Immigration News

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.

SPECIAL IMMIGRATION RELIEF FOR THE VICTIMS OF HURRICANE HARVEY

Date: 08/31/2017

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

Call Immigration Solutions LLC at 617-536-0584 or email eva@immsolutionsllc.com for assistance to obtain Special Immigration Relief.

 

USCIS WLL CONDUCT INTERVIEWS FOR ALL EMPLOYMENT BASED AND DERIVATIVES' REFUGEE/ASYLEE GREEN CARD PETITIONS

Date: 08/29/2017

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it will begin expanding in-person interviews for certain immigration benefit applicants whose benefit, if granted, would allow them to permanently reside in the United States. This change complies with Executive Order 13780, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” and is part of the agency’s comprehensive strategy to further improve the detection and prevention of fraud and further enhance the integrity of the immigration system.

Effective Oct. 1, USCIS will begin to phase-in interviews for the following:

  • Adjustment of status applications based on employment (Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status).
  • Refugee/asylee relative petitions (Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition) for beneficiaries who are in the United States and are petitioning to join a principal asylee/refugee applicant.

Previously, applicants in these categories did not require an in-person interview with USCIS officers in order for their application for permanent residency to be adjudicated. Beyond these categories, USCIS is planning an incremental expansion of interviews to other benefit types.

USCIS asserted that conducting in-person interviews will provide USCIS officers with the opportunity to verify the information provided in an individual’s application, to discover new information that may be relevant to the adjudication process, and to determine the credibility of the individual seeking permanent residence in the United States.  This change will most likely result in longer processing times for the adjudication of all Green Card applications.

Supreme Court Decision Affecting Trump's Travel Ban

Date: 06/30/2017

On June 26, 2017, the Supreme Court granted certiorari and consolidated two key cases in the travel and refugee ban litigation. In addition, the Court granted a partial stay of the injunctions that had been preventing implementation of Section 2(c), Section 6(a), and Section 6(b) of Executive Order 13780 (EO 13780). In its ruling, the Court held that Section 2(c) and 6(a) of EO 13780 “may not be enforced again foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” The Court clarified that the sort of "bona fide relationship" that qualifies for individuals is a "close familial relationship" to a person in the U.S. As for a "bona fide relationship" to a U.S. entity, the Court indicated that the relationship must be “formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course.” The Court also held that a refugee with a credible claim of a "bona fide relationship" with a U.S. person or entity may not be excluded, even if the 50,000 cap on refugees has been reached.

HAITI’S DESIGNATION FOR TPS IS SET TO TERMINATE ON JULY 22, 2017

Date: 04/26/2017

US Citizenship & Immigration completed a review of the conditions in Haiti and has concluded that the conditions no longer support its designation for TPS. As a result, USCIS has recommended that the Department of Homeland Security to terminate Haiti’s TPS designation effective January 22, 2018. This will allow for the extension of TPS benefits for affected individuals for an additional 6 months and for a period of orderly transition before the TPS designation is terminated.

USCIS WILL ISSUE REDESIGNED GREEN CARDS AND EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION DOCUMENTS

Date: 04/26/2017

On April 19, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it was redesigning the Permanent Resident Card (also known as a Green Card) and the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) as part of the Next Generation Secure Identification Document Project. USCIS will begin issuing the new cards on May 1, 2017.

These redesigns use enhanced graphics and fraud-resistant security features to create cards that are highly secure and more tamper-resistant than the cards currently in use.

The new card designs demonstrate USCIS’ commitment to taking proactive approaches against the threat of document tampering, counterfeiting, and fraud. They are also part of an ongoing effort between USCIS, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to enhance document security and deter counterfeiting and fraud.

The Redesigned Cards

The new Green Cards and EADs will:

  • Display the individual’s photos on both sides;
  • Show a unique graphic image and color palette:
    • Green Cards will have an image of the Statue of Liberty and a predominately green palette;
    • EAD cards will have an image of a bald eagle and a predominately red palette;
  • Have embedded holographic images; and
  • No longer display the individual’s signature.

 Also, Green Cards will no longer have an optical stripe on the back.

 How To Tell If Your Card Is Valid

Some Green Cards and EADs issued after May 1, 2017, may still display the existing design format, as USCIS will continue using existing card stock until current supplies are depleted. Both the existing and the new Green Cards and EADs will remain valid until the expiration date shown on the card.

Both the new and existing versions of the Green Card and EAD are acceptable for Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification and E-Verify. Some older Green Cards do not have an expiration date. These older Green Cards without an expiration date also remain valid.

NEW MEASURES TO DETECT H1-B VISA FRAUD

Date: 04/03/2017

Today U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced multiple measures to further deter and detect H-1B visa fraud and abuse. USCIS believes that the H-1B visa program should help U.S. companies recruit highly-skilled foreign nationals when there is a shortage of qualified workers in the country; yet, too many American workers who are as qualified, willing, and deserving to work in these fields have been ignored or unfairly disadvantaged. Protecting American workers by combating fraud in our employment-based immigration programs is a priority for USCIS.

Beginning today, USCIS will take a more targeted approach when making site visits across the country to H-1B petitioners and the worksites of H-1B employees. USCIS will focus on:

  • Cases where USCIS cannot validate the employer’s basic business information through commercially available data;
  • H-1B-dependent employers (those who have a high ratio of H-1B workers as compared to U.S. workers, as defined by statute); and 
  • Employers petitioning for H-1B workers who work off-site at another company or organization’s location.

Targeted site visits will allow USCIS to focus resources where fraud and abuse of the H-1B program may be more likely to occur, and determine whether H-1B dependent employers are evading their obligation to make a good faith effort to recruit U.S. workers. USCIS will continue random and unannounced visits nationwide. These site visits are not meant to target nonimmigrant employees for any kind of criminal or administrative action but rather to identify employers who are abusing the system. 

Employers who abuse the H-1B visa program negatively affect U.S. workers, decreasing wages and job opportunities as they import more foreign workers. To further deter and detect abuse, USCIS has established an email address which will allow individuals (including both American workers and H-1B workers who suspect they or others may be the victim of H-1B fraud or abuse) to submit tips, alleged violations and other relevant information about potential H-1B fraud or abuse. Information submitted to the email address will be used for investigations and referrals to law enforcement agencies for potential prosecution.

EAD FOR SALVADORIANS

Date: 03/06/2017

The validity for Employment Authorization (EAD) Validity has been extended for TPS El Salvador Beneficiaries.

United States Citizenship & Immigration Services is automatically extending the validitu of certain EADs issued under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvador for an additional 6 months.

On July 8, 2016, The Department of Homeland Security announced the extension of the designation of El Salvador for TPS for a period of 18 months. Hence the EADs issued pursuant to TPS were also automatically extended for 6 months,

through March 9, 2017. In order to avoid gaps in work authorizations USCIS is now automatically extending the validity of these EADs for an additional 6 months, through September 9, 2017.

This means that if you currently have an EAD that was issued under the TPS designation for El Salvador, which has a September 9, 2016 expiration date printed on the front of the card, your EAD will now expire on September 9, 2017.

To proce that you are authorized to continue working legally, you may sow the following documentation to your employer and government agencies:

  • Your TPS-related EAD; and
  • A Copy of the Federal Register notice announcing this automatic extension

 

You can find the notice by going to: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/03/06/2017-04454/automati...

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