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Federal Court Judge imposes Temporary Restraining order re SSA “No-Match” Letters September 5, 2007

Posted by dsheen88 in Employment-Based Immigration, Immigration Laws and Policies, News and politics, Simply Immigration!.
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Federal Judge Maxine Chesney  from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has granted a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) that enjoins the implementation of the Department of Homeland Security rules on Social Security Administration “no-match” letters.  The Judge said there was a serious question about whether the Bush administration’s planned crackdown on illegal workers was authorized by law. A hearing on whether a preliminary injunction will be issued is scheduled for October 1, 2007.   Government Officials had planned to send the first warning letters Tuesday and mail 140,000 letters to employers by Nov. 9, 2007. 

Good News! CIS Reopens EB Adjustment Filings. July 17, 2007

Posted by dsheen88 in Employment-Based Immigration, Immigration Cases, Immigration Laws and Policies, Labor Cert, News and politics, Simply Immigration!, USCIS Press Release, Visa Bulletin.
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USCIS has announced that, beginning immediately, it will accept employment-based applications to adjust status (Form I-485) filed by aliens whose priority date are current under July Visa Bulletin, No. 107 (the one they retracted).  USCIS will accept applications until August 17, 2007.  Please pass on this announcement to all interested parties.

H-1B Quota Exceeded On First Day of Filing!!!! April 3, 2007

Posted by dsheen88 in H-1B visa, Simply Immigration!, USCIS Press Release.
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WASHINGTON, DC, April 3 – Illustrating the inadequacy of the quota for specialized H-1B workers, USCIS announced today that it received more applications than the 65,000 limit on April 2. April 2 was the first day on which an employer could request a first-time visa for an H-1B worker for the period that begins on October 1, 2007. Agency rules state that if the limit is reached on the first day of filing, all applications received on the first two days are put into a lottery to determine who gets the relatively few visas that are available.

In the fiscal year now in effect, the supply of such visas lasted less than eight weeks after the filing period opened. For the fiscal year that starts October 1, 2007, the supply did not last through even the first day. “Every year, the application window becomes shorter and shorter, to the point that it is now practically non-existent,” said Carlina Tapia-Ruano, President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “These high-skilled workers help to keep our system dynamic, and many sectors of the economy will suffer from this shortage.”

The H-1B visa program is utilized by U.S. businesses and other organizations to augment the existing labor force with foreign workers in specialty occupations that require expertise in a specialized field. Typical H-1B occupations include scientists, architects, engineers, computer programmers, teachers, accountants, and doctors. H-1B workers are admitted to the United States for an initial period of three years, which may be extended for an additional three years.

“This absurd situation illustrates the disconnect between current immigration policy and the needs of our economy,” concluded Tapia-Ruano. “The best way to resolve this crisis is for Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform measure as soon as possible.”

The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

-AILA

H-1B Petitions for FY2008 on April 2 March 28, 2007

Posted by dsheen88 in Employment-Based Immigration, H-1B visa, Immigration Laws and Policies, MyComments, News and politics, Simply Immigration!, Tips.
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WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year 2008 (FY08) H-1B cap on Monday, April 2, 2007.  USCIS will not reject cases delivered during the weekend (March 31 or April 1).  Instead, USCIS will treat those petitions as if they arrived on April 2.  The deciding factor for USCIS is when the agency takes possession on the petition and not when the petition was postmarked.
 

USCIS will monitor cap cases closely and will inform the public of the date the agency has received enough petitions to meet the FY08 H-1B cap.  After that date, known as the “final receipt date,” USCIS will not accept any additional petitions requesting H-1B cases that apply against the FY08 congressionally mandated cap.

If you need more information or attorney assisatnce for your H-1B petitions, please feel free to contact David Sheen at david@jdgloballaw.com or call us as 510.438.6868 to make an appointment.   

President Bush’s Plan For Comprehensive Immigration Reform January 28, 2007

Posted by dsheen88 in Immigration Laws and Policies, Immigration reform, News and politics, Simply Immigration!.
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During his State of the Union Address, President Bush Called On Congress To Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform.  The President believes that America can simultaneously be a lawful, economically dynamic, and welcoming society.  We must address the problem of illegal immigration and deliver a system that is secure, productive, orderly, and fair.  The President calls on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform that will secure our borders, enhance interior and worksite enforcement, create a temporary worker program, resolve – without animosity and without amnesty – the status of illegal immigrants already here, and promote assimilation into our society. All elements of this problem must be addressed together – or none of them will be solved.  

For more detail information aour President Bush’s plan for imigration reform go to:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/stateoftheunion/2007/initiatives/immigration.html

House Immigration Subcommittee Members Announced January 25, 2007

Posted by dsheen88 in Immigration Laws and Policies, Immigration reform, News and politics, Simply Immigration!.
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On Wednesday, January 24, 2007, leaders of the House Committee on the Judiciary announced the membership roster of the newly named Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security and International Law (formerly the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims). Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) will chair the sixteen-member subcommittee, and Representatives Steve King (R-IA) and Elton Gallegly (R-CA) will serve as Ranking Member and Deputy Ranking Member, respectively.

Immigration Subcommittee members will also include: Representatives Howard Berman (D-CA), Artur Davis (D-AL), William Delahunt (D-MA), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Randy Forbes (R-VA), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Daniel Lungren (R-CA), Marin Meehan (D-MA), Linda Sanchez (D-CA), and Maxine Waters (D-CA). Representative Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who served on the Immigration Subcommittee during the 109th Congress and has been an outspoken supporter of comprehensive reform, was not reappointed to the Judiciary Committee by the Republican leadership.

The Immigration Subcommittee is part of the larger House Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction not only over matters related to immigration, but also over a range of judicial issues such as judicial proceedings, federal courts, civil liberties, interstate compacts, and patents. In addition to the members of the Immigration Subcommittee, members of the House Judiciary Committee include: Committee Chair Representative Conyers (D-MI), Ranking Member Representative Smith (R-TX), and Representatives Boucher (D-VA), Cannon (R-UT), Chabot (R-OH), Coble (R-NC), Cohen (D-TN), Feeney (R-FL), Franks (R-AZ), Issa (R-CA), Johnson (D-GA), Jordan (R-OH), Keller (R-FL), Nadler (D-NY), Pence (R-IN), Schiff (D-CA), Scott (D-VA), Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Sherman (D-CA), Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Watt (D-NC), Weiner (D-NY), and Wexler (D-FL).

Passport Requirements for Air Travel Now Effective January 25, 2007

Posted by dsheen88 in Immigration Laws and Policies, News and politics, Simply Immigration!, Tips, Travel Alert, USCIS Press Release.
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In a January 23, 2007 Press Release, DHS reminded the public that citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico and Bermuda are now required to present a valid passport at U.S. air ports-of-entry when entering from any part of the Western Hemisphere. The final rule on the travel document requirements of the first phase of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) was published in the Federal Register on November 24, 2006. 71 FR 68411.

CIS released new H-1B/H-4 timing and extension policies January 1, 2007

Posted by dsheen88 in Employment-Based Immigration, H-1B visa, Immigration Laws and Policies, Info for Doctors and Health Professionals, MyComments, Simply Immigration!, Tips, USCIS Press Release.
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Good news to H-1B holders!  CIS recently released their new policies that addresses several H-1B timing issues.  The following policies will be in effect January 2007:

1.  Time spent as an H-4 and L-2 dependent does not count against the maximum allowable periods of stay available to principals in H-1B or L-1 status.

2. Individuals do not need to be in H-1B status or in the U.S. in order to request additional H-1B time beyond six years under AC21.

3.  Individual who was in the U.S. in H-1B status for less than six years and then subsequently leaves the U.S. for more than one year, may elect to either be re-admitted for the remainder of the initial six-year admission period w/o being counted against the cap OR seek to be admitted as a new H-1B subject to the cap.

Separating of H-4 and L-2 Time from H-1B and L-1 Time

The first issue addressed in this CIS memo is how to count H-4 and L-2 time against maximum periods allowed under H-1B and L-2 time.  For example, would an individual present in the U.S. in L-2 status for the past 6 years be eligible for any H-1B time?  The answer is yes.

USCIS clarifies that any time spent in H-4 status will not count against the 6-year maximum period of admission applicable to H-1B individuals.  For example, an individual who was previously in H-4 dependent status and who subsequently becomes an H-1B principal is entitled to the maximum period of stay applicable under H-1B time.

Periods of Stay on H-1B Status Beyond 6 Years Pursuant to AC21 (H-1b portability law)

The second issue addressed in this CIS memo deals with requesting extensions beyond six years under AC21 even if the individual is no longer in H-1B status or no longer in the U.S.  For example, if someone previously maxed out H-1B time and changed to TN status, and s/he is now eligible for H-1B time beyond six years under AC21, can s/he request more H-1B time even though s/he is now in TN status?  The answer is yes.

The memo reads “Though both provisions of AC21 use the term “extension of stay,” eligibility for the exemptions is not restricted solely to requests for extensions of stay while in the United States.  Aliens who are eligible for the 7th year extension may be granted an extension of stay regardless of whether they are currently in the United States or abroad and regardless of whether they currently hold H-1B status.”

H-1B Remainder Option

The third issue in this CIS memo addressed the situation of an individual who did not max out his or her H-1B time but subsequently left the U.S. for more than one year.  For example, if an individual was previously in the U.S. in H-1B status for less than six years, and then subsequently leaves the U.S. for more than one year, may s/he be re-admittted for anytime remaining from their previous H-1B admission period or does s/he now need to admitted as a new H-1B with a new six years available, but subject to the cap?  The answer is actually either and up to the individual.

The memo futher provides…

“There have been instances where an alien who was previously admitted to the United States in H-1B status, but did not exhaust his or her entire period of admission, seeks readmission to the United States in H-1B status for the remainder of his or her initial six-year period of maximum admission, rather than seeking a new six -year period of admission,  pending AC21 regulations, USCIS for now will allow an alien in the situation described above to elect to either (1) to be re-admitted for the “remainder” of the initial six-year admission period without being subject to the H-1B cap if previously counted or (2) seek to be readmitted as a “new” H-1B alien subject to the H-1B cap.”

Under this new policy, if the H-1B cap is an issue, the option will be for the individual to come in now and take whatever H-1B time they have left, or wait and file under the cap and have six-years available again.

SENATOR HARKIN CALLS FOR COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM FOLLOWING SWIFT RAIDS December 20, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Immigration reform, MyComments, News and politics, Politics and World Events, Simply Immigration!.
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WASHINGTON D.C. —- In the wake of the recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids on Swift & Co., Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to express concern about alleged humanitarian and civil rights abuses against detainees, and to urge the agency’s cooperation with Congress in implementing comprehensive immigration reform.

The complete text of the letter is as follows.

The Honorable Michael Chertoff

Secretary of Homeland Security

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

3801 Nebraska Avenue Center, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20528

Dear Secretary Chertoff:

I am writing to express my deep concern about the handling of workers of the Swift & Co. meat processing facilities detained throughout the nation last week. As you know, Swift has a plant in Marshalltown , Iowa and close to one hundred workers were arrested at this facility.

Your Department has an obligation to fully enforce our nation’s immigration laws and these raids have provided a very clear illustration of just how broken our current system is.

However, I am appalled by the process that has apparently been used to detain and deport the workers. First, according to both media reports and information my office has received, the hotline by which family members and others were supposed to obtain information has at times been unanswered by ICE officials, and at other times provided no information of any use.

Second, your Department has apparently made it almost impossible for lawyers and even clergy to obtain access to those detained and has transported workers to other states without granting them access to counsel.

Third, although assurances were provided to my staff that any individuals with small children who would otherwise go without care would be released to make alternative arrangements, there continue to be reports of numerous single mothers remaining in custody.

I continue to be concerned that the process in the wake of such raids lacks transparency and is being conducted without even the most basic fairness. I hope you share my belief that the failure to ensure that basic legal rights and humanitarian protections are afforded to individuals in our immigration system reflects poorly on the principles that have made the United States strong.

Finally, this incident highlights the need for comprehensive reform to our antiquated immigration system. Only when we bring the 12 million illegal workers out of the shadows and into the legal system will both industry and employees benefit. These improvements must include increased security at our borders and a means to legal citizenship for immigrants already in the country, which would include fines, learning English, passing a background check and paying back taxes. I hope that your agency will pledge to work with Congress next year to bring about this change.

I look forward to your prompt response.

Sincerely,

Tom Harkin

United States Senator

2008 Diversity Visa Lottery Registrations December 18, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Greencard Lottery, News and politics, Simply Immigration!.
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Over 6.4 million entries for the 2008 Diversity Visa Lottery were received during the two-month electronic registration period, from October 4, 2006, through December 3, 2006. This is an increase from the more than 5.5 million applications received in the 2007 Diversity Visa Lottery. Taking into account dependents, there are more than 10 million participants in the 2008 Diversity Visa Lottery.

Most of the applications were from Africa and Asia with 41 percent of the total from Africa, 38 percent from Asia, 19 percent coming from Europe, and 2 percent coming from South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. The largest number of applicants came from Bangladesh (more than 1.7 million applicants) followed by Nigeria (684,735) and Ukraine (619,584). The number of winning entries by country will be available after the random lottery process is conducted next year.

The electronic registration process makes it easier for applicants to apply and continues to increase the Department’s ability to screen against duplicate and other fraudulent entries. Anti-fraud technology using facial recognition and data mining will be used to eliminate duplicate cases.

Winners will be notified with a letter mailed from the Kentucky Consular Center confirming the name, date of birth, and country of chargeability for the registrant, as well as a time/date stamp when entries were registered. Notification will be sent to the winning entrants by mail only between April and July 2007 and will provide further instructions, including information on fees connected with immigration to the United States.

There have been several attempts to defraud Diversity Visa Lottery entrants. Lottery entrants selected as winners in the Diversity Visa random drawing are notified only by the Department of State’s Kentucky Consular Center. No other organization or company is authorized by the Department of State to contact winning entrants.
2006/1121
Released on December 15, 2006

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