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Perhaps Things Have to Get Worse Before They Get Better

Courtesy of Bashyam Spiro & Edgerton Newsletter
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As many of you already know, the Department of State (DOS) revised its July Visa Bulletin on Monday, July 2, 2007 to reflect that all available employment-based immigrant visas have been allocated for Fiscal Year 2007. As a result, USCIS announced on Monday that it will reject any I-485 adjustment of status applications filed by aliens whose priority dates are not current under the revised July Visa Bulletin. This bold and unprecedented move by the DOS is already starting to make waves in Congress.Representative Zoe Lofgren from California sent letters to both Secretary Michael Chertoff and Secretary Condi Rice in connection with the updated July Visa Bulletin. Also, the American Immigration Lawyers Foundation is preparing a class action lawsuit against the USCIS and DOS.

The question that people keep asking is why did this happen? The American Immigration Lawyers Association reports that the USCIS worked weekends in June and approved 60,000 adjustment cases to intentionally use the available visa numbers for this fiscal year. There is also a rumor that the USCIS was authorized to approve these cases even if the FBI background check had yet to completed. Just compare this to the 66,425 applications the USCIS approved in the first eight months of the fiscal year!

But why the sudden push to approve so many cases when the USCIS had been working so slowly in the months leading up to June? Did the Department of Homeland Security get an order from the Executive Branch requesting that the USCIS approve enough cases in June to run out the numbers? Was this an effort by the Administration to force Congress' hand on immigration reform by showing them how bad our system is broken and how bad things can get? Will the uproar in the legal immigrant community cause Congress to move on 'legal' immigration reform? Nobody knows the answers to these questions. However, from our point of view, this action by both the USCIS and DOS hurt thousands of intending immigrants who relied on the original July Visa Bulletin and obtained expensive medical exams and prepared documents in anticipation of filing their adjustment of status applications in July. Hopefully our Government will take note of the message it is sending to people who follow the law and do something to correct the mess that it has created.

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