Poole Law Center

News

USCIS Fees Increase December 23, 2016.

USCIS states that “Fees will increase for the first time in six years, by a weighted average of 21 percent for most applications and petitions. This increase is necessary to recover the full cost of services provided by USCIS. These include the costs associated with fraud detection and national security, customer service and case processing, and providing services without charge to refugee and asylum applicants and to other customers eligible for fee waivers or exemptions.”

Click on the following link to see the old fees compared to the new fees: https://www.uscis.gov/forms/our-fees

From USCIS: Avoid Payment Scams: USCIS Does Not Accept Fees By Phone or Email

https://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts/avoid-payment-scams-uscis-does-not-accept-fees-phone-or-email

08/24/2016
Immigrants all over the country are being targeted in scams. Don’t be one of the victims! Scammers may call or email you, pretending to be a government official. They will say that there is a problem with an application or additional information is required to continue the immigration process. They will then ask for personal and sensitive details, and demand payment to fix any problems.

Remember, USCIS officials will never ask for payment over the phone or in an email. If we need payment, we will mail a letter on official stationery requesting payment.

If you receive a scam email or phone call, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at http://1.usa.gov/1suOHSS. If you are not sure if it is a scam, forward the suspicious email to the USCIS Webmaster at uscis.webmaster@uscis.dhs.gov. USCIS will review the emails received and share with law enforcement agencies as appropriate.

Visit the Avoid Scams Initiative at www.uscis.gov/avoid-scams for more information on common scams and other important tips. If you have a question about your immigration record, call customer service at 800-375-5283 or make an InfoPass appointment at http://infopass.uscis.gov.

USCIS Alerts Customers Affected by Severe Storms and Flooding in Louisiana to Available Immigration Relief

08/19/2016

https://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts/uscis-alerts-customers-affected-severe-storms-and-flooding-louisiana-available-immigration-relief

USCIS offers immigration relief measures that may help people affected by unforeseen circumstances, such as disasters like the recent severe storms and flooding in Louisiana.

These measures may be available upon request:

Change of nonimmigrant status or extension of nonimmigrant stay for an individual currently in the United States, even if the request is filed after the authorized period of admission has expired;

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 appear for an interview, submit evidence or respond in a timely manner;

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

Rescheduling of a biometrics appointment.
Note: When making a request, please explain how the severe storms or flooding created a need for the requested relief.

To learn how to request these measures, call the National Customer Service Center at 800-375-5283 (TDD for the deaf and hard of hearing: 800-767-1833). For more information, visit uscis.gov/humanitarian/special-situations.

A split Supreme Court means at least a temporary win for Texas, halting for now Obama’s expanded DACA/DAPA program.

Texas, with a large group of allies, challenged Obama’s expansion of the DACA/DAPA program. The previously implemented DACA, provides temporary relief from deportation,–along with the ability to work–for individuals that were brought to the US before they were 16 years old, have continued their education, avoided criminal troubles, were under 31 years of age when applying, and a short list of additional requirements.  The expansion of DACA/DAPA removed the under 31 age limit and expanded the relief to parents of USC children. Just days before the particular qualification requirements for the parent group were to be released by USCIS, Texas filed suit, requesting  that the program be halted until their complaint could be heard. It was this preliminary injunction that was before the Supreme Court.  We expect continued litigation strategy on both sides, but for the moment, the split decision is a win for Texas. Obama’s administration was hoping for a different decision, and was prepared to roll out the halted program as quickly as possible before the November presidential elections.

 

There are endless articles on the matter. This summary from The Houston Chronicle provides a lot of history and ancillary information related to both the immigration issue and split-court:

The Houston Chronicle: Supreme Court deadlocks on landmark Obama immigration plan in United States v. Texas

 

Here is a link to the SCOTUS one-line opinion:

United State v. Texas

 

United States versus Texas

Today the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments for ‘United States versus Texas,’ in which Texas and 25 other states challenged President Obama’s expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) that he announced in November 2014.

Just two days before applications for the expanded DACA were to be accepted, Texas filed a lawsuit arguing that the program was unlawful and requesting an injunction to halt the program until the case was finalized. They won their injunction. The United States then  appealed to the 5th Circuit.  The injunction was upheld, and so what began as Texas v. US is now US v Texas at the Supreme Court.  A few issues at the heart of the case include when one government can sue another and how far the Executive Branch can go before perhaps overreaching into actions reserved for Congress.

Two things about this oral argument that do not happen at every oral argument: a representative for the millions of undocumented aliens benefitting from deferred action spoke for 10 minutes, and a representative for the House of Representatives (opposing DACA and DAPA) spoke for 30 minutes as a friend of the court.

Here are the questions the court is considering:

http://www.supremecourt.gov/qp/15-00674qp.pdf

  1. Whether the states have standing to bring the suit;
  2. Whether the President’s action is arbitrary and capricious or otherwise not in accordance with the law;
  3. Whether the President’s action is subject to the Administrative Procedure Act’s notice-and-comment procedures;
  4. Whether (added by the SCOTUS), the President’s action violates the take care clause of the constitution (Article II, Section 3).

Here is the transcript from today’s oral argument:

http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/15-674_h3dj.pdf

(Audio link will be added when available)

There are endless opinion pieces out there trying to predict one way or the other. I predict: that we will know the result in June (likely during the American Immigration Lawyer Association’s Annual Conference). IF (big IF) things go in favor of DACA, I assume they will be ready to re- roll out the expansion rather quickly, as they were just two days from accepting applications previously and will be in a rush to get things implemented before the Presidential election. The DAPA program was previously a few months shy of anticipated roll out so I do not see that happening (if a ruling is in favor of the US) until much closer to the election.

H-2B Cap Met For The First Half of Fiscal Year 2016

On March 16th, USCIS reached the congressionally mandated 33,000 H-2B cap for the first half of 2016.

With exceptions, USCIS will reject anymore petitions received with an employment start date before April 1, 2016.

USCIS will continue to accept petitions exempt from the cap, which include:

  • “returning workers” who were previously counted against the H-2B cap during FY2013, 2014, or 2015;
  • current H-2B workers in the US petitioning to extend their stay, and if applicable, change the terms of their employment or change their employer;
  • fish roe processors, fish roe technicians and/or supervisors of fish roe processing; and
  • workers performing labor or services from 11/28/09 – 12/31/19 in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam.

https://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts/uscis-reaches-h-2b-cap-first-half-fiscal-year-2016

 

 

How U.S. immigration laws and rules have changed through history

Click on the link below to utilize the interactive timeline and see what immigration laws were enacted around changing trends in foreign-born populations in the US:

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/09/30/how-u-s-immigration-laws-and-rules-have-changed-through-history

How U.S. immigration laws and rules have changed through history

BY D’VERA COHN, September 30, 2015

The United States began regulating immigration soon after it won independence from Great Britain, and the laws since enacted have reflected the politics and migrant flows of the times. Early legislation tended to impose limits that favored Europeans, but a sweeping 1965 law opened doors to immigrants from other parts of the world. In more recent years, laws and presidential actions have been shaped by concerns about refugees, unauthorized immigration and terrorism.

A 1790 law was the first to specify who could become a citizen, limiting that privilege to free whites of “good moral character” who had lived in the U.S. for at least two years. In 1870, the right of citizenship was extended to those of African origin.

Starting in 1875, a series of restrictions on immigration were enacted. They included bans on criminals, people with contagious diseases, polygamists, anarchists, beggars and importers of prostitutes. Other restrictions targeted the rising number of Asian immigrants, first limiting migration from China and later banning immigration from most Asian countries.

By the early 1900s, the nation’s predominant immigration flow shifted away from northern and western European nations and toward southern and eastern Europe. In response, laws were passed in 1921 and 1924 to try to restore earlier immigration patterns by capping total annual immigration and imposing numerical quotas based on immigrant nationality that favored northern and western European countries.

Long-standing immigration restrictions began to crumble in 1943, when a law allowed a limited number of Chinese to immigrate. In 1952, legislation allowed a limited number of visas for other Asians, and race was formally removed as grounds for exclusion. Although a presidential commission recommended scrapping the national-origins quota system, Congress did not go along.

In 1965, though, a combination of political, social and geopolitical factors led to passage of the landmark Immigration and Nationality Act that created a new system favoring family reunification and skilled immigrants, rather than country quotas. The law also imposed the first limits on immigration from the Western Hemisphere. Before then, Latin Americans had been allowed to enter the U.S. without many restrictions. Since enactment of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, immigration has been dominated by people born in Asia and Latin America, rather than Europe.

Several laws since then have focused on refugees, paving the way for entrance of Indochinese refugees fleeing war violence in the 1970s and later including relief for other nationalities, including Chinese, Nicaraguans and Haitians. A 1990 law created the “temporary protective status” that has shielded immigrants, mainly Central Americans, from deportation to countries facing natural disasters, armed conflicts or other extraordinary conditions.

In 1986, Congress enacted another major law – the Immigration Reform and Control Act – that granted legalization to millions of unauthorized immigrants, mainly from Latin America, who met certain conditions. The law also imposed sanctions on employers who hired unauthorized immigrants. Subsequent laws in 1996, 2002 and 2006 were responses to concerns about terrorism and unauthorized immigration. These measures emphasized border control, prioritized enforcement of laws on hiring immigrants and tightened admissions eligibility.

The most recent changes in immigration policy have been an exception to that pattern. In 2012, President Obama took executive action to allow young adults who had been brought to the country illegally to apply for deportation relief and a work permit. In 2014, he expanded that program (known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA) and set up a new program to offer similar benefits to some unauthorized-immigrant parents of U.S.-born children. The DACA expansion and the new program (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA) are on hold because of a legal challenge by 26 states.
D’Vera Cohn is a senior writer/editor focusing on social and demographic trends at Pew Research Center.

We Moved!

Poole Law Center is growing and as of April 1, 2015, calls a new address home:
3027 Marina Bay Drive, Suite 110
League City, Texas 77573
I look forward to seeing you soon!
As always, you may continue to reach Poole Law Center at your own convenience by phone or email!

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USCIS prevented from accepting EXPANDED DACA on 2/18 as previously planned

A federal court issued a preliminary injunction preventing USCIS from accepting requests for the expansion of DACA on February 18, as originally planned. The Department of Justice will appeal the temporary injunction. Until further notice, USCIS will also suspend the plan to accept requests for DAPA. THE COURT’S ORDER DOES NOT AFFECT EXISTING DACA. Individuals may continue to come forward and request initial grant of DACA or renewal of DACA pursuant to the guidelines established in 2012.