Friday, August 15, 2008
I apply legally but I have been unfairly denied.!!!!
In the shadow of the debate about comprehensive immigration reform tens of thousands of skilled employment based immigrants awaiting their opportunity to legally apply for green cards have been unfairly denied the opportunity due to potential deliberate miscommunication - and an attempt to collect higher filing fees - from the U.S. Department of State and the and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency that processes visa and citizenship requests.
On June 12, the State Department announced in its monthly Visa Bulletin that beginning July 2 and for at least the entire month of July, all skilled workers seeking employer-sponsored green cards would be eligible to apply. However, on July 2, the State Department announced that they were breaking with 30 years of tradition and issued an update claiming that no more green cards were available because "the sudden backlog reduction efforts by Citizenship and Immigration Services offices during the past month." USCIS followed and said that as a result they were going to reject the green card applications of anyone who applied relying on the July Bulletin. This meant that the thousands of immigrants who followed the government's instructions and obtained the correct paperwork actually had no chance to receive a green card.
In response, Azulay Horn & Seiden, LLC, the largest immigration law firm based in Chicago and fourth largest in the United States, on Friday July 6, filed a class-action law suit on behalf of its clients and all those like them, against Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the Department of State, Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, the Department of Homeland Security, and USCIS, and F. Gerard Heinauer of USCIS for announcing that they would refuse to accept the green card applications on behalf of the skilled workers. The suit seeks a ruling that would keep applications filed in accordance with the original July Visa Bulletin from being rejected.
Azulay Horn & Seiden is the first firm to act proactively and file a complaint. "These are legal immigrants who have followed all the rules," explained Ira Azulay, CEO of the firm. "They are productive members of our society and deserve to be treated fairly by our federal government. The State Department and USCIS acted against their own rules and 30 years of historical practice when they updated the Visa Bulletin and reneged on their historical obligations. They need to be held accountable for their actions and do right by these people. Acting any other way sends the horrible message that following the rules is worthless."
The representative plaintiff in the case is Chicagoan Gabriela Ptasinska, a native of Poland who is lawfully present in the United States on a non-immigrant visa, working as a land planner with Manhard Consulting, Ltd. Given the Bulletin, Ptasinska and thousands of legal immigrants across the country worked to obtain the necessary documentation for their chance to receive a green card only to have it snatched away on July.
"I am a law-abiding, hardworking member of American society and have worked relentlessly to lawfully become a permanent resident of America," said Ptasinska. "Now I feel like the rug has been pulled out from under me. I held-up my end of the bargain by doing everything the government told me to do, but USCIS did not keep their word."
Mr. Azulay is available to discuss with the media the class-action suit and the impact of the government's recent actions. A copy of the complaint in the matter of Gabriela Ptasinska, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated v. U.S. Dept. of State, Condoleeza Rice, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and F. Gerard Heinauer, Case No. 07 C 3795