Month: April 2007

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Department of Homeland Security Seeks to Upgrade Employee Verification System

President Bush and the Department of Homeland Security have indicated that the system in place for verifying the status of new employees needs to be substantially revamped. “We must create a better system for employers to verify the legality of their workers” said President Bush.

It is estimated that the current system, the Basic Pilot Program, has an error rate of up to 20% and is very difficult to use. Hopefully, a more user-friendly system will be created in parallel with comprehensive immigration reform.

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Representative Flake Is Optimistic on Immigration Reform

U.S. Representative Jeff Flake had a meeting with business leaders on Wednesday and indicated his opinion that there is a greater than 50-50 chance that the bill he has introduced in the House of Representatives will pass and become law. Representative Flake is one of the sponsors of the STRIVE bill that has been introduced in the House which is similar to the comprehensive immigration bill that passed the Senate last term.

Let’s hope that Representative Flake is correct. We urge interested individuals to send e-mails to their Congresspeople and Senators urging them to support comprehensive immigration reform.

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H-1B Master’s Cap Not Yet Reached

USCIS announced on April 10, 2007 that the cap of 20,000 H-1B visas for aliens holding a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. institution has not yet been reached. On April 2 and 3, approximately 12,989 total master’s cap cases were filed. USCIS will provide updates as the processing continues for the FY 2008 H-1B cap cases.

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USCIS Extends Validity of Medical Exams

Generally speaking, a medical examination submitted in connection with an application for adjustment of status is valid for one year. Due to visa backlogs and expanded processing times, many adjustment of status applications are not adjudicated within one year of filing. In January of 2006, USCIS extended the validity of medical exams until January 1, 2007. Due to the continuing backlog of some adjustment of status cases, USCIS has extended the validity of all filed medical exams until January 1, 2008. In other words, medical exams will remain valid until the adjustment of status application is adjudicated or until January 1, 2008. There is an excellent possibility that this deadline will be extended again the future.

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USCIS Releases Preliminary Count of H-1B Filings

Immigration (USCIS) issued a preliminary tally of H-1Bs received on April 2nd and 3rd. Immigration has indicated that the counting continues. Immigration initially reported that they had received 150,000 pieces of mail on April 2nd and April 3rd. They have downgraded this number to 133,000. As of Wednesday April 4th, 28,052 of the cases sorted were H-1B petitions subject to the general H-1B cap, and 4,703 cases were to be applied to the master’s degree cap. Immigration will continue to update these figures as it sorts through the mail. It is widely believed that immigration received more than the maximum number of H-1B visas allowed under both caps and that there will be a lottery to determine which applications receive a cap number.

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Immigration Testimony at Ellis Island

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law met on March 30, 2007 at historic Ellis Island for a hearing on the Past, Present, and Future: A Historic and Personal Reflection on American Immigration.

Michael Chertoff, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, stated, “Our efforts to ensure vigorous enforcement of our laws in the interior, and especially at the worksite, are crucial to controlling the problem of illegal immigration. But they alone will not be sufficient. We must create a lawful mechanism so that in the future, foreign workers can come into the United States on a temporary basis to fill jobs that U.S. workers do not want. This regulated channel for temporary workers would dramatically reduce the pressure on our borders, aid our economy and ease the task of our law enforcement agents inside the country.”

Dowell Myers, Professor of Urban Planning and Demography and Director of the Population Dynamics Research Group University of Southern California, addressed the aging Baby Boomer crisis, “Immigrants do not arrive in a vacuum, and they may well provide at least part of the solution to a grave crisis that is about to overtake us. The rapid aging of our population creates stresses that are unprecedented, and the overall effect has enormous social, political, and economic implications for our future.”

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