President Obama’s Executive Action - Takeaway Points for Legal Immigration
19 February 2015
Update: Status of Legal Immigration Action and H-4 EAD Regs After the Texas Court Decision
-- Watch Video
Take away points:
7 January 2015
2 Jan 2015
As a part of the #ImmigrationAction by President Obama, the government agencies were instructed to streamline the process of improvement in visa issuance at the US consulates. As a part of the process, State Department and Department of Homeland Security are inviting input from all of us, the members of the public about what should be changed. Here is the link to the complete text: http://1.usa.gov/1I4inam
We have been asked to comment on the following areas:
I am preparing a response for the government. Please let me have your input BY 9 JANURAY 2015 on any areas you would like me to address for you. Feel free to comment on my blog http://www.immigration.com/blogs/Obama-Immigration-Action anonymously, send me a message through our web site http://www.immigration.com/contact or by posting a private message on LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/in/rajivskhanna.
Here are the questions. When writing to me, make sure you mention which question number you are commenting on.
I. Streamlining the Legal Immigration System
1. What are the most important policy and operational changes that would streamline and improve the processing of immigrant visas at U.S. Embassies and Consulates, for both family-sponsored and employment-based immigrant visas?
2. What are the most important policy and operational changes that would streamline and improve the processing of nonimmigrant visas at U.S. Embassies and Consulates, including visitor, student, temporary worker and other nonimmigrant visas?
3. What are the most important policy and operational changes that would streamline and improve U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processing of the following types of immigrant and nonimmigrant visa petitions?
a. Family-sponsored immigrant visa petitions
b. Employment-based immigrant visa petitions
c. Nonimmigrant petitions
d. Humanitarian petitions and applications (such as U nonimmigrant status petitions, T nonimmigrant status applications, and VAWA self-petitions)
e. H-1B temporary worker visa petitions, specifically, ways to reduce burdens on employers and workers engaging in the H-1B petition process, consistent with protections for U.S. and temporary foreign workers. (Note that employment authorization for certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1 B nonimmigrants was a part of the President's November 20 announcement described above, and recommendations regarding that topic should not be submitted here.)
4. What are the most important policy and operational changes that would streamline and improve the process of changing from one nonimmigrant status to another nonimmigrant status?
5. What are the most important policy and operational changes that would streamline and improve the process of applying for adjustment of status to that of a lawful permanent resident while in the United States?
6. What are the most important policy and operational changes that would streamline and improve the inspection of arriving immigrants and nonimmigrants at U.S. ports of entry?
7. What are the most important policy and operational changes that would attract the world's most talented researchers to U.S. universities, national laboratories, and other research institutions? (Do not submit responses directly related to the actions announced on November 20, including the strengthening and extending of the Optional Practical Training program for foreign students. Separate processes exist to engage regarding those actions where necessary; see details above.)
8. What are the most important policy and operational changes that would attract the world's most talented entrepreneurs who want to start and grow their business in the United States? (Do not submit responses directly related to the actions announced on November 20, including the “national interest waiver” and “significant public benefit” parole pathways for entrepreneurs. Separate processes exist to engage regarding those actions where necessary; see details above.)
9. What are the policy or operational changes that could assist in creating additional immigration opportunities for high-demand professions, such as physicians?
10. Focusing on the EB-5 immigrant investor visa, what policy or operational changes would (a) reduce existing burdens and uncertainties on the part of petitioners, Regional Centers, and other participants in the program; (b) ensure that this program is achieving the greatest impact in terms of U.S. job creation, economic growth, and investment in national priority projects that the capital markets would not otherwise competitively finance; and (c) enhance protections against fraud, abuse, and criminal misuse of the program by petitioners or Regional Centers?
11. How can labor market related requirements for temporary workers be best tailored to meaningfully protect both U.S. and temporary foreign workers while achieving operational efficiency for both employers and relevant Federal agencies?
12. How should relevant occupational categories, descriptors, and/or data, such as the Department of Labor's O*NET system (http://www.onetonline.org) be refined and updated to better align the prevailing wage determination process for visas with the evolving job market?
13. Focusing on the diversity visa program, what are the most important policy and operational changes that would streamline and improve the diversity visa process, including enhancing protections against fraud?
14. What other policy and operational changes would most effectively combat waste, fraud, and abuse in the legal immigration system?
II. Ensuring Use of All Immigrant Visa Numbers
15. What are the most important policy and operational changes, if any, available within the existing statutory framework to ensure that administrative policies, practices, and systems fully and fairly allocate all of the immigrant visa numbers that Congress provides for and intends to be issued each year going forward?
16. What are the most important policy and operational changes, if any, available within the existing statutory framework to ensure that administrative policies, practices, and systems fully and fairly allocate all of the immigrant visa numbers that Congress provided for and intended to be issued, but were not issued in past years?
III. Modernizing IT Infrastructure
17. From the perspective of petitioners and applicants, which elements of the current legal immigration system (both immigrant and nonimmigrant systems) are most in need of modernized information technology (IT) solutions, and what changes would result in the most significant improvements to the user experience?
18. Which existing government-collected data and metrics would be most valuable to make available to the public, consistent with privacy protections and national security, in order to improve oversight and understanding of the legal immigration system?
23 December 2014
The Obama administration has requested more time to appeal the ruling of Judge Schwab from Pittsburgh, who decided (see the entries below) that president Obama’s #ImmigrationAction is unconstitutional.
I looked at the decision and felt certain that the government is stuck with having to file an appeal against the decision. Many of my colleagues were of the opinion that an appeal is unnecessary. It appeared to me that Obama administration must appeal the ruling to maintain clarity in their position. While it can be argued that the ruling is not binding because it was not necessary for the decision of the case, I do not think the administration can leave any gray areas unilluminated. As I noted in the post below, this ruling did not affect LEGAL immigration action. More details on this matter are here.
17 December 2014
Update: The Court Ruling Against Obama's Immigration Action
Here is video of a brief discussion on a radio show regarding the 16 December 2014 ruling holding President Obama’s immigration action unconstitutional. What you need to know:
16 December 2014
Update: Judge Rules Obama's Immigration Action to be Unconstitutional
U.S. District Court Judge Arthur J. Schwab issued today (16 December 2014) the first ruling in the USA holding President Obama’s immigration action unconstitutional. The decision looks strained in that there appears to be little reason why the Judge should have even ruled on an issue that was not pertinent to the decision of the case. It is curious that the Judge addressed the constitutionality of the executive action though neither party had raised that as an issue. I think this case will be overturned on appeal, but it does present some odd legal problems.
The Politico coverage of the decision is here:
The history of the Judge, a Bush appointee can be partly glimpsed here.
|12 December 2014
Obama's Executive #ImmigrationAction is being implemented in February and May. So far, there is no word on implementation of legal immigration. Here is the NBC News Story.
10 December 2014
Discussing Obama's Immigration Action Implementation Plan in a Radio Show
25 November 2014
1. Good news so far for entrepreneurs: The programs for foreign entrepreneurs are expected to be implemented through policy guidance, NOT formal regulations. That means, the implementation COULD be overnight, if the government so desires.
2. Filing of AOS (I-485) with the I-140 is expected to be implemented, but, through formal regulations. That means, this could take months or even more.
3. PERM process will also be modernized, but through formal regulations.
24 November 2014
21 November 2014
Takeaway points for legal immigration from President Obama’s executive action:
1. USCIS is “about to” publish the final rule on H-4 work authorization. That will make it possible for certain spouses of H-1 holders to get work authorization.
2. Improving employment-based green card backlogs by:
a. Making visa issuance more efficient so no immigrant visas are wasted;
b. Providing for better AC21 rules and other ways to keep immigrant visas intact after a change of jobs. USCIS will clarify what constitutes “same or similar” job so that AC21 will not stop workers from getting promotions or even changing to related jobs within their field. USCIS must clear the path to career progression for green card applicants.
3. Expandingfurther the OPT time for STEM students, but creating tighter control on which universities/schools/degrees are eligible and ensure local workers are protected (Implement some sort of a “mini PERM?”).
4. Creating opportunities for foreign “inventors, researchers and founders of start-up” companies to come to the USA through an existing program called “National Interest Waiver.” Unfortunately for India, this is an EB-2 category program requiring several years of wait. But the following parole program will help:
a. Creating a parole (which is usually a temporary, but very quick measure and could eventually lead to a green card) program so that on a case-by-case bases, “inventors, researchers and founders of start-up” companies can be brought quickly into the USA where:
i.They have raised financing in the USA; OR
ii.Otherwise hold the promise of innovation and job creation through development of new technologies OR cutting edge research
5. Creating guidelines for exceptionally qualified or advanced degreed individuals to come to the USA through an existing program called “National Interest Waiver.” As noted, unfortunately for India, this is an EB-2 category program requiring several years of wait. But the parole option above could be helpful.
6. Providing clear guidance on L-1B program as to who can qualify.
These are my rough notes. I will be holding a free community conference for issues related to legal immigration tomorrow, 21 November 2014 at 11 AM Eastern Standard Time. I don’t have a lot to add, but we can discuss any specific questions you have. All are welcome to join. Call or Skype 202-800-8394 at 11 AM EST, USA time.