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US Immigration News

   

Update: DHS files regulation to cancel H-4 EAD (but H-4 EAD still available for now!)

On February 20, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) filed a proposed regulation with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. The regulation is titled “Removing H-4 Dependent Spouses from the Class of Aliens Eligible for Employment Authorization.” The regulation itself will not be published until the review by OMB is complete. However, the title of the Regulation leaves no doubt that the Trump Administration has taken an important next step to eliminate the H-4 EAD. It usually takes about 60 days for OMB to complete its review. At that point the proposed regulation will be published…

USCIS resumes premium processing for most H-1B petitions

As of Monday, January 28, 2019, USCIS resumed premium processing of pending H-1B petitions subject to the FY 2019 annual cap. These were mostly petitions with long standing RFEs which have not yet been finalized by USCIS. Many beneficiaries of these petitions have been unable to work since October 1, 2018 because their “cap gap” OPT extensions expired on that date. These petitions have all been pending for ten months since they were filed April 1, 2018. On February 19, 2019,  USCIS resumed premium processing for all H-1B petitions filed on or before December 21, 2018 regardless of category. Premium…

Still no regulation to repeal H-4 EAD, so Court action resumes

The Fall regulatory Agenda of the Department of Homeland Security stated that the proposed rule to eliminate the H-4 EAD would be published in November 2018. However, as of the date of this post – December 20 2018 – there is still no regulation published. DHS previously had announced the new regulation would be published in February 2018. This was then pushed back to June 2018 and then to November. This would be a proposed rule to eliminate the H-4 EAD. It will not end the H-4 EAD immediately. There will be a period allowed for public notice and comment,…

Democrats take over House – what does it mean for immigration?

The U.S. midterm elections resulted in a “blue wave” of votes for Democratic Party candidates in the U.S. House of Representatives. Close to 40 seats changed hands from Republican to Democrat. This means the Democratic party will have a large majority in the House of Representatives. The Republican Party will still have a slim majority in the U.S. Senate. For a bill to become law in the United States, the bill must be passed by both the House and the Senate, and signed by the President. In the previous Congress, the Republican Party could pass laws without the support of…

Update on third Trump travel ban

***UPDATE*** On June 26, 2018 the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, upheld the third Trump travel ban (as described below) in its entirety. The Supreme Court decision, including the inspiring and furious dissent by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, may be found by clicking here. As of October 24, 2017, all provisions of the second Trump travel ban (Travel Ban 2.0) have expired. Due to the federal court injunctions issued by federal courts in Hawaii and Maryland, many of these provisions were never enforced, at least against persons with significant ties to persons or organizations in the United States. Also…

USCIS continues to process DACA renewals

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services continues to process renewals for current and previous DACA recipients. Despite the cancellation of DACA by President Donald Trump in September 2017, federal district courts in both the Second Circuit and Ninth Circuit have issued orders keeping DACA in place. Appeals are pending in both courts. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to expedite the appeals of these cases. All eligible persons with current or previous DACA classification should file for renewals now while the court orders remain in effect. It is not necessary to wait until six months before your DACA expires. If you have…

H-1B Cap Reached for FY 2019

USCIS announced on April 6, 2018 that the H-1B cap has been reached for both the 65,000 “bachelor’s cap” visas as well as the additional 20,000 visas for persons holding U.S. master’s degrees. As a result, USCIS held a lottery to determine which petitions will be accepted, and which will be returned to the petitioners. A total of 190,098 petitions were received. This is down from 199,000 the previous year. USCIS selects about 100,000 petitions in all to account for denials and withdrawals. Therefore, the chance of success for any given applicant is around 50% to 60%. Master degree applicants…

Trump cancels DACA program to outrage of millions

On September 5, 2017, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program would be cancelled. Sessions’s announcement was a hate-filled blistering attack on Dreamers, referring to them as criminals, and accusing them of stealing the jobs of hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens. Opposition to the announcement was immediate and continues to grow across the country. We call on all decent minded Americans to contact your U.S. Representative and Senators to demand the passage of new legislation to restore the DACA program including a path to permanent status for DACA recipients. In a…

“Hire American” – What does it mean for H-1Bs?

On April 18, 2017 President Trump signed a new executive order described as “Buy American and Hire American.” News accounts and presidential speeches suggested the new Executive Order would severely restrict the availability of H-1B visas. This order came out just a few days after completion of the 2017 H-1B filing season and the H-1B lottery, when H-1Bs were already in the news. During the campaign, Trump had threatened to abolish the H-1B program entirely. In reality, the new Order does not change the existing H-1B program in any way. The only specific reference to H-1Bs stated: “In order to…