Jamaican National convicted of Marriage Fraud

July 31, 2014

On July 23, 2014, a 32 year old Jamaican national, Nerene Erica Harrison was convicted in Federal Court (Tampa, FL) of Marriage Fraud under U.S. Immigration Law. Robert Kenneth Scott Cruz, a U.S. citizen who pleaded guilty of the same charge, was paid $6,000 to marry her after her temporary work visa expired. They were married in August of 2011 and Harrison applied to be a lawful permanent resident based on that marriage. Both Harrison and Cruz face a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. Harrison will be sentenced on October 23, 2014 and Cruz will be sentenced on November 11, 2014.

Susan L. McCormick, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations for Tampa, FL stated, “Every marriage fraud scheme corrupts the integrity and fairness of our nation’s immigration system”.


Source of Information:

ICE.gov, 7/24/14, News Release:
Jamaican woman convicted of marriage fraud

Justice.gov, 7/23/14, Press Release:
Jamaican National Convicted Of Marriage Fraud

Interactive Map: Where Unaccompanied Immigrant Children are finding temporary homes

July 30, 2014

USA Today has put together an interactive map of the United States (state by state) showing the number of unaccompanied immigrant children placed within individual states. They are using the data released by the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement showing a state-by-state breakdown of the number of unaccompanied immigrant minors who had been released temporarily to different sponsors. The data used for this report and the interactive map covers the time period from 1/1/14 to 7/7/14. The interactive map has three categories: (1) Below 100, (2) 100 to 999 and (3) More than 1,000. To view the Map please follow this link: Where unaccompanied immigrant children find a temporary home.


The top three states accepting these children are:

Texas – 4,280

New York – 3,347

California – 3,150


Note: U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement describes sponsors as "typically a parent or relative" who can care for the child while their immigration case is processed.


Source of Information:

usatoday.com, 7/29/14, News Article and Map:
Where unaccompanied immigrant children find a temporary home

U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement, Web Page:
Unaccompanied Children Released to Sponsors By State

BALCA on Definition of College or University Teacher

July 29, 2014

The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) recently overturned the decision of a Certifying Officer (CO) to deny labor certification for the position of “Instructional Coordinator.”

After reviewing an Employer’s Application for Permanent Labor Certification, the CO denied the application, without audit or a request for additional information, stating that the position did not qualify as a college or university teacher. The CO considered the Instructional Coordinator position as a professional occupation for which the Employer was required to conduct additional mandatory recruitment efforts.

The Employer sent a reconsideration request to the CO. In its argument, the Employer reaffirmed that the position was a university instructor. They submitted additional documentation to support their claim. They provided a detailed description of the position covering the job duties and experience qualifications. This description mentioned “effective teaching in the library instruction program.” The second piece of evidence included a memorandum from the Dean of the University Libraries. In his memorandum, the Dean summarized the Applicant’s position as a Faculty Member in the Division of Library Services, discussed the Applicant’s responsibilities as an Assistant Professor and referred to the Applicant as “an excellent classroom teacher providing effective, creative and critical learning experiences for our students.”

*These two pieces of evidence were allowed for consideration, under § 656.24(g)(2)(ii) because they existed at the time of filing, and were maintained to support the application. The CO had not previously given the Employer an opportunity to present these documents as evidence, so the Employer properly submitted them in its request for reconsideration.

The CO forwarded the case to BALCA for review stating the additional evidence did not change his decision. He stressed that the job duties were not those involved in “teaching, evaluating and advising students within an assigned instructor workload in a classroom setting.” The CO’s statements were not supported by any documentation. Regulation § 656.18 does not define “college and university teachers,” nor does it refer to any required principal duties or job description.

After BALCA’s assessment of the case, the Labor application was sent back to the CO for processing. The Board believed that the Employer presented enough information to illustrate that the “Instructional Coordinator” position was that of a university professor under PERM regulations § 656.18.

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, August 1, 2014

July 28, 2014

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, DREAMers, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications, etc., please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, August 1, 2014. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. Therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

BALCA Vacates Denial Notwithstanding Incomplete ETA 9089

July 25, 2014

The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) recently overturned the decision of a Certifying Officer (CO) to deny labor certification for the position of “Medical & Clinical Laboratory Technologist”

After receiving & reviewing an Employer’s Application for Permanent Labor Certification, the CO issued an Audit notification demanding the employee’s work credentials. The Employer sent the worker’s qualifications including prior work experience from his former employer to the CO for review.

Upon review of the Audit response, the CO denied the Labor Certification Application. The CO believed the credentials recorded on the application did not match the position’s minimum job requirements. The Employer sent a reconsideration request to the CO. In the argument, the Employer stated that the employee had the required two years of previous work experience, and included again for the record, documentation of the beneficiary’s previous work experience. Additionally, since the company opened in 1998, they had not hired anyone with less than two years’ experience for this position.

Once again, the CO denied certification because the Employer did not list the employee’s qualifying experience on the Labor application. The CO forwarded the case to BALCA for review requesting confirmation of his rejection.

After BALCA’s examination of the case, the administrative judge sent the case back to the CO for processing. The Board believed that the CO declined to study all of the Employer’s documentation prior to reaching his decision to deny. Even though the Employer did not include the entire employee’s prior work experience in the Labor Application, BALCA took into consideration the evidence submitted in the Audit & reconsideration responses. This evidence clearly indicated the employee’s qualifications exceeded the minimum requirements for the position.

House GOP Working Group releases Recommendations on Humanitarian Crisis at the Southern Border

July 24, 2014

On Wednesday, July 23, 2014, Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-TX), the Chairwoman of the GOP House Working Group on national security and humanitarian crisis at the southern border released their recommendations and solutions. Granger stated, “This morning, I presented to the House GOP Conference the recommendations of Speaker Boehner’s working group. I am proud of the set of recommendations and solutions that the working group has crafted over the last few weeks. These recommendations reflect the immediate crisis this country faces by providing common-sense, compassionate, but tough solutions.”

The working group which was setup by Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) includes the following members:
Rep. John Carter (R-TX)
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL)
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) (Chairwomen)
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX)
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM)
Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ)

Here is a summary list of the GOP working group’s recommendations and solutions:
• Deploy the National Guard to the Southern border to assist Border Patrol
• Prohibit the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture (USDA) from denying or restricting U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) activities on federal land
• Require a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) strategy and implementation plan for the Southwest border
• Establish independent commission to develop border security metrics
• Establish border security in Central American countries and Mexico
• Establish repatriation centers in originating countries
• Deploy aggressive messaging campaigns in originating countries and the U.S. to dispel immigration myths and to clarify dangers and legal penalties of entering the United States illegally
• Mandate the detention of all Family Units apprehended at the border with a goal of processing them in 5-7 days
• Amend the Trafficking Victims Protection and Reauthorization Act of 2008 so all unaccompanied minors are treated the same
• Deploy additional judge teams and temporary judges to expedite the hearing of asylum and credible fear claims
• Establish tough penalties for those engaged in human smuggling, including the smuggling of unaccompanied minors
• Increase law enforcement operations domestically and in originating countries to disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal organizations

For more details on these recommendations and solutions please read Congresswoman Kay Granger’s news release, “Granger Releases Border Crisis Working Group Recommendations”.


Source of Information:

kaygranger.house.gov, 7/23/14, Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-TX) News Release:
Granger Releases Border Crisis Working Group Recommendations

speaker.gov, 6/24/14, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) News Release:
Boehner: Granger to Lead Working Group on Humanitarian Crisis at Southern Border

Updated Service Center Processing Times

July 23, 2014

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on 7/17/14 with processing dates as of 5/31/14.

If you filed a petition with one of the Service Centers, please review the links below to determine the applicable processing time associated with your particular case.


California Service Center (CSC)

National Benefits Center (NBC)

Nebraska Service Center (NSC)

Texas Service Center (TSC)

Vermont Service Center (VSC)

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO)


**Please be aware that the data provided above is approximately 45 days old at the time of posting.

If your petition is out-side of the normal range listed, contact USCIS (1-800-375-5283).

If you are a client of MVP Law Group and would like our assistance please contact our office.

H-2B Cap Count UPDATE – 7/18/14

July 22, 2014

The H-2B non-agricultural temporary worker program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs.

The H-2B cap limit for the second half of FY 2014 (April 1 - September 30) is 33,000. As of the last count (7/18/14); 24,769 beneficiaries have been approved and 1,246 are pending for a total of 26,015.

The H-2B cap limit for first half of FY 2015 (October 1 - March 31) is 33,000. As of the last count (7/18/14); 0 beneficiaries have been approved and 437 are pending for a total of 437.

For further details read, “Cap Count for H-2B Nonimmigrants


Source of Information:

- USCIS.gov (7/22/14) Web Page

- AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 13100840 (posted 7/22/14)

Leon Rodriguez Sworn in as USCIS Director

July 21, 2014

On Wednesday, July 9, 2014, Leon Rodriguez was sworn in as the next Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS is a federal government agency with nearly 18,000 employees. They are responsible for administering the country’s immigration and naturalization system. USCIS is under the control of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Director Rodriguez stated, “Our role in administering our nation’s immigration and naturalization laws has never been more important. I look forward to working with the entire USCIS family, including our partners and constituents, to ensure that our mission is carried out with fairness and integrity.”

Director Rodriguez previously served as the Director of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from 2011 to 2014. For more detailed information on his background please review the link, “Background Experience/Significant Achievements”.

MVP Law Group would like to congratulate Director Rodriguez and wish him great success! USCIS has shown great innovation in improvement of customer service and the use of technology for data collection! We here at MVP Law Group hope that this culture of innovation continues and grows under the new Director’s leadership!


Source of Information:

USCIS.gov, 7/9/14, News Release:
Leon Rodriguez Sworn in as USCIS Director

USCIS.gov, 7/9/14, Web Page:
Leon Rodriguez, Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Background Experience/Significant Achievements

MVP Law Group’s Immigration Blog, 6/26/14, Blog Post:
U.S. Senate has confirmed Leon Rodriguez to be the next Director of USCIS

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, July 18, 2014

July 18, 2014

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. Therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.


Question #1 – H1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I've been out of the US for over 6 months in Ghana working on an assignment for the company that sponsored my H1. The assignment ends this Friday and I'm scheduled to be back in the US this Sunday. Is there anything I need to do with my H1 before I leave Ghana?

Answer #1
You did not provide enough details to provide an adequate answer. Do you have a valid H-1B visa stamp from your current employer in your passport? If so, then you should be good to go; however, we do recommend having handy an employment verification letter from your current employer establishing that the job is still available as you have been outside of the U.S. for over 6 months.


Question #2 - General
I moved recently to the US with a B1 visa which as of today is expired and I have overstayed my visit. However, I would like to change my status in order to indulge in business in the US. What steps do I need to undergo to accomplish this?

Answer #2
You need to immediately contact a qualified Immigration Attorney to discuss all available options along with all risks/consequences involved.


Question #3 – Employment Based Green Card
My previous employer filed an I-140 petition in the E-B3 category. Can I transfer my priority date to the new I-140 Petition in E-B2 from my current employer?

Answer #3
Yes, you may, as you are entitled to the earliest priority date if multiple petitions have been filed on your behalf. You would need to specifically make a request for the USCIS to recapture your earlier priority date from the EB3 filing.


Question #4 – H1B Nonimmigrant Visa
If my I-140 is denied, can I apply for a 7th year Extension of my H-1B?

Answer #4
It depends. Contact a qualified Immigration Attorney to discuss your specific case.


Question #5 – Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
Since my I-485 application is still pending; I need to renew my EAD. How many days are needed for me to renew the EAD in advance of the expiration? Can I work when the renew process is pending?

Answer #5
You are allowed to apply for an extension of your EAD 120 days in advance of its expiration. You CANNOT work if your previous EAD has expired and you do not have the renewed EAD in your hand.


Question #6 – Employment Based Green Card
I plan to file my I-140 and I-485 petitions soon. In addition, I would like to get EAD as quickly as possible for my wife. Do I have to receive my I-140 petition approval first before I submit the EAD application?

Answer #6
Not enough details provided. Are you eligible to file the I-140/I-485 petitions concurrently? You may only submit the I-485/I-131 and I-765 if there is an immigrant visa number available to you (if your priority date is current according to the monthly visa bulletin distributed by the DOS). More details are needed in order to adequately address your question.


Question #7 – H1B Nonimmigrant Visa
If I qualify for an extension of my H-1B visa past the 6-year limit, can more than one extension be granted?

Answer #7
Yes; however how many and for how long depends upon how you qualify.


Question # 8 – H1B Nonimmigrant Visa
Recently, my Visitor’s visa was denied by the US Consulate. Will this denial affect my chances of obtaining an H-1B Visa?

Answer #8
It depends upon a multitude of factors. Why was your visitor visa denied? Do you have a U.S. employer willing to sponsor you for a specialty occupation and do you have the necessary qualifications for the position? Please contact a qualified Immigration Attorney to further discuss.


Question #9 – H1B Nonimmigrant Visa
My H-1B Case was not selected during the FY 2015 Cap Season. Will my employer be able to refile for me next year?

Answer #9
Yes, if your employer remains willing to sponsor you and wishes to re-file the petition with the USCIS.


Question #10 – EB5 Investor Visa
For an E-B5 Visa, do I need previous business experience or a business degree?

Answer #10
Although helpful, it is not a requirement.


MVP Law Group would like to thank everyone who contributed a question or comment.

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, August 1, 2014!

Please remember to submit your questions/comments on our H1B Visa Lawyer blog!

BALCA Rejects CO’s Strict Specifications for Ad Copies

July 17, 2014

The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) recently overturned the decision of a Certifying Officer (CO) to deny labor certification for the position of “Home Health Care Aide”

After receiving & reviewing an Employer’s Application for Permanent Labor Certification, the CO issued an Audit notification. He asked the employer to provide more information about their print advertising for the job.

The CO denied the application declaring that the Employer failed to deliver sufficient documentation for the mandatory print advertisements. The Employer did not provide copies of the advertisement that contained both the name of the newspaper as well as the date of publication, He cited the Employer was in violation of PERM regulation 20 C.F.R. 656.17(e)(1)(i)(B)(3) and 656.17(e)(2)(ii)(C).

PERM regulation 20 C.F.R. 656.17 (e)(2)(ii) requires that the newspaper advertisements must be placed on two separate Sundays. This is to ensure US workers can be provided the opportunity to apply for these positions.

The Employer requested BALCA review proclaiming that it submitted proper evidence in its Audit Response. The Employer submitted two pages of newspaper copies in its audit response. One of the pages shows the advertising text and the other page displays the name of the newspaper and the date. The Employer also presented screen shots from the newspaper’s online web page.

After BALCA’s examination of the case, the case was sent back to the CO for further examination. Even though the advertising content does not seem to fulfill the PERM regulations at 656.17 (f), they believed the copies of the newspaper pages as well as the screenshots satisfied the obligation for the recruitment phase. The Board gave the CO “instructions to consider whether the content of the Employer’s newspaper advertisement satisfies the requirements of 656.17(f).” This PERM regulation expects the newspaper ad to contain the name of the employer, location & a specific description of the job. The Employer’s ad did not name the employer, location or provide a detailed description of the position.

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times - 7/1/14

July 16, 2014

Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times were released with processing dates as of 7/1/14.

If you filed an appeal, please review the link below to determine the applicable processing time associated with your particular case.

Administrative Appeals Office

The processing time for an I-129 H-1B Appeal is current; for an I-129 L1 Appeal is current. The current processing time for an I-140 EB2 Appeal for an Advanced Degree Professional is current; for an I-140 EB3 Appeal for a Skilled or Professional Worker is current.

**Most other cases are within USCIS's processing time goal of 6 months or less.


Source of Information:

USCIS.gov, (7/7/14), AAO Processing Times

AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 14071544 (posted 7/15/14)