U.S. House of Representatives Debates U.S. Immigration Policy

Posted in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Immigration Law

On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives began debate on two immigration bills aiming to enhance border and interior enforcement of immigration law, among other matters. The two bills were the result of House Republican Majority discussion on approaches to effectively address the Administration’s call to secure America’s borders and provide for Deferred Action Childhood Arrival (DACA) participant status in the United States.

Both bills were similar in major concepts with differences in method of “wall” funding and treatment of DACA and DACA-related DREAMer populations. The two bills, HR 4670, Securing America’s Future Act, and HR 6136, Border Security and Immigration Reform Act, were considered under closed rules providing for up and down votes without amendment.

The House rejected HR 4760, Securing America’s Future Act, by a vote of 193-231 on Thursday. After this bill failed to gain the majority to pass and with many questions surrounding the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act, House Leadership held a lengthy conference education session late Thursday while delaying any further votes on the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act until, reportedly, “sometime next week.”

As of this writing, House Leadership has not rescheduled consideration of HR 6136, Border Security and Immigration Reform Act. Please check back for additional updates.

For more information on U.S. Immigration Policy, click here.

President Trump Signs Executive Order Addressing Family Separation

Posted in Affording Congress an Opportunity to Address Family Separation, EO, Executive Order, Temporary Detention Policy for Families Entering this Country Illegally

On June 20, 2018, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) titled “Affording Congress an Opportunity to Address Family Separation.” The stated purpose of this EO is to confirm the policy of the Administration with regard to immigration and entry of persons at the border.  The text of the EO restates the policy stance of this Administration to enforce the immigration laws with regard to entry at the border.  The text in the EO restates that a crime of improper entry is subject to a fine or imprisonment.  The Administration will continue to initiate proceedings to enforce this provision, among others.  In addition, under the “Policy” section of the EO, the Administration states that its policy is to “maintain family unity, including detaining alien families together where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources.”  The text of the EO encourages Congress to act upon legislation that will maintain family unity so that the Administration will not need to separate families to enforce the law.

The EO includes a section titled “Temporary Detention Policy for Families Entering this Country Illegally.”  This section includes provisions for illegal entries that will attempt to detain an alien family together, unless there is concern that the welfare of the child is at risk.  The Secretary of Defense is tasked with taking all measures to provide facilities, either those already in existence, or to construct them, to be able to house alien families.  The heads of other executive departments and agencies are also asked to make available any appropriate facilities. To keep alien families together, the EO contains a provision requiring the Attorney General to file a request with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to modify the Settlement Agreement in Flores v. Sessions, so that alien families can be detained together throughout the pendency of criminal proceedings.

As events surrounding the signing of this Executive Order emerge, we will continue to update our blog.

Designation of Honduras for TPS Terminated

Posted in Department of Homeland Security, Employment Authorization Documents (EAD), TPS

As we previously reported, in January 2018 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) automatically extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nationals of Honduras for six months through an automatic extension, given that DHS did not make a decision regarding Honduras’s designation which was set to expire.  At the time, Honduras’s TPS designation was automatically extended to July 5, 2018, and the employment authorization document (EAD) cards were automatically extended for 180 days, until July 4, 2018.

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DHS Announces Additional 15,000 H-2B Visas for 2018

Posted in Department of Homeland Security, H-2B, Visas

Today, Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, announced an additional 15,000 H-2B temporary nonagricultural visas will be available for Fiscal Year 2018.  DHS had been under political pressure to release additional H-2B visas by businesses and industry groups citing labor workforce needs.  Groups had been calling for the immediate release of additional H-2Bs to help meet workforce needs in the tourism industry, among others.

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Honduran TPS Transmitted to OMB for Final Review

Posted in TPS

On Jan. 5, 2018, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)  extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nationals of Honduras for six months with a July 5, 2018 expiration date.  On May 24, 2108, DHS transmitted a Notice to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that indicates final action on Honduran TPS will occur soon.

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USCIS Announces Termination of TPS for Nepal; Continues Trend with Other TPS Nations

Posted in Department of Homeland Security, TPS, USCIS

On April 26, 2018, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen announced, after reviewing country conditions and consulting with various U.S. government agencies, that the grounds for Nepal’s TPS designation on the basis of an environmental disaster are no longer met and as such, termination of the designation is required by statute. As a result, Nepal’s TPS designation will end on June 24, 2019.

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USCIS Issues Policy Alert on Revising Policy Manual Regarding Tenant-Occupancy Methodology

Posted in USCIS

USCIS issued a policy alert on May 16, 2018, to announce that it will revise its policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual.  The changes will be effective as of May 15, 2018.  The policy guidance reverses the previous stance on the tenant occupancy economic methodology.  The new policy guidance does not consider the tenant-occupancy methodology as reasonable, and believes that it  “results in a connection or nexus between the investment and jobs that is too tenuous,” and as a result, will no longer be a “reasonable or valid forecasting tool.”

USCIS will continue to give deference to I-526 and I-829 petitions filed prior to May 15, 2018, that relied on the tenant-occupancy methodology.  All cases filed as of May 15, 2018, will not accept this methodology, and will need to be revised prior to submission.

As there are still some unanswered questions on implementation, Greenberg Traurig will continue to monitor the progress of the policy memo when published.

USCIS Completes Data Entry of Fiscal Year 2019 H-1B Cap Subject Petitions

Posted in H-1B Cap

On May 15, USCIS announced completion of H-1B lottery picks for this year.  H-1B cap petitioners can expect notification from USCIS in the next several weeks.

In an update on its website, USCIS said it has completed data entry for all fiscal year 2019 H-1B cap-subject petitions selected in its computer-generated random selection process. USCIS will now begin returning all H-1B cap-subject petitions that were not selected. Due to the high volume of filings, USCIS cannot provide a definite time frame for returning unselected petitions. USCIS asks petitioners not to inquire about the status of their cap-subject petitions until they receive a receipt notice or an unselected petition is returned. USCIS will issue an announcement once all the unselected petitions have been returned.

Additionally, USCIS may transfer some Form I-129 H-1B cap subject petitions between the Vermont Service Center and the California Service Center to balance the distribution of cap cases. If a petitioner’s case is transferred, the petitioner will receive notification in the mail. After receiving the notification, USCIS asks that petitioners send all future correspondence to the center processing the petition.


EU Reaches Agreement For European Version of ESTA

Posted in Travel, Visas

On April 25, 2018, European Union ambassadors reached an agreement between the European Council and representatives of the European Union Parliament for a European version of the U.S. Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

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