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Immigration Law

Bender’s Immigration Bulletin - July 15, 2010

H-1B Facts & Figures Released for FY 2009

The American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act (Pub. L. No. 105-277, div. C, §416(c)(2), 112 Stat. 2681 (1998)) imposes annual reporting requirements on USCIS concerning the origin and occupations of, educational levels attained by, and compensation paid to aliens who were issued visas or provided nonimmigrant status under the H-1B program.

USCIS recently submitted its report on fiscal year 2009 to Congress. Highlights from the report include:

   H-1B petitions filed decreased 15% from FY 2008 to FY 2009;

   H-1B petitions approved decreased 22% from FY 2008 to FY 2009;

   approximately 48% of all H-1B petitions approved in FY2009 were for workers born in India;

   the median salary of H-1B beneficiaries of approved H-1B petitions increased by $4,000, from $60,000 to $64,000, between FY 2008 and FY 2009;

   the highest degree for 41% of approved H-1B beneficiaries was a bachelor’s degree, for 40% a master’s degree, for 13% a doctorate, and for 6% a professional degree.

The annual report is available at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: Characteristics of H-1B Specialty Occupation Workers or the LexisNexis Emerging Issues Community - Focus on Immigration: Characteristics of H-1B Specialty Occupation Workers.


Obama Speaks on Immigration

President Obama gave the first speech of his presidency devoted entirely to immigration policy to a relatively small group of lawmakers, immigration advocates, labor and business leaders, and law enforcement officials at American University on July 1.

The President acknowledged that our immigration system is “broken and everybody knows it.” He advocated comprehensive immigration reform — including a pathway to citizenship for some of the country’s 11 million undocumented people while promoting further strengthening of border security.

In the speech, the President called on Republicans, especially the eleven senators who backed immigration reform in 2006, not to be held “hostage to political posturing and special-interest wrangling.” “I’m ready to move forward; the majority of the Democrats are ready to move forward, and I believe the majority of Americans are ready to move forward,” the President told the gathering. “But the fact is, without bipartisan support, as we had just a few years ago, we cannot solve this problem.”

Obama repeated his opposition to States, like Arizona and Tennessee, taking the “matter into their own hands” and said that we need to make our national laws work, but did not lay out any details for a reform bill or a timetable for passage.

Editor-in-chief Dan Kowalski spoke to Bernard Wolfsdorf about the speech. It is available at the LexisNexis Emerging Issues Community.


U.S. Supreme Court Will Hear Challenge to Arizona E-Verify Law

The Supreme Court granted certiorari in Chamber of Commerce of the United States v. Candelaria, No. 09-115. The grant is at 2010 U.S. LEXIS 5321 (June 28, 2010). The lower court decision, Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc. v. Napolitano, 558 F.3d 856 (9th Cir. 2009), upheld the law requiring Arizona employers to use E-Verify.


2010 Arizona Law Challenged

In late June, the Mexican government asked a U.S. court to declare Arizona’s new tough immigration law unconstitutional, saying that Mexico’s interests are at stake. On July 1, a federal judge granted Mexico’s request to be allowed to file a brief supporting the challenge to the new law. According to an Associated Press report, Mexico says it wants to defend its citizens’ rights and that the law would “lead to racial profiling and hinder trade and tourism.” Mexican President Felipe Calderon condemned the law on his recent trip to the United States, saying that it ignores reality and introduces racial profiling as a basis of law enforcement.

On July 6, the Justice Department sued Arizona and Gov. Jan Brewer, challenging the law on federal preemption grounds. See commentary on the law, by former ICE leader Julie Myers Woods, on at 2010 Emerging Issues 5019.


New Tennessee Law

 On June 28, Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen signed into law a bill that requires Tennessee jailers to determine the immigration status of prisoners and report any suspected illegal aliens to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He released a statement afterwards acknowledging concerns about the legislation, but declaring his support of efforts to verify immigration status. In 2008, he signed legislation that allowed the State to deny, suspend, or revoke the business license of an employer that “knowingly” employs or recruits an illegal alien.


USCIS Ombudsman Annual Report

 On June 30, the USCIS Ombudsman submitted her required Annual Report to Congress. The report details the Ombudsman’s case assistance work during fiscal year 2010, as well as the recommendations made to USCIS during the year. Also as required by statute, the annual report summarizes the most pervasive and serious problems encountered by individuals and employers, which include: declining receipts and declining revenues, modernization problems, employment and family green-card queues, and others. Download the USCIS Ombudsman 2010 Annual Report.


[This is an excerpt from the July 15, 2010, issue of Bender’s Immigration Bulletin.]