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Immigration Law

Excerpts of the May 1, 2012, Bender's Immigration Bulletin: Expedited Review Announced for Cases Affected by Specific Administrative Errors

Expedited Review Announced for Cases Affected by Specific Administrative Errors

USCIS has now established an expedited process for reviewing and correcting decisions resulting from certain administrative errors. This new process allows customers to request an expedited review of their cases and correction of a decision where data entry and/or administrative error resulted in a denial or rejection of a petition or application.

A customer or his or her authorized representative may contact the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 to request that an expedited service request be created if he or she believes that an adverse adjudicative action fits within the following criteria: 



1. USCIS issued an adverse decision based solely on a customer's failure to respond to a Request for Evidence (RFE), Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID), or Notice of Intent to Revoke (NOIR)

there is documentary evidence that the customer responded to the RFE, NOID, or NOIR, and USCIS received the response in a timely fashion.

2. USCIS issued an adverse decision based solely on a customer's failure to respond to an RFE, NOID, or NOIR

USCIS determines there is evidence in a USCIS system that the RFE, NOID, or NOIR was not sent to the petitioner/applicant or if there is a valid Form G-28 on file, to the attorney or representative of record.

3. USCIS issued an adverse decision based solely on a customer's failure to appear at a biometrics appointment or failure to respond to an RFE, NOID, or NOIR

USCIS determines there is evidence that the customer properly submitted a change of address prior to the issuance of the RFE, NOID, NOIR, or biometric appointment notice to a previous or improper address.

4. USCIS issued an adverse decision based solely on a customer's failure to appear at a biometrics appointment

There is documentary evidence that the customer attended the appointment or made a valid, timely request that it be rescheduled.

 Once USCIS has received an expedited review request from an applicant or petitioner, the agency is to make every effort to take action within five business days. This process, and any submissions relating to this expedited review process, does not "replace, change, circumvent, or affect any rights of USCIS customers or USCIS in the administrative appeal process," according to a USCIS release on the new process. "This process will also not impact time frames for appeals or motions fix errors made by a petitioner or his or her authorized representative create an independent right of action, or address errors not included in the specific administrative errors listed."

The instructional memorandum is reprinted at Appendix A.

Some Syrian Students Eligible for Employment Authorization

Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced special relief for certain F-1 Syrian students who are suffering economic hardship as a direct result of the civil unrest in Syria since March of this year. The relief applies only to students who were lawfully present in the United States in F-1 status on April 3, 2012, and enrolled in an institution that is certified by ICE's Student and Exchange Visitor Program.

ICE published a notice in the Federal Register, 77 Fed. Reg. 20038 (Apr. 3, 2012) suspending certain regulatory requirements in order to allow eligible Syrian students to obtain employment authorization, work an increased number of hours during the school term, and, if necessary, reduce their courseloads while continuing to maintain their F-1 status.. ICE also posted a Q & A Fact Sheet on its website, and this document is reprinted below as Appendix B.

This notice grants temporary relief to a specific group of F-1 students whose country of citizenship is Syria until October 3, 2013.

Approximately 514 Syrian students are enrolled in schools in the United States. The civil unrest in Syria has increased the financial burden on many of these students, who previously relied on assistance from the Syrian government or family members in Syria to meet basic living expenses. In addition, the situation in Syria has made it unfeasible for these students to safely return to Syria in the foreseeable future.

EOIR Swears in New Assistant Chief Immigration Judge

On April 2, 2012, the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) announced the investiture of Christopher A. Santoro as the new assistant chief immigration judge. The investiture ceremony, presided over by Chief Immigration Judge Brian M. O'Leary, was held at EOIR's headquarters on March 30, 2012.

Judge Santoro received a bachelor of arts degree in 1991 from Tufts University and a juris doctorate in 1994 from the Boston University School of Law. In 2011, Judge Santoro served as an Air Force Reserve trial judge, and in 2012, he was appointed to be the Air Force Reserve's deputy chief trial judge, a position he still holds. From 2009 to 2011, he served as special advisor, Enforcement and Removal Operations, ICE. From 2005 to 2009, Judge Santoro served in leadership roles including counsel, deputy director, and senior advisor within the Office of Inspection of the Transportation Security Administration. From 2001 to 2005, Judge Santoro was a trial attorney in the Criminal Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice. He entered active duty with the U.S. Air Force in 1995 and served as a senior regional prosecutor and appellate attorney until 2001. From 1988 to 1995, Judge Santoro was a patrol officer with the Wolfeboro, New Hampshire Police Department. Judge Santoro is a member of the New Hampshire, Colorado, and District of Columbia bars.

EOIR: Second Stage of Case-by-Case Review Pursuant to DHS's Prosecutorial Discretion Initiative

Continuing the effort to support DHS's case-by-case review to determine in which cases it will exercise prosecutorial discretion, the Executive Office for Immigration Review  has agreed to temporarily and partially suspend nondetained dockets in seven additional immigration courts over four two-week periods. As with the initial effort piloted in Baltimore and Denver, EOIR intends to reschedule cases on the nondetained dockets of the following courts in the coming months: Detroit, New Orleans, Orlando, and Seattle from April 23 until May 4; New York from May 7 until May 18; San Francisco from June 4 until June 15; and Los Angeles from July 9 until July 20. Those immigration judges whose nondetained dockets are affected will hear cases on detained dockets during the relevant period. EOIR will issue hearing notices to all respondents whose cases are rescheduled.

DHS attorneys will continue to make the decisions regarding prosecutorial discretion, and immigration judges will remain prepared to adjudicate motions to administratively close or terminate cases on a case-by-case basis as they are filed with the court.

H-1B Petitions Received in First Week

USCIS announced that after the first week of accepting H-1B petitions for fiscal year 2013 (the agency began accepting petitions on April 2, 2012), it had received 17,400 petitions counting towards the 65,000 annual cap, and approximately 8,200 petitions toward the 20,000 cap exemption for individuals with advanced degrees. When the agency receives the number of petitions needed to meet the caps, it will then issue an update advising the public that the FY2013 H-1B cap has been met as of a certain date, known as the "final receipt date."

Statistical Reports Available

The Office of Statistics announced the availability of the reports:  US Legal Permanent Residents 2011 (available at xlibrary/assets/statistics/publications/lpr_fr_2011.pdf) and US Naturalizations 2011 (available at http:// In addition, the underlying data compilations are also available.

Bender's Immigration Bulletin

[This is an excerpt from the May 1, 2012, issue of Bender's Immigration Bulletin.] 

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