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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses a new and exciting bill proposed by the House of Representatives known as the HEROES Act (Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act) that would provide financial relief for undocumented immigrants, employment authorization for undocumented essential workers, and expedited visa processing for doctors, nurses, and other essential workers.

Please keep in mind that to become law, the HEROES Act still needs to be passed by the U.S. Senate and signed into law by the President.

Keep on watching for more information.


HEROES Act Overview


The new HEROES Act addresses some of the shortcomings of the previous CARES Act, which excluded undocumented immigrants from receiving stimulus checks from the federal government. The HEROES Act is a $3 trillion federal relief package that authorizes a second round of stimulus checks for those who qualify.

Here are the five takeaways of the HEROES Act:

  1. The HEROES Act would provide cash payments to immigrants and their families previously excluded under the CARES Act
  2. The HEROES Act would shield essential workers from deportation and create opportunities for some undocumented immigrants to obtain employment authorization (much like DACA)
  3. THE HEROES Act calls on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to release low-risk immigrants from detention facilities where detention is not mandatory and where the detainee is not a national security risk
  4. The HEROES Act would allow expedited visa and green card processing for foreign medical professionals fighting Coronavirus and grant flexibility for medical professionals as to where they can work and how they can work
  5. THE HEROES Act would grant health care benefits for undocumented immigrants who do not have health insurance, including free testing, vaccines, and treatment relating to Coronavirus

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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses a new and exciting bill called “the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act” that would speed up the process for nurses and doctors to obtain their green cards.

Keep on watching for more information.


Overview


The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act was introduced by Senators David Perdue (R-GA), Todd Young (R-IN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Chris Coons (D-DE) to increase the number of doctors and nurses available to meet the demand of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

While this bill is only a proposal for the time being, it is a great step in the right direction for the future of highly skilled foreign medical professionals. To become law, the bill must be passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the President. The bill is exciting because it is likely to have bipartisan support and has great potential to become law.


Why was the bill passed?


Currently, significant backlogs exist for nurses applying for a green card under the employment-based third preference category (EB-3). As you know Congress has imposed numerical limitations on the number of green cards that can be issued for immigrant workers. For EB-3 there is a waiting period of several years for green cards to become for EB-3 workers, even those with approved I-140 who are prevented from entering the United States because of these numerical limitations. At the moment, the priority date for nurses under EB-3 is stuck around January 2017 which for many nurses means a very long waiting period.

The Health Care Workforce Resilience Act was proposed to alleviate the strain on the U.S. healthcare system. The United States is currently at the epicenter of the Coronavirus pandemic and has an urgent need for doctors and nurses to help flatten the curve.


What does the proposal say?


The bill would authorize USCIS to “recapture” up to 25,000 immigrant visas for nurses and 15,000 immigrant visas for doctors. Additional immigrant visas would also be recaptured for the families of these medical professionals so that principal applicants and their family members can obtain their green cards at the same time.

This recapturing of unused visas in other preference categories would eliminate the backlog for nurses and doctors with approved I-140’s who are seeking an employment-based green card.

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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick shares the latest update regarding the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) field office closures.

Keep on watching for more information.


Overview


On March 18, 2020, USCIS made the decision to temporarily close USCIS field offices, application support centers (ASC), and asylum offices to help slow the spread of COVID-19. This means that since March 18th no green card interviews, asylum interviews, biometrics appointments, nor info pass appointments have taken place.

After making the announcement, USCIS initially planned to reopen its offices on April 7th but the agency ultimately extended the temporary closure until May 4th.

In its most recent update USCIS has said that the agency is readying offices to reopen on or after June 4th.

Please keep in mind that although USCIS offices have been closed to the public, USCIS service centers nationwide continue to accept and process applications for immigration benefits.


Emergency Services


In addition, although USCIS field offices are closed to the public, they are still providing limited in-person services for those with emergencies. These individuals can contact the USCIS Contact Center for emergency assistance.


What will happen to appointments that were cancelled?


USCIS field offices will send notices to applicants and petitioners with scheduled appointments and naturalization ceremonies impacted by the extended temporary closure.

Asylum applicants who had an interview impacted by the closures will receive interview cancellation notices and asylum interviews will be automatically rescheduled.

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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick goes over each section of President Trump’s new executive order, “Proclamation Suspending the Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak,” which suspends and limits the immigration of certain types of aliens for a 60-day period beginning on April 23, 2020.

Keep on watching for more information.

Overview:


Who is impacted by the Executive order?


The suspension applies to individuals who, as of April 23, are:

(1) outside of the United States

(2) do not have an immigrant visa

(3) do not have official travel documents other than visas and

(4) are not otherwise exempted from the Proclamation.


Who will enforce the Executive Order?


The President’s executive order will be enforced by U.S. Consulates worldwide beginning 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on April 23, 2020. Consular officials will have the discretion to determine whether an immigrant is eligible to receive a visa and whether they are exempt from the order.


Who is exempt from the Executive Order (not impacted)?


  • Lawful Permanent Residents of the U.S.;
  • Aliens who are the spouses of U.S. Citizens;
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and any spouse and child of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces;
  • Aliens under 21 years of age who are children of United States Citizens and prospective adoptees;
  • Aliens seeking to enter the U.S. on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional;
  • Aliens seeking to enter the U.S. to perform medical research or other research intended to combat the spread of COVID-19;
  • Any spouse any unmarried child under 21 years of age of any such alien who is accompanying or following to join the alien;
  • Any alien applying for a visa pursuant to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program;
  • Aliens whose entry furthers important United States law enforcement objectives;

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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses one of your frequently asked questions: do people with green cards need to worry about using government benefits due to the Coronavirus crisis?

Keep on watching for more information.

Overview:


Do green card holders need to worry about collecting benefits during the Coronavirus crisis?


The short answer is no. The people who are subject to the public charge rule are (1) people who are applying for adjustment of status within the United States (green cards) (2) people who are applying for an immigrant visa at a US Consulate or Embassy overseas and (3) people who are changing their non-immigrant visa status (with certain lenient criteria). In general, individuals may not obtain certain benefits from the government including:

  • Supplemental Social Security Income (SSI)
  • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
  • Medicaid
  • Non-Emergency Medicaid
  • Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program
  • Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance and
  • Certain other forms of subsidized housing.

Read our Public Charge FAQ guide here.

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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses a new and important topic: are green card interviews being waived during the Coronavirus pandemic?

Keep on watching for more information.

Overview:

As many of you know, on March 18th USCIS announced the closure of USCIS field offices, ASC centers, and asylum offices nationwide until at least May 3rd to minimize the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

That means that most interviews and biometrics appointments initially scheduled to take place between March 18th and May 3rd are being rescheduled.

Certain Employment-Based Green Card Interviews Waived

Typically, a green card applicant must attend an in-person interview at a USCIS field office (if based on marriage or employment) before their green card application can be approved. That is because USCIS must ensure that the green card applicant meets all eligibility requirements.

Curiously, during the last few days, certain green card applicants have seen their green card interviews waived instead of rescheduled. This has been occurring mainly for employment-based green card applicants. This class of individuals have seen their green cards approved, and have received their green cards in the mail, without having to attend the green card interview.

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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the new Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) and answers a very important question: are immigrants eligible for CARES Act checks?

Keep watching for more information.

Overview:

What is the CARES Act?

The CARES Act is a new piece of legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by the President that is designed to provide temporary emergency relief to certain individuals who qualify.

What does the Act do?

For single individuals earning less than $75,000 the Act authorizes a one-time payment of $1,200.

For married couples filing jointly who earn less than $150,000, the Act authorizes each spouse a one-time payment of $1,200 (total $2,400).

Families with children can expect to receive $500 for each child.

Example: A family of four earning less than $150,000 can expect to receive $3,400 under the Act.

Payments begin to phase out at $75,000 for single individuals, $122,500 for heads of household, and $150,000 for joint taxpayers. Single taxpayers with no children earning $99,000 or more and joint taxpayers earning $198,000 are not eligible for payments.

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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses an important announcement for medical professionals who have an approved U.S. nonimmigrant, immigrant visa petition, or certificate of eligibility, and are seeking to treat or mitigate the effects of COVID-19.

Keep on watching for more information.

Overview:

The United States government recently announced the urgent need for medical professionals from abroad to combat the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus. The United States is currently at the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic with a record number of cases and a rising number of deaths that has surpassed those of China and Italy.

As a result, the Department of State is encouraging medical professionals from abroad, working to treat or mitigate the effects of COVID-19 , who have either (1) an approved U.S. nonimmigrant or immigrant visa petition (I-129, I-140, or similar) or (2) certificate of eligibility in an approved exchange visitor program (DS-2019), to request a visa appointment at their nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Please note that this measure applies only to medical professionals with an approved visa.

Although U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide have suspended routine visa services, this is one of the few exceptions that medical professionals need to be taking advantage of.


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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this important video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected U.S. immigration law and what you should expect going forward.

Overview:

COVID-19 Firm Update

In compliance with government directives, our office remains temporarily closed for any in person meetings with clients and prospective clients. However, our firm continues to be fully functional on a remote basis.

All meetings with current and future clients will take place via phone, Zoom, Facetime, or other remote conferencing medium. At this time, we are not scheduling in-person appointments to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our focus remains the health and safety of our clients and our employees, while providing the highest quality of service.

If you are a prospective client, you may contact us by phone or schedule a video conference for a free discovery call to determine your immigration needs.

Our Message to Our Current Clients

Our Firm has been hard at work these last few weeks to avoid any disruptions in service as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, while at the same time acting responsibly to do our part to contain the spread of this virus.

To achieve business continuity, our office will be engaging an Alternate Work Schedule Program that will allow us to remain fully functional and continue our business with the use of remote working technology.

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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick answers a frequently asked question: does the public charge rule apply to non-immigrant visas?

Overview:

One of our subscribers asks: I am applying for a student visa at the US Embassy, does the public charge rule apply to me?

Please bear in mind that the answer to this question applies to all non-immigrant visa types including but not limited to tourist visas, fiancé visas, exchange visitor visas, etc.

In general, all applicants seeking admission to the United States are subject to the public charge ground of inadmissibility under INA § 212(a)(4) unless specifically exempted by law.

As it relates specifically to individuals seeking a non-immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy abroad the public charge rule will apply.

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