In one of the largest scandals in recent immigration history, out-of-control executive branch agencies entrusted with running a lawful and fair immigration system have cruelly and unjustly dashed the hopes of hundreds of thousands of legal immigrants. The high drama over the last few weeks featured DOS moving heavily retrogressed employment visa numbers (especially for India, China, Mexico and the Phillippines) to current (meaning un-retrogressed), and now to re-retrogressed. Whether DOS/USCIS have the legal authority for this mumbo-jumbo is not clear. Among the practical effects of this is to forbid work authorization to many who would otherwise have been able to legally work (such as H4s), and to forbid travel to many who would otherwise have been making plans to visit loved ones overseas. In addition, of course, USCIS will assess higher fees post-July 30th once the newly increased USCIS fees go into effect.
The July visa bulletin issued by DOS a few weeks ago stated:
All Employment Preference categories except for Third “Other Workers” have been made "Current" for July. This has been done in an effort to generate increased demand by Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) for adjustment of status cases, and to maximize number use under the annual numerical limit. However, all readers should be alert to the possibility that not all Employment preferences will remain Current for the remainder of the fiscal year. Should the rate of demand for numbers be very heavy in the coming months, it could become necessary to retrogress some cut-off dates for September, most likely for China-mainland born and India, but also possibly for Mexico and Philippines.
Apparently, DOS's action caused USCIS to go into hyperdrive long before September comes around, DOS's statement today says "The sudden backlog reduction efforts by Citizenship and Immigration Services Offices during the past month have resulted in the use of almost 60,000 Employment numbers."
What the motive of those responsible in this unprecedented series of events is not clear. Whatever it may be, it's effects are indistinguishable from bigotry and extortion.
Commendably, AILF is seeking plaintiffs for a lawsuit on this issue (see here for more). We have no information whether the largest employers of legal immigrants have sued yet, the silence from the tech industry on this matter is deafening.
We believe this is a defining moment for employment-based legal immigrants, and that their reaction to this turn of events will show whether they are members of modern corporate plantations, or whether they are entitled to the dignity of their labor. If ever there was a reason for tech industry immigrants to organize - unionize - to convince their employers to call the executive branch to mat on this issue, this is it. If employers, in growing numbers, start suing the feds over the coming days and weeks, great. If not, employment-based legal immigrants should not expect future treatment much better than those in indentured servitude of yester year. The largest, and most active, group of legal employment-based immigrants is ImmigrationVoice, its members now face a choice regarding their future.
Meanwhile, over in Congress, we believe that it would be a lame excuse for the legislative branch to pass the buck to the judicial branch. If 60,000 employment based visas had been processed over any 12 business day period in the past, legislators would be all over the executive branch with audits to ensure that quality control had not been compromised. These watchdogs over the USCIS are now conspicuously absent. Particularly MIA are those in Congress who claim to favor legal immigration over the illegal variety. This is a perfect issue for those Congressional representatives who are sitting on the fence on immigration. Asking for a GAO audit on the 60,000 adjudications to ensure quality standards can be seen as none-other than a pro-security step (indeed it would be right out of Rep. Tancredo's playbook), as would be holding hearings on this matter. At the same time, such strong legislative action would clearly signal to the executive branch agencies that they had better treat immigrants with more consideration in the future. The silence from Congress so far is also deafening.
It is ironic that we are in a 4th of July holiday week with employers, Congressional representatives, and many others in critical positions, celebrating freedom and enjoying time off. Legal immigrants and their counsel, meanwhile are experiencing immigration hell.
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Looming Issues For Regional Center EB-5 Program
Young Noh writes "Starting several years ago, I-526 petitions for the Regional Center EB-5 cases have been on the sharp rise."
DOS Updates July Visa Bulletin, Does Not Call It A Revision
DOS issued a statement (labelled as Visa Bulletin, and duly numbered in the Visa Bulletin series) saying "UPDATE ON JULY VISA AVAILABILITY The sudden backlog reduction efforts by Citizenship and Immigration Services Offices during the past month have resulted in the use of almost 60,000 Employment numbers. As a result of this unexpected action it has been necessary to make immediate adjustments to several previously announced cut-off dates. All Citizenship and Immigration Services Offices have been notified of the following: Effective Monday July 2, 2007 there will be no further authorizations in response to requests for Employment-based preference cases."
USCIS Says It Is Rejecting I485 Applications, Claims DOS Revised July Visa Bulletin
USCIS issued a statement saying "The Department of State has revised its July Visa Bulletin to reflect that all available employment-based immigrant visas have been allocated for fiscal year 2007. As a result, beginning today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is rejecting applications to adjust status (Form I-485) filed by aliens whose priority dates are not current under the revised July Visa Bulletin."
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Help Wanted: Immigration Paralegal
Boston, MA - Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C., has immediate opening for an experienced immigration paralegal for a very busy immigration practice. Experience in business immigration law, including preparation of H-1B visa petitions and labor certification cases required. Responsibilities include preparation and filing of business and employment-related immigration documentation and communications with government agencies and clients. Qualified candidates must have excellent organizational skills, attention to detail, accuracy, consistency and job ownership. Must possess excellent written and oral communication skills. A bachelor's degree and minimum 3+ years experience required. Qualified candidates, please send cover letter + resume to email@example.com. EOE.
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Immigration Event - Chicago, IL
Internationally Recruited Nurses: Creating Positive Practice Environments, Chicago, August 5-7. This conference focuses on strategies that create a positive work environment and facilitate the successful integration of internationally recruited nurses into the health care team and provides a better understanding of the immigration processes related to internationally recruited nurses. Co-sponsored by the American Nurses Association and the International Centre on Nurse Migration. For details, see here. For the registration form, see here. ILW.COM is pleased to be a media sponsor for this event.
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The Hujber Law Group is pleased to announce that Mrs. Dina Shehata-Hujber, Esq. has joined our practice as partner. www.southfloridaimmigration.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and (561) 417-VISA (8472).
Readers are welcome to share their comments, email: email@example.com (300-words or fewer preferred). Many letters to the Editor refer to past correspondence, available in our archives.
Does Lou Dobbs's Profits Trump Accuracy? (ID 07/02/07) I don't know - is the Pope Catholic? Maybe even more to the point (than the number) is, where did they come from? I.e., what evidence is that any of them came from illegal immigrants, as opposed to every other source? Like millions of legal entries, including by USCs?
John A. Quinn
"Do profits trump accuracy at CNN?" (ID 07/02/07) Do you really think you have to ask this question? Do you think its any different at the other networks? Ratings drive the entertainment industrial complex and material wealth and the fear of losing it are the only operative values - until the species finally makes the earth uninhabitable for itself, a few more generations more of human behavior ought to do it, I figure, depending on the tipping point.
Franklin Falls NY
What does it say about our national media that Lou Dobbs speaks at the National Press Club one hour before the Senate is voting on Comprehensive Immigration Reform? (ID 07/02/07) He was not only invited to speak, but he was asked to join the NPC. All this was broadcast by C-SPAN 2 - Just as Dobbs presentation ended, C-SPAN2 cut directly to the Senate floor. The Editors at the Houston Chronicle told me a few months ago that Dobbs' program is not journalism, its "entertainment" - Is the National Press Club confused?
After the death of CIR, the long string of Letters to the Editor (ID 07/02/07) read like an obituary column. Many letters, like those of Peter Griswold
and Jim Suess, reference "winners" and "losers". In fact nobody won - America lost. America lost because it needs immigration reform, just not the nonsense contained in S. 1348. It is time to focus on conceptualizing immigration as a vital part of moving America into the 21st Century, by rewriting the Immigration & Nationality Act into a cohesive body of law, something Congress seems to have failed to even consider when drafting recent immigration legislation. In the meantime, while Congress sleeps, it is time to fully fund the USCIS, especially adjudications. It is time to fully fund ICE to enforce the immigration laws. It is time to punish employers who violate the law and to hire more immigration judges and CIS lawyers to deport lawbreakers who enter illegally or overstay their visas. But as soon as employers begin hollering loud enough about not finding unskilled workers in some industries, when strawberries are $1.00 apiece, America will awaken to the fact that somebody needs to pick those crops, and that Americans simply will not do it. When soccer moms have to watch their own kids instead of lunching with the girls, when Washington's elite have to mow their own lawns, and when offices in Manhattan and Los Angeles go uncleaned for lack of janitorial staff, when IT is largely off-shored, that will hit America right where it hurts and Americans will awaken to the fact that it needs a workable guestworker program so jobs can be filled by legal workers. Until then, it's just the usual wink-and-a-nod. America needs immigration reform and it needs it now, because nobody "wins" without it.
David D. Murray, Esq.,
Newport Beach, CA
Regarding Roger Algase, Esq.'s letter (07/02/07), the commentarys I make are consistant. We have always had Latininos in the U.S.
Even in my grade school photos we had Latinos in the 1950's. The issue you miss
is legal versus illigal. Never before have Americans been judged by foreigners
trying to tell Americans how to run their government. I read the letters by illigals
and their government officials and its like they own the United States. Its like Americans
have no say over their own government. I've never seen so much arrogance, frowardness
of illigals telling America how to govern. America is a country of immigrannts, and there
was opposition to the Swedes, the Italians, and all groups in those early years, but
never, never was it like looting. People came in thankful, respectful, polite, and appreciative
and yes there was prejudice. But the illigals are not appreciative. We've all had to suffer
indignities, but thru law. Somehow all the articles I read from illigals, its like their
attitudes are demanding and without respect for Americans. I think history does show
that all migrant groups did have some prejudice for some years. Also, 3 times, in the
1850's, 1900's and 1930's America had depressions where their bond togehger. People
from NewYork and big eastern cities put their children on trains bound for the west and
farmers from the west did raise those children. America's had a rough, hard history, but
we always did thing honest. Even going back to the Puritans when the colonies were
formed, families were sold for their debts. We Americans shed a whole lot of blood for our flag and our democracy is slow to change, but foul attitudes, and demanding citizenship
will never work. Thats America.
Why pointing "illegal" immigrants, while we have superbugs in our hospitals ? What about rampant STDs infections among Americans and Americans bring them to overseas. Can foreigners say Americans spreading dirty nasty diseases as well? Lou Dobbs must be shame on himself for saying such as a narrow minded and baseless accusations (ID 07/02/07). Foreigners may carry contagious diseases, so may the Americans. If today immigration laws were applied 100 years earlier, many Italians wouldn't be here. Many were gangsters and mafia members. Congressman Tancredo's grandpa wouldn't be allowed to get in here as well, since he was only a poor uneducated Italian seeking better life in this land. I am tired to see how selfish and hypocrite some of fellow Americans are. While countries in Europe and South American are erasing borders and embracing free trade and free flow of capitals and labor for common prosperity, lower costs of doing businesses to face competitive world, many American whiners are dreaming they are living in lala land with the "Great Wall of USA around their country" and their politicians as their baby sitters. US citizenship is not something to be taken for granted anymore. My job, your job can be outsourced and replaced easily. Wake up and grow up everybody !
I can't tell you how entertaining it is to read the whining from immigration
attorneys who were licking their chops at the prospect of legalizing
12,000,000 illegals. No doubt these attorneys were also mentally buying
their new homes/cars/planes with the $5000 per illegal in billable hours
(thought I can't figure out what they would be doing all those "hours").
American citizens are onto your scam, with your double speak while helping
illegal unqualified aliens steal jobs from your American citizen brethens.
No more. And calling us 'bigots' is ludicrous; illegal aliens are not a
race. (ID 06/30/07)
ID is taking a lot of undeserved flack for its perfectly factual statement that the defeat of CIR was a victory for the bigots (ID 07/02/07). "Bigots" is certainly not the right word to describe all CIR opponents (I am one myself), but it is accurate with regard to quite a few of them. CIR was not defeated by people of good will who support immigration but had serious problems with the bill, as, for example, explained in David D. Murray's excellent letter (ID 07/02/07). Instead it was defeated by people like the one who put a comment on the Internet saying that the best way to secure the border is to shoot a few thousand Mexicans. This comment, unfortunately, is typical of others by many Americans who think that "illegal alien" means anyone who is "PWL" - Present While Latino. So where do we go from here? Not, unfortunately, in the direction of fixing visa shortages and other immigration inequities on a smaller scale, as ID seems to believe, along with Pollyanna. Instead, we are heading in the direction of more "enforcement", Lou Dobbs style. This means we can expect more raids, more deportations, more incarceration in inhuman conditions, less due process and respect for human rights, more family breakups and, yes, more killing at the Mexican border, without any corresponding action to make the legal immigration system work better.
Roger Algase, Esq.
New York, NY
The failure by the Senate to move forward a bill that would try to fix our broken immigration law is a disappointment (ID 06/30/07).
Not one of the Senate critics who voted negatively presented any positive amendment that would attempt to set right what is wrong with immigration.
They didn't want to improve the bill; they wanted to destroy it.
None presented even one proposal on the dilemma of what to do with the 12,000,000 plus workers living in this country without identification. The Senate immigration bill provides a solution; does anyone else have a better one?
Richard E. Baer
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