Month: April 2015

by SCwpadmin SCwpadmin 94 Comments

California U Visa Bill Moves Forward

A bill introduced in California to help U Visa applicants gets one step closer to becoming law.  The U is a visa for victims of certain crimes who help in the prosecution of those crimes.  The first step in being awarded a U Visa is getting law enforcement to certify that the applicant was a victim and was helpful in the prosecution of the crime.  Problems arise, however, in that law enforcement is not mandated to sign the certification form and has no time frame requirements for doing so.  Various district attorneys, police departments, and judicial officials all have their own ever-changing policies for U Visas — meaning that a U Visa case in one county can have a drastically different outlook than a U Visa case in the neighboring county.

To remedy this problem, California became the first state in the nation to take steps to implement a time limit of 90 days for the U Visa to be certified by law enforcement.  This time frame shrinks even further to 14 days for victims who are in removal proceedings.  This specific bill, part of a package of bills titled “Immigrants Shape California,” next moves to the California Senate Appropriations Committee in the coming weeks.



by SCwpadmin SCwpadmin 587 Comments

Denver Immigration Court Judges to Return to Regular Docket and Procedure

For the past six months the Denver Immigration Court has been operating out of the ordinary.  Specifically, two immigration judges at the Denver Immigration Court have been assigned to hear cases originating at the Artesia, New Mexico detention facility via video teleconference.   Because two judges were assigned full-time to preside over the Artesia docket, any non-Artesia cases previously scheduled to be heard by these judges were being cancelled and rescheduled.

The Executive Office for Immigration Review announced this week that the Denver Immigration Court will soon return to normal.  A few months ago the Artesia, New Mexico detention facility was closed and all detainees were transferred to the Dilley, Texas Residential Detention Facility.  This facility, which was recently expanded to host 2,400 beds, will now have detainees’ removal cases reassigned to immigration judges at the Miami Immigration Court.  This transition is set to begin May 1, 2015.  All cases in which a Denver immigration judge has already begun to hear contested evidence will remain with that judge.

Respondents with cases at the Denver Immigration Court can expect their cases to begin going forward as scheduled.

by SCwpadmin SCwpadmin 80 Comments

USCIS Reaches the H-1B Cap for Fiscal Year 2016

The H-1B lottery cap and the advanced degree Master’s cap have been reached for fiscal year 2016.  USCIS will now apply a random, lottery process to select the 65,000 H-1B cap-subject petitions that will be issued H-1B visas.  First, USCIS will randomly choose petitions for the advanced degree Master’s cap exemption to the H-1B cap.  Once these 20,000 petitions are selected, all unselected advanced degree Master’s cap petitions will be added to the general lottery and 65,000 petitions will be selected.  USCIS has not announced when it will perform the lottery process.  H-1B petitions that are cap-exempt may still be submitted to USCIS for consideration.



by SCwpadmin SCwpadmin 90 Comments

Army to Expand Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest Program for LPRs

The Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest Program, or “MAVNI,” is a program that authorizes various branches of the military to recruit individuals with legal immigration status.  Such individuals must possess skills considered to be “vital to the national interest” or otherwise critical to the military.  MAVNI expressly provides eligibility for certain health care professionals in areas where the military has a need for more recruits and individuals with special language and cultural backgrounds.

The MAVNI program was initially created in 2008 and could accept a maximum of 1,000 recruits.  In 2012 the program was revised and the cap was raised to 1,500 recruits.  Now, the program will be increased to accommodate 3,000 recruits in 2015 and 5,000 recruits in 2016.  DACA recipients are explicitly deemed eligible to apply.

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, non-citizens who serve honorably in the United States military on or after September 11, 2001 during periods of hostilities are eligible to immediately file for citizenship.  Non-citizens who serve honorably in the U.S. military in times of peace may qualify for United States citizenship after serving honorably in the armed forces for at least one year while having lawful permanent resident status.