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Immigration News - January and February of 2015

02/24/2015: DHS Extends Eligibility for Employment Authorization to Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses of H-1B Nonimmigrants Seeking Employment-Based Lawful Permanent Residence

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. - USCIS

02/16/2015: Judge blocks Obama policy to defer deportation of millions

A federal judge in Texas has issued a preliminary injunction blocking President Obama's program that would defer deportation for up to 5 million people living in the United States illegally.

Federal immigration officials have been temporarily barred from implementing "any and all aspects" of the deferred action program that Obama announced in November, according to an order issued Monday by U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen of the Southern District of Texas...The order applies to both the deferred action plan for parents of lawful permanent residents, also known as DAPA, and expansions to the deferred action for childhood arrivals, known as DACA, announced in November. - LA Times

02/10/2015: Green Card Tracker Updated

The green card tracker has been updated with the latest USCIS Pending I-485 Inventory data as of January 12, 2015.

02/09/2015: March 2015 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for March 2015. The table below shows cut-off date movement from the previous month, for all major employment-based categories. For more information please refer to our Visa Bulletin Toolbox.

Chargeability Preference Cut-off Date Movement (Days)
China Second (EB2) 170
India Second (EB2) 487
ROW Third (EB3) 151
China Third (EB3) 51
India Third (EB3) 10
Mexico Third (EB3) 151
Philippines Third (EB3) 151

01/30/2015: USCIS to Begin Accepting Requests for Expanded DACA on Feb. 18

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will expand Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals on Feb. 18, 2015. That will be the first day to request DACA under the revised guidelines established as part of President Obama's recent anouncements on immigration. - USCIS

01/27/2015: USCIS Office Closings on January 27

Many USCIS field offices and application centers on the east coast will be closed today due to snow storm. Click here on what to do if you have a pending appointment

01/14/2015: U.S. House passes security funding bill blocking immigration actions

U.S. House Republicans drew a hard line against President Barack Obama's executive immigration initiatives on Wednesday, voting to block them as they passed a Department of Homeland Security spending bill.

The vote sets up a potential showdown in coming weeks over funding for the sprawling agency that secures U.S. borders, airports and coastal waters. The bill's immigration provisions also could hamper Republicans' efforts to boost their appeal among Hispanic voters in the 2016 presidential election. - Reuters

01/09/2015: Bill H.R. 213 Introduced to Eliminate Per-Country Caps

Rep. Chaffetz (R-Utah) introduced H.R. 213, "To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to eliminate the per-country numerical limitation for employment-based immigrants, to increase the per-country numerical limitation for family-sponsored immigrants, and for other purposes." This is essentially the same bill as H.R. 3012, which generated strong interests among legal, employment-based immigrants but ended up going nowhere. - ThomasNet

01/09/2015: February 2015 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for February 2015. The table below shows cut-off date movement from the previous month, for all major employment-based categories. For more information please refer to our Visa Bulletin Toolbox.

Chargeability Preference Cut-off Date Movement (Days)
China Second (EB2) 42
India Second (EB2) 198
ROW Third (EB3) 214
China Third (EB3) 184
India Third (EB3) 7
Mexico Third (EB3) 214
Philippines Third (EB3) 214

Also released: DOS predictions on Visa Bulletin movement for the coming months.

01/05/2015: Anti-illegal immigration groups resurge on border

Just 70 miles from the Mexico border, the area has been a busy crossing for migrants. And it's now attracting renewed attention after President Barack Obama announced his sweeping executive action for immigrants in November. Since then, Vickers said he's seen an uptick in people wanting to join Texas Border Volunteers, which he founded in 2005.

Obama's changes would provide work permits to 4.7 million immigrants who've been here illegally for years and strengthen border security, though few details have been released as to how. But federal officials have said recent border-crossers are now their highest priority. - Houston Chronicle

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