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Immigration News - July and August of 2013

08/30/2013: Grassley Says Senate Bill's Path to Legalization is Not Amnesty

A conservative Republican lawmaker with a hard line on immigration doesn't normally attract attention for uttering the word "amnesty." But that all changes when it's someone like Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, saying that the Senate comprehensive immigration bill's provision allowing undocumented immigrants to legalize their status is not amnesty. - Fox

08/26/2013: Though Eligible, Many Decline to be US Citizens

But even as legions here and abroad pin their hopes on becoming American, and the country wrestles with emotionally-fraught questions over who should have that right, there is a seemingly contradictory truth: that millions of people who are in the country legally, and stand on the threshold of citizenship, never take that next step. According to some estimates, about 40 per cent of all people who hold green cards, the gateway to citizenship, do not naturalize.

Of those, many may want to apply but are deterred by a variety of reasons, including the $680 application fee or the requirement that most applicants must prove they can read, write and speak basic English, immigrants' advocates said. Some countries - including Japan, China and Iran - generally do not permit their citizens to acquire a second nationality, forcing a difficult choice. - NDTV

08/26/2013: Quietly, Businesses Help Reshape U.S. Immigration Debate

If Texas Representative Ted Poe was looking for reassurance that backing an overhaul of U.S. immigration laws won't be political suicide for conservatives like him, he may have found it this week at a seafood restaurant on the outskirts of Houston. During a roundtable discussion, several business executives told the five-term Republican that they can't find enough Americans willing to cook fajitas, repair sidewalks and perform other types of unglamorous work that keeps the fourth-largest U.S. city humming. A more robust guest-worker program would help, they said. - Reuters

08/20/2013: USCIS Issues Warning on Recent Phone Scams

In recent weeks, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) learned of a new telephone scam targeting USCIS applicants and petitioners. Scammers are using a technique called "Caller ID spoofing" to display a misleading or inaccurate phone number in a recipient's Caller ID. The scammer poses as a USCIS official and requests personal information (such as Social Security number, passport number, or A-number), identifies supposed issues in the recipient's immigration records, and asks for payment to correct these records.

If you receive a call like that, USCIS urges you to say "No, thank you" and hang up immediately.

USCIS never asks for any form of payment or personal information over the phone. Do not give payment or personal information over the phone to anyone who claims to be a USCIS official. In general, we encourage you to protect your personal information and not to provide details about your immigration application in any public area.

If you have been a victim of this telephone scam, please report it to the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/, or report it to an appropriate state authority. (Visit www.uscis.gov/avoidscams for information on where to report scams in your state.)

08/18/2013: McCain Takes His Work Home to Arizona, Promoting an Immigration Bill

For Senator John McCain, the Congressional summer recess has turned into a race against the clock, and against other Republicans. As the most senior member of the bipartisan Senate group that drafted the omnibus immigration bill pending in the House, he has spent his days prodding constituents to pressure Arizona's Congressional delegation to support it.

Mr. McCain knows how much is at stake. He has tried before — and failed — to push immigration changes through Congress, where political divisions on the issue run much deeper than party lines. And he knows how hard it will be to get anything done in 2014, an election year. - NY Times

08/13/2013: September 2013 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for September, 2013. 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) 166
ROW Third (EB3) 546
China Third (EB3) 546
India Third (EB3) 243
Mexico Third (EB3) 546
Philippines Third (EB3) 40

The Visa Office also provided their assessment of current EB visa demand and offered their prediction for the next couple of months.

08/12/2013: Webinar on Paying the USCIS Immigrant Fee

Customers who receive an immigrant visa packet at an overseas U.S. Embassy or Consulate must pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee in order to receive a Permanent Resident Card (commonly referred to as a Green Card) in the United States. On May 19, 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) incorporated the payment process for the USCIS Immigrant Fee into USCIS ELIS, the USCIS Electronic Immigration System. Payment of the USCIS Immigrant fee in USCIS ELIS allows us to better serve our customers by simplifying and centralizing the payment process and by providing customers with up-to-date and detailed processing status information. - USCIS Invitation

08/08/2013: New Pending I-485 Inventory Released (07/17/2013)

USCIS today released their pending I-485 inventory with data as of July 17, 2013. The green card tracker has now been updated with the new inventory data.

08/08/2013: USCIS Alert - Workload Transfer for Various Forms

USCIS recently began transferring some casework within the service centers to balance workload processing capacity. The affected casework includes the following forms: I-129F, I-130, I-821D, and I-751. - USCIS

08/08/2013: Expansion of Glabal Entry Program

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has established the Global Entry international trusted traveler program at most major U.S. airports. Global Entry allows pre-approved, low-risk participants expedited entry into the United States using Global Entry kiosks located at designated airports. Currently, eligibility for participation in Global Entry is limited to U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, U.S. lawful permanent residents, Mexican nationals, and certain eligible citizens of the Netherlands. This document announces that CBP is expanding eligibility for Global Entry to include citizens of the Republic of Korea who are participants in the Smart Entry System (SES), a trusted traveler program in the Republic of Korea; a limited number of citizens of the Federal Republic of Germany who are participants in the Automated and Biometrics-Supported Border Controls (ABG) Plus, a trusted traveler program in the Federal Republic of Germany; a limited number of citizens of the State of Qatar; and a limited number of citizens of the United Kingdom who frequently travel to the United States. All of these individuals must otherwise satisfy the requirements for participation in the Global Entry program. CBP expects at some later point to expand eligibility to include all citizens of the Federal Republic of Germany, all citizens of the State of Qatar and all citizens of the United Kingdom who otherwise satisfy the requirements for participation in the Global Entry program. Additionally, this document announces that U.S. citizens who participate in Global Entry will have the option to apply for membership in the Republic of Korea's SES program and that a limited number of U.S. citizens who participate in Global Entry will have the option to apply for membership in Germany's ABG Plus. - DHS

08/05/2013: Statement on Update of Embassy and Consulate Closure

Given that a number of our embassies and consulates were going to be closed in accordance with local custom and practice for the bulk of the week for the Eid celebration at the end of Ramadan, and out of an abundance of caution, we've decided to extend the closure of several embassies and consulates including a small number of additional posts. - DOS

08/01/2013: Clarification on Immigration Benefits for Same-Sex Couples

On July 26, 2013, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued new and more detailed answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on how immigration benefits based on same-sex marriages will be addressed following the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in U.S. v. Windsor. These FAQs address many questions same-sex couples may have about their ability to file for benefits under U.S. immigration law. - Murthy

08/01/2013: Immigration Union Warns Republicans About Legalizing DREAMers

A union representing 12,000 federal immigration workers is warning top House Republicans against legalizing young undocumented immigrants. The union is made up of employees of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which handles immigration paperwork.

The opposition to the bill from the immigration union isn't a surprise. The council was against a large-scale immigration reform bill that passed in the Senate in late June. That bill would have created a pathway to citizenship for many of the country's 11 million undocumented immigrants, far beyond the scale of this Republican effort in the House. - ABC

07/30/2013: GAO Report on Overstay Enforcement

Each year, millions of visitors come to the United States legally on a temporary basis either with or without a visa. Overstays are individuals who were admitted legally on a temporary basis but then overstayed their authorized periods of admission. DHS has primary responsibility for identifying and taking enforcement action to address overstays. In April 2011, GAO reported on DHS's actions to identify and address overstays and made recommendations to strengthen these processes. DHS concurred and has taken or is taking steps to address them. DHS has also reported taking further actions to address overstays. - GAO

07/28/2013: How American Immigrants Change the Rest of the World

America's long-running argument about immigration has reached a boil this summer, and as usual the political discussion has focused on domestic issues, including border security, the impact of immigrants on American jobs, and the proper way to deal with people who have come to the United States illegally. Proposals for reform are weighed with one question in mind: How will they help or harm our country and the people who live here? But the American immigration system, which at last count had led to around 40 million foreign-born individuals living inside our borders, also has a huge effect on the rest of the world—something most of us don't tend to think about at all. - Boston Globe

07/25/2013: Late Heiress' Anti-Immigration Efforts Live On

Heiress and bird-lover Cordelia Scaife May believed nature and the U.S. were under siege from runaway population growth. Eight years after her death, she continues to influence the immigration debate. - LA Times

07/22/2013: Immigration Overhaul Languishes; Not Boehner's Top Priority

House Speaker John A. Boehner said Sunday that fixing the nation's fiscal problems, not its immigration laws, was his top priority, as the most comprehensive proposal in a generation to overhaul the immigration system languishes in the Republican-controlled House.

The speaker also dismissed critics who have said this Congress has been among the most unproductive in years and defended the House's decision to hold dozens of votes to repeal the nation's 2010 healthcare law — bills that are almost certain never to become law. "We should not be judged on how many new laws we create. We ought to be judged on how many laws that we repeal," he said. - LA Times

07/18/2013: Technical Issues with USCIS Online Form I-90

According to several user comments on our blog, the Form I-90 online application is missing several important categories in the drop-down menu for Class of Admission. IR-5 and IR-6, two common classes of admission, are not available and there is no option to type in or skip the field. We have tried to contact USCIS by phone for the past two days without success. One alternative, as reported by a reader, is to fill out the paper form (which does have all categories including IR-5 and IR-6) and mail it in. We will attempt to alert USCIS again and hopefully get some clarification with regard to this issue.

07/17/2013: Immigration Judges Pushing for Independence

Federal immigration judges are urging Congress to liberate them from the Department of Justice, a dramatic bid for independence that could eventually open immigration court records to the public for the first time in US history....The judges say the backlogged immigration courts need the freedom to control their own budgets, issue timely decisions, and prevent unfair treatment of judges — all things they maintain are not happening within the Justice Department bureaucracy. - Boston Globe

07/15/2013: Inside the Immigration Bill: Details, Bureaucracy and Pork

Inch your way through the Senate immigration bill and you'll find special stuff for ski instructors, cruise line repairmen and Irish workers. You'll see "committee'' mentioned 152 times, and task forces cited 39 times. Welcome to the Senate's 1,198-page blueprint for overhauling the nation's immigration system. Few lawmakers probably read the weighty tome, so we did. And we found it full of exacting details, excruciating bureaucracy and a little pork. - Kansas City Star

07/12/2013: Homeland Security Chief Napolitano to Resign, Head UC

Janet Napolitano is resigning as head of the Homeland Security Department and seeking a post as president of the University of California, the long-time Obama confidant announced Friday. Officials told Fox News that Napolitano does not plan to leave her post until September. But she announced the move on Friday after it began to break in the media, revealing that she has been nominated to lead the California university system. - Fox

07/10/2013: House Republicans Pitch Scaled-Back Immigration Approach

Facing deep resistance among House Republicans to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants in the country illegally, GOP leaders are trying to muster support for a stripped-down immigration reform bill that would offer citizenship only to those brought into the country as children. The plan, which would almost certainly be a nonstarter for President Obama and Democrats who control the Senate, makes clear there will be no quick agreement on a Senate-passed bill and illustrates how wide the gap remains over fundamental immigration reform. - LA Times

07/09/2013: August 2013 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the August 2013 Visa Bulletin. 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) 1217
ROW Third (EB3) 0
China Third (EB3) 0
India Third (EB3) 0
Mexico Third (EB3) 0
Philippines Third (EB3) 21

DOS explanation on F2A and EB2-India:

"FAMILY-sponsored: F2A: This category has become "Current" for August, and is expected to remain so for the next several months. This action has been taken in an effort to generate an increased level of demand. Despite the fact that there are large amounts of registered F2A demand, currently there are not enough applicants who are actively pursuing final action on their case to fully utilize all of the available numbers.

EMPLOYMENT-based: India Second: This cut-off date has been advanced in an effort to fully utilize the numbers available under the overall Employment Second preference annual limit. It is expected that such movement will generate a significant amount of new India demand during the coming months.

These changes for the Family F2A, and India Employment Second preference categories reflect actions which have been taken based on current applicant demand patterns. Readers should expect that some type of "corrective" action will be required at some point during FY-2014 in an effort to maintain number use within the applicable annual limits. Such action would involve the establishment and retrogression of such cut-off dates, and could occur at any time." - DOS

07/09/2013: House Republicans Craft Path for Immigration Debate, Stress Border Security

House Republicans plan to discuss their next steps on the comprehensive Senate immigration bill at a private meeting Wednesday, laying out plans for potential legislation with heavy discussion on border security, according to memos exclusively obtained by Fox News. The memos, sent to House Republican rank and file members, contain talking points describing various past immigration reform bills and the border security component of the bill passed last month by the Senate on a 68-32 vote. - Fox

07/05/2013: Getting a Bill Through the House Will be Harder than Climbing the Border Fence

As his constituents aired their concerns at a town-hall meeting this week, Bob Goodlatte, a Republican congressman from Virginia, nodded politely. "This immigration bill stinks to high heaven," thundered one, referring to a package of reforms approved by the Senate that would, among other things, allow most of America's 11m-odd illegal immigrants to become citizens. "If you legalise 11m illegal aliens, you're going to be overwhelmed by who knows how many tens of millions more," declared another. "We will become a third-world country." A third implores: "Use all your powers to make sure this bill does not get out of the House." - The Economist

07/01/2013: New E-Verify Capability to Directly Notify Employees of Information Mismatch

USCIS is announcing its latest customer service enhancement to E-Verify that will allow direct notification to employees. Currently, if there is a record mismatch that needs to be resolved before the employee can be confirmed as work authorized, a Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC) is issued to the employer, who must then contact the affected employee. Now, with this new enhancement, if an employee voluntarily provides his or her email address on the Form I-9, E-Verify will notify the employee of a TNC at the same time it notifies the employer. TNCs occur when information an employer provides to E-Verify about an employee does not match the data found in either U.S. Department of Homeland Security or Social Security Administration records. - USCIS

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