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Immigration News - January and February of 2017

02/28/2017: Trump: I’m Open to Legal Status for Some Undocumented Immigrants

The Trump administration could be open to providing legal status to undocumented immigrants who have not committed serious crimes, President Donald Trump said on Tuesday, signaling a major shift in his immigration policy. - NBC

02/19/2017: DHS Memo on Immigration Enforcement

Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has drafted new orders to agency heads that would considerably expand the number of immigrants who could be detained and deported under new executive orders President Donald Trump signed last month. Under the proposed orders, which were contained in two memorandums written for distribution to agency heads and dated Friday, hundreds of thousands more immigrants in the United States illegally would be subject to what’s known as expedited removal proceedings to quickly get them out of the country. - McClatchyDC

02/16/2017: USCIS Seeking Input on Official Mobile App

USCIS would like to create a mobile app to provide our customers with better access to official immigration information. We want to hear your thoughts on what you would like to see on a mobile app. Ideas could include news updates and tools that are currently offered on Or your idea could be something new and out of the box. This mobile app would be for you. What would you like to see on a mobile app? A free account is required to submit comments. - USCIS

02/13/2017: Statement from DHS Secretary Kelly on recent ICE enforcement actions

ICE officers in the Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio and New York City areas of responsibility arrested more than 680 individuals who pose a threat to public safety, border security or the integrity of our nation’s immigration system. Of those arrested, approximately 75 percent were criminal aliens, convicted of crimes including, but not limited to, homicide, aggravated sexual abuse, sexual assault of a minor, lewd and lascivious acts with a child, indecent liberties with a minor, drug trafficking, battery, assault, DUI and weapons charges. - DHS

02/10/2017: Trump considers writing ‘brand new’ immigration order

President Trump said Friday that he is considering rewriting his executive order temporarily barring refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the country, indicating that the administration may try to quickly restore some aspects of the now-frozen travel ban or replace it with other measures.

Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One that he would probably wait until Monday or Tuesday to take any action, and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said several options — including taking the case to the Supreme Court — were still on the table. - Washington Post

02/07/2017: Which Side Is Donald Trump on in the Fight Over Legal Immigration?

President Donald Trump is best known for his stance against illegal immigration, but activists are gearing up for a broader ideological fight over whether legal immigrants and foreign workers benefit the country. Experts are poring over two purportedly leaked draft memos, obtained by The Washington Post and Vox, one that would call for stricter rules targeting low-income immigrants who use federal benefits and another that potentially could create new rules related to worker visas. - NBC News

02/03/2017: Federal judge in Seattle temporarily blocks Trump's travel ban nationwide

A federal judge in Washington state declared Friday that he would temporarily block enforcement of President Donald Trump's controversial ban on entry to the United States, and government authorities immediately began taking steps that would allow those previously affected to travel, according to a U.S. official familiar with the matter. - Chicago Tribune

01/29/2017: USCIS Response to Travel Ban and Litigation

The Department of Homeland Security will continue to enforce all of the president’s Executive Orders in a manner that ensures the safety and security of the American people. The president’s Executive Orders remain in place—prohibited travel will remain prohibited, and the U.S. government retains its right to revoke visas at any time if required for national security or public safety. The president’s Executive Order affects a minor portion of international travelers, and is a first step towards reestablishing control over America's borders and national security.

Approximately 80 million international travelers enter the United States every year. Yesterday, less than one percent of the more than 325,000 international air travelers who arrive every day were inconvenienced while enhanced security measures were implemented. These individuals went through enhanced security screenings and are being processed for entry to the United States, consistent with our immigration laws and judicial orders.

The Department of Homeland Security will faithfully execute the immigration laws, and we will treat all of those we encounter humanely and with professionalism. No foreign national in a foreign land, without ties to the United States, has any unfettered right to demand entry into the United States or to demand immigration benefits in the United States.

The Department of Homeland Security will comply with judicial orders; faithfully enforce our immigration laws, and implement the president’s Executive Orders to ensure that those entering the United States do not pose a threat to our country or the American people.

01/28/2017: Judge Blocks Trump Order on Refugees Amid Chaos and Outcry Worldwide

A federal judge in Brooklyn came to the aid of scores of refugees and others who were trapped at airports across the United States on Saturday after an executive order signed by President Trump, which sought to keep many foreigners from entering the country, led to chaotic scenes across the globe.

The judge’s ruling blocked part of the president’s actions, preventing the government from deporting some arrivals who found themselves ensnared by the presidential order. But it stopped short of letting them into the country or issuing a broader ruling on the constitutionality of Mr. Trump’s actions. - NYT

01/25/2017: Trump Signs Executive Orders Aimed at Cracking Down on Illegal Immigration

The great wall on the U.S.-Mexico border that President Donald Trump promised on the campaign trail took a big step closer to becoming reality Wednesday when he signed two executive orders aimed at curbing illegal immigration.

Another executive action on immigration policy includes eliminating federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities — a loose term that refers to communities that shield undocumented immigrants from deportation — unless the money is related to law enforcement. The action also directs the hiring of 5,000 new border patrol agents and would triple the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. - NBC

01/23/2017: Civics Test Answer Updates

As you study for the U.S. history and government (civics) test, make sure that you know the most current answers to these questions. Periodically, answers change to reflect the results of federal and state elections and appointments or to clarify content and ensure consistency in terminology. The revised answers to the questions below are effective immediately.

Question Update
20. Who is one of your state's U.S. senators now? The answer to this question may have changed on January 3, 2017, when the 115th Congress began to meet.
  Give the name of one of your state's current U.S. senators. For a list of current members of the U.S. Senate, please visit
23. Name your U.S. representative. The answer to this question may have changed on January 3, 2017, when the 115th Congress began to meet.
  Give the name of your current U.S. representative. For a list of current members of the U.S. House of Representatives, please visit
28. What is the name of the President of the United States now? Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Trump
29. What is the name of the Vice President of the United States now? Michael R. Pence, Mike Pence, Pence
43. Who is the governor of your state now? The answer to this question may have changed depending on inauguration dates.
  Give the name of your state's current governor. For a list of current governors, please visit
46. What is the political party of the President now? Republican (Party)

01/21/2017: Bipartisan bill aims to reform H-1B visa system

A new bill wants to give first dibs on H-1B visas to the "best and brightest" foreign students educated in the U.S.

Currently, visas are allocated by a lottery system. But the proposed bill would eliminate the lottery system and task the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services with creating a "preference system" so that foreign students educated in the U.S. get priority on visas. It would give a "leg up" to advanced degree holders, those being paid a high wage, and those with valuable skills, according to the announcement. - CNN

01/17/2017: USCIS Updates Form I-485 Supplement J, Confirmation of Bona Fide Job Offer or Request for Job Portability

Use I-485 Supplement J to:

  • Confirm that the job offered to you in Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker, remains a bona fide job offer that you intend to accept once your Form I 485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, is approved. Beginning Jan. 17, 2017, if you are filing or have previously filed Form I-485 based on being the principal beneficiary of a valid Form I-140 in an employment-based immigrant visa category that requires a job offer, you will need to file Supplement J instead of submitting a job offer letter;
  • OR
  • Request job portability under INA section 204(j) to a new, full-time, permanent job offer that you intend to accept once your Form I-485 is approved. This new job offer must be in the same or a similar occupational classification as the job offered to you in the Form I-140 that is the basis of your Form I-485. (For more information about how USCIS determines which jobs are same or similar please see PM-602-0122 (PDF, 205 KB): Determining Whether a New Job is in “the Same or a Similar Occupational Classification” for Purposes of Section 204(j) Job Portability (March 18, 2016 ))

01/12/2017: USCIS Proposes Significant Changes to EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

DHS is proposing to increase the minimum investment amounts for all new EB-5 petitioners. Specifically, DHS proposes to initially increase the standard minimum investment amount, which also applies to high employment areas, from $1 million to $1.8 million. For those investors seeking to invest in a new commercial enterprise that will be principally doing business in a targeted employment area (TEA), DHS proposes to increase the minimum investment amount from $500,000 to $1.35 million, which is 75 percent of the proposed standard minimum investment amount. In addition, DHS is proposing to make regular CPI-Ubased adjustments in the standard minimum investment amount, and conforming adjustments to the TEA minimum investment amount, every 5 years, beginning 5 years from the effective date of these regulations. - DHS

01/10/2017: February 2017 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for February 2017. 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 historical data, predictions and more information please refer to our Visa Bulletin Toolbox.

Chargeability Preference Cut-off Date (Y-M-D) Movement (Days)
China Second (EB2) 2012-11-15 31
India Second (EB2) 2008-04-15 74
ROW Third (EB3) 2016-10-01 61
China Third (EB3) 2013-10-01 23
India Third (EB3) 2005-03-22 7
Mexico Third (EB3) 2016-10-01 61
Philippines Third (EB3) 2011-10-15 85

01/03/2017: Green Card Tracker Updated with Data as of October 2016

green card tracker

Today USCIS finally published the pending I-485 inventory with data as of October 2016, after missing the July update entirely. We have now updated the green card tracker with the latest information. The I-485 tracker includes data from USCIS' pending I-485 inventory as well as DOS' pending consular processing cases.

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