For the second year in a row, USCIS has announced that it is temporarily suspending premium processing for H-1B petitions as the new cap-subject filing season for FY 2019 fast approaches.

The announced reason for these suspensions was to enable USCIS to finish processing long-delayed H-1B cases and to reduce processing times overall.

But last year, the main effect of suspending Premium Processing was, very arguably, to give USCIS examiners more time to write burdensome, often unnecessary, and in some cases that I can attest to personally in my own H-1B practice and will discuss in detail in a forthcoming comment, openly biased or at least egregiously incompetent RFE's and denial decisions.

As was widely reported last year, and as I also experienced in my own H-1B practice, there was an unprecedented number of H-1B RFE's issued last year. In my own experience as an H-1B practitioner, most of these RFE's dealt involved specious and unfounded claims by H-1B examiners that offered H-1B positions were not really "specialty occupations" according to the H-1B regulations, even in cases where the occupations has been traditionally recognized as an H-1B specialty occupation by USCIS and its predecessor INS for many years past.

But regardless of the asserted reason for any specific RFE's, last year's experience indicates that many of them were issued only for the purpose of holding up or even ultimately denying approval of meritorious H-1B petitions.

Over and above the issue of unnecessary H-1B approval delays or unfounded denial decisions, what does this say about Trump's stated push to limit legal immigration to so-called "merit based" applicants, while eliminating the family-based and diversity-based visas which have enabled tens of millions of immigrants, mainly from non-European parts of the world, to come to America legally over the past several decades?

If the president is really so much in favor of "merit-based" immigration to the exclusion of most, if not all, other legal immigration, including the family "chain migration" (which he condemned as "horrible" in a December 29 2017 tweet) and the diversity visa lottery (which he also denounced as a danger to US security in his SOTU message) why is his administration throwing so many roadblocks in the way of approving petitions for well-educated, highly skilled H-1B professional immigrants who are clear examples of the "merit-based" immigration which he claims to support?
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 30 years, Roger has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from diverse parts of the world obtain H-1B and other employment and family-based work visas and green cards.

Roger's email address is