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Posted on: July 2nd, 2019
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Cuccinelli Named Acting Director of USCIS

Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan today announced that Kenneth T. (Ken) Cuccinelli will serve as the new acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), effective June 10, 2019.

Mr. Cuccinelli previously served as Virginia’s attorney general from 2010 to 2014. He also served in the Virginia Senate from 2002 to 2010 and has practiced law for nearly 25 years. He has a law degree from Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University, and a master’s degree in international commerce and policy from George Mason University.

A large group of national, state, and local advocacy organizations outlined Mr. Cuccinelli’s “anti-immigrant views” and urged legislators to oppose his nomination for Director of USCIS in a letter sent June 11, 2019, from the Center for American Progress to leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Furthermore, leaders from the House Oversight and Reform, Judiciary, and Homeland Security committees have raised the question of whether Cuccinelli’s appointment was in violation of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act.

Details: USCIS announcement, https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/cuccinelli-named-acting-director-uscis; Center for American Progress letter, https://cdn.americanprogress.org/content/uploads/2019/06/11075948/cap_letter_Cuccinelli.pdf Federal Vacancies Reform Act, https://www.gsa.gov/governmentwide-initiatives/presidential-transition/legislative-overview/the-federal-vacancies-reform-act-of-1998

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Premium Processing Begins for Remaining H-1B Cap-Subject (Lottery) Petitions

On June 10, 2019, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin premium processing for all remaining fiscal year (FY) 2020 H-1B lottery petitions. Starting on that date, employers may file a request for premium processing conversion with the USCIS service center that is processing their petition.

USCIS noted that it is offering premium processing in a two-phased approach during this year’s cap season “to best manage premium processing requests without fully suspending it.

The first phase, which started on May 20, 2019, included H-1B lottery petitions requesting a change of status, and the second phase includes all other H-1B lottery petitions. Premium processing for H-1B petitions that are exempt from the cap, such as extension-of-stay requests, remains available. Vol. 15, No. 6B June 9, 2019

Also starting on June 10 and continuing through the end of June 24, USCIS will use regular mail rather than pre-paid mailers to send out final notices for premium processing for H-1B lottery petitions not requesting a change of status. USCIS said it will resume using pre-paid mailers for final notices when provided by petitioners “when operationally feasible.”

Details: Latest USCIS notice, https://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts/premium-processing-beginsremaining-h-1b-cap-subject-petitions-june-10; USCIS previous announcement, https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/uscis-announces-fy-2020-h-1b-cap-season-startupdates-and-changes.

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