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Current Developments

February 25, 2011
Current Newsletter

 

 

Profiling?  What profiling?

October 30, 2007

 

British MP gives talk to DHS, gets searched by DHS

 

The Guardian reports that "Britain's first Muslim minister Shahid Malik had his hand luggage analysed for traces of explosives as he was about to fly home from Washington DC after high level talks on tackling terrorism. The international development minister was stopped at Dulles airport on Sunday and detained for 40 minutes by the Department for Homeland Security, whose representatives he had met during his visit." Guardian, Oct. 30, 2007.

 

See:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,2201536,00.html

 

What's New -- July 8, 2007

 

Visa Numbers Available?  --  Sorry, Charlie

 

The Anatomy of a Mirage

 

By Mark G. Murov

 

On July 2, 2007, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) issued an unprecedented “Revised Visa Bulletin” which informed us that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had by some means consumed so many immigrant visa slots in the preceding two weeks that there were no slots left for the remainder of the 2007 Fiscal Year, and that there would be no more filings of Applications for Adjustment of Status (Form I-485) until October 1, 2007.

 

Here are the links to the original July Visa Bulletin http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/bulletin/bulletin_3258.html, and the revised version

http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/bulletin/bulletin_3263.html

 

As previously explained in mid-June, the forward movement which created the “current” status for all employment-based immigrant visa categories for July was, in the first place, something of a “false positive.”  The excessive demand for the limited number of slots was still there, and there were people in line for the final allocation of numbers.  What was reported in mid-June was that the door would open for the month of July, and perhaps longer, and that a large number of persons could file and as a result become vested with the right to apply for and receive an Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) and Advance Parole (AP) travel documents, and to renew them as needed until the Lawful Permanent Residence (LPR or green card) is eventually granted.  In addition, the opportunity to file the Application for Adjustment of Status by the principal alien would in due course create “portability” or the right to change jobs and retain his or her vested approvals (of the Application for Alien Labor Certification and immigrant visa petition).

 

The mechanics of the availability of these immigrant visa “numbers” (slots) are complex.  However, what happened in the past two weeks is as follows:  USCIS had not consumed as many slots (i.e., approved as many pending cases) as projected during the first three quarters of 2007 Fiscal Year.  The DOS computer then directed the DOS to issue a report for July that slots were available to all who had reached the point of being able to file Applications for Adjustment of Status but for lack of a slot.  The USCIS, realizing that it would be inundated with tens or hundreds of thousands of applications during the month of July, made an unprecedented push and approved a (reported) 60,000 pending applications in two weeks, thus consuming all of the remaining 2007 Fiscal Year slots for all categories, regardless of the “priority dates.”

 

Then, at USCIS’s request, the DOS issued a “Revised” Visa Bulletin (the only one I have seen in my 30 years in this field), thus enabling the USCIS to reject the Applications for Adjustment of Status which immigration lawyers had rushed to prepare and file.

 

Although everyone is annoyed and frustrated, this action by the agencies appears to be in keeping with the mechanics of the Immigration and Nationality Act, and in my view will not likely be overturned by a lawsuit.  There are several aspects of these developments which are nonetheless very offensive: 

 

First, the USCIS talks about “customer service” and we have never, ever, seen USCIS work so hard to approve cases to serve us as the customers.  The push in this instance was self-serving, to avoid having more cases filed, and to delay filings until after the filing fees rise yet again on July 31 as scheduled. Additionally, without this push, those with reasonably good priority dates could have filed their Applications for Adjustment of Status during the 4th quarter months (July, August and September, 2007), and they will now have to wait until October.  In addition, others whose cases are pending might have been actually approved during the 4th quarter and they will have to wait until at least October also.

 

Also annoying is the historical fact that one of the reasons for the existence of the huge backlog was that the agencies involved in these types of cases [the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the USCIS] had not cared about backlogs or customer service in 2001 through 2005, and thus permitted immigrant visa slots to die on the vine in those years.  If those slots had been utilized when available, none of this would have occurred.

 

So, intended or not, events have resulted in a mirage appearing on June 14 and then, confusingly, disappearing on July 2, 2007 to the disappointment of all concerned.  The only slight benefit was to those whose pending I-485 cases were finally approved a bit earlier than otherwise, but they had Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and Advance Parole (AP) travel documents and an early approval to them was of much less value than the filing opportunity would have been for those whose hopes were raised and then found themselves holding an empty bag.

 

 

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March 21, 2007

From Pulse Magazine, of the American Immigration Lawyers Association

http://www.aila.org/content/default.aspx?docid=21912

Serving the Under-Served: Banking for Undocumented Immigrants

In February of 2007, Bank of America announced a pilot program in Los Angeles offering credit cards to individuals who lack either a social security number or a credit history, provided that they have Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN). The program was created as an effort to serve underprivileged individuals who are integral components of the communities in which they live and in which the banks operate. Predictably, however, some anti-immigrant critics interpreted the new program as an effort by Bank of America to reward the supposedly "illegal" behavior of individuals who crossed the border undocumented. This brought the program national attention, with supporters on both sides of the issue weighing in. It was not, however, the first time the issue has been in the spotlight.

Back in 2003, Bank Calumet, then headed by Chairman and CEO Calvin Bellamy, was a highly-rated community bank serving northwest Indiana and the southern Chicago metropolitan area. It has since been bought out by First Midwest Bank, but at the time, it had enjoyed a long tradition of community involvement and special outreach to under-served and minority individuals. In 2003, Mr. Bellamy and Bank Calumet developed a comprehensive program for serving the growing Hispanic population in the region. Part of this program involved allowing individuals to open accounts and secure mortgages using ITINs, and creating special savings accounts that facilitated easy financial transfers to family members in other countries. As a result, Bank Calumet was criticized for “rewarding illegal behavior” – a rebuke that has since been paraphrased and targeted at many businesses, including Bank of America.

Through it all, Mr. Bellamy remained true to his convictions and to the mission of Bank Calumet, and in the process helped thousands of undocumented individuals--individuals who by this time had become integral, even essential parts of the fabric of their communities--to lead prosperous and productive lives for themselves and to provide for their families. To
read what Mr. Bellamy has to say in response to each one of the major criticisms he and Bank Calumet faced then, and that banking programs aimed at helping underprivileged and undocumented individuals face now, visit the Immigration Policy Center's website.

 

http://www.ailf.org/ipc/2007_march_perspective.shtml

Please use the link to Mark Murov’s Blog for Mark's ruminations.

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