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News & Developments

 

July 1, 2013

DOMA Ruled Unconstitutional

The recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that overturns the Defense of Marriage Act  (DOMA) has major implications for immigration benefits for same-sex couples. DOMA helped prevent American citizens and legal permanent residents from sponsoring their same-sex spouses for green cards and other derivative benefits, such as employment-based adjustment of status, nonimmigrant derivative filings, and use of waivers, among others. As USCIS and immigration courts adjust to this monumental judicial decision, and reports as are that an immigration judge in New York City has halted the deportation of a Colombian man married to an American, it will be interesting to see how quickly bi-national same-sex couples in the United States can move forward with filing for foreign-born partners to apply for legal permanent residency.


Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, TX


 

July 1, 2013

Senate Passes Comprehensive Immigration Bill

On June 27, the Senate approved the comprehensive immigration legislation, known as the Gang of Eight Bill, which would lead to sweeping changes to United States’s immigration system. The bill, which Senators approved by a vote of 68 to 32, strives to promote immigrant families, businesses, and the entire economy. Reforms include new employment-based visas, such as options for investors who create start-up companies in the U.S., bolstered E-Verify procedures for employers, new paths to citizenship for undocumented people living in the United States, and increased border security measures. The bill has now moved to the House of Representatives where it will undergo intense examination and debate.


Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, TX


 

July 1, 2013

Supreme Court Grants Petition for Writ of Certiorari

The U.S. Supreme Court has granted the U.S. government’s petition for writ of certiorari to review Mayorkas v. Cuellar de Osorio. The case comes from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in which the court held that the Child Status Protection Act does allow for those who qualify as a child at the time a visa petition is filed, and therefore receives derivative benefits from his or her parent including receiving a priority date, the ability to continue to apply the same priority date gained under “child” status even after turning 21 years old while still waiting to immigrate. On June 24, 2013, the application of the decision was suspended since the Supreme Court elected to review the case.


Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, TX


 

May 29, 2013

CBP Rolls Out Automated Form I-94

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has rolled out at most major airports in the United States the automated  Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record, in which aliens arriving at air and sea ports are issued a passport stamp and an electronic record  rather than paper Form I-94.  Arrivals at land borders will continue to receive paper Form I-94s and certain aliens, such as refugees, asylum seekers, and parolees will continue to receive a paper Form I-94 from CBP when arriving to the United States. The electronic record can be accessed by a nonimmigrant alien. CBP will issue a paper Form I-94 if the electronic record cannot be accessed after entering the United States. 


Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, TX


 

May 29, 2013

H-1B Work Visa Application Establishes an Employment Contract

A New York state court recently ruled that an H-1B work visa application creates an employment contract that can support an employee’s breach of contract claim.  The court found that the plaintiff, a citizen of India who was an information technology programmer employee, established the existence of an enforceable employment agreement between himself and the employer via the H-1B work visa application that had been filed on behalf of himself and the employer. Therefore, the court held that a cause of action exists to recover damages for a breach of contract due to the H-1B work visa application.


Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, TX


 

May 29, 2013

Progress for the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act

Consideration of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, known as the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, by the “Gang of Eight” has been underway in the U.S. Senate since April 17, 2013.  This week the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill involving immigration reform, which means the bill consisting of immigration issues will advance to the Senate floor in June.  If the bill passes in the Senate, then the bill would head to the House of Representatives for approval.  Keys issues involved with the bill are new paths to citizenship for undocumented people living in the United States, enhanced use of the E-Verify system and employer sanctions, and increased availability of work visas for high-skilled employees.


Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, TX


 

April 8, 2013

H-1B CAP Reached Within First Week of April 2013

USCIS has received enough H-1B petitions within the first 5 business days of the filing season to reach the statutory cap for fiscal year 2014.  USCIS will not accept H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year 2014 cap.  As a result, a lottery system will occur in which all cap-subject H-1B petitions received in the first five days of April will be included in the lottery.  USCIS will randomly apply all of the numbers among the H-1B petitions received on any of those five business days, conducting random selection among the filed petitions.


Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, TX


 

April 8, 2013

H-1B Petitions for Fiscal Year 2014 Will Begin on April 15, 2013

USCIS will begin premium processing of H-1B petitions due on April 15, 2013 due to the historic number of premium processing cases received and due to the H-1B cap being met in the first 5 business days of the filing season.


Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, TX


 

April 8, 2013

CBP to Rollout Automated Arrival/Departure-Record Process

CBP announced that nonimmigrants arriving in the U.S. via air or sea will be able to access their CBP arrival and departure record information online when the agency launches its automated records process, rather than receive the paper I-94 card at port of entry.  Foreign nationals will continue to receive paper Form I-94 cards if they enter at a port of entry by land.  The rollout of the new automated records process will begin on April 30, 2013.


Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, TX


 

April 8, 2013

USCIS Announces the Temporary Suspension of H-2B Petitions

USCIS has temporarily suspended the adjudication of most H-2B petitions for temporary non-agricultural workers due to permanent injunction issued against the operation of the portion of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) 2008 wage rule related to certain prevailing wage determinations.  The DOL has 30 days to comply with the court order.


Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, TX


 

February 28, 2013

SEC Announces Charges Against Chicago Companies

SEC claims allege that an individual and two companies in Chicago have been involved in a large-scale investment scheme to exploit a federal visa program as a means to defraud investors, which has included over $145 million in securities being fraudulently sold to foreign investors.


Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, TX


 

February 20, 2013

White House Presents Immigration Bill

The "Lawful Prospective Immigrant" visa for an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants living in the United States would require business owners to adopt a system for verifying the immigration status of new hires within four years and for immigrants to pass a criminal background check, submit biometric information, and pay fees to qualify for the new visa. The bill would create an eight-year path to becoming legal permanent residents for undocumented immigrants living in the United States.


Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, TX


 

February 20, 2013

DOJ Reaches Settlement with Houston Community College

The Department of Justice investigated Houston Community College for engaging in a pattern or practice of discrimination by requiring non-U.S. citizens to provide specific documentation establishing their work authority while not making similar demands from U.S. citizens.


Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, TX


 

February 19, 2013

Board of Immigration Appeals Makes Crime of Moral Turpitude Holding

The BIA recently determined that the crime of indecent exposure under California Penal Code is categorically a crime involving moral turpitude.


Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, TX


 

January 23, 2013

USCIS Announces New Provisional Waiver

The new provisional unlawful presence waiver process is focused on individuals who will be subject to the three and 10 year bars to the United States. In order to obtain a provisional unlawful presence waiver while still in the country, the applicant must be an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, inadmissible only on account of unlawful presence, and demonstrate the denial of the waiver would result in extreme hardship to his or her U.S. citizen spouse or parent.


Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

January 23, 2013

Individuals Charged with Fraud Schemes Involving Asylum Applications

At least 10 New York City area law firms are alleged to have created and submitted fraudulent asylum applications on behalf of alien applicants and coached them on how to lie to immigration authorities.


Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

January 23, 2013

Civil Rights Groups Challenge Michigan's Policy of Denying Driver's Licenses

A lawsuit was recently filed challenging the state’s policy of denying driver’s licenses to immigrant youth whom the federal government has allowed to stay and work in the country.


Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

January 8, 2013

USCIS Issues Interim Memorandum for Comment on Age-Out Protection for Derivative U Nonimmigrant Status Holders

A memorandum under period for comment has been issued by USCIS to provide guidance on age-out issues for children with pending U-3 petitions, such as allowing U-3 derivatives to remain in the United States in nonimmigrant status beyond his or her 21st birthday.


Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

January 8, 2013

Former INS Employee and Others Indicted on Nine Criminal Counts

After a two-year investigation by ICE, a former INS employee was recently charged with conspiracy to commit marriage and visa fraud, in which the former INS employee allegedly facilitated fraudulent marriages in exchange for cash payments for a period of several years.


Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

January 8, 2013

New Fee for Foreign Nationals Seeking U.S. Residence

USCIS has issued a new USCIS Immigrant Fee of $165 from foreign nationals seeking permanent residence in the United States. Applicants will pay online through the USCIS website after they receive their visa package from the Department of State and before they depart for the United States.


Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

December 5, 2012

Guidance Released on Adjudication of Applications and Petitions Under Section 204(l) of the INA

The Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman issued guidance that assists with reinstating benefits and reducing the complexity of cases involving surviving beneficiaries.


Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

December 5, 2012

Announcement Involving the USCIS Entrepreneurs in Residence Initiative

USCIS announced recently the launch of an online resource center, Entrepreneur Pathways, in order to provide entrepreneurs seeking to start a business in the United States with a better understanding of the immigration process and how to grow their businesses.


Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

December 5, 2012

House Passes Visa Reform Bill Via Approval of the STEM Jobs Act

The United States House of Representatives approved the STEM Jobs Act which aims to create a new category of visas for foreign students with science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) degrees.


Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

December 5, 2012

Former President of Law Firm Pleads Guilty to Visa Fraud Scam

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement participated in an investigation in California that revealed  that members of a law firm set up numerous shell companies in order to file at least 137 fraudulent employment-based visa petitions for nearly 100 alien clients in return for substantial fees.


Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

October 19, 2012

USCIS Approves Over 4,500 Deferred-Action Cases

As of October 10, 2012, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services had received 179,794 deferred-action requests from eligible young persons seeking deportation relief from the U.S. government, of which the agency has approved 4,591. On that day, 6,416 deferred-action cases were under review at the agency.


Parisa Karaahmet, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen and Loewy, LLP, New York, NY


 

October 19, 2012

ID Card System to Be Developed in L.A. for Illegal Immigrants

The City of Los Angeles is considering the approval of a plan that will allow for municipal identification cards to be issued to illegal immigrants, which will allow them to open bank accounts and use the card like a prepaid debit card.


Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

October 19, 2012

Bilateral Adoption Agreement Reached Between USA and Russia

The U.S.-Russian Adoption Agreement will enter into force on November 1, 2012, which will begin the 6–9 month implementation of this new adoption program.


Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

October 19, 2012

U.S ICE Arrests Immigrant Students in San Diego

U.S Immigration and Custom Enforcement recently arrested approximately 40 foreign nationals  who were violating their student visas by working as pedicab drivers.


Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

October 19, 2012

Useful Information for Petitions Filed with National Benefits Center

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently provided tips for family based filings and other petitions filed with the National Benefits Center.


Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

September 25, 2012

Update on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program


More than 72,000 applications for deferred action for childhood arrivals were received by USCIS during the first three weeks of the program, and in some cases approvals have already been granted.


Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

September 25, 2012

Homeland Security Extends TPS for Haiti


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) press release announced that the Department of Homeland Security Secretary extended temporary protected status (TPS) for eligible nationals of Haiti for an additional 60 days.


Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

September 25, 2012

DACA participants Allowed to be Issued Social Security Number


The Social Security Administration has released released guidance on how certain young illegal immigrants can be eligible to receive a Social Security number through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.


Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

September 21, 2012

21 Charged in Marriage-Fraud Crackdown


Indictments of conspiracy and/or immigration benefit against 21 individuals resulted from “Operation Knot So Fast 2012” run by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations, Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).


Keywords: litigation, immigration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, marriage fraud


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

September 21, 2012

Unaccompanied Minors Deported Without Representation in Texas


Young migrants who illegally cross into the United States, many of whom are fleeing criminal violence in their home countries, are often deported without being able to obtain legal representation. A recent report found that a large percentage of these detained, unaccompanied minors could have been eligible for some form of legal immigration status, leading to concerns about whether justice is being served in immigration courts in South Texas.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, Texas, representation, unaccompanied minors


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

September 21, 2012

U.S. Embassy in India Streamlines Visa-Processing System


The U.S. Embassy in India announced that a new visa-processing system has been implemented in India that will allow applicants to schedule appointments online or by telephone and improve accommodations for the scheduling of group and emergency appointments. Under the new system, applicants will have to make two appointments, including a visit to an off-site facilitation center to submit their fingerprints and photos, which should reduce congestion at U.S. consulates and speed applicant processing.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, India, visas


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

August 23, 2012

USCIS Will Accept Applicants for Deferred Action Program


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) now has forms available to apply for the Deferred Action Program, which is open to certain undocumented immigrants 30 years old or younger who meet several key criteria and came to the United States before they turned 16.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Deferred Action Program


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

August 23, 2012

Russia and America Reach Agreement on Visa Requirements


Russia and the United States have reached an agreement entering into force on September 9, 2012, that will ease visa requirements by allowing citizens of both countries multiple entry visas for stays of up to six months.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, Russia, visa requirements


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

August 23, 2012

CBP Ceases Stamping I-20s at Point of Entry


U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will no longer stamp I-20s for students entering the United States. As a result, concerns have risen that staff at certain benefit-granting agencies will look for a stamp on these documents before granting a benefit. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is reaching out to such agencies to ensure that they are aware of this change. Students or their designated school officials (DSO) should email USCIS at Public.Engagement@uscis.dhs.gov for further clarification.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Customs and Border Protection


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

August 8, 2012

Foreign Nationals Plead Guilty to Trafficking Identities


The U.S. Department of Justice has announced that two foreign nationals pleaded guilty to participating in a plan to traffic the identities of Puerto Rican U.S. citizens. The individuals obtained Puerto Rican identities and corresponding identity documents that were then sold throughout the United States.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, Department of Justice, Puerto Rico


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

August 8, 2012

Immigrants’ Gang-Related Tattoos Getting Increased Attention


According to the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, increased attention has been focused on immigrants’ tattoos due to concerns about foreign gangs entering the United States.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, State Department, Bureau of Consular Affairs, green cards, tattoos, gangs


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

August 8, 2012

USCIS Implements Policy on Terrorism-Related Inadmissibility


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has implemented policy [PDF] explaining that it will consider whether certain aliens are eligible for an exemption from terrorism-related inadmissibility grounds in connection with activities or associations involved with the Kosovo Liberation Army.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, terrorism, Kosovo Liberation Army


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

August 8, 2012

Department of Labor to Pay $2.3 Million in Back Wages


A U.S. Department of Labor Administrative Law Judge ordered an agreement that called for a Nevada-based company to pay a record total of $2,338,700 in back wages to workers for violations under the H-2A program.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, Department of Labor, Nevada, H-2A


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

August 8, 2012

Egg Company Allegedly Discriminated Against Noncitizens


The U.S. Department of Justice announced that it filed a discrimination lawsuit against an egg-production company based in Indiana for allegedly placing a greater burden on foreign nationals in regard to providing documentation during the employment eligibility verification process.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, Department of Justice, discrimination, employment eligibility


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

June 29, 2012

Supreme Court Rules on Arizona Immigration Law


The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on Arizona’s controversial SB1070 immigration law.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, Supreme Court, Arizona


—Peter F. Asaad Esq., Immigration Solutions Group, PLLC, Washington, D.C.


 

June 29, 2012

DHS Explains Stance on Immigration Laws and Children


The Department of Homeland Security has released guidance [PDF] on exercising prosecutorial discretion with respect to individuals who came to the United States as children.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, Department of Homeland Security, children’s rights


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

June 29, 2012

USCIS Publishes Q&A on Deffered Action Process


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has published questions and answers about the deferred action process for young people who are low enforcement priorities.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, deferred action process


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

June 29, 2012

USCIS Reaches FY2013 H-1B Cap


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reached its fiscal year 2013 H-1B cap.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, H-1B


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

June 29, 2012

USCIS Naturalizes Former Refugees for World Refugee Day


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) naturalized former refugees to commemorate World Refugee Day.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, World Refugee Day


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

June 29, 2012

U.S. Treaty Trader and Investor Visas Processing Changes


The U.S. Department of State has announced changes in U.S. treaty trader and investor visas (E visas) processing. After July 1, 2012, all review of E visa applications in Mexico will occur at the U.S. embassy in Mexico City, the U.S. consulate general in Monterrey, and the U.S. consulate general in Tijuana.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, U.S. State Department, U.S. treaty trader visas, investor visas, E visas, Mexico


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


June 11, 2012

Woman Arrested for Posing as ICE Agent


A woman suspected of posing as a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent has been arrested at Los Angeles International Airport. She reportedly ordered 14 people to pay between $4,000 and $8,000 in exchange for legal resident status they were never given.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

June 11, 2012

What Happens When Employers Know Workers Aren’t in Status?


The Department of Justice (DOJ) Technical Assistance Letter [PDF] provides guidance on the I-9 process where a former employee reapplies for employment and presents a facially valid EAD, but the employer “has knowledge” that the individual is no longer in status.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, Department of Justice, EAD


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

June 11, 2012

ICE Deports Bosnian-Serb Police Commander


U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has deported Dejan Radojkovic, a former Bosnian Serb police commander wanted for genocide.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Bosnia, deportation


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

June 11, 2012

Website Lets Users Extend, Change Nonimmigrant Status


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has launched an online immigration system, USCIS ELIS, that makes it possible to electronically file Form I-539, an application to extend or change nonimmigrant status.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Form I-539


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

June 11, 2012

USCIS Proposes Rule to Reduce Separation from Family


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has posted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register that would reduce the time citizens are separated from their immediate relatives who must obtain an immigrant visa abroad to become permanent residents.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, permanent residency


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

June 11, 2012

DOJ Settles Document Abuse Case Against Imagine Schools


The Department of Justice (DOJ) has settled a document abuse claim against Imagine Schools Inc. in Ohio. Under the rules governing employment eligibility verification, certain documents are not subject to re-verification.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, Department of Justice, document abuse claim, eligibility verification


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

June 11, 2012

USCIS Posts Memorandum on Application, Petition Proceedings


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued a policy memorandum providing guidance on representation and appearances and interview techniques in application and petition proceedings [PDF].


Keywords: litigation, immigration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, application proceedings, petition proceedings


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

May 22, 2012

DHS Adds More STEM Degree Programs to List


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has expanded the list of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) degree programs that qualify graduates on student visas for an optional practical training (OPT) extension.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, Department of Homeland Security, STEM degree programs, optional practical training


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

May 22, 2012

USCIS Clarifies “Culturally Unique” Art Forms


The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued a precedent appeals decision on P-3 nonimmigrant visa petition, clarifying that a “culturally unique” style of art or entertainment is not limited to traditional art forms, but may also include hybrids or fusions of more than one culture or region.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, P-3 nonimmigrant visa, precedent appeals decision


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

May 22, 2012

Violence Against Women Act becomes Immigration Issue


The debate over the Violence Against Women Act has become the latest battleground over immigration policy, as Republicans in Congress are proposing to strip existing protections from immigrants who are the victims of domestic violence.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, Violence Against Women Act, domestic violence


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

May 22, 2012

Albanian Informer in Human Trafficking Case Granted Asylum


The government has granted asylum to Edmond Demiraj, an Albanian informer who feared he would be executed if he were returned to his native country.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, human trafficking, Albania


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

May 22, 2012

United States, Canada Work to Increase Cross-Border Business


The United States and Canada are conducting joint consultations with stakeholders on cross-border business in an effort to facilitate business travel between the two countries.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, United States, Canada, cross-border business


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

May 14, 2012

USCIS Extends TPS Status for Somalia


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has extended the temporary protected status (TPS) designation of Somalia for 18 months.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, temporary protected status


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

May 14, 2012

Man Allowed U.S. Entry to Care for Paralyzed Son


A South Korean man who was denied entry to the United States has been allowed back into the country on humanitarian grounds.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, South Korea, humanitarian relief


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas



 

May 14, 2012

DOJ Corrects Statement in Nken v. Holder


The Department of Justice (DOJ) has submitted a letter to the Supreme Court [PDF] to clarify and correct a statement made in a government’s brief in Nken v. Holder concerning how courts should resolve requests from aliens who want to stay in the country while they fight deportation orders.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, Department of Justice, Supreme Court, deportation


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas



 

May 14, 2012

Certain Countries Removed from NSEERS


The Department of Homeland Security has determined that it is no longer necessary to subject nationals from certain countries to special registration procedures and has removed them from the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS).


Keywords: litigation, immigration, Department of Homeland Security, National Security Entry-Exit Registration System


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas



 

May 14, 2012

Russian Workers with B-1 Visas Denied Entry


Russian engineers coming into the United States to work for Boeing were recently denied entry at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. There is a growing controversy over companies like this one that use B-1 visas to bring in workers for extended visits.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, B-1 visas, Russia, Boeing


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas



 

May 2, 2012

USCIS Seeks Comments on Benefits for Transgender People


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued an interim memorandum [PDF] for comment on immigration benefits for transgender individuals.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, transgender individuals, immigration benefits


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

May 2, 2012

Colombians Visas Now Valid for 10 Years


The U.S. Department of State has increased the visa validity for Colombians visiting the United States to 10 years.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, Colombia, visas, Department of State


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

May 2, 2012

USCIS Forms Entrepreneurs in Residence Tactical Team


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has partnered with leading American business experts to form the Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIR) Tactical Team, which aims to improve approaches to employment-based and high-skilled visa categories used by immigrant entrepreneurs.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Entrepreneurs in Residence Tactical Team


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

April 17, 2012

DOS Retrogresses EB-2 Indian, Chinese National Categories


The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has retrogressed the EB-2 categories for persons born in mainland China and India three years back to August 15, 2007, according to the Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA).


Keywords: litigation, immigration, Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, China, India


Parisa Karaahmet, partner, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, New York, New York


 

April 17, 2012

Asylum Claims Rose Sharply in 2011


A new report from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees shows that asylum claims in industrialized countries increased 20 percent from 2010 to 2011. The United States continued to receive the most asylum seekers among the countries surveyed, with approximately 74,000 in 2011 compared to approximately 55,500 in 2010.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, asylum


Parisa Karaahmet, partner, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, New York, New York


 

April 17, 2012

USCIS Continues to Accept H-1B Petitions


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is still accepting fiscal year 2013 H-1B petitions. It has received approximately 17,400 petitions counting toward the 65,000 cap and approximately 8,200 petitions toward the 20,000 cap exemption for individuals with advanced degrees.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, H-1B petitions


Parisa Karaahmet, partner, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, New York, New York


 

April 13, 2012

ICE Arrests More Than 3,000 in Six Days


U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently arrested more than 3,000 people living illegally in the United States during a six-day operation, resulting in the largest raid in the agency’s history.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement


Parisa Karaahmet, partner, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, New York, New York


 

April 13, 2012

Man Who Hired Illegal Immigrants Gets Probation


A recent bust on a business in Arizona represented a new approach by federal authorities that focused on criminal cases against company officials in comparison to the previous strategy of seeking only civil penalties.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, Arizona, criminal penalties, probation


Parisa Karaahmet, partner, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, New York, New York


 

April 6, 2012

Syrian Nationals Can Apply for Temporary Protected Status


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that eligible Syrian nationals in the United States may apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS).


Keywords: litigation, immigration, USCIS, Syria, Temporary Protected Status


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

April 6, 2012

USCIS Is Accepting H-1B Petitions for 2013


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is starting to accept H-1B petitions for fiscal year 2013 this month.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, USCIS, H-1B petitions


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

April 6, 2012

Justice Department Settles in California Document Abuse Case


The Justice Department has reached an agreement with Ross Stores, Inc., in a case alleging that the company had engaged in discrimination based on citizenship status while verifying employment eligibility at one of its stores.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, Justice Department, citizenship, discrimination


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

April 6, 2012

Justice Department Settles Connecticut Discrimination Case


The Justice Department has come to a settlement agreement in a case alleging that a healthcare staffing company based in Connecticut posted discriminatory job advertisements on its home page and third-party websites that limited its jobs to U.S. citizens.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, Justice Department, citizenship, discrimination


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

March 23, 2012

Homeland Security Extends TPS for El Salvador


A U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) press release [PDF] announced that Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has extended temporary protected status (TPS) for eligible nationals of El Salvador for an additional 18 months beginning March 10, 2012, and ending September 9, 2013.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, temporary protected status


Parisa Karaahmet, partner, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, New York, New York


 

March 23, 2012

Eleventh Circuit Halts Two Sections of Alabama Law


The U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has temporarily halted two sections of the Alabama illegal immigration law until lawsuits seeking to overturn it entirely are decided.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, Eleventh Circuit, Alabama


Parisa Karaahmet, partner, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, New York, New York


 

March 23, 2012

Deported Worker Could Lose Parental Rights


Child welfare officials are asking a North Carolina judge to terminate the parental rights of a deported worker and put his United States-born sons up for adoption.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, children’s rights, parental rights


Parisa Karaahmet, partner, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, New York, New York


 

March 23, 2012

Detention Center Designed to Not Look like a Prison


Federal officials have unveiled a detention center for immigrants that doesn’t look as much like a prison as traditional facilities.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, immigrant detention


Parisa Karaahmet, partner, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, New York, New York


 

March 23, 2012

Iowa Senator Blocks Passage of E3 Visa Bill for Ireland


Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa is blocking the passage of an E3 immigration bill for Ireland. The E3 visa would allow up to 10,000 Irish workers per year to come to the United States on nonimmigrant visas that could be renewed every two years. Many other countries have similar visa bill deals with the United States, but Ireland does not.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, E3 visa, Ireland


Parisa Karaahmet, partner, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, New York, New York


 

March 23, 2012

USCIS Clarifies Valid Employer-Employee Relationship


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has revised its guidance on the Neufeld Memo regarding whether end-clients are required to submit documentation demonstrating that a valid employer-employee relationship exists and whether consulting and staffing companies can establish a valid employer-employee relationship.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Neufeld Memo, employer-employee relationships


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

March 23, 2012

In Vitro Babies Denied Citizenship


Children born to U.S. citizens overseas through in vitro fertilization are not considered American, unless one of the donors is American. This can be hard to prove because clinics often don’t reveal this information due to confidentiality agreements.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, in vitro fertilization, citizenship


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

March 23, 2012

UCSIS Explains Extension of F-1 Student Status


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released questions and answers addressing the automatic extension of F-1 student status in the United States for students with pending or approved H-1B petitions for an employment start date of October 1, 2011, under the Fiscal Year 2012 H-1B cap.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, F-1 student status, H-1B petitions


—Christian Triantaphyllis, FosterQuan, LLP, Houston, Texas


 

February 27, 2012

H-2B Temporary Labor Certification Rule Published


The Federal Register has published a rule to revise the process by which employers obtain a temporary labor certification from the Department of Labor for H-2B nonimmigrant petitions.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, Department of Labor, Federal Register


Parisa Karaahmet, partner, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, New York, New York


 

February 22, 2012

New Rule Allows L-1 Visas to Be Issued for Five Years


Under a new State Department rule, foreign nationals can be issued L-1 visas valid for up to five years, depending on the maximum period allowed for their country of citizenship. The rule will not increase an L-1 nonimmigrant’s authorized period of stay in the United States, but it means that some foreign nationals will not need to renew an L visa even if they later extend their stay.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, visas, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services


Parisa Karaahmet, partner, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, New York, New York


 

January 31, 2012

Fourth Circuit Rejects Silva-Trevino Framework


The Fourth Circuit has issued its opinion in Prudencio v. Holder [PDF], No. 10-2382 (4th Circuit 2012).


Because we conclude that the moral turpitude provisions of the INA are not ambiguous and do not contain any gap requiring agency clarification, we hold that the procedural framework established in Silva-Trevino was not an authorized exercise of the Attorney General’s authority under Chevron, U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, 467 U.S. 837 (1984). Accordingly, we grant Prudencio’s petition and vacate the Board’s decision and the order providing for Prudencio’s removal.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, moral turpitude, Immigration and Nationality Act


—Peter F. Asaad Esq., Immigration Solutions Group, PLLC, Washington, D.C.


 

January 25, 2012

Obama Signs Order Speeding Visa Processing


President Obama today signed an executive order aimed at speeding nonimmigrant visa processing and implementing other measures to increase travel to the United States. The order is part of a plan to spur U.S. economic growth and job creation through the tourism industry, which represents 2.7 percent of U.S. gross domestic product and supports more than one million U.S. jobs.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, President Obama, visa processing


Parisa Karaahmet, partner, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, New York, New York


 

January 10, 2012

USCIS Proposes Streamlined Application Process


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced a proposal to streamline the application process for the spouses and children of U.S. citizens currently eligible for legal permanent resident status, minimizing the amount of time that applicants would have to be separated from their families.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services


Parisa Karaahmet, partner, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, New York, New York


 

December 8, 2011

Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act Held in the Senate


After HR 3012, also known as the High-Skilled Immigrants Act, passed in the House of Representatives, Senator Charles Grassley placed a hold on the bill, saying that it would eliminate limitations on employment visas and increase the cap on family-based immigrants.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act


Parisa Karaahmet, partner, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, New York, New York


 

November 9, 2011

USCIS to Allow Bundled L-1B Petitions


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will now be consider Bundled L-1B [PDF] petitions related to a single project together. USCIS will also consider petitions for L-1A managers included with the bundle if such persons will be managing the L-1B beneficiaries who will be working on the project.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, L-1B, L-1A


—Rajan O. Dhungana, UNLV Boyd School of Law J.D. Candidate 2013 and governor of the ABA Law Students Division, 14th Circuit


 

November 9, 2011

USCIS Issues Several Updated Forms


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently issued several updated forms. The updated forms are I-193, I-693, I-864, I-864-A, I-864EZ, I-864W, and N-300. USCIS forms and their instructions are available in PDF format on USCIS’ website, www.uscis.gov. Click on “FORMS” at the top of the page and select the desired form by number.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services


—Rajan O. Dhungana, UNLV Boyd School of Law J.D. Candidate 2013 and governor of the ABA Law Students Division, 14th Circuit


 

November 9, 2011

DOL Releases Foreign Labor Certification Report


The Department of Labor Employment Training Administrations’ Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) released its Foreign Labor Certification Annual Report on October 12, 2011. The 2010 report presents information on the prevailing wage determination process, permanent labor certification, and temporary nonimmigrant labor certification for FY 2010. In addition, this report contains valuable information on state employment-based immigration profiles, permanent education certification statistics, H-1B education certification statistics, and country employment-based immigration profiles.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, Department of Labor Employment Training Administrations, Office of Foreign Labor Certification


—Rajan O. Dhungana, UNLV Boyd School of Law J.D. Candidate 2013 and governor of the ABA Law Students Division, 14th Circuit


 

November 9, 2011

BIA Precedent, Matter of Daniel Edgar Zamora-Molina


According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review’s Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), pursuant to section 201(f)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, an immigrant’s actual, not adjusted, age on the date of his or her parent’s naturalization determines whether he or she is an immediate relative. Section 204(k)(2) of the act, 8 U.S.C. § 1154(k)(2) (2006), does not allow an immigrant to retain his or her 2A-preference status by opting out of automatic conversion to the first-preference category as a son or daughter of a U.S. citizen on his or her parent’s naturalization. Matter of Daniel Edgar Zamora-Molina, Respondent, 25 I. & N. Dec. 606 (BIA 2011)


Keywords: litigation, immigration, Board of immigration Appeals, Immigration and Nationality Act


—Rajan O. Dhungana, UNLV Boyd School of Law J.D. Candidate 2013 and governor of the ABA Law Students Division, 14th Circuit


 

November 9, 2011

DHS Releases Report on 2010 LPR Population


The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Immigration Statistics has issued a report, “Estimates of the Legal Permanent Resident Population in 2010” (Oct. 2011), which estimates that 12.6 legal permanent residents (LPRs) resided in the United States on January 1, 2010. Of those, an estimated 8.1 million are eligible for naturalization. Fifty-six percent of LPRs obtained permanent resident status in 2000 or later; 38 percent gained LPR status between 2005 and 2009.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, Department of Homeland Security, Office of immigration Statistics


—Rajan O. Dhungana, UNLV Boyd School of Law J.D. Candidate 2013 and governor of the ABA Law Students Division, 14th Circuit


 

October 19, 2011

Supreme Court to Review Ninth Circuit Minor Child Cases


Two cases are pending before the U.S. Supreme Court as it returns for the October 2011 term. In these cases, U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. challenges the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s ruling that a parent’s years of lawful permanent resident (LPR) status and residence after lawful admission should be imputed to that parent’s unemancipated minor child to meet the five-year LPR status and seven-year continuous-resident requirements for cancellation of removal under INA § 240A(a). No date for oral arguments have been set yet. See Holder v. Guttierez, 2011 WL 249 1556, and Holder v. Sawyers, 2011 WL 2491573.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, lawful permanent resident, seven-year continuous resident, Supreme Court


—Rajan O. Dhungana, UNLV Boyd School of Law J.D. Candidate 2013 and governor of the ABA Law Students Division, 14th Circuit


 

October 19, 2011

Employers Getting Original Approval Notices from USCIS


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has begun sending original form I-797 petition approval notices [PDF] to employers rather than immigration attorneys per new policy changes. The new procedure means that employers and their immigration lawyers may need to change the ways in which they work together.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, form I-797 petition approval notices


—Rajan O. Dhungana, UNLV Boyd School of Law J.D. Candidate 2013 and governor of the ABA Law Students Division, 14th Circuit


 

October 19, 2011

USCIS Updates H-1B Cap Count


On October 6, 2011, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that, as of September 23, 2011, it had received approximately 36,300 H-1B nonimmigrant petitions that are subject to the fiscal year 2012 cap. It has also received approximately 17,700 petitions counting toward the 20,000 U.S. master’s degree or higher cap exemption.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, H-1B nonimmigrant petitions


—Rajan O. Dhungana, UNLV Boyd School of Law J.D. Candidate 2013 and governor of the ABA Law Students Division, 14th Circuit


 

October 19, 2011

President Obama Sets Refugee Admission Numbers for FY 2012


President Obama recently issued a memorandum to admit up to 76,000 refugees into the United States over humanitarian concerns. The memorandum breaks down the geographic regions of the refugees to be admitted and provides that the secretary of state may allocate the unallocated admissions to regions where there is a need and transfer unused admission to another region as needed on notice to the House and Judiciary committees. See 76 Fed. Reg. 625597 (Oct. 11, 2011).


Keywords: litigation, immigration, President Obama, refugees


—Rajan O. Dhungana, UNLV Boyd School of Law J.D. Candidate 2013 and governor of the ABA Law Students Division, 14th Circuit


 

October 19, 2011

Temporary Worker Visa Exit Program Pilot Ends


U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has discontinued the H-2A and H-2B Temporary Worker Visa Exit Program pilot, which began December 8, 2009. It required temporary workers in H-2A or H-2B nonimmigrant classifications who entered the United States at the port of San Luis, Arizona, or the port of Douglas, Arizona, at the time of their final departure, to depart from these respective ports and to submit certain biographical and biometric information at one of the kiosks established for this purpose. See 76 Fed. Reg. 60518 (Sept. 29, 2011).


Keywords: litigation, immigration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, temporary workers, Arizona


—Rajan O. Dhungana, UNLV Boyd School of Law J.D. Candidate 2013 and governor of the ABA Law Students Division, 14th Circuit


 

August 30, 2011

White House to Clear Out Low-Priority Deportation Cases


The White House has announced a new strategy that focuses immigration resources in a way that puts public safety and national security first. The Department of Homeland Security, along with Department of Justice, will review the current deportation caseload to clear out low-priority cases on a case-by-case basis and make more room to deport people who have been convicted of crimes or who pose a security risk. The announcement stated that they will take steps to keep low-priority cases out of the deportation pipeline in the first place.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice


— Peter F. Asaad, Esq., Immigration Solutions Group, PLLC, Washington, D.C.


 

August 30, 2011

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to Go Paperless


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is amending its regulations [PDF] so that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can migrate to an electronic, centralized case-management environment for the processing of benefits. This should allow USCIS to streamline the processing of benefits, eliminate the capture and processing of redundant data, reduce the number of forms, and automate forms.


The phased, multi-year initiative will restructure USCIS business processes and information technology systems. The DHS is removing references to form numbers, form titles, expired regulatory provisions, and descriptions of internal procedures, many of which will change during the transformation. The DHS is also finalizing rules that allow benefit requests to be submitted with an electronic signature and that removed references to filing locations for immigration benefits.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, paperless


— Peter F. Asaad, Esq., Immigration Solutions Group, PLLC, Washington, D.C.


 

August 30, 2011

New Los Angeles Immigration Judges Invested


The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) has announced the investiture of two new immigration judges who will join the immigration judge corps in Los Angeles, California. Deputy Chief Immigration Judge Michael C. McGoings presided over the investiture during a ceremony held at EOIR’s headquarters August 19, 2011.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, Executive Office for Immigration Review, California


— Peter F. Asaad, Esq., Immigration Solutions Group, PLLC, Washington, D.C.


 

August 30, 2011

Pork Producer Settles I-9 Beef with DOJ, Pays $290K Fine


The Department of Justice has settled with Farmland Foods, Inc., resolving allegations that Farmland discriminated against non-U.S. citizens and foreign-born U.S. citizens by imposing unnecessary and excessive documentary requirements on them when establishing their authority to work in the United States. Farmland has agreed to end its impermissible document requests and modify its employment eligibility verification process, as well as pay $290,400 in civil penalties. This is the highest civil penalty paid through settlement since the enactment of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) antidiscrimination provision in 1986.


Keywords: litigation, immigration, employment verification, Immigration and Nationality Act


— Peter F. Asaad, Esq., Immigration Solutions Group, PLLC, Washington, D.C.


 

October 14, 2010

District Judge Orders Friendly House SB-1070 Case to Proceed


On October 8, 2010, District Court Judge Susan R. Bolton denied requests by Governor Janice K. Brewer, Sherriff Joseph Arpaio, and others to dismiss Friendly House v. Whiting, one of several lawsuits challenging Arizona’s SB-1070 law.


— Peter F. Asaad, Esq., Immigration Solutions Group, PLLC, Washington, D.C.


 

October 14, 2010

C-SPAN gets OK to Televise Immigration Hearing


C-SPAN has won permission to bring up to two video cameras into an appeals court hearing in Governor Jan Brewer’s appeal of a ruling that put parts of Arizona’s new immigration law on hold. The network had asked the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, California, for permission to televise arguments from both sides at the November 1 hearing.


— Peter F. Asaad, Esq., Immigration Solutions Group, PLLC, Washington, D.C.


 

October 14, 2010

USCIS Plans Listening Session with AAO


The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Office of Public Engagement invites the public to a listening session with the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) on Wednesday, October 20, 2010, at 1 p.m. E.T. Perry Rhew, chief of the AAO, will discuss the precedent decision process and current AAO case processing. The AAO will also hear feedback regarding the AAO and the appeal process during this session.


You can participate in this session in person or by telephone. Provide your full name and the organization you represent to Suzie Clarke at suzanne.clarke@dhs.gov or 202-272-1279 by October 19, 2010. Be sure to indicate if you will attend in person or by telephone. The USCIS will provide call-in information as the date of the session approaches. Please let the USCIS know if there are topics or questions that you would like to discuss during the session by September 21, 2010. Please note that case-specific questions will not be addressed in this session.


— Peter F. Asaad, Esq., Immigration Solutions Group, PLLC, Washington, D.C.


 

October 14, 2010

Department of Labor Document Answers Permanent Labor Certification Questions


The U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration's Office of Foreign Labor Certification released a document including Round 12 of answers to frequently asked questions regarding permanent labor certification on October 8, 2010. Download the .pdf document at the Department of Labor’s website.


— Peter F. Asaad, Esq., Immigration Solutions Group, PLLC, Washington, D.C.


 

October 14, 2010

CRS Report Discusses Performance Measures on Worksite Enforcement


A recent Congressional Research Service (CRS) report for Congress, Immigration-Related Worksite Enforcement: Performance Measures by Andorra Bruno, specialist in immigration policy, discusses the guidance issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on the enforcement of prohibitions on the employment of unauthorized immigrants in the United States. It also discusses data the department maintains on measures used to examine the performance of its worksite enforcement program.


— Peter F. Asaad, Esq., Immigration Solutions Group, PLLC, Washington, D.C.


 

October 14, 2010

OIL Releases Padilla v. Kentucky Reference Guide


The Office of Immigration Litigation (OIL) has released a comprehensive overview of the portions of the Immigration and Nationality Act relevant to illegal immigrants intended to illuminate the potential immigration consequences of a plea to criminal charges. This guide presents a brief, clear introduction identifying and summarizing the relevant statutes in light of Padilla v. Kentucky, 130 S. Ct. 1473 (2010).


 

Federal Contractors Subject to Executive Order Must Use E-Verify


The E-Verify Federal Contractor rule is out after more than 1,600 public comments were received. The Executive Order’s effect will be wide-reaching as it papers that if a federal contractor is subject to the Executive Order, they must use E-Verify with all new hires, in addition to new hires and additions of existing employees to subject government contracts. What follows is an overview of the rule.


Summary
The Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council (Councils) have agreed on a final rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to require certain contractors and subcontractors to use the E-Verify system administered by the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship, and Immigration Services, as the means of verifying that certain of their employees are eligible to work in the United States. Executive Order 12989, as amended, specifically directs the agency heads of DoD, GSA, and NASA to implement this policy through amendments to the FAR. Under the final rule, Departments and agencies should, in accordance with FAR 1.108(d)(3), amend existing Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts to include the clause for future orders if the remaining period of performance extends at least six months after the effective date of the final rule and the amount of work or number of orders expected under the remaining performance period is substantial.


Process
The rule inserts a clause into Federal contracts committing Government contractors to use the USCIS E-Verify program to verify that all of the contractors’ new hires, and all employees (existing and new) directly performing work under Federal contracts, are authorized to work in the United States. The final rule:


  1. Exempts contracts that are for:
    • Commercially available off-the-shelf (COTS) items.
    • Items that would be COTS items but for minor modifications.
  2. Requires inclusion of the clause in subcontracts over $3,000 for services or for construction.
  3. Requires contractors and subcontractors to use E-Verify to confirm the employment eligibility of all existing employees who are directly performing work under the covered contract (THIS MEANS REVERIFICATION OF EXISTING EMPLOYEES, which is not currently allowed under E-Verify)
  4. Applies to solicitations issued and contracts awarded after the effective date of the final rule in accordance with FAR 1.108(d). Under the final rule, Departments and agencies should, in accordance with FAR 17 1.108(d)(3), amend—on a bilateral basis—existing IDIQ contracts to include the clause for future orders if the remaining period of performance extends at least six months after the effective date of the final rule.
  5. In exceptional circumstances, allows a head of the contracting activity to waive the requirement to include the clause. This authority is not delegable.

Note: As with any rule that there are exceptions to the above rule that federal contactors use E-Verify. For instance, prime contracts with performance terms of less than 120 days are exempted; the final rule exempts employees who hold an active security clearance of confidential, secret, or top secret from the verification requirements; and certain administrative staff may be exempt too. And, swinging the net widely, for those contractors who choose to, they will have the option of verifying all employees, including any existing employees not currently assigned to a Government contract. A contractor that chooses to exercise this option must notify DHS and must initiate verifications for the contractor’s entire workforce within 180 days of such notice to DHS.



 

Supreme Court to Hear Case of Illegal Immigrant Charged with Identity Theft


On October 20, 2008, the Supreme Court of the United States granted certiorari to hear the case of U.S. v. Flores-Figueroa. The Supreme Court’s decision will have a significant impact on undocumented workers who use fake identification belonging to another person.


The Supreme Court will determine what federal prosecutors must prove to establish aggravated identity theft. Specifically, at issue is whether the government has the burden to prove that the person knew that the identification they were using belonged to another person. Under federal law, aggravated identify theft occurs when a person “knowingly transfers, possesses, or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person.”


In U.S. v. Flores-Figueroa, 274 Fed. Appx. 501, No. 07-2871 (8th Cir. April 23, 2008), Mr. Ignacio Flores-Figueroa, a Mexican illegal immigrant, was convicted of aggravated identity theft for using a fraudulent alien registration number and social security number belonging to another person to obtain a job in Illinois, and was sentenced to more than six years in prison. Mr. Flores-Figueroa argued that he thought the identification was fabricated and did not know the identifying information actually belonged to another person. He also argued that the government had the burden to prove he knew the identification belonged to another person to establish aggravated identity theft. The 8th Circuit found against Mr. Flores-Figueroa, holding that the knowledge requirement applied only to the transfer, possession or use of false identification and did not include knowledge that the false identification belonged to another person.


There has been a divide among appellate courts on this issue in related cases, and the Supreme Court is expected to resolve the conflicting interpretation of the knowledge requirement in aggravated identity theft. The Supreme Court will hear arguments on this case next year. Flores-Figueroa v. U.S., No. 08-108, 2008.


 

Latest Updates on No-Match Regulations


Department of Homeland Security Reverses Itself and Appeals Judge's Order Staying the No-Match Regulations
On December 4, 2007, Counsel for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) wrote in a letter to Judge Charles Breyer of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California that they are pursuing a two pronged approach in response to the Court's decision to stay the No-Match regulations in AFL-CIO, et al. v. Chertoff, et al., No. 3:07-vc-04472-CRB.


First, DHSwill promulgate a revised no-match rule which they anticipate will be ready by March 2008 at the latest.Second, DHS has decided to file a notice of appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The latter is a reversal on the government's part and, as stated in the letter, is in response to assertions in the media by groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) that by agreeing to revise theno-match rule the government conceded the rule was legally flawed. As stated in the letter, "[t]he plaintiffs have made assertions in the media that by revising the no-match rule, the government has conceded that it is legally flawed. That is not so. The government respectfully disagrees with this Court's issuance of a preliminary injunction, and our decision to revise the rule reflects nothing more than our firm commitment to eliminating any obstacles and ensuring that the no-match rule may become operative as quickly as possible."


AFL-CIO v. Chertoff et al. – Preliminary injunction filed and entered October 15, 2007 in the no-match regulations suit.


No-Match Regulation on Hold

On October 10, 2007, the US District Court in the Northern District of California issued a preliminary injunction on the social security no match rule. This means that the No Match Rule cannot take effect until the ligitgation surrounding the regulation is resolved.


October 1st order from the Federal Court extending the Temporary Restraining Order by 10 days while Judge Charles Breyer writes an opinion on the Preliminary Injunction Motion in American Federation of Labor v. Michael Chertoff.


Government's response in opposition to the AFL-CIO, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, et al. motions for preliminary injunction regarding the Social Security Administration's No-Match regulations, which were filed yesterday in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California.


Letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff from members of the California Congressional delegation regarding implementation of the no-match regulations.


Notice of Motion and Motion for Preliminary Injunction filed with the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California regarding the no-match regulations seeking entry by additional members in the lawsuit, including the Chamber of Commerce, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, Golden Gate Restaurant Association, National Roofing Contractors Association, American Nursery & Landscape Association, International Franchise Association, and the United Fresh Produce Association as Plaintiff-Intervenors.


Plaintiff-Intervenors' Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of their Application for Preliminary Injunction on October 1, 2007 regarding the proposed no-match regulations.


On August 31st, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a Temporary Restraining Order and Order to Show Cause against the Department of Homeland Security's new rule regarding steps American employers must take upon receipt of a "no-match" letter from the Social Security Administration, questioning whether the Agency and the Social Security Administration acted beyond their statutory authority. The Court also found that plaintiffs demonstrated that the balance of harms may be that employers may suffer irreparable harm if the new rule is implemented.


 

The ILRC Forecast on Immigration Reform


Judith Golub, Executive Director of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, has written a Forecast on Immigration Reform. She writes about the likelihood that reform will happen this year, including four possible scenarios.



 

ABA Commission on Immigration Policy Resolutions


On Monday, February 13, 2006, the ABA House of Delegates adopted seven policy resolutions sponsored by the ABA Commission on Immigration. The resolutions and reports are available in PDF format:



 

Immigration Judges Under Fire


In recent months, there have been a flurry of media reports about bad behavior by U.S. immigration judges, the special administrative law judges who handle alien removal hearings and who report to the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR).


The New York Times started the trend with a December 26, 2005 story titled “Courts Criticize Judges’ Handling of Asylum Cases,” in which the paper reported how US Courts of Appeals were lambasting immigration judges for their poor decisions. The Daily Journal ran the story “Jurist’s Asylum-Seeker Rulings Earn Rebukes” on January 31, 2006, discussing Los Angeles-based Immigration Judge Anna Ho, who has been repeatedly rebuked by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for her poor decisions. The National Law Journal ran a front-page story, “Immigration Judges Come Under Fire,” on February 6, 2006. The Los Angeles Times ran a story (“Some Immigrants Meet Harsh Face of Justice”) on February 12, 2006, reviewing numerous cases involving incompetent and insensitive behavior by immigration judges, including a case where a US citizen was ordered deported. In response, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales announced that he will be conducting a “comprehensive review” of the immigration courts. Gonzales wrote a memo to all immigration judges, dated January 9, 2006, in which he ordered them to treat aliens “with courtesy and respect.”


At least one Immigration Judge has recently been sued, and later terminated for misconduct. Immigration Judge Michael Levinsky of New York lost his job after the federal Merit Systems Protection Board found that he had repeatedly in court used sexist and ethnically insensitive generalizations, including “statements to the effect that: women are inherently homosexual …; all Colombians and Cubans are drug dealers …; Mexicans are drunks …; Salvadorans prefer incest …; Dominican women will have children with anyone …; Poles drink too much …; Chinese are kidnappers …; Jamaicans, Dominicans and Cubans are murderers …; Jamaican women make good housekeepers and nannies …; and [he did] not like Japanese people ….” Levinsky was successfully sued by a Department of Homeland Security trial attorney who claimed harassment; the agency paid $60,370 to settle her claims. At the same time, EOIR refuses to disclose publicly any disciplinary actions against immigration judges, although information about disciplinary actions against private attorneys is displayed prominently on their website.