EAH Immigration Blog

U.S. Citizens May Return to U.S. on Expired U.S. Passport

U.S. citizens will be able to return to the United States on an expired U.S. passport through December 31, 2021, if they: are currently abroad seeking to return to the United States;are flying directly to the United States, a U.S. territory, or have only short-term transit (connecting flight) through a foreign...
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31 Hits

Update on Children Separated at the Border Due to Trump Zero-Tolerance Policy

In February, President Biden signed an Executive Order establishing an Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families, in response to the prior administration’s use of immigration laws to intentionally separate children from their parents and legal guardians, including through the use of a zero-tolerance policy. In its first 120 days,...
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70 Hits

Prosecutorial Discretion Memorandum Issued by DHS

On May 27, 2021, the DHS issued a highly anticipated memorandum for ICE trial attorneys providing interim guidance on enforcement and removal priorities and exercising prosecutorial discretion. The memorandum should allow ICE attorneys more independence, will help cases be resolved more amicably, will enhance efficiency in immigration court, and will hopefully...
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112 Hits

USCIS Will Grant Work Permits to Victims of Crimes with Pending U Visa Applications

On June 14, 2021, USCIS announced a new policy expanding access to work authorization and protection from deportation for victims of crime who have filed good-faith applications with USCIS. Before this policy change, work authorization would not be granted until the U visa application was decided by USCIS. As USCIS is...
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182 Hits

Department of State Priority Processing of Immigrant Visas

Because most U.S. embassies and consulates are still operating at a reduced capacity due to the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, DOS has announced a priority system for the processing and scheduling of interviews for immigrant visa (IV) applications. A significant backlog of applications remains for IV (as well as...
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123 Hits

Attorney General Garland Vacates Trump Era Decisions Restricting Asylum

On June 16, 2021, the Attorney General mercifully vacated precedential decisions in Matter of A-B- and Matter of L-E-A- that were intended to restrict asylum. The prior decisions obstructed those seeking asylum benefits as a result of domestic abuse and gang violence due to familial ties. The old precedent also intended...
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156 Hits

Policy Updates: Eligibility for Naturalization

USCIS updated policy guidance in its Policy Manual regarding applicants’ registration to vote through a state’s department of motor vehicles or other state benefit application process and the effects on an applicant’s good moral character (GMC). This is a key development because applicants for naturalization must demonstrate GMC during the required...
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185 Hits

USCIS Ends Biometrics Requirement for Extension/Change of Status for H-4, L-2, E Visas

USCIS has temporarily suspended the biometrics submission requirement for certain applicants filing Form I-539, requesting an extension of stay or a change of status to H-4, L-2, or E nonimmigrant status. USCIS will allow adjudications for those specific categories to proceed based on biographic information and related background checks, without capturing...
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194 Hits

Unanimous Supreme Court Decision Creates Major Setback for TPS Recipients Seeking Permanent Residence

On June 7, 2021, the Supreme Court unanimous held in Sanchez v. Mayorkas that a grant of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) does not qualify as being “admitted and inspected” for purposes of adjustment of status. Prior to this decision, federal circuit courts were split on the issue. Accordingly, many TPS recipients...
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227 Hits

New USCIS Policy Announcements Expected to Benefit Applicants

Effective June 9, USCIS announced new policies on expedited processing, Requests for Evidence (RFEs), Notices of Intent to Deny (NOIDs), and employment authorization documents. These policies seek to alleviate the negative impact of application process delays and offer applicants additional opportunities to request that their applications be expedited. In addition, the...
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228 Hits

News in Brief

TPS for Venezuelans: DHS has designated Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months, effective 3/9/21 through 9/9/22. The notice also provides information about Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) and DED-related EADs for eligible Venezuelans. TPS Extended for Syria: USCIS announced the extension of the designation of Syria for TPS for...
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252 Hits

Certain Regulatory Requirements Suspended for Syrian and Venezuelan F-1 Nonimmigrant Students

Effective April 22, the DHS will provide relief to Syrian and Venezuelan citizens who are in the United States as lawful F-1 nonimmigrant status. DHS has recognized that due to the ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions in Syria and the current humanitarian crises in Venezuela, F-1 nonimmigrant students...
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217 Hits

Flexibilities Announced for Certain F-1 Applicants Filing for OPT

USCIS has experienced delays at certain lockboxes in issuing receipt notices for Form I‐765 for optional practical training (OPT) for F‐1 students. These delays are due to COVID‐19 restrictions, a dramatic increase in filings of certain benefit requests, postal service volume and delays, and other external factors. In an effort to...
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218 Hits

Bill Passes Virginia State Legislature Expanding Jurisdiction for Special Immigrant Juvenile Cases

On March 18, 2021, Virginia passed legislation allowing for juvenile and family courts to retain jurisdiction of matters where a child has petitioned the court to make findings that would allow them to apply for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) before the age of 21. The law goes into effect on...
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647 Hits

President Biden Keeps Refugee Numbers at Record Lows Due to Political Pressure

On April 16, 2021, President Biden signed an order limiting U.S. refugee admissions to 15,000 despite previously promising to increase the refugee admissions to 62,500 in this fiscal year and promising in February to raise the admissions rate to 125,000. This cap on admissions matches President Trump’s historical low in 2020,...
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342 Hits

DOS Provides Information on National Interest Exceptions (NIE) for Regional COVID Proclamations

On April 8, 2021, the DOS announced that the travel of immigrants, fiancé(e) visa holders, certain exchange visitors, and pilots/aircrew traveling for training or aircraft pickup, delivery, or maintenance is in the national interest for purposes of approving exceptions under the geographic proclamations restricting travel due to COVID-19. These proclamations restrict the...
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975 Hits

H, L, and J Visa Processing Resumes; Presidential Proclamation 10052 Expires

Presidential Proclamation 10052, which temporarily suspended the entry of certain H-1B, H-2B, J, and L nonimmigrants, expired on March 31, 2021. Visa applicants who have not yet been interviewed or scheduled for an interview will have their applications prioritized and processed in accordance with existing phased resumption of visa services guidance....
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380 Hits

COVID and Telecommuting Implications on Immigration Compliance

COVID-19 has led to a shift by employers toward more permissive telecommuting policies. Given that certain regulations in both the H-1B and PERM contexts are location-specific, compliance is not always apparent.  For F-1 foreign students, issues have arisen due to online and in-person study. Telecommuting in the H-1B Context All H-1B...
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390 Hits

All Immigrants are Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccines in the United States

On April 19, 2021, all adult persons in the United States are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, regardless of nationality or immigration status, including undocumented immigrants. The vaccines are free for all recipients, even those who do not have medical insurance. Each of the available vaccines for distribution in the United States...
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378 Hits

USCIS to Defer to Prior Determinations of Eligibility in Requests for Petition Extensions

For more than a dozen years, USCIS directed its officers to generally defer to prior determinations of eligibility when adjudicating extension requests involving the same parties and facts as an initial petition or application. The deference policy was most often exercised in the context of extensions of Form I-129 work-related visa...
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291 Hits

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