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Immigration News - November and December of 2010

12/29/2010: Expansion of Global Entry Pilot to Mexican Nationals

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is conducting an international trusted traveler pilot program, referred to as the Global Entry pilot, at several major U.S. airports. Currently, eligibility is limited to U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, U.S. lawful permanent residents (LPRs), and certain eligible citizens of the Netherlands. This document announces that pursuant to a Joint Declaration between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Secretariat of Governance of the United Mexican States, CBP is expanding eligibility for participation in the Global Entry pilot to include qualified nationals of Mexico who otherwise satisfy the requirements for participation in the Global Entry pilot. - Federal Register

12/29/2010: Utilization of Global Entry Kiosks by NEXUS and SENTRI Participants

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) operates several international trusted traveler programs to provide expedited entry into the United States at designated ports of entry for pre-approved travelers. Through the utilization of automated kiosks, the Global Entry pilot program allows CBP to expedite clearance of pre- approved, low-risk air travelers arriving in the United States. In this notice, CBP is announcing that it is expanding two other trusted traveler programs, NEXUS and the Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI), to permit participants of these programs currently in good standing to utilize Global Entry kiosks as part of their NEXUS or SENTRI membership. - Federal Register

12/22/2010: Part 6 of Form I-129 Delayed

Starting tomorrow, December 23, 2010 USCIS will only accept H-1B petitions on the Form I-129 with a Nov. 23, 2010 revision date. In addition, USCIS has delayed the requirement to complete part 6 of the form, "Certification Regarding the Release of Controlled Technology or Technical Data to Foreign Persons in the United States" until Feb. 20, 2011. - USCIS

12/22/2010: USCIS Response to Ombudsman's 2010 Annual Report

USCIS appreciates the thoughtful analysis the CIS Ombudsman (CISOMB) provides in the 2010 Annual Report to Congress. USCIS values the CISOMB's objectivity and the shared goal of improving Agency operations and procedures. USCIS provides the following responses to the CISOMB's recommendations and observations. - USCIS (PDF)

12/20/2010: Congress Clears Way for Chula Vista Man to Legally Stay in U.S.

A Chula Vista man is one of the rare undocumented immigrants whose status has been cleared for legalization through a direct vote by Congress. A private bill on behalf of Shigeru "Shiggy" Yamada, 28, who emigrated from Japan when he was 10, passed Wednesday in Washington, D.C., along with a private bill for a Japanese national who is the widow of a Tennessee Marine killed in combat. - SD Union Tribune

12/20/2010: UC San Diego Grad Student Scrambling to Avoid Deportation

Mark Farrales, whose family sought political asylum when he was 10, is to be sent back to the Philippines. The Harvard alumnus hopes Congress will consider a private immigration bill. - LA Times

12/18/2010: DREAM Act Failed, Once Again

The irony of the DREAM Act's failure is that it had strong bipartisan support at the start of the administration, and advocates thought it could generate momentum for more policy changes. But as the country's mood shifted on illegal immigration, support among Republicans and some Democratic senators evaporated, with many decrying it as a backdoor amnesty for lawbreakers. - Washington Post

12/17/2010: DREAM Act Poised for Senate Vote Saturday

The fight for the DREAM Act is down to the wire with the House-passed bill scheduled for a Senate vote Saturday. The bill, which creates a path to US citizenship for young people who were brought into the country illegally while minors, has seen various incarnations since it was first introduced ten years ago. - CSMonitor

12/13/2010: CBP El Paso Implements "Ready Lane" Pilot Program

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced today a pilot program at El Paso port of entry/Ysleta international crossing for travelers with approved Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology-enabled travel documents. The pilot program will start Sunday, December 19 and run for 90 days. - CBP

12/09/2010: Delay Gives DREAM Act Short Rest Within Senate

Supporters of a bill that would provide a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who attended college or served in the military won a reprieve Thursday when Senate Democrats delayed a vote on the divisive legislation. The delay will give supporters more time to sway Republican senators to pass the so-called DREAM Act bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Senate owed it to those whose lives would be affected to "honestly address the issue." The House passed its version of the bill, 216-198, late Wednesday. - Houston Chronicle

12/09/2010: January 2011 Visa Bulletin

12/08/2010: House Narrowly Approves DREAM Act

In a last-ditch showdown on immigration relief for illegal migrants, the Democratically-controlled House of Representatives on Wednesday narrowly approved the so-called DREAM Act that would offer a pathway to citizenship for undocumented young people who attend college or serve in the military. The House passed the bill 216 to 198. - LA Times

12/08/2010: USCIS Form I-9 Stakeholder Meeting Summary

On November 2, 2010, the USCIS Verification Division and Office of Public Engagement (OPE) hosted a stakeholder engagement regarding the Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification). USCIS indicated at the opening of the session that the agency is in the early stages of drafting a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for the Form I-9 and wanted to host an engagement in order to give individual stakeholders an opportunity to comment on the Form I-9 process. USCIS was particularly interested in hearing from stakeholders on the different sections of the form, the list of acceptable documents, the Form I-9 verification process, and potential educational resources. The session was for USCIS to listen to the views and information of individual stakeholders. The session was not used for the purpose of obtaining group or consensus advice. - USCIS

12/08/2010: New Visa Procedures in Mexico

Beginning January 10, 2011, the U.S. Embassy and Consulates will process visas differently. Under the new procedures, most applicants will go to Applicant Service Centers (ASCs) prior to their consular section interview. The ASC staff will collect the applicant's biometric information that will be reviewed by the consular section prior to the applicant's interview. ASCs will be located in buildings separate from the U.S. Embassy and Consulates. - U.S. Embassy

12/08/2010: Software Consulting Company Debarred from H-1B, Fined

Following a consent order obtained by the U.S. Department of Labor, Peri Software Solutions Inc. and its owner, Saravanan Periasamy, have agreed to pay $638,449 in back wages and interest to 67 workers for violating the H-1B provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The Newark company sponsored the H-1B non-immigrant workers to work as programmer analysts across the country. - DOL

12/02/2010: "How does this make America better?"

Even as anti-immigrant sentiment has swelled in large swaths of the country, many communities are willing to do battle for individual immigrants who have become part of their lives. Each year, their lobbying efforts produce scores of private bills in Congress seeking to grant individual immigrants legal residency. Few are passed. - Washington Post

11/30/2010: Judges on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

In a recent survey, immigration judges reported dramatically more stress (PDF) than other professionals: They were more burned out than doctors, international aid workers, even prison wardens. It was incredibly difficult, they said, to know which asylum claims were genuine: who had truly suffered horrors, and who had been coached by relatives or "travel agents" who promised immigrants a bulletproof story. - Mother Jones

11/24/2010: H-1B Cap Quickly Approaching

As of 11/19/10, USCIS has received 48,977 H-1B applications toward the regular cap, and 17,836 under the advanced degree exemption. See our complete log of this year's H-1B counts including a graph.

11/22/2010: USCIS Introduces First-Ever Fee Waiver Form

For the first time, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is introducing a standardized form for requesting waivers of the fees charged for immigration-benefit processing. Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, will become available for use on Nov. 23, 2010 - the same day USCIS's latest fee schedule takes effect. - USCIS

11/21/2010: Understanding Visa Bulletin

11/18/2010: NVC Immigrant Visa Waiting List

The following figures have been compiled from the NVC report submitted to the Department on November 1, 2010, and show the number of immigrant visa applicants on the waiting list in the various preferences and subcategories subject to numerical limit. All figures reflect persons registered under each respective numerical limitation, i.e., the totals represent not only principal applicants or petition beneficiaries, but their spouses and children entitled to derivative status under INA 203(d) as well. - DOS

11/17/2010: Fake Immigration Officers Arrested

According to the indictment, Van-Rhyn, Navarro and Racity, would falsely represent to their clients, who were either legal permanent residents or illegal aliens, that they were federal immigration officers, employees or federal immigration judges, and that by virtue of their positions could expedite their respective application process and obtain special immigration benefits for them and their family members. They would induce these clients to pay substantial sums of money, ranging in amounts from $5,000 to $18,000, knowing full well that none of them held any official position in the federal judiciary, United States government, or any of its dependent agencies, and that the defendants would not assist these clients with their immigration needs. - ICE

11/17/2010: Obama Wants DREAM Act in Lame Duck

President Barack Obama told Democratic members of Congress Tuesday he wants the DREAM Act passed in the lame duck session as a "down payment" on substantial immigration reform, according to members at the meeting. And, he said, he'd call resistant senators to get them on board. - Politico

11/12/2010: December 2010 Visa Bulletin and Predictions

December Visa Bulletin was released today. No cut-off date movement for India EB2 and EB3. China EB2 advanced just one week; two weeks for EB3. Other than Mexico EB3, which leaped forward by 14 months, the movement was slow across the board.

In addition, DOS offered cut-off date predictions for the coming months. Not very promising, especially for India EB2.

11/11/2010: Immigration-Related Employment Discrimination

According to the department's findings, Hoover required all permanent residents who presented a permanent resident card (green card) for I-9 purposes to produce a new green card when theirs expired. In contrast, Hoover's U.S. citizen workers were not required to present new documents. Like U.S. citizens, permanent residents are always work authorized, regardless of the expiration of their documentation. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) prohibits employers from treating permanent residents differently than U.S. citizens in the I-9 process. - DOJ

11/10/2010: Revised Form I-129 Coming Soon

USCIS has notified immigration stakeholders that revised Form I-129 will be published on November 23, 2010. Employers and attorneys will have 30 days to switch to the new version. After December 21, 2010 only the revised from will be accepted by USCIS. Official announcement is expected in the near future.

11/10/2010: Court Weighs Citizenship Rule that Varies by Sex

The Supreme Court seemed troubled Wednesday by a U.S. citizenship law that treats fathers and mothers differently. But the court appeared unlikely to help a Mexican-born man who says he should be declared an American. The justices heard arguments in a case that revolves around a 70-year-old law for children born outside the United States to one parent who is an American and one who is not. Children of unwed American fathers face higher hurdles in claiming citizenship for themselves. - AP

11/10/2010: Anti-Fraud Enhancements to E-Verify

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas today announced the expansion of the E-Verify program's capabilities to include U.S. passport photo matching-further enhancing the integrity of the program by enabling E-Verify to automatically check the validity and authenticity of all U.S. passports and passport cards presented for employment verification checks. - DHS Press Release

11/01/2010: AP Report on I-9 Immigration Audits

An obscure federal document called the I-9 form has emerged as a contentious element in the national immigration debate since the Obama administration vowed to go after employers who hire undocumented workers. Employers must fill out and sign the form, which requires them to acknowledge, under penalty of perjury, that they examined documents that allow an employee to work. - AP

11/01/2010: FY2011 H-1B Cap Count

As of October 29, USCIS has received 45,600 H-1B petitions toward the cap of 65,000 for Fiscal Year 2011. In addition, there are 16,700 petitions filed under the advanced degree cap of 20,000. To see a complete log of H1b count go to our blog entry here.

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