Immigration Blog

Water-Damaged Passports and Visas After Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

Written by Alexander J. Segal on

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On September 14, 2017, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) published a document titled “CBP Practice Alert: Water Damaged Visas and Passports.” The guidance concerns foreign nationals with damaged documents as a result of events such as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Supreme Court Stays Ninth Circuit Decision Limiting Scope of Suspension of Refugee Travel of "Travel Ban"

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The Supreme Court of the United States stayed a decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit regarding the injunction against the implementation of parts of President Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13780, colloquially known as the “travel ban.” On appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii, the Ninth Circuit had held that President Trump’s Executive Order 13780 could not be enforced against refugee applicants who are covered by a formal assurance by a refugee resettlement agency. The Supreme Court stayed this portion of the Ninth Circuit decision, meaning that refugees who are covered by such a formal assurance are not exempt from the suspension of refugee provisions pending further action by the Supreme Court. In short, this means that refugees with no connection to a person or entity in the United States other than to a refugee resettlement agency will be subject to Executive Order 13780. However, refugees with a connection to a different qualifying U.S. person or entity may be exempt subject to a case-specific inquiry.

Analysis of AG Sessions' Legal Justification for Ending DACA

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On September 5, 2017, the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, Elaine C. Duke, issued a memorandum rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In this article, we will examine the legal justification for the decision espoused in the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions that DACA is illegal. We will also examine an interesting note in Acting Secretary Duke’s memorandum rescinding DACA that appears to concede one of the points made by Texas in the litigation against the erstwhile Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program.

Statements from President Trump and Others on the Rescission of DACA

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On September 5, 2017, the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, Elaine C. Duke, issued a memorandum rescinding the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) memorandum, but also providing for a six-month wind-down of DACA. In our full article on the rescission of DACA, we discuss the background of the decision and how it will be implemented. In this supplementary post, we will examine statements from President Donald Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Acting Secretary Duke on the decision. We will also examine a statement from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, whose lawsuit prompted the Trump Administration to make its decision, and from two key congressional leaders on what may happen next. Finally, we will also examine the critical response of former President Barack Obama.

Decision on Nominee for Secretary of DHS Not Imminent

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On July 31, 2017, the former Secretary of Homeland Security, John F. Kelly, left his position to become the White House Chief of Staff. Since then, Elaine C. Duke, who was serving as the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, has been serving as Acting Secretary of Homeland Security. On September 1, 2017, Andrew Restuccia and Eliana Johnson of Politico reported that President Donald Trump has not yet interviewed candidates for the position of Secretary of Homeland Security.

Annual U Visa Limit Reached for Fiscal Year 2017

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On August 30, 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has approved the congressionally mandated annual limit of 10,000 U visa petitions for fiscal year 2017. While the USCIS cannot grant any more U visa petitions in September, the final month of fiscal year 2017, it stated that it will continue reviewing pending petitions for eligibility when more U visas become available starting on October 1, 2017 (the first month of fiscal year 2018).

President Trump Weighing Whether to End DACA

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On August 24, 2017, Jonathan Swain of Axios reported that President Donald Trump is giving strong consideration to ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). As we discussed previously on site, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton gave the Trump Administration until September 5, 2017, to end DACA or face a legal challenge to the program.

USCIS to Require In-Person Interviews for Employment-Based AOS Applicants and Asylee/Refugee Relative Petitions

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The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced its plans to expand the in-person interview requirement for certain benefit applicants whose benefits, if granted, would allow them to reside permanently in the United States.

Possible Changes Coming to EB5 Program

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On January 13, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking titled “EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Modernization” in the Federal Register (FR) at 82 FR 4738. The notice makes several proposals for changing the EB5 program that would be significant if they are ultimately enacted.

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