Hello and welcome to the June 2007 Immigration Newsletter!
The big news for the month – Comprehensive immigration reform appears to be dead! The plan to overhaul current immigration law collapsed again in the U.S. Senate on June 28, 2007, crushing the hopes of millions of foreign nationals seeking legal status. Bi-partisan efforts in the US congress has been working for quite a long time on a comprehensive immigration bill. Its passage was held up by opponents of the bill who were crying foul, that it was just an amnesty bill that would give illegal immigrants lifetime passes to settle down in the United States. The failure marks the second time the bill was pulled from the Senate floor, and lawmakers in both parties said further action was unlikely this year.
The USCIS is concerned about the growing number of persons, organizations or businesses that are fraudulently claiming to be able to assist individuals in applying for benefits under the immigration reform legislation. It issued a notice to inform the public that although the U.S. Senate is debating and considering immigration legislation, the bill has not been passed into law. It has also underscored the fact that the Legislation must be passed by both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and signed by the President, before it becomes law.
It is good to see that the U.S. Government is taking substantial initiatives to help immigrants embrace core U.S. values such as freedom, equality before the law and tolerance, to learn English and to become integrated into American life. On 12th June, the Task Force on New Americans (an inter-agency effort) introduced four new initiatives to help immigrants assimilate. The Task Force announced three major projects to help legal immigrants embrace the common core of American civic culture, learn English, and fully become American. In addition to launching WelcometoUSA.gov, the federal government’s official website for new immigrants, it has also launched the New Americans Project which seeks to encourage volunteerism among both U.S. citizens and new immigrants. Another initiative is a zip-code based search engine listing volunteer opportunities to work with. The Task Force is also providing public libraries, adult educators, volunteers, and others who work with immigrants with better training and increased resources.
To get more information on a topic that is always of interest we invite you to have a look at our Immigration Article, which this month focuses on the procedures for obtaining a Green Card through Marriage to a U.S. Citizen.
As we reported last month, over the past few years the Government Accountability Office (GAO), US Consulates overseas, and the USCIS have determined that the R visa category is susceptible to fraud. It is well known that on November 28, 2006, USCIS temporarily suspended Premium Processing Service for Aliens in a Religious Occupation, which is filed on Form I-129, along with the Q-1 and R-1 Classifications Supplement. On June 18 2007, USCIS announced that it would continue the Temporary Suspension of Premium Processing Service for Religious Workers (R-1) Nonimmigrant Visa Classification. This action was taken because USCIS needs additional time to assess whether it is possible to provide premium processing services for Religious Worker petitions. USCIS is therefore extending the suspension for another 6 months, with an expiration date of December 18, 2007.
VisaPro announces the launch of its First Asian Immigration Service. Our readers can now take advantage of VisaPro’s fast, easy, and convenient immigration services for Singapore. For more information and queries related to Singapore immigration, including Work Permits, Employment Pass, EntrePass and Social Visit Pass, you may now visit the new Singapore Immigration section of VisaPro.
Since our VisaPro.com website was launched, we have received various requests seeking guidance on site development, online marketing, web success strategies, etc. Our incredible marketing team has taken the initiative to share and educate other entrepreneurs looking for successful strategies in developing their business models. As part of one such initiative, VisaPro is presenting at an upcoming seminar along with other panelists from Yahoo, Cisco and National Public Radio. Attend the event and learn “How to become successful online – Tips from VisaPro.com”.
Foreign national members and certain veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces certainly deserve U.S. citizenship, and the USCIS has continued to work in that direction: to make them eligible to apply for United States citizenship under special provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). In addition, USCIS has streamlined the application and Naturalization process for military personnel serving on active-duty status or were recently discharged. Generally, qualifying service is in one of the following branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, certain reserve components of the National Guard and the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve.
In keeping with tradition, we again include an IN FOCUS section. This month we will discuss the Department of Labor’s final rule to improve integrity in the permanent labor certification (PERM) program. You will also find out about the Premium Process Services for Form-140. There were repercussions to the DOL’s final rule as the USCIS immediately announced that beginning on May 18, 2007, it would terminate Premium Processing Service for Form I-140 petitions that request labor certification substitution; and between July 2, 2007 and August 1, 2007 it would suspend Premium Processing Service for all Form I-140 petitions.
In last month’s poll question, we asked our readers if they think that the U.S. companies are using the H-1B and L-1 visas to displace qualified American workers. As always, the question evoked mixed responses from our readers with more than half of the participants opining that the US companies are indeed displacing qualified American professional. Others were of the view that it was just a figment of imagination, while the remainder felt there was no effect at all. This month we have another interesting question for you to express Your Opinion. So don’t miss casting your vote!
Herbert Noel deserves congratulations for winning last month’s Immigration Quiz. A significant number of participants were confused on whether an H-1B petition would be cancelled on account of having a valid H-4 entry. Gear up and research well for this month’s question. Give it a try; your name might be featured in the next newsletter. All the Best!
See you next month with a lot more noise from the Immigration World!