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Immigration News - March and April of 2010

04/29/2010: Conceptual Proposal for Immigration Reform

A new Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) proposal has been officially unveiled by Senate Democrats. In addition to border security and legalization of undocumented immigrants, the 26-page framework also offered some ideas that would greatly benefit the employment-based and family-sponsored pipelines, both heavily backlogged. Proposals include elimination of per-country employment quota, immediate green card for STEM students with job offers, recapture of unused visas, etc.

04/27/2010: Civil Rights Groups Protest Arizona Immigration Law

Civil rights and immigrant-advocacy groups teamed up Tuesday to condemn the recently passed Arizona immigration legislation as racist, as they filed a lawsuit seeking more information about a separate federal immigration program. - Fox News

04/21/2010: Nearly Deported over 46 Cents

The Washingtons' nightmare began in January, when their 13-year-old boy was reported by juvenile probation to ICE for a minor bullying incident, during which he took 46 cents from another youth, then gave it back and apologized. That's when the family first discovered that, thanks to a new juvenile immigrant policy that Newsom implemented in July 2008, their teen was going to reported to ICE immediately after his arrest - and before his case was heard in juvenile court. - SFBG

04/19/2010: FY2011 H-1B Cap Count Updated

H-1B cap count as of April 15, 2010 has been updated. Keep track here.

04/19/2010: Real-Life Green Card Drama

Maria Fernanda Romero Martinez has appeared in numerous Spanish-language movies and soap operas. But now, federal authorities claim she was at the center of a real-life drama that has landed her and a Los Angeles man in court. - LA Times

04/15/2010: USCIS Policy Review and Survey

"We have launched a new, comprehensive effort to review all Agency policies with the engaged participation of both the workforce and the public. This effort will help us ensure that USCIS policy serves our fundamental mission and reflects our core values of consistency, integrity, transparency, and efficiency...Please complete the Policy Review Survey by April 29, 2010." - USCIS Announcement

04/11/2010: Senate Leader Promises Immigration Overhaul

The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, told an exuberant crowd at an immigration rally Saturday in Las Vegas that Congress would start work on an immigration overhaul as soon as lawmakers return this week from a recess.

Mr. Reid surprised immigrants and advocates with his direct commitment to moving forward with legislation on the volatile issue, with the Senate already divided by the passage of a health care overhaul. - NY Times

04/09/2010: May 2010 Visa Bulletin

China/India EB2 and EB3 are barely moving. Mexico EB3 and EB3-EW will become unavailable in May. Due to high demand for EB4 visa number, a cut-off date may be established soon in an effort to keep number use within the annual limits.

04/09/2010: Listening Session - RFE Review and Revision

USCIS is launching an initiative to review and revise the RFE templates used at the Service Centers in order to bring uniformity and consistency to the process. The USCIS Office of Public Engagement invites you to participate in a listening session to kick off Phase One of the RFE review and revision process. The first phase of this project will focus on the O, P, and Q nonimmigrant classifications and the E11 immigrant classification. - Meeting Invitation

04/08/2010: First H-1B Cap Count

Today USCIS released the first cap count for FY2011 H-1B filings: 13,500 for the regular cap, and 5,600 for the 20,000 advanced degree exemption. We will use this table to track the filing progress.

04/05/2010: Cost of a (Fake) Green Card: $25

As long as there is a demand to become a working American, there will be those who sell black-market green cards. Issued by the INS, green cards are essential documents needed to verify immigrants as resident aliens with the legal right to work in the United States. With an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants nationwide, a green card is gold for those questing the American Dream--and often unobtainable. - SF Gate

04/01/2010: The 9/11 Terrorist Attack and Overseas Travel to U.S.

The terror attacks of September 11, 2001 had an immediate and substantial impact on international travel worldwide. The attacks induced substitution away from air travel generally and caused a shift in the preferences of travelers for particular destinations. The United States in particular experienced an immediate and precipitous drop in arrivals of international visitors, particularly from those flying in from overseas. - DHS Working Paper

04/01/2010: 2011 H-1B Cap Season Starts

USCIS has started accepting H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year (FY) 2011 cap. For more information please visit this page.

03/31/2010: Designation of Greece for the Visa Waiver Program

Citizens and eligible nationals of participating Visa Waiver Program countries may apply for admission to the United States at U.S. ports of entry as nonimmigrant aliens for a period of ninety days or less for business or pleasure without first obtaining a nonimmigrant visa, provided that they are otherwise eligible for admission under applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. On March 4, 2010, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, designated Greece as a country that is eligible to participate in the Visa Waiver Program. Accordingly, this rule updates the list of countries authorized to participate in the Visa Waiver Program by adding Greece. - Federal Register

03/31/2010: Alan Bersin Appointed CBP Commissioner

U.S. Customs and Border Protection employees welcomed the arrival of Commissioner Alan Bersin today, following his appointment by President Obama Saturday. Commissioner Bersin oversees the operations of CBP's 57,000-employee work force and manages an operating budget of more than $11 billion. CBP's mission is to protect the nation's borders at and between the ports of entry from all threats while facilitating legitimate travel and trade. - CBP News Release

03/24/2010: DOS Notice on Schedule of Fees for Consular Services

The Department of State published two proposed rules in the Federal Register on December 14, 2009, and February 9, 2010, proposing to amend the Schedule of Fees for Consular Services. In this supplemental proposed rule, the Department of State is providing additional supplementary information regarding the Cost of Survey Study (CoSS), the activity-based costing model that the Department used to determine the fees for consular services proposed in. The Department is also re-opening the comment periods on both proposed rules for an additional 15 days. - Federal Register

03/24/2010: Testimony of USCIS Director

Alejandro Mayorkas, Director of USCIS, testified yesterday before the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugee, Border Security and International Law. Transcript is available here. During the testimony Mr. Mayorkas mentioned the positive effects of the fee increase in 2007:

  • Reduction of the cycle time for the Form N-400, application for naturalization, from 10.6 months to 4.1 months, which is below the projected goal of 5 months;
  • Reduction of the processing time from the Form I-485, application to register permanent resident or adjust status, from 10.8 months to 4.4 months (with anticipated further reduction to 4 months);
  • Reduction of the processing cycle time of the Form I-90, application to replace permanent resident card, from 3.4 months to 2.5 months; and
  • Reduction of the processing cycle time of the Form I-140, immigrant petition for alien worker, from 5.7 months to 3 months.

03/23/2010: Change of Filing Location for Form I-131

USCIS has changed the filing location for Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. Please check the form instructions for details. Applications sent to the old addresses will be forwarded until April 19, 2010. After that date, incorrectly filed applications will be returned to the sender. - USCIS Announcement

03/23/2010: USCIS Released New Pending I-485 Inventory

Please use the Green Card Tracker to check your new place in line.

DOS has published the visa bulletin for April 2010.

03/13/2010: April 2010 Visa Bulletin

DOS has published the visa bulletin for April 2010.

03/09/2010: Greece Joins Visa Waiver Program

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today announced the designation of Greece as a member of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)-strengthening passenger information sharing and ensuring strict security standards while streamlining travel for Greek citizens visiting the United States. - DHS Announcement

03/09/2010: FY2011 H-1B Petitions

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year (FY) 2011 cap on April 1, 2010. Cases will be considered accepted on the date that USCIS takes possession of a properly filed petition with the correct fee; not the date that the petition is postmarked.

03/02/2010: $3 Million Judgment in Immigration Fraud Case

A businesswoman in Jackson Heights, Queens, who falsely promised to secure legal immigration status for dozens of illegal immigrants has been ordered to pay $3 million in restitution and penalties by the State Supreme Court, Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Monday. - NY Times

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