Archives: Trump Administration

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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

U.S. Government’s Fake Universities Net F-1 Foreign Students, Recruiters

For some time now, the U.S. has been on the lookout for students who enroll in graduate programs solely for the purpose of obtaining additional CPT (Curricular Practical Training), particularly when they do not “win” the H-1B  lottery. Indeed, USCIS has issued Requests for Evidence (RFEs) regarding H petitions when it suspects that a student … Continue Reading

Tech Companies Expand to Canada

Canada has been having success in attracting more high-tech companies and employees from the United States. This trend began in 2008, when such companies in the U.S. could not obtain the number of H-1B visas they needed due to the limited number available. Microsoft opened a development office in Vancouver at that time. Since then, … Continue Reading

2019 H-1B Cap Season: New Cap Lottery Selection Rule Favors Beneficiaries with U.S. Master’s Degrees

While employers and immigration attorneys are preparing for the H-1B Cap Season, DHS has posted its Final Rule for a More Effective and Efficient H-1B Visa Program. The new rule will be published in the Federal Register on January 31, 2019. As expected, the new rule provides for an electronic pre-registration requirement and reverses the order … Continue Reading

No Citizenship Question on 2020 Census, Judge Rules

The Department of Commerce has been enjoined by a federal judge from including the citizenship question in the upcoming Census. The case began on March 26, 2018, when Secretary of Commerce Wilbur L. Ross, Jr., announced that he would reinstate a citizenship question in the Decennial 2020 Census. In 1960, out of a fear that the … Continue Reading

Will Ending Government Shutdown Turn on DACA?

Is it possible that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program might be the key to ending the government shutdown? A DACA-for-border-funding compromise that was taken off the table a year ago is again being talked about by some lawmakers. Here is an update on where DACA stands. On September 5, 2017, then-Attorney General … Continue Reading

Does Presidential Tweet Portend Positive Developments in H-1B Visa Program?

President Donald Trump surprised the immigration community recently with an encouraging tweet about H-1B visa holders: H-1B holders in the United States can rest assured that changes are soon coming which will bring both simplicity and certainty to your stay, including a potential path to citizenship.  We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people … Continue Reading

USCIS Ends Humanitarian Parole Program for Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)

USCIS announced that, effective immediately, it is terminating yet another humanitarian parole program. This one is for individuals living in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). This move will affect, among others: Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens; Certain “stateless” individuals; Immediate relatives of CNMI permanent residents; and Certain in-home foreign worker caregivers of CNMI … Continue Reading

What a Government Shutdown Means for Immigration Services

Although the ongoing government shutdown is rooted in an immigration matter – the “wall” – its effect on other immigration processes is somewhat limited. Fee-funded activities are not affected, which means that USCIS offices will remain open, interviews and appointments will continue as scheduled, and most petitions and applications will continue to be accepted and … Continue Reading

Litigation over H-4 EAD Rule Rescission To Move Forward

The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has added Immigration Voice, a group that represents high-skilled foreign nationals, to defend the H-4 EAD Rule. Save Jobs USA v. United States Department of Homeland Security. The H-4 EAD Rule provides work authorization for spouses of certain H-1B workers who are in the green card process. … Continue Reading

Enforcement Activity Surges in FY 2018, ICE Reports

ICE has had no official Director since June 2018, when Thomas Homan left the post, but that has not slowed down its worksite and other enforcement activities, according to the agency’s latest fiscal year report (FY 2018 covers October 1, 2017, through September 30, 2018). Acting Director Ronald D. Vitiello’s nomination has been stalled in … Continue Reading

Social Security Administration ‘No Match’ Letters to Employers Make Another Comeback

Social Security Administration (SSA) has begun notifying employers that the information reported on an individual employee’s W-2 form does not match the SSA’s records with “Request for Employer Information” letters, known as “No-Match” letters. SSA started sending these controversial informational requests in 1993, but the practice has waxed and waned in part due to litigation. … Continue Reading
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