Hi All -
Yesterday, the U.S. State Dept. issued a notice to the July 2007 Visa Bulletin.
Unfortunately, the U.S. State Dept. notice states:
"The sudden backlog reduction efforts by Citizenship and Immigration Services Offices during the past month have resulted in the use of almost 60,000 Employment numbers. As a result of this unexpected action it has been necessary to make immediate adjustments to several previously announced cut-off dates. All Citizenship and Immigration Services Offices have been notified of the following:
Effective Monday July 2, 2007 there will be no further authorizations in response to requests for Employment-based preference cases. All numbers available to these categories under the FY-2007 annual numerical limitation have been made available. Employment preference numbers will once again be available to these chargeability areas beginning October 1, 2007, under the FY-2008 annual numerical limitation."
Dept. of State Publication 9514
CA/VO: July 2, 2007
U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) likely pressured the U.S. State Dept. to make this announcement for several reasons:
1) USCIS was not happy that all of these employment-based green card cases were going to be filed in July, immediately before USCIS fees increase dramatically on July 30, 2007. U.S. Legal Permanent Resident (green card) application fees almost triple on July 30, 2007, so USCIS would very much like to get the higher fees.
2) USCIS is under pressure to reduce their backlog of cases, and while doing a decent job at reducing the backlog in several areas, a mass filing of green card applications in July would skew USCIS processing numbers and backlogs dramatically. Since USCIS is very good at not counting many types of pending cases as counting against their official backlog (ie cases pending security checks, cases waiting on information, cases under investigation), the solution here would be to not count these cases as part of their official backlog either.
3) On June 13, 2007, when the State Dept. released the official July Visa Bulletin with current dates for all employment-based green card cases (except other workers), there apparently was no consultation with USCIS. On July 14, 2007, at an inter-governmental panel at the annual American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) conference in Orlando, Florida, the USCIS official expressed that USCIS was not happy with the State Dept. action in making the employment-based green card dates current. The State Dept. official said the concern of the State Dept. was that USCIS was not going to do their job of using all of the green card numbers they are supposed to use for the 2007 Fiscal Year.
It would be nice if government agencies would consult each other before making decisions that have such a major impact. Consulting after making the decisions and then reversing a major decision that impacts potentially hundreds of thousands of hard-working individuals in the U.S. is not acceptable.
I am in contact with AILA's national office and multiple informational sources and will send updates as they are available. AILA's exceptionally well-done press release is below.
Have a pleasant week!
AILA's Official Press Release (which is exceptionally well done is below):
Administration Slams Door on Thousands of Legal Immigrants: AILA Condemns Agencies’ Bait and Switch
Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. (posted Jul. 2, 2007)"
CONTACT: George Tzamaras
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.