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April 2014
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As Faith in Congress Fades, the Executive Branch Takes another Small Step Forward

By Jessica L. Marks, Esq.

Last week, the White House announced that new rules will soon be published to authorize employment for H-4 spouses. Currently, H-4 status does not permit the visa holder to work in the United States, a restriction the Obama Administration has concluded runs counter to the goal of attracting talented foreign entrepreneurs and other high-skilled immigrants to America. The announcement indicated that regulations “enhancing opportunities for outstanding professors and researchers” are also imminent.

This latest move by the Obama Administration can be viewed as a not-so-subtle political push in addition to a small step forward for immigration reform. Just as President Obama announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative after Congress failed to pass the DREAM Act in 2012, the Executive Branch’s new offering to the immigrant community comes as reports on the likelihood of comprehensive immigration reform (“CIR”) passing grow more and more dire, presenting a picture of a Democratic Party that is willing to find and effectuate solutions while underscoring the obstructionism of House Republicans specifically, and inaction on the part of the Republican Party generally. Meanwhile, President Obama continues to draw considerable criticism from immigration advocates, particularly for his staggering deportation record and policies. He, however, does not have another election to worry about; the Republicans do.

Provided that the 2016 Democratic nominee for President commits to reducing the number of deportations and changing current policies, in addition to offering a viable roadmap or alternative plan to CIR, she ( :-) ) may be able to quell immigration advocates’ anger and garner support. The way forward for the Republican Party is much murkier, particularly for House members representing districts with high numbers of immigrants. Until a new President is sworn in in January 2017, we can only hope that the White House will continue to push beneficial policies within the existing legal framework to mitigate the damage done by Congress each day it fails to pass reform.

MD District Court Decision Continues to Reinforce Inviolability of Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, Rights and Responsibilities

By Matthew Beatus, Esq.

In February, we reported on the implications of a decision issued by a federal court in New Jersey concerning Form I-864, Affidavits of Support.  In Shah v. Shah, the court held that a preexisting prenuptial agreement providing for the waiver of an immigrant spouse’s rights “to spousal alimony, maintenance, or other allowances incident . . . → Read More: MD District Court Decision Continues to Reinforce Inviolability of Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, Rights and Responsibilities

USCIS RELEASES UPDATED EB-5 PROCESSING TIMES AND APPROVAL STATISTICS –THE NEWS IS GENERALLY GOOD

By Bernard P. Wolfsdorf, Esq. and Robert Blanco, Esq.

USCIS has published its latest processing times from the new Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO) for I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur applications and for I-829 Petitions by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor program.  As of January 31, 2014, USCIS was processing I-526 applications that were . . . → Read More: USCIS RELEASES UPDATED EB-5 PROCESSING TIMES AND APPROVAL STATISTICS –THE NEWS IS GENERALLY GOOD

Latest Chinese EB-5 Visa Availability Projection

By Bernard P. Wolfsdorf, Esq.

AILA EB-5 Committee attorney Bernard Wolfsdorf has engaged in a discussion with the State Department clarifying the State Department’s recent visa availability projections in Item E of the March 2014 Visa Bulletin. The State Department has indicated that the EB-5 category will be “Current” for the foreseeable future, and there is no mention . . . → Read More: Latest Chinese EB-5 Visa Availability Projection

NJ District Court Decision Reinforces Inviolability of Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, Rights and Obligations

By Matthew Beatus, Esq.

A recent federal district court decision out of New Jersey has contributed to the developing legal debate surrounding whether Form I-864 Affidavits of Support submitted on behalf of immigrant applicant spouses may be invalidated by prenuptial agreements.  In Shah v. Shah, Civil No. 12–4648 (RBK/KMW), 2014 WL 185914 (D.N.J. Jan 14, 2014) (memo. . . . → Read More: NJ District Court Decision Reinforces Inviolability of Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, Rights and Obligations

What ICE’s New DACA Renewal Guidance May Mean for You!

By Richard Yemm, Esq.

Time flies! It seems like only yesterday we were discussing the ‘new’ Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) process and the pros and cons of applying (earlier posts on DACA can be found here, here and here). We are approaching the two-year anniversary of the introduction of DACA, which means . . . → Read More: What ICE’s New DACA Renewal Guidance May Mean for You!

10 Things to Know Regarding Department of State J-1 Exchange Visitor Site Visits

By Bernard P. Wolfsdorf, Esq.

Ensure all reception, security personnel, and HR employees understand what a Department of State site visit is.  It is recommended that one individual is designated as the primary contact to respond to a visit, and one alternative contact.  Reception should indicate that they have no authority to consent to a visit or . . . → Read More: 10 Things to Know Regarding Department of State J-1 Exchange Visitor Site Visits

Predictions for the Year of the Horse: 5 Reasons Why the EB-5 Program Will Flourish in 2014

By Bernard P. Wolfsdorf, Esq.

This year, the EB-5 Immigrant Visa Category will be 24 years old. 2014 is also the Year of the Horse on the Chinese Zodiac, and the spirit of the horse embodies unremitting efforts to improve. Over the past two years, the EB-5 Program has undergone tremendous change, culminating in . . . → Read More: Predictions for the Year of the Horse: 5 Reasons Why the EB-5 Program Will Flourish in 2014

After Months of Adjudications Lacking Meaningful Analysis, I-601A Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver Guidance Renews Hope

By Jessica L. Marks, Esq.

It was with the greatest enthusiasm that we announced U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (“USCIS”) implementation of the I-601A provisional unlawful presence waiver at the beginning of last year. Since that time, that excitement has dissipated and been overwhelmed by deep disappointment at the reports of an alarming rate of I-601A denials . . . → Read More: After Months of Adjudications Lacking Meaningful Analysis, I-601A Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver Guidance Renews Hope

Impact of Projected EB-5 Quota Retrogression for China

Prepared by Bernard Wolfsdorf, Esq. and published by the AILA EB-5 Committee with input from Ron Klasko and Tammy Fox-Isicoff and the AILA Department of State Committee

Based on the demand for EB-5 visa numbers during 2013 and the volume of approved I-526 petitions at the National Visa Center, the Department of State has provided the AILA . . . → Read More: Impact of Projected EB-5 Quota Retrogression for China