In early September 2015, the Visa Bulletin contained a new second set of dates. First, there were the dates for those who could be approved for permanent residence. Second, there was a set of dates for those would while not currently approvable, could file for adjustment of status to be approved in the near future. This was a major change in the Visa Bulletin, and was welcomed by everyone in the immigrant community. The reason this change was so welcome was because people who could file for adjustment of status could then obtain work permits and in some cases travel documents that were no longer tied to the employer or sponsor. It was a partial fulfillment of the promises made by President Obama on November 20, 2015.
But, like virtually everything else President Obama has done, it turned into a complete bait and switch. On Friday, September 25, 2015 at 4:30 in the afternoon, less than three weeks after first publishing the visa bulletin with the welcome changes and new filing dates, and after hundreds of thousands of people has spent millions of collective dollars preparing green card applications and obtaining medical exams, the USCIS and the DOS changed the dates that they would except for filing. These new dates included virtually no one who was eligible to apply. It was a classic Obama administration deception—say one thing, but do another.
This time, however, the immigration bar did not take this lying down. Immediately a group of lawyers, led by nationally renowned immigration lawyers Greg Siskind, Robert Gibbs, Robert Pauw, and Andrew Free brought a class action lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State (DOS) and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers (www.abil.com), of which our firm is a founding member, has lent key assistance to the lawsuit. And, our firm has participated in this action by serving as an expert declarant on the issue of how the Visa Bulletin has historically been accurate in predicting availability of permanent residence and in using available visa numbers (at least from a Department of State perspective).
We do not yet know what will happen with this lawsuit, but we do that there is a request today for a Temporary Restraining Order to allow individuals to file their applications while the court decides the matter. We will keep our clients information of their options. If you think that you are affected by this change in plans by USCIS, please contact your attorney at Kuck Immigration Partners and we can review your immigration options under this lawsuit.