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US Immigration News

   

Trump weighs ending “7th Year” extensions

Bombshell news rocked the H-1B community in the waning hours of 2017, as rumors swirled that the Trump administration is looking for ways to end “7th year extensions” for H-1B visa holders. Under the law, H-1B status is limited to six years in the U.S. After that, the person must leave the U.S. for at least one year, and is then subject to the H-1B cap once again. However, if you have an approved I-140 immigrant worker petition – or you have a labor certification or standalone I-140 that has been pending for at least one year – you are…

Ninth Circuit affirms order blocking travel ban 3.0, but Supreme Court allows ban to take effect pending appeals

On December 4, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay of the injunctions issued by the Maryland and Hawaii District Courts against the latest Trump travel ban. The effect of this stay is that the travel ban announced by presidential “proclamation” on September 24, 2017 has been allowed to take effect. The Hawaii order is on appeal to the Ninth Circuit, and the Maryland order is on appeal to the Fourth Circuit. The stay means that the orders blocking the travel ban will be suspended during the course of the appeals. On Friday, December 22, 2017, the Ninth Circuit…

Trump administration proposes to repeal H-4 EAD regulation

On December 20, 2017 the Trump administration released its regulatory agenda for the coming year. Included in the agenda is a new regulation to repeal the H-4 EAD. The H-4 EAD allows the spouses of certain H-1B workers to obtain open work permits. In most cases this is limited to H-1B employees with approved I-140s. According to the regulatory agenda, a proposed rule will be announced in February 2018. A proposed rule does not take affect immediately. There must first be a period of notice and comment. It is possible the proposed rule will not be introduced at all, or…

Update on third Trump travel ban

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 on October 24, 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States dismissed all appeals of the federal court orders on the grounds the cases no longer presented a live case or controversy. On September 24, 2017 President Trump issued a “proclamation” instituting a third travel…

USCIS resumes premium processing of all H-1B petition categories

On October 3, 2017, USCIS announced it would resume premium processing of all categories of H-1B petitions. Premium processing has been suspended for most categories of H-1B petitions since April 2017. For an additional filing fee of $1,225, USCIS will either approve, deny, or issue an RFE on H-1B petitions within 15 calendar days of filing. This is good news for “cap gap” beneficiaries and other persons in need of rapid processing of their H-1B petitions. Any pending H-1B petition can be upgraded to premium processing by filing the I-907 form and paying the premium processing fee.

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…

Supreme Court leaves orders blocking travel ban in effect for most immigrants

On June 26, 2017 the Supreme Court of the United States issued an order agreeing to review the decisions of the Fourth Circuit and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Both of these courts had issued nation-wide orders blocking the Trump travel ban for nationals of Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yeman. The decision to review the cases was expected given the importance of these cases. In addition, the Supreme Court left in place the restraining orders blocking enforcement of the travel ban in most cases. The Supreme Court ruled that the travel ban could not be enforced against anyone…

“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 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 promote…

H-1B Cap Reached for FY 2018 – First receipts received

USCIS announced on April 7, 2017 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 holds a lottery to determine which petitions will be accepted, and which will be returned to the petitioners. USCIS has not yet announced how many petitions were received, or when the lottery was held. However, lawyers, including our office, are reporting that receipts have started arriving. As of April 17, 2017, all of the reported receipts so far have been for “Masters Cap”…

Second Trump travel ban blocked by U.S. Federal Court

On March 15, 2017, U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson of the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii issued a nationwide restraining order blocking implementation of the second Trump travel ban. The travel ban would have gone into effect on March 16, 2017. As a result, the second travel ban is not in effect. The second travel ban blocks entry to the United States for citizens of six predominantly Muslim countries, including Iran, Syria, Lybia, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia. It also blocks all entry by refugees. Unlike the first travel ban, the new travel ban does not…