E-Verify Enhances Security; Now Checks Passports and Passport

Cards.

Nov 10, 2010: The E-Verify program's security system has

just been enhanced, says USCIS and Department of Homeland Security

(DHS) representatives. The new enhancements include enabling

E-Verify to automatically check the validity and authenticity of

all US passports and passport cards used as employment verification

documents. As of November 10, E-Verify employers can verify the

identity of new employees who present US passports or passport

cards by comparing data on the documents with federal

records.

“U.S. passport photo matching is another in the long line of

enhancements we have made to improve the integrity of the E-Verify

system,” said DHS Director Alejandro Mayorkas. “Adding

U.S. passport photos expands our current photo matching efforts and

will play a significant role in preventing and detecting the use of

fraudulent documents—all part of major anti-fraud

initiatives undertaken by the Department.”

New Application and Petition Fees for Immigrants/Nonimmigrants

Will Be in Effect on November 23.

Nov 05, 2010: USCIS has posted a reminder to immigration

applicants and petitioners that its new fee schedule will go into

effect on November 23, 2010. All applications and petitions that

are postmarked/filed on or after that date must include the new

fee. If they do not include the new fee, they will be rejected by

USCIS.

The new fee schedule was published in the Federal Register on

September 24, after a review of public comments. Application and

petition fees in the new schedule have risen about 10 percent on

average; the naturalization application fee was not raised.

For a full list of the new schedule of fees, please visit: http://bit.ly/aBFapM .

ETA Extends Comment Period for Proposed H-2B Rule.

Nov 04, 2010: In early October, the Employment and Training

Administration (ETA) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to

change the process by which nonimmigrant workers in temporary or

seasonal non-agricultural employment are authorized to work in the

U.S. In addition, this proposed rule would change the ways that

regulations are enforced to employers of such workers.

As part of this proposed rule, ETA has allowed for a comment period

for the text of the rule up to November 4, 2010. However, the

agency received a number of requests to extend this comment period

and has fulfilled these requests. The comment period for this

proposed rule will now be open an additional 8 days, to November

12, 2010.

USCIS Terminates California EB-5 Foreign Investor Program.

Oct 29, 2010: The federal government has ended the Victorville,

California EB-5 foreign investor program, the first time that USCIS

has ended an EB-5 program. According to USCIS, the program was

unable to demonstrate that it could meet the criteria to raise

funds through the EB-5 program.

Victorville's application for EB-5 status in June 2009, which

enabled the city to solicit loans of $500,000 from foreign

citizens, as long as those funds were used to create a minimum of

10 local jobs each. USCIS asked for further information from the

city repeatedly, but did not receive more information. The final

notice of termination was sent by USCIS on October 20.

Backlog of Immigration Cases Continues to Grow.

Oct 27, 2010: A new record for the number of immigration cases

awaiting review was made this September. At the end of September

2010, there were a total of 261,083 immigration cases awaiting

review by the Immigration Courts, according to the Transactional

Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). This backlog has grown by five

percent since the end of June 2010 and is over 1/3 higher than the

backlog reported at the end of Fiscal Year 2008. Wait times,

however, have declined since the last report released by TRAC (June

2010). The average wait time for pending cases nationally is now

456 days, compared to 459 days at the end of June 2010. California

has the longest average wait time (630 days). Massachusetts and

Nebraska have the second and third longest average wait times,

respectively (Massachusetts – 615 days; Nebraska – 519 days).

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