USCIS has reported that there has been an increase in occurrences of petitioners and applicants for immigration benefits being called by scammers who claim to be the U.S. government. Susan Cohen, Chair of Mintz Levin’s Immigration Practice, describes this issue in her short article at:

http://www.mintz.com/newsletter/2013/Advisories/3376-0913-NAT-IMM/index.html

One very disturbing aspect of this scam is that the perpetrators have secured names and phone numbers of petitioners and applicants who are being contacted. Was there a breach of privacy or security with immigration data at USCIS? How did the scammers secure this information about applicants?

USCIS has not explained how the scammers secured names and phone numbers of actual applicants for immigration benefits.

Stay tuned for updates on this issue as we learn more.

 

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled in United States v. Windsor that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, same-sex couples who are married have equal access to immigration benefits. We expect government agencies to implement the Windsor decision swiftly. This means that immediately we will see changes at the various federal agencies that process applications for immigration benefits and visas. The impact of Windsor as well as which same-sex marriages are now eligible are examined in this alert. Continue Reading What Windsor Means for Same-Sex Married Couples Seeking U.S. Immigration Benefits

Today the U.S. Senate voted 68-32 to pass a sweeping immigration bill that would put the nation’s 11 million unauthorized immigrants on the path to American citizenship and invest $46 billion to increase border security and overhaul the country’s immigration system. We will update our blog regarding immigration reform–related developments in the House of Representatives as they unfold. Please find our Client Alert on this topic at: http://www.mintz.com/newsletter/2013/Advisories/3186-0613-NAT-IMM/index.html.

Earlier this month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) launched an initiative to automate the issuance of Forms I-94, Arrival/Departure Records for travelers arriving by sea or air. Records of admission will now be generated by CBP using traveler information captured through electronic means. Passengers arriving by sea or air will no longer complete a paper Form I-94. Read our Alert about this new process at:

http://www.mintz.com/newsletter/2013/Advisories/2978-0513-NAT-IMM/index.html

Mintz Levin will continue to monitor developments with the new Automated I-94 Program.

 

Nearly one year ago, President Obama signed legislation that would add Israel to the list of countries eligible for E-2 nonimmigrant investor visas to the United States. The legislation would grant E-2 investor visas to Israelis, allowing them to live and work in the U.S. to be closer to their investments. But the creation of a reciprocal visa for Americans investing in Israel is the hold-up, leaving Israeli companies wishing to secure E-2 visas in an administrative limbo. Both governments need to resolve this issue now. The delay has reached nearly one year.

The U.S. and Israeli governments should collaborate immediately to ensure that all conditions are met to facilitate the issuance of E-2 visas to Israelis. A one-year delay is simply unacceptable. Making E-2 visas available to Israelis will encourage cross-border transactions, grant Israeli companies more access to U.S. markets, and enhance scientific, technology and broader business ties between the two countries. On the U.S. side, an infusion of investments by Israeli companies into the U.S. economy will induce direct and indirect jobs. Israeli companies will benefit from being able to access markets in North and South America. For both countries, an investor visa is a win-win deal.

The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv has had a static message about the delay on the post’s website since last summer: http://israel.usembassy.gov/consular/niv/nonimmigrant.html.

It’s time for an update to the public. The U.S. and Israeli governments should explain the reasons for what appears to be a one-year delay, and offer a timeline for implementing this favorable and beneficial program.

As a follow-up to our Alerts of March 8, 2013 and May 6, 2013, this is a reminder that the revised Form I-9 must now be used by all U.S. employers for new hires. The new form went into effect May 7, 2013. The new Form I-9 may be found at http://www.uscis.gov/I-9Central. Mintz Levin’s most recent alert is at:

http://www.mintz.com/newsletter/2013/Advisories/2982-0513-NAT-IMM/index.html

Please contact an attorney with Mintz Levin’s Immigration Department if you have questions about this form.

The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv advises visa applicants with scientific and technology backgrounds to apply early and well before anticipated travel to the United States. The issue is that many applicants are subject to “Necessary Administrative Processing” in advance of visa issuance. This process, which is akin to an extended security clearance, takes about three to four weeks to complete from the date of a visa interview. To help educate applicants, the Embassy has published excellent resources on its web site including a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=megTaZoCtlo. Continue Reading Apply early for visas at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 cap on Monday, April 1, 2013. See a copy of the full press release at http://www.uscis.gov/h-1b_count, which is USCIS’s H-1B FY 2014 cap resources page. Continue Reading USCIS Expects the H-1B Cap to Be Reached in the First Few Days of April 2013

Today, the Obama administration is implementing a new Deferred Action Program that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will administer. This program, which operates as a form of prosecutorial discretion, offers young people who are in the United States with no legal immigration status the opportunity to avoid deportation for at least two years and to gain work authorization. Continue Reading Deferred Action Program Now Implemented by Homeland Security