Current Administration & Immigration

When there is a change in the party controlling the White House, we can expect shifts, rollbacks, and some raveling of existing policies. Action taken since the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump has proven more vigorous than most. This portal has been established to provide readers with links to follow important changes that may affect immigrants, employers of immigrants, or the immigration process.

 

NewsFlash! USCIS Issues Final Version of Unlawful Presence Memo for F, J, and M Nonimmigrants

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.

 

Unlawful Presence Memo for F, J, and M Nonimmigrants Presumably Now in Effect

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.

 

CNN: Judge Upholds Ruling that DACA Must be Restored

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.

 

NewsFlash! USCIS Delays Implementation of NTA Memo

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.

 

USCIS Notice to Appear Memo Could Result in Harsh Consequences

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.

 

NewsFlash! New Memo Makes it Easier for USCIS to Deny Cases Without First Issuing RFE or NOID

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.

 

NewsFlash! USCIS to Place Far More Foreign Nationals in Removal Proceeding, Per New Memo

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.

 

SEVP Broadcast Message on OPT Volunteer Work

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.

 

Trump Administration Imposes New Restrictions on Asylum for Victims of Violence

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.

 

MurthyBlog: No, Mr. President, Undocumented Immigrants are Not Causing a Crime Wave

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.

 

NewsFlash! Supreme Court Upholds Trump’s Travel Ban

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.

 

Proposed Removal of the International Entrepreneur Program

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.

 

MurthyBlog: Attorneys Represent at AILA Annual Conference

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.

 

Updated Rulemaking Agenda Again Lays Out Trump’s Harsh Plans for Foreign Nationals

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.

 

Trump Administration to End TPS for Nepal, Effective June 24, 2019

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.

 

Trump Administration Creates Quota System for Immigration Judges

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.

 

9,000 Nepalis Face Deportation as Trump Administration Prepares to Cancel Residency Permits

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.

 

Federal Judge Orders Government to Continue DACA and Accept New Applicants, in Toughest Blow Yet to Trump’s Efforts to End Program

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.

 

MurthyBlog: Literature Tackling Immigration in the Trump Era

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.

 

NewsFlash! Proposed Rule to Terminate H-4 EAD Program Delayed Until June or Later

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.

 

Analysis of USCIS Memo on H1B Workers Placed Offsite

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.

 

NewsFlash! Supreme Court Refuses Trump’s Request to Review DACA Injunction

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.

 

USCIS Releases Memo on Required Documentation for H1B Workers Placed Offsite

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.

 

Federal Appeals Court Grants Abeyance in H-4 EAD Lawsuit, but Program Still in Jeopardy

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.

 

NewsFlash! Senate Fails to Pass DACA, Border Security Bill

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.

 

Federal Judge Rules Against Trump in His Push to End DACA

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.

 

Trump Orders Creation of National Vetting Center to Screen Foreign Nationals

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.

 

Tech Heavyweights Urge Trump to Keep H-4 EAD Rule in Place

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.

 

NewsFlash! White House Unveils Proposed Immigration Reform Plan to Congress

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.

 

NewsFlash! Supreme Court to Hear Travel Ban Case

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.

 

NewsFlash! Trump Administration Asking Supreme Court to Overturn DACA Injunction

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.

 

USCIS Resumes Accepting DACA Renewal Applications Following Court Order

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.

 

Federal Judge Delivers Temporary Relief for DACA Recipients

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.

 

MurthyAudio: H-4 EAD Under the Trump Administration

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.

 

TPS for El Salvador Being Terminated, Effective September 9, 2019

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.

 

MurthyBlog: Immigration Under President Trump – America’s Loss is Canada’s Gain

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.

 

NewsFlash! Trump Administration Abandons Attempts to End AC21 H1B Extensions

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).

 

Legislative Barriers Likely Prevent Trump from Eliminating AC21 H1B Extensions

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.

 

Find 2017 entries here.

 

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