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Is your new Facebook friend an Immigration officer? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael Boyle   
Friday, 22 October 2010 19:38

Some USCIS officers are very interested in your life. If they want to know about you, they have lots of resources to help them find out. Most of these resources are electronic: to send investigators to your home or work normally requires the cooperation of another DHS agency U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). However, without little effort or anyone's help the officer interviewing you should have access to essentially all of your immigration file, your record in immigration, customs and FBI criminal record databases. With just a little effort, your file can be referred to USCIS's Office of Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) for much more thorough research. DHS is the biggest subscriber to online services that aggregate the information found in the big 3 credit reporting services and public records (like marriage, divorce, and death records, car registrations, lawsuits, liens and real estate transactions) nationwide. The services contain a vast amount of information about you, and they can be the starting point for even more far-reaching investigations.

And USCIS knows all about Facebook, MySpace, Orkut and other online sites, as this FDNS memo recently released in response to a Freedom of Information request by a privacy right group shows. "Narcissistic tendencies in many people fuels a need to have a large group of 'friends' link to their pages and many of these people accept cyber-friends that they don't even know. This provides an excellent vantage point for FDNS to observe the daily life of beneficiaries and petitioners who are suspected of fraudulent activities." So that friend request from someone your don't quite recognize may be from a USCIS examiner.

So remember what your friends and your mother told you about being careful about what you post online. Hold those narcissistic tendencies to share white lies, exaggerated feelings about disputes with your spouse or partner, wild or unfaithful conduct on vacation, etc. in check. In general, don't underestimate what Immigration knows about you. If you and your spouse separated but worked things out, be ready to prove it, not to hide it. (This advice is even truer if you didn't work it out. Never hide things like children born out of wedlock, arrests that were thrown out, etc.) If your friends signed you up to a Facebook group for boy-man love or spouse-swapping, don't be surprised if USCIS knows. Use caution, not just common sense, in your online privacy settings, don't take friend requests from strangers, and hire a lawyer and tell your lawyer the truth before you make a USCIS application.

 

Last Updated on Friday, 06 May 2011 13:26
 
Long Waits for Work Visas PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael Boyle   
Saturday, 07 November 2009 15:32

The outlook for timely work visa processing is bleak for both skilled and unskilled workers from all countries and also for professionals with master's and other advance degrees who were born in China or India.

Green cards are allocated within each employment visa category based on demand and date that the applicant began processing. In all the categories mentioned above, demand exceeeds supply, so final approvals (adjustment of status for applicants within the U.S., an immigrant visa for those who are overseas) are rationed out based on application date. Each month the Department of State publishes its Visa Bulletin establishing cutoff dates for the month to come. Ideally, the cutoff dates advance month-to-month, but if demand is very high or more visas were issued than anticipated, the cutoff dates can move backward (retrogress) or be cut off entirely.

According to recent State Department reports future progress will be slow. In the past many numbers were added to the EB-3 skilled or bachelor's degree worker category based on not being used by higher categories like investors, religious workers and extraordinary ability or advanced degree workers. Usage in all of those categories has grown a lot in the last few years, and fewer visas are flowing down to EB-3. Because no country's natives can receive more than 7% of the visas in any category, natives of China and India are at a particular disadvantage.

Currently the only skilled or bachelor's degree workers able to receive final approvals are Indians who began applications prior to April 22, 2001 and natives of other countries who began their applications prior to June 1, 2002. In the advanced degree worker category native of China who began their applications prior to April 1, 2005 are elgible to complete processing, as are natives of India who began their process prior to January 2, 2005.

It is a dispiriting process for companies and their employees to go through years of complex processing only to discover that they must wait for years morre before their cases can finally be approved. Although the debate about immigration reform centers on immigrants who are out of status, it is important that we also resolve to fix the tortuously slow, inefficient process that legal workers have to go through.

 
Don't risk missing the H-1B deadline
Written by Michael Boyle   
Thursday, 05 February 2009 12:47

Demand for H-1B visas is expected to dramatically exceed the available supply. Last year both the main quota and the special quota for noncitizens with U.S. master's degrees were oversubscribed as soon as the application period opened in early April. Contact us if you are interested in applying.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 February 2009 16:41
 
Filing addresses for N-400 applications change
Written by Michael Boyle   
Thursday, 05 February 2009 12:40

Starting January 22, 2009, applications will be sent to two regional lockbox facilities. Applicants in the west, Rocky Mountain states and midwest will send their applications to Arizona. Applicants from the eastern and southern US will send their applications to Texas.

West, Mountain West, Midwest

If You Reside In: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Territory of Guam, or Northern Mariana Islands, file your N-400 with:

Mail address:

USCIS Lockbox Facility
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
P.O. Box 21251
Phoenix, AZ 85036

Address for overnight mail services:

USCIS, Attn: N-400
1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S. Floor 1
Phoenix, AZ 85036

East, South

If You Reside In: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, or U.S. Virgin Islands, file your N-400 with:

Mail address:

USCIS Lockbox Facility
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
P.O. Box 299026
Lewisville, TX 75029

Address for overnight mail services:

USCIS, Attn: N-400
12501 S. State Hwy 121, Bldg. 4
Lewisville, TX 75067

Military applicants will continue to file their applications with the USCIS Nebraska Service Center.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 February 2009 16:39
 
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