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In the coming weeks, we expect the U.S. Department of State to release registration instructions for the 2014 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV-2014), also known as the Green Card Lottery.
On June 11, 2012, President Obama signed legislation that would add Israel to the list of countries eligible for nonimmigrant E-2 treaty investor visas. This is a substantial positive development in the creation of stronger commercial ties between the United States and Israel.
A recent Wall Street Journal article appeared about J-1 interns and trainees who had been placed at Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort for what appeared to be bona fide internships in hotel and restaurant management.
The First Circuit, in a recent landmark decision, Massachusetts v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, held that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. In the immigration context, DOMA is a barrier to immigration equality for same-sex couples and their families.
In the past hours, the State Department’s Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs (“ECA”) has granted additional Forms DS-2019 to a few J-1 sponsors wishing to expand their programs for trainees and interns. This is welcome news.
In the coming weeks, we expect employers to have a very difficult time locating private sector J-1 sponsors to issue new Forms DS-2019 for interns and trainees. In order to apply for a J-1 visa, an individual must secure a valid Form DS-2019 from a qualified program sponsor that meets the requirements of the Department of State’s Exchange Visitor Program.
My colleagues Susan Cohen, Ari Stern, and I recently published an alert describing the Supreme Court decision in Arizona v. United States, handed down on Monday, June 25.
If you are an intern or trainee wishing to come to the United States on a J-1 exchange visitor visa, or an employer seeking to assist prospective employees with securing J-1 visas, the window to act is closing soon. The “J-1 Cap” will soon be reached. New visas will not be available until January 2013.
Susan Cohen, Chair of Mintz Levin's Immigration Section, was recently quoted in the Bloomberg BNA Daily Labor Report article AILA Panel Weighs Pros, Cons to Employers Of Extra Government Scrutiny Under E-Verify.
We wish to alert our readers in the higher education sector to be alert to the scrutiny the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is now applying to colleges and universities that provide English language training (ESL) programs. 

Form I-9 Revisions and I-94s

June 18, 2012| Blog

It is commendable that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is in the process of revising Form I-9 with the stated goal of making the form more user-friendly for employers. There is certainly no question that employers in the United States absolutely will welcome a more user-friendly Form I-9.
In what is surely good news for thousands of young immigrants, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is expected to announce their intention to grant quasi-legal status (called “deferred action”) to applicants meeting the following specific criteria
On June 12, 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that as of June 11, 2012, a sufficient number of H-1B petitions had been received to fill the statutory cap of 65,000 for Fiscal Year 2013 (FY 2013). USCIS also announced that the cap of 20,000 additional H-1B visas available for individuals who hold U.S. advanced degrees had also been reached.
The annual supply of H-1B visas for the next fiscal year is almost exhausted. As of May 25, 2012, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reported that 48,400 H-1B petitions against the FY 2013 annual cap of 65,000 H-1B visas had been received.
On May 22, 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced the launch of an electronic immigration benefits system, USCIS ELIS. This marks the first phase of the agency’s transition from paper-based filings to a more modern online process for filing and adjudicating applications for immigration benefits.
We are waiting to see whether the Supreme Court will uphold Arizona’s controversial immigration law, S.B. 1070. This law contains a provision requiring law enforcement officials to inquire about the immigration status of any person they stop or arrest if there is a “reasonable suspicion” that the person is in the United States unlawfully.


May 2, 2012| Blog

It is commendable that USCIS is finally revising Form I-9 to make the form and its instructions more user-friendly both to employers and employees.  Despite appearing to be straightforward, the current one-page form is fraught with peril.
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