I am an immigration attorney with over 20 years of experience. I was graduated from Brandeis University undergrad in 1990 and then spent a year traveling around Central America. In 1991 I began attending the University of Baltimore School of Law and was graduated in 1994. I began working in Immigration Law in 1998 when I joined a small law firm and, in 2000 opened my own firm with my law partner Ed Leavy. Sadly, Ed passed away in 2011. I am still a partner in my own firm with my current partner Brendan Delaney. Our firm is Frank & Delaney Immigration Law, LLC.
The Department of State recently released the July visa bulletin. While forward movement for the coming month was small or non-existent (1st preference remains current for all countries, 2nd preference is current for all but India (Sept. 1, 2004) and China (August 8, 2008), 3rd preference is at January 1, 2009 for all countries except India (January 22, 2003) and the Philippines (October 1, 2006)) the bigger news was the projected movement in the coming months. According to the DOS, China 2nd preference will move forward about 2 months, nothing major but good movement forward. However, for India, the DOS states as follows:
At this time it appears that the availability of “otherwise unused” Employment Second
preference numbers will allow for movement of this cut-off date in August and/or September. It is expected that such movement will generate heavy new applicant demand, primarily by those who are upgrading their status from the Employment Third preference category. A sustained level of heavy demand could impact the cut-off date at some point during fiscal year 2014.
Because other countries have not used up all their visas, they will start moving India forward, probably a good bit, but their prediction is that this will just exacerbate demand even more because the 3rd preference category is even more backlogged for India. as the new bulletins are published, I will post the new dates right here on this blog.
Below is a link to an article from the Immigration Policy Center of the American Immigration Council which goes through many of the myths about Immigration and the economy and explains why they are incorrect.
For the most part, immigration actually helps our economy, does not depress wages, and actually stimulates growth of the economy and of job opportunities. They also point to several studies that show that there is no correlation between immigration and unemployments in general, and minority unemployment specifically. In addition, they cite to data from the 2012 Current Population Survey that show that, for the most part, immigrants and native-born workers are not competing for the same jobs, thereby dispelling the myth that they are taking jobs from US workers. I think that the article is definitely worth reading for those interested in this topic.
Just the other day the 6th Circuit Court of appeals overturned the denial of an Adjustment of Status application filed on behalf of a TPS holder. The TPS recipient had entered the US illegally, but had a US Citizen wife. The couple filed an I-130 (family based petition) and I-485 (application to adjust status). While USCIS approved the I-130 they denied the I-485. Generally, those who enter the US illegally are prohibited from adjusting their status to a permanent resident because of Section 245 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). However, those in TPS status are considered to be in status and are able to work and stay in the US. Unfortunately, the part of the statute that states that they are to be considered as admitted and legal has always been read by USCIS to only apply to the ability of TPS recipients to work, and not extended to their ability to adjust status (if they entered the US illegally). Therefore USCIS has consistently denied such I-485 applications.
The 6th Circuit, however, stated that the only support for this position is the history of USCIS adjudications and that it has no support in the statute or legislative history. Because such a reading was against the plain language of the statute, the 6th Circuit went on to overturn the decision. This means that those person in TPS status who entered the US illegally are now able to adjust their status to that of a permanent resident if they are otherwise eligible (at least if they live within the jurisdiction of the 6th Circuit). It still remains to be seen if USCIS will appeal the decision and whether they will adopt the decision for the entire USA, or limit its applicability to the 6th Circuit.
USCIS has begun returning H-1B application for cases that were not lucky enough to be picked for the random audit. If you do not recall, USCIS received more application in the first week of H-1B availability than it had visas for. Therefore, USCIS pooled all applications received during the first 5 business days and conducted a random audit to select the requisite number of cases.
We began receiving receipts within 2 weeks of the end of the lottery. However, it has taken until today, more than a month after the lottery was conducted for USICS to send back petitions that were not selected. At this point we would certainly state that if you have not heard about your petition the most likely scenario is that your application was not accepted and you will be receiving it back shortly.
The June Visa Bulletin has been released by the Department of State. EB-2 numbers for India remain at Sept. 1, 2004. This is in line with the predictions of the DOS that these numbers would not progress at all for India in the near future. For China the date is now July 15, 2008. A modest movement of about 2 months for China.
For EB-3 numbers most countries are now up to Sept. 1, 2008, a big jump. However, the Department of State cautions that once more demand surfaces, they will stop making such big jumps in the EB-3 numbers. India is at January 8, 2003 and the Philippines is at Sept. 22, 2006 – both of which are big jumps as well.
Rep. Goodlatte (R) held a press conference this morning regarding immigration reform efforts underway in the Senate. While he stated that he welcomed such efforts, he also stated that the House Judiciary committee would be looking at Immigration differently. The House will be dividing the legislation into separate bills so that Representatives can review and look at each aspect of immigration reform separately, as opposed to having one take it or leave it bill. According to Rep. Goodlatte, the first two bills will be introduced tomorrow and will concern the agricultural worker program and mandatory e-verify provisions. It should also be noted that Rep. Goodlatte does not support providing legal status to the thousands of people in the US without status at this time.
Considering Rep. Goodlatte’s previous stands on immigration, and considering the fact that the Senate, at this time, most likely will not consider piecemeal legislation, I think that this move makes it less likely that we will actually see immigration reform anytime soon. While I sincerely hope that I am wrong, and I hope that this can be worked out, I am not as hopeful as I was even yesterday. The primary issue is the fact that when each piece is separate, there is no guarantee that once one part is passed, the other parts will also be passed. In other words, if the House passes mandatory e-verify, what is to stop Republicans at that point from voting against the pathway to citizenship, even if they previously agreed to support it? I really see this move more as a way to end the immigration debate rather than as a way to move it forward. The only hope I see is that there can be some compromise whereby the senate agrees to modify the bill somewhat in return for having it pass as one bill. At this point, only time will tell.
It is important to keep in mind that the bill introduced in the Senate the other day is just that, a bill. Until it is passed by both the House and Senate and signed by the President, it is not the law. While it is somewhat instructive to discuss what is in the bill, and what it all means, it is much to early in the process to be planning your life around what may happen.
Why do I say this? Primarily because the House has yet to weigh in on the bill and what they have stated so far gives me cause to pause. What have they stated? That they are optimistic that the House and Senate can get together and pass a bill. Sounds good so far right? They then go on to say that in the coming days they will put forth their own bill and work with the Senate to iron out any differences. This is where I have problems. The Senate was barely able to compromise on what they have. If the House now changes things, even moderately, I think that things could end in an impasse. While time will tell, until the House version is out and vetted, I would not plan my life around what may happen in this regard.