Volume Six, Number Eleven
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 November 2001
This month’s issue contains the following topics:
- December 2001 State Department Visa Bulletin
- Latest Governmental Processing Times
- Legislation: Balancing Civil Liberties With Law Enforcement
- Physicians: The Shrinking Pool Of International Medical Grads
- Immigration Trivia Quiz: With A Little Help From Our Friends
- The Power Of Clear Statement: A Tribute To Maury Roberts
- California Governor Signs Bill To Aid Undocumented Students
- Web Site: Revolutionary Assoc. Of The Women Of Afghanistan
- Chat Schedule, Transcripts, Audios & Videos
- Answers To October’s Immigration Trivia Quiz
- Job Opportunities at the Law Offices of Carl Shusterman– We have filled our vacant paralegal and legal assistant positions. Thank you for your tremendous response. Due to our rapidly expanding workload, we will be creating an extra three positions over the next few weeks/months. If you have previous immigration experience and/or a university degree with a minimum of a 3.4 GPA, and are interested in furthering your career, please e-mail your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org (Link no longer operational)
- Asylum– On October 26, the State Department published its International Religious Freedom Report of 2001. To access the report, see our “State Department Page” at https://www.shusterman.com/departmentofstateusimmigration.html and scroll down to the report. An Executive Summary is also available online.
- H-1B Cap – On November 5, the INS reported that the 195,000 H- 1B cap was not reached in fiscal year 2001 which ended on September 30, 2001. The number of H-1B petitions subject to the cap which were approved was 163,200. The 29,000 petitions which were pending at the end of the fiscal year will count toward the cap in FY 2002.
- INS Online Case Tracking System– The INS is in the process of developing an online case tracking system similar to its current telephonic TIERS tracking system.You will be able to enter your receipt number and obtain the current status of your petition or application. Similarly, attorneys will be able to check on cases where they have submitted form G-28.The first stage of the system may be operational as early as February 2002.
On November 9, we posted the December 2001 Visa Bulletin, before the State Department posted the dates on their web site. All the employment-based numbers remain “current” (no backlog) for the month of December.
However, the numbers for the family-based categories are as frozen in time as the figures in Keat’s “Ode To A Grecian Urn”. The only forward movement occurred in the family-based fourth preference category (brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens). Unless Congress acts to reform the family-based system, the 3.5 million persons waiting to immigrate to the U.S. based on approved family-based petitions should consider other options for immigrating.
Diversity lottery visas will be available in DECEMBER for persons with numbers below those shown in the following list:
AFRICA: AF 6,000
ASIA: AS 4,200 except Bangladesh 2,200
EUROPE: EU 5,880 except Albania
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS): NA 8
OCEANIA: OC 200
SOUTH AMERICA and the CARIBBEAN: SA 576
The December 2001 Visa Numbers can be found at https://www.shusterman.com/statedepartmentvisabulletin/
For an explanation of what the categories, dates and symbols listed below mean, See https://www.shusterman.com/greencardsthroughrelatives.html and https://www.shusterman.com/greencardsthroughemployment/
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) Mesquite, Texas; and (4) St. Albans, Vermont.
Our web site contains the waiting times of each center and enumerates each state served by the center and any foreign offices within the center’s jurisdiction.
The service centers periodically issue lists of their processing times for various types of applications. Our web site contains the latest list issued by each service center.
Warning: Processing times may appear faster on the official lists than they are in reality. These processing times are not recognized as official by the INS in Washington, D.C. and are not posted on the official INS web site.
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 https://www.shusterman.com/waitingtimesusimmigration/
Processing times at INS District Offices may be accessed at https://www.shusterman.com/adjustmentofstatus.html
To check the processing times of your Department of Labor Regional Office and your State Employment Service Agency (SESA), click on (SESAs) and https://icert.doleta.gov/ (DOL Regional Offices)
On October 26, six weeks after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the President signed the USA Patriot (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) Act of 2001.
Whenever America is at peace, citizens are justly concerned over the enormous power that the federal government has over individuals. However, when the country is attacked, there is a tendency to grant the government whatever authority it requests in order to defeat a common enemy, even at the expense of individual rights.
The fact that the USA Patriot Act of 2001 was not enacted immediately after the attacks, but only after weeks of deliberations in the Senate and the House of Representatives, is a sign that our democracy remains vital. The fact that the Administration and the Department of Justice did not get the unchecked powers that they had requested – indefinite detention of aliens suspected of terrorism, absence of judicial review, etc. – indicates that Congress is not prepared to junk the Bill of Rights even in the face of a national emergency. The bill that emerged expanded the authority of the federal government, but balanced these increased powers by limiting the length of detention, providing for judicial review and sunseting various provisions of the law.
The complete text of the USA Patriot Act of 2001 is available on our “Legislation” page at https://www.shusterman.com/legislationusimmigration.html
Scroll down to “Legislative Developments in 2001” and click on “USA Patriot Act of 2001”. The AILA Section-by-Section Summary of the immigration provisions of the law may also be accessed on our “Legislation” page.
Regrettably, restrictionist groups continue to use the tragedy of September 11 to push their agenda which is to enact legislation to stop most immigration the U.S. Fortunately, wiser heads in Congress and at the White House realize that it is terrorists that must be stopped, not immigration.
Unfortunately, at some consular posts, most notably the visa- issuing posts in Saudi Arabia, it is business as usual. Visitor visas are being issued at the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, no interviews required. Why? Because Saudi visitors tend to have a lot of money, and are unlikely to work illegally in the U.S. or to overstay their visas. Such thinking does not take into account that 15 of the 19 hijacker/terrorists were Saudi nationals, and that most if not all of them obtained visitor or student visas quite legally. No new laws are required for consular officers to conduct interviews and background checks where necessary.
On October 17, the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration conducted a hearing on “Effective Immigration Controls to Deter Terrorism”. Among the witness was the INS Commissioner, representatives from the State Department as well as the Executive Director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. To read the testimony of the witnesses, see our “Legislation” page at https://www.shusterman.com/legislationusimmigration.html
scroll down to “U.S. Senate” and click on “Legislative Hearing – Effective Immigration Controls to Deter Terrorism (10-17-01)”.
Would it surprise you to learn that the number of IMGs who registered for USMLE Parts I and II have fallen by over 55% during the past four years? That non-U.S. citizen IMG participants in the Match fell by more than 36% between 1997 and 2001? And that the ECFMG sponsored over 23% less IMGs for J visas between 1995 and 2000?
Each of these percentages came straight from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) and from the National Resident Matching Program. See our “Physicians Page” at https://www.shusterman.com/physiciansusimmigration.
and scroll down to “Articles” and click on “The Shrinking Pool of International Medical Graduates (PDF File)”.
The question is why the number of IMGs coming to do medical residencies in the U.S.is decreasing, and what implications this has for medically-underserved areas across the U.S.?
The second part of the question can be easily answered by referring to the recent federally-funded report by the Sheps Center at the University of North Carolina. See “If Fewer IMGs Were Allowed In The U.S., Who Would Replace Them? (PDF File)”, which may also be found in the “Articles” section of our “Physicians Page”. We summarized the Shep’s Report in the August 2001 issue of SHUSTERMAN’S IMMIGRATION UPDATE at https://www.shusterman.com/newsletterusimmigrationaugust2001.html#4
It is clear that if the supply of foreign-born physicians practicing in medically underserved areas were significantly decreased, this would have disastrous consequences for the health of citizens living in the 30% of the rural counties in the United States which has been declared medically underserved by the federal government.
Why is the supply for IMGs obtaining J-1 status to do medical residencies steadily decreasing? One reason is the requirement that IMGs, but not U.S. medical school graduates, take the Clinical Skills Assessment (CSA) examination as a condition of applying for a medical residency program.
The CSA costs $1,200, a princely sum for a recent medical school graduate, much less a physician practicing in a third-world country. Also, unlike USMLE I and II which are offered worldwide, an applicant for the CSA must travel to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the one and only testing site in the world for the examination. And to make matters worse, we have heard that such IMGs have been refused visas to enter the U.S. in order to take the CSA. Our views about the CSA were expressed in the April 1998 issue of SHUSTERMAN’S IMMIGRATION UPDATE under the title “IMGs to Join the Endangered Species List?” See https://www.shusterman.com/newsletterusimmigrationapril1998.html#6
An article in the September 2001 issue of ACP-ASIM (American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine) Observer speculates that another reason for the decline in IMGs entering the U.S. on J waivers is a shortage of job opportunities in medically-underserved areas. If this is true, we have yet to notice this trend. The latest list of HPSAs, MUAs and MUPs on our “Physicians Page” does not seem to have contracted while the most recent “USDA List Of HPSAs Fully Medically Served (8-13-01)” has expanded during the past six months.
In any case, the ACP-ASIM article should ring alarm bells for Members of Congress representing medically underserved constituencies. The article may be found on our “Physicians Page” at https://www.shusterman.com/physiciansusimmigration.
by scrolling down to “Articles” and clicking on “A Coming Shortage Of Foreign-Trained Doctors”.
How can this situation be remedied? A number of recommendations spring to mind: (1) Abolishing the CSA, or at the very least, applying it to both foreign and U.S. medical graduates, and establishing testing centers worldwide; (2) The State Department should instruct posts to issue visitor’s visas to IMGs registered to take the CSA in Philadelphia; and (3) Supporting the “Rural and Urban Health Care Act” (S.1259) and (H.R.2705) which would allow the states to sponsor 40 rather than 20 IMGs for J waivers annually. See our “RN Page” at https://www.shusterman.com/nurseimmigrationguide.html and scroll down to “Rural and Urban Health Care Act of 2001” for more information about these bills.
In a country faced with a growing threat of bioterrorism, no U.S. citizen should lack access to a physician.
Dubbed by Senator Edward Kennedy as “Mr. Immigration”, Maury Roberts died last week. The following article, in unabridged form, about Maury was published in the Georgetown Immigration Law Journal in 1991:
by BRUCE A. HAKE*
*Bruce A. Hake is a former Editor of Immigration Briefings and former Assistant Editor of Interpreter Releases In the law, the power of clear statement is everything… Nothing in my professional life could be more precious than the opportunity I’ve had over the past three years to work with Maury Roberts-it is like the ultimate graduate fellowship in immigration law. Imagine what it’s like to think of a question about INA section 106(a)(9),* [*Immigration and Nationality Act section 106(a)(9), 8 U.S.C. 1105a(a)(9) (“any alien held in custody pursuant to an order of deportation may obtain judicial review thereof by habeas corpus proceedings”).] for example, and be able to walk down the hall and talk for 20 minutes to Maury Roberts about how he once considered the question in a memorandum to Attorney General Robert Kennedy!
On this occasion I simply must cast aside my editor’s aversion for purple prose, because I really do view Maury in a heroic light. He has taught me much about law and life. I am very grateful.
As many tributes over the years have attested, Maury is special, a great lawyer and a real mensch. Other articles in this journal describe some of his professional achievements and honor his personal kindness and generosity. I’d like to sketch something else about him, something ordinary and not very remarkable, perhaps, but something that has been an inspiration to me – Maury’s work habits. I think they (combined with the support of his dear wife Lillian) are the foundation of his inestimable power of clear statement…
Speaking abstractly (this gets more concrete below) Maury has a quality of inward, habitual devotion to routine work, combined with an instinctive commitment to justice, a lack of vanity, and a total, almost Zen-like concentration, that resembles the virtues of some of the saints.
That quality is relatively common in some occupations, such as monks or tai chi masters, perhaps, but it is rare among lawyers. Of course, this is not to say that Maury is particularly pious or prim! He is a fierce opponent of nonsense, which he occasionally denounces with salty directness. But Maury is calm and temperate and full of good humor in his disdain for the stupidities and injustices of the legal world that is his vocation. These virtues are fruits of his steady, quiet work habits…
Maury has a very strong mind-strong not so much in blazing speed or logical pyrotechnics (though he can be plenty fast and pyrotechnical), but strong because of incredible depth of memory and judgment. This could be illustrated by telling stories about his astonishing recall of cases, or his Talmudic memory of statutes, or his encyclopedic knowledge of the Justice Department, but I tend to think of it in connection with two personal anecdotes. During my job interviews at Interpreter Releases, I was quite nervous, because I wanted the job so much. As I was leaving my interview with Maury, whom I had never met before, after uttering some obscure comment about political asylum and the rule of law I suddenly blurted out, surprising myself and Maury in equal measures: “Gosh, I’m really surprised to see that your hair is white! I’d always pictured you with black hair, like a riverboat gambler.” That kind of thing, of course, is not recommended on job interviews!
Afterward, I wondered where that strange statement came from. I concluded that for years, while reading Interpreter Releases as a law student and legal intern, I must have built up an unconscious impression that this fellow Maurice A. Roberts, whose name was on the cover as the Editor, must be a real Black Bart, because the writing was so robust. Upon meeting him in person, however, and seeing that he is slight of build and gentle in manner, the Black Bart image bit the dust. This revisionism was confirmed by my first weeks on the job, because around the office Maury is always soft-spoken and even-tempered.
Consequently, after seeing him this way for several months, it came as a real surprise the first time I saw him speak publicly, addressing several hundred lawyers on federal court developments in immigration law at the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s annual conference in San Diego in June 1988. What surprised me was that he projected unparalleled authoritativeness. I had seen many an impressive professor or politician, but I had never seen anybody sound so perfectly magisterial. His voice seemed much deeper and steadier than I recollected it from the office. He even seemed taller. His speech was clearer, more detailed and more confident than that of anyone else at the conference-and it was a strong group of speakers. So, I thought, he really is a Black Bart! In the years since, I’ve come to engage Maury much more often on complex legal questions than I had done at that time, and I’ve often seen him speak publicly, so the contrast between the public man and the gentle boss no longer seems so sharp. But I have also come to see that the power he projects in public is the fruit of his quiet, steady work habits at the office. Some of those habits are described more concretely below…
Maury works with Zen-like concentration. Most of the day, he writes. When he is writing, it practically takes a bomb going off to disturb his concentration. He keeps an annotated set of BIA decisions right behind his chair. Sometimes when I need to read cases, and don’t want to disturb him, I stand for 10 or 15 minutes three feet away from him rattling binders, with never a trace of effect on his concentration…
Maury’s writing is on a world-class level of accuracy and clarity. (I guess this is technically not a “work habit,” but this is a memoir, not an Immigration Briefings endnote.) Bertrand Russell tells a story about how he procrastinated for months on writing a book he had contracted to write on epistemology.* [*B. Russell, “How I Write,” in The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell 63, 64 (R. Egner & L. Denonn eds. 1961).] Finally, facing a publishing deadline, with absolutely nothing written, he hired a stenographer to appear first thing in the morning. He then dictated several hundred pages of the densest analysis right off the top of his head, and it was published without revision to notable success. Maury is in that league.
Frankly, I’m awed by Maury’s writing skills, and think about them a lot in trying to hone my own. I think I have been blessed with a critical editor’s skill: the ability to recognize when a sentence is well-formed. That skill, however, has very little to do with how many revisions are needed before I can bring a sentence to that point! Not Maury-his writing, written in clear penmanship on legal pads, nearly always with no cross-outs, no arrows, and no rearrangements, is nearly always publishable exactly as written. With most writers, almost any writing can be profitably shortened and clarified as a straight function of editing time. Not Maury-his first drafts are nearly always well-nigh perfect. His productivity is very high, because little effort is wasted on revisions. Maury frequently comments that one of these days he’s going to have to learn how to do his writing on one of our computers. Hah! If there ever was a place for the maxim, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” this is it. If the rest of us could write like Maury, we wouldn’t need computers…
When work habits like Maury’s are combined with a rock-like devotion to due process and the rule of law, you get the life’s work that is celebrated in this volume. As the years go by and I accumulate things to hang on the wall, I will always be proudest of the fact that my certificate of admission to the U.S. Supreme Court Bar records that I was admitted on motion of Maurice A. Roberts. Thank you, Maury.
In 1994, California voters started an unfortunate national trend which they overwhelmingly voted for in Proposition 187, an initiative which would close elementary and secondary schools to residents who lack proper immigration papers no matter how long they have resided in the state. Proposition 187 was ultimately struck down as unconstitutional by the courts.
On October 11, 2001, California Governor Grey Davis may have started a new trend when he signed a bill into law which would allow certain undocumented students to qualify to pay less- expensive in-state tuition to attend California’s state universities and community colleges.
Davis announced that he had signed the bill, AB 540, so that “kids who grew up and graduated from high school here should not be priced out of a future”. Undergraduate fees for state universities for residents of California are currently $1,839 annually while the fee for non-residents is $7,380. The fees at two-year community colleges are $11 per unit while the nonresident fee is $130 per unit. Until the bill was signed into law, students without immigration papers were effectively priced out of the state’s university system, no matter how high their grade point averages and test scores.
The new law may help students like Milton Hernandez Nimatuj, a Los Angeles high school senior with a 3.9 GPA. He was brought to the U.S. at the age of six by his parents, both of whom are housekeepers. Milton’s primary language is English. Although undocumented students remain ineligible for financial aid, the state’s legislative analyst estimated that up to 1,500 students will benefit from the new law annually.
Although the bill was strongly opposed by anti-immigrant groups (A spokesperson for one of these groups characterized the new law as “another welcome mat to more aliens – and more terrorists.”), it was supported by the California Chamber of Commerce and by a number of key Republican legislators.
The law, sponsored by Assemblyman Marco Firebaugh (D – Los Angeles), does not permit undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at the prestigious University of California system where nonresident tuition exceeds $10,000 per year. Also, it is applicable only to students who attended high school in California for a minimum of three years, have graduated, and have signed affidavits stating that they have applied to become lawful permanent residents or will do so as soon as they are eligible.
Because of its harboring of terrorist Osama Bin Ladin and the joint U.S.-British efforts to overthrow the Taliban government, Afghanistan continues to be a country in the news.
Scan our “Asylum Page” at https://www.shusterman.com/asylumusimmigration/
and you will see that it is widely agreed that Afghanistan has the largest number of displacedi refugees and one of the most repressive governments in the world, particularly when it comes to its treatment of women.
For example, in its “Country Rights Report On Human Rights Practices: Afghanistan (issued February 2001)”, the U.S. State Department found that
The human rights situation for women was extremely poor. Violence against women remained a problem throughout the country. Women and girls were subjected to rape, kidnapping, and forced marriage. Taliban restrictions against women and girls remained widespread, institutionally sanctioned, and systematic.
Similarly, Amnesty International, in its 2001 report about Afghanistan, states that with regard to the government’s treatment of women.
Despite statements by some Taleban officials that the ban on women’s right to education, employment and freedom of movement would be lifted, these restrictions remained in force.
Is it possible to learn what the women of Afghanistan have to say about their treatment by the Taliban government, their goals for the future of their country and their response to the U.S. air strikes on Afghanistan? Fortunately, the answer is “yes”.
In a 1995 report entitled “Women In Afghanistan: A Human Right Catastrophe”, Amnesty International referred to an organized group of women trying to change the government of Afghanistan:
The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) has been active for over a decade. It is a left-of-centre group which does not advocate violence. RAWA campaigns for women’s rights and provides education and health facilities for women and children.
RAWA’s revolution may not be televised, but it is online at http://www.rawa.org
In a section entitled “About RAWA”, the group states that
RAWA, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, was established in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1977 as an independent political/social organization of Afghan women fighting for human rights and for social justice in Afghanistan…RAWA’s objective was to involve an increasing number of Afghan women in social and political activities aimed at acquiring women’s human rights and contributing to the struggle for the establishment of a government based on democratic and secular values in Afghanistan.
The site, which may be read in English, Spanish, French, Italian and Farsi, is divided into the following subsections:
- About RAWA
- On Our Martyred Leader
- Our Publications
- Our Social Activities
- Patriotic Songs
- Photo Gallery
- Reports From Afghanistan
- On Afghan Women
- RAWA Documents
- RAWA Events
- RAWA In Media
- Movie Clips
- How To Contact Us?
- How To Help Us?
- Search Our Site
- Subscribe To Mailing List
No matter what your political leanings and your level of knowledge about Afghanistan, we predict that you will find the information and views expressed on the RAWA web site to be insightful and provocative.
In May 1999, we pioneered the concept of free online chats on various immigration topics. Our chats are always focused on a particular subject. Together with About.com’s Immigration Guides, Jennifer and Peter Wipf, we have conducted over two dozen chats on a wide variety of subjects, all related to immigration laws and procedures.
We conducted regular chats on the LIFE Amendments (emphasizing section 245i) starting on December 22, 2000, one day after the amendments were signed into law.
On September 24, we conducted a chat entitled “Understanding the Proposed New section 245i Law”. The transcript of this chat went online last week. An extension of section 245i is currently pending in a bill before Congress.
To read the complete text of our chats, see our Chat Page at
We link to selected audio programs regarding immigration produced by National Public Radio at https://www.shusterman.com/nationalpublicradiousimmigration2010.html
See our videos and accompanying power point presentations:
- YouTube “How To” Immigration Videos at http://www.youtube.com/carlshusterman
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)
Law Offices of Carl Shusterman, 600 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1550, Los Angeles, California 90017,(213) 623-4592 Fax- (213) 623-3720
“Those who would trade freedom for security do not deserve either.”
– Benjamin Franklin
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November 9, 2001