Immigration News Update Newsletter — Mid-July 2022

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CBP Ends Program Allowing Expired US Passports To Enter The United States

During the pandemic, and as a result of the Department of State’s massive backlog in processing US Passports, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) allowed individuals with expired US Passports to enter the US as citizens. Obviously, one does not stop being a US Citizen simply because the passport is expired, and as such the policy made sense.

Well, all good things must come to an end. If you find yourself outside the US with an expired passport, you will need to contact the nearest US Consulate or Embassy to secure a renewal of your passport, or a transit letter to reenter the United States.

Read below for more of 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

OFLC Publishes Prevailing Wage Data, Implements 2018 SOC Codes – An OFLC announcement includes details on how new labor certification applications, and applications in process, will be handled with respect to SOC codes.

USCIS Urges Employment-Based Adjustment Applicants to Promptly Send Medical Forms When Requested – The agency is urging anyone within the United States who may be eligible for an employment-based adjustment of status to promptly send medical forms when requested, but not to send unsolicited forms.

Supreme Court Allows Biden Administration to Terminate ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy – The Court held that the Biden administration had the legal authority to end the “Remain in Mexico” policy.

White House Extends and Expands Eligibility for Deferred Enforced Departure for Liberians – The White House issued a memorandum deferring through June 30, 2024, the removal of any Liberian national, or person without nationality who last habitually resided in Liberia, who is present in the United States and who was under a grant of DED as of June 30, 2022, as well as any Liberian national, or person without nationality who last habitually resided in Liberia, who has been continuously physically present in the United States since May 20, 2017.

CBP Ends Use of Expired U.S. Passports for Direct Return of U.S. Citizens to United States – As of July 1, 2022, U.S. citizens can no longer use their expired U.S. passports to return to the United States. U.S. citizens overseas with expired passports should contact their nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to apply for a passport.

CIS Ombudsman Submits 2022 Annual Report to Congress – The report outlines “some of the most significant problems encountered by individuals and employers when seeking immigration benefits,” including backlogs, issues with employment authorization documents (EADs), expedite requests, and others, and makes recommendations.

Global: Canada– Canada has launched a new immigration stream for Ukrainians.

DETAILED ANALYSIS OF EACH OF THESE NEWS ITEMS
OFLC Publishes Prevailing Wage Data, Implements 2018 SOC Codes

On July 1, 2022, the Department of Labor’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC):

·        Published the latest prevailing wage data from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) as generated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for July 2022 through June 2023. Prevailing wage determinations issued from the National Prevailing Wage Center reflect the new data effective July 1.

·        Implemented the 2018 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes at the same time. OFLC said it is using 2018 SOC codes because the OEWS and the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) have completed the transition from 2010 SOC codes to 2018 SOC codes. An OFLC announcement includes details on how new labor certification applications, and applications in process, will be handled with respect to SOC codes.

·        Updated Appendix A to the Preamble–Education and Training Categories by O*NET–SOC Occupations. Appendix A is a list of professional occupations “that serves as a guide for employers to distinguish between professional and non-professional occupations in order to comply with the professional recruitment requirements of the PERM program,” OFLC said.

·        Published updated prevailing wage data for the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.

Details:
USCIS Urges Employment-Based Adjustment Applicants to Promptly Send Medical Forms When Requested

To ensure that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is able to use as many available visas as possible for fiscal year 2022, the agency is urging anyone within the United States who may be eligible for an employment-based adjustment of status to note the following regarding Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record:

  • If you are planning to file an adjustment of status application, be sure to include a valid Form I-693.
  • If you have a pending Form I-485, Adjustment of Status Application, do not send an unsolicited Form I-693 to USCIS. USCIS said it is proactively identifying employment-based adjustment of status applications with available visas that lack a valid Form I-693 and is directly contacting applicants to request that form.
  • If you know that your previously filed Form I-485 does not have a valid Form I-693, your underlying petition is approved, and a visa is available to you, it will help USCIS use the available visas and adjudicate your application if you visit a civil surgeon and have a valid Form I-693 on hand when USCIS sends the request to you.
  • A Form I-693 is valid for two years from the date on which the civil surgeon signs the form.

 

USCIS issued the information above via an emailed public engagement notice, and made a brief related announcement on Twitter.

Details:

·        USCIS tweet, https://bit.ly/3ujUxcn

Supreme Court Allows Biden Administration to Terminate ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy

On June 30, 2022, the Supreme Court held that the Biden administration could end the so-called “Remain in Mexico” policy, which required asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for their immigration hearings. The Court ruled that the Biden administration’s attempt to terminate it via a memorandum issued in October 2021 was a valid final agency action.

The Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remanded the case for further proceedings consistent with its opinion. On remand, “the District Court should consider in the first instance whether the October 29 Memoranda comply with section 706 of the [Administrative Procedure Act,” the Court said.

Chief Justice Roberts delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan, and Kavanaugh joined. Justice Kavanaugh filed a concurring opinion. Justices Alito, Barrett, Thomas, and Gorsuch dissented.

Details:

·        Biden v. Texas, 597 U.S. ___ (2002), https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/21pdf/21-954_7l48.pdf
·        “The U.S. Supreme Court Rules Administration Can End ‘Remain in Mexico’ Immigration Policy,” Texas Public Radio, June 30, 2022, https://www.tpr.org/border-immigration/2022-06-30/the-u-s-supreme-court-rules-biden-administration-can-end-remain-in-mexico-immigration-policy
White House Extends and Expands Eligibility for Deferred Enforced Departure for Liberians

The White House issued a memorandum deferring through June 30, 2024, the removal of any Liberian national, or person without nationality who last habitually resided in Liberia, who is present in the United States and who was under a grant of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) as of June 30, 2022, as well as any Liberian national, or person without nationality who last habitually resided in Liberia, who has been continuously physically present in the United States since May 20, 2017. Also, any Liberian national, or person without nationality who last habitually resided in Liberia, who was under a grant of DED as of June 30, 2022, or who has been continuously physically present in the United States since May 20, 2017, will have continued employment authorization through June 30, 2024.

The memo directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to publish a notice in the Federal Register to grant work permits for Liberians who held appropriate DED-related employment authorization documents as of June 30, 2022, or those Liberian nationals who have been continuously present in the United States since May 20, 2017. The memo also directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to provide for “the prompt issuance of new or replacement employment authorization documents in appropriate cases.”

Details:

·        Memorandum on Extending and Expanding Eligibility for Deferred Enforced Departure for Liberians, Presidential Action, June 27, 2022, https://bit.ly/3RaarA2
CBP Ends Use of Expired U.S. Passports for Direct Return of U.S. Citizens to United States

As of July 1, 2022, U.S. citizens can no longer use their expired U.S. passports to return to the United States. U.S. citizens overseas with expired passports should contact their nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to apply for a passport.

Details:

·        Websites of U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions, https://www.usembassy.gov/
CIS Ombudsman Submits 2022 Annual Report to Congress

On June 30, 2022, the Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) Ombudsman submitted its 2022 Annual Report to Congress. The report outlines “some of the most significant problems encountered by individuals and employers when seeking immigration benefits,” including backlogs, issues with employment authorization documents (EADs), expedite requests, and others. The report also provides recommendations for how U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can address these problems and improve its administrative processes.

Highlights include the “avalanche impact of backlogs,” the need for more flexibility in renewing employment authorization, accessibility to advance parole in a timely manner, access to the expedite process, ways to address the affirmative asylum backlog, barriers to obtaining proof of employment authorization for asylum applicants in removal proceedings, USCIS’s digital strategy, and the U nonimmigrant status “bona fide determination” process.

Details:
·        Annual Report 2022, CIS Ombudsman, June 30, 2022, https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/2022-06/CIS_Ombudsman_2022_Annual_Report_0.pdf
ABIL Global: Canada

Canada has launched a new stream of immigration for Ukrainians.

A new program called the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) allows Ukrainian nationals to apply for a Canadian visa without most of the usual requirements (free of charge, exempt from completing an immigration medical exam overseas, the option to apply for an open work permit, exempt from Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination requirements) excepting biometrics in certain cases and ArriveCAN. Announced on March 17, 2022, the CUAET is particularly interesting for Ukrainians as compared to other visas available because it allows them to obtain an open work permit and/or study permit free of charge, and they can be authorized to stay in Canada up to three years instead of the standard six months. For non-complex cases, the aim is to approve such visa applications within 14 days of receipt. No sponsor in Canada is required, no ties to home country are to be considered, and there are no financial requirements.

To apply for CUAET, Ukrainians need to apply for a Temporary Resident Visa and an Open Work Permit by mentioning in their application that it is made through CUAET to highlight the urgency of the demand to the visa officers. Once the application is submitted, Ukrainians need to take biometrics only if they are aged 18 to 60. Then they normally would need to submit their passport for placement of Canadian Visa (although Canadian authorities now emit counterfoil-less visas if the applicant is in one of six departure countries: Poland, Germany, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, or Romania).

On April 28, 2022, Canada received 163,747 applications and approved 56,633, and 19,628 Ukrainians arrived in Canada. According to reports, because there is no limit on the number of CUAET applications of CUAET, it is a popular and successful program.

Details:

New Publications and Items of Interest

“Eligible to Naturalize” factsheets. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has released fact sheets providing information on the “eligible to naturalize” population, including select characteristics of people with lawful permanent resident status in several areas.

https://www.uscis.gov/news/all-news/fact-sheets (scroll to May 16, 2022)

Readout on backlog reduction. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services held a virtual public engagement on May 18, 2022, with nearly 2,000 stakeholders nationwide on the agency’s efforts to reduce backlogs and improve processing times. USCIS updated participants on the agency’s recently announced initiatives to use all available regulatory, policy, and operational tools to reduce backlogs and processing times, including the expansion of premium processing, providing timely access to employment authorization documents, and further reducing the agency’s pending caseload. https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/news-releases/readout-of-national-public-engagement-on-backlog-reduction

Effects of long visa processing delays on tourism and business travelers. On May 9, 2022, Bloomberg Law published “Tourism Industry Rebound Hampered by Long Visa Processing Delays.” The article notes that international travel to the United States is not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024 at the earliest, in large part because of long visa wait times in some of the largest markets for international travel to the United States. For example, the article notes, as of May 2022 inbound travelers can expect to wait 702 days in Guadalajara, Mexico; 354 days in Sao Paulo, Brazil; and 643 days in Bogota, Colombia. International visitors “typically make up about half of business and tourist travel to the Miami area,” two-thirds of which is from South American countries. Securing visas through the Department of State “has become a major hurdle for international tourists and business travelers, foreign workers, and immigrants seeking family-based green cards,” the article states.https://news.bloomberglaw.com/daily-labor-report/tourism-industry-rebound-hampered-by-long-visa-processing-delays

Ukrainian-language “Uniting for Ukraine” information. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services provided information in Ukrainian on the “Uniting for Ukraine” program, under which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will offer certain Ukrainian citizens and their immediate family members recently displaced by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine an opportunity to travel to the United States to seek humanitarian parole for up to two years. Qualifications include passing biometric and biographic vetting, having sufficient financial support in the United States, and meeting other eligibility requirements. https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/alerts/uscis-nadae-informaciyu-schodo-ednannya-zaradi-ukraini (Ukrainian); https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/alerts/uscis-provides-information-on-uniting-for-ukraine

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/media/resourcesContents/SAVESearchCasesTipSheet.pdf

Helpful Links:

Immigration Agency Information

Department of Homeland Security:DHS.gov/coronavirus

USCIS: USCIS.gov/coronavirus

ICE:

CBP:

Department of Labor:

State Department:https://www.state.gov/coronavirus/

Justice Department

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/webinars.

E-Verify webinar schedule. E-Verify has released its calendar of webinars at https://www.e-verify.gov/calendar-field_date_and_time/month

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/processing-times/

Department of State Visa Bulletin:

https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/law-and-policy/bulletin.html

Visa application wait times for any post:https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/general/wait-times.html/

Kuck Baxter Immigration — In The News

IMMpact Immigration Litigation, a joint venture created by Kuck Baxter Immigration LLC and Siskind Susser PC, and Joseph and Hall, LLC announced the first addition to its group of law firms since the joint venture’s founding in 2020: Wasden Bless & Forney. IMMpact, created with the goal of pooling resources to pursue mass immigration-related litigation, has filed 23 federal cases so far, including challenging various Department of State visa bans, a Department of Labor regulation, various cases relating to delays in processing of immigration benefits, and others. Mr. Kuck said, “We are excited and honored to have this amazing team of immigration litigators join the IMMpact Litigation team. Their individual and combined experience in federal court and deep knowledge of government litigation tactics allows IMMpact to offer our clients an unprecedented depth of skill and capacity.” https://www.immpactlitigation.com/

Charles Kuck and Associate Attorney Emily Lund discussed the firm’s strategy in a new case in an article entitled, “Anna Sorokin fired her lawyer and hired a new team just as a court let her stay in the US a little longer” with the Insider.https://www.insider.com/anna-sorokin-delvey-hires-new-legal-team-not-deported-2022-4

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/usa

We have changed the location of our podcast–The Immigration Hour— to Stitcher. We are entering our 13th year of continuous broadcasts. Listen 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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Kuck Baxter Immigration

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