Immigration Policy and Legislative Initiatives

New USCIS Proposal Would Reduce Time that U.S. Citizens are Separated from Immediate Relatives

USCIS releases proposal to change process for certain waivers of inadmissibility U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) posted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the March 30, 2012 Federal Register that would reduce the time U.S. citizens are separated from their spouses, children, and parents (i.e. immediate relatives) who must obtain an immigrant visa… Read more »

Work Visas: RFE and Denial Rates Soaring

Soaring denial and RFE rates for L-1 and H-1B petitions are hurting U.S. business We knew it but no-one official was acknowledging it. Finally, a recent study from the National Foundation for American Policy  – a non-partisan public policy research organized based in Virginia, released data showing that USCIS has dramatically increased denials of L-1… Read more »

E-1/E-2 visa holders admissible for two years AT EACH ENTRY

A recent “practice pointer” (1) from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)/Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Liaison Committee highlights a critical issue for E-1 and E-2 visa holders.  A foreign national applying for admission to the United States with an un-expired E-1 (Treaty Trader) visa or E-2 (Treaty Investor) visa should be admitted for a… Read more »

Lose-Lose strategies diminish U.S. competitiveness

Ill-conceived, short-sighted U.S. immigration policy mixed with university and college policies to recruit full-paying foreign students over qualified in-state students diminishes our human capital The New York Times reported recently on an increasing trend at U.S. colleges and universities to recruit foreign students who can pay full tuition in the hope of mitigating budget shortfalls…. Read more »

Non-immigrant visa interview: Waivers expanded

State Department expands waiver of some non-immigrant visa applicant interviews In an effort to manage an increasing workload with less resources, the U.S. Department of State has added a large number of nonimmigrant visa applicants to the list of those for whom interviews may be waived. The program became effective on January 19, 2012 and… Read more »

Global Entry Program Now Available

CBP has begun processing applications for the Global Entry Program for expedited entry clearance Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Though intended for frequent international travelers, there is no minimum number of trips necessary to qualify… Read more »

E-2 Visa Option: A Missed Opportunity

U.S. misses out on foreign entrepreneurs – need to expand E-2 investor visa option for non-immigrant business investors As Pam Prather points out in her excellent piece in a recent issue of Immigration Daily despite the fact that 29.5% of new business in 2010 can be attributed to immigrant entrepreneurs, the E-2 visa, which is a… Read more »

Retaining Highly Skilled Immigrants Gaining Policy Traction

On January 31, 2012, USCIS announced several DHS reforms to attract the best and the brightest in furtherance of President Obama’s commitment “to make the U.S. more attractive to highly skilled foreign students and workers, thereby improving the competitiveness of U.S. companies int he world market and stimulating job creations.” Expand eligibility for 17-month extension… Read more »

Continued Battle over Kazarian for the “Extraordinary” and the “Outstanding”

USCIS not buying arguments from the immigration bar On January 18, USCIS held an open meeting to discuss immigrant petitions based on extraordinary or outstanding achievements. The issue, of course, is the addition of the new USCIS “merits determination” based on the “totality of the circumstances” which USCIS claims is mandated by the 9th Circuit’s… Read more »

Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Policy Momentum = Good News

Continued push from USCIS Director may benefit immigrant entrepreneurs USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas continues to push for reform that would benefit immigrant entrepreneurs particularly through the immigrant investor visa (EB-5) program and the utilization of the National Interest Waiver (NIW) category for job creation. In a series of “conversations” with the public, Director Mayorkas has begun… Read more »