USCIS and CBP Extend Pilot Program for Canadian L-1 Nonimmigrants

Earlier this year, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) California Service Center (CSC) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Blaine, Washington, port of entry (POE) announced a new pilot program for Canadian citizens seeking L-1 nonimmigrant status under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The program was designed to evaluate how long USCIS needs to adjudicate these petitions and whether USCIS can support CBP through remote adjudications. The ultimate goal of this program is to increase consistency in adjudication of L-1 petitions and facilitate the adjudication and admission process of Canadians traveling to the United States as L-1 nonimmigrants.  This program allows, but does not require, Canadian citizens to request that USCIS remotely adjudicate their petitioning employer’s Form I-129 or I-129S prior to their arrival or when they arrive at the Blaine POE. In order to participate in this program, petitioners must file Form I-129 or I-129S as well as supporting evidence and documents with the CSC. Next, USCIS will receive fees, issue a receipt notice, and adjudicate the Form I-129 or I-129S. If additional evidence is necessary, USCIS will issue a request of evidence (RFE) to the petitioner.  Originally, the pilot program was only set to […]
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Self-scheduling of InfoPass Appointments to Come to an End

USCIS has announced it is expanding its Information Services Modernization Program to key locations in Los Angeles and Detroit this year, to Newark, Great Lakes and San Francisco by the first quarter of 2019, and to all offices by the end of 2019. The Information Services Modernization Program will provide general how-to information, and allow applicants to check the status of their case status through the USCIS Contact Center. The program will end self-scheduling of InfoPass appointments by allowing applicants to obtain their case status and other immigration information without having to visit an office in person.  Since the program’s launch in March, the program has improved emergency services that can only be provided in person. In addition, USCIS says that this program will allow its agents more time to process applications, which will lead to shorter wait times. USCIS has determined that most in-person appointments could have been handled by calling the USCIS Contact Center or checking their website. This modernization will allow the applicant to quickly and easily get information about their application. In addition, under the Information Services Modernization Program, when it is determined that an applicant needs an in-person appointment, USCIS Contact Center personnel will assist […]
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The U.S. Mid-terms and Immigration

Immigration issues have gotten a lot of attention this election season. Exit polls published by CNN showed that 23 percent of voters considered immigration the most important issue facing the country, second only to healthcare. Since his election in 2016, President Trump has prioritized immigration, often taking a hardline approach. In the days preceding the U.S. mid-terms held on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, Trump once again focused on immigration during several different campaign rallies, addressing things like the caravan of Central Americans making their way to the U.S. border, the border wall, and asylum.  So what exactly do the mid-term results means for Trump’s immigration plans? Several Republicans closely aligned with Trump’s immigration policies were defeated by Democrats. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach lost a bid to become governor of his state, Rep. Lou Bartletta (R-Pa.) fell short in an attempt to win the seat held by Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) lost a reelection campaign to Democrat and former CIA agent Abigail Spanberger, and Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) narrowly won his seat.  With the Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives, the president’s most controversial immigration measures over the past two years will be investigated, […]
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Proposed ‘Public Charge’ Rule Changes Could Impact Immigrants’ Admissibility

The Trump administration has proposed a new set of federal regulations that would redefine a “public charge” and have a direct impact on immigration policy. Prospective immigrants can be deemed inadmissible to the United States if they are deemed a public charge. Current regulations define a public charge as an individual who is likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence. This can be demonstrated by using public cash assistance for income maintenance or institutionalization for long-term cases at the government’s expense.  The new regulations proposed by the Trump administration would change the way the U.S. decides whether or not an immigrant is considered a public charge. Under the proposed regulations, the definition of a public charge would be expanded to mean an immigrant who receives any government aid. Not only would cash programs be scrutinized, but the government would also take into consideration non-cash benefits such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and Section 8 housing and rental assistance, among others.  If these proposed changes became policy, they would apply to Green Card applicants and many foreign nationals seeking or attempting to extend temporary visas. Proponents of these changes argue that these proposed changes could save […]
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USCIS Updates Medical Exam Procedures

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that it would be updating the policy regarding the time period during which a Form I-693 submitted in support of a related immigration benefits application is considered valid. This update supersedes any previous guidance on this topic.  USCIS uses Form I-693 to determine whether or not a foreign national applying for an immigration benefit in the U.S. is inadmissible under health-related grounds. USCIS designates civil surgeons across the country who are responsible for conducting immigration medical examinations. Civil surgeons will then record the results of the examinations on Form I-693.  USCIS is updating the way the current validity period is calculated. This update aims to enhance operational efficiencies and reduce the need to request updated Form I-693 from applicants. This updated policy will take effect November 1, 2018. Once this policy is in effect, a Form I-693 will only be valid when a civil surgeon signs it no more than 60 days before the date an applicant files the application for the underlying immigration benefit and USCIS adjudicates the application within two years from the date of the civil surgeon’s signature.  If you are interested in immigrating to the United States, […]
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Breaking News: President Trump to End Birthright Citizenship for Children Born on U.S. Soil to non-American Citizens

President Donald Trump has announced that he plans to sign an executive order that will end birthright citizenship for children born on U.S. soil to non-American citizens. If the President follows through with this promise, the decision would defy the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Adopted in 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment states that “[a]ll persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside.” This provision of the Constitution is known as the Citizenship Clause. It is unclear whether President Trump actually has the authority to implement the proposed policy, considering the fact that birthright citizenship is engraved in the Fourteenth Amendment. According to Trump, however, “[i]t was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don’t. You can definitely do it with an act of Congress. But now they’re saying I can do it just with an executive order.” In reality, amending the U.S. Constitution was never meant to be that simple. In fact, Article Five prescribes only two ways to amend the Constitution: (1) Congress can propose an amendment, which must then be approved by both […]
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Client of the Month: Jason Leithead

Jason Leithead recently worked with Berardi Immigration Law to obtain a waiver to enter the United States. In 1998, Mr. Leithead was deported from the United States and faced a 20-year to lifetime ban from entering the U.S. Upon returning to Canada and working for a logistics company for over 10 years, Mr. Leithead shifted his focus to his employer and providing for his family. Mr. Leithead also became involved in volunteering and giving back to the community. A significant number of Mr. Leithead’s employer’s clients and suppliers are located in the United States. In order to strengthen business relationships, Mr. Leithead hoped to enter the United States to visit with these clients and suppliers. In addition to professional motivations, Mr. Leithead also had personal reasons he wished to enter the United States, including visiting his family’s summer home and vacationing. He decided to reach out to Berardi Immigration Law.  Mr. Leithead was impressed by the team at Berardi, writing, “The best part about working with the team was their professionalism and guidance. Not once did I have any doubts.” Berardi Immigration Law was able to guide Mr. Leithead through the entire waiver process with confidence. He writes, “Berardi Immigration […]
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