On August 5, 2014 Law 360 published an article I wrote on President Obama’s options for executive action on immigration reform. The article discusses ways to speed up the long waits for employment based immigrants, options for the undocumented and some new ideas. Law 360 Article. Please leave a comment and let me know your ideas about how to make our system better.
This information is courtesy of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. (AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 12012349 (posted Nov. 27, 2013)
During a recent conversation with Roberta Freedman, AILA Students & Scholars Committee member, Charlie Oppenheim of the Department of State’s Visa Office provided the following information and updates regarding demand in the employment-based immigrant visa categories. Please note that these notes are based on Mr. Oppenheim’s impressions at the time and are subject to change based on usage or new developments.
- As of November 20, 2013 no additional EB-2 numbers will be allocated for EB-2 India adjustment of status applications for the rest of November. This means that no additional EB-2 India green cards can be approved with a priority date after November 2004 (the December Visa Bulletin’s cutoff date), even though the November Visa Bulletin had not yet retrogressed. The November Visa Bulletin confirmed that as soon as retrogression was announced for December, it could take effect immediately.
- The demand for India EB-2 visa numbers has been unprecedented. In fact from the 10th to the 20th of November, the Visa Office received requests for approximately 150 EB-2 India green card numbers per day from USCIS. The demand was so great, that the unusual action of cutting off the category during the month had to be taken. A majority of these requests were from “upgrades” where the beneficiary had established a priority date in the EB-3 category, and now qualified for EB-2.
- It is very possible that in August or September 2014, the last two months of the 2014 fiscal year, EB-2 India will advance again to around December 2008. However, that is only an educated guess at this time. No exact date is certain.
- In the last fiscal year, close to 15,000 EB-2 visa numbers were allocated to pending EB-2 India cases in August and September 2013, for cases that were pre-adjudicated by USCIS.
- A number of factors will affect the forward movement of the category and the availability of extra visa numbers, for India EB-2 and other categories, between now and the end of the 2014 fiscal year:
- Usage of visa numbers in the EB-1 category that would “drop down” to EB-2;
- The number of EB-3 to EB-2 “upgrades” from Worldwide and other countries;
- The number of EB-2 India visa numbers used for applicants with priority dates before November 2004; and
- The fact that the total worldwide quota is about 8,000 visa numbers lower than the previous year.
- The Worldwide EB-3 category moved forward a year in December because there does not appear to be very many of these applications currently pending with USCIS. As demand builds over the fiscal year, and more conclusions can be drawn from the number of pending cases, the EB-3 Worldwide category may retrogress during this fiscal year.
On Wednesday, October 23, 2013, Mr. Charlie Oppenheim spoke to the Washington D.C. Chapter of AILA. Below are notes from that meeting. These notes are Mr. Oppenheim’s impressions at this time, and are subject to change based on usage or new developments.
- His office is concerned again this year that the EB-5 numbers for China are moving too fast and there could be a cut-off for China EB-5 in June 2014 or later, if usage remains at the current levels. Worldwide EB-5 usage is up as well.
- India EB-3 will continue to move very slowly.
- Upgrades continue to be a tough issue to manage. USCIS does not appear to be working to develop any processes or procedures to better capture upgraded employment-based cases so there is no better information expected from that agency to assist Mr. Oppenheim’s office in better managing these numbers.
- Worldwide EB-2 is expected to remain current.
- Worldwide EB-1 is expected to remain current.
- China EB-2 will continue to move slowly.
- China EB-3 is expected to continue to be ahead of a China’s EB-2 priority date. Applicants are reminded that they may be able to use an expired EB-2 PERM for a new EB-3 category. As long as the first EB-2 I-140 was approved, the PERM can be used to file a second I-140 under EB-3. See this USCIS memo for more information (AILA Doc. No. 07062172)
For more information on the Visa Bulletin, priority dates and re-filing in EB-3, please contact Valentine Brown at 215 979 1840.
The employment-based second preference category is current for all countries of chargeability, except India and China. December will have a retrogression of India EB-2 applicants to a cutoff date of November 15, 2004, in large part due to the rapid advancement of the India EB-2 cutoff dates in the past several months. Further retrogression is possible, since the demand for visa numbers is exceeding the available supply. The EB-2 cutoff date for China advanced by a month, to November 8, 2008. In the December 2013 Visa Bulletin, EB-3 cut-off dates for all countries of chargeability, China, and Mexico advances by a full year, to October 1, 2011. The cutoff date for the Philippines moves forward to January 8, 2007. India’s EB-3 cutoff date retrogresses by a few weeks to September 1, 2003, and Philippines’ cutoff date only advanced by a few weeks.
Due to the likelihood of retrogressions, it is important to do everything possible to submit adjustment of status applications in the first mnonth of visa availability. If you need assistance with your adjustment of status application please call Valentine Brown on 215 979 1840.
Posted in Immigration News
Tagged Adjustment of Status, China, Department of State, Green Card, Immigrationist, India, Priority Dates, Retrogression, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, United States Department of Homeland Security, USCIS, Visa, visa bulletin, visas
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released a policy memorandum addressing the parole of spouses, children and parents of active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces, members of the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve (including the National Guard) or veterans who previously served in the U.S. Armed Forces or the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve. Generally, a parole is granted, under Immigration and Nationality Act § 212(d)(5)(A), as a discretionary status for someone to enter the United States for “urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit” to an alien applying for admission to the United States. These paroles have only been granted “sparingly” until now. The new USCIS memorandum provides instead for a parole in place (PIP) and that, absent a criminal conviction or other serious adverse factors, the government can use its discretion to permit the spouses, children and parents of military members or veterans to now remain in the United States.
The practical effect of this policy change is the ability of these close family members of active or former members of the Armed Forces, who entered the United States without inspection or who have overstayed their visas, to now be able to apply for permanent residence (i.e. green cards) while physically present inside the United States – after the PIP has been granted. As a result of this new policy, they will not be required to travel back to their home country for this process, and no waivers for unlawful presence will be required.
This is an amazing development and wonderful benefit for a well-deserving group of US Citizens and Legal Permanent Residents. The fact that those who have served our country no longer have to deal with the intricate difficulties faced by undocumented family members is a testament to USCIS’ ability to use its discretionary powers to do the right thing. Thank you Director Mayorkas and staff!
Posted in Immigration News
Tagged Air Force, Army, Army Wives, Green Card, Identity document, immigration reform, legal permanent residence, Marines, Navy, Navy Wives, Parole in Place, Reserves, undocumented, undocumented family members, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, United States Department of Homeland Security, Veterans, Veterans' Families