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Upcoming Processing Delays for Religious Workers Seeking Lawful Permanent Residence in the United States

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by Christina Murdoch

The U.S. Department of State recently announced visa backlogs in the immigrant visa category that covers religious workers.  These backlogs will affect the ability of religious workers from certain countries to apply for U.S. immigrant visas or for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residents of the United States.  The U.S. government only makes available a limited number of visas each year for immigrants in what is known as the employment-based fourth preference visa category or EB-4 category, which covers special immigrant religious workers.  For many years this category has always had enough visas available to satisfy the annual demand for them.  But this is no longer the case, and on May 1, 2016 the State Department had to institute a priority date for EB-4 visas for citizens of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to manage surging demand.  On July 1, 2016 it will be instituting a priority date for EB-4 visas for citizens of Mexico as well.  At the moment only religious workers from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras whose I-360s were filed before January 1, 2010 are able to receive adjustment of status or an immigrant visa.  Others will have to wait until the priority date advances before their adjustment of status or immigrant visa applications can be approved.  This same priority date will apply to religious workers from Mexico beginning July 1, 2016.  Furthermore, the Department of State warns that it does not anticipate any advancement in this priority date for the rest of the fiscal year.

Although El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico are the only countries currently affected by this change, the Department of State has warned that it may have to institute a priority date for immigrant visa and adjustment applicants from India in the EB-4 category in the coming months.

Please note that this announcement affects only religious workers seeking lawful permanent residence in the United States through the EB-4 category for special immigrant religious workers.  It does not affect religious workers seeking R-1 non-immigrant status.  Religious organizations may continue to file R-1 petitions for religious workers of all nationalities as usual.

© 2016 Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C.

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For questions and/or to arrange a consultation with one of our attorneys, please call (312) 444-1940 or send us an e-mail at info@lawfirm1.com.  You may also visit our Contact Us page for more detailed contact information.

Disclaimer

The materials contained in this website have been prepared by Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. for informational purposes only and are not legal advice or counsel.

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U.S. Supreme Court Deadlocks on DAPA Case

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by Christina Murdoch

The U.S. Supreme Court has split 4-4 in the case challenging the legality of President Obama’s plan to provide deferred action to certain parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, also known as DAPA.  The split decision, issued June 23, 2016, means that the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upholding a Texas federal judge’s injunction against the program will stand.  Because the injunction is still in place the immigration service will continue to be unable to accept any applications for relief under DAPA.  The ruling also prevents the government from putting into place the President’s plan to extend the existing DACA program to people who were 31 or older when DACA was first announced and to extend grants of DACA relief from two to three years.  Although this decision is extremely disappointing for many immigrants and their families, the case will continue to be argued in the lower courts and may return to the U.S. Supreme Court with the chance for a different decision after Congress confirms a replacement for Justice Scalia.  Those interested should continue to watch the news for further developments.  Please note that the ruling does not affect the original DACA program announced in June 2012.  This program is still in place, and eligible individuals can continue to file applications for relief under it.

© 2016 Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C.

Contact Us

For questions and/or to arrange a consultation with one of our attorneys, please call (312) 444-1940 or send us an e-mail at info@lawfirm1.com.  You may also visit our Contact Us page for more detailed contact information.

Disclaimer

The materials contained in this website have been prepared by Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. for informational purposes only and are not legal advice or counsel.

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Congratulations to SDP&A attorney Kathryn R. Weber for completing her year as Chair of the Chicago Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)!

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Congratulations to SDP&A attorney Kathryn R. Weber for completing her year as Chair of the Chicago Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)! Under her leadership, the Chicago Chapter received the Silver Award at the AILA National Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. last week. The AILA Chapter Award Program was created to recognize AILA Chapters for their dedication, outstanding efforts, and achievements throughout the year.

© 2015 Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C.

Contact Us

For questions and/or to arrange a consultation with one of our attorneys, please call (312) 444-1940 or send us an e-mail at info@lawfirm1.com.  You may also visit our Contact Us page for more detailed contact information.

Disclaimer

The materials contained in this website have been prepared by Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. for informational purposes only and are not legal advice or counsel.

SDP&A Attorneys at the American Immigration Lawyers Association 2015 Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.

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Next week, attorneys Elizabeth Rompf Bruen and Kathryn R. Weber will be speaking at the American Immigration Lawyers Association 2015 Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. Elizabeth will moderate the panel “Adopting a Child While Living Abroad” on the evening of Wednesday, June 17th, and Kathryn will moderate the panel “Wish You Were Here! K-1 and K-3 Visa Refresher” on the morning of Saturday, June 20th. Those attending the AILA Annual Conference should check out these interesting and informative panels. For more information about the conference, click here.

© 2015 Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C.

Contact Us

For questions and/or to arrange a consultation with one of our attorneys, please call (312) 444-1940 or send us an e-mail atinfo@lawfirm1.com.  You may also visit our Contact Us page for more detailed contact information.

Disclaimer

The materials contained in this website have been prepared by Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. for informational purposes only and are not legal advice or counsel.

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USCIS Now Accepting Employment Authorization Applications for Certain H-4 Spouses

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by Elizabeth Bruen

Beginning May 26, 2015, certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B non-immigrants can file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.  H-4 spouses are eligible to make this application if the H-1B non-immigrant spouse:

  1. is the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or
  2. has been granted H-1B status under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century 2000 as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act (AC21) provisions allowing H-1B non-immigrants seeking lawful permanent residence to work and remain in the United States beyond the six-year limit on their H-1B status.

Applicants for employment authorization under this provision must be in the United States in H-4 non-immigrant status.  The employment authorization granted qualifying H-4 non-immigrants is renewable and unrestricted – the recipient may work for any employer or be self-employed.

Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C.  a nationally recognized, full-service U.S. immigration law firm, welcomes inquiries from H-4 non-immigrants interested in this new benefit.  For almost 30 years, we have been committed to bringing justice and fairness to immigrants through the highest degree of professional and personal legal services.  Learn more about Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. at www.lawfirm1.com or call us at 312-444-1940 for more information.

© 2015 Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C.

Contact Us

For questions and/or to arrange a consultation with one of our attorneys, please call (312) 444-1940 or send us an e-mail at info@lawfirm1.com.  You may also visit our Contact Us page for more detailed contact information.

Disclaimer

The materials contained in this website have been prepared by Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. for informational purposes only and are not legal advice or counsel.