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TSC会议纪要:大批新移民官上岗,I-140及I-485审理中的问题
作者:刘宗坤律师     发文时间: 2015年05月27日 06:32:32
TSC会议纪要:大批新移民官上岗,I-140及I-485审理中的问题

On May 19, 2015, attorneys from Liu & Associates attended the Open House at
the Texas Service Center (“TSC”) in Dallas and toured the Service Center.
Our attorneys regularly attend these events to maintain an open dialogue
with TSC officials and keep abreast of procedural changes. The Open House
provided an opportunity for our attorneys to inquire about issues regarding
employment-based I-140 petitions and I-485 applications with representatives
from the Business Premium Team and the Employment Adjustment Team.

The following is a summary of key points from the Open House:

Hundreds of New Immigration Officers

1. At the beginning of the 2015 fiscal year in October 2014, there was a re-
organization of the TSC due to the increasingly large size of teams. As a
result, TSC separated the team for I-140 petitions and I-485 applications
and created two new teams called Business Premium and Employment Adjustment
for I-140 petitions and I-485 applications, respectively. TSC also hired
about 200 new employees, including two associate center directors to head
the new teams, and TSC expects to hire more employees to fill the vacancies.

As our firm has experienced in the past, when USCIS hires a large number of
new adjudicators, we usually see a wave of abnormal adjudication (e.g.,
increased Request for Evidence, denials, inconsistent decisions among
officers, etc.) due to improper training issues. This year has not been an
exception. Since late 2014, we have seen an increase in RFEs/NOIDs and
denials from the TSC combined with processing times that are many months
outside of the 4-month processing goal. Indeed, TSC officials admitted that
there have been “growing pains” with the large influx of new adjudicators.
These issues have not gone unnoticed by the CIS Ombudsman office, which has
been in talks with TSC officials regarding the decline in quality of
adjudications, increase in inconsistency of RFEs and adjudications, and slow
processing time.

Form I-140 Immigrant Petition Processing

2. As head of the Business Premium Team, which comprises about 40 employees,
Associate Center Director Chris Humphries explained that his team handles
the adjudication of both regular and premium processing service for Form I-
140 petitions. To resolve the backlog that is delaying many I-140 petitions
beyond the processing times, Mr. Humphries stated that TSC is filling
multiple officer positions and providing training for these new officers.
With additional officers, he mentions that TSC has made progress in the
processing times, as the processing of Eb-1A extraordinary ability cases has
moved forward one month while the processing of National Interest Waiver (
NIW) cases has moved forward two months. Further, Mr. Humphries emphasized
that we should see an improvement in the processing times as they provide
additional resources but would not provide a definitive time when this would
occur.

3. Answering a question that our clients frequently raise, Mr. Humphries
confirmed that upgrading to premium processing service after two weeks from
the initial filing date of the I-140 petition does not make a difference to
the case. If a request is made to upgrade to premium processing service, the
same officer, who was assigned the I-140 petition, continues to adjudicate
the case. This means there is no greater likelihood of RFE with direct
premium processing or avoiding RFE by upgrading later.

4. Additionally, confirming past procedures, motions and appeals are first
reviewed by the original officer assigned to the case and then automatically
reviewed by senior officers who should review all supporting documents, not
just the opinion of the adjudicating officer. Senior officers are often “
subject matter experts” who are knowledgeable in immigration law, policies,
and legislations. Although they do not have expertise in scientific fields,
USCIS has resources such as intranet to check certain claims.

Form I-485 Application for Adjustment of Status Processing

5. In the second half of the Open House, Associate Center Director Rick
Dashner of the Employment Adjustment Team emphasized that mandatory
background checks, including FBI Fingerprint Check, FBI Name Check, and TECS
Check, must be completed before adjustment. Officers also review other
systems for potential violations, criminal records, warrants/protection
orders, or information relating to the applicant’s admissibility to the U.S
. In response to inquiries regarding the long processing times for I-485
applications, Mr. Dashner pointed out that the delay could be from the above
mentioned security checks.

6. In cases where the USCIS denies the concurrently filed I-140 petition,
the USCIS will also deny the I-485 application if there is no other basis
for adjustment of status. However, if the decision for the I-140 petition is
overturned and approved on a motion or an appeal, the USCIS will reopen the
I-485 application on Service motion at no cost to the applicant and resume
processing the I-485 application. If the USCIS grants the motion to reopen
and approves the I-485 application, the time between the initial denial and
the decision on the I-485 application after reopening will not count toward
the time for unlawful presence.

7. Regarding the medical exam required for the I-485 application, Mr.
Dashner said that USCIS is currently working on extending the validity date
of the medical exam. He clarified that presently the medical exam is valid
for one year (from the date the civil surgeon signed the exam) to submit
with the I-485 application. Once USCIS receives the medical exam, it is
valid for one year from the receipt date. Mr. Dasher recommended submitting
the medical exam with the I-485 application instead of waiting for a RFE to
send in the medical exam.
Mr. Dashner also discussed that the TSC will not handle the I-765
applications for H4 status holders and that they will go to the California
Service Center.

Following the meeting, we are optimistic that the influx of new officers and
the restructure of the TSC will result in faster processing times of I-140
petitions and I-485 applications. In response to concerns over the
significant backlog and slow processing times, TSC appears to have made
considerable efforts to improve this process.

********************************************************************
刘宗坤律师(Z. Zac Liu, Esq.), 法学博士(J.D., Valparaiso University School
of Law)、哲学博士(Ph.D., Peking University),伊利诺伊州最高法院及联邦法院
执照,曾担任Valparaiso University Law Review的编辑和审稿人, 著有中英文书籍
多种,散见于中美各大学图书馆。执业以来,他已代理无数名来自世界各地的科研人员
和专业人士成功获得绿卡及各类非移民签证,尤其在国家利益豁免(NIW)、特殊人才
(Eb-1A)、杰出教授和研究员(EB-1B)、PERM 劳工证、H-1B工作签证等方面积累了
丰富的经验。有兴趣提出申请的读者,可将简历发往evaluation@niwus.com。刘律师会
在两个工作日内对符合条件的申请做出免费评估。
   
Kellie Pai律师,法学博士(J.D.,University of Houston Law Center)、文学学士(B
.A., University of Texas at Austin),德克萨斯州最高法院执照,联邦法院执照,
刘宗坤联合律师事务所合伙人律师。

Christina T. Le 律师,法学博士(J.D.,University of Houston Law Center)、文学
学士(B.A., Northwestern University),德克萨斯州最高法院执照,联邦法院执照,
曾任U.S. Department of Justice驻Houston移民法庭Attorney Advisor,现任刘宗坤
联合律师事务所合伙人律师。
   
Sabrina Schroeder律师,法学博士 (J.D., Michigan State University College of
Law)、文学学士 (B.A., Oklahoma State University),密西根州最高法院执照,曾任
Michigan State University Law Review编辑,密西根上诉法院Prehearing Research
Attorney,现任刘宗坤律师事务所高级律师。

Karen Egonis 律师,法学博士(J.D., University of Houston Law Center)、文学硕
士 (M.A., University of South Carolina)、文学学士(B.A., Texas A&M University
),新罕布什尔州最高法院执照,现任刘宗坤联合律师事务所律师。

Grace Wang律师,法学博士(J.D., St. Mary’s University School of Law)、理学
学士(B.S., The University of Texas at Austin),德克萨斯州最高法院执照,曾任
The Scholar: St. Mary’s Law Review on Minority Issues编辑,现任刘宗坤律师事
务所律师。
Margaret Tung 律师,法学博士、工商管理硕士 (J.D. & M.B.A.,Texas Tech
University)、文学学士(B.A., Rice University),德克萨斯州最高法院执照,曾任
Texas Tech University Law Review编辑,现任刘宗坤律师事务所律师。

Liu & Associates, PLLC
Capital One Plaza
5718 Westheimer Rd., Suite 1100
Houston, TX 77057
Phone: (713) 974-3893 (US)
(950) 4034-8985 (China)
Fax: (713) 974-3463
www.niwus.com


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