Excerpts From the Jan. 15, 2012, Bender's Immigration Bulletin: CBP Commissioner Bersin Resigns

Excerpts From the Jan. 15, 2012, Bender's Immigration Bulletin: CBP Commissioner Bersin Resigns

CBP Commissioner Bersin Resigns 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin announced in late December that he had notified the President of his intent to resign effective December 30, 2011. Bersin had received a recess appointment in 2010, which would have expired at the end of 2011, according to The Hill. According to GSN: Government Security News, however, he will become DHS Assistant Secretary for International Affairs.

Deputy Commissioner David V. Aguilar will serve as Acting Commissioner, and Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Field Operations Thomas Winkowski will serve as Acting Deputy Commissioner, according to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Napolitano went on to say that during Bersin's tenure,

CBP has taken historic steps to secure our borders while facilitating new international agreements and public-private partnerships as well as developing new paradigms throughout the world combating terrorism and international crime. Commissioner Bersin has helped set CBP on a path to continuously adapt and seek new and innovative ways of keeping our country - and our communities - safe.

Changes to Stand-Alone I-130 Filing Locations

Beginning January 1, domestic petitioners must mail their stand-alone I-130 applications to either the Chicago Lockbox or the Phoenix Lockbox, depending on where they reside in the United States. The new filing locations and addresses are available on the USCIS website on the Form I-130 Direct Filing Locations page.

There is no change in filing locations when submitting Form I-130 along with Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Individuals filing these forms together should mail them to the Chicago Lockbox facility. Petitioners filing from countries without a USCIS office will also continue to file at the Chicago Lockbox. Those residing in a country with a USCIS office may send the forms either to the Chicago Lockbox or to the international USCIS office having jurisdiction where they live. [Lexis.com subscribers can learn more about I-130 filings through Immigration Law Practice Expeditor.] 

ICE Sets Up Hotline for Detained Immigrants and Issues New Detainer Form 

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced the launch of a toll-free hotline that individuals held on an immigration detainer by local or state law enforcement agencies can call to be informed of their rights if they believe that they may be U.S. citizens or victims of a crime. The hotline, 855-448-6903, will be staffed twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week by ICE personnel at the Law Enforcement Support Center. Translation services will be available in several languages from 7:00a.m. until midnight (Eastern) seven days a week. ICE personnel will collect information from the caller and refer it to the relevant ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations field office for action.

The new detainee form includes: 

  • A request that the LEA provide the detainee with a copy of the detainer form (DHS Form I-247, "Immigration Detainer - Notice of Action") and a notice advising the detainee that ICE intends to assume custody. The notice, also available in Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese, and Vietnamese translations, alerts the detainee that ICE has requested that the LEA maintain custody beyond the time when he or she would have otherwise been released based on the criminal charges or convictions.
  • Emphasis that LEAs may hold a detainee only for a period not to exceed forty-eight hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.
  • Directions for detainees who may have a civil rights or civil liberties complaint regarding ICE activities. 

The form allows ICE to make the detainer operative only upon the detainee's conviction of the offense for which he or she was arrested. The form makes clear that the existence of a detainer should not affect the detainee's conditions of detention, including matters related to the individual's custody classification, work, or quarters assignment. 


Ombudsman's Office Requires Form DHS-7001

The CIS Ombudsman's Office now requires customers to submit Form DHS 7001, "Case Problem Submission Worksheet," for all cases, including those related to applications for employment authorization documents. This form is required for compliance with applicable privacy rules. In the past, the Ombudsman's Office allowed customers to submit case inquiries regarding EAD applications that were outside normal processing times without completing Form DHS 7001, recognizing the urgency of many of these matters. Now that the Ombudsman's Office has implemented the Online Case Assistance that provides for same-day submission of case problems, the time lag problem is negligible. [Lexis.com subscribers can click here to access additional practice tips regarding asylum application through Immigration Law Practice Expeditor.]

Stakeholder Engagements on EB-5 in 2012

The Office of Public Engagement and the Service Center Directorate released a schedule of stakeholder engagements for 2012 to discuss the EB-5 Immigrant Investor program. The 2012 dates are: January 20, May 1, July 26, and October 18. Some meetings will be in person and via teleconference, while others will be via teleconference only. The year's schedule for national and local sessions, including meeting times, format, and deadlines for submitting agenda items, are available from links at www.uscis.gov > OUTREACH. [Lexis.com subscribers can click here to access additional practice tips regarding the EB-5 program and employment-based preference petitions through Immigration Law Practice Expeditor.]

National Stakeholder Engagement by Director Mayorkas

USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas will hold a national stakeholder engagement on January 24, 2012, to discuss the agency's accomplishments for 2011 and 2012 priorities. The engagement will be held from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the USCIS Tomich Center in Washington, DC.

Reminder to Sheepherding Industry

USCIS reminds the sheepherding industry of the upcoming expiration of the one-time accommodation giving more time to transition to the three-year limitation-of-stay requirements for the H-2A nonimmigrant classification. After announcing its limitation-of-stay requirements under a final rule that became effective on January 17, 2009, USCIS granted a one-time accommodation for sheepherders in H-2A status in December 2009 in deference to their industry's prior exemption from the three-year limitation. Under the exemption, time spent as an H-2A sheepherder before the final rule became effective has not been counted toward the three-year maximum period of stay. Instead, USCIS started the clock on January 17, 2009, for H-2A sheepherders lawfully present in the United States on that date. All H-2A nonimmigrant workers, including sheepherders, are subject to a three-month departure requirement once they have been in the United States in H-2A status for the maximum three-year period. Sheepherders present in the United States on January 17, 2009, must now depart by January 16, 2012, and remain outside the country for at least three months before being granted H-2A classification again.

[This is an excerpt from the Jan. 15, 2012, issue of Bender's Immigration Bulletin.] 

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Bender's Immigration Bulletin