Supreme Court will decide the fate of DAPA
Many foreign nationals and immigration attorneys have welcomed the news that the Supreme Court will review the injunction that has been placed on President Obama’s executive actions. If the Supreme Court removes the injunction, foreign nationals will be able to apply for expanded DACA (deferred actions for children up to 16 years old who entered the US and have lived in the US since January 1, 2010) and DAPA (deferred action for parents of USC who were born prior to November 20, 2014.
BREAKING NEWS ABOUT DAPA
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the federal government's appeal of the preliminary injunction that has halted implementation of President Obama's 2014 deferred action initiatives the expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residence (DAPA).
Yemen has been designated for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months due to the ongoing armed conflict within the country. The TPS designation for Yemen is effective September 3, 2015, and will be in effect through March 3, 2017. The designation means that, during the designated period, eligible nationals of Yemen (and people without nationality who last habitually resided in Yemen) who are approved for TPS will not be removed from the United States and may receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The 180-day TPS registration period begins today and runs through March 1, 2016.
URGENT FOR HAITIANS
TPS for HAITI has been extended for 18 months, from January 23, 2016 through July 22, 2017. The extension allows currently eligible TPS beneficiaries to retain TPS through July 22, 2017, so long as they otherwise continue to meet the eligibility requirements for TPS. Re-registration is limited to persons who have previously registered for TPS under the designation of Haiti and whose applications have been granted. Re-registration runs from August 25, 2015 through October 26, 2015. USCIS will issue new EADs with a July 22, 2017 expiration date to eligible Haiti TPS beneficiaries who timely re-register and apply for EADs under this extension.
****Certain nationals of Haiti who have not previously applied for TPS may be eligible to apply under the late initial registration provisions if they meet: 1) at least one of the late initial filing criteria, and 2) all TPS eligibility criteria (including continuous residence in the US since January 12, 2011, and continuous physical presence in the US since July 23, 2011.
EXTENSION OF EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION OF HAITIAN F-1 NONIMMIGRANT STUDENTS EXPERIENCING SEVERE ECONOMIC HARDSHIP AS A DIRECT RESULT OF THE JANUARY 12, 2010 EARTHQUAKE IN HAITI.
Students will continue to be allowed to apply for Employment Authorization, work an increased number of hours while in school is in session provided they satisfy the minimum course load requirements, while continuing to maintain their F-1 student status until July 22, 2017.
This relief applies only to F-1 nonimmigrant students whose country of citizenship is Haiti and who were lawfully present in the U.S. in F-1 nonimmigrant status on January 12, 2010, and who are:
- Enrolled in an institution that is Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified for enrollment of F-1 students;
- Currently maintaining F-1 status; and
- Experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti
This relief applies to undergraduate and graduate students, as well as elementary school, middle school, and high school students.
Court Issues Order on DHS Rule Extending STEM OPT Period
The District Court for the District of Columbia held that a 2008 DHS interim final rule extending the period of post-graduation optional practical training (OPT) by 17 months for eligible STEM students on F-1 visas was invalid, because DHS promulgated the rule without notice and public comment. The court found, however, that vacating the rule immediately would cause substantial hardship for F-1 STEM students, and would create a major labor disruption for the technology sector. As such, the court ordered that the 2008 rule and its subsequent amendments be vacated, but that the vacatur be stayed until February 12, 2016, during which time DHS may submit the rule for proper notice and comment.
Green Cards Without a Signature Are Acceptable Documents
Permanent Resident Cards that say “signature waived” are acceptable documents for Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, as long as they are unexpired and reasonably appear to be genuine and to relate to the person presenting them.
Since February 2015, USCIS has been waiving the signature requirement for people entering the United States for the first time as lawful permanent residents after obtaining an immigrant visa abroad.
Nepal has been designated for Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a notice that Nepal has been designated for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for a period of 18 months, effective today, June 24, 2015, through December 24, 2016. This designation allows eligible Nepalese nationals (and immigrants having no nationality who last habitually resided in Nepal) who have continuously resided and have been continuously physically present in the United States since June 24, 2015, to be granted TPS. The 180-day registration period ends on December 21, 2015.
Immigration Relief for Nepali Nationals Affected by Earthquake
USCIS has several immigration relief measures that may be available to Nepali nationals who are and have been affected by the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25, 2015.
Immigration Relief that may be available to eligible Nepali nationals upon filing a petition with U.S.C.I.S. include:
- Change or extension of nonimmigrant status for an individual currently in the United States, even if the request is filed after the authorized period of admission has expired;
- A grant of re-parole;
- Expedited processing of advance parole requests;
- Expedited adjudication and approval, where possible, of requests for off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship;
- Expedited adjudication of employment authorization applications, where appropriate;
- Consideration for waivers of fees associated with USCIS benefit applications, based on an inability to pay; and
- Assistance replacing lost or damaged immigration or travel documents issued by USCIS, such as Permanent Resident Cards (Green Cards).
Department of Homeland Security Extends Eligibility for Employment Authorization to Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses of H-1B Non-Immigrants Seeking Employment-Based Lawyer Permanent Residence
Washington D.C. - February 24th, 2015 - U.S. Citizenship and
Immigration Services (USCIS) Director León Rodríguez announced today that, effective May 26, 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is extending eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. DHS amended the regulations to allow these H-4 dependent spouses to accept employment in the United States. Finalizing the H-4 employment eligibility was an important element of the immigration executive actions President Obama announced in November 2014. Extending eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants is one of several initiatives underway to modernize, improve and clarify visa programs to grow the U.S. economy and create jobs.
"Allowing the spouses of these visa holders to legally work in the United States makes perfect sense," Rodríguez said. "It helps U.S. businesses keep their highly skilled workers by increasing the chances these workers will choose to stay in this country during the transition from temporary workers to permanent residents. It also provides more economic stability and better quality of life for the affected families."
Eligible individuals include certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who:
- are the principal beneficiaries of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or
- have been granted H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act.
The Act permits H-1B nonimmigrants seeking lawful permanent residence to work and remain in the United States beyond the six-year limit on their H-1B status. The Department of Homeland Security expects this change will reduce the economic burdens and personal stresses H-1B nonimmigrants and their families may experience during the transition from nonimmigrant to lawful permanent resident status, and facilitate their integration into American society. As such, the change should reduce certain disincentives that currently lead H-1B nonimmigrants to abandon efforts to remain in the United States while seeking lawful permanent residence, which will minimize disruptions to U.S. businesses employing them. The change should also support the U.S. economy because the contributions H-1B nonimmigrants make to entrepreneurship and science help promote economic growth and job creation. The rule also will bring U.S. immigration policies more in line with those laws of other countries that compete to attract similar highly skilled workers.
Under the rule, eligible H-4 dependent spouses must file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with supporting evidence and the required $380 fee in order to obtain employment authorization and receive a Form I-766, Employment Authorization Document (EAD). USCIS will begin accepting applications on May 26, 2015. Once USCIS approves the Form I-765 and the H-4 dependent spouse receives an EAD, he or she may begin working in the United States.