Mayorkas v. Cuellar de Osorio

The Supreme Court of the United States recently heard arguments on an immigration case that will have lasting impacts for many immigrants looking to petition to the U.S. The facts of the case are rather simple — a derivative beneficiary (and son of an LPR) aged out during the pendency of his petition and did not retain his priority date, despite the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA). The government contends that USCIS’ decision should be given deference and that the consequences of giving aged-out children their earlier priority date (and thereby automatic conversion of their visa) would impact the line of immigrants waiting for visas. The respondents contend that USCIS and subsequent court rulings are contrary to the intent of the CSPA and the spirit of immigration laws to keep families together. For more on this story, visit the SCOTUSblog here. Also, check back at our “News” section for updates and analysis on this case.

Visa Bulletin for February 2014

This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during February. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security reports applicants for adjustment of status.

Section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) sets an annual minimum family-sponsored preference limit of 226,000. The worldwide level for annual employment-based preference immigrants is at least 140,000. Section 202 prescribes that the per-country limit for preference immigrants is set at 7% of the total annual family-sponsored and employment-based preference limits, i.e., 25,620. The dependent area limit is set at 2%,
or 7,320.

INA Section 203(e) provides that family-sponsored and employment-based preference visas be issued to eligible immigrants in the order in which a petition in behalf of each has been filed. Section 203(d) provides that spouses and children of preference immigrants are entitled to the same status, and the same order of consideration, if accompanying or following to join the principal. The visa prorating provisions of Section 202(e) apply to allocations for a foreign state or dependent area when visa demand exceeds the per-country limit. These provisions apply at present to the following oversubscribed chargeability areas: CHINA-mainland born, INDIA, MEXICO, and PHILIPPINES.

To read more, click here.

USCIS 601A Field Guidance

On March 4, 2013, USCIS began a new provisional unlawful presence waiver program for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens whose only ground of inadmissibility is unlawful presence in the United States. There are several circumstances that may render an individual ineligible for a provisional unlawful presence waiver. For example, individuals with final orders of exclusion, deportation, or removal; individuals who are currently in removal proceedings that are not administratively closed at the time of filing; and individuals who have a pending application with USCIS for lawful permanent resident status are not eligible to apply for the provisional unlawful presence waiver. USCIS has released the following Field Guidance pertaining to the adjudication of these waivers:

“Individuals for whom there is a reason to believe that they may be subject to grounds of inadmissibility other than unlawful presence at the time of the immigrant visa interview with a Department of State (DOS) consular officer also are ineligible for the provisional unlawful presence waiver. If a USCIS officer determines, based on the record, that there is a reason to believe that the applicant may be subject to a ground of inadmissibility other than unlawful presence at the time of his or her immigrant visa interview with a DOS consular officer, USCIS will deny the request for a provisional unlawful presence waiver.”

To learn more about your eligibility for 601a waivers, contact us at 978-905-9992.

SJC & Aged-Out Immigrants

The Supreme Court is weighing a lawsuit, Mayorkas v. Cuellar de Osorio, that may change things for immigrants who “age out” of family visas. The class action is named for a Salvadoran mom who had to leave her son behind because he turned 21 during the seven years the family waited for visas. Once children turn 21, they are no longer considered under their parents’ status and must go through a new petition process. In making a decision, the SJC will answer whether the INA allows aliens who qualify as “children” at the time a visa application is filed but subsequently “age out” by turning twenty-one to retain their original application date.

To read more about the case, click here.

Human Trafficking Prevention Month

President Barack Obama proclaimed January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month to recognize the vital role we can play in eliminating all forms of human trafficking.

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery, and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to exploit human beings for some type of labor or commercial sex purpose. Every year, millions of men, women, and children worldwide—including in the United States—are victims of human trafficking. Victims are often lured with false promises of well-paying jobs or are manipulated by people they trust, but instead are forced or coerced into prostitution, domestic servitude, farm or factory labor, or other types of forced labor.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is responsible for investigating human trafficking, arresting traffickers and protecting victims. DHS initiates hundreds of investigations and makes numerous arrests every year, using a victim-centered approach. DHS also processes immigration relief through Continued Presence (CP), T visas, and U visas to victims of human trafficking and other designated crimes.

To learn more about these visas, contact Agarwal Law Offices at 978-905-9992.

Visa Bulletin for January 2014

This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during January. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security reports applicants for adjustment of status.

Section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) sets an annual minimum family-sponsored preference limit of 226,000. The worldwide level for annual employment-based preference immigrants is at least 140,000. Section 202 prescribes that the per-country limit for preference immigrants is set at 7% of the total annual family-sponsored and employment-based preference limits, i.e., 25,620. The dependent area limit is set at 2%,
or 7,320.

INA Section 203(e) provides that family-sponsored and employment-based preference visas be issued to eligible immigrants in the order in which a petition in behalf of each has been filed. Section 203(d) provides that spouses and children of preference immigrants are entitled to the same status, and the same order of consideration, if accompanying or following to join the principal. The visa prorating provisions of Section 202(e) apply to allocations for a foreign state or dependent area when visa demand exceeds the per-country limit. These provisions apply at present to the following oversubscribed chargeability areas: CHINA-mainland born, INDIA, MEXICO, and PHILIPPINES.

To read more, click here.