Volume Twelve, Number Six
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 July 2007
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
- Immigration Bill Is Comprehensive Immigration Reform Dead?
- Immigration Bill: Five Fatal Flaws in the Senate Bill
- EB Numbers Become Current Today: How You Can Benefit
- EB Numbers Become Current in July, But for How Long?
- Success Story: Helping a Nurse Remain in the United States
- Immigration Trivia Quiz: Identify the Violin Virtuosos
- Ask Mr. Shusterman: How to Help Your Attorney Help You
- Official Immigration Government Processing Times
- Chat Transcripts, Audios, Videos and WebCasts
- Winner of our June 2007 Immigration Trivia Quiz
- CIS Ombudsman I – Solving Case Problems – If you are experiencing problems during the adjudication of an immigration benefit with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you can submit your problem to the CIS Ombudsman using DHS Form 7001 (CIS Ombudsman Case Problem Submission Form). See our “Ombudsman” page at
- CIS Ombudsman II – 2007 Annual Report – On June 11, the CIS Ombudsman issued his 2007 Annual Report to Congress. We link to the 145-page report and to a four-page summary from our “Ombudsman” page at
Of particular interest to many of our readers are the Ombudsman’s comments about FBI name checks which are listed first in the summary of “Pervasive and Serious Problems”: “FBI name checks, one of the security screening tools used by USCIS, may be the single biggest obstacle to timely and efficient delivery of immigration benefits. The problem of long-pending FBI name checks cases worsened during the reporting period.
- As of May 2007, USCIS reported 329,160 FBI name checks pending;
- Approximately 64% of (211,341) these cases have been pending more than 90 days and approximately 32% (106,738) have been pending more than one year;
- There are now 93,358 more name check cases pending more than last year, and 31,144 FBI name check cases pending more than 33 months as compared with 21,570 last year.”
If your application for immigration benefits has been delayed for years due to an FBI name check, do not contact the CIS Ombudsman. His office will not be able to assist you since this is an FBI problem rather than a CIS problem. Instead, read our article “Why Wait When You Can Litigate?” at
- Direct Filing (USCIS) – On June 21, the USCIS announced that, as of July 30, forms I-129F, I-131, I-140, I-360, I- 485, I-765, and I-907 must be filed at the Service Center which will adjudicate the petition/application rather than at one centralized location. See the USCIS Update at
http://www.uscis.gov/files/pressrelease/UpdateDirectFiling062107.pdf (Link is no longer operational)
Hopefully, the USCIS will provide specific guidance on appropriate filing locations, and will issue more detailed instructions prior to July 30.
- EOIR – Proposed Rule: Codes of Conduct for IJs and BIA Members On June 28, the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) proposed newly formulated Codes of Conduct for Immigration Judges and members of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). EOIR is seeking public comment on the codes before final publication. Comments must be submitted on or before July 30, 2007. We link to the proposed regulation from our “Deportation” page at
- Filing Fee Increases – Reminder: On July 30, the USCIS will substantially raise their filing fees for immigration petitions and applications. On June 29, the USCIS reminded its customers of the fee increase. See
We link to a list of the new fees from our “Fingerprinting and Filing Fees” page at
https://www.shusterman.com/toc-fp.html (Link no longer operational.)
- J Trainees and Interns – On June 19, the State Department issued interim final regulations with a request for comments regarding exchange visitors (J-1s) who are entering the U.S. as trainees or interns. The effective date of the regulation is July 19, 2007. Among other things, the new regulations would eliminate the distinction between “non- specialty occupations” and “specialty occupations,” establish a new internship program, and modify the selection criteria for participation in a training program. We link to the new regulations from our “J Visa” page at
- Premium Processing – On June 27, the USCIS announced that, on July 2, it would temporarily suspend premium processing of Immigration Visa Petitions for Alien Workers (Form I-140). See the USCIS Update on our “Premium Processing” page at
- USCIS Today – We link to the most recent issue of “USCIS Today”, the agency’s monthly newsletter, from our “USCIS” page at
- Visa Bulletin – To the great surprise of immigrants and their attorneys, the July 2007 Visa Bulletin eliminates all backlogs for employment-based immigrants in the first three categories. See topics #3 and #4 below. Better print it out because it may change soon! To view the July 2007 Visa Bulletin, see our “Visa Bulletin” page at
What a long strange trip it has been!
Last year, 62 senators passed an excellent immigration bill which combined enforcement measures with a legalization program. It also increased employment-based immigration to keep America competitive. The fact that persons of extraordinary ability, those with approved NIWs, registered nurses and physical therapists would be able to immigrate to the U.S. in unlimited numbers was icing on the cake. See
This year, 12 senators bypassed the Judiciary Committee, held no hearings and met with officials from the Bush Administration to introduce a bill that they termed the “Grand Bargain”. They tried in vain to win support from their anti-immigrant colleagues by allocating billions of additional dollars for enforcement purposes, proposed a guest worker program which was a nonstarter and a punitive legalization program. What’s more, they did everything possible to cripple the existing legal immigration program by eviscerating both family-based and employer-sponsored immigration and replacing them with an ill-considered and untested points system.
The result was that after weeks of bitter wrangling, on June 28, not only couldn’t the bill’s proponents muster the required 60 votes to cut off the debate and proceed to a final vote, they couldn’t even get a simple majority to vote in favor of the bill. Most of the Democrats voted to cut off debate and continue with the bill while most of the Republicans voted to kill the bill. See how your Senators voted from our “Immigration Legislation” page at
The bottom line: Comprehensive immigration reform is dead until 2009.
The anti-immigrant folks need a wake up call: Immigration is, and always has been, good for America. We desperately need more scientists, engineers, IT workers, health care professionals and teachers. And, by the way, those 12 million nannies, gardeners, construction workers and migrant farm workers are not going anywhere. They will remain hard at work on their jobs and in the shadows until we get serious about immigration reform.
Some members of the Senate are considering acting on portions of the “Grand Bargain” like the AgJobs bill and the DREAM Act. We wish them well and will continue to support these efforts.
Instead of another “Grand Bargain”, we make the following “Modest Proposal”: Let’s come together and pass a series of smaller immigration bills regarding subjects on which most elected representatives and their constituents are in agreement. Let’s bring in more immigrants who establish companies, create jobs, employ Americans and help us grow our economy. Let’s also bring in skilled professionals including physicians, nurses, allied health care professionals and school teachers who are in short supply. Let’s reward people who are on 10-20 year waiting lists to get green cards after having been petitioned by their citizen and permanent resident parents and siblings. Let’s reform our outdated immigration laws so that husbands won’t be separated from their wives and children for five years or more.
Just because the Senate failed to pass a bill which promised to do everything doesn’t mean that we should sit back and do nothing.
We will continue to keep you informed on a daily basis.
Below is our analysis of the Senate’s immigration bill, why it failed to pass, and some recommendations:
A) Procedure: Unlike last year’s excellent Senate bill, see
This year’s bill was written behind closed doors, it was not considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee and there were no legislative hearings. As a result, the bill is a hodge-podge of provisions, some of them terrific, others terrible. We are great believers in the legislative system. Next time, let the Immigration Subcommittee and the Senate Judiciary Committee hold hearings, and iron out the kinks in the legislation BEFORE it reaches the Senate floor. Don’t let the Administration write the bill beforehand. Remember what every applicant for naturalization needs to know: Congress writes the laws and the Executive Branch enforces the laws.
B) Enforcement: As an ex-prosecutor for the INS, I know that the present immigration laws are an unenforceable mess. The Senate bill sought to cure this by ratcheting up the penalties on employers of undocumented workers to a point just short of capital punishment.
What the anti-immigrant crowd doesn’t seem to understand is that the new harsher penalties will be no more effective than the present penalties. How many corporate CEOs are serving hard-time for hiring illegal aliens? Answer: Zero.
Why won’t the “new and improved” electronic employment verification system mandated by the Senate bill clear up the mess? Simple. Because the original employer sanctions law passed in 1986 spawned a huge multi-billion dollar fraudulent document industry. Employers are not permitted to look beyond the documents submitted to them. Savvy employers like the Swift Meatpacking company, seeking to insulate themselves from liability, voluntarily joined the government’s “Basic Pilot” program where no one gets hired until Washington approves.
Nevertheless, the government arrested over 1,000 undocumented workers during their raids on Swift a few months ago. Did the Swift execs get prosecuted? No, because they only hired employees who were pre-cleared by the government. Under the Senate bill, all employers would be forced to have their employees approved in advance by the government. A great solution? We think not.
Before we get tough on workplace enforcement, we need to have a national debate on the “sleeper” issue in this area: the creation of a National ID card with biometric features which must be carried by U.S. citizens and immigrants alike. Is this a smart way to enforce the law or is it the beginning of a “Big Brother” society? See an article entitled “National ID Cards, The Sleeper Immigration Issue?” (June 26) on our “Computer Professionals” page at
C) Guest Workers: If awards were given for the most impractical and unenforceable government program, the guest worker plan would win hands- down. Wrap your mind around this: The workers would come to the U.S. for two years, get trained, then return to their native countries for one year to get readjusted to living in poverty. Then they would return to the U.S. for two more years, return home for another year, come back to the U.S. for two more years and then be sent home for good. Does this sound workable to you? Suggestion: If there is going to be a guest worker program, the workers should be allowed to remain in the U.S. with full labor protections, and they should get a green card at the end of the program.
D) Legalization: Here’s a great idea which the Senate bill makes too lenient and too harsh both at the same time! Under the legislation, someone who crossed the border illegally last Christmas would have qualified for a “Z” visa while someone who had been working legally on a temporary visa for the last seven years, who lives with his wife and kids, pays taxes, and owns a home, does not. Ridiculous! On the other hand, once it is determined who qualifies for a “Z” visa, what’s the point of making them wait another 8-13 years to get a green card? And why should they have to return to their home countries and pay thousands of dollars? Why are we subsidizing foreign airlines and hotels? Do we really want the Immigration Service to spend millions of dollars to set up offices and house examiners in Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, etc.? And, for God’s sake, how does the government expect gardeners, nannies and dishwashers to pony up thousands of dollars in fines and application fees?
E) The Points System: Who told the Senate to completely overhaul the legal immigration system in the same bill that deals with the undocumented? Granted the current legal system doesn’t work optimally because demand outstrips supply: more people want to immigrate to the U.S. than the present quotas allow.
Last year’s Senate bill would have raised the quotas to allow in people who the U.S. desperately needs: registered nurses, scientists, hi-tech workers, engineers, etc. If the Senators want to improve upon last year’s bill, they could add a few more needed professions like school teachers. Instead, they junked the entire family and the employer-based systems and replaced them with what the head of the House Immigration Subcommittee dubbed a “Soviet-style” points system. She should know. Her subcommittee actually held a public hearing on the points system, and it doesn’t work.
We link to all House Immigration Subcommittee Hearings from our “Immigration Legislation” page at
See the Subcommittee’s hearing on the points system which took place on May 1st at
http://judiciary.house.gov/oversight.aspx?ID=304 (Link is no longer operational)
What is the Canadian experience with the points system? Multiyear backlogs and a “system” where employers can’t sponsor workers for jobs. The all-wise central government is in control. As a result, foreign- born physicians are driving cabs in Toronto. Brilliant!
Recently, Stuart Anderson, former Counselor to the INS Commissioner, wrote a revealing report entitled “The Point System’s Impact on Foreign Nurses and Other Potential Immigrants” in which he concluded that despite our country’s growing nationwide shortage of nurses, the chances of a single RN getting a green card under the points system would be slim or none. Code Blue! See
Conclusion: If Congress is going to reconsider comprehensive immigration reform, we recommend starting with the STRIVE Act which was introduced in the House of Representatives on March 22, 2007. See
Let’s get real!
Let me let you in on a little secret: American students are not rushing to college to become scientists and engineers and school teachers. Our country has not opened a single new medical school in a generation and dozens of nursing schools across the U.S. have closed their doors. The RN shortage is supposed to reach 1,000,000 by 2020!
Yet the U.S.A. remains Number One in science, engineering, high-tech and health care technology. Why? One reason is that we have imported the best and the brightest minds from abroad.
However, in the last couple of years, the employment-based (EB) part of our immigration system has hit a snag. The number of visas offered has not kept up with demand. The result is a series of backlogs so severe that an engineer from India has to wait over six years for a green card. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as the “retrogression”. Worse yet, at the end of each year, over 10,000 EB visas are wasted, never to be recovered.
Now, a most amazing and unexpected thing has occurred: Because the CIS has issued green cards so slowly to EB immigrants, the State Department has temporarily wiped the slate clean and eliminated all EB-1 (Priority Workers), EB-2 (Persons with Advanced Degrees) and EB-3 (Professionals and Skilled Workers) backlogs during the month of July.
This presents a fantastic one-time opportunity for persons who have waited in line for years to finally get their green cards. This magic will be lost on the hundreds of thousands of persons waiting in perpetuity for their FBI name checks to clear except for those few intrepid souls who have challenged these delays in Federal Court. See “Why Wait When You Can Litigate?” at
The temporary reversal of the retrogression also presents a golden opportunity for those who are not required to go through the PERM process and who are able to obtain work permits in a hurry. Among the occupations poised to benefit are registered nurses, physical therapists and physicians.
- Registered Nurses: Since RNs are a Schedule A shortage occupation, employers of nurses are exempt from submitting a PERM application to the Labor Department. However, to get I- 140s and I-485s for RNs present in the U.S. submitted before the retrogression returns, hospitals need to move quickly to obtain prevailing wage determinations, comply with posting or service requirements, and wait the mandated 30 days before filing. Since we have been encouraging hospitals to submit immigrant visa petitions for RNs during the retrogression, many of our RN clients are eligible to submit their applications for adjustment of status and for EADs immediately. The same scenario works for physical therapists.
- Physicians: MDs are in the EB-2 category which has been “current” for quite some time, unless the physician was born in India or mainland China. It is these physicians who need to act quickly to benefit from the reversal of the retrogression. If they pledge to work in medically underserved areas, they can submit National Interest Waivers and applications for adjustment of status simultaneously. This applies to both primary care docs and specialists alike. See
But what is the retrogression is suddenly reversed like the tides flowing backward into the Bay of Fundy? Keep reading…
We don’t know a single immigration attorney who predicted that all EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 (except unskilled workers) categories would become current in July.
This means that ten of thousands of persons who have been subject to the retrogression will obtain their green cards in July, and tens of thousands more will submit applications for adjustment of status, right?
Not so fast. As soon as we saw the July Visa Bulletin, we thought, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. So we prepared hundreds of applications for adjustment of status for our clients, and express mailed them so that the USCIS would receive them on the morning of Monday, July 2nd.
What initially caught our attention was paragraph E in the July Visa Bulletin:
E. EMPLOYMENT-BASED VISA AVAILABILITY DURING THE COMING MONTHS
All Employment Preference categories except for Third “Other Workers” have been made “Current” for July. This has been done in an effort to generate increased demand by Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) for adjustment of status cases, and to maximize number use under the annual numerical limit. However, all readers should be alert to the possibility that not all Employment preferences will remain Current for the remainder of the fiscal year. Should the rate of demand for numbers be very heavy in the coming months, it could become necessary to retrogress some cut-off dates for September, most likely for China-mainland born and India, but also possibly for Mexico and Philippines. Severe cut-off date retrogressions are likely to occur early in FY-2008.
Last week, we called the State Department in Washington, D.C. and asked a few pertinent questions. The official that I spoke to asked that I not use her surname, but what follows is a summary version of our conversation:
Carl: Does the fact that the employment-based categories are “current” in the July Visa Bulletin mean that we can submit EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 petitions along with applications for adjustment of status during the entire month of July?
DOS Official (Let’s call her “Condi”): Probably not. It’s hard to get the USCIS to estimate how many visa numbers are left until the end of the fiscal year which ends on September 30th. Therefore, we may have to revise the July Visa Bulletin to cut off new adjustment applications sometime before the middle of July.
Carl: Will this revision affect people from some countries more than others?
Condi: Yes. Persons born in India, mainland China and Mexico will be most affected. Persons born in the Philippines are probably better off than others since the recapture of 50,000 immigrant visas for RNs, PTs and family members in 2005 and 2006 cleared up some of the Filipino backlog.
Carl: Thanks for the advice, Condi. I think that you are going to see a lot of adjustment applications from our law office when you come to work on July 2nd. Just wanted to warn you!
Can USCIS stop accepting adjustment applications in spite of the Visa Bulletin? No one is sure.
The State Department’s Visa Bulletin Guru, Charles Oppenheim, testified allow how visa numbers are allocated before the House Immigration on June 6, 2007. We link to his testimony from our “Department of State: Immigration Resources” page at
The controversy between AILA and the USCIS continues to rage over the return of “other worker” applications which occurred on June 6, 2007. See
AILA is warning members that the State Department may issue a revised July 2007 Visa Bulletin as early as Tuesday, July 3 or even on Monday, July 2!
If this occurs, the situation could be a summer rerun of the H-1B debacle which occurred just after April Fool’s Day earlier this year.
We do not want to appear smug, but we are sleeping well tonight because our adjustment applications were submitted to the government over the weekend. We hope yours were as well.
Ms. Santos entered the U.S. as a visitor in 2003, and sat for her state board nursing exams three months later. Due to the tremendous shortage of registered nurses in the U.S., she was immediately offered a job at the Senior Living Center (SLC). Not having much money, Ms. Santos chose an immigration attorney whose advertisement in a local Filipino promised a “free consultation”.
The attorney prepared an immigrant visa petition and an application for adjustment of status for Ms. Santos. Unfortunately, since the attorney was not familiar with immigrating RNs to the U.S., the posting notice that he advised SLC to sign and submit along with the petition was posted for ten consecutive days including weekends (since Ms. Santos worked on weekends). After 90 days, Ms. Santos received a work permit, and started working for SLC at a salary of $38,000 per year, ten times higher than her salary in the Philippines. Despite the long hours that she put in, she was very happy.
Then, a few months later, in 2004, SLC received a notice from the Immigration Service denying their visa petition for Ms. Santos because they had not posted the notice for ten consecutive weekdays. USCIS does not count the time that notices are posted on weekends. Based on this denial, the Immigration Service also denied Ms. Santos application for adjustment of status.
Ms. Santos immediately scheduled an appointment with her attorney. She was about to lose her job, and the opportunity to live and work in the U.S. The attorney assured her that this could be easily remedied. He would have SLC post another notice, this time for ten consecutive weekdays, and refile the petition and her application for adjustment of status. What’s more, it would only cost her $2,000 plus some governmental filing fees.
Just as the attorney promised, the notice was reposted, new applications were submitted, and within 90 days, Ms. Santos received a new work card. Ms. Santos, a little poorer, was happy again.
Then, a few months later, the unthinkable occurred. The Immigration Service denied Ms. Santos’ application for adjustment of status a second time, this time for reasons that neither SLC nor Ms. Santos’ could understand. They said in the denial letter that Ms. Santos was ineligible for adjustment of status under “section 245(k)” because she had failed to maintain a valid nonimmigrant status for more than 180 days. She was shocked since she had never worked illegally in the U.S. for even one day, and because her attorney had assured her that everything would be alright.
However, when Ms. Santos visited her attorney once again, his only advice was that she immediately return to the Philippines, that he would immigrate her through the U.S. Embassy in Manila in 18-24 months, and that she could pay his new fee in installments.
At this point, Ms. Santos turned to the Internet to find an immigration attorney who specialized in getting green cards for foreign-born RNs. She typed in “nurses” and “immigration” and chose the first law firm whose name appeared: ours. She scheduled a telephonic appointment with me, and was able to talk with me the next day.
Her consultation form which she submitted online revealed that both of her parents resided in the Philippines. However, by questioning her about relatives living in the U.S., I learned that she had a citizen uncle who had applied for her mother 15 years ago, at which time Ms. Santos was a minor, and therefore, a derivative beneficiary of her uncle’s visa petition for her mother.
This fact was very important. It meant that Ms. Santos was qualified to adjust her status in the U.S. under “section 245(i)” rather than 245(k).
I was also able to refer her to one of the 100 acute care hospitals that our law firm represents. Not only did the hospital agreed to sponsor Ms. Santos for permanent residence, they increased her salary to $56,000 per year. The icing on the cake was that we were able to retain the 2004 priority date from the second petition that SLC had filed for her.
The Happy Ending: A few weeks ago, Ms. Santos received a notice from the Immigration Service granting her application for a green card. Now we are working on bringing her husband and children from the Philippines. We expect to obtain green cards for them, and to reunite the family in the U.S. within the next few months.
Editor’s Note: We do not agree with the Immigration Service’s interpretation of section 245(k). The section, printed below, requires that the application be in “a lawful status”, not in “non-immigrant status” as the Immigration Service maintains. If you are an RN (or a person in any other occupation) whose application for adjustment of status was denied on this ground, and are now in removal proceedings, we would be happy to help you by asking the Immigration Judge to make a decision about the true meaning of section 245(k). See below:
Section 245(k): An alien who is eligible to receive an immigrant visa under paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of section 203(b) (or, in the case of an alien who is an immigrant described in section 101(a)(27)(C) , under section 203(b)(4) ) may adjust status pursuant to subsection (a) and notwithstanding subsection (c)(2), (c)(7), and (c)(8), if–
(1) the alien, on the date of filing an application for adjustment of status, is present in the United States pursuant to a lawful admission;
(2) the alien, subsequent to such lawful admission has not, for an aggregate period exceeding 180 days–
(A) failed to maintain, continuously, a lawful status;
(B) engaged in unauthorized employment; or
(C) otherwise violated the terms and conditions of the alien’s admission.
To read more of our Immigration Success Stories, see
As I tell my clients, hiring an immigration law firm to assist you is not like dropping your car off at the mechanic’s and expecting everything to be fixed by the end of the day. Whether you are an employee or an employer, when you hire an immigration law firm, you are forming a virtual partnership with the law firm.
If your application is employment-based, the law firm will ask you to supply important information, advertise the job, post notices, etc. It is important to the successful conclusion of your case that you do so, and that you fully comply with your attorney’s instructions in a timely matter.
Take a simple matter like scheduling and preparing for an initial consultation with a prospective attorney.
The attorney may request that you complete a lengthy consultation form so that he or she can know the basics of your immigration situation. A good form should ask about you, your family, your immigration status, your employment, your education and any labor certifications, visa petitions or other immigration applications that have been submitted on your behalf.
See our consultation form at
All too often, a person fails to fully complete the form. Reasons for this vary. They may not have all of the answers at their fingertips. They may reason, “I only want to extend my working status, so why does the attorney need to know the immigration status of my parents?” They may be too embarrassed to reveal a youthful arrest or a previous marriage. Finally, they may not trust the attorney.
If the person or his employer does not wish to complete the consultation form, he is putting himself at a disadvantage. If the attorney is not privy to all of the information requested on the form, he may not be able to properly evaluate the person’s eligibility for the benefit sought.
Many persons only partially complete our consultation form. One frequently omitted item concerns the person’s parents and their immigration status. It is not a rare occurrence for us to question the person about their parents and learn that a U.S. citizen aunt or uncle submitted a petition for the person’s mother or father over ten years ago. If the person was a minor at that time, this often qualifies them to adjust their status using section 245(i), a very important fact. See
It is important that the prospective client supply the attorney with important forms relating to his case. If the government is seeking more information before deciding the merits of the application, the attorney must be able to examine the Request for Evidence (RFE) or the Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) as well as the original application. If the application has been denied, the attorney needs to be able to read the Denial.
Once a person/employer has retained an immigration law firm to represent him, he will be asked to perform a number of tasks. For example, in Schedule A and PERM cases, employers must post a notice for a minimum of ten working days, weekends excluded. Some employers comply with the requirement and send their attorneys the posting notices immediately. Other employers have to be constantly reminded to do so. This has the effect of delaying the employee’s progress toward a work permit and permanent residence.
Employers and employees are often required to submit income tax returns, payroll records, W-2s, diplomas, college transcripts and letters verifying work experience. To the extent that both employers and employees provide these documents to their attorneys in a timely manner, the application process is facilitated.
Take some advice from an attorney who spent six years working for the Immigration Service: The more effort that you expend assisting your attorney, the more likely it is that your immigration case will be successful.
Do you have immigration questions of general interest to our readers? Send them to
firstname.lastname@example.org (Link is no longer operational)
Each month we will choose one question to answer in our newsletter. To be considered, questions should be general in nature, and should be short and to the point (no more than 20-30 words).
If your question is neither short nor general, please schedule a 30- minute legal consultation with me at
* Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
The Immigration Service (USCIS) lists its processing times for immigration petitions and applications on their web site. Most immigration applications and petitions must be submitted to one of the following USCIS Service Centers: (1) Laguna Niguel, California; (2) Lincoln, Nebraska; (3) Mesquite, Texas; and (4) St. Albans, Vermont and (5) the National Benefits Center in Missouri.
These service centers periodically issue lists of their processing times for various types of petitions and applications. We link to 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 our Government Processing Times Page at
Processing times at USCIS local offices may be accessed at
Administrative appeals of most types of petitions denied by the USCIS are adjudicated by the agency’s Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) in Washington, DC. The AAO’s most recent published processing times (April 10, 2007) may be found at
* Department of State
The State Department web site contains a “Visa Wait List” page which permits readers to choose a particular U.S. consular post and learn how long it takes the post to process temporary, nonimmigrant visas. See
Are your eyes getting tired from reading all of our information about immigration laws and procedures? Then sit back, close your eyes, and listen to any (or all!) of the following immigration audios:
National Public Radio (NPR) Audio Programs
We link to selected audio programs regarding immigration produced by National Public Radio at
See our videos and accompanying power point presentations:
- YouTube “How To” Immigration Videos at
Certified Specialist in Immigration Law, State Bar of California
Former U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service Trial Attorney (1976-82)
Board of Governors, American Immigration Lawyers Association (1988-97)
Phone: (213) 623-4592 Fax: (213) 623-3720
Law Offices of Carl Shusterman, 600 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1550
Los Angeles, California 90017
“The Senate bill would have introduced vast changes in the way we conduct our immigration business – without explanation, without talking to the American people about it.”
– Demetrios G. Papademetriou President Migration Policy Institute
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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.
July 1, 2007