Archive | AILA RSS for this section

Mumbai Erroneously Reports Availability of India EB-2


The American Immigration Lawyers Association Liaison has confirmed with the State Department that reports of EB-2 India becoming current in the February 2011 Visa Bulletin are erroneous. The U.S. Consulate in Mumbai posted February 2011 cutoff dates indicating that India EB-2 is current. The State Department has clarified that the Mumbai posting was incorrect. 

AILA Memo to USCIS regarding the Neufeld Memo

AILA memo RE: Determining Employer-Employee Relationship for Adjudication of H-1B Petitions, Including Third-Party Site Placements; Additions to Officer’s Field Manual (AFM) Chapter 31.3(g)(15)(AFM Update AD 10-24), Donald Neufeld, Associate Director, Service Center Operations, HQ 70/6.2.8, January 8, 2010
<a href="/files/4941-4844/AILA_Memo_to_USCIS___Determining_Employer_Employee_Relationship_in_Third_party_Placement_Settings.pdf”>Read memo

USCIS Updates FY 2010 H-1B Count (Updated 6/3/09)

As of May 29, 2009, approximately 45,800 H-1B cap-subject petitions had been received by USCIS and counted towards the H-1B cap. Approximately 20,000 petitions qualifying for the advanced degree cap exemption had been filed. USCIS will continue to accept both cap-subject petitions and advanced degree petitions until a sufficient number of H-1B petitions have been received to reach the statutory limits.

AILA Praises Decision by Attorney General to Withdraw Matter of Compean



Wednesday, June 3, 2009


George Tzamaras


AILA praises decision by Attorney General to withdraw Matter of Compean.

WASHINGTON, DC – The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) welcomes the restoration of due process in the Immigration Court system. Attorney General Eric Holder today withdrew the decision issued by former Attorney General Mukasey on the last day of the Bush Administration, which had eviscerated the right to effective representation in Immigration Court proceedings. Attorney General Holder had stated during his confirmation process that he would review the Mukasey decision and that he disagreed with its reasoning. AILA is grateful for this restoration of a basic constitutional process—Due Process, in the immigration court system.

AILA commends Attorney General Holder for living up to his word, and for his clarity of understanding of not only the constitutional principle of due process, but also for the boldness with which he acted today. “The restoration of the prior standard for claiming ineffective representation in immigration court proceedings is a welcome sign that the Obama administration understands that the rights that apply to the least of us, apply to all of us,” said Charles H. Kuck, president of AILA. “By ensuring that immigrants seeking relief from the harsh consequences of deportation are assured that they will not be punished by the ineffective actions of their counsel, Attorney General Holder has reset the standard that the Constitution ensures. Today’s action, along with the other positive signs from the Administration signal that a restoration of our most sacred principles of justice has begun.”


The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

All Signs Point to Immigration Reform this Year: AILA Optimistic that the President and Congress will Push for CIR this Year


Wednesday, April 30, 2009
George Tzamaras

WASHINGTON, DC – The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is encouraged by events of the past 24 hours as President Barak Obama renewed his Administration’s pledge to pursue comprehensive immigration reform, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) announced its intention to recalibrate its worksite enforcement actions to focus more on criminal prosecutions of employers who knowingly hire unauthorized workers, and the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship led by Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), commenced hearings to examine common sense solutions to fixing America’s broken immigration system.

AILA commends Chairman Schumer for sounding the starting gun with an outstanding first hearing. Two expert-laden panels of witnesses made a highly compelling case – covering the moral, economic, business, labor, security and law enforcement angles – for the need to advance immigration reform legislation this year. “The stars seem to be aligning for a major push toward comprehensive immigration reform this year,” said Charles H. Kuck, president of AILA. “Momentum continues to build as more and more of our elected leaders understand that tackling and solving our current immigration crisis will only help strengthen America’s economy and security. The events over the past two days signal that this Administration and Congress get it and will not let this opportunity to finally bring the nation’s legal immigration system into the 21st century pass them by.”

AILA is pleased that DHS is taking steps to restore balance and rationality in its enforcement priorities. Mr. Kuck expressed hopes that the new DHS statement of policy addresses pivotal due process concerns, saying “a retooling of enforcement activities must, first and foremost, ensure the right to counsel of any employees caught up in these actions, and limit or eliminate the abusive practice of transferring detainees away from their communities, families and attorneys. These are indispensable elements of a fair and just system.”


The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

AILA Welcomes Introduction of the DREAM Act in Congress

Thursday, March 26, 2009
George Tzamaras

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Immigration Lawyer Association (AILA)
welcomes the introduction today by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and
Richard Lugar (R-IN) and U.S. Reps. Howard Berman (D-CA) and Lincoln
Diaz-Balart (R-FL) of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien
Minors Act, commonly known as the DREAM Act. The legislation gives
thousands of young immigrants, who have grown up in the United States
an opportunity to pursue the American dream. The DREAM Act is a humane,
rational solution to a bedeviling problem: a generation of undocumented
kids who are coming of age without any prospects to advance their lot
in life.

“Enabling these educated, young adults to secure legal status is not
only good for them, but also for the communities they live in, and for
America,” said Charles H. Kuck, president of AILA. “The DREAM Act
allows high achieving students, some of the best and the brightest of
the next generation, to receive the chance for higher education or
military service, and the opportunity to contribute to America in a
strikingly productive way. Even in a downturn, our economy continues to
need a highly educated workforce and those willing to serve; those with
more education contribute more to the tax base and the growth of the
U.S. economy.”

AILA believes that the DREAM Act must be a central component of
comprehensive immigration reform. Annually, an estimated 65,000
undocumented young people who have spent their childhoods in America
would be impacted by this important piece of legislation. Undocumented
immigrant children would obtain citizenship by meeting certain
criteria: They must have come to the U.S. before they turned 16, be
under the age of 30, have lived in the U.S. for at least five years,
graduated from high school or passed an equivalency exam, have “good
moral character” and either attend college or enlist in the military
for two years.

“This bill is another sign that the anti-immigration tide is
shifting on Capitol Hill towards an actual fix of broken immigration
system and it renews hope for a push towards comprehensive reform,”
concluded Kuck.


The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national
association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice,
advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance
the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and
enhance the professional development of its members.

DOL Provides Current PERM Processing Dates – Via AILA


At the AILA Spring Conference on March 20, 2009,
DOL announced they were working on cases with Priority Dates (initial
case filing dates) in the following queues:

No Audit: July 2008

Audit: September 2007

Appeal: June 2007

H-1B Updates – Via AILA


USCIS has confirmed that if USCIS determines that they have received
a sufficient number of cases in the first five business days of April
to reach the cap, then the “lottery” will be based on petitions
received all five days. USCIS will not begin to issue receipts,
however, until a determination is made that sufficient H-1B petitions
have been received within the first five business days of April, ending
April 7, 2009. After the “lottery” is conducted, the USCIS will then
issue receipts for those cases which are selected, and the receipts
will likely all have the same receipt date, April 8, 2009. USCIS has
indicated that guidance will be issued to explain that all petitions
received between April 1, 2009, and April 7, 2009, will have the same
receipt date. This is important for those F-1 beneficiaries whose OPT
will expire between April 1st and April 7th so that Designated School
Officers will know that an H-1B petition was timely filed and that a
beneficiary may be eligible for cap-gap employment authorization or
status based on the actual filing date.

As the regulation provides, if USCIS concludes that insufficient
H-1B petitions have been received within the first five business days
of April, USCIS will continue to receive and accept petitions until the
day upon which USCIS concludes that a sufficient number of petitions is
reached. USCIS will then conduct the lottery for those cases received
on the last day. While USCIS believes that the cap will be reached
before October 1, 2009, they are not able to make any further
predictions, although they have heard from various stakeholder groups
(including AILA), that fewer petitions are expected to be filed during
this H-1B cap season.

Congress Passes Military Personnel Citizenship Processing Act (S. 2840)


On 09/28/08, the House passed the Military Personnel Citizenship Processing Act (S. 2840) by a 416-0 vote.

The measure, introduced by Sen. Schumer (D-NY), would require that USCIS process and issue a citizenship decision within six months of receiving an application from a current or former member of the armed forces, or their surviving dependents. If a decision is not made within that time frame, USCIS would be required to explain the delay and provide a new decision target date.

The bill would also establish an FBI liaison office inside USCIS and processing deadlines for other naturalization applications.

The Senate passed the measure by voice vote on 09/24/08, and it now heads to the president for final approval.

Congress Passes Passport Backlog Reduction Act (Updated 7/19/07)


On 7/18/07, the Senate passed the House amendment to the Passport Backlog Reduction Act of 2007 (S. 966) by unanimous consent, clearing the amended bill to be signed into law by the President.

The original bill passed by the Senate on 6/29/07 provided for the temporary rehiring of Foreign Service retirees to assist in reducing the current backlog in passport applications. The bill also allowed rehired workers to retain their retirement benefits.

The version passed by the Senate on 7/18/07 includes modifications passed in the House by voice vote on 7/16/07. The amended bill contains additional language to allow rehired workers to assist in passport fraud investigations. It also shortens the period of authorization for rehires, moving up the expiration date from 9/30/10 as proposed in the original Senate version to 9/30/08 in the House amendment.

The finalized bill is not yet available.

BREAKING NEWS – The government will be announcing shortly that it has reversed its July 2 announcement regarding the July Visa Bulletin


The government will be announcing shortly that it has reversed its July 2 announcement that the fiscal year 2007 employment based visa numbers had been used up and that it was going to refuse to accept adjustment of status filings during July. Instead, Secretary Chertoff advises that USCIS will keep the applications filed and reopen filings for a 31-day period from July 18 through August 17, 2007, in order to provide the same filing window people would have had if the July 2 actions had not taken place. Filers will be able to pay the July filing fees during the entire window period.

Unfortunately, it does not appear that today’s announcement helps the EB-3 other workers whose applications were rejected in June.

How Did All Those Employment-Based Numbers Get “Used” So Quickly?


AILA members have been receiving reports from multiple officials within USCIS indicating that USCIS HQ recently issued instructions to pull for adjudication every employment-based case that had been pending for more than six months, regardless of whether background checks were cleared. USCIS offices report having worked all of the weekend of June 30, 2007, to comply with these instructions. This was apparently to use up as many visa numbers as possible in order to try to cut off receipt of new filings when most employment-based visa categories came current on 7/1/07.

Note that this information has not been confirmed by USCIS HQ.

Administration Slams Door on Thousands of Legal Immigrants: AILA Condemns Agencies’ Bait and Switch


WASHINGTON, D.C.–The American Immigration Lawyers Association
strongly condemns the bait and switch perpetrated by the federal
government on thousands of intending immigrants who have waited in line
for years and were following the rules for obtaining a “green card.”

On June 13, 2007, the U.S. State Department announced that, as of
July 2, individuals seeking permanent residence (“green cards”) through
employer sponsorship finally would be allowed to proceed with their
applications. Applicants would have a short window, possibly only
through July or perhaps August, to complete their paperwork.

Those intending immigrants, immediately and at great expense, rushed
to gather final documents, complete their paperwork and obtain required
medical exams. Many sent their applications off on Friday, June 29 for
arrival on July 2 at the Department of Homeland Security, for the last
phase of the multi-step process that leads to a green card.

However, on the very day the door was to open, DOS and DHS slammed it shut.

On July 2, DHS and DOS announced-based on no different information
than they had on June 13 when they announced the opening of this filing
door-that all applications would be turned away.

“People ask why those who come to the United States illegally can’t
just follow the rules,” said Kathleen Campbell Walker, President of the
American Immigration Lawyers Association. “But here people followed the
rules and did everything right, yet without warning or explanation the
door was slammed in their faces. This hoax perpetrated by these two
government agencies is unconscionable, and is an example of how badly
our immigration system is broken.”

AILA calls on the Administration to do the right thing and keep its
promise to the people affected by this sudden reversal. AILA also calls
on Congress to get it right this time and fix our badly broken system.