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Immigration News - September 2019

09/29/2019: All New H-1B Database - Check it Out!

H1B Database

We've built an H-1B database with complete LCA data. You can search for employers, job titles, salaries, work sites, or any combination of them. If you know the case number, you can also retrieve the entire LCA record for that particular application. It's free to use - check it out!

09/26/2019: USCIS Awards FY 2019 Citizenship and Assimilation Grants

Today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services awarded nearly $10 million in grants to 41 organizations in 24 states to help prepare lawful permanent residents (LPRs) for naturalization. The fiscal year 2019 grants, which run through September 2021, promote prospective citizens’ assimilation into American civic life by funding educational programs designed to increase their knowledge of English, U.S. history and civics. - USCIS

09/25/2019: Trump Administration To End 'Catch And Release' Immigration Policy, Says DHS Chief

The Trump administration will no longer allow migrant families apprehended at the border to enter the U.S. under the immigration policy commonly known as "catch and release."

"If migrant family units do not claim fear of return, they will be quickly returned to their country of origin, in close collaboration with Central American countries," the statement read. "If they do claim fear, they will generally be returned to Mexico under the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP)." - NPR

09/23/2019: Extension of the Designation of Syria for Temporary Protected Status

Through this Notice, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announces that the Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary) is extending the designation of Syria for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months, from October 1, 2019, through March 31, 2021. The extension allows currently eligible TPS beneficiaries to retain TPS through March 31, 2021, so long as they otherwise continue to meet the eligibility requirements for TPS. - Federal Register

09/19/2019: H-1B: Bill to scrap per-country green card limits blocked in Senate, report says

The bill, called the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act and introduced in February, requires unanimous consent to be brought to the Senate floor, immigration lawyer William Stock noted on Twitter. On Thursday, Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) blocked it — for now. “I support this bill,” Perdue said. “We have some language that needs to be clarified and I still have some concerns about the impact this legislation would have on some specific industries in not only my state but in the country.” Perdue said he wanted to work with Sen. Lee to “quickly” resolve his concerns about the bill. - Mercury News

09/18/2019: October 2019 Visa Bulletin Analysis and Predictions

Analysis and DOS Predictions

09/18/2019: October 2019 Visa Bulletin Released - Finally!

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for October 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) 2015-01-01 -731
India Second (EB2) 2009-05-12 4
ROW Third (EB3) C 0
China Third (EB3) 2015-11-01 669
India Third (EB3) 2009-01-01 1280
Mexico Third (EB3) C 0
Philippines Third (EB3) 2017-10-15 471

09/17/2019: Citizenship Backlog Prolongs Wait For Immigrants

"Now a new report reveals the last step to naturalize is taking even longer. For some it is taking 18 months, that’s double the time since 2016. U.S. immigration officials now have a backlog of about 700,000 applications, that’s been accruing since 2006." - CBS Denver

09/14/2019: October Visa Bulletin is Now (Very) Late

I'm quite surprised that October Visa Bulletin was not released on Friday, the 13th. So now it looks like it'll have to be the coming week of 9/16. In recent memory I haven't seen a visa bulletin being released this late: It has always been between the 8th and 13th, or the 14th on rare occasions. DOS has not offered any explanation as to why it's late. Stay tuned.

09/13/2019: USCIS to Welcome More Than 34,000 New Citizens in Celebration of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day

"USCIS announced today that it will celebrate Constitution Day and Citizenship Day by welcoming nearly 34,300 new U.S. citizens during 316 naturalization ceremonies across the nation between Sept. 13 and 23.

This time of year serves as an opportunity to celebrate the connection between the Constitution and citizenship and reflect on the meaning of becoming a citizen of the United States. USCIS welcomes approximately 650,000 to 750,000 citizens each year during naturalization ceremonies across the United States and around the world. In fiscal year 2018, USCIS naturalized more than 756,000 people, a five-year high in new oaths of citizenship." - USCIS Email

09/11/2019: Supreme Court allows Trump asylum restrictions to take effect, ending 9th Circuit injunctions

In a major win for the Trump administration, the Supreme Court issued an order late Wednesday ending all injunctions that had blocked the White House's ban on asylum for anyone trying to enter the U.S. by traveling through a third country, such as Mexico, without seeking protection there.

The Supreme Court's order was not a final ruling on the policy's merits but does allow the policy to take effect nationwide, including in the 9th Circuit, while the case makes its way through the lower courts. - Fox News

09/09/2019: Upcoming October 2019 Visa Bulletin

The Department of State is expected to release October's Visa Bulletin this week. It could be tomorrow, or as late as Friday. Since October is the first month of FY-2020, DOS will be able to use fresh immigrant visa numbers allocated for the new year. As a result, several retrogressed categories may become current again, or at least return to normal levels just before the summer. You are welcome to sign up for our Visa Bulletin Alert, and we'll send you an email as soon as it's published.

09/08/2019: Seven undocumented immigrants emerge as sex assault suspects and pull Montgomery County into national debate

Montgomery County’s top elected official, Marc Elrich, stood before a bank of TV cameras this summer to praise the county’s diversity and promise the most limited of cooperation with federal immigration agents.

National attention has fallen on Montgomery in large part because over the five-week stretch since the county executive’s pronouncement, seven undocumented immigrants living in the county were arrested on sex assault charges . Two were accused of raping the same 11-year-old girl. Another reportedly tried to kill his victim by choking her in a hallway of her apartment building. - WaPo

09/06/2019: Trump Open to DACA Deal if Administration Prevails in Supreme Court Case

In a series of Friday morning tweets, President Trump suggested that if he wins the DACA case in the upcoming Supreme Court session, he's open to a bipartisan deal to address the DACA impasse. It's still too early to predict whether comprehensive immigration reform may happen, which faces insurmountable hurdles and appears highly unlikely before the #2020 election. However, a Trump victory by the Supreme Court could bring the Democrats to the table much sooner than expected. In that case, a pathway to a merit-based system may appear on the horizon. Even incremental changes will shake up the entire U.S. immigration system. Stay tuned.

09/05/2019: New FLAG System for H-1B LCA Filing Becomes Mandatory on October 1st

OFLC is making this public service announcement to alert employers and other interested stakeholders about implementation of its new FLAG System for the Labor Condition Application (LCA) programs covering the H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 visa classifications.

OFLC will continue to accept online submissions of the Form ETA-9035E through the iCERT System until 11:59 a.m. Eastern Time on October 1, 2019. The ability to submit LCA applications using the iCERT System will be deactivated at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time on that date.

Beginning September 16, 2019, the FLAG System's LCA Program Module will be enabled and stakeholders will be able to begin preparing H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 applications using the Form ETA-9035E. However, the FLAG System will not permit the submission of LCA applications until 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time on October 1, 2019. - Office of Foreign Labor Certification

09/04/2019: DHS Policy Update on Using Fake Identities to Conduct Social Media Checks

USCIS is updating the Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) for the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS), published on December 16, 2014. The purpose of this update is to discuss changes to the process for accessing social media information when conducting certain background, identity, and security checks. Primarily, this relates to the use of fictitious accounts or identities in certain instances, when access to publicly-available information is only available to those who have a social media account, and to protect the national security and public safety and to combat immigration fraud. USCIS will only access social media content that is publicly available to all users of the social media platform. - DHS

09/03/2019: DHS Proposes $10 Registration Fee for Filing H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today announced a notice of proposed rulemaking that would require petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions to pay a $10 fee for each electronic registration they submit to USCIS.

09/02/2019: When A Resident Isn't A Resident: Sorting Through Immigration And Tax Terms

A lot of the confusion for international taxpayers focuses on the idea of residence. Residency feels like it should be an easy thing - it’s where you live, right? But what if where you live changes? Or if where you live isn’t where you intend to remain? Or if where you live isn’t the country where you were born? On the tax side, things can get tricky. It’s complicated even more because the definitions used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to describe residency aren’t necessarily the same as those used by the USCIS. - Forbes

09/01/2019: USCIS Office Closings Due to Hurricane Dorian

Many USCIS Field Offices and Application Support Centers may be closed next Tuesday and Wednesday due to Hurricane Dorian, a category 5 monster that's expected to reach the east coast late Monday. Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina are all in its current projected path. USCIS already announced the closure of several ASC's in Floria and is likely to add more, depending on weather condition. Please check their website if you have an appointment coming - you will definitely have an opportunity to reschedule if the location is closed. Call USCIS for more information or assistance.

This is one of the largest hurricanes ever. Please heed all warnings and evacuation orders from local authorities. Stay safe, everyone!

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