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Immigration News - May and June of 2019

06/28/2019: Supreme Court to decide whether Trump administration can end DACA program

The Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether plans by the Trump administration to end the so-called DACA program for young undocumented immigrants can proceed. The justices announced Friday they will hear oral arguments on the appeal in its next term, which begins in October. A ruling is expected in the presidential election year, putting the high court at the center of one of the most politically charged issues. - Fox News

06/24/2019: Biden calls for making Dreamers citizens, in new immigration plan

Former Vice President Joe Biden, while accusing President Trump of “vilifying immigrants” to "scare" voters, urged Congress to make so-called Dreamers citizens in his newly released campaign proposal to roll back the Trump administration's policies on illegal immigration. - Fox News

06/17/2019: USCIS Aims to Decrease Processing Times for N-400 and I-485

USCIS will implement a national strategy to decrease differences in processing times based on location for Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, and Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

Since the end of 2015, we have experienced an increase in processing times due to higher than expected volumes received during fiscal years (FY) 2016 and 2017 that did not decrease as originally projected. FY 2017 receipts were up 15.6% from FY 2016, and FY 2016 receipts were up 25.5% from FY 2015. The increased filing volumes did not affect our field offices equally, which resulted in some disparity in the processing times among field offices. - USCIS

06/14/2019: Updated USCIS Customer Service Phone Menu

We recently updated USCIS Customer Service Phone Menu. This is actually harder than it seems: USCIS keeps changing their options, and the menu is really long with lots of information to sort through. I wish USCIS would just release their official phone menu. It not only makes it easier for customers, but also saves money by cutting down call times.

06/13/2019: July 2019 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for July 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 (Days)
China Second (EB2) 2016-11-01 92
India Second (EB2) 2009-04-24 5
ROW Third (EB3) C Current
China Third (EB3) 2016-01-01 108
India Third (EB3) 2009-07-01 0
Mexico Third (EB3) C Current
Philippines Third (EB3) C Current

06/12/2019: Five facts about illegal immigration in the U.S.

The number of unauthorized immigrants living in the United States has dropped to the level it was in 2004, and Mexicans are no longer a majority of this population. This decline is due mainly to a large drop in the number of new unauthorized immigrants, especially Mexicans, coming into the country. The origin countries of unauthorized immigrants also shifted during that time, with the number from Mexico declining and the number rising from Central America and Asia, according to the latest Pew Research Center estimates.

06/10/2019: Visa Bulletin Alert by Immigratoin Road

Tired of waiting for the July 2019 Visa Bulletin? You can relax and simply sign up for our Visa Bulletin Alert. We monitor the DOS website for you and send out an email alert whenever it's released. Give it a try, you can unsubscribe at any time.

06/10/2019: Ken Cuccinelli named acting director of USCIS

Kenneth T. (Ken) Cuccinelli will serve as the new acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), effective June 10, 2019. Cuccinelli will lead an agency of 19,000 employees and contractors who are responsible for administering our nation’s lawful immigration system while protecting Americans, securing the homeland, and honoring our values. In fiscal year 2018 alone, USCIS adjudicated more than 8.7 million requests for immigration benefits. - USCIS

USCIS Director

06/09/2019: Immigration Statistics

For these reasons, I’ve been pulling immigration statistics from government agencies and present them in a much more user-friendly format. These interactive charts and tables allow you to sort, search, and zoom in. They’re kept in a central location. And they contain only the most important data – in my opinion, of course – so you don’t have to dig through a bunch of G1 visa statistics to find H-1B data. - IR Blog

F-1 Visa Statistics

06/07/2019: Premium Processing Begins for Remaining H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions on June 10

On June 10, we will begin premium processing for all remaining FY 2020 H-1B cap-subject petitions. Starting on that date, petitioners may file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, with the USCIS service center that is processing their petition. - USCIS

06/06/2019: Facing pressure from Trump, Mexico detains two migrant caravan organizers

Mexican authorities have detained two organizers from Pueblo Sin Fronteras, a controversial activist group that has helped several large caravans of Central American migrants reach the United States border. - LA Times

06/06/2019: U.S., Mexico Make Progress on Migration Issues, but Tariffs Still Loom

The Trump administration has made significant progress in its border-security negotiations with Mexico, a senior White House official said, but the U.S. remained on track to impose tariffs on the country’s imports next week. - WSJ

06/06/2019: USCIS Tweet on H-1B Fraud and Tip Line

"As of March 2019, the H-1B tip line has received nearly 7,700 tips and about 30% of these tips have resulted in leads. In FY 2018, more than 40% of H-1B targeted site visits resulted in fraud determinations." - USCIS on Twitter

H-1B Fraud

06/06/2019: Revision - Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) invites the general public and other Federal agencies to comment upon this proposed revision of a currently approved collection of information. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995, the information collection notice is published in the Federal Register to obtain comments regarding the nature of the information collection, the categories of respondents, the estimated burden (i.e. the time, effort, and resources used by the respondents to respond), the estimated cost to the respondent, and the actual information collection instruments. - Federal Register

06/04/2019: USCIS Updates Rejection Criteria for Form I-129

On August 5, USCIS will begin rejecting Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, petitions that do not include the petitioner’s or applicant’s name and primary U.S. office address in Part 1 of Form I-129. USCIS currently rejects Form I-129 for several reasons. These include, but are not limited to, lack of signature, incorrect fees, or unauthorized third party signing on behalf of the petitioner. - USCIS

06/04/2019: Latest USCIS Statistics - Naturalization Data

Exactly how many people take the oath and become U.S. citizens every year? Here is one graph with more than 100 years of naturalization data.

06/01/2019: Mexican president hints at migration concessions to avoid Trump tariffs

Mexico’s president on Saturday hinted his country could tighten migration controls to defuse U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on Mexican goods. - CNBC

05/31/2019: Trump announces escalating tariffs against Mexico, starting at 5 percent, until illegal immigrants 'STOP'

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today released the Fiscal Year 2018 Statistical Annual Report, which provides statistical information on the most popular and widely-used benefits and programs administered by the agency. The report also provides insight into the nature and scope of USCIS’ work, which involves adjudicating millions of applications and petitions for immigration benefits annually. - USCIS

05/30/2019: Trump announces escalating tariffs against Mexico, starting at 5 percent, until illegal immigrants 'STOP'

President Trump on Thursday abruptly announced a new 5 percent tariff on Mexico beginning in early June, saying the levy will "gradually increase" until the ongoing illegal immigration surge at the southern border is "remedied" and illegal migrants "STOP."

Fox News is told the tariff on all goods by land, sea, and air from Mexico will hike to 10 percent on July 1 -- and potentially increase substantially from there. - Fox News

05/29/2019: From archaeologists to vets, UK widens list of desired immigrants

Britain needs a wider range of immigrants to tackle shortages of workers ranging from archaeologists and architects to vets and web developers, government advisors said on Wednesday, just days after figures showed immigration had fallen to a five-year low.

Britain is reviewing its immigration system as it prepares to leave the European Union, which allows almost unrestricted free movement of workers between its 28 member states. - Reuters

05/28/2019: USCIS is Ending Forms Request Line

"Starting June 1, we are ending the Forms Request Line service that allows you to order forms by phone. This is part of our continuing effort to modernize our processes and promote our online products and services. You can still request mailed forms by calling the USCIS Contact Center or through our Forms by Mail online request tool. However, we encourage you to download and print forms for free from our website at www.uscis.gov/forms." - USCIS

05/25/2019: In Shift, Trump Will Pick Kenneth Cuccinelli to Oversee Legal Immigration

Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, the immigration hard-liner who was expected to be President Trump’s pick to coordinate immigration policy, will instead be chosen to take over for the embattled official who has overseen the legal immigration system, according to two people briefed on the situation. - NYT

05/22/2019: Visa Bulletin Alert by Immigratoin Road

We've created another handy tool that can automatically alert you when a new visa bulletin is released. Currently it's by email only, and depending on user interest, we might add text message alert in the future. If you're interested please visit the post to learn more and sign up.

05/22/2019: Certain Nonimmigrants Can Now File Form I-539 Online

USCIS just announced that you may file Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, online if you are applying as a single applicant (without co-applicants, or legal or accredited representation) to extend your stay and you hold status as a B-1, B-2, F-1, F-2, M-1 or M-2. Filing online lets you get your application into USCIS processing queue faster than mail delivery, and communicate with USCIS directly, without sending paper mail. - USCIS

05/22/2019: USCIS Accelerates Transition to Digital Immigration Processing

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced a new strategy known as eProcessing to accelerate USCIS’ transition to a digital business model. eProcessing will be a complete digital experience, from applying for a benefit, to communicating with USCIS, through receiving a decision on a case. As a first step, certain visitors for business, visitors for pleasure, and vocational students can now apply online to extend their stay in the United States. Additional classifications are coming soon. - USCIS

05/20/2019: Trump’s Immigration Proposal Is a Step in the Right Direction

"But Trump’s proposal actually gets the framework right for a new approach to immigration policy. Rather than reduce the number of green cards the U.S. grants every year, Trump is now calling for rebalancing admissions to ensure that a higher proportion of new immigrants are poised to achieve labor-market success. Trump has been inching away from steep reductions in legal immigration for some time. If congressional Democrats took this proposal seriously, they could push the administration to follow through on the logic of this plan, adding provisions that would make it both more politically viable and more effective. And for congressional Republicans, the plan offers a chance to turn a divisive issue for their coalition into a unifying one." - The Atlantic

05/17/2019: USCIS Completes Data Entry of Fiscal Year 2020 H-1B Cap Subject Petitions

"USCIS has completed data entry for all fiscal year 2020 H-1B cap-subject petitions selected in our computer-generated random selection process, including those selected under the U.S. advanced degree exemption. As in previous years, we will now begin returning all H-1B cap-subject petitions that we did not select and will issue an announcement once we are done notifying petitioners. Due to the volume of filings, we cannot provide a definite time frame for returning unselected petitions. We ask petitioners to wait to inquire about the status of their cap-subject petitions until they receive a receipt notice or an unselected petition that we have returned.

Additionally, we may transfer some Form I-129 H-1B cap-subject petitions between the Vermont Service Center and the California Service Center to balance the workload and enhance efficiencies. If we transfer your case, you will receive notification in the mail. After receiving the notification, please send all future correspondence to the center processing your petition." - USCIS

05/16/2019: Trump Outlines 'Merit-Based' Immigration Plan

  • Secure the border: Finish the border wall;
  • Stem the flow of low-wage labor;
  • Attract and retain the best and brightest immigrants;
  • Prioritize nuclear families: Limit family members to children and spouses;
  • Import labor for critical industries;
  • Keep asylum system, but limit it.

05/15/2019: Trump’s new immigration plan emphasizes skills and education over family connections

President Donald Trump will unveil a sweeping new proposal Thursday designed to move the United States from a family based immigration system to what senior administration officials describe as an employment- and skill-based system.

The proposal includes two parts – a physical infrastructure component that would include border wall construction and be financed by new fees on trade collected at the border, and a revamped points system for those applying for U.S. citizenship. - CBS

05/15/2019: Graphically Tracking Visa Bulletins

Do you know we have a handy little tool that draws actual charts for visa bulletins? They're also interactive: You can point your mouse at any given month and see the cut-off date. You can zoom in and zoom out. And you can compare different categories side by side.

visa bulletin tracker

05/14/2019: DOS Visa Bulletin Predictions for Coming Months

In the June 2019 Visa Bulletin, the Department of State Visa Office commented on the following categories:

India EB1: Despite the final action date for this country having been held for the past three months, there continues to be an extremely high rate of demand for Employment First preference (E1) numbers, primarily for USCIS adjustment of status applicants. This situation has resulted in the retrogression of this final action date for the month of June in an effort to limit future number use. Such action will only be temporary with the E1 date for India returning to at least February 22, 2017 for October, the first month of fiscal year 2020.

India EB5: Continued heavy applicant demand is expected to result in the India Employment Fifth preference (E5) category approaching the per-country annual limit during July. This is likely to result in the imposition of a July final action date, and that date will be sometime in 2017. Then for August, India will become subject to the same final action date which applies to China-mainland born Employment Fifth preference applicants for the remainder of the fiscal year. Such action will only be temporary with the E5 date for India most likely advancing to the summer or fall of 2017 for October, the first month of fiscal year 2020.

Vietnam EB5: Continued heavy applicant demand is expected to result in the Vietnam Employment Fifth preference (E5) category reaching the per-country annual limit during July. Then for August, Vietnam will become subject to the same final action date which applies to China-mainland born Employment Fifth preference applicants for the remainder of the fiscal year. Such action will only be temporary with the Vietnam E5 date most likely advancing to the fall or early winter of 2016 for October, the first month of fiscal year 2020.

05/14/2019: June 2019 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for June 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 (Days)
China Second (EB2) 2016-08-01 78
India Second (EB2) 2009-04-19 3
ROW Third (EB3) C Current
China Third (EB3) 2015-09-15 24
India Third (EB3) 2009-07-01 0
Mexico Third (EB3) C Current
Philippines Third (EB3) 2018-11-01 153

05/13/2019: More than 50 arrested over immigration scam that offered fake marriages for $70,000

Investigators say the group charged foreigners $50,000 to $70,000 apiece to be set up with a fake wife or husband in the U.S., with an agreement to hand over more cash “for each immigration benefit they receive,” including “admission into the United States” and “full lawful permanent resident status.” Those U.S. citizens who signed up to participate in the fake marriages also would receive a cut of the payments from the foreigners. - Fox News

05/10/2019: USCIS' Significant Delay in Releasing I-485 Inventories

USCIS is really behind on releasing quarterly I-485 inventories. The last publication date was in July, 2018, nearly a year ago. To make matters worse, USCIS hasn't provided any reason or explanation for this significant delay. We've reached out to USCIS through Twitter and other social networks, but have yet to hear back. We'll let you know as soon as we receive any information.

05/10/2019: June 2019 Visa Bulletin

The Department of State used to publish new visa bulletins right around the 10th of each month, sometimes as early as the 8th. However, in the past year, DOS often waited until the 13th or even 14th. So for the June 2019 Visa Bulletin, it's likely we'll see it next Monday or Tuesday. So stay tuned.

05/09/2019: USCIS H-1B Employer Data Hub

The H-1B Employer Data Hub includes data from fiscal year 2009 through the first quarter of fiscal year 2019 on employers who have submitted petitions to employ H-1B nonimmigrant workers. Data can be queried by fiscal year, employer name, city, state, zip code, and NAICS code. The H-1B Employer Data Hub has data on the first decisions USCIS makes on petitions for initial and continuing employment. It identifies employers by the last four digits of their tax identification. You can download annual and query-specific data in .csv format.

05/08/2019: Appeals Court Rules Trump Administration Can Keep Sending Asylum-Seekers To Mexico

A federal appeals court has ruled that the Trump administration may continue requiring asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico as they await court proceedings in the United States. It might be seen as a victory for Trump, though a temporary one.

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court's injunction on the administration's policy officially known as the Migration Protection Protocols. The policy, better known as "Remain in Mexico," was first announced in a December 2018 memo by former Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen. - NPR

05/06/2019: President Trump Names Mark Morgan, Former Border Patrol Chief, To Lead ICE

President Trump has named Mark Morgan, a former FBI agent and veteran of the Obama administration, as the new head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The president announced Morgan's selection in a tweet on Sunday, writing, "I am pleased to inform all of those that believe in a strong, fair and sound Immigration Policy that Mark Morgan will be joining the Trump administration as the head of our hard working men and women of ICE. Mark is a true believer and American Patriot." - NPR

05/03/2019: Report: Trump administration proposal would make it easier to deport immigrants who use public benefits

The Trump administration is considering reversing long-standing policy to make it easier to deport U.S. legal permanent residents who have used public benefits, part of an effort to restrict immigration by low-income people.

A Department of Justice draft regulation, seen by Reuters, dramatically expands the category of people who could be subject to deportation on the grounds that they use benefits. - Reuters

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