The coronavirus has complicated every aspect of our lives. Unfortunately, immigration protocols are not exempt from its effects. Trump’s stances on immigration have incurred challenges to the process since his election. Now, with the heat of the pandemic, immigration is being affected even more.
At Panteva Law Group, LLC we keep ourselves well-versed on the latest in immigration news. We provide the same information to our clients to empower them to remain aware of the latest changes as well. That said, we’ve collected some of the biggest stories in immigration from August and recapped them here.
Lawsuits Against Trump’s Immigration and Visa Bans
The lawsuit against the Trump administration has moved forward. This brings us closer to a decided fate for hundreds of thousands of foreign professionals impacted by the presidential proclamations Trump has ordered over the last few months.
Trump suspended immigrant entry on April 22 through a presidential proclamation. This proclamation has the ability to make it so that virtually no immigrants can enter the United States through diversity visas, employment-based visas or as family immigrants. Less than a week after the proclamation, the American Immigration Lawyers Association filed a lawsuit against the proclamation on behalf of family-based sponsors of visas for children whose eligibility for a visa would be lost as a result of the proclamation.
The backlash against the presidential proclamation in April did not dissuade Trump from issuing another. He issued another on June 22 to halt H-1B, H-2B, L1, and most J-1 visas. He planned for this to last at least until the end of the year.
Again, the AILA retaliated. On July 17, they filed a complaint regarding the new proclamation. On July 31, they filed a motion for a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order. There will be a court hearing on August 27 that will hopefully offer clarification to immigrants and non-immigrant residents about what that means for their time in the United States.
Public Charge Injunction
In July, the nation feared that a public charge could take effect and put communities in harm’s way in the midst of a global pandemic that is still out of control in the United States. On July 29, a federal judge from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York issued an injunction to block the rule.
The public charge would have allowed the government to deny legal permanent status to immigrants who have received public benefits and support such as Medicaid, food stamps, or housing vouchers.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will follow the 1999 public charge guidance as long as this injunction is in effect. The USCIS will not consider information only required by the Public Charge Rule. They will instead consider the receipt of benefits consistently with the prior public charge guidance in all public charge inadmissibility determinations following July 29.
Limitations to the Public Charge Injunction
On August 12, an appeals court limited the injunction to the states of the Second Circuit (Vermont, New York, and Connecticut). USCIS is looking into how they may potentially reimplement the charge. Their website’s page regarding the injunction has not been updated since August 4. As of August 24, it still states that the USCIS will follow the prior public charge’s precedents in evaluating government assistance. The matter is still developing, leaving immigrants outside of the Second Circuit states wary to accept much-needed government assistance over fears of what it could mean for their eligibility to receive a green card.
The Department of Homeland Security announced significant changes to some documents and most fees. The forms that will change are:
- Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker
- Form I-600 and I-600A, Supplement 3, Request for Action on Approved Form I-600 or I-600A
- Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
- Form I-912, Request for a Fee Waiver
USCIS fees have been adjusted by a weighted average increase of 20%. There are also new fees that have been added to forms. The intention of the price increases is to account for the resources necessary to provide proper service to applicants. These changes will go into effect on October 2, 2020.
As everyone in the country struggles to get back on their feet and adapt to the situation COVID-19 has presented, Americans are growing impatient waiting for the next stimulus bill. The wait for the next potential stimulus bill is a tortuous one, even for those not eligible for a relief check.
The next stimulus bill, in addition to providing crucial financial relief to qualifying Americans, plays a significant role in determining the fate of non-Americans applying for visas and citizenship. The USCIS announced in May that without financial help from Congress, they could be forced to furlough two thirds of their work force. If this happens, visa and green card processing times will increase substantially and create a more difficult path and longer wait for those looking to come to the United States.
The USCIS has pushed the date for when they plan to begin furloughs to August 30 in hopes that Congress will follow through with funding.
USCIS Selects More H-1B Registrations for the FY 2021
An additional selection of H-1B cap registrations was made in a second round of the lottery for FY 2021. The initial lottery failed to meet the 85,000-person quota for the coming fiscal year, which prompted USCIS to send out additional notifications beginning on August 14, two months after the process was thought to be over.
Those whose cases have been selected will receive an email notifying them of it. Employers who receive notice that their registrations were selected have until November 16 to file petitions.
Contact an Experienced Immigration Attorney
With the everchanging climate surrounding immigration, it’s critical to remain up to date on how American policies affect your endeavors to obtain a visa or permanent legal resident status. Our attorney is knowledgeable about the policies and stays current on any changes that could affect the course of your case. She will use her years of experience and ample knowledge to help you investigate your options and secure the outcome you desire.
Panteva Law Group, LLC helps clients in the United States and abroad. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your status in English, Chinese, Spanish, or Bulgarian.