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N.J. Chief Justice Urges ICE to Add Courthouses to List of “Sensitive Locations”

In a recent letter, New Jersey Chief Justice Stuart Rabner requested that DHS Secretary Kelly urge ICE not to arrest individuals who show up for court appearances in state court. The chief justice said that courthouses should be added to the list of “sensitive locations” outlined in a 2011 ICE enforcement
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Money and USCIS: Refund Requests and Bounced Checks

Refund Requests Generally, USCIS does not issue refunds for filing fees, regardless of the decision on the application. There are very limited exceptions: for example, when USCIS collects the incorrect fee. If an applicant or petitioner believes he or she is entitled to a refund of a fee, the first step
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ICE Recalendaring Cases that Were Previously Administratively Closed, Even Non–Criminal Related

Under the Obama Administration, certain undocumented immigrants were permitted to have their immigration cases administratively closed in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion (PD), which in essence was a form of relief from deportation. Often this was granted when an undocumented parent of U.S. citizen children was placed in removal proceedings. The
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Enforcement-Only Bills Moving Through the House of Representatives

Two bills are winding their way through the House’s Judiciary Committee that focus on immigration enforcement tactics and ignore any major policy changes: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Authorization Act (H.R. 2406) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Act (H.R. 2407). Included in the former bill is a provision that
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Supreme Court Holds Gender-Based Distinction for Acquisition of Citizenship Is Unconstitutional

The Supreme Court found unconstitutional the gender-based distinction in the immigration act, requiring a shorter period of parental physical presence in the U.S. for acquisition of citizenship through an unwed citizen mother versus an unwed citizen father. Rather than extending the shorter period of required physical presence to children of unwed
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Immigration Courts and Backlog

Immigration courts have an enormous backlog that has not only persisted, but grown exponentially over the years. In 2006, the average case processing time was about 198 days. A decade later the same case will take 650 days to process. Government officials attribute the backlog to a number of factors: staffing
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ICE Recalendaring Cases that Were Previously Administratively Closed, Even Non–Criminal Related

Under the Obama Administration, certain undocumented immigrants were permitted to have their immigration cases administratively closed in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion (PD), which in essence was a form of relief from deportation. Often this was granted when an undocumented parent of U.S. citizen children was placed in removal proceedings. The
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New Consular Questionnaire Means More Rigorous Vetting of Certain Visa Applicants

Armed with a supplemental questionnaire, DS-5535, consular officers around the world have started more intensive vetting of some visa applicants — including requests for their social media handles (user name) — in an effort to block potential terrorists and other national security threats from entering the country. DS-5535 was rolled out
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Department of Labor to Ramp Up Investigations of Foreign Worker Visa Programs

The Department of Labor has a minor but important role in some immigration matters, including the H-1 and H-2 visa programs and labor certification applications for employment-based green cards. After reviewing the DOL’s foreign worker visa programs, Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta announced actions to increase protections for American workers while
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Ninth and Fourth Circuits Uphold Nationwide Preliminary Injunction on Travel Ban; Administration Seeks Supreme Court Review

In a scathing rebuke of the Administration’s executive order travel ban, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld the nationwide preliminary injunction, enjoining the Administration from implementing it. Here’s what that court had to say: “The question for this Court, distilled to its essential form, is whether the
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News in Brief

The following additional items may be of interest to our readers: Sunset of Four Immigration Programs: Four immigration programs will collectively sunset (expire) on April 28, 2017 if the Continuing Resolution to fund the federal government is not renewed on time. The programs include E-verify, Special Immigrant Religious Workers, the EB-5
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Don’t Procrastinate: Apply for U.S. Citizenship If You Are Eligible

If you are a legal permanent resident (LPR) and eligible for citizenship, now is a good time to give serious thought to becoming a U.S. citizen. Procrastination, cost, and an emotional bond to your home country may encourage you to remain in LPR status. That is understandable, but only for so
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So It’s Back to Private Prisons

In the waning months of 2016, the growing trend in the executive branch was disdain for the private prison system. The Department of Justice issued a memorandum stopping the practice altogether, which prompted action by other federal agencies. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) gave serious consideration to ending the practice of
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CBP Handout on Inspection of Electronic Devices

In light of increased inspection of electronic devises at the border, CBP recently released a handout explaining why a person’s electronic device may be subject to inspection, the authority to search electronic devices, and what happens with the return or seizure of detained such electronic devices. The following is a summary:
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Rollout of Administration’s Interior Enforcement on Immigration

As previously reported, two significant Executive Orders were signed by President Trump in January, “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” and “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements,” which are now being implemented. During the last several weeks, various immigration-related agencies announced a myriad of plans that range
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H-4 Work Authorization Under Scrutiny; Delayed Processing Anticipated for H-4 Extensions

In 2015, the DHS promulgated rules that permitted spouses of certain H-1B visa holders to receive work authorization. Under the current rules, an H-4 spouse could may apply for work authorization if his or her H-1B spouse had an approved I-140 but was still awaiting visa availability. In the wake of
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Newest Executive Order Targets H-1B Program; Other H-1B News

On April 18, President Trump signed yet another Executive Order, “Buy American and Hire American,” in which he directs various agencies to review the current laws governing the H-1B program. President Trump also indicated he was directing federal agencies to review all visa programs and take prompt action to crack down
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Standards Broadened for Green Cards Based on National Interest Waivers

In late December, a precedent-setting case, Matter of Dhanasar, revised the analytical framework for assessing eligibility for national interest waivers (NIW) and presumably making NIWs more broadly available to foreign nationals who are pursuing endeavors that would benefit the United States, including entrepreneurs and individuals who are self-employed. The NIW is
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Parole a Possibility for New Entrepreneurs

On January 17, 2017, DHS published a final rule that encourages entrepreneurship and investment to stimulate our economy by granting parole status to foreign nationals who establish start-up companies in the U.S. The rule is slated to go into effect on July 17. A new form is being created, and the
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Super Lawyers 2017

Elkind Alterman Harston, PCTelephone: 303.736.6650Fax: 303.736.6655www.EAHimmigration.com  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Denver, Colorado, March 21, 2017 – Super Lawyers 2017  Attorneys Philip Alterman, Nancy Elkind (retired), and David Harston, have been selected as 2017 Top-Rated Immigration Attorneys in Colorado by Super Lawyers®.  Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a rating service of
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