Sudden EB-2 Priority Date Retrogression:  Did Donald Trump just get installed as Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services?

Many Employment Based 2nd Preference (EB-2) Indian applicants were expecting to file their Adjustment of Status (Green Card) applications in five (5) short days.  These applicants include Doctors, Veterinarians, Scientists, Information Systems Managers, Senior Software Developers, Lawyers and many other advanced degree professionals, all readying their application in October of 2015 based on next month’s visa bulletin (issued September 9th 2015) which declared that EB-2 India dates were current as of July 2011.  While the actual issuance of a green card would still have taken several more years, these applicants would have attained significant benefits while continuing their patient multi-year wait in line.  This news was greatly welcomed by EB applicants who felt that this was our Administration’s first real “immigration reform” initiative intended specifically to benefit America’s highly educated immigrants.

However USCIS has taken an about-turn on this point by announcing, in a highly confusing manner, the retrogression of those July 2011 dates, back to July 2009.  By way of background, a second visa bulletin announcement in one month is highly unusual, as is for the second announcement to be issued on a Friday, on the 25th of a month, at 4 pm, less than a week from the date the immigrant filings were set to begin.  As a direct result, thousands advanced degree professionals, mostly born in India, who have been waiting to file their green cards for 4+ years, will have to keep waiting.  This despite the applicants’ reasonable reliance on the Department of State’s Visa Bulletin of September 9th, or the thousands of dollars they each have likely spent in preparing their green card application(s) based on the same.

In this case, USCIS broke a promise to advanced degree immigrants who comprise a large percentage of our best and brightest.  USCIS’ actions in this regard are simply unintelligible and amount to exactly what Mahatma Gandhi spoke of when he noted that “a breach of promise is a base surrender of truth“.  USCIS’ action also moves us backward to the quota systems which the current immigration law, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, was created to counter.

This is a highly suspect and unwelcome development which brings to mind July 2007, when USCIS attempted something similar.  At that time, a lawsuit stopped USCIS from closing the filing window and in fact kept said window remained open for about two months (longer than if USCIS didn’t attempt to shut down filings).

I’m hopeful that history will repeat itself.

Dates for Filing Employment-Based Adjustment of Status Applications

Employment-Based All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA – mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st C C C C C
2nd C 01JAN13 01JUL09 C C
3rd 01SEP15 01OCT13 01JUL05 01SEP15 01JAN10
Other Workers 01SEP15 01JAN07 01JUL05 01SEP15 01JAN10
4th C C C C C
Certain Religious Workers C C C C C
5th Targeted Employment Areas/Regional Centers and Pilot Programs C 01MAY15 C C C

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2 responses to “Sudden EB-2 Priority Date Retrogression:  Did Donald Trump just get installed as Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services?”

  1. sanjay says :

    Let’s make a case…agreed to pay for law suit…..more of an emotional torture to family and our future…..been here since 1999….did Bachelor, MBA working for last 10 years and finally after getting this close ….can we write straight to Obama on this change….

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