- First, DHS will eliminate current limitations on the provisional waiver process that restrict eligibility to certain immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. Under this proposed rule, the provisional waiver process would be made available to all aliens who are statutorily eligible for waivers of inadmissibility based on unlawful presence and meet certain other conditions.
- Second, in relation to the statutory requirement that the waiver applicant demonstrate that denial of the waiver would result in “extreme hardship” to certain family members, DHS proposes to expand the provisional waiver process by eliminating the current restriction that limits extreme hardship determinations only to aliens who can establish extreme hardship to U.S. citizen spouses or parents. Under this proposed rule, an applicant for a provisional waiver would be permitted to establish the eligibility requirement of showing extreme hardship to any qualifying relative (namely, U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouses or parents). DHS is proposing to expand the provisional waiver process in the interests of encouraging eligible aliens to complete the visa process abroad, promoting family unity, and improving administrative efficiency.
Rule expanding Provisional Waiver of Unlawful Presence, I-601 A. This law will be effective from August 29, 2016.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposes to expand its current provisional waiver process in two principal ways.
In a very disappointing decision today, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the lower court halting the expansion of DACA and implementing DAPA. The U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked in a 4 to 4 split in the long-awaited case, United States, ET AL., PETITIONERS v. TEXAS, ET AL, effectively upholding the lower court’s injunction halting the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the creation of a new program known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). The original DACA program remains in place.
The decision dated June 23, 2016 PER CURIAM says:
The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court.
USCIS and US Department of State (DOS) made an announcement on September 9, 2015, revising the procedure for determining visa availability for applicants waiting to file for employment based or family preference category based Adjustment of status, starting October 1, 2015 (Fiscal Year 2016).
What is Changing:
Two charts per visa preference category will be posted in the DOS Visa Bulletin:
What This Means:
Starting May 1, 2014, Nonimmigrant U.S. visitors can check their Arrival-Departure record and Arrival Departure history, Form I-94, on cbp.gov website going back 5 years from the date of the request. They need their Passport information, name and date of birth to retrieve this information.
This eliminates the need to file requests for their records under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and speeds up the process. If they have a request under FOIA pending, they may cancel it after they have successfully retrieved their information.
USCIS published an update on April 9, 2014 clarifying DACA renewal issues regarding adjudication procedure, evidence and timing. It states that the agency plans to release the updated DACA application form in late May and no individuals, other than the small number of individuals who received DACA from Immigration and Customs Enforcement before Aug. 15, 2012, may request renewal prior to its release. Regarding evidence, renewal requestors will only be required to submit new documents pertaining to removal proceedings or criminal history that were not been previously submitted to USCIS. Whereas initial DACA requestors were required to provide voluminous evidence, it appears renewal requestors are not. Finally, the notice makes clear that individuals filing for initial DACA should continue to use the current version of the DACA application form.
Because USCIS anticipates adjudicating renewal requests within 120 days, it recommends DACA recipients file for renewal approximately 120 days (4 months) before the expiration date of their initial DACA grant, but no earlier than 150 days (five months) prior to expiration. In fact, USCIS states that it will not accept DACA applications filed more than 150 days in advance of a DACA expiration date. In the event of an unexpected delay in processing a renewal, USCIS states that it “may” provide an automatic extension of the original DACA grant, but appears to limit the automatic extension to individuals who file between 150 and 120 days before their DACA expiration date.
With the release of the updated DACA application form in late May, USCIS will finalize the details of the renewal process, incorporating recommendations from advocates for a smoother process. In the meantime, hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients now have a better sense of what to expect.
Important Information for Individuals Granted Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Prior to August 15, 2012
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has recently posted a notice on its website with important information for individuals granted deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) prior to August 15, 2012. If you were granted DACA by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement prior to August 15, 2012 or are a DACA recipient with an employment authorization document (EAD) that will expire in the
next 120 days, you must apply for DACA renewal to avoid any lapse in your employment authorization or accrual of unlawful presence in the United States.
If you have moved since your EAD was granted, please visit www.uscis.gov/addresschange to update your address on file with USCIS.
Created by Bhavya Chaudhary, Esq. on: 02/21/2014
2014 UPDATE ON COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM and EXTENSION OF DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS (COMMONLY KNOWN AS 'DACA')
Update on Comprehensive Immigration Reform In 2014
House Speaker John Boehner informed on January 8, 2014 that leading House Republicans were preparing to lay out "principles" for immigration legislation. It appears the principles will be guided by two procedural requirements: the House will not pass a comprehensive immigration bill as the Senate did; instead it will do them "step by step"  in a series of limited changes to the nation’s immigration laws in the coming months. Republicans hope to gain strength in both the House and Senate in 2014 elections. Some Republicans propose that waiting until 2015 to actually enact immigration reforms might be more advantageous.
Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Renewal
In its initial guidance issued on August 3, 2012, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had stated that unless terminated, individuals with DACA may request for an extension of their initial 2 years of deferred status as long as they were not above the age of 30 on June 15, 2012, even though they are 31 or more at the time of renewal. Applicants must request an extension of their employment authorization as well. On December 18, 2013, USCIS published a 60-day Notice of Information Collection in the Federal Register requesting public comments regarding Proposed Extension of Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Form I-821D. Comments will be accepted until February 18, 2014.
Most people with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) are wondering 'can I renew my DACA now?' The answer is, not yet. USCIS has only released a DRAFT DACA renewal form. The form to fill out will not be ready for at least 1 month. USCIS will inform us when the Form is ready and we keep you updated. We recommend applying at least 3 to 4 months before your DACA expires to ensure your DACA is renewed before its expiration date.
Created by Bhavya Chaudhary, Esq. on: 01/18/2014
 Ref: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/17/us-usa-congress-immigration-idUSBREA0G1NB20140117
I-94 AUTOMATION; UPDATE ON IMMIGRATION REFORM
Automation of Form I-94
From May 13, 2013, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) implemented the automated version of Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, at air and sea ports of entry. Travelers should visit the www.cbp.gov/i94
website and retrieve their electronic I-94 number. They must print their electronic admission number before applying for immigration or public benefits, such as driver's licenses or social security numbers.
Travelers should confirm the information provided to the airline carrier at the time of admission and that all information on their admission stamp in their passport is correct once they have been admitted and prior to departing the FIS. CBP continues to make changes to the I-94 website based on customer feedback.
One of the most common and persistent challenges arising from the automation of Form I-94 for nonimmigrant aliens is the inability to locate the electronic admissions record on the cbp.gov/I94 web portal.
Nonimmigrant aliens requesting a paper Form I-94 at a port of entry will be referred to secondary inspection where a copy of the electronic record will be printed from the cbp.gov/I94 web portal.
Update on Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), a leading proponent of comprehensive immigration reform in the House, said Thursday in a radio interview that the GOP preference for a piecemeal approach is likely to win out. Gutierrez has said before that he's open to a piecemeal approach to immigration reform, as long as it eventually includes different measures affecting security, the so-called Dreamers and new workers.
Gutierrez acknowledged that Democrats need to change their strategy, given the current balance in Congress.
Created by Bhavya Chaudhary, Esq. on: 11/05/2013
U Visa status (also known as U Nonimmigrant status), was created by 'Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000'. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued U visas since 2008, as part of a provision under the Violence Against Women Act. It is designed to provide lawful status to noncitizen crime victims who are willing to assist the authorities in investigating crimes. Foreign national victims of criminal activity can petition for such status either inside or outside the U.S.
The U-visa program was created by Congress to strengthen the law enforcement community’s ability to investigate and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and other crimes while also offering protection to victims. More than 76,000 victims and their family members have received U visas since the program was implemented in 2008.
Qualifying Criminal Activities
Each year, 10,000 U visas are available for victims of crime. Applications have spiked in the past few years and last year USCIS, received more than 24,000 applications. If the cap is reached before all petitions are adjudicated, USCIS creates a waiting list that provides a mechanism by which victims cooperating with law enforcement agencies can stabilize their immigration status. USCIS continues to accept U-visa petitions and processes them in the order in which they are received. USCIS resumes issuing U visas on Oct. 1, the first day of the following fiscal year when visas are available again. Further, U nonimmigrant visa petitioners assigned to the waiting list will be given deferred action or parole while they are on the waiting list. This means they will be eligible to apply for employment authorization or travel until their petitions can be adjudicated after the start of the following fiscal year.
U nonimmigrant status cannot exceed four years. Extensions are available upon certification by a certifying agency that the foreign national's presence in the United States is required to assist in the investigation or prosecution of the qualifying criminal activity.
REQUIREMENTS FOR U VISA:
Q: Can Qualifying Family Members Apply for Permanent Residence (a Green Card)?
There are two ways family members of a U nonimmigrant visa holder can apply for a green card.
Created by Bhavya Chaudhary, Esq. on: 09/07/2013
COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM
On June 27, 2013, the U.S. Senate passed the comprehensive immigration reform legislation (S. 744) by a 68-32 vote. Fourteen Republicans joined a united Democratic caucus in supporting the bill, which is backed by the White House and has the potential to become the crowning legislative achievement of President Barack Obama's second term.
While this is a big day for immigration reform, it is not the end yet because while one Congressional chamber (Senate) has moved forward, the House lags behind. The House has so far insisted on taking a step-by-step, enforcement-focused, restrictionist approach rather than a comprehensive legislation like the Senate passed. The recent bills in the House Judiciary Committee would criminalize undocumented immigrants, harm American businesses and employees, and gut our agricultural system. There is a need to call on the House to recognize that an incremental process will simply delay real reform.
DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT (DOMA)
On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in United States v. Windsor that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. This discriminatory law denied thousands of legally married same-sex couples many important federal benefits, including immigration benefits including 'Green Cards'. The Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano stated that they will implement the decision so that all married couples will be treated equally and fairly in the administration of immigration laws.
Created by Bhavya Chaudhary, Esq. on: 6/27/2013