The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) National Children’s Art Project is currently underway and the agency is requesting that children between the ages of 5 to 12 years old draw pictures to answer the question, “People have come from all over the world to become Americans. Why does that make us great?” Submission forms are available at www.uscis.gov/childrensartproject and must be turned in by August 16, 2010. Participants’ art will be displayed in offices across the country and participants will be recognized during the 2010 celebration of the “September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance.”
The posted processing times on the USCIS website for H-1B petitions seem to be extremely inaccurate. While the processing times show that USCIS is taking 2 months to adjudicate H-1B petitions, it is currently taking longer than that. As of June 18, 2010 our office had received adjudications in approximately 3% of our H-1B cases filed in April. We will continue to update this blog as we see additional adjudications and if we receive better information regarding processing times.
USCIS has reported that as of June 11, 2010 it has issued receipts for 22,000 H-1B cap-subject petitions, leaving 43,000 available H-1Bs in the general or “bachelor’s cap” allotment. The prior update was 3 weeks ago at which time approximately 19,000 receipts had been issued. Therefore, it appears about 1000 H-1Bs are being filed each week.
USCIS has issued 9,400 H-1B receipts for those with advanced degrees, leaving 10,600 H1Bs available in the “master’s cap” allotment. In the event that the master’s cap allotment is used up before the general cap allotment, those with advanced degrees will then be counted as part of the general cap allotment.
In Carachuri-Rosendo v. Holder, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously reversed the decisions of the U.S. Court of Appeals and an Immigration Judge, holding that second or subsequent simple possession offenses are not aggravated felonies under immigration law when the state conviction is not based on the fact of a prior conviction. Because immigrants convicted of aggravated felonies under immigration law are ineligible to apply for cancellation of removal, this is a significant decision that will give thousands of immigrants the chance to fight their deportation cases.
On January 8, 2010, USCIS issued a very troublesome Memo which changed decades of immigration law. The Memo changed the definition of “employer” for immigration petitions in a way that makes it more difficult for owners of companies to obtain non-immigrant visas. It also makes it more difficult for computer consulting companies to obtain H-1B visas for their consultants. The complaint, which includes an application for preliminary injunction, was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Hopefully, this lawsuit will lead to a settlement or a favorable verdict so that the more unreasonable aspects of this Memo will be ameliorated.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is seeking an increase in immigration application fees in order to offset the gap between the agency’s projected $2.1 billion in revenue and $2.3 billion in costs for 2010-2011. The proposed federal rule would increase fees by a weighted average of approximately 10 percent. Fees for citizenship applications would not increase. American Immigration Lawyers Association President Bernard Wolfsdorf expressed disappointment that the increased fees will not be accompanied by improvements in the quality or efficiency of USCIS decision-making.
USCIS has started issuing new versions of Green Cards, (I-551), which are actually green, and new Employment Authorization Documents, (EAD). USCIS started issuing the new cards in May but will still be accepting old Green Cards and EADs until their expiration date. The new cards have better security features and are less susceptible to fraud and counterfeiting. HR professionals should note these new changes for I-9 purposes.