26 Sep 2018
This evening, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the policy memorandum on the issuance of notices to appear (NTAs) will be phased in incrementally, beginning on October 1, 2018. Effective October 1st, the USCIS “… may issue NTAs on denied status-impacting applications, including but not limited to, form I-485, application to register permanent residence or adjust status, and form I-539, application to extend / change nonimmigrant status.” Read more.
25 Sep 2018
Within the next three months, the Trump Administration is expected to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to end the program that allows a qualifying H-4 spouse to obtain an employment authorization document (EAD). Once the NPRM is issued, the public will be given an opportunity to submit comments to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on the proposal. Only after considering the public comments would the DHS be able to publish a final rule. Read more.
25 Sep 2018
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is scheduled to hold a teleconference on Thursday, September 27, 2018, from 2 to 3 p.m. (Eastern Time, U.S.) to discuss the June 28, 2018, policy memorandum on the issuance of notices to appears (NTAs). More details on the memo can be found in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, USCIS Notice to Appear (NTA) Memo Could Result in Harsh Consequences (18.Jul.2018). Read more.
23 Sep 2018
The Trump Administration announced over the weekend that it aims to substantially expand the number of foreign nationals who may be inadmissible to the United States for risk of becoming a “public charge” (i.e. a person who is likely to become financially dependent on public benefits). The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) intends to issue the proposed regulation in the coming weeks. While complete details are not yet available, the DHS press release indicates that the rule would broaden the categories of public benefits looked at to determine whether a foreign national may be deemed a public charge. MurthyDotCom will post more details in the near future.
18 Sep 2018
A cornerstone of President Trump’s anti-immigration agenda has been his assaults on so called “chain migration,” a pejorative term for a program allowing lawful permanent residents (i.e. “green card” holders) and U.S. citizens to sponsor close relatives for residency. He has linked family-based immigration to crime and an increased risk of terrorist attacks in the U.S., even though no evidence exists to support this assertion. He has instituted insidious attacks on the legal immigration system in general by supporting policies that make the immigration process more burdensome. Read more.
13 Sep 2018
A report released by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) has provided an analysis of the sharp increase in denials and requests for evidence (RFE) for H1B and L-1 petitions due to new federal policies on immigration. According to the report, the denial rate for H1B petitions increased by 41 percent from the 3rd to the 4th quarter of fiscal year 2017 (FY17), which ran from October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2017. The number of requests for evidence (RFEs) in the fourth quarter of FY17 almost equaled the total number issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) adjudicators for the first three quarters of FY17 combined. The data further shows that the increased rate of denials has hit Indian national applicants especially hard. Read more.
10 Sep 2018
On September 6, 2018, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) held a public stakeholder teleconference to provide some additional guidance on how the July 13, 2018 Issuance of Certain RFEs and NOIDs memorandum will be implemented. This memo, which goes into effect on September 11, 2018, gives adjudicating officers more discretion to deny an application or petition without first having to issue either a request for evidence (RFE) or notice of intent to deny (NOID). More details on the memo are available in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, USCIS Memo on Denying Cases Without RFE / NOID (27.Jul.2018). Read more.
06 Sep 2018
On August 8, 2018, the National Association of Immigration Judges (NAIJ) filed a grievance against the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), alleging that the EOIR violated an immigration judge’s authority to make decisions based on independent judgment and discretion. The NAIJ is the union that represents U.S. immigration judges. In short, the NAIJ is accusing the EOIR of replacing an immigration judge (IJ), part way through a case, with a judge who would give the EOIR its desired outcome – having the defendant ordered to be removed (i.e. deported) from the United States. Read more.
29 Aug 2018
During his campaign for the presidency, and ever since he moved into the White House, most of the immigration talk surrounding President Trump has been about undocumented immigrants and the “huge” wall he supposedly is going to have built between the United States and Mexico. What has perhaps made for less compelling television, however, has been the President’s rampant attacks on legal immigration. And, while he has failed to strike a deal with Congress to pass any substantive immigration legislation, he has succeeded in using memoranda issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to erect barriers within the legal immigration system. Read more.
27 Aug 2018
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to share information and, ostensibly, to protect U.S. workers. This MOU is designed to make it easier to refer cases of potential discrimination in violation of the law between the agencies. Read more.
23 Aug 2018
A federal judge for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ordered the Trump Administration to fully restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The judge ruled that the Administration’s decision to rescind the DACA program was “unlawful and must be set aside.” The court subsequently amended the order, however, so that the Administration is not required to accept first-time, initial applications and applications for advance parole based on DACA. Read more.
22 Aug 2018
On August 20, 2018, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provided a status update to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, confirming that the agency is working to finalize a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), which is expected to lead to the end of the program that allows a qualifying H-4 spouse to obtain an employment authorization document (EAD). This federal court is involved in the process based on a lawsuit challenging the H-4 EAD rule, as discussed in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, Federal Appeals Court Grants Abeyance in H-4 EAD Lawsuit, but Program Still in Jeopardy (22.Feb.2018). Read more.
10 Aug 2018
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released the final version of the policy memorandum that greatly expands the situations in which those in F, J, or M status may begin accruing unlawful presence. Strangely enough, the memo was not released until yesterday evening, at approximately 10:00 p.m. EST. Read more.
09 Aug 2018
In May 2018, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a “policy memorandum” that would greatly expand the situations in which those in F, J, or M status may begin accruing unlawful presence. More details on the memo are available in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, Analysis of USCIS Memo on Unlawful Presence for F, J, and M Nonimmigrants (18.May.2018). Read more.
03 Aug 2018
A federal judge on Friday upheld his order that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program should be fully restored, setting a 20-day deadline for the administration to do so. DC District Judge John Bates said the Trump administration still has failed to justify its proposal to end DACA, the Obama-era program that has protected from deportation nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children. But Bates agreed to delay his ruling for 20 days to give the administration time to respond and appeal, if it chooses.
The ruling sets up potentially conflicting DACA orders from federal judges by the end of the month. (CNN, by Tal Kopan and Dan Berman, 03.Aug.2018) Read more.
30 Jul 2018
This afternoon, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a delay in the implementation of the June 28, 2018 memorandum expanding the situations in which a foreign national is to be issued a notice to appear (NTA).
The NTA memo initially called for the USCIS to finalize updated guidance on the matter within 30 days. This operational guidance, however, has not yet been finalized. Therefore, implementation of the NTA memo is being postponed for the time being. No details have been provided as to when the policy ultimately may go into effect.
18 Jul 2018
On July 5, 2018, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a policy memorandum that dramatically expands the circumstances under which the USCIS intends to issue a notice to appear (NTA), or refer cases to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for NTA issuance. An NTA is a charging document that is filed with an immigration court to commence removal (i.e. deportation) proceedings against a foreign national. This new NTA policy is a drastic change from past practice and potentially will have serious negative consequences on nonimmigrants who have extension petitions or applications denied, leaving them with no lawful status. More details on the content of the memo are available in the MurthyDotCom NewsFlash, USCIS to Place Far More Foreign Nationals in Removal Proceeding, Per New Memo (06.Jul.2018). Read more.
13 Jul 2018
This afternoon, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a policy memorandum that provides officers with more discretion to deny an application or petition without first having to issue either a request for evidence (RFE) or notice of intent to deny (NOID). This memo reverses previous guidance that only allowed a USCIS officer to deny a case without first issuing an RFE or NOID if there was “no possibility” the deficiency in the filing could be corrected by the applicant or petitioner. Read more.
06 Jul 2018
Thursday evening, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a policy memo that appears to greatly expand the situations in which a foreign national is to be issued a notice to appear (NTA). An NTA is a charging document that initiates removal (i.e. deportation) proceedings against an individual. Read more.
03 Jul 2018
The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), which is part of the U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE), recently released a broadcast message reminding all students on optional practical training (OPT) that volunteer positions not directly related to their course of study do not qualify as OPT. This broadcast does not represent a policy change, but could foreshadow stronger enforcement efforts to come. Read more.
28 Jun 2018
Recently, Attorney General Jeff Sessions vacated a 2016 Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decision and issued a new decision that will severely limit the circumstances under which victims of violence at the hands of non-government actors will be eligible for asylum. Read more.
27 Jun 2018
It didn’t take long for the Trump Administration’s policy of separating children from their undocumented immigrant parents to become international news. The condemnations from nearly all fronts of the political spectrum did something that has been virtually unheard of from this Administration – it resulted in President Trump voluntarily reversing a policy. Read more.
26 Jun 2018
This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the travel ban implemented by President Trump in September 2017 was a permissible exercise of his authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Pursuant to this rule, the travel ban, which applies to citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Chad, Yemen, North Korea, and some government officials from Venezuela, remains in place.
21 Jun 2018
As has been anticipated, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a proposed rule to terminate the International Entrepreneur Rule (IER). This rule allows a foreign national to apply to be temporarily paroled into the U.S. based on a qualifying investment. More details on the program are available in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, Final Rule to Create Parole Program for Entrepreneurs Published (01.Feb.2017). Read more.
20 Jun 2018
Last week, attorneys from all over the nation gathered at the 2018 American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) conference in San Francisco, California, and several attorneys from the Murthy Law Firm were among them. Several Attorneys from the firm were in attendance. Firm founder and president Sheela Murthy and attorney Khorzad Mehta were there as session presenters. This year’s conference came at a precarious time for our nation’s immigrants. The first year of the Trump Administration has ushered in unprecedented attacks on the foundations of our immigration system through senseless and draconian policy and xenophobic rhetoric. But the hundreds of immigration professionals who attended the AILA conference remain steadfast in their commitment to help immigrants achieve their American dreams. Read more.
11 May 2018
At the end of 2017, MurthyDotCom summarized a number of concerning immigration regulations under consideration by the Trump Administration in the NewsBrief, Troubling Immigration Rules, Including End of H-4 EAD, on Trump’s Rulemaking Agenda (2017.Dec.15). While none of the rules has yet come to light, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) updated its rule list for spring 2018, indicating that the Administration is still intending to move forward with several regulations that will negatively affect immigrants. Read more.
03 May 2018
On April 26, 2018, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that the temporary protected status (TPS) designation for certain nationals of Nepal will be terminated as of June 24, 2019. Since taking office in January 2017, President Trump has taken steps to terminate TPS designations for nationals of more than a half-dozen countries, including Haiti, El Salvador, Sierra Leone, and Nicaragua. Read more.
26 Apr 2018
The Trump Administration recently announced that a quota system will be incorporated into the individual performance evaluations for all immigration judges to require them to process cases more quickly. Immigration judges are responsible for presiding over cases such as removal (i.e. deportation) and asylum proceedings. Read more.
25 Apr 2018
From the Washington Post: The Department of Homeland Security is preparing to cancel the temporary residency permits of about 9,000 immigrants from Nepal, the Trump administration’s latest move to expel foreigners living in the United States with some form of provisional status.
According to internal planning documents viewed by The Washington Post, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will give the Nepalis a one-year grace period to prepare their departure, but they would face deportation after June 24, 2019. Read more.
24 Apr 2018
From The Washington Post: U.S. District Judge John D. Bates called the decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program “virtually unexplained” and therefore “unlawful.” However, the judge stayed his ruling for 90 days to allow the Trump administration to provide a more solid reason for ending the program.
This is a developing story that The Washington Post will be updating.
06 Mar 2018
In the nascent days of 2018, the Trump Administration is gearing up to continue the assault on immigration that has become a shameful trademark of this presidency. Targeting both undocumented foreign nationals and those lawfully in the United States, the Administration’s push for supposed “America first” policies is embedded in a culture of “us” versus “them.” Read more.
01 Mar 2018
The proposed rule to terminate the program that allows certain H-4 spouses to obtain employment authorization is not expected to be published until at least June 2018. The rule was previously slated for publication in February 2018. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is apparently in the process of making revisions to the proposal. No further details were provided. Read more.
01 Mar 2018
On February 22, 2018, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a policy memorandum, entitled “Contracts and Itineraries Requirements for H1B Petitions Involving Third-Party Worksites.” This policy memo revises USCIS policy related to H1B petitions filed for workers who will be employed at one or more third-party or end-client worksites. The memo specifically focuses on staffing companies that use the petitioner – vendor – client relationship, which is common in the information technology industry. When placing an employee at a third-party work location, the petitioner must demonstrate that there is specific and non-speculative work in a specialty occupation for the beneficiary for the entire period requested in the petition. Read more.
26 Feb 2018
This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court refused the Trump Administration’s request to hear a direct appeal of a federal district court’s nationwide injunction blocking the termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This means that, for the time being, those who had DACA status as of September 5, 2017, may still be eligible to renew their DACA status.
23 Feb 2018
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a memo yesterday that stresses the requirement for proper documentation when filing a petition for an H1B worker who will be placed at a third-party location. The policy memo states that petitioning employer that routinely places H1B workers offsite “… often submit uncorroborated statements describing the role the H1B beneficiary will perform … Such statements by the petitioner, without additional corroborating evidence, are often insufficient to establish … that the H1B beneficiary will actually perform specialty occupation work.” Read more.
22 Feb 2018
Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit granted the Trump Administration’s motion to hold the lawsuit challenging the legality of the H-4 EAD program in abeyance for 90 days. This means the lawsuit will remain suspended for the next 90 days, at which point the Administration must provide the court with a status update. The purpose of the abeyance is to allow the Trump Administration more time to issue new regulations that will eliminate the H-4 EAD program, and thus make the pending lawsuit moot. Read more.
15 Feb 2018
This afternoon, the U.S. Senate failed to pass a bipartisan immigration bill that would have provided protection for beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and increase funding for border security. The bill needed 60 votes to proceed, but only received 54 votes.
A different immigration bill, which was promoted by the Trump Administration, only garnered 39 votes. That bill would have protected DACA recipients, massively increase funding for border protection, and also eliminate the diversity visa lottery, along with most forms of family-based immigration.
14 Feb 2018
On Tuesday, February 13, 2018, a federal district judge ruled that the Trump Administration must continue to process renewal applications under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, along with applications for those who were previously enrolled, but whose enrollment lapsed before September 5, 2017. This is the second federal district judge to rule against President Trump on his attempt to end the program. Instructions for applying to renew DACA benefits are available on the “USCIS website.
07 Feb 2018
On February 6, 2018, President Trump ordered the creation of a National Vetting Center, saying it is needed “…to better identify individuals seeking to enter the country who present a threat to national security, border security, homeland security, or public safety.” The center, which will be run by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is to be established within six months, and will serve to centralize the vetting of foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States.
It should be noted that the DHS, U.S. Department of State (DOS), and related agencies already perform extensive vetting of foreign nationals. Further, these agencies already have systems in place to share information about foreign nationals who apply for U.S. immigration benefits.
30 Jan 2018
As has been widely reported, the Trump Administration is planning to rescind an Obama era policy granting work permits to certain spouses of H1B workers. When it was implemented in 2015, the rule change was heralded as a landmark in U.S. immigration policy because, for the first time, it allowed nearly 42,000 H-4 spouses to earn an income and contribute to the economy. But now, businesses are preparing to deal with the fallout of the proposed rule change. Read more.
25 Jan 2018
This evening, the Trump Administration sent Congress a proposal for an immigration reform bill that would provide relief to 1.8 million “dreamers” (i.e. undocumented foreign nationals brought to the United States as children), while also providing funding for a U.S. / Mexico border wall and eliminating most forms of family-based immigration. Read more.
19 Jan 2018
This afternoon, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the legal challenge to the latest travel ban imposed by President Trump. The travel ban applies to citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Chad, Yemen, along with citizens of North Korea and some government officials from Venezuela. The case will be heard by the court this spring, and is expected to be decided by June 2018.
16 Jan 2018
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is taking the unorthodox step of asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a federal district court’s nationwide injunction blocking the termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In addition, the DOJ has appealed this decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which is the usual method of challenging a district court’s injunction. However, rather than waiting to see how the Ninth Circuit rules on this issue before petitioning the high court, the DOJ is also asking for the Supreme Court to intercede directly.
15 Jan 2018
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is now, once again, accepting applications to renew benefits under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This comes following a preliminary injunction issued by a federal district court on January 9, 2018, temporarily preventing the Trump Administration from winding down the DACA program. Instructions for applying to renew DACA benefits are available on the USCIS website.
10 Jan 2018
Last night, a federal judge in California temporarily blocked the Trump Administration from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Per the court order, anyone who had DACA status as of the date President Trump ordered that the program be rescinded, September 5, 2017, may renew their DACA status while the lawsuits challenging the end of the program remain pending.
In the meantime, President Trump met with Congressional leaders yesterday to discuss a possible long-term solution for DACA recipients, commonly known as ‘dreamers’. President Trump and some Republican members of Congress seem willing to strike a deal with Democrats to protect dreamers, so long as additional border protection is provided.
09 Jan 2018
Murthy Law Firm attorneys discuss the fate of the program that allows certain H-4 spouses to apply for employment authorization documents (EADs) in this special teleconference held on January 9, 2018 for members of the Telugu Association of North America (TANA). Now this discussion is available for all stakeholders who rely on MurthyDotCom to stay informed about the U.S. immigration system. The MP3 is available to listen through your browser. It will soon be listed among our iTunes audio offerings.
09 Jan 2018
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on January 8, 2017 that the temporary protected status (TPS) designation for certain nationals of El Salvador will be terminated as of September 9, 2019. Under the Trump Administration, the DHS has announced the termination of TPS designations for citizens of numerous countries, including Haiti, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nicaragua. Read more.
09 Jan 2018
New York City has historically been a beacon for immigrants hoping to build a new life in the United States. As America was emerging as a land of opportunity, millions of immigrants disembarked on the shores of Ellis Island in Upper New York Bay after long, treacherous journeys from their native countries, ready to chase their dreams in an unfamiliar country. The city has remained one of the most diverse regions in the world, a metropolitan melting pot where 48 percent of small business owners and 45 percent of the overall workforce are immigrants. But according to a recent profile in The New York Times, the Trump Administration’s hardline stance on immigration is threatening New York City’s status as a prime destination for immigrants, to the detriment of our nation as a whole. Read more.
09 Jan 2018
It seems that the Trump Administration is no longer pursuing efforts to eliminate extensions of H1B status beyond the standard six-year max, as permitted by the American Competitiveness in the Twenty First Century Act (AC21). The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) noted that it is not seeking to reinterpret section 104(c) of AC21, which allows for three-year extensions based on an approved I-140.
The USCIS further appears to have acknowledged that it has no discretion to deny one-year H1B extensions permitted under AC21 section 106(b). This is consistent with the legal analysis made by the Murthy Law Firm in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, “Legislative Barriers Likely Prevent Trump from Eliminating AC21 H1B Extensions” (03.Jan.2018).
03 Jan 2018
In recent days, news of a potential change in policy related to the American Competitiveness in the Twenty First Century Act (AC21) has begun to spread throughout the legal and immigrant communities. Sources claim that the Trump Administration is considering regulatory changes to the policy regarding H1B extensions beyond the standard 6-year maximum. There certainly are changes to the AC21 regulations that could be made. But, without Congressional approval, the plain language of the statute makes it unlikely that the Administration could completely eliminate the ability of H1B workers to extend status beyond six years. Read more.