Is Money Behind USCIS Move To Have Department Of State Take Unprecedented Action To "Update" July Visa Chart?
by Alan Lee, Esq.
Was the Department of State's unprecedented action on July 2, 2007, issuing an "Update on July Visa Availability" closing off visa availability for the rest of the fiscal year for employment based cases and essentially gutting its July visa bulletin (which opened the employment based categories EB-1 through EB-3 for adjustment of status applications) all about the money with U.S.C.I.S. in the role of culprit? We believe the answer unfortunately is "yes" and reflects U.S.C.I.S.'s desperate desire to grab its huge future fee increase from individuals that it saw slipping through its fingers. U.S.C.I.S. undoubtedly perceived its expected windfall of hundreds of millions of dollars through its outlandish July 30th increase in fees for petitions and applications (average increase 66%) threatened by the July visa chart which would allow many employment based individuals and their families to beat the fee increases. A typical family of four (husband, wife, child aged 16 and the other 12) applying for adjustment of status currently pays $1,605 to U.S.C.I.S. (including I-140 charge). That same family on and after July 30th would pay $4,105, an increase of $2,500, or 255%. If one multiplies those figures by at least 100,000 ( $250 million difference), one can imagine the explosive temper of top U.S.C.I.S. officials when they saw the Visa Office July chart. U.S.C.I.S. has made no bones that it is depending upon the fee increases to fund its proposed systems and structures for the 21st century.
The Visa Office made it clear through the updating of the visa bulletin that its update was only because of U.S.C.I.S. action using the phrases "The sudden backlog reduction efforts by Citizenship and Immigration Services Offices during the past month....", and "As a result of this unexpected action....." The Visa Office cited these efforts as resulting in the use of almost 60,000 employment numbers. It is also clear that the Visa Office had no wish to defend U.S.C.I.S. when it issued its update on July 2nd. Whether it retains its stance in the future of washing its hands and pointing the finger at U.S.C.I.S. remains to be seen in light of probable Administration pressure to spin the story in a more positive light to the government as this Administration has exhibited a continual attitude of "soaking" immigrants, legal or otherwise ( $25,000+ for a family of four to immigrate under the recent fallen Senate bill ( See our article, "$10,000 Required For Earned Legalization and Adjustment Under the Secure Borders, Employment Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act", http://www.alanleelaw.com/english/articles/a2007-05-26.htm), which figure was modified from the earlier Administration proposal of $82,000+ ( See our article, "Mr. Lee's Comment to March 28, 2007 White House Immigration Reform Proposal - Z Visas", http://www.ilw.com/immigdaily/digest/2007,0403.shtm in "LETTERS" section), the passed amendment to S. 1639 raising H-1B surcharge fees to $5,000 on top of the fraud ($500) and filing ($190) fees, and the rapacious July 30th U.S.C.I.S. fee increase). The author recalls his telephone conversation with Charlie Oppenheim, the chief of immigrant visa control and reporting, Visa Office, in December 2004 concerning the 101,000 "pool numbers", in which Mr. Oppenheim gave no credence to U.S.C.I.S. figures that the agency had cleared over 100,000 cases (including dependents) between April and November. (The exact differential was 115,000 cases, a rate of about 16,400 per month). The author has no knowledge of the exact number of cases that U.S.C.I.S. claimed to close in June for the State Department to announce that almost 60,000 employment numbers were used (employment based immigrant visa numbers are also requested by U.S. consulates and embassies), but notes that the vast majority of employment based cases are with aliens in the States who adjust status here rather than consular processing their cases. If U.S.C.I.S. claimed to clear anywhere in the area of 40,000-50,000 cases last month, that number for one month is difficult if not incredulous to believe, and if true would have involved massive shifts of U.S.C.I.S. personnel from other responsibilities to comb through and adjudicate all files of persons eligible to immigrate through employment, or less than careful consideration of the cases. Hopefully the agency was not in such a desperate state as to cut corners to endanger our national security if it was the latter case.
The facts and the legality of U.S.C.I.S.'s actions will undoubtedly be the subject of multiple lawsuits. However this turns out, the agency and the Administration will wind up with less respect than before. This Administration needs all the good publicity that it can muster in light of its unpopular Iraq war and recent actions freeing Scooter Libby (not even Paris Hilton avoided imprisonment) and supporting Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and creating further public mistrust of the justice system even after confirmation that he and other White House aides politicized the selection of United States Attorneys. Unless U.S.C.I.S. and the Visa Office can change course, this episode will unfortunately become a black eye to all parties as further facts emerge in the coming days.
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And while you "hinted" that we are all equals, you did not say - if we are all equals, then why should there be PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT for one group of people over others, unless someone is still practicing APARTHEID. Last time I checked, practicing apartheid is a crime in US and it can land you in jail, not sure if you knew that.
And while you continue to apply for your green card, you are still charging "India" for that because as per you, your country of charge-ability is India, right? If you are actually from India, have you ever heard of Ron Hira. If not, check it out, you will know who he is. You are Ron Hira of country limits, if you know what that means.
Hope you liked the stand-up comedy this time. Oh Frank is just too good. I mean this guy could make you laugh when actually you should be crying, you know what I mean.
Sanju, I did not promise to give you any more examples - easy or otherwise. People have made up their minds, and arguments against the stand devolves into character assassination. While I myself dont care about the dots, and seeing that the discussion started off, at least in part, about unscrupulous distribution of dots, I find it very ironic that I am getting insulting words thrown at me. Either these people cant understand irony, or they really are just learned "angootha-chap", or they are addicted to red-doting people (pretty much bringing the prophecy of the original poster true).
Ron Hira? I dont know much about him, just saw that he wrote a book about outsourcing, am I Ron Hira of per country limits? maybe I am. But, you assumed that I like the per country limits. I hate a lot of things but I live with it. There are lot of things that we hate but are there to help regulate the environment (among others).
The point I am trying to make is that such an action will not be "fair" to people who are in queue (who rely on the 7% cutoff to get their GCs). If the congress makes changes to the rule, then people will have to live with it (fair or otherwise)... by the way, most rules are not made to be fair to everyone. But the thing is such action will have a negative impact on ROW, and it is a pity that many ROW dont realize it. They seem to blindly following IVs call of action. There is some saying about blind faith that escapes me at the moment, but the bottom line is that blind faith is a dangerous thing.
So am I escaping form expounding on my thoughts. Yes, and No. I think I have made succinct argument (based on the laws) as to why things are as such, so I dont see the need to argue further.
The email response I got from consulate says following:
Thank you for your e-mail.
Our records show that because of the recent changes implemented in processing the H1b visas, your cases are being delayed. Your petition information has to be verified in the PIMS database before the visa could be adjudicated. It will take approximately another 5 more work days. Thank you for your patience.
Then I called the consulate officer and she told me that if I dont recieve passport by next Wednesday, then give a call. My case is not complicated..no issues with H1..no questions asked about my employer..just only about my spouse AOS..and I have AP, EAD which means they should have my background information already. I feel like I unnecessarily went to visa stamping. It is taking more than 2 weeks, after visa stamping, to get passport back..so going to India for 1 month vacation with visa plans is very risky..
Will let you know once i receive my passport.
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I just checked the USCIS website and found out that the approved H1 which has been reopened has a Last Updated date of 09/30/2007....
09/30/2007 was a Sunday...why is USCIS working on the case on Sunday ???
I have the same update on 09/30/2007......
Could you please pledge an amount ?
You are an inspiration to all of us in the IV community.
You are selfless and humble and these are amongst the most noble qualities a leader can have.
I am with you. We like to invent all possible reasons to try to show our importance to America, but it is obvious that reverse brain drain is not a real thing.
American will do just fine without all the foreign programmers (including myself) living and working in this country. They can find Americans to do the work or if not, they will offshore jobs. Either way, life will go on as before.
Foeign born programmers are not here because they are exceptionally bright, they are here because they could get a college degree and get trained in programming skills at a cheap throwaway cost, which is harder for an average American to afford. So the foreigner gets to write programs while the American has to settle for a sales position in Best Buy.
What America really needs; what they cannot do without are the maids, landscapers, construction workers and janitors. The politicians who have to make the decision of sending out illegals have to deal with the problem of not finding maids and gardeners for their expensive homes (their wives are not going to let them do that). Easier for them to let the illegal issue prolong while they enjoy the benefits of cheap labor providing by illegals.
The GC system is entirely in our favor. It really does not benefit America in any significant way. The fact remains that we still end up stealing their jobs at some level - whether we are willing to admit it or not.
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Your saying that memo is illegal does not mean anything more than your personal opinion.
H-1B petitions have denied in past based on employer-employee relationship, unable to specify duties at end client, and self employment cases. If you are interested, let me know, I will put links here.
PS: This does not mean that I personally agree/disagree with the memo. This is just to show the legal aspect of it.
Not a legal advice.
I know what you are referring to. USCIS has tried to raise this issue in the past in 2 instances. Once in 1990s and another in 2006 timeframe. In both cases lawyers were able to force USCIS to back down. Lot of consulting company applications have been approved since then.
The only difference this time is, it has come in the form of a memo. It is in fact a blessing in disguise. AILA has some reference document against which they can fight in court and get it overturned permanently.
Please refer this link
Legacy INS (now USCIS) raised many similar issues, in the early- to mid-1990s, regarding the length and nature of the projects in the U.S., timetable of assignments, and the H1B employer’s ability to pay the required prevailing wage. Senior Legacy INS officials from headquarters in Washington DC addressed the concerns of those examiners by pointing out that the law does not permit them to investigate a U.S. employer’s ability to hire H1B employees. The USCIS is bound by memos and policy guidance of the Legacy INS. After that memo, Legacy INS stopped issuing lengthy RFEs on these matters.
The law does not require any such letters by end-user clients for the issuance of the H1B visas to the visa applicants.
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no wonder ieee-usa complains about the present h1b program.
I am also in same boat. I have been keeping myself busy with studies, I was able to complete MBA and as well PMP. However, I would like to caution people on study front. Please give lots of thoughts on what do you want to study. One of the problem which I am facing after my MBA degree i.e. I am more frustrated being stuck in current position and doing something for which I am over qualified.
I would be interested in knowing about prospect for folks like us in Aus. I would appreciate if someone on this thread provide some clues on Aus.
I went to India couple of months back and there are lots of opportunities. But, I am not convinced if Indian market will be able to sustain this momentum over long period of time due to infrastructure problems and weak governments.
It is good thread and we should keep sharing our thoughts.
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Very well said!
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But this drive might have added a few donor members. In that way it is good.
I am in "Not in H1 and not affected" category but willing to contribute both time and money for this cause.
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AFAIK, the GC job has to be a permanent full-time position and not a part-time position.
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I am waiting to file my I-140 until my PD gets closer because I don't want to risk my daughter aging out.
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No, 45 days condition is not for "to file 140 within 45 days of labor approval"
But it is for the company to substitute the LC for some other employee within 45 days.
There is no time limit set to file I-140 for the employee for whom the LC was issued.
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We were approved on 9/2.
Had opened an SR on 8/25 and had sent an email to TSC streamline on 9/1
@sdr..can you please let us know did you mention in that email or what is "TSC Streamline" email.. Does NSC has something like that?
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I have also asked the attorney to send an email @ Texas Service Introduces Streamline Procedure for I-485s and I-140s
Labor Immigration Law � Texas Service Introduces Streamline Procedure for I-485s and I-140s (http://www.laborimmigration.com/2008/11/texas-service-introduces-streamline-procedure-for-i-485s-and-i-140s/)
Attorney got back to me and said we will have to wait until 1st October, as he opened a SR on 1st September and TSC asked him to wait for 30 days.
At this point, I am running out of options....maybe a letter to the first lady??
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I plan to send this petition to all senior executives of Time Warner Inc by Priority Mail and Fax. CNN is a fully owned subsidiary of Time Warner Inc.