Immigration Highlights



November 30, 2017

NP Immigration Newsletter

Author(s): Courtney H. New, Jason Gerrol

The U.S. immigration landscape continues to shift. Here are several updates from the last few weeks.

Executive orders

Ninth Circuit reinstates Trump travel ban but with exceptions

On September 24, 2017, President Trump signed a proclamation describing travel restrictions that would apply to eight countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. While the district court issued a preliminary injunction blocking the implementation of the new travel ban, on November 13, 2017 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the travel ban but with exceptions for travelers with “a bona fide relationship” with a U.S. person or entity. The exceptions include travelers with a “formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course” relationship with a U.S. entity, and travelers with a “close familial relationship” with a person in the U.S. The Ninth Circuit decision is temporary and in place until the court can fully review the Trump administration’s appeal of the lower district court decision.

For more information, see this LA Times article.

California court permanently enjoins Trump’s “sanctuary cities” executive order

On November 20, 2017, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted a nationwide permanent injunction against the enforcement of President Trump’s January 25, 2017 executive order titled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.” Although the executive order outlines a number of new immigration enforcement policies and initiatives, the injunction only applies to Section 9(a) of the executive order, which requires the establishment of procedures whereby “sanctuary jurisdictions” are not eligible to receive federal grants.

The November 20, 2017 order follows a preliminary injunction issued on April 25, 2017 by the same court.

Law and policy changes

Change in vetting procedures for foreign nationals joining the U.S. military

The Department of Defense recently announced a change to policies regarding qualifying military service by foreign nationals for the purposes of expedited naturalization as well as the screening of lawful permanent residents (or green card holders) before acceptance into a branch of the military.

For more information, see the Department of Defense press release.

U.S. Consulate in Turkey resumes issuing non-immigrant visas

The U.S. Consulate in Turkey has resumed processing non-immigrant visas on a limited basis. Turkish citizens who already have valid visa stamps can continue to travel to the U.S.

For more information, see the Consulate’s website.

Temporary Protected Status for Honduras is extended to July 5, 2018

On November 6, 2017, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke announced the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Honduras will be automatically extended for an additional six months—through July 5, 2018. Hondurans with TPS will be required to reapply for work authorization for the duration of their TPS designation.

For more information, see USCIS website on TPS for Hondurans.

Temporary Protected Status for Nicaraguans will end January 5, 2019

On November 6, 2017, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke announced the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Nicaragua will terminate on January 5, 2019. Nicaraguans with TPS will be required to reapply for work authorization for the duration of their TPS designation.

For more information, see USCIS website on TPS for Nicaraguans.

Temporary Protected Status for Haitians will end July 22, 2019

On November 20, 2017, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke announced the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Haitians will terminate on July 22, 2019. Haitians with TPS will be required to reapply for work authorization for the duration of their TPS designation.

For more information, see USCIS website on TPS for Haitians.

Legislation updates

Diversity Green Card lottery

Last month a terrorist drove a truck into pedestrians on a New York City bike path. Following the attack and the disclosure that the individual was a Diversity Green Card lottery (the “Lottery”) recipient, Trump called for the elimination of the Lottery program. He is not alone. The bipartisan Gang of 8 proposed to eliminate it too and an immigration bill put forward by Senator Tom Cotton calls for its elimination as well.

The Lottery allocates 50,000 permanent visas (“green cards”) out of the 1,000,000 issued annually to individuals from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States. Lottery winners who are selected at random are subject to security screenings including biometrics, name and fingerprint checks against multiple interagency government databases and watch-lists as well as required to attend an in-person interview before approval for a lottery green card.

For more information, see our alert on the Diversity Green Card lottery.

Reports

Naturalization applications up 24%

Katie Tichacek, a spokeswoman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), stated that there is “a 24 percent increase in naturalization applications since last fiscal year.” This increase in the number of applications is a contributing factor to the lengthening of processing times for naturalizations.

For more information, see WNYC’s article.

I-9 e-mail scams

Employers have reported to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that they have received e-mails from news@uscis.gov requesting Form I-9 information. While the body of the e-mail contains USCIS and Inspector General labels, these e-mails are fraudulent and link to a non-government web address of uscis-online.org.

Employers are not required to submit Forms I-9 to USCIS. Employers who receive a scam e-mail should forward the e-mail to the USCIS webmaster. Employers should not respond to scam e-mail or click any links contained in the scam e-mail.

For more information, see USCIS’s avoid scams initiative.

The foregoing has been prepared for the general information of clients and friends of the firm. It is not meant to provide legal advice with respect to any specific matter and should not be acted upon without professional counsel. If you have any questions or require any further information regarding these or other related matters, please contact your regular Nixon Peabody LLP representative. This material may be considered advertising under certain rules of professional conduct.

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