FOR THE WEEK OF DEC. 6, 2022
- On the Omnibus front, Sens. Thom Tillis and Kyrsten Sinema have leaked a potential DACA/Border fix. It looks like the time to complete this and the Omnibus spending bill will push the deadline from Dec. 16 to Dec. 23.
- This immigration provision addition is an uphill battle. It will need 10 Republicans in the Senate and at this writing there are fewer than that. There is also a chance that the Omnibus spending bill gets pushed into the next Congress.
- The DACA/Border fix includes:
- border security provisions such as increased funding for border patrol agents, customs officers, border infrastructure, and technology; enhanced consequence delivery to ensure that those who do not qualify for asylum or other forms of relief will be removed quickly; increased funding to processing and to build processing centers for those seeking asylum, to ensure a controlled, orderly, fair, and timely process.
- a path to permanent residence for Dreamers
Travel Reminder – U.S. still requires foreign travelers to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination
- All foreign national visitors and workers traveling to the U.S. must still present proof of being fully vaccinated for COVID-19
- The U.S. accepts only certain types of vaccines; boosters are not required
- Exceptions to this requirement include children under 18 years old, as well as other narrowly-defined groups
- S. lawful permanent residents (green card holders) are not subject to the vaccine requirement
TPS for Haiti Extended and Redesignated
- The Department of Homeland Security extended TPS for Haitians from Feb. 4, 2023 through Aug. 3, 2024.
- The Department also redesignated TPS for Haiti, which means Haitian nationals living in the U.S. as of Nov. 6, 2022 are eligible to apply for TPS
USCIS confirms ESTA visitors may request emergency extensions
- On its USCIS Response to COVID-19 site, USCIS explains it has discretion to grant an extension of up to 30 days if an emergency (such as COVID-19, but not limited to COVID-19) prevents an ESTA visitor from departing
- For additional 30-day extensions, the reason for the request must be related to COVID-19
- USCIS has confirmed that ESTA visitors may request multiple 30-day extensions through the USCIS Contact Center.
FOR THE WEEK OF DEC. 12, 2022
- Eagle Act
- The House is considering the Eagle Act, another bill that would consider eliminating per country quotas in the immigrant visa system. Plans to vote in the House were scrapped last week, and it’s uncertain as to whether this legislation will pass or fail to have the votes necessary in the House.
- The Senate is unclear. There doesn’t appear to be an appetite for a standalone immigration bill, although there may be an attempt to pass this by Unanimous Consent. Some prominent groups have opposed the legislation for not going far enough to fix the backlogged immigrant visa system.
- Negotiations from Sens. Sinema and Tillis carry on, as attempts to put DACA and border control on the Omnibus spending legislation continue. No language is available, although the outline of a deal seems to be there. It is questionable whether the tentative immigration deal will be advanced, especially with the announcement from Senator Sinema on her change in party affiliation late last week.
- The chance for immigration reform being included in the Omnibus bill was already very slim before Sen. Sinema’s Certain government funding expires on Dec. 16. We expect that the Congress will pass a short-term continuing resolution by the 16th that will run through Dec. 23. There is still hope that the Omnibus bill will be passed before Christmas. There is a slight chance that it might be pushed into next year. As stated above, the chances of immigration reform in this legislation are still very, very slim.
Citizenship application receipts to include automatic 24-month green card extension
- Applies to all citizenship applications received by USCIS on and after Dec. 12, 2022
- Green cards of citizenship applicants are automatically extended 24 months beyond their current expiration date
- N-400 receipt with extension notation, along with expired green card, is acceptable List A document
Fourth Circuit Holds Employers Must Consult Unions About How to re I-9 Workforce
- In an unpublished per curiam opinion, the Fourth Circuit held that Frontier Communications Corp. should have negotiated with Communications Workers of America before requiring workers to complete new Forms I-9
- The Court said that Frontier should have discussed aspects of the I-9 process that affect workers, such as submission of personal documents, time allotted to complete the process, and any assistance given to employees who ran into issues completing the Forms I-9
- Employers with a unionized workforce or companies considering a merger with or acquisition of a company with a unionized workforce should take note
DHS Designates Ethiopia for TPS for 18 months
- DHS designated Ethiopia for TPS effective Dec. 12, 2022, through June 12, 2024
- Applicants must prove continuous residence in the United States since Oct. 20, 2022, and continuous physical presence in the United States since Dec. 12, 2022
FOR THE WEEK OF DEC. 19, 2022
- The immigration deal being brokered by Sens. Tillis and Sinema that would address DACA/Dreamers, green card recapture and other immigration issues including the border and asylum reform, has been put on hold. Sens. McConnell and Cornyn signaled that there would not be Republican support for this effort in the Omnibus bill.
- As predicted, Congress has given itself another week to enact legislation in the Omnibus spending bill – through Dec. 23. We do not expect anything immigration related to pass, although there are efforts to include an H-2B deal. There have also been efforts to pass the Afghan Adjustment Act and versions of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act.
New I-485 Form Mandatory Beginning Dec. 23, 2022
- USCIS will reject the 12/23/2022 version of the I-485 form if it is filed before 12/22/2022
- USCIS will reject the 7/15/2022 version of the I-485 is if is filed after 12/22/2022
- The 12/23/2022 version of the I-485 form incorporates information collection related to the Public Charge Ground of Inadmissibility and is reminiscent of the previous form version in effect during the Trump Administration
DOJ’s IER Continues its Focus on Discriminatory Job Ads, Requiring Specific I-9 Documents
- SecureApp Technologies, a New Jersey based IT recruiting and labor staffing company, reaches a settlement with IER. For more than one year, SecureApp posted at least 12 job ads that solicited only foreign nationals seeking sponsorship or those who already had work visas. Securepp agreed to pay a civil penalty of $26,000. The company additionally agreed to review and revise its employment policies and submit them to IER approval, as well as its job ads, and ensure all recruiters undergo training and have access to the latest I-9 and E-Verify Handbook for Employers (M-274).
- IER reaches a settlement with Navajo Express, a trucking company located in Colorado, which routinely required lawful permanent residents to provide copies of their green cards, even when they had provided alternate proof of authorization to work, and also asked them to provide proof of their new green cards when their existing cards had expired. Pursuant to the settlement, Navajo paid $40,000 in fines and agreed to training, revising its policies, and will be subject to IER monitoring for two years.