Sergey’s father Michael was very smart, especially in math and physics, and always dreamed of being an astronomer. However, because Sergey and his family were Jewish, they were often denied many opportunities; and so his father was not allowed to study physics or attend graduate school to achieve his dreams.
One day, Michael had to attend a conference in Warsaw, Poland, for his job. In Poland, he met dozens of other mathematicians like him, from places like France, England and the United States. Michael came back to his family and Moscow and said to them, “We must leave the Soviet Union and look for a better life somewhere else.” His wife agreed, and Michael applied for exit visas in order to leave the country.
Once the government found out that Michael had applied for visas for himself and his family to leave the country, they fired him from his job. Michael and his wife took temporary jobs while they waited to receive their visas. A group known as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) helped the family. Michael and his wife took turns watching young Sergey. In the meantime, Michael decided to teach himself computer programming. Sergey watched, even though he was only six years old.
HIAS helped the family in many ways. They helped the family understand the process of leaving the country, helped them prepare their visa applications, paid for their tickets out of the Soviet Union, and even gave them money to help them start their new life. Then one day, about nine months later, the visas arrived and Sergey and his family left the Soviet Union as refugees.
Sergey and his family ended up in the United States in the state of Maryland. Sergey went to school and studied a lot. He wanted to study computer science and math, just like his father.
While he was in graduate school, Sergey made a friend named Larry. They decided to start a business together. They wanted to create the biggest, best search engine for the internet that anyone had ever seen. They named their company “Google.”
Google became one of the most successful companies ever in the United States, and Sergey became very rich. Today he is the 26th richest man in the entire world, and he is worth over $12 billion!
Last week, Sergey was thinking about coming to the United States as a refugee. He remembered how full of hope his family had been in leaving their country and starting a new life. And he remembered how much HIAS had helped his family. He wanted to help other families like his start over and have opportunities to do great things.
Sergey and his wife decided to give $1 million to HIAS. The Chief Executive of HIAS, Mr. Gideon Aronoff, thanked him and said, “one of the most important things that Sergey Brin’s gift signifies, not just for HIAS but more importantly for the nation, is the possibilities inherent in being a refugee. The debate over immigration has frequently become so bitter that an element has been lost: refugees are as varied in their skill sets and contributions as the rest of us.”
I have to warn you now, this math is a shot in the dark. I do NOT have all of the numbers of pending and approved cases in each category of employment based immigration. However, some estimate, based upon some pretty good numbers, is better than mere guesswork. Let me walk you through this analysis.
However, I first ask you to forgive me in advance, math is the reason I went to law school. Also, the USCIS simply has not released clear numbers (possibly for fear of letting folks know exactly how long their wait will actually be).
My focus for this analysis will be in the EB-2 and Eb-3 categories, since it is in those categories that our clients are most interested. There are four basic numbers we are looking for, NONE of them are easy to find. Let’s discover the basic numbers we will be using:
First, how many approved I-140 cases are awaiting a visa number? According to AILA’s recent liaison meeting with DOS, there are 198,186 “case ready” I-140 petitions awaiting visa issuance, in the EB-2 (52,584), EB-3 (139,737) and EW (5,865) categories. Case ready means (as best as we understand), that as soon as the petition is current, the Adjustment will be approved or consular processing will begin. Obviously, the EB-2 numbers are only for India and China.
Second, how many pending I-140 cases are there at the Service Centers awaiting adjudication? According to the June 2009, USCIS Production Update Report to Congress, USCIS had 85,970 pending I-140 cases awaiting adjudication. Unfortunately, USCIS does not break out the I-140 cases in this report between EB-2 and EB-3. These are the most recent numbers I could find.
Third, how many pending I-140 cases are at the District Offices? I have no idea! I cannot locate anywhere the numbers of cases at the local USCIS offices. No one knows. Really. There is no report that I can find where this number has been released. And, frankly, I do not believe that USCIS has an accurate count on this either (I do pray they get such a count soon).
Fourth, how many pending labor certifications are there at the DOL? This number is actually pretty sure. There are 62,100 pending labor certifications as of the September 22 stakeholder meeting with DOL (not counting pending appeals). Unfortunately, again, we do not know which of the categories (EB-2 or EB-3) the cases will fall under.
Now, it is time for the math. Assuming all pending Labor Certifications and pending I-140s are approved (yes, I know some will be denied and some are duplicates), there are at least a total of 346,256 individuals with approved or soon to be approved petitions awaiting green cards, not including their families. If we assume an average family size of 4 people (I believe this is a safe assumption), there are 1,385,024 people waiting on employment based green cards in the EB-2 and EB-3 categories.
I know the number is huge! And next we have to try to fit that number into the two separate EB categories. Unfortunately, we have two problems in doing this. The first problem we have is that we do not know how many of these I-140 cases are in the EB-2, or EB-3 categories. So, let’s use a little deductive reasoning here. Using experience and best guessing based upon the division we already know about in the numbers of cases from the DOS, lets say 26% are EB-2 (360,162), and 74% are EB-3 (1,024,917).
The second problem is that we do not have a per country breakdown. (I hope the USCIS has that breakdown). How to account for this? Again, let’s estimate based upon the DOS numbers, that India accounts for 70% of the EB-2 and 39% of the EB-3
numbers and that China accounts for 30% of the EB-2 and only 3% of the EB-3 numbers and the rest of the world accounts for 58% of the EB-3 numbers.
We also know the maximum numbers available in any given year for all family and employment based categories is 25,630 (with some caveats), and that there are only a total of 80,000 employment based immigrant visas in the EB-2 and EB-3 categories combined (with some flow down from other categories).
You can see we have leaped, jumped, guessed, and assumed our way to the follow conclusions:
India EB-3 wait for permanent residence for a labor certification filed today: 15.8 years. This generous estimate comes from the fact that an estimated 399,717 Indian Nationals waiting for 25,630 visas a year. This estimate completely ignores the possible immigration of any family based immigrants which would subtract from this total and increase the wait time, and the number that would flow down from other immigrant visa categories, so the wait time is probably longer.
China EB-2 wait for permanent residence for a labor certification (or NIW) filed today: 4.1 years. This estimate comes from the estimated 108,048 Chinese Nationals waiting for 25,630 visas a year. This estimate completely ignores the possible immigration of any family based immigrants that would subtract from this total and increase the wait time, and the number that would flow down from other immigrant visa categories.And these waits are from when the person STARTS the green card, not when they come into the United States.
Worldwide EB-3 wait for permanent residence for a labor certification filed today: Well, there are 594,451 people waiting in this queue. The limiting factor here will be the 80,000 annual limit on employment based immigration. Excluding per country limits and flow down from other employment based immigrant visa categories, this is at least a 8.1 year wait.
I can now tell my client a waiting date based upon, at least, some real numbers. But, I will still be wrong. The dates are not accurate, but at least it is not made up out of whole cloth. But we now all understand that we cannot look at the Visa Bulletin and actually determine how long the wait is.
The point of this whole exercise, besides telling my client how long he still might have to wait, is to point out the consequences of these numbers.
Line? What Line? These are employment based immigrants. Every single one has a job offer, an employer, and a certification that either there are no qualified, willing and able US workers for the job, or that the individual is so good, we do not even have to test the labor market. We need these people. We want these people. How many do you think will now just give up and go home?
This delay in legal, employment based immigration is a crisis for America. If you are an intending immigrant, and your immigration option is employment based, do you have the patience the wait 15 years for your green card? Can you do better in Australia, Canada, or even back home in your home country? What is the cost to our future competitiveness of a broken legal immigration system? What is the cost to U.S. innovation?
I believe these numbers have a purpose. The purpose is immigration reform, and not just a legalization. We all know that a broken legal immigration system causes illegal immigration. We need to fix the legal immigration system now! We need to modify the process, significantly shorten the wait and increase the numbers to meet the demand. We need to not include family members in the total calculated visa numbers. And, Yes, we need to make these change even in a struggling economy.
We must maintain the great benefits that positive, focused employment based immigration has delivered to America. The reality is that Congress must act to help save the future of American innovation and economic growth. And, they must do it now.
Over the course of the last year, the Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (”BALCA”)has been posting a series of appeal decisions. These BALCA decisions routinely deny the labor certification appeal, even for minor, de minimis errors of the employer and/or counsel. An example of today’s postings include the following:
BALCA Affirms Denial Based on Lack Of FEIN on Date of Filing for Domestic Household Employerhttp://www.aila.org/content/default.aspx?docid=30340 BALCA affirms denial based on the fact that the employer, a domestic household, lacked a valid FEIN on the date of filing the labor certification. Matter of Edward J. Tierny, 2009-PER-00314 (7/13/09). AILA Doc. No. 09102061.
BALCA Affirms Denial Because the Job Order Was Conducted Outside the 180 Day
Requirement http://www.aila.org/content/default.aspx?docid=30342BALCA affirms the PERM denial based on the fact that the application was filed 187 days after the job order was placed, and consequently, the job order was conducted outside the 180 day requirement. Matter of Spires Restaurant, 2009-PER-00125 (8/25/09). AILA Doc. No. 09102063.
BALCA Affirms Denial Based on Employer’s Failure to State Experience Requirement on PWD Requesthttp://www.aila.org/content/default.aspx?docid=30343 BALCA affirms the PERM denial based on the employer’s failure to state the experience requirement on the Prevailing Wage Determination request to the State Workforce Agency. Matter of Florida Restaurant Group, LLC, 2009-PER-00014 (8/25/09). AILA Doc. No. 09102064.
What a horrible name for a post, but I am simply quoting the comment of DLG to an article published today by the Associated Press noting that the soaring number of deaths on the Southern Border so far this year. DLG’s full quote is as follows:
Good, let them die. Maybe if enough of them die, they will start to think it isn’t worth it to sneak over the border. It isn’t our country’s job to make sure that they are safe sneaking in.
We have to understand, as someone who recognizes that a broken immigration system is one of the principal reasons why these people (and they are people, real human beings with families and children and parents) keep dying in our southern desert. Now, in case you think this is an isolated sentiment, here is the comment of “Illegal Foreign Nationals”:
Gotta love the news media and the ACLU, they keep calling these criminals immigrants by mistake. At least those that die aren’t stealing from america and the citizens of this country, except in funeral costs and rescue costs. We should have our military forces along the border to have better border security and keep these illegal foreign nationals out of this country.
It is deplorable to call these Mexican illegals immigrants when they had no immigration records or identification unless that too is forged. It’s too bad more of them aren’t dieing from bullet wounds for invasion and terrorism to america.
Our economy would not be in the mess it is if all illegals trying to cross our borders were caught, killed, or returned before they get in to the pockets of government agency’s. Americans would have jobs, paying taxes, and have some expendable incomes.And never refer to them as immigrants, they are criminals breaching our national borders intent on destroying our economy. By all definitions that is terrorism.
What is missing from the comments in this article, and in dozens of other articles around the country today, are two things. First, a recognition that our Immigration Laws are broken. And, second, compassion. Wishing death on people who want a better life for them and their children is simply not the American way.
Take a moment today to comment on one of these articles and put the message out there–Congress, Fix Our Broken Immigration System!