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Visa Programs for High-Skilled Workers

Businesses depend on highly skilled foreign professionals to remain competitive in today’s global market. In recent years, however, arbitrary decision making by the immigration agencies has often prevented U.S. employers from hiring the best and the brightest. Inconsistent outcomes in cases with similar facts, inexplicably restrictive interpretations of legal requirements, and the proliferation of Requests for Evidence are among the many obstacles that unjustifiably prevent highly skilled professionals from obtaining visas to work in the United States. Moreover, the agencies’ frequent reliance on obscure guidance and unwritten policies complicates the task of challenging bad decisions through litigation. 

The LAC is working to tackle these problems by using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to increase transparency and accountability, undertaking litigation where appropriate, and providing practice resources to help lawyers challenge unlawful agency action in court.

CASES l ADVOCACY l RESOURCES

CASES

H-1B Validity Period Litigation

Valorem Consulting Group, LLC v. USCIS, Case No. 4:13-cv-1209-ODS (W.D. Mo.). Valorem, an IT consulting company, petitioned to employ a software developer for three years in H-1B status as part of a project development team at its office. Initially, USCIS denied the petition, but later – after Valorem, represented by AILA member Susan Bond, filed suit – approved it for one year. Read more...

Arizona's next immigration debate: babies born in U.S.

Published on Thu, Dec 16, 2010

In an article written for the Immigration Policy Center, lawyer Elizabeth Wydra contends that the reason for the 14th Amendment was to make sure that future legislators could not strip citizenship rights from vulnerable minorities.

Published in the Stateline

Litigation Clearinghouse Newsletter Vol. 2, No. 13

This issue covers natz delay class actions, challenges to Matter of Perez-Vargas, potential religious worker litigation, and LAC news.

Published On: Monday, November 19, 2007 | Download File

Austin Texas 2011 Creative Writing Contest Winners

Austin Texas "Celebrates America"

Published on Tue, May 17, 2011

Austin winners of the local "Celebrate America" 5th Grade Creative Writing Contest were honored at a Naturalization Ceremony at Austin Delco Activity Center on Tuesday, April 26, 2011. The Contest winners were presented with their awards, and had the opportunity to read their winning entries in front of 984 new U.S. citizens from 105 different countries taking the oath of citizenship before District Judge Lee Yeakel.

Published in the Foster Quan

Litigation Clearinghouse Newsletter Vol. 1, No. 3

This issue covers the favorable district court order in the ADIT litigation (Santillan v. Gonzales) and recent decisions addressing Matter of Grijalva and the presumption of effective service.

Published On: Monday, January 9, 2006 | Download File

Poland

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Our most recent outbound exchange trip in­volved an eclectic group of American profes­sionals, one J-1 trainee, two cities in Poland, and a lot of talk about Central European migra­tion trends and immigration/emigration issues. There were also, of course, many pierogies, a lot of Żubrówka, and much baraszcz to be had. The group was able to explore Warsaw and Krakow, experiencing Polish culture and hearing from experts about history, immi­gration, emigration, and the changes that mem­bership in the European Union has brought to Poland and other new EU members in the region.

Highlights of the exchange included a visit to the US consulate in Warsaw, where the trip’s one and only J-1 trainee, Tania Alves Calvao, was able to step behind the windows and see the Consulate from a new and different perspective. Trip participants also enjoyed an informal visit to a premier Polish law firm, discussions with American business interests in Poland, and a presentation from the Warsaw University Cen­ter for Migration Research. A somber and informative day was spent at Auschwitz and Birkenau.

Advocates & Opponents Of Comprehensive Immigration Reform Criticize Obama

Published on Fri, Apr 15, 2011

SAN DIEGO — The Washington-based Immigration Policy Center advocates a centrist policy of enforcement coupled with a path to citizenship. It has released a report card on the Obama Administration.

The center cites tension between enforcement and reform priorities, and calls out Obama's failure to fulfill his promise of comprehensive reform.

"While the president on the one hand is saying that he understands that we need immigration reform, his focus has been deporting people," said Michele Waslin, a senior policy analyst with the center. "And in some cases, deporting those very people that he really hopes to legalize someday."

The center cites a record number of deportations under Obama and criticizes the lack of effort to find ways for longtime, productive undocumented immigrants and their children to remain in the country.

"The president has said several times that all he can do is enforce the law. When we think that the president certainly has other executive powers--there are things that can be done administratively within current law that would also help to reform the system from within," Waslin said.

She added the chances of an Obama-led immigration reform by the end of his first term are minimal.

On the other hand, summarizing the president's performance on immigration issues, the conservative Center for Immigration Studies believes it's been all for show.

Mark Krikorian, Executive Director of the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, said that the Obama administration has increased deportations and security at the border. But it has not gone far enough given the reality of increasing violence in Mexico.

"The unspoken factor underlying much of the immigration debate is the ongoing, low-level civil war within Mexico," said Krikorian. "Every time another ditch full of 100 bodies is found, makes the cause of weakening enforcement that much more difficult."Read more...

Published in the KPBS

Freedom of Information Act

ARCHIVED ISSUE PAGE (LAST UPDATED JUNE 2012)

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides that "any person" may request agency documents, see 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(3), and agencies may only withhold information from a FOIA requester under certain exceptions outlined in 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(1)-(9). These exceptions are to be narrowly construed, and the burden is on the agency to show why non-compliance with a FOIA request clearly falls under one of these exceptions. 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(B). FOIA also requires that an agency determine whether it will comply with an initial FOIA request within 20 days of receiving the request. 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(A)(i). If the agency withholds information or is nonresponsive, the requestor may file an administrative appeal and then file suit in district court.

This Litigation Issue Page summarizes and discusses recent developments in immigration-related FOIA lawsuits. The page also provides information about attorneys' fees, non-litigation related FOIA developments, and links to FOIA resources.

Active Cases|Closed Cases|Non-Litigation Related Developments|Attorney Fees|Additional Resources

Active Cases

FOIA Suit Seeks Release of Prosecutorial Discretion Directives and Guidelines for Removal Proceedings

National Immigrant Justice Center v. DHS, et al., No. 12-04825 (N.D. Ill. filed June 18, 2012)Read more...