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Immigration News - March and April of 2011

04/28/2011: Deportation Halted for Some Students as Lawmakers Seek New Policy

The agent said ICE "was supposed to be concentrating on criminals, not on Dream students," said Ralph Isenberg, a Dallas businessman who advocates for immigrants and made it his cause to prevent Ms. Zanella from being deported. Mr. Isenberg's challenges to ICE had kept Ms. Zanella in the country even after the final date for her deportation in February. - NYT

04/27/2011: H-1B Cap Count for FY2012

Latest update and log on H-1B cap count.

04/26/2011: Visa Revocation by Consular Officers

This rule changes Department regulations to broaden the authority of a consular officer to revoke a visa at any time subsequent to issuance of the visa, in his or her discretion. These changes to the Department's revocation regulations expand consular officer visa revocation authority to the full extent allowed by statute. Additionally, this rule change allows consular officers and designated officials within the Department to revoke a visa provisionally while considering a final visa revocation. - DOS

04/26/2011: New York Immigrants Boost City Economy by $200 Billion

The mayor, a political independent and the billionaire founder of his eponymous company, often calls for stiffening border controls while relaxing limits that bar employers from bringing in highly educated foreign workers. Bloomberg said that all too often currently, foreigners who earn graduate degrees in the United States must return overseas to find work, depriving the nation of their skills and talents, "Stapling a green card to a diploma would be a very smart thing to do and I've always thought that," he told reporters. - Reuters

04/21/2011: Army, Navy Add Citizenship Option to Boot Camp

Military service has long been one route to U.S. citizenship. Now the Army and Navy, in need of specialists and language skills in wartime, are speeding things up by allowing recruits to wrap up the process while they're still in basic training. - AP

04/20/2011: I-485 National Processing Volume as of February 2011

Note: This is the total volume of pending I-485 at USCIS service centers and field offices, not the pending I-485 inventory used for the green card tracker.

USCIS National Volume - I-485
Month and Year Feb. 2011
All Other Pending 226,069
Pre-adjudicated awaiting visa number 145,967
Awaiting customer action 27,388
Completions 45,474
Receipts 36,231
Total Pending 435,655

04/19/2011: USCIS Public Engagement: Appeals & Motions

The USCIS Service Center Operations Directorate invites interested stakeholders to participate in the next Monthly Stakeholder Teleconference scheduled for Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 2:00pm Eastern Time. The topic for this teleconference will be Appeals and Motions and will include a discussion of Form I-290B appeals and motions and Form EOIR-29 appeals. - GovDelivery

04/13/2011: USCIS-AILA Meeting Q&A

Several important issued were addressed during this meeting, including adjustment of status for alien immediate relatives admitted under the Visa Waiver Program, and H-1B portability under INA §214(n)(2

"H-1B portability pursuant to AC21 §105 applies to nonimmigrants who are currently in H-1B status or an authorized period of stay based on a timely filed extension of an H-1B status petition. USCIS interprets INA §214(n) as allowing nonimmigrants who are 8 currently in H-1B status, or who are in a period of authorized stay as a result of a pending H-1B extension petition, to begin employment upon the filing by the prospective employer of a new non-frivolous H-1B petition on the alien's behalf. H-1B portability does not apply to a nonimmigrant who is in a valid status other than H-1B" - USCIS

04/08/2011: America's 'National Suicide'

One of the ways in which the U.S. is committing "national suicide" is through its vast, opaque system of visa checks, which affects several hundred thousand people every year—even though government officials acknowledge that fewer than 1 percent of those screened raise any legitimate security concerns. Because of the names associated with these reviews—Condor, Donkey, and Mantis—government officials refer to system as "the Animal Farm," adding an Orwellian sobriquet to an Orwellian process. Another way the U.S. is doing itself in is through the quota on temporary work visas for skilled foreigners, which is less than half what it was a decade ago. And although a growing educated population in Asia and Latin America has hugely expanded the pool of qualified applicants, skilled migrants are limited to only one third of the roughly 400,000 permanent-resident green cards handed out every year. Some skilled immigrants from India face waits of up to 35 years for a green card; even those with the most advanced university degrees wait between four and 15 years, says Prakash Khatri, former ombudsman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. - Newsweek

04/08/2011: May 2011 Visa Bulletin

DOS released the visa bulletin for May, 2011. Although EB2 India didn't advance as much as expected, there were positive signs indicating a potentially bigger movement by the end of FY2010. The Visa Office also offered their predictions on visa number availability for the next few months.

04/08/2011: Last Minute Deal Avoids Government Shutdown

A budget stalemate that gripped the nation ended just before a midnight deadline Friday as congressional leaders and the White House agreed to a package of spending reductions to avert a federal government shutdown. - LA Times

04/07/2011: Q&A on AC21 Same or Similar Occupational Classifications

This section of law allows certain aliens to change or port the offer of employment on which their adjustment of status application is based from one job to another job as long as both jobs are in the same or similar occupational classification. Within these questions and answers, the term "port" or "porting" means to change the offer of employment from one job to another job in a way that allows an applicant to remain eligible to adjust status without having to file a new I-140 immigrant petition. - USCIS Q&A

04/04/2011: Employment Agency Owner Sentenced for Placing Undocumented Workers

Lin was sentenced to two years in federal prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to forfeit $5,200 to the United States. Lin pleaded guilty to the charges on Oct. 20, 2010. Lin is expected to be deported upon completion of her sentence. In all, 23 defendants have been sentenced and 10 employment agencies shut down in ten related cases. - ICE

03/31/2011: Neufeld Testimony on H-1B Visas

" I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the H-1B program and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' (USCIS) efforts to combat fraud and misuse of this nonimmigrant visa classification. I am Donald Neufeld, the Associate Director for the Service Center Operations Directorate (SCOPS) of USCIS. In this position, I am responsible for overseeing the adjudication of petitions for the H-1B nonimmigrant classification. I welcome this opportunity to explain how the H-1B program works and USCIS' efforts to combat fraud while ensuring that U.S. companies are able to obtain the highly skilled temporary workers needed to conduct business and strengthen our economy. I will begin with a summary of the procedural steps for seeking the H-1B visa, the necessary qualifications to obtain the visa, and the role of USCIS and the Departments of Labor and State in the process." - Transcript

03/26/2011: 'Brain waste' Thwarts Immigrants' Career Dreams

Montenegro is hardly unique, given the high U.S. unemployment rate these days. Her situation reflects a trend that some researchers call "brain waste" — a term applied to immigrants who were skilled professionals in their home countries, yet are stymied in their efforts to find work in the U.S. that makes full use of their education or training. - AP

03/24/2011: WWII Vet Discovers He's not a U.S. Citizen

Ninety-five-year-old Leeland Davidson discovered recently that he's not considered a U.S. citizen, despite living nearly 100 years in the country and serving in the U.S. Navy during WWII. - Yahoo

03/22/2011: 38 Percent Americans Failed the Citizenship Test

Newsweek gave 1,000 Americans the U.S. Citizenship Test - 38 percent failed. The country's future is imperiled by our ignorance. In this week's issue, Andrew Romano looks at the risks involved in America's ignorance. - Yahoo

03/21/2011: ICE Attorney Sentenced to 212 Months for Taking Bribes

A senior attorney with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was sentenced this morning to 212 months in federal prison for taking nearly one-half million dollars in bribes from immigrants who were promised immigration benefits that would allow them to remain in the United States. - DOJ

03/21/2011: E-Verify Self Check Officially Introduced Today

Put simply, Self Check gives workers fast and secure access to their employment eligibility information before they apply for jobs. In this way, workers are able to identify whether there are any inaccuracies in their Social Security Administration or DHS records before they seek employment, and submit corrections for any inaccuracies ahead of time. Self Check also assists employers by reducing the number of tentative mismatches that could otherwise result when a worker's government records are not updated. - USCIS

03/19/2011: FY 2012 H-1B Season to Start on April 1, 2011

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today it will start accepting H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year (FY) 2012 cap on April 1, 2011. Cases will be considered accepted on the date USCIS receives a properly filed petition for which the correct fee has been submitted; not the date that the petition is postmarked. The cap (the numerical limit on H-1B petitions) for FY 2012 is 65,000. The first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of individuals with U.S. master's degrees or higher are exempt. - Announcement

03/19/2011: Q&A for Japanese Nationals Impacted by Recent Disaster

In light of the recent earthquakes and tsunami, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reminds Japanese nationals of certain U.S. immigration benefits available upon request. USCIS understands that a natural disaster can affect an individual's ability to establish or maintain lawful immigration status. The following questions and answers address temporary relief measures available to nationals of Japan. - USCIS

03/17/2011: UK Beats the US to a Tech-Friendly Startup Visa

Right now the UK media is making a lot of noise about new Visa rules which mean "super-investors" willing to put £5m into a UK bank account will get the right to stay indefinitely in Britain after only three years. This is two years faster than the average migrant who still has to wait five years. Deposit £10m and the time drops to two years. Clearly the new rules are aimed at high-value investors and entrepreneurs.

However, what the media is missing is the new rules governing entrepreneurs wanting to enter the UK. Now, beginning April 6th, "high-potential" entrepreneurs will be allowed to come to the UK so long as they have £50,000 in funding from a reputable organisation. - Tech Crunch

03/15/2011: H-1B Cap Exemptions Based on Relation or Affiliation

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today, in response to recent stakeholder feedback, that it is currently reviewing its policy on H-1B cap exemptions for non-profit entities that are related to or affiliated with an institution of higher education. Until further guidance is issued, USCIS is temporarily applying interim procedures to H-1B non-profit entity petitions filed with the agency seeking an exemption from the statutory H-1B numerical cap based on an affiliation with or relation to an institution of higher education. - USCIS

03/15/2011: What is a Nuclear Reactor Meltdown

Combine the word "nuclear" with the word "meltdown," and you get something which sounds really scary to the average person. But all those scientists on cable news talking about what's happening in Japan aren't always clear about what a nuclear meltdown is, and isn't. Is it an explosion? Will it burn a hole to the center of the earth? Does it spray radioactive stuff into the air, poisoning the surrounding landscape? - CS Monitor

03/15/2011: Immigration Audit Takes Toll

Harvard Maintenance Inc., a national janitorial company, will lose over half its Minnesota work force after an immigration audit, making it the second major business in that state to be hit by an Obama administration crackdown on employers of illegal immigrants. - WSJ

03/11/2011: Relief for Nationals Affected by Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

USCIS reminds Japanese and other foreign nationals stranded in the United States due to the earthquakes and tsunami that they may be permitted up to additional 30 days to depart. If you have exceeded or are about to exceed your authorized stay in the U.S. you should contact your local USCIS office as soon as possible.

03/09/2011: Visa Bulletin for April 2011

Heavy demand for numbers in the Family-base First preference (F1) category has required the retrogression of the Worldwide, China-mainland born, and India cut-off date for April. Further retrogression is possible.

China EB2 cut-off date inched ahead, while India EB-2 remained standstill. All EB3 categories moved forward slightly.

03/08/2011: Even for Undocumented Workers, It's Still Tax Season

"The IRS and the Department of Revenue don't really care much about what your immigration status is," Parra said. "They're just enforcing the law of 'You work here, you live here; therefore you need to file a tax return.' And neither the Department of Revenue nor the IRS can or will or do exchange any of that information with any immigration offices at all. That's illegal, basically." - MPR News

03/08/2011: USCIS to Close its Office in Vietnam

U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced it will permanently close its field office in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on March 31, 2011. As of March 25, applications and petitions previously accepted by the USCIS Ho Chi Minh City Field Office may be filed with the U.S. Department of State Consular Section there. Where authorized, the Consular Section will assume responsibility for processing certain cases. - USCIS

03/04/2011: USCIS Forms Updated in March

Below is a list of USCIS forms that were updated or modified on March 4, 2011. Although some older editions are still accepted, it is recommended that new applications be submitted with the new forms:

  • Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status New edition dated 01/18/11; (11/23/10, 11/08/10; 7/12/03/09 editions also accepted)
  • Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant New edition dated 01/18/11; (11/23/10; 11/08/10; 12/30/09 edition also accepted.)
  • Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization New edition dated 01/19/11; (11/23/10; 02/12/10; 8/19/09; 10/30/08; 10/16/08; 05/27/08 editions also accepted)
  • Form I-485 Supplement A, Supplement A to Form I-485 New edition dated 01/18/11; (11/23/10; 12/16/08; 05/27/08 editions also accepted)
  • Form I-485 Supplement E, Instructions for I-485, Supplement E New edition dated 01/18/11.
  • Form I-539, Application To Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status New edition dated 01/19/11; (11/23/10; 07/15/10; 12/11/09; 06/12/09 editions also accepted).
  • Form I-698, Application to Adjust Status from Temporary to Permanent Resident New edition dated 01/12/11; (11/23/10; 12/29/09 editions also accepted)

03/04/2011: Partial Reduction in Visa Operations at U.S. Consulate, Mumbai

If you have already scheduled an H or L visa interview appointment at the Mumbai Consulate, you may keep that interview time. No new H or L visa appointments will be made at the Mumbai Consulate. New H and L interviews may be scheduled at the other U.S. Consulates in India or the Embassy in New Delhi.

03/02/2011: Celine Dion's Bodyguard Fights in Court for Green Card

Nobody disputes that Nikolaos Skokos is adept at what he does, which is keeping unruly crowds away from Celine Dion, the singer, and helping to whisk her away safely to her next engagement.

Part bodyguard, part driver, Mr. Skokos is, by all accounts, an accomplished security consultant. But the Department of Homeland Security doubts he is at the very pinnacle of his profession, so accomplished the world over that Mr. Skokos, a Canadian citizen who lives in Las Vegas, merits a special visa to live permanently in the United States. - NYT

03/02/2011: Proposed Pre-registration for H-1B Employers

USCIS is proposing a new rule to electronically register H-1B employers, and estimates the new system would save U.S. businesses $23 million over the next decade. The registration system would help employers avoid unnecessary effort and expense of submitting H-1B petitions, as well as Labor Condition Applications (LCA), for workers who would be unable to obtain visas under the statutory cap. - Announcement

03/02/2011: After the Dream

Two months after police arrested over a dozen DREAM Act-supporting activists and students who dug in at U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison's San Antonio office and refused to leave, the senator told San Antonio business leaders she would try to craft a new, lesser version of the DREAM Act — one without a path to citizenship. - San Antonio Current

03/01/2011: New Filing Location for Change of Address Form

Beginning March 15, 2011 [Update: the date is now changed to April 1] all Change of Address, (Form AR-11) and Alien's Change of Address, (Form AR-11 SR) will change filing locations. Now, you must file all change of address forms at the new address. Change of address forms mailed to the old location will be forwarded to the new filing location for 45 days beginning March 15, 2011 until April 28, 2011. - USCIS

The best way to report an address change with USCIS is to complete the online form, though.

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