A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration attorney and counsel. Contact Info: 732-632-9888, http://www.1visa1.com/ (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

Friday, October 12, 2018

November 2018 Visa Bulletin





In November's Visa Bulletin, there are not many changes in the employment-based categories. China's EB-2 and Philippines's EB-3 advance slightly.  All EB-1 categories remain retrogressed.  Family 1st and 2A also enjoy some small advancements.  


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AD: Dates for Final Action (Approval)              FD: Dates for Filing Applications Only

      Family
Other Countries
      China
India
Mexico
Philippines
F1
AD
06/22/2011
06/22/2011
06/22/2011
08/01/1997
02/01/2007
FD
03/08/201203/08/201203/08/201210/08/1998
02/15/2008
F2A
AD
09/15/2016
09/15/2016
09/15/2016
09/01/2016
09/15/2016
FD
12/01/2017
12/01/2017
12/01/2017
12/01/2017
12/01/2017
F2B
AD
01/01/2012
01/01/2012
01/01/2012
06/08/1997
06/01/2007
FD
03/22/2014
03/22/2014
03/22/2014
06/22/1997
12/15/2007
F3
AD
07/08/2006
07/08/2006
07/08/2006
12/22/1995
06/22/1995
FD
01/08/2007
01/08/2007
01/08/2007
12/22/1998
06/01/1997
F4
AD
03/22/2005
03/22/2005
06/01/2004
02/08/1998
06/15/1995
FD
06/01/2005
06/01/2005
01/01/2005
06/22/1998
04/08/1996

1st: Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Citizens (about 23,400 per year).
2A: The 2 "A" preference is for Spouses and Children (under 21 & unmarried) of LPR's.
2B: The 2 "B" Preference is for Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 or older) of LPR's.
3rd: Married Sons and Daughters of Citizens (about 23,400 per year)
4th: Brothers and Sisters of Adult Citizens. (about 65,000 per year)
   
Employment
Other Countries
China
El Salvador
Guatemala
Honduras
India
Mexico
Philippines

Vietnam
EB1
AD
      04/01/2017
    06/01/2016
04/01/2017
  06/01/2016
04/01/2017
04/01/2017
04/01/2017
FD
06/01/2018
10/01/2017
06/01/2018
10/01/2017
06/01/2018
06/01/2018
C
EB2
AD
 C
05/15/2015
C
  03/26/2009
C
C
        C
FD
C
06/15/2015
C
05/22/2009
C
C
C
EB3
AD
C
06/01/2015
C
01/01/2009
C
06/08/2017
C
FD
C
08/08/2015
C
10/01/2009
C
07/01/2017
C
Other Workers
  AD
C
05/01/2007
          C
01/01/2009
C
06/08/2017
C
FD
C
06/01/2008
C
10/01/2009
C
07/01/2017
C
EB4
AD
C
C
02/15/2016
C
11/22/2016
C
C
FD
C
C
05/01/2016
C
C
C
C
EB5
AD
C
08/15/2014
C
C
C
C
02/01/2016
FD
C
10/01/2014
C
C
C
C
C









1st: Priority Workers (Extraordinary ability aliens, multinational companies executives/managers, outstanding prof./researchers)
2nd: Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability.
3rd: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers (Unskilled.)
4th: "Special Immigrants" (Religious & others)    
5th: Employment Creation (Investors)

Friday, October 5, 2018

From Application Denials to Deportation


On June 28, 2018, USCIS released a guidance allowing a Notice to Appear (NTA) to be issued when an application is denied and the applicant has lost his or her legal status in the U.S. An NTA is serious -- it calls for the recipient to face an immigration judge in court and begins formal removal procedures. The guidance's wording suggested officers would have substantial leeway to issue the document upon denying an application. USCIS further clarified this new policy through a recent memo and a public conference.  

Under the recent memo, removal proceedings can be initiated for application denials due to fraud, abuse of public benefits, criminal issues (for N-400), and threats to national security. It will also apply to those without lawful status after having their case denied.  USCIS has begun implementation the new policy since October 1st. This covers I-485, I-539, and N-400 applications. 

TPS denial and subsequent unlawful status will still result in an NTA, as the 2003 memo dictates. The Oct. 1 implementation does not cover I-129, I-140, and asylum cases. DACA is also not covered in this memo.

As mentioned above, criminal issues are a targeted basis of issuing an NTA. Specifically, crimes of moral turpitude (based on having evil intent) and multiple criminal convictions are grounds for deportation. On October 1st, USCIS also gains the authority to issue NTAs on cases of egregious public safety or crimes instead of referring them to ICE.

USCIS will generally wait 33 or 18 days (periods for filing appeals and motions) after denial before issuing an NTA, or after the decision on an appeal or motion if applicable. Adjudicators can also consult a panel of immigration officers and legal counsel (prosecutorial discretion review panel) to help make the decision. Cases involving children will similarly be looked at by such a panel. 

Immigrant and non-immigrant workers sponsored by their employer as well as asylum seekers are not subject to the new guidelines. Still, any non-immigrant should carefully consider their options and take any application seriously.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Refugee Cap Slashed to Record Low 30,000

The number of refugees to be admitted next fiscal year is now capped at 30,000. This is a substantial decrease compared to this year's cap of 45,000 and a new record low. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the announcement recently, citing that the country should prioritize its current backlog of asylum seekers.

Since 1975, the United States has been offering asylum through its refugee admissions program to those that qualify. Refugees are generally defined by the U.N. as those that have left their country due to persecution, war, or violence. The legal definition of a refugee is someone who is fearful of returning to their last country of residence due to persecution suffered or a "well-founded fear" of future persecution because of religion, race, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.

Under the U.S. laws, asylum seekers are those who meet the U.N. definition of refugees and also a hose of additional legal requirements that have been developed in the U.S. courts. Asylum seekers are refugees that request protection in the United States. They may be applying at a border of entry or within the United States. Those applying at the border, usually during expedited removal proceedings, do so defensively by claiming they have credible fear of persecution or torture. They then undergo a credible fear interview to see if they meet the definition of a refugee. Those that are in the country and are undergoing removal proceedings may also apply defensively for asylum. If these applicants prove they have credible fear, they will not be removed and instead will gain legal protection as refugees. Those legally in the United States may apply affirmatively for asylum. If denied, they will legally remain in the country until their visa expires. Denials may be appealed to an immigration judge, who will refer the case for a full hearing if he/she finds credible fear.

All asylum seekers bear the burden of proof of meeting the legal definition of refugees in order to receive legal protection and assistance. This is through showing that they had already been persecuted in the past or that they have a well-founded fear that it would happen to them. Persecution is abuse by the government or people that authorities will not or cannot control. Asylum seekers must show the mistreatment is because of religion, race, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. They also have to have their biometrics taken and undergo a series of background checks.  If the case is approved, the applicant gains asylum and may also apply for permanent resident status at a later date. 

Next year's cap does not mean 30,000 refugees will be accepted. The actual number has been less than the allowed cap in the past years. Given the tight immigration restrictions of this administration, the number of refugees is predicted to be far less. Only 20,918 refugees have been admitted this fiscal year, which is less than half of the 45,000 cap.

Unfortunately, it will be harder for asylum-seekers to gain asylum and stay in America. Although denials can be appealed to immigration court, BIA (Board of Immigration Appeals), and a federal court, those without legal status will be removed if their asylum claim is ultimately denied. The current administration will continue tightening immigration law and perpetuating an unfriendly environment.