Posted On: September 30, 2011

Widow(er) I-360 Filing Deadline on October 28, 2011

The requirement that widow(er)s of U.S. citizens be married at least two years at the time of death to be eligible to self-petition for immediate relative status was abolished in October 28, 2009; widow(er)s of U.S. citizens married any length of time can file an I-360 self-petition for immediate relative status, but must still file within two years of the death.
Individuals married to a U.S. citizen for less than 2 years whose spouse died prior to October 29, 2009 can still be eligible for a green card but must file the I-360 petition no later than October 28, 2011.  For example, a widow who was married in 1999 and whose spouse died in 2000 could still be eligible for a green card if an I-360 is filed before October 28, 2011.  This deadline is critical because if the widow(er) misses the deadline, she or he would lose the ability to qualify for a green card based on the death of his or her U.S. citizen spouse.  The I-360 must be filed by the deadline but the immigration process does not need to be completed by October 28, 2011.  More information can be found on the USCIS website:  http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=67eba65290e62310VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=e7801c2c9be44210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD.
 

Posted On: September 26, 2011

Transformation – USCIS Moving Towards a Web Based Application System

USCIS is implementing a new web-based system, Transformation, which allows for online filing and monitoring of immigration applications. Transformation will be deployed in multiple phases starting this winter, and will enable immigration benefit seekers to submit applications, information, respond to requests, and view status updates online with greater efficiency and security. It will also facilitate more complete, accurate and timely responses to customer requests. For more information, please see www.uscis.gov/transformation.

Posted On: September 26, 2011

Immigration and Counterterrorism Databases Now Automatically Linked

The Associated Press reports that the Obama Administration is now using a new system, known as Secure Communities, to identify individuals who are in violation of their visas. Formerly, immigration databases were checked manually; the new system is automated to simultaneously check immigration, law enforcement and security databases, determining which individuals have overstayed their visas or require further investigation. This new automated program is designed to eliminate human errors and allow for broader searches. While the focus is on counterterrorism, the new search capabilities will speed identification of a variety of visa violations. To view the entire article, see http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gAK06mhrfq4BhUP8l-z3ZcXuTtgQ?docId=73b1b20b32bc498fa53d064d9d814de0

Secure Communities has been in effect since 2008, and while the Department of Homeland Security plans for each state to participate by 2013, this system has received continued criticism. This summer, several states withdrew from the program stating that Secure Communities is not accomplishing the main goal of removing foreign nationals who are convicted of serious crimes, and instead may undermine local law enforcement agencies by deterring reporting of criminal activity. For related articles, go to the following links.

http://www.ice.gov/secure_communities/

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/07/us/politics/07immig.html?_r=1

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/02/nyregion/cuomo-pulls-new-york-from-us-fingerprint-checks.html

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/09/dhs-task-force-criticizes-immigration-fingerprint-program/

Posted On: September 19, 2011

2013 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV-2013)

The Department of State published information on the 2013 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program on their website: http://travel.state.gov/pdf/DV_2013_instructions.pdf. There are 55,000 diversity visas available per year and a "green card lottery" is conducted to select winners from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Natives of the following countries are NOT eligible to apply: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.

DV lottery winners must also qualify based on education (high school education or its equivalent) or two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience.

The Department of State will start accepting online registration on Tuesday, October 4, 2011, at noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4) until Saturday, November 5, 2011, at noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4).

Posted On: September 16, 2011

FY2012 H-1B Cap Update

As of August 26, 2011, the USCIS has received approximately 32,200 Bachelor's degree petitions and 16,700 U.S. Master's degree petitions. The USCIS will continue to accept H-1B petitions for FY2012 until the quota of 65,000 Bachelor's degree petitions and 20,000 U.S. Master's degree petitions is met.

Posted On: September 16, 2011

Employment Based Visa Numbers Exhausted for FY2011

The Department of State has announced that the visa numbers for employment based green card applications have been exhausted for Fiscal Year 2011. The INA allocates at least 140,000 visa numbers for employment-based preference categories (i.e. EB-1. EB-2, EB-3, etc.) Each month the Department of States publishes a visa bulletin that provides a summary of the immigrant visa numbers available per month. The October visa bulletin can be found here: http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5560.html. For each category that is oversubscribed, the Department of States establishes a cut-off date that is determined by the priority date of the first applicant who could not be allocated a visa number. Applicants who have a priority date earlier than the cut-off date are eligible to receive an immigrant visa number for that month. Applicants with priority dates later than the cut-off dates must continue to wait until his or her priority date becomes current. Because visa numbers have been exhausted for Fiscal Year 2011, employment based applicants with priority dates that meet the cut-off dates under the September visa bulletin will need to wait until the visa numbers under Fiscal Year 2012 are available on October 1, 2011. Thus, the USCIS and Department of State will be holding employment based green card cases that meet the cut-off dates based on the September 2011 visa bulletin and will resume issuing green card approvals or immigrant visas on October 1, 2011 when the Fiscal Year 2012 visa numbers are available. Please note that the USCIS will continue to accept adjustment of status applications for those individuals who meet the cut-off dates in September.

Posted On: September 12, 2011

October 2011 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5560.html. Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 remains current, except for India and China (July 15, 2007); EB-3 is at December 8, 2005 for all countries, except for India (July 15, 2002) and China (August 8, 2004); EB-3 other workers is at September 15, 2005 for all countries, except India (June 8, 2002), China (April 22, 2003); EB-4, religious workers, EB-5, and targeted employment areas and regional centers are all current. Family based petitions are backlogged, with the most recent date at January 8, 2009 for F2A (spouses and children under 21 of lawful permanent residents) and the longest queue for F4 Philippines(brothers and sisters of U.S. Citizens) of August 1, 1988.

The DOS also estimated the priority date cut-offs for the next few months with movement from two weeks to one month in some categories. Please see the visa bulletin at section D for the estimated movement.

Posted On: September 9, 2011

US Consulate in Mumbai Resumes H and L Visa Issuance

H and L visas are now being processed at the United States Consulate in Mumbai, India. The consulate opened the appointment schedule on August 26, 2011 with the first scheduled interview on September 6. All interviews will be located at the Lincoln House building located at 78, Bhulabhai Desai Road. Appointments can be made via VFS at http://www.vfs-usa.co.in/ApplnForms/SchduleMenu.aspx.

Posted On: September 6, 2011

DHS Report of Non-immgrant Admissions in 2010

DHS published a report of the number of individuals who were admitted as non-immigrants in 2010. Non-immigrants are individuals who enter the U.S. on a temporary basis and include visitors for business or pleasure, students, temporary workers, investors, exchange visitors, athletes and entertainers. There were 160 million non-immigrants who entered in 2010 and a majority of them (87%) were visitors entering for business or pleasure. The countries with the highest number of individuals entering in non-immigrant status include Mexico, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, France, Canada, South Korea, Brazil, India, and Italy. A copy of the report can be found at: http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/statistics/publications/ni_fr_2010.pdf

Posted On: September 1, 2011

ICE Issues FAQ on Enforcement Priorities

ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) issued a FAQ on the Administration's announcement regarding the re-focusing of immigration enforcement efforts and resources to high priority case. The process was created to allow ICE to focus efforts on the removal of undocumented individuals who threaten national security, public safety and are repeat immigration violators or fugitives. The FAQ further clarifies that the process will enhance border security since the government can reallocate its resources to preventing illicit travel and trade at the border. A working committee of federal agencies will review cases pending in the immigration and federal court and on a case-by-case basis determine which cases warrant prosecutorial discretion. Federal and immigration judges will rule on high priority cases and accelerate the removal of high priority undocumented individuals from the United States. Individuals who are the recipient of prosecutorial discretion, will be allowed to apply for work authorization and pay the required fees and work permit applications will be reviewed base on its merits. The FAQ's reiterate that this is NOT an amnesty and individuals who will benefit from prosecutorial discretion will NOT obtain a green card. There is NO application process to obtain prosecutorial discretion and only individuals who are currently pending in immigration and federal court are eligible. Any individual who self surrenders to ICE will be placed in removal proceedings and will not be protected from removal from the US. More information can be found on the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) website: http://www.aila.org/content/default.aspx?docid=36705 and the ICE FAQ can be found at the following site: http://www.ice.gov/doclib/about/offices/ero/pdf/immigration-enforcement-facts.pdf.

Posted On: September 1, 2011

Immigration Seminar Annoucement

Cornerstone Law Group is pleased to announce the following complimentary in-person seminars presented by Charina P. Garcia:

Full-Service Representation: Advising HR Managers on Employment-Based Immigration from Interview to Termination

Topics to be covered include:

• Interview
• Immigration Sponsorship
• Developing the Corporate Immigration Policy
• Salary Reductions
• Mandatory Company-Wide Shutdowns and Furloughs
• Termination

Date: Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Time: 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM

Location:

Alameda County Bar Association
70 Washington Street, Suite 200
Oakland, CA 94607

To register, please e-mail cpgteam@cornerlaw.com with the number of attendees. An e-mail confirmation will be sent prior to the seminar date.

Should you have any specific questions that you hope will be addressed at the seminar, please e-mail them to cpgteam@cornerlaw.com before the day of the seminar.