New Information on Affidavits of Support

Michael Aytes, the acting director for domestic operations of the USCIS, this week posted a memo to adjudicators guiding them on the final rule relating to the use of Affidavits of Support (Forms I-864). According to the final rule, which was published on June 21, Affidavits of Support must be “sufficient both at the time the adjustment of status application is file and at the time the adjustment application is adjudicated [and] subject to limited exceptions, an Affidavit of Support is sufficient at the time of the adjudication if it was sufficient at the time it was filed with the Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status,” said Aytes.

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USCIS Has Entered All H-1B Cap Petitions; Receipts Issued

According to the USCIS, all H-1B petitions subject to the annual cap that were received on May 26 of this year were entered into the system and receipts were issued to the petitioners. USCIS states that the number of petitions entered into their system exceeded the set cap by roughly 100 petitions.

Do note, however, that the random selection process was conducted after the issuance of receipts. What this means is that, even though you may receive a receipt, you may not have been selected in the lottery.

House Reauthorizes H-1C Visa for Foreign Nurses in Medically Underserved Areas

The House of Representatives today passed the Nursing Relief for Disadvantaged Areas Reauthorization Act of 2005. This amended bill would extend for a total of three years the 1999 act that provided H-1C visas for up to 500 foreign nurses per year to work in medically undeserved areas.

The original Reauthorization Bill was introduced by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) on 3/14/05 and cosponsored by Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL), and would have indefinitely extended the Act.

A similar bill, introduced by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL), is currently pending in the Senate.

DOS Proposes New Regulations Regarding Intercountry Adoptions

The Department of State has proposed to implement new regulations regarding intercountry adoptions. In a recent notice, the DOS is requesting comments on utilization of the certification and declaration provisions of the 1993 Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption and the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 for all intercountry adoption and custody proceedings that take place in the U.S. for immigrations and emigrations of children. According to DOS, a process for seeking certification that adoptions done in the U.S. in accordance with the Convention will also be established.

To view the full text of the Hague Convention, please click here.

The USCIS also has detailed information about the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000.

ICE Completes its “Operation Return to Sender” Initiative

U.S. immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, has just completed its “Operation Return to Sender” initiative and has announced that it apprehended more than 2,000 criminal aliens, illegal alien gang members, fugitive aliens and other violators of immigration status. The initiative, which ran from May 26 to June 13, include virtually every ICE field office in the nation, working in collaboration with state and local law enforcement agencies.

According to ICE, about half of the apprehended individuals had criminal records for crimes such as sexual assault of a minor, assault with a deadly weapon and abduction. In a press release published today, ICE representatives note the following statistics:

“Approximately 146 of those arrested had convictions for sexual offenses involving minors. In addition, roughly 367 of the arrested aliens were members or associates of violent street gangs, including Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13). Finally, roughly 640 of those arrested were fugitive aliens who had been issued final orders of removal by an Immigration judge but failed to comply.”

According to ICE: “America’s welcome does not extend to immigrants who come here to commit crimes. ICE will leave no stone unturned in hunting down and deporting aliens who victimize our communities. Interior enforcement initiatives like Operation Return to Sender are a critical and necessary complement to our nation’s border security measures.”

It is, however, important to note that the other half of the apprehended individuals were picked up by ICE for administrative immigration violations. These people have been either placed in deportation proceedings or have already been repatriated to their home countries.

USCIS To Issue Requests for Evidence to Alien Fiancés

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced this week that it will begin issuing “Requests for Evidence” for over 10,000 Alien Fiancé(e) Petitions (Form I-129F) that are currently being held at USCIS Service Centers. In accordance with provisions of the International Marriage Brokers Regulation Act of 2005, the USCIS will immediately start issuing these RFEs to petitioners affected by this provision.

According to USCIS all petitions that were filed on or after March 6 of this year are required to be supplemented with additional information, including data related to the petitioner’s criminal history (if relevant). A new Form-I-129F with these changes incorporated will be available later this month.

The goal of these changes are to ensure protection of alien fiancées against situations of domestic violence. This is an essential change in process and is quite important to ensure that those alien fiancées that do come to the U.S. do so in a safe and meaningful way.