U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Final Fiscal Year 2019 Agency Statistics

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency committed to administering the nation’s immigration system and adjudicating the applications of those seeking lawful status in the United States, released statistics on the most popular and widely-used benefits and programs administered by the agency for final fiscal year 2019. The agency released statistics relating to benefits and programs such as naturalizations, green cards, employment authorizations and protected populations, among other categories.  Among the highlights for fiscal year 2019, USCIS naturalized 834,000 new citizens, which is an 11-year high. USCIS also granted lawful permanent residence to nearly 577,000 individuals. The number of applications pending for green cards and naturalizations was reduced by 14 percent and 12 percent respectively. The agency received nearly 2.2 million employment authorization applications. Further, USCIS approved more than 500,000 petitions for non-immigrant workers, including specialty occupation, temporary agricultural and non-agricultural, and other workers. USCIS also processed more than 40 million cases through E-Verify.  USCIS granted immigration relief to more than 25,000 individuals, including victims of trafficking, crime, and Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) recipients, which is an eight percent increase from fiscal year 2018.  Along with its release, USCIS announced that it has been working to achieve many […]
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CBP Begins Pilot Program to Collect DNA from Some Migrants

On January 6, 2020, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) initiated a pilot program to assess the operational impact of proposed regulatory changes that would require the collection of DNA samples from certain individuals in CBP custody.  This “limited, small-scale pilot program” will last 90-days in only two locations: the U.S. Border Patrol in the Detroit Sector and the Office of Field Operations at the Eagle Pass Port of Entry in Southwestern Texas.   In late October 2019, the Department of Justice (DOJ) sought to amend regulations to mandate DNA collection for almost anyone detained, even temporarily, while crossing at official entry points.  This proposed amendment would significantly expand CBP officials’ power to collect DNA samples, which was previously only permitted for migrants prosecuted in federal court for criminal offenses.  Additionally, this proposed amendment would remove a provision that authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to exempt certain aliens from whom the collection of DNA samples was previously not feasible due to operational exigencies or resource limitations.  Further, it restores the Attorney General’s absolute legal authority to authorize and direct all relevant federal agencies to collect DNA samples from individuals who are arrested, facing charges, or convicted, and from non-U.S. persons who are detained under […]
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Iranian Nationals Undergoing Increased Scrutiny at Ports of Entry

Iranian nationals are increasingly hesitant to travel after dozens of Iranian citizens were held by U.S. immigration agents at the Canadian border in Washington state this past weekend.  On Saturday, January 4, 2020, dozens of Iranians and Iranian-Americans were held for hours in secondary screening at the Peace Arch Border Crossing in Blaine, Washington.  It is estimated upwards of 60 travelers, many returning home to the United State from work trips or vacations, were held for additional questioning about their political views and allegiances.  Most of the detained travelers were released following the extra scrutiny, however some were denied entry into the United States.  Many of the detained travelers, who wish to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation, said that after checking their documents, border officials would bring them inside the port to a room filled with other Iranians and Iranian-Americans.  Many also faced similar questions regarding their background, citizenship, military experience, travel history to Iran, and details about their parents and siblings, including dates of birth and employment.  Matt Leas, a spokesman for Customs and Border Protection (CBP), disputed the accounts from advocacy groups that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a directive to detain those with Iranian heritage entering the […]
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First Time Entry with An Immigrant Visa

Whether you are pursuing a marriage based green card, immigrating for your work, or being sponsored by a family member, obtaining a visa to enter the United States can be a time-consuming, stressful, and frustrating process. Every step of the way...
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Online Filing Options Through New FLAG System

The new Foreign Labor Application Gateway, “FLAG”, has been adding new filing capabilities in the past few months. Next on the to-do list is moving H-1B filing over to FLAG, along with filings for H-1B1 and E-3 programs. The shift is scheduled for later this year...
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Tips for Inviting Oath Ceremony Guests

Taking your oath to receive U.S. citizenship is an important moment, one many wish to share with the people in their life that supported them along the way. We want you to have the best experience possible for the day of your ceremony, so we collected the following tips for inviting guests...
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