Local Politics Or The National Stage - The GOP's Dilemma For Comprehensive Immigration Reform

by Alan Lee, Esq.

The July 2013 visa bulletin of the Visa Office, Department of State, showed strong advances across many categories with the Visa Office expressing optimism on visa movement in the near future. In the family-based categories, the F-1 category for 21+ single sons and daughters of U. S. citizens moved on a worldwide basis (except Mexico and the Philippines) from 4/22/06 to 6/1/06; F-2A for LPR children under 21 and unmarried from 6/8/11 – 10/8/11; F-2B for LPR sons and daughters over the age of 21 and unmarried from 7/8/05 – 11/1/05; F-3 for married sons and daughters of U. S. citizens from 9/1/02 – 10/1/02; and F – 4 for siblings of U. S. citizens from 5/1/01 – 5/22/01. Mexican-born moved in the F-1 category from 8/15/93 – 8/22/93, F-2A from 5/08/11 – 9/1/11, F-2B from 6/15/93 – 11/1/93, F-3 from 4/1/93 – 4/22/93, and F–4 from 9/15/96 – 9/22/96. Philippines-born in the F-1 category advanced from 1/1/00 – 7/1/00, F-2A from 6/8/11 – 10/8/11, F-2B from 11/1/02 – 12/22/02, F-3 from 11/15/92 – 11/22/92, and F-4 from 11/8/89 – 12/15/89.

Employment cases worldwide continued to exhibit the strong advances that they have made recently. For all countries of the world, the EB-1 category for extraordinary aliens, outstanding professors/ researchers, and multinational executives/managers remained current. EB-2 for individuals with advanced degrees or exceptional aliens remained current for most of the world except China and India born; EB-3 for skilled workers or professionals moved from 9/1/08 – 1/1/09 with the exception of India and the Philippines; EB-W for unskilled workers moved from 9/1/08 – 1/1/09 with the exception of China, India, and the Philippines; and EB-4 for certain special immigrant/religious workers was current for all countries as was EB-5 for immigrant investors. For countries backlogged in EB-2 and other EB categories, China-born moved from 7/15/08 – 8/8/08 under EB-2, 9/1/08 – 1/1/09 under EB-3, and 10/22/03 – 3/22/04 for EB-W. India-born remained at 9/1/04 under EB-2, moved slightly from 1/8/03 – 1/22/03 under EB-3, and from 1/8/03 – 1/22/03 under EB-W. Rounding out the count, Philippines-born under both EB-3 and EB-W moved from 9/22/06 – 10/1/06.

Of special interest were the notes of the Visa Office in projecting visa availability during the next months from August – October with worldwide projections in the family categories for F-1 of advances up to 5 weeks, that F-2A could become current at some point during the coming months, F-2B 4 – 7 week advances, F-3 3 – 5 week movements, and F-4 3 – 5 week jumps. For the employment-based categories, Visa Office projected EB-1, EB-4, and EB-5 as remaining current for all countries. EB-2 would also remain current worldwide except for China and India. China-born could expect two-month advances from the July cutoff date of 8/8/08. For India-born, the category is expected to move in August and/or September because of projected availability of “otherwise unused” EB-2 numbers, that such movement is expected to generate heavy new applicant demand primarily by those upgrading their cases from EB-3 to EB-2, and that a sustained level of heavy demand could impact the cutoff date during fiscal year 2014. For employment 3d cases (seemingly incorporating EB-3 and EB-W), Visa Office expects no additional movement as the cutoff date has already advanced 18 months during the past 3 months; that such rapid movement is expected to generate a significant amount of new demand with the impact not being felt for 3 – 5 months; and that the cutoff date would therefore be held until it could be determine what level of demand was to be expected and whether it was likely to be sustained.

The positive visa chart is of course good news to all waiting in family or employment-based queues, and more good news could be in the offing if S.744, the comprehensive immigration bill scheduled to be on the floor of the Senate this next week, passes in its present form as it promises many more immigrant visas to ease and eventually eliminate the visa backlogs.

About The Author

Alan Lee, Esq. is a 30+ year practitioner of immigration law based in New York City holding an AV preeminent rating in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Director, registered in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, on the New York Super Lawyers list (2011-12), and recognized as a New York Area Top Rated Lawyer in 2012. He was awarded the Sidney A. Levine prize for best legal writing at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 1977 and has written extensively on immigration over the past years for Interpreter Releases, Immigration Daily, and the ethnic newspapers, World Journal, Sing Tao, Pakistan Calling, Muhasha and OCS. He has testified as an expert on immigration in civil court proceedings and was recognized by the Taiwan government in 1985 for his work protecting human rights. 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, and his victory in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in a case of first impression nationwide, Firstland International v. INS, successfully challenged INS' policy of over 40 years of revoking approved immigrant visa petitions under a nebulous standard of proof. Its value as precedent, however, was short-lived as it was specifically targeted by the Bush Administration in the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004.

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