USCIS Policy update in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

On May 1, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a policy update regarding assisting applicants and petitioners in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the press release, USCIS is extending the deadline to respond to certain agency requests. The extended deadline for responding is now 60 calendar days from the original due date set forth in the request or notice. This extension covers the following types of requests issued between May 2, 2020 and July 1, 2020:

  • Requests for Evidence;
  • Continuations to Request Evidence (N-14);
  • Notices of Intent to Deny;
  • Notices of Intent to Revoke;
  • Notices of Intent to Rescind and Notices of Intent to Terminate regional investment centers; and
  • Filing date requirements for Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion.

This is the second extension announced by USCIS in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The previous extension applied to notices issued between March 1, 2020, and May 1, 2020.

USCIS Updates Policy on False Claims of U.S. Citizenship

 Updates Align with Board of Immigration Appeals Decision and Statute

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced it is updating its Policy Manual to align with the Department of Justice’s Board of Immigration Appeals’ (BIA) precedent decision in Matter of Zhang. Decided in June 2019, the BIA held in this decision that false claims of U.S. citizenship do not need to be knowingly made to make an alien deportable under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The Policy Manual also applies the BIA’s decision to the false claim to U.S. citizenship ground of inadmissibility, as it is virtually identical to the ground of deportability.

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White House Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak

White House, Apr. 22, 2020

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has significantly disrupted the livelihoods of Americans. In Proclamation 9994 of March 13, 2020 (Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak), I declared that the COVID–19 outbreak in the United States constituted a national emergency, beginning March 1, 2020. Since then, the American people have united behind a policy of mitigation strategies, including social distancing, to flatten the curve of infections and reduce the spread of SARS–CoV–2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This needed behavioral shift has taken a toll on the United States economy, with national unemployment claims reaching historic levels. In the days between the national emergency declaration and April 11, 2020, more than 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment.

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Proclamation—Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus

On January 31, 2020, I issued Proclamation 9984 (Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus and Other Appropriate Measures To Address This Risk). I found that the potential for widespread transmission of a novel (new) coronavirus (which has since been renamed “SARS-CoV-2” and causes the disease COVID-19) (“SARS-CoV-2” or “the virus”) by infected individuals seeking to enter the United States threatens the security of our transportation system and infrastructure and the national security. Because the outbreak of the virus was at the time centered in the People’s Republic of China, I suspended and limited the entry of all aliens who were physically present within the People’s Republic of China, excluding the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States, subject to certain exceptions. On February 29, 2020, in recognition of the sustained person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the Islamic Republic of Iran, I issued Proclamation 9992 (Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus), suspending and limiting the entry of all aliens who were physically present within the Islamic Republic of Iran during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States, subject to certain exceptions.

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New Higher Fees Are Coming For Immigration Forms

On November 14, 2019, the Trump administration published two proposed rules that will detrimentally impact individuals who are seeking to legally live and work in the United States. The first proposes to substantially heighten application and petition fees, resulting in an overall fee increase of 21% and shifting $207 million from U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS) to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The 300+ page rule has only a 30-day comment period. The second proposed rule implicates the employment authorization process for asylum seekers, making it far lengthier and more difficult, and barring those who enter between ports of entry from obtaining work authorization altogether.

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Qualifying for a Green Card is Much Harder

Public Charge / PUBLIC CHARGE

In the summer of 2019, the Trump Administration's Department of Homeland Security posted new regulations that will make the legal process of qualifying for a green card much harder. As written, the rule would establish the creation of a “wealth test” and other legal barriers that discriminate against non-English speakers, their children, the elderly and people with serious illnesses

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Recent BALCA Cases Highlight the Importance of Choosing the Right Sunday Newspaper

August 7, 2019/0 Comments/in Blog /by Cora-Ann Pestaina

In June 2019, the Board of Alien Labor Certifications Appeals (BALCA) issued at least ten decisions that addressed the employers’ choice of Sunday newspaper in the PERM labor certification recruitment process. So maybe they wanted to make a point? Let’s discuss.

As background, an employer must conduct a good faith recruitment of the labor market in order to obtain labor certification for a foreign national employee. The PERM recruitment process, whether for a professional or a nonprofessional position, requires employers to place two Sunday advertisements in a newspaper of general circulation. As PERM practitioners, having read the regulations, how confident are we on advising employers regarding which newspaper to use for Sunday ads? Some New York practitioners say that they always advise employers to use the New York Times. Others say they’ve successfully used the Daily News but have felt scared each time. What about the New York Post? Over the years the question just keeps coming up. The Department of Labor (DOL) has not provided any specific guidance. One FAQ contains the following question and answer:

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New Trump rules could deny green cards to immigrants on public assistance


AUG. 12, 2019 6:01 PM - LA TIMES

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration took one of its most aggressive steps yet on Monday to target legal immigration, publishing new rules that could deny green cards to immigrants who use Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers or other forms of public assistance, and potentially making it more difficult for some to get legal status in the U.S.

Federal law already requires those seeking green cards and legal status to prove they will not become a “public charge,” or a burden on the U.S. But the new rules, made public Monday, outline a broader range of programs that could disqualify them. Officers at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will now weigh public assistance along with other factors such as education, household income and health to determine whether to grant legal status.

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Matter of L-E-A-: How Much Did Barr Change? - Jeffrey S. Chase

Author: Jeffrey S. Chase, Aug. 11, 2019

In June 2018, the Attorney General issued his precedent decision in Matter of A-B-. The AG intended his decision to lead to the denial of asylum claims based on domestic violence and gang violence by asylum officers, immigration judges, the BIA, and the circuit courts. The decision also aimed to compel asylum officers to find those arriving at the southern border to lack the credible fear necessary for entry into the court system, allowing for their immediate deportation.

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USCIS Announces Termination of TPS Designation in 2019 for El Salvador

The designation of El Salvador for temporary protected status (TPS) was set to expire on March 9, 2018. The Secretary of Homeland Security has determined that conditions in El Salvador no longer support its designation for TPS and that termination of the TPS designation of El Salvador is required. The Secretary therefore is terminating the designation effective September 9, 2019, which is 18 months following the end of the current designation. The 60-day re-registration period began January 18, 2018, and runs through March 19, 2018

USCIS Automatically Extends EAD Validity for Certain Haitians With TPS; Re-Registration Period Now Open

The designation of Haiti for TPS will expire on July 22, 2019. Current beneficiaries of TPS under Haiti's designation who want to maintain that status through the program's termination date must re-register by March 19, 2018. USCIS has automatically extended the validity of EADs for certain individuals with TPS from Haiti.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals: Response to January 2018 Preliminary Injunction

Due to a federal court order, USCIS has resumed accepting requests to renew a grant of deferred action under DACA. Until further notice, and unless otherwise provided in this guidance, the DACA policy will be operated on the terms in place before it was rescinded on Sept. 5, 2017.

Individuals who were previously granted deferred action under DACA may request renewal by filing Form I-821D (PDF), Form I-765 (PDF), and Form I-765 Worksheet (PDF), with the appropriate fee or approved fee exemption request, at the USCIS designated filing location, and in accordance with the instructions to the Form I-821D (PDF) and Form I-765 (PDF). USCIS is not accepting requests from individuals who have never before been granted deferred action under DACA. USCIS will not accept or approve advance parole requests from DACA recipients.

If you previously received DACA and your DACA expired on or after Sept. 5, 2016, you may still file your DACA request as a renewal request.

BIA: No Bond for DUI Arrest - Matter of Siniauskas, 27 I&N Dec. 207 (BIA 2018)

Matter of Siniauskas, 27 I&N Dec. 207 (BIA 2018)

(1) In deciding whether to set a bond, an Immigration Judge should consider the nature and circumstances of the alien’s criminal activity, including any arrests and convictions, to determine if the alien is a danger to the community, but family and community ties generally do not mitigate an alien’s dangerousness.

(2) Driving under the influence is a significant adverse consideration in determining whether an alien is a danger to the community in bond proceedings.

"...In a decision dated May 15, 2017, an Immigration Judge granted the respondent’s request for a change in custody status and ordered him released on bond in the amount of $25,000. The Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) has appealed from that decision. The appeal will be sustained, and the respondent will be ordered detained without bond."

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