ABIL Meets With USCIS, Proposes Immigration Reforms
On March 3, 2010, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers (ABIL), of which Mark Ivener is a founding member, met with Alejandro Mayorkas, Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and several members of his leadership team. ABIL said it believes that employment-based immigration reforms should encompass changes in both nonimmigrant and immigrant visa categories so that the U.S. becomes the most attractive global destination for highly skilled and essential workers.
ABIL noted inconsistent application of regulations from office to office and recent sudden changes announced by USCIS, such as the delay in the I-9 effective date, which have resulted in companies struggling to meet moving targets and comply with the law. Mr. Mayorkas noted USCIS’ successes but also acknowledged some mistakes. He said USCIS is reviewing policies and field guidance and will determine what should be reaffirmed, withdrawn, or revised in light of input from stakeholders and best practices. He said the agency is developing a system for receiving comments from stakeholders before any new policy change.
ABIL emphasized that H-1B employers should have the right to an attorney during site visits. Moreover, ABIL requested that USCIS reconsider its determination that an individual does not continue to be in lawful status while a case is on appeal.
Among other things, ABIL proposed legitimate avenues under the immigration laws for entrepreneurs to start U.S. businesses, large and small, and thereby obtain work visas and permanent residence. ABIL also proposed legalizing the status of the undocumented in the U.S. so that they may be employed lawfully and contribute to the growth of the economy and the welfare and well-being of the U.S. and its citizens.
ABIL’s membership includes 20 of the top U.S. business immigration law firms, each led by a prominent member of the U.S. immigration bar. ABIL member firms employ over 200 attorneys (400+ total staff) devoted to business immigration in 22 major U.S. cities, plus Brussels, Cologne, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Lima, London, Mexico City, Montreal, Monterrey, Mumbai, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto and Vancouver.