Volume Two, Number One
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 30 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.
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“Very professional law firm. We had a difficult issue and Mr. Shusterman’s office got right onto the case and resolved the issue with USCIS. Because of their efforts, me and my family were able to get our Legal Permanent Residency card. My suggestion to those trying to obtain employment based card. Don’t look for money saving attorney. They will cost you lot more in long run. Go to a law firm which is professional and knowledgeable. It pays in the long term.”
- Nilesh Patel, Chicago, Illinois
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This month’s issue contains the following topics:
- 1. January 1997 State Department Visa Bulletin
- 2. Latest Processing Times for INS Service Centers
- 3. Processing Times for Labor Certifications and LCAs
- 4. New Immigration Bill Changes Effective 12-29-96
- 5. Immigration Trivia Quiz: Who is David Ho?
- 6. Physicians I: HUD Extends J Waiver Moratorium Indefinitely
- 7. Physicians II: IMG Web – Immigration Forum
- 8. My Turn: “America Stands Unique in the World”
- 9. A New and Improved Web Site at INS
- 10. Answer to the Immigration Trivia Quiz
The State Department issued the January 1997 Visa Bulletin on December 9,1996.
Most of the Family categories moved only one to four weeks forward, or in the case of the 2A preference category (spouses and minor, unmarriedchildren of permanent residents) did not move at all. Two significantexceptions were the Mexican 1st preference category (unmarried adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens) and the Mexican 4th preference category (married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens) each of which moved over three months forward.
The Worldwide Employment categories remained “current” (no backlogs) except for the unskilled category which advanced over two months to December 1, 1989. The India 2nd preference category advanced over two months while the India 3rd preference category moved forward over three months. The Philippine 3rd preference category advanced two months.
For an explanation of what the categories, dates and symbols listed below mean, see
Most immigration applications and petitions must be submitted to one of the following INS Regional Service Centers: (1) Laguna Niguel, California; (2) Lincoln, Nebraska; (3) Dallas, Texas; and (4) St. Albans, Vermont.
The lists containing the waiting times of each center have been updated to include each state served by the center and any foreign offices within each center’s jurisdiction.
The service centers issue lists of their processing times for various types of applications. Our web page contains the latest list issued by each service center.
Warning: Processing times may appear faster on the official lists than they are in reality.
To see how fast (or slow) your service center is processing a particular type of petition or application, see https://www.shusterman.com/waitingtimesusimmigration/
Most persons who immigrate under the employment-based second and third- preference categories need to have their employers submit Applications for Alien Labor Certifications on their behalf.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) subcontracts the processing of these “labor certificatons” to the individuals state labor departments which are known as State Employment Service Agencies (SESAs). Once the SESA guides you through the recruitment process (sometimes kicking and screaming!), the Regional DOL Office either approves your application or sends you a Notice of Findings (NOF). A NOF means “Danger Ahead: Exercise Extreme Caution!”
Employers of temporary professional (H-1B) employees must obtain a Labor Condition Application (LCA) from DOL prior to submitting an H-1B petition to INS.
For the latest several issues of SHUSTERMAN’S IMMIGRATION UPDATE, we have been advising those of you who are interested in reading either the text or an analysis of the new immigration law to see go to this site
On December 29, 1996, a number of new provisions of the law became effective, not the least of which is the increase in fine levels from $650 to $1,000 for many overstays, visa violators and those who entered the U.S. without inspection by the INS.
J-1 Physicians who had applied to HUD for waivers of the home residency requirement had the rug pulled out from under them on December 13, 1996 when the government announced that due to staff reductions and both real and perceived abuses in the waiver program, the HUD moratorium would be continued indefinitely, and the applications which had been submitted prior to the imposition of the moratorium in August would be returned.
As hundreds of medically-underserved inner city neighborhoods are deprived of primary care physicians, expect this issue to be raised during the confirmation hearing of HUD Secretary-designee Andrew Cuomo.
Many physicians who would have applied to HUD for J waivers are now making their applications to those states with Conrad 20 programs. However, the competition is intense since these states are limited to sponsoring only 20 waivers annually. As of last week, states like Michigan, Florida and Illinois appear to have reached their limit while other states like Ohio have only one or two slots left.
In the December 1996 issue of SHUSTERMAN’S IMMIGRATION UPDATE, I told you that Dr. Alexander Feoktistov, an enterprising medical resident had established an excellent web site entitled “IMGWeb”. It contains valuable information about the IMG Community on the Web, residency programs, publications, medical organizations and links to a number of other related sites.
Dr. Feoktistov requested that I attempt to provide generalized answers to IMGs who require immigration assistance. To date, Dr. Feoktistov and I have fielded over 20 questions about J waivers.
If you are an IMG with a question relating to a J waiver feel free to go to https://www.shusterman.com/physiciansusimmigration.html
and click on “IMG Waiver – Immigration Forum”. Please survey the questions that have already been asked and answered. If your question is brief and has not been answered, please feel free to pose a question for me. If your question is complex, call our office at (213) 623-4592 (213) 623-4592 , and ask to speak with our resident J-1 waiver expert, Ellie Najfabadi, Esq. Ellie will tell you what you need to know whether it is favorable of not. Of all the J-1 waiver applications that she has processed, she has never lost a single one!
On December 16, 1996, the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association (AILA) sponsored a seminar for immigration lawyers throughout the Western U.S. Over 350 attorneys from as far as Hawaii and Colorado attended.
I was fortunate enough to be chosen to deliver the keynote speech (“America Stands Unique in the World”) before the convention which was held at the lovely Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.
My thesis is that immigrants to the U.S. have often faced a hostile reception, but that immigration is what makes America unique in the world, and that much of the greatness of our country can be attributed to our immigrant tradition.
Finally, I conclude by stating various reasons why I believe that the present backlash against immigrants may have crested, and could abate in the near future.
Whether or not you agree with me, please read the text of my speech at https://www.shusterman.com/immigrationushistory.html
I would appreciate your comments! Thanks.
Recently, I was one of several attorneys to be invited to a luncheon meeting of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, the commission charged with making recommendations to Congress as to the course of U.S. immigration policy.
The question that we were asked was how the various government agencies dealing with immigrants could accomplish their mission more efficiently.
My response was that if private attorneys could, on fairly meager budgets, design web pages to bring so much information on immigration laws and procedures to the public, why were some of the government agencies lagging behind.
Although my suggestion did not elicit much response, I now understand why. Even as I spoke, INS was in the process of dramatically upgrading their web site. See https://www.shusterman.com/uscitizenshipandimmigrationservices.html scroll down to “INS Web Site” and take a look for yourself.
When I first linked with INS over one year ago, their site could best be described as philosopher Thomas Hobbes had described the life of man: “poor, nasty, brutish and short”. Not any longer. What a difference a year makes!
Now, the home page lists the following seven categories: (1) The Agency, (2) Public Information, (3) Employer Information, (4) Procurement Notices, (5) Federal Government Web Sites, (6) What’s New on the INS Site?, and (7) A Site Map. In addition, there is the following hopeful statement at the bottom of the home page “See why we’re not finished yet!”
Certain INS forms can now be downloaded and printed rather than ordering the forms by phone at (800)870-3676 (800)870-3676 . Small quantities of forms may be ordered online.
There is information for employers and employees, instructions regarding how to submit a request under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts, and even a bit of information concerning how to obtain a visa.
My main concern is that some of the information contained on the web site is already outdated. The last press release on the page that I could find was dated in August 1996.
This concern of mine was intensified when I read the last page of the web site. Here, INS stated that “Our goal is make Immigration-related information available as easily and rapidly as possible”. A lofty goal, belied by the following note “Last modified 11/17/96”.
Still, a huge step forward for INS.
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January 12, 1997