Posts tagged immigration law
USCIS Announces Online Case Status Feature for Asylum Applicants

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that applicants who have a pending affirmative asylum application with USCIS can now check the status of their applications online at uscis.gov/casestatus. Only asylum applicants with an application pending with USCIS will be able to use this new feature to check their case status online. It will not cover defensive asylum applicants whose cases are pending in immigration court.

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How Congressional Representatives Can Help with Immigration Cases

Many people don’t know that US Senators and Representatives can assist with immigration cases.  In fact, members of Congress usually have one or more staffers liaising with the federal agencies that are responsible for immigration processing and enforcement, including US Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”), US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), and the US Department of State (“DOS”).  Although the Congressional members cannot force the agencies to make a particular decision or reverse a denial, they can put a spotlight on a case by their involvement.

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E-Verify and the Federal Government Shutdown

Although the US federal government has partially shut down as of December 22, 2018, due to the President’s inability to sign a spending bill, most immigration-related processes remain operational at USCIS, DOL, and the State Department.  However, USCIS has announced that E-Verify and E-Verify services are inaccessible. Several policies have been implemented to ease the burden on both employers and employees.

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Litigation over H-4 EAD Resumes

Recent third party intervention has ensured that litigation over the H-4 EAD will move forward.  Immigration Voice, a group representing high-skilled foreign nationals, filed a Motion to Intervene with the federal court where the case has been pending (“held in abeyance”) since March 2017 due to government delay.  That motion was granted on December 17, 2018, and the Court has ordered the case to move forward. Opening briefs are due in January 2019.


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Removal Order Upheld for H-1B Worker whose Employment-Based Application for Permanent Residence was Denied

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision  (Ma v. Sessions) earlier this month, upholding the removal order of an H-1B worker whose timely filed H-1B extension petition was denied and whose following application for permanent residence based on employment also was denied.  The court reasoned that the H-1B worker was not eligible for permanent residence because he had more than 180 days of unlawful status by the time he had filed his application for permanent residence.  The H-1B worker argued that he was in lawful status while his H-1B extension petition was pending because the regulations automatically extend work authorization during this time and that he only started accruing unlawful status once his extension petition was denied.  The court disagreed. It held that such work authorization does not constitute “lawful status” and that the H-1B worker had ceased to be in lawful status once the underlying petition had expired. As such, the H-1B worker had well over 180 days of unlawful status at the time he applied for permanent residence and was not eligible for any relief.

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Department of Homeland Security Will Increase Use of Facial Recognition Technology to Record Departures from the United States.

The Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) unit, which is responsible for immigration enforcement along U.S. borders, has indicated it will expand the use of facial recognition technology to record departure information from international travelers.  The technology is being implemented gradually at airports nationwide. 

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New USCIS Policy on Removal Proceedings Takes Effect

Starting October 1, 2018, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) may begin removal (also referred to as “deportation”) proceedings after denying an application for a benefit, such as an application for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident (Form I-485), naturalization (Form N-400), or change or extension of status (Form I-539).  This new policy stems from President Trump’s Executive Order 13768, “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.”  

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USCIS Publicly Discusses Policy Updates on RFEs and NOIDs in Stakeholder Call.

USCIS held a call last week on September 6, 2018, to publicly explain its updated policy on when it could deny petitions or applications without first issuing a Request for Evidence (“RFE”) or Notice of Intent to Deny (“NOIDs”).  The new policy took effect this week on September 11, 2018, and will apply to applications and petitions received by USCIS on or after September 12, 2018. 

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