USCIS and the Immigration Courts Revise and Expedite the Asylum Process
On March 24, 2022, the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice announced an interim final rule to “improve and expedite processing of asylum claims made by noncitizens subject to expedited removal, ensuring that those who are eligible for asylum are granted relief quickly, and those who are not are promptly removed.”
The rule authorizes asylum officers to consider the asylum applications of individuals subject to expedited removal who assert a fear of persecution or torture and pass the required credible fear screening, USCIS noted. Currently, the agency said, such cases are decided only by immigration judges.
Due to existing court backlogs, USCIS said, the process for hearing and deciding these asylum cases takes several years on average. “When fully implemented, the reforms and new efficiencies will shorten the process to several months for most asylum applicants covered by this rule,” the agency said.
Advocates expressed concerns that asylum seekers whose cases are denied could be hindered in obtaining legal representation. Jennifer Ibañez Whitlock, an immigration attorney and policy counsel for the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), said, “If somebody is not approved in the first instance, they’re going to be required to go through a pretty fast process to appeal. I firmly believe it’s going to affect people’s ability to get a lawyer.” In a statement released on March 24, 2022, AILA said that while the rule includes some positive changes, the organization is “gravely concerned about the tight deadlines and rapid scheduling of hearings which will curtail due process and interfere with the ability to obtain legal representation. Missing from the announcement is any reference to legal orientation, funded legal representation, or even basic know-your-rights presentations for individuals placed through these hearings or language access plans.”
The interim final rule modifies a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in response to public comments received following the NPRM issued by the two departments in August 2021. The rule will take effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, which is expected to occur on March 29, 2022. The departments said they encourage further public comment on the rule during the 60-day comment period.
Read below for more the other immigration news of the day.
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Here is the Immigration News You NEED to Know Now
UP-TO-DATE IMMIGRATION NEWS
Biden Administration Announces Relief Measures for Ukrainians – President Biden announced that the United States will accept up to 100,000 Ukrainians and other displaced people fleeing the Russian invasion in Ukraine.
DHS, DOJ Issue Interim Final Rule to ‘Improve and Expedite’ Asylum Claims Processing for Noncitizens Subject to Expedited Removal – The rule authorizes asylum officers to consider the asylum applications of individuals subject to expedited removal who assert a fear of persecution or torture and pass the required credible fear screening, USCIS noted. Currently, the agency said, such cases are decided only by immigration judges.
USCIS Updates Guidance on Qualifying Published Material and Scope of Leading or Critical Role in Extraordinary Ability and Outstanding Professor or Researcher Visa Classifications – USCIS is updating its guidance about two evidentiary criteria relating to immigrants of extraordinary ability and one relating to outstanding professors and researchers “to more closely align with recently issued nonimmigrant guidance pertaining to O-1A nonimmigrants of extraordinary ability.”
USCIS Updates Guidance on Employment Authorization Class of Admission Codes for E and L Nonimmigrant Spouses – USCIS announced new Class of Admission (COA) codes for certain E and L nonimmigrant dependent spouses who are employment authorized based on their status. Forms I-94 containing these code designations are acceptable as a List C, #7 Employment Authorization Document issued by the Department of Homeland Security.
E-Verify Releases New Case Features – Users can now close a case from the document upload page in E‑Verify by providing one of several reasons. E‑Verify also added a requirement to download the Further Action Notice before referring a case. E-Verify said this will ensure that users correctly process Tentative Nonconfirmation cases.
New Publications and Items of Interest
Training on Afghan arrival categories and documentation. The Department of Homeland Security’s Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) program will present a training on Thursday, December 2, 2021, 1-2 p.m. ET on the immigration documentation that each Afghan arrival category may have and how to use SAVE to verify newly arrived Afghans’ immigration status or parole. Topics will include an overview of Operation Allies Welcome; common Afghan arrival categories and codes; sample documentation; resources; and a question-and-answer session. Registration information “will be forthcoming.”https://www.uscis.gov/save
New E-Verify feature. A new E-Verify feature, myUploads, allows employees to upload required documents in JPEG, PNG, or PDF formats to help resolve Tentative Nonconfirmations (TNCs). Employees can access their my E-Verify accounts by logging into their USCIS online accounts and uploading the requested documents. They can still use fax or mail to submit documents if they prefer. The employer should provide the Further Action Notice (FAN) to the affected employee, discuss the TNC privately with the employee, and allow the employee to decide whether he or she will contest the TNC. The FAN includes the steps for using myUploads to help resolve a DHS TNC. Once uploaded, the employee must call the number on the FAN to resolve the case.https://myeverify.uscis.gov/
New SAVE features. Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) is enhancing its case search capabilities, including improved usability through a search bar and other features, and a more robust case search engine. SAVE will notify users by email at least three weeks before the go-live date for enhancements.https://save.uscis.gov/web/
- Coronavirus.gov: Primary federal site for general coronavirus information
- USA.gov/coronavirus: Catalog of U.S. government’s response to coronavirus
- CDC.gov/coronavirus: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention information
- American Immigration Lawyers Association: https://www.aila.org/advo-
media/issues/all/covid-19 (links to practice alerts on this site are restricted to members)
- NAFSA: https://www.nafsa.org/
Immigration Agency Information
Department of Homeland Security:DHS.gov/coronavirus
03/17/fact-sheet-dhs-notice- arrival-restrictions-china- iran-and-certain-countries- europe
- Overview and FAQs: https://www.ice.gov/
- Requirements for ICE Detention Facilities: https://www.ice.gov/doclib/
- Updates and Announcements:https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/
- Accessing I-94 Information: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/
Department of Labor:
- Office of Foreign Labor Certification:
- OFLC Announcements (COVID-19 announcements included here): https://www.foreignlaborcert.
- COVID-19 FAQs:
- § Round 1 (Mar. 20, 2020): https://www.foreignlaborcert.
- § Round 2 (Apr. 1, 2020): https://www.foreignlaborcert.
- § Round 3 (Apr. 9, 2020): https://www.foreignlaborcert.
- Travel advisories: https://travel.state.gov/
content/travel/en/ traveladvisories/ea/covid-19- information.html
- Country-specific information: https://travel.state.gov/
content/travel/en/ traveladvisories/COVID-19- Country-Specific-Information. html
- J-1 exchange visitor information: https://j1visa.state.gov/
- Executive Office for Immigration Review: https://www.justice.gov/eoir/
Agency Twitter Accounts
- EOIR: @DOJ_EOIR
- ICE: @ICEgov
- Study in the States: @StudyinStates
- USCIS: @USCIS
Immigrant and employee rights webinars. The Department of Justice’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER), of the Civil Rights Division, is offering a number of free webinars for workers, employers, and advocates. For more information, see https://www.justice.gov/crt/
E-Verify webinar schedule. E-Verify has released its calendar of webinars at https://www.e-verify.gov/
For Details on these and other topics, click www.immigration.net!
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/
Department of State Visa Bulletin:
Visa application wait times for any post:https://travel.state.gov/
Kuck Baxter Immigration — In The News
Charles Kuck’s article Commentary: Congress Should Grant Temporary Protected Status to All Ukrainians, Washington is failing the Ukrainians just as it has failed Afghans seeking asylum in the U.S. last year was published by Global Atlanta. https://www.globalatlanta.com/
Charles Kuck was quoted in an article entitled “Feds Can’t Nix Suit Over Manila Embassy’s Fiancé Visa Delays” discussing his representation of the couples and their suit against the U.S. Department of State. https://www.law360.com/
Charles Kuck authored an article entitled “COVID-19 Continues to Cause Havoc in the U.S. Immigration System.” published in the Immigration Law Expert Guide.
Charles Kuck was quoted in an article with Law 360 entitled “State Dept.’s Sluggish Diversity Visa Progress Sparks Outcry” https://www.law360.com/
Charles Kuck was quoted in an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution entitled “Detained Migrants Bail Bonds are higher in Georgia” https://www.ajc.com/news/a-
Charles Kuck traveled to Peru in November and while there was interviewed by national media. One of those interviews can be watched here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
Charles Kuck’s opinion statement entitled “Action needed in Ga. and Congress on immigration relief” was published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution https://
Charles Kuck was quoted in a press release on MadKudu Inc. v. USCIS, a case in which the parties reached a settlement agreement about the classification of market research analyst positions as H-1B specialty occupations. Mr. Kuck said, “It is unfortunate that the only way for USCIS to follow the law and do the right thing is to bring litigation. But, know this—we will be watching for USCIS compliance with this decision, and we will be prepared to pursue litigation for other interpretive violations of written law and regulation that the agency has permitted to occur.”
Charles Kuck was quoted by Bloomberg Law in “Chronic Green Card Backlog Gains Lawmakers’ Bipartisan Attention. Commenting on things U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) could do to reduce backlogs, Mr. Kuck said, “The idea that USCIS does not have the resources is not true. They don’t have the will.” https://bit.ly/3ARW2ii(registration required)
Charles Kuck was quoted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in “Kemp’s Immigration Policy Could Complicate Bid for Second Term.” Mr. Kuck said Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia was in search of a “shiny object” to distract from former President Trump’s ongoing attacks targeting the governor. “This is a reelection stunt. If he’s going to the border, he’s searching for a solution that does not exist,” Mr. Kuck said. https://bit.ly/3Bt9gDo
Charles Kuck, represented plaintiffs in a recent case, Kinsley v. Blinken, in which a U.S. district court judge issued a decision on October 5, 2021, prohibiting the use of travel bans as a reason not to process or issue visas. Mr. Kuck was quoted by the Times of India in “Good News for H-1B Visa Holders Stranded in India.” Mr. Kuck said, “We are grateful that Judge Boasberg saw through the cascade of baseless legal theories put forward by the Department of State to finally and affirmatively rule that it is a violation of federal law to refuse to issue visas solely because a President has proclaimed an entry ban under the Immigration and Nationality Act 212(f). We call on the Department of State to now do away with its ridiculous and legally unnecessary national interest exemption program and get back to the business of visa issuance around the world regardless of those entry bans.” https://bit.ly/30bBbKl
Charles Kuck was quoted by Atlanta Magazine in “Freedom University Wasn’t Meant to Last This Long.” He said the Board of Regents of Freedom University is “not answerable to the state legislature” and can change policies if it chooses, at least for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients. He blamed a lack of progress on “constant finger-pointing between the legislature and the regents. ” ‘It’s their fault. It’s their fault. It’s their fault.’ That’s what’s extraordinarily frustrating about this. Nobody wants to take responsibility for depriving these kids of an education.”https://www.atlantamagazine.
Kuck Baxter Immigration LLC published its US legal guide for Corporate Immigration. It can be found at https://iclg.com/practice-
Kuck Baxter Immigration LLC has an 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 Partner Elizabeth Matherne, the former Director for the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Irwin Detention Project.https://www.
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