Shusterman’s Immigration Update
September 2018

Volume Twenty Three, Number Nine

SHUSTERMAN’S Carl ShustermanIMMIGRATION 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.

 

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Are Immigration Courts Being Turned Into Assembly Lines?
2. State Department Visa Bulletin for September 2018 & Predictions for FY2018
3. Immigration Government Processing Times
4. Facebook Live – Engage with Our Attorneys in Real Time
5. Success Story: Attorney Sotelo Gets Green Card Denial Reversed for Our Clients
6. Immigration Trivia Quiz: Immigrants Who Became Billionaires in U.S.
7. Ask Mr. Shusterman – Employers: How to Prepare Yourself for an I-9 Audit
8. Shusterman’s Upcoming Immigration Seminars
9. Jobs & Green Cards for RNs & MedTechs: Free Legal Help!
10. Winner for August Immigration Trivia Quiz!

NEWS FLASHES

  • 8th Annual USCIS OMBUDSMAN Conference – Join the Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman for their annual conference on November 16 at the U.S. National Archives in Washington, D.C. The annual conference is an opportunity to hear from government officials, policy leaders and others on important immigration topics.

  • Army Reinstates At Least 36 Discharged Immigrants — At least three dozen immigrant recruits who were discharged from the U.S. Army after enlisting with a promised pathway to citizenship are being brought back to serve. The cases of another 149 discharged enlistees who have been suspended are now under review.

  • How Trump Radicalized ICE – Even before President Trump took office, the Federal Government spent more on immigration enforcement ($18 billion annually) than for all the other major criminal law-enforcement agencies combined: the FBI; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Secret Service; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; and the U.S. Marshals Service. Read how President Trump has unleashed the agency.

  • Immigration Judges Protest Replacement Of Judge — An immigration judge was removed from a high-profile case and replaced with a judge who immediately ordered the person deported, a move that smacks of judicial interference by the Trump administration, according to a letter signed by a group of retired judges.

  • USCIS Clarifies That Offsite STEM OPT Employment is Permitted in Certain Cases – On August 17, the USCIS modified it’s website to show that as long as the STEM employer and the student have a valid employer-employee relationship, and the employer that signs the STEM training plan is the same entity that employs the student and provides the practical training experience, 3rd party placement can be acceptable.

  • USCIS Extends and Expands Suspension of Premium Processing for H-1B Petitions – On August 28, USCIS announced that it is extending the previously announced temporary suspension of premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions and, beginning September 11, will be expanding this temporary suspension to include all H-1B petitions filed at the Vermont and California Service Centers except for certain cap-exempt filings as noted in the announcement. The suspension is expected to last until February 19, 2019.

1. Are Immigration Courts Being Turned Into Assembly Lines?

Back in the 1980s, when I served as an INS Trial Attorney, there were very few Immigration Judges, but the case backlogs were quite manageable. Judges had time to carefully consider the merits of each case that came before them.

Oh, but the times they are a’changing…and not in a good way.

Read more…

2. State Department’s Visa Bulletin for September 2018 – Predictions for FY2019

 

EMPLOYMENT-BASED CATEGORIES

The employment-based (EB) categories in the visa bulletin are as follows:

An applicant’s priority date is the day that the government received the employer’s PERM application. However, if a PERM application is not required, the priority date is the date the government received an EB visa petition (I-140, I-526). Watch our EB videos to see various methods of shortening your waiting time for a green card.

In September, USCIS will only accept employment-based adjustment applications from foreign nationals with a priority date that is current for final action under the State Department’s September Visa Bulletin.

September is the final month of the fiscal year and visa numbers, as usual, are in short supply. There are a number of major retrogressions which will disappear come October.

Here is the bad news:

Worldwide, the EB-2 and EB-3 categories will retrogress, EB-2 by over 5 years and EB-3 by 6 years. Worldwide EB-1 will advance by 4 weeks.

EB-1 India remains frozen while EB-2 for professionals with advanced degrees will retrogress by over 2 years and EB-3 by 6 years.

EB-2 China will retrogress by over 2 years while EB-3 for professionals and skilled workers will advance by 4 months and EB-3 for unskilled workers by almost 3 years.

EB-1 and EB-2 Philippines will retrogress along with the worldwide numbers while EB-3 will retrogress by 7 months.

EB-4 for El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, India and Mexico will advance by 1 week.

EB-5 China and Vietnam for investors will advance by 1 week.

Below are the State Department’s Charlie Oppenheim’s predictions for the movement of employment-based priority dates for the coming fiscal year:

EB-1. Despite a one-month advancement in September and previously expressed hopes that EB-1 Worldwide would return to current on October 1, 2018 (as it has in past years), heavy demand will preclude the category from returning to current in October. Charlie further believes that EB-1 China and EB-1 India will continue to have final action dates in October which are earlier than those established for Worldwide. It is unlikely that any of the EB-1 categories will have much forward movement before December or possibly into Q2 of FY 2019.

EB-2 Worldwide. This category will return to current in October and will remain so for the foreseeable future.

EB-2 China and EB-3 China Flip Again, but is it Too Soon to Downgrade? In September, EB-2 China will retrogress from March 1, 2015 to the Worldwide date of January 1, 2013, resulting in EB-3 China having a more favorable date than EB-2 China. Despite this dramatic retrogression, Charlie predicts that EB-2 China will fully recover to at least the August Visa Bulletin date of March 1, 2015 in October, once again causing EB-2 China’s final action date to be later than that of EB-3 China. EB-2 China will move very slowly through the first quarter of the fiscal year, as Charlie assesses demand from earlier movements.

EB-3 China advances four months in September to November 1, 2014 and is expected to advance from this date by up to three weeks at a time, starting in October. While EB-2 China is likely to stay ahead of EB-3 China for the first quarter of the fiscal year, members should continue to watch these categories closely as their dates are only within a few months of one another.

EB-2 and EB-3 India. After its long-awaited movement into 2009, EB-2 India retrogresses more than two years to January 1, 2007 in September. This abrupt retrogression should be short-lived as Charlie expects EB-2 India to recover to a 2009 date in October and to advance at a pace of up to two weeks at a time. In September, EB-3 and Other Workers India retrogresses six years to January 1, 2003 but will recover in October and then move slowly pending receipt of demand from recent advances. The dramatic retrogression of these categories was required to stop further number use in light of the recent increase in demand by all other countries, resulting in a lack of “otherwise unused” numbers available for India EB-2/EB-3.

EB-3 and Other Workers. A final action date of November 1, 2016 is briefly imposed for EB-3 Worldwide, Mexico and Vietnam (as well as El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras), and Other Workers Worldwide, Mexico, and Vietnam, but all of these categories will return to current in October.

EB-3 China. This category advances four months to November 1, 2014, and Other Workers China holds at May 1, 2007. These categories are expected to move at a pace of up to three weeks.

EB-3 Philippines. In September, this category and Other Workers Philippines retrogresses seven months to November 1, 2016 but is expected to recover some in October.

EB-4 El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, EB-4 Mexico and EB-4 India all advance one week to February 15, 2016. Members should expect variances in these categories starting in October.

Given the complexity of processing Special Immigrant Juvenile cases, it is very difficult for Charlie to predict when pending cases will mature into demand for visa numbers. Members should expect EB-4 El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to at least hold at February 15, 2016 for October.

EB-4 Mexico will fully recover in October to its June Visa Bulletin date of October 22, 2016, and EB-4 India will return to current in October.

EB-5 Non-Regional Center and Regional Center for both China and Vietnam will advance one week to August 8, 2014 in September. Charlie expects that for both countries, these categories will continue to operate under a final action date as we enter FY19. Their dates are likely to be different, however, with Vietnam’s date being later than that of China for the first five to six months of the fiscal year, until EB-5 Vietnam hits it’s per country limit. At that time, its final action date will track that of China.

VISA BULLETIN – EMPLOYMENT

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

World China El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras India Mexico Philippines Vietnam
1st 6-01-16 1-01-12 6-01-16 1-01-12 6-01-16 6-01-16 6-01-16
2nd 1-01-13 1-01-13 1-01-13 1-01-07 1-01-13 1-01-13 1-01-13
3rd 11-01-16 11-01-14 11-01-16 1-01-03 11-01-16 11-01-16 11-01-16
Unskilled 11-01-16 5-01-07 11-01-16 1-01-03 11-01-16 11-01-16 11-01-16
4th Current Current 2-15-16 2-15-16 2-15-16 Current Current
5th Current 8-08-14 Current Current Current Current 8-08-14

B. DATES FOR FILING OF EMPLOYMENT-BASED VISA APPLICATIONS – The chart below reflects dates for filing visa applications within a timeframe justifying immediate action in the application process. Applicants for immigrant visas who have a priority date earlier than the application date in the chart may assemble and submit required documents to the Department of State’s National Visa Center, following receipt of notification from the National Visa Center containing detailed instructions. The application date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who cannot submit documentation to the National Visa Center for an immigrant visa.

World China El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras India Mexico Philippines Vietnam
1st Current Current Current Current Current Current Current
2nd Current 4-01-15 Current 5-22-09 Current Current Current
3rd Current 1-01-16 Current 5-01-09 Current 7-01-17 Current
Unskilled Current 6-01-08 Current 5-01-09 Current 7-01-17 Current
4th Current Current 5-01-16 Current Current Current Current
5th Current 10-01-14 Current Current 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.

As stated above, September is the final month of the fiscal year and visa numbers, as usual, are in short supply. There are a number of retrogressions which will disappear come October.

The good news is that the USCIS has opted to allow applicants to use the Dates of Filing Chart to apply for adjustment of status in September 2018.

Here is the (mostly) bad news:

Worldwide, the F-1 category will retrogress 4 weeks and the F-3 category 6 weeks. The F2A category will remain frozen while the F-2B and F-4 categories will advance by 1 and 2 weeks, respectively.

India F4 (brothers and sisters of US citizens) will advance by 2 weeks.

Most of the Mexican family-based categories will remain frozen except for the F-2B and F-3 categories which will each advance by 3 weeks.

Philippines 1st preference jumps ahead by 10 weeks while the other family categories move forward between 4 and 9 weeks except for the F-2A category which fails to advance.

Below are the State Department’s Charlie Oppenheim’s predictions for the movement of family-based priority dates for the coming fiscal year:

September brings a one-month retrogression in the final action dates for FB-1 Worldwide, China and India, from May 8, 2011 back to April 8, 2011. FB-3 Worldwide, China and India also retrogress approximately 6 weeks, from June 15, 2006 to May 1, 2006. In October 2018, when the new fiscal year commences, these categories will recover and return to the previously held August final action dates.

All Philippines family-based preference categories will advance in September except FB-2A Philippines.

FB-1 Mexico, FB-2B Mexico and FB-3 Mexico all advance modestly in September.

In the first few months of FY 2019, it is predicted that the Worldwide family-based preference categories will advance as follows: FB-1: up to three weeks, following an October recovery; FB-2A: up to three to five weeks; FB-2B: up to six weeks; FB-3: up to three to five weeks, following an October recovery; FB-4: up to five weeks. Members should keep in mind that whenever the Visa Bulletin indicates there will be movement “up to” a certain amount of time, there could be no movement or movement up to the maximum of the referenced period.

The family-based preference categories continue to advance modestly. Charlie notes low response rates to Agent of Choice Letters, particularly in FB-3, which is causing the dates to move somewhat more rapidly than they otherwise would.

VISA BULLETIN – FAMILY

A. APPLICATION FINAL ACTION DATES FOR FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCE CASES– These dates are consistent with prior visa bulletin priority dates.

World China India Mexico Philippines
1st 4-08-11 4-08-11 4-08-11 8-01-97 11-15-06
2A 7-22-16 7-22-16 7-22-16 7-01-16 7-22-16
2B 11-01-11 11-01-11 11-01-11 4-22-97 4-22-07
3rd 5-01-06 5-01-06 5-01-06 12-22-95 6-01-95
4th 1-08-05 1-08-05 4-08-04 1-15-98 6-01-95

B. DATES FOR FILING FAMILY-SPONSORED VISA APPLICATIONS – The chart below reflects dates for filing visa applications within a timeframe justifying immediate action in the application process. Applicants for immigrant visas who have a priority date earlier than the application date in the chart may assemble and submit required documents to the Department of State’s National Visa Center, following receipt of notification from the National Visa Center containing detailed instructions. The application date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who cannot submit documentation to the National Visa Center for an immigrant visa.

World China India Mexico Philippines
1st 3-08-12 3-08-12 3-08-12 9-01-98 2-15-08
2A 12-01-17 12-01-17 12-01-17 12-01-17 12-01-17
2B 3-22-14 3-22-14 3-22-14 6-08-97 12-15-07
3rd 9-22-06 9-22-06 9-22-06 10-08-98 8-01-95
4th 5-01-05 5-01-05 1-01-05 6-01-98 12-01-95

A priority date is established by the submission of a relative visa petition in the family categories.

The word “Current” indicates that no backlog presently exists in a particular category. Alternately, the word “Unavailable” indicates that it is not possible to apply for permanent residence in that category.

The dates in the Visa Bulletin can be misleading. They may look closer on the Bulletin than they are in reality.

3. Immigration Government Processing Times

immigration waiting 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. Facebook Live – Engage with Our Attorneys in Real Time

In September, attorneys from our law firm will discuss a wide range of immigration topics and take questions on Facebook Live. We will announce each topic in advance on the Breaking Immigration News section on our homepage.

Facebook Live allows us to provide tips and information regarding immigration law, while also providing viewers the opportunity to ask questions during the broadcast.

You can watch videos of our previous Facebook Live sessions below:


Stop Deportations using Pereira v. Sessions

US Immigration for Registered Nurses

Responding to H-1B Cap Case RFE’s

What to Do After TPS Ends

Preparing for Your USCIS Interview

How to Get a Temporary Work Visa

Work Visas and Green Cards

Ganado Su Caso En Un Tribunal De Inmigracion

Winning Your Case in Immigration Court

Direct EB-5s

Our goal is to help you understand how immigration laws, regulations and procedures affect you.

5. Success Story: Attorney Sotelo Gets Green Card Denial Reversed for Our Clients

Attorney Sotelo Attorney Sotelo was retained by a family living abroad after their green card applications were denied. The husband and wife are citizens of St. Lucia, a country in the West Indies, and their 20-year-old son is a citizen of Canada. In 2003, the wife’s U.S. citizen sister sponsored her and her family for green cards.

Read more…

(More Success Stories…)

 

 

6. Immigration Trivia Quiz: Billionaire Immigrants

This month’s Immigration Trivia Quiz is entitled:

Immigrants Who Became Billionaires in the U.S.

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 September.

7. Ask Mr. Shusterman – Employers: How to Prepare Yourself for an I-9 Audit

Our August 2018 newsletter contained the following news flash: ICE Dramatically Increases The Number of I-9 Audits.

During this fiscal year, ICE has served more than 5,000 Notices of I-9 Inspections on employers across the country. They have also made almost 1,000 administrative worksite-related arrests. Fines for I-9 paperwork violations range from $200+ to $2,200+ per employee for paperwork violations to $500+ to $22,000+ for knowing violations.

In 2015, a company was fined in excess of $600,000 for paperwork violations. In 2017, a company was forced to pay $95,000,000 in forfeitures and fines related to I-9 practices and employing unauthorized workers.

Obviously, employers can not simply assume that they are in compliance with federal immigration laws. We recommend that they take the following steps:

Read more…

8. Shusterman’s Upcoming Immigration Seminars

 

Jonathan Breakfast Club
Jonathan Club
Los Angeles, California
September 11, 2018

Immigration Clinic
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church
October 4, 2018

American Immigration Lawyers Association
Lima, Peru
November 16, 2018
Topic: Dissecting Unlawful Presence and Preparing Your Client for Visa Interviews Abroad

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

Are you a Registered Nurse or a Medical Technologist or a Speech Language Pathologist 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 to live in the US? And what if the cost to you for all of this was zero dollars?

Hard to believe? Let me explain:

Our law firm represents over 100 hospitals across the country, and the nurse shortage in the US 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, a medical technologist or a speech language pathologist 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 or a Speech Language Pathologist, please amend the above questions accordingly.

We will forward your response to our hospitals, and if they are interested, they will contact you.

We look forward to helping you.

10. Winner of Our August 2018 Immigration Trivia Quiz!

August’s Immigration Quiz was entitled: Foreign Gifts Given to the U.S.

Here are the answers from our winner, Carol B.:

“Dear Mr. Shusterman,

The four gifts to the U.S. are

  1. The Statue of Liberty, from France
  2. The Resolute Desk, from England
  3. The Senate Gavel, from India
  4. The Teardrop Monument, from Russia

I am a citizenship teacher at Monrovia Adult School. I’ve subscribed to your newsletter for about 4 years, for immigration updates that might affect my students. I solved the quiz with a google search.”

Congratulations, Carol B.! 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

 

“Many of these parents were removed from the country without their child, all of this is the result of the government’s separation and then inability and failure to track and reunite.”

– Federal Judge Dana Sabraw

 

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August 30, 2018