Automatic Termination of Optional Practical Training for F-1 Students If They Transfer to a Different School or Begin Study at Another Educational Level

USCIS reminds F-1 students on Optional Practical Training (OPT) that transferring to another school or beginning study at another educational level (for example, beginning a master’s program after completing a bachelor’s degree) automatically terminates their OPT as well as their corresponding employment authorization document (EAD). 

Although authorization to engage in OPT ends upon transferring to a different school or changing educational level, students in F-1 status will not be otherwise affected as long as they comply with all requirements for maintaining their student status. These requirements include not working with a terminated EAD, because termination means that students are no longer authorized to work in the United States. Working in the United States without authorization has serious immigration consequences, including removal from the country and bars on reentry. Furthermore, remaining in the United States in violation of lawful nonimmigrant status could lead to an accrual of unlawful presence which includes another set of penalties under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Currently, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) informs USCIS of the termination date, and the OPT termination is automatic under current regulations. USCIS has updated its systems and will begin to enter the EAD termination date into these systems after being notified by SEVP. USCIS will notify affected students and provide them with an opportunity to correct any errors in the record via their designated school official (DSO). This process is intended to strengthen the integrity of the F-1 and OPT programs, to ensure consistency between SEVP and USCIS systems, and to inform students of possible consequences of working with a terminated EAD. 

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Jeff Sessions just reopened the door to deporting 350,000 immigrants whose cases had been closed

Attorney General Sessions’s latest ruling could make the years-long backlog in immigration courts much worse.

By Dara Linddara@vox.com  May 21, 2018, 1:10pm EDT

"... Most immigrants who are apprehended in the US without papers have a right to a hearing in immigration court to determine whether they can be deported and whether they qualify for some form of legal status or other relief from deportation. The same process exists for people who are caught crossing into the US but who claim to be eligible for some sort of relief, like asylum, and pass an initial screening. In both cases, only after the judge issues a final order of removal can the immigrant be deported..."

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Recall on approximately 8543 GreenCards!!!

On May 14, 2018,

USCIS will begin recalling approximately 8,543 Permanent Resident Cards (also known as Green Cards) due to a production error. The Green Cards were for approved Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions of Residence for spouses of U.S. citizens. The cards were printed with an incorrect “Resident Since” date and mailed between February and April 2018.

USCIS will send notices to individuals who received the incorrect Green Cards and to their attorneys of record, if they have one. The affected individuals should return their incorrect Green Card to USCIS in the provided pre-paid envelope within 20 days of receiving the notice. They may also return their cards to USCIS field offices. USCIS will send replacement Green Cards within 15 days of receiving the incorrect card.

The recall does not affect these Green Card holders’ status as lawful permanent residents. If affected individuals need to travel internationally or prove their lawful permanent residence while they wait for a replacement card, they may contact the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283 to determine if they need additional proof.

Spouses of U.S. citizens may apply for naturalization after three years of permanent residency and must meet other requirements. The incorrect date on these cards could lead applicants to wait longer than necessary to apply to become U.S. citizens.

WHAT IS TPS

TPS was established by Congress in the Immigration Act of 1990.

It’s a humanitarian program whose basic principle is that the United States should suspend deportations to countries that have been destabilized by war or catastrophe.

Secretary of homeland security can extend TPS protections as a result of ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster, or “other extraordinary and temporary conditions,”

Foreign nationals with TPS protections are generally able to obtain work authorization and a driver’s license, but the TPS designation is subject to U.S. government review and can only be extended for up to 18 months.

Salvadorans are by far the largest group of TPS holders.

ALERT: 

On May 4, 2018, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen announced her decision to terminate the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Honduras with a delayed effective date of 18 months to allow for an orderly transition before the designation terminates on Jan. 5, 2020. Do not pay for or submit any form until USCIS updates official re-registration

 

https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status/temporary-protected-status-designated-country-honduras

Caravan of migrants hope to enter the United States to seek asylum

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Hundreds of Central American migrants may decide this weekend to cross the U.S border from Mexico to seek asylum at the San Ysidro port of entry.

Two San Diego attorneys we consulted say the asylum process is lengthy and far more involved than some might think. Immigration attorney Michelle Stavros said only about 50 percent of asylum applicants are approved.

The percentage is even lower for people from Central America and Mexico, with still fewer asylum requests being granted if the person lacks legal representation.

Once a person requests asylum, they are held in detention, first to be screened through what’s called a “credible fear” interview and then to await a hearing by a judge. Applicants must prove in an interview with officers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement that they have a “credible fear” of persecution or personal harm if they return to their home country.

“We can’t give asylum to anybody who has a fear of being harmed in their country. They have to have a very specific reason,” said Stavros.

The group now waiting in Tijuana is composed of migrants from Central American countries like Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, who have made the trek across Mexico an annual event for the last several years. Many of the migrants are women and children.

President Trump has been highly critical of the group’s travel this year and the Secretary of Homeland Security has warned that anyone who enters the United States illegally will be referred for prosecution.

Immigration attorney Ginger Jacobs said the group in Tijuana plans to present themselves at the San Ysidro port of entry and request asylum in an orderly fashion. Jacobs said it is not enough for the applicant to merely state they are in fear for their lives.

After the interview, which establishes that the applicant actually has a legitimate basis for their asylum request, there must be a trial hearing before a judge, in order for asylum to be formally granted.

“Nobody is like handing out asylum like driver’s licenses,” said Jacobs. While waiting for a decision, the applicant may be held in detention for a period of six months and in some cases, for years.

Welcome to the United States A Guide for New Immigrants

Your Rights and Responsibilities as a Permanent Resident

 

As a permanent resident, you are expected to consider the United States your home and to respect and obey this country’s laws. Being a permanent resident also means that you have new rights and responsibilities. Being a permanent resident is a privilege, not a right. The U.S. government can take away your permanent resident status under certain conditions. You must maintain your permanent resident status if you want to live and work in the United States and become a citizen one day. In this section, you will learn what it means to be a permanent resident and what you need to do to maintain your permanent resident status.

What You Can Do As a permanent resident,

You have many rights and freedoms. In return, you have some responsibilities. One important responsibility is to get involved in your community. You should also learn about American culture, history, and government. You can do this by taking adult education classes and reading local newspapers.

Please click on the link to find the complete manual.

https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/nativedocuments/M-618.pdf

 

 

 

Would You Pass the Green Card Marriage Interview?

By Shreeya Sinha and Sean Plambeck

April 19, 2018

Every marriage is tested at times, some more literally than others.

The marriages of immigrants to American citizens must stand up to the scrutiny of the United States government, which is always on the lookout for people gaming the system for a green card.

When did you meet? Does your spouse have a tattoo? What movies did you watch when you started dating? (One tip: Don’t say “Green Card.”) Couples must prove that their relationships are real by providing proof they live together or photographs of their time together.

Still, officials and immigration lawyers caution that answering all of the questions correctly doesn’t necessarily result in a green card. And lately, the bar has been a lot higher for immigrants in the country illegally.

Here is a sampling of questions gathered from immigration lawyers that you can test with your partner. (In the real world, officers can separate applicants to make sure they’re not gaming the system.) The questions will get more difficult as we go on.

  • How did you meet?

  • How soon after you met did you start dating?

  • When did you meet each other’s families?

  • How did you decide on getting married?

  • Where did you buy the ring?

  • What was the wedding like and who attended?

  • What did you do afterward?

  • Where did you eat?

The goal is to tell the immigration officer your love story.

In approaching the interviews, immigration officers assume the relationship is a fraud. The green card process is long and drawn out, and the burden of proof is on the couple. Anyone caught lying could face prison time and a fine of up to $250,000. The immigrant could also be barred from getting a marriage-based green card ever again.

“We have seen more scrutiny and more questions about marriage lately,” said Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch, an immigration lawyer in Austin.

Depending on the interview, an immigration officer might also ask more difficult questions:

  • Draw me a diagram of your bedroom.

  • How do you enter your home?

  • What subway does your spouse take?

  • What did you do last night?

  • What did you do for Christmas?

  • What gift did you give your spouse?

  • When was the last time your spouse saw their mother-in-law?

  • Where did you first meet your spouse’s brothers and sisters?

  • Does your spouse have any tattoos or hospitalizations?

The officer could also do a number of other things:

  • Visit your home or park outside to see if you both actually live there.

  • Talk to your neighbors.

  • Dive into public records.

If the immigration officer is still not convinced once the process is complete, the applicant could receive a notice of intent to deny. The applicant has a chance to respond and, if the response is denied, file a new petition or appeal, which can be expensive. In some cases, applicants are referred to immigration court. Red flags that immigration officials look for are disparities in age, religious and linguistic differences, and if either person has already been through the immigration process with someone else.

One tip from an immigration lawyer: Have an attorney present during the interview, and make eye contact, which in some cultures is not the norm. An officer could “judge this person through the lens of American culture, even though that person could be newly in the U.S.,” said Michael R. Jarecki, an immigration lawyer in Chicago.

Here's a timeline of DACA under Trump:

Here's a timeline of DACA under Trump:

    September 5, 2017: Trump announced an end to the DACA program, which protected young undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children from deportation. President Barack Obama instituted the work permits and protections in 2012.

    September 13: Trump has dinner with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi at the White House, after which the two Democrats say they agreed in broad strokes to a DACA-border security deal that doesn't include Trump's wall. Trump initially seems on the same page, then the White House and Republicans walk it back. Trump tweets about how "good, educated and accomplished" DACA recipients are.

    October 8: The White House unveils what it calls its priorities for a DACA deal, a laundry list of aggressive conservative immigration measures that Democrats and a handful of Republicans rejected as rife with poison pills.

    November 1: After a terrorist attack in New York City, Trump begins to emphasize ending the diversity visa lottery and family-based migration.

    November 2: Republican lawmakers meet with Trump at the White House and rule out attaching any DACA deal to year-end funding bill before a possible shutdown.

    December 21: Lawmakers pass government funding into the new year and leave town without a deal, despite Democrats' previous pledges to not go home without one.

    January 9: Trump holds bipartisan meeting at the White House that cameras televise for nearly an hour. He indicates multiple times he is willing to compromise on DACA, despite some contradictions within the meetings, and says "when this group comes back -- hopefully with an agreement -- this group and others from the Senate, from the House, comes back with an agreement, I'm signing it." The so-called "four pillars" also come out of this meeting -- that a deal shall include DACA, family-based migration, the diversity lottery and border security.

    January 9: Federal court puts hold on Trump's plan to end DACA, ordering renewals of permits to continue but no new applications.

    January 11After months of meetings, Democrat Dick Durbin and Republican Lindsey Graham go to the White House to propose to Trump a compromise worked out by their group of six bipartisan senators. The offer includes a path to citizenship for eligible young immigrants, the first year of Trump's border wall funding, ending the diversity visa lottery and reallocating those visas, and restricting the ability of former DACA recipients to sponsor family.

    Trump and the White House invite hardline Republicans to the meeting and he rejects the deal, making his now-infamous "shithole countries" comment in the process.

    January 19: House before a government funding deadline, Schumer and Trump meet for lunch at the White House. Schumer offered Trump the upwards of $20 billion he wanted for his border wall in exchange for a pathway to citizenship for the eligible immigrant population. The deal is rejected, and government shuts down at midnight.

    January 22: Government reopens after Republicans Graham and Jeff Flake secure a public commitment from Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell to hold a future immigration floor vote. Bipartisan negotiations resume.

    January 25: White House releases its proposal for a DACA deal under the four pillars, which includes a generous path to citizenship for eligible immigrants, but also a number of impossible-to-swallow provisions for Democrats and some Republicans under the auspices of family-based migration and border security.

    February 14: A bipartisan group of senators unveils a compromise plan, which includes $25 billion for the border, a pathway to citizenship for the immigrants, cuts to one slim category of family-based migration and prevents the parents who brought their children to the US illegally from ever being sponsored for citizenship by those children.

    February 15: White House goes all out to stop the bipartisan compromise deal, which fails to get the necessary 60 votes in the Senate, with 54 votes.

    February 26: Supreme Court declines to take up an immediate appeal of court decisions resuming DACA renewals, ensuring no deportations of DACA recipients for months and taking pressure of Congress.

    March 14With roughly a week to go before the major government spending package known as the omnibus must pass, White House suddenly signals a desire for a DACA-border deal. Publicly, the White House says they oppose a temporary fix.

    March 22: Congress passes an omnibus without DACA, virtually ensuring it will not be addressed before midterms.

    March 23Trump signs the omnibus, rails on Democrats for, he says, not caring about DACA.