I welcome times to shine a light on positive results produced from new collaborative efforts of our staff and community.  On June 23, 2021, USCIS announced it will accept FY2021 H-1B cap-subject petitions rejected or closed solely because the petitioner requested a start date after October 1, 2021.  The reversal in policy was a direct result of the collective litigation and liaison efforts of AILA and our partners at the American Immigration Council. As AILA moves forward, I am confident and grateful in knowing our integrated approach in litigation and liaison will continue to produce positive change for our members and the communities you serve well.

How did we achieve this victory?  The painful experiences of the last administration forced AILA and our partners at the Council to explore new opportunities to break through the “invisible wall” of the Trump Administration.  We moved at a deliberate pace to invest in a Litigation Department that engaged with the Council on numerous high-impact cases and thwarted many policies that would have fundamentally reshaped our country’s immigration system.

Under the Biden Administration, we have already seen how our investment will continue to pay dividends as we enter a new dawn of liaison.  The June 23rd announcement from USCIS represents the perfect example. In Fall 2020, we contacted USCIS regarding the rejection of H-1B cap-subject petitions that listed a post-October 1st start date, including petitions filed after October 1, 2021.  We remained hopeful the agency would remedy the issue because the obvious reality was employees would have to start employment in H-1B status after October 1st.  Making employers provide a false start date was unacceptable.  While our conversations with the agency continued, the lengthy presidential transition caused us to support a litigious alternative.

On March 11, 2021, the Council and several legal partners filed suit in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts challenging the arbitrary rejections of nine employer-plaintiffs.  In response, the agency quickly and favorably resolved the plaintiffs’ petitions.  However, due to the broad based harm to hundreds of other non-plaintiffs who did not benefit from the litigation, AILA continued to engage with USCIS to seek complete relief for those whose H-1B cap petitions had been rejected for not requesting an October 1, 2021 start date.  USCIS’ June 23rd announcement that it will now accept these petitions demonstrates the impact from our 1-2 punch of litigation and liaison.

As we move forward, I am grateful and assured in knowing that we have an integrated approach to produce positive change for our members and the communities you serve well.