USCIS Completed Selection Process for FY2019 H-1B CAP Petitions

On April 11, 2018, the USCIS announced it completed the selection process for the FY2019 H-1B CAP petitions using a computer-generated random selection process. USCIS received 190,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period between April 2nd and April 6th. The selection process for the Master’s cap was conducted first and all unselected Master’s cap petitions then became part of the random selection process for the 65,000 cap.

USCIS announced it reached the congressionally-mandated 65,000 H-1B visa cap for fiscal year 2019 and received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the 20,000 visa U.S. advanced degree exemption, known as the master’s cap on April 6. The agency will reject and return filing fees for all unselected cap-subject petitions that are not considered prohibited multiple filings per Matter of S- Inc., which determined USCIS will deny or revoke the approval of all H-1B cap-subject petitions filed by “related entities” for the same beneficiary for substantially the same job.

This selection does not affect petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. The USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed for current H-1B workers who have been counted against the cap previously.

USCIS Will Conduct a Lottery for CW-1 Petitions for FY2019

On April 11, 2018, USCIS announced that it had received petitions for more than the number of visas available for FY2019 for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)-Only Transitional Worker (CW-1) program. USCIS will now randomly select 4,999 of the petitions received between April 2, 2018 and April 13, 2018.

USCIS Announces New E-Verify.gov Website

On April 10, 2018, USCIS announced the launch of a new website, E-Verify.gov, which allows employers to enroll in E-Verify directly and permits current users to access their accounts. Individuals with myE-Verify accounts can also access their accounts through E-Verify.gov.

USCIS encourages all U.S. employers to verify all new hires through E-Verify to reduce illegal immigration and preserve jobs for U.S. workers per President Trump’s Buy American and Hire American executive order. Nearly all employees are confirmed as work-authorized instantly or within 24 hours as the system compares information from an employee’s Form I-9 to records available to the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration to verify authorization to work in the U.S.

DOS Announced Travel Restrictions on Chad Terminated – Effective April 13

DOS announced that President Trump lifted travel restrictions for Chadian nationals following a period of review and improvement of Chad’s identity-management and information sharing practices. DOS stated that travel restrictions will be terminated effective April 13, 2018.

Cancellation of Removal

On April 6, 2018, in Matter of Jose Marquez Conde, the BIA reaffirmed the holding in Matter of Pickering interpreting the definition of “conviction” to include convictions that have been vacated as a form of post-conviction relief – for example, for rehabilitative purposes – and will continue to give them effect in immigration proceedings. However, convictions that have been vacated based on procedural and substantive defects in the underlying criminal proceeding as no longer valid for immigration purposes. Furthermore, the BIA determined it will now apply Matter of Pickering nationwide to promote national uniformity in the application of immigration laws.

End of Catch and Release Practice

On Monday May 21, 2018, the practice known as “catch and release,” whereby aliens are released in the United States shortly after their apprehension for violations of our immigration laws, will end.

Violations Determined to be Categorically a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals determined that a conviction for violation of § 1542, “willfully and knowingly mak[ing] any false statement in an application for [a] passport with intent to induce or secure the issuance of a passport under the authority of the United States,” is categorically a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude (Paulo Afamasaga v. Jefferson B. Sessions).

Additionally, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals held under its precedent that a conviction for possession of child pornography under Pennsylvania Law (18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 6312(d)) constituted a crime involving moral turpitude (Emilio Fabian Moreno v. Attorney General of the United States of America).

Visa Bulletin for May 2018

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) released the May 2018 Visa Bulletin. In addition to the final action dates and dates for filing applications, the bulletin also includes notes on the diversity visa cut-offs, Special Immigrant translator visa availability, and oversubscription of the Vietnam EB-5 category.

As of April 16, 2018, USCIS has not advised whether in May 2018, it will accept adjustment of status applications for family- or employment-based petitions based on filing dates, rather than final action dates. USCIS anticipates that this information will be released within one week of the monthly Visa Bulletin.

USCIS Processing Times

New website to check USCIS Processing Times.