USCIS Returns Unselected FY2020 H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions

USCIS has confirmed that it has returned all fiscal year (FY) 2020 H-1B cap-subject petitions that were not selected in the computer-generated random selection process.

If you submitted an FY 2020 H-1B cap-subject petition that was delivered to USCIS between April 1 and April 5, 2019, and you have not received a receipt notice or confirmation that the petition was returned by August 29, please contact your legal counsel.

Appeals Court Revives Lawsuit Filed by Students Caught in University of Northern New Jersey Sting Operation

The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has vacated the district court’s dismissal of a lawsuit filed by students whose F-1 immigration statuses were terminated following the Department of Homeland Security’s investigation involving the creation of a sham university.

In 2013, the Department of Homeland Security created the University of Northern New Jersey to target academic recruiters and brokers who charged foreign students a fee to place them into universities that did not actually offer the course of study or authorized practical training required to satisfy the F-1 visa requirements. Following the close of the investigation in 2016, DHS terminated the F-1 statuses of hundreds of students who had enrolled in the sham university. A group of students filed a class action complaint challenging the decision to terminate their immigration statuses. The district court dismissed the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has vacated the district court’s dismissal and has remanded the matter to district court for further proceedings.

USCIS Stops Accepting and Adjudicating Deferred Action Applications for Non-Military Applicants

In an unannounced change in policy, USCIS has stopped accepting and adjudicating applications for deferred action for non-military applicants. Deferred action is a type of prosecutorial discretion used to delay removal from the United States.

USCIS has stated that this policy change will not affect DACA or other deferred action requests processed at USCIS service centers under other policies, regulations, or court orders (such as VAWA deferred action and deferred action related to the U nonimmigrant status waiting list).

DHS and HHS Amend Regulations Governing Custody of Minors

The Department of Homeland Security and Department of Health and Human Services have published a joint final rule that amends that regulations governing the apprehension, processing, care, custody, and release of noncitizen minors. Under the new rule, DHS will be allowed to hold minors with their parents or legal guardians at ICE Family Residential Centers for more than twenty (20) days and creates a federal licensing process for Family Residential Centers (which will remove licensing authority from the states).

Under current law, because many current facilities do not comply with the standards set out in the settlement in Flores v. Meese, DHS must release most children within twenty (20) days. This new rule will eliminate and modify many of the provisions in the settlement (including the 20-day release timeframe).

Visa Bulletin September 2019 – EB-3 Categories Unavailable Through End of FY2019

The Department of State released its Visa Bulletin for September 2019. All EB-3 categories will become unavailable through the end of this fiscal year (September 30, 2019). While it is possible these categories for EB-3 Worldwide, EB-3 El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, EB-3 Mexico, EB-3 Philippines, and EB-3 Vietnam may become current in October 2019, it might take longer.

USCIS may continue scheduling interviews for applicants who have already applied for an Adjustment of Status but whose preference categories have either retrogressed or become “unavailable.” However, USCIS will not be able to close out the applications until the Final Action Date advances beyond the applicant’s priority date.

EB-2 Worldwide advanced by one (1) year, while there was only slight advancement for EB-2 India and no advancement for EB-2 China.

EB-1 Worldwide will advance by fifteen (15) months to October 1, 2017, while EB-1 India has become unavailable due to continued high demand and EB-1 China has retrogressed.

USCIS determined that for adjustment of status filings for September 2019, the Dates for Filing chart must be used for family-based preference filings and the Final Action Dates chart must be used for employment-based preference filings. For family-sponsored filings for September 2019, applicants in the F2A category may file using the Final Action Dates chart.