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.
They Are About Providing Solutions
“I am an Internationally Educated Nurse petitioned by US employer and the Law Offices of Carl Shusterman helped me throughout the entire process of my IV application. They were extremely thorough with regard to the instructions and the steps that I needed.”
- Francis R., Nashville, Tennessee
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TABLE OF CONTENTS:
- September 11th Commission & Report: Effect on Immigration
- Official Immigration Government Processing Times
- Physicians Teleconference: You Can Ask the Experts!
- Employment-Based Immigration: Secrets of Success
- Immigration Trivia Quiz: I Hear American Singing!
- Immigration Legislation: E-Mail Congress and the Media
- SHUSTERMAN Reaches 100: Still on the Cutting Edge
- Schedule of Upcoming Immigration Law Seminars
- Chat Schedule, Transcripts, Audios & Videos
- Winner of the August 2004 Immigration Trivia Quiz
On October 14th, Immigrationcafe.com, a non-profit organization, will host a major teleconference about the immigration of foreign-born physicians to the U.S. If you are an immigration attorney, a physician recruiter or a physician who is seeking immigration assistance, see Topic #3 below or, for program and registration information, proceed directly to
http://immigrationcafe.org/index.php?fuseaction=page.a207 (Link no longer operational)
- Business Immigration Newsletter– Periodically, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) publishes “Connect!” a newsletter devoted to business-related immigration developments. We link to this newsletter from
https://www.shusterman.com/toc-busimm.html (Link is no longer operational.)
- CSC Inquiry Procedures– We recently met with representatives of the USCIS’s California Service Center (CSC). We have posted CSC’s inquiry procedures online at
https://www.shusterman.com/csc-inquiries.html (Link no longer operational.)
A link to this page may also be found by placing your cursor on the words “Waiting Times” on the blue bar at the top of our web site. A drop-down menu appears. Place your cursor on “California Service Center” and a submenu appears. Click on “Inquiry Procedures.”
- H-1B Cap:Going, going…As of mid-August, the number of petitions subject to the H-1B cap received by the Immigration Service reached 45,900. Therefore, all H-1B numbers for fiscal year 2005 (October 1, 2004 to September 30, 2005) may be expended by late October or early November. If you need an H-1B visa, or are an employer seeking the services of an H-1B worker, the time to apply is now. For more information, see our “H-1B” page at
- Immigration Advisory Program – On September 8, the U.S. and Poland signed an agreement whereby Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents will be stationed at the Warsaw airport. Before a person boards an airliner headed for the U.S., the CBP agents will make sure the passenger is not on the Terrorist Watch list. They will also advise the passenger whether he is at risk of being denied admission to the U.S. The Immigration Advisory Program is expected to be expanded to other countries. For more information about the program, see http://www.usemb.se/wireless/300/eur310.htm (Link is no longer operational.)
- InfoPass– As we predicted in an earlier newsletter, the online USCIS appointment service “InfoPass” is now available nationwide. For more information about InfoPass and how to use it to your benefit, see our “USCIS” web page at
- J Sponsors– In order to be eligible for exchange visitor (“J-1”) status, you must first receive a form DS-2019 from an organization designated to sponsor J- 1 exchange visitors by the Department of State. Recently, the State Department published a list of several thousand such organizations and the type of J’s that they sponsor (au pairs, professors, trainees, etc.). You access this 500+ page list from our “J Visa Page” at
- Temporary Protected Status (TPS)– On August 25, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would extend TPS for nationals of Liberia to October 1, 2005. The re-registration period began on August 25 and ends on February 21, 2005. We link to the Federal Register notice at
We also link to DHS’s FAQ at
http://uscis.gov/graphics/publicaffairs/TPSLiberia082504QA.pdf (Link is no longer operational)
For general information about TPS, see our “Asylum” page at
- Visa Bulletin– We have always prided ourselves on being the first private web site to publish the State Department’s monthly Visa Bulletin online. For the past few years, however, the Employment-Based categories have remained current, and the Family-Based categories have been stagnant. Therefore, we have decided to remove the Visa Bulletin as a regular topic from our newsletter. We will still endeavor to be the first private web site to post the new Visa Bulletin online. Interested readers may wish to regularly check our homepage or our “Visa Bulletin” page at
- Washington Update– Every few weeks, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) publishes its “Washington Update” which brings readers the most up-to-date news about legislation, regulations, congressional hearings and other immigration-related developments from inside the Beltway. We link to “Washington Update” from
https://www.shusterman.com/toc-advocacy.htm (Link is no longer operational.)
As we write these words, it has been exactly three years since the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Are we any safer terrorist attacks than we were on that terrible day? Have we learned anything from that disaster? We certainly hope so, but we do not take this for granted.
While we are glad to see that, on September 7, a bipartisan group of legislators introduced the “9/11 Commission Report Implementation Act of 2004” in the Senate, it seems that the Administration is still playing politics with September 11th tragedy. They initially opposed the creation of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission. Why? Maybe they were afraid that the Commission’s report would reflect badly on them? Your guess is as good as ours. However, those of you with long memories may remember that the Administration also opposed the creation of the Department of Homeland Security until it became politically impossible to maintain that position.
We think that it is important for as many people as possible to read the report of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission to learn about U.S. intelligence failures, and about the Commission’s recommendations to improve our readiness to prevent future terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. The report is composed of the following 13 sections:
- “We Have Some Planes”
- The Foundation of the New Terrorism
- Counterterrorism Evolves
- Responses to Al Qaeda’s Initial Assaults
- Al Qaeda Aims at the American Homeland
- From Threat To Threat
- The Attack Looms
- “The System Was Blinking Red”
- Heroism and Horror
- Foresight–and Hindsight
- What To Do? A Global Strategy
- How To Do It? A Different Way of Organizing the Government
In addition to linking to the 9/11 Commission and its Report, we also link to all 12 of the Commission’s Hearings.
Finally, we have posted the complete text (280 pages) of the “9/11 Commission Report Implementation Act of 2004” introduced in the Senate this past week by Senators John McCain, Joseph Lieberman, Arlen Specter and Evan Bayh. Three other Senators (Daschle, Clinton and Graham) have signed on as original co- sponsors. The bill will also be introduced in the House of Representatives. We realize that such a massive bill is far from “light reading”, so we have also posted a summary of the bill’s provisions and a press release about the bill.
At a press conference held on September 7, Senator McCain (R-AZ), flanked by Senator Lieberman (D-Conn) as well as the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the 9/11 Commission stated: “It is our responsibility to take action on the commission’s recommendations regardless of party or jurisdictional turf.”
We are not convinced that the tightened immigration policies enacted during the past three years have made it more difficult for potential terrorists to enter the U.S. although we are certain that hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of legitimate visitors, students and workers have been prevented from entering the U.S.
Regarding the immigration consequences of the proposed legislation, we link to a press release issued by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). The Press Release makes the following seven points:
- From a security and immigration perspective, it is important to have a system that can deliver on its basic commitments;
- To most effectively enhance security, the U.S. must strengthen its intelligence capacity and create a multi-layered border with several tiers of protection;
- Our nation needs an immigration system that shrinks the haystack by facilitating the entry of “trusted travelers” so we can better focus our resources on those who mean to do us harm;
- Effective security measures must include rigorous civil liberties, due process, and privacy protections;
- Measures designed to enhance our security must include provisions that mandate sufficient funding, an adequate number of well-trained officers, reasonable deadlines, accurate databases, technology that is up to the task, and Congressional oversight of implementation;
- Prioritization is a necessary component; and
- The United States must remain a nation that welcomes people to its shores. Immigration is in our national interest, and a system that works is essential to our national and economic security.
We link all of the above-mentioned items from our “September 11th Page” at
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
To check the Official Processing Times of your Department of Labor Regional Office and your State Workforce Agency (SWA), see
and scroll down to “Labor Certification and LCA Processing Times”.
Administrative appeals of most types of petitions denied by the USCIS are adjudicated by agency’s Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) in Washington, DC.
The AAO’s most recent published processing times (September 7, 2004) may be found at
The newly-revamped 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
On October 14, we will participate in a two-hour teleconference explaining strategies for foreign-born physicians who wish to obtain employment in the U.S.
The teleconference will provide information to immigration attorneys, physicians and recruiters regarding nonimmigrant options for medical residencies and for physicians who have completed residencies and/or fellowships in the U.S. There will be an extensive discussion regarding how best to obtain a J waiver.
The teleconference is scheduled to take place at 3pm Eastern Time (Noon, Pacific Time). It will feature: Connie Berry, the Supervisor of the J-1 Physician Visa Waiver Program for the Texas Primary Care Office for the Texas Department of Health; Karen Lundberg, the J-1 Coordinator for the Florida Department of Health, Office of Health Professional Recruitment; Jennell Prentice, the Supervisor of the J-1 Physician Visa Waiver Program for the Washington Office of Community and Rural Health; Elahe Najfabadi, Esq., an attorney who is one of leading authorities regarding the immigration of foreign-born physicians in the U.S.; and Carl Shusterman, Esq., whose law firm has successfully obtained over 1,000 J waivers and green cards for foreign-born physicians over the past 20 years.
For program and registration information, see
http://immigrationcafe.org/index.php?fuseaction=page.a207 (Link no longer operational)
Those new to the subject of J waivers and nonimmigrant visas for physicians may, in advance of the teleconference, wish to read some of the articles on our “Physicians” page, particularly those in red, at
Let me tell you a little secret about immigration law: The “boss” may set up the initial strategy for your case, but it is the associate attorneys and the paralegals that are largely responsible for the ultimately successful outcome.
That is why when your case is approved, they are the ones who receive the beautiful flower arrangements and the boxes of chocolate!
Our strategy is to collect as much information as possible about your case from the very beginning. We schedule 30-minute initial legal consultation and obtain a complete copy of your existing immigration file whenever possible. Also, witness our five-page “intake” sheet at
After 30+ years of practicing law, I still love what I am doing because every morning when I walk into my office, I am surrounded by the “Dream Team” of immigration law.
To illustrate what I am talking about, consider the following five recent successful decisions for our clients who are processing their cases through employment (Names and locations have been changed to protect the identity of our clients.):
1) For the Benefit of Mr. K
Mr. K, who works for a large financial institution on the East Coast, received a Notice of Findings from the U.S. Department of Labor stating that his employer had tested the wrong market place and had failed to provide a posting notice and statement of recruitment. We responded to the Notice of Findings with the recruitment results and our argument for placing the ads in the various locations. The case was remanded back to the state level.
We placed an advertisement to retest the labor market and the employer received 16 resumes. However, none of the applicants were qualified for the position offered. We forwarded the recruitment results to the state and once again the Department of Labor came back with a Notice of Findings. They felt that four of the applicants met the minimum requirements of the position. We argued that the individuals, although seemingly qualified on paper, lacked the computer skills as defined on the ETA 750 Part A when interviewed. We also included case law supporting our contention that the applicants must have the ability to satisfactorily perform the duties in question.
The Labor Certification was approved.
2) An Rx for Dr. X
An Internist in the South received a Notice of Findings on his Reduction in Recruitment case asking us to explain why his employer had placed advertisements in the Journal of the American Medical Association encouraging “Citizen, Immigrant and J-1 Visa” applicants to apply, but had rejected four of the applicants because they were in J or H status.
We responded by explaining that the advertisement was for multiple positions including Internists, Pulmonologists, OB/GYNs and Pediatricians because the medical group wanted to be cost effective with their advertising budget by targeting as many qualified applicants as possible. We went on to explain that the employer would have considered H and J applicants for some of the positions advertised, but not this one because they wanted to keep someone permanently in this position.
The Labor Certification was approved two days later.
3) Traveling Shoes for Dude U
Dude U, the Number 2 Skateboarder in the world, has been here in O-1 status since 1998 from a country where they only issue multiple entry visas for three months at a time. This is a bummer for Dude U since he is always traveling around the world participating in competitions, exhibitions and demonstrations. Dude U retained an attorney to file his Extraordinary Ability Green Card two years ago, but it turned out that nothing had been filed. Dude U came to us very upset and asked us to file an application for him.
We submitted his applications using combined processing, and he recently received his I-140 approval. Dude U is now traveling in and out using his Advance Parole and no longer has to worry about obtaining a new visa every time he needs to participate in a competition abroad.
4) A Narrow Escape for Mr. J
Mr. J called us from the Midwest after his previous attorney had forgotten to file for his L-1A extension. Uncertain as to whether the Immigration Service would approve an L-1A petition on his behalf, we felt that strategically it would be better to submit an H-1B. However, this was very close to the announcement that the H-1B Cap for FY 2004 was about to be reached, so time was of the essence. Since Mr. J lacked a four-year university degree, but had plenty of professional experience, we rushed to obtain a credentials evaluation and submitted his paperwork via premium processing.
We received an RFE requesting additional information including an organizational chart and previous employment records from Mr. J’s country. We responded to the RFE and received the approval just before Immigration Service announced they were no longer accepting any more H-1B petitions.
Mr. J. went to his home country and returned with an H-1B visa in his passport.
5) School Daze for Mr. MG
Mr. MG called us from his country and patched in his employer in the U.S. on the consultation. He had been offered a job as a teacher in a secondary school starting at the end of August, 2004. The only problem was that the offer was not made until June 2004 and there were no H-1Bs available until October 1, 2004. We explored various strategies with Mr. MG and his employer, eventually learning that the school was affiliated with a university. This solved the problem since “university-affiliated” employers are exempt from the H-1B cap.
We immediately submitted an H-1B petition premium processing, and it was approved within the week. Mr. MG quickly obtained his visa and reported for work in August.
Difficult cases can be approved quickly. Impossible cases may take a bit longer 😉
For more information regarding how to obtain permanent residence through employment, see our “Green Card” page at
Imagine the United States without immigrants? I wonder if you can? All Americans have immigrant forebears. Even the “Native Americans” crossed the Bering Strait from Asia.
So what is “American music” if not the music of immigrants and their descendents?
This month’s Immigration Trivia Quiz is entitled “I Hear America Singing!” See
https://www.shusterman.com/musquiz904.html (Link no longer operational.)
Be the first to answer the quiz correctly, and win a free legal consultation before the end of September!
You can’t imagine how many thousands of e-mails that we have received this year asking questions like “When will the President’s amnesty proposal be voted on by Congress?”, “How about the Democrat’s SOLVE Act?”, “Will Congress raise the H-1B cap?”, “When will the DREAM Act become law?”, “What is the status of the AgJobs bill?”, “When will the bill extending the Conrad 30 program be enacted into law?”, etc.
Laws don’t always get passed merely because they are just and fair. Legislators are barraged on a daily basis by interest groups asking them to vote for or against a particular piece of legislation.
No significant immigration legislation has been enacted in 2004. Why not? Could it be because Congress did not hear from you, and the other 43,000 subscribers to this news letter?
Can you spare a few seconds, definitely less than one minute, to send an e-mail message to your Members of Congress to ask them to vote for a particular bill which would benefit you and your family? If your answer is “yes”, then keep reading. (If your answer is “no”, then forever hold your peace!)
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has established an “Advocacy Center” for important Immigration Legislation. We link to AILA’s Advocacy Center from our “Immigration Legislation” page at
AILA’s Advocacy Center starts by listing a dozen pieces of immigration legislation with pre-written messages which you can e-mail to your Members of Congress. Alternately, you can compose your own message.
Not sure who represents you in Congress? No problem. AILA’s Advocacy Center allows you to insert your zip code and in an instant, you will be see the names, photos, e-mail addresses and voting records on immigration issues of both of your Senators and your Congressman or Congresswoman
Want to send a message to your local media outlets? Again, type in your zip code, and you’ll see the names and e-mail addresses of your local newspapers, TV stations and radio stations.
Best of all, everything in the AILA Advocacy Center is free!
It takes only seconds to do the right thing – click on AILA’s Advocacy Center, and contact your elected representatives and media NOW!
No, I’m am not about to celebrate my 100th birthday! I’m still a “young” 55 – although I suppose when you know the names of more cholesterol meds than pop bands, the adjective “young” may be a bit of a stretch…
What we are celebrating is the 100th consecutive monthly issue of our free e- mail newsletter, SHUSTERMAN’S IMMIGRATION UPDATE. Since June 1996, when we published our first issue, we have never missed a deadline and we constantly strive to increase the quality of our publication and our web site. Our efforts have paid off. We are now the most read immigration newsletter with over 43,000 subscribers in more than 150 countries. Our readers include immigration reporters from dozens of the largest newspapers in the U.S., over 100 members of Congress, government employees including many at DHS, at least 5,000 immigration attorneys, not to mention over 35,000+ would-be immigrants and citizens.
Our newsletter enables our subscribers to access the latest government processing times, be informed of breaking immigration news, learn about upcoming free online chats and immigration seminars, receive analysis of recent developments in immigration law and procedure, and last, but certainly not least, have the opportunity to win a free legal consultation by acing our Immigration Trivia Quiz.
Writing the newsletter certainly helps me to keep up with the latest developments in immigration law and procedure. Before I can explain the nuances in a new law or regulation, I have to read it, understand it, and boil my comments down to a few pithy paragraphs.
Our web site ( https://www.shusterman.com), which we started in 1995, averages over 10,000 individual viewers each week day. More than any other web site on the Internet, we link to the latest processing times for immigration benefits (which are posted on the web sites of the Immigration Service, the Labor Department and the State Department) and to all publicly-available immigration forms, news releases, other services.
I can’t tell you how good it makes me feel to walk around our office and see our attorneys and paralegals using our web site and newsletter to access laws, regulations, court decisions, waiting times, prevailing wage and new procedures to expedite their cases.
Over the next few months, we have decided to experiment with both the frequency and the format of our newsletter. We will no longer time the newsletter to match the issuance of the Visa Bulletin, although we will still post the Visa Bulletin online at
as soon as it is released. Now that there are groups which publish immigration newsletters on a monthly, weekly and even on a daily basis, we will issue ours not on a specific day or even on a monthly basis, but only when important news occurs.
To receive the most up-to-the-minute news in the immigration world, continue to look at “U.S. Immigration News” and the scrolling News Ticker on our homepage at
If you wish to schedule a legal consultation with me, either telephonically or in-person, continue to do so online at
Best of all, our newsletter is still available at the same low price (For free!) that it was back in June 1996.
- September 23
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles County Bar Association, Immigration Legal Assistance Project
My topic is “Introduction to Immigrant Visas”
- September 30 – October 2
New York City, New York
AILA Global Immigration Summit
My topic will be “Global Competition for Doctors and Nurses.”
- October 25-26
San Francisco, California
Practising Law Institute
37th Annual Immigration and Naturalization Institute
My Topic will be “Current Issues in Naturalization and Citizenship.”
- November 4-5
The American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE)
“Getting It Right: Foreign-Educated Nurse Recruitment”- I am honored to have been selected to be the keynote speaker of the conference.
Since 1999, we have served as the official immigration experts for About.com. We have participated in dozens of free chats since then. Our chats always focus on a particular subject.
Links to the transcripts of all of our chats are posted online on our “Chat” page at
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:
- Welcome To Our Web Site!
https://www.shusterman.com/audio/welcome.ram (Link no longer operational)
- Understanding the H-1B Cap Law: AC-21
https://www.shusterman.com/audio/h1bcapla.ram (Link no longer operational)
- Temporary Visas to Visit, Study or Work in the U.S.
https://www.shusterman.com/audio/temp.ram (Link no longer operational)
- Obtaining A Green Card To Live and Work in the U.S.
https://www.shusterman.com/audio/gc.ram (Link no longer operational)
- How to Become a Citizen of the U.S.
https://www.shusterman.com/audio/usc.ram (Link no longer operational)
- IMG’s and Canadian Physicians
https://www.shusterman.com/audio/md.ram (Link no longer operational)
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:
- Physicians: J Waivers, H-1B and O-1 Visas
https://www.shusterman.com/video/img100302_p1.ram (Link no longer operational)
- Physicians: Obtaining Permanent Residence
https://www.shusterman.com/video/img100302_p2.ram (Link no longer operational)
- Physicians: Questions and Answers
https://www.shusterman.com/video/img100302_qa.ram (Link no longer operational)
See my testimony before the Senate Subcommittee On Immigration on May 22, 2001 regarding “Immigration Policy: Urban And Rural Health Care Needs” at
https://www.shusterman.com/video/carlsenate.ram (Link no longer operational)
or read the complete transcript of my testimony at
Also, see a video and an audio of President Bush announcing his new temporary worker program on January 7, 2004 at
Remember, you will need to download a free copy of RealPlayer which you can find at
in order to hear the audios or to view the videos.
Who were the U.S. immigrant Olympians pictured, and who was the winner of our August 2004 Immigration Trivia Quiz entitled “America’s Immigrant Olympians”? We link to the quiz at
https://www.shusterman.com/olymquiz804.html (Link no longer operational.)
Here is the message that we received from the winner:
Dear Mr. Shusterman,
The first picture is Martina Navratilova, competing Tennis Woman’s Doubles, born in Prague, Czechoslovakia.
The second picture is Lenny Krayzelburg, competing for Swimming 100m Backstroke, 200m Backstroke, born in Odessa, Soviet Union.
The third picture is Abdi Abdirahman, competing for Track & Field 10,000m, born in Haragaysa, Somalia.
I used Google to search American Olympic Team and matched pictures in specific team, tennis, swimming and track & field.
About myself: I am from Shanghai, China. I am working as a Network Security Specialist. I enjoy your website and have subscribed to your newsletter since 1998. This is the best website for immigration.
I will call to schedule a consultation. I am glad that I can talk to Mr. Shusterman, the best attorney for immigration in the United States.
— Congratulations, Shidong – I hope that our interview will be telephonic because I have been blushing ever since I received your message!
September 12, 2004
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
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
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