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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick updates you regarding a recent practice followed by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) – the waiver of marriage based green card interviews during the Coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, our office has observed that the agency is processing certain types of applications much more quickly than others.

Want to know more? Stay tuned for more information about this important topic.


Overview


Green Card Interview Waivers for Employment Based Applicants

Beginning in April of this year, our office began to receive approval notices for employment-based adjustment of status applications, without the need for the applicant to attend the in-person face-to-face interview as is typically required by USCIS.

As you may recall on March 18th USCIS announced the suspension of in-person services at field offices nationwide, which meant the cancellation of face-to-face interviews. It was not until June 4th that USCIS announced that it would begin resumption of services at field offices nationwide.

Presumably to avoid a growing backlog of cases needing to be scheduled for an interview, USCIS began to grant employment-based green card petitions without requiring the applicant to attend the in-person interview due to the suspension of in-person services.

USCIS never officially announced a policy change allowing for these interview waivers, and instead these changes were occurring as a matter of practice based upon the agency’s discretion.

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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick informs our readers about a recent update announced by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) concerning employment authorization cards also known as EADs. Employees may now present their I-765 Notice of Approval as temporary proof of lawful employment in the United States.


Overview

A recent delay in the production of employment authorization cards (EADs) caused by the Coronavirus pandemic has led USCIS to enact a new policy providing relief to those who have an approved I-765 Application for Employment Authorization but have not yet received their employment authorization cards in the mail.

The new policy, announced on August 19, 2020, permits employees to use Form I-797 Notice of Action, with a Notice date on or after December 1, 2019 including through August 20, 2020, that shows the approval of Form I-765 for purposes of satisfying Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, even though the Notice of Action approval states that it is not evidence of employment authorization.

Pursuant to the announcement, I-797 Notice of Action of approval, will now qualify as a List C document that establishes employment authorization issued by the Department of Homeland Security. The employee may present the notice of approval to their employer to remain in compliance with Form I-9 until December 1, 2020.

In addition to presenting the notice of approval, the employee must also provide an acceptable List B document that establishes their identity. The list of acceptable documents to establish identity is on Form I-9.

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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 made by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on July 31, 2020 regarding new increases in immigration filing fees for certain applications and petitions.

Stay tuned for more information.


Overview


What is the new announcement about?

USCIS recently announced that the agency will be increasing filing fees for certain applications and petitions in order to meet its operational costs. As many of you are aware, USCIS has been facing a serious financial crisis as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. The substantial loss of revenue the agency has experienced has forced the agency to resort to a hike in filing fees that will be enforced beginning October 2nd.

Shortly after its announcement regarding the fee increases, USCIS published a final rule in the Federal Register explaining that the price increases are “ intended to ensure that USCIS has the resources it needs to provide adequate service to applicants and petitioners.”

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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses some very exciting news for first time DACA applicants. Pursuant to a recent court order, a federal judge has ruled that the government must restore the DACA program to its pre-September 2017 status, meaning that USCIS must accept new applications from first time DACA applicants and advance parole requests. Stay tuned for more information on this topic.


Overview


On July 17, 2020 a federal judge in the state of Maryland issued a ruling that requires the government to restore the DACA program to its pre-September 2017 status. This means that USCIS must continue the DACA program as it was before it was rescinded by the Trump administration on September 5, 2017, when applications for DACA were being accepted by first time applicants.

Before this decision, on June 18th the Supreme Court of the United States issued a ruling on DACA finding that, although the government’s rescission of DACA violated the Administrative Procedure Act, the government could lawfully rescind DACA so long as the government follows the procedures required by the APA. In effect, the Supreme Court’s decision left open the possibility for DACA to be rescinded by the Trump administration. The Supreme Court emphasized that it would not decide whether DACA or its rescission are “sound policies.”

After its ruling, the Supreme Court sent the case back to the lower courts, where the Maryland judge ultimately decided in favor of reinstating the DACA program.

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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick shares very exciting news for Dreamers. On June 18, 2020, the United States Supreme Court handed down a ruling blocking the Trump administration from rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an Obama-era program that grants young undocumented immigrants temporary employment authorization and shields them from deportation.

Keep on watching for more information.


Overview


For nearly 8 years, the DACA program has helped thousands of undocumented young adults live and work in the United States without fear of deportation. Aside from having formal legal status in the United States, Dreamers are by all accounts American. Many have lived in the United States for most of their lives, attended American schools, established deep ties to the United States, and adopted the American way of life.

Unfortunately, since the beginning of his campaign, President Trump has targeted the DACA program promising to dismantle “the illegal” DACA program once and for all. President Trump long criticized the DACA program because it was created unilaterally by former President Barack Obama by executive order. President Trump has called the program illegal because it was not created by Congress.

As you may recall, on September 5, 2017, the President announced his controversial decision to rescind the DACA program which was met with great resistance by American universities, several states, and other pro-immigrant groups. Soon after, several states filed lawsuits against the Department of Homeland Security to stop the government from rescinding DACA. In all lawsuits, the lower court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, ordering the government to keep DACA in place. The lawsuits were merged and finally came to the Supreme Court in November of 2019.

Today, the Supreme Court handed down a final ruling in favor of plaintiffs finding that although the Trump administration has the power to end DACA, it did not follow the procedural formalities required under the Administrative Procedure Act when it sought to rescind the DACA program. The Supreme Court majority agreed with the plaintiffs that the Trump administration did not provide a good reason for its decision to end DACA and violated the APA.

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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, we discuss a little-known law called LIFE Act 245(i) which allows certain undocumented immigrants to apply for permanent residence.

Want to learn more? Keep on watching.

Overview:

What is 245(i)?

Section 245(i) is a provision of the Legal Immigration Family Equity Act (LIFE) which allows certain persons, who entered the United States without inspection (unlawfully), or otherwise violated their status, to apply for adjustment of status in the United States, if they pay a $1,000 penalty.

To be eligible, the applicant must have an immigrant visa immediately available. Immigrant visas are immediately available for spouses of U.S. Citizens, unmarried children under 21 years of age of a U.S. Citizen, and parents of U.S. Citizens (if the U.S. Citizen is 21 years of age or older).

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In this video, attorneys Jacob Sapochnick and Marie Puertollano discuss recent immigration updates regarding the calculation of unlawful presence for F-1 international students and other topics.

Overview:

Memorandum Policy Updates for F-1 Students

Per a new policy memorandum released by USCIS, if you are a student who is out of status, you will begin to accrue unlawful presence on August 9th. Students have at least 5 months to file a reinstatement to avoid falling out of status and accruing unlawful presence.

What is happening with DACA?

On August 3, 2018, a federal judge from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia upheld a decision from the lower courts, ordering the complete restoration of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This new ruling gives the Trump administration a 20-day deadline to either implement the complete restoration of the DACA program or file an appeal. The Trump administration plans to appeal the decision. In a separate lawsuit filed by Texas and other states, a judge will hear arguments challenging the restoration of the DACA program. A decision in that case has not yet been made. We will notify our readers once a decision has been made.

For the moment, DACA holders may continue to seek a renewal of their DACA benefits, but new requests for DACA will not be accepted.

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What’s happening with DACA today?

In this post, attorney Jacob Sapochnick talks all about the state of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and what you should know as a recipient of DACA.

In September of 2017 the Trump administration announced that it would be ending the DACA program, which allows undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to live and work in the United States without fear of deportation.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke on behalf of the administration and said that USCIS would not accept new requests for DACA but would allow DACA recipients with work permits expiring between September 2017 and March 5, 2018 to apply for a final 2-year renewal of their status including employment authorization.

This announcement put considerable pressure on Congress to pass legislation before March 5, 2018 to protect Dreamers from deportation.

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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.

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