Immigration News

Trump Third Travel Ban has been Blocked

Date: 10/18/2017

 

On October 16, 2017, Judge Derrick K. Watson, a federal judge, in the state of Hawaii largely blocked the Trump administration from implementing the third travel plan decreed by the Trump Administration. The latest ban was set to fully go into effect in the early morning hours of October 17 barring various types of travelers from Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Chad, Somalia, North Korea, and Venezuela. Judge Watson wrote that the latest ban "suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor: it lacks sufficient findings that the entry of more than 150 million nationals from six specified countries would be 'detrimental to the interests of the United States.'" This means that there is an injunction that prevents the government from barring nationals from Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Chad and Somalia. Nevertheless, the bar remains for nationals of Venezuela and North Korea.

DoD Announces Policy Changes to Lawful Permanent Residents and the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) Pilot Program

Date: 10/17/2017

The Department of Defense announced today a change to policies regarding initial screening of Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) and qualifying service for the purposes of military naturalization. These changes reflect lessons learned from the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) Pilot Program. While the Department recognizes the value of expedited U.S. citizenship achieved through military service, it is in the national interest to ensure all current and prospective service members complete security and suitability screening prior to naturalization.

On October 13, 2017 DoD authorized a change to two policies:
(1)           Initial security and suitability screening for LPRs, and;
(2)           Certifications of honorable service for the purposes of expedited naturalization.
Effective immediately, all LPRs must complete a background investigation and receive a favorable military security suitability determination (MSSD) prior to entry in the active, reserve, or guard service.
This is a change from the current policy, which allows for LPR recruits to ship to initial military training as long as their background investigation had been initiated, and they had cleared all other entry screening requirements.

Effective immediately, in order for a foreign national entering service in the active, reserve, or guard service to receive a certification of honorable service for the purposes of expedited naturalization (citizenship), he or she must:

-      Complete all security and suitability screening requirements and receive a favorable MSSD, and;
-      Complete the initial military training requirements of the service of which they are a member, and;
-      Complete at least 180 consecutive days of active duty service, or at least one year of satisfactory service in the selected reserve.
This is a change from the current practice of certification of honorable service for the purpose of expedited naturalization after “one day of service.”
For currently serving service members, to include those in the Delayed Training Program, they must complete all security and suitability screening requirements prior to a certification of honorable service. Those who may have received a certification of honorable service prior to the completion of all security and suitability screening requirements will have that certification recalled and decertified until, at a minimum, screening requirements are complete.
DoD and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) have established a process to allow for the review and recertification of recalled forms once the individual completes requisite screening requirements.

ATTENTION DIVERSITY VISA, GREEN CARD LOTTERY APPLICANTS

Date: 10/16/2017

Due to a technical issue, the DV-2019 entry period that began on October 3 has been closed. Entries submitted during October 3-10 are not valid and have been excluded from the system; they will not count as a duplicate entry. The technical issue has been resolved and a new full entry period will begin at noon, U.S. Eastern Daylight Time on Wednesday October 18, 2017 and will run until noon Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday November 22, 2017. Only entries submitted during this period will be accepted and considered for selection in the lottery. Please throw away any confirmation number or other documentation that you have if you submitted an entry during Oct. 3-10.

The Deadline to Submit DACA Renewal Requests is October 5th

Date: 10/03/2017

Deadline to Submit DACA Renewal Requests Is October 5

USCIS issued a reminder regarding the October 5, 2017, deadline for DACA recipients to properly file renewal requests and associated applications for employment authorization. These requests must be properly filed and physically received by the agency at the proper filing location no later than October 5, 2017. Also, during the AILA SCOPS Liaison Committee call on September 27, 2017, USCIS confirmed that only persons whose current DACA expires between September 5, 2017, and March 5, 2018, are eligible to renew their deferred action grant.

NOW YOU CAN OBTAIN A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER WHEN YOU FILE FORM I-765, APPLICATION FOR EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION.

Date: 10/03/2017

Based on a new information-sharing partnership between U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA), foreign nationals in certain categories or classifications can now apply for work authorization and a social security number using a single form – the updated Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

To lawfully work in the United States, foreign workers in some categories and classifications need both an employment authorization document (EAD) from USCIS, and a Social Security number (SSN) from the SSA. Previously, applicants needed to submit a Form I-765 to USCIS for an EAD, and then submit additional paperwork in-person at their local Social Security office to obtain an SSN.

The revised USCIS form includes additional questions that allow applicants to apply for an SSN or replacement card without visiting a Social Security office. Starting today, USCIS will transmit the additional data collected on the form to the SSA for processing. Moving forward, applicants who receive their approved EADs from USCIS should receive their Social Security card from SSA within the following two weeks.

EADs serve as documentation to show employers that an individual is authorized to work in the U.S. for a specific time period. SSNs are used to report wages to the government, and to determine an individual’s eligibility for certain benefits.

USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for Some Categories of Applicants Seeking H-1B Visas

Date: 09/25/2017

WASHINGTON — U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) resumed premium processing today for all H-1B visa petitions subject to the Fiscal Year year (FY) 2018 cap. The FY 2018 cap has been set at 65,000 visas. Premium processing has also resumed for the annual 20,000 additional petitions that are set aside to hire workers with a U.S. master’s degree or higher educational degree.

H-1B visas provide skilled workers for a wide range of specialty occupations, including information technology, academic research, and accounting. When a petitioner requests the agency’s premium processing service, USCIS guarantees a 15-day processing time. If the 15- calendar day processing time is not met, the agency will refund the petitioner’s premium processing service fee and continue with expedited processing of the application. This service is only available for pending petitions, not new submissions, since USCIS received enough petitions in April to meet the FY 2018 cap.

In addition to today’s resumption of premium processing for H-1B visa petitions subject to the FY 2018 cap, USCIS previously resumed premium processing H-1B petitions filed on behalf of physicians under the Conrad 30 waiver program, as well as interested government agency waivers and for certain H-1B petitions that are not subject to the cap. Premium processing remains temporarily suspended for all other H-1B petitions, such as extensions of stay.

USCIS plans to resume premium processing for all other remaining H‑1B petitions not subject to the FY 2018 cap, as agency workloads permit. However, remaining petitioners may submit a request to expedite their application if they meet the specific agency criteria. USCIS reviews all expedite requests on a case-by-case basis, and requests are granted at the discretion of the office leadership.

USCIS will release future announcements when they begin accepting premium processing for other H-1B petitions, not subject to the FY 2018 cap.

Temporary Protected Status for Sudan to Terminate in November 2018

Date: 09/25/2017

WASHINGTON—Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke has determined that conditions in Sudan no longer support its designation for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) after reviewing country conditions, and after Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials’ consultations with the appropriate U.S. government agencies. Acting Secretary Duke is extending benefits for beneficiaries of Sudan TPS for 12 months to allow for an orderly transition before the designation terminates on Nov. 2, 2018.

 

Current beneficiaries of Sudan’s TPS designation seeking to extend their TPS status must re-register. The deadline will be published in the Federal Register and on www.uscis.gov/tps later this week. Those who re-register and request a new employment authorization document (EAD) may receive an automatic extension of their expiring EAD for up to 180 days from the date their current EAD expires. If a beneficiary’s EAD request is approved, they will receive a new EAD with an expiration date of Nov. 2, 2018. TPS beneficiaries are strongly encouraged to re-register and file their EAD applications as early as possible to avoid lapses in documentation of employment authorization.

 

Although TPS benefits will no longer be in effect starting Nov. 2, 2018, TPS beneficiaries will continue to hold any other immigration status that they have maintained or acquired while registered for TPS. The Department of Homeland Security urges individuals who do not have another immigration status to use the time before the termination becomes effective in November to prepare for and arrange their departure from the United States or to apply for other immigration benefits for which they may be eligible.

 

Additional information about TPS is available at uscis.gov/tps. A Federal Register notice containing further details will be published soon.

NEW PRACTICE ADVISORY DESCRIBES HOW TPS RECIPIENTS MAY APPLY FOR PERMANENT RESIDENCE

Date: 09/14/2017

With Temporary Protected Status (TPS) under attack, many immigration lawyers are looking for alternative options for their clients with TPS. The American Immigration Council has issued a practice advisory discussing important decisions from the Ninth and Sixth Circuits—decisions that will open the door for certain TPS recipients who initially entered without inspection to adjust status. The decisions held that a TPS grant is an “admission” for purposes of adjustment of status under section 245(a).

This practice advisory addresses:

  • TPS recipients who are most likely to benefit from the two decisions;
  • other general categories of family and employment-based adjustment applicants who may be able to benefit from these two decisions; and
  • options that may be available to TPS recipients who do not live within these two circuits.

If you would like to view this practice advisory, check it out here on the American Immigration Council's website.

Immigration Help Available to Those Affected by Hurricane Irma

Date: 09/13/2017

USCIS offers immigration services that may help people affected by unforeseen circumstances, including disasters such as Hurricane Irma.

The following measures may be available on a case-by-case basis upon request:

  • Changing a nonimmigrant status or extending a nonimmigrant stay for an individual currently in the United States. Failure to apply for the extension or change before expiration of your authorized period of admission may be excused if the delay was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond your control;
  • Re-parole of individuals previously granted parole by USCIS;
  • Expedited processing of advance parole requests;
  • Expedited adjudication of requests for off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship;
  • Expedited adjudication of employment authorization applications, where appropriate;
  • Consideration of fee waivers due to an inability to pay;
  • Assistance for those who received a Request for Evidence or a Notice of Intent to Deny but were unable to submit evidence or otherwise respond in a timely manner;
  • Assistance if you were unable to appear for a scheduled interview with USCIS;
  • Expedited replacement of lost or damaged immigration or travel documents issued by USCIS, such as a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card); and
  • Rescheduling a biometrics appointment. 

Note: When making a request, please explain how the impact of Hurricane Irma created a need for the requested relief.

To learn how to request these measures or determine if an office is open, call the National Customer Service Center at 800-375-5283 (TDD for the deaf and hard of hearing: 800-767-1833) or visit our USCIS Office Closings webpage.

If your InfoPass appointment was affected by this storm, you can reschedule your appointment online or by calling the National Customer Service Center at 800-375-5283 (TDD for the deaf and hard of hearing: 800-767-1833).

All Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, requirements remain in place. Those affected by Hurricane Irma should review Form I-9 acceptable documents and receipts for more informationon how to complete the Form I-9 if an employee’s documents are lost, stolen, or damaged. Visit I-9 Central for more information.

For more information about how we provide assistance to individuals affected by unforeseen circumstances, visit our Special Situations webpage or call the National Customer Service Center.

For more information about the federal government response to Hurricane Irma, visitusa.gov/hurricane-irma.

 

Trump Administration Announces End of DACA

Date: 09/05/2017

The Department of Homeland Security said it would no longer accept new applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which has provided renewable, two-year work permits to nearly 800,000 dreamers. The agency said those currently enrolled in DACA will be able to continue working until their permits expire; those whose permits expire by March 5, 2018, will be permitted to apply for two-year renewals as long as they do so by Oct 5.

New applications and renewal requests already received by DHS before Tuesday will be reviewed and validated on a case-by-case basis, even those for permits that expire after March 5, officials said.

Trump administration officials cast the decision as a humane way to unwind the program and called on lawmakers to provide a legislative solution to address the immigration status of the dreamers. Senior DHS officials emphasized that if Congress fails to act and work permits begin to expire, dreamers will not be high priorities for deportations -- but they would be issued notices to appear in immigration court if they are encountered by federal immigration officers.

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