EAH Immigration Blog

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:...
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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....
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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,...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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Getting Stopped or Picked Up by ICE: Know Your Rights

As noted above, President Trump’s EO “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” effectively ended the priority system put in place by President Obama, which classified targets for removal based upon the seriousness of their crimes. Under the old system, by using prosecutorial discretion, foreign nationals who...
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Moving Through Customs

In this new period of extreme heightened security, travelers entering the United States can expect increased scrutiny by immigration inspectors.  Even before the new EOs heightened scrutiny at the borders, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officers had begun asking ESTA travelers for social media account information upon entry — the...
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Important Considerations for Employers

When the travel ban was signed, foreign nationals were not the only ones placed in a precarious position. Employers who have foreign nationals affected by the ban were affected as well. When faced with these realities, efforts to continue “business as usual” by reassigning work or passing over an otherwise...
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749 Hits

More Executive Orders in the Pipeline

There are three additional Executive Orders that were drafted and leaked in late January that could be signed by the President. These govern the DACA program, public benefits by foreign nationals, and nonimmigrant visas, with specific focus on H-1Bs. As of this writing, no new information has been issued or...
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Other Key Executive Orders: Enforcement Priorities and Border Security

Two other, significant Executive Orders were signed by Trump in January, “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” and “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements.” These EOs aim specifically to curb and solve unlawful immigration through aggressive detention and deportation of undocumented foreign nationals and by building...
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Executive Orders, Immigration Raids, Heightened Scrutiny at the Borders: A Whirlwind Month on Immigration – What’s Happened and Where We Are

Five days into office, President Trump signed several Executive Orders (EO) on immigration, including the travel ban, that wreaked havoc on U.S. immigration laws and procedures and caused chaos, panic, and fear within our immigration community. Below is a summary of what has happened, where we are, and what we...
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