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US Government Files for Emergency Stay of Alabama Immigration Law; visa Chart Shows 3 Months+ Gain for China and EB-2 Category

by Alan Lee, Esq.

Following District Court Judge Sharon Blackburn's denial of a stay request of her ruling supporting many provisions of Alabama's restrictive immigration law while the U.S. government appealed, the Department of Justice sought an emergency stay of her decision at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on October 7th. Law-enforcement authorities in Alabama are now empowered to check on a driver's immigration status during routine traffic stops or arrests if reasonable suspicion exists that the person is in the United States illegally; elementary and secondary schools are required to determine the immigration status of their students; undocumented aliens can be charged criminally for willful failure to carry federal immigration papers; and any contracts entered into by illegal immigrants as well as transactions between any division of the state and undocumented immigrants are legally nullifiable.

Effects of the new law are already being felt as many undocumented immigrants are fleeing the state; workers are no longer reporting to their jobs; undocumented children or children of the undocumented are no longer attending classes; and crops are being left to rot in the fields. In requesting the emergency stay, the Department of Justice claimed that the new law was highly likely to expose persons lawfully in the United States, including schoolchildren, to new difficulties in routine dealings; that attempts to drive aliens off the grid would only impede the removal process established by federal law; and that the legislation could impact diplomatic relations with foreign countries.

The November 2011 visa chart showed steady movement in most categories with the capstone being a 3 month + jump in the EB-2 category for China and India. In the family based categories, F-1 (unmarried sons and daughters over the age of 21 of USCs) for most countries moved from 6/15/04 to 7/22/04; F-2A (unmarried children under the age of 21 of LPRs) from 1/8/09 to 2/15/09; F-2B (single sons and daughters over the age of 21 of LPRs) from 7/15/03 to 8/1/03; F-3 (married sons and daughters of USCs) from 9/8/01 to 9/22/01; and F-4 (siblings of USCs) from 5/15/00 to 6/15/00. In the employment based categories, EB-1 (extraordinary aliens, outstanding teachers or researchers, and multinational managers or executives), EB-4 (religious workers), and EB-5 (immigrant investors) remained current and available for all countries; EB-2 (members of the professions holding advanced degrees or persons of exceptional ability) remained current and available for most of the world with the exceptions of both China and India moving from 7/15/07 to 11/1/07; EB-3 (skilled workers or professionals) moved for most of the world from 12/8/05 to 12/22/05, with the exceptions of China born going from 8/8/04 to 8/22/04, and India born from 7/15/02 to 7/22/02; EW-3(unskilled workers) moved from 9/15/05 to 11/15/05 for most of the world with the exceptions of China born staying the same at 4/22/03, and India born advancing slightly from 6/8/02 to 6/15/02. The Visa Office noted that the advance in EB-2 cut off dates for China and India was the most favorable since August 2007 and held out the possibility of significant future cut off date movements in the category although they might not be made on a monthly basis.

2011 Alan Lee, Esq.

About The Author

Alan Lee author is a 30+ year practitioner of immigration law based in New York City holding an AV preeminent rating in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory and registered in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. He was also recently named to the New York Super Lawyers list. 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 Interpreter Releases, Immigration Daily, and 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 recognized by the Taiwan government in 1985 for his work protecting human rights. His article, "The Bush Temporary Worker Proposal and Comparative Pending Legislation: an Analysis" was Interpreter Releases' cover display article at the American Immigration Lawyers Association annual conference in 2004, and his victory in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in a case of first impression nationwide, Firstland International v. INS, successfully challenged INS' policy of over 40 years of revoking approved immigrant visa petitions under a nebulous standard of proof. Its value as precedent, however, was short-lived as it was specifically targeted by the Bush Administration in the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004.

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