Immigration Blog

Alexander J. Segal's picture

The Case Against the New USCIS Policy on Denials Without Issuance of RFE or NOID

On July 13, 2018, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published Policy Memorandum (PM)-602-0163, titled “Issuance of Certain RFEs and NOIDs; Revisions to Adjudicator's Field Manual (AFM) Chapter 10.5(a), Chapter 10.5(b).” In the decision, the USCIS changed its policy on when adjudicators may deny an application, petition, or request without first issuing a Request for Evidence (RFE) or a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID). To learn about the new rules, please see our full article on the Policy Memorandum. In this blog post, I will explain why I think that the Policy Memorandum directs the implementation of a bad policy that will increase the discretion of bureaucrats to make poorly-reasoned decisions at the expense of those making filings with the USCIS.

Wendy Barlow's picture

SEVP Reminds F1 Students About Rules for Volunteer Positions and OPT

On May 18, 2018, the Student and Exchange Visitors Program (SEVP) of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released a message to students on optional practical training (OPT) titled “Reporting Volunteer Positions During OPT Employment.” The SEVP message deals with volunteer employment and OPT. It explains that “[v]olunteer positions that are not directly related to [an F1 student’s] course of study do not qualify as [OPT] and must not be listed as OPT employment.”

Alexander J. Segal's picture

HHS/DHS/DOJ Progress on Reuniting Children With Parents in Compliance With Court Order

On July 12, 2018, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Attorney General issued a joint statement stating that their respective agencies have completed the reunification of eligible children under 5 who had been separated from their parents after their parents were apprehended for illegal entry. The separations occurred largely as a result of parents with children being apprehended at the border and placed in detention due to misdemeanor or felony charges for illegal entry. Many of these cases stemmed from the Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) Zero Tolerance policy for prosecuting all illegal entry cases that are referred to it.

Eliza Grinberg's picture

USCIS Orders Vermont to Shut Down Its Immigrant Investor Regional Center

On July 10, 2018, the Associated Press reported that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has ordered Vermont to close its immigrant investor regional center. In this article, we will summarize the report and briefly examine its implications.

Alexander J. Segal's picture

Supreme Court Vacates 4th Circuit Decision Against "Travel Ban" In Light of Trump v. Hawaii Decision

On June 28, 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a published decision in Trump v. Hawaii, 585 U.S. __ (2018). Writing for a 5-Justice majority, Chief Justice John Roberts delivered the opinion reversing the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to affirm a preliminary nationwide injunction against the entry restrictions against nationals from certain countries in President Donald Trump’s Presidential Proclamation No. 9645 (Sep. 24, 2018). On the same day, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in IRAP v. Trump, No. 17-1194 and Trump v. IRAP, 17-1270, and then vacated the decision. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, like the Ninth, had upheld a District Court-issued preliminary nationwide injunction against the entry restrictions in Proclamation No. 9645.

Alexander J. Segal's picture

President Trump Nominates Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court

On July 9, 2018, President Donald Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to the Supreme Court of the United States. If confirmed, Judge Kavanaugh will fill the seat being vacated by the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Alexander J. Segal's picture

OPLA New York Creates Receptionist Email Box

The New York City Office of Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA) of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) sent an email to those on its mailing list that I will pass along. The information will be of note to immigration attorneys with questions and inquiries for OPLA New York. The email states that beginning on July 12, 2018, “OPLA New York is launching a new receptionist email box for routine inquiries such as office addresses, hours, [and] ACC assignments.”

Wendy Barlow's picture

Ronald D. Vitellio Named Acting Director of ICE

On June 30, 2018, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen announced that Ronald D. Vitiello, previously the acting Deputy Commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), will serve as the Deputy Director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Vitiello replaced Thomas D. Homan, the former Deputy Director of ICE and acting Director of ICE, who retired effective June 30, 2018. Because there is still no permanent Director of ICE, Vitiello will also serve as the acting Director.

Alexander J. Segal's picture

Visa Bulletin for July 2018

On June 11, 2018, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) released the Immigrant Visa Bulletin for July 2018. The July Visa Bulletin contains final action dates and dates for filing for both the family-sponsored and employment-based immigrant visa preference categories for the month. One week later, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services determined that family-sponsored adjustment of status applicants in July must use the dates for filing from the July Visa Bulletin whereas employment-based applicants must use the final action dates. In this article, we will examine the relevant charts from the July Visa Bulletin and discuss what they mean for adjustment of status applicants during the month.

Eliza Grinberg's picture

ICE Attorney Sentenced for Identify Theft Scheme

On June 28, 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that Raphael A. Sanchez, former Chief Counsel of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA) “was sentenced to 48 months in prison for a wire fraud and aggravated identity theft scheme involving the identities of numerous aliens.”

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