Shusterman Law http://www.shusterman.com Over 100 Years of Immigration Law Experience Wed, 22 Mar 2017 16:45:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.3 Shusterman’s Immigration UpdateMarch 2017 http://www.shusterman.com/shustermans-immigration-update-march-2017/ Wed, 01 Mar 2017 09:05:11 +0000 http://www.shusterman.com/?p=63665 Volume Twenty Two, Number Three SHUSTERMAN’S IMMIGRATION UPDATE is the Web’s most popular e-mail newsletter regarding US immigration laws and procedures with over 60,000 subscribers located in more than 150 countries. It is written by a former INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) with over 40 years of experience practicing immigration law. Published by the Law Offices […]

The post Shusterman’s Immigration Update
March 2017
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Volume Twenty Two, Number Three

SHUSTERMAN’S specialized knowledgeIMMIGRATION UPDATE is the Web’s most popular e-mail newsletter regarding US immigration laws and procedures with over 60,000 subscribers located in more than 150 countries. It is written by a former INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) with over 40 years of experience practicing immigration law.

Published by the Law Offices of Carl Shusterman, 600 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 1550, Los Angeles, California, 90017. Phone: (213) 623-4592 x0.

Want to keep up to date with the latest changes in immigration laws, procedures, processing times and forms? Subscribe now to our Immigration Newsletter, join the conversation on our Facebook Page, follow our Blog Posts and subscribe to our “How-To” Immigration Videos.

 

Client Reviews

Professional and Knowledgeable Law Firm

“I’ve had a decade of experience with Mr. Shusterman’s law firm. I used them for my immigration needs from H1 to citizenship. It is safe to say this is one of the most competent, professional and knowledgeable law firms. If there is a firm that can handle any possible immigration case routine or otherwise; then this is it.”

- D. Chen, Phoenix, Arizona
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TABLE OF CONTENTS:

1. How DHS Plans to Deport Millions from the US
2. New USCIS I-9 Handbook for Employers
3. Ask Mr. Shusterman: How Employers Can Protect Themselves
4. State Department Visa Bulletin for March 2017
5. Immigration Government Processing Times
6. Success Story: Helping an H1-B Worker “Recapture” Her Job
7. Immigration Trivia Quiz: The New Colossus
8. Shusterman’s Upcoming Immigration Seminars
9. Jobs & Green Cards for RNs & MedTechs: Free Legal Help!
10. Winner of Our February 2017 Immigration Trivia Quiz!

NEWS FLASHES:

  • LA Daily Journal Podcast with Attorney Shusterman – On February 10, the LA Daily Journal interviewed Attorney Shusterman for over one hour regarding how the Trump Presidency is likely to change US immigration policy. Here is how they summarized the interview: “Attorney Carl Shusterman visits this week, to examine the many ways immigration policy has begun and is set to shift during the presidency of Donald Trump. Our conversation covers broad terrain: Middle East immigrants and refugees and Trump’s currently-suspended travel ban; migration from Mexico and Central America and Trump’s border wall; and the president’s plans to restrict legal immigration programs, like NAFTA’s professional visa program or the H-1B visa program.”

  • Representative Defends Hispanic Caucus After Dismissal from ICE Meeting – Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) were outraged after they were barred from a meeting with Thomas Homan, the acting director of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). House Speaker Paul Ryan asked CHC members to leave the meeting, which was about the execution of President Trump’s controversial immigration policies. Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill) stated in response: “I expect such dictatorial shenanigans from the Trump administration, but not from competent, compassionate legislators like Speaker Ryan or from legislators like Bob Goodlatte. Do they have earpieces feeding them orders from President Bannon or the others making decisions in the White House?”

  • Trumps Immigration Ban Fuels Fear for Young Doctors – President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration, which sparked protests abroad and in the US, is also raising fears about the impact on international medical graduates vying for training programs at US hospitals, as well as young doctors in training from affected countries who are already working here. Immigration attorney Carl Shusterman is quoted in this article.

  • EOIR Memorandum: Case Processing Priorities – EOIR has issued a memo rescinding the February 3, 2016 memorandum entitled “Revised Docketing Practices Relating to Certain EOIR Priority Cases” and the March 24, 2015, memorandum “Docketing Practices Relating to Unaccompanied Children Cases and Adults with Children Released on Alternatives to Detention Cases in Light of New Priorities”. Going forward, EOIR’s case processing priorities will be limited to the following 3 categories of cases: all detained individuals, unaccompanied children in the care and custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement who do not have a sponsor identified, and individuals who are released from custody on a Rodriguez bond.

  • Federal Appeals Court Upholds TRO of Trump’s Travel Ban – On February 9, a 3-Judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit unanimously upheld a Temporary Restraining Order on President Trump’s travel ban from 7 predominantly Moslem countries. Rather than appeal the Court’s ruling, the Administration announced that they would rewrite the travel ban.

1. How DHS Plans to Deport Millions from the US

Trump

On February 20, the DHS issued a memorandum entitled “Implementing the President’s Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvement Policies”.

This memo repeats and clarifies some of President Trump’s signature immigration policies:

One unanswered question has been “How can President Trump quickly deport millions of immigrants when the Immigration Courts are already facing a 3-year backlog?”

The memo answers this question in two words: “Expedited Removal”.

 

What is Expedited Removal?

Expedited removal was written into law in 1996, but previous administrations have restricted it’s use.

It allows an immigration agent to order a person removed from the US without the right to a hearing before an Immigration Judge and without the ability to appeal the officer’s ruling.

It has been used almost exclusively at airports, seaports and land borders. If an officer finds that a person is inadmissible (not welcome) in the US because he is ineligible for entry to the US or has made a “material misrepresentation” in order to obtain an immigration benefit, he can be banned for 5 years or even a lifetime from returning to the US without a waiver.

The law provides exceptions to expedited removal for US citizens, lawful permanent residents, persons with parole documents, those who have a “credible fear” of being persecuted if they return to their home country and to persons who have continuously resided in the US for 2 years or more.

While past administrations have chosen to use expedited removal sparingly, the Trump Administration has signaled in this memorandum that it may use expedited removal all across the US to round up and deport tens or hundreds of thousands of immigrants.

 

What You Can Do to Protect Yourself

Persons arrested by ICE/CBP and subjected to expedited removal are not released on bond. If you have been living in the US for 2 continuous years or more, you are entitled to a hearing before an Immigration Judge. Therefore, it is wise to carry proof of your 2 years of residence in the US. This can be your last 2 years of Federal Income Tax returns or other official records.

If you fear returning to your country because you may be persecuted because of your political opinions, religious beliefs, race, nationality or membership in a particular social group, you need to convince the officer of this. Even if you are ineligible for asylum because you have been living in the US for more that one year, you may still be eligible for withholding of removal or the Convention Against Torture.

You are entitled to a “credible fear interview” (CFI) before an Asylum Officer. If the Asylum Officer finds that you do not have a credible fear, request a CFI before an Immigration Judge.

Since your life in on the line, I recommend that you hire an experienced immigration attorney to help you with your case. You may want to watch our video “Immigration Lawyers: What to Know Before You Hire One”. Be aware that certain states (California, Florida, North Carolina and Texas) have designated a relatively small number of lawyers as Certified Specialists in Immigration and Nationality Law.

2. New USCIS I-9 Handbook for Employers

On February 15, the USCIS published a new Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9 (M-274). This new 65-page handbook replaces the previous version which was published in 2014. It reflects the changes made in the new I-9 form which was last revised in November 2016 and became mandatory for employers to use on January 22, 2017.

USCIS has also published a 53-page Table of Changes for Revised M-274 which highlights changes between the 2014 and the 2017 handbooks. Note that even the instructions to the new I-9 form have grown to 15 pages.

  • Contents of the Handbook
    1. Why Employers Must Verify Employment Authorization and Identity of New Employees
    2. Completing Form I-9
    3. Photocopying and Retaining Form I-9
    4. Unlawful Discrimination and Penalties for Prohibited Practices
    5. Instructions for Recruiters and Referrers for a Fee
    6. E-Verify: The Web-Based Verification Companion to Form I-9
    7. Some Questions You May Have About Form I-9

This section contains 45 questions and answers regarding how to complete Form I-9. Additional questions and answers, including some related to Self Audits, are provided online at USCIS’s I-9 Central.

  • Smart I-9 Form

Employers now have the option of using the new computer-friendly I-9 form. This form can be downloaded from uscis.gov and completed on a computer.

The new smart I-9 form includes a number of drop-down menus for dates and places to make completing the form easier.

If either an employer or an employee leaves a field blank or makes a technical error in completing the form, the smart I-9 will let them know.

Most fields which are not completed require the employee or the employer to insert “N/A” meaning “not applicable”.

Employers who choose to use the new smart I-9 form must still print it out. Original signatures are required on the printed form and it must be stored in compliance with I-9 regulations.

If the employer chooses, the paper form can still be used.

  • Changes to the I-9 Form
  1. Validations on certain fields to ensure information is entered correctly. For example, the form will validate the correct number of digits for a Social Security number or an expiration date on an identity document.
  2. Drop-down lists and calendars.
  3. Embedded instructions for completing each field.
  4. Buttons that will allow users to access the instructions electronically, print the form and clear the form to start over.
  5. Additional spaces to enter multiple preparers and translators. If the employee does not use a preparer or translator to assist in completing section 1, he or she must indicate so on a new check box labeled, “I did not use a preparer or translator.”
  6. The requirement that workers provide only other last names used in Section 1, rather than all other names used. This is to avoid possible discrimination issues and to protect the privacy of transgender and other individuals who have changed their first names.
  7. The removal of the requirement that immigrants authorized to work provide both their Form I-94 number and foreign passport information in Section 1.
  8. A new “Citizenship/Immigration Status” field at the top of section 2.
  9. A dedicated area to enter additional information that employers are currently required to notate in the margins of the form, such as TPS and OPT
  10. A quick-response matrix bar code, or QR code, that generates once the form is printed that can be used to streamline enforcement audits.
  • Increased Fines for I-9 Violations

Since August 1, 2016, fines for I-9 paperwork violations have nearly doubled. For paperwork violations, the minimum penalty increased from $110 to $216 while the maximum penalty increased from $1,100 to $2,156 per violation.

The fines for unlawful employment of workers who are not authorized to work now range from $539 to $4,313 per worker for a first time violation to over $20,000 per worker for subsequent offenses.

I anticipate that the present Administration will make increased use of I-9 audits.

Bear in mind that employers who are overly enforcement-minded may be fined for unfair immigration-related practices such as document abuse or discrimination on the basis of nationality or citizenship status. Such fines range up to over $17,000 per worker.

  • January 17, 2017 Regulations

As we advised employers in our December 2016 newsletter, the DHS issued a 366-page employment-related immigration regulation which became effective on January 17, 2017.

Among other things, the regulation lists 15 categories of people whose Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) will automatically be extended for 180 days as long as they submit timely requests to extend their EADs. However, there are also many categories of EADs which do not qualify for automatic extensions. This regulation is extremely complex and burdensome for employers.

3. Ask Mr. Shusterman : How Employers Can Protect Themselves

The complex new regulations, the elevated fine levels, the new I-9 form, the updated Employers Handbook and the increased attention to immigration from the new Administration all put employers at risk.

  • Employers Are Walking a Tightrope

Back in 1986 when employers were first saddled with the burden of completing I-9 forms, a Member of Congress had me and an Immigration Service official present a seminar for local business people regarding the new requirements.

The INS official assured the crowd that completing a short form was a very routine requirement which would not unduly burden HR professionals.

As a former INS prosecutor, I tended to be more skeptical. I warned employers that they were walking a tightrope. If they did not comply with I-9 requirements, they could face fines for paperwork violations and for hiring unauthorized workers. If they “over-complied”, they could be fined for document abuse and discrimination.

Over the years, USCIS requirements for working in the US have grown increasingly complex, and few employers whose I-9s we have reviewed are in full compliance with the law.

Many companies have been forced to pay multi-million dollar fines for hiring unauthorized workers. In 2015, before the fine amounts doubled, a California employer was fined over $600,000 simply for I-9 paperwork violations. Other employers have paid over $100,000 in document abuse and discrimination fines related to I-9s.

  • How Employers Can Protect Themselves

I-9 forms must be retained for 3 years after an employee is hired, or 1 year after his employment ceases, whichever comes later. As a practical matter, your company may be storing I-9 forms which were completed many years ago.

What if some of the forms for existing employees are defective? Fortunately, DHS rules allow you to correct these, and if you do so before you receive a notice that your I-9 forms are being audited, each mistake that you correct can save you hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars in fines.

Therefore, I recommend that you conduct an internal audit of all your I-9 forms. It is a good idea to hire an experienced immigration attorney to help you. In my experience, the attorney fees that you pay are usually only a small fraction of the potential fines that you will save in the event that you are audited.

Also, there are a lot of free materials online which have the potential to save your company many thousands of dollars.

I strongly recommend Human Resources Managers become familiar with the new USCIS Handbook for Employers. It has a section answering frequently-asked questions which is very helpful.

My short article in Recruiting Trends magazine Can Your Company Survive An I-9 Audit is a good place to start. You may also want to watch my videos on this subject.

The Employers Immigration Guide on our website links to each of the above-referenced materials as well as to I-9 Central (USCIS) and to a variety of other free resources.

Finally, you may want to sign-up for the government’s E-Verify Program. Our law firm did so over a decade ago as did many of our corporate clients. E-Verify is a free Internet-based system which allows employers to verify the eligibility of employees to work in the US. Though E-verify is far from perfect, I expect that it will become mandatory for most employers in the near future.

4. State Department Visa Bulletin for March 2017

EMPLOYMENT CATEGORIES

 

The worldwide employment-based preference categories all remain current except for EB-3 which advances by 2 months to December 1, 2016.

However, the outlook remains bleak for persons born in India, China and the Philippines due to per-country quotas.

India EB-2 moves ahead by 6 weeks while India EB-3 remains frozen at March 22, 2005.

China EB-2 advances by 4 weeks while China EB-3 jumps forward 5 1/2 months. China EB-5 investors will see their waiting times lengthen to almost 3 years.

Philippines EB-3 moves forward by 5 months to March 15, 2012.

The EB-4 category for persons born in Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras remains frozen.

The following chart tells the story of the EB numbers in detail:

A. APPLICATION FINAL ACTION DATES FOR EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCE CASES

World China El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras India Mexico Philippines
1st Current Current Current Current Current Current
2nd Current 12-15-12 Current 6-01-08 Current Current
3rd 12-01-16 3-15-14 12-01-16 3-22-05 12-01-16 3-15-12
Unskilled 12-01-16 2-01-06 12-01-16 3-22-05 12-01-16 3-15-12
4th Current Current 7-15-15 Current 7-15-15 Current
5th Current 5-01-14 Current Current Current Current

B. DATES FOR FILING OF EMPLOYMENT-BASED VISA APPLICATIONS– These dates indicate when immigrant applicants can send adjustment of status applications without having to wait for their priority dates to become current.

World China India Mexico Philippines
1st Current Current Current Current Current
2nd Current 3-01-13 4-22-09 Current Current
3rd Current 5-01-14 7-01-05 Current 9-01-13
Unskilled Current 8-01-09 7-01-05 Current 9-01-13
4th Current Current Current Current Current
5th Current 6-15-14 Current Current Current

FAMILY-BASED CATEGORIES

The family-based categories in the visa bulletin are as follows:

visa bulletin

An applicant’s priority date is the day that the government received the I-130 Petition. For more on family-based visas and how you can shorten your application time, see Attorney Shusterman’s video near the top of this page.

VISA BULLETIN – FAMILY

The worldwide family-based priority dates continue to move slowly forward between 2 and 5 weeks except for the F1 category which sprints ahead by over 3 months.

All of the Philippine categories advance by 2 to 5 weeks except for the F3 category which remains frozen.

For persons born in Mexico, each of the categories inch forward between 1 and 3 weeks.

The F4 category for siblings advances 1 week for persons born in India.

The following charts tell the story in detail:

A. APPLICATION FINAL ACTION DATES FOR FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCE CASES

World China India Mexico Philippines
1st 6-01-10 6-01-10 6-01-10 5-15-95 12-15-05
2A 5-08-15 5-08-15 5-08-15 4-22-15 5-08-15
2B 8-15-10 8-15-10 8-15-10 11-22-95 5-01-06
3rd 4-22-05 4-22-05 4-22-05 12-22-94 9-08-94
4th 2-22-04 2-22-04 7-22-03 6-01-97 8-01-93

B. DATES FOR FILING FAMILY-SPONSORED VISA APPLICATIONS– These dates indicate when immigrant applicants can send adjustment of status applications without having to wait for their priority dates to become current.

World China India Mexico Philippines
1st 1-01-11 1-01-11 1-01-11 6-01-95 5-01-06
2A 11-22-15 11-22-15 11-22-15 11-22-15 11-22-15
2B 2-08-11 2-08-11 2-08-11 6-01-96 2-01-07
3rd 8-22-05 8-22-05 8-22-05 5-01-95 1-01-95
4th 7-01-04 7-01-04 5-01-04 12-01-97 4-01-94

5. Immigration Government Processing Times

We have included a link to various tables where you can access the immigration waiting times

  • USCIS Service Centers
  • National Benefits Center
  • EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Office
  • USCIS’ 83 Field Offices

Search the Field Offices for the USCIS’ 83 District Offices and Sub-offices to look up the processing times for (1) Applications for Adjustment of Status (I-485) (2) Work Authorization (I-765); (3) Advance Parole (I-131); (4) Naturalization (N-400) and other types of applications. To access your immigration waiting time, what you need to know are:

  • The office where your petition has been filed or transferred to
  • The type of application or petition
  • The date on which the petition was filed

This information can all be found on the Notice of Receipt that was mailed to you by the USCIS. To begin, simply click on the Field Office or Service Center that interests you and click “Submit Query” and you will be directed to the current USCIS processing time table.

If your petition/application is on appeal, you can access the processing times of the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO).

If your PERM case or other type of application is pending at the DOL, we link to the Department of Labor Processing Times.

If you are applying for a visa abroad, we link to Visa Appointment and Processing Times at 100+ US Embassies and Consulates around the world.

If you have requested a copy of your file from the USCIS, you can check the status of your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

If you are applying for affirmative asylum you can check how the Asylum Division has prioritized applications for interview scheduling.

Warning: Immigration waiting times may appear faster on the official lists than they are in reality.

6. Success Story: Helping an H1-B Worker “Recapture” Her Job

In February 2017, Ms. Yoshido’s temporary work visa was going to expire. Originally from Japan, she was on her 6th and final year of her H-1B visa.

She had produced highly valuable work for an American media company and had established herself as integral to their operations. Her employer was enthusiastic about sponsoring her as a permanent resident.

Both Ms. Yoshido and her employer fully anticipated that she would simply receive a visa extension and go on to become a permanent resident without any major hiccups. However, by the time they began the process to make this a reality, they discovered that it was already too late.

In order to extend an employee’s H-1B status past 6 years, an employer should submit a PERM application before the beginning of the 6th year. Not knowing this, Ms. Yoshido’s employer waited to apply for her until a few months before her H-1B status was set to expire.

By the time the situation came to light, it was December of 2016, and it looked as if there was no way Ms. Yoshido’s green card application could be approved before her time ran out. She was told that she would have to return to Japan and await green card approval there.

PERM applications can take up to sixth months to be processed. Suddenly, she stood to lose her job, her income, and her home in the United States. At the same time, the employer stood to lose an essential member of their team.

Desperate to find a way out of this situation, Ms. Yoshido’s employer came to us.

After carefully reviewing her case, a potential solution emerged from an overlooked fact: only those days that are spent inside the United States can be counted towards the six-year H1-B limit. Ms. Yoshido’s passport revealed that she had spent significant time in Japan during the past 6 years—446 days to be exact.

The 446 days that Ms. Yoshido spent outside the US could be “recaptured,” or subtracted from the 6-year period. With those days returned to her, it became obvious that Ms. Yoshido could continue working in the US in H-1B status while her green card application was being processed.

We advised her employer to submit an extension application with documentation of her time spent outside the US using premium processing. Within 3 weeks, the H-1B extension was approved. Ms. Yoshido and her employer were beyond relief when they learned that she was permitted to work for them without substantial interruption.

Instead of losing her job, Ms. Yoshido will continue to work for her employer for another 14 months. However, if she travels abroad, she will have to obtain another H-1B visa in Japan in order to be able to return to the US.

By this summer, we fully anticipate that her PERM application will be approved, and that her priority date will become current for the EB-3 visa category. At this point, she will be eligible to apply for her green card without having to leave the US.

Instead of having to take an extended unpaid leave and potentially lose her job, Ms. Yoshido is set to begin working for her employer as a permanent resident in the near future.

Helpful tip: Ms. Yoshido is one of the fortunate few. In order to avoid having to send an H-1B employee back to their home country, we advise our corporate clients to sponsor foreign-born professionals in the 1st or 2nd year of their employment in the US.

7. Immigration Trivia Quiz: The New Colossus

This month’s Immigration Trivia Quiz is entitled:

The New Colossus

The first person to correctly answer our quiz (and supply their biographical information) wins a free legal consultation with one of our attorneys before the end of March.

8. Shusterman’s Upcoming Immigration Seminars

Donald Trump Immigration Webinar
The State Bar of California
March 1, 2017
Time: 12:00-1:00pm

Federal Bar Association
Immigration Law Section
Annual Conference
Denver, CO
May 12, 2017
Time: TBD

9. Jobs & Green Cards for RNs & MedTechs – Free Legal Help!

Are you a Registered Nurse or a Medical Technologist who is looking for a job in the US?

What if you could find a job, a work visa and green cards for you and your family in the US? And what if the cost to you for all of this was zero?

Hard to believe? Let me explain:

Our law firm represents over 100 hospitals across the country. And the nurse shortage is coming back.

Our hospitals are in need of hundreds of RNs as well as Medical Technologists and other healthcare professionals. They are looking for both US and foreign-born RNs, and they will pay all of our attorneys’ fees, USCIS filing fees and more!

We have a video and a web page for those who are interested in applying for employment and sponsorship.

If you are a foreign nurse or a medical technologist and need a job in the US and the job requires a work visa and/or green card, please do the following:

Send an e-mail message to egarcia@shusterman.com

In your message, please provide the following information:

1. Have you passed the NCLEX exam?
2. Do you have a current RN license in the US? If so, from what state(s)?
3. Have you taken and passed the IELTS or TOEFL exam?
4. Do you have a valid VisaScreen certificate?
5. Do you have any immediate family members accompanying you to the United States (spouse and children)?
6. Have you ever been petitioned by any US sponsor and hold an old priority date? If so, what is your priority date?
7. If you are present in the US, what is your current immigration status?
8. What is your RN background (area of expertise)?
9. What is your country of birth?
10. What is your country of citizenship?
11. What is your phone number?

If you are a CLS, please amend the above questions accordingly.

We will forward your response to our hospitals, and if they are interested, they will contact you. Please do not contact our law firm until after you hear from one of our hospitals.

We look forward to helping you!

10. Winner for February 2017 Immigration Trivia Quiz!

February’s Immigration Trivia Quiz was entitled: Immigrant Politicians

Here is the message we received from our winner Mildred,

“1) Arnold Swarzenneggar, former Governor of California, was born in Austria. He is not eligible to become president – Naturalized citizen

2) Ileanna Ros-Lehtinen, U.S Rep from Forida, was born in Cuba. She is not eligible to become president – Naturalized citizen

3) Ladda Tammy Duckworth, Senator from my state of Illinois, was born in Thailand. She is eligible to become president, a US citizen by birth.

I have been reading Shusterman for a couple of years now.”

 

Congratulations, Mildred! And thank you for keeping up with our newsletter!

Carl Shusterman

Certified Specialist in Immigration Law, State Bar of California
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Attorney (1976-82)
Member of AILA Board of Governors (1988-97)
Law Offices of Carl Shusterman, 600 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1550
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Phone: (213) 623-4592 x0, Fax: (213) 623-3720

“The last time we cut immigration, in the 1920s, we were in the middle of a baby boom. Today, fertility rates have plummeted. If the Cotton-Perdue bill became law, the working-age population would shrink, the nation would age and America would decline.”

– David Brooks, Op-Ed Columnist
The National Death Wish
February 24, 2017

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February 27, 2017

The post Shusterman’s Immigration Update
March 2017
appeared first on Shusterman Law.

]]>
Shusterman’s Immigration UpdateFebruary 2017 http://www.shusterman.com/shustermans-immigration-update-february-2017/ Wed, 01 Feb 2017 13:01:59 +0000 http://www.shusterman.com/?p=63344 Volume Twenty Two, Number Two SHUSTERMAN’S IMMIGRATION UPDATE is the Web’s most popular e-mail newsletter regarding US immigration laws and procedures with over 60,000 subscribers located in more than 150 countries. It is written by a former INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) with over 40 years of experience practicing immigration law. Published by the Law Offices […]

The post Shusterman’s Immigration Update
February 2017
appeared first on Shusterman Law.

]]>
Volume Twenty Two, Number Two

SHUSTERMAN’S specialized knowledgeIMMIGRATION UPDATE is the Web’s most popular e-mail newsletter regarding US immigration laws and procedures with over 60,000 subscribers located in more than 150 countries. It is written by a former INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) with over 40 years of experience practicing immigration law.

Published by the Law Offices of Carl Shusterman, 600 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 1550, Los Angeles, California, 90017. Phone: (213) 623-4592 x0.

Want to keep up to date with the latest changes in immigration laws, procedures, processing times and forms? Subscribe now to our Immigration Newsletter, join the conversation on our Facebook Page, follow our Blog Posts and subscribe to our “How-To” Immigration Videos.

 

Client Reviews

Professional and Knowledgeable Law Firm

“I’ve had a decade of experience with Mr. Shusterman’s law firm. I used them for my immigration needs from H1 to citizenship. It is safe to say this is one of the most competent, professional and knowledgeable law firms. If there is a firm that can handle any possible immigration case routine or otherwise; then this is it.”

- D. Chen, Phoenix, Arizona
Read More Reviews

Skype Consultations Available!

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

1. Trump’s Executive Orders: How to Protect Yourself
2. Are You Ready for the H-1B Filing Season?
3. State Department Visa Bulletin for February 2017
4. Immigration Government Processing Times
5. Success Story: Here’s Your Green Card, Ms. Obama!
6. Immigration Trivia Quiz: Immigrant Politicians
7. Ask Mr. Shusterman: DHS Proposes Changes in EB-5 Program
8. Shusterman’s Upcoming Immigration Seminars
9. Jobs & Green Cards for RNs & MedTechs: Free Legal Help!
10. Winner of Our January 2017 Immigration Trivia Quiz!

NEWS FLASHES:

 

  • Nationwide Class Status Granted to Protect Asylum Seekers by Federal Court – A federal court in Seattle has granted nationwide class action status in a case seeking to protect the rights of thousands of asylum seekers.

  • The “Wet-foot/Dry-foot” Policy Making Cubans Eligible for Permanent Residency has been Terminated  – Before leaving office, President Obama announced that the Department of Homeland Security would end the “wet-foot/dry-foot” policy . The policy made Cubans eligible for permanent residency within one year of reaching American soil, without the need for a visa

  • USCIS Announces a New Approach to Posting Processing Times – On January 5, 2017, the USCIS announced that it would begin post processing times using a specific date format rather than weeks or months. This is part of an ongoing effort to make processing times easier to understand.

1. Trump’s Executive Orders: How to Protect Yourself

In his first week in office, President Trump wasted no time in issuing 3 Executive Orders regarding immigration.  It is apparent that this is just the beginning of how he intends to upend our nation’s immigration system.

If you are an immigrant, we will give you some advice on what you need to do to protect yourself and your family at the end of this article.

 

  • President Trump’s Executive Orders

Here are the links to each of the Executive Orders:

  1. Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements (1-25-17)
  2. Enhancing Security in the Interior of the United States (1-25-17)
  3. Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States (1-27-17)

If only the Executive Orders could accomplish these goals, the American people would all benefit.   However, they are written in such a fashion that they will make us less secure.

The 1st Order concerns building a wall along the 2,000 mile border between the US and Mexico, an ill-conceived endeavor which would cost the American taxpayers (No, the government of Mexico has made it very clear that they do not intend to pay for the wall.) tens of billions of dollars and accomplish very little.

The 2nd Order would prioritize the deportation of criminals, a smart move, but something that the Obama Administration has already done for many years.

However, the Order would also compel state and local agencies to turn over information to the DHS which they are unwilling to do.  Imagine if your local police department were forced to share the immigration status of every person that was given a traffic ticket.  The bond of trust between local enforcement and these people will be broken.  Would immigrants report serious crimes to their local police departments if this bond was broken?

The 2nd Order would also stop Federal funding to “sanctuary cities”, an issue whose legality will ultimately be decided in the Federal Courts.

Most of the press has concentrated on the 3rd Order which would halt refugees from coming to the US for 120 days, from Syria indefinitely and halting the entry of persons into the US from 7 majority Muslim countries for 90 days or more.

Suspending the resettlement of refugees punishes the victims, not the perpetrators.  ISIS and Al Queda must be laughing at the stupidity of this policy.

GOP Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham issued a statement condemning the Executive Order for doing “more to help terrorist recruitment than improve our security.”

The Order, on its face, would even permit CBP officers at airports to turn away lawful permanent residents (aka green card holders) no matter how long they have lived in the US with their families.  Then, two days after the Order was signed, a high official in the Trump Administration announced that it would not apply to green card holders.

It does without saying that we all want to protect our country from terrorists.  Yet, excluding all visitors, students and professionals merely because they were born in a particular country or are members of a particular religion will not protect us and is antithetical both to our values and our interests.

The order excludes citizens/nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the US.

Would such an Order have stopped the 9/11 attacks, the Boston Marathon massacre or the San Bernardino shootings?  Of course not, since none of the perpetrators were from any of these 7 countries.  Duh!

What do these Executive Orders accomplish except to grab headlines and apparently convince some of our fellow citizens that the President is serious about controlling immigration and stopping terrorism?

And this is only the beginning.  Now, the USCIS has announced that it will put a hold on all applications and petitions benefitting citizens/nationals of the 7 countries, be they in the US or abroad.  That means that a green card holder who was welcomed to our country after fleeing the revolution in Iran (be he/she Moslem, Christian, Bahai or Jewish) cannot be sworn-in as a US citizen.  Sad.

A draft copy of a 4th unsigned Executive Order entitled “Protecting American Jobs and Workers by Strengthening the Integrity of Foreign Worker Visa Program” was linked Vox.com.  This Order would impact the H-1B and H-4 EAD programs, provide for site visits to L-1 employers and expand the E-Verify Program.

 

  • Advice for Workers, Students and Visitors
  1. If you are from one of the 7 countries listed above, do not leave the country unless you do not intend to return to the US.
  2. If you are from a predominately Moslem country, remember that it may be dangerous for you to travel abroad since your country could be added to the List of 7 at any time.
  3. If you are have a pending application/petition for immigration benefits and you are from one of the 7 countries, your application will be placed on hold. See your immigration attorney if you wish to file a Petition for a Writ of Mandamus in Federal Court to try to force the government to take action on your pending application/petition.
  4. If you are from a predominately Moslem country which is not on the List of 7, you may want to file your application for immigration benefits now before your country is added to the List of 7.
  5. If you are a green card holder, no matter what country you were born in, you may be wish to apply for naturalization as soon as possible in order to assure that you will be able to travel abroad freely in the future.
  6. If you are present in the US on temporary visa and wish to extend or change your status, do so as soon as possible as immigration laws may be changed in the future to make it more difficult for you to do so.
  7. If you are undocumented, see an immigration attorney to see if there are any possibilities for you to apply for lawful status.
  8. If you are undocumented, and are arrested by an Immigration Officer, refuse to sign any documents or give a statement. Instead, request a hearing before an Immigration Judge.  You may be eligible for relief from deportation and for an Employment Authorization Document.
  9. If you plan to sponsor a relative for a green card, do so immediately as the family-based categories may be severely restricted in the future.
  10. If you are on a temporary working visa and wish to apply for a green card, ask your employer to sponsor you now.

2. Are You Ready for the H-1B Filing Season?

Employers and employees need to get started on the H-1B process now. It is time to prepare job descriptions, obtain Prevailing Wage Determinations (PWDs), post notices and submit Labor Condition Applications (LCAs) to the Department of Labor.

On April 3, 2017, the USCIS will begin accepting H-1B petitions. Since there is an annual numerical cap of only 85,000 H-1B visas (65,000 for the general cap, and 20,000 for those with advanced degrees in the US), the USCIS holds 2 lotteries for H-1B petitions.

During each of the last 2 years, the USCIS received over 230,000 H-1B petitions annually from cap-subject H-1B employers, almost 3 times the number of visas available.

Some of our corporate clients, knowing that there is only a 1 in 3 chance that an H-1B petition that they submit could be chosen in the lotteries, file 3 times as many H-1B petitions for each job that they wish to fill.  USCIS filing fees for petitions not chosen in the lotteries are refundable.  Attorney fees are not.

Certain jobs are exempt from the H-1B numerical caps. These include employment “at” universities, at “affiliated” or “related” organizations or at non-profit or government research institutions.  USCIS has recently published new rules which broaden these categories.

It is very important that properly completed H-1B petitions be submitted to the USCIS on a timely basis.

A properly completed H-1B petition will include the following documents:

  • A certified LCA showing that the employer agrees to pay the beneficiary at the prevailing wage for the position or the actual wage, whichever is higher;
  • Evidence that the employer has the ability to pay the above salary;
  • Evidence that the occupation requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in the field of specialty; and
  • Evidence that the H-1B professional’s educational credentials and/or experience are sufficient to meet the requirements of the position.

Upon approval of an H-1B petition, the professional will be able to commence his or her employment on October 1, 2017.  If the professional is in the US in a nonimmigrant status, the H-1B petition should also include an application for a change of status.  Otherwise, a professional can apply for an H-1B visa at a US Embassy/Consulate in his/her home country and come to the US 10 days prior to October 1, 2017.

The initial period of employment in H-1B status is granted for up to 3 years and may be extended for an additional 3 years. H-1B professionals whose employers have taken timely steps to apply for permanent residence on their behalf may receive post-6th year extensions. Once an H-1B professional has been counted towards the H-1B cap, he or she can obtain H-1B extensions and change employers without regard to the cap.

While most H-1B professionals are educated abroad, a large number are educated in the US. Generally, these persons have obtained their undergraduate or graduate degrees in the US while in F-1 status. F-1 students can obtain Optional Practical Training (OPT) upon graduation and are able to work for their employers for up to 1 year prior to obtaining H-1B status. In addition, they may qualify for automatic extensions of their OPT work permits after April 3, 2017 under USCIS’ “cap-gap” rule.

For persons with degrees in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics) field, if their employers participate in the E-Verify program, they can extend their OPT work permits for an additional 24 months whether or not they are selected in either of the H-1B lotteries.

Meanwhile, bills are being introduced in Congress to dramatically reform the present H-1B system.  One, the H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act, would abolish the lottery and give priority for H-1B visas to foreign students who graduate from universities in the US.

 

3. State Department Visa Bulletin for February 2017

EMPLOYMENT CATEGORIES

The worldwide employment-based preference categories all remain current except for EB-3 which advances by two months to October 1, 2016.

However, the outlook remains bleak for persons born in India, China and the Philippines due to per-country quotas.

India EB-3 inches ahead by 1 week while India EB-2 remains frozen at April 15, 2008.

China EB-2 advances by 4 weeks while China EB-3 moves forward 3 weeks. China EB-5 investors will see their waiting times lengthen to almost 3 years.

Philippines EB-3 moves forward by almost 3 months to October 15, 2011.

The EB-4 category for persons born in Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras remains frozen.

The following chart tells the story of the EB numbers in detail:

A. APPLICATION FINAL ACTION DATES FOR EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCE CASES

World China El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras India Mexico Philippines
1st Current Current Current Current Current Current
2nd Current 11-15-12 Current 4-15-08 Current Current
3rd 10-01-16 10-01-13 10-01-16 3-22-05 10-01-16 10-15-11
Unskilled 10-01-16 12-01-05 10-01-16 3-22-05 10-01-16 10-15-11
4th Current Current 7-15-15 Current 7-15-15 Current
5th Current 4-08-14 Current Current Current Current

B. DATES FOR FILING OF EMPLOYMENT-BASED VISA APPLICATIONS– These dates indicate when immigrant applicants can send adjustment of status applications without having to wait for their priority dates to become current.

World China India Mexico Philippines
1st Current Current Current Current Current
2nd Current 3-01-13 4-22-09 Current Current
3rd Current 5-01-14 7-01-05 Current 9-01-13
Unskilled Current 8-01-09 7-01-05 Current 9-01-13
4th Current Current Current Current Current
5th Current 6-15-14 Current Current Current

FAMILY-BASED CATEGORIES

The family-based categories in the visa bulletin are as follows:

visa bulletin

An applicant’s priority date is the day that the government received the I-130 Petition. For more on family-based visas and how you can shorten your application time, see Attorney Shusterman’s video near the top of this page.

VISA BULLETIN – FAMILY

The worldwide family-based priority dates continue to move slowly forward between 2 and 6 weeks.

Philippines F1 advances by 2 months while F2B remains frozen.

For persons born in Mexico, 1 of the priority dates fails to advance while the other 4 inch forward between 1 and 3 weeks.

The F4 category for siblings advances 4 weeks for persons born in India and 8 weeks for those born in mainland China.

The following charts tell the story in detail:

A. APPLICATION FINAL ACTION DATES FOR FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCE CASES

World China India Mexico Philippines
1st 2-22-10 2-22-10 2-22-10 5-08-95 12-01-15
2A 4-15-15 4-15-15 4-15-15 4-01-15 4-15-15
2B 7-08-10 6-08-10 7-08-10 11-08-95 4-08-06
3rd 3-22-05 3-22-05 3-22-05 12-15-94 9-08-94
4th 2-08-04 1-22-04 6-15-03 5-22-97 6-22-93

B. DATES FOR FILING FAMILY-SPONSORED VISA APPLICATIONS– These dates indicate when immigrant applicants can send adjustment of status applications without having to wait for their priority dates to become current.

World China India Mexico Philippines
1st 1-01-11 1-01-11 1-01-11 6-01-95 5-01-06
2A 11-22-15 11-22-15 11-22-15 11-22-15 11-22-15
2B 2-8-11 2-8-11 2-8-11 6-01-96 2-01-07
3rd 8-22-05 8-22-05 8-22-05 5-01-95 1-01-95
4th 7-01-04 7-01-04 5-01-04 12-01-97 4-01-94

4. Immigration Government Processing Times

We have included a link to various tables where you can access the immigration waiting times

  • USCIS Service Centers
  • National Benefits Center
  • EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Office
  • USCIS’ 83 Field Offices

Search the Field Offices for the USCIS’ 83 District Offices and Sub-offices to look up the processing times for (1) Applications for Adjustment of Status (I-485) (2) Work Authorization (I-765); (3) Advance Parole (I-131); (4) Naturalization (N-400) and other types of applications. To access your immigration waiting time, what you need to know are:

  • The office where your petition has been filed or transferred to
  • The type of application or petition
  • The date on which the petition was filed

This information can all be found on the Notice of Receipt that was mailed to you by the USCIS. To begin, simply click on the Field Office or Service Center that interests you and click “Submit Query” and you will be directed to the current USCIS processing time table.

If your petition/application is on appeal, you can access the processing times of the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO).

If your PERM case or other type of application is pending at the DOL, we link to the Department of Labor Processing Times.

If you are applying for a visa abroad, we link to Visa Appointment and Processing Times at 100+ US Embassies and Consulates around the world.

If you have requested a copy of your file from the USCIS, you can check the status of your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

If you are applying for affirmative asylum you can check how the Asylum Division has prioritized applications for interview scheduling.

Warning: Immigration waiting times may appear faster on the official lists than they are in reality.

5. Success Story: Here’s Your Green Card, Ms. Obama!

yuko This is a story that I never had the opportunity to share, and now seems the perfect time.

About 25 years ago, a young woman from Japan named Yuko came to my office, desperately seeking immigration assistance. She had contacted over two dozen immigration attorneys, and all of them said that there was nothing that they could do to help her. I was her last resort, she told me.

I ask a lot of questions both on our intake form that clients complete before their consultations, and during their interviews.

What caught my attention was that her grandmother was born in Colorado, but as a young girl had returned to Japan with her parents.

This not only made her grandmother a US citizen, but because of the laws at that time, her son, Yuko’s father, became a US citizen at birth even though he was unaware of this.

I advised Yuko to bring her father to the US. When she did so, we did two things: (1) We got him a US passport; and (2) We had him sponsor Yuko for a green card as his “immediate relative”.

With a few months, Yuko became a permanent resident and we became friends for life.

But the story doesn’t end there.

In early 2008, I was attending an event sponsored by Congressman Howard Berman when I noticed that a young Senator has entered the room and was shaking hands with people in the crowd. I had read the Senator’s book entitled “Dreams from My Father” and was eager to meet him.

I pushed my way through a bunch of bodyguards, and Senator Barack Obama and I had a brief conversation. A friend of mine took obamaa photo of us together. Later that year, the young Senator was elected President of the United States.

Later, I shared the story of my meeting the Senator with Yuko, whose full name is Yuko Obama. Thereafter, every time Yuko had lunch with me, our receptionist would announce, “Ms. Obama is here to see you!” to laughter from me, Yuko and the other lawyers in our office.

Last month, I helped Yuko draft a letter to President Obama.

A couple of weeks ago, Yuko received a letter from the White House which read:

“Dear Yuko,

Thank you for writing – you have a great last name! I appreciated hearing your story, and it means a lot that you reached out.

One of America’s greatest strengths has always been the promise we see in those who come here from across the globe, and I was touched to hear how my visit to Hiroshima personally affected you. It’s been the greatest privilege to serve as President of the United States, and I wish you all the best.

Sincerely,

Barack Obama”

6. Immigration Trivia Quiz: Immigrant Politicians

This month’s Immigration Trivia Quiz is entitled:

Immigrant Politicians

The first person to correctly answer our quiz (and supply their biographical information) wins a free legal consultation with one of our attorneys before the end of February.

7. Ask Mr. Shusterman : DHS Proposes Changes in EB-5 Program

On January 13, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a proposed rule which would enact the most significant changes in the EB-5 investor program in over 20 years.

 

  • Increase in Minimum Investment Amounts

The new rule would increase the minimum investment amount for those investing in projects located in Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs) from $500,000 to $1,350,000.
The minimum amount for investments not in TEAs would be increased from $1,000,000 to $1,800,000.

In addition, these amounts would be adjusted every 5 years in the future to conform with the Consumer Price Index.

 

  • Designation of TEAs

Municipalities with an unemployment rate which is at least 150% of the national unemployment rate are TEAs as are certain rural areas.

The purpose of allowing lower minimum investment amounts for projects in TEAs is to aid workers in these areas.

Many persons have criticized the gerrymandering of TEAs boundaries in order to facilitate the development of EB-5 projects located in wealthy areas.

The proposed rule would make it much more difficult for wealthy areas to be classified as TEAs. The ability of states to designate areas of high unemployment would end. DHS would make these designations using a uniform national standard.

 

  • Retention of Priority Dates

The proposed rule would permit the beneficiary of an approved I-526 to use the priority date of an approved petition for a different project in the event that the original regional center or project runs into trouble after the approval of the petition, but before the investor receives a green card.

 

  • Effective Date of the Proposed Rule

The comment period for the proposed rule ends on April 11, 2017, nearly 3 months into the new Administration and shortly before the EB-5 regional center program is scheduled to expire.

Whether the proposed rule will become effective, or whether it will be withdrawn by the new President or superseded by Congressional action remains to be seen.

8. Shusterman’s Upcoming Immigration Seminars

Visas 101: The Process, Procedures and Law
Doubletree Hotel Downtown
Los Angeles, CA
February 16th, 2017
Time: 3:45-5:30pm

Donald Trump Immigration Webinar
The State Bar of California
March 1, 2017
Time: 12:00-1:00pm

Federal Bar Association
Immigration Law Section
Annual Conference
Denver, CO
May 12, 2017
Time: TBD

9. Jobs & Green Cards for RNs & MedTechs – Free Legal Help!

Are you a Registered Nurse or a Medical Technologist who is looking for a job in the US?

What if you could find a job, a work visa and green cards for you and your family in the US? And what if the cost to you for all of this was zero?

Hard to believe? Let me explain:

Our law firm represents over 100 hospitals across the country. And the nurse shortage is coming back.

Our hospitals are in need of hundreds of RNs as well as Medical Technologists and other healthcare professionals. They are looking for both US and foreign-born RNs, and they will pay all of our attorneys’ fees, USCIS filing fees and more!

We have a video and a web page for those who are interested in applying for employment and sponsorship.

If you are a foreign nurse or a medical technologist and need a job in the US and the job requires a work visa and/or green card, please do the following:

Send an e-mail message to egarcia@shusterman.com

In your message, please provide the following information:

1. Have you passed the NCLEX exam?
2. Do you have a current RN license in the US? If so, from what state(s)?
3. Have you taken and passed the IELTS or TOEFL exam?
4. Do you have a valid VisaScreen certificate?
5. Do you have any immediate family members accompanying you to the United States (spouse and children)?
6. Have you ever been petitioned by any US sponsor and hold an old priority date? If so, what is your priority date?
7. If you are present in the US, what is your current immigration status?
8. What is your RN background (area of expertise)?
9. What is your country of birth?
10. What is your country of citizenship?
11. What is your phone number?

If you are a CLS, please amend the above questions accordingly.

We will forward your response to our hospitals, and if they are interested, they will contact you. Please do not contact our law firm until after you hear from one of our hospitals.

We look forward to helping you!

10. Winner for January 2017 Immigration Trivia Quiz!

January’s Immigration Trivia Quiz was entitled: Famous Immigrants in Business

Here is the message we received from our winner, Evgeny:

1) Jerry Yang, Taiwan, Yahoo!

2) Indra Nooyi, India, PepsiCo

3) Andrew Ly, Vietnam, Sugar Bowl Bakery

My name is Evgeny and I’ve been a subscriber to this newsletter for about 10 years. I immigrated to the US from Russia and now live in NYC.

Good old-fashioned Google search helped me to solve this quiz.

Congratulations, Evgeny! And thank you for keeping up with our newsletter!

Carl Shusterman

Certified Specialist in Immigration Law, State Bar of California
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Attorney (1976-82)
Member of AILA Board of Governors (1988-97)
Law Offices of Carl Shusterman, 600 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1550
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Phone: (213) 623-4592 x0, Fax: (213) 623-3720

“This executive order sends a signal, intended or not, that America does not want Muslims coming into our country. That is why we fear this executive order may do more to help terrorist recruitment than improve our security.”

– Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

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February 1, 2017

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February 2017
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Trump’s Immigration Executive Orders http://www.shusterman.com/trumps-immigration-executive-orders/ Thu, 26 Jan 2017 04:35:20 +0000 http://www.shusterman.com/?p=63535 President Trump wasted no time in signing a number of executive orders which concern our country’s immigration policies. Today, he signed 2 executive orders, one of which authorizes the building of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and another which would curb Federal funding to sanctuary cities across the country. The President called for the […]

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executive ordersPresident Trump wasted no time in signing a number of executive orders which concern our country’s immigration policies.

Today, he signed 2 executive orders, one of which authorizes the building of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and another which would curb Federal funding to sanctuary cities across the country.

The President called for the hiring of 5,000 additional border agents and another 10,000 immigration officers. He is also reinstating the Secure Communities program which was ended by President Obama. This program requires local law enforcement agencies to share fingerprint and other arrest data with the DHS.

In addition, federal agencies such as the IRS and the Social Security Administration will be required to share information regarding unauthorized immigrants with the DHS.

The number of persons incarcerated in immigration detention centers will be greatly increased from the present population of 34,000.

Tomorrow, President Trump is expected to sign another executive order, one which will temporarily halt refugee resettlement in the US and prevent persons from 7 Middle Eastern countries from entering the US with green cards or temporary visas.

The 7 countries are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The ban will last at least 30 days and could be imposed permanently if the governments of these countries do not comply with certain DHS and State Department requirements. The ban applies not only to tourists, students and temporary workers, but also to permanent residents of the US. It does not apply to persons from these countries who have become US citizens. Nor does it apply to citizens of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States.

Tomorrow’s executive order will also impose an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees coming to the US as well as a 120-day ban on refugees from other countries. When the US begins accepting refugees again, the number will be reduced by over 50%.

Christians and other religious minorities from Moslem countries will be given priority for refugee status.

None of President Trump’s first 3 executive orders concern the DACA program.

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New Relaxed Rules for NIWs http://www.shusterman.com/new-relaxed-rules-for-niws/ Tue, 03 Jan 2017 19:59:14 +0000 http://www.shusterman.com/?p=63326 The USCIS gave talented immigrants, including those with OPT, STEM OPT, H-1B and O-1 status, a wonderful end of the year gift in 2016! The Administration Appeals Office (AAO) of the USCIS made it far easier for exceptional and highly-educated immigrants to qualify for green cards by self-petitioning for National Interest Waivers (NIWs).   Matter […]

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DhanasarThe USCIS gave talented immigrants, including those with OPT, STEM OPT, H-1B and O-1 status, a wonderful end of the year gift in 2016!

The Administration Appeals Office (AAO) of the USCIS made it far easier for exceptional and highly-educated immigrants to qualify for green cards by self-petitioning for National Interest Waivers (NIWs).

 

Matter of New York State Dept. of Transportation

The AAO vacated their restrictive test regarding who qualifies for an NIW enunciated in Matter of New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) in 1998.  See our comments about NYSDOT in the September 1998 issue of our newsletter: “National Interest Waivers: Recent INS Decision Renders Outlook Gloomy”.

The NYSDOT test had required:

  1. That the person seek employment in an area of “substantial intrinsic merit”;
  2. That the proposed benefit be “national in scope”; and
  3. That the petitioner demonstrate that the “national interest would be adversely affected if a labor certification (PERM) be required.

After NYSDOT, it became very difficult to self-petition for NIWs.  Yes, there is a separate law for physicians which eases the NYSDOT requirements.  We have also been successful in obtaining NIWs for medical researchers and for those working in defense-related industries.

However, the NYSDOT was so inflexible that thousands of talented immigrants who should have qualified to self-petition for NIWs could not.

The 3rd requirement of NYSDOT has always been the most difficult to surmount.  It was always difficult to prove that the PERM process would be contrary to the national interest.

 

Matter of Dhanasar

All of this changed on December 27, 2016 when the AAO replaced NYSDOT with Matter of Dhanasar.

Mr. Dhanasar had a Ph.D. in aeronautical engineering, 2 M.S. degrees and an exceptional resume. However, when he self-petitioned for an NIW, the USCIS denied his I-140 under NYSDOT.  The AAO wisely concluded that the NYSDOT test was overly restrictive and granted Mr. Dhanasar’s self-petition.

Matter of Dhanasar replaces the NYSDOT test with the following requirements:

  1. The foreign national’s proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance;
  2. The foreign national is well-positioned to advance the proposed endeavor; and
  3. On balance, it would be beneficial to the US to waive the job offer and PERM requirements of the EB-2 category.

Yes, the new test still grants discretion to the USCIS to determine whether to grant or deny the NIW.  However, each of the 3 NYSDOT requirements has been altered in favor of allowing more immigrants in the EB-2 category to get green cards under the NIW category.

I expect that many thousands of immigrants will qualify for green cards by self-petitioning for NIWs under these new relaxed rules.  In addition, immigrants born in countries other than mainland China and India will be able to submit I-485 packets (including applications for EADs and APs) at the same time that they submit their I-140s.

We are very excited about this new ruling.  Over a quarter century after Congress passed the Immigration Act of 1990, the NIW will finally permit thousands of educated and innovative entrepreneurs and other talented individuals to qualify for green cards by self-petitioning for NIWs, exactly what Congress intended.

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Shusterman’s Immigration UpdateJanuary 2017 http://www.shusterman.com/shustermans-immigration-update-january-2017/ Sun, 01 Jan 2017 08:01:00 +0000 http://www.shusterman.com/?p=62963 Volume Twenty Two, Number One SHUSTERMAN’S IMMIGRATION UPDATE is the Web’s most popular e-mail newsletter regarding US immigration laws and procedures with over 60,000 subscribers located in more than 150 countries. It is written by a former INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) with over 40 years of experience practicing immigration law. Published by the Law Offices […]

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January 2017
appeared first on Shusterman Law.

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Volume Twenty Two, Number One

SHUSTERMAN’S specialized knowledgeIMMIGRATION UPDATE is the Web’s most popular e-mail newsletter regarding US immigration laws and procedures with over 60,000 subscribers located in more than 150 countries. It is written by a former INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) with over 40 years of experience practicing immigration law.

Published by the Law Offices of Carl Shusterman, 600 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 1550, Los Angeles, California, 90017. Phone: (213) 623-4592 x0.

Want to keep up to date with the latest changes in immigration laws, procedures, processing times and forms? Subscribe now to our Immigration Newsletter, join the conversation on our Facebook Page, follow our Blog Posts and subscribe to our “How-To” Immigration Videos.

This is the first issue of the 22nd year of Shusterman’s Immigration Update!

 

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- D. Chen, Phoenix, Arizona
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TABLE OF CONTENTS:

1. Will President Trump Reduce Legal Immigration by 50%?
2. Automatic EAD Extensions under the January 17th Regulations
3. State Department Visa Bulletin for January 2017
4. Immigration Government Processing Times
5. Success Story: A EB-1 Green Card for an Extraordinary Post-Doc
6. Immigration Trivia Quiz: Famous Immigrants in Business
7. Ask Mr. Shusterman: Senators Introduce Bill to Protect Dreamers
8. Shusterman’s Upcoming Immigration Seminars
9. Jobs & Green Cards for RNs & MedTechs: Free Legal Help!
10. Winner for Our December 2016 Immigration Trivia Quiz!

NEWS FLASHES:

  • Trump’s Anti-Immigration Fans are Furious at Him – President-Elect Trump’s proposed nomination of Andrew Puzder, the CEO of a major fast-food conglomerate as the US Secretary of Labor has not only enraged labor union leaders, but Trump’s own anti-immigrant base. Mr. Puzder allegedly favors hiring foreign-born workers because they are grateful for their jobs and have a better attitude.

  • EB-5 & Conrad 30 Program Extended – On December 10, President Obama signed a stop-gap spending bill which extends the EB-5 regional center program, the Conrad 30 program for physicians, E-Verify and a number of other immigration programs until April 28, 2017.

  • NSEERS Program Abolished by Obama – In December 2016, President Obama took steps to abolish the NSEERS program which was a registry for immigrant men from Muslim countries. The program was established after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Attorney Kris Kobach who designed the NSEERS program recently met with President-Elect Trump and there is speculation that NSEERS may soon be revived.

1. Will President Trump Reduce Legal Immigration by 50%?

President-Elect TrumpMuch of the focus on immigration in the 2016 Presidential Campaign was on what to do with the 11 million undocumented persons in the US.

Even after the election, the press continues to focus this subject:

  • Will President-Elect Trump build a wall or a fence and who will pay for it?
  • Will he round up and deport 11 million or 2 million people?
  • What will he do with the existing DACA program?

While these are all important questions, the media has largely ignored what will happen to our existing legal immigration system under the new administration.

This is the system that brings to our country hundreds of thousands of physicians, nurses, medical researchers, IT professionals as well as the innovators who founded Google, Yahoo and many of the top Silicon Valley and biotech giants, thereby creating a huge number of jobs for Americans .

Be forewarned: A number of organizations which are dedicated to greatly reducing the number of immigrants to the US believe that President Trump will abolish most of the family-based immigration categories and cut legal immigration by 50% or more.

In a recent report entitled “Immigration Priorities for the 2017 Presidential Transition”, the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform (FAIR) advocates reducing the number of green cards issued from 1 million to 300,000 per year.

Roy Beck, the President of Numbers USA, wrote in a recent blog post: “I hope you are as excited and ready as we are to take advantage of some very special opportunities in 2017 to reduce immigration flows by millions over the next decade…” His organization favors reducing the number of green cards issued to 250,000 per year.

How does our President-Elect stand on reducing legal immigration?

In his 10 Point Plan to Put America First, he pledges to “Reform legal immigration to serve the best interests of America and its workers, keeping immigration levels within historic norms.”

Organizations like FAIR and Numbers USA interpret “historic norms” to refer to the era before the implementation of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. Between 1921 and 1965, Congress reduced immigration to a mere trickle. Also, the pre-1965 immigration laws were racially and ethnically biased. For many years, Asians were deemed “racially ineligible” to become US citizens. Most immigration to the US was restricted to citizens of just 3 European countries.

It is wise to bear in mind what President Johnson said when he signed the 1965 Act into law:

“This [old] system violates the basic principle of American democracy, the principle that values and rewards each man on the basis of his merit as a man. It has been un-American in the highest sense, because it has been untrue to the faith that brought thousands to these shores even before we were a country.”

I believe that we are a great country because we welcome persons of all races, nationalities and religions. Together, we have created the most free and prosperous country in the world.

We need to evaluate immigrants based on their merits as individuals and to abolish per-country quotas.

The number of people allowed to immigrate to the US each year is a small fraction of 1% of our population. There are millions of people who have waited in line for years to immigrate, some for over 20 years. Immigrants greatly contribute to our country, and their numbers should not be reduced.

Let’s stay true to the message on our Statute of Liberty!

2. Automatic EAD Extensions Under the January 17th Regulations

In the December 2016 issue of our newsletter, we summarized the new 366-page DHS regulation regarding employment-based immigration which will become effective on January 17, 2017.

In this article, we focus on the portion of the regulation which allows certain persons to obtain temporary automatic extensions of their Employment Authorization Documents (EADs).

Under the new regulations, the USCIS will no longer be required to adjudicate requests for EADs within 90 days.  However, persons with existing EADs will be able to apply for extensions of their work permits 180 days (up from 120 days) before they expire.

The regulation designates the following 15 categories of people who will be eligible for automatic 180-day extensions of their EADs as long as they submit timely requests to extend their EADs:

  1. Aliens admitted as refugees;
  2. Aliens granted asylum;
  3. Aliens admitted as parents or dependent children of aliens granted permanent residence under section 101(a)(27)(I) of the INA;
  4. Aliens admitted as citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, or Palau;
  5. Aliens granted withholding of deportation or removal;
  6. Aliens granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS);
  7. Aliens who have properly filed applications for TPS and who have been deemed prima facie eligible for TPS and have received an EAD as a “temporary treatment benefit”;
  8. Aliens who have properly filed applications for asylum or withholding of deportation or removal;
  9. Aliens who have filed applications for adjustment of status under section 245(a) of the INA;
  10. Aliens who have filed applications for suspension of deportation under Section 244 of the INA, cancellation of removal under section 240A of the INA, or special rule cancellation of removal under section 309(f)(1) IIRAIRA;
  11. Aliens who have filed applications for creation of a record of lawful admission for permanent residence;
  12. Aliens who have properly filed legalization applications pursuant to section 210 of the INA;
  13. Aliens who have properly filed legalization applications pursuant to section 245A of the INA;
  14. Aliens who have filed applications for adjustment of status pursuant to section 1104 of the LIFE Act; and
  15. Aliens who are the principal beneficiaries or qualified children of approved VAWA self-petitioners.

The rule does nothing to assist first-time applicants for EADs, nor does it permit automatic extensions of Advance Parole.

Many persons, such as spouses of nonimmigrants (L-2s, H-4s, etc.) are ineligible for automatic extensions of their EADs.

The automatic EAD extension portion of the regulation is more complicated than this summary of the rule would indicate.  Small employers without the resources to regularly check the USCIS website or consult with immigration lawyers may find it burdensome to comply with the I-9 requirements that this rule will entail.

It is recommended that persons with EADs should submit applications for extensions of their EADs and Advance Paroles 180 days before the expiration date to protect their ability to work and travel without interruption.  Doing so will also aid their employers.

3. State Department Visa Bulletin for January 2017

EMPLOYMENT CATEGORIES

The worldwide employment-based preference categories all remain current except for EB-3 which advances by one month to August 1, 2016.

However, the outlook remains bleak for persons born in India, China and the Philippines due to per-country quotas.

India EB-2 advances by 10 weeks, but India EB-3 remains frozen at March 15, 2005.

China EB-2 advances by 3 weeks while China EB-3 moves forward 9 weeks. China EB-5 investors will see their waiting times lengthen to almost 3 years.

Philippines EB-3 moves forward by 7 weeks to July 22, 2011.

The EB-4 category for persons born in Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras remains frozen.

The following chart tells the story of the EB numbers in detail:

A. APPLICATION FINAL ACTION DATES FOR EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCE CASES

World China El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras India Mexico Philippines
1st Current Current Current Current Current Current
2nd Current 10-15-12 Current 4-15-08 Current Current
3rd 8-01-16 9-08-13 8-01-16 3-15-05 8-01-16 7-22-11
Unskilled 8-01-16 12-01-05 8-01-16 3-15-05 8-01-16 7-22-11
4th Current Current 7-15-15 Current 7-15-15 Current
5th Current 4-08-14 Current Current Current Current

B. DATES FOR FILING OF EMPLOYMENT-BASED VISA APPLICATIONS– These dates indicate when immigrant applicants can send adjustment of status applications without having to wait for their priority dates to become current.

World China India Mexico Philippines
1st Current Current Current Current Current
2nd Current 3-01-13 4-22-09 Current Current
3rd Current 5-01-14 7-01-05 Current 9-01-13
Unskilled Current 8-01-09 7-01-05 Current 9-01-13
4th Current Current Current Current Current
5th Current 6-15-14 Current Current Current

FAMILY-BASED CATEGORIES

The family-based categories in the visa bulletin are as follows:

visa bulletin

An applicant’s priority date is the day that the government received the I-130 Petition. For more on family-based visas and how you can shorten your application time, see Attorney Shusterman’s video near the top of this page.

VISA BULLETIN – FAMILY

The worldwide family-based priority dates continue to move slowly forward between 2 and 5 weeks as do the numbers for persons born in the Philippines.

For persons born in Mexico, 2 of the priority dates fail to advance while the other 3 inch forward between 1 and 3 weeks.

The F4 category for siblings advances 6 weeks for persons born in India and 7 weeks for those born in mainland China.

The following charts tell the story in detail:

A. APPLICATION FINAL ACTION DATES FOR FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCE CASES

World China India Mexico Philippines
1st 1-08-10 1-08-10 1-08-10 4-22-95 10-01-15
2A 3-22-15 3-22-15 3-22-15 3-08-15 3-22-15
2B 6-08-10 6-08-10 6-08-10 10-15-95 4-08-06
3rd 3-01-05 3-01-05 3-01-05 12-15-94 9-01-94
4th 1-22-04 11-22-03 5-15-03 5-15-97 6-08-93

B. DATES FOR FILING FAMILY-SPONSORED VISA APPLICATIONS– These dates indicate when immigrant applicants can send adjustment of status applications without having to wait for their priority dates to become current.

World China India Mexico Philippines
1st 1-01-11 1-01-11 1-01-11 6-01-95 5-01-06
2A 11-22-15 11-22-15 11-22-15 11-22-15 11-22-15
2B 2-8-11 2-8-11 2-8-11 6-01-96 2-01-07
3rd 8-22-05 8-22-05 8-22-05 5-01-95 1-01-95
4th 7-01-04 7-01-04 5-01-04 12-01-97 4-01-94

4. Immigration Government Processing Times

We have included a link to various tables where you can access the immigration waiting times

  • USCIS Service Centers
  • National Benefits Center
  • EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Office
  • USCIS’ 83 Field Offices

Search the Field Offices for the USCIS’ 83 District Offices and Sub-offices to look up the processing times for (1) Applications for Adjustment of Status (I-485) (2) Work Authorization (I-765); (3) Advance Parole (I-131); (4) Naturalization (N-400) and other types of applications. To access your immigration waiting time, what you need to know are:

  • The office where your petition has been filed or transferred to
  • The type of application or petition
  • The date on which the petition was filed

This information can all be found on the Notice of Receipt that was mailed to you by the USCIS. To begin, simply click on the Field Office or Service Center that interests you and click “Submit Query” and you will be directed to the current USCIS processing time table.

If your petition/application is on appeal, you can access the processing times of the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO).

If your PERM case or other type of application is pending at the DOL, we link to the Department of Labor Processing Times.

If you are applying for a visa abroad, we link to Visa Appointment and Processing Times at 100+ US Embassies and Consulates around the world.

If you have requested a copy of your file from the USCIS, you can check the status of your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

If you are applying for affirmative asylum you can check how the Asylum Division has prioritized applications for interview scheduling.

Warning: Immigration waiting times may appear faster on the official lists than they are in reality.

5. Success Story: A EB-1 Green Card for an Extraordinary Post-Doc

Recently, a couple retained our law firm to help them with two different issues. The wife was a physician who needed a J waiver. The husband had a Ph.D. in Physics and was working as a J-1 post-doctoral researcher.

We were able to help the wife get a J waiver through the Conrad 30 program and change her status to H-1B. Under the rules of the program, she must work for 3 years in a medically-underserved area before she can qualify for a green card.

The husband was not subject to the 2-year home residency requirement. His J-1 was expiring and he wanted to be able to continue his research in the area of astrophysics.

H-4 status was not a good alternative for him since he would not be able to apply for an EAD until his wife became the beneficiary of an approved I-140. He did not have an employer to sponsor him for an O-1 status.

We spoke with him extensively about his research and educational background in Astrophysics (having been awarded Bachelor’s, Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Physics), and found that his expertise was clearly evident. He had discovered the existence of a unique, metal-rich, Extremely Low Mass (ELM) White Dwarf binary star cluster while conducting experimental research on the issue of metals found on the surface of White Dwarfs. Research in this area had not previously been conducted even as metals provide important clues regarding the evolution of White Dwarfs and their surrounding environment, including the presence of circumstellar disks of dust and gas and potentially even planetary bodies within our universe. His career was propelled to new heights as his continued research led to the discovery of new White Dwarf binary star clusters, and sparked the development of an entire subfield of Astrophysics focused on the search for debris disks around White Dwarfs.

We concluded that his research in the field of Astrophysics was indeed extraordinary, and recommended that he self-petition as a Person of Extraordinary Ability (EB1-A) and, simultaneously, apply for adjustment of status as well as an EAD work permit and an Advance Parole travel document.

Self-Petitioning for a green card as a Person of Extraordinary Ability is challenging to say the least. To qualify, a person must fulfill at least 3 of 10 difficult criteria. Even then, the I-140 visa petition will only be approved if USCIS believes that the person is one of the “small percentage” of people who have “risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.”

He also wanted to attend his brother’s wedding abroad, but we advised him not to travel on a J visa since his intent was clearly to become a permanent resident of the US. The question became whether we could obtain an EAD and an AP on time?

We decided that the best strategy was to request premium processing for his I-140 and to file his I-485 packet concurrently. Although, USCIS frequently requests additional evidence in premium processing cases, we were delighted when they approved his I-140 just 15 days after we submitted his self-petition.

Then, while the I-485 packet was pending, he was invited to present his research findings at an international conference in Switzerland sponsored by NASA and the European Space Administration in September 2016. We prepared a request to USCIS to expedite his EAD/AP based on extenuating circumstances. Both were approved within 2 weeks, well in advance of the conference.

Our client was excited to receive his Advance Parole which would allow him to attend the conference and his brother’s wedding. And then the unexpected happened…

Shortly before the conference, and just 2 months after we had submitted his I-140 and I-485 packet, we were notified that his application for adjustment of status had been approved!

He was able to attend both the conference and his brother’s wedding as a permanent resident of the United States.

6. Immigration Trivia Quiz: Famous Immigrants in Business

This month’s Immigration Trivia Quiz is entitled:

Famous Immigrants in Business

The first person to correctly answer our quiz (and supply their biographical information) wins a free legal consultation with one of our attorneys before the end of January.

7. Ask Mr. Shusterman: Senators Introduce Bill to Protect Dreamers

DACAOn December 9, a bipartisan group of Senators introduced the Bridge Act which would protect 740,000 DACA recipients from deportation and allow them to continue working and studying in the United States for the next 3 years.

Like DACA, the bill does not provide a path to green cards for Dreamers.  Instead, the bill would grant them “provisional protected presence” in the US.  They would be allowed to remain in the US, renew their EAD work permits and, in some circumstances, qualify for Advance Parole international travel permits.

Since President-Elect Trump has vowed to repeal President Obama’s executive orders, the bill, if enacted, would protect Dreamers from deportation for another 3 years unless they commit a deportable offense.

The bill would also tighten the confidentiality provisions in the law.  DACA requires applicants to reveal their addresses and other personal information.  The bill would prohibit the government from using this information to try to deport DACA recipients or their parents.

Although the bill is sponsored by a bipartisan group of Democratic and Republican Senators, it is unclear whether it has enough support to pass in the Republican-controlled Senate and the House of Representatives.

However, the bill’s introduction is expected to put pressure on President-Elect Trump to work out a solution to the immigration status of the Dreamers.

Trump has been equivocal about how he intends to treat the Dreamers.

On one hand, he has pledged to repeal DACA.  However, in a recent interview with Time magazine, he stated:

“We’re going to work something out that’s going to make people happy and proud. But that’s a very tough situation. They got brought here at a very young age, they’ve worked here, they’ve gone to school here. Some were good students. Some have wonderful jobs. And they’re in never-never land because they don’t know what’s going to happen.” 

Stay tuned.

8. Shusterman’s Upcoming Immigration Seminars

Webinar: Trump Immigration Changes
California State Bar
January 11, 2017
Time: 12pm

HHRMAC Seminar
Enloe Conference Center
Chico, CA
January 20, 2017
Time: 10am

Legal Ethics in Practice Seminar
UCLA School of Law
Los Angeles, CA
January 26, 2017
Time: 6pm

Visas 101: The Process, Procedures and Law
Doubletree Hotel Downtown
Los Angeles, CA
February 16th, 2017
Time: 3:45-5:30pm

9. Jobs & Green Cards for RNs & MedTechs
Free Legal Help!

Are you a Registered Nurse or a Medical Technologist who is looking for a job in the US?

What if you could find a job, a work visa and green cards for you and your family in the US? And what if the cost to you for all of this was zero?

Hard to believe? Let me explain:

Our law firm represents over 100 hospitals across the country. And the nurse shortage is coming back.

Our hospitals are in need of hundreds of RNs as well as Medical Technologists and other healthcare professionals. They are looking for both US and foreign-born RNs, and they will pay all of our attorneys’ fees, USCIS filing fees and more!

We have a video and a web page for those who are interested in applying for employment and sponsorship.

If you are a foreign nurse or a medical technologist and need a job in the US and the job requires a work visa and/or green card, please do the following:

Send an e-mail message to egarcia@shusterman.com

In your message, please provide the following information:

1. Have you passed the NCLEX exam?
2. Do you have a current RN license in the US? If so, from what state(s)?
3. Have you taken and passed the IELTS or TOEFL exam?
4. Do you have a valid VisaScreen certificate?
5. Do you have any immediate family members accompanying you to the United States (spouse and children)?
6. Have you ever been petitioned by any US sponsor and hold an old priority date? If so, what is your priority date?
7. If you are present in the US, what is your current immigration status?
8. What is your RN background (area of expertise)?
9. What is your country of birth?
10. What is your country of citizenship?
11. What is your phone number?

If you are a CLS, please amend the above questions accordingly.

We will forward your response to our hospitals, and if they are interested, they will contact you. Please do not contact our law firm until after you hear from one of our hospitals.

We look forward to helping you!

10. Winner for December 2016 Immigration Trivia Quiz!

December’s Immigration Trivia Quiz was entitled: Famous Immigrants Who Became Secretary of State.

Here is the message we received from our winner, Leonid:

“First one is Henry Kissinger born in Bavaria, Germany, served under Nixon and Ford The second one is Madeleine Albright, born in Czechoslovakia, served under Clinton The third one is Christian Herter, born in Paris, served under Eisenhower.

I came to the US from Russia some twenty years ago for grad school and now live in New Jersey with my wife and two kids and work in New York in financial industry.

I used Wikipedia to find the last person, the first two I have actually met in person. I’ve been reading the newsletter for over 10 years but now that I am a US citizen i just read it out of interest.”

Leonid

Congratulations, Leonid! And thank you for keeping up with our newsletter!

Carl Shusterman

Certified Specialist in Immigration Law, State Bar of California
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Attorney (1976-82)
Member of AILA Board of Governors (1988-97)
Law Offices of Carl Shusterman, 600 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1550
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Phone: (213) 623-4592 x0, Fax: (213) 623-3720

“Fifty years ago…America shed a system of racially biased immigration limits for individual countries. Although it was a great step forward, Congress then replaced that discriminatory system with per-country immigration limits that were — and still are — arbitrary and economically damaging.”

– David Bier

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January 2, 2017

The post Shusterman’s Immigration Update
January 2017
appeared first on Shusterman Law.

]]>
Automatic EAD Extensions under the January 17th Regulations http://www.shusterman.com/automatic-ead-extensions-under-the-january-17th-regulations/ Tue, 27 Dec 2016 23:17:20 +0000 http://www.shusterman.com/?p=63213 In the December 2016 issue of our newsletter, we summarized the new 366-page DHS regulation regarding employment-based immigration which will become effective on January 17, 2017. In this article, we focus on the portion of the regulation which allows certain persons to obtain temporary automatic extensions of their Employment Authorization Documents (EADs). Under the new […]

The post Automatic EAD Extensions under the January 17th Regulations appeared first on Shusterman Law.

]]>
Introduction - Cropped image of a business woman offering you a handshakeIn the December 2016 issue of our newsletter, we summarized the new 366-page DHS regulation regarding employment-based immigration which will become effective on January 17, 2017.

In this article, we focus on the portion of the regulation which allows certain persons to obtain temporary automatic extensions of their Employment Authorization Documents (EADs).

Under the new regulations, the USCIS will no longer be required to adjudicate requests for EADs within 90 days.  However, persons with existing EADs will be able to apply for extensions of their work permits 180 days (up from 120 days) before they expire.

The regulation designates the following 15 categories where people will be eligible for automatic 180-day extensions of their EADs as long as they submit timely requests to extend their EADs:

  1. Aliens admitted as refugees;
  2. Aliens granted asylum;
  3. Aliens admitted as parents or dependent children of aliens granted permanent residence under section 101(a)(27)(I) of the INA;
  4. Aliens admitted as citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, or Palau;
  5. Aliens granted withholding of deportation or removal;
  6. Aliens granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS);
  7. Aliens who have properly filed applications for TPS and who have been deemed prima facie eligible for TPS and have received an EAD as a “temporary treatment benefit”;
  8. Aliens who have properly filed applications for asylum or withholding of deportation or removal;
  9. Aliens who have filed applications for adjustment of status under section 245(a) of the INA;
  10. Aliens who have filed applications for suspension of deportation under Section 244 of the INA, cancellation of removal under section 240A of the INA, or special rule cancellation of removal under section 309(f)(1) IIRAIRA;
  11. Aliens who have filed applications for creation of a record of lawful admission for permanent residence;
  12. Aliens who have properly filed legalization applications pursuant to section 210 of the INA;
  13. Aliens who have properly filed legalization applications pursuant to section 245A of the INA;
  14. Aliens who have filed applications for adjustment of status pursuant to section 1104 of the LIFE Act; and
  15. Aliens who are the principal beneficiaries or qualified children of approved VAWA self-petitioners.

The rule does nothing to assist first-time applicants for EADs, nor does it permit automatic extensions of Advance Parole.

Many persons, such as spouses of nonimmigrants (L-2s, H-4s, etc.) are ineligible for automatic extensions of their EADs.

The automatic EAD extension portion of the regulation is more complicated than this summary of the rule would indicate.  Small employers without the resources to regularly check the USCIS website or consult with immigration lawyers may find it burdensome to comply with the I-9 requirements that this rule will entail.

It is recommended that persons with EADs should submit applications for extensions of their EADs and Advance Paroles 180 days before the expiration date to protect their ability to work and travel without interruption.  Doing so will also aid their employers.

The post Automatic EAD Extensions under the January 17th Regulations appeared first on Shusterman Law.

]]>
Senators Introduce Bridge Act to Protect Dreamers http://www.shusterman.com/senators-introduce-bill-to-protect-dreamers/ Mon, 12 Dec 2016 18:46:14 +0000 http://www.shusterman.com/?p=63113 On December 9, 2016, a bipartisan group of Senators introduced the Bridge Act which would protect 740,000 DACA recipients from deportation and allow them to continue working and studying in the United States for the next 3 years. Like DACA, the bill does not provide a path to green cards for Dreamers.  Instead, the bill […]

The post Senators Introduce Bridge Act to Protect Dreamers appeared first on Shusterman Law.

]]>
Bridge ActOn December 9, 2016, a bipartisan group of Senators introduced the Bridge Act which would protect 740,000 DACA recipients from deportation and allow them to continue working and studying in the United States for the next 3 years.

Like DACA, the bill does not provide a path to green cards for Dreamers.  Instead, the bill would grant them “provisional protected presence” in the US.  They would be allowed to remain in the US, renew their EAD work permits and, in some circumstances, qualify for Advance Parole international travel permits.

Since President-Elect Trump has vowed to repeal President Obama’s executive orders, the bill, if enacted, would protect Dreamers from deportation for another 3 years unless they commit a deportable offense.

The bill would also tighten the confidentiality provisions in the law.  DACA requires applicants to reveal their addresses and other personal information.  The bill would prohibit the government from using this information to try to deport DACA recipients or their parents.

Although the bill is sponsored by a bipartisan group of Democratic and Republican Senators, it is unclear whether it has enough support to pass the Republican-controlled Senate and the House of Representatives.

The introduction of the Bridge Act is expected to put pressure on President-Elect Trump to work out a solution to the immigration status of the Dreamers.

Trump has been equivocal about how he intends to treat the Dreamers.

On one hand, he has pledged to repeal DACA.  However, in a recent interview with Time magazine, he stated:

“We’re going to work something out that’s going to make people happy and proud. But that’s a very tough situation. They got brought here at a very young age, they’ve worked here, they’ve gone to school here. Some were good students. Some have wonderful jobs. And they’re in never-never land because they don’t know what’s going to happen.” 

Stay tuned.

The post Senators Introduce Bridge Act to Protect Dreamers appeared first on Shusterman Law.

]]>
Shusterman’s Immigration UpdateDecember 2016 http://www.shusterman.com/shustermans-immigration-update-december-2016/ Thu, 01 Dec 2016 08:01:46 +0000 http://www.shusterman.com/?p=60660 Volume Twenty One, Number Nine SHUSTERMAN’S IMMIGRATION UPDATE is the Web’s most popular e-mail newsletter regarding U.S. immigration laws and procedures with over 60,000 subscribers located in more than 150 countries. It is written by a former INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) with over 40 years of experience practicing immigration law. Published by the Law Offices […]

The post Shusterman’s Immigration Update
December 2016
appeared first on Shusterman Law.

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Volume Twenty One, Number Nine

SHUSTERMAN’S specialized knowledgeIMMIGRATION UPDATE is the Web’s most popular e-mail newsletter regarding U.S. immigration laws and procedures with over 60,000 subscribers located in more than 150 countries. It is written by a former INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) with over 40 years of experience practicing immigration law.

Published by the Law Offices of Carl Shusterman, 600 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 1550, Los Angeles, California, 90017. Phone: (213) 623-4592 x0.

Subscribe to our Immigration Newsletter, join the conversation on our Facebook Page, follow our Blog Posts and subscribe to our “How-To” Immigration Videos.

 

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“Don’t do the mistake we did and try to save a few bucks going with nonprofessionals and sole practitioners! It will end up not only costing you much more in the long run, but also putting your status in jeopardy which can have a priceless impact. It is one of the most important steps in your life.”

- Sgt. Danny Lightfoot, Los Angeles, California
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TABLE OF CONTENTS:

1. Immigration under a Trump Presidency: What to Expect
2. New USCIS Rule Will Benefit Many EB Professionals
3. State Department Visa Bulletin for December 2016
4. Immigration Government Processing Times
5. Success Story: Overcoming a Summary Removal Order at a Port of Entry
6. Immigration Trivia Quiz: Famous Immigrants Who Became Secretary of State
7. Ask Mr. Shusterman: USCIS’s New I-9 Form
8. Shusterman’s Upcoming Immigration Seminars
9. Jobs & Green Cards for RNs & MedTechs: Free Legal Help!
10. No Winner for October 2016 Immigration Trivia Quiz!

NEWS FLASHES:

  • New Visa Update System for Chinese Travelers – Effective November 29, Chinese nationals holding a 10 year B-1/B-2, B-1 or B-2 visitor visa must enroll in the Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS) before traveling to the United States for business or tourism.

  • Supreme Appears Divided in Key Immigration Case – On November 30, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Johnson v. Rodriguez, a case in which the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit held that a person detained by the government in “mandatory detention” has a right to a bond hearing after being incarcerated for 6 months or more. The plaintiff in the lawsuit was held in detention for 3 years. The Justices appeared to be split 4-4 regarding whether there was limit as to how long the government could detain an immigrant who had recently crossed the border or had been convicted of a criminal offense.

  • USCIS Filing Fee Increase – The USCIS has announced that it will be increasing the filing fees for numerous immigration benefits, some by over 100%. The new fees take effect on December 23.

  • USCIS Ombudsman 6th Annual Conference – The Department of Homeland Security invites you to join the Office of Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman for their annual conference on December 6, 2016 from 8:30am to 4:30pm. The conference will host panels from a variety of different topics including the following: Challenges to improve immigration, labor issues and temporary workers, provisional immigrant waivers, naturalization for special populations, and others. The event will be held at the National Archives in Washington D.C.

1. Immigration under a Trump Presidency: What to Expect

TrumpTime to buckle your seat belts!

Donald Trump is scheduled to become President of the United States on January 20, 2017. Since immigration was one of the signature issues in his campaign, many changes in immigration laws and policies can be expected once he is inaugurated.

Laws must be enacted by Congress and signed by the President, but there are many changes that can be done by Presidential decree.

I will be giving a number of seminars in January devoted to what type of actions are likely to take place in the immigration world during President Trump’s first 100 days in office.

Here is a preview of some of these issues:

  • Reducing Legal Immigration

Candidate Trump pledged to keep “immigration levels within historic norms”. To many of his supporters, this means reducing the number of persons permitted to immigrate to the US by up to 50%. To do so, most of the family-based immigrant categories would be abolished. What would happen to those currently waiting in line to reunite with their families in the US? Only time will tell.

Candidate Trump stated that he would either withdraw or renegotiate the NAFTA treaty. A withdrawal could invalidate the legal status of tens of thousands of TN professionals working in the US.

Regarding the H-1B program, Trump may ask Congress to amend the law to require employers to demonstrate that they cannot find a US worker to fill a particular job before they can sponsor a foreign-born professional for an H-1B visa. He may also cancel the ability of H-4 spouses to work in the US. We will write more about Trump’s plans to reduce legal immigration to the United States in our January 2017 newsletter.

In the meantime, persons with temporary work visas who wish to become permanent residents may wish to start that process now. And green card holders may want to apply for US citizenship as soon as possible.

  • Building a Wall on the US-Mexican Border

One of candidate Trump’s most quoted statements was that he was going to build an “impenetrable physical wall” along our almost 2,000-mile border with Mexico and that the Mexican government would pay for the wall.

Estimates of the cost of such a project range up to $20 billion or more. So far, Mexico has not agreed to pick up the tab. And Trump has pledged to cut taxes, so where would the money come from to build the wall?

Shortly after being elected, Trump clarified that in some areas a “fence” rather than a wall would be acceptable to him. That would definitely bring down the cost. If he hires a few thousand undocumented workers to do the fencing, this would bring down the cost even further.

  • Deporting the Undocumented

As a candidate, Trump promised to immediately deport 11 million persons present in the US without legal immigration status. It was unknown how he planned to locate these persons, overcome laws guaranteeing those hearings before Immigration Judges and how he would pay for this.

However, after the election, Trump shifted his stance and started talking about deporting 2-3 million criminal aliens.

This is a highly inflated number unless he is talking about deporting people with green cards who were convicted of minor crimes like driving without a license.

President Obama was called the “deporter-in-chief” for deporting more criminals and frequent border-crossers than any President in history, well over 2,500,000 people. Despite this, Trump wants us to believe that the Administration has been too soft when it comes to deporting criminals.

Whether President Trump would seek to separate immigrants from their US citizen or permanent resident spouses, parents and children by deporting persons convicted years ago of minor crimes remains to be seen. If so, he would need Congress to change existing immigration laws.

Candidate Trump also promised to dramatically increase the number of ICE and CBP officers. Again, it will be interesting to see where the money comes from to pay their salaries. Huge layoffs at the EPA?

  • Ending DACA and DAPA

President Obama’s Executive Orders to expand the DACA program and give work permits to certain parents of US citizens (DAPA) were enjoined by the Federal Courts. President Trump will rescind both Executive Orders, probably in his first week in office.
Whether he will end the existing DACA program remains to be seen.

  • Security Measures

Candidate Trump called for banning all Muslims from entering the US and for a database to track Muslims already in the US.

Now, the President-Elect seems to be pursuing a program which essentially reinstates the NSEERS (National Security Entry-Exit System) which was used after 9/11 to fingerprint, photograph and sometimes interrogate men from Muslim-majority countries.

In addition, he would end the admission of Syrian refugees to the US.

  • Other Measures

Trump calls for cutting off federal funding to sanctuary cities, ending catch-and-release policies, prohibiting immigration from countries which refuse to accept persons deported from the US, the establishment of a biometric entry-exit tracking system at all land, sea and airports and much more.

His choices for important posts in the government related to immigration policy are persons with strong anti-immigration positions. A case in point is Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) who is Trump’s choice for Attorney General. Senator Sessions has been one of the most vigorous opponents of immigration reform in the Senate.

  • Stay Tuned…

In any case, brace yourselves for drastic changes in immigration laws and procedures in the near future.

We will keep you updated with our newsletter, blog posts and social media (Yes, Trump is not the only one with a Twitter account.)

2. New USCIS Rule Will Benefit Many EB Professionals

On November 18, the USCIS published a new regulation which implements agency guidance which assists persons in E, H-1B, L-1 and O-1 status and their employers.

This long overdue regulation which will become effective on January 17, 2017 codifies government memos relating to the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act (ACWIA) and the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (AC21), both of which were signed into law over 15 years ago.

The Federal Register notice was 366 pages. Below is a summary of the regulation:

  • Effect of Withdrawal of I-140 Petition

Persons with approved I-140s who changed employers always ran the risk of losing their EB priority dates if they changed jobs and their old employers decided to withdraw their visa petitions.

No longer. If a former employer either ceases to exist or withdraws an I-140 petition which has been approved for 180 days or more, the employee will still retain the old priority date in the absence of fraud or governmental error in approving the PERM application or the I-140.

  • Post-6th Year H-1B Extensions

A person can still qualify for a 3-year post-6th year H-1B extension even if his approved I-140 petition was withdrawn more than 180 days after approval in the absence of fraud or revocation of his PERM application.

Post-6th year H-1B extensions will continue to be available even to persons not presently in H-1B status.

However, 1-year post-6th year H-1B extensions will not be available to a person who fails to apply for adjustment of status or an immigrant visa within 1 year of when he/she became eligible to do so.

Also, a 1-year post-6th year H-1B extension will not be available where the person’s PERM application or I-140 petition has been denied/revoked, or where an I-485 or immigrant visa has been approved or denied.

  • Automatic EAD Extensions

There will be automatic 180-day EAD extensions for the following persons as long as they timely file requests to extend their EADs:

    • Applicants for Adjustment of Status;
    • Applicants for TPS Extensions; and
    • Certain VAWA Applicants.
    • Nonimmigrant E, H-4 and L-2 EAD applicants will not be eligible for automatic EAD extensions.
    • Caveat: The regulation eliminates the rule that the USCIS must adjudicate requests for EADs within 90 days, a time limit that the agency has been unable to comply with. The USCIS will now allow persons to apply for EAD extensions up to 180 days (up from the present 120 days) prior to the expiration of their current EADs.
  • EADs for Temporary Workers

Persons in E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, L-1 or O-1 status who have approved I-140 petitions may qualify for a 1-year EAD if:

      • Their priority date is not current, and
      • They can show compelling circumstances to justify the issuance of an EAD (medical emergency, significant disruption to the employer, etc.)

EAD extensions are possible, but only in limited circumstances and in one-year increments.

  • Grace Periods for Temporary Workers

Kudos to the USCIS for finally establishing a rule that clarifies the answer to a question that I have been asked thousands of times during the past 4 decades!

“My employment was terminated. How long do I have to find a new job, and apply for a change of employer before my immigration status expires?”

The new rule establishes a 60-day grace period for those in E, H-1B, H-1B1, L-1, O-1 and TN status and their family members to change employers, extend their status or change their status. They may do this only one time during each validity period of their present status.

The rule also establishes 2 grace periods of up to 10 days for persons in the E-1, E-2, E-3, L-1, and TN status to provide a reasonable amount of time for them to prepare to begin employment in the US and to depart the US or take other actions to extend, change or otherwise maintain their lawful status. Persons in H-1B, O and P status already have 10-day grace periods.

  • What Will the Next President Do?

President-Elect Trump will be inaugurated 3 days after this regulation becomes effective.

Will he make significant changes to this rule?

We promise to keep you updated on this in future issues of our newsletter.

3. State Department Visa Bulletin for December 2016

EMPLOYMENT CATEGORIES

The worldwide EB-1, EB-2, EB-4 and EB-5 numbers will all remain current (no backlogs) in December. EB-3 will remain frozen at July 1, 2016.

China EB-2 and EB-3 will both advance over 2 months in December, while China EB-5 will move forward by 2 weeks.

India EB-2 will sprint ahead 3 months while EB-3 will inch forward by 1 week.

Philippines EB-3 will advance by 2 months while Mexico EB-4 will retrogress from current to a 17-month backlog.

The following chart tells the story of the EB numbers in detail:

A. APPLICATION FINAL ACTION DATES FOR EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCE CASES

World China El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras India Mexico Philippines
1st Current Current Current Current Current Current
2nd Current 9-22-12 Current 2-01-08 Current Current
3rd 7-01-16 7-01-13 7-01-16 3-15-05 7-01-16 6-01-11
Unskilled 7-01-16 11-01-05 7-01-16 3-15-05 7-01-16 6-01-11
4th Current Current 7-15-15 Current Current Current
5th Current 3-22-14 Current Current Current Current

B. DATES FOR FILING OF EMPLOYMENT-BASED VISA APPLICATIONS– These dates indicate when immigrant applicants can send adjustment of status applications without having to wait for their priority dates to become current.

World China India Mexico Philippines
1st Current Current Current Current Current
2nd Current 3-01-13 4-22-09 Current Current
3rd Current 5-01-14 7-01-05 Current 9-01-13
Unskilled Current 8-01-09 7-01-05 Current 9-01-13
4th Current Current Current Current Current
5th Current 6-15-14 Current Current Current

FAMILY-BASED CATEGORIES

The family-based categories in the visa bulletin are as follows:

visa bulletin

An applicant’s priority date is the day that the government received the I-130 Petition. For more on family-based visas and how you can shorten your application time, see Attorney Shusterman’s video near the top of this page.

VISA BULLETIN – FAMILY

Each of the worldwide family-based preference categories will advance between 3 and 5 weeks in December.

FB-4 (brothers and sisters of US citizens) will move forward 8 weeks for China and 6 weeks for India.

The family-based categories will inch forward for persons born in Mexico and the Philippines. Mexico FB-4 will fail to advance.

The following charts tell the story in detail:

A. APPLICATION FINAL ACTION DATES FOR FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCE CASES

World China India Mexico Philippines
1st 12-01-09 12-01-09 12-01-09 4-15-95 9-15-05
2A 2-22-15 2-22-15 2-22-15 2-15-15 2-22-15
2B 5-08-10 5-08-10 5-08-10 10-15-95 3-01-06
3rd 2-15-04 2-15-05 2-15-05 12-08-94 8-15-94
4th 12-22-03 10-01-03 4-01-03 5-15-97 5-22-93

B. DATES FOR FILING FAMILY-SPONSORED VISA APPLICATIONS– These dates indicate when immigrant applicants can send adjustment of status applications without having to wait for their priority dates to become current.

World China India Mexico Philippines
1st 1-01-11 1-01-11 1-01-11 6-01-95 5-01-06
2A 11-22-15 11-22-15 11-22-15 11-22-15 11-22-15
2B 2-8-11 2-8-11 2-8-11 6-01-96 2-01-07
3rd 8-22-05 8-22-05 8-22-05 5-01-95 1-01-95
4th 7-01-04 7-01-04 5-01-04 12-01-97 4-01-94

DOS Predictions for the Near Future

The State Department predicts that India EB-2 will continue to advance up to 4 months each Visa Bulletin and that China EB-2 will move forward by 3 months.

The demand for EB-3 numbers could slow down the forward worldwide movement in the coming fiscal year. India will continue to inch forward by only one week per month (Time to get rid of per-country quotas!). However, China will advance by 3 months at a time and EB-3 Philippines could also see significant advances.

The family-based categories are all severely backlogged and any forward movement will be incremental.

4. Immigration Government Processing Times

We have included a link to various tables where you can access the immigration waiting times

            • USCIS Service Centers
            • National Benefits Center
            • EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Office
            • USCIS’ 83 Field Offices

Search the Field Offices for the USCIS’ 83 District Offices and Sub-offices to look up the processing times for (1) Applications for Adjustment of Status (I-485) (2) Work Authorization (I-765); (3) Advance Parole (I-131); (4) Naturalization (N-400) and other types of applications. To access your immigration waiting time, what you need to know are:

            • The office where your petition has been filed or transferred to
            • The type of application or petition
            • The date on which the petition was filed

This information can all be found on the Notice of Receipt that was mailed to you by the USCIS. To begin, simply click on the Field Office or Service Center that interests you and click “Submit Query” and you will be directed to the current USCIS processing time table.

If your petition/application is on appeal, you can access the processing times of the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO).

If your PERM case or other type of application is pending at the DOL, we link to the Department of Labor Processing Times.

If you are applying for a visa abroad, we link to Visa Appointment and Processing Times at 100+ US Embassies and Consulates around the world.

If you have requested a copy of your file from the USCIS, you can check the status of your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

If you are applying for affirmative asylum you can check how the Asylum Division has prioritized applications for interview scheduling.

Warning: Immigration waiting times may appear faster on the official lists than they are in reality.

5. Success Story: Overcoming a Summary Removal Order at a Port of Entry

A client was turned away at the Port of Entry near San Ysidro, California and given a “Notice to Alien Ordered Removed/Departure Verification”. This Notice informed her that she was subject to a five-year ban from returning to the United States.  She called our office from Mexico to ask whether we could help her return to the United States or at least overcome the five-year ban.

Historically, an immigration inspector has the authority to turn away any alien at the airport or land border if the inspector believes that the alien is inadmissible for any reason.  Prior to 1996, an alien could request a hearing with an Immigration Judge to challenge the inspector’s determination.  However, Congress changed the law to make the immigration inspector’s determination final and eliminated the right to see an Immigration Judge except under limited circumstances such as a claim for asylum.

portofentry-2-edit-w1600Even though the regulations do not set forth a procedure to appeal the inspector’s determination, we decided to ask the Port Director to review the determination after we studied the circumstances surrounding our client’s contact with the inspector.

In addition to the Notice to Alien, the inspector had given our client a copy of her signed Sworn Question and Answer Statement.  In every case, the inspector is required to take a written statement from an alien before refusing admission. The inspector is required to give a copy of this statement to the alien. Upon reviewing the sworn statement with the client, we realized that certain facts were not known to the inspector which we believed might change the outcome.

Our client had been in the USA for a few months on a B-2 visitor’s visa. She decided to visit Tijuana for the day.  While in Tijuana she drank too much and was inebriated at the time she tried to return to this country. When she attempted to reenter the United States, she told the immigration inspector that she was a U.S. citizen.  As she was drunk, she was not able to speak English coherently and upon further questioning, the inspector learned that she was not a citizen.  The inspector excluded our client for making a false claim to U.S. citizenship. The sworn statement indicated that our client was intoxicated.  Her friends provided affidavits, photographs, and restaurant receipts which we submitted with our legal brief to the Port Director for reconsideration of the exclusion order. The Port Director agreed with our argument that our client did not knowingly make a false statement and reversed the five-year ban. She was allowed to reenter the United States a few weeks after we contacted the Port Director.

Every case is different, so this favorable outcome might not occur for any particular individual. What is important is that the client and the attorney have a frank discussion of what was said and the circumstances of the interrogation so that a proper evaluation may be made whether to proceed with any challenge.

6. Immigration Trivia Quiz: Famous Immigrants Who Became Secretary of State

This month’s Immigration Trivia Quiz is entitled:

Famous Immigrants Who Became Secretary of State

The first person to correctly answer our quiz (and supply their biographical information) wins a free legal consultation with one of our attorneys before the end of December.

7. Ask Mr. Shusterman: USCIS’s New I-9 Form

The USCIS has developed a new I-9 form that employers must use after January 21, 2017.  However, employers may choose to use the new I-9 form immediately if they wish.

The new form has an expiration date of  August 31, 2019.

The new I-9 form can be downloaded using Adobe Reader.

The new form has a blue question mark within a blue circle on each field.   Clicking on the blue question mark allows the employee and the employer to access information regarding the instructions for completing the form as well as the meaning of various terms.

For example, item #2 on page one of the form is for noncitizen nationals of the United States to check.  However, in my experience, nearly all employers and employees have no idea of what a noncitizen national is.  Now, if one clicks the blue question mark, the meaning of this term instantly appears as follows:

“A noncitizen national of the United States is an individual born in American Samoa, certain former citizens of the former Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, and certain children of noncitizen nationals born abroad.”

The form also has self-correcting features which are quite helpful.  For example, in Section 1, if an employee checks that she is a lawful permanent resident of the US, the form only allows her to type 7 to 9 numbers, and the letter A is automatically inserted before these numbers.  Once an employee checks a box indicating her immigration status in the US, “N/A” is automatically filled in for all alternate statuses.

Employers should bear in mind that the form must be printed out and signed by the employee and a representative of the employer.  Employers who use E-Verify must retype the information on the form into E-Verify.

Below is a list of changes/improvements on the new form (courtesy of the Society for Human Resource Management):

  • Validations on certain fields to ensure information is entered correctly. The form will validate the correct number of digits for a Social Security number or an expiration date on an identity document, for example.
  • Drop-down lists and calendars.
  • Embedded instructions for completing each field.
  • Buttons that will allow users to access the instructions electronically, print the form and clear the form to start over.
  • Additional spaces to enter multiple preparers and translators. If the employee does not use a preparer or translator to assist in completing section 1, he or she must indicate so on a new check box labeled, “I did not use a preparer or translator.”
  • The requirement that workers provide only other last names used in Section 1, rather than all other names used. This is to avoid possible discrimination issues and to protect the privacy of transgender and other individuals who have changed their first names.
  • The removal of the requirement that immigrants authorized to work provide both their Form I-94 number and foreign passport information in Section 1.
  • A new “Citizenship/Immigration Status” field at the top of section 2.
  • A dedicated area to enter additional information that employers are currently required to notate in the margins of the form, such as TPS and OPT extensions.
  • A quick-response matrix barcode, or QR code, that generates once the form is printed that can be used to streamline enforcement audits.

* Separate instructions from the form. Employers are still required to present the instructions to the employee completing the form.

8. Shusterman’s Upcoming Immigration Seminars

Webinar: Trump Immigration Changes
California State Bar
January 11, 2017
Time: 12pm

HHRMAC Seminar
Enloe Conference Center
Chico, CA
January 20, 2017
Time: 10am

Legal Ethics in Practice Seminar
UCLA School of Law
Los Angeles, CA
January 26, 2017
Time: TBD

Visas 101: The Process, Procedures and Law
Doubletree Hotel Downtown
Los Angeles, CA
February 16th, 2017
Time: 3:45-5:30pm

9. Jobs & Green Cards for RNs & MedTechs
Free Legal Help!

Are you a Registered Nurse or a Medical Technologist who is looking for a job in the US?

What if you could find a job, a work visa and green cards for you and your family in the US? And what if the cost to you for all of this was zero?

Hard to believe? Let me explain:

Our law firm represents over 100 hospitals across the country. And the nurse shortage is coming back.

Our hospitals are in need of hundreds of RNs as well as Medical Technologists and other healthcare professionals. They are looking for both US and foreign-born RNs, and they will pay all of our attorneys’ fees, USCIS filing fees and more!

We have a video and a web page for those who are interested in applying for employment and sponsorship.

If you are a foreign nurse or a medical technologist and need a job in the US and the job requires a work visa and/or green card, please do the following:

Send an e-mail message to egarcia@shusterman.com

In your message, please provide the following information:

1. Have you passed the NCLEX exam?
2. Do you have a current RN license in the US? If so, from what state(s)?
3. Have you taken and passed the IELTS or TOEFL exam?
4. Do you have a valid VisaScreen certificate?
5. Do you have any immediate family members accompanying you to the United States (spouse and children)?
6. Have you ever been petitioned by any US sponsor and hold an old priority date? If so, what is your priority date?
7. If you are present in the US, what is your current immigration status?
8. What is your RN background (area of expertise)?
9. What is your country of birth?
10. What is your country of citizenship?
11. What is your phone number?

If you are a CLS, please amend the above questions accordingly.

We will forward your response to our hospitals, and if they are interested, they will contact you. Please do not contact our law firm until after you hear from one of our hospitals.

We look forward to helping you!

10. No Winner for October 2016 Immigration Trivia Quiz!

We stumped you! There was no winner for our October Immigration Trivia Quiz: Immigrants in Literature.

Here are the answers:

  1. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Russia.
  2. W. H. Auden, England.
  3. Czesław Miłosz, Lithuania.

Better luck next time!

Carl Shusterman

Certified Specialist in Immigration Law, State Bar of California
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Attorney (1976-82)
Member of AILA Board of Governors (1988-97)
Law Offices of Carl Shusterman, 600 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1550
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Phone: (213) 623-4592 x0, Fax: (213) 623-3720

“In a recent poll, Pew Research found that 80% of Americans support creating a way for undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S. That includes 60% of Trump supporters and 77% of Republicans who voted for other candidates in the primary!”

– Alexis C. Madrigal
Fusion.net

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December 1, 2016

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December 2016
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USCIS Filing Fees to Increase Starting December 23 http://www.shusterman.com/uscis-filing-fees-to-increase-starting-december-23/ Mon, 07 Nov 2016 19:00:33 +0000 http://www.shusterman.com/?p=60643    Need a good reason to file your application for an immigration benefit sooner rather than later? The USCIS will significantly raise filing fees for over 3 dozen types of applications and petitions beginning on December 23, 2016, some by over 100%. While the steepest increases will be for EB-5 investors and regional centers, filing […]

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cash   Need a good reason to file your application for an immigration benefit sooner rather than later?

The USCIS will significantly raise filing fees for over 3 dozen types of applications and petitions beginning on December 23, 2016, some by over 100%.

While the steepest increases will be for EB-5 investors and regional centers, filing fees for commonly-used applications and petitions will also be raised.

• US Citizenship

Want to become a US citizen through naturalization? The price for filing an N-400 form (which used to be $15 when I was an INS Citizenship Attorney) is slated to rise from $595 to $640.

However, there will be a new partial fee waiver for N-400s filed by qualified low-income individuals.

Do you have foreign-born children who either acquired US citizenship through you at birth or derived citizenship as minors? I hope you are sitting down while you are reading this. The filing fees for forms N-600 and N-600K will almost double, from $600 to $1,170!

Suggestion: Save your money and apply for a US passport instead.

• Family-Based Immigration

Applying for a green card for your spouse? Time to pool your money together.

The filing fees for forms I-130, I-131, I-765 and I-485 are all rising: (1) by $115 for form I-130; (2) by $215 for form I-131; by $155 for form I-485 and by $30 for form I-765.

However, if the I-131 and the I-765 are filed together with the I-485, you will be able to continue to pay only the I-485 fee.

The filing fee for a form I-751 petition to remove conditions for a spouse of a US citizen will be increased to $595.

The fee for filing a petition for a fiancée of a US citizen will rise from $340 to $535.

• Employment-Based Immigration

The filing fee for form I-129 which is used to petition a nonimmigrant worker will increase from $325 to $460 while the fee for an I-140 will rise from $580 to $700.

• Fees That Will Stay The Same

1. Biometric Services Fee
2. Premium Processing
3. Refugee Travel Documents
4. Forms I-821 and I-821F

• What You Should Do

To the extent possible, make sure that your petitions and applications for immigration benefits are filed with the USCIS before December 23.

Folks with low incomes will still be able to request fee waivers using form I-912.

The post USCIS Filing Fees to Increase Starting December 23 appeared first on Shusterman Law.

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Shusterman’s Immigration UpdateOctober 2016 http://www.shusterman.com/shustermans-immigration-update-october-2016/ Sat, 01 Oct 2016 08:00:46 +0000 http://www.shusterman.com/?p=58418 Volume Twenty One, Number Eight SHUSTERMAN’S IMMIGRATION UPDATE is the Web’s most popular e-mail newsletter regarding U.S. immigration laws and procedures with over 60,000 subscribers located in more than 150 countries. It is written by a former INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) with over 40 years of experience practicing immigration law. Published by the Law Offices […]

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October 2016
appeared first on Shusterman Law.

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Volume Twenty One, Number Eight

SHUSTERMAN’S specialized knowledgeIMMIGRATION UPDATE is the Web’s most popular e-mail newsletter regarding U.S. immigration laws and procedures with over 60,000 subscribers located in more than 150 countries. It is written by a former INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) with over 40 years of experience practicing immigration law.

Published by the Law Offices of Carl Shusterman, 600 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 1550, Los Angeles, California, 90017. Phone: (213) 623-4592 x0.

Subscribe to our Immigration Newsletter, join the conversation on our Facebook Page, follow our Blog Posts and subscribe to our “How-To” Immigration Videos.

There will be no November 2016 issue of Shusterman’s Immigration Update.

 

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- Sgt. Danny Lightfoot, Los Angeles, California
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TABLE OF CONTENTS:

1. Submit Your Application for Adjustment of Status Now!
2. State Department Visa Bulletin for October 2016
3. Immigration Government Processing Times
4. Success Story: Retaining a Priority Date with a Successor-In-Interest Employer
5. Immigration Trivia Quiz: Immigrants in Literature
6. EB-5 Investors: The Future of the Regional Center Program
7. Ask Mr. Shusterman: Support Letters for Your Immigration Petition
8. Shusterman’s Upcoming Immigration Seminars
9. Jobs & Green Cards for RNs & MedTechs: Free Legal Help!
10. Winner of Our September 2016 Immigration Trivia Quiz!

NEWS FLASHES:

  • Attorney Carl Shusterman Featured as Super Lawyer 2017 – Attorney Carl Shusterman has been selected to be featured in the Southern California Super Lawyers list for 2017.
  • CBP Makes Online I-94 Application and Payment Available to Travelers Arriving at a Land Port of Entry – US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently announced that the I-94 website now allows for travelers to apply and pay for their I-94 online before arriving at a land port of entry. This can help travelers speed up their entry into the US, by being able to provide their biographic and travel information as well as pay for the $6 fee for their online application up to 7 days prior to their entry.
  • Employers: Current I-9 Valid to January 21, 2017– USCIS confirmed that the current Form I-9 remains effective after its March 31, 2016 expiration date. Employers may continue to use this version until January 21, 2017. On August 25, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved a revised Form I-9. USCIS will publish a revised I-9 form by November 22, 2016.
  • Filing Form N-400 Updates – USCIS announced that due to the recent electronic processing of the Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, there is no need for applicants to submit 2 passport-style photographs with their applications. Instead, applicant’s photographs will be taken when they appear at the Application Support Center (ASC) for their biometric appointments. Moreover, fingerprints, photographs and signatures of all applicants, regardless of age, will now be collected at a local ASC at the time of their scheduled biometric appointment. Lastly, USCIS will no longer waive the fingerprint requirement for applicants 75 years of age or older
  • DHS to Review Use of Privatized Immigration Detention – The Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) has been directed to review the DHS’s current policy and practices revolving around the use of private immigration detention. Such review will assess whether or not this practice should continue. The HSAC will provide a written report of their evaluation to DHS Secretary Johnson and the Director of ICE on or before November 30, 2016.
  • DV-2018 Green Card Lottery – You can submit your DV Lottery application online at dvlottery.state.gov between Tuesday, October 4 at noon, EDT and Monday, November 7 at noon, EST. The Instructions for 2018 Diversity Immigrant Program are online. You can submit your application without having to hire an attorney.
  • Newly Published Report on Access to Counsel in Immigration Courts– On September 28, the American Immigration Council released their report “Access to Counsel in Immigration Court” which focuses on national study of 1.2 million individual removal cases in immigration court between FY 2007- FY 2012. This report states that there is limited access to legal counsel on both a geographic and nationality level, also finding that immigrants with attorney representation are more likely to be released from detention, apply for relief and obtain the relief they seek. The American Immigration Council hopes that these findings will guide our nation into creating a fair and just immigration system that is true to our nation’s commitment to justice and due process of law.
  • TPS Extension for Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone– DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson has extended TPS benefits for beneficiaries under the designations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone for 6 additional months. This extension is intended to facilitate an orderly transition before these designations terminate, effective May 21, 2017. Johnson has determined that these countries no longer support their designations for TPS given that the widespread transmission of Ebola virus that led to the designations has ended. No application nor fee is required from the beneficiaries in order to retain their TPS benefits through May 20, 2017.
  • USCIS New Social Media AccountsUSCIS is now on Instagram and Facebook. They will be providing their latest news in both English and Spanish on Instagram. Be sure to follow their English account @uscis and their Spanish one @uscis_es to learn the stories behind their photo posts. Their Facebook page will provide updates on how USCIS is working on improving their services to the public.
  • USCIS to Adopt Parole Policy for U Visa Petitioners and Family Members – The The Ombudsman’s recommendation to implement a parole policy for U visa petitioners and their qualifying family members has been accepted by USCIS. The policy is expected to take effect sometime in Fiscal Year 2017.

1. Submit Your Application for Adjustment of Status Now!

October 2016 is the best month for immigrants seeking green cards in many years.

First, on September 29, Congress passed, and President Obama signed, a stop-gap funding bill which extends the following immigration programs until December 9:

1) The Conrad 30 Waiver Program for Physicians
2) The EB-5 Regional Center Program
3) E-Verify for Employers
4) Special Immigrant Non-Minister Religious Worker Program
5) Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI)

These programs were all set to expire on September 30, 2016. Now, it is all but certain that these programs will be continued after December 9 with the exception of the EB-5 Regional Center Program which we discuss in Topic 6 in this newsletter.

Second, the USCIS announced in September that the agency will accept applications for adjustment of status in accordance with the State Department’s filing date Visa Bulletin for October.

This is a huge opportunity for persons applying for green cards in the employment-based (EB) categories. All of the worldwide EB filing date categories in October are current.

This means that if you have an approved PERM application and your EB category is current, you should make sure that both an I-140 and an I-485 are filed on your behalf (and an I-485 is filed for each of your family members) before the end of October.

It is also an opportunity for persons who do not require a PERM application to file I-140s and I-485s in October. This applies to:

1) EB-1 Persons of Extraordinary Ability
2) EB-1 Outstanding Researchers and Professors
3) EB-1 Multinational Executives and Managers
4) EB-2 National Interest Waivers
5) Registered Nurses
6) Physical Therapists

Talk with your attorney immediately to see if you are eligible. For many persons, this may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

2. State Department Visa Bulletin for October 2016

The USCIS announced in September that the agency will accept applications for adjustment of status in accordance with the State Department’s filing date Visa Bulletin for October.

EMPLOYMENT CATEGORIES

The EB-1 category for persons born in India and China will again be current (no backlogs).

The worldwide EB-2 category will again be current and will advance an average of 2 years for India and China.

The worldwide EB-3 category will advance 1 month. China EB-3 will jump forward over 3 years, Philippines by 5 months and India by only 2 weeks.

The worldwide EB-4 category will remain current, with a huge leap forward for various Central American countries.

Worldwide EB-5 also will remain current. China EB-5 will inch forward by 1 week.

The following chart tells the story of the EB numbers in detail:

A. APPLICATION FINAL ACTION DATES FOR EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCE CASES

World China El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras India Mexico Philippines
1st Current Current Current Current Current Current
2nd Current 2-15-12 Current 1-15-07 Current Current
3rd 6-01-16 1-22-13 6-01-16 3-01-05 6-01-16 12-01-10
Unskilled 6-01-16 1-05-05 6-01-16 3-01-05 6-01-16 12-01-10
4th Current Current 6-15-15 Current Current Current
5th Current 2-15-14 Current Current Current Current

B. DATES FOR FILING OF EMPLOYMENT-BASED VISA APPLICATIONS– These dates indicate when immigrant applicants can send adjustment of status applications without having to wait for their priority dates to become current.

World China India Mexico Philippines
1st Current Current Current Current Current
2nd Current 3-01-13 4-22-09 Current Current
3rd Current 5-01-14 7-01-05 Current 9-01-13
Unskilled Current 8-01-09 7-01-05 Current 9-01-13
4th Current Current Current Current Current
5th Current 2-22-14 Current Current Current

FAMILY-BASED CATEGORIES

The family-based categories in the visa bulletin are as follows:

visa bulletin

An applicant’s priority date is the day that the government received the I-130 Petition. For more on family-based visas and how you can shorten your application time, see Attorney Shusterman’s video near the top of this page.

VISA BULLETIN – FAMILY

The forward movement in the family-based categories will remain slow. The worldwide categories will advance between 1 and 6 weeks.

However, there are a few notable exceptions.

Mexico F2A will advance by 3 months, China F4 by 4 months and India F4 by almost 2 years.

The following charts tell the story in detail:

A. APPLICATION FINAL ACTION DATES FOR FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCE CASES

World China India Mexico Philippines
1st 9-22-09 9-22-09 9-22-09 4-01-95 8-01-05
2A 12-22-14 12-22-14 12-22-14 12-01-14 12-22-14
2B 3-15-10 3-15-10 3-15-10 10-01-95 1-01-06
3rd 12-22-04 12-22-04 12-22-04 11-22-94 7-08-94
4th 11-01-03 5-01-03 12-01-02 5-01-97 4-15-93

B. DATES FOR FILING FAMILY-SPONSORED VISA APPLICATIONS– These dates indicate when immigrant applicants can send adjustment of status applications without having to wait for their priority dates to become current.

World China India Mexico Philippines
1st 1-01-11 1-01-11 1-01-11 6-01-95 5-01-06
2A 11-22-15 11-22-15 11-22-15 11-22-15 11-22-15
2B 2-8-11 2-8-11 2-8-11 6-01-96 2-01-07
3rd 8-22-05 8-22-05 8-22-05 5-01-95 1-01-95
4th 7-01-04 7-01-04 5-01-04 12-01-97 4-01-94

DOS Predictions for the Near Future

The State Department predicts that India EB-2 will continue to advance up to 4 months each Visa Bulletin and that China EB-2 will move forward by 3 months.

The demand for EB-3 numbers could slow down the forward worldwide movement in the coming fiscal year. India will continue to inch forward by only one week per month (Time to get rid of per-country quotas!). However, China will advance by 3 months at a time and EB-3 Philippines could also see significant advances.

The family-based categories are all severely backlogged and any forward movement will be incremental.

3. Immigration Government Processing Times

We have included a link to various tables where you can access the immigration waiting times

  • USCIS Service Centers
  • National Benefits Center
  • EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Office
  • USCIS’ 83 Field Offices

Search the Field Offices for the USCIS’ 83 District Offices and Sub-offices to look up the processing times for (1) Applications for Adjustment of Status (I-485) (2) Work Authorization (I-765); (3) Advance Parole (I-131); (4) Naturalization (N-400) and other types of applications. To access your immigration waiting time, what you need to know are:

  • The office where your petition has been filed or transferred to
  • The type of application or petition
  • The date on which the petition was filed

This information can all be found on the Notice of Receipt that was mailed to you by the USCIS. To begin, simply click on the Field Office or Service Center that interests you and click “Submit Query” and you will be directed to the current USCIS processing time table.

If your petition/application is on appeal, you can access the processing times of the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO).

If your PERM case or other type of application is pending at the DOL, we link to the Department of Labor Processing Times.

If you are applying for a visa abroad, we link to Visa Appointment and Processing Times at 100+ US Embassies and Consulates around the world.

If you have requested a copy of your file from the USCIS, you can check the status of your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

If you are applying for affirmative asylum you can check how the Asylum Division has prioritized applications for interview scheduling.

Warning: Immigration waiting times may appear faster on the official lists than they are in reality.

4. Success Story: Retaining a Priority Date with a Successor-In-Interest Employer

Mr. Gupta, a long time H-1B employee of a computer company had to return to India because of a family emergency. After he did so, the division of the company for which he worked was sold to a newly-created company. The newly-created company retained our law firm to represent them.

After his family member recovered, Mr. Gupta contacted us and inquired about the possibility of obtaining an H-1B visa through the new company. We advised him to contact the recruiting department and his former manager to see if they had an employment opportunity for him. Fortunately, the new company immediately offered him a position and we prepared and obtained the approval of an H-1B petition on his behalf. After obtaining a new H-1B visa, he returned to the US with his family and began working for the new company.

Mr. Gupta then asked if it would be possible for him to utilize his previously approved I-140 for the green card process with the new employer. This requires that the new company be considered a “successor-in-interest” employer.

The following factors determine whether a company qualifies as a successor-in-interest employer in order to submit an I-140 visa petition with the USCIS:

1. The job opportunity offered by the successor-in-interest employer must be the same as the job opportunity originally offered on the PERM application;

2. The successor-in-interest employer bears the burden of proof of establishing eligibility in all respects, including the provision of required evidence from the predecessor entity, such as evidence of the predecessor’s ability to pay the proffered wage as of the date of filing the PERM application; and,

3. The visa petition must fully describe and document the transfer and assumption of the ownership of the predecessor by the successor employer.

In this case, the new company met each of the requirements to be considered a successor-in-interest employer. This enabled us to prepare a new I-140 visa petition and retain Mr. Gupta’s original priority date without the need to start the green card process over again from the very beginning.

We were able to file the amended I-140 and present a compelling and well-documented narrative detailing the purchase of the division from the previous company and the creation of the new company to show that the new employer was a successor-in-interest employer and that the employment was in the same geographic area of employment.

USCIS accepted our evidence and we were able to obtain an I-140 approval with the new employer for Mr. Gupta and also retain his 2010 priority date. We look forward to filing applications for adjustment of status for Mr. Gupta and his family as soon as his 2010 priority date becomes current.

5. Immigration Trivia Quiz: Immigrants in Literature

This month’s Immigration Trivia Quiz is entitled:

Immigrants in Literature

The first person to correctly answer our quiz (and supply their biographical information) wins a free legal consultation with one of our attorneys before the end of October.

6. EB-5 Investors: The Future of the Regional Center Program

On September 29, Congress passed and President Obama signed a temporary spending bill which extends the Regional Center portion of EB-5 investor program, as is, until December 9, 2016.

But what happens after that?

Recent events in the Senate and the House of Representatives indicate that there is bipartisan support for a massive restructuring of the Regional Center Program.

On September 8, both the Chair and the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senators Charles Grassley (R-IO) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) wrote a strongly-worded letter to both the Majority and the Minority Leaders of the Senate which stated that “the program has become plagued with fraud and abuse, and if not reformed it should be allowed to expire on September 30th.”

Then, on September 12, Senator Grassley wrote a letter to DHS Secretary Johnson detailing some of the abuses of the Regional Center Program. He mentioned the “gerrymandered” boundaries of the Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs) and states that “foreign corporations and foreign governments are increasingly taking advantage of the EB-5 regional center program…”

On September 22, Senator Grassley spoke before the Senate about the expiration of the Regional Center Program. He listed over 20 problems with the current program.

Senator Leahy spoke before the Senate on the same day. He also opposed extending the EB-5 Regional Center Program without reforms. Senator Leahy stated that

“The EB-5 program of today is mired in fraud and abuse. It has strayed from its important policy goals. The incentives that Congress created to direct investment to underserved areas—the very reason why I supported this program—have been rendered meaningless. The program has become an unintended boon for the wealthiest business districts in the country.”

Key members of the House of Representatives are also determined to reform the EB-5 Regional Center Program.

Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Chair and Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.) of the House Judiciary Committee co-sponsored H.R. 5992 on September 12. On September 26, the bill was referred to the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security.

The bill would extend the program for 5 years and make dozens of significant changes. It would increase the minimum investment amount to $800,000 and would make sure that these investments are located in rural and urban poverty areas. Non-TEA minimum investments would increase to $1,200,000.

Although, it is still too early to predict what the fate of EB-5 Regional Center Program will be, the bipartisan support for reform indicates that there will be major changes to the existing program.

7. Ask Mr. Shusterman: Support Letters for Your Immigration Petition

There are a number of employment-based temporary and permanent visa categories which require you to submit supporting letters to demonstrate that you are “outstanding”, “exceptional” , “extraordinary” and the like.
Among these are temporary H-1B (for those who are of “distinguished merit and ability”), O and P visas. On the permanent side, there are “Persons of Extraordinary Ability”, “Outstanding Professors and Researchers”, persons seeking “National Interest Waivers” and “Persons of Exceptional Ability”.
For clients seeking benefits in any of these categories, we recommend that they obtain support letters from at least half a dozen recognized experts in their field.

We provide our clients with sample letters that we have used in the past (with the names blocked out) to give them an idea as to how the letter should be structured.

Here is the basic structure of a support letter:

Part One: A support letter should never start by discussing how great you are. Put yourself in the shoes of the immigration examiner who is reading your application. She/he expects that the letter writer is going to say wonderful things about you. Otherwise, you would not be submitting the letter with your petition.

The examiner wants to know why the opinion of the person writing the letter should be respected. Is the writer an authority in the field of endeavor? The letter writer should not be shy about listing his awards, publications, etc. If he is from a major university or research center, he should say so, and use the center’s letterhead if possible.

Be careful not to rely solely on recommendations from your fellow employees or persons of your particular nationality. The USCIS examiner may intuit that these folks are simply doing you a favor.

Part Two: The letter should discuss how the writer knows about you and your work.

If the writer has known about you for years, cited your work in one or more of his papers or heard you speak at a national or international conference, this is great.

On the other hand, if the only reason that he knows about you is that you have asked him for a support letter, forget it.

Part Three: Now is the time for the writer to discuss your “outstanding”, “exceptional” and “extraordinary” work. It is not necessary for him to use the exact terminology of your immigration category.

However, it is important that he discusses your contributions to your area of expertise, whether it is papers that you have written, prizes which have been awarded to you, membership in elite societies, etc.

Caveat: Although support letters are an important component of your petition, they are not substitutes for actual achievements. The USCIS examiner and your attorney may not be experts in “immunotherapy” or whatever your field of specialization is, but they are not idiots. Before I start a consultation with a potential client who seeks to qualify for a particular immigration status which requires a certain level of expertise, I google his name. You should expect that the USCIS examiner will do the same.

8. Shusterman’s Upcoming Immigration Seminars

  • UCLA: Free Immigration Consultations
    Student Legal Services: Murphy Hall
    October 17, 2016
    Time: 9:30 am
  •  

  • Global Mobility in the Age of Terrorism
    Omni Hotel, Los Angeles, CA
    November 4, 2016
    Time: TBD
  •  

  • How to Sponsor a Foreign-Born Nurse
    Healthcare Human Resources Management Association
    Webinar
    November 8, 2016
    Time: TBD
  •  

  • Legal Ethics in Practice Seminar
    UCLA School of Law
    Los Angeles, CA
    January 26, 2017
    Time: TBD

 

9. Jobs & Green Cards for RNs & MedTechs
Free Legal Help!

Are you a Registered Nurse or a Medical Technologist who is looking for a job in the US?

What if you could find a job, a work visa and green cards for you and your family in the US? And what if the cost to you for all of this was zero?

Hard to believe? Let me explain:

Our law firm represents over 100 hospitals across the country. And the nurse shortage is coming back.

Our hospitals are in need of hundreds of RNs as well as Medical Technologists and other healthcare professionals. They are looking for both US and foreign-born RNs, and they will pay all of our attorneys’ fees, USCIS filing fees and more!

We have a video and a web page for those who are interested in applying for employment and sponsorship.

If you are a foreign nurse or a medical technologist and need a job in the US and the job requires a work visa and/or green card, please do the following:

Send an e-mail message to egarcia@shusterman.com

In your message, please provide the following information:

1. Have you passed the NCLEX exam?
2. Do you have a current RN license in the US? If so, from what state(s)?
3. Have you taken and passed the IELTS or TOEFL exam?
4. Do you have a valid VisaScreen certificate?
5. Do you have any immediate family members accompanying you to the United States (spouse and children)?
6. Have you ever been petitioned by any US sponsor and hold an old priority date? If so, what is your priority date?
7. If you are present in the US, what is your current immigration status?
8. What is your RN background (area of expertise)?
9. What is your country of birth?
10. What is your country of citizenship?
11. What is your phone number?

If you are a CLS, please amend the above questions accordingly.

We will forward your response to our hospitals, and if they are interested, they will contact you. Please do not contact our law firm until after you hear from one of our hospitals.

We look forward to helping you!

10. Winner of Our September 2016 Immigration Trivia Quiz!

August’s Immigration Trivia Quiz was entitled: Famous Companies.

Below is the message we received from the winner:

  1. Colgate; Founder William Colgate; 1806; From Kent, U.K.
  2. Kohls; Founder Maxwell Kohl; 1962; From Poland
  3. Nordstrom; Founder John W. Nordstrom; 1901; From Sweden
  4. P&G; Founders William Procter James Gamble from U.K.

“My name is Leoriza Nillasca from Philippines and
currently residing here in Chicago
I entered the US since 2000.
I am not an immigrant yet.

I used to work as a Marketing Assistant in one of the biggest garment manufacturing companies in Northern Marianas Island, Hong Kong, China, etc.
I am currently unemployed but I am taking care of my relative who has Dementia/Alzheimer.

I like working in the computer. Yoga. learning some other languages.

I was able to get the answers by browsing in the internet.

I have been a subscriber since 2005 or 2006 thru a friend who used to be a Paralegal but now a Law graduate here in Chicago. We used to work together in the office.

I hope I can be the lucky one on this trivia quiz.”
 

 
Congratulations, Leoriza!

Carl Shusterman

Certified Specialist in Immigration Law, State Bar of California
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Attorney (1976-82)
Member of AILA Board of Governors (1988-97)
Law Offices of Carl Shusterman, 600 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1550
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Phone: (213) 623-4592 x0, Fax: (213) 623-3720

“Only two percent of those who applied for relief succeeded without an attorney. This dismal statistic reveals just how rare it is for immigrants without counsel to present and win their claims in immigration court.”

Report: Access to Counsel in Immigration Court
September 2016

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October 2, 2016

The post Shusterman’s Immigration Update
October 2016
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