Immigration Law

News Excerpts From the May 1, 2016, Bender’s Immigration Bulletin

EB-4 Visa Limit Reached for Special Immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras

A final action date of January 1, 2010 has been set for special immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras and is reflected in the State Department’s Visa Bulletin Employment-Based Preference Cases (see infra page 539). Starting in May, applicants from these countries who filed Form I-360, on or after January 1, 2010, will not be able to obtain an immigrant visa or adjust status until new visas become available. As the congressionally-mandated limit applies for fiscal year 2016, information on EB-4 visa availability for fiscal year 2017 for El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras will appear in the Department of State’s October Visa Bulletin.

Petitioners from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, may continue to file Form I-360 as there is no annual limit on the number of Form I‑360 petitions that USCIS may approve.

USCIS indicated that it would accept all properly filed submissions of Form I-485 under the EB-4 classification until April 30, 2016.

  • Form I-485 will be processed and decided upon by USCIS only if the applicant has filed Form I-360 before January 1, 2010, that is ultimately approved.
  • If the applicant has a pending Form I-360, filed on or after January 1, 2010, USCIS will process and make a decision on Form I-360 but will withhold deciding whether to approve the Form I-485 application pending availability of an EB-4 visa.

 According to USCIS, Form I-485s filed under the EB-4 classification after April 30, 2016 will be processed and decided upon only for applicants who filed Form I-360 petition before January 1, 2010, and whose Form I-360 is ultimately approved. All other Form I-485 will be rejected and returned. However, USCIS will continue to process Form I-360 petitions (even if submitted together with a Form I-485 that gets rejected).

EOIR Releases Statistics Yearbook For Fiscal Year 2015

On April 8, 2015, the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) released its annual compilation of statistics for cases arising before immigration judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals.

According to the Statistics Yearbook for fiscal 2015, immigration courts received 199,534 new Notices to Appear, 60,094 requests for bond determinations, and 25,039 motions to reopen or reconsider. The immigration courts in New York (15,150), Los Angeles (13,547), and San Francisco (10,730) received the most new NTAs.

Meanwhile, immigration judges issued orders of removal in 88,128 cases, terminated proceedings in 21,546 cases, granted relief from removal in 17,211 cases, and granted administrative closure in 42,025 cases.

The Board received 22,832 appeals of decisions issued by immigration judges, the lowest figure in the last five fiscal years. The Board’s backlog at the end of fiscal year 2015 was 16,945 cases.

USCIS Instructs Employers To Continue Using Expired Version of Form I-9

On April 5, 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a notice instructing employers to continue using the version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, that expired on March 31, 2016.

The agency stated that it would provide updated information about the new version of Form I-9 as it becomes available.

AAO Provides Search Tool of Nonprecedential Decisions

On April 4, 2016, the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) released an online tool allowing users to conduct text searches of thousands of nonprecedential decisions.

The search tool is available at: https://www. uscis.gov/about-us/directorates-and-program-offices/ administrative-appeals-office-aao/aao-non-precedent-decisions.

It should be noted that at this location, the AAO provides access to cases only back as far as 2005.

BITS & PIECES

DOS—The State Department has released the 2015 edition of its annual country reports on human rights practices on April 13, 2016. The reports are available at http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrights report/.

 Bender's Immigration Bulletin

[This is an excerpt from the May 1, 2016, issue of Bender's Immigration Bulletin.]

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