Monthly Archives: August 2011

DHS PUBLISHES BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION REGULATION

According to a USCIS Press Release:  “The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today published the first in a series of regulations intended to promote the migration of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) benefit filings from a paper-based environment to an electronic one. The regulation is an important step toward modernizing how USCIS handles the more than 6 million benefit applications submitted annually.”

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ALABAMA IMMIGRATION LAW BLOCKED

According to an article on cnn.com:  “A federal judge temporarily blocked enforcement of a tough immigration law in Alabama on Monday.”

This is a harsh state enforcement law that is similar to the one passed by Arizona last year.  Immigration law falls under federal jurisdiction – the federal government needs to pass and enforce the laws in an appropriate manner.  For each state to have its own set of laws it could have the absurd effect of certain immigrants being welcomed by some states – or even municipalities and shunned by others.  This would make the term United States of America seem almost inaccurate

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IMMIGRATION OFFICIALS DROP DEPORTATION PROCEEDINGS IN GAY MARRIAGE CASE

According to an article on news.yahoo.com:  “The Obama administration has dropped its deportation case against Alex
Benshimol, a 47-year-old Venezuelan man who is married to an American
citizen, Doug Gentry.”

This is a positive development and what many believe is a precursor to finally allowing gay US citizen spouses to sponsor their significant others for permanent residence. 

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HOPEFUL FOR FUTURE IMMIGRATION REFORM, OBAMA OFFERS PROSECUTORIAL DISCRETION

According to an opinion piece on latimes.com:  “When the Obama administration last week announced its intention to review the cases of 300,000 immigrants ensnared in the nation’s deportation process, as well as to institute new guidelines going forward — with the goal of distinguishing between those who pose threats to public safety from those who are merely in the country illegally — reaction reverberated along well-worn lines. Enforcement hawks denounced the move as amnesty; immigration doves responded warily, worried that it would substitute for more comprehensive efforts to fix the nation’s broken immigration system.”

This is a move to which pro-immigrant advocacy organizations have responded favorably.  Since Congress is not addressing this issue in any meaningful way, the administration has decided to prioritize immigration agencies’ enforcement priorities.  Although this is not a legalization program and a great deal of discretion will lie with the powers that be, it is a good start and the government is headed in the right direction.  The government will review pending deportation cases and hold off on deporting those who do not pose a grave threat, have been convicted of a felony, are repeat offenders etc.   It is in essence a reprieve while the administration awaits possible immigration reform.

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N-400 PRIORITY PROCESSING FOR CERTAIN SSI RECIPIENTS

According to a USCIS News Release:  “USCIS will prioritize the processing of Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, for certain SSI recipients when the applicant’s:
• SSI benefits will be terminated within 1 year from the date listed on your SSI notice; AND,
• Form N-400 has been pending for 4 months or more from the date of receipt.”

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DOL TEMPORARILY SUSPENDS PREVAILING WAGE DETERMINATIONS FOR CERTAIN CASES

The Department of Labor has temporarily stopped issuing Prevailing Wage Determinations for H-1B and PERM cases in order to comply with a June 15, 2011 order from the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania requiring the agency to re-issue certain H-2B Prevailing Wage Determinations.

This inaction could lead to delays of several months that could be consequential for foreign-nationals who are in H-1B status and have an employer that would like to file a PERM application in time to allow them to remain in the US in H-1B status beyond six years.  The agency has promised to keep the immigration bar up to date on developments regarding this matter and hopefully will begin issuing prevailing wage determinations again in the near future so as not to paralyze the Foreign Labor Certification process for much longer.

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