Monday, July 31, 2017


In April Pres. Trump nominated Lee Francis Cissna to be the Director of the USCIS. USCIS is a sub-agency of the Department of Homeland Security. USCIS is tasked with processing immigration applications and petitions. The Director normally reports directly to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Because it is such an important position, any nomination for USCIS Director requires confirmation by the Senate.

Three months have now passed since the Cissna nomination. Although the President has complained loudly about Senate Democrats holding up confirmations, that does not seem to be the case with Mr. Cissna's nomination. 

In mid-May, Pro Publica reported that Mr. Cissna had spent much of the last few years ghost-writing letters on behalf of Sen. Grassley (R-IA).  These letters were aimed at dismantling much of Pres. Obama’s immigration policies. 
On May 31, Mr. Cissna testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Three hundred immigration stakeholders have since pushed the administration to withdraw Mr. Cissna’s nomination.

Mr. Cissna’s confirmation hold-up does not entirely appear to be about the Cissna policies raised by Pro Publica. In fact, the confirmation hold-up was a leverage play by Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC). Senate custom allows a single Senator to delay a 

Why did Sen. Tills delay Cissna's confirmation?  Sen. Tillis wanted an increase of H-2B visas, which are temporary visas used in seasonal occupations. North Carolina uses more H-2B visas than 47 other states, trailing only Texas and Colorado. In mid-July, the President caved into Sen. Tillis’ demands and released an additional 15,000 H-2B visas. Only then did Sen. Tillis agree to lift his hold on the confirmation.

Yet Mr. Cissna’s confirmation continues to sit. Right-wing media, who are fans of Mr. Cissna’s views, are ramping up the pressure on the GOP Senate to move forward.

Because the Cissna nomination is still stuck, questions remain: Is Mr. Cissna going to be confirmed before the August recess? Is his delay more about him or more about the Senate’s packed schedule? Will the forthcoming DHS Secretary withdraw Mr. Cissna and want to appoint his own candidate? We should know a lot between now and the recess.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


MU Law is pleased to announce a free healthcare immigration webinar on August 1, 2017 at 3PM ET for all clients and friend of the firm.  It is ideal for US employers, staffing companies, recruiters, and others interested in healthcare immigration.

 The Healthcare Immigration Seminar will feature these topics:
  • Green card Immigration for Nurses and Physical Therapists (Schedule A occupations)
  • Filing for Green card when you have an Unanticipated Worksite
  • Visa Screens and Healthcare Worker Certificates
  • FCCPT and the future of PT immigration
  • H-1B visas for PTs, OTs, Med Techs, and other allied healthcare workers
  • Managing Social Security Numbers and Licensure
  • H-1B cap-exempt entities
  • Immigration under the Trump administration
  • Legislative and Regulatory changes that may be on the horizon

Monday, July 24, 2017


Last year the USCIS issued new guidance regarding when a foreign national can port his/her I-485.  Under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (AC21) a foreign national can change his/her employer or job during the green card process once the I-485 has been pending for 180 day or more.

When changing positions, the green card applicant and their new employer, must file a form I-485(j) with the USCIS confirming the new employer is taking over the green card case, agrees to pay the prevailing wage, and that the new position is the same or similar to the position described in the green card application.

The USCIS will consider the totality of the circumstances when determining if the green card job and the new job are the same or similar.  Specifically, 2016 memo describes how Immigration Officers can review the occupation codes assigned to both jobs by the Department of Labor when determining if the two jobs are the same or similar.

Evidence that the positions are the same or similar can include:
  • ·         The job duties of both positions;
  • ·         The skills, expertise, education, training, licenses or certifications specifically required to perform each job;
  • ·         The wages offered for each job; and
  • ·         Any other material and credible evidence relevant to the determination.

Green card applicants can also port their I-485s when, in their new position, they are primarily responsible for managing the same or similar function of their original job.  For example, if a PT is promoted to Senior PT and supervises other PTs and PTAs.  It is also acceptable for the applicant to manage workers in a different occupation if the change in position is a normal career progression.  For instance, if an OT is promoted to Rehab Manager, the OT may be supervising other OTs as well as OTAs, PTs, PTAs, SLPs, and others.

Thursday, July 20, 2017


The Department of State’s Visa Bulletin guru, Charlie Oppenheim, hosts monthly meetings with the American Immigration Lawyers Association.  Charlie Oppenheim is the Department of State’s Chief of the Control and Reporting Division. He is the officer who is responsible for producing the Visa Bulletin each month.

This month’s Check In With Charlie featured projections for EB2 and EB3, which are the most popular categories for readers of this Blog.  Here are some of this month’s highlights, along with our analysis:

EB-2 Worldwide.  Although there may be a retrogression in September, the Worldwide EB-2 should return to current in October and remain there for the rest of this calendar year.

EB-2 India.  This category is expected to use the full allotment of visas in September, which may result in the category becoming temporarily unavailable.  It should have a July 2008 date in October 2017.

EB-3 Worldwide.  This category will remain current or close to current for the foreseeable future.

EB-3 India.  This category will advance several months in September 2017.  However, because of expected demand in FY 2018 for EB-3 Worldwide, we will not see fast progress after October 2017.  India EB-3 benefited in FY 2017 because demand for Worldwide EB-3 was light, resulting in Worldwide EB-3 numbers spilling into India EB-3.

EB-3 Philippines.  In FY 2018, we will not see this category move nearly as fast as it did in FY 2017. We will have a better idea of where Phils EB-3 is headed with the publication of the October 2017 Visa Bulletin, which is the first of FY 2018.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


The Department of State has just issued the August 2017 Visa Bulletin.  This is the eleventh Visa Bulletin of Fiscal Year 2017.  This blog post analyzes this month's Visa Bulletin.

NOTE: Please be sure to read our Post, "What does the August Visa Bulletin Mean?"

August 2017 Visa Bulletin

Applications with these dates may be approved for their Green Card (Permanent Residency card).

All Other  


MU Law Analysis

All Other:  The EB-2 has been current for many years.  The slight retrogression is temporary and will revert back to Current in October 2017.  The EB-3 progression has long been effectively current, and is, in fact, current in August.

China (mainland-born):   The DOS instituted a retrogression for China EB-1 with the June Visa Bulletin, which remains.  The continued high level of demand for EB-1 numbers for USCIS adjustment of status applicants has required the establishment of a date for June. It is expected that this EB-1 retrogression will last until October 2017. 

The China EB-2 date again moved up, by one month.  The DOS notes that there has been an extremely large increase in EB-3s during the past month. The China EB-3 date remains at January 2012, which is where it was in July.  It is now slower than China EB-2. 

India:  As with China, India EB-1 now is retrogressed.  It is expected that this EB-1 retrogression will last until October 2017. 

EB-2 India held steady.  EB-3 India jumped into 2006, last month, which was a pleasant surprise.  It moved up again, this time into mid-2006.  The DOS is clearly trying to ensure that all visa numbers are used in FY2016. 

Mexico: Mirrors All Other in all aspects.

Philippines: EB-3 moved ahead one full year!  This is the second straight one year progression.   The Philippine EB-3 number essentially cleaned out all of the 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and half of 2015 EB-3 visas in less than one year.  This is even more positive than we expected.  

Our internal metrics see the Philippine EB-3 number continuing to progress at a rapid clip for the rest of 2017.

The retrogression of the EB-2 (Phils) number is nothing to be concerned about.  It will return to Current in October 2017.  Note that all EB-2s retrogressed, which reflects heavier demand than usual in the entirety of the EB-2 category.  

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


MU Law has a vibrant social media presence, which now includes Linked In.

If you are on Linked In, please take a moment a follow MU Law on Linked In.  We will be cross-posting articles and items of interest. 

We also have 1000+ followers on Facebook.  Are you one of our followers?  If not, please follow us there too!