Spectrum News 1 – Biden Administration Rescinds Policy of Rejecting Visa Forms with Blank Spaces

The Biden administration has ended a policy that allowed the U.S. to reject certain visa applications for any blank space on the form – even if that space didn’t apply to the person – a policy that led to thousands of rejections for otherwise qualified migrants.

What You Need To Know

    • The Biden administration officially ended a policy that allowed U.S. immigration services to reject certain visa applications with any blank spaces

    • The policy led to thousands of rejections of otherwise qualified migrants applying for asylum or for a U visa

    • It’s one of hundreds of little-noticed changes made under the Trump administration that upended the application process 

  • The policy is being challenged in court; immigration lawyers say they’re hopeful the Biden administration can retroactively fix the issue 

Continue reading “Spectrum News 1 – Biden Administration Rescinds Policy of Rejecting Visa Forms with Blank Spaces”

Politico – Trump grants Venezuelans temporary legal status on his way out

Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced he will offer Venezuelan exiles protection from deportation, a move he has considered for years but refused to do until his last full day in office.

Trump is using the little-known Deferred Enforced Departure program, or DED, to offer temporary legal status to Venezuelans fleeing the humanitarian crisis brought on by Nicolás Maduro’s regime. DED, similar to Temporary Protected Status or TPS, protects recipients from deportation and allows them to get work permits. However, it is granted directly by the president instead of the Department of Homeland Security.

“The deteriorative condition within Venezuela, which presents an ongoing national security threat to the safety and well-being of the American people, warrants the deferral of the removal of Venezuelan nationals who are present in the United States,” Trump said in a memorandum released Tuesday. Continue reading “Politico – Trump grants Venezuelans temporary legal status on his way out”

Bloomberg Law – Trump’s Executive Orders on Immigration Could be Tough to Undo

President-elect Joe Biden’s efforts to reverse President Donald Trump’s immigration executive actions may not be as simple as issuing a contrary edict, as court rulings show that the government should consider both the scope of authority as well as underlying reasons for actions taken.

As Trump learned when he tried and failed to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Biden will need to address the rationales behind policies like the travel and visa bans in order to undo them.

“It used to be that you could overturn a policy in the same way that the policy was written. So if it was a policy memo, you could write a policy memo, a regulation for a regulation,” said SharvariDalal-Dheini, director of government relations at the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Continue reading “Bloomberg Law – Trump’s Executive Orders on Immigration Could be Tough to Undo”

USCIS Modifies H-1B Selection Process to Prioritize Wages

Rule Expected to Protect the Economic Interests of American Workers

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced a final rule that will modify the H-1B cap selection process, amend current lottery procedures, and prioritize wages to protect the economic interests of U.S. workers and better ensure the most highly skilled foreign workers benefit from the temporary employment program.

Modifying the H-1B cap selection process will incentivize employers to offer higher salaries, and/or petition for higher-skilled positions, and establish a more certain path for businesses to achieve personnel needs and remain globally competitive. Continue reading “USCIS Modifies H-1B Selection Process to Prioritize Wages”

Reuters – Trump extends immigration bans despite opposition from U.S. business groups

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday extended a pair of immigration bans that block many “green card” applicants and temporary foreign workers from entering the country, measures he says are needed to protect U.S. workers amid the pandemic-battered economy.

The bans, which were issued in April and June, were set to expire on Dec. 31, but will be extended until March 31, 2021, the latest in a series of last-gasp immigration moves by the outgoing Trump administration. A broad range of businesses oppose the ban on certain foreign workers. Continue reading “Reuters – Trump extends immigration bans despite opposition from U.S. business groups”

Tampa Partner Maria Ramos Presents at the 34th Annual Central Florida Immigration Law Conference

The 2020 AILA Central Florida Chapter’s Annual Conference was held virtually on December 1st and 2nd, 2020 and was a true virtual learning experience. AILA CFC provided a “Conference in a Box” format with two tracks. The first track covered topics such as analyzing crimes for removal, naturalization and what to do when things go wrong, waivers, lessons in particular social group matter of A-B. Track two covered employment, entrepreneurs/investors, H-1B and PERM, prevailing wages, a practical guide to J-1, PERM from start to finish, alternatives to the PERM, worksite compliance audits and LCA compliance, visa bulletin-priority dates-IVP or AOS, and EB2 to EB3 Downgrades.

Tampa Partner Maria Ramos along with Richard Green gave a presentation entitled “EB-2 & EB-3 India, To Amend or Not to Amend?  That is the Question.” To learn more visit AILA CFC’s website found here.

West Law Today (Reuters) – Lawyers for Chamber, Trump administration spar over need for H-1B restrictions

The U.S. Department of Justice building is bathed in morning light at sunrise in Washington, U.S., February 14, 2020. REUTERS/Mary F. Calvert

(Reuters) – A lawyer for the Trump administration on Monday told a federal judge in California that the “unprecedented economic emergency” triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic justified the adoption of rules limiting the H-1B visa program without first calling for public input.

At a hearing conducted via Zoom, Alexandra Saslaw of the U.S. Department of Justice told U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White in Oakland that the administration believed the restrictions on foreign labor would make it easier for American workers left unemployed amid the pandemic to find new jobs.
And that provides the “good cause” necessary to circumvent the Administrative Procedure Act’s requirement that agencies solicit and review public comments before adopting final rules, Saslaw said.

Continue reading “West Law Today (Reuters) – Lawyers for Chamber, Trump administration spar over need for H-1B restrictions”

Maria Ramos Participates in AILA University’s “Ask BIRT: AILA’s Business Immigration Response Team Addresses Members’ Most Pressing Questions – Live”

Tampa Partner Maria Ramos participated as a discussion leader in this past week’s AILA University. Maria and members of AILA’s Business Immigration Response Team (BIRT) addressed AILA members’ most pressing business immigration questions.

Topics covered include:

  • What tips can the discussion leaders provide regarding filing EB-2 to EB-3 downgrades?
  • Please comment on DOL’s new prevailing wages and provide recent experiences/advice using private wage surveys.
  • How should I respond to a USCIS RFE that requests a Form I-944 that was not legally required at the time the adjustment of status was filed?
  • An O-1 visa holder stuck in London since the travel restrictions were imposed by PP 9996 has an urgent need to obtain a National Interest Exception. What are the O-1 visa holder’s options?


Forbes – New Lawsuit And Glaring Problems Threaten DOL H-1B Visa Rule

A new lawsuit and economic research have exposed problems with the Department of Labor’s (DOL) new H-1B wage rule. The lawsuit seeks a preliminary and permanent injunction against the new rule, which analysts have concluded was designed to price out of the U.S. labor market H-1B visa holders and employment-based immigrants by raising the required minimum wage to employ them. The research explains why the rule is likely unlawful, harmful to the U.S. economy and will make it difficult for international students to be employed in the United States after graduation.

“On October 8, 2020, without providing prior notice and without affording plaintiffs or the general public an opportunity to comment, the Department of Labor dramatically altered the manner in which it calculates prevailing wage rates for the H-1B program,” according to a complaint filed on October 16, 2020, by the Wasden Banias law firm on behalf of ITServe Alliance, Dots Technologies, Iflowsoft Solutions, Kolla Soft, NAM Info, Precision Technologies, Smart Works and Zenith Services in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

“Plaintiffs bring this civil action challenging the Department of Labor’s decision to set dramatically higher wage rates without following the notice and comment rulemaking procedures required under the Administrative Procedure Act,” reads the complaint. “Plaintiffs also challenge the agency’s new wage rates as a violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, because the new wage rates are set under a novel standard that conflicts with the governing statutory criteria. The Department of Labor’s new wage rule is also arbitrary and capricious because the agency relied on outdated, incorrect, or limited empirical data, failed to consider readily available, relevant data and empirical studies, and engaged in reasoning that conflicts with basic economic theory.”

Visit Forbes for full article.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) – Premium Processing Fee Increase Effective Oct. 19, 2020

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced it will increase fees for premium processing, effective Oct. 19, as required by the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act, Pub. L. No. 116-159, signed into law on Oct. 1. The USCIS premium processing service allows petitioners to pay an additional filing fee to expedite the adjudication of certain forms, generally within 15 days. The Act included the Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act, which requires USCIS to establish and collect additional premium processing fees, and to use those additional funds for expanded purposes.

Pub. L. No. 116-159 increases the fee for Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing, from $1,440 to $2,500, for all filings except those from petitioners filing Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, requesting H-2B or R-1 nonimmigrant status. The premium processing fee for petitioners filing Form I-129 requesting H-2B or R-1 nonimmigrant status is increasing from $1,440 to $1,500.

Any Form I-907 postmarked on or after Oct. 19 must include the new fee amount. If USCIS receives a Form I-907 postmarked on or after Oct. 19 with the incorrect filing fee, we will reject the Form I-907 and return the filing fee. For filings sent by commercial courier (such as UPS, FedEx and DHL), the postmark date is the date reflected on the courier receipt.

Pub. L. No. 116-159 also gives USCIS the ability to expand premium processing to additional forms and benefit requests, but USCIS is not yet taking that action. Any expansion of premium processing to other forms will be implemented as provided in the legislation.

For more information visit USCIS here.