CBS News: Judge orders U.S. to close DACA program to new applicants, calling it illegal

A federal judge in Texas ordered the U.S. government on Friday to close the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to new applicants, saying the Obama administration did not have the legal authority to grant deportation relief and work permits to undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

Granting a request by Texas and other Republican-led states, U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen required the Biden administration to stop approving new applications for DACA, blocking tens of thousands of immigrant teenagers and young adults from accessing the Obama-era legal protections.

Hanen did not order the government to strip the work permits and deportation protections from the more than 616,000 immigrants who are already enrolled in DACA.

Continue reading “CBS News: Judge orders U.S. to close DACA program to new applicants, calling it illegal”

Immigration Impact – The COVID-19 Pandemic Made USCIS Backlogs Go from Bad to Worse

Backlogs, processing delays, and revenue shortfalls are nothing new at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The agency has long suffered from severe structural problems that hurt people who depend on it for work authorization, adjustment of status, naturalization, and many other immigration benefits.

However, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on agency operations has made a bad situation much worse. As the 2021 Annual Report of the USCIS Ombudsman describes, the agency is now experiencing backlogs of applications and petitions “at record levels,” as well as drastically reduced “customer service functions.”

Continue reading “Immigration Impact – The COVID-19 Pandemic Made USCIS Backlogs Go from Bad to Worse”

CNN Travel – US extends Covid-19 travel restrictions with Canada and Mexico

The United States has extended Covid-19 restrictions on non-essential travel at land and ferry crossings with Canada and Mexico until July 21, according to a tweet from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Sunday.

“To reduce the spread of #COVID19, the United States is extending restrictions on non-essential travel at our land and ferry crossings with Canada and Mexico through July 21, while ensuring access for essential trade & travel,” DHS wrote.

“DHS also notes positive developments in recent weeks and is participating with other US agencies in the White House’s expert working groups with Canada and Mexico to identify the conditions under which restrictions may be eased safely and sustainably.”

In March 2020, the US and Canada mutually agreed to shut down the border to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

Continue reading “CNN Travel – US extends Covid-19 travel restrictions with Canada and Mexico”

Maria del Carmen Ramos Re-Elected to the Board of Directors of the AILA Central Florida Chapter

Tampa Partner Maria del Carmen Ramos has been re-elected to the Board of Directors for the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Central Florida Chapter. The AILA Central Florida Chapter is the local chapter for the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members. This will be Maria’s second term on the Board of Directors after having been heavily involved in the AILA Central Florida Chapter for many years, previously serving as the Education Vice Chair and co-chairing the chapter’s law conference in 2019.

Incoming AILA Central Florida Chapter Chair, April Caminez-Bentley said, “It is wonderful to have Maria re-elected to the Board of Directors. Maria’s leadership, wealth of immigration expertise, and her skillful communications bring great value to the Board in carrying out our Chapter endeavors from educating our Members about the latest immigration changes to lobbying Congress for immigration reform.”

Continue reading “Maria del Carmen Ramos Re-Elected to the Board of Directors of the AILA Central Florida Chapter”

AP – Supreme Court rules against immigrants with temporary status

WASHINGTON (AP) — A unanimous Supreme Court ruled Monday that thousands of people living in the U.S. for humanitarian reasons are ineligible to apply to become permanent residents.

Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the court that federal immigration law prohibits people who entered the country illegally and now have Temporary Protected Status from seeking “green cards” to remain in the country permanently.

The designation applies to people who come from countries ravaged by war or disaster. It protects them from deportation and allows them to work legally. There are 400,000 people from 12 countries with TPS status.

The outcome in a case involving a couple from El Salvador who have been in the U.S. since the 1990s turned on whether people who entered the country illegally and were given humanitarian protections were ever “admitted” into the United States under immigration law. Continue reading “AP – Supreme Court rules against immigrants with temporary status”

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”