USCIS Announces DACA Renewal Processing Delays

On August 10, 2016 the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that some requests for renewal of Deferred Action for Childhood Considerations (DACA) filed between February 14, 2016 and May 16, 2016 were delayed due to technical difficulties and may fall outside of expected processing times. Which may result in DACA renewal requests, whether filed timely (120 days or more before expiration) or untimely (120 days or less before expiration), not being adjudicated before the expiration of the previous grant of deferred action and employment authorization.

USCIS Workload Transfer for Certain H-1B, H-1B1 and H-4 Petitions

On July 1, 2016, in an effort to transfer the workload, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the Nebraska Service Center (NSC) began accepting certain Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker for H-1B and H-1B1 petitions, as well as Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status and Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization for certain H-4 nonimmigrants that are concurrently filed with a Form I-129.

Advance Parole and the Arrabally – Yerrabelly Loophole

For undocumented individuals, becoming a permanent resident is extremely challenging. Even those who have family members that could otherwise petition for them experience great difficulty obtaining lawful status because they entered “without inspection,” or unlawfully. The unlawful entry renders them “inadmissible,” thereby preventing them from meeting important criteria for Adjustment of Status.

Fiscal Year 2017 H-1B Lottery is Over: What are the Options Now?

On May 2, 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has completed data entry of all fiscal year 2017 H-1B cap-subject petitions selected in the computer-generated random selection process, or lottery. Since all 65,000 bachelor degree and 20,000 Master’s degree filings have been selected, USCIS will now begin returning all other H-1B cap-subject petitions. In the event that your employee is not selected for the H-1B lottery, you may want to explore the following options:

L-1A Alert: Fraudulent Letters

Members of the American Immigration Law Association (AILA) recently reported that a number of L-1A Executives have recently received scam letters purportedly written by Lori Scialabba, the Deputy Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS, however, confirmed that the agency did not issue these letters.

Employer May Now Submit Inquiries on Extension of Status or Change of Employer Petitions Pending for 210 Days

USCIS has announced that as of April 21, 2016, petitioners who filed a Form I-129 requesting either an extension of status or a change of employer may inquire about the status of their petition if it has been pending for 210 days or more. An inquiry under these circumstances may be made based on the petition being outside of normal processing times, as these petitions are generally processed within two months of submission. 

DHS Announces New Regulations to Extend STEM OPT Program and Continue Cap-Gap Provision

The H-1B lottery is over, but new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rules have increased options for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics) students whose petitions may not have been chosen for H-1B processing. If you have a STEM student working pursuant to valid Optional Practical Training (OPT), they may be eligible for an extension of their stay under a new DHS rule effective May 10, 2016.

Cancellation of Removal

Cancellation of removal is a form of immigration relief for individuals who have been placed in removal (deportation) proceedings and meet certain requirements. As immigration judges can approve only 4,000 cancellation of removal requests each fiscal year,not all foreign aliens meeting the requirements  will be granted relief. If granted, the foreign national may adjust to or maintain permanent resident status.

Expedited Review of Asylum Claims

Generally, expedited removal is a process the Department of Homeland Security uses to remove certain non-citizens who try to enter the U.S. without proper entry documents, such as visas.  If an officer encounters an individual attempting to enter the U.S. by fraud or without proper documents, the expedited removal process authorizes the officer to order that individual removed without a hearing or review by an immigration judge. Because there is no opportunity to present a case in an immigration court, the removal process may only last hours or days; hence the removal is expedited.

2015 Year in Review

On October 3, 2015, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (INA) celebrated its 50 year anniversary. The INA banned discrimination in the issuance of immigrant visas based on “race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence.” It also imposed annuals limits of visas for immigrants from certain countries. The shift in demographic diversity seen in the U.S. population today is a direct result in the enactment of the INA.

Call us at (856) 222-0130