/18/2014: In Need of an Honest Debate on Immigration Reform

From the far reaches of one side comes the charge that immigration reformers only want to destroy our values by throwing open the nation's doors to moochers while feathering their own political (Democratic) nests.

From the other side's remote boundaries come accusations that opponents of "comprehensive immigration reform" are xenophobes, so lacking in compassion and decency that they care only about preserving their racially, ethnically and culturally constricted world. - Chicago Tribune

Note: See the paragraph below that clearly shows how little people know about the legal immigration system. A very good article overall, but tinted by the author's misunderstanding of how immigration quota works:

"The law effectively favors immigrants from certain countries — Mexico, India, China, the Philippines and Dominican Republic are generally at the top of the list. Why them? Should there be national quotas to more equally welcome the "tired, the poor," etc., from all nations? Or should our immigration policy be strictly set by what's in America's best interests and let the chips fall where they may?"

02/13/2014: CBP to Revise I-94W and ESTA Forms

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) of the Department of Homeland Security will be submitting the following information collection request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act: CBP Form I-94W (Nonimmigrant Visa Waiver Arrival/Departure), and the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). This is a proposed revision of an information collection that was previously approved. CBP is proposing that the data elements on CBP Form I-94W and ESTA be revised. - CBP

02/07/2014: March 2014 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for March 2014. The table below shows cut-off date movement from the previous month, for all major employment-based categories. For more information please refer to our Visa Bulletin Toolbox.

Chargeability Preference Cut-off Date Movement (Days)
China Second (EB2) 38
India Second (EB2) 0
ROW Third (EB3) 92
China Third (EB3) 92
India Third (EB3) 14
Mexico Third (EB3) 92
Philippines Third (EB3) 16

In addition, the Visa Office also published their predictions of cut-off date movement in the coming months. No good news for India EB2, as well as Family-sponsored F2A category, for the foreseeable future.

02/07/2014: Immigration Overhaul Stalls

Many in GOP ranks also expressed distrust that President Barack Obama would enforce any law they pass. "There's widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws," Mr. Boehner told reporters. "It's going to be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that changes."

The move represents an effort by Mr. Boehner to apply the brakes amid heightened expectations after the GOP unveiled its ideas last week at a retreat in Maryland. It still remains possible he could bring legislation to the floor this summer, after many Republican primaries are over, or late in the year, after the elections. - WSJ

02/06/2014: White House Immigratoin Principles

America's immigration system is broken. Too many employers game the system by hiring undocumented workers and there are 11 million people living in the shadows. Neither is good for the economy or the country.

The President's plan builds a smart, effective immigration system that continues efforts to secure our borders and cracks down on employers who hire undocumented immigrants. It's a plan that requires anyone who's undocumented to get right with the law by paying their taxes and a penalty, learning English, and undergoing background checks before they can be eligible to earn citizenship. It requires every business and every worker to play by the same set of rules. - White House

02/03/2014: How Obamacare Killed Immigration Reform

Barack Obama has all but conceded his lame-duck status. His State of the Union address was bereft of big ideas. And his declaration that he will use his "pen and a phone" to issue a raft of executive orders is an admission of political impotence — a presidency reduced to small-ball initiatives like creating "myRA" savings accounts and raising the minimum wage for federal contractors. The one exception — his one last shot at a major legislative achievement — was comprehensive immigration reform. But that isn't happening either. - Washington Post

01/30/2014: Congressional Republicans Released Principles on Immigration

"Our nation's immigration system is broken and our laws are not being enforced. Washington's failure to fix them is hurting our economy and jeopardizing our national security. The overriding purpose of our immigration system is to promote and further America's national interests and that is not the case today. The serious problems in our immigration system must be solved, and we are committed to working in a bipartisan manner to solve them. But they cannot be solved with a single, massive piece of legislation that few have read and even fewer understand, and therefore, we will not go to a conference with the Senate's immigration bill. The problems in our immigration system must be solved through a step-by-step, common-sense approach that starts with securing our country's borders, enforcing our laws, and implementing robust enforcement measures. These are the principals guiding us in that effort." - Full Text from NYT

01/28/2014: How Detroit's Bankruptcy Could Affect Immigration Reform

Gov. Rick Snyder (R) of Michigan put forward a new and controversial plan Thursday to award 50,000 visas over five years to immigrants willing to settle and work in Detroit as part of his efforts to revitalize the bankrupt city.

The move would require a federal action to increase in the employment-based visas for immigrants, as well as a drastic change in the way that such visas are awarded. As a result, immigration experts are skeptical that Governor Snyder's plan will become a reality. Yet some remain intrigued by the long-shot proposal's potential to change the national conversation around immigration reform. - CS Monitor

01/27/2014: Obama Set to Announce 'Practical' Agenda Focusing on Immigration, Income Equality

President Obama is expected in his annual address Tuesday to detail what he calls "practical" proposals to advance the country in 2014, including ones to improve economic opportunities for every American and to fix the nation's immigration system. But Obama will also make clear his intentions to use his executive powers to achieve his goals when Congress fails to pass legislation. - Fox

01/22/2014: White House Dials It Down on Immigration

The White House is trying to dial down the partisan rhetoric on immigration — and it's asking its allies to do the same. In meetings with immigration reform advocates, White House officials have said President Barack Obama won't threaten to take unilateral executive action — at least not yet — and that he wants to give House Republicans some breathing room to try to pass legislation this year, said immigration advocates who have participated in the sessions. - Politico

01/17/2014: GOP to Introduce Shortly New Immigration Plan, Including Path to Legal Status

House Republicans are working on an immigration plan that would give potentially millions of undocumented immigrants a chance to permanently live and work in the United States. The plan, which is reportedly days away from being released to the public, will cover ideas on how the U.S. border should be protected, how immigration laws should be enforced inside the United States, the expansion of visas for certain foreign workers, and how many of the country's estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants can embark on a path to legalize their status, according to published reports, such as one in online news publication Politico. - Fox

01/13/2014: House Republicans Preparing Plan for Immigration Overhaul

The House speaker, John A. Boehner, and his Republican leadership team are preparing to release their principles for an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws later this month, the speaker told his members at a closed-door conference on Wednesday.

House Republicans hope to release their principles near the end of the month before President Obama's State of the Union address, as well as before their annual retreat. Republican aides had previously said that their leadership team was unlikely to make any strategic decisions on immigration before the retreat. - NYT

01/08/2014: February 2014 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for February 2014. The table below shows cut-off date movement from the previous month, for all major employment-based categories. For more information please refer to our Visa Bulletin Toolbox.

Chargeability Preference Cut-off Date Movement (Days)
China Second (EB2) 31
India Second (EB2) 0
ROW Third (EB3) 61
China Third (EB3) 61
India Third (EB3) 0
Mexico Third (EB3) 61
Philippines Third (EB3) 59

Notes from DOS: MEXICO F2B: The level of demand during recent months has been extremely heavy, in particular for cases filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for adjustment of status processing. Therefore, it has been necessary to retrogress the February cut-off date to May 1, 1993 in an attempt to hold number use within the annual per-country limit. Further retrogression of this cut-off date cannot be ruled out.

MEXICO F2A: Continued heavy demand in the Mexico F2A category will require the retrogression of this cut-off date to hold number use within the annual numerical limit. Such action is likely to occur within the next few months.

01/06/2014: Boehner Is Said to Back Change on Immigration

Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio has signaled he may embrace a series of limited changes to the nation's immigration laws in the coming months, giving advocates for change new hope that 2014 might be the year that a bitterly divided Congress reaches a political compromise to overhaul the sprawling system. - NY Times

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