Immigration Law Offices of Rebecca S. Whitehouse - Dallas, Texas

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Law Offices of Rebecca Whitehouse, Attorneys & Lawyers   Immigration & Naturalization, Plano, TX
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Latest Immigration News


USCIS Resumes Premium Processing Availability for all H-1Bs


New Streamlined Process to Apply for Employment Authorization and Social Security Number Simultaneously


FAQ on Presidential Proclamation on Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Visas for People from Certain Countries

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/news/important-announcement.html 

https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/09/24/fact-sheet-president-s-proclamation-enhancing-vetting-capabilities-and-processes


USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for FY 2018 Cap-Subject Petitions and the U.S. Masters Cap Allotment:

WASHINGTON — U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) resumed premium processing today for all H-1B visa petitions subject to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 cap. The FY 2018 cap has been set at 65,000 visas. Premium processing has also resumed for the annual 20,000 additional petitions that are set aside to hire workers with a U.S. master’s degree or higher educational degree.  

H-1B visas provide skilled workers for a wide range of specialty occupations, including information technology, academic research, and accounting. When a petitioner requests the agency’s premium processing service, USCIS guarantees a 15-day processing time. If the 15- calendar day processing time is not met, the agency will refund the petitioner’s premium processing service fee and continue with expedited processing of the application. This service is only available for pending petitions, not new submissions, since USCIS received enough petitions in April to meet the FY 2018 cap. 

In addition to today’s resumption of premium processing for H-1B via petitions subject to the FY 2018 cap, USCIS previously resumed premium processing H-1B petitions filed on behalf of physicians under the Conrad 30 waiver program, as well as interested government agency waivers and for certain H-1B petitionsthat are not subject to the cap. Premium processing remains temporarily suspended for all other H-1B petitions, such as extensions of stay.

USCIS plans to resume premium processing for all other remaining H‑1B petitions not subject to the FY 2018 cap, as agency workloads permit. However, remaining petitioners may submit a request to expedite their application if they meet the specific agency criteria. USCIS review​s all​ expedite requests on a case-by-case basis, and requests are granted at the discretion of the office leadership.​

USCIS will release future announcements when we begin accepting premium processing for other H-1B petitions, not subject to the FY 2018 cap.

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), YouTube (/uscis), Facebook(/uscis), and Instagram (@USCIS).


DHS FAQ on DACA rescission


AILA: Beware of new DACA Scams.


ICE Issues Statement on People Impersonating ICE Agents in Houston: 


From FEMA

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hurricane Harvey Rumor Control

 www.fema.gov/hurricane-harvey

Rumor: I’m an undocumented immigrant, I cannot go to a shelter because I will be reported to ICE or CBP.

Fact: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has stated that it is not conducting immigration enforcement at relief sites such as shelters or food banks. In the rare instance where local law enforcement informs ICE of a serious criminal alien at a relief site that presents a public safety threat, ICE will make a determination on a case-by-case basis about the appropriate enforcement actions. More information is available at U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) joint statement.  The Federal Government strongly encourages all persons to follow the guidance of local officials and seek shelter regardless of their immigration status.

Most shelters are managed by local communities, the Red Cross, and other voluntary agencies. American Red Cross’ humanitarian mission is to feed, shelter, and provide other forms of support without regard to race, religion, or citizenship status. The Red Cross will not ask people to show any form of identification in order to stay in their shelters.  In order to receive some Red Cross services, such as meeting with a caseworker to facilitate disaster recovery, they will need to verify a person’s pre-disaster address. For people who don’t have government-issued identification, the Red Cross can usually do this through alternative means, such as a copy of a utility bill.


USCIS to Expand Interviews, Including Employment-Based Adjustment of Status Cases

WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin expanding in-person interviews for certain immigration benefit applicants whose benefit, if granted, would allow them to permanently reside in the United States. This change complies with Executive Order 13780, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” and is part of the agency’s comprehensive strategy to further improve the detection and prevention of fraud and further enhance the integrity of the immigration system.

Effective Oct. 1, USCIS will begin to phase-in interviews for the following:

  • Adjustment of status applications based on employment (Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status).
  • Refugee/asylee relative petitions (Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition) for beneficiaries who are in the United States and are petitioning to join a principal asylee/refugee applicant.

Previously, applicants in these categories did not require an in-person interview with USCIS officers in order for their application for permanent residency to be adjudicated. Beyond these categories, USCIS is planning an incremental expansion of interviews to other benefit types.

“This change reflects the Administration’s commitment to upholding and strengthening the integrity of our nation’s immigration system,” said Acting USCIS Director James W. McCament. “USCIS and our federal partners are working collaboratively to develop more robust screening and vetting procedures for individuals seeking immigration benefits to reside in the United States.”

Conducting in-person interviews will provide USCIS officers with the opportunity to verify the information provided in an individual’s application, to discover new information that may be relevant to the adjudication process, and to determine the credibility of the individual seeking permanent residence in the United States.  USCIS will meet the additional interview requirement through enhancements in training and technology as well as transitions in some aspects of case management.


Trump Endorses Senate Skills-Based Immigration Bill


How the H-1B Program is Holding Up Under Trump


State Department Announcement on Implementation of the Travel Ban Executive Order Following the Supreme Court’s June 26, 2017 Decision


Scam Alert:  DHS OIG Hotline Telephone Number Used in Scam to Obtain Personal Information


FAQ: The real impact of Trump’s H-1B Executive Order


Trump Issues Executive Order that Requires Full Review of the Employment Based Visa Programs and Singles Out the H-1B Program for Particular Scrutiny


USCIS Reaches FY2018 H-1B Cap


Know Your Rights:

Home Visits from I.C.E.

Public Stops by I.C.E.

Workplace Raids by I.C.E.


The following is a collection of Department of Homeland Security Issues Fact Sheets and Q&As Explaining February 21, 2017 Executive Orders:

Fact Sheet: Executive Order: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements

Fact Sheet: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States

Q&A: DHS Implementation of the Executive Order on Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States

Q&A: DHS Implementation of the Executive Order on Border Security and Immigration Enforcement


US Department of Homeland Security announces suspension of all actions implementing the affected section of the executive order travel ban.


U.S. Customers & Border Protection webpage FAQ regarding President Trump’s executive order regarding the travel ban for nationals of certain countries. 


USCIS statement of continued adjudications of applications relating to persons covered by the travel ban. 


USCIS reminders on tax identity theft awareness:  https://www.uscis.gov/avoid-scams and https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0029-tax-identity-theft-awareness-week

From USCIS:

Be aware of phone scams where callers claim to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and threaten to have a person arrested or deported for owing taxes.

 Don’t be tricked. Even if you do owe taxes, the IRS will never:

  • Call and demand immediate payment over the phone; 
  • Demand payment with a prepaid debit card, or ask for your credit card or debit card number over the phone; or
  • Threaten to call the police or immigration authorities.  

If you get a call like this, report it online to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration or call 800-366-4484. Also, report it to the Federal Trade Commission.

To learn more about tax scams, watch this video and read this IRS Tax Tip Sheet. If you think you owe taxes, you can call the IRS at 800-829-1040 and they may help you arrange a payment plan. 

Visit uscis.gov/avoidscams for more information on common scams targeting immigrants.


U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service published a Final Rule today: Retention of EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 Immigrant Workers and Program Improvements Affecting High-Skilled Nonimmigrant Workers

The rule provides benefits for beneficiaries of both employment-based immigrant and non-immigrant visa programs, including the following: improved processes and increased certainty for U.S. employers seeking to sponsor and retain immigrant and nonimmigrant workers; greater stability and job flexibility for those workers; and increased transparency and consistency in the application of DHS policy related to affected classifications. Many of these changes are primarily aimed at improving the ability of U.S. employers to hire and retain high-skilled workers who are beneficiaries of approved employment-based immigrant visa petitions and are waiting to become lawful permanent residents, while increasing the ability of those workers to seek promotions, accept lateral positions with current employers, change employers, or pursue other employment options.

The rule will go into effect in 60 days.


DHS Proposes New International Entrepreneur Rule


August 2016 Visa Bulletin


USCIS Announces Final Rule Expanding Provisional Waiver of Unlawful Presence to All Those Statutorily Eligible


August 8th is the deadline to apply to add 7 months of Optional Practical Training to a 17 month STEM OPT extension

Supreme Court Deadlock in United States v. Texas

The Supreme Court’s 4 to 4 decision in United States v. Texas means the lower court’s injunction will stand, blocking implementation of the expanded version of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA+) and the Deferred Action for Parents of American Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program. The original DACA program implemented in 2012 is not affected.


Former ICE Attorney Sentenced to Prison for Falsifying Documents in Immigration case



USCIS Completes the H-1B Cap Random Selection Process for FY 2017

USCIS Announces FY 2017 H-1B Cap Reached


From American Immigration Council:  Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Welcoming Cities:  Lessons from Chicago, Dayton, and Nashville


CBP Issues FAQ on Implementing the Changes to ESTA Visa Waiver Program


US Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case Challenging Expanded DACA and DAPA Programs

DHS Publishes Final Rule Affecting Highly Skilled Workers in Certain Classifications


January 2016 Visa Bulletin


Pro-immigration Group Launches 2016 Reform Blitz


New Security Measures Announced for Visa Waiver Program


Judge: Texas can deny birth certificates for U.S.-born children of some immigrants


Immigration Is Good for Economic Growth. If Europe Gets It Right, Refugees Can Be Too


What Politicians Get Wrong About Immigration


An immigration policy for the next 50 years


USCIS posts updated instructions for using the DOS Visa Bulletin


November 2015 Visa Bulletin


From the New York Times:  Miscalculation on Visas Disrupts Lives of Highly Skilled Immigrants


The U.S. State Department has issued a revised version of the Visa Bulletin for October 2015, changing several dates in the "Dates for Filing" charts for family and employment-based cases.  Under the revised charts, many people who would have been eligible to file Adjustment of Status applications under the previously issued September 9th version of the Visa Bulletin no longer will be eligible to file on October 1st.

The World has Changed Since 1990, U.S. Immigration Policy has Not: Policy Brief from National Foundation for American Policy


What the Candidates Said About Immigration During the Republican Debate


STEM OPT Rule in Trouble



USCIS Announces Revised Procedures for Determining Visa Availability for Applicants Waiting to File Adjustment of Status

Visa Bulletin October 2015


Why Trump Believes His H-1B Plan is Serious


How Immigrant Entrepreneurs Move the US Economy Forward


DHS Secretary Johnson Announces Security Enhancements for Visa Waiver Program




DHS Announces Temporary Protected Status Designation for Nepal

U.S. Ranks 9th out of 38 Countries in Migrant Integration Policy Index Results


The Controversy Over Immigration And New Trade Authority


Our Immigration Policies Are Telling Foreign Students To 'Get Out' After They Graduate


High Skilled Immigration Boosts Native Wages


Immigration Reform May Have a Chance in Washington


Immigration Relief Measures for Nepali Nationals


USCIS Completes Data Entry of Fiscal Year 2016 H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions

USCIS announced May 4, 2015, that it has completed data entry of all fiscal year 2016 H-1B cap-subject petitions selected in our computer-generated random process. USCIS will now begin returning all H-1B cap-subject petitions that were not selected. Due to the high volume of filings, the time frame for returning these petitions is uncertain. USCIS asks petitioners to not inquire about the status of submitted cap-subject petitions until they receive a receipt notice or an unselected petition is returned. USCIS will issue an announcement once all the petitions have been returned.

USCIS Completes H-1B Cap Lottery Selection

USCIS received nearly 233,000 cap-subject H-1B petitions during the first five business days of April.  USCIS will begin premium processing those cases that were filed under premium processing and selected in the lottery no later than May 11, 2015


May 2015 Visa Bulletin


H-1B Cap Reached for Fiscal Year 2016


 

Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in Case Involving Doctrine of Consular Non-Reviewability


Beginning May 26th DHS to extend employment eligibility to certain H-4 spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are seeking employment-based permanent residence


Shutdown Looms as Dems Block DHS Funding Bill


Expanded DACA Program on hold:


Top 2016 Republican Fundraisers to Push for Immigration Action

Senate at Impasse on DHS Funding as Shutdown Looms


Consumer Advisory—The President's New Deferred Action Programs Only Protect SOME Undocumented People


Beginning February 18, 2015 USCIS will accept applications under expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals


 

myE-Verify Expands to 16 More States, Including Texas

IMPORTANT: Consumer Advisory Regarding Deferred Action

Spanish Language Advisory Circular (Esp.)


U.S. Supreme Court Take Two Immigration Cases in New Term

November 2014 Visa Bulletin is Here.  

http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/law-and-policy/bulletin/2015/visa-bulletin-for-november-2014.html

Employment-Based 2nd Preference for India is retrogressing to February 15, 2005.  The bulletin also give projections for movement in the upcoming months.

State Bar of Texas Resources on Immigration

USCIS Announces Launch of New myE-Verify to Allow Employees to Create Secure Personal Accounts

Immigrants' Job Prospects Are Best in Switzerland, America

Link:   http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-08-07/employment-prospects-for-immigrants-around-the-world


State Department announcement to changes in visa application fees

Supreme Court Grants Cert in Consular Non-reviewability Doctrine in Din vs. Kerry

Supporters say immigration law could pass — with a GOP Senate


Beware of Telephone Scammers Posing as USCIS Agents

USCIS has received numerous reports of scammers pretending to be USCIS agents and asking for personal information and money over the phone: 

http://blog.uscis.gov/2013/08/scam-alert-caller-id-spoofing.html


USCIS FAQ on Implementing the Supreme Court's Ruling on DOMA for Same-Sex Couples


Customs and Border Protection Announces Rollout of New Automated I-94

http://cbp.gov/xp/cgov/newsroom/news_releases/national/04262013_4.xml 


USCIS Implements Customer Identity Verification

On Monday, May 6, 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will implement Customer Identity Verification (CIV) in its field offices. Individuals will now be required to submit biometric data, specifically fingerprints and photographs, when appearing at USCIS offices for interviews or to receive evidence of an immigration benefit.

http://content.govdelivery.com/bulletins/gd/USDHSCIS-74d21c


A group of Senators has introduced the “Immigration Innovation Act of 2013” or “I-Squared Act of 2013” (S.169). This bill would provide many needed reforms that would benefit highly-skilled immigrants as well as the businesses that rely on the talent of such workers. Among other things, the bill would:

·      Increase the annual H-1B cap with a market-based escalator adjustment mechanism so that the cap can move as demand increases,

·      Uncap the existing exemption for H-1B applicants holding advanced degrees from a U.S. school;

·      Provide employment authorization for spouses of H-1B workers;

·      Provide a grace period for terminated H-1B workers to change or extend status;

·      Exempt certain categories of applicants from the employment-based permanent residency cap, including U.S. STEM advanced degree holders, and dependents of employment-based permanent resident applicants;

·      Provide recapture and roll-over mechanisms so that unused permanent resident visa numbers are not lost;

·      Eliminate per-country annual limits for employment based applicants;

·      Use fees from the H-1B and employment-based permanent residency programs to promote STEM education and worker retraining.

The “I-Squared Act of 2013” was introduced by Senators Hatch (R-UT), Klobuchar (D-MN), Rubio (R-FL) and Coons (D-DE).


President Obama Issues Proposal for Immigration Reform


Deferred Action Process Announced for Certain Young People Between the Ages of 15 and 30

Eligible individuals must:

·         Be 15-30 years old, and have entered before age 16

·         Have been present in the U.S. for 5 years as of June 15, 2012

·         Have maintained continuous residence

·         Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor or multiple minor misdemeanors

·         Be currently in school, graduated or have a GED, or is an honorably discharged veteran

·         The deferred action offer will be available to those in proceedings, as well as to those who apply affirmatively.

Click for Deferred Action Policy memo.

Click for Deferred Action Policy fact sheet.


E-1 Treaty Traders / E-2 Treaty Investors

The E-1 visa allows a national of a country with which the U.S. maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation to come to the United States for the purpose of engaging in international trade. The trade may consist of goods or services, but it already must be in existence at the time of the visa application, and must be substantial—that is, a continuous flow of sizable international trade items, involving numerous transactions over time.  Additionally, the trade must be principally between the treaty country and the USA, such that over 50% of the total volume of international trade is between the United States and the trader’s treaty country. The individual E-1 visa holder must be coming to the United States to work with the trading enterprise in either an executive or managerial capacity or in a position requiring skills that are essential to the enterprise.

The E-2 visa is also for nationals of a country with which the U.S. maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation, but it can be used to come to the United States to develop and direct the operations of a bona fide enterprise in which the visa holder has invested or is actively in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital. In the case of an alien investor he or she must own at least 50% of the enterprise or have operational control. There is no bright-line test for what constitutes a “substantial” amount of capital invested. Rather, substantiality is determined by considering factors such as the amount invested in comparison to the total amount required to purchase an existing business or establish a new viable enterprise. The business also must be one that is or will be active and operating to provide goods or services for profit. Additionally, the business cannot be “marginal”--one which lacks the present or future ability to generate more than a minimal living for the treaty investor and his or her family. Employees of the E-2 investor organization may also come to the USA to hold a position in an executive or managerial capacity or in a position requiring skills that are essential to the enterprise.


Recent Bills to Improve the Immigration Process for Entrepreneurs and Members of STEM Fields

Recognizing the need to attract scientific and technological talent to the United States, legislators have recently introduced a variety of new bills to ease the visa and permanent residency process for such workers.

STAR Act

Senator John Cornyn has introduced Senate bill S.3185 “Securing the Talent America Requires for the 21st Century Act of 2012” or “STAR Act”.

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/s3185/text

This bill would create a new EB-2 immigrant visa subcategory for certain STEM Master’s and Ph.D. graduates of U.S. schools, with a streamlined labor certification process, and access to an additional 55,000 immigrant visa numbers. In addition, this bill would allow any EB-1, EB-2, or EB-3 applicant to file an application for adjustment of status before a visa number becomes available, and would provide for the carryover of unused employment-based visa numbers from one fiscal year to the next.

STEM Act

In December 2011, Senator Michael Bennet introduced  S.1986 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Visa Act of 2011 to create a new permanent residency category for students graduating with advanced degrees in specialties in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and to enable eligible undocumented students enrolled full time in a STEM field of a U.S. institution of higher education to apply for temporary student visas.

See:  http://www.bennet.senate.gov/newsroom/press/release/?id=25f95f56-326d-4d45-ac17-ba6ac06a882e. and

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/s1986/text

 The bill would also make changes to the H-1B and L-1 visa program as well as the EB-5 program for foreign investors.

STARTUP VISA

Introduced by Senator John Kerry, S.565, the STARTUP VISA Act, would provide visas and a permanent residence opportunity for immigrant entrepreneurs in the following situations:

·        Where a U.S. investor agrees to financially sponsor a new business venture of a foreign national with a minimum investment of $100,000, and where two years later, the startup company has created five new American jobs and either raised over $500,000 in financing or is generating more than $500,000 in yearly revenue;

·     Where an H-1B worker or a graduate from U.S. university in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or computer science has an annual income of at least $30,000 or assets of at least $60,000 and a U.S. investor commits investment of at least $20,000 to the person’s business venture, and where within two years the new company has created three new American jobs and either raised over $100,000 in financing or is generating more than $100,000 in yearly revenue;

·     Where a foreign entrepreneur has a business that has generated at least $100,000 in sales from the U.S. and within two years has created three new American jobs and either raised over $100,000 in financing or is generating more than $100,000 in yearly revenue.

The “investor” must be a U.S. citizen who has made at least two equity investments of at least $50,000 every year for the previous three years, or a qualified government entity.

 http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/s565/text


 Federal Agencies Establish National Initiative to Combat Immigration Service Scams:

Advisory regarding latest immigration case reviews - Avoid fraud! 

Click here for more information from USCIS on avoiding immigration scams.  

Click here to file a complaint in English or Spanish at the Federal Trade Commission web site.