Hello and welcome to the June 2013 Immigration Newsletter!
The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill continues its journey through the US legislative process. On June 11, the full Senate voted by a majority of 82-15 to open debate on the bill. Since then, the bill has received close to 150 amendments! While the Senate has begun debating and voting on the amendments, it is too early to attempt to visualize what the final version of the bill will look like. As of the writing of the Newsletter, the Senate announced that on Thursday, June 20, 2013, a major compromise will be announced regarding border security measures for the bill which was spearheaded by Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) in order to increase support among Republicans for the Bill. The amendments/proposals will mandate that significant security measures be implemented before undocumented immigrants can adjust from the proposed “provisional” status to that of legal permanent resident. Meanwhile, we have yet to see any sort of “comprehensive” immigration bill come out of the House of Representatives. Moreover, Speaker of the House Rep. Boehner (R-OH) has stated that he will not take up the Senate Bill unless he knows that a majority Republicans in the House will support it.
June brought some good news for citizens of Chile as the Department of State (DOS) nominated Chile for inclusion in the Visa Waiver Program. As our readers are most likely aware, inclusion in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) would mean that citizens of Chile could visit the United States for business or tourism without a visa for stays of 90 days or less. The nomination initiates a process of verification of various security safeguards and information-sharing requirements before Chile can formally enter the program.
In immigrant visa news, in DOS’ Visa Bulletin for July 2013 the EB-2 priority dates remained current in respect to all countries other than India and mainland China. The EB-2 priority date for India remained at 09/01/04, but in some good news for EB-2 beneficiaries born in India, DOS has predicted that the availability of “otherwise unused” EB-2 preference numbers will allow for movement of the cut-off date in the coming months in this category. However, DOS has also indicated it expects that such movement will generate heavy new applicant demand and a sustained level of heavy demand could impact the cut-off date at some point during fiscal year 2014. On the EB-3 front, DOS has indicated that the cut-off date has advanced 18 months during the past three months and they do not foresee any additional movement in this category in the next month’s Visa Bulletin. On the family-based Green Cards front, DOS has predicted that the F2A Green Card category for Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents could become “Current” at some point during the coming months.
The U.S. Mission in Italy has announced that beginning July 15, 2013, it is transitioning to a new appointment, payment and passport return system for visa applicants in Italy. The Mission has also announced that it is currently not possible to schedule visa appointments for any date later than July 12 and no new appointment requests will be taken between June 29th and through July 14th. Visa appointment scheduling will resume on July 15th under the new appointment system Hence, applicants who need to apply for a visa and have travel plans coming up in July have been advised to make appointments and pay their visa fees before June 28th, 2013.
Other Developments in Immigration Law:
Pre-Adoption Immigration Review (PAIR) Requirement for Adoptions in Ethiopia
USCIS has announced that the government of Ethiopia has informed the U.S. that effective September 1, 2013, it will require all adoption cases filed by United States prospective adoptive parents to undergo the U.S. Pre-Adoption Immigration Review (PAIR) process. Prospective adoptive parents will initiate PAIR by filing a Form I-600 with USCIS before completing the adoption in Ethiopia. If USCIS makes a preliminary determination that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States, USCIS will issue a PAIR letter. Prospective adoptive parents must include the PAIR letter in the adoption dossier they submit to initiate the adoption.
Re-designation and 18-Month Extension of TPS for Syria
USCIS has announced that the Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, has re-designated Syria for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and extended the existing TPS designation for Syria from 10/01/13 through 03/31/15. Syrian nationals and individuals without nationality who last habitually resided in Syria who currently have TPS must re-register during a 60-day re-registration period that runs from 06/17/13 through 08/16/13. A Syrian national, or an individual having no nationality who last habitually resided in Syria, may be eligible for TPS under the re-designation if he or she has continuously resided in the United States since June 17, 2013.
and Other Fun Stuff:
Our ‘Featured Video’ for this month is“Professors and Researchers: Employment-Based Green Card Options - EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3” in which we discuss how professors and researchers can often qualify for more than one Green Card category and which option they can pursue to successfully receive a Green Card. Please check out and subscribe to our YouTube channel to take advantage of another great service provided to you by VisaPro.
Check out our ‘In Focus’ article for this month titled “Establishing I-140 Ability to Pay: How to Avoid an RFE?” to learn about alternative methods of proving ability to pay when filing an Employment-based Green Card, including those suggested by USCIS, as well as tried and tested methods used by immigration practitioners and confirmed by USCIS through approvals.
Every month we introduce a new and interesting question for our opinion poll. Results of our previous poll indicate that a majority of respondents (67%) believe that the Senate will approve the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill. We continue to appreciate that people take interest in the opinion question and cast their votes to give us their feedback. Keep it up! And continue to cast your vote to express Your Opinion.
We also congratulate Ozoude Chukwuebuka for winning last month’s Immigration Quiz. While we received more than one correct response to the quiz question, Ozoude gave the best answer and won a free online consultation to discuss the concerned Immigration issues. It’s time to get ready for this month’s quiz. If you know the correct answer your name might be featured in next month’s newsletter. All the Best!!!
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See you next month with a lot more noise from the Immigration World!