February 5, 2020 § Leave a comment
With the Infopass online appointment system closed, this article gives you some tips on how to navigate the current USCIS Infopass scheduling system.
Not too long ago, if you needed to talk to an USCIS officer, Infopass through the online appointment system would have been one of the fastest ways to get your problem solved. However, if you searched Infopass nowadays, you would find that the website is no longer available. With the online appointment system closed, you could still theoretically make Infopass appointment by calling the USCIS hotline and follow this step-by-step guideline (subject to USCIS’s frequent changes):
- Call USCIS hotline 800-375-5283.
- Press 1 for English or 2 for Spanish.
- Press 2 for other information.
- Press 1 for Infopass information.
- Press 1 for Infopass appointment.
- Press 1 for Information for appointment in local office
- You will be in line to talk to a USCIS live agent. You may type in your actual case number at this time. If you don’t have a case number, press #.
The agent will likely take your request and information and let an actual USCIS officer call you back at a later time. The officer will determine whether your situation is eligible for Infopass and schedule the actual appointment for you based on your eligibility. The wait time for the officer to call back is uncertain and the eligibility criteria for successfully scheduling an Infopass appointment is unclear. With these added requirements to access Infopass, compared to the relative ease of scheduling an online appointment in the past, the current Infopass scheduling system can be challenging. However, this option technically still exists and may be worth a try depending on your specific situation. Good luck in getting your Infopass appointment and please share with us how you did it.
New Public Charge Rule Announced by USCIS Following the US Supreme Court’s Stay of Nationwide Injunction
February 4, 2020 § Leave a comment
USCIS will soon begin to use a much heightened standard to determine admissibility when reviewing nonimmigrant visa and adjustment of status green card applications.
On and after Feb. 24, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will implement the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule (“Final Rule”), except for in the State of Illinois where the rule remains enjoined by a federal court as of Jan. 30, 2020. Under the Final Rule, USCIS will look at the factors required under the law by Congress, like an alien’s age, health, income, education and skills, among other criteria, in order to determine whether an alien is likely at any time to become a public charge. Foreign nationals who are applying for nonimmigrant visas such as H-1B and green cards from within the United States — through a process known as “Adjustment of Status” — will soon be affected by the new rule. Immigration officials will soon start to review several more factors to determine whether someone should be granted a visa or a green card. A green card applicant who is relatively educated, healthy and productive, doesn’t carry a lot of debts, for example, will be a lot more likely to be approved for a green card compared with someone who’s retired and has health problems.
USCIS emphasized that this new rule is to encourage immigrants’ “self-sufficiency”, a core American value, and to protect American taxpayers.
November 1, 2019 § Leave a comment
Civil Rights Coalition files lawsuit to halt implementation of President Trump’s proclamation to withhold entry of immigrants who do not have the means to obtain health insurance or pay for their medical expenses outright.
On 10/4/19, President Trump issued a proclamation suspending the entry of immigrants who “will financially burden the U.S. healthcare system,” claiming that immigrants entering the United States who don’t have access to health insurance or the ability to pay for their health care independently place an unnecessary burden on American taxpayers who become responsible for covering the cost of their bills. In addition, Trump states that uninsured individuals often overcrowd emergency rooms in hospitals, thereby preventing individuals in need of true emergency care from receiving necessary treatment. The proclamation was scheduled to go into effect at 12:01 AM (ET) on 11/3/19. However, on 10/30/19, the Civil Rights Coalition filed a lawsuit under the expectation that, if implemented, “the proclamation would have unprecedented scope and impact,” permanently separate families and forcing businesses to let go of essential employees, thus affecting a vast number of people, including U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. While some have speculated that the President’s attempts to ban underprivileged immigrants reflects a personal bias against immigrants of color, the proclamation is certainly unconstitutional and violates separation of powers by unilaterally rewriting U.S. immigration laws and violating Congress’s expressed intent to provide affordable healthcare to legal immigrants and citizens regardless of their financial status.
October 6, 2019 § Leave a comment
The importance of global connectivity in current job markets is growing rapidly. Employers can now hire their staff from all over the world, expanding their specializations and talent. However, American employers have been having a hard time getting visas approved for their new hires. When employers experience these hardships, they consider relocating their company to a different country. Not only does this affect the company, but it takes away American jobs.
The difficulty in obtaining a visa for an employee is caused by what the government expects of visa applicants and what is legally required of visa applicants. When an employer files a visa on behalf of their employees, the burden of proof (of eligibility) lies on the employer, not the government. Legally, the employer’s claim must meet the standard of being “more likely than not” to be true, which is also referred to as being true “by a preponderance of the evidence”.
Due to increasingly difficult circumstances to get visa approvals, it appears that the government’s expectations of the employers have raised to prove the claim is true “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is by no means equal to “by a preponderance of evidence.” The unspoken standard has made it nearly impossible for employers to create an application that matches the potential that United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is looking for.
L-1 visas are particularly difficult to get approved. L-1 visas are reserved for specialized individuals working in management or executive positions that are transferring roles within a company in the United States. The rules of L-1 visa approvals state that the applicant must prove that each employee they supervise is a “professionals,” which means they have a degree. They must also provide very detailed job descriptions and qualifications to prove that their position is either in a management or executive role.
If you consider Steve Jobs or Henry Ford, you’ll be able to acknowledge that they were very successful executives that made an effort to stay in contact with the hands-on aspect of their work. If they were applying for L-1 visas today, it’s likely they would not get approved because their responsibilities in their executive roles did not fit the USCIS description.
Lawmakers and USCIS employees don’t realize that they are pushing away hard-working employees and reliable American companies. Companies and employees are relocating and finding fits that make their line of work easier to be productive in. Visa reform is crucial in keeping jobs in the United States.
August 2, 2019 § Leave a comment
The USCIS’s memo titled “Accrual of Unlawful Presence and F, J, and M Nonimmigrants,” went into effect on August 9, 2018. The memo penalized international students who overstayed and violated the terms of their visas. However, due to a pending lawsuit, the government’s proposal to be tougher on students falling out of status and accruing unlawful presence has not been able to go into effect.