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11/19/2019: Implementing Bilateral and Multilateral Asylum Cooperative Agreements Under INA

The Departments are adopting an interim final rule to modify existing regulations to provide for the implementation of agreements that the United States enters into pursuant to section 208(a)(2)(A) of the INA. Such agreements--referred to by the Departments as Asylum Cooperative Agreements and alternatively described as safe third country agreements in existing regulations--are formed between the United States and foreign countries where aliens removed to those countries would have access to a full and fair procedure for determining a claim to asylum or equivalent temporary protection. - Federal Register

11/18/2019: December 2019 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for December 2019. The table below shows "Final Action (Approval)" cut-off dates and movement from the previous month, for all major employment-based categories. To see filing cut-off dates or family-sponsored categories please go to the Visa Bulletin page linked above. For our unique Visa Bulletin Graphical Tracker, cutoff date predictions and more information please refer to the Visa Bulletin Toolbox.

Chargeability Preference Cut-off Date (Y-M-D) Movement from last month (Days)
ROW EB1 2018-07-15 44
China EB1 2017-05-15 103
China EB2 2015-06-22 99
China EB3 2015-11-01 0
India EB1 2015-01-01 0
India EB2 2009-05-15 2
India EB3 2009-01-01 0

DOS also warned that EB demand for adjustment of status (I-485) has been increasing at USCIS lately. As a result, EB2, EB3, and EB3-Other categories may see the establishment of final action dates, as early as January 2020.

11/17/2019: The Trump administration’s immigration jails are packed, but deportations are lower than in Obama era

Though President Trump has made cracking down on immigration a centerpiece of his first term, his administration lags far behind President Barack Obama’s pace of deportations. Obama — who immigrant advocates at one point called the “deporter in chief” — removed 409,849 people in 2012 alone. Trump, who has vowed to deport “millions” of immigrants, has yet to surpass 260,000 deportations in a single year.

And while Obama deported 1.18 million people during his first three years in office, Trump has deported fewer than 800,000. It is unclear why deportations have been happening relatively slowly. - WaPo

11/16/2019: USCIS Releases Report on Arrest Histories of Illegal Aliens who Request DACA

Today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) updated data (PDF, 756 KB) on arrests and apprehensions of illegal aliens who requested Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

  • Nearly 110,000 DACA requestors out of nearly 889,000 (12%) had arrest records. Offenses in these arrest records include assault, battery, rape, murder and driving under the influence.
  • Of approved DACA requestors with an arrest, 85% (67,861) of them were arrested or apprehended before their most recent DACA approval.
  • Of approved DACA requestors with an arrest, more than 31% (24,898) of them had more than one arrest.
  • Of all DACA requestors, 218 had more than 10 arrests. Of those, 54 had a DACA case status of “approved” as of October 2019.

11/14/2019: County Clerks Revolt Over N.Y. Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants

The law makes New York one of 14 states that allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses, which proponents argue will help them avoid deportation for relatively minor offenses, such as traffic violations.

But the change has been met with resistance from county clerks in conservative areas of upstate New York, who are now setting the stage for a political clash when the law takes effect next month. Some say they will refuse to issue the licenses, while others are also threatening to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement if applicants show up without documentation. - NY Times

11/12/2019: Supreme Court leans toward Trump plan to end DACA program

The Supreme Court on Tuesday appeared likely to side with the Trump administration in its effort to end a program that lets nearly 700,000 young, undocumented immigrants live and work in the United States without fear of deportation. During an extended, 80-minute oral argument inside a packed courtroom that included some of the threatened immigrants, several conservative justices said the Department of Homeland Security laid out sufficient reasons for its decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. - USA Today

11/11/2019: Supreme Court to Hear DACA Arguments Tuesday

The justices will hear extended arguments concerning whether the administration’s attempted termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was lawful. The program, put in place seven years ago, protects about 700,000 immigrants and allows them to receive work permits.

Trump sought to end the program in 2017 but was blocked from doing so by lower courts in California, New York and Washington, D.C. Trump has argued that President Barack Obama lacked the legal authority to institute the program, but has shied away from criticizing DACA as bad policy. - CNBC

11/08/2019: USCIS Proposes to Increase Fees by 21%

"Fees collected and deposited into the IEFA fund nearly 96% of USCIS’ budget. Unlike most government agencies, USCIS is fee-funded. Federal law requires USCIS to conduct biennial fee reviews and recommend necessary fee adjustments to ensure recovery of the full cost of administering the nation’s immigration laws, adjudicating applications and petitions, and providing the necessary infrastructure to support those activities.

The rule proposes adjusting USCIS IEFA fee schedules by a weighted average increase of 21% to ensure full cost recovery. Current fees would leave the agency underfunded by approximately $1.3 billion per year." - USCIS

11/07/2019: USCIS Implements $10 Fee for H-1B Visa Registration

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced a final rule that will require a $10 non-refundable fee for each H-1B registration submitted by petitioning employers, once it implements the electronic registration system. The registration fee is part of an agency-wide effort to modernize and more efficiently process applications to live or work in the United States.

11/06/2019: Policy Alert: EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Modernization Final Rule

Under the employment-based fifth preference (EB-5) classification, petitioners may seek an immigrant visa if they make the necessary investment in a new commercial enterprise in the United States and meet certain job creation requirements.1 On July 24, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security published the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Modernization rule to reflect statutory changes and modernize the EB-5 program. This rule provides, among other things, priority date retention for certain EB-5 immigrants; increases the investment amounts to account for inflation; reforms targeted employment area (TEA) designations; and clarifies USCIS procedures for the removal of conditions on permanent residence. - USCIS

11/05/2019: Upcoming December 2019 Visa Bulletin

The Department of State is expected to release December's Visa Bulletin soon. You are welcome to sign up for our free Visa Bulletin Alert, and we'll send you an email as soon as it's published.

11/04/2019: U.S. Supreme Court mulls making it easier to deport immigrants for crimes

The nine justices during an hour of arguments appeared divided over the fate of Andre Martello Barton, a legal permanent U.S. resident from Jamaica who challenged his planned deportation for drug and gun convictions in Georgia dating back to 1996.

Barton appealed a lower court ruling that the 41-year-old father of four was ineligible to have his deportation canceled under a law that lets some longtime legal residents avoid removal for certain crimes. The court’s liberal justices seemed sympathetic toward Barton. Some conservative justices appeared inclined to agree with the government’s bid to deport him. - Reuters

11/02/2019: Federal judge blocks Trump's health insurance rule for immigrants seeking visas

A federal judge in Oregon on Saturday blocked the Trump administration's rule requiring immigrants applying for U.S. visas to prove they have health insurance or can afford medical costs from going into effect Sunday.

U.S. District Judge Michael Simon granted the temporary restraining order while he considers a federal lawsuit brought Wednesday by seven U.S. citizens and a nonprofit organization, who contend the rule change would block nearly two-thirds of all prospective legal immigrants. It was not immediately clear when Simon would rule on the merits of the case. - Fox News

10/30/2019: Form I-130 now Available for Online Filing

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced that petitioners can now complete and file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, online. Online filing allows aliens to submit forms electronically, check the status of their case, and receive notices from USCIS. “Form I-130 is one of the most widely filed USCIS forms,” said USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli. “As we continue our transition to paperless operations, petitioners can now experience the convenience of filing electronically. USCIS is increasing the number of forms available for online filing to make our agency more effective and efficient.”

10/30/2019: USCIS Increasing Premium Processing Fee

The premium processing fee will increase to $1,440 from the current fee of $1,410 for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, and Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. This increase, which is done in accordance with the Immigration and Nationality Act, reflects the full amount of inflation from the implementation of the premium processing fee in June 2001 through August 2019 based on the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U). USCIS last increased the fee in 2018.

10/28/2019: USCIS Forms Update Notice

USCIS recently updated several forms. Please check the edition date of the form you're about to submit to USCIS, and make surethey are still accepted.

  • Form G-325A, Biographic Information (for Deferred Action); New Edition Dated 09/17/19.
  • Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal; New Edition Dated 09/10/19.
  • Form I-612, Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement; New Edition Dated 09/17/19.
  • Form I-929, Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Nonimmigrant; New Edition Dated 09/17/19.

10/24/2019: USCIS Begins Producing Security-Enhanced Travel Documents

To prevent secure document tampering, counterfeiting, and fraud, we will begin producing on Oct. 24 a new security-enhanced U.S. travel document, which is a booklet that looks similar to a U.S. passport and serves dual purposes. The travel document can serve in place of:

  • Form I-327, Permit to Reenter the United States: Lawful permanent residents use the Reentry Permit to return from temporary travel outside of the United States and, in some cases, may use a Reentry Permit for travel in place of a passport; and
  • Form I-571, Refugee Travel Document: Those with refugee or asylum status use a Refugee Travel Document if they wish to temporarily travel outside of the United States and, in some cases, may use a Refugee Travel Document for travel in place of a passport.

10/21/2019: Poll: Majority says immigrants should adapt to a shared American culture

A slim majority of respondents in a survey released Monday said immigrants moving to the U.S. should adapt to a shared culture and values. Fifty-one percent of participants said immigrants should assume an established U.S. culture, while 46 percent said a blend of cultures and values should make up the country when new residents arrive, according to the poll from The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. - The Hill

10/17/2019: S-386 "Unanimous Consent" Failed for the Fourth Time

Today Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) tried again to pass S-386 with unanimous consent, but was blocked by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), again. "Unanimous Consent" is not a typical Senate procedure to pass a bill with simple or super majority: It requires everybody's consent. As a result, all it takes is one senator to kill the bill. S-386 (to remove per-country quota) has now been blocked four times, by Sen. Rand Paul, David Perdue, and Dick Durbin (twice). The chance of passing S-386 with unanimous consent appears to be very slim, and going through normal Senate order is nearly impossible.

Sen. Durbin actually proposed his own bill today, S-2603, which essentially includes S-386 plus a significant increase of employment-based immigrant visas. This bill, however, was block by Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA). So it too failed to pass by unanimous consent.

10/17/2019: November 2019 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for November 2019. The table below shows "Final Action (Approval)" cut-off dates and movement from the previous month, for all major employment-based categories. To see filing cut-off dates or family-sponsored categories please go to the Visa Bulletin page linked above. For our unique Visa Bulletin Graphical Tracker, cutoff date predictions and more information please refer to the Visa Bulletin Toolbox.

Chargeability Preference Cut-off Date (Y-M-D) Movement from last month (Days)
ROW EB1 2018-06-01 40
China EB1 2017-02-01 92
China EB2 2015-03-15 73
China EB3 2015-11-01 0
India EB1 2015-01-01 0
India EB2 2009-05-13 1
India EB3 2009-01-01 0

10/14/2019: November Visa Bulletin Coming Soon

Today is Columbus Day, a national holiday observed by the federal government. Let's see if the Department of State will be able to release November 2019 Visa Bulletin tomorrow (10/15), or wait until late this week.

10/14/2019: California extends new protections to immigrants under laws signed by Newsom

California lawmakers continued the state’s expansion of rights and protections this year for immigrants who enter the country illegally, with laws signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom allowing them to serve on government boards and commissions and banning arrests for immigration violations in courthouses across the state.

The legislation signed by Newsom also expands California’s college student loan program for so-called Dreamers, young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, to include students seeking graduate degrees at the University of California and California State University schools. Undergraduate Dreamers already are eligible for those loans and in-state tuition. The new laws take effect Jan. 1. - LA Times

10/13/2019: Green Card Lottery (DV-2021) Entry Period is Open

DV-2021 program is accepting entries between noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), Wednesday, October 2, 2019, and noon, Eastern Standard Time (EST) (GMT-5), Tuesday, November 5, 2019. If you're eligible and want to participate, do not wait until the last week to submit your entry, as people around the world will rush to enter which may result in website delays. You must submit electronically; no paper entries will be accepted.

For past years' statistics, see Green Card Lottery Results.

10/11/2019: Federal Judges In 3 States Block Trump's 'Public Charge' Rule For Green Cards

Federal judges in three states — New York, California and Washington — have issued temporary injunctions against the Trump administration's "public charge" rule, preventing it from taking effect on Oct. 15.

The controversial rule would make it more difficult for immigrants to get green cards if it looks as though they might need public assistance. Titled "Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds," the rule sparked several legal challenges. - NPR

10/11/2019: Now on Google Maps - CBP Deferred Inspection Sites

We've recently added a cool little map on our CBP Deferred Inspection Sites page. If you're required to return to a CBP deferred inspection site, or need to correct an error on your I-94 record, our customized and fully interactive Google Map will come in handy. Feel free to use it and share it on Social Networks.

CBP sites on map

10/11/2019: Adjusting to New Life in the United States

Do you know that in addition to immigration tools and data, we also provide helpful contents to new immigrants settling in the U.S.? For example, this is our brief explanation of standard bed and mattress sizes. I remember how confusing it was when I first moved here, so hopefully these short articles can help someone out there who is not yet familiar with the daily stuff.

mattress size comparison

10/10/2019: H-1B Registration Tool

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will be submitting the following information collection request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and clearance in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. The purpose of this notice is to allow an additional 30 days for public comments. - Federal Register

10/08/2019: Upcoming November 2019 Visa Bulletin

The Department of State is expected to release November's Visa Bulletin soon. It could be this week, or by early next week. You are welcome to sign up for our Visa Bulletin Alert, and we'll send you an email as soon as it's published.

10/06/2019: Have You Tried Our H-1B Database?

In case you haven't noticed, we recently released three search portals to access millions of LCA records. Each has a different focus but they're interlinked together to give you the ultimate flexibility in searching for H-1B data. See our blog post for detailed descriptions.

S386 survey

10/04/2019: Trump’s order will deny visas to immigrants who lack health-care coverage

The White House late Friday issued a proclamation saying it would deny visas to immigrants who “will financially burden” the U.S. health-care system starting Nov. 3, demanding that foreign nationals prove that they have insurance or are affluent enough to cover their own health-care costs before entering the United States.

...the new rules would not affect the immigrants already in the United States. The proclamation, which was previously reported by the Wall Street Journal, also does not appear to affect immigrants arriving on work visas, refugees or those seeking asylum at the Mexican border. - WaPo

This is a developing story. Stay tuned for more updates next week.

10/04/2019: Dozens of immigrant detainees on hunger strike in Japan to protest harsh conditions

Dozens of immigrant detainees have resorted to hunger strikes across Japan, once again in the spotlight for its unusually tough stance toward asylum seekers.

Out of close to 16,000 petitions for asylum in Japan last year, only 42 were granted — an acceptance rate of 0.25%. That's unusually low for a rich industrialized nation; Canada took in about two-thirds of its applicants, and even the United States' new lowered resettlement quota still, at 18,000, appears generous by Japanese standards. - CBS

10/04/2019: Poland Nominated to Join the Visa Waiver Program

Today, President Donald J. Trump is announcing that the Department of State has formally nominated Poland for entry into the Visa Waiver Program. The Department of Homeland Security will take necessary action, as soon as possible, to assess Poland’s entry into the program. If Poland is designated as a Visa Waiver Program country, its nationals would be authorized for visa-free travel to the United States for business and tourism.

10/01/2019: S-386 Quick Survey - Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act

S-386 has been fiercely debated on social networks, such as Twitter. The fate of this bill, which aims to eliminate the 7% per country limit, is still up in the air. So we thought we should post a very quick survey, and see what our readers think of this bill. If you support S-386, vote Yes. if you oppose it, vote No. If you don't know about the bill, don't care, or simply have no opinion, just vote Not Sure. Let us know.

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