Consular Officers Given Greater Flexibility on Validity Period of Nonimmigrant Visas

A DOS revised note provides guidance to consular officers on how and when to issue nonimmigrant visas for a shorter period of time, or a fewer number of admissions (entries), than that prescribed on the basis of reciprocity if warranted in an individual case. DOS advises that limitations of visa validity
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CBP Sending Compliance Emails to Warn VWP Entrants of I-94 Expiration Date

CBP recently announced that it has implemented two new traveler compliance initiatives to allow Visa Waiver Program (VWP) (ESTA) travelers to check the status of their stay in the United States. A new feature added to the I-94 website under the “View Compliance” tab allows VWP travelers to check the status
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Administration Announces Implementation of New Refugee Screening Procedures

When the executive order travel bans were issued, they included directives to the DHS Secretary to review the security risks posed by refugee admissions. In January, DHS announced that additional security enhancements and recommendations to strengthen the integrity of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) have been implemented. The new measures
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Revamping Interviewing Schedule to Address Asylum Backlog

USCIS is no longer scheduling affirmative asylum cases based on a “first in, first scheduled” basis. Now, cases that have been pending less than 21 days will be scheduled first, working backwards toward older cases. This new scheduling approach is purposefully aimed at deterring “individuals from using asylum backlogs solely to
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AG May Make New Administrative Closure Rules

Systemic and crippling court backlogs are a source of frustration for all sides — ICE, immigrants, and immigration judges alike. Administrative closure is a key tool used by immigration judges to prioritize cases and manage their ever-growing case load. It allows a judge to use discretion and allows immigrants to pursue
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More Updates on TPS: Syrians, El Salvadorans, and Haitians

DHS Secretary Nielsen has determined that an extension of the Temporary Protected Status designation for Syria is warranted pursuant to INA §244(b)(1)(A) (ongoing armed conflict) and INA § 244(b)(1)(C) (temporary but extraordinary conditions). The designation has been extended for another 18 months, through September 30, 2019. However, there is a small
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DACA Lawsuit Results in Nationwide Injunction

Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of the federal district court in Brooklyn has stepped into the DACA debate and issued an injunction ordering the Administration to keep DACA in place as it was before the Administration announced termination of the program. However, USCIS has announced that it is not accepting DACA requests
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Immigration Reform Updates

President Trump’s decision to end the DACA program has served as a catalyst to reform the country’s broken immigration system quickly. Over the past five months since the announcement that DACA would be terminated on March 5, popular and political support for DACA gained momentum. The President also expressed a desire
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USCIS Will Accept Credit Card Payments for Most Common Petitions and Applications

This month, USCIS announced that it will now accept credit card payments for 41 of its fee-based forms being processed at USCIS lockbox facilities. These forms include the I-130 petition for relatives, I-140 petitions for employees, and I-485 green card applications. The Form I-129 is not included, meaning that fees for
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Senate Appropriations Bill and Immigration

In November, the Senate published its proposed budget for FY2018 Department of Homeland Security funding. Some $53 billion is doled out over 12 major components and agencies that make up one of the largest departments in the U.S. government. While the bill is still pending and will be amended, it captures
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Increased Worksite Enforcement and Audits of H-1B (and L-1) Petitions

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted an audit of the H-1B program and determined that USCIS employer site visits were being conducted in a sparse and inefficient manner. The purpose of these visits is to determine if the foreign national is working at the jobsite indicated in the petition, if
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DOJ Plans Further Reforms to Immigration Court Proceedings

Attorney General (AG) Jeff Sessions has expressed his frustration with the pace of case processing before the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR), and its immigration court. The agency is facing a caseload of 650,000, which has far outstripped the agency’s resources to hear cases in a timely manner. The initial
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New Homeland Security Secretary

On December 5, the Senate confirmed Kirstjen M. Nielsen as the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary with a 62-37 vote. She was sworn in the following day. While Secretary Nielsen is the first former DHS employee to hold the position, many senators who voted against confirmation noted that she
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The Top 10 List: The Top Ten Threats to Immigrants, Their Employers, and Their Families in 2018

Below is our top 10 list of changes that the current administration has put into place, without legislation or regulations, that drastically change the immigration landscape for employers, immigrants, and their families: 10. USCIS increases site visits to employers who hire H-1B and L-1 nonimmigrant workers. 9. Consular officers re-adjudicate approved
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Legal logjam in immigration court grows to more than 540,000 cases

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Iranian couple, Syrian mother and baby stopped at DIA as protesters rallied in main terminal against new policy

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New Partner Announcement – Camila S. Palmer

C O N T A C T:Barbara Ingram, Firm AdministratorElkind Alterman Harston, PCTelephone: 303.736.6650Fax: For Immediate Release New Partner Announcement – Camila S. Palmer Denver, Colorado, January 2, 2018 –  Elkind Alterman Harston PC, a leading full-service immigration law firm, is pleased to announce Camila S. Palmer has become its
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Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen Announcement on Temporary Protected Status for El Salvador

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News in Brief

The following additional items may be of interest to our readers: DACA Update: In November, a myriad of advocates took to the phones, Facebook, and Twitter to contact members of Congress in support of DACA. Scheduled to expire in March, the legislative branch has not yet come up with a solution
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USCIS No Longer Affording Deference to I-129-based NIV Extensions

For over 10 years, USCIS has taken the approach that, when adjudicating extension petitions involving the same employer, the same beneficiary, and the same underlying facts, its adjudicators would defer to prior approval determinations. USCIS has now reversed this policy, interpreting it as placing an extra burden on the agency to
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