* Dramatization
* Dramatization
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trump-1822121_640-300x213President Trump has disclosed his plans to revoke birthright citizenship to babies born on U.S. soil through an executive order—the latest in a string of moves to crack down on both lawful and unlawful immigration to the United States.

Children born in the United States, including those whose parents are foreign nationals, become U.S. citizens by default as provided by the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution, which states that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

President Trump, however, wants to rescind the 14th amendment through an executive order, a move that could trigger a constitutional crisis. In an interview with Axios, he argued that “It is ridiculous [how] we’re the only country in the world where a person comes in, has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years with all of those benefits.”

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police-869216_640-300x200The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently published a notice of proposed rule-making that would rescind employment authorization for certain H-4 visa dependent spouses of H1-B immigrant workers.

Provided under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the H-1B visa allows employers in the United States to hire foreign nationals to occupy highly specialized positions in fields such as medicine, engineering, and other sciences. Dependents of H-1B holders, including spouses and children, may also come to the U.S. and acquire work authorization through the H-4 visa.

The DHS, however has proposed revoking employment authorization for certain H-4 visa holders under Proposed Rule (RIN 1514-AC15). This rule change, according to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Lee Francis Cissna, was supposed to take effect as soon as February 2018 but was held off as other regulatory agenda items were up for review.

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time-273857_640-300x200US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that it would be accepting new cap-subject petitions for H-1B visas for 2020 beginning April 1, 2019. The agency called on employers with existing H-1B employees and employers looking to hire migrant workers in the future to begin processing the necessary paperwork to ensure their employees can work legally in the United States.

In addition, individuals with F-1 student visas, as well as those who are looking to shift to H-1B status from another visa, such as the E-3, L-1, O-1, or TN visa, may need their prospective employers to file their H-1B petitions on their behalf.

About the H-1B Visa Program

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industry-406905_640-300x200In August this year, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents raided a trailer manufacturing plant in Tigertown, Texas, in what would launch a series of immigration enforcement operations against employers that knowingly hire immigrants without work authorization.

Load Trail LLC CEO Kevin Hiebert describes the raid – which occurred on the morning of August 28 at the Load Trail plant two hours northeast of Dallas – as looking like something out of a movie, involving a helicopter and 300 armed ICE agents. The agency took more than 150 Load Trail employees into custody, booked them for working in the country without authorization, and proceeded with a criminal investigation of the company that hired them.

Load Trail, however, was only the first of several similar encounters that ensued shortly after. In this year alone, ICE agents have raided a number of 7-Eleven stores, dairy and vegetable farms, a feedlot, and a meatpacking plant.

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border-control-2474151_640-300x188On Monday, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), along with nine other immigrant rights advocacy groups, filed a lawsuit against US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) over a massive backlog of citizenship applications.

As of this writing, USCIS faces a tremendous backlog of over 730,000 pending naturalization applications, which, according to California State Representative Judy Chu, represents an 87 percent increase since 2015.

And according to a letter signed by more than 50 Congressional members delivered to USCIS Director Lee Francis Cissna, processing times for citizenship applications have also increased, running for an average of 11 months compared to the previous six months.

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tic-tac-toe-1777859_640-300x200On September 22, 2018, the Trump administration, through the Department of Homeland Security, announced a proposed rule that would change how the government classifies an immigrant entering the country or applying for a green card as a public charge. If approved, the rule would also take into account an individual’s use of public benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and prohibit him or her from entering the US or applying for a green card.

Under longstanding immigration policy, the government requires immigrants applying for legal permanent resident status through a family member to prove that they will be self-sufficient once they become a permanent resident in the US. To meet this requirement, applicants usually showed proof of income that meets the threshold of 125% of the poverty guidelines, which is around $25,975 for a family of three. Immigrants who are unable to meet this threshold can combine the income of a joint sponsor with their own.

The Trump administration, however, is considering doing away with the joint sponsor solution and is proposing to allow agencies to do deeper background checks on green card applicants, taking into account factors such as age, education, health, credit score, and even the previous use of public benefits, which could be grounds for denial.

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justice-471885_640-300x225A ruling by a federal judge on October 5 may have put a categorical end to the Trump administration’s policy of denying federal grants to “sanctuary cities” that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement policies—such cities include California, San Francisco, and Austin among others.

US District Judge William Orrick III ruled that the Justice Department cannot place immigration-related conditions on federal grants, affirming similar rulings from judges in Chicago and Philadelphia. He also ruled that an immigration law, Section 1373 of Title 8 of the US Code of Laws, is unconstitutional.

Section 1373 demands the complete and uninhibited communication between a federal, state, or local government entity and the Immigration and Naturalization Service in the disclosure of an individual’s immigration status.

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laptop-2838921_640-300x178A federal judge ruled against the Trump administration’s plans to end the temporary protected status (TPS) designation for the over 300,000 immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti, and Nicaragua.

Late last year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its intention to remove the TPS designation of El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan, claiming that the conditions that initially allowed for these countries to receive TPS designation, such as political unrest, extreme natural disasters, and gang-related violence, are no longer as prominent as they once were. And so, the federal government found it reasonable to require citizens from these countries in the United States to pack their bags and head home.

US District Judge Edward M. Chen of San Francisco, however, found that the government’s decision to end the legal status for these countries was problematic on several fronts.

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login-570317_640-300x196In an unexpected move after President Trump announced last year that he would eliminate the program, the US Department of State published instructions for the entry process to the Diversity Visa 2020 (DV-2020) immigration program.

A section in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides for the issuance of a limited number of visas every fiscal year to a certain class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants”—foreign nationals from countries with usually low rates of immigration to the United States. The Diversity Visa program makes use of a lottery system in issuing 50,000 of such visas, all of which lead to lawful permanent resident status.

While registration to the program is free, those looking to apply have strict eligibility requirements to meet.

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agenda-3704352_640-300x200Petitioners pursuing employment-based immigration into the United States can breathe easy for now as US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced it will be focusing on deporting immigrants who are unlawfully in the country through other channels first.

USCIS recently published an update to its policies surrounding the issuance of NTAs, claiming that it will be expediting the process of deportation by authorizing its officers to send out these notices when an immigrant is found to be unlawfully present. The agency announced the policy as early as July 2018 but held off its implementation until it could work out the finer details of its application.

The rollout of this policy change is set to disproportionately affect immigrants who apply for and are subsequently denied lawful presence in the US on various bases.