• States Enact Record Number of Immigration-Related

    Legislation in 2010.

Jan 28, 2011: According to the National Conference of State

Legislatures (NCSL), state legislatures enacted a record number of

laws and resolutions related to immigration issues in 2010. A total

of 46 state legislatures and the District of Columbia enacted 208

new laws and adopted 138 resolutions, reported NCSL. Ten additional

bills were passed by the legislatures, but vetoed by state

governors. In comparison, in 2009, only 202 laws were enacted and

131 resolutions adopted.

Interestingly, there were less bills and resolutions introduced to

legislatures in 2010, as compared to 2009. In 2010, just over 1,400

bills and resolutions were introduced; in 2009, over 1,500 were

introduced.

Key focuses for introduced bills and resolutions were law

enforcement, identification and driver's license-related bills,

and employment-related legislation. E-Verify-related legislation

was enacted in four states in 2010. While the focuses above have

been seen in previous years, a new topic introduced in 2010 was

child abductions; three states passed laws to help prevent these

abductions.

Immigration-related legislation at the state level has been

steadily rising since 2005, when only 300 bills were introduced at

the state level.

  • USCIS Reaches Enough Petitions for Fiscal Year 2011

    H-1B Program.

Jan 28, 2011: USCIS announced yesterday that it has received a

sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the annual cap for

Fiscal Year 2011. According to USCIS, January 26, 2011 is the final

receipt day for new H-1B cap-subject visa petitions in which the

requested employment start date is FY 2011.

USCIS will now apply a computer-generated random selection process

to all petitions subject to the annual cap that were received on

January 26. All cap-subject petitions not selected in this random

process will be rejected and the fee will be returned to the

petitioner.

USCIS announced in late December that it had received more than

20,000 H-1B petitions eligible for the advanced degree

exemption.

The federal agency will continue to accept and process petitions

filed to extend the amount of time a current H-1B visa holder may

remain in the U.S., change the terms of employment for a current

H-1B visa holder, allow a current H-1B visa holder to change

employers, and allow a current H-1B visa holder to work

concurrently in a second position.

  • Updated H-1B and H-2B Numbers Published by

    USCIS.

Jan 26, 2011: USCIS has recently updated the number of

cap-subject H-1B petitions it has accepted for Fiscal Year 2011.

According to USCIS, as of January 21, 2011, 62,800 regular

cap-subject petitions have been accepted and 20,000 master's

exemption cap-subject petitions have been accepted. A total of

65,000 regular cap-subject H-1B visas are available for Fiscal Year

2011, leaving just over 2,000 visas still available for the fiscal

year.

USCIS also posted updated numbers for the H-2B program as well.

According to USCIS, as of January 21, 2011, the agency has approved

35,146 H-2B beneficiaries for the first half of Fiscal Year 2011;

1,414 beneficiaries are still pending for that half-fiscal year.

8,869 beneficiaries have been approved for the second half of

Fiscal Year 2011, with 3,446 currently pending. The agency's

targeted amount of beneficiaries for each half-fiscal year is

47,000.

  • USCIS Announces Three New Citizenship and

    Immigration Integration Grant Opportunities.

Jan 21, 2010: Earlier this week, USCIS announced the

availability of three new competitive grant opportunities for

organizations interested in helping lawful permanent residents

prepare for citizenship and promoting immigrant integration in the

United States. Approximately $8.5 million will be available for

citizenship preparation programs throughout the U.S.

“For more than two centuries, our nation has been a beacon of

hope and opportunity for people from around the world,” said

Alejandro Mayorkas, director of USCIS. “These grants will

assist immigrants from coast to coast on their path to U.S.

citizenship.”

Two of the new grant opportunities will be to help citizenship

preparation programs that provide direct assistance to lawful

permanent residents in the U.S. The third opportunity will help

organizations that offer citizenship services in underserved

communities.

Learn more and apply for these grant opportunities at

www.grants.gov. The deadline for applications is April 1, 2011.

Award recipients will be announced in September 2011.

  • ICE to Increase Audits of Employers this

    Year.

Dec 20, 2010: According to a recent report, the Obama

administration plans to increase the amount of audits conducted of

employers' I-9 records and information. According to John

Morton, chief of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the

Employment Compliance Inspection Center will conduct audits of all

sizes of employers, even large employers with large amounts of

employees.

In the year that ended September 30, 2010, ICE had conducted audits

of over 2,700 companies. This was double the amount of audits as

conducted the previous year. Seven million dollars in fines were

given to companies that hired and employed ineligible aliens.

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