Recent posts

  • Type: News
    Post date: Sep 12th 2019
    Body:

    WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli issued the following statement on the Supreme Court’s decision to permit the enforcement of the Trump Administration’s asylum rule requiring asylum seekers to seek protection in at least one third country they traveled through en route to the United States.

    “I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down judicial activists’ injunction and allow the Trump Administration to carry out its rule to strengthen the asylum process. I commend the work done by the attorneys at the Department of Justice to achieve this outstanding outcome. The Administration’s rule is designed to safeguard the integrity of the U.S. asylum system and ensure asylum seekers seek protection in the first safe country they travel through.

    “For far too long, the loopholes in our nation’s asylum system have been exploited by drug cartels, human traffickers and other organized crime factions in order to shuttle those seeking economic opportunities and family reunification through our southern border. This kind of abuse creates illicit cash flows to violent criminals, frustrates the efforts of legitimate asylum seekers and undermines the integrity of our immigration system.

    “Because Congress refuses to act, the Trump Administration has exercised the necessary authorities available under the law to address this crisis at the border. We are committed to safeguarding our homeland, our border and appropriate legal pathways into the United States.”

  • Type: Audio and Video
    Post date: Sep 12th 2019
    Body:
  • Type: News
    Post date: Sep 8th 2019
    Body:

    WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a proposed regulation to improve the process for granting or denying an initial application for employment authorization documents (EADs) by reforming the current 30-day timeline pertaining to pending asylum applicants.

    These proposed changes will allow USCIS the time needed to receive, screen, and process applications, which in turn would strengthen national security, maintain technological advances in identity verification, and further deter those who may be attempting to defraud the legal immigration system under an improved process.

    The original 30-day timeline was enacted more than 20 years ago. Since then, there have been additional requirements in background screening and vetting procedures to reduce fraud and identify threats to national security and public safety. 

    “Established before 9/11, this processing timeline does not reflect the operational realities USCIS currently faces when adjudicating employment authorization applications,” said USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli. “Our first priority as an agency is to safeguard the integrity of our nation’s legal immigration system from those who seek to exploit or abuse it. This proposal allows us to conduct the kind of systematic vetting and identity verification procedures expected of an agency charged with protecting national security.”

    Initial applications for employment authorization from pending asylum applicants are the only category of employment authorization applications adjudicated by USCIS that have a required processing timeline attached to them. Because of this, the agency must frequently divert resources away from other legal immigration application processing categories in order to meet the 30-day deadline for asylum seekers. These categories include family members of certain high skilled employees and those seeking adjustment of status in the United States, among others.

    USCIS is also proposing to change the provision requiring that applicants submit their renewal requests to USCIS 90 days before the expiration of their employment authorization. This would reduce confusion regarding employment authorization renewal requirements for pending asylum applicants, minimize potential gaps in employment, and ensure consistency with the 2017 American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000 (AC21) Rule and implementing policies.

    For more information, read the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM). It will be published in the Federal Register on Sept. 9, 2019. USCIS encourages public feedback on the proposed rule before the comment period ends on Nov. 8, 2019.

  • Type: News
    Post date: Sep 6th 2019
    Body:

    Quotes and Excerpts from Rajiv on the article: 

    "The newly introduced proposal, in the context of applicability to the Indian diaspora in the US, will cover citizenship applications, applications for adjustment of status filed by those in the USA seeking to obtain green cards (such as H-1B workers, or those on intra-company transfers holding an L-1 visa). It will also apply to green card holders seeking re-entry permits (who wish to stay away from the US for two years)," explains Arlington-based Rajiv Khanna, Managing Attorney at Immigration.com

    "While the proposal states that collection of social media user identification is mandatory to complete the DHS forms, it adds that USCIS (which is a unit of DHS) will continue to process a form where social media information is not answered, but failure to provide the request data may delay the process. This leeway stems from the First Amendment, which applies to anyone within the US. It remains to be seen how the forms will be designed to accommodate those who do not provide social media identification," adds Khanna. 

    Khanna sums up by saying: "Of serious concern is the seemingly innocuous observation that the US government wishes to use the social media information to determine the 'true intention' of an applicant. This phrase is alarming because one can see venting about something could lead the government to make adverse inferences against an applicant." 

    For more on this news please see the attachment. 


  • Type: News
    Post date: Sep 3rd 2019
    Body:

    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today announced a notice of proposed rulemaking that would require petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions to pay a $10 fee for each electronic registration they submit to USCIS.

    Because USCIS must expend resources to implement and maintain the H-1B registration system, and because USCIS operations are funded by fees collected for adjudication and naturalization services, DHS is proposing an appropriate, nominal fee for submitting H-1B registrations to recover those costs.

    On Jan. 31, DHS published a final rule requiring petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, to first electronically register with USCIS during a designated registration period, unless the center suspends that requirement. The center also stated in that final rule that the center was suspending the registration requirement for the fiscal year (FY) 2020 cap season, to complete required user testing of the new H-1B registration system and otherwise ensure the system and process work correctly.

    In that final rule, DHS also reordered the cap selection process to increase the chance of selecting petitioners with a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. institution of higher education. Preliminary data shows that the number of petitions for U.S. advanced degree holders selected toward the FY 2020 numerical allocations increased by more than 11% over the year before.

    H-1B visas allow skilled workers in certain specialty occupations to temporarily live and work in the United States.

    Additional information on the proposed rule is available in the Federal Register. Public comments will be accepted from Sept. 4 (when the proposed rule publishes in the Federal Register) through Oct. 4.