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02/10/2020: Justice Department files lawsuits over immigration ‘sanctuary’ policies

The Justice Department ratcheted up legal pressure Monday on local governments over “sanctuary” policies that hinder federal immigration officers, bringing two new lawsuits and launching a coordinated messaging campaign to highlight an election-year priority of President Trump.

Declaring that law enforcement officers are being “put in harm’s way by these ideologically driven policies,” Atty. Gen. William Barr said the Trump administration is suing the state of New Jersey and the county that is home to Seattle over immigration policies that offer protections to immigrants in the U.S. illegally. - LA Times

02/07/2020: USCIS Invitation: Overview of the H-1B Electronic Registration Process: A Webinar for Attorneys and Representatives, 2/12/2020

USCIS invites attorneys and representatives to participate in a webinar on Wednesday, Feb. 12, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Eastern, in addition to the previously scheduled webinar on Tuesday, Feb. 11, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Eastern. During this webinar, USCIS representatives will provide an instructional overview of the new H-1B electronic registration process in myUSCIS for attorneys and representatives. Another webinar specifically tailored for registrants will be held on Monday, Feb. 10.

02/05/2020: USCIS Temporarily Closing Offices in China due to CoronaVirus Outbreak

"According to U.S. Department of State guidance, USCIS is temporarily closing its field offices in Beijing and Guangzhou. We will reschedule all affected appointments and will send new appointment notices to applicants. Check our Beijing and Guangzhou webpages for updates on the status of these offices." - USCIS

02/04/2020: DHS Issues Supplemental Instructions For Inbound Flights With Individuals Who Have Been In China

To protect the American people from exposure to the coronavirus, on Sunday, February 2, 2020, the Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf issued instructions supplementing a decision issued on January 31, 2020, and directed all flights from China and all passengers who have traveled to China within the last 14 days to be routed through one of eight U.S. airports, effective Sunday, February 2nd, 2020, for flights departing after 5:00 PM Eastern. Three additional airports will be added to the list of airports authorized to receive such flights beginning at various times on Monday, February 3, 2020. At these eleven airports, the United States Government has established enhanced screening procedures and the capacity to quarantine passengers, if needed. - DHS

02/04/2020: If You Feel Sick, Please Consider Canceling and Rescheduling Your USCIS Appointment

"USCIS wants to ensure the safety of those whom we serve and our employees. Please do not visit a USCIS office if you are sick or start to feel symptoms of being sick. We will help you reschedule your appointment, without penalty, when you are better. If you have an illness or are exhibiting symptoms, we recommend you cancel and reschedule your USCIS appointment." - USCIS

02/02/2020: USCIS Updates Process for Accepting Petitions for Relatives Abroad

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced that, as part of the adjustment of its international footprint to increase efficiencies, Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, will only be processed domestically by USCIS or internationally by the Department of State in certain circumstances beginning Feb 1, 2020.

DOS will assume responsibility for certain services previously provided at USCIS international offices, services that DOS already provide in countries where USCIS does not have a presence. Eligible active-duty service members assigned overseas will file their Form I-130 locally with DOS, as will certain non-military petitioners who meet specific criteria for consular processing. - USCIS

01/31/2020: Trump imposes travel restrictions, mandatory quarantines over coronavirus outbreak

The Trump administration on Friday declared the coronavirus a public health emergency in the United States, and announced that certain foreign nationals deemed to pose a risk of transmitting the disease will temporarily be denied entry the U.S. Some returning American citizens potentially at risk will be quarantined.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that President Donald Trump signed an order for the U.S. to deny entry any foreign nationals who have traveled in China within the past two weeks, aside from the immediate family of U.S. citizens. - CNBC

01/31/2020: USCIS Announces Implementation of the Public Charge Inadmissibility Rule

“when determining whether an alien is likely to become a public charge at any time in the future, DHS will not consider an alien’s application for, certification or approval to receive, or receipt of certain non-cash public benefits before Feb. 24, 2020. For the public benefits condition for applications or petitions for extension of stay or change of status, DHS will only consider public benefits received on or after Feb. 24, 2020.”

01/29/2020: USCIS Adjusts Process for Managing EB-5 Visa Petition Inventory

“Changing our approach from a first-in, first-out adjudication process to one that prioritizes petitions connected to individuals from countries where visas are currently available better aligns the EB-5 program with congressional intent and makes it more consistent with other USCIS operations,” said USCIS Deputy Director Mark Koumans. “This new approach increases fairness, allowing qualified EB-5 petitioners from traditionally underrepresented countries to have their petitions approved in a more timely fashion to receive consideration for a visa.”

The U.S. Supreme Court issued an order Monday allowing the Trump administration to begin enforcing new limits on immigrants who are considered likely to become overly dependent on government benefit programs.

01/27/2020: BREAKING: Supreme Court allows Trump plan to deny green cards to those who might need gov't aid

The U.S. Supreme Court issued an order Monday allowing the Trump administration to begin enforcing new limits on immigrants who are considered likely to become overly dependent on government benefit programs.

The Department of Homeland Security announced in August that it would expand the definition of "public charge," to be applied to people whose immigration to the U.S. could be denied because of a concern that they would primarily depend on the government for their income.. - NBC

01/24/2020: Overview of the H-1B Electronic Registration Process: A Webinar for Registrants

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services invites you to participate in a webinar on Thursday, Feb. 6, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Eastern. During this webinar, USCIS representatives will provide an instructional presentation of the new H-1B electronic registration process in myUSCIS for registrants. Another webinar specifically tailored for attorneys and representatives will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 11. - USCIS

01/23/2020: Trump administration releases rule to restrict 'birth tourism'

The Trump administration on Thursday formally issued a rule allowing customs officials to deny entry to travelers whom they suspect are headed to the U.S. for the sole purpose of giving birth on American soil. A rule issued by the State Department marks the administration's first formal effort to cut down on the practice known as "birth tourism," which President Trump has heavily criticized and suggested should be a reason for ending birthright citizenship. - Guardian

01/23/2020: Coronavirus: panic and anger in Wuhan as China orders city into lockdown

A sense of panic has spread in the central Chinese city of Wuhan as the city of 11 million was put on lockdown in an attempt to quarantine a deadly virus believed to have originated there. On Thursday, authorities banned all transport links from the sprawling city, suspending buses, the subway system, ferries and shutting the airport and train stations to outgoing passengers. - Guardian

Chinese immigrants visiting families back home for the New Year may be stuck in the city for a while, and nobody knows when the lockdown might be lifted. Hopefully soon. Praying for WuHan!

01/22/2020: Trump administration to issue new visa restrictions aimed at curbing 'birth tourism'

The Trump administration is planning to introduce new visa restrictions aimed at restricting “birth tourism,” whereby women travel to the U.S. to give birth so that their children automatically become U.S. citizens, according to officials.

The new rules would make it harder for pregnant women to travel on a tourist visa. In one draft of the regulations, pregnant women would have to convince a consular officer that they have another legitimate reason to come to the U.S. before obtaining the visa. - Fox News

01/17/2020: February 2020 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for February 2020. 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.

Employment Based Key Categories - Final Action Dates and Movement from Previous Month:

Chargeability Preference Cut-off Date (Y-M-D) Movement (Days)
ROW EB1 2018-12-1 61
China EB1 2017-5-22 0
China EB2 2015-7-15 14
China EB3 2016-1-1 31
India EB1 2015-1-1 0
India EB2 2009-5-19 1
India EB3 2009-1-8 7

DOS Note 1: The final action date for the “Rest of World” Family Fourth preference (F4) had been advanced at a very rapid pace during the past two years to generate the required level of demand. The dramatic increase in the level of applicant demand currently being received has required the retrogression of that final action date for the month of February. This has been done in an effort to hold number use within the annual numerical limitation. It is likely that this date will remain in effect for at least the next several months.

DOS Note 2: Since October there has been a consistently high level of Employment-based demand, primarily for adjustment of status cases filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. This trend is particularly apparent in the Employment Third and Third preference Other Worker categories. Unless there is a sudden and dramatic decrease in the level of such demand, it will be necessary to implement a “Rest of World” final action date for the month of March.

01/12/2020: Upcoming February 2020 Visa Bulletin

State Department is expected to release the February 2020 Visa Bulletin sometime this week. As soon as it's published, we will upload it to the Visa Bulletin page. If you're signed up for our free Visa Bulletin Alert, we will send you an email to let you know.

01/07/2020: U.S. collecting DNA samples from some migrants — including teens — in first stage of program

Border Patrol officers in the Detroit sector of the border with Canada and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel at the Eagle Pass, Texas port of entry along the U.S.-Mexico frontier have been instructed to collect DNA from certain migrants. The samples are from cheek swabs. The biometric information would be used to create profiles in a massive national criminal database run by the FBI. - CBS.

01/03/2020: US State Department Travel Advisory: Do NOT Travel to Iraq

The Department of State issued a travel advisory on January 1, 2020, warning U.S. citizens against traveling to Iraq. In additon, DOS is also urging all U.S. citizens to depart Iraq immediately due to heightened tensions in the region. - DOS.

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