CSC Issues Information on Expedite Requests for Petitions/Applications

The California Service Center (CSC) has issued instructions and regulations regarding expedited procedures for pending applications and petitions submitted to that service center. According to the CSC, individuals wishing to begin expedited procedures for applications that have been filed and are pending at the CSC should provide the CSC with a detailed explanation regarding the reason for an expedite on a one-page letter signed by the petitioner/applicant.

Expedite requests, according to the CSC, are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and are granted at the discretion of the director of the CSC. Expedite cases are provided only in the following instances:

• Severe financial loss to an individual or company;
• Extreme emergent situation;
• Humanitarian situation;
• Nonprofit status of requesting organization with the expressed goal of furthering the cultural and social interests of the U.S.;
• A situation related to the Department of Defense or a national situation;
• A USCIS error; or
• A compelling interest of the case to the USCIS.

Please note that all incomplete requests will not be granted. In addition, all supporting documents not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Finally, there is no appeal of a denial of an expedite request.

Expedite requests should be faxed to the CSC at (949) 389-3441.

Homeland Security Beefs Up Enforcement of Employers of Illegal Immigrants

Much of recent attention focused on illegal immigration has focused on employers of illegal immigrants. In response to concerns voiced about employers’ responsibilities in ensuring that workers are in-status, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has begun increasing immigration enforcement of employers and are currently targeting some employers of undocumented and/or unauthorized employees. ICE enforcement against such employers include civil fines and, possibly, criminal charges and federal asset forfeiture. “[The Department of Homeland Security] has no patience for employers who tolerate or perpetuate a shadow economy,” said Michael Chertoff, Secretary of the DHS. “We intend to find employers who knowingly or recklessly hire unauthorized workers and we will use every authority within our power to shut down businesses that exploit an illegal workforce to turn a profit.”

Senators Introduce SKIL Bill, In Support of Highly Skilled Foreign Workers

The SKIL (securing Knowledge Innovation and Leadership) Bill was introduced May 2 of this year by Senator John Cornyn (R, TX). The bill was co-sponsored by Senators George Allen (R, VA), Wayne Allard (R-CO), Robert Bennett (R-UT), Michael Enzi (R-WY), and Trent Lott (R-MS). The bill, which provides for various provisions that support the immigration of technical foreign workers has been greatly supported by technology companies in the United States, who depend on a continued influx of highly skilled foreign workers.

Four major provisions of the SKIL bill that support technology in the U.S. are as follows:

• The bill would exempt U.S.-educated foreign workers with advanced degrees from the H-1B and EB quotas.
• The bill would also create a flexible, market-based H-1B cap. Current limits on H-1B visas were reached in August of last year and will keep U.S. companies from employing new workers using that visa until October, 2006.
• The bill also extends the optional post-curricular training program for foreign students to 2 years from the current limit of 1 year, which would ease the transition from student to permanent resident.
• Finally, the bill exempts immigrant spouses and children of EB and permanent visa workers from any annual cap, which would free up more visas for the highly skilled workers themselves.

Supporters of the bill state that too few U.S. residents are receiving advanced degrees in science and engineering. Highly skilled foreign workers must be made available to U.S. companies for them to remain competitive in the global market.