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Immigration News - March and April of 2014

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

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