03 Jun 2019
On May 10, 2019, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) updated the Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM) to reduce the circumstances under which the USCIS will consider granting a case expedited treatment. In general, the USCIS has the authority to grant an expedite request on an application or petition that is not eligible for premium processing service. The USCIS lists several criteria that can be used as a basis to make an expedite request, and then uses its discretion on a case-by-case bases to determine whether to grant the request. Read more.
30 May 2019
A lawsuit challenging a number of recent H1B policies enacted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has begun to heat up. IT Serve Alliance v. USCIS is the lawsuit filed by a group of IT consulting companies who are members of the organization called IT Serve Alliance. The suit focuses on certain USCIS practices and policies that appear to be designed to adversely impact IT consulting firms and their business model. Read more.
27 May 2019
On May 16, 2019, President Trump unveiled a legislative proposal for immigration reform, an issue that has been a lightning rod for controversy since he took office in January 2017. The proposal, spearheaded by the President’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, aims to recalibrate the current immigration system by increasing security at the border, reforming the asylum process, and curbing family-based immigration in favor of a “merit-based” system that would prioritize academic and professional credentials. While the proposal has garnered a great deal of media attention, there appears to be little chance that it will result in any new laws – certainly not before the November 3, 2020 presidential election. Read more.
20 May 2019
The Trump Administration has released a memorandum that is ostensibly designed to combat “the large numbers of aliens who overstay their period of lawful admission… .” The memo focuses primarily on those who overstay B-1/B-2 business / visitor status and those who overstay following admission under the visa waiver program (VWP). Read more.
03 May 2019
Today, a federal district court judge ordered immigration officials to temporarily cease enforcement of the August 9, 2018 policy memorandum that greatly expanded the situations in which those in F, J, or M status may begin accruing unlawful presence. This order stems from a lawsuit filed by a number of colleges and universities against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) following the release of the memo, entitled, Accrual of Unlawful Presence and F, J, and M Nonimmigrants. Read more.
25 Apr 2019
A recent report released by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that conducts public policy research on trade, immigration, education, and other issues, provides further confirmation that the Trump Administration has radically changed how the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is adjudicating H1B petitions. In the report, the NFAP analyzed USCIS data regarding denial rates for H1B petitions filed since fiscal year 2009 (FY 2009). Unsurprisingly, the report found that the denial rate has soared in the past several years, and continues to increase under the Trump Administration. Read more.
24 Apr 2019
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has reported on developing changes in adjudication policies related to L-1 petitions at several ports of entry (POEs) along the U.S. / Canada border. According to AILA, numerous practitioners have reported that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers are refusing to process L-1 petitions for Canadians who previously have been granted L-1 status. This policy is affecting both individual L-1 petitions (I-129) and blanket L-1 petitions (I-129S). Read more.
15 Apr 2019
On March 27, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York granted summary judgment to a Canadian physician who sued the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) after U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) refused him admission to the United States in H1B status. CBP denied admission to the physician because he was subject to a two-year home residency requirement (HRR). However, immigration law has long been interpreted to not prohibit admission of a Canadian citizen in H1B status based on an HRR. The physician therefore challenged CBP’s decision in federal court. Read more.
11 Apr 2019
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it will be closing all international operations (IO) division offices by the end of 2019. The USCIS IO division is comprised of 24 field offices in 21 foreign countries. These offices have served as hubs for people outside of the U.S. – typically U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who are living overseas – filing certain types of petitions and applications, such as petition for alien relative (form I-130) and application for waiver of grounds of inadmissibility (form I-601). The functions of the IO will be moved to domestic offices and the State Department’s embassies and consulates. Read more.
13 Mar 2019
Under the Trump Administration, a troubling trend has emerged with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that evidences a radical reinterpretation of regulations regarding the use of curricular practical training (CPT) and optional practical training (OPT) by F-1 students in certain circumstances. The USCIS is now taking the position, at least in some cases, that an F-1 student who partook in one year or more of CPT or OPT is not eligible to subsequently participate in CPT employment at the same educational level. Read more.
12 Mar 2019
While running for office, President Trump campaigned, in part, on his ability to run the country “like a business.” It seems incongruous, then, that a president with such a self-professed flair for business acumen would retain a deep-seated distrust of immigrants as a fundamental element of his/her presidency. After all, study after study has demonstrated that immigrants keep the U.S. economy humming. Read more.
07 Mar 2019
A proposed bill, introduced in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, would eliminate the per-country limits on employment-based (EB) immigrant visa categories, and lift the limit for family-based (FB) categories. If passed into law, it would transform the backlogs in the monthly visa bulletin dramatically for both EB and FB cases, and would be especially beneficial to EB applicants born in India and China, and FB applicants born in Mexico. For a more detailed explanation of the visa bulletin and per-country limits, see the MurthyDotCom InfoArticle, Priority Dates: How Does the Visa Bulletin Work? (27.Oct.2015). Read more.
21 Feb 2019
Yesterday, the proposed regulation to terminate the program that allows certain H-4 spouses to obtain employment authorization was submitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This is one of the required steps in the formal rulemaking process, and signals that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) could publish the proposed rule within a few weeks. Once the proposed rule is published, it will still have to go through the remaining steps of the rulemaking process, which includes a public comment period. Only after a final rule is published – a process expected to take at least several months – could the H-4 EAD program be terminated.
For the time being, the H-4 EAD program remains in effect, unchanged. Assuming the final rule eventually is implemented, it is not yet clear what impact this will have on those with existing H-4 EADs or pending I-765 applications for H-4 EADs.
14 Feb 2019
President Trump indicated today that he will sign a spending bill that funds the federal government through September 30, 2019, despite the fact that it does not include the funding he demanded to build a wall on the U.S. / Mexico border. The bill will also extend several immigration programs for the same period, including the employment-based, fifth preference (EB5) regional center program and the employment-based, fourth preference (EB4) non-minister religious worker program.
President Trump also revealed that he will declare a national emergency in order to use federal money to build the border wall without Congressional authorization. This use of emergency powers by the President will almost certainly be challenged in federal court.
11 Feb 2019
A federal district court judge in New York has blocked the Trump Administration from adding a controversial question regarding citizenship status on the 2020 census. The Administration claims the question is needed in order to protect minority-voting blocs. Critics, however, argue that the question is designed to intimidate and discriminate against immigrant communities. Read more.
25 Jan 2019
President Trump has agreed to support a bill that would reopen the government through February 15, 2019. Congress is expected to quickly pass the bill, perhaps as soon as sometime this evening. The bill would not include any funding for President Trump’s proposed wall on the U.S. / Mexico border.
Although details are not yet available, the bill is expected to also reauthorize various immigration programs, including the regional center portion of the employment-based, fifth preference (EB5).
10 Jan 2019
Since taking office, the Trump Administration has instituted numerous policies to make it more difficult for foreign nationals – including international students – to come to the United States. This has highlighted the need for caution among current and potential F-1 students when selecting the colleges and universities they will attend. The fate of such students is often tied to the practices of their respective schools. Read more.
02 Jan 2019
Over the past two years, President Trump has transformed the immigration landscape in the United States. At every turn, he has pushed for harsher immigration policies and a greater emphasis on enforcement. Many of his immigration actions have been strongly supported by his base, and much of the Republican Party. But, when it came to light that the Trump Administration was routinely separating migrant children from their parents, the condemnation was swift and bipartisan. Even many of the President’s supporters have trouble defending the practice. Read more.