Article “Comment on Flipping Selection Process of Regular and U.S. Masters or Higher Graduates”

Below is the first of 2 comments that we are submitting to U.S.C.I.S. on the new H-1B proposed regulation. Hopefully it will be of interest to the readers.

December 31, 2018

Samantha Deshommes, Chief,
Regulatory Coordination Division
Office of Policy and Strategy
U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Department Of Homeland Security
20 Massachusetts Ave. Nw.,
Washington, DC  20529

Re:      DHS Docket number USCIS-2008-0014 – Comment on Flipping Selection Process of
Regular and U. S. Masters or Higher Graduates

Dear Ms. Deshommes,

The proposed revision to the H-1B rules attempts to change the present selection process by flipping the order of random selection to favor those with U. S. Masters degrees or higher. This is highly unwise as it is not merely a question of Bachelors versus Masters degree, but the potential exclusion of many with bachelor’s degrees who have years of experience that those with U. S. masters degrees do not have. Many with bachelor’s degrees from other countries have acquired overseas skills over the years in the STEM fields which are heavily in demand in the U. S. and other countries.

The proposed change in regulation mainly applies to those who have just acquired U. S. Masters degrees, many of whom have no other relevant experience than internships or externships. While they are desirable for the advanced knowledge that they have acquired, those with bachelor’s degrees and years of working in a particular field are oftimes more essential to petitioning organizations as they do not have as much of a learning curve as U. S. Masters graduates with little or no real life experience.

As such, U.S.C.I.S. should keep the random selection process as it now is.

Thank you for your courtesy and kind consideration.

Very Truly Yours,

Alan Lee, Esq.

Q&A’s published on and the Epoch Times on December 28, 2018 1. How Can I Show That I Have Permanent and Legal Custody of My Child, In Order To Meet the Requirements Under the Child Citizenship Act? 2. How to File H-1B Application for a Gas Station Job? 3. I Have 2 Removal Proceedings

1.How Can I Show That I Have Permanent and Legal Custody of My Child, In Order To Meet the Requirements Under the Child Citizenship Act?

We are family with 3. We all are permanent residents through DV lottery. I’m interested about Continuous Residence and Physical Presence Requirements for Naturalization for permanent resident children. I know that we have to live here at least 30 month from last 5 years, and to be abroad less than 6 month, if we want to maintain continuous residence and apply for citizenship. Are this rules same for children, or they can get citizenship even if they will not have continuous residency, I mean, if they are abroad more than six month, but less than one year, and parent(s) becomes citizen through naturalization. Will kids become citizens automatically if they are under 18?

Mr. Lee answers:
A requirement for children to obtain derivative citizenship through a parent is that they live with the parent. If they are living significant periods of time apart from you and your spouse, there could be problems proving this component of the requirements. Items that U.S.C.I.S. has asked for in the past include tax records of the parents, schooling records, and any other proof of the children living together with the parents. 

2.How to File H-1B Application for a Gas Station Job?

I already applied for the student visa. I need to understand what documents needed for the H-1B visa. I have a job offer for the gas station. How much will be the attorney fees and documentations needed. How long it will take to process the H-1B case?

Mr. Lee answers:
From your fact situation, it does not appear that you know the rudimentary requirements of an H1B visa. U.S.C.I.S. generally does not give H-1B visas for individuals to work at a gas station. I suggest that you make an appointment with an immigration lawyer who can go over your entire situation and discuss your possibilities.

3.I Have 2 Removal Proceedings

First one cancelled. What’s the chance for me to be deported this time?

Mr. Lee answers:
It is difficult to know where you stand with so few facts. I suggest that you have a formal consultation with an immigration lawyer who will be able to go over all the facts of your case and give you an informed opinion.



Q&A’s published on and the Epoch Times on December 21, 2018 1. Will My Application be Affected? 2. I-864 (Joint Sponsor) Income Requirement 3. I Want to Sue My Immigration Attorney

1. Will My Application be Affected?

My fiancée is a citizen and she is to file for my permanent residence. This necessitate is to require a marriage sponsor. However, our intended sponsor does not have the last three years tax returns as he didn’t work all through last year. He only has tax returns for 2015 and 2016 but not for 2017. Will his lack of 2017 tax returns affect our application?

Mr. Lee answers:
To many officials, the last year of tax returns is very important, especially as it gives a better picture of the sponsor’s current ability to support. I suggest that you have your intended sponsor file an amended tax return for 2017 and also provide evidence of income for 2018 in the form of job letter and payslips showing how much he has been making for the year.

2. I-864 (Joint Sponsor) Income Requirement

I am young and married to the best thing that has ever happened to me. My joint sponsor made $18,000ish last year and had it reported on her taxes. She is now making more money putting her annual income at $24,000. Based on her taxes she doesn’t meet the requirements, but based on her current salary she does. Will she be able to be our sponsor? Is it based on current income or last year? Also, can I use an asset of mine to cover my joint sponsor’s difference if needed?

Mr. Lee answers:
U.S.C.I.S. officers in our experience are not uniform in asking for a number of years that a joint sponsor must make an amount that passes the poverty guidelines for support purposes. Some will ask for one year, others may ask for more. Just going with a joint sponsor’s current income and no tax returns meeting the guidelines would not be suggested. You may be able to use your own assets to add to your joint sponsor’s affidavit of support, and such would be counted at 1/5 value to actual income. Please note that some officers may wish to see that the amount that you are listing of your own assets to assist with the joint sponsor’s affidavit of support has been in your account for some time. 

3. I Want to Sue My Immigration Attorney

In November 2017 an attorney was hired to assist in my case. In March of 2018 he needed to submit immigration petitions on my behalf. Since June 2018 I have requested the attorney to provide with immigration receipts. Since then I have called, texted and email him requesting this information. I feel he hasn’t submitted anything to immigration and that he has taken advantage of my situation. Also my family has gone to his office requesting them. I would like to sue him. I needed this petitions to be submitted since then for me to legally return to the country.

Mr. Lee answers:
If you are dissatisfied with your attorney’s services, you can complain against him or her to the disciplinary committee of the State Bar. You can also complain to local agencies such as Consumer Affairs or the Better Business Bureau. The disciplinary committee has more bite as it can act to suspend or terminate a lawyer’s ability to practice law in the particular state. There may also be other resources available in your state, such as in New York where the immigrant affairs unit of the New York County District Attorney’s Office which attempts to resolve situations for victims of immigration fraud in New York.


Q&A’s published on and the Epoch Times on December 7, 2018 1. What Category of Legal Expertise Should I Look For in An Attorney to Represent Me For A Charge Levied Against Me for a TSA Airport Security Issue? 2. Where Can I Find the I-94 Number On The Visa? 3. Selective Service

1. What Category of Legal Expertise Should I Look For in An Attorney to Represent Me For A Charge Levied Against Me for a TSA Airport Security Issue?

In September, I was stopped by airport security when the body scanner showed a small utility knife blade in my cell phone protective case. I put it there in order to affix my cell phone to a cell phone mounting magnet that I have glued to my car dashboard, so I can see the GPS screen when I’m driving. This was an innocent mistake of forgetfulness, I chose the blade only because it was thin enough to fit, and still be effective. I affixed it a year before I even knew I’d be flying, and forgot about it. I have significant memory problems due to severe chemo therapy I endured in 2010, when I had stage four neck cancer. I am officially disabled, partly due to these memory problems. I had already flown twice, a few days prior and was on my way home, when this happened. I cooperated fully, provided my background as a business and community leader and a candidate for the US House of Rep. in 1992.I am concerned that if I pay the fine I’ll be deemed “guilty” and have limited rights. 

Mr. Lee answers:
I believe that if the TSA was looking to prosecute you, it would likely have done so by this time. That being said, any action would likely be of a criminal nature or border on the criminal and so I imagine that you would probably look for a criminal defense attorney. 

2. Where Can I Find the I-94 Number On The Visa?

Mr. Lee answers:
The I-94 number is not on the visa. It is given to a person upon arrival in the US by Customs and Border Protection. You can access the number along with your entry record by going to  if you entered in May 2013 and later in any legal manner other than by land. Prior to that time, physical I-94 cards were given to all legal nonimmigrant entrants to the US with the numbers on the cards. 

3. Selective Service

I am US citizen and came to US on a F-1 visa in January, 2000. When I came I was 25 years told and did not register for selective service as I was on a full-time F-1 Visa. I turned 26 in September, 2000. I was on a Full-time F-1 student in spring, 2000 and changed university and took part-time course work during summer 2000 in another university and again changed to a different university in Fall, 2000 and completed my graduate degree. I was in legal status in F-1 visa for 3 years before changing my status to H-1B. Now I got federal offer and they are asking for evidence to prove why I have not registered for selective service. I have provided copy of my F-1 visa and enrollment dates from universities I attended. In Summer I enrolled only for one month. Wanted to find out if I am in legal compliance with selective service. 

Mr. Lee answers:

You are legally in compliance with selective service law and should be able to obtain verification from the agency that an individual who is in valid nonimmigrant status in the US at the age of 26 is not required to register for selective service. All other individuals including those who are illegal should register.

Article “U.S.C.I.S. Releases Trove Of Information In New Proposed Rule, “Registration Requirement For Petitioners Seeking To File H-1B Petitions On Behalf Of Cap-subject Aliens””

as published in the Immigration Daily on December 3, 2018.

U.S.C.I.S.’s newly proposed rule of December 3, 2018, “Registration Requirement for Petitioners Seeking to File H-1B Petitions on Behalf of Cap-Subject Aliens,” does more than announce a proposed regulation, but also discloses many relevant statistics concerning H-1B numbers.

The rule itself proposes to put into place an employer preregistration system under which organizations would be forced to register within a 14 day period for the chance to submit a new cap-subject H-1B petition within staggered 60 day time frames to be designated by U.S.C.I.S. if the preregistration request is selected. The preregistration in effect would replace the current H-1B selection process under which 85,000+ petitions are selected in the first 5 business days of April. A second facet of the rule allows U.S.C.I.S. to flip-flop the selection process of the U. S. Masters cases and the regular cap cases in an attempt to enhance the chances of U. S. Masters candidates. U.S.C.I.S. estimates that reversing the current procedure of first randomly selecting the U. S. Masters cap cases and allowing the remainder to also be considered in a subsequent regular cap case selection, and instead allowing all the Masters cases to be placed in regular cap case selection, and then allowing the remainder to claim the Masters cap quota of 20,000+ numbers, would yield a further 5340 numbers or 16% more to the U. S. Masters cap cases.

The two parts of the proposed regulation are considered separate by U.S.C.I.S., and the second part can go into effect even if there are technical difficulties with implementing the preregistration system. It seems unlikely that the first part will come into being for this coming H-1B season because of many obstacles including complexity but principally the timing – the time for comments to close is January 2, 2019, it will take much time for the agency to go through the tons of comments that are expected, the regulation will have to go through OMB to become final, and H-1B season must start on April 1, 2019. Any idea of delaying the start of the H-1B season would be horrendous given U.S.C.I.S.’s present inability to handle the current load of this past year’s new H-1B petitions. Even now, many H-1B petitions submitted in the first week of April 2018 remain unadjudicated.

Now to the numbers. There has always been question as to how many more H-1B petitions are selected than the announced 85,000 per year (65,000 for the regular cap and 20,000 for the U. S. Masters cap). Practitioners have variously attempted to guess the number as U.S.C.I.S. allows a number of petitions over 85,000 to be “wait listed” by estimating the number of petitions that will be denied, withdrawn, or otherwise found ineligible. The number is 12,198, the average for 5 years from FY 2013-17 according to the proposed rule. With an average selection of 97,198 petitions per year, and U.S.C.I.S. disclosures that it presently selects 13,495 over the usual 20,000 Masters cap candidates (33,495) leaving 63,703 regular cap selectees, rough estimates can be made when coupled with U.S.C.I.S. figures of an average of 192,918 petitions received (137,017 regular cap and 55,900 U. S. Masters) that historically, U. S. Masters comprise 34.46% and regular cases 65.54% of the selected cases; that when viewed through the prism of the 137,017 and 55,900 divided petitions, U. S. Masters were selected 60% and regular cases 46.5%; and that overall of the 192,918, U. S. Masters comprised 17.36% and regular cases 33%.

Under the proposal of flip-flopping the random selection process to give more numbers to the U. S. Masters cases, and using the same historical numbers, U. S. Masters would comprise 40% of the selected cases and regular cap 60%; that when broken down into their individual applied for categories, U. S. Masters would be selected at a rate of 69.47% and regular cases at 42.6%; and in looking overall at the historical average of 192,918 submitted petitions, 20% would be U. S. Masters and 33% regular cases.

The above numbers are approximate as U.S.C.I.S. only gave current statistics on the number of U. S. Masters cases selected and the author can only believe that the statistics are for one year. As FY 2017 is the most recent covered in the proposed rule, perhaps a better reading is done using that year. U.S.C.I.S. statistics show that it received 198,460 petitions of which 87,380 were from U. S. Masters and 111,080 from regular cases. It selected 96,301 petitions for the year. Using the same figures for selection of U. S. Masters cases, the percentage of U. S. Masters of the 96,301 selectees was 34.78% and regular cases 65.22%; that divided into the categories for which petitions were submitted, U. S. Masters were at 38.33% and regular cases 56.54%; and overall of the 198,460 submitted cases, U. S. Masters garnered 16.88% of the selections and regular cases 31.65%.

Would the numbers change dramatically given the proposed reversal of the random selection process? Not dramatically. Of the 96,301 selected cases for FY 2017, a flip-flopping would have left H-1B Masters at 40.32% and regular cases at 59.68%; that judged by the categories in which they applied, U. S. Masters would have been accepted at 44.4% and regular cases at 51.7%; and overall in the total 198,460 submitted petitions, U. S. Masters would have been picked at 19.57% and regular cases at 29%.

Looking forward, it would appear that the second part of the preregistration system proposed regulation is much more likely to be installed for this April than preregistration as it is an easy step to implement and U.S.C.I.S has made clear in the proposal that it can suspend the H-1B registration process merely through an announcement on its website while still reversing the order of counting the petitions towards the H-1B allocations. So it is entirely possible that the regulation could become final as late as March with only the second part coming into effect. Finally the author notes that those contemplating the filing of regular cap cases should not be discouraged as he was surprised to find that within the categories for which employers applied for their candidates, the approximate five-year average of selection for those applying under regular cap cases was 46.5%, and the most recent year given in the proposed regulation (FY-2017) showed a selection rate of 56.54%.

Q&A’s published on the World Journal Weekly on December 2, 2018 1. Planning for Next Year’s H-1B Selection in April, Please Advice. 2. Is It Safe for Me to Go To l-130 Interview As I Have Order of Removal? 3. How Can I Provide a Medical Certificate of Birth If I Do Not Have One? 4. My I-485 Adjustment Status Application Has Been Pending For Two Years – What Can I Do?

1. Planning for Next Year’s H-1B Selection in April, Please Advice.

I will need to have an H-1B visa as I recently graduated and have optional practical training (OPT) until July 20, 2019. I am not in a STEM major and will not get extra practical training. I have a Masters in Asian studies and a bachelors in biochemistry. I am interested in working for a US company that does import and selling of textile clothing from Asia. Am I a good candidate for an H-1B from this company? 

Dear reader, 
I do not believe so based upon your degrees and the your general description of the business of the company. An H-1B is a specialized occupation visa under which the position offered by the company must require a degree that you have. Unless there is more, I do not see how a biochemistry or Asian studies degree would be a requirement for any position that this type of company might have. Unless there is something that is more unique about this company, I suggest that you look for another organization with need for the knowledge that you acquired in your schooling.

2. Is It Safe for Me to Go To l-130 Interview As I Have Order of Removal?

I have an order of removal from 2005 and am married to a US citizen and we filed the I-130 petition to prove that the marriage is real and to start the process of my I-212 waiver of removal and I-601A waiver of my 10 year bar for being in the US illegally. We are being scheduled for an I-130 interview at U.S.C.I.S. in December. Should we go or should we not? My lawyer says that the choice is up to us. 

Dear reader, 
Unfortunately lawyers cannot give definitive answers in this situation. Under the Trump administration, there are reports of individuals going to I-130 interviews in your situation and being detained and ultimately deported by Immigration. At the interview, three things can occur – you could have an uneventful interview and you and the spouse go home afterwards, or you could be picked up by ICE and allowed to leave with your wife after processing with an order of supervision, or you could be picked up by ICE and detained while ICE attempts to put you on an airplane back to your home country. You will have to weigh the risk against the idea that the I-130 petition will be denied if you do not attend the interview and you will lose any chance now to regularize your status.

3. How Can I Provide a Medical Certificate of Birth If I Do Not Have One?

I am from China, born in 1980, and I am applying for adjustment of status based upon my marriage to a US citizen. We just received a request for evidence that I provide a medical certificate of birth. How am I to answer that since I do not have a medical certificate of birth? I provided a notarial certificate of birth.

Dear reader, 
U.S.C.I.S. generally goes by the Foreign Affairs Manual of the Department of State which indicates which documents are available and the most reliable from each country. For China, it indicates that the best evidence is a notarial certificate of birth along with a medical certificate of birth. However, it also notes that the medical certificate of birth only became widely available starting in 1996. In addition, many births in China were not done in the hospital, and so even with births after 1996, many people do not have medical certificates of birth. I suggest that you or your legal representative point out that medical certificates of birth were generally not issued at the time that you were born in 1981. If you were not born in a hospital, you can also state that. You can also obtain statements from your parents confirming the reason why you do not have a medical certificate of birth.

4. My I-485 Adjustment Status Application Has Been Pending For Two Years – What Can I Do?

I received my political asylum in 2015 through religion, filed for my adjustment of status one year later through form I-485, got the receipt, took fingerprints, but have heard nothing else for over two years. I and my lawyer have tried to track my case over the past year without success. What can I do?

Dear reader,
I assume that you and your lawyer have gone through numerous conversations with the National Customer Service Center of U.S.C.I.S. and perhaps a number of infopasses at the local immigration office without success. At this point, you can attempt to involve your local congressman or senator to see whether he or she can help to move your case. Failing that, you may consider launching suit against U.S.C.I.S. in federal court. However, please be aware that suing in federal court does not mean that you will win your case. If there are factors in your case that might be negative, a suit may bring about higher scrutiny and ultimately a fast denial of the I-485 application.