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移民局官员在AILA年会上透露的一些消息
作者:刘宗坤律师     发文时间: 2009年06月23日 06:25:29
Messages from USCIS at the 2009 AILA Annual Conference

Christina T. Le, Associate Attorney at Liu & Associates, PLLC

At the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Annual Conference
earlier this month, representatives from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration
Services (USCIS) described goals for the upcoming year. In particular,
USCIS expressed hope that it would complete backlog reduction by the end of
this fiscal year (September 30, 2009) and strive for nationwide consistency
in the adjudication of all cases.

Backlog Reduction

During the Summer of 2007, USCIS received more than one million applications
that resulted in a tremendous case processing backlog. Now two years later
, Donald Neufeld, Acting Associate Director of USCIS Domestic Operations
stated USCIS is in its final phase of the surge elimination plan. He
expects USCIS will complete adjudication of these cases by the end of this
fiscal year. He also announced that service centers will be pre-
adjudicating employment-based adjustment of status (I-485) cases, which will
involve issuing requests for evidence (RFEs) and denying clearly ineligible
cases. Mr. Neufeld hopes pre-adjudication will prevent the July 2007 visa
bulletin situation (when immigrant visa numbers became current) from arising
again. As cases are pre-adjudicated, USCIS will request a visa number in
the system, so the Department of State will have complete visibility of the
number of cases in the queue awaiting immigrant visas. Such transparency
will allow the DOS to set more accurate dates for the visa bulletin. As of
May 30, 2009, USCIS had pre-adjudicated 110,000 EB-485 cases.

USCIS service centers are close to meeting the four-month processing goal
for I-140 petitions. Specifically, the Director of the Nebraska Service
Center, Gerard Heinauer, stated the NSC processing times are close to
current and will be current by the end of the fiscal year. Further, he
expects the pre-adjudication of the EB-485s at NSC will be completed before
the end of August.

Unfortunately, the Texas Service Center is not quite up to speed. TSC
Director David Roark stated there are still approximately 1,500 I-140 cases
remaining from Summer 2007, but he expects the TSC can pre-adjudicate cases
by the end of the fiscal year. On a more promising note, the TSC is
continuing its “Plus Project” to issue “green cards” within 90 days of
receipt for certain I-140/I-485 cases that do not require RFEs. With
respect to EB-1 and NIW I-140 petitions, Mr. Roark again reiterated that
petitioners should not submit excessive documentation and unnecessary papers
. He described it as very “off putting” for adjudicators to see a thick
stack of documents on their desks.

Premium Processing Service for Form I-140 to Resume June 29, 2009

USCIS announced that the backlog reduction will allow it reinstate Form I-
140 premium processing service for all categories previously available.
Premium Processing Service will resume June 29, 2009. Premium Processing
Service allows the petitioner to pay an additional $1,000 premium processing
fee for expedited case adjudication and guarantees that USCIS will issue an
approval, notice of intent to deny, or request for evidence within 15
calendar days of receipt of a petition. This service has been suspended
since July 2, 2007, for most I-140 petitions due to the increased employment
-based applications resulting from the July 2007 visa bulletin.

Once reinstated, premium processing service will be available for previously
designated classifications and I-140 petitions in these categories: EB-1
Aliens with Extraordinary Ability, EB-1 Outstanding Professors/Researchers,
EB-2 Members of Professions with Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability (
not National Interest Waivers), and EB-3 Skilled Workers/Workers other than
Skilled Workers and Professionals. Premium Processing Service will not be
available for EB-1 Multinational Executives/Managers or EB-2 National
Interest Waiver cases.

Nationwide Adjudication Consistency

As USCIS meets its processing goals, the service centers are also aiming for
consistent review and adjudication of cases throughout the country. Ramona
McGee, Acting Chief Counsel for USCIS, described a new procedure for
quarterly reviews of cases among the service centers to identify anomalies
or inconsistencies in the adjudication process. Any case identified as
inconsistent with USCIS adjudication procedures may be reopened and the
decision may be reversed. Ms. McGee stated the adjudication policies remain
the same and there are no stricter standards. Each quarter, USCIS service
centers will pull representative cases for other service centers to review
and to determine whether a different service center would make the same
final decision. USCIS believes this process will lead to cross-country
consistencies in the adjudication of all cases.

These announcements above provide hope that USCIS soon may achieve its goal
for the prompt and consistent review and adjudication of immigration cases,
and more specifically, employment-based immigration petitions. But we note,
the capability of processing I-140 cases within four months, however, is
rendered meaningless if petitioners and beneficiaries working in the
national interest must wait nearly a decade to obtain lawful permanent
residency. Alas, there was little to no discussion from USCIS about plans
for comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) that may relieve this long-
standing immigration problem of inadequate visa numbers for highly skilled
researchers and scientists. The only source of optimism came when Mr.
Neufeld joked that during his 25-year career with the immigration service,
the USCIS and legacy INS always had been striving to clear a backlog of
cases, and just when they near this goal, a new event occurs to multiply the
backlog. Perhaps CIR will be the future catalyst for the next round of
backlogs?

*********************************************************************
刘宗坤律师(Z. Zac Liu, Esq.),法学博士(J.D., Valparaiso University School
of Law)、哲学博士 (Ph.D., Peking University),伊利诺伊州最高法院及联邦法院
执照, 曾担任Valparaiso University Law Review的编辑和审稿人, 著有中英文书籍
多种, 散见于中美各大学图书馆。执业以来,他已代理无数名来自世界各地的科研人
员和专业人士成功获得绿卡及各类非移民签证,尤其在国家利益豁免(NIW)、特殊人
才(Eb-1A)、杰出教授和研究员(EB-1B)、PERM 劳工证、H-1B工作签证等方面积累
了丰富的经验。有兴趣提出申请的读者,可将简历发往zliu@niwus.com。刘律师会在两
个工作日内对您的情况做出免费评估。

白凯玲律师 (Kellie Pai, Esq.),法学博士(J.D.,University of Houston Law
Center)、文学学士(B.A., University of Texas at Austin),德克萨斯州最高法院执
照,联邦法院执照,刘宗坤联合律师事务所专业移民律师。

Christina T. Le 律师,法学博士(J.D.,University of Houston Law Center)、文学
学士 (B.A., Northwestern University), 德克萨斯州最高法院执照,刘宗坤联合律师
事务所专业移民律师。

Liu & Associates, PLLC
Wells Fargo Tower, 8th Floor
6161 Savoy Drive, Suite 830
Houston, Texas 77036
Tel: (800) 878-1807
(713) 974-3893
Fax: (866) 608-2766
Email: zliu@niwus.com
Website: www.niwus.com



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