By: Attys. Robert L. Reeves and Robert J. Dupont
Reeves & Associates has gone to Federal District Court on behalf of 12 of its clients to challenge the failure of the Department of State and USCIS to re-classify the visa category of immigrants who are eligible to enter the United States. These individuals are sons and daughters who were petitioned by legal permanent resident parents who later naturalized becoming United States citizens. Their children then had their visa category changed from “F2B” to “F1” which for Filipino immigrants creates, at minimum, a ten-year delay in obtaining a current visa number for processing.
This automatic change in visa classification benefits persons of every country except from the Philippines, which is the only country that has longer waiting periods in the “F1” category for naturalized citizens than for legal permanent resident petitioners. In enacting the Child Status Protection Act, Congress wisely took note of this and put into the statute, INA §204(k) a provision to re-classify upon the request of the immigrant re-classification to F2B status.
At stake are considerable waiting periods which separate the two visa categories. (To see a current posting of the visa quota bulletin visit rreeves.com) At this time immigrants in the “F1” category (sons and daughters of U.S. Citizens) are being processed if their petition was filed prior to August 15, 1990. This is substantially behind processing time for the “F2B” category (sons and daughters of Legal Permanent Residents) which is processing petitions filed prior to July 1, 1995.
Once a formal request to “re-classify” immigrants has been filed with the embassy, consular officials are obligated to use the “F2B” category processing or priority date and, if it is current, must immediately schedule a processing interview with the client for issuance of the immigrant visa and travel documents. Reeves & Associates has found that embassy officials have ignored requests of applicants to re-classify their immigrant visa category and interview the alien for their immigrant visa.
This problem applies to immigrants from the Philippines regardless of which embassy is issuing their immigrant visa. In the current case against the Department of State and USCIS, our firm has named embassy officials from the Manila Embassy, the Manama Embassy in Bahrain and the London Embassy and demanded that these embassy officials and USCIS employees comply with the statute.
This court case is just one of a series of cases filed by Reeves & Associates. In the next year we will continue to challenge, policies and regulations by the Department of State and USCIS which are unlawful, or inconsistent with the immigration statutes.