Category: Immigration

Navigating the U.S. Immigration System

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By: Rebecca Anderson You don’t necessarily need to be an expert or lawyer to comprehend various immigration policies and laws, but there are a few steps one needs to take before officially declaring citizenship. It’s also important to understand the four types of immigration status in the U.S. and what makes up each category. Here are the four classes of status: U.S. Citizens: According to masslegalhelp.org, a United States citizen is simply “someone who was born anywhere in the U.S. or its territories, including Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Individuals from the American Samoa or Swain’s Islands are also considered citizens.” Those who are “naturalized”—citizenship given to someone who later becomes a resident through the U.S. Naturalization process—is also bunched in ...

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USCIS Filing Fee Increase Temporarily Halted by Federal Courts

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By: Rebecca Anderson As of this week, a district judge in California granted an injunction that temporarily halts the proposed increases made by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services of schedule filing fees for incoming migrants. According to the National Law Review, this is based on the court’s preliminary ruling. This announcement comes on the heels of a former ruling in August that stated filing fees were increasing indefinitely. Ultimately, USCIS planned to implement these increases as of October 2, 2020. However, for now, immigration attorneys and clients can continue to file cases using the current USCIS filing fee structure to avoid having to rush to collect necessary documentation, etc. Why was the rule blocked? According to Boundless.com, Judge Jeffrey White of the ...

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A Breakdown of the Crisis-Era Shakeups at USCIS

Posted by: Park Evaluations

Written By: Lynn O’Brien, Senior Associate Attorney in the Northern Virginia office of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP.  The widely reported changes at USCIS have already had major consequences for foreign nationals looking to enter the United States. From fee hikes to narrowly avoided furloughs, to a proposed expansion of the premium processing program in an attempt to salvage some funds to stave off those furloughs, the leading sentiment among attorneys, petitioning companies, and would-be beneficiaries alike has been one of apprehension. With so much in flux, when will the other shoe drop? Background: A Deficit to Match the Times Like ...

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USPS Mail Delays and How they can Negatively Affect Our Immigration System

Posted by: Park Evaluations

By: Rachel Horner Furloughs, a pandemic, and a divisive political climate – it seems the USCIS has navigated through the worst. However, a new obstacle has been thrown their way: USPS mail delays. The USPS has already seen budget cuts and now they must process mail-in ballots for the 2020 election. These mail delays – which have already had a devastating impact across the country –are yet another blow to the USCIS, as they rely on the postal service to deliver paperwork, notices, visas, work authorizations, and naturalization documents to the 47 million immigrants living in the U.S. Immigration lawyers and USCIS agents alike agree that the USPS is essential to the success of the immigration process. A United ...

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Are USCIS Furloughs Still Coming?  What Happens Now to H-1B and Other Processing Times? A chat with Lynn O’Brien

Posted by: Park Evaluations

As hurricane season heats up, many in the business immigration world are beginning to wonder if USCIS will be able to weather its own stormy outlook. Furloughs and higher fees almost certainly seem to be on the agenda, with the service’s for-profit structure leaving it unequipped to handle the visa freeze instituted by President Trump’s June executive order (likely causing a reduction in petitions filed for employees outside the US who require visas to enter). Petitioning organizations seeking H-1B and L-1 visas, which have formed the backbone of the business immigration world for several years now, are faced with doubts as to the predictability in processing of these categories in the short term. Many businesses do not know ...

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Strengthening the H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa Classification Program” Rule Proposed by DHS targets H-1B process, Could Possibly Go into Effect Soon

Posted by: Park Evaluations

By: Rachel Horner Every year, in the Spring and Fall, all federal agencies are required to submit a regulatory agenda, which lists each regulatory action the agency expects to work on within the next 12 months. It is then published in the Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions. The latest Agenda, published in Spring 2020 (specifically June 30), contains a proposed rule from the DHS relevant specifically to those looking to arrive to the United States on an H-1B visa. Entitled the “Strengthening the H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa Classification Program,” the proposal was initially set to be reviewed as a proposed rule first in December 2019, but was then moved to December 2020. However, DHS recently ...

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Court ruling: Trump is allowed to end Temporary Protected Status for nearly 300,000 immigrants

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By: Rebecca Anderson Immigrants hailing from Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti and El Salvador could potentially be relieved of U.S. humanitarian protections after a split federal appeals court panel claimed that the Trump administration could terminate them. According to CNN, the decision—made in a 2-1 ruling on Monday—affects thousands of immigrants who currently live in the U.S. and could eventually be deported in the near future. "This government has failed me and the other 250,000 US citizen children of TPS holders,” said Crista Ramos, lead plaintiff in the case. “If this decision stands, it means Trump's termination of TPS will move ahead and TPS holders will only have until January 2021 to legally live and work in this country. The decision is expected ...

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ICE Recovers a 19th Century Italian Painting Stolen from a Monastery Nearly Two Decades Ago

Posted by: Park Evaluations

By: Rebecca Anderson “The Assumption of the Virgin Mary” was an oil painting created by the great Italian artist Giuseppe Pappini in August of 1851. For over a century, the work of art was admired by many onlookers, but was stolen from its home—a monastery at the Abbey of Santa Maria in Sylvis in Sesto al Reghena, Italy—in May of 2002, and was perceived lost. That is until officers from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) team in Dallas, Texas recovered it this week. “Investigating the loss or looting of cultural heritage properties and returning them to their countries of origin is an important part of HSI's diverse mission” said Ryan L. Spradlin, special agent in charge ...

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Trump’s admin can’t exclude undocumented immigrants from the census. What does this mean going forward?

Posted by: Park Evaluations

By: Rebecca Anderson Last week, The Trump Administration was blocked by a three-person panel in New York from excluding undocumented immigrants from the census totals used to determine how many seats will be selected for congress. According to The Guardian, President Trump acted unlawfully when he asked for data and information from the commerce department that omitted undocumented immigrants. This would also go against the 14th amendment. Federal Law states that only a single data source – the census count of total population – can be used to apportion the 435 seats in the U.S. House among states, the judges wrote. The decennial census does not ask about citizenship status and by requesting a second set of data outside of the ...

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