USCIS Issues Outdated & Erroneous Case Status Emails

Lately we have been receiving outdated and/or erroneous USCIS case status emails for pending applications and adjudicated petitions.  Some, but not all, emails were followed by an email confirming that the first email was in error and should be disregarded.  Double check the status of your case online at uscis.gov.

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17 States Sue Over President Obama’s Immigration Order

On December 3rd, seventeen states sued the U.S. in a Texas federal court over President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration.  The states claim the President’s order is an unconstitutional exercise of power and seek to prevent the government from allowing millions of undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S.

While President Obama and other White House officials have expressed confidence in their legal authority for releasing the new measures, the states’ lawsuit argues the President failed to comply with requirements the federal government must follow in issuing new rules and violated the Administrative Procedure Act.

The states currently taking action against the immigration initiatives, announced November 20th, are Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Mississippi and Maine.

For more information, please see the full text of the Complaint here

 Jenna is an Intern with the firm and is not a practicing attorney.

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Details on President Obama’s Immigration Executive Orders

On November 20, 2014, the President announced a series of executive actions dealing with immigration. These initiatives have not been implemented, and USCIS is not accepting any requests or applications at this time.  Be careful if someone offers to help you submit an application or a request for any of these actions because they are not available at this time. You could become a victim of an immigration scam.

We have been informed that over the next few months, USCIS will produce detailed explanations, instructions, regulations and forms as necessary. While USCIS is not accepting requests or applications at this time, it recommends that if you believe you may be eligible for one of the immigration initiatives, you can prepare by gathering documents that establish your:

Identity;

Relationship to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident; and

Continuous residence in the United States over the last five years or more.

The following is a summary of the President’s Executive Actions:

Read more ›

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December State Bulletin Issued

The December State Bulletin has been issued.  Both the family-based and employment-based categories have moved slightly.

For more information on the availability of immigrant numbers during December, please see the December State Bulletin.

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TIPS Extended For Nationals of Honduras and Nicaragua

DHS has extended the Temporary Protected Status (TIPS) for 18 months for Honduras and Nicaragua. The extension is from January 5, 2015 through July 5, 2016.   TIPS was first designated for these countries in 1999, and has been extended 9 times.   TIPS protected status includes temporary protection against removal from the US and employment authorization.  Nationals of these countries must register or reregister by submitting form I-821 and Form I-765 for word authorization.  Please submit these forms as soon as possible within the 60-day registration period.

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November 2014 Visa Bulletin Issued

Although there was a slight forward movement in most categories, the EB-2 for Indian nationals regressed significantly from May 1, 2009 to February 15, 2005.

For more information, please read the November 2014 Visa Bulletin here.  Note predictions on future visa availability on last page of the Visa Bulletin.

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DIVERSITY LOTTERY OPENS TODAY (October 1, 2014)

The 2016 Diversity Visa Program (DV-2016) opened at noon today October 1, 2014, and will close at noon (EST) on November 3, 2014 (see details above).  Applicants must submit entries electronically during the registration period at https://www.dvlottery.state.gov/.  Don’t wait until the last week of the registration period to enter, normally heavy demand at that time causes website crashes/delays.  We have had clients that won the lottery.  Good Luck!

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2016 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program

The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program permits natives from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States to apply for one of 50,000 diversity visas for fiscal year 2016.  Applicants must meet strict eligibility requirements in order to qualify for the program and, if met, applicants will then be entered into a lottery.  The randomly-selected computer drawing selects applications among six geographic regions, with no single country receiving more than seven percent of the visas.

For 2016, people born in the following countries are ineligible to apply, due to over 50,000 natives immigrating to the United States within the last five years:

- Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.

Read more ›

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Duplicate Biometrics Appointment Notices

There are reports that USCIS is issuing a second biometrics appointment notice after receiving a prior notice over the past several weeks and appearing for biometrics capture.  We understand that the American Immigration Lawyers Association has contacted USCIS about the problem and it is due to USCIS’ change in computer programs.  In the meantime, check your records before appearing for any appointment.  Also, do not disregard it.  Instead, ask your lawyer to inform USCIS that the biometrics have already been taken.

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ALERT – NEW SCAM TARGETS INDIAN H-1B APPLICANTS

Beware of a new scam, experienced by our clients and confirmed to have occurred by the American Immigration Lawyers Association to employees of other Indian companies.  Callers, posing as officers of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), claim that USCIS has found problems or discrepancies in the person’s immigration files and ask for personal information.  Do not share any personal or petition data with anyone, as it can be used to get more of your personal information from USCIS or potentially to create false immigration documents in your name.  The caller knows the person’s name, address, and that the person has applied for an H-1B visa in the United States.  At this time we do not know if this is confined to employees of Indian companies only.

The scam gets worse.  The caller tells the H-1B applicant that USCIS charges a penalty for such discrepancies and tells them to send money, via Western Union, to a certain address.  Note that USCIS will not call an H-1B applicant and demand information or money over the phone.  It will communicate, normally in writing, with the attorney of record.  If there is no attorney of record, it will normally communicate with the petitioner (applicant company) also in writing.  If anyone calls, no one should respond to the questions, instead get the person’s name and phone number and tell them you will call them back.  Then report it to your attorney or local authorities (FBI, Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection).

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About ABCs of Immigration Law
The global economy has become increasingly transactional and transcontinental. Since 9/11, there have been many amendments to immigration laws in the United States that have largely affected both individuals and businesses. Cozen O'Connor's immigration law blog, ABC's of Immigration Law, focuses on the interests and the challenges faced by those individuals and business impacted by immigration laws.
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