USCIS Issues New Guidelines on Credible Fear Interviews
On February 28, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued new guidelines for asylum officers charged with determining whether applicants possess credible fears of persecution or torture in their home countries.
According to a memorandum issued by USCIS Asylum Division Chief John Lafferty, applicants must demonstrate a “substantial and realistic possibility” of succeeding on a subsequent application to merit a referral to immigration court, not a minimal or mere possibility. The memorandum also states that asylum officers screening for claims under the Convention Against Torture must take additional considerations into account, such as whether an act was specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering, and whether internal relocation is possible.
The memo states that the guidelines were revised due to the increasing number of credible fear referrals in recent years. According to the memo, referrals in fiscal 2013 increased more than 250% over the previous year, and surpassed the combined total from fiscal 2007 to fiscal 2011.
The memorandum is reprinted at Appendix A. The related forty-seven-page lesson plan is available at http://goo.gl/gNhbVD.
Labor Department Releases FAQs on Staggered Crossings of H-2B Seafood Workers
On April 16, the Office of Foreign Labor Certification in the Department of Labor announced the release of a series of answers to frequently asked questions regarding the staggered crossing of H-2B workers in the seafood industry under the most recent appropriations act. Under §113 of Division H (covering the Department of Labor) of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014, Pub. L. No. 113-76, 128 Stat. 5, employers in the seafood industry may, under certain conditions, bring H-2B workers into the country any time within a 120-day period.
According to the FAQ, which are reprinted at Appendix B, employers must prepare and provide to H-2B workers seeking entry a signed attestation demonstrating compliance with all statutory conditions. (The official attestation, which cannot be modified, is available at http://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/form.cfm and is reprinted at Appendix C.) Employers must also conduct additional recruitment between forty-five and ninety days after the certified date of need, and are required to retain proof of the additional requirement for three years.
The FAQs define seafood as “finfish, crustaceans, other forms of aquatic animal life, including, but not limited to, alligator, frog, aquatic turtle, jellyfish, sea cucumber, and sea urchin and the roe of such animals, and all mollusks.”
The staggered-crossing provision expires on September 30, 2014.
EOIR Releases Annual Statistical Yearbook
On April 16, the Executive Office for Immigration Review released its statistical yearbook for fiscal 2013. It can be viewed in its entirety at http://www.justice.gov/eoir/statspub/fy13syb.pdf. Recent statistical yearbooks are available at http://www.justice.gov/eoir/statspub/syb2000main.htm.
The backlog of cases before immigration courts continued to grow, with 350,330 pending proceedings at the end of fiscal 2013. However, immigration courts received 271,279 new matters in fiscal 2013, down from more than 310,000 the previous year. Meanwhile, the backlog at the Board of Immigration Appeals continued to decline, with 22,940 cases pending at the end of the fiscal year, down from more than 30,000 in fiscal 2011.
Other interesting findings include:
2014 Edition of Global Business Immigration Practice Guide Ships
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[This is an excerpt from the May 15, 2014, issue of Bender's Immigration Bulletin.]
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