Immigration News and Updates for January 2020

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2020 is already shaping up to be a monster year of immigration changes. We will keep you alerted to all of them here through our newsletter, but don’t forget to check our social media accounts for more immediate updates. Like us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn!
At Kuck Baxter Immigration, we are dedicated to providing you up to the minute information through our Twitter feed, Facebook, our blog, and our podcast. Don’t forget to check these out, and don’t hesitate to send your questions or comments. Information and knowledge are power.

Upcoming Events and Kuck Baxter Immigration Media

We are actively engaged in our immigrant community both locally and national. Last week we gave three different community presentations on a variety of immigration topics to employers, community activists and foreign students.
We regularly speak at community events, continuing legal education seminars, Human Resource conference, and at universities and colleges around the US. If you would like us to speak to your group for free, let us know! Also, check out our website and come on out to an event! We also do a Facebook live every week, in both English and Spanish, every Friday at 2 pm. Follow us on our Facebook page and catch the action! You can also follow us on our YouTube page, which has hundreds of videos encompassing every immigration topic.

Have You Checked Out Our Blog and our Podcast?

Our Blog is updated each week with information, breaking news, and answers to questions you need to know!
You can also listen to our Top 50 rated podcast, “The Immigration Hour” podcast, that we post each Tuesday. The last episode talked in detaile about S386, what is meant of immigrant visa applicants through employers, and its chances for passage with the newest amendments. Download it and listen at your leisure. If you have comments on the podcast, or topics you would like us to talk about on The Immigration Hour, let us know!

Here is the Immigration News You NEED to Know Now

IMMIGRATION NEWS IN BRIEF:

Trump Signs Legislation Extending EB-5 Regional Center Program and Others– In addition to preventing a government shutdown, highlights include an extension of the EB-5 regional center program sunset date to September 30, 2020.
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.
USCIS Begins Accepting Applications From Liberians Under New Law – On December 26, 2019, USCIS announced that it would begin accepting applications from certain Liberian nationals to adjust status to lawful permanent residence under a new law.
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.
Responding to large-scale immigration raids. The Immigration Justice Campaign and the American Immigration Lawyers Association have released information on what to do in the event of large-scale interior enforcement actions. See https://www.immigrationjustice.us/volunteeropportunities/raids-preparation-teams and https://www.aila.org/advo-media/issues/all/featured-issue-2019-large-scale-enforcement.
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.
Organizations providing help at the southern border and seeking non-lawyer and lawyer volunteers.Cornell Law School’s Migration and Human Rights Program has compiled a list of organizations providing help at the southern border, and seeking donations and non-lawyer and lawyer volunteers to help migrants in U.S. detention and deportation proceedings. The list, which is updated on an ongoing basis, is at http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/MigrationandHumanRightsProgram/Organizations-seeking-non-lawyer-and-lawyer-volunteers.cfm.
·         Listings and links to cases challenging executive orders, and related available pleadings, are available at https://lawfareblog.com/litigation-documents-resources-related-trump-executive-order-immigration.

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:
USCIS Service Center processing times online: https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/processTimesDisplay.do

Kuck Baxter Immigration — In The News

Kuck Baxter Immigration LLC published its US legal guide for Corporate Immigration. It can be found at https://iclg.com/practice-areas/corporate-immigration-laws-and-regulations/usae
mber/Firm News
Charles Kuck released the latest edition of his podcast, the Immigration Hour. The December 19th edition examines the proposed elimination of “per country limits” for employment based immigration visas, and the prospects of that litigation. The podcast is at https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/kuck-baxter-immigration-llc-2/the-immigration-hour
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!
You can follow us on Twitter @KuckBaxter or @CKuck
You can also get constantly updated news on our Facebook page.
Feel free to reach out with any questions or for help in your immigration case at 404-816-8611 or immigration@immigration.net.

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