New I-129 Form, New USCIS Fees, Republicans Plans And DREAM Act
Form I-129 (Petition for a Non-Immigrant Worker) which is used for most non-immigrant categories involving employment in the United States is changing. The new form will be much more intrusive and probing than the current one, and has been a large concern of all practitioners who have studied it. However, U.S.C.I.S. is still going forward with the revised form, which is to be published on November 23, 2010. Unless there is last moment reconsideration, the last date for use of the current form will be by postmark on December 22, 2010. Following that date, only the revised form will be acceptable. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) reports that it has received word from USCIS that a receipt notice from a courier service or overnight mailing service will be considered a postmark for fee determination purposes.
November 23, 2010, is also the first date for the new fees by U.S.C.I.S. which will raise the average immigration fee by 10%. The last date to submit petitions/applications with the old fee is November 22, 2010, by postmark.
The H-1B count as of November 12, 2010, is up to 65,200, which is allocated 47,800 for the regular H-1B cap and 17,400 against the U.S. Masters or higher cap. Now there are approximately 19,800 cap numbers left. Projections for use of numbers would indicate that the cap will not be exhausted for at least the next two-three months.
With the Republican Party's resounding victory in the midterm elections, most political pundits have concluded that the chances for legalization in the next Congress have plunged. In the House, three anti-immigrant representatives are poised to ascend to prominent roles over immigration including Lamar Smith (R-TX) who is likely to become the Chair of the Judiciary Committee, Steve King (R-IA) who will likely chair the Immigration Subcommittee, and Peter King (R-NY) who is scheduled to chair the Homeland Security Committee.
Birthright citizenship will unfortunately be on the table again in the new Congress as the newly empowered Republicans led by the incoming chairman of the Immigration Subcommittee, Steve King (R-IA), will push to deny citizenship to children who are born in the U.S. Birthright citizenship has been a part of U.S. immigration law since the passage of the 14th Amendment guaranteeing citizenship to anyone born in the U.S. since 1868. The abolition of birthright citizenship is highly supported by the Tea Party, thus placing much pressure on the Republicans to follow suit. Their argument is two headed, one being that there was no immigration issue at the time the 14th Amendment was passed, and that the 14th Amendment was only meant to protect the rights of Blacks and Indians. Abolition of birthright citizenship would of course dash the hopes of most illegals for a better life for their children, and damage this country's ability to renew itself with the legal sons and daughters of the immigrants. Such a movement would also create a permanent subclass of children who would be among the best and brightest that the U.S. has educated, but with limited future and the possibility of divided loyalty between this country and the homeland of their parents. Stay tuned!
In a last-ditch effort to pass some type of positive immigration legislation in the lame duck session before the next Congress comes in, Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) have stated that they plan to have the Senate and House vote on a stand-alone DREAM Act in the week of November 29th to legalize illegal students who entered the United States before the age of 16. For Harry Reid, such vote is a fulfillment of the promise that he made to Latino voters in Nevada who were critical in his close victory for the Senate seat over his Tea Party opponent, Sharron Angle. President Obama has stated that he will reach out to contact resistant members of Congress in support of the legislation.
© 2010 Alan Lee, Esq.
Alan Lee, Esq. is a 25 year practitioner of immigration law based in New York City. He was awarded the Sidney A. Levine prize for best legal writing at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 1977 and has written extensively on immigration over the past years for the ethnic newspapers, World Journal, Sing Tao, Pakistan Calling, Muhasha and OCS. He has testified as an expert on immigration in civil court proceedings and was given two awards by the Taiwan government for his work protecting human rights in 1985. Readers may visit Mr. Lee's website at http://www.alanleelaw.com.
The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.