Strengthen Border Security
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will implement a Southern Border and Approaches Campaign Strategy , which will employ DHS assets in a strategic and coordinated way to provide effective enforcement of our laws and interdict individuals seeking to illegally across land, sea, and air. To accomplish this, DHS is commissioning three task forces of various law enforcement agencies, the first which will focus on the southern maritime border. The second will be responsible for the southern land border and the West Coast. The third will focus on investigations to support the other two task forces.
Revise Removal Priorities
DHS will implement a new department-wide enforcement and removal policy that places top priority on national security threats, convicted felons, gang members, and illegal entrants apprehended at the border. In addition, it will place a priority on those convicted of significant or multiple misdemeanors and those who are not apprehended at the border, but who entered or reentered this country unlawfully after January 1, 2014. Finally, it will prioritize those who are non-criminals but who have failed to abide by a final order of removal issued on or after January 1, 2014. Under this revised policy, those who entered illegally prior to January 1, 2014, who never disobeyed a prior order of removal, and were never convicted of a serious offense, will not be priorities for removal. This policy also provides clear guidance on the exercise of prosecutorial discretion.
End Secure Communities and Replace it with New Priority Enforcement Program
DHS will end the Secure Communities program, and replace it with the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) that will closely and clearly reflect DHS’s new top enforcement priorities. In addition, it will formulate plans to engage state and local governments on enforcement priorities and will enhance Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) ability to arrest, detain, and remove individuals deemed threats to national security, border security, or public safety.
Expand Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program
DHS will expand eligibility for DACA to encompass a broader class of children. DACA eligibility was limited to those who were under 31 years of age on June 15, 2012, who entered the U.S. before June 15, 2007, and who were under 16 years old when they entered. DACA eligibility will be expanded to cover all undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. before the age of 16, and not just those born after June 15, 1981. It will also adjust the entry date from June 15, 2007 to January 1, 2010. The relief (including work authorization) will now last for three years rather than two.
Extend Deferred Action to Parents of U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents
DHS will extend eligibility for deferred action to individuals who (i) are not removal priorities under our new policy, (ii) have been in this country at least 5 years, (iii) have children who on the date of this announcement are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, and (iv) present no other factors that would make a grant of deferred action inappropriate. These individuals will be assessed for eligibility for deferred action on a case-by-case basis, and then be permitted to apply for work authorization, provided they pay a fee. Each individual will undergo a thorough background check of all relevant national security and criminal databases, including DHS and FBI databases. With work-authorization, these individuals will pay taxes and contribute to the economy.
Expand Provisional Waivers to Spouses and Children of Lawful Permanent Residents
The provisional waiver program DHS announced in January 2013 for undocumented spouses and children of U.S. citizens will be expanded to include the spouses and children of lawful permanent residents, as well as the adult children of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. At the same time, it will further clarify the “extreme hardship” standard that must be met to obtain the waiver.
Revise Parole Rules
DHS will begin rulemaking to identify the conditions under which talented entrepreneurs should be paroled into the United States, on the ground that their entry would yield a significant public economic benefit. DHS will also support the military and its recruitment efforts by working with the Department of Defense to address the availability of parole-in-place and deferred action to spouses, parents, and children of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents who seek to enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Promote the Naturalization Process
To promote access to U.S. citizenship, DHS will permit the use of credit cards as a payment option for the naturalization fee, and expand citizenship public awareness. It is important to note that the naturalization fee is $680, currently payable only by cash, check or money order. DHS will also explore the feasibility of expanding fee waiver options.
Support High-skilled Business and Workers
DHS will take a number of administrative actions to better enable U.S. businesses to hire and retain highly skilled foreign-born workers and strengthen and expand opportunities for students to gain on-the-job training. For example, because our immigration system suffers from extremely long waits for green cards, we will amend current regulations and make other administrative changes to provide needed flexibility to workers with approved employment-based green card petitions.
USCIS has announced the formal implementation of the new rule which requires H-1B petitioners to pre-register electronically in order to be eligible to file a petition for the immigration fiscal year which commences October 01, 2020. The earliest date for filing H-1B petitions in April 01, 2020, however the pre-registration period commences March 01, 2020.
This month, our law firm, together with Co-Counsel Louis A Gordon, won a major victory in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The case impacts many immigrants who have suffered from bad or ineffective advice from prior Counsel. The Court in its published decision, Flores v Barr, overturned a Board of Immigration Appeals ruling which denied our client, the Petitioner, the opportunity to have his case reopened because of ineffective assistance of his prior immigration lawyer.
Investors and EB5 industry professionals have been anxiously waiting for the publication of a final regulation regarding the EB5 Program. USCIS has now published the final regulation which modifies the proposed rule which was announced in February this year.
New Zealand citizens can now obtain E-1 and E-2 treaty trader and investor visas to work in the U.S. These categories, which allow up to 2 years’ renewable stay, are determined by trade treaties secured between the U.S. and the foreign country or by Congressional legislation.
Citizens of New Zealand who are already inside the U.S. may file Form I-129 to change status – a spouse or child of such an applicant should file Form I-539 to change status to match the E-category applicant.
The latest Visa Bulletin, published by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) earlier this month, confirms industry predictions of a waiting list for Indian-born EB-5 investors. Starting in July 2019, EB-5 visas will be available only to those Indian-born investors who filed their petitions before 05/01/2017. This cut-off date creates a waiting list of approximately two years, which is significantly shorter than the waiting list currently facing mainland Chinese-born investors, which currently stretches back to 10/01/2014.
Starting June 10, 2019, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will resume Premium Processing for all remaining H-1B petitions. This completes a trial arrangement whereby USCIS allowed limited Premium Processing starting May 20 for H-1B petitions with a Change of Status. The approach was introduced after recent years eliminated Premium Processing altogether, resulting in lengthy delays, with some H-1B petitions remaining under adjudication even after the usual annual start date of October 1.