USCIS Announces H-2B Cap for First Half of Fiscal Year 2019 Has Been Reached

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it has reached the congressionally mandated H-2B cap of 33,000 petitions for the first half of fiscal year 2019. The final day to receive new cap-subject H-2B worker petitions which requested an employer start date before April 1, 2019 was December 6, 2018. Any new cap-subject H-2B petitions requesting an employment start date before April 1, 2019 received after December 6, 2018 will be rejected. Having received more petitions than the total number of H-1B visas available for the first half FY 2019 cap, USCIS, adhering to regulations, determined that it needed to utilize its computer-generated lottery which randomly selects petitions received on December 6. Accordingly, USCIS assigned all petitions selected through the lottery a receipt date of December 11, and the premium processing service for petitions selected in the lottery began on that date. USCIS will continue to accept H-2B petitions that are not subject to the cap, including:

  • Current H-2B workers in the United States petitioning to extend their stay, and, if applicable, alter the terms of their employment or change employment;
  • Fish roe processors, fish roe technicians, and/or supervisors of fish roe processing; and
  • Workers performing labor or services in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam from November 28, 2009 until December 21, 2029

For more information, view the USCIS announcement.


Father of Child Who Died in CBP Custody States His Daughter Was Healthy and Hydrated Before Death

Jakelin Caal Maquin, a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who tragically died after being detained by U.S. border agents in El Paso, Texas, was in no medical distress upon her arrival and received sufficient food and water on her journey, according to her relatives. This assessment contradicts numerous medical reports which held that the girl had been without water for days and was therefore dehydrated during her journey from Guatemala, through Mexico and to the United States. Jakelin’s father, Nery Caal, informed Ruben Garcia, director of the Annunciation House Shelter, that he had no reason to believe that his daughter had fallen ill upon their arrival at the U.S. border in Antelope Wells, New Mexico on December 6. According to the family statement, which was prepared by their attorneys, they had not been actively crossing the desert for days, having sought asylum from Border Patrol immediately upon their crossing and not having gone without food or water before they approached the border. CBP’s account indicated that both Jakelin and Nery had access to water and restrooms during their 7-hour wait before boarding a CBP bus taking them to another Border Patrol station. Just before their departure, Nery informed agents that his daughter was vomiting, and upon their arrival at the next station, she had stopped breathing. Jakelin was treated by emergency personnel, before she was rushed to an El Paso hospital. She died the next morning, after doctors found she was suffering from brain swelling and liver failure.

Though Nery did not question the validity of CBP’s chronological representation of the events that transpired, the family’s statement requested an “objective and thorough investigation… within nationally recognized standards for the arrest and custody of children.” DHS announced its intentions to conduct this investigation, while it remains a mystery as to why Congress was not informed of the incident within the 24-hour requirement mandated for deaths in CBP custody.

For more information, view the full article from Reuters.


Revised Conrad State 30 Chart is Released

In 1994, the U.S Congress enacted legislation which allowed state health agencies the opportunity to sponsor a maximum of 20 physicians each year for J-1 waivers based on their commitment to work in communities that are underserved. In subsequent years, every state and a few U.S. territories have created Conrad J-1 waiver programs. Prior to 1994, federal agencies were the only entities that could act as interested government agencies (IGA) in sponsoring J-1 doctors for waivers.

From time to time, Congress has revisited the Conrad program, expanding the number of waiver slots for each state from 20 to 30. It even allots 10 waivers per year for locations not actually designated as underserved but that do actually serve patients from underserved areas. States are able to determine their own rules for demonstrating whether underserved patients are being served, which is why those 10 waivers are referred to as “flex slots.”

There are a number of requirements which each state must include in its waiver program, but there is also considerable room for subjective determination by the states to include additional requirements, which vary considerably.

View the most recent revised Conrad State 30 chart.

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Disclaimer: This newsletter is provided as a public service and not intended to establish an attorney client relationship. Any reliance on information contained herein is taken at your own risk.

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