An alien who has been placed in removal proceedings and has been living in the United States without legal status for a long time may be eligible for Non-LPR Cancellation of Removal pursuant to Immigration & Nationality Act (the “INA”) § 240A(b)(1). See INA § 240A(b)(1). To be eligible for Non-LPR Cancellation of Removal, the alien must establish, among other things, he/sheAnchor has been physically present in the U.S. for a continuous period of at least ten years immediately prior to filing an EOIR-42B, Application for Cancellation of Removal and Adjustment of Status for Certain Nonpermanent Residents with the Immigration Court. The “stop-time” rule provides continuous residence ends when either the alien commits a designated criminal offense or is served with a Notice to Appear (the “NTA”) placing him/her in removal proceedings. See INA § 240A(d)(1)(A)-(B). The Board of Immigration Appeals (the “BIA”) recently issued a decision in the Matter of Ordaz, 26 I. & N. Dec. 637 (BIA 2015), which significantly impactis how the “stop-time” rule is applied. In the Matter of Ordaz, the BIA held that an NTA that was served upon an alien, but never actually resulted in the commencement of deportation/removal proceedings against the alien did not have “stop-time” effect for purposes of establishing eligibility for cancellation of removal. See Matter of Ordaz, 26 I. & N. Dec. 637 (BIA 2015).
Thanks in large part to the ongoing debates in the Republican Presidential primary, the concept of “birthright citizenship,” specifically that any person born on U.S. soil is a U.S. citizen from birth, has become a subject of much public debate. For my part, I think that the way the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution has been interpreted for the past 150 years is correct, and furthermore, I am unequivocally opposed to any attempts to change the way that birthright citizenship functions.
On August 17, 2015, USCIS released a new Policy Memorandum titled “L-1B Adjudications Policy (PM-602-0111),” which builds upon previous agency guidance for adjudicating L-1B Intracompany Transferee Visa petitions, especially with regard that the beneficiary possess “specialized knowledge” in order to be eligible.
n a decision with major ramifications for certain F1 students with STEM degrees who are engaging in occupational practical training [OPT], the United States District Court for the District of Columbia held in a memorandum opinion in Washington Alliance of Technology Workers v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, decided on August 12, 2015, that a 2008 Department of Homeland Security [DHS] rule extending the length of OPT for certain STEM students is invalid because DHS enacted this new rule without first serving notice and providing an opportunity for public comment.
I recently came across a terrific paper that I would like to share with you courtesy of the Cato Institute, “Checking E-Verify: The Costs and Consequences of a National Worker Screening Mandate,” by Alex Nowrasteh and Jim Harper. The article uses ample facts, figures, and other evidence from seeing E-Verify in practice to argue a point with which I agree wholeheartedly: E-Verify is a terrible system.
In a decision issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Shalom Pentecostal Church v. Acting Secretary DHS, 783 F.3d 156 (3d Cir. 2015), held that United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had exceeded its authority in enacting regulations found in 8 C.F.R. sections 204.5(m)(4) and (11). In response, USCIS released an important policy memorandum on July 5, 2015, titled Qualifying U.S. Work Experience for Special Immigrant Religious Workers. The judicial holding, in conjunction with the memorandum to make USCIS regulations consistent with the Shalom Pentecostal Church decision, make it easier for many of those hoping to gain classification as special immigrant religious workers to meet the work requirements in order to qualify.
Prior to February of 2015, every I-551 card (also known as a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) card or Green Card) was generally required to be signed by the card-holder. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) would generally only waive the signature requirement for Green Cards if the beneficiary was a child under the age of consent to provide a signature, or if the recipient was physically unable to provide a signature. However, this rule appears to now be changing rapidly.
The Attorney General’s controversial decision in the Matter of Silva-Trevino, 24 I. & N. Dec. 687 (A.G. November 7, 2008), substantially expended the ability of an immigration judge to look beyond the record of conviction and “consider any additional evidence deemed necessary or appropriate to resolve accurately the moral turpitude question.” The judge enjoyed wide discretion in determining what is “necessary and appropriate”. As a result, often irrelevant and/or prejudicial information was allowed into the record in order to determine removability of the noncitizen convicted of a crime, the judge was to determine to be a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) or not. This often made people who had committed minor criminal infractions to carry the disproportional burden in removal proceedings of being removed for a conviction, which could not be found to be a CIMT had the traditional analytical approach been used. For years – since November of 2008 when the new analytical framework was introduced – immigration advocates have been trying to convince the AG to retract the decision. Finally, it happened today.
On May 26, 2015, The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will be extending employment eligibility for certain nonimmigrants in valid H-4 status. H-4 Visas are issued to dependent spouses of H-1B Nonimmigrants. This extension will allow eligible dependent spouses in valid H-4 status to receive employment authorization. This change comes as part of President Obama’s immigration-based executive actions that were proposed back in November of 2014. This employment availability is intended to serve several purposes: First, this benefit should result in more actively-employed nonimmigrants in the Unites States. This creates a positive impact on the economy. Furthermore, many would-be entrepreneurs can make the leap into small business ownership. This allows for the creation much-needed jobs.
A regular liaison meeting between NY and NJ asylum office leadership and representatives of the New York and New Jersey legal community took place at the offices of the Immigration Coalition in NYC on February 4, 2015. Susan Raufer, Director of the Newark Asylum Office and a staffer for the NY Asylum Office appeared at the meeting. Members of various non-for-profits representing immigrants in immigration cases in NYC area and some members of the private bar including Wendy Barlow and Alexander J. Segal of the Law Offices of Grinberg & Segal, P.L.L.C. appeared for the meeting.