Poole Law Center

News

Refugee Admission Program Resumes With Enhanced Vetting

The refugee admission program resumes today, but with enhanced vetting. Additional biometrics information will be collected for all applicants. Additionally, during a 90-day review period, applicants from eleven countries (not published) will only be admitted if their admission is deemed to be in the national interest and poses no threat to the security and welfare of the United States. The 11 countries are countries previously flagged for an interagency process called security advisory opinions (SAOs). It is assumed, based on previous countries flagged for SAOs, that the 11 countries are: Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/10/24/presidential-executive-order-resuming-united-states-refugee-admissions

In September, the Department of Homeland Security confirmed that the cap on refugee admissions to the US will be reduced to 45,000 for fiscal year 2018, the lowest number since the Refugee Act began in 1980. The 45,000 ceiling includes regional caps of 19,000 for Africa, 17,500 for the Near East and South Asia, 5,000 for East Asia, 2,000 for Europe and Central Asia, and 1,500 for Latin America and the Caribbean.

https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2017/09/274464.htm

For more information about resettlement, visit this link from the UN Refugee Agency:

http://www.unhcr.org/en-us/resettlement-in-the-united-states.html

And this visualization of resettlement from Carnegie Mellon University’s CREATE Lab:

https://www.fastcompany.com/40423720/watch-the-movements-of-every-refugee-on-earth-since-the-year-2000

 

 

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was ended today, but there are no details yet of the full repercussions for those registered

The US Attorney General today announced the end of the DACA program. While the DACA program did not provide a lawful status, it did provide many people brought to the US as children the ability to live almost as if they had a valid status. The Executive Branch at the time essentially deemed qualifying individuals their lowest deportation priority and provided work authorization renewable in two-year increments.  Work authorization opened up many opportunities for DACA recipients. Combined with Advance Parole, some DACA recipients were able to also gain an inspected entry, making them eligible to adjust status in the US if/when eligible for a family or employment visa. While the program is being phased out to give Congress time to enact a law to cover DACA recipients, there is not yet any information on Department of Homeland Security intentions regarding DACA recipients if Congress is unable to enact something timely.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/attorney-general-sessions-delivers-remarks-daca

FEMA Citizenship/Immigration Requirements

https://www.fema.gov/faq-details/FEMA-Citizenship-Immigration-requirements-1370032118159

What are FEMA’s citizenship/immigration requirements?

You must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or a qualified alien to qualify for a grant from FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program. However, undocumented individuals can apply on behalf of a minor child who is a citizen and has a social security number. FEMA can provide information about obtaining a social security number for a minor child. The minor child must live with the parent/guardian applying on his/her behalf.

You will be asked to sign a Declaration and Release form stating that you are a U.S. Citizen, Non-Citizen National, or a Qualified Alien.  If you cannot sign the Declaration and Release, another adult household member who is eligible can sign it and no information regarding your status will be gathered.

If you cannot sign the Declaration and Release but you have a minor child who is a U.S. Citizen or a Qualified Alien residing with you, you can apply for assistance on your child’s behalf and no information regarding your status will be gathered.  You will be asked to sign a declaration that your child is a U.S. Citizen, Non-Citizen National, or a Qualified Alien.

Other Individual Assistance programs such as Crisis Counseling, Disaster Legal Services and other short-term, non-cash emergency assistance, such as congregate shelters, are available to an individual and family regardless of citizenship status. Additionally, voluntary agencies provide help regardless of citizenship/immigration status.

USCIS Alerts Those Affected by Hurricane Harvey to Available Immigration Services

https://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts/uscis-alerts-those-affected-hurricane-harvey-available-immigration-services

08/30/2017

USCIS offers immigration services that may help people affected by unforeseen circumstances, including disasters such as Hurricane Harvey.

The following measures may be available on a case-by-case basis upon request:

* Changing a nonimmigrant status or extending a nonimmigrant stay for an individual currently in the United States. Failure to apply for the extension or change before expiration of your authorized period of admission may be excused if the delay was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond your control;

* Re-parole of individuals previously granted parole by USCIS;

* Expedited processing of advance parole requests;

* Expedited adjudication of requests for off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship;

* Expedited adjudication of employment authorization applications, where appropriate;

* Consideration of fee waivers due to an inability to pay;

* Assistance for those who received a Request for Evidence or a Notice of Intent to Deny but were unable to submit evidence or otherwise respond in a timely manner;

* Assistance if you were unable to appear for a scheduled interview with USCIS;

* Expedited replacement of lost or damaged immigration or travel documents issued by USCIS, such as a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card); and

* Rescheduling a biometrics appointment.

Note: When making a request, please explain how the impact of Hurricane Harvey created a need for the requested relief.

Hurricane Harvey

Due to extensive damage and flooding in the area from Hurricane Harvey, Poole Law Center will be working remote on an emergency basis until CCISD schools resume.

For immigrant clients affected by Harvey, FEMA emergency services may be obtained based on a qualifying household member, not solely on the immigration status of the homeowner. https://www.fema.gov/faq-details/FEMA-Citizenship-Immigration-requirements-1370032118159

There are additional non-government services available to assist those in need. Please call/text/email me for additional information or assistance.

ICE to take enforcement action against ALL removable aliens encountered

Ice Memo

According to a recently released February 2017 memo from the Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) within US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), officers will take enforcement action against all removable aliens encountered. This language leaves no room for discretion, as if the word “may” had been used instead of “will”. Among other details, the memo goes on to outline that parole is to be used very sparingly and detention centers are being expanded.

“Effective immediately, ERO officers will take enforcement action against all removable aliens encountered in the course of their duties. As always, ERO officers must make an individualized custody determination in every case, prioritizing detention resources on aliens subject to expedited removal and aliens removable on any criminal ground, security to related ground, or for grounds related to fraud or material representation. Under the terms of the E.O., DHS will no longer expect classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement.”

DACA continues; DAPA rescinded

https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/06/15/rescission-memorandum-providing-deferred-action-parents-americans-and-lawful

The Department of Homeland Security rescinded Former President Obama’s November 20, 2014 memorandum creating Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (“DAPA”) citing “no credible path forward to litigate the currently enjoined policy.” While rescission of the program is not unexpected, I am slightly surprised at the chosen language for their reasoning.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals continues without change for the moment, and Poole Law Center’s DACA cases continue to be approved and successfully renewed.

Haiti’s Temporary Protected Status Designation Extended For 6 Months

https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/05/22/secretary-kellys-statement-limited-extension-haitis-designation-temporary-protected

The Department of Homeland Security extended Haiti’s Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for six more months. Eligible first-time applicants have until July 3, 2017 to apply.  TPS is a temporary benefit that does not lead to lawful permanent resident status or give any other immigration status. During a designated period, TPS beneficiaries are not removable from the US, can obtain employment authorization, and may be granted travel authorization. The Secretary of Homeland Security may temporarily designate a country (or part of a country) for TPS due to ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster, or other extraordinary and extreme conditions. While a short list of other countries also maintain TPS status, only Yemen still has open initial registration status (also through 7/3/17). Other countries with Temporary Protected Status include El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Nepal.

H-1B Cap Met For 2018 Fiscal Year

https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/uscis-reaches-fy-2018-h-1b-cap

As expected, USCIS reached the H-1B cap for fiscal year 2018 during the first week. 2018 visas become available in October 2017. H-1B applications can only be filed up to six months before so April is the earliest an applicant may apply. Those that have previously held H-1B status are exempt from the fiscal limitation.