USCIS permits use of approval notices as evidence of work authorization due to COVID-19 delays

Without a doubt, COVID-19 has had a disruptive effect on almost every aspect of our lives. The extraordinary and unprecedented public health emergency COVID-19 created has caused different businesses and government agencies to unexpectedly shutter their operations in order to minimize the spread of this virus. One unintended consequence is that COVID-19 has forced U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) processing of cases to come to a virtual standstill.  As a result, the production of certain Employment Authorization Documents (Form I-766, EAD), among other things, has been delayed. Because failure to receive an EAD document can result in a foreign national not being able to continue to work (and ultimately) a termination, a lawsuit has been brought against USCIS in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio (Easter Division) challenging the delay in issuance of the employment authorization document (EAD) following approval of the I-765 application.

Today, USCIS announced that employees may use Form I-797, Notice of Action, with a Notice date on or after December 1, 2019 through and including August 20, 2020 informing an applicant of approval of an Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) as a Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, List C #7 document to establish employment authorization issued by the Department of Homeland Security pursuant to 8 C.F.R. 274a.2(b)(1)(v)(C)(7), even though the Notice states it is not evidence of employment authorization.  This newly created exception to the Form I-9 rules will expire on December 1, 2020.  Additionally, please note that employees will still be required to present a List B document to establish their identity. Continue reading “USCIS permits use of approval notices as evidence of work authorization due to COVID-19 delays”

Forbes – USCIS Staff Furloughs Will Grind Legal Immigration To A Halt

The Trump administration is about to achieve what many see as its long-held objective of bringing the U.S. legal immigration system to a halt. While the administration would not be allowed to stop processing immigration applications without incurring legal action, critics say that through policy choices and mismanagement of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) it may accomplish the same goal.

“The federal agency tasked with offering citizenship, green cards and visas to immigrants is planning to furlough about two-thirds of its workers at the end of the month after Congress failed to reach a deal on a coronavirus stimulus package,” reported USA Today. “U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services notified about 13,400 of its 20,000 employees that they would be furloughed Aug. 30 because of budget shortfalls.”

To better understand the impact of a USCIS staff furlough, I interviewed Doug Rand, who worked on immigration policy in the Obama White House as assistant director for entrepreneurship and is the co-founder of Boundless Immigration, a technology company that helps immigrants obtain green cards and citizenship. He is also a senior fellow and director of the Technology and Innovation Initiative at the Federation of American Scientists. Continue reading “Forbes – USCIS Staff Furloughs Will Grind Legal Immigration To A Halt”

CBS News – Trump administration can enforce green card wealth test in most states, court rules

A federal appellate court on Wednesday limited an order that had blocked the nationwide implementation of a controversial wealth test for green cards and immigrant visas, allowing the Trump administration to continue the policy in every state except New York, Connecticut and Vermont.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit partially set aside last month’s ruling from a federal judge in New York, who said the so-called “public charge” test was hindering nationwide efforts to contain the coronavirus by discouraging immigrants from requesting public assistance, including medical treatment, during the pandemic.

U.S. Circuit Judge Peter Hall did not provide a reason in his one-paragraph order, which set aside the lower court injunction in every state but New York, Connecticut and Vermont. All three of those states had sued the Trump administration over the public charge rule. Continue reading “CBS News – Trump administration can enforce green card wealth test in most states, court rules”

Forbes – New USCIS Immigration Fees Hit Businesses, Citizens And Students

The Trump administration will increase fees on businesses, new citizens and international students who need work authorization. The new fee rule from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the latest Trump administration action to restrict immigration to the United States and make life more difficult for businesses seeking skilled workers and individuals who want to be American citizens.

On July 31, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – USCIS is part of DHS – released to the public the final version of a fee rule first proposed in November 2019. The fees will go into effect on October 2, 2020.

“The significant fee increases on employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant petitions are nothing more than new taxes on businesses that must be paid to meet their company’s workforce needs,” said Jon Baselice, executive director for immigration policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in an interview. “This final rule suffers from many of the same critical flaws included in the agency’s original proposal, and given the level of concern on the part of many companies with respect to those issues the fight over this rule is far from over.” Continue reading “Forbes – New USCIS Immigration Fees Hit Businesses, Citizens And Students”

Miami Herald – ‘License to live’: Florida quietly changed driver’s license requirements for immigrants

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants who have been able to drive legally in Florida may be unable to get driver licenses again after the state quietly changed its identification requirements for obtaining licenses.

In mid-May, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles tightened its document requirements that outline what some immigrants must provide in order to get their driver licenses. It’s the most striking change of at least six that have been made in the past six months, making it almost impossible for people who are in the deportation process to legally drive — something they had been able to do before, according to internal documents obtained by the Miami Herald. Continue reading “Miami Herald – ‘License to live’: Florida quietly changed driver’s license requirements for immigrants”