Fairfax County, Virginia (CNN)The Trump administration Monday overturned asylum protections for domestic violence and gang violence victims in a ruling that could potentially prevent tens of thousands of immigrants from getting protection in the US.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions' decision sets a high bar for victims of crime to qualify for asylum protections. Not only must the government of the home country be unable or unwilling to help the victims, but "the applicant must show that the government condoned the private actions or demonstrated an inability to protect the victims."
The ruling is the latest instance of Sessions taking full advantage of his authority over the immigration courts -- a separate court system designed by law to be under the auspices of the Justice Department. The attorney general functions as a one-person Supreme Court in the system, in addition to hiring and evaluating the lower court judges themselves.
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On May 31, 2018, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began receiving H-2B petitions under the temporary final rule increasing the numerical limit, or cap, on H-2B nonimmigrant visas by up to 15,000 additional visas through the end of fiscal year (FY) 2018.
In the first five business days of filing, USCIS received petitions for more beneficiaries than the number of H-2B visas available under the FY 2018 supplemental cap. Accordingly, regulations required USCIS to use a computer-generated selection process, commonly known as a lottery, to randomly select enough petitions to meet, but not exceed, the increased H-2B cap for FY 2018. USCIS ran this lottery on June 7, 2018, and on June 11, 2018, began issuing notifications to the petitioners that were selected.
USCIS will reject and return unselected petitions with their filing fees, as well as any cap-subject petitions received after June 6, 2018.
Petitions accepted for processing will have a receipt date of June 11, 2018. Premium processing service for these petitions begins on that receipt date.
Only employers whose petitions were accepted will receive receipt notices.
A petition may be denied if USCIS discovers, after a petition has been filed, that an original approved temporary labor certification (TLC) was not submitted with the petition in accordance with the Form I-129 instructions, or if a petitioner requests more workers than were certified on the TLC. USCIS will not refund fees for a petition that has been denied.
USCIS continues to accept H-2B petitions that are exempt from, or not counted towards, the cap. These include petitions for:
- Current H-2B workers in the United States seeking to extend their stay and, if applicable, change the terms of their employment or change their employers;
- Fish roe processors, fish roe technicians, or supervisors of fish roe processing; and
- Workers performing labor or services in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam, until Dec. 31, 2019.
U.S. businesses use the H-2B program to employ foreign workers for temporary nonagricultural jobs. Congress has set the H-2B cap at 66,000 per fiscal year, with 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the first half of the fiscal year (Oct. 1 – March 31) and 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the second half of the fiscal year (April 1 – Sept. 30).
The 15,000 additional visas for FY 2018 are available only to American businesses which, among other requirements, attest that they will likely suffer irreparable harm without the ability to employ all the H-2B workers requested in their petition.
Additional information is available at Cap Count for H-2B Nonimmigrants.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada and Mexico. The TN nonimmigrant classification permits qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary entry into the United States to engage in business activities at a professional level.
Among the types of professionals who are eligible to seek admission as TN nonimmigrants are accountants, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers. You may be eligible for TN nonimmigrant status, if:
- You are a citizen of Canada or Mexico;
- Your profession qualifies under the regulations;
- The position in the United States requires a NAFTA professional;
- You have a prearranged full-time or part-time job with a U.S. employer (but not self-employment - see documentation required below); and
- You have the qualifications to practice in the profession in question.
The new policy, which becomes effective August 9, 2018, provides that nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors will start accruing unlawful presence either:
(1) the day after the visa holder no longer pursues the course of study or the authorized activity, or the day after they engage in an unauthorized activity; or
(2) the day after they complete the course of study or program, including any authorized practical training plus any authorized grace period.
In addition, visa holders start accruing unlawful presence on:
(3) the day after their I-94 expires; or
(4) the day after an immigration judge orders their deportation or removal of the individual.
If you are currently a foreign student or exchange visitor and or even an employer of an F, J or M visa holder and have more questions about the new policy please contact our office.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is seeking public comments on a proposed rule to end a program that allows certain foreign entrepreneurs to be considered for parole to temporarily come to the United States to develop and build start-up businesses here, known as the International Entrepreneur Rule (IE Final Rule).
Read the notice of proposed rulemaking published in the Federal Register on May 29, 2018: Removal of the International Entrepreneur Parole Program. The public has until June 28, 2018 to comment. To submit comments, follow the instructions in the notice.
DHS is now proposing to eliminate the IE Final Rule because the department believes that it represents an overly broad interpretation of parole authority, lacks sufficient protections for U.S. workers and investors, and is not the appropriate vehicle for attracting and retaining international entrepreneurs.
By statute, DHS has discretionary authority to parole individuals into the United States temporarily, on a case-by-case basis, for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. After reviewing DHS parole programs in accordance with the Executive Order titled Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements, issued on Jan. 25, 2017, DHS is proposing to remove regulations published as part of the IE Final Rule. DHS concluded that the IE Final Rule created a complex and highly-structured program that was best established by the legislative process rather than relying on an unorthodox use of the Secretary’s authority to “temporarily” parole, in a categorical way, aliens based on “significant public benefit”.
The Immigration and Nationality Act already provides for visa classifications that enable certain entrepreneurs to start businesses and work in the United States, such as the E-2 nonimmigrant classification and the EB-5 immigrant classification. DHS is committed to reviewing all existing employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant visa programs to ensure program integrity and protect the interests of U.S. investors and workers.
The proposed changes do not take effect with the publication of the notice of proposed rulemaking. Instead, an effective date would be indicated when the final rule is published in the Federal Register
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.
Attorney General Sessions’s latest ruling could make the years-long backlog in immigration courts much worse.
"... 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..."
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.