On July 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) posted updated guidance on its website regarding the validity of approved National Interest Exemptions (NIEs). Previously, an NIE was valid for only 30 days. Now, NIEs are granted for 12 months and NIEs issued in the last 12 months are being automatically extended for 12 months from the date of approval, and for multiple entries, as long as they are used for the purpose under which they were granted. National Interest Exemptions allow non-immigrants to travel to the U.S. from countries subject to the COVID travel ban in limited circumstances. The extension applies to NIEs for travelers subject to Presidential Proclamations 9984 (China), 9992 (Iran), 10143 (Schengen Area, U.K., Ireland, Brazil, and South Africa), and 10199 (India).
H-2B visas are temporary employment-based visas available to non-agricultural employees. H-2B petitions are filed by employers who need seasonal or one-time help because they are unable to find U.S. workers who are able, wiling, or qualified to do temporary work.
Together the Department of Labor and the Department of Homeland Security have authorized the addition of 22,000 H-2B visas to help businesses affected by COVID and will suffer irreparable harm if they cannot hire H-2B workers. 6,000 of those additional visas will be reserved for workers from the Northern Triangle (Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador).
This is a one-time increase in visa numbers that will expire in September 2021.
It’s Canada Day! Today marks Canada’s 154th Anniversary! CYA is excited to announce the Trivia Game raffle winners from the CCA “Almost Canada Day” Golf Tournament that was held on June 21, 2021. Winners please contact Lisa.York@cyavisalaw.com for information about how to claim your prizes. Drum roll…the winners are:
Grand Prize: THE WINNER IS RAFFLE TICKET # 6970530 (Inniskillin Riesling Icewine 2017; 20th Anniversary CBC Books “Canada Reads” winner, Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead; & a Canada Tote Bag)
Wines from Around the World Prize: THE WINNERS ARE RAFFLE TICKET #s 6970636, 6970566, & 6970606 (Portable Wine Picnic Bag; 1 Bottle of “World” Red Wine; 1 Bottle of “World” White Wine)
Canada Book Bag: THE WINNERS ARE RAFFLE TICKET #s: 6970626, 6970664, 6970666 (Canada Theme Tote Bag, 1 Bottle of Maple Whiskey or Canadian Icewine, & 2 Books about Canada or by a Canadian author)
USMCA (Formerly known as “NAFTA”) Prizes: THE WINNERS ARE RAFFLE TICKET #s: 6970592, 6970586, 6970702, 6970594, 6970672, 6970656
On Monday, June 21, 2021, Curray York & Associates (CYA) sponsored the 16th hole at the Colorado Canada Association’s Annual Almost On Canada Day Charity Golf Tournament. The Canada Colorado Association (CCA) is a not-for-profit, volunteer, business and social organization, serving Canadians and Friends of Canada happily living in Colorado. The organization’s signature event each year is its annual charity golf tournament. This year CCA is supporting the Colorado Adaptive Sports Foundation (CASF), which is one of Kroenke Sports Entertainment’s chosen charities. CCA’s contribution to CASF will flow down to the Rolling Mammoth wheelchair lacrosse team. For more information about this inspiring group please go to Rolling Mammoth.
Attorneys Lisa York and Sarah Collins participated in the event and administered CYA’s Dice/Trivia Raffle game in which tournament participants rolled the dice and answered challenging trivia questions about golf, Canada, and U.S. Immigration! CYA will be announcing the raffle winners (by raffle ticket #) on the CYA website on July 1, 2021 (Canada Day!).
Yesterday, the Government of Canada announced details of the first phase of its approach to ease border measures for travelers entering Canada. Specifically, beginning at 11:59p.m. EDT on July 5, 2021, fully vaccinated travelers who are permitted to enter Canada will not be subject to the federal requirement to quarantine or take a COVID-19 test on day 8. Moreover, travelers arriving by air who are fully vaccinated will no longer be required to stay at a government hotel.
Fully vaccinated travelers will still be subject to all other mandatory requirements, including pre- and on-arrival testing. Travelers must also be asymptomatic, have a proper documentation of having received the full series of a vaccine or combination of vaccines at least 14 days prior to entering Canada. Some provinces and territories may have their own entry restrictions in place, so it is extremely important to check any additional requirements before traveling.
The closure of Canada’s border with the United States to nonessential travel currently remains effective until July 21, 2021. For more information about this policy update or questions about your specific case, please schedule a consultation with one of the attorneys at Curray York & Associates.
The United States offers 10,000 U visas annually to immigrants who are victims of certain crimes and who aid law enforcement investigations or prosecutions. Under the current policy, approved U visas provide access to a work permit and the ability to apply for permanent residence after three years. USCIS automatically issues an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to principal petitioners upon the approval of the Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status. However, high demand for U visas means applicants currently wait at least five years until they can receive work authorization, according to USCIS.
On Monday, June 14, USCIS provided updated guidance in its Policy Manual on employment authorization and deferred action for principal petitioners for U nonimmigrant status and qualifying family members with pending, bona fide petitioners. The guidance has been immediately implemented and applies to all Form I-918 petitions that are currently pending, or filed on or after June 14, 2021. USCIS stated that due to drastic increases in the volume of U nonimmigrant petitions and a growing backlog awaiting placement on the waiting list for final adjudication, the agency has decided to exercise its discretion under INA 214(p)(6) to conduct bona fide determinations (BFD) and provide EADs and deferred action to noncitizens with pending, bona fide petitions who meet certain discretionary standards. The new policy guidance provides that USCIS will conduct an initial review of Form I-918 and will issue Bona Fide Determination EADs and deferred action for four years to petitioners for U nonimmigrant status and qualifying family members if USCIS deems their petition “bona fide”, instead of completing a full waiting list adjudication.
For more information about this policy update, please schedule a consultation with one of the attorneys at Curray York & Associates!
This week Vice President Kamala Harris travels to Guatemala and Mexico to meet with governmental officials and outline the Biden administration’s efforts to remedy the “root causes” of mass migration from Central America to the U.S. This will be the Vice President’s first international trip. She traveled first to Guatemala where she pledged hundreds of thousands of coronavirus vaccine doses, $310 million in regional humanitarian aid, and a $4 billion long-term plan to boost development and security across Central America. She is also expected to discuss battling corruption and upholding democratic norms. In Mexico, she will meet with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to discuss the expansion of immigration enforcement cooperation with the U.S. as part of a regional approach to managing migration.
Companies across the United Sates are reporting a hiring crisis, unable to find workers to fill their jobs. Some employers are even offering hiring bonuses to employees, such as a $,1500 sign on bonus for certain new hires at the Isle Casino in Black Hawk, Colorado. As businesses struggle to reconcile these record-high job openings, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is calling on Congress and the White House to reform immigration policy to encourage economic growth and job creation in the U.S. Specific examples suggested by the Chamber include: protecting Dreamers, TPS recipients, and employment-authorized H-4 dependent spouses from losing work authorization, and seeking cap increases and other reforms to employment-based visa programs to provide employers with the ability to meet their workforce needs. In addition to citing a boost in economic growth, job creation, and spurring innovation and entrepreneurship, the Chamber cites that this move would, “renew America’s legacy of being an open and welcoming country where anyone who works hard can achieve his or her dreams.”
As states implement new methods with the intention of making it easier for their residents to vote, they have unintentionally made it more difficult for Lawful Permanent Residents to naturalize and even put them at risk of deportation.
One of the most unforgiving violations of U.S. immigration law is to falsely claim to be a U.S citizen. A false U.S. citizen claim will make a foreign national inadmissible and deportable, and it is nearly impossible to overcome this violation. Upon adjusting their status, Lawful Permanent Residents are carefully advised by attorneys to avoid false claims to U.S. citizenship.
Many states have included the opportunity to register vote with their DMV applications and other state benefit application. While some of these applications ask the applicant to indicate whether they are U.S. citizens, many do not.
As a result, applicants are unknowingly registering to vote after signing these forms. This presents a complication for Lawful Permanent Residents when they apply to naturalize and USCIS notices they are registered to vote. USCIS had previously determined that a Lawful Permanent Resident who registered to vote, intentionally or otherwise, can be denied U.S. citizenship by alleging that they either falsely claimed to be a U.S. citizen or they do not meet the “good moral character” requirement to warrant an approval.
USCIS recently updated its policy on this topic. USCIS will not penalize those who unknowingly or unlawfully registered to vote, and will not consider an applicant to have unlawfully registered to vote if they did not complete or sign the voter registration portion of a state benefit application. If an applicant did register to vote, USCIS will not consider it a false claim to U.S. citizenship if the registration form did not contain a question about citizenship, and if it did, the applicant did not affirmatively indicate they were a U.S. citizen. However, the burden is on the applicant to prove the question did not exist or that they did not answer in the affirmative. If the applicant answered in the affirmative, they may be denied immigration benefits based on a false claim to citizenship or lack of “good moral character”.
In sum, Lawful Permanent Residents who are unknowingly registered to vote can still be eligible to naturalize, but they need to prove they did not mean to register and they did not affirm they were U.S. citizens.
The new policy is effective immediately and USCIS will accept comments until June 28, 2021.
On Monday, May 17, 2021, five businesses and nonprofit organizations, represented by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and Members of AILA’s Board of Governors, filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to enjoin the final rule published January 8, 2021, entitled Modification of Registration Requirement for Petitioners Seeking To File Cap-Subject H-1B Petitions, which is also known as the H-1B lottery rule. The rule is a holdover from the Trump Administration; the Biden Administration’s DHS announced it would delay the rule’s effective date until December 31, 2021, but it has not yet announced plans to rescind the rule. The USCIS final rule would create a wage-based selection process for the H-1B lottery, giving priority for lottery selection to those H-1B applicants who are paid the highest wages. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Humane Society of New York, et al. v. Mayorkas, et al., 5/17/21).