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Immigration News - July and August of 2010

08/27/2010: U.S. Moving to Ease Deportation Policy

Immigration authorities are showing mercy toward certain foreign nationals in deportation proceedings, the first indication ICE's tough posture may be easing. In a new and more lenient policy, the head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has instructed the agency's legal office to stop the deportation proceedings of foreign nationals who may now be eligible for a green card. - Miami Herald

08/27/2010: Immigration Program Draws Scrutiny

While most people caught fishing without a license lose the catch and pay a fine, the penalty for illegal immigrants in Nashville can include deportation. Only 27 of the 820 people cited for fishing without a state license since 2007 were booked into the Davidson County Jail, according to The Tennessean newspaper. All of them were immigrants. - Knoxnews

08/21/2010: USCIS Memo on Certain I-140 Petitions

This Policy Memorandum (PM) provides guidance regarding the analysis that Immigration Service Officers (ISOs) must use in adjudicating Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, filed for:

  • Aliens of Extraordinary Ability under section 203(b)(1)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA);
  • Outstanding Professors or Researchers under section 203(b)(1)(B) INA; and
  • Aliens of Exceptional Ability under section 203(b)(2) INA.

08/19/2010: USCIS Implements H-1B and L-1 Fee Increase

On Aug. 13, 2010, President Obama signed into law Public Law 111-230, which contains provisions to increase certain H-1B and L-1 petition fees. Effective immediately, Public Law 111-230 requires the submission of an additional fee of $2,000 for certain H-1B petitions and $2,250 for certain L-1A and L-1B petitions postmarked on or after Aug. 14, 2010, and will remain in effect through Sept. 30, 2014. These additional fees apply to petitioners who employ 50 or more employees in the United States with more than 50 percent of its employees in the United States in H-1B or L (including L-1A, L-1B and L-2) nonimmigrant status. - USCIS

08/18/2010: Immigration Bait and Switch

Secure Communities, an immigration enforcement program created under President George W. Bush and now being greatly expanded by President Obama, is billed as an effort to catch and deport "the worst of the worst," the violent criminals, drug and gun smugglers, gang members and other dangerous aliens. That would be excellent, if true. It doesn't seem to be. - NY Times

08/17/2010: Obama's Aunt Was Ruled at Risk

The immigration judge who granted President Obama's aunt asylum three months ago based his decision on the fact that an anonymous federal official had disclosed information about her immigration status to the media, a "reckless'' act that exposed her to heightened threats of persecution in her native Kenya, according to the ruling, obtained yesterday by the Globe. - The Globe

08/16/2010: An Interview With CBP Commissioner Alan Bersin

Bersin took a few minutes to talk to the Tribune about why he believes the Texas-Mexico border is secure, why deportations of criminal aliens have reached unprecedented levels, why trade between the U.S. and Mexico is as robust as ever and what he thinks motivates most undocumented immigrants to enter the U.S. - Texas Tribune

08/11/2010: September 2010 Visa Bulletin

Both China and India EB2 categories advanced to May 8, 2006! For EB3, only Philippines had a significant move, to December 15, 04

08/09/2010: Employment Authorization for Dependents of Foreign Officials

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is amending its regulations governing the employment authorization for dependents of foreign officials classified as A-1, A-2, G-1, G-3, and G-4 nonimmigrants. This rule expands the list of dependents who are eligible for employment authorization from spouses, children, and qualifying sons and daughters of A or G foreign officials to include any other immediate family member who falls within a category of aliens designated by the Department of State as qualifying. This change to DHS regulations provides the Department of State with greater flexibility when entering into bilateral agreements and arrangements with other countries that would extend employment authorization to immediate family members who are recognized as such by the Department of State. DATES: Effective date: This rule is effective August 9, 2010. - Federal Register

08/09/2010: LaserCard Receives Order for More Green Cards

LaserCard Corporation, a leading provider of secure ID solutions, announced receipt of a follow-on order for approximately $2.7 million of optical security media cards to be issued under the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Permanent Resident Card ("Green Card") program. Deliveries of the cards are scheduled for the period August to December 31, 2010. - MarketWatch

08/03/2010: Change of Filing Locations for Important USCIS Forms

USCIS today announced changes of filing locations for several critical immigration forms. Please triple check the latest filing instructions to make sure you have the correct address before submitting an application:

  • Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiance(e)
  • Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur
  • Form I-817, Application for Family Unity Benefits
  • Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status
  • Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
  • Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker

08/03/2010: DOS Final Rule: DS-260

This final rule amends the Department of State's regulations related to the application for an immigrant visa and alien registration, to offer a completely electronic application procedure as an alternative to submission of Form DS-230, the Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration. DATES: This rule is effective August 3, 2010. - Federal Register

08/03/2010: New Features Improve Customer Service

Customers will now be able to submit an electronic inquiry directly to a USCIS Field Office or Service Center to request case status information if their Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (Form I-90) or Application for Naturalization (Form N-400) is outside the posted processing times. This electronic inquiry system should reduce the need for customers to make InfoPass appointments to speak with USCIS representatives in person. Additionally, once the electronic inquiry is received, USCIS now commits to a 15-day customer response, reduced from the previous commitment to respond within 30 days. - USCIS

07/30/2010: Leaked USCIS Memo

An internal USCIS Memo leaked to the public indicated that USCIS officials are debating certain policy changes that could potentially offer tremendous help. See our post for more details:

07/28/2010: Judge Blocks Arizona's Immigration Law

Judge Susan Bolton of Federal District Court issued a preliminary injunction against sections of the law, scheduled to take effect on Thursday, that called for police officers to check a person's immigration status while enforcing other laws and required immigrants to prove that they were authorized to be in the country or risk state charges. She issued the injunction in response to a legal challenge brought against the law by the Obama administration. - NYT

07/26/2010: USCIS First 10 Areas of Focus for Policy Review

On April 15, 2010, USCIS launched the Policy Review...with the engaged participation of the USCIS workforce and the public. USCIS issued a survey that asked any interested member of the public, as well as its own workforce, to help identify the issue areas that the agency should examine first. Those responses helped USCIS select the first 10 issue areas to address in the agency-wide review. USCIS is now convening working groups to review the first 10 issue areas. - USCIS

07/26/2010: USCIS Expands Payment Options at All Domestic Offices

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced that beginning October 1, 2010, domestic offices and U.S. territories, including the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam, will no longer accept cash payment. As an alternative to cash, customers may pay using checks (including personal checks), money orders, and credit cards. Processing of your application will not be affected by the use of an alternative payment method. - USCIS

07/21/2010: DHS Finalizes I-9 Employment Form Rule

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today finalized a regulation that provides greater flexibility for employers to electronically sign and store I-9 forms, which are used by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to verify employment eligibility-eliminating the need for paper filing and streamlining efforts to ensure a legal workforce nationwide. - ICE

07/20/2010: 8 More Utah State Employees Questioned in Immigrants' Data Leak

Clearly, it's not even meant as a blacklist. It's more like a hit list. It is, I think, to put people at fear, to terrorize, to get people mobilized to do things. The fact is, the names on that list are also innocent until proven guilty and we're finding that some of those names ... are here legally - CNN

07/19/2010: CIS Ombudsman 2010 Annula Report

This Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman (Ombudsman) Annual Report, the seventh since the office was established in 2003 pursuant to Section 452 of the Homeland Security Act, examines the road to responsive government in the delivery of immigration services by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). - Ombudsman Report

07/16/2010: USCIS Reaches U-Visa Milestone

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced it has approved 10,000 petitions for U nonimmigrant status (also referred to as the "U visa") in fiscal year 2010, an important milestone for a program that offers immigration protection to victims of crime while also strengthening law enforcement efforts to combat those crimes. This marks the first time that USCIS, through extensive outreach and collaboration, has reached the statutory maximum of 10,000 U visas per fiscal year since it began issuing U visas in 2008. - USCIS

07/15/2010: All 10,000 U Visas Issued

The government has issued all 10,000 visas available this year for immigrant crime victims who help authorities investigate and prosecute perpetrators. The last of this fiscal year's supply of visas was approved Wednesday morning, marking the first time the government has hit the statutory "U" visa limit since the program became active two years ago. - AP

07/15/2010: AZ Immigration Law Gets First Major Court Hearing

A federal judge is scheduled to hear arguments Thursday over whether Arizona's new immigration crackdown should take effect later this month, marking the first major hearing in one of seven challenges to the strict law. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton also will consider arguments over Gov. Jan Brewer's request to dismiss the challenge filed by Phoenix police Officer David Salgado and the statewide nonprofit group Chicanos Por La Causa. - AP

07/15/2010: Utah State Resources Used in Creation of Immigrant List

Utah officials said Thursday they had uncovered evidence that someone used a state employment database to help anti-immigration activists compile a list purporting to identify 1,300 illegal immigrants......Using state resources to compile the list would violate several state and federal privacy laws, state officials and legal scholars said. - MSNBC

07/09/2010: August 2010 Visa Bulletin

India EB2 moved forward 5 months to March 1, 2006, the same as China EB2's cut-off date. This was predicted by DOS in the July visa bulletin as the best case scenario, and we are glad it materialized. EB2 categories are obviously benefiting from AC21's "Fall Down" and "Fall Across" provisions. Unfortunately EB3 categories didn't advance much at all.

07/06/2010: Department of Justice Challenges Arizona Immigration Law

The Department of Justice challenged the state of Arizona's recently passed immigration law, S.B. 1070, in federal court today. In a brief filed in the District of Arizona, the Department said S.B. 1070 unconstitutionally interferes with the federal government's authority to set and enforce immigration policy, explaining that "the Constitution and federal law do not permit the development of a patchwork of state and local immigration policies throughout the country." A patchwork of state and local policies would seriously disrupt federal immigration enforcement. Having enacted its own immigration policy that conflicts with federal immigration law, Arizona "crossed a constitutional line." - DOJ

07/01/2010: Obama Speech on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

President Obama today delivered his first speech devoted entirely to comprehensive immigration reform:

"Now, if the majority of Americans are skeptical of a blanket amnesty, they are also skeptical that it is possible to round up and deport 11 million people. They know it's not possible. Such an effort would be logistically impossible and wildly expensive. Moreover, it would tear at the very fabric of this nation -- because immigrants who are here illegally are now intricately woven into that fabric. Many have children who are American citizens. Some are children themselves, brought here by their parents at a very young age, growing up as American kids, only to discover their illegal status when they apply for college or a job. Migrant workers -- mostly here illegally -- have been the labor force of our farmers and agricultural producers for generations. So even if it was possible, a program of mass deportations would disrupt our economy and communities in ways that most Americans would find intolerable." - Transcript

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