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.