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Question: Good morning, I hope all is well and you are staying safe. I'm reaching out because I would like to hear a second opinion about my case and how it would be affected due to the executive order signed yesterday (6/22). I'm a F-1 visa holder and currently working under the Extended OPT Program. My employer sponsored me for the H-1B, which was accepted in the lottery process this year, and my case was mailed to USCIS. Anyway, given that I'm already in the US, if my H-1B visa gets approved, my status will be automatically changed from student to non-immigrant worker on October 1st, and I'll be able to keep working for my employer, even if my EAD expires in February 2021 and my F-1 visa in August 2021? Or is it mandatory for me to go to my country, get my H-1B stamped in my passport, and come back to the US before February 2021 with my new visa to be considered under H-1B status? Thank you so much!
As expected, Trump is once again attempting to divert attention away from his many failures as an executive, including failure to acknowledge the threat of Covid-19 or to provide adequate testing, record high unemployment, failure to support “Black Lives Matter” and other civil rights issues and rampant corruption in his administration to name just a few, by issuing yet another immigration ban .
The latest immigration ban, issued on Monday, June 22nd , entitled: “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak”, extends the original immigration ban he issued on April 22nd to immigrants, plus adds more categories of restrictions which apply to non-immigrant workers, including H-1B, H-4, H-2B, J, and L nonimmigrant visa programs through the end of the year, until December 31, 2020.
Understanding Trump’s New Immigration Ban –Who Is Affected And Who Is Not
Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378
POSTING DATE: June 29, 2020
Understanding How To Get Your I-94 Card & Obtain Your U.S. Travel History
An I-94 is a small slip of paper which until 2013 was issued to all international visitors and visa holders entering the U.S.. Officially called the Arrival/Departure card, the I-94 contained the date of entry into the U.S. as well as the date by which the individual must depart from the U.S.. Often, individuals do not understand how important this little card is until it is too late. In order to change immigration status inside the U.S. to any other immigrant or non-immigrant visa status, immigration regulations require that a copy of the I-94 be included with the application to establish eligibility.
Answer: The Trump order only affects those outside the U.S.. As long as your attorney filed to change your status inside the U.S. on the H-1B application, once you are approved, you can stay here and begin H status on October 1st. You don’t need to leave the U.S..
Keeping copies of immigration documentation is vitally important, as is keeping your original documents. So when filing immigration applications with the USCIS, Applicants should NEVER send original documents, since the USCIS will not return them.
The only time originals should ever be sent to the USICS is when the officer specifically requests them, for instance in cases where original certified Court Dispositions and Police Reports are required when criminal issues are involved.
Restrictive Immigration Policies Are Putting USCIS Out Of Business!
The Hill recently reported that the USCIS is in the process of preparing to lay off nearly 70% of its current workforce. The agency's current crisis is a result of revenue losses caused by shutdowns during the pandemic, as well as a large decrease in immigration filings over the past several years due to Trump’s anti-immigrant policies.
And unlike many other agencies, the USCIS is primarily funded by immigration application filing fees, so as applications decrease, so do revenues. Agency figures show that there has been a 50% drop in application filings, with an estimated 61% overall decrease in revenues for fiscal year 2020, which ends on September 30th.
Question: Good morning, I need your advice, I am a US citizen and my wife is a Resident. My wife however qualifies for her citizenship but we can't currently afford to do 2 filings. Her mom came from Jamaica to help with the grandkids since both of us has to work. Who would you recommend to file for my wife's mother? Me the US citizen (son-in-law) or Her daughter a Resident? Thanks
Answer: Hi, under immigration regulations, only a U.S. Citizen can file for a parent, so since your wife is still a resident, she would not qualify. Unfortunately, only a child or step-child can file for a parent, as the son in law, you would not be eligible to sponsor your mother in law. Best for you wife to file for her citizenship asap! I hope this is helpful to you.
Question: We would like to file for my married daughter and her family who do not reside in the United States. They all have visitors visa. We are considering doing the adjustment of status while we are filing the I 130. My questions are: How would it affect them if they come on their visitors visa and we start the application process then?
The new restrictions took effect on June 24th. According to the Migration Policy Institute, it is estimated that some 167,000 temporary workers will be prohibited from obtaining work visas abroad and be prevented from entering the U.S. to work.
The new provision of the proclamation which directly targets non-immigrant individuals outside the U.S. applies to those who have not yet been issued an H-1B, H-4, H-2B, J, and L visa. This even applies to those who have been approved by the USCIS, who only need the visa stamp in the passport in order to enter the U.S.. U.S. Consulates are prohibited from issuing the visas under the new policy. So essentially, if you are outside the U.S. waiting for a visa in the H-1B, H-4, H-2B, J, or L categories, you should plan to apply for it in the New Year!
Here’s a break-down of the bans:
Existing April 22, 2020 Immigrant Visa Ban – Will Be Extended Until At Least December 31, 2020
Who Is Directly Affected:
-All Immigrants outside the U.S. awaiting consular processing, who have not yet been issued immigrant visas. These include:
Parents, Adult Children and Siblings of U.S. citizens
Spouses and Children of U.S. residents
Green Card Lottery Winners
Who Is Exempt From The Ban:
-All Immigrants inside the U.S. who have pending residency cases, as well as those who have yet to file for adjustment of status, including qualifying spouses, children of U.S. citizens and U.S. residents and parent and siblings of U.S. citizens
- U.S. residents (green card) holders both inside and outside the U.S.
-Minor children of U.S. citizens both inside and outside the U.S.
-Spouses of U.S. citizens both inside and outside the U.S.
-Immigrants and non-immigrants who are outside the U.S. who already have valid visas, advance parole or other U.S. travel permits
-Immigrants and non-immigrants outside the U.S. in essential services, health care professionals, food workers, etc.
New Non-Immigrant Visa Ban Takes Effect June 24, 2020 - In Effect Until At Least December 31, 2020
What Are The New Immigration Categories Directly Affected By The Ban:
-H-1B Work Visas for Professionals and Others and their spouses/children who are outside the U.S. and have not yet been issued a visa
-H-2B Visas for Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers and their spouses/children who are outside the U.S. and have not yet been issued a visa
-L-1A Work Visas for Intracompany Managers and Executives and their spouses/children who are outside the U.S. and have not yet been issued a visa
-L-1B Work Visas for Intracompany Transferees with Specialized Knowledge and their spouses/children who are outside the U.S. and have not yet been issued a visa
-J-1 Exchange Visitors includes: interns, trainees, teachers, camp counselors and summer work travel participants who are outside the U.S. and have not yet been issued a visa
What Are The Immigration Categories That Are Exempt From The New Ban:
- All non-immigrants who are inside the U.S. in H-1B, H-4, H-2B, J, or L visa status, including those who have or will apply for extension of stay or change of status are exempt
-All non-immigrants who are outside the U.S. who already have H-1B, H-4, H-2B, J, or L visa in their passports
-J-1 Exchange Visitors who are not applying as interns, trainees, teachers, camp counselors and for summer work travel participants, including 20,000 child-care providers, called “au pairs.”
To reiterate, neither immigration ban prevents U.S. citizens or U.S. residents from sponsoring family members by filing immigration petitions. Similarly, neither ban has any effect on immigrants or non-immigrants who are INSIDE the U.S.. This includes immigrants who are in the residency process through family or employment, as well as H-1B, H-2B, H-4, L and J visa holders currently working inside the U.S.. Even those who are inside the U.S. who have pending applications for extension or change of status are not affected, period. If you are here legally in the U.S. on any of these visa types as of June 24th, you are safe! The new measure also does NOT apply to those who are outside the U.S. who already have a valid visa in one of the affected non-immigrant categories and does not affect anyone who has an Advance Parole or transportation letter.
On the bright side, there is an election coming up in November which could rid us of both Trump and his bans. It’s also important to note that Presidential candidate Joe Biden has vowed if elected, he will not only cancel the immigration bans on day one, but also reopen the DACA program and work with Congress to create a path to citizenship for Dreamers. So be certain you are currently registered to vote and remember to do so on November 3rd or mail your absentee ballot at least several weeks or more in advance!
According to the USCIS Deputy Director for Policy, the agency’s fiscal outlook is grim, with crippling budget shortfalls due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving the agency unable to maintain its current operations without emergency Congressional funding. This will result in massive lay offs and add to the growing immigration processing backlog. As a result of the funding shortfall, over 13,0400 of the agency's 20,000 personnel will be laid off beginning in August, without additional funding projected at $1.2 billion. The USCIS will then add a 10% surcharge to immigration application fees.
Even now, backlogs in scheduling thousands of immigrants for biometrics, residency appointments and naturalization ceremonies have continued to grow, as USCIS representatives advise that it may several months or more for most to receive reschedule notices for appointments cancelled due to local USCIS office closings. It is hard to imagine how long the backlog will grow with 70% of its personnel on furlough, unable to continue processing existing cases. It's an unimaginable scenario, but all too real given the current administration and the new reality of Covid-19. Trump’s anti-immigrant policies to slash legal immigration by 50% have had a direct negative impact on the agency’s ability to self-fund and will result in the loss of thousands of jobs for U.S. workers! I guess he is not going to include those facts as part of his campaign rhetoric….
No New DACA Applications Being Accepted By USCIS,
In Spite Of Supreme Court Decision
On June 18, 2020, the Supreme Court issued a surprise decision to prevent Trump from cancelling the DACA program (Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals), signaling that the USCIS should begin accepting new DACA applications authorized under the original 2012 Obama program.
Following the historic court decision, Trump immediately tweeted that he would renew efforts to terminate the program, yet to date, has failed to follow through on the threat. What he has done, however, is to totally ignore the ruling and simply failed to reopen the program to accept new applications.
In effect, the administration is silently defying the court order. And as of Monday, June 29th, the USCIS Webpage for DACA has not been updated in accordance with the Supreme Court decision and continues to state that the agency is not accepting any new DACA applications. At this point I sincerely doubt that the agency is preparing new application guidelines and instead is just using this rather effective avoidance tactic until forced to do otherwise. If this continues, several organizations are expected to file a lawsuit to force the agency to accept new application, however so far, none have been filed.
If the USCIS does begin accepting new DACA applications, it’s very important to understand that the eligibility requirements are the same as under the original Obama DACA program, so immigrants who came to the U.S. after June 15, 2007 will not qualify. Here’s a rundown of the requirements:
-Have been under 31 years of age on June 15, 2012 (even though you can be age 31 or above now);
-Have last entered and remained in the U.S. on or before June 15, 2007, before your 16th birthday;
-Have been physically inside the U.S. on June 15, 2012 and on the date of the application;
-Not be in lawful immigration status on June 15, 2012, meaning you cannot have been in the U.S. in legal status on that date. So if you came to the U.S. on a tourist visa, your legal period of stay had to have expired before June 15, 2012;
-Must be either currently studying or have graduated from high school, earned a GED or have an honorable discharge from the US Armed Forces or the Coast Guard; and
-Have not been convicted of a felony or DUI, or convicted of a “significant misdemeanor” or 3 or more misdemeanors of any kind.
So for now, we are just waiting to see what happens next. I would strongly urge those who believe they qualify to avoid filing a DACA application now, since not only could it be rejected, but it would also alert the USCIS to your current unlawful status, which could result in further actions taken against you. Stay tuned…
Answer: Unfortunately, your daughter and her family are not eligible to stay inside the U.S. and to do adjustment of status. The waiting line is about 12+ years for the married child of a U.S. Citizen. You can file the I-130 for her, but they cannot live here. If they do, they will no longer be eligible to immigrate. The only exception to that is if the I-130 was filed many years ago and the priority date is current. For instance, if you had filed the I-130 for your daughter in May of 2008, the current Visa Bulletin for July shows there are visas immediately available to F3 married children and their spouse and children of U.S. Citizens and if your daughter and her family were visiting in the U.S., they could indeed file for adjustment of status on July 1st and remain in the U.S. during the residency process.
Foreign nationals must prove that they entered the U.S. legally and were inspected by an immigration officer in order to qualify to file for immigration status in the U.S.. Those who did not enter the U.S. legally are generally not entitled to obtain any new immigration status in the U.S., even when married to a U.S. citizen unless a Waiver is obtained.
If you entered the U.S. before 2013, you can’t download your Arrival/Departure record online and must instead obtain your I-94 card is lost, stolen or seriously damaged, you can apply to replace it by filing Form I-102, Application for Replacement/Initial Arrival-Departure Document. The USCIS filing fee is $445 and it generally takes about 60 -120 days or more to receive the I-94 replacement card in the mail.
Under the new electronic I-94 system implemented in 2013, international visitors are no longer issued paper I-94 cards upon entry into the U.S.. Instead, individuals are provided with instructions on accessing their I-94 records online and printing the I-94 card out from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency. You can visit the CBP site to print out your paper I-94 cards:
Mistakenly sending originals is particularly urgent when a Petitioner sends an original Naturalization Certificate as proof of U.S. Citizenship, when sponsoring a family member. In such cases, obtaining a duplicate Naturalization Certificate can be quite costly ($555) and take quite a bit of time.
However, when originals are mistakenly provided to the USCIS via mail, you can make a request for them to be returned by completing and filing form G-884, Return of Original Documents and submit to the USCIS office where your case is pending or where the last action was taken on your case. There is no filing fee required to make this request, but receiving your original document(s) can take up to one year.