Asylum Claims

USCIS has announced a rule to deter aliens from illegally entering the United States and from filing frivolous asylum applications in order to obtain employment authorization.

The proposed rule will better allow USCIS to extend protections to those with bona fide asylum claims. USCIS also seeks to prevent certain criminal aliens from obtaining work authorization before the merits of their asylum application are adjudicated.

See the rule here: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/11/14/2019-24293/asylum-application-interview-and-employment-authorization-for-applicants

AOS Filing 01/20

If USCIS determines that there are more immigrant visas available for a fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas, USCIS will state whether you may use the Dates for Filing Visa Applications.

Otherwise, they will indicate that you must use the Application Final Action Dates to determine when you may file your adjustment of status application.

See the following link here for the month of January 2020:

https://www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo

Green Cards For Certain Liberian Refugees

USCIS has announced that it will begin accepting applications to adjust status to lawful permanent resident from certain Liberian nationals under the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF).

To be eligible for permanent residence (a Green Card) under LRIF, a Liberian national must have been continuously physically present in the United States from Nov. 20, 2014, to the date they properly file an application for adjustment of status. USCIS will accept properly filed applications until Dec. 20, 2020, one year from the enactment of the LRIF.

Applicants must be otherwise eligible to receive an immigrant visa and be admissible to the United States. The spouses, unmarried children under 21, and unmarried sons and daughters 21 or older of eligible Liberian nationals are also eligible for Green Cards.

Visa Bulletin 01/2020

The Visa Bulletin provides updated priority date information for family-based and employment-based green cards.

Immigrants to the US are classified into two categories – those requiring placement on a waiting list and those not through their relationship to a US immediate relative.

Further, there are numerical quotas on the green cards that require a priority date. If the number of applicants in a year is over the available visa numbers, those applicants are placed on a waiting list and are given a priority date, which estimates when an applicant would get a visa based on the number of previous applicants on the waiting list. Below are preference category information and visa allocations.

FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCES
First: (F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.

Second: Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents: 114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, plus any unused first preference numbers:

A. (F2A) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents: 77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;

B. (F2B) Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents: 23% of the overall second preference limitation.

Third: (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.

Fourth: (F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens: 65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.

Below is the link for the Visa Bulletin for January 2020.

https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/law-and-policy/bulletin/2019/visa-bulletin-for-January-2020.html

For more information, contact ALO at 978-905-9992.

Travel for TPS Beneficiaries

USCIS has updated its policy manual to clarify the effect of travel outside the United States by Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries who are subject to removal proceedings.

In particular, this update (PDF, 317 KB) covers beneficiaries who have final removal orders, and who depart the United States and return with an advance parole travel document. TPS beneficiaries in removal proceedings who travel abroad temporarily with the authorization of DHS remain subject to those removal proceedings. If they are under a final order of removal, the travel does not execute or fulfill the order. The alien in question remains subject to the removal order.   

The Executive Office for Immigration Review of the Department of Justice will generally have jurisdiction over an adjustment of status application filed by a TPS beneficiary subject to removal proceedings. USCIS continues to have jurisdiction over requests from aliens initially paroled into the United States. By statute, upon return to the United States with TPS travel authorization, TPS beneficiaries retain the same immigration status they held before departing the United States.

Social Media Disclosure

This is a reminder that the Department of State updated its immigrant and nonimmigrant visa application forms to request additional information, including social media identifiers, from most U.S. visa applicants worldwide.

This update – which we initially announced last year in the Federal Register – is a result of the President’s March 6, 2017, Memorandum on Implementing Heightened Screening and Vetting of Applications for Visas and other Immigration Benefits and Section 5 of Executive Order 13780 regarding implementing uniform screening and vetting standards for visa applications. 

USCIS Expands on N400 Good Moral Character

USCIS has expanded its policy re: unlawful acts that may prevent an applicant from meeting the good moral character (GMC) requirement for naturalization:

On Dec. 10, USCIS issued separate policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual about how two or more convictions for driving under the influence or post-sentencing changes to criminal sentencing might affect GMC determinations.

In the Immigration and Nationality Act, Congress determined that good moral character is a requirement for naturalization,” said USCIS Deputy Director Mark Koumans. “USCIS is committed to faithfully administering our nation’s lawful immigration system, and this update helps to ensure that our agency’s adjudicators make uniform and fair decisions concerning the consideration of unlawful acts on good moral character when determining eligibility for U.S. citizenship.

AOS Filing 12/19

If USCIS determines that there are more immigrant visas available for a fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas, USCIS will state whether you may use the Dates for Filing Visa Applications.

Otherwise, they will indicate that you must use the Application Final Action Dates to determine when you may file your adjustment of status application.

See the following link here for the month of December 2019:

https://www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo

12/19 Visa Bulletin

The Visa Bulletin provides updated priority date information for family-based and employment-based green cards.

Immigrants to the US are classified into two categories – those requiring placement on a waiting list and those not through their relationship to a US immediate relative.

Further, there are numerical quotas on the green cards that require a priority date. If the number of applicants in a year is over the available visa numbers, those applicants are placed on a waiting list and are given a priority date, which estimates when an applicant would get a visa based on the number of previous applicants on the waiting list. Below are preference category information and visa allocations.

FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCES
First: (F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.

Second: Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents: 114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, plus any unused first preference numbers:

A. (F2A) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents: 77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;

B. (F2B) Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents: 23% of the overall second preference limitation.

Third: (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.

Fourth: (F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens: 65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.

Below is the link for the Visa Bulletin for December 2019.

https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/law-and-policy/bulletin/2019/visa-bulletin-for-December-2019.html

For more information, contact ALO at 978-905-9992.

U Visa Law Enforcement Guide

USCIS has published the U Visa Law Enforcement Resource Guide (PDF, 1.58 MB) to provide law enforcement and other certifying agencies with helpful information and best practices for the U visa certification process.

This guide will assist law enforcement and other certifying agencies, who play a critical role in the U visa adjudication process, and will ensure they have the resources they need to provide a properly completed certification for immigrant victims of crime. 

Law enforcement authorities and other certifying agencies provide certifications for U nonimmigrant status (U visa) petitioners. Individuals seeking a U visa because they have been a victim of a serious crime resulting in substantial mental or physical abuse must establish their eligibility. 

USCIS Form I-918, Supplement B, U Nonimmigrant Status Certification, is a required certification to establish eligibility for U nonimmigrant status. The Form I-918, Supplement B, must be signed by an authorized official of the certifying agency (PDF, 1.58 MB) and the official must confirm the petitioner was helpful, is currently being helpful, or will likely be helpful in the detection, investigation or prosecution of a case.