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1. Trump Proposes Merit-Based Immigration Plan -

President Donald Trump proposed an immigration plan on May 16, 2019, that shifts the emphasis to a merit-based system to admit highly educated, high-skilled immigrants.

2. USCIS Completes Data Entry for FY 2020 H-1B Cap-Subject (Lottery) Petitions -

USCIS announced that it has completed data entry for all FY 2020 H-1B lottery petitions selected, including those under the U.S. advanced degree exemption.

3. Lawsuit Accuses USCIS of 'Attack' on IT Consulting -

The lawsuit notes that USCIS recently increased the processing times and percentage of requests for evidence sent on H-1B lottery petitions, and points to a disparity in adjudications and processing times for direct employers versus IT consulting firms.

4. New Publications and Items of Interest -

New Publications and Items of Interest

5. ABIL Member / Firm News -

ABIL Member / Firm News

6. Government Agency Links -

Government Agency Links

 

 
 
1. Trump Proposes Merit-Based Immigration Plan
 

President Donald Trump proposed an immigration plan on May 16, 2019, that shifts the emphasis to a merit-based system to admit highly educated, high-skilled immigrants.

In a speech announcing the proposal on May 16, 2019, President Trump said the biggest change would be to "increase the proportion of highly skilled immigration from 12 percent to 57 percent," and possibly higher. Immediate family of new U.S. citizens, defined as spouses and children, would go "right to the front of the line."

President Trump also said the plan makes no change to the number of green cards allocated each year, but will "establish simple, universal criteria for admission to the United States," to be accomplished by an "easy-to-navigate points-based selection system." A would-be immigrant "will get more points for being a younger worker, meaning you will contribute more to our social safety net. You will get more points for having a valuable skill, an offer of employment, an advanced education, or a plan to create jobs," he said.

Reaction to the proposed plan was mixed, according to reports. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) quickly proclaimed the plan "dead on arrival." Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), minority leader in the Senate, said the White House plan was "a political document that is anti-immigration reform." Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), majority leader, said he "look[s] forward to reviewing the President's proposal."

Details: Video and transcript

 
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2. USCIS Completes Data Entry for FY 2020 H-1B Cap-Subject (Lottery) Petitions
 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has completed data entry for all fiscal year 2020 H-1B lottery petitions, including those under the U.S. advanced degree exemption.

The agency will begin returning all unselected H-1B lottery petitions and will announce when notifications are completed. USCIS did not provide a specific timeframe but said, "We ask petitioners to wait to inquire about the status of their cap-subject petitions until they receive a receipt notice or an unselected petition that we have returned."

Details: USCIS announcement

 
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3. Lawsuit Accuses USCIS of 'Attack' on IT Consulting
 

A new lawsuit, ITServe Alliance v. USCIS, argues that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is "trying to end the information technology consulting…business model." Among other things, plaintiffs note that until recently, USCIS adjudicated initial H-1B (lottery) petitions in a relatively timely manner to allow for approvals on the requested start date of October 1. But in 2018 and 2019, the time the agency took to adjudicate an H-1B lottery petition grew to 9.5 to 12.5 months, despite the fact that Congress expected the agency to conclude H-1B adjudications within 30 days.

The lawsuit asks whether USCIS is relying on factors Congress had not intended the agency to consider when adjudicating H-1B visas filed by the IT consulting industry, and asserts that the dramatic increase in processing times "is the direct result of [USCIS's]…attack on the IT Consulting community" through the agency's informal adjudications and policy memos.

The lawsuit also notes that USCIS recently increased the processing times and percentage of requests for evidence sent on initial petitions, and points to a disparity in adjudications and processing times for direct employers versus IT consulting firms.

Details: Lawsuit

 
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4. New Publications and Items of Interest
 

CBP Officer's Reference Tool documents. In response to a Freedom of Information Act request, portions of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Officer's Reference Tool (replacing the CBP Inspector's Field Manual) have been released and are being posted on a rolling basis by the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Immigrant and Employee Rights webinars. The Department of Justice's Immigrant and Employee Rights Section is offering free webinars to the public in April. The webinars are for workers, employers, and advocates. More information or to register

Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers:

Organizations seeking non-lawyer and lawyer volunteers. Cornell Law School has compiled a list of organizations seeking non-lawyer and lawyer volunteers to help migrants in U.S. detention and deportation proceedings. The list, which is updated on an ongoing basis

Nation of immigrants. Podcasts on U.S. immigration history and what it means to be an immigrant in America:

Advisories and tips

  • Community Advisory: Social Media, Criminalization, and Immigration has been published by the National Lawyers Guild's National Immigration Project. This advisory summarizes ways in which immigration agents may use social media against those in removal proceedings or involved in criminal cases. The advisory is here.
  • How to safeguard your data from searches at the border is the topic of several recent articles and blogs. See, for example, NYTimes and ACLU.
  • Listings and links to cases challenging executive orders, and related available pleadings, are available at lawfareblog.com.
 
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5. ABIL Member / Firm News
 

Klasko Immigration Law Partners, LLP, announced a blog series, "Strategies for Success Series: Analyzing AAO Decisions." The first blog, available now, is "Learning O-pportunities: Strategies for O-1 Success"; the second is "Sink OR Swim," available May 22, 2019; and the third is "To Extraordinary and Beyond," available May 29, 2019.

Angelo Paparelli has authored a new blog entry, "Immigration Haunting: Social Security Administration Resumes Issuing No-Match Notices."

Stephen Yale-Loehr was quoted in various publications regarding President Trump's legal immigration reform plan:

 
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6. Government Agency Links
 

Follow these links to access current processing times of the USCIS Service Centers and the Department of Labor, and the Department of State's latest Visa Bulletin with the most recent cut-off dates for visa numbers:

USCIS Service Center processing times online

Department of State Visa Bulletin

Visa application wait times for any post

 
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