1. A Note from Ron Klasko
2017 has been a challenging year. Immigration has been the subject of attack in unprecedented ways.
We have found ourselves regularly defending the importance of immigration to our country while at the same time defending against restrictive interpretations of policies and principles that have gone unchallenged for decades. We are proud that we have continued to produce the same positive results for our clients…it’s just been more complicated and more time consuming.
One thing that hasn’t changed is our bond with our clients and our staff. We are so proud of the unmatched loyalty of our wonderful clients, and we work hard every day to continue to earn that trust and respect. We are also very proud that our employees’ evaluations of our firm have earned us “Best Places to Work” in Philadelphia for the second consecutive year.
As the year draws to a close, I want to take this opportunity on behalf of all of us at Klasko Immigration Law Partners to wish everyone a joyous holiday season and an even better 2018.[Back to Top]
2. Supreme Court Allows September 24 Entry Restrictions in Presidential Proclamation to Go Into Effect
The courts, which have wholly or partially blocked the administration’s efforts until now, lifted a temporary hold on the latest version of the Trump administration’s “travel ban” on December 4th without explanation, allowing the ban in its entirety to go into effect.
On Sunday, September 24th, the President issued a Proclamation suspending the entry of nationals of eight countries and removing Sudan from the list of banned countries. In October, the latest iteration of the ban was blocked, in part, while legal challenges moved through the courts. However, the Supreme Court ruled this week that the Proclamation could go into effect in its entirety until litigation on the matter is resolved. For a full discussion on the details of the Proclamation and its impact on foreign nationals from designated countries, please see William A. Stock’s latest client alert, here.[Back to Top]
3. USCIS Warns About Scams Requesting I-9 Forms Via Email
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that employers have received scam emails requesting Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, information.
The emails claim to come from USCIS but the agency advises they do not, and reminds employers they are not required to submit Forms I-9 to USCIS but must retain them for a period of time.
USCIS said that the scam emails have been coming from the fraudulent email address: firstname.lastname@example.org, which it emphasizes is not a USCIS email address. The body of the email may contain USCIS and Office of the Inspector General labels, your address, and a fraudulent download link to a non-government web address (uscis-online.org). In a statement on the matter, USCIS warned recipients not to respond or click on any links contained in the phone emails.
Those who believe they received such scam email requesting I-9 information from USCIS may report it to the Federal Trade Commission here. Those who are uncertain may forward the suspicious email to the USCIS webmaster, email@example.com. USCIS states that it “will review the emails received and share with law enforcement agencies as appropriate.”
USCIS scam alerts and related resources are available here.[Back to Top]
4. E-Verify Employers Can Request Authorization to Post Logo
Employers are now permitted to request authorization to include the trademarked E-Verify logo on their websites and elsewhere.
E-Verify, the internet-based system that compares information on an employee’s Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification to data contained in U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) records, is used nationwide by employers to provide timely verification of an employee’s work authorization after hire.
USCIS recently announced that DHS adopted and is using the trademark, which is registered with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. The agency also advised that employers may request authorization to make use of the digitized logo on their own websites and in approved printed materials to signal a “commit[ment] to maintaining a legal workforce.” Employers must meet certain criteria for use, which are detailed in the Guidelines and Licensing Agreement, located here. Information about the trademark’s use is available here. Employers may also email firstname.lastname@example.org with additional questions or to submit signed agreements.[Back to Top]
5. DHS Announces Delayed Termination of TPS for Nicaragua, Six-Month Extension for Honduras
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke announced on November 6, 2017, her decision to terminate the temporary protected status (TPS) designation for Nicaragua with a delayed effective date of 12 months to allow for an orderly transition before the designation terminates on January 5, 2019. She also determined that additional information is necessary regarding the TPS designation for Honduras before a determination can be made, thereby extending that country’s designation from January 5, 2018 to July 5, 2018.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said the decision to terminate TPS for Nicaragua was made after a review of the conditions on which the country’s original 1999 designation were based, and whether those “substantial but temporary” conditions prevented Nicaragua from adequately handling the return of its nationals. Based on all available information, Acting Secretary Duke determined that those substantial but temporary conditions, which were caused by Hurricane Mitch, no longer exist, and thus the current TPS designation must be terminated.
DHS said that the 12-month delay in the TPS expiration for Nicaragua “will provide time for individuals with TPS to seek an alternative lawful immigration status in the United States, if eligible, or, if necessary, arrange for their departure. It will also provide time for Nicaragua to prepare for the return and reintegration of their citizens.”
Regarding Honduras, Acting Secretary Duke said she concluded that despite receiving input from a broad spectrum of sources, additional time is necessary to obtain and assess supplemental information pertaining to country conditions in Honduras to make an “appropriately deliberative” TPS designation determination. Based on the lack of definitive information regarding conditions on the ground compared to pre-Hurricane Mitch, the Acting Secretary has not made a determination yet, thereby automatically extending the current TPS designation for Honduras by six months.
DHS noted, however, that it is possible that the TPS designation for Honduras will be terminated at the end of the 6-month automatic extension “with an appropriate delay.”
DHS said that it recognizes the difficulty facing citizens of Nicaragua, “and potentially citizens of other countries,” who have received TPS designation for “close to two decades.” Acting Secretary Duke called on Congress “to enact a permanent solution for this inherently temporary program.”
Nicaraguans and Hondurans with TPS will be required to reapply for employment authorization documents to legally work in the United States until the end of their TPS extensions. Further details will appear in a Federal Register notice, DHS said.
The full announcement including signed memos is available here.[Back to Top]
6. USCIS Increases Scrutiny of Certain Nonimmigrant Extension Requests
Under updated policy guidance, USCIS is instructing its officers to apply the same level of scrutiny to both initial petitions and extension requests for certain nonimmigrant visa categories.
Prior USCIS policy held that officers could give deference to the findings of a previously approved petitions as long as the key elements were unchanged and there was no evidence of a material error or fraud related to the prior determination. The new policy guidance, which applies to nearly all nonimmigrant classifications filed using Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, rescinds that policy and specifically instructs officers to apply the same level of scrutiny when reviewing nonimmigrant visa extension requests, even where the petitioner, beneficiary, and underlying facts are unchanged.
“While adjudicators may ultimately reach the same conclusion as in a prior decision, they are not compelled to do so as a default starting point as the burden of proof to establish eligibility for an immigration benefit always lies with the petitioner,” USCIS said, adding that the adjudicator’s determination “is based on the merits of each case, and officers may request additional evidence if the petitioner has not submitted sufficient evidence to establish eligibility.”
Petitioners and their beneficiaries are now advised to treat extension applications as they would an initial petition, and to anticipate more time for adjudication of extension requests. The USCIS announcement is available here, and the full, updated policy guidance is here.[Back to Top]
7. Klasko News
IN THE NEWS
H. Ronald Klasko in Multiple Publications on EB-5
IT Business Net covered the announcement of a new EB-5 Visa processing timeline tool for investors on October 16, 2017. Also on October 16, EB-5 Supermarket recapped the successful 2017 Klasko EB-5 Seminar. In an article on EB-5’s popularity in China, Bloomberg Businessweek quote Ron on the topic. Ron was also quoted in the The Real Deal on the latest from USCIS on the redeployment of EB-5 funds. Finally, The Wall Street Journal published an article about the latest developments in EB-5 quoting Ron, including on redeployment of funds and what changes may come in December.
William Stock Quoted about Developments on H-1B Extensions and DACA
Bill spoke to Bloomberg Law’s Daily Labor Report on October 11, about the additional scrutiny that the Justice and State departments will put on employers that hire foreign workers. A new USCIS policy just released on October 23, those H-1B visa holders will be reviewed as if they are new by officers if there are no significant changes to their job descriptions. The San Francisco Chronicle, The Indian Express, and Little India quoted Bill on how “the change is being made retroactively to people already living in the country and not just to new visa applicants.” Covering the same policy change, NBC News quoted Bill on how the change will be costly and inefficient for employers. Law360 ended this article about being an immigration attorney in the Trump era with these words from Bill, “The value of a really good lawyer becomes evident at times like this.” On November 30, Bill also spoke with Splinter News and was quoted in this opinion piece calling on DACA employers to act. Bill spoke with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Monday, December 2, on the what’s known about Pittsburgh Pirates player’s, Jung Ho Kang, visa situation, having been recently denied due to past DUIs. Earlier this week, Bill talked with KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO CBS affiliate in Los Angeles about the latest news on the Travel Ban.
RECENT SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS
Ron attended the AILA Latin American and Caribbean Chapter 2017 CLE Conference: Global Citizenship and the Foreign National. He participated on two panels: Hot Topics- Including Conference Participant Interactive Session on Consulate Adjudication Trends and Alerts and EB-5: The Fallout. Ron spoke at the International Migration Summit in Conrad Guangzhou, taking place from November 8-10, 2017, on the panel entitled Solutions to EB-5 Quota Wait – – Legislation? Litigation? Or E or L Visa? While in China, Ron also spoke at the 11th Global Residence and Citizenship Conference hosted by Henley and Partners in Hong Kong from November 14-16.
William A. Stock
On Friday, November 17, Bill Stock attended the 8th Biennial Global Immigration Conference in London, England. While there, he participated on a panel entitled US immigration and visa policy in the Trump era – what has changed and what has not? This was a review of key administrative, legislative and judicial trends.
Elise A. Fialkowski
Elise started November with a roundtable discussion at the 2017 Eurasian-American Technology Entrepreneurship Conference at Temple University’s Center City campus in Philadelphia. Then she traveled to Sunnyvale, CA to participate in the I-9 & E-Verify Boot Camp, from November 8-9 and presented on the latest developments and hot topics in I-9 and E-Verify compliance as well as E-Verify data mining by ICE and IER. The following week, she spoke on two panels at the 2017 NAFSA Region VIII Conference in Morgantown, West Virginia. Her panels were entitled Latest Developments in Search of Electronic Devices by Border Agents and Help, I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up.
Daniel B. Lundy
From October 23-25, Daniel B. Lundy attended the IIUSA 2017 EB-5 Industry Forum in Miami, Florida and participated in a breakout session entitled RFE Trends: What is USCIS Focused on in EB-5 Investor & Project. This panel examined the reasons for these RFEs, what information USCIS is requesting and analyzed what this means for the way USCIS is adjudicating EB-5 petitions and applications. Dan also presented on the topic “Ethical Issues in EB-5 Scenarios” for the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education event called “Advanced Corporate Immigration: Don’t Cross that Line! Ethics for Immigration Practitioners” on November 15, 2017.
Anu Nair attended and spoke at EB5 Investors Magazine’s 2017 Mumbai EB-5 & Investment Immigration Expo, which took place from October 4-5. This expo covered the buzzing EB-5 market in India, one of the fastest growing global markets with a rapidly increasing number of EB-5 applicants.
Michele G. Madera
Michele spoke to students at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, on Wednesday October 25, covering a number of topics ranging from updates on the latest Travel Ban to the effect a poor academic record may have on future visa applications.
Feige M. Grundman
On Tuesday November 8, Feige spoke to students at Carnegie Mellon. At the Office of International Students, Feige’s presentation was called “After OPT: Navigating Immigration and Your Career.”
Andrew J. Zeltner
On November 9, 2017, Andrew (Drew) Zeltner provided information at Princeton University Davis International Center on two topics: Immigration Options Beyond Post-Doctoral Experience and Immigration Options Beyond Practical Training.
Jessica A. DeNisi
Jessica moderated a panel for the 2017 Yale Alumni Real Estate Association Conference hosted by the Yale International Center for Finance. The conference is a venue to focus on new ideas and trends shaping a field that has a potential impact on the fabric of our communities.
UPCOMING SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS
Ronald Klasko | Daniel B. Lundy | Anu Nair
Three partners from Klasko Immigration Law Partners will be speaking at the 2017 AILA EB-5 Investors Summit. The summit is taking place in Las Vegas, NV from December 8-9, 2017. Ron will be discussion leader for the panel entitled “Representing Clients in Failed or Fraudulent Projects”. Daniel will also serve as discussion leader for “Regional Center Investments: Understanding the Deal and the Capital Stack”. Anu will participate on the panel entitled “Advanced Source of Funds and Path of Funds Issues”.
Ron will be attending and speaking at the 2018 Las Vegas EB-5 & Investment Immigration Convention from January 25-26
ICYMI: RECENT BLOG POSTS AND ALERTS
CLIENT ALERT: Supreme Court Allows September 24 Entry Restrictions To Go Into Effect
Bill updates the client alert issued on September 25, since the Supreme Court lifted a temporary hold on the most recent version of President Trump’s “travel ban” Executive Orders.
Three New Blogs from Ron Klasko
Ron recently returned from a 2-week trip to China. While traveling, he noted what was unusual about this trip and how the topic of discussion was not about typical EB-5 issues. In this blog, he discussed two alternatives to avoiding the backlog for an EB-5 visa: E-2 visa vs. EB-1C. In this article, he discusses the new world for Chinese investors interested in immigrating to the U.S.
CLIENT ALERT: What’s Old is New Again
Lisa T. Felix and Steven R. Miller wrote this client alert covering the policy memo rescinding deference to prior determinations.
Long-Time Visa Holders Fear New Immigration Guidance on Questioning Prior Approvals
Bill authored this article published in the Legal Intelligencer where he discusses the new #USCIS policy memo reversing guidance provided by a George W. Bush-era memo.
USCIS Quietly Introduces New Requirements for Redeployment, Changes Position on “At Risk” Period in Latest Updates to Policy Manual
Julianne Opet penned this article for the 2017 Fall NES Financial Medallion Partners eBook covering the new guidance for EB-5 investors on topics like redeployment and maintenance of funds at risk.
Path of Funds – It’s Complicated
In this article also for the 2017 Fall NES Financial eBook, Karuna Simbeck discusses the complicated and often changing process and standards for moving funds out of a country in order to invest.
China’s Currency Exchange Controls: Is Bitcoin the Perfect Solution?
Klasko Associate, F. Oliver Yang covers one of the most commonly raised questions from Chinese clients: How do I get my money out of China?
Lisa T. Felix and Steven R. Miller in the Legal Intelligencer
The Legal Intelligencer published an article co-authored by Lisa and Steve on the latest developments from the Trump administration on planned phase out of DACA and its potential economic impact.
CLIENT ALERT: New USCIS Form for EAD and Social Security Number
USCIS has issued a new Form I-765, which includes an application for a social security number on the same form. The new, streamlined process will make the transition to living and working in the U.S. smoother.
On Friday, November 10, Klasko staff hosted the second annual Firmsgiving event, a potluck-style lunch to celebrate the season of being thankful. The delicious dishes were brought in to the office by the culinary-inclined staff members to be enjoyed by all!
This newsletter was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Klasko Immigration Law Partners is an active member.[Back to Top]