EAH Immigration Blog

Updated Guidance on Spousal Petitions Involving Minor Spouses

USCIS has updated its guidance identifying factors officers should consider when adjudicating a Form I-130 spousal petition involving a minor. Those factors include: (1) whether the marriage was lawful in the place it was celebrated; (2) if the couple resides outside the place of celebration, whether the marriage is recognized...
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U.S. Embassy in Caracas Suspends All Visa Services

On January 25, 2019, the Department of State announced that the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela, suspended routine visa services due to the ordered departure of nonemergency personnel. The consular section advised that it is focused on providing emergency services for U.S. citizens. The State Department has not yet designated...
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578 Hits

Immigration Court Backlog Grows by 26 Percent

According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times , the administration’s plan to shrink the ballooning backlog of immigration cases by mandating that immigration judges hear more cases has failed, according to the latest data, with the average wait for an immigration hearing now more than two years....
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519 Hits

Update on USCIS Practice of Denying Pending Advance Parole Travel Permit for Abandonment Due to International Travel

Most foreign nationals who apply for advance parole (travel permit) (Form I-131) in conjunction with an adjustment of status application must wait for the travel document to be issued before traveling abroad; otherwise, their adjustment case will be considered abandoned and the travel permit denied. But what happens when that...
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2065 Hits

New I-539 Form Must Be Used Starting on 3/11/2019

USCIS announced that it has revised Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, and that starting March 11, 2019, it will only accept the new version of the form. A new Form I-539A, also effective March 11, replaces the amendment pages normally used for children. (Parents or guardians may sign...
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The “Invisible Wall”: USCIS Processing Times Now at “Crisis Level” and Policy Changes Transform Agency from Service-Oriented to Enforcement-Driven

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) recently analyzed published USCIS data for fiscal years 2014 through 2018 and found a crisis-level of delays in the agency’s processing of applications and petitions for immigration benefits under the Trump Administration. While perhaps no real surprise to foreign nationals and their lawyers waiting...
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1534 Hits

News in Brief

The following additional items may be of interest to our readers: Marriage to U.S. Citizen and Naturalization: Naturalization applicants filing on the basis of marriage to a U.S. citizen – filed after three years of obtaining permanent residency – must continue to be married from the time of filing for...
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623 Hits

Baltimore Sues Administration’s Change to “Public Charge” Evaluation Conducted by Consular Officers

The city of Baltimore filed a lawsuit challenging President Trump’s efforts to curtail legal immigration by penalizing people who use public benefits, alleging that the Administration’s expanded definition of “public charges” has had a chilling effect on the city’s immigrant community, which Baltimore officials see as key to its revival....
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Lawsuit Challenges Legality of USCIS Unlawful Presence Policy for Fs, Js, and Ms; Members of Congress Weigh In, Too

Guilford College filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of an 8/9/18 USCIS policy memorandum, “ Accrual of Unlawful Presence and F, J, and M Nonimmigrants ,” as contrary to the statutory unlawful presence provisions, and violative of the Administrative Procedure Act and the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution....
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More on Employment-based Immigrant Visa Numbers

With only modest movement in the employment-based preference categories for the first quarter of the fiscal year (Oct.–Dec.), the Visa Office had hoped that more dramatic forward movement in some of these categories would start in January. Unfortunately, the Visa Office does not have sufficient data to evaluate visa demand,...
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701 Hits

Trump’s Limitations on Asylum Put on Hold

On November 9, 2018, President Trump issued a proclamation barring anyone who entered between ports of entry from seeking asylum. This proclamation was to be valid for 90 days or until the creation of a “safe third country” agreement with Mexico, whichever occurred first. Of course, such an agreement would...
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558 Hits

Marijuana Use is No Laughing Matter to CBP

The legal landscape regarding the use and cultivation of marijuana is changing in the United States, Canada, and many other countries. Many questions are arising as to the impact of marijuana-related activities on one’s admissibility to the United States. As a matter of U.S. federal law, marijuana is still a...
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748 Hits

Employers Beware: ICE Workforce Investigations Surge in FY2018

Are you compliant? The law requires employers to review documents from each worker they hire to verify that the worker is legally present in the United States and authorized to be employed. This is done on Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. While the Obama Administration had made worksite enforcement a...
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743 Hits

USCIS to Eliminate Self-Scheduling InfoPass Appointments by End of September

USCIS wants to eliminate the way in which customers can use InfoPass. Currently, in most jurisdictions, an individual who wants to discuss his or her case with an immigration representative can make an appointment online through the InfoPass system, assuming an appointment is available. But appointments have become harder and...
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USCIS Expedite Process for H-1B Filings

Given the suspension of premium processing for many H-1B filings, employers who have an urgent need that demands prompt adjudication of their H-1B petitions can request an expedite. USCIS, however, will only expedite a petition if it meets one or more of the following expedite criteria: Severe financial loss to...
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USCIS Proposes H-1B Pre-Filing Registration Process

In early December, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a proposed rule to implement a pre-filing registration system for U.S. employers seeking to file cap-subject H-1B petitions. The new system would require that employers electronically pre-register their intent to petition for an H-1B beneficiary during a two-week registration period....
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CBP Reminds Travelers to Allow 72 Hours for ESTA Authorization

With the holidays rapidly approaching, international travelers using the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) for travel to the United States are reminded to apply as soon as possible but not less than 72 hours before their international flight is scheduled to depart. Due to changes in the ESTA application...
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Holiday Travel: Review Your Documents Now

Now is a good time for foreign nationals who will be departing the United States for travel abroad over the holidays to review their travel documents to ensure that their reentry into the U.S. is as seamless as possible. Depending on an individual’s current status and whether he or she...
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607 Hits

USCIS Formally Proposes New Public Benefits Rule that Will Hinder Admissibility to U.S.

On October 10, 2018, USCIS published a proposed rule that would expand the definition of “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds,” which is intended to determine whether a foreign national is inadmissible because he or she is likely at any time to become a public charge. Having received cash benefits from...
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Buyer Beware: Report Says Many USCIS Civil Surgeons Have History of Wrongdoing

According to a news article in the New York Times , dozens of doctors – USCIS civil surgeons – tapped by the federal government to screen immigrants applying for green cards have a history of “egregious infractions.” The report conducted by a federal watchdog agency looked at more than 5,500...
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710 Hits