February 2009 Archives

February 28, 2009

Immigration Background Check Delays - New Policy Affecting I-485 and -601 Applications

US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced today background check policy update affecting adjustment of status and waivers of inadmissibility cases delayed by long-pending background checks.  While USCIS has not changed its national security requirements, they did modify their existing guidance for some procedures that will affect the detention and removal of people.   

USCIS reported that nearly 50,000 applications for permanent residence are approvable but just awaiting an FBI name check which has taken more than 180 days.  Applicants with long pending cases can contact the USCIS through the 1-800-customer service number (1-800-375-5283) or make an INFOPASS appointment to visit their local CIS office.  The USCIS press release states that they will begin prioritizing these long delayed cases, requesting additional definitive FBI fingerprint checks.  Applicants who are unable to go to an INFOPASS appointment may also hire an immigration visa attorney to conduct the status check for them.

For many people awaiting final adjudication of their petitions, expect that USCIS may contact you to request that your fingerprints be taken again at a local application support center.  Keep in mind that the Department of Homeland Security may initiate removal proceedings if negative information is received through an adverse background check.

February 27, 2009

US Military Will Allow Enlistment of Some Foreign Nationals


Some Fong & Chun immigration law clients have asked about the possibility of serving in the US armed forces.  Attorneys at Fong & Chun contacted military recruiters in Los Angeles.

The US Department of Defense (DOD) began a pilot program in December 2008 to recruit up to 1,000 nonimmigrant aliens in the next 12 months.  DOD has taken this step to permit enlistment of certain people who have skills which are critical to the US.  The critical skills are within the medical field and foreign languages.

If you wish to enlist, you must be in one of the following categories: asylee, refugee, temporary protected status (TPS).  Also, E, F, H, I, J, K, L, M, O, P, Q, R, S, T, TC, TD, TN, U, or V nonimmigrants are eligible.  An eligible recruit: (a) must not have had any single absence from the US of more than 90 days during the two-year period preceding enlistment, (b) must have been in valid status in one of these categories for at least two years immediately prior to enlistment (but it does not have to be the same category for the entire period), and (c) in the medical category, the recruit must fill medical specialities where the armed forces have a shortfall, and (d) in the language category, the recruit must possess specific language and culture capabilities in a language critical to DOD.

Nonimmigrants who serve in the US military during a time of war are eligible for accelerated citizenship.

Please contact us if you have questions.  --jcf