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Muslim men and women sue USCIS for delays in naturalization applications, due to USCIS's national security policy, CARRP

A group of 13 plaintiffs, Muslim men and women (including several older women between the ages of 49 and 61), has sued USCIS to challenge extensive delays in their naturalization applications, due to being included in USCIS’s policy regarding national security concerns. All the plaintiffs are permanent residents who meet the law’s requirements for naturalization to U.S. citizenship, but whose applications have been delayed because of USCIS’s CARRP policy. These applications have fallen into a black box, in which there are unending delays, no explanation from the government, and no opportunity to present evidence to prove that any national security concern is baseless.

USCIS’s CARRP (Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program) policy, which is supposed to deal with national security concerns, results in the indefinite delay of naturalization applications, as well as other applications for immigration benefits. Under the CARRP program, officers are instructed to look for any possible reason to deny an application. Where there is no legal basis to deny an application, USCIS may leave the application pending interminably.

Many individuals affected by the CARRP program are no danger at all to U.S. national security. They may be included because of travel to certain countries or areas, or because of their associations, for example, that they have had a relative (no matter how distant), co-worker, roommate, employee, employer, partner, affiliate or friend, who is of some interest to the government. Additionally, anyone whose name is found in an FBI file, even though not at all a target or suspect, are also included under the CARRP umbrella. Thus, anyone who has given a voluntary interview to the FBI, or gone to a mosque that happened to be under surveillance, may find themselves subjected to the CARRP policy and have their applications delayed indefinitely or denied on any pretext. The criteria are so broad and general, that anyone can get caught up in the program.

In other cases, individuals have their applications interminably delayed so that the FBI can use them as informants, and use the pending application as a figurative club in order to extract information.

On May 19, 2016, the complaint, Eriola Arapi et al vs. USCIS et al, Case No. 4:16-CV-00692, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri by the Missouri Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Hacking law practice. ©

India and China EB-2 and EB-3 categories for June 2016, and for the rest of the fiscal year

Because of very high EB-2 demand worldwide, including very high EB-2 demand for India, the EB-2 category for India has retrogressed for June 2016 to October 1, 2004, and is expected to advance only very slowly for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends on September 30th. This means that the current wait of 11 years and nine months for the Indian EB-2 category will become even longer. Additionally, the EB-2 worldwide category, although it is now still current, may be at risk of retrogressing due to very high demand.

For June 2016, EB-3 for India is at September 22, 2004, slightly worse than EB-2, and is expected to advance at a snail’s pace for the rest of the fiscal year.

Similarly, but much less severe, the EB-2 and EB-3 categories for China will retrogress in June 2016 to January 1, 2010, a current wait of about six and a half years, which will become even more lengthy. It is expected that this cutoff date will remain in place at least through the end of this fiscal year.

STEM students can find E-Verify employers with USCIS tool

STEM F-1 students are now eligible for a total of three years of OPT, as long as they are working for an employer that participates in E-Verify.  If you are a STEM student you can find E-Verify employers through this link with USCIS:

www.uscis.gov/e-verify/about-program/e-verify-employers-search-tool

USCIS Filing Fees to Increase by 21%

On May 4, 2016, DHS announced that it will increase the USCIS filing fees for most immigration applications by about 21%. For example, the fee for Form I-129 (used for E, H, L, O, P, R petitions) will increase from $325 to $445, and Form I-140 will increase from $580 to $700.

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