Menu | (904) 448-6646 | Email Us

Monthly Archives: August 2010

CASE STATUS: New Phone Number for Court Case Status effective August 30, 2010

A new phone number has been added to allow individuals to check the date for the next immigration court hearing. There is already an existing phone number that individuals can call at 1-800-898-7180 to obtain hearing information and future court dates, if applicable. The 800 # also explains any previous court history for each alien number provided. It is an automated phone number.

The new phone number is 1-240-314-1500. The main difference with the new phone number is that to obtain information through the new phone number, individuals will need more than just the alien number. The system will ask for the date that the Notice to Appear or other charging document was issued. More information on how to obtain the date that the charging document was filed can be found at www.justice.gov/eoir/HowToFindChargingDocumentDates.htm. This new phone system will be effective on August 30, 2010. The 800 # listed above will remain in working condition as well.

While a new phone number for individuals to check future court dates would usually be welcome, in this instance the new phone number may cause problems. The new phone number requires information that many applicants do not have and cannot obtain. For instance, we routinely check each client’s alien number to ensure that they are not in deportation / removal proceedings and also to check whether they have been in the past. Under the current 800 #, all we need is the alien number, which most clients have available.

On the other hand, many clients do NOT have their notices to appear (if they are in immigration proceedings) and may not even know that a Notice to Appear has been issued on their behalf. As a result, if a client is not aware that he is now in removal proceedings, then it would be impossible for the client and his immigration attorney to check his case status, as we would not have the information needed to access the court hotline information. This is a big deal, as that client would then not be alerted that he has a court date coming up and he would miss that court date, resulting in the client being ordered removed from the US.

While we applaud the efforts to update the system, we are concerned that the new requirement of having the Notice to Appear issuance date can cause many clients to miss their court hearings for lack of knowledge of the court date. It has been our experience that many clients do not have copies of their Notice to Appear and do not know where to obtain one or if they even have one issued on their behalf.

H-1B Cap Count as of August 06, 2010

As of August 06, 2010, there are 11,900 H-1B Master’s cap cases received. There is a 20,000 limit allowed for US earned Master’s degree cases for the year of 2010. The USCIS has also received 28,500 of the regular H-1B cap cases, of which there is a limit of 65,000 cases allowed to be accepted by USCIS for the year of 2010.

There is no doubt that there is a decrease in the numbers of employers who are using H-1B visas to bring or hire employees, possibly due to the increased H-1B audits being implemented by USCIS and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). The decrease in the usage of H-1B visas can also be due to a poor economy.

Employment Green Cards: September Visa Bulletin

The September Visa Bulletin has some good news for third category employment based green cards. The current priority date for the third category as of September 1, 2010 is now December 2004. The third category refers to skilled workers (2 years experience or more) and professionals (bachelor’s degree or equivalent is needed for qualification for the job offered). Other workers (less than 2 years experience needed for the job offered to qualify) are also under the third category for employment based green card sponsorship.

While the date of December 2004 sounds horribly delayed (we are now in August 2010), please note that last month (August 2010), the priority date was June 2004. The priority date in July 2010 for third category employment based green cards was August 2003. It is not uncommon in the past to see the date remain the same as time goes on. So we are seeing movement, which is why we say there is good news.

For a recent version of the visa bulletin, please go to www.needimmigrationhelp.com, under Useful Resources.

Spouses of Green Card Holders: Visa Bulletin September 2010

The Visa Bulletin for September 2010 has just been released, and we have more good news for spouses of green card holders. The current “priority date” for spouses of green card holders is January 1, 2010. This means that green card holders that applied for their spouses on or before January 1, 2010 will be current as of September 1, 2010. In other words, if they filed the form I-130 on or before January 1, 2010, they can now file the adjustment of status application, assuming that the spouse has not overstayed their visa in the US.

If the spouse is overseas, then the National Visa Center will quickly send the paperwork to the US green card holder spouse to complete the paperwork before the case can be sent to the US Embassy for an interview date to be set.

This is great news, as the old processing time for spouses of green card holders was about a 3 to 4 year wait. Now it looks like there is less than a 1 year wait. It is rare these days to get good news on immigration rules and procedures, so this is a nice change.
For a recent version of the Visa Bulletin, please go to www.needimmigrationhelp.com and click on visa bulletin under Important Resources.

Section 287(g): National Sheriff’s Association supports Section 287(g)

On August 5, 2010, the National Sheriff’s Association stated that it supports Section 287(g) to be implemented on a national level. Florida is currently one of the states of many states that have already implemented Section 287(g). Section 278(g) allows local police officers to participate in identifying and removing criminal aliens from the US. Under Section 287(g), police officers are authorized and even required to contact Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to alert them to all arrests for individuals that are not US citizens. Even if the individual is a green card holder, ICE will still be alerted that the individual has been arrested. It is then in ICE’s discretion what action they will take, which can include placing an immigration hold on the individual or placing them in removal proceedings.

For more information on Section 287(g), I have written an article reprinted in attorney publications on www.needimmigrationhelp.com. For more information on this recent news release, please go to http://www.aila.org/content/default.aspx?docid=32821