Month: January 2018

by David Tuteur David Tuteur 108 Comments

USCIS BEGINS ACCEPTING DACA RENEWALS FOLLOWING COURT ORDER

USCIS announced on Saturday that it will resume accepting DACA renewal applications. The announcement comes in response to an injunction issued last week by a federal district court in San Francisco, which ordered DHS to continue accepting renewal applications while a lawsuit against the decision to end DACA moves forward. Because the injunction is temporary and part of ongoing litigation, it is uncertain how long the window to apply for a renewal will remain open.

The details of the USCIS announcement are outlined below.

If your DACA expired on or after September 5, 2016 or if you currently have DACA:

You may apply to renew your DACA now. Even if your DACA will not expire in less than six months, you may apply to renew it, though this may result in an approved period of less than two years from the end of your current DACA period. Because the court order is temporary and subject to future litigation, recipients will want to renew their DACA as soon as possible.

If you previously had DACA, but it expired or was terminated before September 5, 2016:

You may apply for DACA again, though you must apply as an initial applicant rather than a renewal.

If you have never applied for DACA:

Unfortunately, USCIS is not currently accepting requests from first-time DACA applicants.

Advance Parole:

Advance Parole is the name for permission from the U.S. government to travel outside the United States for specific reasons and authorization to renter upon return. USCIS is not currently accepting applications for Advance Parole based on DACA.

by David Tuteur David Tuteur 362 Comments

DHS to End Temporary Protected Status for Over 200,000 Salvadorans

The Department of Homeland Security announced on Monday that it is ending the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for over 200,000 Salvadorans who have lived and worked lawfully in the US for the past 17 years. The termination of TPS, however, will be delayed until September 9, 2019, in order allow individuals time to close their businesses, sell their homes and assets, and otherwise prepare for their departure from the United States.  According to the Washington Post, the decision to revoke TPS for El Salvador will impact not only the over 200,000 individuals protected by the status, but also their estimated 190,000 US-born children.

DHS originally designated TPS for El Salvador in response to two devastating earthquakes that struck only weeks apart in 2001, resulting in thousands of landslides across the country. Over one thousand Salvadorans lost their lives in the quakes and resulting landslides, and hundreds of thousands of homes were destroyed, in addition to millions of dollars in damage to the country’s water and sanitation systems.

The protected status designation has been renewed 11 times since its initial designation. The most recent extension, which was granted in 2016, cited numerous subsequent natural disasters to justify the extension, including hurricanes, tropical storms, flooding, seismic activity, and a prolonged drought that caused severe shortages of food and adequate drinking water. Additionally, the previous extension cited the increased spread of mosquito-borne illness, housing and electricity shortages, and gang-related insecurity across the country as further justification. In Monday’s announcement, DHS Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielson states that the decision came after determining that “the original conditions caused by the 2001 earthquakes no longer exist,” and that the “substantial disruption of living conditions caused by the earthquake no longer exist.”

The decision comes after two other countries lost their TPS designations in 2017, Haiti and Nicaragua. The Trump Administration extended the TPS designation for Honduras until July 2018, but suggested that it may decide not to renew the designation in the future.

by David Tuteur David Tuteur 45 Comments

Department of Homeland Security Considering Changes to H-1B Extension Rules

The Department of Homeland Security is reported to be considering changes to regulations that currently allow certain individuals in H-1B status to extend their status beyond the 6-year limit. The changes being considered would impact individuals who have an approved I-140, but are not yet able to apply for permanent residence (green card) due to the visa backlog. Currently, such individuals are eligible to extend their H-1B beyond the 6-year limit in 3-year increments, which allows them to continue working without interruption for their US employer while they wait for their priority date to become current.  Although no changes to the extension regulations have occurred, DHS is reported to be considering making these extensions discretionary, which would greatly increase the risk of denials.

Importantly, any change to DHS’s interpretation of this regulation would require a formal announcement followed by a 90-day notice and comment period before any changes could be implemented. In addition, any change to DHS’s longstanding interpretation of law would be subject to extensive litigation, which would likely further delay implementation of any change.

While these reported considerations are worrisome, there have not yet been any changes in DHS regulations or policies. We will continue to stay abreast of any changes to this and other DHS policies, and will post updates on our website.

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