Siskind’s Immigration Bulletin – June 21, 2013
Published by Greg Siskind, partner at the Immigration Law Offices of Siskind Susser, P.C., Attorneys at Law; telephone: 800-343-4890, 901-682-6455; facsimile: 901-339-9604, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, WWW home page: http://www.visalaw.com.
Siskind Susser serves immigration clients throughout the world from its offices in the US and its affiliate offices across the world. To schedule a telephone or in-person consultation with the firm, go to http://www.visalaw.com/intake.html
Editor: Greg Siskind. Associate Editor: Nicollette Davis. Contributors: Nicollette Davis, Bailey Hutchinson, Ari Sauer.
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I am writing this after just watching the first full Senate vote on S.744, the comprehensive immigration reform bill. The vote was on the question of whether to proceed to actually debate the bill and consider amendments. Yes votes are not a guarantee that a Senator will vote for the bill, but a no vote at this point is a pretty good indicator that a Senator will be a no vote all the way through. The motion passed by an 82-15 margin with all Democrats voting to proceed and the majority of Republicans. That doesn’t mean the vote will be this lopsided when the bill comes up for a final vote, but it is starting to seem inevitable that the bill will pass the Senate.
What happens in the House is another story. The House is about a month behind with a committee vote set for the end of this month and a floor vote at the end of July. And it’s not clear yet whether the House will consider a bipartisan comprehensive bill or a series of Republican sponsored smaller bills. After eventual passage in the House, the Senate and House would have to negotiate a compromise to send back to each House and many think that it could take a couple of months to get to a final bill, perhaps as late as the end of the year.
If you are trying to keep up with the bill, I recommend checking on my blog at http://blogs.ilw.com/gregsiskind or following me on Twitter at @gsiskind.
Readers are reminded that they are welcome to contact my law office if they would like to schedule a telephone or in person consultation with me or one of my colleagues. If you are interested, please call my office at 901-682-6455.
ABCs of Immigration Law: Grounds for Asylum and Refugees
For most of its history, the U.S. had no law providing for the admission of refugees. Following World War II, the U.S., along with many other countries, realized the need for comprehensive laws on the subject. Numerous laws were passed to allow the admission of war refugees, but the programs they created tended to provide only for emergencies and were effective for only short periods. In 1965, a seventh preference immigration category was created that provided for the annual admission of 17,400 people as refugees. To be considered a refugee under this law, the person must have been persecuted or fear persecution on the basis of race, religion or political opinion. In 1980, the Refugee Act was passed. This law implemented the United Nations Protocol on the Status of Refugee, which the U.S. had joined in 1968. It created a permanent procedure for the admission and resettlement of refugees.
What is a refugee?
According to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), a refugee is defined as “any person who is outside of any country of such person’s nationality . . . who is unable or unwilling to return to, and is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” Current, past, and well founded fear of future persecution are all qualifiers for application.
There is no fee to apply for refugee status.
What is the difference between refugees and asylees?
Both refugees and asylees must satisfy the above definition. The two terms are virtually identical, but they differ most notably on two stipulations. Asylees must make their applications while inside the U.S, while refugees must apply outside of their home country, but also outside of the U.S. Additionally, refugees must obtain a referral from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to accompany their application.
Can refugee and asylee status be denied?
In some cases, claims may be denied. Following is a list of conditions that will lead to a mandatory denial of refugee or asylee status.
- The applicant’s concerns can be reasonably assuaged by internal relocation
- The applicant ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the persecution of others
- The applicant has been convicted of a particularly serious crime
- The applicant has been convicted of a serious nonpolitical crime
- There are reasonable grounds for regarding the applicant as a danger to U.S. security
- The applicant is found to be involved in terrorist activities
- The applicant has been firmly resettled in another country prior to filing for status in the U.S.
- The applicant previously applied for and was denied status, unless circumstances have changed to the extent of affecting the applicant’s eligibility
- If the applicant fails to file within the 1 year time limit (asylees only)
- The application was filed before April 1, 1997
Applicants may also be denied status based on the discretionary ruling of an Immigration Judge. The applicant may also be removed to a safe third country pursuant to a bilateral or multilateral agreement.
Time limits on filing and safe-third country bars are inapplicable to unaccompanied minors (under 18 years old).
How can I be granted asylum or refuge because of my race?
There have been few cases dealing with this ground for refuge. Winning refuge on this basis requires proof that the government either engaged in persecution or encouraged others to persecute someone because of their race. One factor that makes this ground difficult to prove is that the persecution must be individualized; that is, the applicant must be singled out of persecution. This has the effect, in some cases, of denying eligibility to members of groups that are subject to widespread persecution, because the applicant cannot prove that they individually face danger in place of generalized risk.
How can I be granted asylum or refuge because of my religion?
Persecution on the basis of religious beliefs is a much more common basis on which asylum and refuge are granted. Here again, though, the applicant must prove that the persecution comes from the government or is motivated by the government. Discrimination or harm the applicant experiences that comes from individuals, even if because of the applicant’s religion, will not support an asylum application unless the government makes clear that it supports the activity.
How can I be granted asylum or refuge because of my nationality?
This is an infrequently used basis for asylum and refuge. Even if people in their country of residence harm members of a certain nationality, they still must show that the government of that country either engaged in persecution or encouraged it, or that it is unwilling to provide protection. Also, if a country discriminates equally against all non-nationals, asylum cannot be granted.
How can I be granted asylum or refuge because of my membership of a particular social group?
This is the most litigated basis for asylum. Determining what constitutes a social group has proven difficult. Some courts have defined it as an identifiable group of people seen as a threat to the country from which they are seeking refuge. Others definitions encompass groups of people tied together because of a common, fundamental characteristic which they are incapable of changing. One court has even found that a family unit constitutes a social group. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) defines a social group as a unit of people who share a common, immutable characteristic, whether an innate part of their existence (such as gender), or a common experience (such as military service). This characteristic, while persecuted in the applicant’s country of origin, is protected within the U.S., and as such members of particular social groups are said to share a “protected characteristic.”
The U.S. does not extend protection to gangs or similar groups.
How can I be granted asylum or refuge based on my sexual orientation/gender identity?
Gender identity and sexual orientation are two different issues, and shall be discussed here together because of the many ways they overlap. Individuals who seek asylum or refuge based on their sexual orientation/gender identity are generally grouped with other asylees and refugees who base their status on their membership of a particular social group (discussed above). Sexual orientation/gender identity may also be related to other grounds for application, such as political opinion or religious affiliation. However, due to the increasingly relevant and evolving nature of gender and sexuality topics, it is important to discuss the particular steps to seeking asylee or refugee status based on one’s sexual orientation/ gender identity.
In 2012, the INA published a comprehensive process on adjudicating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) refugee and asylum claims. Sexual orientation, gender identity, and having an intersex condition can be classified as either inherent or fundamental; they are “protected characteristics” which LGBTI individuals either cannot or should not be expected to change about themselves. Individuals who feel persecuted or prosecuted based on their LGBTI status can seek asylee or refugee status in the US. Like other asylees and refugees, they may be asked to provide corroborating evidence of their status, as long as that evidence can be reasonably obtained.
Same sex partners are not considered a spouse even if applicant’s country allows for same sex marriage, but there are rules in place to ensure that same sex partners applying simultaneously can be resettled in the same geographic area in the US.
How can I be granted asylum or refuge because of my political opinion?
This is the most often used basis for an asylum or refuge application. In 1992, the Supreme Court issued an opinion significantly restricting this basis, ruling that the political opinion that matters is that of the victim, and that merely resisting government action is not alone enough to show persecution. Nor, according to the Board of Immigration Appeals, is being caught up in general civil unrest sufficient for a claim of asylum or refuge unless the government knows that the person disagrees with it politically.
One important development in this area is the idea of an imputed political opinion. In these cases, when it is obvious that the government is acting on the basis of what it believes to be an opposing political opinion, no evidence of the applicant’s actual opinion or that the applicant’s actual opinion or that the applicant’s actual opinion or that the government knew it, is required.
In 1996, Congress adopted a law making coercive family planning a form of persecution based on political opinion. Under this law, if a person can show they were forced to terminate a pregnancy or be sterilized, they are deemed to have shown persecution on the basis of political opinion.
Are there other ways of being granted asylee or refugee status?
There are many conditions under which one can apply for asylee or refugee status. The above categories are just broad explanations of the most common avenues for application. Generally, an individual qualifies for asylee status if they are fleeing persecution in their home country. Persecution can take many shapes, including, but not limited to:
- Custodial interrogation
- Rape or sexual assault
- Forced medical examination
- Physical harm or detention
- Emotional trauma
- Economic deprivation
- Stripping citizenship
- Civil war
- Laws of general application
- Prosecution (not generally, but arguments can be made for prosecution amounting to persecution)
- Intent to harm distinct from persecution
- Breach of confidentiality of asylum
- Government unable or unwilling to control persecutors
There are also certain groups designated for refugee protection, including:
- Iraquis employed by U.S. government in Iraq
- North Koreans
- Any persons from certain countries (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, China, North Korea, countries of former Soviet Republic, nations of the Greater Middle East Region) who personally deliver into custody any living American missing or held prisoner, as well as their parents, spouse, and children
- Spouses and children of refugees
Do I have any other options?
There are other protected groups, such as Temporary Protected Status (TPS) aliens.
In our Ask Visalaw.com section of the SIB, attorney Ari Sauer answers immigration law questions sent in by our readers. If you enjoy reading this section, we encourage you to visit Ari’s blog, The Immigration Answer Man, where he provides more answers to your immigration questions. You can also follow The Immigration Answer Man on Facebook and Twitter.
If you have a question on immigration matters, writeAskfirstname.lastname@example.org. We can’t answer every question, but if you ask a short question that can be answered concisely, we’ll consider it for publication. Remember, these questions are only intended to provide general information. You should consult with your own attorney before acting on information you see here.
1) QUESTION: I have an H-1B visa, which extends from November 2011 to November 2014. I didn’t extend my wife and daughter’s I-94 because our I-485 was pending at that time and the lawyer of our company said it would be okay. However, our I-485 was recently denied and I think I should extend their I-94. How can I extend their I-94 if it expired in November 2011, but their ID cards don’t expire until May 2014? Thank you so much!
ANSWER: They need to go back to their home country and apply for H-4 visas. They are currently accruing Unlawful Presence and, as a result, they must leave the United States before they accrue 180 days of Unlawful Presence. Otherwise, they will be subject to a bar of inadmissibility. If you can file a new adjustment of status under a new basis before they have accrued 180 days of being out of status or working without authorization, then, that may be an option. Although, that particular option will probably be the riskier option. You will need to consult with your attorney or with a new attorney.
2) QUESTION: I have my 2-year conditional Green Card based on marriage. It has been 6 months since my wife and I married. Unfortunately, my wife has been very abusive and has been constantly threatening to divorce me, knowing full well that I am dependent on her for my Green Card. However, now that I have received the conditional Green Card, do I have to stay in this relationship? If I do decide to divorce her will I lose my conditional Green Card? Am I at least safe until the end of the 2 years when my card expires? How long will it take for a visa to become available for my petition?
ANSWER: Someone who receives a green card based upon a marriage to a US citizen or US permanent resident, and the marriage was less than two years old at the time the person was granted permanent resident status, they will receive a 2-year Conditional Permanent Residence. This means that the green card will be valid for only two years.
If the couple remains together, then they must jointly file an application to have the condition removed. They will file this application during the 90 days prior to the expiration date on the green card.
However, there is no requirement to stay in a difficult marriage. If the couple files for divorce before the two years are up, the green card holder can still file to have the condition removed from their green card. They will file the application to remove the condition from their card as soon as the divorce is finalized, even if it is more than 90 days before their card expires. They will be required to provide proof that the marriage was real and that they did not marry just to get the green card. Alternatively, if the person was abused by their US citizen or permanent resident spouse, they can apply to have the condition removed even before their divorce is finalized, but they will need to show that the marriage was real and not entered into to get their green card. They will also have to prove that they were abused.
Border and Enforcement News:
Extra Screening for Returning Student Visa Holders
The Department of Homeland Security has ordered border agents to verify every international student who arrives in the United States with a student visa. The new procedure is the government’s first security change directly related to the Boston bombings. A New York college has advised student-visa holders from Canada to add two hours to their daily commute as the new security changes will cause numerous delays for all international students entering the United States.
Border Apprehensions Up, But Still Near Historical Lows
The Arizona Republic reports that border order patrol apprehensions of undocumented migrants have risen 13 percent from last year’s numbers. The recent surge comes from activity concentrated almost exclusively in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. Though these migrants are entering the U.S. from Mexico, agents report an increasing number of Central American migrants among the numbers, especially from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. David FitzGerald, a sociologist for the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California-San Diego, reports that he expects higher migration rates as the U.S. economy picks up. It is highly unlikely, however, that migration rates will reach levels as high as the previous decade, regardless of how imminent immigration reform affects the nation’s policies. Apprehensions are still near historical lows. In addition to increased resources put towards border security, Michelle Mittelstadt, communications director for the Migration Policy Institute, claims that the demographics in Mexico play an important role in the overall shift of migration patterns. Lower fertility rates, an improving economy, and an improving educational system in Mexico means less people are seeking migration. Additionally, increased border security protocols have forced migrants to seek alternative routes into the U.S. via more remote and dangerous areas. 2012 was reportedly the second-deadliest year on record for migrants crossing the border; Border Patrol and other local agencies found the bodies of 463 people who may have succumbed to either harsh desert elements or violent drug cartel crimes while trying to cross the border.
Border Patrol Rescues 177 People in Arizona Desert
Myfoxphoenix.com reports that U.S. Border Patrol agents in the Tucson sector have rescued 177 people who succumbed to heat-related illnesses. As the desert heat rises, conditions become increasingly more dangerous for anyone attempting crossing the border in southern Arizona. 52 of these people were rescued in the second week of June alone.
News from the Courts:
USCIS Announces ABT Settlement Agreement
USCIS reports that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have agreed to settle a nationwide class action lawsuit challenging the denial of work authorizations to asylum-seekers who have been waiting longer than six months for approval on their asylum applications. On December 15, 2011, plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed a complaint challenging the government’s practices in respect to work authorizations (EADs) of applicants for asylum. The plaintiffs, who had been placed in removal proceedings, had each filed an asylum application, as well as an employment authorization application. On May 8, 2013, the Court granted the parties’ joint motion for a preliminary settlement and has ordered a Fairness Hearing on September 30, 2013. The settlement agreement between the plaintiff and the government will help insure that asylum applicants are eligible to new procedures relating to employment authorization.
Arizona and Nebraska Refuse Immigrants License Privileges
The Associated Press reports that U.S. District Judge David Campbell did not halt Gov. Jan Brewer’s order to deny driver’s licenses for young immigrants in Arizona. Immigrant rights advocates claimed Brewer’s policy was unconstitutional because Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program trumped it as federal law, but Brewer’s lawyers argued that Obama’s policy does not qualify as such. The state of Arizona allows anyone with lawful immigration status to get a driver’s license, but does not recognize those benefitting from Obama’s policy as lawful immigrants. Arizona officials claim they are doubtful that youths participating in this program will be able to stay in the country legally and that is why they are hesitant to extend driver’s licenses privileges to them. Brewer’s policy presents difficulties for immigrants to secure transportation to such places as work, school, or the grocery store.
U.S. District Judge David Campbell declined to reconsider his ruling.
In addition, JournalStar.com reports that a 24 year old immigrant, Mayra Saldana, filed a lawsuit against the Nebraska Motor Vehicles Department and its director, Rhonda Lahm. Mayra is one of many young immigrants eligible to work in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program. However, Governor Dave Heineman announced in August that Nebraska, like Arizona, would deny driver’s license privileges to all immigrants benefitting from the aforementioned program.
Federal Court Rules Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio Violated Constitution
MALDEF reports that after a three week trial, Sheriff Joe Arpaio was found to have been racially profiling Latino Americans during immigration sweeps and traffic stops in Maricopa County. The discriminatory actions of both Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office were deemed unconstitutional by the federal district court. The subsequent decision permanently barred the arrest and detainment of Latino Americans based solely on the suspicion of illegally present status. Additionally, the decision barred the use of race as the sole reason for stopping a vehicle with a Latino occupant, as well as the use of race as a factor in making law enforcement decisions regarding whether or not any Latino occupant of a vehicle may be in the country illegally. The federal district court also took actions to prevent the detainment of Latino occupants of vehicles for extended periods of time without the reasonable suspicion of a state or federal law violation.
UPDATE: The Washington Times reports that Arpaio issued a temporary suspension on immigration enforcement following his recent encounter with the federal court.
Judge: Lawsuit to Block New Montana Immigration Law
The Great Falls Tribune reports that a District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock approved the Montana Immigrant Justice Alliance’s early efforts to overturn a new immigration law. The law in question, LR 122, is a voter-approved ballot initiative that requires proof of legal standing for any applicant for state services, employment with a state agency, issuance of a state license of permit, unemployment or disability benefits, student enrollment, and student aid. Though the law has yet to be implemented or used, Sherlock determined clients represented by MIJA have a reasonable fear that LR 122 could adversely affect them. Under the law, individuals who are now legally allowed to reside in the U.S. could be unfairly denied state benefits and services based on the existing definition of illegally present immigrants contained in the ballot. MIJA attorney Shahid Haque-Hausrath says that the next move is to ask the state questions about implementation of the law, employee training for enforcers of the law, and plans for putting the law into action with violating the Montana and U.S. constitutions.
L.A. Worries About Immigration Reform’s Cost to Taxpayers
The Los Angeles Times reports that LA County officials are concerned that local taxpayers will be left responsible for paying for the services associated with the new immigration reform. Local and state officials believe that the new immigration bill will encourage undocumented immigrants to come forward, turning to local services during the proposed 13 year wait to citizenship. In Washington, county officials, such as Supervisors Don Knabe and Zev Yaroslavsky, warned that a major cost shift to state and local governments would occur as a result of the proposed legislation. The officials urged Congress to provide federal aid to help cover future costs. However, the officials could not provide an exact figure on the potential state and county costs.
In its current form, the new immigration bill would prevent most immigrants seeking legal status from receiving federal benefits during their waiting period.
Poll Finds Broad Immigration Support
The Wall Street Journal reports that most Americans support creating a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who are working in the country illegally. Over 50% of those surveyed favored giving citizenship to immigrants who entered illegally but now hold jobs. Support jumped to 75% for a plan that required immigrants to pay fines and back taxes, as well as pass a security check in order to gain citizenship. Bipartisan legislation now being written in the Senate could open a pathway to citizenship with similar requirements.
The poll also found strong support for a faster timeline, with 51% saying undocumented immigrants with jobs should gain citizenship after five years. An additional 18% backed immediate citizenship for such immigrants and 12% said citizenship should be granted after 10 years. Only 14% said those immigrants should never be eligible for citizenship. While 80% of Democrats and 54% of independents support a pathway to citizenship, a slim majority of Republicans still oppose such a measure.
Laurene Jobs Urges Passage of Immigration Reform Bill
Bloomberg reports that Laurene Jobs, the widow of Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs, urged U.S. lawmakers to pass the Dream Act, an immigration reform bill that cleared the House and died in the Senate in 2010. Jobs said failing to provide a path to legal status for younger undocumented immigrants in the United States is a waste of “human capital.” Currently, a bipartisan group of senators is putting the finishing touches on legislation to legalize 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, revamping old immigration laws. Overall, there has been growing support in Silicon Valley for changes to U.S. immigration policy as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the creation of an advocacy group called Fwd.us to lobby for a revamp of immigration policies. Fwd.us is backed by technology entrepreneurs and investors, including John Doerr of venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and LinkedIn Chairman Reid Hoffman.
Colorado, Oregon, Connecticut, and Nevada to Pass License Bills for Undocumented Immigrants
Colorado and Nevada recently passed legislation that will allow driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants. The Colorado Statesman reports that Colorado Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee passed legislation that would offer Colorado driver’s licenses to all residents of the state, whether they are legal residents or undocumented immigrants. Sponsored by freshman Latino Senator Jessie Ulibarri and Colorado Senate President John Morse, the legislation would approve driver’s licenses for all Colorado residents who meet the qualifications. According to The Albany Herald, Nevada joined suit with Republican Governor Brian Sandoval signing a bill to authorize driving privilege cards for undocumented immigrants. According to the bill, immigrants will be able to use foreign birth certificates to obtain driving cards that will be valid for a year.
Oregon and Connecticut are also considering passing driver’s license bills for undocumented immigrants. The Statesman Journal reports that an Oregon Senate committee has advanced a bill that would allow short-term driving privileges to undocumented immigrants who have been residents of Oregon for at least one year. An estimated 60,000 to 70,000 people could be affected, including older people who may lack birth certificates or other documents used by DMV to established proof of legal presence. The Connecticut House of Representatives also approved a bill that offers undocumented immigrants the opportunity to obtain a Connecticut driver’s license and, if approved in the Senate, it will make Connecticut the first state in the Northeast to enact such a policy. According to The Hartford Courant, bill will allow undocumented immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses beginning January 1, 2015. Licenses would be valid for driving only and anyone convicted of a felony in Connecticut would be barred from obtaining a license.
NYC Study Looks at Immigrant Banking Habits
The Associated Press reports that a study of immigrants in some of New York City’s fastest-growing communities finds that their banking patterns can be very different. The Department of Consumer Affairs, which looked at Chinese, Ecuadorian and Mexican communities, found that barriers to having accounts included account maintenance and confusion over the documentation needed to open an account. Participants, more than 1,300 immigrants from the three communities, were asked whether they had bank accounts or not, as well as if they had savings and savings goals. The survey found that Chinese immigrants, who had been in the United States on average just under six years, were almost all likely to have bank accounts. The Ecuadorian immigrants surveyed had been in the U.S. for an average of 11 ½ years, and about 65 percent had accounts. The Mexican immigrants participants were the least likely to have bank accounts. Only 43 percent said they did and they had been in the U.S. an average of just over 10 years.
Those without accounts gave reasons such as not having enough money to meet the minimum balances and also concerns about proper documentation and language barriers. However, even those without bank accounts said they made a practice of saving money for their children’s education, buying a home, or sending money back to their native countries.
Yet, DCA Commissioner Jonathan Mintz states that not being connected to the mainstream financial system can create hardships for people. Those without bank accounts have to use check-cashing outlets and have to pay a fee for each transaction. Paying bills can also be complicated if someone doesn’t have a bank account to draw from. In addition, if those who are illegally present are given an opportunity to legalize, it would most likely require them to show how long they have been in the United States and that can be difficult without a banking history.
Hazleton Low on Funds to Defend Immigration Law
The Associated Press reports that Hazleton, a northeastern Pennsylvania city, has spent nearly $500,000 in private donations and may have to use taxpayer funds as it continues to defend its immigration law. Hazleton collected money from thousands of individual contributors around the country as it tried to defend a legal challenge brought by opponents of the Illegal Immigration Relief Act of 2006. The law, which would deny permits to businesses that hire undocumented immigrants and fine landlords who rent to them, has been tied up in federal courts for seven years. Former Mayor Lou Barletta advocated for the law after two such immigrants were charged in a fatal shooting. However, Hazleton still owes about $20,000 to its lawyer and contributions through the city’s Small Town Defenders website have already been used. Without donor contributions, taxpayers in the city will be held responsible for the legal bill.
The U.S. Supreme Court considered the Hazleton case two years ago and threw out a ruling by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that prevented the city from enforcing the immigration regulations. The lower court reheard the case in August 2011 but has yet to issue a ruling.
Employers Must Use Revised Form I-9, Employment Verification
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued a reminder to employers that they must use a revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification for all new hires and re-verifications. The revision date of the new Form I-9 is printed on the lower left corner of the form. A Spanish version is also available on the USCIS website for use in Puerto Rico only. While Spanish-speaking employers and employees in the 50 states, Washington, D.C., and other U.S. territories may use the Spanish version for reference, they must complete and keep the English version of the form. The revised forms are available online at
Alleged Auschwitz Death Camp Guard Arrested
The Associated Press reports that a 93 year old Hans Lipschis who has deported from the U.S. for laying about his Nazi past was recently arrested by German authorities. Lipschis was taken into custody after authorities concluded there was “compelling evidence” he was involved in crimes at an Auschwitz death camp from 1941 to 1945. Lispchis acknowledged that he was assigned to an SS guard unit at Auschwitz but maintains he only served as a cook and was not involved in war crimes. However, his case is being pursued on the same legal theory used to prosecute former Ohio autoworker John Demjanjuk, who died last year while appealing his 2011 conviction in Germany for accessory to murder on the grounds that he served as a guard at the Sobibor death camp. Even without proof of participation in a specific crime, a person who has served at a death camp can be charged with accessory to murder based on the fact that the camp’s sole function is to kill people. Lipschis does not currently have an attorney and a public defender has not yet been appointed.
Immigration Reform Will Boost U.S. Housing Recovery, NAHREP Says
Fox News Latino reports that the new immigration reform bill will add three million homeowners to the U.S. real estate market. According to the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), six million of the eleven million undocumented immigrants are estimated to seek legalization, three million of which will become homeowners. Currently, undocumented immigrants have a difficult time purchasing homes because they lack proper identification. However, under the proposed Senate immigration bill, undocumented immigrants could apply to adjust their status to “registered provisional immigrant (RPI status)” within 180 days of the law’s enactment. Those who apply and are accepted for RPI status can work for any employer and can travel in and out of the United States. After 10 years, those with RPI stats would be able to apply for permanent residency.
California Bills Aim to Protect Immigrant Workers from Retaliation
KQED News Blog reports that California lawmakers are pushing bills which will strengthen state protections for immigrant workers. Assembly Bill 263 and Senate Bill 666 are two immigrant worker protection bills which may encourage immigrants to come forward about unfair working conditions. AB263 by Assemblyman Hernandez would punish employers who retaliate against workers, making it a misdemeanor punishable by jail time. The Hernandez bill would also require courts to permanently revoke the business licenses of employers who retaliate against their workers more than once. SB 666 by Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg would specifically target retaliation by attorneys, subjecting them to disbarment. Both the Steinberg and Hernandez bills have passed through committee and are headed for votes of the floor of each chamber.
Ethiopia to Implement Pre-Adoption Immigration Review (PAIR)
USCIS reports that Ethiopia will require all U.S. adoption cases to go through a Pre-Adoption Immigration Review (PAIR) process starting September 1st. In order to initiate the PAIR process, potential adoptive parents must file a Form I-600 (Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative) with USCIS before completing the adoption in Ethiopia. If USCIS makes a preliminary decision that the child is eligible for immigration to the U.S., USCIS will issue a PAIR letter. Ethiopia’s Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs (MOWCYA) will require the PAIR letter from USCIS before making any decisions on adoptions. Prospective parents must include the PAIR letter in the adoption request they submit to the Ethiopian Federal First Instance Court (FFIC). The new PAIR letter requirement will not affect adoption cases filed with Ethiopian courts before September 1, 2013.
Foreign Service Officer Made Millions in Visa-for-Money Scam
Kentucky.com reports that Foreign Service Officer Michael T. Sestek “received several million dollars in bribes” from residents of foreign countries seeking legal entry to the U.S. Based on a recently publicized criminal complaint, investigators found that Sestek and a group of conspirators took sums of up to $70,000 from desperate Vietnamese seeking visas. State Department investigator Simon Dintis said in an affidavit that “co-conspirators” advertised a charge between $50,000 and $70,000 per visa, but that they’d sometimes charge less. He went on to say the “[co-conspirators] encouraged recruiters to raise the price and keep the amount they charged over the established rate as their own commission.” Investigators claim the alleged conspiracy took place in Ho Chi Minh City, where Sestak handled non-immigrant visas in the U.S. consulate. Sestak served in the consulate until September 2012, when he left in preparation for active-duty service with the Navy.
Sestak was quietly arrested in Southern California. Authorities obtained a judge’s order to hold Sestak without bail based on a “serious risk defendant will flee.” He will be transferred back to Washington, where he will face charges of conspiracy to commit visa fraud and bribery in a scheme that reportedly spanned several countries.
DHS Extends TPS for El Salvador and Syria
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it will be extending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nationals of El Salvador and Syria. This is the ninth time DHS has extended TPS for El Salvadorians following a series of debilitating earthquakes in early 2001. El Salvador is making slow progress towards full recovery, but repeated natural disasters and a lethargic economy make it difficult for the country to adequately handle the return of its nationals. For Syrians, the DHS Secretary has determined that the conditions which led to a 2012 TPS designation for Syrians nationals have only gotten worse. The DHS believes that the on-going armed conflict in Syria will pose a threat to the safety of Syrian nationals if they return home.
Both extensions are applicable to persons who have previously registered under TPS. El Salvadorians who re-register will maintain their status for eighteen months from September 10, 2013 to March 9, 2015. The sixty day re-registration period for El Salvadorians extends from May 30, 2013 to July 29, 2013. Syrians who re-register will maintain their status for eighteen months from October 1, 2013 to March 31, 2015. The sixty day re-registration period for Syrians extends from June 17, 2013 to August 16, 2013.
DHS is also redesignating Syria for TPS for eighteen months from October 1, 2013 to March 31, 2013. The redesignation allows Syrians who currently do not have TPS to submit an initial application during the 180 day initial registration period that runs from June 17, 2013 to November 24, 2013. For more information on the registration and re-registration process for TPS, click the reference links below.
Attorney General’s Office Shuts Down Fradulent “Notarios” in South Texas
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced that three fraudulent “notario” operations in Rio Grande Valley have been shut down: Veronica G. Garcia and Cecilia H. Solis with Garcia & Solis Services, Ana Isabel Lumbreras with Montemayor Services, and Marilia Kuz with Immmigration Help. A fourth case against Jairo Romanovish with Romanovich Charitable Service Inc. remains pending. The defendants have been charged with providing unauthorized immigration services and fraudulently posing as licensed attorneys. Texas law authorizes notaries public to witness the signing of legal documents, but scammers have long taken advantage of the similarity between “notary public” and the Spanish term “notario público” to pose as highly experienced, specialized attorneys. These are the most recent of over 75 unauthorized legal services providers that the Attorney General has shut down since assuming office in 2002.
Commander of Nazi-led Unit Lives 60 Years in US
The Associated Press reports that a 94 year old man who was a top commander of a Nazi SS-led united accused of burning villages filled with women and children has been living in Minnesota for 60 years. Michael Karkoc emigrated to the United States in 1949 after lying to American immigration officials and saying that he had performed no military service in World War II. However, AP reporters uncovered evidence that Karkoc was an officer and founder member of the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion, as well as an officer in the SS Galician Division. Nazi SS files also say that Karkoc, a native of Ukraine, and his unit were involved in brutally suppressing the 1944 Warsaw Uprising in Poland.
The AP evidence has prompted German authorities to express interest in prosecuting Karkoc for his wartime crimes. In Germany, Nazis with “command responsibility” can be charged with war crimes even if their direct involvement in crimes cannot be proven. Remarkably, Karkoc published a memoir in 1995 in which he admits to founding the Ukrainian Self Defense legion, serving as a company commander, and collaborating with the SS. The book is available in the Library of Congress, but was written in Ukrainian.
When contacted by AP, Karkoc refused an interview.
Where’s the Immigration Air War?
Politico reports that so far, advertising for the immigration debate has been relatively minimal, both from advocates and opponents of reform. This is especially surprising considering the number of megadonors and other influential groups who have announced public support of the bill. Currently, total spending on pro-reform ads by significant political groups is just over $5 million, including broadcast television, cable television, and radio. Though by no means a small sum, $5 million is a minute investment considering the financial resources of supporters, which include much of the business and tech communities, big labor, the Chamber of Commerce, and much more. Immigration opponents have spent less than $2 million. There are several potential reasons behind these modest price tags: some donors are skeptical Washington can accomplish anything or that outside-group activity can make a difference; some think grass-roots pressure can be more effective than ads; some think it’s smarter for pro-reform groups to target persuadable groups through mediums other than broadcast television. Another reason is that Republicans and Democrats seem to be largely in agreement over the importance of immigration reform. Tax Reform President Grover Norquist claimed that polls show groups otherwise expected to challenge immigration reform are “willing to have a path towards legal status.”
Clarissa Martinez De Castro, director of national campaigns for the National Council of La Raza, commented that the immigration issue has been dealt with as more of a “hand-to-hand-combat” issue than one to be handled through advertising. Massive grass-roots and lobbying campaigns as well as free-media presences such as FWD.us also help spread awareness of the issue without inflating the media price tag.
Rethinking Immigration Rules for Asylum after Boston
The Washington Times reports that the Boston Marathon bombing caused some U.S. officials to consider a new approach to asylum cases. Tamerlan and Dzokhar Tsarney, the two brothers responsible for the incident in Boston, were brought to the U.S. a decade ago by their parents in an effort to escape economic tension and cultural conflict in their country of origin. Some lawmakers say the immigration reform bill should be used as an opportunity to help prevent future incidents. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa introduced an amendment that would prevent any changes to the asylum or refugee systems until at least a year after an audit of the bombing. He hoped this would give lawmakers ample time to look back on the incident and make the appropriate adjustments to asylee and refugee law.
A few of the proposed changes to the bill would loosen some of the rules for seeking asylum in the U.S. One of those changes is to remove the one-year limit on how long an individual has to file an asylum application. Some lawmakers argue that this stipulation has helped filter out fraudulent applications in the past, while others claim it has caused delays and denials for many valid cases. Sen. Lindsey Graham also proposed an amendment that would require all refugees and asylees to obtain a waiver from HSD before returning to their home country. This is especially relevant to the case of Tamerlan Tsarney, who visited Russia in 2012. The FBI found no links to any extremist organizations while reviewing his visit, but there is still speculation as to whether or not this trip caused Tamerlan to develop a radical outlook.
Opponents to this proposal argued that it is neither humane nor reasonable to attempt to keep track of people suspected of returning to their home countries.
Leahy Withdraws Gay Couples Amendment in Immigration Bill
USA Today reports that Sen. Patrick Leahy introduced an amendment allowing gay and lesbian U.S. citizens to use the nation’s immigration system to petition for their partners they married in other countries. Leahy was pressured to withdraw his amendment or risk the collapse of the immigration reform bill in a debate over same sex marriage. The coalition between Democratic and Republican representatives was too fragile to withstand the inevitable conflict, according Sen. Lindsey Graham. “If we try to define marriage within the immigration debate,” Graham said, “it would mean the bill would fall apart because the coalition would fall apart.” Leahy ultimately withdrew the amendment.
Immigration Reform Bill Clears Committee Hurdles
The Washington Times reports that the 867-page immigration reform bill cleared the Judiciary Committee on a bipartisan vote on Tuesday, May 21, 2013. Three Republican committee members joined all ten Democrats in approving the bill, leaving the final vote at 13-5. The Republican senators voting no were Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Mike Lee (Utah), Jeff Sessions (Alabama), Ted Cruz (Texas), and John Cornyn (Texas.
The bill’s prime directive deals with granting illegally present immigrants quick legal status. The pathway to full citizenship for these immigrants depends on the Homeland Security Department’s efforts to tighten border security, develop a mandatory electronic verification system to check workers’ legal status, and strengthen its checking processes at airports and seaports. The bill also aims to create balance between businesses and labor unions over how to hire guest workers. Sen. Orrin G. Hatch successfully argued for the granting of more visas (as well as fewer obstacles to do so) to high-tech companies that hire foreign workers. The committee ultimately voted to double the number of available H-1B visas. Further expansion of that number is contingent on the development of the U.S. job market.
The bill does not force illegally present immigrants to pay all back taxes they owe. The reasoning behind this decision is a concern that a hefty IRS bill would lead to many immigrants remaining “in the shadows.” Sen. Cruz put forth two ill-received amendments: one that would disallow public benefits to newly legalized immigrants, and another that would completely remove the potential of obtaining full citizenship status. He offered several amendments to expand legal immigration, but met strong opposition due to his strict stance on the aforementioned topics.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte hopes the bill can avoid the mistakes of the 1986 amnesty act, which legalized millions of immigrants without tightening border security measures or cracking down on businesses that hire illegal workers. The bill will now move on to the Senate floor for further discussion, likely in June.
Veterans Push Child Identity Protection in Immigration Bill
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that a group of Utah Veterans are challenging the new immigration reform bill, claiming it leaves thousands of Utah children susceptible to identity theft. The group of Utah Veterans, also known as the Utah Coalition on Illegal Immigration, insists that many Utah children fall victim to identity theft at the hands of undocumented immigrants. The group has lobbied Senators Orin Hatch and Mike Lee, who both sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee, to include more child protection measures in the new immigration bill. As a result, the Senate Judiciary Committee has amended the legislation to ensure police could continue investing immigrants who attempt to use fraudulent documents.
House Votes on Homeland Security Bill
The Washington Times reports that the Republican-controlled House voted to eliminate President’s Obama’s non-deportation policies. The House chamber recently sat down to debate the $46.1 billion Homeland Security Department spending bill, addressing many issues related to enforcement, deportation, and federal spending. According to Washington Times, the 224-201 House vote against President Obama’s non-deportation policies was mostly split along party lines. According to Bloomberg, Iowa Republican Representative Steve King sponsored the amendment to eliminate President Obama’s deferred deportation policy for young undocumented immigrants.
House members also voted to preserve local law enforcement programs known as 287(g), rejecting the President’s efforts to defund it. The 245-180 vote on local law enforcement was a bit more bipartisan than expected, with 16 Democrats joining Republicans in support of 287(g) programs. The new measure would finance the hiring of an additional 1,600 Border Patrol agents and increase military air patrol along the United States and Mexico border. Many Democrats have opposed 287(g) programs, stating that it has caused racial tensions in local communities between police and residents. In addition, the program has been viewed as extremely controversial for its training of enforcement officials to use racial profiling and has been largely regarded as a “costly failure.” However, House Republicans believe the programs are necessary for tying federal and local immigration enforcements together.
In addition to these two measures, the House eliminated language that would have banned immigration from Brazil for a year. Ohio Democrat Representative Tim Ryan proposed language which stated “none of the funds made available by this Act may be used to approve a classification petition filed for or by a citizen or national of Brazil in order to render such individual eligible to receive an immigrant visa.” Virginia Republican Representative Bob Goodlatte argued that the language would change existing law, which is not proper for an appropriations bill. The presiding officer, Florida Republican Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, agreed with Goodlatte’s argument and the section was removed from the bill. The House also approved the barring of “sanctuary cities,” arguing that they contribute to illegal immigration.
U.S. Considers Taking in Syrian Refugees
The LA Times reports that the Obama administration is considering resettling Syrian refugees who have fled their war-torn home country. Middle Eastern countries are straining to support over 1.6 million refugees. The resettlement plan would help alleviate some of this pressure by bringing thousands of Syrians into the U.S. However, some officials are hesitant to take on Syrian refugees. As Islamic militants take on a more prominent role in rebel forces, officials are worried that fighters with Al Qaeda may attempt to enter the country with refugee status. President Obama’s new national security advisor, Susan Rice, and his nominee for U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power, are both strong advocates for refugees, and they will likely work to dispel reluctance in helping Syrian refugees.
The resettlement plan is still under discussion. It will move towards more serious consideration if the administration receives a formal request from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees.
Boehner Sees Immigration Bill By Year’s End
Reuters reports that House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner expects the new overhaul of immigration rules to become law by the end of the year. However, House Speaker Boehner believes that the Senate version of the bill does not go far enough to secure the U.S. border with Mexico or enforce the new proposed system. While Boehner stated that reforming the nation’s immigration system was his top priority this year, he did not answer as to whether the House Republican version of the legislation would support a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants already in the United States. The Senate is expected to vote on the overall bill in late June.
Tim Kaine Voices Support for Immigration Bill in Spanish
The Washington Post reports that U.S. Senator and former Virginia Governor, Tim Kaine, decided to voice his support for the new immigration bill on the Senate floor, entirely in Spanish. Kaine explained aspects of the bill to the nation’s roughly 40 million Spanish speakers in order to make a political point. It was the first time a sitting senator had delivered a floor speech entirely in Spanish. The freshman senator said he worked on the remarks with two bilingual staffers. Senator Kaine’s remarks came immediately after Latino Senator Marco Rubio introduced an amendment to the immigration bill that would mandate that undocumented immigrants learn English before earning permanent U.S. residency. Kaine said he hopes that he is not the only one who plans to debate immigration this way.
Jeb Bush Pitches Immigration Reform to House GOP
Politico reports that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush made an economic argument for immigration reform both at a close-door meeting of House Republicans and at a Bipartisan Policy Center discussion. He argued that the growth of the country’s economy is tied to bringing in more workers. Former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour supported his argument, emphasizing the importance of an increased workforce for GDP growth. Both Bush and Barbour know that the House Republicans play an important role in the next waves of discussion concerning the bill. Bush commented that “reframing the conversation” about immigration to include economic growth could help the bill when it reaches the House.
State Department Visa Bulletin: July 2013
Family 1st – World numbers, China and India advanced 5 weeks to 01 June 06; Mexico advanced 1 week to 22 August 93; the Philippines jumped 6 months to 01 July 00.
Family 2A – World numbers, China, India, and the Philippines advanced 4 months to 08 October 11; Mexico moved 3 months and 3 weeks to 01 September 11.
Family 2B – World numbers, China and India moved 3 months and 3 weeks to 01 November 05; Mexico moved forward 4 months and 2 weeks to 01 November 93; the Philippines advanced 1 month and 3 weeks to 22 December 02.
Family 3rd – World numbers, China and India moved forward 1 month to 01 October 02; Mexico moved 2 weeks to 22 April 93; the Philippines moved forward 1 week to 22 November 92.
Family 4th – World numbers, China and India advanced 3 weeks 22 May 01; Mexico advanced 1 week to 22 September 96; the Philippines advanced 5 weeks to 15 December 89.
Employment 1st – still current in all categories.
Employment 2nd – World numbers, China moved forward 3 weeks to 08 August 08; India remains stalled at 01 September 04; Mexico and the Philippines are still current.
Employment 3rd – World numbers, China and Mexico advanced 4 months to 01 January 09; India moved forward 2 weeks to 22 January 03; the Philippines moved forward 1 week to 01 October 06.
Employment 3rd Other Workers – China jumped 5 months to 22 March 04; India advanced 2 weeks to 22 January 03; Mexico advanced 4 months to 01 January 09; the Philippines moved forward 1 week to 01 October 06.
Employment 4th – still current in all categories.
Certain Religious Workers – still current in all categories.
Employment 5th – still current in all categories.
Number 58 Volume IX Washington, D.C.
A. STATUTORY NUMBERS
1. This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during July. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security reports applicants for adjustment of status. Allocations were made, to the extent possible, in chronological order of reported priority dates, for demand received by June 7th. If not all demand could be satisfied, the category or foreign state in which demand was excessive was deemed oversubscribed. The cut-off date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who could not be reached within the numerical limits. Only applicants who have a priority dateearlier than the cut-off date may be allotted a number. If it becomes necessary during the monthly allocation process to retrogress a cut-off date, supplemental requests for numbers will be honored only if the priority date falls within the new cut-off date announced in this bulletin.
2. Section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) sets an annual minimum family-sponsored preference limit of 226,000. The worldwide level for annual employment-based preference immigrants is at least 140,000. Section 202 prescribes that the per-country limit for preference immigrants is set at 7% of the total annual family-sponsored and employment-based preference limits, i.e., 25,620. The dependent area limit is set at 2%, or 7,320.
3. INA Section 203(e) provides that family-sponsored and employment-based preference visas be issued to eligible immigrants in the order in which a petition in behalf of each has been filed. Section 203(d) provides that spouses and children of preference immigrants are entitled to the same status, and the same order of consideration, if accompanying or following to join the principal. The visa prorating provisions of Section 202(e) apply to allocations for a foreign state or dependent area when visa demand exceeds the per-country limit. These provisions apply at present to the following oversubscribed chargeability areas: CHINA-mainland born, INDIA, MEXICO, and PHILIPPINES.
4. Section 203(a) of the INA prescribes preference classes for allotment of Family-sponsored immigrant visas as follows:
First: (F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.
Second: Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents: 114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, plus any unused first preference numbers:
A. (F2A) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents: 77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;
B. (F2B) Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents: 23% of the overall second preference limitation.
Third: (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.
Fourth: (F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens: 65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.
On the chart below, the listing of a date for any class indicates that the class is oversubscribed (see paragraph 1); “C” means current, i.e., numbers are available for all qualified applicants; and “U” means unavailable, i.e., no numbers are available. (NOTE: Numbers are available only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the cut-off date listed below.)
All Charge-ability Areas Except Those Listed
CHINA- mainland born
*NOTE: For July, F2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are available to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 01SEP11. F2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are available to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 01SEP11 and earlier than 08OCT11. (All F2A numbers provided for MEXICO are exempt from the per-country limit; there are no F2A numbers for MEXICO subject to per-country limit.)
5. Section 203(b) of the INA prescribes preference classes for allotment of Employment-based immigrant visas as follows:
First: Priority Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.
Second: Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required by first preference.
Third: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences, not more than 10,000 of which to “*Other Workers”.
Fourth: Certain Special Immigrants: 7.1% of the worldwide level.
Fifth: Employment Creation: 7.1% of the worldwide level, not less than 3,000 of which reserved for investors in a targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and 3,000 set aside for investors in regional centers by Sec. 610 of Pub. L. 102-395.
On the chart below, the listing of a date for any class indicates that the class is oversubscribed (see paragraph 1); “C” means current, i.e., numbers are available for all qualified applicants; and “U” means unavailable, i.e., no numbers are available. (NOTE: Numbers are available only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the cut-off date listed below.)
All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed
CHINA- mainland born
Certain Religious Workers
5th Targeted EmploymentAreas/ Regional Centers and Pilot Programs
*Employment Third Preference Other Workers Category: Section 203(e) of the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) passed by Congress in November 1997, as amended by Section 1(e) of Pub. L. 105-139, provides that once the Employment Third Preference Other Worker (EW) cut-off date has reached the priority date of the latest EW petition approved prior to November 19, 1997, the 10,000 EW numbers available for a fiscal year are to be reduced by up to 5,000 annually beginning in the following fiscal year. This reduction is to be made for as long as necessary to offset adjustments under the NACARA program. Since the EW cut-off date reached November 19, 1997 during Fiscal Year 2001, the reduction in the EW annual limit to 5,000 began in Fiscal Year 2002.
6. The Department of State has a recorded message with visa availability information which can be heard at: (202) 663-1541. This recording is updated on or about the tenth of each month with information on cut-off dates for the following month.
B. DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT (DV) CATEGORY FOR THE MONTH OF JULY
Section 203(c) of the INA provides up to 55,000 immigrant visas each fiscal year to permit additional immigration opportunities for persons from countries with low admissions during the previous five years. The NACARA stipulates that beginning with DV-99, and for as long as necessary, up to 5,000 of the 55,000 annually-allocated diversity visas will be made available for use under the NACARA program. This resulted in reduction of the DV-2013 annual limit to 50,000. DV visas are divided among six geographic regions. No one country can receive more than seven percent of the available diversity visas in any one year.
For July, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2013 applicants chargeable to all regions/eligible countries as follows. When an allocation cut-off number is shown, visas are available only for applicants with DV regional lottery rank numbers BELOW the specified allocation cut-off number:
All DV Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed Separately
Except: Egypt 50,000 Ethiopia 50,000 Nigeria 17,775
Except: Uzbekistan 16,850
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS)
SOUTH AMERICA, and the CARIBBEAN
Entitlement to immigrant status in the DV category lasts only through the end of the fiscal (visa) year for which the applicant is selected in the lottery. The year of entitlement for all applicants registered for the DV-2013 program ends as of September 30, 2013. DV visas may not be issued to DV-2013 applicants after that date. Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2013 principals are only entitled to derivative DV status until September 30, 2013. DV visa availability through the very end of FY-2013 cannot be taken for granted. Numbers could be exhausted prior to September 30.
C. THE DIVERSITY (DV) IMMIGRANT CATEGORY RANK CUT-OFFS WHICH WILL APPLY IN AUGUST
For August, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2013 applicants chargeable to all regions/eligible countries as follows. When an allocation cut-off number is shown, visas are available only for applicants with DV regional lottery rank numbers BELOW the specified allocation cut-off number:
All DV Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed Separately
Except Nigeria 19,800
Except: Uzbekistan 19,000
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS)
SOUTH AMERICA, and the CARIBBEAN
D. VISA AVAILABILITY IN THE COMING MONTHS (August – October)
FAMILY-sponsored categories (potential monthly movement)
F1: Up to five weeks
F2A: Could become “Current” at some point during the coming months.
F2B: Four to seven weeks
F3: Three to five weeks
F4: Three to five weeks
EMPLOYMENT-based categories (potential monthly movement)
Employment First: Current
China: Up to two months
At this time it appears that the availability of “otherwise unused” Employment Second preference numbers will allow for movement of this cut-off date in August and/or September. It is expected that such movement will generate heavy new applicant demand, primarily by those who are upgrading their status from the Employment Third preference category. A sustained level of heavy demand could impact the cut-off date at some point during fiscal year 2014.
No additional movement. This cut-off date has advanced 18 months during the past three months. Such rapid movement can be expected to generate a significant amount of new demand, with the impact not being felt for three to five months. Therefore, the cut-off date will be held until it can be determined what level of demand is to be expected, and whether it is likely to be sustained.
China: No additional movement India: Up to three weeks
Mexico: No additional movement
Philippines: Up to two weeks
Employment Fourth: Current Employment Fifth: Current
The above projections for the Family and Employment categories are for what is likely to happen during each of the next few months based on current applicant demand patterns. Readers should never assume that recent trends in cut-off date movements are guaranteed for the future, or that “corrective” action will not be required at some point in an effort to maintain number use within the applicable annual limits. The determination of the actual monthly cut-off dates is subject to fluctuations in applicant demand and a number of other variables. Unless indicated, those categories with a “Current” projection will remain so for the foreseeable future.
E. OBTAINING THE MONTHLY VISA BULLETIN
The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs publishes the monthly Visa Bulletin on their website at www.travel.state.gov under the Visas section. Alternatively, visitors may access the Visa Bulletin directly by going to: http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_1360.html.
To be placed on the Department of State’s E-mail subscription list for the “Visa Bulletin”, please send an E-mail to the following E-mail address:
and in the message body type: Subscribe Visa-Bulletin
To be removed from the Department of State’s E-mail subscription list for the “Visa Bulletin”, send an e-mail message to the following E-mail address:
email@example.com and in the message body type: Signoff Visa-Bulletin
The Department of State also has available a recorded message with visa cut-off dates which can be heard at: (202) 663-1541. The recording is normally updated on/about the 10th of each month with information on cut-off dates for the following month.
Readers may submit questions regarding Visa Bulletin related items by E-mail at the following address:
(This address cannot be used to subscribe to the Visa Bulletin.)
Department of State Publication 9514 CA/VO: June 7, 2013