Newsletter US Immigration Update April 1998
Volume Three, Number Four
SHUSTERMAN’S IMMIGRATION UPDATE is the Web’s most popular e-mail newsletter regarding U.S. immigration laws and procedures with over 40,000 subscribers located in more than 150 countries. It is written by a former INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) with over 30 years of experience practicing immigration law.
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Newsletter US Immigration Update April 1998
Table of Contents
- 1. April 1998 State Department Visa Bulletin
- 2. Immigration Government Processing Times
- 3. LULAC: Court Wounds, But Does Not Kill, Late Amnesty Suit
- 4. Legislation: Update on the Fight to Raise the H-1B Cap
- 5. Physicians I: J-1 Waivers – Frequently Asked Questions
- 6. Physicians II: IMGs to Join the Endangered Species List?
- 7. Human Resource Directors: Issues and Solutions
- 8. Web Site I: Senate Judiciary Committee’s Home Page
- 9. Web Site II: House Judiciary Committee’s Home Page
- 10. Immigration Trivia Quiz: Guess Who’s the Immigrant
- NEW INS FINGERPRINT REQUIREMENTS (3-29-98)
(Link no longer operational)
- BOARD OF IMMIGRATION APPEALS to hold first-time-ever appeals hearings on West Coast April 21-23, 1998: Hearings will be held at Sixth and Olive Streets in Downtown Los Angeles (Panel will include Chairman Schmidt, and Members Mathon and Filppu.)
1. April 1998 State Department Visa Bulletin
On March 11, 1998, we posted the April 1998 Visa Bulletin before the State Department posted the dates on their web site.
Most of the Family categories moved forward seven weeks or less. Most of the Employment categories remained “current” (no backlogs). The unskilled workers advanced a week to March 8, 1991 while the religious workers category advanced four weeks to August 1, 1997.
The mainland China categories advanced as follows: the first preference advanced one week to June 1, 1997; the second preference moved forward one week to April 22, 1996; while the third preference also moved forward one week to February 8, 1994. The news was not much brighter for Indian nationals, while the second category moved forward six weeks to August 8, 1996, the third category showed no forward movement, remaining at May 8, 1995.
Immigrant visas for winners of the DV-98 lottery are current for less countries and regions than was the case in March. For April 1998, a DV rank cut-off has been established only for Asia (at 11,006 except for Bangladesh at 6,205), for Africa (30,610), for Europe (17,711, except for Albania at 11,902 and Bulgaria at 16,180) and for Oceania (584).
For an explanation of what the categories, dates and symbols listed below mean, see
For the State Department’s official version, complete with information about the movement of family, employment and lottery numbers, see
http://travel.state.gov/visa_bulletin.html (Link is no longer operational)
2. Immigration Government Processing Times
We link to the most recent immigration waiting times for each of the four USCIS Service Centers, the National Benefits Center and the Administrative Appeals Office. We also link to the processing times of all of the 83 USCIS District Offices and Sub-offices. We link to the Labor Department’s page entitled “Processing dates for labor certification applications”. Finally, we link to the State Department’s “Visa Wait Times” page.
3. LULAC: Court Wounds, But Does Not Kill, Late Amnesty Suit
On March 24, 1998, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit published it’s long-awaited decision in Newman (“LULAC”) v. Reno. The Court followed its earlier decision in Catholic Social Services, Inc. (“CSS”) v. Reno, 134 F.3d 921 (9th Cir. 1998) in holding section 377 of the 1996 immigration law constitutional.
However, unlike the CSS decision, the Appeals Court in LULAC declined to order the District Court to dismiss the lawsuit for lack of jurisdiction. Instead, the Court remanded the case to the District Court to “consider whether some of the Plaintiffs have alleged facts sufficient to establish that they have standing to challenge the INS’s front-desking procedure.”
Read the text of the Court’s decision at
(Link no longer operational)
Plaintiffs in the CSS case have indicated that they intend to challenge the Appeals Court’s decision.
4. Legislation: H-1B Cap, Country Quotas, Extensions Past 6 Years
In the March issue of SHUSTERMAN’S IMMIGRATION UPDATE, we alerted you to the introduction of the American Competitiveness Act (S. 1723) which was introduced in the Senate on March 6, 1998 and passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee by a 12-6 vote on April 2, 1998. We posted the text of the bill as well as the testimony given in support and in opposition to the bill.
Much of the discussion has focused thus far on the efforts of Senator Abraham and his colleagues to raise the annual H-1B cap from 65,000 to 95,000 this year and to 105,000 until fiscal year 2002. What is not commonly understood is that S. 1723 would do much more than raise the numerical cap.
In brief, it would eliminate per-country quotas for employment- based immigration in some instances, repeal the onerous “Matter of Hathaway” decision, provide millions of dollars for college scholarships for Americans seeking to enter technology fields, increase penalties for employers who willfully violate immigration laws relating to H-1Bs, allow Labor Condition Applications (LCAs) to be filed with the INS together with H-1B petitions, and permit H-1B extensions after six years for those waiting for employment-based priority dates. It would also create a new H-1C category for health care workers (excluding physicians) and limit H-1Cs to 10,000 annually. It would, for the first time, permit the Labor Department to investigate LCA violations without a complaint being filed.
To read about the major provisions of S. 1723, see
To see the latest version of S. 1723, see
(Links no longer operational)
5. Physicians I: J-1 Waivers – Frequently Asked Questions
6. Physicians II: IMGs to Join the Endangered Species List?
Starting July 1, 1998, all IMGs, but no U.S. medical graduates, will have to take and pass a newly-developed five-hour examination (the so-called “clinical skills assessment” or simply the “CSA”) before they will be allowed to enter a medical residency or fellowship in the U.S. Although the test will be given only in Philadelphia and will cost $1,200, a spokesman for U.S. Physicians Cartel ;-) claims, with a straight face, that the intent of the CSA is not to stop IMGs from training in the U.S.
The stress on clinical skills improvement is supposed to alleviate public concerns that physicians are arrogant and communicate poorly. Therefore, why U.S. medical graduates are exempt from the test is a great mystery.
We agree with the Chairman of the AMA’s section on IMGs, Dr. Busharat Ahmad, who stated, “Let’s be fair. Let’s apply (the test) to everybody.”
To those familiar with the history of section 343 of the 1996 immigration law, the writing on the wall seems clear. Because of section 343, foreign-born health care workers have been barred from obtaining green cards through their professions for over 18 months. The only professionals specifically excluded from this section were physicians.
Now, the Cartel has effectively and permanently added physicians to the endangered foreign born list; that is, if no one files a law suit to enjoin this new and fundamentally unfair requirement.
Additionally, although this year’s match offered more residency slots than ever before (Caveat: For anyone who blurted out, “Physician Oversupply!”, please be advised that the number of U.S. medical graduates matching into Family Practice fell by over 16% percent this year.), the number of IMGs matching into residency programs dropped by over three percent.
Is this much ado over nothing or is the “welcome mat” being pulled in for IMGs? Read the following rejection letter received by one IMG, and judge for yourself:
“Dear Interested Applicant,
It is the policy of The University of Arizona College of Medicine that only United States medical school graduates may be offered state-funded residency positions; however, you are welcome to apply and be considered for positions that are funded by other nonstate revenue sources. Please be advised that at the present time, no such funds are available, and we anticipate no such funding sources in the foreseeable future.”
7. Human Resource Directors: Issues and Solutions
We get dozens of e-mail messages and phone calls from HR Directors each week. Despite government-imposed employer sanctions (“I-9’s”) and penalties for anti-discrimination (for citizenship status and nationality) which were instituted in 1986, the number of illegal aliens has failed to decrease. However, the number of grey hairs of HR directors trying to follow the various twists and turns of Justice Department policies has increased dramatically.
The situation did not improve when the 1990 immigration law added a “document abuse” section, and when Congress established a new, “get tough” policy on employers regarding I-9s in 1996.
Fortunately, none of this stopped employers from hiring essential foreign-born employees. However, the number of questions about the law and amount of legal bills rose accordingly.
In an effort to simplify the process for HR Directors (and for employers too small to have HR Directors), we have centralized a number of articles relating to hiring foreign-born employees, obtaining permanent residence for them, and complying with sanctions, anti-discrimination, and document abuse requirements, all on one page. See
We welcome your comments!
8. Web Site I: Senate Judiciary Committee’s Home Page
While very much a work-in-progress, the home page of the Senate Judiciary Committee is a valuable resource for all persons interested in the formation of immigration legislation. See
scroll down to “SENATE” and click on “Senate Judiciary Committee’s Home Page”.
The page contains all published Committee reports and hearing transcripts, as well as the testimony of many of the witnesses who testified before the Committee and its Subcommittees.
A table allows you to easily access any of the following sections: (1) Committee Members (All of whom have their own web sites – The web site of Immigration Subcommittee Chairman Spencer Abraham contains much useful information about immigration); (2) Subcommittees; (3) Jurisdiction; (4) Hearings and Meetings; (5) Senate Reports; (6) Press Inquiries; (7) Nominations; (8)Legislation; and (9) Rules of the Committee.
To contact the committee you may call or write to the following address : U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Room SD-224, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510, Phone (202) 224-5225, Fax (202) 224-9102
The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration has also established a web site, although it is still in the embryonic stage. To access the page, click on
scroll down to “U.S. SENATE” and click again on “Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration”.
To contact the subcommittee you may call or write to the following address: U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Immigration, Room SD-323, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510, Phone (202) 224-6098, Fax (202) 228-4506
9. Web Site II: House Judiciary Committee’s Home Page
The House Judiciary Committee maintains a web site which may be accessed by clicking on
and scrolling down to “U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES” and clicking on “House Judiciary Committee”.
The site links to the web pages of each of the web sites of the committee members, all but two of whom have their own individual web sites.
The site contains a link to “Hearing Testimony”. Click here and click again on “Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims”.
This page contains the testimony of witnesses on over 30 bills pertaining to immigration dating back to the summer of 1995. In addition, the page contains links to the Library of Congress Thomas System and includes bill text versions, co-sponsors, bill status and summary, and other committee materials.
For example, the subcommittee considered the “Freedom from Religious Persecution Act of 1997” (H.R. 2431) on March 24; held an oversight hearing on the pending and anticipated caseload of naturalization applications on March 19; and held a hearing on the “Naturalization Reform Act of 1998” (H.R. 2837) on March 5.
The web site also contains press releases, a Committee of the Judiciary Minority (Democrats) Web Page, a Schedule of the Week’s Committee Meetings, the Legislative Program for the House Floor for the Week, the Anticipated Floor Schedule for the Day, the Anticipated 1998 Calendar, Legislation Referred to the Committee,full Committee Business Meetings and Markups, Committee Documents (Legislative Reports), Educational Resources, and links to the Library of Congress Home Page, the House of Representatives Home Page and the House of Representatives Internet Law Library.
This site, and that of the Senate Judiciary Committee, should be bookmarked by anyone interested in the development of the immigration law.
10. Immigration Trivia Quiz: Guess Who’s the Immigrant
At the Academy Award ceremony, a prominent director, an excellent actor and a compelling film were almost forgotten. The director, although nominated by the Director’s Guild of America, was overlooked by the Academy. The actor, in his first starring role had been nominated for Best Actor in a drama at the Golden Globes ceremony, but appeared at the Oscars only as a presenter. The film received four nominations, but was completely overshadowed by a big blockbuster about a film, er… a ship that sank in 1912.
Do you remember the name of the actor?
Here are a few hints:
- He is an immigrant, possibly the first person from his country ever to be nominated for an Academy Award.
- He portrayed the leader of a rebellion against illegal slave traders.
- The rebels were charged with various felonies. They were represented by a former President of the United States.
- The Supreme Court of the United States ultimately ruled in favor of the rebels.
Guess who’s the immigrant? For the answer, see
https://www.shusterman.com/guess2.html (Link no longer operational.)
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
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Disclaimer: This newsletter is not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. All information contained in this newsletter is generalized. Any reliance on information contained herein is taken at your own risk.