What's New in the World of Immigration?

04/01/2021 - 2022 H-1B Cap Season Update: H-1B Initial Electronic Registration Selection Process Completed

USCIS has released the following statement on 03/31/2021:

"USCIS has received enough electronic registrations during the initial registration period to reach the fiscal year (FY) 2022 H-1B numerical allocations (H-1B cap) including the advanced degree exemption (master’s cap). We randomly selected from among the registrations properly submitted to reach the cap. We have notified all prospective petitioners with selected registrations that they are eligible to file an H-1B cap-subject petition for the beneficiary named in the applicable selected registration.

Registrants’ online accounts will now show one of the following statuses for each registration (that is, for each beneficiary registered):

Submitted: The registration has been submitted and is eligible for selection. If the initial selection process has been completed, this registration remains eligible, unless subsequently invalidated, for selection in any subsequent selections for the fiscal year for which it was submitted.

Selected: Selected to file an H-1B cap petition. Denied: Multiple registrations were submitted by or on behalf of the same registrant for the same beneficiary. If denied as a duplicate registration, all registrations submitted by or on behalf of the same registrant for this beneficiary for the fiscal year are invalid.

Invalidated-Failed Payment: A registration was submitted but the payment method was declined, not reconciled, or otherwise invalid.

For more information, visit the H-1B Electronic Registration Process page.

FY 2022 H-1B Cap Petitions May Be Filed Starting April 1 2021.

H-1B cap-subject petitions for FY 2022, including those petitions eligible for the advanced degree exemption, may be filed with USCIS beginning April 1, 2021, if based on a valid, selected registration.

Only petitioners with selected registrations may file H-1B cap-subject petitions for FY 2022, and only for the beneficiary named in the applicable selected registration notice."

02/02/2021 - WHITE HOUSE FACT SHEET: President Biden Outlines Steps to Reform Our Immigration System by Keeping Families Together, Addressing the Root Causes of Irregular Migration, and Streamlining the Legal Immigration System

Biden-Harris Administration Forms Family Reunification Task Force and Issues Executive Orders on Regional Migration and Legal Immigration

On January 20th, the Biden Harris Administration took the first steps in a broad, whole of government effort to finally reform our immigration system, including sending to Congress legislation that creates a pathway to citizenship for the nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants living in and contributing to our country. Today, the Administration is announcing a series of additional actions it is taking to rebuild and strengthen our immigration system.

Today’s actions build on executive actions the President took his first day in office, including steps to preserve and fortify protections for Dreamers, end the Muslim and Africa ban, halt border wall construction and protect Liberian nationals living and working in our country. On day 1, the President also sent the United States Citizenship Act to Congress, which seeks to modernize our immigration system and smartly manage our borders, while addressing the root causes of migration.

President Biden’s strategy is centered on the basic premise that our country is safer, stronger, and more prosperous with a fair, safe and orderly immigration system that welcomes immigrants, keeps families together, and allows people—both newly arrived immigrants and people who have lived here for generations—to more fully contribute to our country. President Biden knows that new Americans fuel our economy, as innovators and job creators, working in every American industry, and contributing to our arts, culture, and government.

Today’s executive actions will:

Create a Task Force to Reunify Families. President Biden believes that families belong together. He has made clear that reversing the Trump Administration’s immigration policies that separated thousands of families at the border is a top priority. A key part of this effort is the creation of a task force to reunite families that remain separated. This task force will work across the U.S. government, with key stakeholders and representatives of impacted families, and with partners across the hemisphere to find parents and children separated by the Trump Administration. The task force will make recommendations to the President and federal agencies regarding steps that they can take to reunify families. Further, the task force will report regularly to the President and recommend steps to prevent such tragedies from occurring again. This Order also revokes the Trump Administration’s Executive Order that sought to justify separating children from their parents.

Develop a Strategy to Address Irregular Migration Across the Southern Border and Create a Humane Asylum System. The Trump Administration’s policies at the border have caused chaos, cruelty and confusion. Those policies have undermined the safety of our communities, penalized asylum seekers fleeing violence, and destabilized security across the Western hemisphere. Today, the Biden Harris Administration will begin to roll back the most damaging policies adopted by the prior administration, while taking effective action to manage migration across the region.

Specifically, the Biden Harris Administration will begin implementing a comprehensive three-part plan for safe, lawful, and orderly migration in the region. First, the Administration will address the underlying causes of migration through a strategy to confront the instability, violence, and economic insecurity that currently drives migrants from their homes. Second, the Administration will collaborate with regional partners, including foreign governments, international organizations, and nonprofits to shore up other countries’ capacity to provide protection and opportunities to asylum seekers and migrants closer to home. Finally, the Administration will ensure that Central American refugees and asylum seekers have access to legal avenues to the United States. The Secretary of Homeland Security is also directed to review the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program. The situation at the border will not transform overnight, due in large part to the damage done over the last four years. But the President is committed to an approach that keeps our country safe, strong, and prosperous and that also aligns with our values. This Executive Order also directs a series of actions to restore the U.S. asylum system, including by rescinding and directing agency review of a host of Trump Administration proclamations, rules, and guidance documents that have effectively closed the U.S. border to asylum seekers.

Restore Faith in Our Legal Immigration System and Promote Integration of New Americans. President Biden believes that immigrants are essential to who we are as a nation and critical to our aspirations for the future. The prior administration enacted hundreds of policies that run counter to our history and undermine America’s character as a land of opportunity that is open and welcoming to all who come here seeking protection and opportunity. This Executive Order elevates the role of the White House in coordinating the federal government’s strategy to promote immigrant integration and inclusion, including re-establishing a Task Force on New Americans, and ensuring that our legal immigration system operates fairly and efficiently. The order requires agencies to conduct a top-to-bottom review of recent regulations, policies, and guidance that have set up barriers to our legal immigration system. It also rescinds President Trump’s memorandum requiring family sponsors to repay the government if relatives receive public benefits, instructs the agencies to review the public charge rule and related policies, and streamline the naturalization process.

01/27/2021 - Joe Biden's Immigration Policy

01/19/2021 - Biden to Announce Broad Plan to Reverse Trump Immigration Policies

From the New York Times

WASHINGTON — President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. will propose far-reaching legislation on Wednesday to give the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States a chance to become citizens in as little as eight years, part of an ambitious and politically perilous attempt to undo the effects of President Trump’s four-year assault on immigration.

Under the proposal that Mr. Biden will send to Congress on his first day in office, current recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as “Dreamers,” and others in temporary programs that were set up to shield some undocumented immigrants from deportation would be allowed to immediately apply for permanent legal residency, according to transition officials who were briefed on Mr. Biden’s plan.

The legislation would also restore and expand programs for refugees and asylum seekers after efforts by Mr. Trump and Stephen Miller, the White House aide who was the architect of the president’s immigration agenda, to effectively prevent entry into the United States for those seeking shelter from poverty, violence and war. Mr. Biden’s bill would provide new funding for foreign aid for Central American countries, increase opportunities for foreigners to work in the United States and enhance security at the border through new technologies instead of through the border wall Mr. Trump tried to build.

Mr. Biden’s proposal is the latest effort in a decades-long attempt to reimagine the nation’s immigration system by presidents from both parties, including George W. Bush and Barack Obama. As the Biden era opens, advocates for immigrants and anti-immigrant restrictionists alike are already bracing for the fight.

Immigration was not the only issue Mr. Biden sought to emphasize on the eve of his inauguration as the nation’s 46th president. In a somber, sundown ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial on Tuesday, Mr. Biden paid tribute to the victims of the pandemic that he has pledged to aggressively tame.

“To heal we must remember,” Mr. Biden said, standing in front of the Reflecting Pool, which was surrounded by 400 lights meant to mark the 400,000 victims of the coronavirus.

At the heart of Mr. Biden’s immigration plan is a proposal to grant temporary legal status for five years to many of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants already living in the United States. They would then be eligible for a green card after paying taxes, submitting to a background check and meeting other requirements.

Three years after that, they could apply for citizenship, gaining full status much more quickly than the 13-year path envisioned by bipartisan legislation that failed in 2013.

For more, please visit nytimes.com

01/01/2021 - Trump Extends Nonimmigrant Entry Ban for H-1B, H-2B, L-1, and certain J-1s to 03/31/2021

President Trump has extended the ban on entry in H-1B, H-2B, L-1, and certain J-1 statuses, including dependents, and the ban on certain immigrant entries, through March 31, 2021. The bans were set to expire on December 31, 2020.

Foreign nationals are still exempt from the nonimmigrant proclamation if they were in the United States on June 24, 2020; or held a valid visa in one of the restricted categories on June 24 pursuant to which they seek entry to the United States; or hold a valid advance parole or other U.S. travel document (other than a nonimmigrant visa) pursuant to which they seek U.S. entry.

Foreign nationals may still qualify for national interest exceptions from the bans according to State Department criteria.

President-elect Joseph Biden is expected to review this and other presidential immigration orders after he takes office on January 20.