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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

NEW YORK TIMES REPORTS ON VISA BULLETIN SCANDAL

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The major news organizations are starting to pick up on this story. Hopefully, they'll keep the pressure on USCIS to reverse its unlawful and immoral actions and start doing its job.

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  1. LEGAL IMMIGRANT's Avatar
    Greg, here is a quote from Immigrationvoice website:

    "I know at least two folks who had thrir I485s approved, even when they had a pending RFE... The USCIS folks in their mad fit to approve applications and exhaust the visas approved 485s with pending REFs, not to mention that they approved them with pending FBI name checks"

    Immigration lawyers and those waiting for GC like me are unlikely to complain about this. But eventually these issues will be brought up by the lawmakers and the media.

    But MY GOD! How much motivated and spirited the folks at USCIS have been!! This drive must have come from the leadership of USCIS from the top. What for... To rake up higher fees? simply to avoid work since there would be 1000s and thousands more applying for EAD, and AP???

  2. girish's Avatar
    I am not sure how much action will happen,but one thing is appearing clear to me which is that once all the dust settles,USCIS will be back in hibernation,congress and the senators would care a damn about us as we are the silent law abiding,tax paying,rule following victims trapped in a time warp called the"land of dreams come true?!!"

    If a 12 million vote bank did not move the congress a year before elections,what chance do we all stand to get justice for the lopsided system which is supposed to follow the footsteps of the time when people landed from all over the world here to live a better life?

    Even if newspapers make headlines,AILF files a lawsuit,what about the shattered hopes of all the innocent highly qualified professionals who have been waiting patiently for years,many stuck in situations with wives and kids future in limbo,many trapped with ruthless employers,many decisions kept in abeyance waiting for that fine morning to taste the smell of freedom from visa problems,extensions,fees,deadlines,etc.,

    My CONDOLENCES GO TO ALL THE SLAIN MARTYRS OF THIS VISA SPOOF OF THIS CENTURY!!!MAY GOD GIVE YOU PEACE TILL THAT DAY COME THEE.......

    I am unable to still comprehend the callous attitude of DOS and USCIS in making this process more traumatic than it already is.
    THOU SHED BLOOD NOR TEARS,THOU WILL SUFFER A FATE DESTINED FOR THE BLESSED ONLY.
  3. RCH's Avatar
    If there is anything that will get the Bush Administration to change course, its an article in the NYT.

    Or maybe not.
  4. Going To Canada?'s Avatar
    Here is an interesting article on Yahoo on how Microsoft is opening a software development center in Vancouver, with goals of attracting skilled idividuals affected by stupid immigration policies here in the US? Interesting how they announced this after the CIR bill failed. How they know they will not get their H1 increase. Even Microsoft is losing hope in our immigration system.

    http://biz.yahoo.com/cnw/070705/microsoft_expands_bc.html?.v=1

    When do you think the nativists here will understand the impact their anti-immigrant sentiments are having on this country? Not only are they driving away or keeping in dark millions of hard working unskilled but also now driving away the brightest and best of the best. This is very scary. I wonder what this country will be like for my kids? Maybe Canada is the answer to our worries, what do you think?
  5. Waiting for GC's Avatar
    Here is another piece from washington post http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/02/AR2007070201637.html
  6. a2007's Avatar
    This also hit the Wall St. Jnl.:

    Reversal Frustrates
    Green-Card Applicants
    By MIRIAM JORDAN
    July 5, 2007;?Page?A2

    The government's surprise offer, then abrupt reversal, of an opportunity for thousands of skilled foreign workers to obtain permanent residency in the U.S. highlights the problems of the overtaxed immigration system and the frenzy that results from a chance to apply for a green card.

    The scramble has put tens of thousands of workers and their families in limbo after many of them and their employers spent thousands of dollars in hopes of securing permanent residency. It may result in a class-action lawsuit against the government by frustrated applicants.

    The problem began on June 12 when the government seemed to open the door for thousands of foreign workers and their families to end the long wait to apply for a green card. That is when the State Department published a Visa Bulletin, which is a monthly notice closely watched by immigration attorneys and their clients because it determines who is eligible to file a green-card application the next month. The June bulletin announced that practically all skilled foreign workers who had been previously deemed eligible for an employer-sponsored visa could now take the final step of applying for a green card.

    By law, the U.S. can issue about 140,000 employment-based green cards each year. Last year, the government fell short by about 10,000, despite the long waiting list; leftover visas cannot be rolled over to the next year. The June announcement aimed to prevent the visa slot from going to waste, according to a State Department spokeswoman.
    ?
    The announcement was greeted with a mix of jubilation and panic by thousands of engineers, lab scientists and other high-skilled foreigners who had waited years for their place in line. Working ahead of a July 2 date for filing the application, intending immigrants rushed to gather documents, complete paperwork and obtain medical exams. Many of their dependents boarded planes for the U.S. to meet a requirement that all family members be present at the time of filing.

    "The bulletin created a land rush among legal immigrants desperate to finalize their green-card applications," said Steve Miller, a Seattle-based immigration attorney.

    Then, on July 2, the State Department issued an "update" that reversed the previous bulletin. It stated, effective immediately, there would be no further authorizations for employment-based cases. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which processes the applications, said it would instead simply process existing applications to meet this year's quota. "We already had sufficient applications pending without new applicants...," a spokesman said.

    Mike Aytes, head of domestic operations for the USCIS, said all 147,141 employment-based green cards have now been issued for the year.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118359095890657571.html?mod=googlenews_wsj
  7. a2007's Avatar
    Zoe Lofgren Writes to Chertoff and Condoleeza Rice - demanding a meeting.

    http://lofgren.house.gov/PRArticle.aspx?NewsID=1808

    This is not over yet. iIth a lawsuit in the wings and news and momentum building, I suggest everyone writes to their congressmen. I did back at a particular stage of my backlog and I got results. I intend to write to him again if I get stuck in this I-485 debacle, as I sent mine on June 26th as part of the June Visa B.

    Here's Ms. Lofgren's letters:

    Press Release

    Rep. Lofgren Issues Statement on Updated Visa Bulletin

    July 3, 2007

    Washington, D.C. - Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) today issued the following statement in response to the State Department's update of the July Visa Bulletin and the subsequent rejection of applications for adjustment of status by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

    I'm deeply concerned by today's updating of the July Visa Bulletin by the Departments of State and Homeland Security. By taking this unprecedented mid-month update, the Departments of State and Homeland Security have seriously undermined the stability and predictability of U.S. immigration law. Thousands of individuals and businesses rely on the monthly bulletins to prepare and plan for the submission of applications. In addition, thousands of dollars in legal fees and other application related expenses are incurred in preparation for filing applications based on the these monthly bulletins.

    This update sets a terrible precedent, and undermines our nation's efforts to foster legal and orderly immigration.


    Rep. Lofgren recently sent Secretaries Rice and Chertoff letters asking them to reconsider any mid-month updates of the July Visa Bulletin.


    The complete text of both letters is below:




    Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren is serving her seventh term in Congress representing most of the City of San Jose and Santa Clara County. She serves as Chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law. She also Chairs the House Administration Subcommittee on Elections and serves on the House Homeland Security Committee. Congresswoman Lofgren is Chair of the California Democratic Congressional Delegation consisting of 34 Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives from California.




    The Honorable Michael Chertoff

    Secretary
    U.S. Department of Homeland Security

    Washington, DC 20528

    Dear Secretary Chertoff:


    I am writing with regard to a time sensitive matter. It has been brought to my attention that you are considering the rejection of adjustment of status applications for several employment-based immigration preference categories, despite the fact that the published July Visa Bulletin shows that visas for these categories are available. I am concerned that such action may violate the law and could threaten the integrity of our immigration system. In addition, such an act may cause the Department of Homeland Security to incur substantial litigation costs.


    As you know, pursuant to your own regulations, "[i]f the applicant [for adjustment of status] is a preference alien, the current Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs Visa Bulletin will be consulted to determine whether an immigrant visa is immediately available." 8 CFR 245.1(g). Thus, when the Visa Bulletin shows that visas for most preference categories are available for applicants with priority dates on or before the listed priority date, your Department must accept those adjustment of status applications for adjudication.


    I understand that you are considering the return of applications for adjustment of status as early as today despite the fact that the published July Visa Bulletin would allow for their acceptance. As you may know, thousands of businesses have acted in reliance upon the July Visa Bulletin and 8 CFR 245.1(g), just as they have done in previous months for several years now. I have been told that many U.S. businesses have taken the necessary steps to prepare and file applications for adjustment of status, including thousands of dollars of expenses to engage counsel, flights for employees to quickly obtain necessary documents and medical exams for the applications, cancellation of business and holiday travel, changes in family plans to ensure families are in the proper location, etc. Moreover, some have already submitted such applications for receipt today, July 2, 2007, in reliance upon the law and precedent. Changing course now could result in the loss of thousands of dollars already expended by businesses and individuals, and more importantly, threaten the integrity and predictability of our immigration system.


    Moreover, I am very concerned that you may choose to reject adjustment of status applications while the Visa Bulletin shows that immigrant visas are available. Such an action may spawn litigation that I understand many are considering and preparing to undertake.


    As you know, I have raised concern over the recent decision to raise immigration application fees by, on average, over 80%. One of the justifications provided for such a large increase was litigation costs.


    While some costs of litigation are certainly justified in defense of the Government, I would have serious concern over litigation to defend the Department of Homeland Security from a decision to reject applications of adjustment of status in light of the existing regulations and the July Visa Bulletin showing most employment-based visas as available.


    Before you take any action to reject adjustment of status applications, I would greatly appreciate a timely response to this letter and a meeting to discuss the matter. In your response, I would like an explanation of the reasons you are considering for taking action contrary to 8 CFR 245.1(g), years of precedent, and the potential for litigation which could cost the Department a substantial amount it cannot spare for litigation at this time.


    Thank you for your timely consideration of this very important matter.


    Sincerely,

    Zoe Lofgren

    Chairwoman
    Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, & International Law





    The Honorable Condoleezza Rice

    Secretary
    U.S. Department of State

    2201 C Street, NW

    Washington, DC 20451

    Dear Secretary Rice:


    I am writing with regard to a time sensitive matter. It has been brought to my attention that the Department of State may revise its July Visa Bulletin published on June 13, 2007, to reflect a retrogression or unavailability of immigrant visas in several employment-based immigration categories. I am concerned about the effect such unprecedented action will have on the predictability and reliability of our legal immigration system and on those who rely upon it.


    As you know, pursuant to your authority to control the numerical limitations of visas as described in 22 CFR 42.51, each month your Department issues a Visa Bulletin that is consulted by hundreds of thousands of U.S. businesses seeking immigrant visas to determine whether an immigrant visa is immediately available for their employees.


    On June 13, your Department announced in its Visa Bulletin for July 2007 that all employment-based categories (except for the "Other Workers" category) for immigrant visas will be "current," meaning that U.S. businesses going through the lengthy and backlogged immigrant visa or "green card" process can, throughout July, file adjustment of status applications. Your regulations at 22 CFR 42.51 allow them to rely on and use such information. Historically, they have relied on such information knowing that when they prepare and file such applications, they will be accepted and adjudicated.


    I have been told, however, that your Department is seriously considering a revision of the July Bulletin as early as today or tomorrow that would retrogress the visas available in various employment categories. This unprecedented action would result in the termination of thousands of applications by U.S. businesses who have prepared and are ready to file applications on behalf of their employees pursuant to the June 13th publication of your Department's July Visa Bulletin.


    It is my understanding that such a revision, coming in the same month in which the bulletin is issued, would be contrary to years of practice in which revisions or adjustments to the availability of immigrant visa numbers are made in the following month of before the beginning of the month, not in the same month individuals and businesses have begun preparing and submitting applications for adjustment of status. I am concerned that the extraordinary action of revising a bulletin mid-month may be taken without serious consideration of the effect on precedence, stability in immigration law, and predictability for those who rely upon the Visa Bulletin.


    Furthermore, it is my understanding that thousands of businesses have acted in reliance upon the July Visa Bulletin, just as they have done with previous Bulletins. I have been told that, based upon the July Visa Bulletin, many businesses have taken the necessary steps to prepare for the submission of applications for adjustment of status, including thousands of dollars of legal expenses, flights for employees to quickly obtain necessary documents and medical exams for the applications, cancellation of business and holiday travel, changes in family plans to ensure families are in the proper location, etc.


    Before any decision is made to revise the July Visa Bulletin, I would greatly appreciate a timely response to this letter and a meeting to discuss the matter. In your response, I would like an explanation of the reason you chose to issue a visa bulletin listing most employment-based immigrant visas as current, when just a few weeks later--after thousands of employers and employees have acted in reliance upon the bulletin, but before applications could be submitted based upon the bulletin--you are now considering a change of course. I would also appreciate an explanation of whether and in what ways you have considered the serious ramifications of such action upon the integrity, stability, and predictability of our immigration law.


    Thank you for your timely consideration of this very important matter.


    Sincerely,

    Zoe Lofgren

    Chairwoman
    Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, & International Law

  8. Waiting for GC's Avatar
    another one from then net.

    http://www.hardbeatnews.com/editor/RTE/my_documents/my_files/details.asp?newsid=13086&title=Top%20Stories

    Finally the news are coming out and surely media is trying to do its part.
  9. Application_Pending's Avatar
    I am glad that USCIS stopped accepting new applications. There are thousands of previously filed unadjudicated petitions and let them finish adjudicaton of those applikations first instead of piling up new applications on the top of already submitted therefore creating backlog.
    OR those angry guys are upset that they lost a chance to file an application and get approved passing by those, who stand in line in front of them???!!!
  10. Green Card Visa's Avatar
    The backlog on these cases is pretty unbelievable. I agree that this backlog should be cleared before any new cases are taken on. It is not fair to anybody to keep the line growing like this. They should devote resources to closing all these open cases, THEN move on to new applicants.
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