The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program is an Obama-era program that provided protection against deportation for over 700,000 immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. To be eligible for the program, immigrant children had to be under the age of 16 and arrive in the U.S. prior to June 15, 2007. DACA recipients, often referred to as “Dreamers,” can receive work permits after undergoing security background checks and providing proof of completing high school or being currently enrolled in school. Advocates of the program coined the term “Dreamers” after the proposed bill entitled the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) stalled in Congress before becoming law.
Trump Administration Moves to End DACA
The Trump administration took action to end the DACA program, concluding that it violated federal law. Federal courts in San Francisco, New York, and Washington, however, blocked the administration’s efforts to end DACA. In November 2018, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the federal district judge’s ruling. That ruling imposed a nationwide injunction that allows current DACA recipients to renew their work authorization but does not allow new applications.
DACA Expected to Remain in Place for Existing Participants at Least Through 2019
Despite the Trump Administration’s requests to the U.S. Supreme Court, the high Court did not address any aspect of the DACA program in January 2019. As a result, it is highly unlikely that the U.S. Supreme Court will take any action with respect to DACA before the end of its current term in June.
By default, the federal district court injunction will remain in effect for at least another ten months. The U.S. Supreme Court’s next term does not start until October 2019. Even if the court immediately considered the legality of the DACA program at the beginning of the term, it likely still would be a few months before the Supreme Court would issue a ruling. While there can be no new applicants accepted to the DACA program, renewal applications are still permissible – at least for now.
Due to this uncertainly, DACA recipients can do little more than continue along their current paths. We recommend that current DACA holders renew their DACA work authorization if it expires within the next six months. DACA recipients and immigration advocates also hope that a change in administration or passage of federal legislation eventually will protect the Dreamers.
Call Us at World One Law Group for the Help You Need
The attorneys and staff of World One Law Group pride themselves on dedicating their services to assisting individual immigrants, families, businesses, and employers with their immigration-law related matters. We have the knowledge and skills needed to navigate the ever-changing and increasingly complicated U.S. immigration system. Contact us by telephone at (425) 250-8110 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org for help with all your immigration law-related needs.
The First Day of H-1B Cap Lottery for 2020
April 1 2019, was the first day of the new H-1B cap season. Unfortunately, we expect that all H-1B visas for the entire year will be gone by April 5, 2019. Congress authorized only 65,000 H-1B visas for the entire country for the entire year. For those with a master's or higher degree from an American university, there are an additional 20,000 visas available. Read More
Today, April 1 2019, is the first day of the new H-1B cap season. Unfortunately, we expect that all H-1B visas for the entire year will be gone by April 5, 2019. Congress authorized only 65,000 H-1B visas for the entire country for the entire year. For those with a master's or higher degree from an American university, there are an additional 20,000 visas available.
Last year, applicants that filed within this narrow 5 day window had about a 40% chance of being selected for an H-1B visa. This year, we expect there to be about the same chance for a visa.
If you filed a petition for H-1B status in this year's cap lottery, we anticipate to get a notification from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services that your case was accepted or rejected by June or July. If you are accepted, the earliest you could start working on H-1B visa status is October 1, 2019.
There are several different ways that a U.S. citizen can get permanent resident status for a spouse who is not a US citizen. Determining the most effective method of achieving this goal depends on your personal situation, the current location of your fiancé(e), and his or her immigration status, criminal history, and other background issues that may arise. The following information summarizes the three different ways in which you can obtain permanent residency for your non-U.S. citizen spouse.
If your fiancé(e) is currently living in a foreign country and you wish to marry him or her in the U.S., you can file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e). If the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves the petition, they will send it to the National Visa Center for processing, which then sends it on to the U.S. Embassy or consulate nearest to your fiancé(e)’s residence.
Once the embassy or consulate receives the approved petition, your fiancé(e) will be interviewed for the fiancé(e) visa (also known as a K-1 visa). This visa allows your fiancé(e) to enter the U.S. legally for 90 days, so your marriage must take place within that 90-day period. Following your marriage, your spouse can file a Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status to be approved for permanent residency in the U.S.
This type of visa can take a long time to process and the government fees can be costly. There are also strict restrictions on your fiancé(e) after they enter the United States that could cause issues.
Adjusment of Status
If your fiancé(e) is lawfully present in the U.S. on another type of visa, such as a student or work visa, you can file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative once you are married. Since an immigrant visa is immediately available for spouses of U.S. citizens, he or she may qualify to file a Form I-485 for adjustment of status to permanent residency at the same time as the filing of the Form I-130. New rules may prevent couples from filing for permanent residency too soon after entry to the United States, depending on their visa status.
However, if your fiancé(e) entered the U.S. without a visa, he or she would likely not qualify to adjust status to permanent residency while present in the U.S. You can still get married, and you can file a Form I-130 for your spouse, but your spouse may have to return to his or her native country and pursue an immigrant visa through a U.S. embassy or consulate. The danger with this situation, however, is that if your fiancé(e) has been unlawfully present in the U.S. for 180 days or more, he or she is banned from returning to the U.S. for up to ten years. It may be possible to apply for a waiver of this 10 year bar, but these require a showing of “extreme hardship” to a US citizen or permanent resident parent or spouse.
You should talk to an experienced immigration attorney to see if your spouse qualifies for any exception to this dilemma. There may be ways to avoid or minimize the risk of spending time apart.
If you married overseas or plan to marry overseas and your spouse still lives abroad, he or she can apply for a green card at a U.S. embassy or consulate. This is generally referred to as consular processing. You initiate this process by filing the Form I-130 on behalf of your spouse. Once USCIS approves the petition, it will be sent to the National Visa Center who will request additional forms and documents. If you are a permanent resident, your spouse is an immediate relative and there is no wait for a visa. Permanent residents, however, may have to wait months or years for a visa for a spouse.
Next, your spouse will pay the immigrant visa processing fees, file the Form DS-260 Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration, and submit all necessary supporting documents. You must also submit an Affidavit of Support for your spouse to show that you make more than the poverty level. Once all information is submitted, the National Visa Center will forward the case to the appropriate embassy or consulate abroad.
Your spouse then will go to the embassy or consulate for an interview. If all goes well, your spouse will receive an immigrant visa, and be able to enter the U.S. as a legal permanent resident. The permanent resident card, or “green card”, will be sent after entry to the United States. This process could cause you to live apart from your spouse for a year or more, if you are living in the United States.
If your spouse is a citizen of Libya, Iran, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea or Venezuela, the Trump travel ban can add additional hurdles to overcome with this type of process. An attorney can help you overcome these issues and make sure that this process is successful.
Call Us Today at World One Law Group for the Legal Assistance You Need
World One Law Group devotes its practice to changing the lives of immigrants every day. We are here to help individuals, families, and employers achieve their immigration goals as effectively and efficiently as possible. Allow us to evaluate your immigration law needs and determine the best course of action for your situation. Call us today at (425) 250-8110 or email us at email@example.com and learn about what we can do to help.
After lower courts rejected previous versions of the Trump travel ban, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the Trump administration’s so-called Travel Ban 3.0 in a 5-to-4 decision. Travel Ban 3.0 applies to individuals from seven different countries, five of which have Muslim majorities. More specifically, the ban indefinitely suspends all immigrant and nonimmigrant visas to applicants from Iran, Somalia, Libya, Syria, and Yemen, whose citizens are predominantly Muslim, as well as applicants from North Korea and Venezuela.
Practical Effects of Travel Ban 3.0
This ban potentially impacts more than 135 million people, most of whom are from the five Muslim majority countries. Arguably, the ban has the greatest impact on Iran, which has over 80 million citizens. Iran has a long history of students coming to the U.S. to further their education, as well as almost a million Iranian-Americans now residing in the U.S. According to the National Iranian American Council, many Iranians are opting to study elsewhere because of the difficulties imposed by this ban.
Waivers to the Ban Rarely Granted
The high Court ruled that Travel Ban 3.0 was not a ban on Muslims, as many critics claim, for two reasons. First, the ban does contain exceptions or waivers for certain individuals from the countries impacted by the ban. Consular officers who review visa applications have the general discretion to grant these waivers based on three main factors:
Ban Places Minimal Restrictions on North Korea and Venezuela
The Supreme Court also upheld Travel Ban 3.0 as a legitimate exercise of presidential authority because it includes restrictions on visa applicants from North Korea and Venezuela, which are not Muslim-majority countries. Some immigration advocates, however, state that the ban on Venezuela visa applicants affects only a small number of government officials and their families. The travel ban has practically no impact on North Korea at all, since the North Korean government permits very few of its citizens to travel to the U.S. under any circumstances.
Pending Challenges to the Waiver Process
While it is not clear how many waivers are being granted, the State DepartmentAs a result of the Court’s ruling, the Center for Constitutional Rights and Muslim Advocates filed a lawsuit seeking clarity on the requirements and standards for receiving a waiver to Travel Ban 3.0. This lawsuit follows the organization’s failed attempts to obtain this information through a Freedom of Information Act request from the U.S. government after the Trump administration issued the ban in December 2017. Additionally, the Immigrant Advocacy & Litigation Center, PLLC filed a suit entitled Emami v. Nielsen in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, which requests that the Trump administration explain how it grants waivers under the ban. The suit also seeks an explanation of the apparent contradiction between the administration’s description of the waiver program as “clear and generous” and the fact that consular officials are granting very few waiver applications. One or our clients is named plaintiff in this lawsuit.reported that as of April 30, 2018, only about two percent of the waiver applications had been granted. The State Department also released a statement indicating that almost 1,000 applicants had been cleared for a waiver as of July 15, 2018. However, there is no information concerning whether all or any of these applicants actually have received their visas.
U.S. House of Representatives Set to Vote Today
World One Law Group has contacted members of the U.S. House of Representatives, urging them to oppose Speaker Ryan’s “Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018” and Representative Goodlatte’s “Securing America’s Future Act of 2018” (H.R. 4760). Both bills hold Dreamers hostage in return for provisions that would upend our immigration system and betray our values.
Speaker Ryan’s “Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018” pairs Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) provisions with severe cuts to legal immigration, policies that undermine vital protections for vulnerable populations, and dramatic increases in funding for immigration enforcement. Among other provisions, the current bill would:
Karol Brown is the managing attorney at World One Law Group in Bellevue, Washington. World One specializes in employment and business immigration, family-based immigration, naturalization, as well as asylum, DACA, VAWA, and U-Visa cases.