USCIS to Expand In-Person Interview Requirements for Certain Permanent Residency Applicants

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin expanding in-person interviews for certain immigration benefit applicants whose benefit, if granted, would allow them to permanently reside in the United States. This change complies with Executive Order 13780, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” and is part of the agency’s comprehensive strategy to further improve the detection and prevention of fraud and further enhance the integrity of the immigration system.
Effective Oct. 1, USCIS will begin to phase-in interviews for the following:
• Adjustment of status applications based on employment (Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status).
• Refugee/asylee relative petitions (Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition) for beneficiaries who are in the United States and are petitioning to join a principal asylee/refugee applicant.
Previously, applicants in these categories did not require an in-person interview with USCIS officers in order for their application for permanent residency to be adjudicated. Beyond these categories, USCIS is planning an incremental expansion of interviews to other benefit types. 
“This change reflects the Administration’s commitment to upholding and strengthening the integrity of our nation’s immigration system,” said Acting USCIS Director James W. McCament. “USCIS and our federal partners are working collaboratively to develop more robust screening and vetting procedures for individuals seeking immigration benefits to reside in the United States.”

Republican Senators David Perdue, Tom Cotton to unveil skills-based immigration bill at White House Wednesday

President Trump will join Republican Sens. David Perdue of Georgia and Tom Cotton of Arkansas at the White House Wednesday to unveil legislation that proposes a skills-based immigration system and seeks an overall lower level of legal immigration, two sources have confirmed to the Washington Examiner.

Executive Order on Immigration

What an extraordinary 72 hours it has been in immigration law and enforcement.  

ACLU led attorneys filed actions across the country to halt the Executive Order issued on January 27, 2017. Resulting in a federal judge in the Eastern District of New York issuing the first order, granting a nationwide stay of removal preventing deportation for individuals with valid visas and approved refugee applications affected by the Executive Order. The next came a decision out of a federal court in Massachusetts - it barred federal officials from detaining or removing individuals subject to the Executive Order.  In a case filed in Virginia, the court ordered federal officials to provide lawyers access to "all legal permanent residents being detained at Dulles International Airport" and barred officials from deporting covered individuals for the next seven days. In the case out of Washington State, the federal judge barred the federal government from deporting two unnamed individuals from the United States.

The Department of Homeland Security put out a statement early today stating only that the agency "will comply with judicial orders."

A copy of the Executive Order is provided in the link below.  



IMMIGRATION was a top platform for Trump in his campaign, and as the President-elect how his campaign rhetoric will be played out is still up in the air.  Some of the major areas in immigration law that will most likely be affected are: 

1)    Decrease Legal Immigration – In furthering his administration’s “protectionist views,” Trump may restrict legal immigration as well as further regulating legal workers coming to the U.S. on employment authorized visas (i.e., H-1B and L-1 skilled workers).  His campaign rhetoric on “bringing jobs back to the U.S.” and limiting outsourcing jobs offshore and highly-skilled immigration may result in tightening of regulations in granting visas –especially the highly political H-1B visas which are currently capped at issuance of only 65,000 H-1B visas per fiscal year.  Every year the H-1B visas are depleted and every year, U.S. businesses lament and lobby for increase in these visa numbers, but after Trump is in the office, it looks highly doubtful that this would result in any increase in H-1B visa numbers.  Instead, it may mean more restrictions placed on the issuance of the visas themselves, as well as other categories of skilled worker visas, as well as raising of the fees for filing such petitions.  If U.S. businesses want to hire skilled foreign workers, they will have to pay the price and jump through hoops to do so.

2)    Deportation/Removal/Detention – In his latest TV interview on “60 Minutes” recently, Trump softened some of his rhetoric on immigration, but still vowed to deport or jail as many as 3 million immigrants who have “criminal records” or are “gang members” or “drug dealers.” He did not specify or lay out a clear plan, nor how he would go about funding such a measure.

3)    Building a Border Wall/increase border security – President-Elect Trump may be backing off a bit on his most famous campaign promise of “building a wall” and having the Mexican government pay for it.  He would most likely work with Congress to “expand” the current physical barrier/fences (more of a “symbolic wall”), and expand Border patrol.

4)    End Birthright Citizenship – Trump, despite the 14th Amendment provision that all persons born or naturalized in the U.S. are citizens, has stated that children of undocumented aliens born in the U.S. “must go.”  In terms of how/if this will be implemented is yet to be determined. 

5)    End Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (known as “DACA”) –President-elect Donald Trump pledged to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative which was implemented in 2012 by then Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.  DACA gave deportation relief and work permits to undocumented youth who arrived in the U.S. as a minor (under 16 years old), went to school, and no criminal convictions.  This could impact over 1.3 million young immigrants (700,000 of those who are currently in the workforce under this provision).  Though statements on Trump’s campaign website clearly indicated an intention to end DACA, much remains to be seen.  It is still to be determined know how or when DACA might end. It is possible that USCIS could stop accepting or approving all DACA applications. Alternatively, USCIS could halt only certain components of DACA.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach served as the advisor to Trump on immigration during the campaign, and will likely have a major role in Trump’s administration on immigration matters.  He has indicated that Trump will repeal/scrap many of Obama’s immigration policies/incentives as well as Obama administration’s approach of deporting and enforcement policies. 

As far as how (or if) and when any of the above changes to immigration policies and regulations will be implemented are yet to be determined.  But one thing is certain, whatever measures the new President-Elect take to change the regulations (which require legislation) will not happen overnight and it won’t be passed through Congress without some strong opposition and push-back.  It is well known that the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has very different views on immigration, and will be a big factor in whether or how much of Trump’s immigration “plans” get any traction even in the Republican controlled Congress.  It will once again come down to cooperation between the two parties being key factor in accomplishing any immigration reform or changes.  

We will keep a close eye on these issues and advise accordingly.   

Three Immigration Lawyers Sanctioned by SEC for Brokering EB-5 Investment

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has just published three new decisions in connection with administrative proceedings against two well known immigration lawyers, as well as against a third lawyer. One party has allegedly earned $450,000 in commissions from one EB-5 Offeror alone.

Clinton Vows to Expand Obama's Immigration Executive Actions

HILLARY CLINTON vowed to expand President Obama's executive actions on immigration and cast the 2016 presidential election as critical for Latino voters because Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee.

Supreme Court Immigration Decision: 4-4 Tie Blocks Obama’s Executive Action Helping Immigrants

Breaking News:  The Supreme Court announced today that it was deadlocked in a 4-4 tie in a decision on the immigration policies of U.S. President Barack Obama. The decision effectively blocks Obama's action, allowing an appeals court decision to stand.

Price for a Green Card: $500,000 Stadium Stake

For years, sports teams have tried to defray the multimillion-dollar costs of their new stadiums by asking fans to pay thousands for personal seat licenses that entitle them to buy season tickets.

Flávio Augusto da Silva is taking the concept further. In what may be the first deal of its kind, Mr. da Silva, the majority owner of Orlando City of Major League Soccer, is asking investors from Brazil, China and elsewhere to pay $500,000 each for a stake in the stadium he is building near downtown Orlando. In return, the foreign investors receive annual dividends, two season tickets and something even more valuable: a green card that allows them, their spouses and sometimes even their children to live and work in the United States.

Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to Obama Immigration Actions

Supreme Court said that it would consider a legal challenge to President Obama’s overhaul of the nation’s immigration rules. The court, which has twice rejected challenges to Mr. Obama’s health care law, will now determine the fate of one of his most far-reaching executive actions.

Paris Attacks Reshape U.S. Debate on Immigration

U.S. lawmakers called on Tuesday for even tighter scrutiny of Syrian refugees fleeing to the United States as last week's deadly Paris attacks U.S. debate on immigration and national security, prompting a sharp rebuke from President Barack Obama, who said attempts to block entry were "offensive and contrary to American values".