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Articles Posted in Top Immigration Stories

Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses a very puzzling topic. Our readers have asked: Are K-1 Visas exempt from the recent Presidential Proclamation? From our reading of the Presidential Proclamation we had discussed in previous videos that K-1 visas are non-immigrant visas, and therefore exempt from the ban on immigration, however lately certain U.S. Embassies have been treating K-1 visas as immigrant visas, which would make them subject to the recent ban on immigration.

We discuss this development further in this video.

Keep on watching for more information.


Overview


As you all know by now on June 22nd the President signed a new presidential proclamation called, “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak,” which extends the previous April 22nd Presidential Proclamation suspending the entry of certain types of immigrants to the United States. The June 22nd order also placed a visa ban on H-1B, H-2B, J, and L nonimmigrant workers applying for a visa at the U.S. Consulate abroad as of June 24th.

The April 22nd proclamation specifically suspended, “the entry into the United States of aliens as immigrants.” Under immigration law, K-1 fiancé visas are non-immigrant visas, and therefore not subject to this ban. K-1 fiancé visas are considered non-immigrant visas because the foreign fiancé is seeking temporary entry to the United States for the limited purpose of marrying the U.S. Citizen spouse. It is not until the foreign national marries the U.S. Citizen spouse that he or she is allowed to immigrate by filing Form I-485 to adjust status to permanent resident.

Unfortunately, a great deal of confusion has been occurring at Embassies worldwide regarding whether K-1 fiancé visas are exempt or not exempt from the presidential proclamation. Recently, some Embassies have erroneously categorized K-1 fiancé visas as immigrant visas, refusing to schedule interviews and issue visas for this category because of the ban on immigration. Others including the Embassy in Manila have correctly provided information that K-1 fiancé visas are exempt from the presidential proclamation.

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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 shares the latest update regarding a new executive order that is soon to be released, that will temporarily suspend the entry of L-1, H-1B, H-2B, and J-1 non-immigrants for at least several months.

Keep on watching for more information.


Overview


Please note that the information we can provide is only preliminary in nature based on reports and rumors that have been circulating recently.


What will the order do?


The new executive order is rumored to propose a temporary suspension on the entry of individuals residing abroad who have an L-1, H-1B, H-2B, and J-1 petition approved, but don’t have a visa yet in their passports. The new executive order anticipates suspending the issuance of visas for these individuals for at least several months.

In addition, the executive order proposes a temporary suspension on the entry of those who already have an L-1, H-1B, H-2B, or J-1 visas in their passports, but have not yet traveled to the United States on their visa.


Will there be exceptions on who is impacted?


Yes. Like with previous executive orders there will likely be exceptions that will protect some categories of individuals from being impacted such as health care professionals, those working to mitigate the effects of COVID-19, and essential workers in food-related industries. Other exceptions may also be made but it is not yet clear what those exceptions could be.

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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 reports on an exciting announcement, premium processing services are resuming for most petitions starting June 1st. Do you want to know more about this new update?

Keep on watching for more information.


Overview


As you know, on March 20, 2020, USCIS temporarily suspended premium processing services for all Form I-129 and I-140 petitions due to the Coronavirus. Petitioners who submitted a premium processing request in connection with Form I-129 or Form I-140, before the March 20 suspension, but received no action and no refund, may refile Form I-907 in keeping with the timeline discussed below.


How will premium processing services resume?


Premium processing will resume in a multi-phased approach.

First, effective June 1, 2020, USCIS will accept premium processing requests for all eligible Form I-140 petitions.

Second, effective June 8, 2020, USCIS will accept premium processing requests for:

  • H-1B petitions filed before June 8 that are pending adjudication and are cap-exempt (for example, petitions filed by petitioners that are cap-exempt and petitions filed for beneficiaries previously counted toward the numerical allocations).
  • All other Form I-129 petitions (non H-1B petitions) for nonimmigrant classifications eligible for premium processing filed before June 8 that are pending adjudication.

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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 predicament that many H-1B visa holders have fallen into: what happens when you are stuck overseas and cannot return to the United States to resume employment due to COVID 19? Stay tuned for our helpful tips on what you can do to get back to work.


Overview


The global pandemic has caused many visa holders to remain overseas without any clear guidance on how or when they may return to the United States. Travel restrictions and border closures have made it very difficult for individuals on work visas to be able to come back to the United States and resume their authorized work. For obvious reasons, staying out of the country for a prolonged period of time can have serious consequences on the foreign worker’s immigration status. We have received many questions from our viewers concerned about the restrictions and what options they may have to return to the United States.

First, it is important for foreign workers to document their inability to travel to the United States, so that they can later prove to immigration that the circumstances that prevented them from traveling to the United States were out of their control.

Second, foreign workers must stay in constant communication with their employer while overseas to make sure that their employer understands why they have not been able to return to the United States. A foreign worker that does not report to the U.S. employer can find themselves in very hot water if the employer mistakenly believes that the foreign worker abandoned their job without reason. For instance, if the employer withdraws the worker’s petition or reports that the worker is out of compliance with the terms of his employment, the foreign worker will not be able to re-enter the United States. Foreign workers should try to communicate with their employer at least on a weekly basis.

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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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