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Bloggings: How the Obama administration is protecting America - against a leading international cancer researcher. By Roger Algase

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Most of the people who believe, as I do, that Barack Obama is the worst imaginable president for immigration (except for his opponent - but this is a subject for another comment), focus on the president's duplicitous approach toward granting relief from deportation to unauthorized immigrants, most of whom are Hispanic.

True to the "Now you see it - now you don't" tricks of magicians down through the ages, the president suddenly revealed "Prosecutorial Discretion" for relief from deportation in June, 2011, only to make it disappear in all except a few token cases. Now he is doing the same with "Deferred Action" for DREAMers. In this case, the show has been announced and is ready for the public to see.  It is just the opening day that has been postponed - until when?

But to appreciate the full extent of this administration's hostility and paranoia toward immigrants, one has to look at its treatment of immigrants who, in any sane system, would be among the most desirable of all - namely those in the EB-1 extraordinary ability category.

One of my own clients is among India's leading cancer researchers. He is also the president of one of India's most prestigious medical and scientific research organizations, and the author of over 100 published articles in international scientific publications, which have been cited some 400 times by other researchers. He is also an editor or reviewer for a number of the leading publications in his particular field, and has made important original contributions to the diagnosis and prevention of the form of cancer in which he specializes, which have been recognized by other leading experts in and outside of the US.

His research has demonstrated the potential to save thousands, if not millions, of lives. Moreover, his accomplishments are not secrets hidden in the depths of an obscure lab off in some unknown place, but are all a matter of public record, independently attested to in published materials by other leading scientists internationally.

It only took the USCIS a few days to approve his extraordinary ability petition. But when he and his family appeared for their immigrant visa interviews at the US embassy in New Delhi, even though his entire file, consisting of well over a hundred pages of supporting documents, was clearly visible on the interviewing visa officer's desk, the interviewing officer said that more information would be required, and that processing would take about 8 weeks from the time he replied.

My client was then given a letter asking for information about his proposed "visit" to the US, including, among other things, an "itinerary", even though this was an application to become a permanent resident, not a visitor. The letter also asked him to repeat biographical details which were already in the officer's file.

My client responded promptly, fully and courteously. He also politely pointed out that he was applying for an immigrant visa, not a visitor's visa. In return, he received an email thanking him for responding to the "non-immigrant" visa section (!). Subsequent inquiries produced responses to the effect that the case had been set down for "advance processing" (also known as "administrative processing") and that therefore no estimated time period for completion could be given.

Administrative processing is an ubiquitous star chamber procedure which could mean anything from a routine security check to the application's having fallen into a black hole. Nevertheless, the client waited until the 8 - week processing period he had been told about by the interviewing officer was almost up, and then he put in another inquiry. (I had also inquired separately myself).

In response, he received a notice that his visa application was being held pending the embassy's attempt to verify some of the (unspecified) information contained in his application.

At first glance, this appeared quite curious. What kind of information did the embassy need to verify? That the applicant was indeed the president of a leading scientific research organization? That he had in fact authored over 100 scientific articles, a complete list of which, and a number of extracts from, were sitting in the file on the interviewing officer's desk? 

Or, perhaps, was the US embassy conducting its own independent scientific inquiry to make sure that cancer is indeed a dangerous disease? Or, possibly, does the embassy possess the expertise to second-guess both the applicant and USCIS as to the value and importance of his scientific research, and its potential to save lives?

Some Internet research appears to have cleared up the mystery. It seems that this latest letter was just the newest form of boiler plate that is being issued to many other visa applicants, no matter what type of visas they are applying for. But while the boiler-plate may change, the hostility of this administration toward the most qualified immigrants of all has evidently not.

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  1. Backlogged's Avatar
    This is the state of affairs at current rampant underhanded tactics from DOS and CIS Bureaucracy. This practice has become the mainstay in all US consulates in India at the least, for all visas.With the main goal as "Deny as much as possible" whether their reasons are valid or not and who can question their operations when their deporter-in-chief is napping or busy making and breaking promises, like the recent deferred action election ploy. I truly hope this administration gets voted out for being the most incompetent, biased and non transparent ever for the immigrants or otherwise
  2. Roger Algase's Avatar
    In this case, Backlogged USCIS was quite cooperative and did not present any obstacles (other than misplacing the file for a couple of months after approving the case).

    But the conduct of the US embassy in India is a major scandal. We are not talking here about uneducated, unskilled people who come in from Mexico ?without permission. We are talking about highly skilled and well educated people who have great potential to boost Americas economy and its leadership in many cutting edge fields, but who are being kept out because of their skills and their accomplishments, not through any lack of qualifications.

    Continuing this bigoted and short-sighted policy is the best way to ensure that America will become a nation of mediocrities.
  3. Backlogged's Avatar
    Of late I have been hearing and reading a lot of 221g and administrative processing and/or canceling the USCIS approved H1B visa just on the pretext of the consular officer "discovering" new information which appears fraudulent to them, thus sending back approved H1B applications to USCIS only to be reaffirmed, the whole process sometimes taking 1+yr and whole cycle repeats with each interview attempt by the beneficiary. It is interesting to note that this process has spread to immigrant visa categories as well. With DOS answerable to no one and seemingly creating and following their own rule of "Guilty until proven innocent"(BTW, no document submitted can prove worthy to layoff their fraud suspicion!), is there any recourse or regard to due process? I think slowly USCIS has become better at the least following the INA laws much better than the virtually unchallenged consulates.
  4. Roger Algase's Avatar
    I agree with Backlogged that USCIS, in general, has a much better track record of following the law and approving clearly meritorious cases than do the US visa officers overseas, especially in high skilled immigrant countries such as India and China. But these officials are responding to someone. Could that person, by any chance, happen to be named Barack Obama?
  5. Backlogged's Avatar
    Such incidents and gross irregularities of the consular officers need to be examined. Can CIS Ombudsman assist or lend a helping hand to the wronged beneficiaries (

    Often it seems as a system for lapses from USCIS. Is there any redressal for the consulates?
  6. Roger Algase's Avatar
    The US consulates are not responsible to USCIS, but to the US Department of State, which gives the local visa officers too much leeway - or, even worse, may be directing them to refuse a large number of meritorious professional work visa applications. Ultimately, the White House cannot escape responsibility.?
  7. Backlogged's Avatar
    I thought CIS Ombudsman was a part of DHS independent of USCIS.
    Anyways, I did forward this article and a couple of other articles from another attorney ( relating to this to them at cisombudsman@HQ.DHS.GOV. I figure being backlogged immigrant it is better to at least reach out rather than just hope for changes.
    I did get a brief response :

    Thank you for contacting the CIS Ombudsman's Office. I will forward this information to our employment chief.

    With kind regards,
    Office of the CIS Ombudsman
    Department of Homeland Security
    Mail Stop 0180
    Washington D.C. 20528
  8. Roger Algase's Avatar
    I would like to thank Backlogged for your interest and helpfulness in this case. ?I have also heard reports, (mainly in ID) of H-1B cases being sent back to USCIS from India for revocation on various pretexts, and agree that it would be an alarming new development if this is also beginning to happen with IV cases. especially ones involving EB-1 extraordinary ability.?

    This would really be a signal that America is more interested in looking for Indian and Chinese scapegoats for its homegrown economic problems than it is in attracting the best and the brightest to our shores. I will keep ID readers advised of developments in this case.
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