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Monthly Archives: July 2010

Jacksonville USCIS Procedures: Fingerprinting Updates

The supervisors at the local Jacksonville, Fl USCIS sub-office, where our law office is also located, have recently issued an update on fingerprinting procedures. The USCIS sub-office in Jacksonville, Fl has designated Wednesdays as fingerprint make-up day for those that have missed their scheduled fingerprint appointment within the past 90 days.

An applicant can go to the Jacksonville USCIS sub-office anytime from 7:30-3:00 pm on Wednesdays to do their fingerprints. Applicants MUST bring their original fingerprint request with them and this request must have been issued within the past 90 days. If you wish, you may schedule an infopass on any given Wednesday to ensure that the security guards will allow you to enter the immigration building. However, the USCIS office in Jacksonville, FL has indicated that an infopass appointment is not mandatory to gain entry into the building.

In addition to bringing the original fingerprint request, be sure to bring the other documents as indicated on your fingerprint appointment request. This should include an original photo ID, such as a valid driver’s license or valid passport, among other documents.

The USCIS sub-office in Jacksonville, FL has also indicated that fingerprints will remain valid for 15 months.

Jacksonville, FL USCIS Procedures: Rescheduling Requests

Recently, the local USCIS immigration office in Jacksonville, FL has issued an update on rescheduling requests by applicants or their immigration attorneys on behalf of the applicants. This information was provided during a meeting of local immigration attorneys and USCIS supervisors from the Jacksonville, FL immigration office. The USCIS Supervisor has indicated that it takes about 30 to 60 days to get rescheduled for an N-400 (naturalization) interview, I-751 interview and an I-485 (adjustment of status or green card) interview.

The Immigration Supervisor will review the request for rescheduling to ensure that the reason provided is valid.

Swearing-in ceremonies can only be rescheduled twice or the N-400 will need to be re-filed again. From previous meetings, I recall that the Immigration Supervisor stated that for interview rescheduling requests, one time is allowed and any other rescheduling requests beyond that point will be scrutinized. In addition, for rescheduling requests beyond one time for green card interviews, naturalization, and I-751 interviews, much proof will be required before the request will be granted, if it is granted at all. If it is not granted, the case will be denied due to abandonment and the entire case will need to be re-filed.

No Visa, No Education in New York State: Is this Constitutional?

According to a recent article in the New York Times, one in five schools are requiring immigration related documents or immigration related information before the child will be accepted into the school program. The school districts defend their actions by stating that immigration status is only one factor in many that they consider. This new requirement is putting fear in the hearts of many undocumented families, because they worry that the school district will refer their information over to the immigration authorities if they are undocumented.
This new trend is disturbing because it appears to be unconstitutional. The US Supreme Court in 1982 held that all children residing in a district have the right to free education and equal access to education from grades kindergarten to 12th grade, regardless of whether they are legal in the US or not. The case that upheld this pro-immigration rights decision is Plyler v. Doe.
The Civil Liberties Union has recently taken action by sending letters to these school districts advising them that their practice may be unconstitutional. Only the Williamsville Central School District has not responded positively. The other school districts changed their registration requirements. The Williamsville Central School District, outside Buffalo, demands that a visa be supplied in order for the child to register. The Williamsville School District also states that they use the visa requirement as just only one of the requirement, not as the deciding factor.
Thank goodness that at least in 1982, the US was not anti-immigration, as shown by the above US Supreme Court case.
For more information, please refer to this direct link at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/23/nyregion/23immig.html?src=me

Find an Immigration Detainee

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has finally created an online tool to find detainees at any of the 250 detention centers throughout the US. The online tool can be accessed at https://locator.ice.gov/odls/homePage.do

Please check out my attorney publications section on our website at www.needimmigrationhelp.com for more details on how to use this online detainee locator tool. We have used it, and we have found it to be fairly reliable.

Employment Based Interviews at US Embassies Fast Approaching

For immigration attorneys who have employment based cases with priority dates reaching back to 2004, the National Visa Center is now quickly issuing appointments for interviews with US Embassies for as early as August 4, 2010 and August 24, 2010. For my clients, these appointments have been set with the US Embassy in Damascus, Syria as well as US Embassy in Greece and other US Embassies throughout the world.
These new appointments have taken place because the Visa Bulletin for August 2010 moved the priority date to June 2004 for EB-3 categories excluding India and China. The EB-3 employment based category includes skilled workers (position requires 2 years experience and applicant has the requisite experience) and professionals (position requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and applicant meets the requirement).
We wish our clients success at their interviews!

H-1B Visa Audits: American Immigration Council Sues USCIS & DHS

Today, the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center filed a lawsuit against DHS and USCIS on behalf of the American Immigration Lawyers Association alleging that their FOIA requests were denied in error. The lawsuit demands that the DHS and USCIS approves the requests for copies of the standards and procedures used by USCIS to determine which of the H-1B sponsors will be subjected to an audit and / or site visit under the H-1B visa program.

The USCIS is expected to conduct up to 25,000 site visits in 2010 alone of H-1B visa sponsors to ensure that they are complying with the H-1B visa rules. The USCIS has kept secret their review policies and how they determine which company will be audited or receive a site visit. The USCIS has outright denied the FOIA requests, and AILA is suing under the premise that President Obama’s stated policy is an open and transparent government policy.

All of the recent lawsuits happening are a result of USCIS’ recent enforcement of H-1B site visits and also of USCIS’ stricter H-1B eligibility guidelines. USCIS’ strict new policies are causing H-1B visas to be much less sought after than even in the year of 2007, for example. There has been an obvious decline in employers filing H-1B visas, possibly due to USCIS’ strict enforcement.

For more information, please go to http://www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org/sites/default/files/docs/FOIA-LawsuitPressRelease-07-20-2010.pdf

Immigration Reform: Who is our President?

The big selling point of President Obama’s campaign was that he is allegedly different from the status quo at the time, i.e. Former President Bush. But now over one year later, a look at the immigration enforcement numbers tells us that he is NOT so different after all. In fact, the immigration prosecutions under President Obama’s regime are higher than Bush’s immigration enforcement.

To begin, President Obama is sending 1200 National Guard troops out as we speak to help with enforcing our borders. In addition, even immigrants and illegal immigrants with minor criminal violations like driving offenses are being arrested and deported at record highs. Some have even called President Obama’s immigration policy to be a “Carbon Copy of Bush’s” immigration policy.

The reality is that now in the US, immigration enforcement is the new immigration reform of 2010.

For more information, you can refer to http://colorlines.com/archives/2010/07/obamas_immigration_enforcement_a_carbon_copy_of_bush.html

E-2 Visa Extensions: Marginality Issue

A recent article features the Franks, a married couple who immigrated here from London, England on an investor visa over 9 years ago. They qualified for the investor visa in the year of 2000 because they purchased a restaurant, called Laura’s Kitchen.
All extensions were granted, until recently when the California Service Center denied their E-2 visa extension petition stating that the business is now “marginal.” While the Franks admit that profits are down due to a bad economy, the USCIS decision has now turned their whole world upside down because the business they have been relying on since 2000 must be sold. They must also leave the US within 30 days, according to the USCIS decision.

In fact, the Franks have decided to move to Canada, according to the article, where investors are treated more justly. They have since been granted an additional 90 days on a visitor visa to remain in the US for the sole purpose of selling their business. It is disappointing that a couple who has done everything correct and tried to play by the immigration rules now must sell their family business and relocate to yet another country.

Unfortunately at my law office in Jacksonville, Fl, we are receiving phone calls from potential new clients telling us that they are having an extremely difficult time getting their investor visas extended, some for the same reason given to the Franks: Marginality. USCIS refers to the issue of marginality to state that a business must support not just the applicant and his family but also must be able to support other employees in order to qualify for the investor visa. A business in the US has 5 years to show that it is not marginal according to regulations. Before the 5 years, USCIS may refer to the business plan as one of the factors in determining whether the business is deemed marginal or not.

To read the article, please go to http://www.pressherald.com/opinion/punishing-those-who-play-by-the-rules_2010-06-27.html

Puerto Rico Birth Certificate Invalidation

On July 1, 2010, the Vital Statistics Office of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico started to issue new birth certificates to citizens of Puerto Rico. These new birth certificates are certified copies and are more secure to guard against fraud. This is urgently important for all Puerto Rican citizens filing petitions for their family members, as after September 30, 2010, all birth certificates issued to Puerto Ricans before July 1, 2010 will become Invalid.

If you already have a case open (i.e. pending) with USCIS and you have already submitted your birth certificate that was issued before July 1, 2010, you will be OK and will not need to re-submit a new birth certificate. Applicants may also continue to submit birth certificates that were issued before July 1, 2010 for cases that they file with immigration until September 30, 2010.

However, all cases filed with USCIS or any other immigration agency after September 30, 2010 will require a new certified birth certificate with an issuance date of July 1, 2010 or after by the Vital Statistics Office of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Further information can be obtained at http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=05e5b83235399210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=68439c7755cb9010VgnVCM10000045f3d6a1RCRD

New certified copies of these more secure birth certificates can be obtained by mail at
http://www.prfaa.com/birthcertificates/ and for the Spanish translation see http://www.prfaa.com/certificadosdenacimiento

TPS for Haitians Extended until January 2011

When the earthquake shattered Haiti in January of 2010, USCIS quickly made a provision for Haitians to apply for immigration relief by allowing them to apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The deadline originally granted for Haitians to complete and file their TPS application was until July 20, 2010.

On July 12, 2010, USCIS announced that they have extended the deadline now to January 18, 2011, which provides Haitians with an additional 6 months or so to file their applications for TPS. A TPS application, if approved by USCIS, allows the applicant to receive an employment card and be able to legally work, drive and remain in the US for the duration of the employment card.

The USCIS filing fees for TPS are $470 per applicant and the length of the employment card is for an 18-month period. Only Haitians that were already in the US when the earthquake occurred are eligible for TPS. While some Haitians are skeptical and afraid to request TPS relief because they believe that USCIS will use their information against them in the future, others have applied and received their employment cards. So far, around 55,000 Haitians have applied for TPS relief. For more information on the newly released news, please see the article by the Associated Press at

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5h3-xkjfd_KkYtFN4obYFedRnyKtAD9GTJEVO0

A TPS application must be made on Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, and on Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. Applicants must provide proof of their Haitian nationality as well as proof of their residence in the US on or about January 12, 2010.