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H-2A Sheepherder Reminder
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reminds workers in the sheepherding industry that the one-time accommodation giving them more time to transition to the three-year limitation-of-stay requirements for the H-2A nonimmigrant classification is scheduled to expire. Sheepherders in H-2A status who have reached their maximum three-year period of stay on or before August 16, 2012, must depart the United States no later than August 16, 2012. These workers must then remain outside the United States for at least three months, and may not return in H-2A classification until a new H-2A petition has been approved for them. Please reference 17 Bender's Immigr. Bull. 968 (April 15, 2012) for further background.
Adoptions from Montenegro Still a No Go
Montenegro became a party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in the Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention) on July 1, 2012. Unfortunately, the Department of State has determined that Montenegro does not yet have a fully functional Convention process in place.
DOS officers have been unable to certify that adoption decrees or custody orders obtained in Montenegro for children resident there have been issued in compliance with the Hague Adoption Convention. Without the certification, USCIS officers cannot approve the Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as Immediate Relative (Form I-800).
USCIS urges prospective adoptive parents to not file any form I-800 on behalf of a child to be adopted from Montenegro, as the process cannot be completed.
USCIS will notify the public when DOS determines that Montenegro is in compliance with the Hague Adoption Convention, which will allow USCIS to process Forms I-800 for adoptions from that country.
U.S. Expands Interview Waiver Eligibility for NIV Applicants in Mexico
The U.S. Embassy in Mexico announced that beginning July 1, an expanded visa renewal program allows many Mexican citizens and residents to renew their nonimmigrant visas without a follow-on interview at the Embassy or a U.S. Consulate.
Under the new program, a Mexican citizen or resident can apply for a renewal of his or her nonimmigrant visa if his or her current visa has expired within forty-eight months of the renewal application. Previously, most visas that had been expired for twelve months or less could be renewed without the second appointment/interview.
DHS Releases Statistics
The DHS Office of Immigration Statistics recently released three reports covering immigration statistics: 1) the Annual Flow Report covering Nonimmigrant Admissions to the United States 2011 (available at www.dhs.gov/files/statistics/publications/ nonimmigrant-admissions-us-2011.shtm); 2) Temporary Admissions (Nonimmigrants) (available at www.dhs.gov/files/statistics/publications/YrBk11NI.shtm); and 3) Estimates of the Legal Permanent Resident Population 2011 (available at www.dhs. gov/files/statistics/publications/estimates-legal-perm-resident-2011.shtm).
Trafficking in Persons Report
The Department of State announced the availability of the 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report on June 19th. This report is available at http://www.state.gov/j/tip/
New Port of Entry in Maida, North Dakota
CBP announced the opening of a new land border port of entry in Maida, ND on July 12, 2012. This new border facility, funded as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, replaces an outdated facility. The Maida Port of Entry is located on ND Highway 1 and adjoins the Canadian port of Windy Gates in Manitoba. Operational hours are from 9am to 10pm, daily.
USCIS Ombudsman's Report
USCIS Acting Ombudsman Debra Rogers announced the release of the 2012 Annual Report to Congress on June 25th. The report, which contains a review of USCIS priorities and initiatives and summaries of pervasive and serious problems affecting the delivery of immigration services, is available at http://www.dhs.gov/files/publications/gc_1301971419354.shtm.
[This is an excerpt from the Aug. 1, 2012, issue of Bender's Immigration Bulletin.]
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