April 25, 2008

USCIS Releases Projected Naturalization Processing Times for Local Offices

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released today the projected times for local offices to complete processing of applications for citizenship from individuals who filed during the summer of 2007.

Last July, USCIS received 460,000 applications for naturalization. That was three times the record for any previous month. For the year, USCIS received 1.4 million naturalization applications, almost double the normal annual volume.

USCIS is hiring and training hundreds of additional immigration officers to adjudicate these cases. The agency is also conducting naturalization interviews on weekends, after normal business hours and in additional locations.

For the chart of projected local USCIS Office processing times, click here.

U.S. Legal Permanent Residents: 2007

In 2007, a total of 1,052,415 persons became LPRs of the United States. The majority of new LPRs (59 percent) already lived in the United States when they were granted lawful permanent resi-dence. Two-thirds were granted permanent residence based on a family relationship with a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States. The leading countries of birth of new LPRs were Mexico (14 percent), China (7 percent) and the Philippines (7 percent).

For the full DHS Annual Flow Report, click here.

April 18, 2008

Hispanic Lawmakers Join Call for Arpaio Investigation

Showing a unified front, Latino state lawmakers said Thursday they are backing Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon's call for a federal probe into Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's recent crime sweeps in Hispanic neighborhoods.

Lawmakers said the sheriff's tactics are tantamount to racial profiling and reflect poorly on all Arizonans, regardless of their ethnic heritage.

“When one group is under attack like this, when one group is having their civil rights violated, I believe it imperils all of us, everyone across this state and across this country,” said Rep. Linda Lopez, D-Tucson, who joined six other members of the Arizona Legislative Latino Caucus at a Capitol news conference.

“That is not what this country is about. We're not about targeting individuals because of the color of their skin, their religion or their gender,” she added. “This has to be put a stop to, and I believe an investigation is fully warranted.”

Arpaio was quick to fire back, vowing he will not be intimidated by threats from Gordon or state legislators.

“I am not concerned about (the caucus) going to Washington. I have nothing to fear and will continue to do crime suppression. I will continue to lock up illegals,” said Arpaio, who denied that he targets Hispanic communities. “I will not be intimated by minority groups.”

For the full story, click here.

IDs Unequal Across the Board

If you're an underage drinker caught trying to get into a bar with a fake driver's license, you might get charged with a misdemeanor - if you get charged at all.

But if you're an illegal immigrant who presents a questionable Mexican driver's license to a Phoenix police officer, you'll likely get charged with a felony forgery, held in jail without bond, convicted and deported - sometimes even when the document is real.

Defense attorneys want to know why there appears to be a different standard applied to non-U.S. citizens when the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees equal protection under the law, regardless of immigration status.
Few law-enforcement or prosecutorial agencies would address the issue of the two-tier system, and it is next to impossible to gauge how widespread the practice is.

But the effects are clear: Many Mexican nationals arrested end up pleading guilty to a felony and agreeing to leave the country rather than spend more time in jail.

And the price they pay is high, effectively forfeiting the right ever to re-enter the country legally or become naturalized U.S. citizens.

For the full story, click here.

Perfectly Legal Immigrants, Until They Applied for Citizenship (NY Times)

Dr. Pedro Servano always believed that his journey from his native Philippines to the life of a community doctor in Pennsylvania would lead to American citizenship.


But the doctor, who has tended to patients here in the Susquehanna Valley for more than a decade, is instead battling a deportation order along with his wife.

The Servanos are among a growing group of legal immigrants who reach for the prize and permanence of citizenship, only to run afoul of highly technical immigration statutes that carry the severe penalty of expulsion from the country. For the Servanos, the problem has been a legal hitch involving their marital status when they came from the Philippines some 25 years ago.

Largely overlooked in the charged debate over illegal immigration, many of these are long-term legal immigrants in the United States who were confident of success when they applied for naturalization, and would have continued to live here legally had they not sought to become citizens.

For the full story, click here.

USCIS Biometric Changes for Travel Documents

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued revised instructions for USCIS Form I-131, Application for Travel Document.

The new instructions for Form I-131 require that applicants for re-entry permits and refugee travel documents who are ages 14 through 79 provide biometrics before departing from the United States.

The instructions also discuss the requirement for applicants for re-entry permits and refugee travel documents who are in the United States to pay the $80 biometrics services fee, or to submit a biometrics fee waiver request with sufficient documentation to support their inability to pay the fee. As in the past, the application fee for the I-131 form cannot be waived.

For the full USCIS press release, click here.

Fiscal Year 2009 H-1B Filings

USCIS announced a preliminary number of nearly 163,000 H-1B petitions received during the filing period ending on April 7, 2008. More than 31,200 of those petitions were for the advanced degree exemption.

For full USCIS press release, click here.

USCIS conducted the computer-generated random selection procedure for H-1B petitions on April 14, 2008.

The approximately 163,000 petitions received on the first five days of the eligible filing period for FY 2009 (April 1 through April 7, 2008) were labeled with unique numerical identifiers. USCIS has notified the appropriate service centers which numerical identifiers have been randomly selected, so each center may continue with final processing of the petitions associated with those numerical identifiers.

Petitioners whose properly filed petitions have been selected for full adjudication should receive a receipt notice dated no later than June 2, 2008. USCIS will return unselected petitions with the fee(s) to petitioners or their authorized representatives. As previously announced, duplicate filings will be returned without the fee. The total adjudication process is expected to take approximately eight to ten weeks.

For the full USCIS press release, click here.

May 2008 U.S. State Department Visa Bulletin

Family Immigration - Section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act sets an annual family-sponsored preference limit of 226,000.
  • 1st Preference (USC unmarried sons & daughters over 21)
    • Worldwide: 08 March 2002
    • China (PRC) - Mainland born: 08 March 2002
    • India: 08 March 2002
    • Mexico: 09 July 1992
    • Philippines: 15 March 1993
  • 2A Preference (LPR spouses & unmarried children under 21)
    • Worldwide: 08 June 2003
    • China (PRC) - Mainland born: 08 June 2003
    • India: 08 June 2003
    • Mexico: 01 May 2002
    • Philippines: 08 June 2003
  • 2B Preference (LPR unmarried sons & daughters over 21)
    • Worldwide: 01 June 1999
    • China (PRC) - Mainland born: 01 June 1999
    • India: 01 June 1999
    • Mexico: 01 April 1992
    • Philippines: 15 February 1997
  • 3rd Preference (USC married sons & daughters)
    • Worldwide: 08 June 2000
    • China (PRC) - Mainland born: 08 June 2000
    • India: 08 June 2000
    • Mexico: 22 July 1992
    • Philippines: 01 April 1991
  • 4th Preference (USC brothers & sisters)
    • Worldwide: 08 August 1997
    • China (PRC) - Mainland born: 15 January 1997
    • India: 01 January 1997
    • Mexico: 15 December 1994
    • Philippines: 08 March 1986
Employment Based - Section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act sets an annual limit for employment-based preference limit of 140,000
  • 1st Preference (EB-1)
    • Worldwide: CURRENT
    • China (PRC) - Mainland born: CURRENT
    • India: CURRENT
    • Mexico: CURRENT
    • Philippines: CURRENT
  • 2nd Preference (EB-2)
    • Worldwide: CURRENT
    • China (PRC) - Mainland born: 01 January 2004
    • India: 01 January 2004
    • Mexico: CURRENT
    • Philippines: CURRENT
  • 3rd Preference (EB-3)
    • Worldwide: 01 March 2006
    • China (PRC) - Mainland born: 22 March 2003
    • India: 01 November 2001
    • Mexico: 01 July 2002
    • Philippines: 01 March 2006
  • Schedule A workers (RNs, PTs)
    • Worldwide: UNAVAILABLE
    • China (PRC) - Mainland born: UNAVAILABLE
    • India: UNAVAILABLE
    • Mexico: UNAVAILABLE
    • Philippines: UNAVAILABLE
  • Unskilled Workers (less than 2 years experience required)
    • Worldwide: 01 January 2003
    • China (PRC) - Mainland born: 01 January 2003
    • India: 01 January 2003
    • Mexico: 01 January 2003
    • Philippines: 01 January 2003
  • 4th Preference (EB-4)
    • Worldwide: CURRENT
    • China (PRC) - Mainland born: CURRENT
    • India: CURRENT
    • Mexico: CURRENT
    • Philippines: CURRENT
  • Religious Workers
    • Worldwide: CURRENT
    • China (PRC) - Mainland born: CURRENT
    • India: CURRENT
    • Mexico: CURRENT
    • Philippines: CURRENT
  • Iraqi & Afghani Translators
    • Worldwide: CURRENT
    • China (PRC) - Mainland born: CURRENT
    • India: CURRENT
    • Mexico: CURRENT
    • Philippines: CURRENT
  • 5th Preference (EB-5: Investors)
    • Worldwide: CURRENT
    • China (PRC) - Mainland born: CURRENT
    • India: CURRENT
    • Mexico: CURRENT
    • Philippines: CURRENT
  • Targeted Employment Areas/ Regional Centers)
    • Worldwide: CURRENT
    • China (PRC) - Mainland born: CURRENT
    • India: CURRENT
    • Mexico: CURRENT
    • Philippines: CURRENT