Archives: Trump Administration

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E-1/E-2 Treaty Visas Option for New Zealanders

The U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand, Scott P. Brown, has announced that eligible New Zealand nationals may apply for E-1/E-2 Treaty Investor Visas: “We’ve listened. And as of June 10, New Zealand business owners and New Zealand citizens essential to those companies are going to be able to reside and work in the United States … Continue Reading

New DS-160 Form Seeks Social Media Information, Affecting Millions of Visa Applicants

Two years ago, then-Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, proposed collecting 15 years of travel, address and employment history and 5 years of social media platforms, identifiers, phone numbers and emails from visa applicants selected for “extreme vetting.” It was predicted that this would affect only 0.5% of all visa applicants – approximately 65,000 annually. As of … Continue Reading

UPDATE: House Passes Bill on DACA, Unlikely To Be Taken up by Senate

We wrote yesterday on the U.S. Supreme Court declining to expedite review of DACA, as well as the recent and current legislative activity regarding the program. Later in the day on June 4th,  the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Dream and Promise Act which would grant permanent residence status and a path to citizenship … Continue Reading

DACA Program Continues as U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Expedite Consideration of Cases

The “Dreamers” have received another reprieve from the U.S. Supreme Court. DACA litigation has been in the news since September 2017, when then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the DACA program would be terminated. In response to that announcement, multiple lawsuits were filed in federal courts in California, New York, Maryland, Texas, and the District of … Continue Reading

Bill in Congress Aimed at Protecting H-4 Employment as Program Rescission Progresses

Concerns regarding the rescission of the H-4 EAD Rule have heightened in the wake of the publication of the Department of Homeland Security’s Spring 2019 Regulatory Agenda. In response, two California congresswomen, Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-Cal.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Cal.), reintroduced a bill to protect those work authorizations – The H-4 Employment Protection Act. Both … Continue Reading

Insights: Pros and Cons of Registering for E-Verify

Immigration enforcement is a major focus of attention of the Trump Administration – including in the business immigration context. One measure of this interest is the increase in I-9 audits. ICE reported that worksite investigations surged in FY 2018 by “300 to 750 percent” over FY 2017. Given that, many employers are considering whether to … Continue Reading

Trump Introduces Outlines of Immigration Reform in Advance of 2020 Campaign

President Donald Trump has introduced the broad outlines of his proposal for immigration reform. The “merit and heart system” focuses on security and establishing a more fully merit-based system for permanent residence (“green card”) status. What do we know about the proposal so far? In terms of security, it includes: Construction of parts of the … Continue Reading

What Processing Delays in Immigration Cases Mean

Long USCIS processing delays are now the norm for all types of immigration cases. Indeed, the delays have reached crisis levels. Processing times increased by 46% over the past two fiscal years and 91% since FY 2014. In fact, even though applications declined by 17% in FY 2018, processing times continued to rise. In some … Continue Reading

H-2B Visa Allotment Increased in Advance of Summer Season

At the end of March 2019, the Trump Administration announced that it would release another 30,000 H-2B visas for seasonal employees for use through the end of September 2019. The annual allocation had been capped at 66,000 for the full year. In 2017 and 2018, the Administration increased the allocation by 15,000 visas. However, on … Continue Reading

Federal Court Blocks DHS Policy on Unlawful Presence for Foreign Students, Exchange Visitors

On August 8, 2018, DHS issued a new policy that announced that foreign students would begin accumulating “unlawful presence” if any violation of status had occurred, whether known to the student or not. On May 3, 2019, in Guilford College et al. v. DHS, Judge Loretta C. Biggs in the U.S. District Court for the Middle … Continue Reading

L Visa Classification Process Restricted for Canadians Applying at Ports of Entry

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) signed in 1992 was meant to make North America more competitive in the global economy by reducing trade barriers and increasing business development among the U.S., Canada and Mexico.  It essentially created a free-trade zone, but always faced criticism.  Opponents believed and have argued, among other things, that … Continue Reading

Trump Administration Targets Visa Overstays

President Donald Trump issued a Memorandum on April 22, 2019 aimed at reducing visa overstays – people who stay in the U.S. beyond the time authorized by their visas.  Assertions set forth in the Memorandum include: For FY 2018, the Administration believes that there were 415,000 individuals in the U.S. who had overstayed on nonimmigrant … Continue Reading

Link to Marijuana Industry as Basis for Denial of Naturalization Application?

DHS is apparently citing federal cannabis laws as grounds for denying citizenship. Further, USCIS announced on April 19 that the USCIS Policy Manual now clarifies that violation of federal controlled substance law, including for marijuana, remains a conditional bar to establishing good moral character for naturalization even where that conduct would not be an offense … Continue Reading

Liberians in U.S. in Deferred Enforced Departure Status Get One More Year

President Donald Trump has extended the wind-down period for termination of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) status for beneficiaries from Liberia from March 31, 2019, to March 30, 2020. DED, like Temporary Protected Status (TPS), allows individuals from certain nations to remain in the United States, despite being otherwise removable, because of civil or political strife … Continue Reading

File H-1B Petition; Watch for Requests for Evidence

The FY 2020 H-1B cap cases have been filed and 85,000 will be selected for adjudication. “Winning the lottery” is no longer considered the biggest hurdle, however. Back in FY 2005, about 95% of all selected cases were approved and only about 22.3% received Requests for Evidence (RFEs). Recent USCIS statistics show that by FY … Continue Reading

Cases Over Controversial Citizenship Question in 2020 Census Proceed as Print Deadline Nears

The 2020 decennial census is scheduled to begin on April 1, 2020, but several cases challenging the Administration’s decision to include a citizenship question in the census are putting the Administration’s June 30, 2019, “go to print” deadline at risk.  The question asks, “Is this person a citizen of the United States?” The case that … Continue Reading

USCIS Clarifies Premium Processing for This Year’s H-1B Cap Cases Limited to Change of Status

As the start of the H-1B cap season approaches, USCIS has clarified that not all of this year’s cap cases can be premium processed. Despite its notice on March 12, USCIS has announced that only cap-subject H-1B petitions requesting a change of status may request premium processing concurrently with the H-1B filing. But the agency … Continue Reading

Agreement Delays Termination of Temporary Protected Status for Honduras and Nepal

Hondurans and Nepalis in the U.S. in Temporary Protected Status (TPS) just got a break. TPS for beneficiaries from Nepal was set to terminate on June 24, 2019. TPS for beneficiaries from Honduras was set to terminate on January 5, 2020. On March 12, 2019, the Administration entered into an agreement with the plaintiffs challenging … Continue Reading

DHS and Other Agencies Announce Contest for Solutions to Detect Opioid in the Mail

There has been ongoing debate about how to stop the opioid crisis in the United States. To stem the flow of illegal drugs through the mail, DHS Science and Technology Directorate, in collaboration with CBP, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, has launched the Opioid Detection Challenge, a … Continue Reading

EB-5 and Its European Counterpart Subject to Expected Changes, Oversight

In June 2018, Congress held a hearing on “Citizenship for Sale: Oversight of the EB-5 Investor Visa Program.”  The current EB-5 program allows wealthy individuals to apply for and obtain green cards by investing anywhere from $500,000 to $1,000,000 in U.S. enterprises.  Like any other green card holders, after five years, the beneficiaries can apply … Continue Reading

Crackdown on Birth Tourism Industry in U.S. Continues with First-Ever Arrests of Operators

Traveling to the U.S. to give birth to a U.S.-citizen child, or birth tourism, is not a new industry. In January 2018, DHS raided 20 “maternity hotels” in Los Angeles suspected of housing “birth tourism” operations. A neighbor who lived near one of the apartment buildings reported that “a forklift delivered an excessive quantity of … Continue Reading

DHS Moves to Rescind H-4 EAD Rule for Spouses of H-1B Workers

DHS has made the first move to rescind the H-4 EAD Rule: sending the proposed rule to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. The H-4 EAD Rule provides work authorization for spouses of certain H-1B workers who are in the green card process. OMB review is the first step before publication in … Continue Reading

Slow Immigration Processing Times Draw Criticism and Questions

Immigration case processing times have dramatically increased in the last few years, impacting U.S. businesses and immigrant families, often causing gaps in work authorization and even loss of employment. In a January 2019 Policy Brief, AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) opined, on the basis of USCIS data, that the Agency’s processing delays had reached “crisis … Continue Reading

Bill to Eliminate Per-Country Caps on Green Cards Re-Introduced

Prior to the government shutdown, it seemed that the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act might pass as an amendment to the spending package with strong bipartisan support. But that was not to be. Now members of the U.S. House and Senate, led by Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), have again introduced … Continue Reading
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