If you're on an H-1B visa or have an employment-based green card application pending, today's call may be useful to you. We'll be talking about how to use the AC21 law to move quickly to a new employer and also how to extend your H-1B status to make sure you remain legal and work authorized through the final processing of your green card.
Also, Ari the Answer Man addresses your questions. Sign up for the free program here. And if you miss the call, we'll be posting the recording as a podcast shortly afterward.
June 09, 2009
The July Visa Bulletin is out and there is really no good news. And there's terrible news for Mexicans and Chinese applicants. The Mexican 1st and 3rd family categories move backwards nearly two years. And Chinese EB-2 employment immigration applicants now join the Indian misery as priority dates retrogress five years (!) to January 2000.
Here are the numbers:
Family 1st - Advancement of worldwide, China and India numbers by one week to 15 NOV 2002. Mexico retrogresses nearly two years to 1 JAN 1991. The Philippines is stalled at 1 SEP 1993.
Family 2A - Worldwide, India, China and the Philippines numbers advance one week to 22 DEC 2004. Mexico jumps five weeks to 22 JUN 2002.
Family 2B - Worldwide, India and China numbers advance ten weeks to 15 APR 2001. Mexico is still stuck at 1 MAY 1992. The Philippines remains stalled at 01 APR 1998.
Family 3rd - Worldwide, India and China advances two weeks to 22 OCT 2000. Mexico retrogresses nearly 15 months to 01 JUL 1991. The Philippines remains stalled at 01 JUL 1991.
Family 4th - Worldwide numbers, China and India advance nine weeks to 22 OCT 1998. Mexico moves one month forward to 15 JUN 1995. The Philippines moves one week to 08 AUG 1986.
Employment 1st - All categories remain current.
Employment 2nd - Worldwide, Mexico and the Philippines remain current. India, as noted above, retrogresses to 01 JAN 2000. China retrogresses to join India at 01 JAN 2000.
Employment 3rd skilled/professional workers This category remains unavailable and it is not clear yet when it will again be available.
Employment 4th All categories remain current.
Employment 5th All categories remain current.
The Wall Street Journal reports on a really interesting case (being argued by my old friend and fellow blogger Angelo Paparelli). USCIS has denied a green card application for a Buddhist monk who took an oath of poverty and is living in a monastery. USCIS considers the monk to be illegally employed despite the fact that he receives no income. Angelo told me about this case when saw each other at the annual AILA meeting last week and I'm glad the story is attracting media attention. Good luck, Monk Phra Bunphithak Jomthong.
The other team competing in this year's Stanley Cup (which will end on Friday) is the great Detroit Red Wings organization. And they've got a mostly immigrant roster as well including these players:
Daniel Cleary - Canada
Pavel Datsyuk - Russia
Aaron Downey - Canada
Kris Draper - Sweden
Jonathan Ericsson - Finland
iValtteri Filppula - Finland
Johan Franzen - Sweden
Darren Helm - Sweden
Tomas Holmstrom - Sweden
Marian Hossa Czech Republic
Jiri Hudler - Czech Republic
Jakub Kindl Czech Republic
Tomas Kopecky - Sweden
Niklas Kronwall - Sweden
Maybe the 60 Minutes story from a few months ago is making a difference. DHS finally agreed today to show some humanity and not proceed for two year with deporting widows and widowers of US citizens (often American soldiers who die in combat) who only were denied green cards because their spouses died before USCIS could finish processing their cases. The courts have not been consistent in their rulings and it is going to take the US Supreme Court settling the matter (or DHS backing down). Hopefully, this marks the end of USCIS' rabid pursuit of a population that deserves sympathy instead of deportation.
My friend John Lamb in Nashville blogs today about ICE's Hutto detention center where whole families are jailed while awaiting deportation. I'm reminded of Charles Dickens' tales of debtors prisons in Victorian England where "lawbreakers" who violated British laws relating to debt were jailed right along with their spouses and children. It's hard for me to tell the difference. I don't know that I blame CCA, the contractor that runs the center. Nor do I necessarily blame ICE which is simply carrying out their mission. The country's policymakers carrry responsiblity - senior DHS officials, White House officials, members of Congress, etc. The President can be forgiven for a little while as his Administration is still new. But soon enough, blaming the prior Administration will no longer be an acceptable excuse.
Law enforcement officials around the country have been experimenting for years with alternatives to detaining people and I find it really hard to believe that there are not good options here. It's time to close these facilities and end this shameful chapter in our immigration history.
John links to a new film that is out documenting life at Hutto and I look forward to seeing it.
June 07, 2009
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is promising immigration will be one of three major legislative priorities this year (the other two are health care reform and energy). It's not news that Senator Reid wants to push for reform this year, but it is the first time I've seen him be this specific on where immigration reform ranks on the priorities list.
June 04, 2009
I got nervous when I heard the meeting was canceled due to a scheduling conflict. But at least it's just a week.
Marshall Fitz, advocacy director at the American Immigration Lawyers Association's annual meeting in Las Vegas that Democrats could see passing immigration reform as a chance to lock down the allegiance of the surging Hispanic electorate in the coming years. And Republicans who see the dangers of permanently losing millions of voters are more likely to get on board.
A coalition of hundreds of organizations has come together for the worthy cause of pushing for fair immigration reform this year. RIFA has kicked off this effort with a summit in Washington leading up to next week's White House gathering on immigration.
The message of RIFA is simple - "We cannot wait any longer. America needs to reform immigration now!"
I'm at the annual meeting of the American Immigration Lawyers Association here in Las Vegas. I'll be speaking tomorrow and will be reporting interesting news that I learn in the sessions and in the halls.
I also wanted to let folks know that ILW.com, the host of this blog, is at AILA, but not in the exhibit hall. You'll find them at Room 3701 (Level 3, Toscana) which is in the same area as the conference. ILW.COM has a lot of new books immigration lawyer readers of this blog will want to check out.
June 03, 2009
Despite regular statements by pundits that lawmakers can't move an immigration reform bill in the middle of a recession, several recent polls show the public not only is ready, but that support for reform has actually been INCREASING. I've blogged on recent ABC/Washington Post and CBS/NY Times polls and yesterday I listened in on a media conference call hosted by the pro-immigration advocacy group America's Voice that featured Pete Brodnitz of the firm Benenson Strategy Group and Celinda Lake of Lake Research Partners who discussed their recent public opinion research. Benenson's firm has done recent polling on the subject and Lake's firm has been conducting focus groups.
The data shows that the public overwhelmingly rejects mass deportations and other enforcement-only approaches. Rather, most people want to see broad legalization tied in to the creation of a system that brings back an orderly US immigration system. According to Brodnitz,
Swing voters, such as those undecided on the 2010 Congressional race, overwhelmingly favor a comprehensive approach to immigration reform, with more than 8 in 10 supporting comprehensive reform, and argue that we would be better off if illegal immigrants became legal taxpayers and paid their fair share. Swing voters want to create a level playing field for all workers and honest businesses that are being undercut by unscrupulous businesses violating labor and tax laws.
Lake Research Partners made a similar finding. According to Lake, "the economy and all the other urgent problems currently facing the country have put voters into a more solution oriented frame of mind, continuing their receptiveness to comprehensive immigration reform." Furthermore, Lake notes"In this economy, voters are very focused on finding solutions to our problems. They support comprehensive immigration reform as a practical, common-sense solution and have no patience for politicians who want to point fingers and score points rather than fix the problem."
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