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Better Alternative to CIS Web Site

Better Alternative to CIS Web Site

Old Nov 27th 2006, 4:57 am
Carl Shusterman
Posts: n/a
Default Better Alternative to CIS Web Site

We have been praising the CIS web site for years. It was clearly the best
site on the web containing the most comprehensive information about
immigration benefits. Also, it was an indispensable source for immigration
forms and government processing times.

We were, therefore, surprised when, on November 1, the CIS announced that
the agency had launched its "new and improved" web site. See




We explored the new site and found that many of the pages contained in CIS'
old web site no longer exist. For those that do exist, often the information
that they contain is minimal and the internal links often do not work.

For example, from our "Premium Processing" page at


we link to the CIS' "Premium Processing Service" page which is located at


This page contains a series of links to the law, the regulations, press
releases and fact sheets about premium processing, immigration forms, etc.
So far, so good, right?

The problem is that none of these links actually work!

We are grateful that CIS has preserved their "old web site" online at

However, the old site contains the following warning: "This site was current
as of October 30, 2006, and will not be updated. It will be removed from the
Internet on November 30, 2006. Please visit our new website at

Since the old CIS site may be gone by the time that you read this, how do
you find the immigration information that you need?

All during November, we explored the new CIS web site, and by using the
Search Engine and the Site Map, we were able to locate the most useful
information on the government's site. Believe or not, it's there. It's just
hard to find.

Then we created over 500 links to the new CIS site. Since our web site is
neatly divided into categories such as "Temporary Visas", "Green Cards",
"U.S. Citizenship", "Deportation", "Immigration Legislation", etc., it is
relatively easy to navigate.

Our suggestion is that instead of trying for hours to locate what you need
on the new CIS site that you quickly locate the general category on our
site, and then look for our link to the CIS web site.

Try it. You'll be glad that you did!

3. CIS Web Site to Link to Certified Immigration Specialists

How do you choose a competent and ethical immigration attorney to represent

With over 10,000 attorney members of the American Immigration Lawyer
Association (AILA), you certainly have a lot of choices. Remember, however,
that any attorney who pays his membership dues can join AILA. AILA
membership is not a guarantee of quality.

Fortunately, most immigration attorneys have web sites, and you can read
about their accomplishments and successes. However, don't expect attorneys
to advertise their failures on their web sites!

You can use attorney web sites to find the following information:

* How many years have they been practicing immigration law?

* Do they primarily specialize in cases involving employment-based
visas, or do they mainly concentrate on deportation defense, asylum and
family-based cases?

* Have they ever worked for the Immigration Service?

* Have they achieved any significant distinctions? An "AV" ("A" for
the highest in competence and "V" for very high ethics) rating on
www.Lawyers.com is very impressive. Have they been voted by their colleagues
as "SuperLawyers" or are they listed in "Best Lawyers in America"?

* Finally, be aware that the State Bar Associations of California,
Texas, Florida and North Carolina all have a rigorous system of determining
which lawyers qualify as "Certified Specialists in Immigration and
Nationality Law".

We have written about the advantages of choosing an attorney who is a
Certified Specialist to represent you many times in this newsletter. See

http://www.shusterman.com/sep97.html#7 (June 1997)

http://www.shusterman.com/aug04.html#7 (August 2004)

http://www.shusterman.com/feb05.html#4 (February 2005)

In our review of CIS' "Guide for New Immigrants" at

http://www.shusterman.com/jul05.html#7 (July 2005)

we took the agency to task for not including links to the State Bar web
pages listing Certified Specialists in Immigration Law in the "Finding Legal
Assistance" portion of the guide. Our review concluded as follows: "We
believe that the Guide is a good starting point which can, and should, be
improved upon."

Now, we are pleased to announce that the CIS has decided to follow our
suggestion and include links to the web sites of the pages which certify
immigration specialists. See the letter, dated November 6, from Alfonso
Aguilar, CIS' Chief of the Office of Citizenship to me at


The state web sites listing Certified Immigration Specialists are as

* California:


* Florida:


* North Carolina:


* Texas:


Why hire a Certified Specialist?

Here is what the State Bar of California says: "The more complicated your
situation, the more reason to consider hiring an attorney who specializes in
Immigration and Nationality Law and who is committed through certification
to keeping up her or his proficiency through continual practice and
continuing education." See


Editor's Note: Three of the attorneys in our law firm are Certified
Specialists in Immigration Law: Howard Hom, Curtis Pierce and myself.

************************************************** ********

Carl Shusterman served as a Trial Attorney for the U.S. Immigration Service
(1976-82) before entering private practice. He heads a five-attorney firm
specializing exclusively in immigration law. He maintains an extensive
website entitled "Immigration: A Practical Guide to Immigrating to the U.S."
containing over 1,000 articles on all phases of immigration law. He is the
author of SHUSTERMAN'S IMMIGRATION UPDATE, a free, monthly e-mail newsletter
on immigration laws and procedures. You can subscribe online at

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