ALERT: New Telephone Scam displaying false USCIS Information

There is a new telephone scam whereby someone claiming to be a USCIS officer is calling people and getting personal information and credit card/bank account information.  Apparently, they are using a technique so that the called ID shown is USCIS.  Be warned, according to UCSIS if a real USCIS officer were to call you they would not ask for ANY payment information or personally identifiable information besides your name. 

E-Verify: Does it work?

E-Verify is the system touted by USCIS to help stop people working who are not in the US in a legal status.  It requires employers to check social security numbers, names, etc. against the social security and USCIS database.   If the databases do not recognize someone, they will send out a flag to the employer, who is suppose to notify the employee and give them a specified period of time to reply and fix the record.  If they employee fails to act, the employer is required to fire the worker.
While this seems like it would be a great system, the question is does it work?  Does it really stop those in the US who are not in a legal immigration status from being able to work?  Does it protect those who are able to work?  Well, according to an article in the Christian Science Monitor (See http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/DC-Decoder/2013/0607/US-immigration-reform-Why-E-Verify-screenings-while-flawed-will-pass/(page)/2), which quotes testimony from Ms. Emily Tulli of the National Immigration Law Center, the answer would be no. In that testimony, Ms. Tulli cited a 2008 research project, which found that “54 percent of unauthorized workers for whom E-Verify checks were run were erroneously confirmed as being work-authorized.”
In another survey of 376 immigrant workers in Arizona, it was found that more than 100 of them had been fired, apparently after the employer got TNC notices and failed to notify the workers about their opportunity to appeal.
“In fiscal year 2012, approximately 100,000 workers [nationwide] likely received erroneous findings from the system and may have lost their jobs as a result,” Tulli said in her prepared testimony. That number of people who lose their jobs in error could rise as high as 770,000 or more if E-Verify is mandated nationwide, she warned.
According to Department of Homeland Security statistics, E-Verify has a 1.35 percent error rate. While this may not seem like much, it resulted in 221,155 “tentative nonconfirmations,” as the DHS calls them, in 2012 alone.
Hopefully the system is improving and hopefully less people are having issues, but, unfortunately, this is not something USCIS or Congress looks into or tracks.  They do not seem to care about these issues and are not actively working on fixing the system, or at least tweaking it to make it fairer and better.  I do understand the need for such a system, but until it actually works, mandating the system would be a mistake.

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August 2013 Visa Bulletin Releases – EB2 for India move up to 2008

The Department of State has released the latest visa bulletin for August 2013. In that bulletin there have been several significant movements. First, in terms of family based applications, the F2A category – spouses and children of permanent residents, has come current. Second, the EB-2 for India has moved forward to January 1, 2008. It should be noted that both of these moves were to stimulate demand. DOS has stated that there are many cases in the backlog in both categories but that people are not filing the I-485s and completing the process, so they have moved the dates up to use up the remaining visas for this year. With that in mind, they have stated that the dates will retrogress sometime after September, if not before.

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USCIS and implementation of the Supreme Court DOMA decision

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USCIS has issued a memo implementing the US Supreme Court’s decision in overturning DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act).  In a statement, SecretaryNapolitano stated:

After last week’s decision by the Supreme Court holding that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, President Obama directed federal departments to ensure the decision and its implication for federal benefits for same-sex legally married couples are implemented swiftly and smoothly.  To that end, effective immediately, I have directed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to review immigration visa petitions filed on behalf of a same-sex spouse in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse

In determining your ability to file, USCIS will generally look at the legality of the marriage in the State or Country in which you were married, not at the legality in the State in which you live.  Below is a link to the USCIS webpage which has some additional information.  It should also be noted that Secretary Kerry also issued a statement that the DOS will be revising its policies to come in compliance as well.

Link to USCIS Website Information

July Demand Data for EB2 and EB3 cut-off dates

The Department of State has once again released the demand data used to determine the July cut-off dates for the EB-2 and Eb-3 category. It is important to note that there are additional cases outside of these numbers that have not been counted (those who have already filed an I-485, for instance, are not included. Nether are any new cases that have been filed as of the cut-off date they have used (June 7, 2013) to determine the July Visa Bulletin).

Currently, the DOS lists the following demand in the EB-2 category (please note, this is cumulative demand as of January 1, 2013):

India: 43,100 cumulative demand

China: 5,100 cumulative demand

All Other: 200 cumulative demand

For the EB-3 category, the following is the demand (same dates):

India: 41,175

China: 75

Mexico: 25

Philippines: 5,500

All Other: 400

This will give you an idea as to why the July Visa Bulletin has the cut-off dates that it does.

July Visa Bulletin Released: India 2nd Preference may Progress In the Coming Months

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.

Immigration and the Economy: Myths and Facts

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.

The Economic Blame Game: Immigration and Unemployment | Immigration Policy Center.