Immigration Highlights

September 26, 2018

NP Immigration Newsletter

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

The U.S. immigration landscape continues to shift. This alert contains several updates from the last few weeks.

Executive Orders

Trump administration to cut refugee admissions cap to 30,000 per year

On September 10, 2018, the Trump administration announced it would lower the annual cap on refugee admissions from 45,000 to 30,000 in the next fiscal year.

For more information, see New York Times article.

Law and policy updates

Hearing on Trump’s bid to end TPS for 200,000 individuals

On September 25, 2018, a California federal judge, Judge Chen, heard arguments in a suit filed asking for the preservation of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) of more than 200,000 individuals, including citizens of Haiti, Sudan, El Salvador, Nepal, Nicaragua and Honduras. Plaintiffs argue that the Trump administration’s change in how TPS determinations are made is unconstitutional and violates the Administrative Procedure Act.

The arguments follow an August 6, 2018 order issued by Judge Chen dismissing the administration’s motion to dismiss the suit and determining the plaintiffs have at least “plausibly alleged” the administration’s decision to terminate TPS violates the Administrative Procedures Act, equal protection guarantees and substantive due process rights. A decision by Judge Chen is forthcoming.

For more information regarding Judge Chen’s underlying August 6, 2018 order and the present suit, and related TPS litigation in Massachusetts, see this Bloomberg News article.

Trump administration proposes public charge rule

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), any person who is determined “likely at any time to become a public charge” is ineligible for a non-immigrant or immigrant visa. On September 22, 2018, the Trump administration announced a proposed rule to define “public charge” as the term is used in the INA, and define the types of public benefits that are to be considered in the public charge determination. Opponents of the proposed rule argue it is overly restrictive, and would deprive many immigrants of the ability to remain in the U.S. simply because they previously received public health care support, nutrition assistance or Section 8 housing vouchers, for example.The rule is not final and must first undergo a mandatory 60-day comment/review period.

For more information regarding the proposed rule, see this New York Times article. The proposed rule, in its entirety, can be found here.

Premium processing fee increasing

On October 1, 2018, USCIS will increase the premium processing fee to $1,410 (from $1,225) for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker and Form I-140, Immigration Petition for Alien Worker. The optional Premium Processing service, when available, allows for the submission of the additional fee to USCIS in exchange for a 15-day adjudication period.

For more information, see USCIS announcement.The announcement follows a previous decision by USCIS to suspend Premium Processing service for certain H-1B petitions, as reported in our client alert.

CBP updates I-94 website to allow for group payments for land entry

On September 7, 2018, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that travelers, including travel agents and other representatives, can submit I-94 applications and pay the $6 processing fee for I-94 online for up to 25 persons at one time. Previously, each online I-94 application was processed separately.

For more information, see CBP announcement.

EAD extension for Somalians with TPS

As of September 5, 2018, USCIS will automatically extend the validity of EADs issued to Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries from Somalia with an expiration date of September 17, 2018, through March 16, 2019. Individuals with EADs that expired on March 17, 2017, who applied for a new EAD during the last re-registration period but have not received their new EAD, are also eligible for the automatic extension to March 16, 2019.

For more information, see USCIS TPS webpage for Somalia.

EAD extension for Salvadorians with TPS

As of September 4, 2018, USCIS will automatically extend the validity of certain EADs issued to Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries from El Salvador through March 4, 2019. USCIS will mail a Notice of Continued Evidence of Work Authorization to individuals eligible for the additional 180-day automatic extension.

For more information, see USCIS TPS webpage for El Salvador.

Diversity Visa

Diversity green card lottery for fiscal year 2020

Each year, 50,000 immigrant visas are made available through a Diversity Visa Lottery to people who are natives of countries (typically, a person’s country of birth) with low rates of immigration to the United States. Entries for this year’s Diversity Visa Lottery, for fiscal year 2020, must be submitted electronically between noon, Eastern Daylight Time, Wednesday, October 3, 2018, and noon, Eastern Standard Time, Tuesday, November 6, 2018.

For more information, see Department of State announcement.

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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