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Cleveland Immigration & Naturalization Law Blog

Naturalization Form N-400: Changes Begin May 5, 2014

USCIS updated and changed the Form N-400 Application for Naturalization.  Beginning May 5, 2014, USCIS will only accept the version dated September 13, 2013.  You can find this edition date in the lower right corner of the form.  Please note that there is a substantial difference between the old form(s) currently accepted an the new form.  

Immigration Detainers: Not Mandatory As A Matter Of Law

When a crimmigration issue arises an immigration detainer usually follows.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") routinely detain non-citizens prior to the intitiation of deportation and removal proceedings and after their criminal case resolves.  The process of detaining an individual begins with ICE issuing an immigration detainer.  An immigration detainer is a notice issued by DHS and given to the law enforcement agency ("LEA") where a non-citizen is being held.  

USCIS Reaches FY 2015 H-1B Cap

On April 7, 2014, USCIS announced that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B visa petitions to reach the H-1B cap as designated by statute.  USCIS also announced it has received more than the current statutory limit of 20,000 H-1B visa petitions requesting the U.S. advanced degree exception.  Based on the above, USCIS will intake all the filings and then conduct a lottery to determine which petitions it will process.  USCIS has not yet indicated the date of the lottery.  

Matter of Abedelghany: Changing the 212(c) Landscape

On February 28, 2014, the Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA") issued is decision in Matter of Abdelghany, 26 I&N Dec. 254 (BIA 2014) withdrawing its "comparable grounds" test and changing the landscape for 212(c) waivers.  This decision brings the 212(c) waiver in line with the recent Supreme Court decision in Judulang v. Holder, Vartelas v. Holder and the seminal INS v. St. Cyr. The decision now permits lawful permanent residents to use 212(c) relief for either a plea agreement or a trial conviction through April 1, 1997.  It applies for those lawful permanent residents charged with either being deportable or inadmissible.  

H-1B Filing Tips for FY2015

The time has finally arrived. April 1, 2014 marks the first official day to file cap-subject H-1B visa petitions. Over the next couple weeks, employers and attorneys alike will be signing and sending documents as well as reviewing petitions for the final time. This flurry of activity can also lead to a few missteps. Thus, we have compiled a few filing tips and reminders for successful FY2015 H-1B filing:

Nine Days Left Until H-1B Cap Subject Filing Opens

There are nine (9) working days left before H-1B cap subject filing season is open, and if last year is any barometer, it is likely that the cap will be reached a few days after April 1, 2014. USCIS will institute a lottery allowing filings to be submitted for possible selection and processing. However, it is highly likely that once the lottery filing window closes, there will be no more H-1B cap subject filings accepted until next year.

H-1B Season Is Here!

H-1B season is here! HR professionals, employers and attorneys are busy gathering documents in preparation of new H-1B petitions. Employers and foreign nationals alike are filled with the anticipation of hiring the right candidate or finding the right job. Unfortunately, with all this excitement comes the fear and the anxiety often caused by the H-1B cap.

Trends In Case Law: How New BIA Cases Affect Your Asylum Case

On February 7, 2014, the Board of Immigration Appeals issued two decisions affecting the way we look (literally) at asylum law: Matter of W-G-R-, 26 I&N Dec. 208 (BIA 2014) and Matter of M-E-V-G-, 26 I&N Dec. 227 (BIA 2014). In this new case law trend, the Board clarifies the term "social visibility," an element that has been required to establish one of the protected grounds of asylum; membership in a particular social group. According to these decisions, social visibility does not - and never was designed to - signify only literal or ocular visibility. In order to make this point even clearer, the Board renamed the element from "social visibility" to "social distinction."

Crimmigration: Dispelling Myths about Expungements

For many people with a criminal record, expunging (or sealing the record) is the perfect solution - wipe the slate clean and start anew. An expungement operates to "clean" the court record. These court records, however, remain available for review by law enforcement even though the average person cannot see them.