Breaking News: USCIS to Expand Interviews for All Employment-based Adjustment of Status Applicants

USCIS announced yesterday that beginning on October 1, 2017, they will begin expanding in-person interviews for applicants moving from an employment-based nonimmigrant status to Lawful Permanent Resident status through the filing of an Adjustment of Status (Form I-485) application. This change comes as part of President Trump’s Executive Order 13780, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” It is part of USCIS’s comprehensive strategy to further improve the detection and prevention of fraud and further enhance the integrity of the U.S. immigration system. Previously, employment-based adjustment of status applicants did not require an in-person interview with USCIS officers in order for their application for permanent residency to be adjudicated. However, USCIS did have the ability to call an applicant in for an interview if they felt the need arose. USCIS notes that conducting in-person interviews will now provide USCIS officers with the opportunity to verify the information provided in an individual’s application, to discover new information that may be relevant to the adjudication process, and to determine the credibility of the individual seeking permanent resident status in the United States. This change will likely result in over 100,000 additional in-person interviews conducted each year, which we […]
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Travel Ban Update: New Compromise

The Supreme Court has announced a new compromise over President Trump’s travel ban. The government may enforce tight restrictions on refugees, but it must also adhere to the expanded definition of close familial relationship, which was handed down by Hawaii District Court Judge Derrick Watson last week. What has happened since the Supreme Court got involved? On June 26, the Supreme Court narrowed lower court injunctions blocking the President’s travel ban. In effect, the 90-day hiatus prohibiting foreign nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the U.S. was reinstated. The Court added, however, that demonstrating a bona fide relationship to a close family member or entity in the U.S. is enough to avoid the travel restrictions. Among others, legal permanent residents and individuals already holding a valid visa were also exempt. The only problem was that the Court did not define close family member. The term was left to the government’s own interpretation. Initially, it was understood to include a parent (including parent-in-law), spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling (whether whole or half). It did not include grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, fiancés and any other “extended” family members. […]
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Converting an E-2 Visa into a Green Card

E-2 Visa Background The E-2 visa category is reserved for foreign investors. It enables a national of a treaty country to be admitted to the U.S. when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. To qualify, the treaty investor must meet a few basic requirements: The investor must be a national of a treaty country (i.e., NAFTA); The investment must be substantial, which means it must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise; The investment must be in a real operating commercial enterprise; The investment may not be marginal, which means it must have the capacity to generate significantly more income than necessary to provide a living to the investor and family; The investor must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk; and The investor must be coming to the U.S. solely to develop and direct the enterprise. This is established by showing at least 50 percent ownership or possession of operational control through an executive, supervisory or highly specialized position. 5 Ways to Convert an E-2 into a Green Card Individuals who have been admitted to the U.S. in E-2 status are required to maintain an intent to […]
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Economists Urge Trump to Modernize Immigration System

Since taking office, President Trump has made numerous efforts to reform the U.S. immigration system. He has issued two travel bans, both of which were blocked in federal court, and he has remained true to his campaign promise of building a wall along the southern border. His restrictive policies continue to make headlines and have now drawn the attention of nearly 1,500 of this country’s top economists. In April, a letter addressed to the President, Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader Schumer, Speaker Ryan and Minority Leader Pelosi urged the nation’s highest ranking officials to rethink immigration policy in the U.S. “Immigration is one of America’s significant competitive advantages in the global economy,” the letter said, and “with proper and necessary safeguards in place, immigration represents an opportunity rather than a threat to our economy and to American workers.” The individuals who signed this letter represented a broad array of political and economic views. It was signed by Republicans and Democrats alike. Some favor free markets while others champion for a larger governmental role in the economy. One thing they all agree on, however, is the broad economic benefits that immigrants bring to this country. According to the letter: Immigration brings […]
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Trump Effort to Withhold Funds from Sanctuary Cities Blocked by Federal Judge

On January 25, 2017 President Trump issued an executive order titled, “ENHANCING PUBLIC SAFETY IN THE INTERIOR OF THE UNITED STATES.” Section 9 of that order, which directed the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to withhold federal funds from “sanctuary cities,” was blocked by District Court Judge William H. Orrick on April 25, 2017. So what exactly is a “sanctuary city”? The term itself does not have a precise legal definition, but it is commonly understood as any city which limits its cooperation with the federal government’s effort in enforcing immigration law. The leaders of these sanctuary cities want to reduce the fear of deportation and family break-ups among individuals illegally present in the United States. So what they do is enact policies, either expressly or in practice, that reduce an individual’s risk of being exposed as an illegal alien. This ranges from prohibiting police questioning about an individual’s immigration status to refusing requests by federal immigration authorities to detain individuals beyond their release date. The idea is that by reducing the fear of immigration enforcement, individuals will be more willing to report crimes, enroll their children in school, and use health and social […]
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Airlines Told to ‘Be Prepared’ for Expanded Electronics Ban

U.S. officials have told airlines to “be prepared” for an expanded ban on carry-on electronic devices allowed on airplanes. On Tuesday, Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan confirmed to reporters that the administration is considering expanding the ban on laptops, which currently applies to U.S.-bound flights from eight countries in the Middle East and North Africa. An expanded ban on devices larger than cell phones could potentially include other regions, including flights from Western Europe. Lapan told reporters that DHS Secretary John Kelly has alluded to the ban “likely” being expanded. DHS officials, however, are still deciding where and how the new restrictions will be implemented. The primary concern is passengers bringing laptops into the airplane cabin – a concern that is high on the law enforcement radar screen ever since an attack on a Somali airliner where an explosive device built into a laptop detonated in flight and injured two people. In March, officials implemented the initial ban of certain electronic devices on flights to the U.S. from 13 international airports due to reports of increased terror threats that suggested Al Qaeda and other groups were still looking to smuggle explosive materials onboard airplanes. The ban also renewed post 9/11 […]
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DOS Issues Public Notice Concerning Supplemental Questions for Visa Applicants

In March, President Trump directed the Secretary of State, the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security to implement additional protocols and procedures focused on revamping the visa application process. The Department of State has responded, and a public notice was just released detailing a list of supplemental questions for visa applicants who have been determined to warrant increased scrutiny. If implemented, this is how it will work. When an individual applies for a visa at a U.S. consulate abroad, his or her application will be reviewed by a consular officer. If the officer determines that the circumstances of a visa applicant, a review of a visa application, or responses in a visa interview indicate a need for further scrutiny, the applicant will be asked to provide the officer with additional information. The individual will be asked to provide the following: • Travel history during the last 15 years, including the source of funding for travel; • Address history during the last 15 years; • Employment history during the last 15 years; • All passport numbers and country of issuance held by the applicant; • Names and dates of birth for all siblings; • Names and dates of birth […]
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