Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Taking a Back Seat to More Pressing Issues?

Comprehensive Immigration Reform - photo by nclr.org

This past Friday, Democrat leaders in the House expressed plans to present a version of the comprehensive immigration bill that the Senate passed earlier in the year. Democrat hopes are riding high that a vote will be called and permitted by GOP leadership but for now the introduction of the bill simply aims to press Republican members to move reform in a positive direction.
Comprehensive immigration reform appears to have hit a standstill in Congress and quickly took a back seat to recent political matters including international relations, national security investigations and the recent government shutdown. Nevertheless, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus indicated that it will continue to bring comprehensive immigration reform to the forefront and will use the introduction of the bill as a rallying point for Democrats.
As reported recently by Huffington Post, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D) of Illinois exclaimed “The Democrats have a responsibility, in the absence of a coordinated bill between Republicans and Democrats, to make an offer, to say ‘here is our position’ to the Republican majority,” Gutierrez said on a call hosted by pro-reform group America’s Voice. “And I think it’s incumbent on the Republican majority to say, ‘we like that’ or ‘here’s our counter-proposal.’”
Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) told reporters on the same call that such a bill, combining the Senate measure and House border proposal, would allow advocates to point to specific elements of reform in order to ask whether a Republican member supported it — rather than just the general concept of immigration reform. “Those who have been hiding from the issue will no longer be able to hide,” said Polis, the co-chair of the New Democrat immigration task force.
The opposition has made minimal effort to hide its clear stance on comprehensive immigration reform. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has repeatedly taken the position that he will not bring up the Senate immigration bill for a vote. Democrats to insist this obstacle can be overcome if Boehner breaks away from the non-mandatory, Hastert Rule, a tactic of not allowing a vote on a bill unless a majority of the majority party supports the bill.
Originally posted on bsfirm.com


What to do if Error on I-797 Notice of Action

What do you do if a receipt notice or approval notice has an error? The immigration application and petition processing at times can be long and arduous. Both clients and attorneys often feel anguish and quickly become impatient due to the delayed processing times. After waiting for numerous months or maybe years, the moment of receiving an approval is met with relief and joy. However the excitement of receiving an approval quickly vanishes at the realization that the Form I-797 Notice of Action contains a typographical error. Regardless of whether it is an incorrect birth date, classification, misspelled name, or approval/expiration date quick action should be taken to correct this error.
What to do if error on I-797First, revisit the copy of the application or petition that was submitted to USCIS to ensure it contains the correct information. If the application or petition contains incorrect information then the error on the notice will not be deemed a Service error and USCIS will not be inclined to correct the error without additional steps.
However, if the error was committed by the Service then step two should be taken. CallNational Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 1-800-375-5283 to report the error. Be prepared to provide the name of the applicant or petitioner, case number, and the specific error. After reporting the error, NCSC will make an not issue a separate receipt notice reflecting the correction but the subsequent notice issued should contain the correction. If the error is on an Approval Notice, immediately call NCSC to request the information to be corrected and to have an updated notice be issued. Do not wait 30 days to make this request as many completed files are transferred within 30 days to the National Records Center. Keep in mind that NCSC may request the applicant or petitioner to submit a copy of the application or petition indicating the correct information was submitted.
Third, make a note of the time/date and agent ID # and confirmation number when calling the NCSC. This information will be necessary if additional action is required to correct the error.
Keep in mind that it is best to have the representation of an attorney to provide the necessary assistance in immigration matters. An immigration attorney can take additional measures to have an error corrected by USCIS. An error on correspondence from USCIS should not be overlooked or ignored as it may cause significant problems.
Take action to correct it immediately. If you need assistance to correct an error on a Receipt Notice or Approval Notice do not hesitate. Call the attorneys at Benavides & Serrano PLLC at 713-222-2828.
Originally posted on bsfirm.com


Houston Immigration Attorneys │Houston Immigration Court Moving

As of January 12, 2012 the Houston Immigration Court which is currently located at the intersection of La Branch and Hadley will be officially closed. The Immigration Court will reopen at its new location at 600 Jefferson Suite 900 Houston, TX 77002 on January 19, 2012. The court will make the move the third week of 2012 and the court filing window will be closed for filings only on Wednesday  January 11, 2012. Keep in mind that all filings need to be mailed or personally delivered to 2320 La Branch St. Room 2235 Houston, TX 77004. To ensure filings are properly received and placed with the correct file, it is recommended that filings be made well in advance of the targeted move date or if possible submit documentation a few weeks after the move.

Immigration Court Administrators have planned the move for several months and anticipate the move to go smoothly however minor communication issues with phones, computers and operations may occur. As a result individuals and practitioners may experience minor delays in assistance during the move. The court encourages individuals needing assistance regarding a case to call the toll free number 1-800-898-7180 or 240-314-1500. The EOIR case information system provides details regards hearing dates, clock information, and recent decision dates. This information can be accessed with the Alien number and following the prompt system.

If you need legal representation from a Houston Immigration Attorney call 713-222-2828 for a free consultation or visit www.bsfirm.com


Houston Immigration Attorneys │Better Adjudication Process By Filing Bundled L-1 Petitions

USCIS is constantly making changes in effort to improve its service and provide better adjudication process of the thousands of petitions and applications that are filed. Many changes appear to improve the system while some efforts fail to achieve the objective. In a recent policy change, USCIS announced that it will permit employers to petition for their employees to obtain an L-1 nonimmigrant classification by filing Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker by grouping or bundling petitions related to a similar subject. If you have a Houston Immigration Attorney they will probably talk to you about the process and will prepare the L-1 petitions to obtain proper and timely adjudication of the bundled petitions.

USCIS indicated the need that often times employers have multiple employees which must be relocated for a similar project. In its memo from the Office of Public Engagement, USCIS stated that "to the extent possible, if petitioners bundle multiple L-1B petitions related to the same project, where the location and the specialized knowledge duties of the beneficiaries are the same, USCIS will consider them together. USCIS will also consider petitions for L-1A managers included with the bundle if such persons will be managing the L-1B beneficiaries who will be working on the project. In addition, USCIS will consider Forms I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, filed for a beneficiary’s qualifying dependents included in the bundle."

USCIS has provided the filing tips below for bundling L-1 Petitions:
From the same petitioner;
■ On behalf of beneficiaries employed at the same foreign entity who will be seeking initial L-1 status or an extension of their L-1 status, and who will be working on the same project at the same location performing the same specialized knowledge duties;
■ Filed under the same service (either all premium processing or non-premium processing);
■ Package each petition separately with its own fees and supporting evidence.  
■ Flag the bundle by, for example, including a cover sheet for each petition with information the petitioner believes may be useful to assist USCIS in processing the related filings as a bundle.
On behalf of L-1A managers if they will be managing the L-1B beneficiaries who will be working on the project.
■ If using a cover sheet, it would be helpful if petitioners could write, "L-1 Bundle" in large, bold print at the top of the cover sheet. It would also be helpful if petitioners could list the name of the petitioner and the name and location of the project and number each cover sheet included in the bundle (e.g., 1 of 10 petitions, 2 of 10 petitions, etc.).

If you need the assistance of a Houston immigration attorney call 713-222-2828 for a free consultation or by visiting our web site at www.bsfirm.com

Houston Immigration Attorneys │ USCIS Announces New Filing Location for Naturalization and Citizenship Forms

Before you file an application or petition with USCIS you should always double check the correct filing location. Filing location can depend on several factors including form type, place of residence, place of employment or eligibility basis. Every few months USCIS changes the filing location for a particular form and as Houston immigration attorneys we are often kept on our toes with all the filing changes. Well, USCIS has done it again. On October 19, 2011 USCIS announced that Naturalization and Citizenship forms must be filed at a secure Lockbox Facility begining on October 30, 2011.  USCIS indicates this new procedure is intended to speed up the processing and adjudication of these particular forms by shortening the period of collection and deposit of fees.

Similar to previous changes in filing locations, USCIS has indicated a transition period will be provided between October 30 and December 2, 2011 whereby any form received at local USCIS offices during this period will be forwarded to the USCIS Lockbox facility for processing. After December 2, 2011 any forms received at incorrect locations will be returned to the applicant.  The following list is a breakdown of the particular forms each Lockbox will receive:

Phoenix Lockbox: N-336, N-600, N-600K

Dallas Lockbox: N-300. Individuals filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, already file at a Lockbox facility.

N-400 are designated to be filed at either the Phoenix or Dallas Lockbox Facility according to the applicant's residence.

 you reside in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Territory of Guam, or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, send your application to the USCIS Phoenix Lockbox Facility at the following address:
          P.O. Box 21251
          Phoenix, AZ 85036

For Express Mail or courier deliveries, use the following address:
          Attn:  N-400
          1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S
          Suite 100
          Phoenix, AZ 85034

If you reside in Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Commonwealth of PuertoUSCIS Dallas Lockbox Facility at the following address:
          P.O. Box 660060
          Dallas, TX 75266

For Express Mail or courier deliveries, use the following address:
          Attn: N-400
          2501 S State Hwy 121 Business
          Suite 400
          Lewisville, TX 75067

If you need assistance of  a Houston immigration attorney to prepare and file a Naturalization or Citizenship form contact us at 713-222-2828 or get more information by going to http://www.bsfirm.com/