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Immigration News - May and June of 2013

06/27/2013: Immigration Reform a Boon for Lawyers

So sweeping and complex is the immigration bill set for a final vote this week in the U.S. Senate that it will bring an unintended bonanza for one American constituency: the thousands of immigration lawyers who will be hired to interpret it. Many of them began gathering in San Francisco on Wednesday for an annual conference to talk shop about America's immigration code, a hefty tome that could soon get even weightier. And while most law school graduates don't choose the immigration practice if a big salary is their aim, the bipartisan immigration bill is like a "permanent pension plan for immigration lawyers," said New York attorney Sam Udani. - Mercury

06/26/2013: Senate Advances Immigration Bill

The Senate pushed landmark immigration legislation past final hurdles Wednesday, pointing to near-certain passage soon of a measure that would open the door to U.S. citizenship for millions of people. The bill sidestepped several procedural obstacles with votes to spare, demonstrating it commands well over the 60 votes needed to pass the Senate. That could happen early as Thursday, with the next stop in the House, where an uncertain future awaits. - Fox

06/24/2013: Immigration Reform Passes Key Senate Test

The Senate signaled its support on Monday for a bipartisan measure strengthening border security in the comprehensive "Gang of Eight" immigration reform bill, a sweeping blueprint that promises to overhaul America's immigration policies for the first time since 1986. The 67-to-27 vote was considered a key test of support for the bill as a whole, as the measure also includes language echoing most other parts of the legislation. - CNN

06/24/2013: Supreme Court Raises Bar for Affirmative Action in College Admissions

The Supreme Court on Monday allowed affirmative action to survive in college admissions but imposed a tough legal standard, ruling that schools must prove there are "no workable race-neutral alternatives" to achieve diversity on campus. While the ruling was not a sweeping pronouncement on the future of affirmative action, it amounts to a warning to colleges nationwide that the courts will treat race-conscious admissions policies with a high degree of skepticism. - NBC

06/21/2013: Senate Sets Monday Vote in Key Test for Immigration Bill

A landmark immigration bill appears headed toward passage next week in the U.S. Senate, where a test vote is set for Monday on a border-security deal designed to bolster Republican support. The Democratic-led Senate is expected to pass the White House-backed bill and send it to the Republican-led House of Representatives, where it faces more resistance, especially over a provision that would provide a pathway to citizenship for up to 11 million illegal immigrants living in the United States. - Reuters

06/20/2013: How U.S. Population Would Change Under Immigration Reform

The key question about immigration reform isn't what it does to the deficit or even to the U.S. economy. It's what it does to immigration. Everything else is just a side effect. - Washington Post

  • The U.S. population of illegal immigrants in 2018 would shrink from roughly 14 million to about 5.5 million. Most of this drop would be due to the fact that 7.7 million unauthorized residents would receive amnesty and become newly legalized. But tighter border security would also reduce inflows somewhat.
  • An additional 5 million legal immigrants would enter the United States over the next five years. Again, this is over and above the roughly 4.5 million legal residents and temporary workers that the United States was already projected to add.
  • Legal immigration will continue to expand in the future — with high-skilled immigrants making up a small fraction of the total.

06/12/2013: USCIS Memo Requests for Evidence and Notices of Intent to Deny

Under 8 CFR 103.2(b)(8), USCIS has the discretion to issue RFEs and NOIDs in appropriate circumstances. USCIS also has the discretion in some instances to issue a denial without first issuing an RFE or a NOID. This PM offers guidance as to the exercise of that discretion. The guidance in this PM applies not only to applications and petitions, but also to requests for consideration of deferred action and to other adjudications not classified as benefit requests. This PM emphasizes that an RFE is not to be avoided; it is to be used when the facts and the law warrant. At the same time, an RFE is not to be issued when the evidence already submitted establishes eligibility or ineligibility in all respects for the particular benefit or service. An unnecessary RFE can delay case completion and result in additional unnecessary costs to both the government and the individual (a term used throughout this PM to refer to the person or entity filing the particular application, petition, or other request). - USCIS

06/11/2013: Senate Immigration Bill Clears First Hurdles

The Senate passed preliminary but key votes Tuesday in its march to approval of sweeping, bipartisan immigration reform, but final passage remained uncertain as Republicans pushed for tighter border-security provisions and tougher rules for those seeking legal status. The two procedural votes effectively put the bill formally before the Senate and open for amendments. Both drew more than 80 votes, reflecting a bipartisan desire to have the debate that now is expected to last three weeks. - Fox News

06/11/2013: Immigration Overhaul May Lead to Demographic Shift in America

The country may be on the verge of its next demographic metamorphosis. The explosive growth of Hispanics that upended the country's black and white racial dynamics may be flipped again as leaders in Washington have begun a historic debate on the most far-reaching immigration overhaul in decades. The outcome might serve as a historic marker for a new wave of highly skilled immigrants – most likely from China and India – who may alter the racial and ethnic fabric of our cities and states for generations to come. - Miami Herald

06/10/2013: Senate Vote Today to Move Immigration Overhaul Forward

The decision of a key Republican to abandon the bipartisan House effort to write a bill on immigration because of worries about health care costs is raising concerns among advocates that the economics of the measure may become critical to passage. The Senate was scheduled to vote late Monday on allowing the immigration bill to proceed for full debate, which could start as early as Tuesday. - USA Today

06/07/2013: July 2013 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the July 2013 Visa Bulletin. 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) 24
India Second (EB2) 0
ROW Third (EB3) 122
China Third (EB3) 122
India Third (EB3) 14
Mexico Third (EB3) 122
Philippines Third (EB3) 9

DOS prediction on India EB-2: "At this time it appears that the availability of "otherwise unused" Employment Second preference numbers will allow for movement of this cut-off date in August and/or September. It is expected that such movement will generate heavy new applicant demand, primarily by those who are upgrading their status from the Employment Third preference category. A sustained level of heavy demand could impact the cut-off date at some point during fiscal year 2014.

In addition, DOS predicted that F2A (Family-Sponsored 2A category) could become "Current" at some point during the coming months.

06/06/2013: Florida DACA Driver's License Bill Vetoed

Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday vetoed a bill that would have allowed children of immigrants who are not U.S. citizens to use a new federal form to get temporary Florida driver licenses. Scott said he vetoed HB 235 because it would have benefited people who are covered by a change in federal policy instituted by President Barack Obama last year that wasn't approved by Congress. - Miami Herald

06/03/2013: Schumer: Immigration Bill to Pass Senate by July 4

A lawmaker who helped negotiate a bipartisan bill to overhaul immigration predicted on Sunday that comprehensive legislation would overwhelmingly pass the Senate by July 4 while House Republicans cautioned that they would write their own version, one piece at a time.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he anticipates as many as 70 of the 100 senators will vote for the measure heading to the full Senate on June 10. Even if it passes there, the proposal faces tough prospects in the Republican-led House, where lawmakers are at work on their own piecemeal approach that could stall a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants living in this country illegally. - AP

05/30/2013: Final EB-5 Adjudications Policy Memorandum

The purpose of this policy memorandum (PM) is to build upon prior policy guidance for adjudicating EB-5 applications and petitions. Prior policy guidance, to the extent it does not conflict with this PM, remains valid unless and until rescinded.

In the EB-5 Program, immigrants who invest their capital in job-creating businesses and projects in the United States receive conditional permanent resident status in the United States for a twoyear period. After two years, if the immigrants have satisfied the conditions of the EB-5 Program and other criteria of eligibility, the conditions are removed and the immigrants become unconditional lawful permanent residents of the United States. Congress created the two-year conditional status period to help ensure compliance with the statutory and regulatory requirements and to ensure that the infusion of investment capital is sustained and the U.S. jobs are created. - USCIS

05/29/2013: Supporters of U.S. Immigration Bill Unsettled by Rubio Message

Republican Senator Marco Rubio's repeated criticism of parts of the sweeping U.S. immigration bill he helped craft has unsettled immigration reform advocates and others who support its passage.

Rubio, a Cuban-American lawmaker from Florida seen as a possible 2016 presidential contender, has consistently defended the bill's centerpiece - providing legal status for roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants. But he has publicly said he wants changes to the bill and said last week that he agreed with some of the concerns voiced in a letter by 150 prominent conservatives who oppose the legislation. He also told CNBC that it would not pass without changes. - Reuters

05/27/2013: Riots Put Sweden's Open-Door Immigration Policy in Spotlight

Sweden's worst riots in years might benefit a far-right party in elections next year if scenes of immigrants burning cars and smashing up buildings cause voters to rethink their traditional welcome to foreigners. - Reuters

05/23/2013: Pending I-485 Inventory Released

USCIS today released their new pending I-485 inventory with data as of April 2, 2013. The green card tracker has now been updated with the new inventory data.

05/22/2013: 5 Things to Watch as Senate Immigration Debate Continues

The drive to get the core of a sweeping immigration bill through a Democrat-controlled Senate committee ended in success, but showed how some aspects of the bill provide ammunition for critics who seek to derail the historic measure if it is not altered.

The bill remained largely intact after five hearings in which members of the Senate Judiciary Committee debated and voted on more than 200 amendments. That gave sponsors of the bill a preview of how the bill may be attacked in June when the full Senate begins deliberations and a House group introduces their immigration bill. - USA Today

05/20/2013: USCIS Immigrant Fee Payment Moves to USCIS ELIS

"USCIS has moved the online payment of the USCIS Immigrant Fee to its Electronic Immigration System (USCIS ELIS). Customers must now pay the $165 USCIS Immigrant Fee using USCIS ELIS after they receive their immigrant visa package from the Department of State and before they depart for the United States. USCIS ELIS is easy to use and provides direct access to case status updates. New immigrants will also use USCIS ELIS to file future applications and petitions when they become available in the system.

This fee has been in place since Feb. 1, 2013. Immigrants who receive their visas at U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad must pay the fee online. The fee allows USCIS to recover the cost of processing the immigrant visa package and other information as well as producing and delivering the permanent resident card after immigrant visa holders are admitted to the United States. Immigrants will soon be directed to the USCIS ELIS website to create an online account and pay the immigrant fee." - USCIS

05/17/2013: House Group Reaches Deal on Immigration Bill

After years of negotiating and a week that saw one of its members nearly bolt from the group, a bipartisan group of House members announced Thursday that they had reached a deal "in principle" on a bill to overhaul the nation's immigration laws. A group of senators filed their version of an immigration bill last month and have been debating and amending it in a Senate committee for the past two weeks. - USA Today

05/14/2013: USCIS Announces ABT Settlement Agreement

The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice have agreed to settle a nationwide class action lawsuit challenging the denial of work authorization to asylum seekers who have been waiting six months or more for a decision on their asylum applications. The ABT Settlement Agreement will help ensure that certain individuals who seek to file an asylum application or have already filed an asylum application, are entitled to new procedures relating to the crediting of time toward eligibility for employment authorization. - USCIS

05/10/2013: June 2013 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the June 2013 Visa Bulletin. 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) 61
India Second (EB2) 0
ROW Third (EB3) 275
China Third (EB3) 275
India Third (EB3) 17
Mexico Third (EB3) 275
Philippines Third (EB3) 7

"The Employment-based Third preference category cut-off date for most countries has advanced significantly for a second month in a row. This recent movement of the dates is not indicative of what can be expected in the future. Rapid forward movement of cut-off dates is often followed by a dramatic increase in demand for numbers within three to six months. Once such demand begins to materialize the cut-off date movement will begin to slow, or even stop for a period of time." - DOS

05/10/2013: USCIS to Expand Entrepreneurs in Residence Initiative

Launched at a February 2012 summit in Silicon Valley, the EIR initiative brought together startup experts and USCIS immigration experts to work collaboratively to streamline pathways fora range of existing visa categories often used by entrepreneurs. Three aims were key to the overall initiative: producing clear public materials to help entrepreneurs understand relevant visa categories; equipping USCIS staff with the right tools to adjudicate cases in today's complex business environment; and streamlining USCIS policies to better reflect the realities faced by foreign entrepreneurs and startup businesses.

USCIS is now seeking new private sector experts, using the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS's) Loaned Executive Program, in the areas of performing arts, health care and information technology. The introduction of expert views in these areas will help USCIS gain additional insights, and strengthen its policies and practices in areas critical to economic growth. - USCIS

05/08/2013: Tighter Screening for Arriving International Students

The Homeland Security Department ordered border agents "effective immediately" to verify that every international student who arrives in the U.S. has a valid student visa, according to an internal memorandum obtained Friday by The Associated Press. The new procedure is the government's first security change directly related to the Boston bombings. The order from a senior official at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, David J. Murphy, was circulated Thursday and came one day after the Obama administration acknowledged that a student from Kazakhstan accused of hiding evidence for one of the Boston bombing suspects was allowed to return to the U.S. in January without a valid student visa. - Fox News

05/07/2013: Demand Data Released for June 2013 Visa Bulletin

DOS has released the demand data used to determine June 2013 visa cut-off dates. Official visa bulletin is likely to be out within a day or two.

05/05/2013: There is in Fact a Tech-Talent Shortage and There Always Will Be

For America to maintain its fragile role as the most innovative nation on earth, it must perpetually attract the world's best and brightest. There will always be trailblazing engineers who stay in their home country, leaving the United States one notch below its potential. Yet, on the heels of comprehensive immigration reform, a new viral economic study claiming that there is no tech talent shortage has skewed the national discussion over why we need to aggressively attract high-skilled immigrants in the first place. - TechCrunch

05/01/2013: DV-2014 Green Card Lottery Status Check

DV 2014 Program: DV-2014 green card lottery entrants will be able to check the status of their entries starting 12:00 noon, Eastern Standard Time (EST) on May 1, 2013 through Entrant Status Check (ESC) on the E-DV website. Please be sure to have the Entrant's Confirmation Number, Last/Family Name, and Year of Birth in order to check the entrant status online.

Entrant Status Check is the ONLY means by which DV selectees will be notified of their selection. Additionally, Entrant Status Check will provide successful selectees instructions on how to proceed with their application. The Kentucky Consular Center no longer mails notification letters and does not use email to notify DV entrants of their selection in the DV program.

05/01/2013: USCIS Immigrant Fee Payment to Move to USCIS ELIS

USCIS is moving the existing online payment for the USCIS Immigrant Fee to its Electronic Immigration System (USCIS ELIS). Customers will soon pay the $165 USCIS Immigrant Fee using USCIS ELIS after they receive their immigrant visa package from the Department of State and before they depart for the United States. USCIS ELIS is easy to use and provides direct access to case status updates. New immigrants will also use USCIS ELIS to file future applications and petitions when they become available in the system.

05/01/2013: Employers Must Use New Form I-9 Beginning May 7, 2013

Reminder: U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released the new Form I-9 for immediate use by all employers! Some of the new features include: Form I-9 has gone from one to two pages and expanded instructions for better understanding. All employers must use the new Form I-9 (revision 03/08/13) beginning May 7, 2013

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