Author: Adrianna Romero

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Ban on Travel From India will Take Effect on May 4, 2021

The Biden admiration has restricted entry into the U.S. for those traveling from India. The new travel ban is set to take effect Tuesday, May 4th. India has recently seen an extreme spike in positive COVID-19 cases and the government is struggling to contain the spread of the virus and its variants. The new travel ban will look a lot like previous bans imposed early last year:

  • U.S citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) will be granted entry
  • Anyone arriving in the US will be subject to COVID-19 testing
  • Anyone that has not been vaccinated may be subject to a quarantine period of 14 days upon arrival
  • Anyone who is not a U.S. citizen or LPR and has been in India in the 14 days prior to arrival, will not be granted entry
  • There will be narrow exceptions for essential travel

If you are in the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa and you have to travel to India, schedule an appointment with our team to determine your eligibility for a travel exception.

by Adrianna Romero Adrianna Romero No Comments

It’s Official: Biden’s Immigration Reform Proposal is Introduced

On February 18, 2021, the U.S. Citizenship Act was formally introduced to Congress. The proposed bill calls for comprehensive reform to all areas of immigration law. President Biden declared on this first day in office that he intended to “restore humanity and American values to our immigration system”. The massive, 353-page bill, proposes innovative solutions to the current and outdated immigration framework that has failed to keep up with the country’s needs.

The bill provides for a pathway to permanent residency and eventually citizenship for those with DACA, TPS or H-2A status.

With the goal of stimulating economic and scientific development, the bill proposes many changes to employment-based immigration including:

  • Clearing visa backlogs by increasing per-country caps and exempting Ph.D. graduates working in STEM fields from the green card quota. 
  • Prioritizing the distribution of H-1B visas by wage offered by employers.
  • Work authorization for H-4 dependants.
  • Increasing penalties for employers who violate labor laws.
  • Extensions of F-1, H-1B, L-1, and O-1 status if the foreign national has a labor certification or I-140 immigrant visa petition pending for over a year.

While the bill is only in the early stages of the legislative process, it will certainly be subject to debate and revisions in an effort to garner bipartisan support.

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President Biden’s Immediate Immigration Plan

On January 21, 2020, President Biden signed six presidential executive actions that will affect immigration and visas in the U.S. immediately.

DACA: President Biden has instructed the Department of Homeland Security to preserve and fortify the DACA program and calls for legislation to provide a path to citizenship for DACA recipients.

Deportation of Liberians: Due to foreign policy reasons, President Biden reinstated and extended Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Liberians that are currently present in the U.S. Granting qualifying applicants protection from deportation, work authorization, and the opportunity to apply for adjustment of status (green card).

The Border Wall: Former President Donald Trump declared a national emergency at the southern border to allocate funds to construct a wall along the border. President Biden terminated the declaration of a national emergency, halted construction of the wall, and plans to reallocate funds to other methods of securing the border.

Census: To ensure that all inhabitants and those living in the U.S. are equally represented, President Biden revoked the previous administration’s order to include immigration status in the national census.

Immigration Enforcement: A previous executive action signed by former President Trump broadly increased interior immigration enforcement by encouraging local authorities to enforce federal immigration laws, and stripped funding from “sanctuary cities”. President Biden revoked this order and will adhere to previous policies regarding the enforcement of civil immigration violations.

Discriminatory Bans on Entry: The so-called “Muslim Ban” was several presidential proclamations and executive orders that prohibited people from primarily Muslim countries from seeking admission into the U.S. People from these countries will once again have the ability to apply for visas/admission and the current administration plans to assess the harms caused by the discriminatory bans.

A memo regarding pending regulatory actions issued by White House Chief of Staff, Ron Klain, states that pending rules at the Federal Register that have not been published yet must be withdrawn. Also, the effective dates the the rules that have been published but have not taken effect may be postponed.

As a result, the “Strengthening the H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa Classification Program Final Rule” will be immediately withdrawn. The rule meant to “clarify” how USCIS determines whether there is an “employer-employee relationship” to qualify as a “U.S. Employer.”

The effective date of the “H-1B Wage Selection Final Rule.” will be postponed until March 21, 21. The rule replaced the annual H-1B visa lottery that randomly selects foreign professionals with a process that prioritizes those offered the highest salaries for their occupation and geographic area.

In addition to the signing several executive orders on his first day in office, President Biden has also sent the “U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021” to Congress. U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) has announced that he will lead the legislative effort in the Senate to introduce the bill. Representative Linda Sanchez (D-CA) announced that she will lead the introduction of the bill House of Representatives. The Biden-Harris bill calls for immigration reform that will modernize the current immigration policies to treat noncitizens more humanly and will stimulate the economy.

by Adrianna Romero Adrianna Romero No Comments

DACA IS BACK!

In response to a court order issued on 12/4/2020, USCIS has announced that the DACA program will be fully restored, they will resume the previous DACA policies. Meaning USCIS will once again:

  • Accept first-time requests for DACA
  • Accept DACA renewal requests
  • Accept applications for advance parole, and
  • Extend current one-year deferred action and employment authorization to two years

Judge Nicolas George Garaufis of the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of New York issued an order requiring the Department of Homeland Security to resume adjudicating DACA applications according to the DACA policy terms in place before September 4, 2017. The order required USCIS to comply with the ruling by 12/7/2020.

The eligibility requirements for first-time applicants are the following:

  • The applicant arrived in the U.S. before their 16th birthday
  • The applicant was under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
  • The applicant has continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007
  • The applicant has graduated from high school or is currently enrolled or is an honorably discharged veteran
  • The applicant is over 15 years old (with some exceptions)
  • The applicant has not been convicted of disqualifying crimes and does not pose a threat to national security or public safety

Newly eligible applicants:

  • The applicant turned 15 years old after the program was rescinded in 2017 and they had previously met the eligibility requirements.

Advanced Parole allows applicants to travel temporarily outside of the U.S. for humanitarian, employment of educational reasons and re-enter the U.S. lawfully.

If DACA recipients received deferred action and work authorization for only one year (according to the July 2020 DHS memo), their current status has been extended to two years.

For assistance with renewing your DACA deferred action and work authorization or with applying for the first time, please send an email to DACA@cyavisalaw.com for more information.

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