New Speaker Paul Ryan Postponing Talks About Immigration Reform Until 2017

Newly elected speaker, Paul Ryan (R-Wis), is already busy settling into his role and deciding what major policies he wants to tackle first. Excluded from his policy list is immigration reform. Ryan has decided to hold off on advancing any immigration legislation until after the 2016 elections because he deems President Obama as “untrustworthy” when it comes to immigration policy. Ryan has said in an interview, “I think it would be a ridiculous notion to try and work on an issue like this with a president we simply cannot trust on this issue.” Ryan cites that President Obama’s “untrustworthiness” stems from the fact that the President has issued executive orders on immigration reform thereby “circumventing the legislative process” as Ryan says. Ryan’s decision to postpone focus on immigration reform comes from the desire to balance his promise to tackle difficult issues with the political reality of lawmakers who are suspicious of his positions, specifically on immigration policy. Ryan’s stance on the matter is one that will not change until at least January 2017 once a new president is sworn into office. However if another Democrat is elected to office it is likely that immigration negotiations would continue to be postponed.

Rachel is an intern with the firm and is not a practicing attorney.

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Posted in In The News

BALCA Affirms CO’s Denial Where Beneficiary Has an Ownership Interest in Closely Held Company

The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) upheld a Certifying Officer’s denial of an  Employer’s Application for Permanent Certification due to the fact that the beneficiary and her husband each had a 50% ownership interest in the sponsoring entity. The CO stated that when an employer is a closely held corporation in which the alien has an ownership interest or a familial relationship with the stockholders, officers, incorporators, or partners, and is one of a small number of employees, a presumption exists that the job opportunity is not open and available to U.S. workers, which is in violation of 20 CFR §656.10(c)(8).

Rachel is an intern with the firm and is not a practicing attorney.

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Posted in In The News

USCIS’ Draft of Policy Manual Guidance on Extreme Hardship Available for Comment

USCIS has released a draft of the USCIS policy manual guidance on extreme hardship. This manual includes guidance on several different topics including:

  • General considerations, interpretations, and adjudication steps
  • Establishing a qualifying relative
  • Extreme hardship factors
  • Extreme hardship determinations
  • Discretion

This draft is available for comment and feedback. All comments are due by 11/23/15.

Draft Policy Manual – Volume 9 Part B Extreme Hardship (DRAFT)

Rachel is an intern with the firm and is not a practicing attorney.

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Posted in In The News, USCIS New Policies/Procedures

Public Law 111-230 H-1B, L-1 Additional Fees Expire

H-1B and L-1 petitions filed on or after Oct. 1, 2015, should not include the additional fee that was previously required by Section 402 of Public Law 111-230, as amended by Public Law 111-347, for certain H-1B and L-1 petitions. The additional fee required by Public Law 111-230, as amended, expired on Sept. 30, 2015.

All other H-1B and L-1 fees, including the Base fee, Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee, and American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 (ACWIA) Fee when applicable, are still required. Petitions with incorrect fees may be rejected. Petitioners are reminded that USCIS prefers separate checks for each filing fee.

Public Law 111-230, enacted on Aug. 13, 2010, required an additional fee of $2,000 for certain H-1B petitions and $2,250 for certain L-1A and L-1B petitions postmarked on or after Aug. 14, 2010. Public Law 111-347, enacted on Jan. 2, 2011, extended the fees through Sept. 30, 2015.  For more information, visit the H-1B Visa or L-1 Visa pages or call the National Customer Service Center at (800) 375-5283.

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Posted in H-1B Visa Petitions, In The News

District Court Denies TRO Against State Department in October Visa Bulletin Suit

On September 28, 2015, several beneficiaries of approved employment-based visa petitions for highly skilled workers filed a class action complaint seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. Plaintiffs asked the court to strike down the revised 9/25/15 version of the October Visa Bulletin and compel USCIS to accept adjustment applications in line with the original 9/9/15 Bulletin. Plaintiffs then filed an amended complaint along with an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the State Department. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington has denied the motion for TRO stating “While the Court appreciates the confusion caused by the two Visa Bulletins published in September and the potentially wasted expenses Plaintiffs incurred as a result, because Plaintiffs fail to meet the critical elements for a temporary restraining order at this time, the Court cannot issue injunctive relief.”

Rachel is an intern with the firm and is not a practicing attorney.

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Posted in In The News

All Embassies and Consulates Will Be Closed 10/9/15 Due to Systems Upgrade

The Department of State has announced that all embassies and consulates will be closed to the public on Friday, October 9, 2015 due to a consular systems upgrade. People who have an appointment scheduled for that day will be contacted soon to reschedule. Individual posts are expected to provide instructions on methods to request an emergency appointment. Additionally, Application Service Centers (ASCs) connected to certain posts may also experience closures. For more information on the closures, please review individual post websites.


Rachel is an intern with the firm and is not a practicing attorney.

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Posted in Consular Issues, In The News

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USCIS Announces Revised Procedures for Determining Visa Availability for Applicants Waiting to File for Adjustment of Status

USCIS, in coordination with Department of State (DOS), is revising the procedures for determining visa availability for applicants waiting to file for employment-based or family-sponsored preference adjustment of status. The revised process will better align with procedures DOS uses for foreign nationals who seek to become U.S. permanent residents by applying for immigrant visas at U.S. consulates and embassies abroad.

This revised process will enhance DOS’s ability to more accurately predict overall immigrant visa demand and determine the cut-off dates for visa issuance published in the Visa Bulletin. This will help ensure that the maximum number of immigrant visas are issued annually as intended by Congress, and minimize month-to-month fluctuations in Visa Bulletin final action dates.

The Visa Bulletin revisions implement November 2014 executive actions on immigration announced by President Obama and Secretary of Homeland Security Johnson, as detailed in the White House report, Modernizing and Streamlining Our Legal Immigration System for the 21st century, issued in July 2015.

What is Changing

Two charts per visa preference category will be posted in the DOS Visa Bulletin:

  • Application Final Action Dates (dates when visas may finally be issued); and
  • Dates for Filing Applications (earliest dates when applicants may be able to apply).

Each month, in coordination with DOS, USCIS will monitor visa numbers and post the relevant DOS Visa Bulletin chart. Applicants can use the charts to determine when to file their Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

To determine whether additional visas are available, USCIS will compare the number of visas available for the remainder of the fiscal year with:

  • Documentarily qualified visa applicants reported by DOS;
  • Pending adjustment of status applications reported by USCIS; and
  • Historical drop off rate (for example, denials, withdrawals, abandonments).

About the Visa Bulletin

DOS publishes current immigrant visa availability information in a monthly Visa Bulletin. The Visa Bulletin indicates when statutorily limited visas are available to prospective immigrants based on their individual priority date.

  • The priority date is generally the date when the applicant’s relative or employer properly filed the immigrant visa petition on the applicant’s behalf with USCIS. If a labor certification is required to be filed with the applicant’s immigrant visa petition, then the priority date is when the labor certification application was accepted for processing by Department of Labor.
  • Availability of an immigrant visa means eligible applicants are able to take one of the final steps in the process of becoming U.S. permanent residents.

Learn more about adjustment of status and the Visa Bulletin on USCIS’s website.

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

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Posted in In The News, USCIS New Policies/Procedures

Delays Between I-765/I-485 Approvals and EAD Receipts due to Facility Maintenance

Delays have been reported between the approval of a client’s I-765 or I-485 and the client’s receipt of the employment authorization document (EAD) or lawful permanent resident card. USCIS confirmed that the card production facility in Corbin, Kentucky is undergoing maintenance, and that all card production work was transferred to the facility in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. As a result of this transfer, there is a backlog of cases in Lee’s Summit so clients may not receive their LPR cards until two to three weeks after approval of the underlying application. USCIS anticipates that this backlog issue will be resolved sometime this month.


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

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Posted in Green Card, In The News

Court Determines that Stepchild Does Not Fall Under Definition of Child

The Ninth Circuit upheld the Board of Immigration Appeals’ denial of the petitioner’s claim that he derived citizenship under INA §320(a) from his U.S. citizen stepfather, who married his non-citizen mother after he was born and never adopted him.  This decision finds that the definition of “child” in INA §101(c)(1), the part of the Immigration and Nationality Act that applies to citizenship, does not encompass stepchildren. The court also found that Congress did not intend for INA §101(b)’s definition of child, which does include stepchildren, to apply to INA §320(a).

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Posted in In The News
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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