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    TSC update I-485 link still available – The Texas Service Center reports that the TSC EB update email address,ebupdate.tsc@dhs.gov will continue to be available to provide updates for pending I-485’s. There had been some question as to whether the link was still available. The purposes for use are:

    · Notifying Texas that an applicant with a pending I-485 is porting under AC-21;

    · Notifying Texas when an applicant with a pending I-485 has multiple approved I-140’s, one of which is current and has an immigrant visa available;

    · Notifying Texas that an applicant has cross-country immigrant visa chargeability available;

    · Notifying Texas that an applicant’s adjustment should be transferred to another office.

    For porting, the subject line should state “EB I-485/AC 21”; for multiple approved I-140’s “I-485 multiple I-140’s”; for cross-country chargeability “I-485/CC”; and for transfer “Transfer”.

    STEM OPT proposed rule – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) set forth a notice of proposed rulemaking of STEM OPT in the Federal Register of October 19, 2015, with a short comment date to November 18, 2015. Although STEM OPT is an active ongoing program, such action was necessary due to D.C. federal judge Ellen Huvelle’s August 2015 ruling in Washington Alliance of Technology Workers v. U. S. Department Of Homeland Security vacating the OPT STEM extension but giving the federal government until February 12, 2016, to properly promulgate a rule subject to public notice and comment. The Washington Alliance had successfully argued that the STEM OPT extension was illegal as having been implemented without proper rulemaking. DHS has taken the opportunity to expand and modify the program in the proposed rule. Under it, the time for STEM extension is to be extended from 17 to 24 months; only accredited schools can participate in the program; a student who has already used the 24 months but moves to a higher level of schooling, e.g. bachelors to Masters degree, will be eligible for another 24 months along with the regular 12 months of OPT time upon graduation; the amount of time that STEM holders can be unemployed during the STEM time increases from 30 to 60 days; employers will have to implement mentoring and training plans along with a process for evaluation which ICE can monitor; and terms and conditions of the STEM opportunity will have to be comparable to those of similarly situated American workers. Hopefully everything can be done by February 12th as failure to meet the date raises the possibility that DHS will have to return STEM OPT applications and ask individuals to re-file at a later date.

    Reprinted with permission.

    About The Author

    Alan Lee, Esq. the author is an exclusive practitioner of immigration law based in New York City with an AV preeminent rating in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory for 20+ years, registered in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, on the New York Super Lawyers list (2011-12, 2013-14, 2014-2015), and recognized as a New York Area Top Rated Lawyer. He has written extensively on immigration over the past years for Interpreter Releases, Immigration Daily, and the ethnic newspapers, World Journal, Sing Tao, Epoch Times, Pakistan Calling, Muhasba and OCS; testified as an expert on immigration in civil court proceedings; and is a regular contributor to Martindale-Hubbell's Ask-a-Lawyer program. His article, "The Bush Temporary Worker Proposal and Comparative Pending Legislation: an Analysis" was Interpreter Releases' cover display article at the American Immigration Lawyers Association annual conference in 2004; his 2004 case in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Firstland International v. INS, successfully challenged Legacy INS' policy of over 40 years of revoking approved immigrant visa petitions under a nebulous standard of proof, although its central holding that the government had to notify approved immigrant petition holders of the revocation prior to the their departure to the U. S. for the petition to be able to be revoked was short-lived as it was specifically targeted in the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004 (which in response changed the language of the revocation statute itself). Yet Firstland lives on as precedent that the government must comply with nondiscretionary duties established in law, and such failure is reviewable in federal courts. His 2015 case, Matter of Leacheng International, Inc., with the Administrative Appeals Office of USCIS (AAO) set nation-wide standards on the definition of "doing business" for multinational executives and managers to gain immigration benefits.

    The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.

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