On May 2, 2017, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly announced the appointment of Julie Kirchner as the CIS Ombudsman. The DHS press release explains that Kirchner until recently was an advisor to the Acting Commissioner of the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Kevin McAleenan. Kirchner is an attorney who had previously served as the executive director of the Federation for Immigration Reform.
On May 4, 2017, the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) announced that it will temporarily close its Las Vegas Immigration Court at noon on May 10, 2017, in order to prepare for relocating the Court. The Las Vegas Immigration Court will recommence hearings at its new location on May 16, 2017.
On May 2, 2017, the United States House of Representatives passed the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017 on a mostly party-line vote of 229-19]. The legislation, if ultimately signed into law, would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to allow private-sector employers to give their employees the option to opt for compensatory time off in lieu of payments for working overtime where overtime compensation rules would otherwise apply. Please note that the proposed legislation is not immigration-related, and it makes no distinctions between similarly situated citizen and non-citizen employees. In this post, I will analyze the legislation and offer my thoughts on its prospects for becoming law.
On May 3, 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has completed data entry of all fiscal year 2018 H1B cap-subject petitions selected in the H1B lottery. Accordingly, the USCIS will begin returning H1B cap-subject petitions that were not selected in the H1B lottery.
President Donald Trump told the Washington Times in an interview that in the event another Supreme Court seat opens, he would pick a nominee from his campaign list of potential nominees. Twenty potential nominees remain on his list after one of the potential nominees – now Justice Neil Gorsuch – was confirmed to the Supreme Court last month. In explaining why he would refer to his list for the next Supreme Court vacancy, President Trump stated “[t]hat list was a big thing.”
The non-minister special immigrant program for certain religious workers was allowed to expire on at midnight on April 27, 2017. However, Congress has agreed on legislation to fund the government for the rest of fiscal year 2017. This legislation, if approved as expected, would extend authorization for the non-minister special immigrant program for certain religious workers as well as the EB5 program through September 2017.
On April 26, 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released an important alert titled “Scam Alert: DHS OIG Hotline Telephone Number Used in Scam to Obtain Personal Information.” The USCIS issued the alert to provide additional information concerning a fraud alert that was issued on April 19, 2017, by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG). The DHS OIG fraud alert warned the public about a telephone scam where scammers have altered their caller ID to make it appear that they were calling from the DHS OIG hotline (1-800-323-8603) and identified themselves to unsuspecting individuals as “U.S. Immigration” employees.
On April 25, 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released an interesting news post titled “USCIS Assists in Investigation Leading to Conviction of Imposter Attorney in Marriage Fraud Scheme.” The news release explains that the USCIS had assisted in an investigation that led to a jury convicting a man named Jason Shiao for his role in a marriage fraud scheme. Shiao had posed as an attorney when he accepted payments from at least 87 foreign nationals to help them enter into fraudulent marriages with United States citizens for the purpose of circumventing the immigration laws. Shiao was sentenced to two years in federal prison.