We write to you at a time of crisis. As part of President’s Executive Action on Immigration, on September 9, 2015, the Department of State issued the October Visa Bulletin whereby creating a process to allow certain immigrants with approved immigrant petition to file for Adjustment of Status. This was consistent with the existing law and President’s announcement on November 20, 2014. However, on Friday September 25, 2015, in an unprecedented move and at the behest of DHS, State Department re-issued October Visa Bulletin retrogressing dates for China, Philippines and India, without giving anyone the opportunity to apply.
Between September 9 and September 25, people made life altering decisions assuming they could file for Adjustment of Status on October 1, 2015 based on the original October Visa Bulletin that was issued on September 9, 2015. A sampling of some of the irreversible life choices people made based on the original Visa Bulletin is noted below:
Borrowed $7,000 for the process and paid most of the lawyer fees and [sic] the application was to be sent in next 2 business days...Have spent $1,000 for medicals and a lot of money on couriers.
My wife resigned from her job under L1 visa, assuming that she'll get EAD through I-485.
Declined attractive job offers to be able to file AOS with current employer.
Renewed expensive apartment lease in undesirable location to have same mailing address to ensure receipt of EAD.
We estimate that 8 out of 10 eligible tax paying law abiding skilled immigrants (and their families) with approved immigration petition eligible under September 9, 2015 Visa Bulletin, will now be unable to file for Adjustment of Status. As a side-effect, this also delays everyone else in the queue. We need to come together as a community and fight this injustice. Ultimately winning this battle will likely require you to leave your comfort zone to actively fight for your rights. Here are some immediate action items that you can help with:
- Just like our successful Flower Campaign from July 2007, we are planning on launching flower campaign so everyone could send flowers to DHS Secretary, Jeh Johnson. We will be timing to send the flowers to reach DHS Secretary on the morning of October 1, 2015. In the spirit of Gandhian principle and in light of Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday on October 2, we wish DHS Secretary well even when DHS is playing with the lives of skilled immigrants and their families. We will soon be sending more information about this campaign. So please standby.
- We are collecting statistics and stories to present to decision makers as weknock on doors to get this ridiculous decision reversed. If you haven’t already, please submit your story here.
- We are also starting to mobilize on social media, we have put out a tweetasking for high-level White House intervention which we ask you to mark as a favorite and then retweet.
- We had pre-planned an advocacy event for September 28 and 29 where we would meet with close to 100 offices for creating awareness for bill HR213, the bill to remove per-country limits from employment based categories. Appointments have been made, tickets have been booked, hotel reservations have been made and most importantly - since relationships need to be preserved we will be proceeding with the event, but we will be adding this Visa Bulletin Fiasco to our discussion points in the hope of getting Congressional pressure to help us get this bad decision reversed. We will soon be sending out a separate message asking for your help to call specific Congressional offices asking them to get more engaged to reverse this egregious decision.
Our campaign is targeted and designed to create more awareness on print media, social media, Administration and Congressional offices. We want to create awareness for the issue that Visa Bulletin reversal has caused over $100 million loss to skilled immigrants, their families and their employers. We ask you to please follow us on Facebook for more frequent updates.Additionally, some lawyers are loudly proclaiming their intention to file lawsuit on U.S Government forcing them to reinstate the original Visa Bulletin. We are not sure about their intentions and claims. Filing lawsuit on the U.S. Government is time consuming and expensive. We do not discourage lawyers from filing lawsuit - as relief from any avenue is welcome; however we are skeptical of their intentions and their ability to deliver relief. We also ask you to be careful when sharing your information online. Please be wary of potential online scams showing-up targeting your vulnerability.We have also heard that some folks are recommending submitting Adjustment of Status applications on the basis of the Visa Bulletin issued on September 9, 2015 - in the hope that the USCIS will accept it or use the rejection as the basis to seek remedy. Other than spending resources on submitting application, we don’t see a downside to this. However, we ask you to please use your judgement when making your decision.
Hang-in there, we will soon be publishing more updates as the situation unfolds in the coming days.
Thank you,Aman Kapoor