CIS’s Delays and Denials

By | Business Immigration, CIS, Citizenship and Naturalization, Employer/Employee, H1-B, Houston Immigration, Immigration, Immigration Policy, Uncategorized | No Comments

I am sure that most of you know by now the inordinate processing delays and Request for Evidences in almost every case, no matter what evidence we give the CIS initially. Citizenship and Immigration Service has distanced themselves from us Immigration Attorneys, and is no longer talking to American Immigration Lawyer’s Association. It has also changed its infopass system, so members of the public cannot go and ask questions.
The other thing that Citizenship and Immigration Service is doing is arbitrary denials. There is no uniformity or accountability and each officer is left to deny cases as they please.
These delays and arbitrary denials are causing needless hardship for Immigrants.
The Administrative Appeals Office, which is supposed to be a non partisan agency, who is supposed to be reviewing the case like new (ie without Citizenship and Immigration Service’s interpretation) has now rubber stamped the agency’s decision 100% of the time for the past 2.5 years.
So our ONLY remedy is to go to federal courts. Mandamus the Citizenship and Immigration Service to act, or appeal to federal courts for Citizenship and Immigration Service’s arbitrary decisions. But those of us who live in red states would probably not get a fair trial, unless we file in DC, who has jurisdiction, because that is where Citizenship and Immigration Service is located. That is of course an added time and travel expense. Especially Business Immigration, because private companies don’t work at the speed of Government.
The Citizenship and Immigration Service had always given the excuse that the delay was due to the number of petitions filed. Yet, when they published their report, it showed that there was a 13% reduction of applications filed. Simultaneously, the processing times increased by 8%.
With this knowledge in hand, the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association testified to the Congressional Immigration Committee on July 16, 2019. This is a bi partisan committee. Sharvari Dalal-Dheini, AILA Director of Government Relations, noted, “It is not hyperbole to say that the consequences of these delays are dire. In recent months, dozens of Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate have demanded that USCIS address what are unacceptable low performance measures. We greatly appreciate the work the Committee is now doing to hold the agency accountable for its failure to administer immigration benefits, as Congress mandated. AILA’s more than 15,000 members have been urging USCIS to address these delays for years, only to see them worsen. Today’s hearing is vitally important, but Congress should also pass legislation to ensure greater transparency and accountability within USCIS going forward. These failures harm our economy, American businesses, families and communities. America deserves a strong, effective legal immigration system to keep businesses competitive and our families and communities prospering.”
Yesterday Forbes reported that Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) asked the Citizenship and Immigration Service about the delays and denials. USCIS Associate Director for Service Center Operations Donald Neufeld said, “I can tell you that a number of changes have been made affecting H-1B processing over the last couple of years”—-thereby admitting that changes made were a result of this administration.
I do not know if anything will change under this administration. I know I have been slower to respond to clients. But it is virtually impossible to get back to everyone at the rate we used to in 2015, because we now live in a world where Immigrants are told to go back to where they came from, even at the very top of our administration and useless Request for Evidences are the rule rather than the exception of the day. We know you are anxious. We are too. But rest assured we will fight for you as best as we can.

Fire and ICE

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In 1985 my husband was a Medical Resident at Harvard. In 1992, we became permanent residents of the United States. I went to law school in 92, and became a lawyer. We both worked and paid taxes. We raised two children who went to Ivy Leagues and both are now MDs (A radiologist and a Psychiatrists). They will begin to pay taxes while my husband and I near retirement age. Net gain for US—substantial. My husband was a doctor. And we need doctors. But we also need Construction workers, maids, gardeners, fruit pickers, chicken pluckers. But unlike a degree in Medicine, there are no visa categories for these jobs.

There are three main ways to Immigrate to the US. They are through: Business Sponsorship, Family Sponsorship and Asylum. Business Immigration, which I have been practicing for the past 20 plus years confines itself to highly educated or high net worth individuals. And no question, America needs them. But we also need folks to clean houses, mow our lawns, etc. These are not temporary jobs, yet they are useful jobs. However the only category available right now is for temporary workers which are seasonal—-like fruit pickers or summertime restaurant workers. These visas are not for long term. My house cleaners have been working for me since 1997. It bothers me that I cannot sponsor them, because there is no Business Immigration laws for that category. Family sponsorship is limited to only immediate family for Permanent Residency Holders or Citizens.
That leaves Asylum as the ONLY option for the folks in the Southern Borders. The Asylum law states that the Alien has to prove that: “alien’s life or freedom would be threatened on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion” This fear has to be credible, and supported by evidence. A vague fear that “our country is lawless, and gangs could kill me” is not enough. This is extremely hard to prove. Even if the alien is personally threatened, provable evidence is not there in most cases.

According to NPR, refugees have to pay eight thousand USD per person to come to US.  Attorney’s charge 5-8K. So there is quite a bit of expense involved. And folks who can come up with that kind of money generally do not have credible fear, because they can bribe the “bad guys.” They are mostly coming for the same reason every immigrant comes to the US—to get a better life for themselves and their families. They work very hard. They construct our houses, clean them and add value to our economy. But again, we do not have the laws for this kind of business sponsorship.

Comes now Trump a bigot, a racist and an idiot. He doles out everything with a dollop of hate. When he met with this situation, instead of diffusing the situation, he resorted to hateful tweets. What resulted was the press sensationalizing the situation, more migrants coming in on fear that US will close the doors, and scant resources. They were being housed in terrible, heartbreaking conditions. Since these folks endured so much, they would be ideal workers, able and more than willing. We need these migrants.

                                                       ICE vs CONGRESS
ICE stands for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It is their JOB to enforce the Immigration laws. But as we already established, the law is simply not there. Yet Congresswomen like Ocasio Cortez chose to criticize ICE. Yes, Trump is a racist. Despite his tweets, Trump does NOT control day to day operations of ICE. ICE is an Organization and by far they follow rules laid out by administrative decisions. The recent conditions in the border was caused by an upsurge on the amount of refugees coming in, and the facility being inadequate. To solve the problem we needed funding. And funding is provided not by the Executive, but by the legislature.
Additionally laws are made by the Congress—-not by the executive. But just like Trump, AOC will scream, and not actually do anything.

                                            Solution vs Politics
We know that the Congress is divided. However, if the House creates employment-based categories, the Senate will most likely accept them. What the senate (with majority Republican) will not accept is a “path to citizenship.” On the other hand, Democrats will not do anything unless these migrants are given a path to citizenship, aka votes. Both parties are using migrants as pawns for their agenda.
My solution is: Forget Politics. Come together and sign employment based categories for all jobs. We need help with jobs like Maids, Gardeners, Home Health Care, Construction, etc. We baby boomers NEED that help, and we can pay for this help. Give them temporary work permits renewable if they are still employed. And then, if they can show employment for X number of years, such that their connection to their home country is dwindling, then let them apply for Green Card-Permanent Residency, and then 5 years from that time, apply for Citizenship. Democrats, by then the millennials will control, and if the Republican Party does not change, they will cease to exist.