USCIS Recalling Certain Permanent Resident Cards (Green Cards)

On May 14, 2018 USCIS announced that it is recalling approximately 8,543 Permanent Resident Cards (Green Cards) mailed between February 2018 and April 2018 due to a production error printing incorrect “Resident Since” dates. These Green Cards were for approved Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions of Residence for spouses of U.S. citizens.

USCIS will send notices to those affected individuals who should return their incorrect Green Card to the USCIS in the provided pre-paid envelope within 20 days of receiving the notice. USCIS will send replacement Green Cards within 15 days of receiving the incorrect card.

The recall does not affect these Green Card holders’ status as lawful permanent residents. If affected individuals need to travel internationally or prove their lawful permanent residence while they wait for a replacement card, they may contact the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283 to determine if they need additional proof.

USCIS Completes CW-1 Cap Lottery for Fiscal Year 2019

USCIS announced on May 2, 2018 that it completed the selection process for the FY 2019 CW-1 CAP petitions, using a computer-generated random selection process for petitions received during the filing period between April 2, 2018 and April 13, 2018, and has returned unselected petitions. If you submitted a petition during that time period and have not received a receipt notice or a returned petition by May 16, 2018, you may contact USCIS for assistance.

USCIS Changing Policy on Accrued Unlawful Presence by Nonimmigrant Students and Exchange Visitors

USCIS posted a policy memorandum (PDF, 179 KB) changing how the agency will calculate unlawful presence for students and exchange visitors in F, J, and M nonimmigrant status, including F-2, J-2, or M-2 dependents, who fail to maintain their status in the United States.

Individuals in F, J, and M status who failed to maintain their status before August 9, 2018, will start accruing unlawful presence on that date based on that failure, unless they had already started accruing unlawful presence, on the earliest of any of the following:

  • The day after DHS denied the request for an immigration benefit, if DHS made a formal finding that the individual violated his or her non-immigrant status while adjudicating a request for another immigration benefit;
  • The day after their I-94 expired; or
  • The day after an immigration judge or in certain cases, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), ordered them excluded, deported, or removed (whether or not the decision is appealed).

Individuals in F, J, or M status who fail to maintain their status on or after August 9, 2018, will start accruing unlawful presence on the earliest of any of the following:

  • The day after they no longer pursue the course of study or the authorized activity, or the day after they engage in an unauthorized activity;
  • The day after completing the course of study or program, including any authorized practical training plus any authorized grace period;
  • The day after the I-94 expires; or
  • The day after an immigration judge, or in certain cases, the BIA, orders them excluded, deported, or removed (whether or not the decision is appealed).

Individuals who have accrued more than 180 days of unlawful presence during a single stay, and then depart, may be subject to three-year or 10-year bars to admission, depending on how much unlawful presence they accrued before they departed the United States. Individuals who have accrued a total period of more than one year of unlawful presence, whether in a single stay or during multiple stays in the United States, and who then reenter or attempt to reenter the United States without being admitted or paroled are permanently inadmissible.

USCIS is accepting comments on the policy memorandum. The 30-day public comment period begins today and closes on June 11, 2018.

USCIS Updates Policy on DNA Evidence in Support of Sibling Relationships

USCIS has updated its policy on the acceptance of DNA evidence supporting sibling relationships. This policy memorandum (PDF, 136 KB) permits officers to suggest and consider direct sibling-to-sibling DNA test results, and provides standards for evaluating DNA results for full siblings and half siblings.

USCIS may suggest and accept DNA test results as evidence of a full-sibling or half-sibling relationship in any petition or application for an immigration benefit in which a sibling relationship is required when primary evidence is unavailable or unreliable. USCIS will only accept DNA testing conducted by an AABB-accredited lab.

DHS Releases Spring 2018 Agenda

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released its spring 2018 regulatory agenda. If finalized, these rules would significantly impact the B-1 and B-2 temporary visitor categories, the H-1B and EB-5 programs, F-1 practical training, and H-4 employment authorization among other items.

Greenspoon Marder has sent many alerts regarding these proposed changes, this is a recap of some items for DHS’s spring 2018 agenda:

  • Criteria for B-1 or B-2 classification. DHS intends to propose a rule to clarify the criteria for B-1 or B-2 classification. This could limit permissible business activities. The anticipated publication date is November 2018.
  • Termination of the H-4 employment authorization program. A proposal to rescind regulations that permit certain H-4 spouses to apply for employment authorization was originally slated for publication in February 2018. The spring 2018 agenda reiterates the anticipated publication date of June 2018.
  • H-1B cap lottery pre-registration and selection. A proposal that would require H-1B petitioners to pre-register for the H-1B cap lottery and to submit cap petitions only after they have won cap numbers, originally slated for publication in February 2018, has an updated anticipated publication date of July 2018.
  • H-1B eligibility criteria and wage requirements. A proposal to revise the definition of an H-1B specialty occupation to “increase focus on obtaining the best and brightest foreign nationals,” originally slated for publication in October 2018, has an updated anticipated publication date of January 2019.
  • Fee increases. A proposed rule to increase Student and Exchange Visitor Program fees, originally slated for publication in April 2018, has an updated anticipated publication date of September 2018.
  • EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program. A proposal to make regulatory changes to the EB-5 Regional Center Program, originally slated for publication in October 2018, has an updated anticipated publication date of March 2019.
  • EB-5 Modernization Rule. A proposal which could raise minimum investment amounts for the EB-5 program, among other changes, originally slated for publication in February 2018, has an updated anticipated publication date of August 2018.
  • Changes to practical training for foreign students. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement maintains its plan to propose a comprehensive revision of practical training rules for F and M foreign students. The anticipated publication date remains October 2018.
  • Fee increases.

DOJ and USCIS Sign Memorandum of Understanding Expanding Information Sharing and Case Referrals

On May 11, 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and USCIS signed a memorandum of understanding that expands their collaboration to detect and eliminate fraud, abuse, and discrimination by employers bringing foreign workers to the U.S. This memorandum will increase the ability of the agencies to share information and help identify, investigate, and prosecute employers who may be discriminating against U.S. workers and/or violating immigration laws.

DHS to Terminate TPS for Honduras on January 4, 2020

On May 4, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it will terminate the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Honduras.

DOS Issues a Final Rule on Passports and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad

The Department of State (DOS) issued a final rule on May 11, 2018 which sets out procedures for denying and cancelling Consular Reports of Birth Abroad and provides additional information relating to the conduct of review hearings.

Visa Bulletin for June 2018

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) released the June 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 visa availability for Mexico E4 and SR.

As of May 10, 2018, USCIS has not advised whether in June 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.

DOJ Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against Themesoft Inc. An IT Staffing and Consulting Company

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on April 20, 2018, that it reached a settlement with Themesoft, Inc., a Texas-based company that provides consulting and staffing services to technology clients. The DOJ investigation, was based on a worker’s complaint, and alleged that Themesoft engaged in citizenship status discrimination against an asylee by refusing to process his application because he was not a lawful permanent resident, U.S. citizen, or H-1B visa holder. DOJ noted that asylees have permanent work authorization, so are authorized to work much like U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, refugees, and lawful permanent residents. Employers are prohibited from discriminating based on citizenship status. The INA’s antidiscrimination provision prohibits employers from requesting specific immigration documentation from the worker.

Gorsuch Votes Against Trump Administration in Deportation Case

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch voted with the Democrat-appointed justices in a 5-4 decision in Sessions v. Dimaya holding that a federal law permitting the removal of foreigners guilty of a “crime of violence” is unconstitutionally vague. Among other things, the Court noted that the “ordinary case” of a crime of violence is an excessively speculative thing, and that uncertainty about the level of risk that makes a crime “violent” is fatal. The case involved a permanent resident convicted of the crime of burglary.

Tyler Q. Houlton, the DHS Press Secretary, said the decision “significantly undermines DHS’s efforts to remove aliens convicted of certain violent crimes,” and that it “allows our nation to be a safe haven for criminals and makes us more vulnerable.” Tom Homan, the ICE Deputy Director, said he was “disappointed” by the decision. “As a law enforcement agency, ICE will certainly abide by this decision,” he said, but “it will have an adverse impact on our ability to establish that aliens convicted of certain violent crimes…are removable from the United States and ineligible for certain immigration benefits.