December 2011


Season's Greetings!

The NeJame Law Firm wishes all our readers Happy Holidays.  We hope that you and your loved ones had a Happy Thanksgiving and we wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

To close out the year, we share some important immigration updates which we hope you will find helpful. 



U.S. Senators offer Immigration for Investors

Given the slow pace of recovery of the housing market, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and Mike Lee (R-UT) announced in October 2011 that they will propose legislation to boost demand for homes by luring foreign investors to purchase residences and live in the U.S. The concept is part of a broad immigration package aimed at boosting foreign travel and investment in the United States. The legislation would provide, for the first time, a three-year residential visa for foreign nationals who invest at least $500,000 in residential real estate in the United States. At least $250,000 must be spent on a primary residence where the visa holder will reside for at least 180 days out of the year while paying taxes to the U.S. For more information, visit the following link:

http://lee.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=7d71bb4f-3752-4e86-af5f-85ecc9c0c142



H-1B Annual Cap Reached

On the day before Thanksgiving, USCIS announced that it had reached the annual cap of 65,000 H-1B visa petitions.

Background: Anyone with an offer of employment for a "specialty occupation" (requiring a bachelor's degree or higher) may be eligible for this valuableH-1B employment visa. There is a cap of 65,000 petitions per fiscal year. Some aliens of advanced degree are provided an exemption from the cap, i.e. for the first 20,000 petitions filed for beneficiaries who have obtained a U.S. master's degree or higher.

The next opportunity to file for the H-1B petitions begins on April 1, 2012 in order to begin employment on October 1, 2012. However, there are some exceptions to the annual cap.

If you are looking for an employment-based visa in order to remain in the U.S., consult with an experienced immigration attorney immediately.

 

In This Issue

 

Newsletter Issues

 

USCIS Issues Policy Memo for Cohabitating Partners of Visitors Seeking Change of Status

Background: Immigration law permits a visitor to the United States to be accompanied by a spouse or child. But what about those relatives or other interested persons who are not spouses or children of the principal applicants?

New Policy: On August 26, 2011, the USCIS issued a new policy memo stating that when adjudicating a visitor's application to extend his visitor status in the United States, the USCIS will consider it a favorable factor that the applicant is seeking the extension in conjunction with a cohabitating partner or another household member. The aim would be to match the applicant's stay to match the stay of the principal non-immigrant for purposed of unity.

 

Follow up on ICE's Discretion in Closing Deportation Cases

In our September article, we shared that the Obama Administration's announcement that high-level officials from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice will be reviewing the 300,000 cases that are pending with the immigration courts. Those cases that are "low priority" may be administratively closed. Cases considered to be high priority will be aggressively prosecuted. This prioritization of cases is a form of prosecutorial discretion which permits the government to decide which cases are to be pursued more aggressively.

In that article, we emphasized that this closure of cases is discretionary and that contrary to some rumors in our community, there is no policy of stopping deportations altogether.

On November 17, ICE issued specific guidance for implementing the prosecutorial discretion and announced that the reviewing of the 300,000 cases had begun.  For anyone desiring to review the full official memo regarding the latest guidance, visit http://www.ice.gov/doclib/foia/dro_policy_memos/case-by-case-review-incoming-certain-pending-cases-memorandum.pdf

Most importantly, if you are facing removal proceedings and need to discuss possible prosecutorial discretion in your case, contact an experienced immigration attorney immediately.

 

www.ImmigrationCounselors.com
www.NeJameLaw.com

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