1. President Biden Picks Nominees for USCIS, CBP
President Joe Biden has chosen Ur Jaddou to lead U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Chris Magnus to lead U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), according to reports. Below are biographical highlights.
Ur Jaddou, USCIS nominee. A White House statement notes that Ms. Jaddou has two decades of experience in immigration law, policy, and administration. Most recently, she was Director of DHS Watch, a project of America’s Voice. She is an adjunct professor of law at American University’s Washington College of Law, and counsel at Potomac Law Group, PLLC. From June 2014 to January 2017, she was Chief Counsel for USCIS. She also served as Chief Counsel to the House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Immigration, and as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional, Global and Functional Affairs in the Bureau of Legislative Affairs at the Department of State. Ms. Jaddou is a daughter of immigrants from Mexico (mother) and Iraq (father), and was born in California. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford University and a law degree from UCLA School of Law.
Chris Magnus, CBP nominee. The White House statement notes that Mr. Magnus is Police Chief in Tucson, Arizona. He has a long career in public safety, including with the Lansing, Michigan, police department and serving as Police Chief in Fargo, North Dakota; Richmond, California; and Tucson, Arizona. In those roles, Mr. Magnus focused on relationship-building between the police and community, implementing evidence-based best practices, promoting reform, and police accountability. Because of Tucson’s proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border, Mr. Magnus has “extensive experience in addressing immigration issues,” the White House said. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Michigan State University and attended the Senior Executives in State and Local Government program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
- “President Biden Announces His Intent to Nominate Key Members for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security,” White House, Apr. 12, 2021, https://bit.ly/3sqtDf8
- “Biden to Tap Former Police Chief to Lead CBP and Former NSA Official to Head Cybersecurity Agency,” CBS News, Apr. 12, 2021, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/biden-citizen-immigration-services-cybersecurity-border-protection/
2. F-1 Students Seeking OPT Can Now File Form I-765 Online
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 12, 2021, that F-1 students seeking optional practical training (OPT) can now file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, online if they are filing under one of these categories:
(c)(3)(A), Pre-Completion OPT
(c)(3)(B), Post-Completion OPT
(c)(3)(C), 24-Month Extension of OPT for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students
USCIS emphasized that the option to file Form I-765 online is only available to F-1 students filing Form I-765 for OPT, noting that “[i]f an applicant submits Form I-765 online to request employment authorization on or after April 15, but is eligible for a different employment authorization category, USCIS will deny the application and retain the fee. As USCIS continues to transition to paperless operations, the agency will work to expand online filing for Form I-765 to additional categories.”
To submit a form online, an individual must first create a USCIS online account at myaccount.uscis.gov. The free account allows people to submit forms, pay fees, track the status of their case, communicate with USCIS through a secure inbox, and respond to requests for additional evidence. USCIS continues to accept the latest paper versions of forms by mail.
- USCIS release, https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/f-1-students-seeking-optional-practical-training-can-now-file-form-i-765-online
3. State Dept. Updates Visa Services Guidance, Policy on National Interest Exceptions for Regional COVID Proclamations
The Department of State recently released several updates on visa services and national interest exception policy for regional COVID proclamations:
Visa Services Guidance
Referring to continued restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, the Department announced on April 6, 2021, that U.S. embassies and consulates that process nonimmigrant visa applications “are prioritizing travelers with urgent needs, foreign diplomats, mission-critical categories of travelers (such as those coming to assist with the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic and workers who are essential to the American food supply), followed by students, exchange visitors, and some temporary employment visas.”
With respect to visa services, for consular sections that have the capacity, “the processing of immigrant and [fiancé(e)] visas, particularly for immediate relatives and other family-sponsored applicants, is our highest priority. U.S. Embassies and Consulates are also prioritizing the processing of immigrant visa cases previously refused under the rescinded Presidential Proclamations 9645 and 9983,” the Department said.
The Department noted that as a result of the pandemic, appointment capacity continues to be reduced, which “has created a significant backlog of both immigrant and nonimmigrant visa applicants awaiting a visa interview.” The Department said it is working to reduce the backlog.
National Interest Exceptions
The Department announced on April 8, 2021, that the travel of immigrants, fiancé(e) visa holders, certain exchange visitors, and pilots and aircrew traveling to the United States for training or aircraft pickup, delivery, or maintenance is in the national interest for purposes of approving exceptions under the “geographic” COVID Presidential Proclamations (9984, 9992, and 10143).
The Department noted that these proclamations “restrict the entry of individuals physically present, within the 14 days before their attempted entry into the United States, in the People’s Republic of China, Islamic Republic of Iran, Schengen Area, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Federative Republic of Brazil, or Republic of South Africa.”
- “Visa Services Operating Status Update,” Dept. of State, Apr. 6, 2021, https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/visa-services-operating-status-update.html
- “Updates to National Interest Exceptions for Regional COVID Proclamations,” Dept. of State, Apr. 8, 2021, https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/updates-to-national-interest-exceptions-for-regional-covid-proclamations.html
4. Attorneys, AILA Sue State Dept. for Unlawfully Refusing to Issue Visas Due to Certain Travel Bans
Attorneys Jeff Joseph of Joseph and Hall PC, Charles Kuck of Kuck Baxter Immigration LLC, and Greg Siskind of Siskind Susser PC, along with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), filed a complaint on April 7, 2021, on behalf of scores of plaintiffs against the Department of State and Secretary Antony Blinken, alleging that the agency has unlawfully relied on certain travel bans in refusing to issue visas.
Specifically, the travel bans relate to suspensions of entry that apply to individuals who were physically present in Iran, China, Brazil, South Africa, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the Schengen area of Europe during the 14 days before seeking entry. The complaint states that these regional bans based on presence allow for entry after the individual has remained outside a designated country for 14 days, but that the defendants have refused to issue visas that would allow the plaintiffs to quarantine in a third country for 14 days before seeking entry.
- Complaint, April 7, 2021, https://www.aila.org/infonet/complaint-unlawful-suspension-of-visa-processing
- Press statement, AILA, April 8, 2021, https://www.aila.org/advo-media/press-releases/2021/litigation-team-sues-biden-administrations-state
5. OFLC Announces New Application for Prevailing Wage Determination
The Department of Labor’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) revised its Form ETA-9141, Application for Prevailing Wage Determination, for use beginning May 3, 2021.
As of 8 a.m. on May 3, 2021, OFLC will only accept prevailing wage applications submitted using the new form. OFLC will reject, without further review, prevailing wage paper applications submitted using the current version of the form. A stakeholder webinar will be held on April 27, 2021, at 2 p.m. ET (2 hours).
- OFLC announcement, https://www.dol.gov/agencies/eta/foreign-labor (scroll down to announcement on April 2, 2021)
- Webinar meeting link, https://usdol.webex.com/usdol/j.php?MTID=mdecd014fcb2a1d00e8ae503dca9890d4 (for more information, including alternative ways to join the webinar, see https://www.dol.gov/agencies/eta/foreign-labor (scroll down to webinar information on April 2, 2021)
6. CBP Reminds Carriers of LPR Boarding Policy
U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued guidance on March 5, 2021, for its Carrier Liaison Program on the current policy for boarding of lawful permanent residents (LPRs):
Unexpired Valid Permanent Resident Card
- Passengers with a valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card (PRC or “green card”) may be boarded without any additional documentation.
Re-Entry Permit (I-327): Valid and Unexpired
- Passengers with valid, unexpired re-entry permits are permitted to board without additional documentation.
- The document must be the original re-entry permit. Copies are not accepted.
Expired Permanent Resident Cards: Ten-year validity
- Lawful permanent residents (LPRs) with an expired I-551 may be boarded without penalty, provided the card was issued with a 10-year expiration date.
Expired Permanent Resident Cards: Containing Extension Sticker/Form I-797
- Starting in January 2021, the sticker that is currently issued to LPRs to extend the validity of their PRC (placed on the back of the card) has been discontinued.
- The revised I-797 receipt notice, together with an applicant’s PRC, will serve as temporary evidence of lawful permanent resident status for 12 months from the expiration date on the front of the green card.
- PRCs that contain the extension sticker will remain valid until the expiration date.
- The document must be the original I-797 permit. Copies are not accepted.
Expired Conditional Resident: Two-year validity
- A Conditional Resident with an expired PRC (with a two-year expiration date) may be boarded if also in possession of a Notice of Action (Form I-797).
- The Notice of Action extends the validity of the card for a specified length of time, generally 18 months.
- Do not board the traveler if they do not have Form I-797.
SB-1 Visas: Valid and Unexpired
- Travelers in possession of a valid, unexpired SB-1 visa in their passport may be boarded without additional documentation.
The guidance notes that “[a]irlines should not be determining admissibility of a [traveler] outside the parameters of the document requirements.
7. SSA Ends “No-Match” Letters
According to reports, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has ended the practice of sending employers “no-match” letters, called Employer Correction Request Notices. SSA said it will instead work to make it “better, easier and more convenient” for employers to report and correct wages electronically. The letters, which inform employers when W-2 information doesn’t match SSA’s records, were discontinued in 2012 but resurrected in March 2019.
Advocates had asked the agency to eliminate the letters, which they said caused problems such as workers losing their jobs due to mistakes in the database.
- “Immigration Advocates Say End of ‘No-Match Letters’ a Victory for Workers,” Chicago Sun-Times, Apr. 22, 2021, https://chicago.suntimes.com/2021/4/22/22397663/chicago-immigration-no-match-letters-social-security-administration-victory-workers
- “ ‘No-Match’ Letters Are Back: What Employers Need to Know, Watchdog, CalChamber, Apr. 25, 2019, https://hrwatchdog.calchamber.com/2019/04/no-match-letters-are-back-what-employers-need-to-know/
8. President Biden Orders CBP, ICE to Change Terminology
According to reports, under orders of the Biden administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued memoranda to their employees to stop using certain terms and replace them with others.
- “alien”—use “noncitizen” or “migrant”
- “alienage—use “noncitizenship”
- “illegal alien”—use “undocumented noncitizen,” “undocumented individual,” or “migrant”
- “unaccompanied alien children”—use “noncitizen unaccompanied children”
- “assimilation”— use “integration” or “civic integration”
- “immigrant assimilation”— use “immigrant integration”
- “U.S. Under Biden Will No Longer Call Migrants ‘Illegal Aliens’,” U.S. News, Apr. 19, 2021, https://www.usnews.com/news/us/articles/2021-04-19/us-under-biden-will-no-longer-call-migrants-illegal-aliens
- “Under Joe Biden, United States Will No Longer Use the Term ‘Illegal Aliens’ to Describe Migrants,” South China Morning Post, Apr. 20, 2021, https://www.scmp.com/news/world/united-states-canada/article/3130203/under-joe-biden-united-states-will-no-longer-use
- “ICE to Stop Using the Term ‘Illegal Alien’ Referring to Immigrants,” ABC News, Apr. 19, 2021, https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/ice-stop-term-illegal-alien-referring-immigrants/story?id=77165043&cid=clicksource_4380645_5_three_posts_card_hed
9. DHS Provides Relief for Venezuelan and Syrian F-1 Students
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has suspended certain regulatory requirements for F-1 nonimmigrant students whose country of citizenship is Venezuela or Syria.
DHS said it took this action for Venezuelan students who are experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the current humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, and for Syrian students who are experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the civil unrest in Syria since March 2011
DHS said that affected Venezuelan and Syrian lawful F-1 nonimmigrant students may request employment authorization, work an increased number of hours while school is in session, and reduce their course loads while continuing to maintain F-1 status.
DHS will deem an F-1 nonimmigrant student who receives employment authorization using the notice to be engaged in a “full course of study” for the duration of the employment authorization if the student satisfies the minimum course load requirement as described in the notices, which will remain effective for Venezuelan students until September 9, 2022, and for Syrian students until September 30, 2022.
- Venezuela notice, Apr. 22, 2021, https://www.justice.gov/eoir/page/file/1388716/download
- Syria notice, Apr. 22, 2021, https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-04-22/pdf/2021-08302.pdf
10. DHS Rescinds Civil Penalties for Failure to Depart
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on April 23, 2021, that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has rescinded two orders related to the collection of civil financial penalties for noncitizens who fail to depart the United States.
A DHS statement said the fines “were not effective and had not meaningfully advanced the interests of the agency.” ICE intends to work with the Department of the Treasury to cancel the existing debts of those who had been fined, DHS said. “There is no indication that these penalties promoted compliance with noncitizens’ departure obligations. We can enforce our immigration laws without resorting to ineffective and unnecessary punitive measures,” said DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
The DHS statement said that this rescission “marks ICE’s latest move toward focusing its limited resources on those posing the greatest risk to national security and public safety.”
- DHS statement, April 23, 2021, https://www.dhs.gov/news/2021/04/23/dhs-announces-rescission-civil-penalties-failure-departn
11. State Dept. Issues Final Rule Changing Certifying Authority for Graduate Medical Education
Effective May 19, 2021, the Department of State is changing the certification authority for noncitizen physicians from the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
The Department explained that ABMS no longer produces the publication, Marquis Who’s Who, referenced in 22 CFR Part 62. Furthermore, ABMS has confirmed that it is also no longer the appropriate organization to comment on programs of graduate medical education. The Department said it has confirmed that the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has the responsibility to accredit and recognize institutions offering programs of graduate medical education, and the agency, therefore, is replacing the reference to the ABMS with the ACGME in 22 CFR § 62.27.
- State Dept. notice, Apr. 19, 2021, https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-04-19/pdf/2021-07537.pdf
12. State Dept. Updates Travel Advisories Due to Ongoing Pandemic
The Department of State expanded its travel advisories to warn U.S. citizens not to travel to many areas due to ongoing “unprecedented risks” posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department is warning travelers against going to “approximately 80% of countries worldwide.”
- State Dept. tweet on updated travel advisories, https://bit.ly/2S02m6O
- State Dept. Travel Advisories, https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/
- Color-coded map showing travel advisory levels worldwide, State Dept., https://travelmaps.state.gov/TSGMap/
- State Dept. to Issue Travel Warnings Amid ‘Unprecedented’ COVID-19 Risks,” National Public Radio, Apr. 19, 2021, https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2021/04/19/988940638/state-department-to-issue-travel-warnings-amid-unprecedented-covid-19-risks
13. DHS Corrects Deadline for Comments on How USCIS Can Reduce Barriers/Burdens in Regulations and Policies
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a correction to its notice seeking comments from the public on how U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can reduce administrative and other barriers and burdens within its regulations and policies, including those that prevent foreign citizens from easily obtaining access to immigration services and benefits. The notice had said comments were due April 19, 2021, but the correction says comments are due May 19, 2021.
DHS said the effort “will help DHS identify process improvements for USCIS, with benefits for state, local, and tribal governments, for businesses (including small businesses and startups), for educational institutions of all kinds, for nonprofits, and individuals.”
The correction was scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on April 26, 2021. The original notice was published on April 19, 2021.
- Original Federal Register notice, https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-04-19/pdf/2021-07987.pdf
- Advance copy of correction, https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-04-26/pdf/C1-2021-07987.pdf
14. KLASKO NEWS
Statues of Liberty: An Immigration Podcast
In this second of three-part series, Klasko EB-5 immigration attorneys H. Ronald Klasko, Daniel B. Lundy, and Jessica A. DeNisi cover issues specifically relating to regional centers. Listen here.
2021 Spring Webinar Series
With a new presidential administration, you probably have many questions and concerns. Watch all three sessions of our webinar series to get the latest updates on immigration changes.
IN THE NEWS
H. Ronald Klasko | Daniel B. Lundy | Jessica DeNisi
An announcement of the three-part EB-5 podcast series was covered in the Digital Journal. The series features Ron Klasko, Dan Lundy, and Jess DeNisi as they discuss problems currently plaguing the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program.
Andrew J. Zeltner
Drew’s article on the end of the nonimmigrant visa ban and what workers can do if impacted by the current international travel bans due to COVID was picked up by Mondaq and One News Page.
William A. Stock
Bill was mentioned in this Forbes article for sharing a thread showing a client’s interview in Paris for an O-1 visa that has been bumped four times.
RECENT SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS
Michele G. Madera
On April 8th, Michele spoke in this Ellevate Network virtual event. She discussed the planning process for the transition back to the office, managing employees throughout this change, and considerations to ensure safety.
William A. Stock | Michele G. Madera | Andrew J. Zeltner
On April 8th, Bill, Michele, and Drew discussed the latest updates on U.S. travel restrictions and adjudication trends in this Klasko Spring Webinar Series entitled Getting Ready for the Post Pandemic: Travel and Adjudication Trends for 2021.
H. Ronald Klasko | William A. Stock
On April 13th, Ron and Bill covered breaking developments and updates from the federal government in this Klasko Spring Webinar Series entitled Breaking Developments: Legislation, Litigation, Regulations, and New Policies.
Elise A. Fialkowski | Anu Nair | Allie K. Dempsey
On April 15th, Elise, Anu, and Allie discussed various green card strategies for employment-based immigrants in this session of the Spring Webinar Series entitled A New Era: Green Card Strategies.
Maria M. Mihaylova
Senior Associate Maria Mihaylova spoke to Rutgers University on post-graduation immigration options for F-1 students on April 23rd.
William A. Stock
Bill spoke in this AILA Rome Chapter event on combining immigration, corporate, and tax law strategies for businesses looking to enter the United States market via E, L, and other visa options on April 27th. He will be on a panel entitled Gaining an Understanding of Corporate Formation and Structure.
H. Ronald Klasko
Ron was the discussion leader at the AILA PHL Conference on April 30th. He led a panel entitled Litigation Updates & Federal Court Litigation Insights.
Michele G. Madera
Michele presented virtually at the AILA PHL Conference on April 30th. She was on a panel entitled PERM Refresher and Updates.
UPCOMING SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS
On May 6th, Partner Anu Nair will be speaking in a NASALSA webinar event on panel entitled How Women Navigate their presence in a Male-Dominated Field.
H. Ronald Klasko
Ron Klasko will be speaking at the 2021 AILA Asia-Pacific Chapter Annual Conference virtual event. He will be on a panel entitled Australian Outback: Scorcher Topics In The World of EB-5 on May 12th.
ICYMI: RECENT BLOG POSTS AND ALERTS
Client Alert: President Biden Set to Limit all Inbound Travel from India
In this client alert, Jordan J. Gonzalez notifies that several media outlets have reported that the Biden Administration will be restricting most inbound travel to the U.S. from India effective May 4, 2021.
Client Alert: SEVP Extends Coronavirus Guidelines for 2021-22 Academic Year
Romina Gomez gives an update on SEVP decision to extend the guidance issued in March 2020 due to continuing health concerns in this client alert.
Client Alert: Biden Updates Policy Guidance to Grant Deference in Another Trump Reversal
In this client alert, Jessica A. DeNisi covers the USCIS issuing updates to the policy guidance.
Client Alert: U.S. Embassies and Consulates in India Limit Visa Services as COVID Rates Rise
In this client alert, Allie K. Dempsey addresses the U.S Consular Mission to India announcement to limit visa services as COVID rates rise.
Statues of Liberty: An Immigration Podcast
In this second of three-part series, Ron Klasko, Daniel Lundy, and Jessica DeNisi cover issues specifically related to regional centers. Listen here to Episode 23: Strategies for Resolving EB-5 Problems Series Part 2: Regional Center Headaches.
May 2021 Visa Bulletin
In this blog, read a summary of USCIS’s update on which chart to use for employment and family-based categories.
Nonimmigrant Visa Ban Expires: Has International Travel Turned the COVID Corner?
In this article, Andrew J. Zeltner addresses the end of the nonimmigrant visa ban and what workers can do if impacted by the current international travel bans due to COVID.
New Paths to Citizenship and Green Cards in Biden’s proposed Immigration Bill
Grace Waweru discusses new paths to citizenship and green cards in a new proposed immigration bill in this article.
On April 21st, Klasko celebrated Administrative Professionals Day by sending surprise gifts to all of our hardworking admins. Visit our Instagram here to view what they received in the mail!
Every month one Klasko employee is nominated for a Ronny Award. This month the Ronny Award went to Associate Romina Gomez. Their nominator wrote:
Romina, I am not sure if she is super woman in disguise or an alien! Either way she is out of this world! She always does a great review of my work and our teams work. I am not sure how she keeps up with it all?1? She has helped out our team a lot and gets everything back in a timely manner. She never complains about our workload and is always willing to review and help. I nominate Romina.
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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.