Immigration News

USCIS Announces Final Rule Adjusting Immigration Benefit Application and Petition Fees

Release Date: October 24, 2016

WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced a final rule published in the Federal Registertoday adjusting the fees required for most immigration applications and petitions. The new fees will be effective Dec. 23.

USCIS is almost entirely funded by the fees paid by applicants and petitioners for immigration benefits. The law requires USCIS to conduct fee reviews every two years to determine the funding levels necessary to administer the nation’s immigration laws, process benefit requests and provide the infrastructure needed to support those activities.

Fees will increase for the first time in six years, by a weighted average of 21 percent for most applications and petitions.   This increase is necessary to recover the full cost of services provided by USCIS. These include the costs associated with fraud detection and national security, customer service and case processing, and providing services without charge to refugee and asylum applicants and to other customers eligible for fee waivers or exemptions.

The final rule contains a table summarizing current and new fees. The new fees will also be listed on the Our Fees page on our website. Form G-1055 will not reflect the new fees until the effective date. Applications and petitions postmarked or filed on or after Dec. 23 must include the new fees or USCIS will not be able to accept them.

“This is our first fee increase since November 2010, and we sincerely appreciate the valuable public input we received as we prepared this final rule,” said USCIS Director León Rodríguez. “We are mindful of the effect fee increases have on many of the customers we serve. That’s why we decided against raising fees as recommended after the fiscal year 2012 and 2014 fee reviews.  […]

VISA BULLETIN – OCTOBER 2016

A. STATUTORY NUMBERS

This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers duringOctober for: “Final Action Dates” and “Dates for Filing Applications,” indicating when immigrant visa applicants should be notified to assemble and submit required documentation to the National Visa Center.

Unless otherwise indicated on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website at www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo, individuals seeking to file applications for adjustment of status with USCIS in the Department of Homeland Security must use the “Final Action Dates” charts below for determining when they can file such applications. When USCIS determines that there are more immigrant visas available for the fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas, USCIS will state on its website that applicants may instead use the “Dates for Filing Visa Applications” charts in this Bulletin.

1.  Procedures for determining dates. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; USCIS reports applicants for adjustment of status. Allocations in the charts below were made, to the extent possible, in chronological order of reported priority dates, for demand received by September 8th. If not all demand could be satisfied, the category or foreign state in which demand was excessive was deemed oversubscribed. The final action date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who could not be reached within the numerical limits. If it becomes necessary during the monthly allocation process to retrogress a final action date, supplemental requests for numbers will be honored only if the priority date falls within the new final action date announced in this bulletin. If at any time an annual limit were reached, it would be necessary to immediately make the preference category “unavailable”, and no further requests for […]

Final DHS Rule on Expansion of Eligibility for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver

Tomorrow, DHS will publish in the Federal Register a final rule that will expand eligibility for provisional unlawful presence waivers to all individuals who are statutorily eligible for the unlawful presence waiver and who can establish extreme hardship to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) spouse or parent.

This final rule, consistent with the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), expands the class of individuals who may be eligible for a provisional waiver of certain grounds of inadmissibility based on the accrual of unlawful presence in the United States. The provisional unlawful presence waiver (“provisional waiver”) process allows certain individuals who are present in the United States to request from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) a provisional waiver of these grounds of inadmissibility before departing the United States for consular processing of their immigrant visas – rather than applying for a waiver abroad after their immigrant visa interviews using the Form I-601, Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility (“Form I-601 waiver process”). The provisional waiver process is designed to encourage unlawfully present individuals to leave the United States, attend their immigrant visa interviews, and return to the United States legally to reunite with their U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) family members.

OREGON 2016 SUPER LAWYERS

Congratulations to Nicole Nelson and Philip Smith for being selected as 2016 Oregon Super Lawyers!

U.S. plans new wave of immigrant deportation raids

U.S. immigration officials are planning a month-long series of raids in May and June to deport hundreds of Central American mothers and children found to have entered the country illegally, according to sources and an internal document seen by Reuters.

The operation would likely be the largest deportation sweep targeting immigrant families by the administration of President Barack Obama this year after a similar drive over two days in January that focused on Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina.

Those raids, which resulted in the detention of 121 people, mostly women and children, sparked an outcry from immigration advocates and criticism from some Democrats, including the party’s presidential election frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has now told field offices nationwide to launch a 30-day “surge” of arrests focused on mothers and children who have already been told to leave the United States, the document seen by Reuters said. The operation would also cover minors who have entered the country without a guardian and since turned 18 years of age, the document said. Two sources confirmed the details of the plan.

The exact dates of the latest series of raids were not known and the details of the operation could change.

The operation in January marked a departure for ICE, part of the Department of Homeland Security, from one-off deportations to high-profile raids meant to deter migrants from coming to the United States.

An ICE spokeswoman said the agency does not “confirm or deny the existence of specific ongoing or future law enforcement actions.” The spokeswoman said immigrants who arrived illegally after Jan. 1, 2014 are priorities for removal.

Federal resources were strained in 2014 under a wave of illegal migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, especially women and children fleeing violence […]

What You Need to Know About the DAPA and Expanded DACA Case Before the Supreme Court – From the American Immigration Council

In the spring of 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider United States v. Texas, a politically charged lawsuit about the legality of some of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. The oral argument will take place on Monday, April 18 before the eight sitting justices.

The initiatives in dispute—expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA)—have been on hold since a district court in Texas issued a preliminary injunction in the case in February 2015. A Supreme Court decision in favor of the United States could clear the way for the initiatives to go forward as early as June of 2016.

In order to provide some background on the basics of the case, the American Immigration Council has produced a guide, Defending DAPA and Expanded DACA Before the Supreme Court: A Guide to Texas v. U.S., which provides brief answers to common questions aboutUnited States v. Texas, including what is at stake in the case, how the litigation began, what the contested issues are, and the impact the case may have on our country.

Although no one can say for sure which side will win, the guide explains why there is clear precedent for the President and DHS to do what every law enforcement agency does—set priorities and use limited resources to target serious threats to public safety. It also explains the basics of the programs which essentially provide noncitizens with significant family and community ties to the United States with temporary, renewable work permits and deferrals of deportation. To qualify to stay in the U.S., individuals will have to meet a variety of requirements and pass a background check.

Regardless of the outcome of this Supreme […]

USCIS Reaches FY 2017 H-1B Cap

WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reached the congressionally mandated H-1B cap for fiscal year (FY) 2017. USCIS has also received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the U.S. advanced degree exemption.

USCIS will use a computer-generated process, also known as the lottery, to randomly select the petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 visas for the general category and 20,000 for the advanced degree exemption.

USCIS will first randomly select petitions for the advanced degree exemption. All unselected advanced degree petitions will become part of the random selection process for the 65,000 general cap. The agency will reject and return filing fees for all unselected cap-subject petitions that are not duplicate filings.

Before running the lottery, USCIS will complete initial intake for all filings received during the filing period, which ended April 7. Due to the high number of petitions, USCIS is not yet able to announce the date it will conduct the random selection process.

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap, and who still retain their cap number, will also not be counted toward the congressionally mandated FY 2017 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:

Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;
Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.

U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science, engineering and […]

Will Justice Scalia’s Death Impact the Court’s DAPA Decision?

WASHINGTON — Justice Antonin Scalia’s death will complicate the work of the Supreme Court’s eight remaining justices for the rest of the court’s term, probably change the outcomes of some major cases and, for the most part, amplify the power of its four-member liberal wing.

It takes five votes to accomplish most things at the Supreme Court, and until Saturday, that meant Justice Anthony M. Kennedy was in control when the court’s four-member liberal and conservative blocs lined up against each other. But with three remaining conservatives, only the liberal side can command a majority if it attracts Justice Kennedy’s vote. And if it does not, the result is a 4-to-4 deadlock.

If that happens, the court can automatically affirm the decision under review without giving reasons and without setting a Supreme Court precedent. Or it can set the case down for re-argument in the term that starts in October in the hope that it will be decided by a full court.

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“It has been an extraordinarily long time since the Supreme Court has been forced to deal with a departure that occurs in the middle of the term, as the court does here with Justice Scalia’s death,” said Justin Driver, a law professor at the University of Chicago. “This event almost certainly throws many cases that had been tentatively decided by 5-4 margins into grave doubt, and will likely require the justices to reassess many opinions.”

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Pro-union demonstrators […]

SUPREME COURT TO HEAR DAPA CASE – COULD HELP PARENTS OF U.S. CITIZENS

Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to Obama Immigration Actions
By ADAM LIPTAK and MICHAEL D. SHEARJAN. 19, 2016 261 COMMENTS
Photo

Immigration supporters from CASA de Maryland, an advocacy group, rallied outside the Supreme Court on Friday. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court said Tuesday that it would consider a legal challenge to President Obama’s overhaul of the nation’s immigration rules. The court, which has twice rejected challenges to Mr. Obama’s health care law, will now determine the fate of one of his most far-reaching executive actions.

Fourteen months ago, Mr. Obama ordered the creation of a program intended to allow as many as five million illegal immigrants who are the parents of citizens or of lawful permanent residents to apply for a program sparing them from deportation and providing them work permits. The program was called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA.

 

Obama Administration Asks Supreme Court to Save Immigration PlanNOV. 20, 2015
Appeals Court Deals Blow to Obama’s Immigration PlansNOV. 9, 2015
In Courts, Running Out the Clock on Obama Immigration Plan OCT. 13, 2015
The president has said the program was the result of years of frustration with Republicans in Congress who had repeatedly refused to support bipartisan Senate legislation to update immigration laws. In an Oval Office address just before Thanksgiving in 2014, Mr. Obama excoriated Republicans for refusing to cooperate and told millions of illegal immigrants, “You can come out of the shadows.”

But the president’s promise has gone unfulfilled. A coalition of 26 states, led by the attorney general in Texas, a Republican, quickly filed a lawsuit accusing the president of ignoring federal procedures for changing rules and of abusing the power of his office by sidestepping Congress.

In […]

VISA BULLETIN – JANUARY 2016

Number 88
Volume IX
Washington, D.C

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A. STATUTORY NUMBERS

This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers duringJanuary for: “Application Final Action Dates” (consistent with prior Visa Bulletins) and “Dates for Filing Applications,” indicating when immigrant visa applicants should be notified to assemble and submit required documentation to the National Visa Center.

Unless otherwise indicated on the USCIS website atwww.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo, individuals seeking to file applications for adjustment of status with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the Department of Homeland Security must use the “Application Final Action Dates” charts below for determining when they can file such applications. When USCIS determines that there are more immigrant visas available for the fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas, USCIS will state on its website that applicants may instead use the “Dates for Filing Visa Applications” charts in this Bulletin. Applicants for adjustment of status may refer to USCIS for additional information by visitingwww.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo.

1.  Procedures for determining dates. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; USCIS reports applicants for adjustment of status. Allocations in the charts below were made, to the extent possible, in chronological order of reported priority dates, for demand received by December 9th. If not all demand could be satisfied, the category or foreign state in which demand was excessive was deemed oversubscribed. The cut-off date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who could not be reached within the numerical limits. If it becomes necessary during the monthly allocation process to retrogress a cut-off date, supplemental requests for numbers will be honored only if the priority date falls within the new cut-off date announced in this […]