Client Alert

Immigration News - October 4, 2006

October 04, 2006

Immigration Practice Group

* Top Immigration and Customs Enforcement Official Joins Paul Hastings
* USCIS Announces Expansion of Premium Processing Program to Include Additional Categories of Employment-Based Immigrant Petitions
* Bo Cooper Testifies for the Global Personnel Alliance in Senate Hearing on Immigration Policy and U.S. Competitiveness
* Department of State Announces Electronic Filing Procedure for 2008 Diversity Visa "Lottery"
* Teleconferences - Save the Date

Top Immigration and Customs Enforcement Official Joins Paul Hastings

Daniel Brown, one of the most senior officials at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has joined Paul Hastings in the Firm's Washington, D.C. office.  He will counsel Paul Hastings clients on compliance and enforcement matters, and will co-chair (with former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) General Counsel, Bo Cooper) the Federal Enforcement and Corporate Compliance team within Paul Hastings' national immigration practice group.

Dan has held a number of senior positions within DHS.  From May 2005 to August 2006 he served as Counselor to the Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security and then functioned as ICE's Director of the Office of Policy and Planning.  He was responsible for the development and oversight of immigration policy and operations in a number of critical areas, including some of the most important worksite enforcement policy changes facing employers today.  Dan was also responsible for DHS policy relating to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), as well as certain high-profile immigration removal cases, including national security cases, and many other key issues.  He was the first manager of ICE's Secure Border Initiative Program Management Office.

Dan joined the DHS General Counsel's Office in March 2003, when the new Department was formed, and he became the most senior lawyer in that office to focus solely on immigration.  As Deputy Associate General Counsel for Immigration, Dan advised senior DHS leadership, the White House and other federal agencies on all aspects of immigration law.  Dan also reviewed and coordinated the work of the approximately 700 immigration attorneys in the Department's legal program.  Throughout his government career Dan has had substantial involvement in the formulation, development and management of many top-priority initiatives, including the Secure Border Initiative, NSEERS, US-VISIT, SEVIS, worksite enforcement, the Interior Enforcement Strategy, and the Agency Working Group planning for the implementation of the President's Temporary Worker Program.

Daryl Buffenstein, co-chair of Paul Hastings' national immigration practice, commented that significantly increased worksite enforcement of the immigration laws was inevitable, making stringent attention to compliance an important priority for employers.  "Dan's addition will significantly enhance Paul Hastings' already formidable compliance and enforcement capabilities," he said.  "Bo Cooper and Dan Brown are truly the A team," he added.  This is the second time that Bo Cooper and Dan Brown have worked together closely.  Dan served as a senior immigration lawyer at INS when Bo was General Counsel of that agency.

USCIS Announces Expansion of Premium Processing Program to Include Additional Categories of Employment-Based Immigrant Petitions

On September 22, 2006, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a further expansion of the Premium Processing program to include additional categories of I-140 immigrant petitions.  Availability of Premium Processing has been expanded to include:

  • EB-1 Outstanding Researcher or Professor immigrant petitions;

  • Immigrant petitions in the EB-2 category (positions requiring a Master's degree or higher, or a Bachelor's degree and at least 5 years of experience) with the exception of those EB-2 petitions seeking a National Interest Waiver; and

  • The "other workers" classification in the EB-3 category (jobs that do not require two years of education, training or experience).

As noted in our August 22, 2006 Client Alert, USCIS began accepting premium processing requests in late August 2006 for EB-3 immigrant petitions filed for professional positions requiring a Bachelor's degree and less than 5 years of experience, as well as for EB-3 Skilled Worker petitions, which are immigrant petitions for workers capable of performing skilled labor requiring at least two years of education, training or experience.

The Premium Processing program allows petitioners to pay an additional $1,000 filing fee in order to have the immigration service process their petitions within 15 calendar days.  In exchange for the additional $1,000 filing fee, the immigration service will approve, deny, or issue a request for additional information on the case within 15 calendar days.

Bo Cooper Testifies for the Global Personnel Alliance in Senate Hearing on Immigration Policy and U.S. Competitiveness

Bo Cooper, who heads the immigration practice in the Washington, D.C. office of Paul Hastings and who previously served as INS's General Counsel, testified on behalf of the Global Personnel Alliance (GPA) at a hearing before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship.  Cooper emphasized the urgent need for high-skilled immigration reform:

"This is not the time for the country to turn its back on foreign talent.  When avenues for international recruitment of the best and brightest close down, the effects on American competitiveness are devastating.  With other countries only becoming stronger, the United States should be modernizing its programs for high-skilled immigration as an immediate priority."

Congress plans to return only briefly after the November elections.  It is critical for employers to highlight the severity of the limits that they face because of inadequate access to international talent.  If your company is interested in receiving a model letter to Congress, or in otherwise being involved in efforts to urge immediate legislative relief, please contact Bo Cooper at bocooper@paulhastings.com.

Department of State Announces 2008 Diversity Visa Lottery Program Registration

The State Department has released information on how to apply for immigrant visas under the Diversity Visa ("DV") "Lottery" Program for fiscal year 2008.  As with last year's diversity lottery program, applicants for the 2008 "DV lottery" must apply electronically through the website http://www.dvlottery.state.gov.  Application submission began Wednesday, October 4, 2006 at 12 pm EST and will end Sunday, December 3, 2006 at 12 pm EST.  Only one application per person may be submitted during the registration period.  Multiple applications will disqualify the applicant.  Applicants will be selected strictly in random order from among all those who submit requests during the registration period.

As in previous years, there are strict guidelines as to the entry procedure.  As part of the electronic filing process, applicants must submit with the application a digital photograph of the applicant, his/her spouse, and each child under 21 years of age.  There are specific requirements for the digital photographs.  Applications without the required digital photographs will be disqualified.

Only individuals from designated countries may apply under the "lottery."  Furthermore, each applicant must have at least a high school education (or its equivalent) or, within the past five years, have two years of work experience in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience.

While Paul Hastings would be pleased to assist you in entering the "lottery," we believe that the assistance of legal counsel is not necessary.

Additional information regarding procedures and requirements for the "lottery" are available on the internet at http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2006/72835.htm.

Teleconferences - Save the Date

GPA and Paul Hastings will host two teleconferences in the coming weeks:

"Canadian Immigration Issues - Business Trips and Work Assignments" - October 26, 2006 at 2:00 pm EST.
"Emerging Issues in Immigration Compliance:  Coping with New I-9 and Worksite Enforcement Policies" - November 16, 2006 at 2:00 pm EST (date to be confirmed).

Immigration News is published solely for the interests of friends and clients of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP and should in no way be relied upon or construed as legal advice. For specific information on recent developments or particular factual situations, the opinion of legal counsel should be sought. Paul Hastings is a limited liability partnership. Copyright © 2006 Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP.

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