Astonishingly High Visagate Numbers, Conspiracy Theory by Conservatives
on Latest Enforcement Efforts Being Administration Goad for Amnesty,
and Encouragement for Early Filing of Expired Green Card Replacement
--- The N.Y. Times reported on August 19, 2007, that U.S.C.I.S.
received about 300,000 applications for high skilled employment
visas since July 1, 2007. As readers may recall in this colloquially
named "Visagate" affair, the U.S.C.I.S. used extraordinary
means to have the Department of State revoke its July 2007 visa
bulletin which had shown current availability for employment based
cases categories 1 through 3 by claiming to have approved enough
cases to fill up those categories for the rest of the fiscal year.
By doing so, U.S.C.I.S. could prevent the filing of I-485 applications
to adjust status to permanent residence for these classes and force
applicants to pay its expanded I-485 fee which would only come into
effect a month later on July 30, 2007. After much public pressure,
U.S.C.I.S. relented and established a one month filing period from
July 17, 2007-August 17, 2007 for individuals in these classes to
file I-485 applications. The 300,000 was only an estimate as the
agency was still receiving applications when the article was written,
but this number is astonishing given that the annual employment
based quota is only 140,000. Congress should now be petitioned to
allot sufficient visa numbers to accommodate these applicants not
only for their sake but for others behind them who will otherwise
have to wait many years before their cases can be approved. It should
also be noted that retention of such applications by U.S.C.I.S.
for years would drive up the costs of each case for the agency.
--- With the crackdown on illegal immigrants being announced by
the government involving Social Security no match letters and expanded
activity for enforcement along with the anticipated negative effect
on the U.S. economy, the conservative right has already begun positioning
itself to take maximum advantage and to blunt sympathy for the immigrants
by imagining a conspiracy by the White House to put pressure for
a "popular groundswell for amnesty that will finally vindicate
the administration position." (see "Change
of Heart on Immigration? The White House Thinks It's Calling America's
Bluff" by Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration
Studies, Immigration Daily , 8/25/07). But it borders on paranoia
for them to truly believe that the President that they put into
the White House and who kowtowed to their wish to pardon I. Lewis
"Scooter" Libby by commuting his sentence in July would
be willing to buck them on this issue when he needs them more than
ever to support his crumbling poll numbers. This theory flies as
far as the one that FDR knew well in advance that the Japanese were
going to bomb Pearl Harbor in 1941 but did nothing just to get America
involved in WWII. However, it appears that the conservative right
will continue to look for nonexistent shadows even in its own house.
--- One of the easiest predictions to make is that U.S.C.I.S.'s
proposal to replace all green cards without expiration dates will
be implemented very quickly after the comment period expires on
September 21, 2007. The agency desperately wants the money (revenues
of approximately $277 million, assuming that its estimate of 750,000
filers is correct). Each individual would have to pay $370 for the
filing of form I-90 application to replace permanent resident card.
These revenues would ease the sting of U.S.C.I.S.'s losing out on
revenues in the Visagate affair in which the 300,000 filers were
finally allowed to pay I-485 filing fees of $395 or less instead
of the agency's tremendous post July 29, 2007, fee hike to $1,010.
Readers with expired cards may wish to apply now to beat the rush.
With the later expected avalanche of applications, the processing
time of I-90 applications will undoubtedly increase dramatically.
It is to be noted that the U.S.C.I.S.'s proposal encourages such