New Trump Policy, Effective September 11, Allows Immigration Agency to Summarily Deny Visa Petitions and Green Card Applications With No Chance to Fix Errors
In a significant change from a decades-long government policy, a new USCIS Policy Guidance, effective September 11, 2018, permits USCIS adjudicators to deny an application or petition without first issuing a “Request for Evidence” or “Notice of Intent to Deny” to give the applicant an opportunity to fix what may be a simple filing error by submitting an explanation or additional evidence.
For more from the Miami Herald, read Be careful with your green card or visa application. A mistake can now get you deported
For a copy of the new Policy Memo from USCIS, read Issuance of Certain RFEs and NOIDs; Revisions to Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM) Chapter 10.5(a), Chapter 10.5(b)
Trump Administration Proposes New Rule to Block Visas and Green Cards for Migrants If They or Their Household Members have Used Medicaid, Food Stamps or Housing Aid
On September 22, 2018, the Trump Administration proposed a new 447 page immigration rule intended to reduce the use of many public benefits by prospective immigrants and members of their households. In some cases, even receipt of benefits by household members could result in a denial of green cards or visas to non-citizens.
The new Department of Homeland Security rule entitled “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds” is now undergoing a 60-day public comment period before a final rule is issued. The Kaiser Family Foundation says an earlier version of the new rule could adversely affect nearly 20 million children in immigrant families. Almost 90% of the affected children could be U.S. citizens.
For more details from the New York Times, read Trump Administration Aims to Sharply Restrict New Green Cards for Those on Public Aid
U.S. Foreign-Born Population at Highest Level Since 1910 (Recent Arrivals Mostly From Asia); Also New Report Shows Immigrants Accounted for Two-Thirds of U.S. Economic Growth Since 2011
A new Brookings Institution analysis of recent U.S. Census Data shows the U.S. foreign-born population at 13.7% in 2017 (44.5 million people). Other highlights of the report include: 41% of new arrivals since 2010 are from Asia and 39% are from Latin America. About 45% are college-educated compared with just 30% of people who came to the U.S. from 2000 to 2009.
A new report from Citigroup and Oxford University finds that two-thirds of U.S. GDP Growth since 2011 was “directly attributable to migration” to the U.S. and that cuts to immigration would hurt economic growth and slow innovation.
For more from the New York Times, read U.S. Has Highest Share of Foreign-Born Since 1910, With More Coming From Asia
From National Geographic, read Asian-Americans Make Up Most of the New U.S. Immigrant Population
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Issues New Overview of I-9 Inspection and Enforcement Process Against Non-Compliant U.S. Employers
Since November 6, 1986, all U.S. employers have been required to verify the identity and employment authorization of all newly-hired employees, including U.S. citizens. An employer’s failure to comply with the I-9 rules can result in substantial fines and even criminal penalties.
For details from the Department of Homeland Security, read Form I-9 Inspection Overview
Under Trump Administration, Already Long Waits for Legal Green Card Holders to Become Citizens Get Much Longer; Trump Also Plans New Rule That Could Further Delay or Prevent up to 20 Million Permanent Residents Becoming U.S. Citizens
In 2014, it took the average naturalization applicant about 5 months to complete the citizenship process. Now, in some areas of the U.S. including Washington, D.C., delays can exceed 16 months. NBC News also reports that the Trump administration plans to issue a new rule that could further delay or prevent more than 20 million Lawful Permanent Resident immigrants (also known as “green card” holders) from obtaining U.S. citizenship based on past legal use of certain public benefits for themselves or U.S. citizen members of their households.
This new restriction, delaying or preventing millions of Lawful Permanent Residents from obtaining U.S. citizenship using the existing process that has been in place for more than 60 years, is being promoted by White House Senior Adviser, Stephen Miller, as part of a plan to drastically reduce the number of legal immigrants to the U.S. and to reduce the number of new U.S. citizens. The proposal is controversial. If implemented as planned, it could be the “biggest change to the legal immigration system in decades” and may not require any Congressional approval.
For more from NBC News, read Now the Trump administration wants to limit citizenship for legal immigrants
From the Washington Post, read Under Trump, there’s a growing wait to become a U.S. citizen
CEO’s of Top U.S. Employers (Including Apple, IBM, JPMorgan Chase, and PepsiCo) Push Trump to Ease Immigration Restrictions on High-Skilled Workers; CEO’s Say Trump’s Immigration Policy Threatens the Whole U.S. Economy
In a letter sent August 22, 2018 from the CEO members of the Business Round-table addressed to Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the business leaders decried the sharp increase in delays, requests for additional evidence and denials of H-1B professional work visa petitions under the Trump administration.
The H-1B is the most frequently used U.S. work visa for employers sponsoring professional level and highly skilled workers. Read Frequently Asked Questions About H-1B Temporary Work Status
For details from the New York Times, read Top C.E.O.s Denounce Trump Immigration Policy as Threat to U.S. Economy
From CNN, read Over dinner, CEOs press Trump on Immigration
USCIS Issues New Policy Imposing Harsh Penalties on F-1 and J-1 International Students and Scholars for Violations of Newly Redefined, Complex “Immigration Status” Rules
Effective August 9, 2018, USCIS issued a new Policy Memorandum redefining what it considered “unlawful presence” in the U.S. for F-1, J-1 and M-1 visa holders. F, J and M are the most commonly used visa categories for foreign students studying in the U.S. and for post-doctoral researchers at U.S. colleges and universities, and international medical residents and fellows. The new penalties could cause many F, J and M students, researchers and scholars to become ineligible for certain non-immigrant benefits and may cause them to become inadmissible to the U.S. if they fail to strictly comply with the complex “maintenance of status” immigration regulations that apply to them.
For more from Bloomberg Law, read Government Cracking Down on Student Visa Violators
For more details about the new policy from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) read USCIS Issues Revised Final Guidance on Unlawful Presence for Students and Exchange Visitors
and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), read Policy Memorandum: Accrual of Unlawful Presence and F, J, and M Nonimmigrants
USCIS Announces New Stricter Policy for Adjudications of Work Permission Applications, Immigrant Visa Petitions and Other Applications for Immigration Benefits
On July 13, 2018, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) revoked a 2013 policy to regularly give applicants for work authorization or other immigration benefits an opportunity to respond to a written Request for Evidence (RFE) before denying such applications or petitions. The new policy is expected to lead to an increase in outright denials of many applications and petitions. Critics described it as a return to the “culture of no” that characterized much of the immigration decision-making in the years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. The effective date of the new policy is September 11, 2018. For more information on the new policy:
Trump Administration Adopts New Stricter Screening Policy for Asylum Seekers – Many More Applications Expected to be Summarily Denied Without a Full Hearing
On July 12, 2018, the Trump Administration issued new policy guidance that is expected to result in potentially thousands of people, seeking refuge in the U.S., being summarily refused entry into the country. Under the new harsher policy, persons seeking refuge or temporary asylum in the U.S. based upon fears of gang violence and domestic violence may be summarily rejected at the border with no opportunity for any trial or full hearing of their claims. Implementation of the new stricter asylum-screening policy is expected to be challenged in the federal courts, as cases are denied.
USCIS Announces New Policy Affecting More Than One Million F-1 and J-1 Students and Researchers – New “Unlawful Presence” Memo Creates Harsh Penalties for Non-Compliance with Complex Rules
On May 10, 2018, USCIS issued a far-reaching new Policy Memo, effective August 9, 2018, that will directly affect more than 1 million current and former F-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors and their spouses and children. The new policy imposes harsh new penalties, including possible 3 or 10 year bars, on individuals who commit even minor violations of the complex and vaguely defined “maintenance of status” rules for F-1 and J-1 students and scholars. For more about the new policy from the American Immigration Council, click here. For more from USCIS, click here.
USCIS Completes Data Entry on H-1B Work Visa Petitions Selected in the April 2018 Lottery – Petition Adjudication Process Begins Now
On May 15, 2018, USCIS announced that it had completed data entry on all H-1B petitions selected in the lottery. 190,098 petitions were submitted for the 85,000 available new H-1 cap-subject work visas. No more new cap-subject H-1B work visa petition approvals will be available until 2019. The H-1 is the most commonly used temporary work visa for newly-hired professional workers. H-1 workers are generally required to have at least a four-year degree in a specific field and a job offer that requires such a degree. For more from USCIS, click here and here. For FAQ’s about H-1 work visas, click here.
H-1B Work Visa Cap is Reached in 5 Days – No More New Quota-Subject H-1B Work Visas Available Until 2019
USCIS received 190,098 new petitions from employers for H-1B work visas to become effective October 1, 2018. By Congressional mandate, only 85,000 new cap-subject H-1B petitions are permitted each fiscal year. “Winners” of the H-1B work visa lottery were selected randomly by computer for further processing and adjudication. The H-1 is the most commonly used temporary work visa for newly-hired professional workers. H-1 workers are generally required to have at least a four-year university degree in a specific field and a job offer that requires such a degree. For more details from USCIS, click here and here. For FAQ’s about H-1 work visas, click here.
Trump Establishes New National Vetting Center to Further Increase Screening of Individuals Seeking to Enter the U.S.
On February 5, President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum creating a new National Vetting Center to more aggressively and thoroughly screen all non-citizen individuals seeking visas or immigration benefits. The National Vetting Center will coordinate information about non-citizens who may present a threat to national security, border security or public safety. The new center will have access to extensive information from law enforcement agencies, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the State Department and the U.S. intelligence community. Further operation plans for the new Vetting Center are expected after August 15, 2018. For details from DHS, click here, the White House here; from CNN, and the Washington Post click here and here.
USCIS Expands Credit Card Payment Option for Filing Fees
On February 14, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will now accept credit card payments for filing fees for most forms. For more details from USCIS, click here.
Free Online Feature that Allows Visa Waiver Travelers to Track Departure Date
Visa Waiver travelers (90 day visitors for business or pleasure) can use a free online service from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to track how many days longer they may stay in the U.S. on each visit. For details from CBP, click here. For FAQ’s on the Visa Waiver Program, click here.