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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 very important new update regarding the “public charge,” rule. On July 29, a federal judge in the state of New York issued a ruling temporarily blocking the Trump administration from enforcing the public charge rule on noncitizens seeking permanent residency in the United States, as well as nonimmigrant visa applicants abroad, for as long as the coronavirus pandemic remains a public health emergency. The ruling was made in response to a federal lawsuit filed by several states against the government, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) in State of New York, et al. v. DHS, et al. and Make the Road NY et al. v. Cuccinelli, et al.

Stay tuned for more information on this topic.


Overview

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.”

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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 reopening procedures for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) field offices nationwide.

Keep on watching for more information.


Overview


On May 27, 2020, USCIS announced that some domestic field offices and asylum offices would begin to reopen to the public on or after June 4, 2020. Unfortunately, as June 4th came and went, it became evident that USCIS would not be able to reopen its offices on June 4th. USCIS recently published an office closure webpage which shows that all field offices, asylum offices, and application support centers are still closed to the public, except for those seeking urgent emergency services. Unfortunately, this means that there will be delays in reopening offices nationwide. We have received information that the San Diego Field Office plans to reopen during the month of July. Based on this information we believe that the majority of field offices, asylum offices, and application support centers will also reopen around this time frame.

Even when USCIS offices do reopen, it will not be business as usual. USCIS has said it will be reducing the number of appointments and interviews at its offices to comply with social distancing requirements. As a result, USCIS will not be scheduling nearly as many biometrics appointments and interviews as it did before the coronavirus pandemic. This will result in further delays in the adjudication of applications and petitions that require an interview such as applications for permanent residency and naturalization.

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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 brand-new Form I-944 Declaration of Self-Sufficiency that must be filed with all applications for adjustment of status postmarked on or after February 24, 2020, as a result of the new public charge rule that became effective on this date.

Who Must File Form I-944?

All applicants filing for adjustment of status on or after February 24, 2020, must file Form I-944 with their application for adjustment of status.

What is on Form I-944?

This video explains Form I-944 in detail including what information appears on this new Form and how to complete the information on this Form.

Please keep in mind that this video is for informational purposes only and does not substitute the preparation or advice of an attorney. To ensure that you have completed the Form correctly you should retain the assistance of an experienced attorney.

Applicants must also bear in mind that the new public charge rule has introduced many new changes that require applicants to follow new procedures such as filing only the latest editions of Forms which are necessary to apply for adjustment of status. The latest editions of these Forms are available on the USCIS website.

Where can I find more information?

To read more about the new Form I-944, please visit our blog post “All About the New Form I-944, Declaration of Self-Sufficiency.”

You can also find more information about the new public charge rule including who is affected, by visiting our FAQs here.

If you need assistance filing for adjustment of status, you may contact our office for a consultation.

Please share if you found this post useful and remember to follow us on our social media platforms FacebookYoutubeTwitter, and Instagram for more immigration news.

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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 frequently asked question: can someone who is in the process of getting divorced overseas re-marry in the United States before that divorce is final?

Overview:

In many foreign countries the process of getting divorced is a very long and tedious process with many divorces taking many years to come to a final conclusion.

Many clients are left wondering whether they can lawfully re-marry in the United States while their divorce process is pending overseas, so that they can move on with their lives and apply for adjustment of status based on their marriage in the United States.

Unfortunately, you may not lawfully re-marry in the United States until all prior marriages have been terminated. A prior marriage is terminated when divorce proceedings come to a conclusion. A prior marriage is terminated by a government order or decree of dissolution of marriage issued by the appropriate authority in the country where your divorce proceedings took place. If you have not received a final order or decree of dissolution from such an authority, your prior marriage has not been terminated.

Filing a petition for adjustment of status while you remain married to someone else, even in a foreign country, carries with it very serious legal consequences.

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