Friday, December 28, 2012

DACA Dreamers in Iowa will be denied driver's license

Iowa DOT Will Not Issue Driver’s Licenses or Nonoperator IDs to Persons Granted Deferred Actionfor Childhood Arrivals Status
AMES, Iowa – Dec. 27, 2012 – The Iowa Department of Transportation has determined it will not issue driver's licenses or nonoperator identification (ID) cards to persons granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, based on guidelines described by the U.S. Secretary of HomelandSecurity’s memorandum issued June 15, 2012. The Iowa DOT understands the exercising of this prosecutorial discretion by the U.S. Department of HomelandSecurity does not grant lawful status or a lawful immigration path to persons granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status. Rather, it is prosecutorial discretion extended in a blanket fashion to persons who are not lawfullyauthorized to be present in the United States. Under Iowa Code §§ 321.182, 321.190 and 321.196, a driver’s license or nonoperator ID card shall only be issued toa foreign national authorized to be present in the United States. Therefore, the Iowa DOT does not have the legal authority under current Iowa law to issue a driver’s license or nonoperator ID card to a person granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status (indicated on Form I-766, Employment Authorization Document, category C33).

Thursday, December 27, 2012

I-9 Immigration audits on the rise

Per the NY Times United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement audited more companies for illegal immigrants on their payrolls in the 2012 fiscal year than in previous years. Audits of employer I-9 forms increased to more than 3,000 in 2012 from 250 in the 2007 fiscal year. From fiscal 2009 to 2012, the total amount of fines grew to nearly $13 million from $1 million, ICE data showed. Employers are required to have workers fill out an I-9 form that declares them authorized to work in the country. An employer needs only to verify that identifying documents look real. The audits rely on ICE officers scouring payroll records to find names that do not match Social Security numbers and other identification databases. In the 2011 fiscal year, the most recent year reviewed by The Associated Press, the median fine was $11,000. The state with the most workplaces fined was Texas with 63, followed by New Jersey with 37. HIre a lawyer and do a self audit.. itwill save money in the long run.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Obama softens stance on Immigration enforcement

The Obama administration softened its enforcement immigration policies on Friday announced a policy change that — if it works — should lead to smarter enforcement of the immigration laws, with greater effort spent on deporting dangerous felons and less on minor offenders who pose no threat. The new policy places stricter conditions on when Immigration and Customs Enforcement sends requests, known as detainers, to local law-enforcement agencies asking them to hold suspected immigration violators in jail until the government can pick them up. Detainers will be issued for serious offenders — those who have been convicted or charged with a felony, who have three or more misdemeanor convictions, or have one conviction or charge for misdemeanor crimes like sexual abuse, drunken driving, weapons possession or drug trafficking. Those who illegally re-entered the country after having been deported or posing a national-security threat would also be detained. But there would be no detainers for those with no convictions or records of only petty offenses like traffic violations. John Morton, the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, said this was a case of “setting priorities” to “maximize public safety.” But wait, you ask, shouldn’t ICE have been doing this all along? Didn’t Mr. Morton sayin a memo two years ago that ICE would use its “prosecutorial discretion” to focus on the most dangerous illegal immigrants? He did. But for nearly as long as President Obama has been in office, ICE has been vastly expanding its deportation efforts, enlistingstate and local agencies to expel people at a record pace of 400,000 a year — tens of thousands of them noncriminals or minor offenders. By outsourcing “discretion” to local cops through a fingerprinting program called Secure Communities, it has greatly increased the number of small fry caught in an ever-wider national dragnet. Some cities and states have resisted cooperating with ICE detainers for the very reasons of proportionality and public safety that Mr. Morton cited on Friday. California’s attorney general, Kamala Harris, told her state’s law enforcement agencies this month that ICE had no authority to force them to jail minor offenders who pose no threat. From the NY Times

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Chinese Asylum fraud scheme in NYC leads to 26 people arrested including 6 Immigration Attorneys

USCIS and the FBI bust a Chinese fraud asylum ring in New York City . As alleged in the Indictments, at least 10 New York City area law firms created and submitted these fraudulent applications on behalf of alien applicants and coached them on how to lie to immigration authorities. Of the 26 defendants charged, 21 work at the various law firms, six as attorneys. Also charged are four translators who work at an asylum office in Queens, New York; and an employee at a church in Queens where she allegedly provides training in basic Christianity to asylum applicants falsely claiming to have been persecuted in China for their religious beliefs. Twenty-one defendants were taken into custody late this morning and will be presented and arraigned this afternoon and tomorrow before United States Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Recent DACA statistics

USCIS statistics on DACA cases from 8/15/12 to 12/13/12 which shows a total of 355,889 accepted DACA requests for processing, 336,464 biometric services appointments scheduled, 157,151 requests under review, and 102,965 requests approved.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Former INS Agent indicted for Marrriage Fraud Scheme

Sham Marriage ring busted by ICE. SAN FRANCISCO – A past applications-adjudicator for the former U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has been indicted by a Bay Area grand jury on nine criminal counts stemming from his alleged role in a marriage fraud scheme. Andrew Chojecki, 61, a naturalized U.S. citizen who most recently resided in Poland, is charged in an indictment handed down Dec. 6 with conspiracy to commit marriage and visa fraud, marriage fraud, and alien harboring. The charges are the result of a two year probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and its partner agencies on the San Francisco Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force, including U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service's Fraud Detection and National Security Unit. Six additional defendants are accused of conspiring with Chojecki to commit the fraud. According to the indictment, unsealed Monday, Chojecki allegedly facilitated fraudulent marriages in exchange for cash payments from at least April 2010 through November of this year. Each count of conspiracy to commit marriage and visa fraud, and marriage fraud carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. The maximum statutory penalty for each count of alien harboring is 10 years in prison. The government is also seeking forfeiture of assets arising out of the conspiracy and alien harboring counts.

Cap reached for Suspension and Cancellation Cases

The cap for Non-LPR Cancellation of Removal and Suspension grants was reached on 12/05/12 for the current fiscal year. Below you will find a link to the OPPM previously published by EOIR describing how these cases will be handled by the Immigration Judges. http://www.justice.gov/eoir/efoia/ocij/oppm12/12-01.pdf If a new OPPM is published for this fiscal year or I receive any further information I will certainly share it with the chapter. As was the case last year, the Cleveland, Ohio Immigration Judges will still proceed with the Individual Hearings on these cases as currently scheduled; however, the Immigration Judges will reserve decision on the case until the new fiscal year has begun, after October 1, 2013, unless reserved grants become available sooner. It is my understanding some grants have been reserved for detained cases.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Can you file a N-400 application for Naturalization too early?

file a N-400 application for Naturalization too early?Is it INA § 334 permits a naturalization applicant to file a Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, up to 3 months before the date the applicant would first meet the 5-year or 3-year continuous residence requirement. See INA §§ 316(a), 319(a); 8 C.F.R. §334.2(b). While the application can be filed within this 3 month time period, the applicant cannot be naturalized until he or she has met the 5-year or 3-year continuous residence requirement, in addition to meeting the other statutory requirements for naturalization. See INA §§ 316, 319. The National Benefits Center (NBC) conducts preliminary processing of N-400s. When an applicant files a Form N-400 within the 90 day period prior to meeting the continuous residence requirement, the NBC places the application on a “Residence Date Hold.” Only when the continuous residence requirement is met will the NBC place the application in the field office interview scheduling queue. The field office then provides the interview date and time to the NBC and the NBC sends out the appointment notice and transfers the file to the field office. Form N-400 processing times are a function of field office resources and staffing, and therefore, vary from office to office. When preparing an N-400 application, one should consider whether filing the N-400 during the 90-day period prior to meeting the continuous residence requirement is really beneficial Since the naturalization interview will not be scheduled until the applicant has met the 5-year or 3-year continuous residence requirement, waiting to file the N-400 until the applicant has met the requirement may effectively shorten the overall processing time from date of filing to interview.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Juarez Embassy no longer accepting Form I-601 for waivers

Effective Dec. 5, 2012, applicants in Mexico may no longer file Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility at the USCIS Ciudad Juarez Field Office or any associated Form I-212, Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States After Deportation or Removal. Applicants in Mexico must now file Form I-601 and associated Form I-212 with the
USCIS Phoenix Lockbox.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sean Hannity and the Conservatives changing view on Comprehensive Immigration Reform?

After the election and the overwhelming support of the of the Democratic party by Latino, it seems like there is a change in view of Conservatives for comprehensive immigration reform

Monday, November 5, 2012

First DACA Approvals are in

I received my first two DACA approvals today. I guarantee these DREAMERS make the US a better place for you an me . #DREAM ACT #immigration

Thursday, November 1, 2012

While Illegal immigration is down, this shows they will not stop trying

While Illegal immigration is down, this shows they will not stop trying .
Yuma, Ariz. — U.S. Border Patrol agents from Yuma Sector’s Yuma Station foiled a smuggling attempt today when suspects attempting to drive a vehicle over the border fence fell prey to their own devices.

Most East Coast USCIS offices still closed due to Hurricane Sandy including NYC USCIS Field office

Most East Coast USCIS offices closed due to Hurrican Sandy . Hang in there East Coast , a return to normal schedule will be back soon
UPDATED: Some Offices Remain Closed from Storm Damage All applicants appointments will be rescheduled to the next available appointment date; applicants do not need to do anything to request a rescheduled date. However walk-ins will be processed on a case-by-case basis. Applicants that were scheduled to appear at an ASC that was closed on Monday, October 29 and Tuesday, October 30, will be rescheduled. If you are an applicant that was processed at an ASC after your previously scheduled date of Monday, October 29 and Tuesday, October 30, you do not need to report to the ASC for a second time and can disregard this rescheduling appointment. If you are scheduled to appear at an ASC that continues to be closed, please refer to the list of office closures on the USCIS public site and continue to monitor for updates on rescheduling of these appointments. If you plan to visit a USCIS office in an area affected by the severe weather or you believe may be affected by severe weather, please call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) 1-800-375-5283 to ensure the office is open for business and for further instructions on rescheduling your appointment if the office is closed. Please continue to monitor this page for changes.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My Guest Blog piece for www.CRimmigration.com

SYMPOSIUM: RETROACTIVITY MEANS RELIEF FROM INCOMPETENT COUNSEL By Neil I. Fleischer As the son of an immigration attorney, I would often accompany my father to various speeches he would give regarding United States immigration law. He begins every speech by “stating that US immigration is the most complex law in our country. At any one time you can deal with three to five government agencies: the Department of Labor, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Department of State, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the US customs and Border Protection.” [Click here to see a list of all the symposium contributions.] He would always go on to talk about the “draconian” immigration reform of 1996 called “IIRAIRA.” When I was a student, I did not comprehend the catastrophic results of the this law that can subject foreign nationals and long time permanent residents of the United States to removal/deportation without judicial review or eligibility for bond because of the immigration consequences of their criminal convictions. Minor or “low level” offenses, even those involving no jail time, can subject a noncitizen to deportation, regardless of whether they are lawfully present in the United States. Today, as a practicing immigration attorney, I confront the “draconian” effects of my clients’ criminal convictions. Practicing primarily in Ohio, I am fortunate to have available Ohio Revised Code § 2943.031(A) that provides in part that: [P]rior to accepting a plea of guilty or a plea of no contest … the court shall address the defendant personally, provide the following advisement to the defendant that shall be entered in the record of the court, and determine that the defendant understands the advisement: “If you are not a citizen of the United States you are hereby advised that conviction of the offense to which you are pleading guilty (or no contest, when applicable) may have the consequences of deportation, exclusion from admission to the United States, or denial of naturalization pursuant to the laws of the United States.” If the judge or magistrate fails to warn a non-citizen of the consequences of his/her plea, in Ohio these convictions can be overturned. However, with the influx of immigrants and enforcement measures, judges are now routinely giving these statutory warnings. Consequently, a non-citizen’s defense counsel has a heightened duty and responsibility to make sure their clients are advised of the immigration consequences of his/her plea deal. This is because, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Padilla v. Kentucky, 130 S. Ct. 1473, 1486 (2010), that attorneys are required, as a matter of law, to inform a client that entering into a plea agreement in a criminal case carries a risk of deportation. Currently, federal district courts are split on whether Padilla applies retroactively, but in the Southern District of Ohio, the U.S. District Court recently held that Padilla does apply retroactively as an extension of the Strickland rule. Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984). The Strickland rule is a two-part test that requires a defendant to show that “counsel’s representation fell below an objective standard of reasonableness,” and demonstrate sufficient prejudice to meet the requirements for a writ of habeas corpus. Id. at 688, 694. In United States v. Reid, decided in August of 2011, in the Southern District of Ohio, Judge Arthur Spiegel held that Reid, a lawful permanent resident at the time of his conviction, was given ineffective counsel that led to deportation proceedings being instituted against him, and that the Supreme Court’s decision in Padilla applied retroactively to Reid’s case. I filed a writ of coram nobis on behalf of Mr. Reid, and we successfully argued that Padilla did not announce a “new rule” that imposes new obligations on the states and federal government, and thus Padilla should be applied retroactively. In November 1997, Reid was indicted on eight counts of bank embezzlement, and his first attorney advised him that he and his family would be subject to deportation proceedings if he were convicted at trial. His attorney also told Reid that he would not be exposed to deportation proceedings if he entered a plea agreement. Reid entered the plea agreement based on this grossly inaccurate advice, and was convicted on one of the eight counts of bank embezzlement, sentenced to sixty days in jail, sixty days in a community treatment center, and three years of supervised release. In July 1999, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) charged Reid with violation of INA § 237(a)(2)(A)(iii), U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii), claiming that he was deportable as a result of his conviction for an aggravated felony. Reid was a long-time permanent resident of the United Sates and his entire family, including his children, was now living in the United States. Aliens in a situation such as Reid, who are rendered deportable because of incorrect legal advice regarding the immigration consequences of entering into a plea bargain, have limited options for relief. The holdings of Padilla and Reid made it possible for zealous immigration attorneys to argue that their client’s former defense counsel did not give the correct advise regarding their criminal plea, and could have these convictions vacated or, alternatively, “re-plea” to an offense which would not result in removal from the United States. The cumulative effect of Padilla is that immigration attorneys, such as myself in Reid, have filed motions to vacate convictions prior to 2010 under the Padilla holding. The federal appellate courts have split whether or not Padilla should be applied retroactively. Thus, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on October 30, 2012 in Chaidez v. United States. The issue in Chaidez is whether the Court’s decision in Padilla v. Kentucky, holding that criminal defendants receive ineffective assistance of counsel under the Sixth Amendment when their attorneys fail to advise them that pleading guilty to an offense will subject them to deportation, applies to persons whose convictions became final before its announcement. As an attorney who has litigated this issue, and who frequently must counsel clients about the immigration consequences of their plea, I believe it is absolutely critical that the Supreme Court rule that Padilla applies retroactively in order to ensure that criminal defense attorneys’ errors falling below the prevailing “professional norms of representation” standard do not lead to removal of non-citizens. Without Padilla retroactivity, those non-citizens who may have received a “good deal” keeping them from incarceration in state and federal prisons, but who were exposed to ineffective assistance of counsel before Padilla was issued will be at risk of possible mandatory detention and removal. As I learned a long time ago, U.S. immigration law is the most complex law in the land. Misdemeanors are considered “aggravated felonies;” in other words, “low level” crimes can render a noncitizen subject to mandatory detention and removable. In Padilla, the Supreme Court mandated that criminal defense counsel have a heightened duty and responsibility to make sure their clients are advised of the immigration consequences of his/her plea deal. However, the damage to many noncitizens has already been done. Many attorneys were ignorant of the draconian immigration laws, or misguided and uninformed. It is in the interest of justice that the Supreme Court rule that Padilla is retroactive. Neil I. Fleischer is an attorney at The Fleischer Law Firm LLC in Cincinnati. Posted by Cesar at 10/31/2012 4:01 AM Categories: right to counsel, Scholars Sidebar, Chaidez, Padilla v. Kentucky, commentaries, Symposium, guest blogger, U.S. Supreme Court, post-conviction relief Tags: Chaidez Padilla v. Kentucky right to counsel post-conviction relief Scholars Sidebar commentaries guest blogger U.S. Supreme Court Symposium Previous Post Next Post http://crimmigration.com/2012/10/31/symposium-retroactivity-means-relief-from-incompetent-counsel.aspx

Many USCIS Field Offices remain closed due to HurricaneSandy including NYC USCIS Field Office

Many USCIS Immigration Offices Remain Closed from Storm Damage from Hurricane Sandy All applicants appointments will be rescheduled to the next available appointment date; applicants do not need to do anything to request a rescheduled date. However walk-ins will be processed on a case-by-case basis. If you plan to visit a USCIS office in an area affected by the severe weather or you believe may be affected by severe weather, please call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) 1-800-375-5283 to ensure the office is open for business and for further instructions on rescheduling your appointment if the office is closed. Please continue to monitor this page for changes.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy causes USCIS office closings for Monday, October 29, 2012

Due to Hurricane Sandy the offices listed below will be closed on Monday, October 29, 2012. All applicants appointments will be rescheduled to the next available appointment date; applicants do not need to do anything to request a rescheduled date. However walk-ins will be processed on a case-by-case basis. If you plan to visit a USCIS office in an area affected by the severe weather or you believe may be affected by severe weather, please call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) 1-800-375-5283 to ensure the office is open for business and for further instructions on rescheduling your appointment if the office is closed. Please continue to monitor this page for changes. Closed Offices Connecticut Hartford, CT Field Office AA Ribicoff Federal Building 450 Main Street Hartford, CT 06103-3060 Hartford Application Support Center 467 Silver Lane East Hartford, CT 06118 Delaware Dover, DE Satellite Office & Application Support Center 250 Gateway South Blvd, Ste 270 Dover, DE 19901 Maryland Baltimore District Office & Field Office Fallon Federal Building 31 Hopkins Plaza Baltimore, MD 21201 Baltimore Application Support Center Bank of America Building 100 S. Charles Street, Suite 201 Baltimore, MD 21201 Glenmont Application Support Center 12331 Georgia Avenue, Suite C Wheaton, MD 20906 Salisbury, MD Application Support Center 2040 Shipley Drive, Suite 2C Salisbury, MD 21801 Massachusetts Boston, MA District Office & Field Office JFK Federal Building 15 New Sudbury Street Government Center, Room E-170 Boston, MA 02203-0701 Lawrence, MA Field Office & Application Support Center 2 Mill Street Lawrence, MA 01840 Boston Application Support Center 170 Portland Street Boston, MA 02114 New Hampshire Manchester, NH Field Office & Application Support Center 9 Ridgewood Road Bedford, NH 03110 New Jersey Newark Asylum Office 1200 Wall Street West, Fourth Floor Lyndhurst, NJ 07071 Newark, NJ District Office & Field Office Rodino Federal Building 970 Broad Street Newark, NJ 07102-2506 Mount Laurel, NJ Field Office 530 Fellowship Road Mount Laurel, NJ 08054 Hackensack, NJ Application Support Center 116 Kansas Street Hackensack, N.J. 07601-4044 Elizabeth, NJ Application Support Center 285 North Broad Street Elizabeth, N.J. 07208 New York New York Asylum Office One Cross Island Plaza, 3rd Floor (133-33 Brookville Boulevard) Rosedale, NY 11422 New York, NY District Office & Field Office 26 Federal Plaza New York, NY 10278-0127 Queens, NY Field Office & Application Support Center 2735 Jackson Avenue Long Island City, NY 11101-2917 Long Island, NY Field Office & Application Support Center 30 Barretts Ave Holtsville, NY 11742 Bronx, NY Application Support Center 1827 Westchester Ave. Bronx, NY 10473 Brooklyn, NY Application Support Center 1260-78 60th Street Brooklyn, NY 11219 Hicksville, NY Application Support Center 87 Bethpage Road Hicksville, NY 11801 Manhattan, NY Application Support Center 201 Varick Street, 10th Floor RM103 New York, NY 10014 Port Chester, NY Application Support Center 40 South Main Street Port Chester, NY 10573 Queens/Jamaica, NY Application Support Center 153-01 Jamaica Ave. Jamaica, NY 11432 Woodside, NY Application Support Center 63-05 Rossevlt Ave. Woodside, NY 11377 Eastern Telephone Center Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA District Office & Field Office 1600 Callowhill Street Philadelphia, PA 19130-4106 Philadelphia Application Support Center 10300 Drummond Road Suite 100, First Floor Philadelphia, PA 19154 York, PA Application Support Center Meadowlands Business Center 3516 Concord Road York, PA 19402-9893 Rhode Island Providence, RI Field Office & Application Support Center 1543 Atwood Avenue Johnston, RI 02919 Providence Application Support Center 105 Sockanosset Cross Road, Suite 210 Cranston, RI 02910 Virginia Washington District Office & Field Office (Fairfax, VA) 2675 Prosperity Avenue Fairfax, VA 22031-4906 Alexandria, VA Application Support Center 8850 Richmond Hwy, Suite 100 Alexandria, VA 22039 Norfolk, VA Field Office Norfolk Commerce Park 5280 Henneman Drive Norfolk, VA 23513 Norfolk Application Support Center 2500 Almeda Ave, Suite 114 Norfolk, VA 23513 Stay safe Easzt Coasters

Monday, October 22, 2012

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will now use Iphones

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) has terminated its agreement with RIM to provide agents with BlackBerry smartphones and will offer its employees iPhones instead . Reuters indicates that this move affects about 17,600 employees and will cost the agency about $2.1 million. The ICE has used RIM's products for eight years, but it claims that at this point, BlackBerry smartphones "can no longer meet the mobile technology needs of the agency." ICE looked at Google's Android platform as well , but it concluded that Apple's tightly-controlled ecosystem would best serve its needs. "The iPhone services will allow these individuals to leverage reliable, mobile technology on a secure and manageable platform in furtherance of the agency's mission,"
I wonder is they will become "angry birds"

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

November 2012 Visa Bulletin is out

Link text The November 2012 Visa Bulletin is out and there is some great news. Like we predicted, the EB-2 category for all chargability countries other than India and China are going to be CURRENT. Therefore those you qualify for EB-2, if not born in or India, can concurrently file USCIS forms I-140 and I-485.
Contact us if you are interested

Friday, October 12, 2012

4500 undocumented young aliens granted Deferred Action under DACA program

Th United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has granted 4,591 young undocumented aliens a two-year deportation reprieve under a new deferred action (DACA) program USCIS began receiving applications for the "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" program in August, and to date received 179,794 applications, according to the Department of Homeland Security. They have scheduled 158,408 of those for biometric appointments (fingerprint), where USCIS
will take applicants' fingerprints to conduct criminal background checks. No applicants have been officially denied yet. But DHS has sent 1,825 applicants that don't appear to qualify a "Notice of Intent to Deny" form, which gives them 30 days to provide more evidence or correct mistakes, or a "Request for Evidence," which gives them 84 days to fill in gaps in their application. If you think you qualify, please contact us.

Friday, October 5, 2012

US Naturalized citizen of the day - Dikembe Mutombo

Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo was born June 25, 1966 in Congo, but he is a naturalized US citizen. He commonly referred to as Dikembe Mutombo, who professional basketball player who last played for the Houston Rockets of the NBA. He was the oldest player in the NBA at the time of his final season. The 7 ft 2 in (2.18 m), 260-pound center is thought of as one of the greatest shot blockers and defensive players of all time, winning the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award four times. His post NBA is as impressive as a humanitarian A well-known humanitarian, Mutombo started the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation to improve living conditions in his native Democratic Republic of Congo in 1997. His efforts earned him the NBA's J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 2001 and 2009. For his feats, Sporting News named him as one of the "Good Guys in Sports" in 1999 and 2000, and in 1999, he was elected as one of 20 winners of the President's Service Awards, the nation's highest honor for volunteer service. In 2004, he participated in the Basketball Without Borders NBA program, where NBA stars like Shawn Bradley, Malik Rose and DeSagana Diop toured Africa to spread the word about basketball and to improve the infrastructure. He paid for uniforms and expenses for the Zaire women's basketball team during the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta. Mutombo is a spokesman for the international relief agency, CARE and is the first Youth Emissary for the United Nations Development Program.
He has been a Global Ambassador for Special Olympics. In honor of his humanitarianism, Mutombo was invited to President George W. Bush's 2007 State of the Union Address and was referred to as a "son of the Congo" by the President in his speech. Mutombo later said, "My heart was full of joy. I didn't know the President was going to say such great remarks

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Romney backs DACA and Dreamers ... Sort of

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney would end an Obama administration policy of Deferred Action or DACA allowing some young illegal immigrants to stay in the country and work, though anyone already granted a reprieve from possible deportation wouldn't see that permission revoked. Romney told The Denver Post on Monday that people who are able to earn the two-year reprieves to stay and work wouldn't be in danger of deportation if he is elected. His campaign later clarified that while Romney would honor permission to stay as granted under President Barack Obama, a Romney administration wouldn't grant such permission. Obama announced in June that he would prevent deportation for some people brought to the United States illegally as children. Applicants must not have a serious criminal record and must meet other requirements, such as graduating from high school or serving in the U.S. military. At the time, Romney criticized Obama for circumventing Congress and changing the policy a few months before the presidential election.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

New L and TN procedures for Canadians

USCIS press release announcing that beginning October 1, 2012, USCIS will begin accepting the Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, filed on behalf of Canadian citizens who are outside the United States and seeking classification as a TN no n immigrant. This will help streamline the process and facilitate easier travel for Canadian workers As a reminder, an employer has the option of filing a Form I-129 individual petition with USCIS on behalf of a Canadian L-1 nonimmigrant. A U.S. employer that has an approved L-1 blanket petition also has the option to file a Form I-129S, Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition, along with supporting documentation, with the USCIS service center that approved the L-1 blanket petition, on behalf of a Canadian citizen (or any visa-exempt beneficiary) who is outside the United States. As before, Canadian citizens may apply for L-1 classification in conjunction with an application for L-1 admission to the United States by presenting the Form I-129 (individual petition)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Study finds that 1/4 of NEW US businesses are started by Immigrants

According to an article by Sarah McBride of Reuters News Service. Anew study showing that immigrants founded one quarter of U.S. technology start-up companies could fuel calls to relax immigration rules ahead of next month's U.S. presidential elections, where the economy and immigration are key issues The study "America's New Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Then and Now," shows that 24.3 percent of engineering and technology start-up companies have at least one immigrant founder serving in a key role. Day after day I am contacted by clients who want to start companies and grow the US economy. Day after day these bright US educated Immigrants prefer to return home as the US laws have become too restrictive as visas are denied. If the US economy wants to rebound, we need driven entrepreneurs from around the world to help turn the economy around

Thursday, September 27, 2012

ICE breaks of Immigration fraud ring

A man illegally living in the United States was convicted at trial late Wednesday of attempting to bribe a corrupt government official to obtain a "green card," part of a long-term joint undercover investigation into a group of Chinese nationals engaged in purchasing fraudulent permanent resident alien cards. The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C., and the Herndon Police Department. "This conviction is the culmination of an intensive undercover investigation that dismantled an immigration fraud organization," said HSI Washington, D.C. Special Agent in Charge John P. Torres. "These organizations threaten our national security and place our communities at risk because they create a vulnerability that may enable terrorists and criminals to gain entry to and remain in the United States. HSI DC recognizes the extraordinary contribution by the Herndon Police Department and other law enforcement partners in our continued commitment to make our communities safer." Rui Shui Chen, 44, a citizen of the People's Republic of China who was not legally present in the United States, was convicted Sept. 26 of conspiring to commit immigration fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, and misuse of immigration documents, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 14. "Green cards sold on the black market pose a serious threat to our national security," said Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. "This is a difficult crime to infiltrate, and the success of this investigation is a tribute to the patient and dedicated investigators at HSI DC and Herndon Police Department."

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Almost 20% of all H-1b still left unadjudicated by USCIS

From AILA Author: Eleanor Pelta on 09/26/2012 USCIS has told AILA that between the California Service Center and the Vermont Service Center, perhaps as many as 17,000 cap-subject H-1B petitions filed between April and mid-June remain unadjudicated, and many remain completely “untouched” by examiners. That means that USCIS has done very little, or nothing, with nearly 20% of the petitions filed by U.S. employers seeking the services of foreign high-skilled workers in fields as diverse as science, technology, business, education and marketing. USCIS has refused AILA’s requests to speed up processing of the backlog of H-1B petitions, saying that businesses that want faster service should request Premium Processing. Telling a large corporate petitioner to pay $1225 for Premium Processing Service in order to get an H-1B petition acted on after it has sat untouched for four months or more is bad enough – you’d think that for the more than two thousand dollars in filing fees that most petitioners pay that USCIS would act on a petition with greater alacrity – but, we know from USCIS’ own data from the 2008 H-1B Benefit Fraud & Compliance Assessment report that many of the businesses that use the H-1B program to meet needs for highly skilled experts are smaller businesses, those with fewer than 25 employees, with revenues under $10 million, and operating for less than ten years – the emerging companies and start-ups that are the focus of the agency’s entrepreneurial initiatives. Businesses don’t embark on the H-1B process lightly. Plans to bring on an H-1B usually start early in the year, and employers know quite well that the candidate won’t be able to start until October 1st, at the earliest. Projects are mothballed, customers are warned, and contracts are put on hold, waiting for the beginning of the new fiscal year and the arrival of the specialist so that folks can get back to business. For those employers lucky to have former students working on practical training, which expires on September 30th, seamless and uninterrupted employment is expected, or at least hoped for. If the candidate is overseas, arrival will be further delayed while a visa is obtained from a U.S. consulate. All of these delays could be avoided if USCIS would efficiently process H-1B petitions. It’s not like there has been a change in the law that has caused the delays. They simply haven’t, don’t have a reason for the backlogs, and when they were asked late in August to speed up processing, they said they were trying, but they weren’t going to make any special efforts, and, if a business wants faster service, to pay up. Exacting another twelve hundred dollars from a small business to get USCIS to do in fifteen more days what it hasn’t done for over four months sure doesn’t seem to be a way to promote startup businesses and spur job creation. USCIS needs to get with its own program and promptly adjudicate the pile of H-1B petitions that have been on the shelves for months.

New Scheduling procedures for Visa Applicants in India

The United States Embassy in India today announced it is implementing a new visa processing system throughout India that will further standardize procedures and will simplify fee payment and appointment scheduling through a new website at www.ustraveldocs.com/in. Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs, Julia Stanley, announced at a press conference here today that beginning September 26, 2012 U.S. visa applicants will be able to pay application fees via Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) or with their mobile phones. They can also pay in cash at more than 1,800 Axis bank branches. For the first time, applicants will be able to schedule their appointments online or by phone. The new system will also allow companies and travel agents to purchase multiple fee receipts for group travel, and it accommodates the scheduling of group and emergency appointments. Visa applicants will be able to have their questions answered via telephone, email, or online chat. Call center agents in Noida and Hyderabad will answer questions in Hindi, English, Punjabi, Gujarati, Tamil, and Telugu. Call centers will be open 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday through Friday, and 9:00 am to 6:00 pm on Sunday. The numbers are (91-120) 660-2222 or (91-22) 6720-9400 in India or 1-310-616-5424 in the United States. Applicants can email in English or Hindi at support-india@ustraveldocs.com, or they can chat with us directly from our website (www.ustraveldocs.com/in) during call center hours. One important change is that under the new system, applicants will have to make two appointments. Prior to their visa interviews, applicants will have to visit an Offsite Facilitation Center (OFC) to submit their fingerprints and a photo. Located apart from the Embassy and Consulates in Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai, the OFCs will reduce congestion at U.S. consular facilities and speed applicant processing. Most applicants will need to visit an OFC only once.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Computers, but not Smart phones and Ipads now allowed at immigration hearings

On a day where Apples announces the new Iphone Email from ICE Public Advocate: Today I want to make you aware of a policy change at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that will enhance detainees’ access to fair and impartial immigration court proceedings by giving their advocates an important, additional tool to use during those proceedings. At the request of the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR), ICE will now allow private attorneys or accredited representatives appearing before an immigration judge on behalf of detainees to bring a laptop into EOIR courtrooms located within detention facilities. Private attorneys or accredited representatives will be required to complete a request form each time they intend to bring a laptop into an EOIR courtroom in a detention facility. Please note, this process is for laptop computers along with an air card only and does not include iPADs, iPODs, smart phones, BlackBerrys or other electronic devices. In addition, this process does not permit attorneys to take laptops in attorney-client visitation rooms. Further rules outlining where, when, and how laptops can be used while in detention facilities are clearly stated in the request form. ICE is currently implementing this policy in each of its 24 Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) field offices. To get the laptop request form, you should contact the field office in which your EOIR proceeding and detention facility are located. If you do not have a field office point of contact, you may identify and email the appropriate Public Advocate Field Liaison by using this interactive map on the ICE.gov website and clicking on the area where your pending proceeding will take place. Phone numbers for each field office are also available on the Contact ICE page. Please help us spread the word about this important change in ICE policy by forwarding this message to your colleagues and community partners.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

October 2012 Visa Bulletin finally released

The US State Department finally released the much anticipated Oct 2012 Visa Bulletin. this is the first visa Bulletin for the 2013 Government Fiscal Year. It is important to note that visa ARE available for EB-2 all other countries. The last Bulletin indicated this category was unavailable. While the Numbers are retrogressed , visa are available for those with priority date of January 1, 2012. Other relevant news is that EB-2 for India nationals has retrogressed to September 1, 2004. For more updates, please follow this blog or twitter feed @nfleischer http://travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5770.html

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Federal Agents Sue Napolitano over Amnesty program

Ten federal immigration agents have filed suit against Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano claiming recent directives are forcing them to break the law and ignore their duties when it comes to deporting illegal immigrants.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Republican Governors follow Arizona's lead and Push Back on Deferred Action and Dreamers

In a memo dated June 15, 2012, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued prosecutorial guidelines for certain unlawfully present aliens. The guidelines, which were to take effect no later than August 15, 2012, outline the secretary's intent to defer deportation actions involving those aliens for a period of at least two years. According to media reports, thousands of aliens in Texas are eligible to apply for relief from deportation under the guidelines. Governor Perry said, "I have previously expressed my position that the secretary was wrong to unilaterally undermine the law through a policy statement issued under the cover of so-called 'prosecutorial discretion.' I believe her actions were a slap in the face to the rule of law and our Constitutional framework of separated powers."
Not to be outdone Nebraska Governor issued this statement: "President Obama's deferred action program to issue employment authorization documents to illegal immigrants does not make them legal citizens," Heineman said in a statement. "The State of Nebraska will continue its practice of not issuing driver's licenses, welfare benefits or other public benefits to illegal immigrants unless specifically authorized by Nebraska statute," he added.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Former Playboy Playmate arrested for Alien Smuggling

According to TMZ , Collen Sharron , a Former Playboy Playmate arrested for Alien smuggling and harboring near Canadian Border A 2004 Playboy Playmate -- was ARRESTED last night after allegedly trying to smuggle an unidentified male into the U.S. through the Canadian border. A source with knowledge of the situation tells TMZ the foreigner is Shannon's boyfriend ... but they have yet to confirm. If convicted on the charge, she could face up to 10 years in prison. Read more: http://www.tmz.com#ixzz23pWFMokj

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

New Deferred Action form is Here

WASHINGTON— Today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) submitted a Federal Register notice announcing new forms and instructions to allow individuals to request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals from USCIS. USCIS will begin accepting completed forms tomorrow, August 15, 2012. On June 15, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet other key guidelines may request, on a case-by-case basis, consideration of deferred action. “The release of the new form and instructions to allow individuals to request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals from USCIS marks an important step in our implementation of this new process,” said USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas. “While requests should not be submitted until August 15 it is important that individuals wishing to be considered for deferred action understand the requirements necessary to demonstrate eligibility to be considered.” Click tile link or here http://www.uscis.gov/USCIS/files/form/i-821d.pdf

Monday, August 13, 2012

What consittues a Significant misdemeanor the Dreamers?

What offenses constitute a significant misdemeanor? For the purposes of this process, a significant misdemeanor is a misdemeanor as defined by federal law (specifically, one for which the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is one year or less but greater than five days) and that meets the following criteria: Regardless of the sentence imposed, is an offense of domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or, driving under the influence; or, If not an offense listed above, is one for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of more than 90 days. The sentence must involve time to be served in custody, and therefore does not include a suspended sentence. The time in custody does not include any time served beyond the sentence for the criminal offense based on a state or local law enforcement agency honoring a detainer issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Notwithstanding the above, the decision whether to defer action in a particular case is an individualized, discretionary one that is made taking into account the totality of the circumstances. Therefore, the absence of the criminal history outlined above, or its presence, is not necessarily determinative, but is a factor to be considered in the unreviewable exercise of discretion. DHS retains the discretion to determine that an individual does not warrant deferred action on the basis of a single criminal offense for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of 90 days or less. What offenses constitute a non-significant misdemeanor? For purposes of this process, a non-significant misdemeanor is any misdemeanor as defined by federal law (specifically, one for which the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is one year or less but greater than five days) and that meets the following criteria: Is not an offense of domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or, driving under the influence; and Is one for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of 90 days or less. The time in custody does not include any time served beyond the sentence for the criminal offense based on a state or local law enforcement agency honoring a detainer issued by ICE. Notwithstanding the above, the decision whether to defer action in a particular case is an individualized, discretionary one that is made taking into account the totality of the circumstances. Therefore, the absence of the criminal history outlined above, or its presence, is not necessarily determinative, but is a factor to be considered in the unreviewable exercise of discretion.

Continue using the I-9

USCIS has announced that, until further notice, employers should continue to use Form I-9, currently available on the forms section of the USCIS website, even though the OMB control number expiration date of August 31, 2012 has passed.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Dreamer Univeristy

A small group of 35 will be the inaugural class of a new UCLA project designed for undocumented students. So far, National Dream University has received 16 applications in its first two weeks. Applications are due in early October, and the first class will begin in January of 2013. Amazing what tolerance will do if you give young people a chance

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Updates

USCIS has posted updates regarding the announcement of deferred action for childhood arrivals made on June 15, 2012.  The newest information can be found here, but here are some notes worth mentioning:
  • ·         This process does not begin until August 15, 2012.  Do not attempt to apply for Deferred Action before this time.
  • ·         The forms will be made available via the USCIS website on or before August 15, 2012. 
  • ·         The fee for filing the deferred action form and employment authorization form is $465 and there is no  fee waiver available.  However, there are very limited fee exemptions, and applicants are encouraged to closely review the conditions on USCIS’s FAQ page.
  • ·         There is no appeal process if your application for deferred action is denied, and although the consideration notes state that only aliens meeting the ICE policy guidance on the issuance of Notices to Appear will be placed in removal proceedings, applicants are urged to use extreme caution and discretion when reviewing the guidelines for this deferred action process.  If you believe that your case is questionable, or that you may not be eligible, we urge you to seek the advice of a licensed immigration attorney before filing your application.
  • ·         If you have leave the country at any time after the August 15, 2012 start date of this program, you will be ineligible for deferred action, even if your application has already been filed.  If you have left the country since your entry, prior to August 15, 2012, for a brief, casual, or innocent type of travel, then your continuous presence requirement for deferred action will not be affected.  If you have left the country since your entry, prior to August 15, 2012 for an extended time, because of an order of exclusion, deportation, or removal, or to participate in criminal activity, this travel does affect the determination of continuous residence and your application may be denied. 
  • ·         USCIS regards the following crimes as significant misdemeanors that would disqualify an applicant from being approved for deferred action status: a misdemeanor (one for which the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is one year or less but greater than five days) and that meets the following criteria: (1) regardless of the sentence imposed, is an offense of domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or driving under the influence; or (2) if not an offense listed above, is one for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of more than 90 days.  The sentence must involve time to be served in custody and therefore does not include a suspended sentence.
  • ·         Applicants should be aware that even the absence of criminal history as outlined above does not mean that an applicant will be approved, as any approval is subject to an individualized, thorough, and discretionary review. 

As a reminder, the guidelines for Deferred Action are as follows:
Pursuant to the Secretary’s June 15, 2012 memorandum, in order to be considered for deferred action for childhood arrivals, you must submit evidence, including support documents, showing that you:
1.     Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
2.     Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
3.     Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
4.     Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
5.     Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
6.     Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and;
7.     Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
These guidelines must be met for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals. USCIS retains the ultimate discretion on whether deferred action is appropriate in any given case.
If you have any questions about the guidelines, or about your particular eligibility under these guidelines, please do not hesitate to contact our offices, or another licensed immigration attorney (please beware of fraudulent legal services) and we can assist you.  Please be advised that prior to some advice being given by US lawmakers (Sen. Durbin and Congressman Gutierrez) it is entirely reasonable for an applicant to seek the advice of a licensed immigration attorney before an application is submitted.  Immigration law is complex, second only to the tax code in the US, and there are terms of art and other pieces of the law to be considered in filing any sort of paperwork with USCIS.  Please do not be afraid to contact a LICENSED immigration attorney. 

Also, there is some uncertainty in the legal community as to whether the information that an applicant provides on his or her application may be used against other unlawfully present family members, and therefore we urge caution in this process.  USCIS has stated that the information provided to USCIS in the application for deferred action is protected from disclosure to ICE and CBP, and says that this includes information regarding family members and guardians, but it also follows this statement by saying that this policy may be modified, superseded, or rescinded at any time without notice.   While we do not believe that this is cause for alarm, especially if the applicant is facing immediate removal proceedings, or is in detention, we do believe that it is the right of any potential applicant to carefully think through the benefits and consequences of applying for this program. 

Please contact our office with any questions or concerns.

This post does not cover all of the new information on the Deferred Action process.  Please also consult USCIS’s website for further information. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Attention Paris Visa Applicants!

As of July 29, 2012, all non-immigrant visa applicants must fill in the DS 160 application form and pay the MRV fee through purchase of a mandat compte before scheduling an appointment. The reference numbers of both the DS 160 and the mandat compte must be provided at time of scheduling.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Welcome to Chicago!

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel announced a new ordinance that he intends to propose in Chicago that would prevent police officers from turning over undocumented immigrants to federal agents unless the immigrant has an outstanding criminal warrant or a serious criminal conviction.  The New York Times notes that Cook County, IL, which is governed separately from the City of Chicago, was under fire recently from ICE Director John Morton because of its own “sanctuary” law that bars the detaining of undocumented immigrants in order to turn them over to federal agents unless “federal agents have a specific warrant. “  The Times article notes that even though the purpose behind this proposed ordinance is pretty much directly opposite of the attrition focus of Arizona’s SB1070 which the White House has opposed and the Supreme Court limited in its recent decision, it could still be viewed as an infringement of the federal government’s immigration enforcement powers.   Director Morton, in his testimony before a House of Representatives subcommittee stated that he is “quite confident that [Cook County’s] approach is ultimately going to lead to additional crimes in Cook County that would have been prevented.”  However, Mayor Emmanuel, facing a homicide rate that has increased by 39% from a year ago, believes that the ordinance would encourage community cooperation between the police and the immigrant community as it would ease their fears of deportation.  

It remains to be seen how the Obama administration will deal with this challenge to its immigration authority, but it is refreshing to see local governments taking a stand against the fear-of-the-immigrant and attrition policies popularized by bills similar to SB1070.  Illinois is also one of two states that has resisted ICE’s Secure Communities implementation thus far.

Socialite Renounces citizenship

Wealthy socialite and Grammy-nominated songwriter Denise Rich has renounced her U.S. citizenship and resides in London, her spokeswoman Judy Smith said Tuesday. Rich's maiden name, Eisenberg, appeared on April 30 in the Federal Registrar's Quarterly Publication of Individuals Who Have Chosen To Expatriate, though she left in November 2011.
In 1984, Rich penned the lyrics to "Frankie", a hit in 1986 for the R&B group Sister Sledge. Since then, she has written songs recorded by Phyllis Hyman, Natalie Cole, Celine Dion, Jessica Simpson, Marc Anthony, Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan and Diana Ross. Her work has been nominated three times for Grammy Awards, most recently for the 1999 Aretha Franklin/Mary J. Blige duet "Don't Waste Your Time".[5] She also co-wrote the international hit "Candy", by Mandy Moore

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Can you name the Immigrant? this is GREAT

News on retrogression

On Tuesday, June 19, 2012, Roberta Freedman, AILA Students & Scholars Committee member, discussed the Visa Bulletin, visa demand in the employment preference categories, and predictions for FY2012 and beyond with Charlie Oppenheim of the Visa Office. Here are notes from that discussion: 2012 and 2013 News In October 2012 (beginning of the 2013 fiscal year), the EB-2 cut-off dates for China-Mainland born and India, which are currently "unavailable," will move to August or September 2007 (China may be slightly better). It is unlikely that the cut-off dates will move forward at all for the first two quarters of FY2013. If they do, it will only be if the Visa Office is convinced that there is insufficient demand for the rest of the year. Mr. Oppenheim's office already has 17,000 EB-2 cases for natives of India, China, and worldwide with priority dates after January 1, 2009, pre-adjudicated. There will be a lot of cases queued up for adjudication in October 2012, and it will take some time to get through them. EB-2 worldwide will be current in October 2012. If USCIS approves many pending cases during the month of June, the worldwide EB-2 category may retrogress or become unavailable for the rest of the year. Why did the priority dates move ahead so far and then retrogress so drastically? USCIS encouraged Mr. Oppenheim's office to move the categories forward so much in January, February, and March of 2012. USCIS reported that they had a lot of approved petitions but they were not receiving enough I-485s. USCIS wanted the cut-off dates moved even more in March 2012, but DOS resisted, since there already appeared to be heavy demand. In February, the demand had already increased 50%. In addition, USCIS said that they believed that adjudication of EB-1 cases would be at the same rate as last fiscal year, and this was not the case. It could be due to the fact that many EB-1 cases had very long adjudication times with USCIS. In addition, EB-5 usage has been higher this year. Unused EB-5 cases fall into EB-1, and unused EB-1 cases fall into EB-2. Applicants from China and India who filed will be waiting years for adjudication of their I-485s. USCIS also advised a 4-6 month timeline in the processing of I-485s, and then they processed a lot of cases in 3 months, which increased the demand as well for visa numbers this fiscal year. The group of cases that were filed in July and August of 2007, when all employment-based categories were made "current," were all completed by November 2011, and at that point, Mr. Oppenheim's office had to depend on USCIS estimates for adjudication of cases. Mr. Oppenheim's office had no pre-adjudicated cases that gave him a point of reference to determine what was left or pending. Mr. Oppenheim's office has been very clear that they do not like retrogression. Going forward: Another problem with trying to predict the demand is that no one is keeping statistics on EB-3-EB-2 "upgrades." Upgrades continue to be a big "wildcard," as no one knows how many are being used per year and no one is tracking it. Mr. Oppenheim confirmed his previous comments that both cases for a person remain open (so it looks like two numbers are being used) if a person is upgrading from EB-3 to EB-2, and only when the green card is approved does the duplicate file number go away. At that time, Mr. Oppenheim's office is told by USCIS to cancel a pending EB-3 case. Mr. Oppenheim's office believes that there are 10,000 to 15,000 numbers used for upgrades every fiscal year. In March 2012, alone, 3,200 numbers were used to approve China and India adjustments that were EB-3-EB-2 upgrades. The actual break down was 2,800 from India and 500 from China. All of these cases had priority dates before 2007, so clearly, they were upgrades. For example, 363 of the 2,800 EB-2 cases from India that were approved in March 2012, had a 2005 priority date. In March 2012, alone, over 1,000 numbers were used for applications from the worldwide quota that had priority dates before 2010, so these were likely upgrades as well. USCIS previously insisted that the number of upgrade cases was insignificant. Mr. Oppenheim's office tries to use 13,500 visas per quarter for all EB cases. This office already has more than 17,000 in line for FY2013. On Thursday, January 19, 2012, Business committee chair Mike Nowlan and Students & Scholars committee member, Roberta Freedman, discussed the Visa Bulletin, visa demand in the employment preference categories, and predictions for FY2012 with Charlie Oppenheim of the Visa Office. Notes from that discussion are: EB green card usage has been very slow in FY2012, so DOS is advancing the dates to see how many cases are out there. Mr. Oppenheim is relying on USCIS and their estimate. USCIS thought more would come in, but 50% their estimate have actually filed an AOS. This movement is due in large part to the clearing out of the EB-2 2007 AOS cases. Mr. Oppenheim reminds AILA that DOS cannot "see" the I-140 cases that are approved and for which adjustment of status had been requested prior to September 2010, though he can "see" cases for which consular processing is requested. Mr. Oppenheim could not speculate why usage is slow/low. Economy? Foreign nationals lost jobs? Low usage of EB-1 numbers is assumed again this year. A fall-down of 12,000 additional EB-1 numbers into EB-2 is calculated into Mr. Oppenheim's projections for 2012, although he thinks EB-1 number availability may be down by approximately 1,000 as compared to last year, due to heavier EB-5 usage since unused EB-5 numbers "spill up" to EB-1 and then down to EB-2. Mr. Oppenheim is very surprised by the severe downturn in EB-1 numbers. We cited the impact of Kazarian on USCIS filings and demand for EB-1-1 numbers, and the fact that it is difficult for an owner-beneficiary to obtain approval of EB-1-3 petitions. About 34% of the total number of permanent visas have been used this year, and 45% should be used by end of February. Adjustment of status through USCIS accounts for 85% to 90% of all EB green card cases. The impact on number usage of upgrades (EB-3 to EB-2) is still unknown. Upgrades were the reason the priority dates advanced so slowly in in the beginning of FY2011. For upgrades, the EB-3 case does not get cleared out of the system until the EB-2 for the same person is approved. Mr. Oppenheim also wonders whether demand is weak for visas for dependent family members, and so fewer green cards are needed. Mr. Oppenheim meets monthly with USCIS and the Ombudsman's office to review the receipt of cases. There was a recent meeting to discuss December numbers. There will be another review before he decides what he will do in March. Prediction: Employment-based priority dates will advance again with the March Visa Bulletin, likely by at least a few months. An advance of six months is possible, although an advance of one year is not likely. He will know as this month moves on. With normal USCIS adjustment of status processing times of four-to-six months, March is the last time for Mr. Oppenheim to get the AOS cases filed and possibly approved in FY2012. He will then probably hold the priority date over the summer, and then retrogress or advance it if needed. Mr. Oppenheim does not have enough data to predict demand and priority date changes in the last quarter of FY2012. • USCIS is agreeing to the priority date advances, though significant advances are bit of a gamble for USCIS, because if they get inundated with adjustment filings, and subsequently there is priority date retrogression, USCIS will have to process EAD and advance parole extensions without additional fees. As we all know, retrogression causes chaos.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Arizona immigration law unconstitutional... But

The U.S. Supreme Court today released its anticipated opinion in Arizona v. United States, ), the case concerning Arizona’s SB 1070 immigration legislation. Justice Kennedy wrote the opinion that was joined by Justices Roberts, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor. Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito dissented in part and concurred in part. Justice Kagan did not participate in deliberations. Of the four SB 1070 provisions before the Court, only one survived challenge: the provision allowing state police officers to investigate the immigration status of anyone they reasonably suspect is unlawfully present and that requires officers to check the status of everyone arrested. Interesting...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Jon Stewart calls out Fox News on Deferred Action

Deferred Action - What You Need to Know

On June 15, 2012, President Barak Obama announced a new procedure for young people, who were brought to the United States before the age of 16 and who would otherwise be subject to removal to countries that they do not remember or where a language is spoken that they do not speak, to be granted 2 years of deferred action.  This means merely that the individuals granted deferred action will not be subject to removal in this 2 year period.  This is a great step for young people, but it is important to sort out what the program is, what it is not, and how to go about requesting this in your case.  This is not amnesty, nor is it a grant of legal status to undocumented individuals.  Only Congress may confer immigration benefits.  

This is merely a program to lift the cloud of deportation from those young persons who were brought here while they were young and who have lived most of their lives as Americans and have contributed in many ways to our society, but are under threat of deportation, through no fault of their own as they lacked the required intent to violate the law.  Although administrative closure under previous prosecutorial discretion directions have already been helping individuals in this circumstance, further action was deemed to be needed to ensure that these low priority cases were not diverting resources from high-priority criminal immigration cases.  

This is not the DREAM Act.  More needs to be done in that direction, but that is solely in the hands of Congress to do.  This policy is designed to make life more bearable for these individuals and allow them to continue contributing as productive members of American society until more comprehensive immigration reform can be passed through Congress. 

Hopefully this information will help explain the program and the best ways to take advantage of this new policy.

CRITERIA: Pursuant to the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano’s June 15, 2012 memorandum, in order to be eligible for deferred action, individuals must:
  1. Have come to the United States under the age of sixteen;
  2. Have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years preceding June 15, 2012 and were present in the United States on June 15, 2012;
  3. Currently be in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate (G.E.D.), or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
  4. Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
  5. Not be above the age of thirty or under the age of 15.
Individuals must also successfully complete a background check and, for those individuals who make a request to USCIS and are not subject to a final order of removal, must be 15 years old or older.

IMPORTANT: As of the date of this publication this program has not yet begun, and the USCIS is intending to use the full 60-day allotment to implement this new policy.  The procedure for application for deferred action has not yet been established.  We do not know if there will be a form to fill out, or if there will be a fee charged.  Please continue reading for information about what sorts of evidence you can be gathering in the meantime or contact our office at 513-877-4209 or nflesicher@immigrate2usa.com

DO NOT attempt to place yourself in removal proceedings to receive deferred action.  It is not necessary and will bring more trouble than good.

DO NOT request deferred action if you KNOW that you are ineligible, under any of the criteria, as this can be used to institute removal proceedings against you, following USCIS’s Notice to Appear policy.  Under this policy, individuals whose requests are denied will be referred to ICE if they have a criminal conviction or if there is a finding of fraud in their request for deferred action.  This means it is VERY important to speak to a legitimate, authorized immigration attorney and be very wary of Notarios and others posing as immigration attorneys.

If you are CURRENTLY in removal proceedings, or about to be removed by ICE, please contact either the Law Enforcement Support Center’s hotline at 1-855-448-6903 (staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or the ICE Office of the Public Advocate through the Office’s hotline at 1-888-351-4024 (staffed 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday) or by e-mail at EROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov.

WHAT IS DEFERRED ACTION? 
 It IS: a discretionary determination to defer removal action as an act of prosecutorial discretion.  
  • USCIS determines that moving your case to the side for two years meets its discretionary enforcement goals, and it will not pursue your removal in this two-year period.
  • It is also RENEWABLE.  USCIS does not see this program ending at any point in the near future and therefore has decided that after the initial granting of a 2 year deferred action, the individual may request again for the same 2 year deferral.
  • It DOES provide for Employment Authorization for those granted deferred action, and our office can assist you with the employment authorization process. 
  It is NOT: an amnesty program or a granting of legal status, nor a path to citizenship.
  • Deferred action does NOT grant the applicant a legal status, a green card, or citizenship.
  • It does NOT remove any previously accrued unlawful presence time, and although unlawful presence does not accrue during the 2 year deferred action period, if the deferred action comes to an end and is not renewed, then unlawful presence will resume accrual.
  • It does NOT award deferred action to any family members, dependents, or immediate relatives.  This is an individual process and each eligible individual must submit a request separately.

CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK: In order to qualify for deferred action, an individual must pass a background check that USCIS will perform using all available databases.  They will be looking for convictions that may disqualify the individual from receiving deferred action.  Individuals who have been convicted of ANY Felony, a Significant Misdemeanor Offense, or three or more misdemeanor offenses (not in relation to the same instance), or otherwise are found to pose a threat to national security or public safety are not eligible to be considered for deferred action.  
  • Examples of Significant Misdemeanors: A significant misdemeanor is a federal, state, or local criminal offense punishable by no more than one year of imprisonment or even no imprisonment that involves: violence, threats, or assault, including domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary, larceny, or fraud; driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; obstruction of justice or bribery; unlawful flight from arrest, prosecution, or the scene of an accident; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or unlawful possession of drugs. 

If you have a criminal record, or have ever been arrested and have questions about your criminal record or possible post-conviction relief, please contact our offices.
DOCUMENTATION:  You may begin collecting information now to submit once USCIS has determined the manner in which it will process applications, but DO NOT submit anything yet.
  • To prove that an individual was present in the US before they turned 16: may include but is not limited to: financial records, medical records, school records, employment records and military records.
  • To prove that an individual has resided in the US for at least 5 years prior to June 15, 2012: may include but is not limited to: financial records, medical records, school records, employment records, and military records.
  • To prove that an individual was physically present in the US as of June 15, 2012: may include but is not limited to: financial records, medical records, school records, employment records, and military records.
  • To prove that an individual is currently in school, has graduated from high school, or has obtained a general education certificate (GED): may include, but is not limited to diplomas, GED certificates, report cards, and school transcripts.
  • To prove that an individual is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or US Armed Forces: may include, but is not limited to: report of separation forms, military personnel records, and military health records.
NOTARIO FRAUD:  In the US, Notarios are those who are engaging in the unauthorized practice of immigration law.  Please be extremely wary of those people claiming to be immigration lawyers who say that they can get you deferred action now, as the program is not yet available.  Until procedures have been announced by USCIS, do NOT trust anyone who wishes to charge a fee or fill out a form to help you request deferred action, as we do not yet know if there will be a form or fee associated with this.  Fraud may severely negatively impact your immigration status and could make you removable, the opposite of what you want.  Please report any fraudulent immigration practitioners to the proper authorities.  

There is no appeal process if your request for deferred action is denied, so please take the steps to make sure that your request is correctly done, and contact our office if you would like our assistance in doing so.
Neil I. Fleischer Esq.
The Fleischer Law Firm LLC
917 Main Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
(p) (513)977-4209
(fax) (513)977-4218
NFleischer@immigrate2usa.com    
Twitter: @nfleischer


US citizen of the Day - Case C.

Case C. , one of my clients was sworn in as a US citizen last week. Congrats to Case and his family. Please see link below for his thoughts about what it mean to become a US citizen. Congrats Case!!! http://vardoblog.blogspot.com/2012/06/june-16th-2012-naturalization-day.html

Friday, June 15, 2012

Dream Act = Deffered Action

Secretary Napolitano Announces Deferred Action Process for Young People Who Are Low WASHINGTON— Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today announced that effective immediately, certain young people who were brought to the United States as young children, do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria will be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings. Those who demonstrate that they meet the criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization. “Our nation’s immigration laws must be enforced in a firm and sensible manner,” said Secretary Napolitano. “But they are not designed to be blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case. Nor are they designed to remove productive young people to countries where they may not have lived or even speak the language. Discretion, which is used in so many other areas, is especially justified here.” DHS continues to focus its enforcement resources on the removal of individuals who pose a national security or public safety risk, including immigrants convicted of crimes, violent criminals, felons, and repeat immigration law offenders. Today’s action further enhances the Department’s ability to focus on these priority removals. Under this directive, individuals who demonstrate that they meet the following criteria will be eligible for an exercise of discretion, specifically deferred action, on a case by case basis: Came to the United States under the age of sixteen; Have continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and are present in the United States on the date of this memorandum; Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety; Are not above the age of thirty. Only those individuals who can prove through verifiable documentation that they meet these criteria will be eligible for deferred action. Individuals will not be eligible if they are not currently in the United States and cannot prove that they have been physically present in the United States for a period of not less than 5 years immediately preceding today’s date. Deferred action requests are decided on a case-by-case basis. DHS cannot provide any assurance that all such requests will be granted. The use of prosecutorial discretion confers no substantive right, immigration status, or pathway to citizenship. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights.