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Bloggings On Updates In Immigration Law

by Carl Shusterman

September 2011 Visa Bulletin: Dead on Arrival

For immigrants seeking green cards, September is the cruelest month. This is because it is the final month of the federal fiscal year and most of the 226,000 family-based and the 140,000 employment-based green card numbers have already been used up. By the time that September rolls around, the "patient" is practically dead on arrival.

There is no forward movement in 3 of the 5 family-based worldwide preference categories: the 1st (unmarried adults sons and daughters of U.S. citizens), the 2B (unmarried adult sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents) and 3rd (married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens). The worldwide 4th preference category (brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens) inches forward a single week, while the 2A category (spouses and children of lawful permanent residents moves forward over 4 months.

The news is better for persons born in the most severely backlogged countries, Mexico and the Philippines. All of the Mexican family-based preference categories show forward movement, ranging from one week in the 3rd category to almost 4 months in the 2A category. The story for Filipinos is even better with advances ranging from 6 weeks in the 3rd category to over 6 months in the 1st category.

See the chart below:


Categories Worldwide China (PRC) Mexico Philippines
1st 5-01-04 5-01-04 3-15-93 11-01-96
2A 12-01-08 12-01-08 9-22-08 12-01-08
2B 7-01-03 7-01-03 10-01-92 12-01-00
3rd 8-22-01 8-22-01 11-22-92 5-15-92
4th 4-15-00 4-15-00 3-22-96 7-08-88

Among the worldwide employment-based categories, worldwide 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th remain current (no backlogs), while the 3rd category for professionals and skilled workers advances 3 weeks compared to a 3 month advance for unskilled workers.

India and China EB-2 (professionals with advance degrees) fails to advance a single day while China EB-3 moves forward 2 weeks compared to 5 weeks for India EB-3.

See the chart below:


Categories Worldwide China (PRC) India Mexico Philippines
1st Current Current Current Current Current
2nd Current 4-15-07 4-15-07 Current Current
3rd 11-22-05 7-15-04 7-08-02 11-22-05 11-22-05
Unskilled 8-01-05 4-22-03 6-01-02 8-01-05 8-01-05
4th Current Current Current Current Current
Religious Current Current Current Current Current
5th Current Current Current Current Current

The September Visa Bulletin also contains the numerical results of the DV-2012 visa lottery. Almost 15 million people registered for the lottery, over 19 million if you count derivatives. Of this total, most the "winners" were from Africa with Nigerians topping the list at 6,024; Europe led by Ukrainians at 5,799; Asia where 4,453 persons born in Iran were selected; South America with 925 Venezuelans; Oceania led by 900 Australians and the only eligible country in North America, the Bahamas with 15 winners.

However, it is important to remember that the maximum numbers of green cards which can be granted to persons chargeable to a single country is 3,500 in a fiscal year, and that out of 100,000 "winners" of the visa lottery, only 50,000 can actually be granted permanent residence.

About The Author

Carl Shusterman is the managing attorney of Law Offices of Carl Shusterman based in Los Angeles, CA. He has specialized in immigration law for over 30 years and his six-attorney law firm represents clients in all 50 states. Mr. Shusterman is a 1973 graduate of the UCLA School of Law. He served as an attorney for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) until 1982 when he entered private practice. He is authorized to practice before the Supreme Court of California, the Federal District Court in the Central District of California, the U.S. Court of Appeals in a number of different circuits and the Supreme Court of the United States. Mr. Shusterman is a former chairman of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), Southern California Chapter and served as a member of AILA's National Board of Governors (1988-97). He has chaired numerous AILA Committees, spoken at dozens of AILA Conferences and has contributed a number of scholarly articles to AILA's publications. Mr. Shusterman is a Certified Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law, State Bar of California. He has served as a member of the Immigration and Nationality Law Advisory Commission for the State Bar. He has been named as one of Best Attorneys in America and as a SuperLawyer for many years. He is a frequent writer and lecturer on immigration law. Mr. Shusterman has testified as an expert witness before the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration in Washington, D.C. His website,, receives over 1,000,000 hits each week, and his free, e-mail newsletter has almost 60,000 subscribers in more than 150 countries.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.