* Dramatization
* Dramatization
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pexels-photo-92730-300x200Three ex-secretaries of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are urging Congress to expedite legislation that will serve as an alternative program for the hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), warning that the deadline may come sooner than they think.

Janet Napolitano and Jeh Johnson, as well as Michael Chertoff, former Homeland Security secretaries under the Obama and Bush administrations, respectively, wrote a letter addressed to Congress—the letter came at a time when legislative leaders and Trump administration officials were set to meet at Capitol Hill to discuss the DACA program.

“We write not only in strong support of this legislation, but to stress that it should be enacted speedily in order to meet the significant administrative requirements of implementation as well as the need to provide certainty for employers and these young people,” wrote the former secretaries.

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construction-site-build-construction-work-159306-300x200Hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals working in the country may lose their H-1B visas as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) looks to implement new regulations that will stop extensions of the work-based non-immigrant visa.

At present, Homeland Security’s proposal exists only as a draft circulating within the Department’s higher ranks. The move is central to the Trump administration’s “Buy American, Hire American” initiative, following up on one of the key promises by the president during the campaign period.

The Trump administration is seeking to reinterpret the “may grant” language stipulated in the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act to end the H-1B extensions. The law allows the administration to extend the H-1B visas of thousands of immigrants, most skilled workers from India, beyond the allowable two three-year terms with a pending green card.

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welder-3018425_640-300x204US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that applications for the H-2B visa have already reached the congressionally mandated cap for the first half of 2018.

December 15, 2017 was the final day for receipt of new H-2B worker petitions requesting an employment start date in the United States before April 1, 2018. As such, Immigration Services will not be accommodating any new H-2B petitions with an employment start date on April due to the cap being reached.

What is the H-2B Program?

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hammer-1707721_640-300x225The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled per curiam on Friday that the third iteration of President Trump’s travel and immigration ban on Muslim-majority countries is illegal despite a recent Supreme Court ruling that concludes otherwise.

The three-judge panel from the federal appeals court unanimously decided that in issuing the travel ban, believed to be prejudicially targeting over 150 million individuals from predominantly Muslim countries, Trump had gone beyond the limits of his power as President of the United States.

The judges supplement their decision with a jab at the Trump administration’s inability to produce a “legally sufficient” finding that proves travel from any of the countries listed in the ban would be “detrimental to the interests of the United States.”

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flag-1291945_640-300x210Honduran and Nicaraguan immigrants under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) can now re-register to extend their stay in the United States as the Department of Homeland Security recently announced that it will resume accepting TPS applications. Re-registration will be available from December 15, 2017, to February 13, 2018.

In 1999, Hurricane Mitch tore through much of Central America, causing massive flooding in Nicaragua and Honduras, whose citizens were to seek refuge in neighboring countries. Many of the hurricane’s survivors made their way to the U.S. where their circumstances merited Temporary Protected Status.

Temporary Protected Status is a temporary immigration status that can be acquired by individuals from countries the Secretary of Homeland Security determines unsafe to return to. Conditions that merit TPS include extraordinary and temporary conditions like armed conflict and, in the case of Honduras and Nicaragua, environmental disasters. TPS beneficiaries cannot be deported from the U.S. while under the status and can legally work in the country after obtaining employment authorization documents. They can even receive travel authorization.

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trust-3031679_640-300x200U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that it will soon be implementing the International Entrepreneur Rule (IER), a program allowing foreign entrepreneurs to apply to stay in the United States in line with a District Court ruling.

The IER gives foreign entrepreneurs the opportunity to stay in the country provided they meet the qualifying criteria. It was expected to take effect on July 17, 2017, but was unable to because of a final rule issued by the Department of Homeland Security intended to delay its effective date to March 14, 2018. USCIS needed more time to review the IER, delaying its implementation as a result.

The delay was challenged by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in the case of National Venture Capital Association v. Duke, resulting in a ruling that would vacate the USCIS’s final rule to delay the effective date.

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flag-2110293_640-300x200The Trump administration secured a Supreme Court stay of proceedings last week, successfully brushing off a California challenge to the president’s repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an Obama-era executive order that grants protection against deportation to undocumented immigrants brought into the country as minors.

The high court’s justices were predictably divided along party lines, with the Republican justices in favor of the stay and Democrat justices dissenting on the grounds that the government has “not come close to” meeting its burden.

Writing in dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer said, “The court today abandons its practice of nonintervention in this kind of discovery-related dispute. In addition to disrupting the progress of this litigation, I fear that the court’s decision to intervene here means we will be asked to address run-of-the-mill discovery disputes in many other matters, certainly when the government is involved and potentially when it is not involved. In my view, the court should maintain its usual policy of abstaining from disputes like this one.”

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pexels-photo-378570-300x192As the March 2018 deadline approaches for Congress to come up with a replacement to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, legislators are scrambling to come up with proposals for a new DREAMer immigration program that would draw bipartisan support.

Established in 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) allows immigrants who entered the United States as children to apply for temporary deferred action from deportation. Although President Trump promised that DREAMers “should rest easy” under his administration, he, through Attorney General Jeff Sessions, announced that the White House would be repealing the Obama-era executive order. The White House, however, called on Congress to take action, giving lawmakers 6 months to pass legislation that would protect DREAMers.

Congress now has until March 6, 2018, to come up with a legislative solution for the nearly 700,000 “DREAMers” who legally live and work in the United States through DACA. Congress has since attempted to pass several replacement bills – many of which promise citizenship – with the hope that a solution can be enacted before DACA lapses. Below are 3 replacement bills being considered.

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airport-1822133_640-300x206The Supreme Court has allowed the Trump administration to fully implement its revised travel ban, effectively blocking citizens from Iran, Libya, Chad, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, North Korea, and Venezuela from traveling and immigrating to the United States. The terse ruling comes at a time when lower courts are still hearing legal challenges over the constitutionality of the ban.

The travel ban has gone through several revisions as each iteration was put down by challenges in lower courts across the country. These were successful for a time as district judges issued injunctions against the ban from being fully implemented. But the high court has decided to side with the administration, which had requested a lifting of the lower courts’ rulings preventing full enforcement of the ban.

Criticism of the ban comes from the choice of affected countries. Among the eight, six are Muslim-majority countries, which critics say reflects the largely bigoted and anti-Muslim direction the Trump administration has taken with its recent slew of immigration policies.  

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american-1747357_640-300x200U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions implored immigration courts across the country on Wednesday to review cases more efficiently, noting that the growing backlog of cases poses a challenge to the Trump administration’s efforts to crack down on undocumented immigration in the country.

Sessions sent a memo to the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), the government agency in charge of conducting immigration court proceedings, which contained an outline of five “core principles” for EOIR staff to follow.

In it, Sessions requested immigration judges and related personnel to “increase productivity, enhance efficiencies, and ensure the timely and proper administration of justice” insofar as their methods nonetheless remain “consistent with the law” and the values he had provided.