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Immigration News
April 16, 2015

@GetsonSchatz will be at the #AACR Career Fair on Saturday April 18th at the #AACR Annual Conference at the Philadelphia Convention Center from 9 am to 3 pm.  Please visit us for an EB-1A/EB-1B/NIW case evaluation and to learn about our travel awards.

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April 13, 2015

USCIS notice that on 4/13/15, it used a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select petitions to meet the FY2016 cap. USCIS will begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases no later than 5/11/15. USCIS received nearly 233,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period.

 

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April 8, 2015

USCIS has received enough H-1B cap-subject petitions to reach the cap for FY2016. USCIS will complete initial intake before it conducts the lottery, but due to the high number of petitions, it is not yet able to announce when the lottery will occur. AILA President Leslie Holman responded to this news, stating, “Once again, our country’s outdated and inefficient immigration laws are blocking economic gains and business growth.”

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March 25, 2015

The Associated Press reported that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit set a hearing date of April 17, 2015, to decide whether the temporary hold on President Obama’s #executive actions on #immigration should be lifted. Last month, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen issued a temporary injunction against the implementation of those executive actions

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March 24, 2015

USCIS released its long-anticipated L-1B adjudications policy memorandum that provides guidance on the L-1B classification, and supersedes and rescinds certain prior L-1B memoranda. Comments are due by May 8, 2015, and the memo is effective as of August 31, 2015.  See http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Outreach/Draft%20Memorandum%20for%20Comment/2015-0324-Draft-L-1B-Memo.pdf

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March 8, 2015

The American Immigration Council reported that immigrant entrepreneurs and small business owners contribute to local economies, often forming the backbone of neighborhoods. As part of his November announcement on immigration executive action, President Obama signed a presidential memorandum that creates a White House Task Force on New Americans to explore ways to strengthen federal immigrant and refugee integration. The task force will engage with community, business, and faith leaders, as well as state and local elected officials, to “help determine additional steps the Federal Government can take to ensure its programs and policies are serving diverse communities that include new Americans.” On February 9, as part of a “call for ideas” to help shape this strategy, individuals and organizations from across the U.S. submitted a comprehensive set of recommendations to the Task Force on New Americans  about how to encourage immigrant and refugee entrepreneurship and small business development.

When it comes to immigrant entrepreneurship, many organizations recommend the Task Force should consider leveraging and utilizing the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) nationwide network of local Small Business Development Centers. This could be done in partnership with local place-based initiatives and organizations to reach immigrants in their area. The Migration Policy Institute’s (MPI) National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, for instance, recommends that the SBA evaluate the effectiveness of its Small Business Development Centers’ programming in meeting the needs of immigrants and refugees, including offering multilingual services, for example.
Welcoming America  suggested the Task Force should push the SBA to participate in a local-federal program and capitalize on high rates of immigrant entrepreneurship. Additionally, SBA could also “use business tour exchanges to build relationships between immigrant and U.S. born entrepreneurs, suppliers, and consumers.” Furthermore, SBA could recognize and/or certify businesses that promote a welcoming environment.
Focusing particularly on strengthening immigrant integration as a component of economic development, WE (Welcoming Economies) Global Network recommends the Task Force consider ways of partnering SBA entrepreneurship programs and funding with existing immigrant entrepreneurship programs and organizations that are well-established in an immigrant community. The Task Force could also explore utilizing “federal resources, including Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration grants, Office of Refugee Resettlement funds, and U.S. Small Business Administration funds, to support immigrant entrepreneurship programs, as well as microloan and other lending pools.”
The National Partnership for New Americans recommends that the Task Force work with government agencies to explore how existing economic development programs can serve immigrants and refugees in U.S. cities and towns. Particularly, they suggest better identifying and addressing “the challenges these programs face in reaching and effectively serving immigrant business owners and immigrant-serving organizations that work to support them, including issues of language access and cultural competency.”
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Among many other suggestions around civic, economic, and linguistic integration, each of these organizations offered recommendations to the Task Force for exploring ways to leverage resources and expertise to strengthen immigrant entrepreneurship. By March 20, the Task Force will submit a National Integration Plan to President Obama. But the recommendations for that plan are just one component of these organizations’ broader emphasis on a comprehensive approach to immigrant integration. In its recommendations to the Task Force, Welcoming America stated that “every day, communities around the country and across the globe are recognizing that being welcoming makes them more economically competitive and vibrant places for all residents.” The federal government, they say, has a unique role to make sure communities use “the competitive advantage that comes from creating a welcoming climate.” The Task Force should keep in mind these recommendations from a diverse array of national, state, and local organizations and consider how best to use them to increase the economic power immigrants give to cities across the country.

– See more at: http://immigrationimpact.com/2015/03/04/groups-recommend-white-house-boost-immigrant-entrepreneurs/#sthash.F2rtIX6E.dpuf

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March 3, 2015

The United States House of Representatives has passed a “clean” bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security through September 30, 2015.  This is one less hurdle for the hopeful implementation of President Obama’s #executive actions on expanded #DACA and #DAPA.

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USCIS issued a memorandum regarding the standards for adjudication of H-1B Petitions for nursing occupations.  The memorandum can be found at http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Laws/Memoranda/2015-0218_EIR_Nursing_PM_Effective.pdf

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March 1, 2015

The American Immigration Council reported that the political lawsuit challenging the legality of parts of President Obama’s Executive Action should fail for a variety of reasons. But the lawsuit has already succeeded in two respects. First, it won a dubious preliminary injunction from a lower court judge temporarily halting the program while the case proceeds. (Earlier this week, the Obama Administration filed an emergency motion asking the judge to lift his order and let the program move forward, setting the course for an appeal to a higher court.) Second, the lawsuit has ginned up precisely the kind of fear and confusion it was conceived to create.

For example, some Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers are reportedly acting as if the injunction blocks not only expanded DACA and DAPA—but also the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) new November 2014 enforcement priorities. Those new priorities direct DHS officers to focus limited enforcement resources on national security and public safety threats, individuals convicted of a wide array of crimes (including some misdemeanors), as well as recent entrants and certain other immigration law violators. Immigration practitioners from various parts of the country report that a few ICE trial attorneys and deportation officers have indicated that the new priorities memo is no longer controlling. This is flat wrong. The new enforcement priorities are in full force and effect. ICE and Customs and Border Patrol officers who refuse to follow them are failing to adhere to policy.

It should have been clear from day one that the preliminary injunction did not and does not block the new enforcement policy. First, the Texas judge who granted the preliminary injunction expressly––and correctly––stated that the new enforcement priorities are “not subject to judicial second-guessing[.]” The court then wrote that DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson’s “decisions as to how to marshal DHS resources, how to best utilize DHS manpower, and where to concentrate its activities are discretionary decisions solely within the purview of the Executive Branch[.]” If any doubts lingered, Secretary Johnson’s unequivocal press release the next day should have laid them to rest. In it, he said that the new enforcement priorities “remain in full force and effect.” On Wednesday, in a televised town hall, President Obama said that immigration officers who fail to adhere to the enforcement policy may face consequences, much like members of the military who are expected to follow orders.

While it’s true that under the preliminary injunction ICE and other agencies within DHS may be prohibited from considering whether a particular immigrant is eligible for DACA or DAPA, it does not follow that people who are potentially eligible for those programs should be removed. Based on the way those programs are structured, virtually every person who qualifies for either DACA or DAPA will not fall within the enforcement priorities and should not be priorities for deportation as long as the new enforcement policy is in effect—regardless of what happens with the lawsuit.

After President Obama announced his executive actions, DHS established a process for reviewing enforcement decisions. That process is still in place. Advocates can and should play a role in identifying departures from policy to ensure that individuals are not wrongfully detained and deported.

 

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February 24, 2015

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director León Rodríguez announced today that, effective May 26, 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is extending eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. DHS amended the regulations to allow these H-4 dependent spouses to accept employment in the United States. Finalizing the H-4 employment eligibility was an important element of the immigration executive actions President Obama announced in November 2014. Extending eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants is one of several initiatives underway to modernize, improve and clarify visa programs to grow the U.S. economy and create jobs. “Allowing the spouses of these visa holders to legally work in the United States makes perfect sense,” Rodríguez said. “It helps U.S. businesses keep their highly skilled workers by increasing the chances these workers will choose to stay in this country during the transition from temporary workers to permanent residents. It also provides more economic stability and better quality of life for the affected families.” Eligible individuals include certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who: • Are the principal beneficiaries of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or • Have been granted H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act. The Act permits H-1B nonimmigrants seeking lawful permanent residence to work and remain in the United States beyond the six-year limit on their H- 1B status. DHS expects this change will reduce the economic burdens and personal stresses H-1B nonimmigrants and their families may experience during the transition from nonimmigrant to lawful permanent resident status, and facilitate their integration into American society. As such, the change should reduce certain disincentives that currently lead H-1B nonimmigrants to abandon efforts to remain in the United States while seeking lawful permanent residence, which will minimize disruptions to U.S. businesses employing them. The change should also support the U.S. economy because the contributions H-1B nonimmigrants make to entrepreneurship and science help promote economic growth and job creation. The rule also will bring U.S. immigration policies more in line with those laws of other countries that compete to attract similar highly skilled workers. Under the rule, eligible H-4 dependent spouses must file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with supporting evidence and the required $380 fee in order to obtain employment authorization and receive a Form I-766, Employment Authorization Document (EAD). USCIS will begin accepting applications on May 26, 2015. Once USCIS approves the Form I-765 and the H-4 dependent spouse receives an EAD, he or she may begin working in the United States. USCIS estimates the number of individuals eligible to apply for employment authorization under this rule could be as high as 179,600 in the first year and 55,000 annually in subsequent years. USCIS reminds those potentially eligible that this rule is not considered effective until May 26, 2015. Individuals should not submit an application to USCIS before the effective date, and should avoid anyone who offers to assist in submitting an application to USCIS before the effective date.

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