In a decision issued Tuesday, October 17, 2017, a Federal District Court Judge granted a nation-wide Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”) on President Trump’s latest Executive Order (“EO”), set to take effect Wednesday, October 18th, that some call the Travel Ban version 3.0.
The latest EO imposed varying restrictions on eight countries, most of which are majority Muslim. The TRO grant means that the U.S. Department of State will continue regular visa processing for nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. Restrictions still apply to North Koreans and certain Venezuelan’s, which take effect starting Wednesday, October 18, 2017. If you have questions on how this TRO impacts your immigration case, please contact SPS Immigration.
USCIS announced October 3, 2017 that it is resuming premium processing for all H-1B visa petitions. This means that employers may convert all pending H-1B petitions to the expedited review process by paying an extra $1,225 for each petition and filing the required form. Please contact SPS Immigration if you have questions on how this might impact your immigration case.
In this proclamation, the White House begins by describing its process to conduct a global review to determine whether individuals seeking to enter the U.S. “pose a security or safety threat.” The White House looked at three criteria: 1) identity information management; 2) national Security and public safety information; and, 3) national security and public safety risk assessment. The White House stated that it found that “a small number of countries — out of nearly 200 evaluated — remain deficient at this time with respect to their identity-management and information-sharing capabilities, protocols, and practices.” As a result, the White House identified eight countries that had “inadequte” ratings and, as a result, the White House is restricting the entry into the U.S. of all immigrants from the following seven countries, at various levels: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. White House officials stated that these new restrictions will be phased in over time and the restrictions will not affect anyone who already holds a U.S. visa.
No B-1, B-2 or B-1/B-2 visas of any kind for officials of the following government agencies Ministry of Interior, Justice, and Peace; the Administrative Service of Identification, Migration, and Immigration; the Corps of Scientific Investigations, Judicial and Criminal; the Bolivarian Intelligence Service; and the People’s Power Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and their immediate family members.
No B-1, B-2, and B-1/B-2 visas
No immigrant or diversity visas
No nonimmigrant visas
No immigrant or diversity visas
The Presidential Proclamation details two phases:
Phase 1 (starting Sunday, September 24, 2017): Nationals of Sudan no longer face travel restrictions. Nationals of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia will remain under suspension of travel except for those individuals who qualify for the bona fide “close family” exemption.
Phase 2 (starting Wednesday, October 18, 2017): The restrictions listed above apply to nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen and Somalia. There are exceptions and waivers listed in the Presidential Proclamation for qualified applicants, but the bona fide relationship exception is no longer applicable.
If you have questions on how this new announcement may impact your U.S. Immigration process, please contact SPS Immigration.
Monday, September 18th, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) resumed premium processing for all H-1B Petitions that were selected in the 2018 Cap. This means that H-1B cap petitions may now convert a pending petition to the expedited review process by paying an extra $1,225 for each petition. This recent development adds H-1B cap cases to the list of Petitions that are able to premium process and include Conrad J-1 Waiver Physicians and Cap-Exempt employers. USCIS indicated that it will resume premium processing for all other H-1B petitions as its workload permits.
Please contact SPS Immigration if you have questions on how this may impact your case.
In a much expected announcement, Tuesday morning, September 5th, Attorney General (“AG”) Jeff Sessions announced that President Trump is rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or, DACA. AG Sessions announced that DACA recipients whose EAD expires before March 2, 2018 will be allowed to apply for a two-year renewal, if submitted by October 5th, 2017. Today marks the last day that USCIS will consider new DACA applications.
The Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) has released a memorandum providing details on the way in which it will “wind down” the DACA program. Under the terms of the memorandum:
Previously issued EADs and grants of deferred action will remain valid for their full validity period, and DHS will not terminate deferred action or revoke EADs solely on the basis of the DACA program rescission.
Requests for deferred action under DACA and related EAD applications that are currently pending will be adjudicated. No new initial requests for DACA or new DACA EAD applications will be accepted after today.
Requests for renewal of DACA that are already pending will be adjudicated.
DACA beneficiaries who have a grant of deferred action or an EAD that is expiring between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018 can file renewal applications. Applications for renewal must be filed by October 5, 2017. It is not yet known how what validity period will be issued for renewals when they are adjudicated.
Effective immediately, no new DACA advance parole applications will be approved. All pending advance parole applications will be administratively closed and filing fees will be returned. Individuals with a currently valid DACA advance parole document can travel, although DHS retains the authority to deny admission and/or revoke or terminate parole where it deems appropriate. Despite the continued validity of a DACA advance parole, departing the country is likely not advisable at this time.
Please contact SPS Immigration should you have questions on how this announcement impacts your immigration status.
A Federal District Court in Texas granted the request for a preliminary injunction on Texas Senate Bill 4 (“SB4”), which means the law will not take effect September 1, 2017. SB4 is a ban on Sanctuary Cities and also uses local and state law enforcement to question the immigration status of residents, among other provisions. The court blocked the following provisions: the polices ability to question immigration status, mandatory ICE detainers in local jails, and the restrictions on the free speech of local officials.
Please contact SPS Immigration if you have questions on how this may impact your immigration situation.
On August 23, 2017, nonimmigrant visa (“NIV”) operations were suspended throughout Russia for eight days. Starting September 1, NIV operations will resume “on a greatly reduced scale” and applicant interviews will be conducted solely at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. NIV interviews at the U.S. consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok are “suspended until further notice.” In addition, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and the U.S. Consulate in St. Petersburg will no longer accept new visa applications for residents of Belarus. The suspension and reduction in services comes after the Russian government imposed a personnel cap on the U.S. mission in Russia in July which ordered the U.S. to cut two-thirds of staff at its embassy and consulates. If you have questions on how this may impact your international travel plans, please contact SPS Immigration.