July 3, 2007
The American Immigration Lawyers Association informed us today that it has received reports from multiple officials within USCIS indicating that USCIS Headquarters recently issued instructions to its staff to pull for adjudication every employment-based I-485 case that had been pending for more than six months, regardless of whether the required background checks were cleared. USCIS offices report having worked all of the weekend of June 30, 2007, to comply with these instructions. This was apparently to use up as many visa numbers as possible in order to try to cut off receipt of new filings when most employment-based visa categories came current on July 1, 2007 (effectively July 2, 2007, the first business day of the month).
Historically, a visa number is not "used" until an applicant's I-485 has been approved, and permanent residency status has been granted. Therefore, if these reports are true, it will almost certainly further weaken the legality of DOS and USCIS' unprecedented action yesterday in "revising" the July Visa Bulletin and rejecting the I-485 cases filed in July in reliance of the original July Visa Bulletin issued in mid-June.
Note that this information has not been confirmed by USCIS HQ.