EADs Extended to January 4, 2021, for Six TPS Countries– DHS has extended the validity of employment authorization documents issued under TPS designations through January 4, 2021, as specified in the notice, for certain TPS beneficiaries from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, Sudan, Honduras, and Nepal.
DHS, DOJ Propose Rule Expanding Bars to Asylum
– A new joint proposed rule by the Departments of Homeland Security (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) and Justice (Executive Office for Immigration Review) would provide seven additional mandatory bars to eligibility for asylum.
Also in this issue:
Trump Signs Legislation Extending EB-5 Regional Center Program and Others
President Donald Trump has signed legislation for fiscal year 2020 that includes several immigration-related provisions. In addition to preventing a government shutdown, highlights include:
- Sunset date extended to September 30, 2020, for four immigration programs: the EB-5 regional center program for certain immigrant investors, the Conrad state 30 program for certain foreign doctors in J-1 status, E-Verify, and certain foreign religious workers
- A new ombudsman to investigate Department of Homeland Security personnel misconduct and violations of the rights of migrants in detention
- Provision for unannounced inspections of detention facilities and allowing lawmakers to visit them
- Information posted publicly on numbers and categories of people in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody
- $1.38 billion toward President Trump’s border wall
EADs Extended to January 4, 2021, for Six TPS Countries
The Department of Homeland Security has extended the validity of employment authorization documents (EADs) issued under TPS designations through January 4, 2021, from the current expiration dates of January 2, 2020 (for El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan); January 5, 2020 (for Honduras); and March 24, 2020 (for Nepal). These are extended by force of law, NOT by the issuance of a new EAD card. Individuals in this status should print out the USCIS webpage to show their EAD remains valid, and can even extend their driver’s license with that. Individuals with this immigration status need to be talking to an immigration lawyer today to see if they have other immigration options.
USCIS Begins Accepting Applications From Liberians Under New Law
On December 26, 2019, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it would begin accepting applications from certain Liberian nationals to adjust status to lawful permanent residence under Section 7611 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF), signed into law on December 20, 2019.
To be eligible for permanent resident (green card) status under LRIF, a Liberian national must have been continuously physically present in the United States from November 20, 2014, to the date they properly file an application for adjustment of status. USCIS will accept such applications until December 20, 2020. Spouses, unmarried children under 21, and unmarried sons and daughters 21 or older of eligible Liberian nationals are also eligible for green cards.
DHS, DOJ Propose Rule Expanding Bars to Asylum
A new joint proposed rule by the Departments of Homeland Security (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) and Justice (Executive Office for Immigration Review) would provide seven additional mandatory bars to eligibility for asylum. The rule, which emphasizes that asylum is discretionary in the sense that “Congress did not consider it obligatory to grant asylum to every refugee who qualifies,” would amend the regulations governing bars to asylum eligibility, clarify the effect of criminal convictions on asylum claims, and remove regulations governing the automatic reconsideration of discretionary denials of asylum applications.
Among other things, the Departments propose to bar from asylum “all those who are convicted of a crime involving criminal street gangs, regardless of whether that crime qualifies as a felony or as a misdemeanor.” The Attorney General and the Secretary are considering excluding “individuals convicted of federal, state, tribal, or local crimes committed in support, promotion, or furtherance of a criminal street gang.” Specifically, the proposed rule would cover such individuals “in cases in which the adjudicator knows or has reason to believe the crime was committed in furtherance of criminal street gang activity.” The Departments believe that those who enter the United States and “proceed to be convicted of crimes involving criminal street gang-related activity should be deemed to have committed particularly serious crimes that render them ineligible for asylum.”
The Departments also propose that “aliens should be ineligible for asylum if they are convicted…of a second or subsequent offense of driving while intoxicated or impaired, or for a single such offense resulting in death or serious bodily injury.” Ineligibility for asylum would also be applied to those convicted in the United States of domestic assault or battery, stalking, or child abuse in the domestic context, and those who engaged in acts of battery and extreme cruelty in a domestic context regardless of whether such conduct resulted in a criminal conviction.
New Publications and Items of Interest
How to prepare for immigration raids. Cornell University’s immigration technology clinic has developed an automated online interview to help people prepare if they or others are worried about being detained or deported. It can help people prepare their family, manage their property, close out their bank accounts, and perform other emergency preparations. The online interview is available in English and Spanish at https://www.immi.org/en/Home/make_a_plan
CBP accountability. This website documents litigation across the United States in an effort to establish U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) accountability and transparency. The website, which also directs readers to additional resources, is a joint project of the American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego and Imperial Counties, the American Immigration Council, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. See https://holdcbpaccountable.org/
Immigrant and Employee Rights webinars. The Department of Justice’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section is offering free webinars to the public. The webinars are for workers, employers, and advocates. For more information or to register, see https://www.justice.gov/crt/webinars
Government Agency Links
Follow these links to access current processing times of the USCIS Service Centers and the Department of Labor, and the Department of State’s latest Visa Bulletin with the most recent cut-off dates for visa numbers:
Kuck Baxter Immigration — In The News
Kuck Baxter Immigration LLC has opened a new office in Adel, Georgia, near the Irwin, Folkston, and Stewart Detention Centers, which hold more than 6,000 detained immigrants. The new office is managed by our Senior Counsel Elizabeth Matherne, the former Director for the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Irwin Detention Project.
We have changed the location of our podcast–The Immigration Hour
— to Stitcher. We are entering our 12th year of continuous broadcasts. Listen here each week for our latest take on immigration and immigration law!