F1 jumps two weeks for each category (except Mexico which jumps forward a month).
F2A jumps forward two months for each category (except Mexico remains unavailable).
F2B jumps forward six weeks for each category (except one week for Mexico and three weeks for the Philippines).
F3 jumps forward one week for each country (except three weeks for the Philippines).
F4 categories move forward one to two weeks each.
EB-1 categories all remain current.
EB-2 is current for all except India and China which each jump forward two months to 1 August 2006.
EB-3 continues to be unavailable for all countries.
EB-4 and EB-5 remain current.
DOS has issued this warning with respect to Mexican family and employment numbers:
The Mexico F2A and Employment Third preference cut-off dates are “unavailable” for both August and September, since those FY-2008 annual limits have been reached. The Visa Office had originally anticipated that this would be a temporary situation. Then with the start of the new fiscal year in October the cut-off dates would have returned to those which had applied during June. However, continued heavy demand in those categories may require the establishment of cut-off dates which are earlier than those which had applied in June. A formal decision determination of the October cut-off dates will not be possible until early September.
A few months back I announced that USCIS was instituting a new genealogy service. If you're researching your family tree, this could be the source of a lot of interesting information. Information on requesting old immigration records can be found here.
South African-born Liezel Huber will be competing in her second Olympics (the first in 2000 in Sidney), but this is the first time she'll compete for the US. She's actually been in the US since 1992 and is married to American tennis pro Tony Huber. Liezel is a doubles player and will be switching from her regular partner Cara Black for American tennis star Lindsay Davenport. While Davenport may be better known, Huber has a pretty stellar record of her own. She's one Wimbledon and the Australian Open and she and Cara Black are the number one ranked doubles players in the world.
Liezel is also someone who is giving back to her adopted country. She's started Liezel's Cause which aids victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Here's a video showing Liezel and her partner being interviewed by tennis legend Bud Collins.
Congratulations to Immigrant of the Day Nastia Liukin who joins Mary Lou Retton and Carly Patterson as the only American women ever to win the all around gymnastics gold medal at the Olympics! This is a spectacular accomplishment given the tough competition she faced from the Chinese gymnasts.
Nastia capped off an amazing night for Americans at the Olympics that included many medals and world records.
As the recession in the US drags on, the unemployment rate is creeping up. There should be thousands and thousands of Americans looking for jobs. Yet the labor shortage on America's farms remains severe and at a time when Americans are facing dramatic inflation in the cost of food due to rising fuel costs, we're shooting ourselves in our collective feet when we make costs go even higher by scaring off workers.
Does anyone with any sense of reality actually believe there are US workers who want these jobs?
The former Fed Chair makes an interesting argument in favor of restoring the H-1B cap to previous levels.
I'm breaking with my pattern and choosing an immigrant tonight who is competing for her home country even though she resides in America. Kirsty Coventry is the great Zimbabwean swimmer who has won gold already at these Olympics and is going for number two. She is an Auburn (AL) University graduate and now lives and trains in Austin, Texas, one of my favorite towns.
Coventry is a heroine in her country at a time when the people of Zimbabwe really need a break. To her credit, she has shown tremendous loyalty to her home country even though she would clearly have made the US team. Coventry recently told this to Reuters:
“I will not stop representing Zimbabwe,” she told reporters. “It is where I was born, my parents live there and I go back as often as I can and I will never not represent Zimbabwe as long as I’m swimming.
“I guess when I stop swimming that is when I’ll stop representing Zimbabwe,” she said, adding that she plans to go back home for two weeks after the Games.
Coventry is making the people of America and the people of Zimbabwe proud.
DHS' Immigration and Customs Enforcement head has entered the fray against Democratic Congressman Luis Gutierrez over characterization of recent enforcement actions as being conducted by the "Gestapo agents at Homeland Security."
Congressional Quarterly reports ICE chief Julie Myers was "appalled and deeply angered" by the statement.
No word yet from Congressman Gutierrez.
First, there are way too many gratuitous comparisons these days to the Nazis. Remarks like these have the effect of trivializing the Holocaust. If I were Congressman Gutierrez, I'd apologize for making the comparison, but continue to keep up the legitimate criticism of the sometimes extremely questionable excesses of the nation's immigration enforcement agency.
On the other hand, it's not exactly all kumbaya at ICE and its hard to stomach the hurt feelings protests we're hearing from the agency's leader. When I have to blog like I did this morning that the detainees dying of cancer are being called fakers and denied medical treatment, that Americans are being deported, that little kids are being separated from parents deported without being able to claim their children, etc. etc., there clearly is a problem. We would not be having congressional hearings on these things if all was going well.
Finally, people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. I don't recall hearing any censuring by DHS of Stewart Baker when last month he compared the nation's hundreds of thousands of human resource professionals to criminals for opposing E-Verify.
Most Americans know Marta's famous husband Bela, the great gymnastics coachand US national team coordinator who helped bring Nadia Comaneci and Mary Lou Retton to the gold medal podium. Bela's now retired from coaching national teams (though it has been fun watching him act as a commentator for NBC).
This year, it's Marta Károlyi's turn. The 66 year old Romanian is this year's American women's gymnastics national team coordinator and what a job she's done! Coach Karolyi has so far had her team members capture the all around women's gold and silver medals and a team bronze.
Marta partnered with her husband in building the Romanian national gymnastics program in the 1960s and 1970s turning the tiny country's gymnasts in to the world's best. The two defected to the US in 1981 and brought their magic to our country producing champion after champion.
Bela turned the reins of the US national team over to his wife in 2001 and she's reshaped the program (and also improved relations with the gymnasts and coaches who sometimes had difficulty dealing with Bela's stronghanded approach).
Congratulations on a glorious Olympics for Marta and we hope 2008 is one of your most memorable Games.
The New York Times reports this morning that a supervisor at the Agriprocessors meat processing plant in Postville, Iowa who has been criminally charged in the massive immigration raid, has filed a motion to have Judge Lynda Reade removed from the case. Martin de la Rosa Loera's attorneys argue that "a reasonable person migh harbor doubts" that Judge Reade will be neutral based on criticism that the judge worked to organize and preside over rapid criminal prosecutions of hundreds of detained workers in a fairgrounds cattleyard. Does anyone see any irony in terms of where those cases were heard?
Maybe Michael Phelps is not an immigrant, but I did want to take note that the greatest Olympian in history is doing something good for his country beyond bringing Olympic glory. He's lent his name to We Are Ellis Island, a charity that is helping to restore a cornerstone in the nation's immigration history. Here's the organization's description of what it seeks to accomplish:
Sometimes called Ellis Island's "forgotten side," nearly 30 hauntingly beautiful buildings on the Island's South Side have been vacant, shuttered, and unseen by the public for well over a half a century. These are the former buildings where immigrants in need of medical attention received care. The buildings are in dire need of repair and your help. Save Ellis Island, Inc. has joined the National Park Service to raise funds to rescue and reuse these buildings.
Here's the commercial featuring Michael and his telling what immigration has meant to him:
Kenyan-born Bernard Lagat had a tough night this evening in the 1500 meter race. He was a favorite to win the gold, but struggled in the semifinal heat and did not qualify for the finals. Lagat had won bronze and silver medals in the event in the last two Olympics, but this was the first he would be running as a naturalized American citizen.
Don't dare call it ping pong. Chinese-born David Zhuang is the only American to qualify to compete in table tennis at the Olympics. The 44 year old is much older than most of his competitors, but his nearly four decades of experience will serve him well. The men's table tennis preliminary tournament began this evening and I've been watching Zhuang play against Toriola of Nigeria as I write. Unfortunately, he just lost an extremely close match and won't advance.
By the way, I now have more of an interest in table tennis since I recently found out in the course of working on my family tree that my cousin Marcus Schussheim was in the first US national champion in table tennis in 1931 and has been inducted in to the US Table Tennis Hall of Fame. USA Table Tennis' lifetime achievement award is named for Marcus.
A hearty congratulations to Chinese-born Liang Chow who coached American Shawn Johnson on to Olympic Gold on the balance beam. This has been a homecoming as well. Chow has not been home in 14 years and he had not seen his grandparents in all that time.
Chow was the captain of the Chinese gymnastics team in the 80s and now runs a gym in Des Moines, Iowa. The cheerful coach (and did anyone see that jerk of a pole vault coach who was caught on tape dressing down his student who had just won silver?) has not only helped his student develop the skills needed for gold, but he also has helped her develop the confidence to execute perfect routines.
Chow overcame adversity in the year leading up to the games when his gym became a victim of the Iowa floods that made world headlines. He was forced to relocate his business at one of the most critical and high pressure points in his career.
The surliness just drips from this narrative by Emily Feder, a US citizen, who was detained for hours at JFK Airport in NY. Denying people access to the bathroom, food, water? Collectively punishing people? Is this airport inspection or a warzone? The lack of professionalism exhibited by the officers in this story is, unfortunately, quite common. CBP does way more damage to our country than they help when they treat people this way. Here are a few choice passages.
There was one British tourist in the group. Paul (also not his real name) was traveling with three friends who had passed through customs soon after their plane landed and were waiting for him on the other side of the metal barrier; he suspected he had been detained because of his dark skin. When he asked if he could go to the bathroom, one of the guards said, "I wouldn't." "What if someone has to?" I asked. "They will just have to hold it," the guard responded with a smile. Paul began to cry. I watched as he, over the course of four hours, went from feeling exuberant about his trip to New York to despising the entire country. "I speak the Queen's English," he said to me. "I'm third-generation British. I came to America because I've always wanted to come here, and now they've got me so scared that all I want to do is go home. We're paying for your stupid war anyway."
To be powerless and mocked at the same time makes one feel ashamed, which leads quickly to rage. Within a few hours of my arrival, I saw at least 10 people denied the right to use the bathroom or buy food and water. I watched my traveling companion duck under a barrier, run to the bathroom and slip back into the holding section -- which, of course, someone of another ethnicity in a state of panic would be very reluctant to do. The United States is good at naming enemies, but apparently we are even better at making them, especially of individuals. I don't know if it's worse for national security -- and more embarrassing for Americans -- that this is the first experience tourists have of our country, or that some U.S. citizens get treated this way upon entering their own country.
The guards processed me then, ignoring the order of arrivals, if there ever had been one. They refused to distribute more complaint forms or call the supervisor back down at the request of Arab families. One officer threatened, "I'm talking politely to you now. If you don't sit down, I won't be talking politely to you anymore." One announced that because "the American girl" had gotten angry, the families would have to wait a few more hours. "The supervisor is not coming back."
In the past five years I have worked for human rights and refugee advocacy organizations in Serbia, Russia and Croatia, including the International Rescue Committee and USAID. I have traveled to many different places, some supposedly repressive, and have never seen people treated with the kind of animosity that Homeland Security showed that night. In Syria, border control officers were stern but polite. At other borders there have been bureaucracies to contend with -- excruciating for both Americans and other foreign nationals. I've met Russian officials with dead, suspicious looks in their eyes and arms tired from stamping so many visas, but in America, the Homeland Security officials I encountered were very much alive -- like vultures waiting to eat.
Thanks to reader lacrossegc for the link.
The US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, one notch below the Supreme Court, has ruled that the mere receipt of a no match letter by an employer does not equate to the employer having constructive knowledge that a worker is unauthorized to work.
For those of you not familiar with no match letters, these are letters the SSA sends employers when they determine that a worker's social security number and their names don't match. Billions of dollars sit in an account at SSA for people whose names and numbers don't match. Some of those folks are very likely illegally in the US. And many of the estimated 17,000,000 people with data problems are probably US citizens.
This is a key decision because for several years employers have not had clear guidance on how to handle the letters. Some immigration lawyers have advised clients that receiving an SSA no match letter puts the employer on notice that a worker is probably illegally present in the country.
The case centers around Aramark, a massive company that runs concessions at arenas around the US. The case involved workers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, home to the Lakers, Clippers and Kings. Aramark received no match letters and told 30+ employees that they had three days to prove they had new social security cards on order or they were fired. Most workers didn't respond and instead turned to Service Employees International Union which entered in to arbitration with Aramark over the issue.
The arbitrator found no evidence to prove the workers were illegal and ordered Aramark to pay back wages. The district court reversed the finding on public policy grounds. The 9th Circuit held that the arbitrator's fact finding must be honored and ruled against Aramark.
In addition to misuse by undocumented workers, SSN mismatches
could generate a no-match letter for many reasons,
including typographical errors, name changes, compound last
names prevalent in immigrant communities, and inaccurate or
incomplete employer records. By SSA’s own estimates,
approximately 17.8 million of the 430 million entries in its
database (called “NUMIDENT”) contain errors, including
about 3.3 million entries that mis-classify foreign-born U.S.
citizens as aliens. Congressional Response Report: Accuracy
of the Social Security Administration’s NUMIDENT File
(Dec. 2006), available at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/oig/
ADOBEPDF/auditt xt/A-08-06-26100.htm (last visited June
 As a result, an SSN discrepancy does not automatically
mean that an employee is undocumented or lacks proper work
authorization. In fact, the SSA tells employers that the information
it provides them “does not make any statement about
. . . immigration status” and “is not a basis, in and of itself,
to take any adverse action against the employee.” Social
Security Number Verification Service Handbook, available at
http://www.ssa.gov/employer/ssnvs_handbk.htm (last visited
June 9, 2008).
In sum, the letters Aramark received are not intended by
the SSA to contain “positive information” of immigration status,
and could be triggered by numerous reasons other than
fraudulent documents, including various errors in the SSA’s
NUMIDENT database. Indeed, the letters do not indicate that
the government suspects the workers of using fraudulent documents.
Rather, they merely indicate that the worker’s earnings
were not being properly credited, one explanation of
which is fraudulent SSNs. One final point. Aramark has introduced no evidence concerning
the fired employees’ actual employment status other
than that they were named in the no-match letters and did not
quickly respond to the request for further verification of their
social security status. In addition to creating no “constructive
notice,” this evidence simply does not demonstrate that any of
the workers actually were unauthorized to work, particularly
because a social security card is only one way to prove work
Incidentally, the Court notes the no match rule from DHS that is being held up in the courts. The court would expand when employers are deemed to have constructive knowledge when they receive no match letters and also provides a "safe harbor" procedure for employers to terminate workers when they do get these letters.
Here's the text of the decision.
Congratulations to Henry Cejudo, the child of illegally present Mexican immigrants, who won a gold medal for his country in freestyle wrestling. I saw one of Henry's matches yesterday and he really was outstanding.
Henry's mother raised six children on her own with the wages of low-paying jobs. She had to move the family around the Southwest in order to find work and survive. According to the LA Times story on Cejudo, they even had to sleep four children to a bed.
Folks, this is the classic American dream story. Parents make unbelievable sacrifices in order to give their kids a chance at a better life. It was the story of immigrants that sailed to the US for religious freedom three hundred years ago. It was the story of immigrants who left their villages in Eastern and Southern Europe and processed through Ellis Island. And it is the story of Henry Cejudo's family today. Don't let the antis tell you otherwise. The same arguments were made at various points in US history and we've never failed because we kept the Golden Door open.
Greg Siskind is a partner in Siskind Susser's Memphis, Tennessee, office. After graduating magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, he received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago. Mr. Siskind is a member of AILA, a board member of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and a member of the ABA, where he serves on the LPM Publishing Board as Marketing Vice Chairman. He is the author of several books, including the J Visa Guidebook and The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet. Mr. Siskind practices all areas of immigration law, specializing in immigration matters of the health care and technology industries. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org