Breaking News 08.29.2017

Trump Administration Adds Another Step for EB PR

On Friday, USCIS confirmed that it will begin requiring in-person interviews for permanent resident (or “green card”) applicants adjusting status to permanent resident in employment-based (EB) cases. Such in-person interviews were standard until about ten years ago, when USCIS began waiving interviews for such applicants absent adverse criminal or immigration history. The new policy will go into effect October 1.

The President’s decision to require an interview for this subset of green card applicants is yet another example of his policy approach of “extreme vetting” for all foreign nationals, and will almost certainly delay adjudication for all permanent residence applications unless USCIS is given more funding to hire additional personnel and rent more space at field offices in major cities around the country. Roughly 122,000 people received permanent residence in EB categories in the 2015 fiscal year.

Interviews will also be required for refugee/asylee relative petitions (Form I-730) for beneficiaries who are in the United States and are petitioning to join a principal asylee/refugee applicant.

WSJ Reports Trump Considering Cuts to J-1 Exchange Visitor Programs

On Sunday, the Wall Street Journal reported on a memo from the White House directing the Department of State to develop a plan for eliminating the following J-1 exchange visitor programs:

* Au Pair

* Camp Counselor

* Intern/Trainee

* Summer Work Travel

The J-1 program currently provides opportunities for 15 categories constituting around 300,000 foreign visitors per year from over 200 countries and territories “to experience U.S. society and culture and engage with Americans.” Among the programs specifically targeted in the memo are those the administration sees as harming domestic workers, such as cultural exchange programs, which help bring in over 100,000 students each summer for work-travel programs, as well as smaller au pair programs which allow for foreign guests to live in American households to provide child care needs, while participating in cultural exchanges with their host families.

The program loss that will hurt employers the most are the trainee/intern programs, widely utilized by a number of industries, such as hospitality and tourism.

No official announcement regarding these cuts has been made yet; we will keep you posted.

DACA Possibly in Danger: Take Precautions

Sources close to President Trump have indicated that he is seriously considering ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the Obama-era policy that shields eligible undocumented youth from deportation, before a group of 11 conservative state attorneys general file a court challenge to the program. Approximately 750,000 – 800,000 young people would be affected if DACA is rescinded.

It is important to note that, at the moment, President Trump has made no final decision on DACA’s future, and the White House continues to receive advice from the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice. While Attorney General Jeff Sessions is strongly opposed to DACA, DHS leadership believes Congress must introduce legislation to keep the principles of DACA in place. Since his inauguration, President Trump has softened his earlier rhetoric about ending the DACA program, even saying that DACA recipients could “rest easy”.

However, we advise DACA recipients who have received advance parole NOT to travel abroad at the present time. For DACA students currently outside the United States on study abroad programs, and DACA’s on assignment for their employers, we recommend monitoring news updates closely and checking in frequently with contacts in the U.S. to keep apprised of the latest travel advice. If a DACA recipient is currently abroad on discretionary travel, we advise making plans to return to the U.S. as soon as possible.

Should the DACA program come to an end, and DACA’s face enforcement actions, United We Dream has published a list of action items that we recommend following:

· Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent: ICE can use anything you say against you in immigration court. It’s important for you to remain silent and ask to speak to your attorney. Simply tell the immigration officer: “I am exercising my Fifth Amendment right and choosing to remain silent until I speak to my attorney.”

· Do Not Sign Anything Before Speaking to an Attorney: ICE and Customs Border Protection (CBP) may attempt to pressure or coerce you into signing your own deportation order. This is also known as a voluntary departure. Do not sign anything that they give you without first speaking to an attorney.

· Record Your Encounter: Take note of badge numbers, the number of agents, time, type of cars they used, and exactly what happened. Reporting this information will help advocates determine whether any rights violations occurred.

· Report Your Encounter: United We Dream runs a hotline for people to report activity of ICE, CBP, or any other enforcement agencies. Report the activity by calling the hotline at 1-844-363-1423.

· Contact an Immigration Lawyer: Get a trustworthy immigration attorney or legal representative accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and explore all options to fight your case. If detained, remember that you might be able to pay to be released on bond. Don’t lose hope. Visit IMMI to find free or low-cost legal help near you.

· Protect Your Assets: If you bought a vehicle, home, or have a business, prepare a plan for how you will maintain them if you lose your job or are put into deportation proceedings.

· Empower Others to Inquire About Your Case: Prepare a Third Party Privacy Waiver Form with your attorney or BIA representative. This form allows a third party of your choice (congressional office, another person that is not a family member, a non-profit organization) to request any information about your detention, immigration or deportation case from an immigration enforcement agency like ICE, CBP, or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

· Prepare Your Documents: Make a folder of documents that will prove your physical presence as far back as you can. Make a copy of the front and back of your important documents such as passports, work permits, social security cards, drivers’ licenses, leasing contracts, G-28 form, Third Party Waiver, and keep the copies and originals in a safe place.

· Make Plans for your Children: If you have children (under the age of 18), whether or not they are U.S. citizens, take the time to have emergency guardianship papers in place. This will provide you with peace of mind knowing how your child will be cared for if you are detained or deported. Apply for, renew, and keep safe their valid passports.

· Prepare a Phone Tree: In case you or a loved one is detained, you need to have one person who can connect and activate all of your support system: family, teachers, mentors, and friends who will support you and your loved ones.

Ware|Immigration On the Web

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