The Supreme Court has agreed to hear an important case out of Texas challenging President Obama’s Executive Order which would have extended a temporary legal status to parents of citizens and permanent residents. The court added its own question to the issues raised: whether Obama violated his constitutional obligations to enforce the nation’s laws. The answer to this question, according to the New York Times, “could significantly alter the scope of presidential power in realms far beyond immigration.” The case is likely to be heard in April and a decision rendered in June.
For more information, click here: Supreme Court to hear DAPA case
The field office for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will move from Bloomington to downtown Minneapolis, which will make it more accessible for thousands of immigrants in Minnesota, the Dakotas, and western Wisconsin. Previously, the field office was to be moved from Bloomington to the Bloomington/Eden Praire border, where there was no access to public transportation. The USCIS field office is where immigrants go for interviews with immigration authorities and for other immigration-related appointments.
For more information, click here: New Location for USCIS Field Office
In early January, the Department of Homeland Security carried out a series of home raids to deport hundreds of men, women, and children who had fled "shockingly high levels of gang and drug violence, hunger and poverty" in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The New York Times highlighted the contradiction between the raids and what President Obama had said in November 2014 about his administration's deportation priorities: “We’ll keep focusing enforcement resources on actual threats to our security. That means felons, not families. That means criminals, not children. It means gang members, not moms who are trying to put food on the table for their kids.”
For more information, click here: Roundup of Refugees
The spouses of people who are in the final stages of the employment-based green card process can now obtain authorization to work in the U.S. Previously, spouses had to wait until the the green card was in hand before they could work, which could take years (sometimes over a decade) due to backlogs. In the Star Tribune, Mark Schneider, the Associate Director for Employment-Based Visas at the University of Minnesota, said that faculty had left the university (and the U.S.) because spouses could not work: “It puts a lot of pressure on families when one spouse comes here to do big stuff and the other has to sit on their hands.” The Obama administration hopes that the new rule will “help U.S. companies retain foreign talent and ward off competition from countries with looser immigration policies.”
For more information, click here: Work Authorization for Spouses of Green Card Applicants
In early January, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) plans to carry out raids to deport hundreds of families that have fled violence in Central America. Gregory Chen, director of advocacy for the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), states that the Obama administration “has never acknowledged the truth: that these families are refugees seeking asylum who should be given humanitarian protection rather than being detained and rounded up. When other countries are welcoming far more refugees, the U.S. should be ashamed for using jails and even contemplating large-scale deportation tactics.” According to the Washington Post, “[m]ore than 100,000 [Central American] families with both adults and children have made the journey across the southwest border since last year, though this migration has largely been overshadowed by a related surge of unaccompanied minors” from Central America. Experts say that the violence that drove people from Central America last year has only intensified, "with the homicide rate in El Salvador reaching its highest level in a generation." - Justin Rhodes
For more information, click here: Planned deportation of Central American families
The omnibus spending bill that President Obama is expected to sign contains provisions that will affect many immigrants and non-immigrants. The provisions “impose stricter security requirements on Visa Waiver Program (VWP) travelers; require ‘e-Passports’ of all VWP travelers; reauthorize the EB-5 Regional Center and E-Verify programs through September 30, 2016; and raise the filing fees for . . . H-1B and L-1 visa petitions” filed by “companies that have at least 50 employees with 50% of them holding H-1B or L-1 status.” - Justin Rhodes
For more information, click here: Congress Passes Legislation Affecting Visa Waiver Program
The Office of Foreign Labor Certification has posted updated performance fact sheets containing the Quarter 4 FY 2015 selected statistics for the H-1B, H-2A and H-2B programs. The three fact sheets that may be of the most interest to our clients can be found below.
For More Information, Click Here.
At a naturalization ceremony in Washington, President Obama gave an impassioned defense of immigration, calling it “our origin story.” He warned against succumbing to fear and mistreating immigrants, as had been done to slaves and to immigrants from Ireland, Japan, China, and elsewhere. Obama added, “In the Mexican immigrant today, we see the Catholic immigrant of a century ago . . . . In the Syrian seeking refuge today, we should see the Jewish refugee of World War II.”
Obama speaks at Naturalization Ceremony