Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses a new court order that prohibits the government from enforcing a final rule that sought to increase filing fees for certain applications and petitions filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). For more information keep on watching.
As many of you know on August 3, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security published a final rule in the Federal Register which sought to increase filing fees for most applications and petitions for immigration benefits payable to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). These filing fee increases were made by USCIS in order to help the agency meet its operational costs and ensure adequate resources to cover services provided by USCIS to applicants and petitioners.
Just days before the filing fee increase was scheduled to go into effect, a federal judge from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a nationwide temporary injunction blocking the government from implementing the final rule. The court order essentially stops the government from enforcing the fee increases as the government had originally planned beginning October 2, 2020.
Several nonprofit organizations including the immigrant Legal Resource Center came together to file a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California challenging the government’s planned enforcement of the final rule increasing USCIS filing fees. In their lawsuit, these organizations asked the court to grant a nationwide injunction to block the government from enforcing the rule to applications and petitions postmarked on or after October 2, 2020.
Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick provides some exciting news regarding a recent federal court order. The new order grants relief to diversity visa applicants selected in the DV lottery for fiscal year 2020 against Presidential Proclamations 10014 and 10052. As many of you are aware, on April 22nd the President issued Proclamation 10014, which temporarily suspended the entry of all immigrants into the U.S. for a period of two months, including that of diversity visa lottery winners. Two months later, the President issued Proclamation 10052, which extended the suspension until December 31, 2020, with limited exceptions that did not apply to diversity visa winners. In response to these Proclamations, a class action lawsuit was brought in federal court challenging its application. For purposes of this post, we discuss what this lawsuit means for DV-2020 selected applicants.
For more information on this important ruling please keep on watching.
Proclamations 10014 and 10052 imposed an unfortunate ban on the adjudication and issuance of immigrant visas for certain classes of immigrants, including winners of the DV-2020 lottery.
Following the issuance of Proclamations 10014 and 10052 – which did not exempt DV-2020 lottery winners from the ban – diversity visa lottery winners were left in limbo. The issuance of the Proclamation created a dilemma for winners because following their selection in the DV lottery, winners must apply for and receive a diversity visa by the deadline imposed for that fiscal year. For DV-2020 the deadline to receive a permanent visa was September 30, 2020. The ban on visa issuance for DV-lottery winners meant that applicants would not be able to meet the deadline to apply for a permanent visa, and as a result would forfeit their opportunity to immigrate to the United States.
Seeking relief from the ban, over one thousand plaintiffs joined together to file the lawsuit Gomez, et al. v. Trump, et al. in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The judge presiding over the case, Amit Mehta, concluded that DV-2020 lottery winners qualified for relief, but that non-DV applicants failed to demonstrate that they were entitled to relief.
Accordingly, federal judge Mehta issued the following orders:
As a preliminary matter, the court “stayed” (halted) the No-Visa Policy as applied to DV-2020 selectees and derivative beneficiaries, meaning that the government is prohibited from interpreting or applying the Proclamation in any way that forecloses or prohibits embassy personnel, consular officers, or any administrative processing center (such as the Kentucky Consular Center) from processing, reviewing, or adjudicating a 2020 diversity visa or derivative beneficiary application, or issuing or reissuing a 2020 diversity or beneficiary visa based on the entry restrictions contained in the Proclamations. Except as provided in 2 and 3 below, the order does not prevent any embassy personnel, consular officer, or administrative processing center from prioritizing the processing, adjudication, or issuance of visas based on resource constraints, limitations due to the COVID-19 pandemic or country conditions;
The government as defendants are ordered to undertake good-faith efforts, to expeditiously process and adjudicate DV-2020 diversity visa and derivative beneficiary applications, and issue or reissue diversity and derivative beneficiary visas to eligible applicants by September 30, 2020, giving priority to the named diversity visa plaintiffs in the lawsuit and their derivative beneficiaries;
The court enjoins (stops) the government from interpreting and applying the COVID Guidance to DV-2020 selectees and derivative beneficiaries in any way that requires embassy personnel, consular officers, or administrative processing centers (such as the Kentucky Consular Center) to refuse processing, reviewing, adjudicating 2020 diversity visa applications, or issuing or reissuing diversity visas on the ground that the DV-2020 selectee or derivative beneficiary does not qualify under the “emergency” or “mission critical” exceptions to the COVID Guidance;
The court declines the requests of DV-2020 plaintiffs to order the government to reserve unprocessed DV-2020 visas past the September 30 deadline or until a final adjudication on the merits, however the court will revisit the issue closer to the deadline. The court ordered the State Department to report, no later than September 25, 2020, which of the named DV-2020 Plaintiffs in the lawsuit have received diversity visas, the status of processing of the named DV-2020 plaintiffs’ applications who have not yet received visas, and the number of unprocessed DV-2020 visa applications and unused diversity visas remaining for FY 2020;
Class recertification was denied for non-DV plaintiffs since they failed to demonstrate that they were entitled to preliminary injunctive relief; and
Finally, the court denied the request of non-DV plaintiffs to preliminary enjoin (stop) the government from implementing or enforcing Proclamations 10014 and 10052.
What happens next?
The court has required the parties to the lawsuit to meet and confer by September 25, 2020 for a Joint Status Report. At that time, the court will set the schedule to hear arguments from the parties and come to a final resolution of the lawsuit on the merits.
We hope that this information will help DV-2020 lottery winners breathe a sigh of relief. If you were selected in the DV-2020 lottery it is very important to proceed with your immigrant visa process as soon as possible. Applicants should consider applying with the assistance of an attorney to ensure the application process goes smoothly.
Where can I read more about this court order?
To read judge Mehta’s complete decision please click here.
Questions? If you would like to schedule a consultation, please text or call 619-569-1768.
JOIN OUR NEW FACEBOOK GROUP
Need more immigration updates?We have created a brand new facebook group to address the impact of the new executive order and other changing developments in immigration related to COVID-19. Follow us there.
For other COVID 19 related immigration updates please visit our Immigration and COVID-19 Resource Center here.
Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick provides an important update regarding a recent ruling that brings back the “public charge,” rule. On August 12, a panel of three judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a ruling invalidating a previous nationwide injunction issued by a lower court judge that temporarily blocked the government from enforcing the “public charge” rule nationwide for as long as the Coronavirus remained a public health emergency.
The lower court’s injunction was issued on July 29th out of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by Judge Daniels. In his decision, Judge Daniels had ordered the government to immediately stop “enforcing, applying, implementing, or treating,” as effective the “public charge” rule for any period during which there is a declared national health emergency in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
What is this all about?
Since the issuance of the lower court’s injunction on July 29th, the Trump administration immediately appealed the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. A decision was expected to be handed down in a matter of weeks.
On August 12th the decision finally came, and it was very unexpected. The Court of Appeals decided that the issuance of a nationwide injunction was inappropriate and instead narrowed the scope of the injunction to apply only to the three states that filed the lawsuit (New York, Connecticut, and Vermont). The Court of Appeals stated that the injunction was warranted only with respect to these states because only these states were able to demonstrate standing, irreparable harm, and a likelihood of succeeding on the merits of the underlying case.
Therefore, the injunction preventing enforcement of the “public charge” rule no longer applies on a nationwide basis, and instead only prevents enforcement of the “public charge” rule against residents of New York, Connecticut, and Vermont.
In response to a lawsuit filed by the states of New York, Connecticut, and Vermont, challenging the “public charge” rule, federal judge George Daniels approved a nationwide injunction, which temporarily blocks the government from “enforcing, applying, implementing, or treating,” as effective the “public charge” rule for any period during which there is a declared national health emergency in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The judge in this case ultimately sided with the states recognizing that the public charge rule ultimately discourages non-citizens nationwide from obtaining the necessary treatment and care they would need during the Coronavirus pandemic. In his opinion, the judge stated that in consideration of the “substantial harm” that the public would suffer from application and enforcement of the public charge rule, it was necessary to issue a temporary injunction to preserve the status quo and allow non-citizens to seek public benefits necessary for their health and well-being. The judge stated, “no person should hesitate to seek medical care, nor should they endure punishment or penalty if they seek temporary financial aid as a result of the pandemic’s impact.”
Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the dilemma that Diversity Visa applicants are currently facing. What will happen to those who won the diversity visa lottery but are unable to apply for an immigrant visa because of the new proclamation? We answer your questions here and provide other helpful immigration tips. Stay tuned for more information on this topic.
As many of you know the executive order, “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak,” signed by the President on June 22nd suspends the entry of certain H, J, and L non-immigrants until December 31, 2020 and also extends the previous presidential proclamation signed on April 22nd which barred DV lottery winners from applying for an immigrant visa. Those affected by the April order include diversity visa applicants selected in the DV lottery, who are outside the United States as of the date of the proclamation, and otherwise have no immigrant visa or official travel document allowing them to enter the United States.
Q: What is the impact of this proclamation on DV lottery winners outside the country?
Unfortunately, this proclamation has devastating consequences on DV lottery winners currently residing outside the country. The order could potentially eliminate the possibility of applying for a visa based on diversity visa lottery selection, because DV applicants must be approved for a visa before the September 30, 2020 deadline.
Q. Is there any relief for DV lottery winners?
Potentially. On April 27th a class action lawsuit by multiple plaintiffs was filed President Donald Trump, DHS, Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, DOS, and DOS Secretary Michael Pompeo, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the April 22nd Presidential Proclamation arguing that the proclamation interferes with family reunification, violates the INA, the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), and the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit asked for a preliminary and permanent injunction (a court order) to block the government from implementing or enforcing the Proclamation on those impacted the April 22nd proclamation including FY 2020 diversity visa lottery winners.
Unfortunately, on May 18, 2020, the district court denied the Temporary Restraining order, which means the government can continue to enforce the April 22nd proclamation until further notice.
In this post, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses what the President’s March 5th deadline means for DACA recipients and what DACA holders should expect within the coming months. The President while rescinding the DACA program, had given Congress until March 5 to pass legislation creating a path to citizenship for Dreamers. Congress however failed to deliver on their promise, and Senators are continuing their negotiations to reach a bipartisan deal on immigration that would allow Dreamers to apply for permanent residency after fulfilling several criteria.
By court order, individuals whose DACA benefits expire on or after September 5, 2016 may apply for a renewal of their status. In addition, individuals whose DACA benefits expired before September 5, 2016 or whose DACA benefits were previously terminated at any time, may file a new initial DACA request following the Form I-821D and Form I-765 instructions.
It is estimated that approximately 668,000 immigrants have been issued work permits under DACA that will expire March 5th or later, however these individuals may seek a renewal of their status as previously mentioned, and continue working and remaining in the United States for an additional 2 years without fear of deportation.
For more information on the future of DACA please click here.
In this Facebook live stream, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick discusses the legal significance of the Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”) issued Friday, February 3, 2017, by a federal judge from the Western District of Washington. The TRO has temporarily suspended all provisions of the President’s Executive Order entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” nationwide. This means that the travel ban on foreign nationals from the 7 Muslim-majority countries (Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen) has been suspended, and the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program has been reinstated. For more information please keep watching.
Travel Ban Blocked by Federal Judge: update Live discussion
In his ruling, Judge Robart stated that after hearing arguments, the States adequately demonstrated that they have suffered immediate and irreparable harm because of the signing and implementation of the order, and that granting a TRO would be in the public interest. In addition he stated “the Executive Order adversely affects the States’ residents in areas of employment, education, business, family relations, and freedom to travel. These harms extend to the States. . . are significant and ongoing.” A three-judge panel from the Ninth Court Court of Appeals is expected to issue a final ruling on the Executive Order tomorrow.
Since issuance of the TRO, DHS has suspended any and all actions implementing the affected sections of the Executive Order entitled, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” including “actions to suspend passenger system rules that flag travelers for operational action subject to the Executive Order.”
In this video, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick answers one of your most frequently asked questions: Why can’t the President just give permanent residency to undocumented persons?
Only Congress may pass legislation that will create a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants known as “amnesty.” The constitution of the United States limits the president’s authority to pass laws. The President may only pass executive actions to provide temporary relief when Congress is unwilling to act or there is a state of emergency. A popular belief that many people have is that the DACA program and the now defunct DAPA programs offer undocumented persons a sort of amnesty. This belief is incorrect. The current DACA program offers only temporary relief to undocumented persons living in the United States. It was designed to shield undocumented persons from deportation and provide them an opportunity to obtain temporary employment authorization.
In this segment, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick answers one of your most frequently asked questions: What is the Execution Action on immigration all about? What will happen if DACA/DAPA passes? For the answer to this question please keep watching. For more information about these executive actions please click here.
On November 20, 2014, President Barack Obama introduced a series of executive actions on immigration. The most important aspects of his executive actions include the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) program and the implementation of the new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program. The President also announced new initiatives to crack down on illegal immigration, prioritize deportation of felons and other criminals, require undocumented immigrants to pass a criminal background check, and enforce payment of taxes by granting eligible undocumented immigrants temporary protection from deportation. Applications for the expanded DACA and new DAPA program were supposed to begin to be accepted on February 18th however a federal court order has suspended these programs from going into effect. The Supreme Court will hear arguments for the lawsuit challenging DACA/DAPA (United States v. Texas) today April 18, 2016 with a final decision expected in June.
From the USCIS website:
The Executive Action initiatives include:
Expanding the population eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to people of any current age who entered the United States before the age of 16 and lived in the United States continuously since January 1, 2010, and extending the period of DACA and work authorization from two years to three years;
Allowing parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to request deferred action and employment authorization for three years, in a new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents* program, provided they have lived in the United States continuously since January 1, 2010, and pass required background checks;
Expanding the use of provisional waivers of unlawful presence to include the spouses and sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents and the sons and daughters of U.S. citizens;
Modernizing, improving and clarifying immigrant and nonimmigrant visa programs to grow our economy and create jobs ;
Promoting citizenship education and public awareness for lawful permanent residents and providing an option for naturalization applicants to use credit cards to pay the application fee;
For more information please contact our office for a consultation.
In this segment, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick discusses the modified Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, introduced in November 2014 as part of President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration. The modified DACA and DAPA programs have been temporarily suspended pending a federal court order. The Supreme Court will begin to hear oral arguments for United States v. Texas in April. For more information about these programs and their court proceedings please click here.
President Barack Obama’s announced his Executive Actions on Immigration on November 20, 2014. One of the new programs that was introduced is a modified Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for the purpose of expanding the population eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a program that currently grants ‘deferred status’ to young people who came to the United States before turning 16 years old and have been continuously present in the United States since January 1, 2010. The modified DACA program and new DAPA program are currently suspended. The Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of both programs this summer.