Update on Visa Waiver Program Entrants Requesting Satisfactory Departure from Local USCIS Field Offices

 

Individuals in the United States admitted under the Visa Waiver Program (“VWP”) are not allowed to file for an extension of status; moreover, the maximum period of admission is three months.  However, those admitted under the VWP who are unable to depart before their approved period of admission because of  circumstances caused by COVID-19 may request relief in the form of a Satisfactory Departure request.

Enterline and Partners recently received information from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”) that local United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) field offices are facilitating remote requests and adjudication of Satisfactory Departure. AILA reports that the USCIS Contact Center will field these requests within five days prior to the expiration of the applicant’s approved period of admission in the United States.  However, AILA has requested that USCIS extend this five-day period to give individuals and their families sufficient time to make arrangements to either remain in the United States and file for the Satisfactory Departure or find an alternative solution.

If you are in the U.S. on the VWP and need to request Satisfactory Departure from USCIS, contact us and we can help.

For more information, contact us today at info@enterimmi.com and speak with one of our U.S. immigration lawyers in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Taipei.

Enterline and Partners Successfully Obtains I-601 Waiver of Inadmissibility for Fraud Misrepresentation

 

Enterline and Partners Consulting, an affiliate of Enterline Immigration Consulting, recently obtained an I-601 Waiver of Inadmissibility for a client who was refused an immigrant visa. The client, who is married to a U.S. citizen, was previously charged with fraud/misrepresentation and sought our legal assistance in order to be reunited with her family.

The I-601 Waiver of Inadmissibility process took a little under 1 year and was heavily documented to show that the client’s U.S. citizen spouse would suffer extreme hardship if the client would be prevented from immigrating to the United States. Following approval, the client will now be eligible for a new immigrant visa interview allowing her to depart to the United States.

Immigrant visa applicants located in Asia who have been refused an immigrant visa and would like to avail of a Waiver of Inadmissibility are highly recommended to contact us at info@enterimmi.com and speak with a U.S. immigration lawyer in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Taipei.

David Enterline was recently interviewed about the EB-5 immigrant investor program

 

David Enterline was recently interviewed by Ms. Jenny Nguyen of American Lending Center about the United States EB-5 immigrant investor program. Some of the topics discussed were how President Trump’s 60-day immigration ban does not impact EB-5 investors, new changes on how the United States Immigration and Citizenship Services (“USCIS”) will process I-526 Petitions, and why this change might actually help the children of Vietnamese and Chinese investors from “aging-out” – no longer be eligible to immigrate because their immigration age exceeds 21 years old.

Visit here to view the interview.

If you have any questions about the EB-5 immigrant investor visa, please contact us today at info@enterimmi.com and speak with one of our U.S. immigration lawyers in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Taipei.

House Introduces Legislation to Increase Immigrant Visas for Foreign Doctors and Nurses

 

The United States House of Representatives has introduced companion legislation to the recently proposed Senate bill which would increase the number of immigrant visas issued to foreign doctors and nurses.

Known as the “Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act,” the new legislation, if enacted, would authorize immigrant visas to qualified foreign nationals to fill healthcare staffing shortages and drastically reduce the waiting period for immigrant visas to be issued to those foreign healthcare workers.

Like the Senate Bill, the House legislation would focus on using unused immigrant visas, as well as the following:

  • Authorize 25,000 immigrant visas for foreign nurses and 15,000 for foreign doctors;
  • Eliminate per-country limitations and allow these immigrant visas to be issued based on priority date;
  • Enable spouses and children of these immigrant visa applicants to immigrant to the United States;
  • Require the Departments of Homeland Security and Department of State to expedite processing for these immigrant visa applicants;
  • Mandate the U.S. petitioner (employer) attest to the fact that in hiring a foreign nurse, a U.S. worker has or will not be displaced.

For more information on this new legislation for foreign doctors and nurses in Asia interested in obtaining an immigrant visa, contact us today at info@enterimmi.com and speak with one of our U.S. immigration lawyers in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Taipei.

United States CBP Reports Sharp Increase on Electronic Devices Searches for 2019 Fiscal Year

 

The United States Customs and Border Protection Agency (“CBP”) has released statistics on the number of border searches conducted on electronic devices for the 2019 Fiscal Year.  During the year, more than 414 million travelers arrived through air, land and sea Ports of Entry and of that total number, 40,913 electronic device searches were made which represented .01 percent of all arriving passengers. The number of electronic device searches made in 2019 represents a sharp increase from both 2018 and 2017, as indicated below:

International Travelers Processed with Electronic Device Search

All incoming passengers to the United States may be subject to their electronic devises being searched including U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.   Customs and Border Patrol  officers conducting these searches must demonstrate a showing of “reasonable suspicion” and such a search may not be suspicion less. While a passenger requesting entry into the U.S. might argue with a CBP officer over whether he or she has a reasonable suspicion to conduct an electronic device search, the reality is that refusing to comply with such a request might lead to a long delay, or at worse, a refusal of entry into the United States, and little chance of any recourse from any negative action taken.

For more information on travelers rights at the border and whether a CBP officer can lawfully search electronic devices, contact us at info@enterimmi.com and speak with one of our U.S. immigration lawyers in Asia at our offices in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Taipei.

United States Federal Court Judge Denies TRO Filed Against Trump’s Immigration Ban to Protect Children

 

A U.S. Federal Court Judge has denied a request for a Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”) filed against U.S. President Trump’s immigration ban. The TRO petition, which was filed in the U.S. District Court of Oregon, sought to temporarily block part of the Executive Order (“EO”) in order to protect family-based immigrants under the age of 21 from being unable to receive their immigrant visas.

Judge Michael Simon based his decision on the motion’s form, not substance, indicating that challenges to the Presidential Proclamation should be brought as a separate specific challenge to that proclamation. Judge Simon underscored the plaintiff’s concern that children may age out if their immigrant visas are not issued before they turn 21 under the CSPA (the Child Status Protection Act).  Judge Simon also acknowledged that if visa waiting periods are unreasonably long, it would be up to Congress to fix any negative results for children and not the courts.

For more information on how the current EO affects children who are immigrant visa applicants, contact us today at info@enterimmi.com and speak with a U.S. immigration attorney in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Taipei.

United States Senate Introduces Legislation to Increase Immigrant Visas for Foreign Doctors and Nurses

 

New legislation has been introduced in the United States Senate to grant unused immigrant visas to foreign healthcare professionals to help fight the coronavirus.

The Senate bill would authorize up to 25,000 immigrant visas for foreign nurses and up to 15,000 for foreign doctors. The legislation would also allow the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to channel immigrant visas away from unused family-based applicants to the families of healthcare workers.

The United States allocates up to 160,000 employment-based immigrant visas annually, but not all of these immigrant visas are used. As a result, there is an excess of 200,000 unused immigrant visas that have been accumulated over the past 30 years and the legislation that has been introduced would allow the U.S. government to issue those visas to foreign doctors and nurses.

According to Senator Richard Durban, one of the co-sponsors of the bill, one-sixth of the U.S. healthcare workforce is foreign born and immigrant doctors and nurses have played a crucial role in containing the coronavirus. As such, the bipartisan legislation will strengthen the U.S. healthcare system at a time when the nation needs as much help as possible.

For more information on obtaining an employment-based immigrant visa for applicants located in Asia, contact us today at info@enterimmi.com and speak with one of our U.S. immigration lawyers in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Taipei.

Trump’s Immigration Ban May Result in More Employment-Based Green Cards Being Issued

 

United States President Donald Trump’s Executive Order (“EO”) banning certain immigrants from immigrating may end up increasing the number of visas available for employment-based immigrant visa categories.

Employment-based immigrant visas are capped at 140,000 worldwide per fiscal year while family-based immigrant visas are limited to roughly 250,000 per year. The current immigration ban places a heavier emphasis on restricting family-based immigrants compared to employment-based immigrants. While a pause of only 60 days may do little to alter the make-up of immigration to the U.S., in the long-term, extensions which were allocated within the EO could end up redefining the overall composition of immigrants who receive immigrant visas and green cards if this policy remains in place for some time.

According to an analysis conducted by Migration Policy Institute, approximately 52,000 immigrant visas are expected to be affected because of the 60-day immigration ban. Government statistics show nearly half a million immigrants moved to the U.S. in 2019 who had received their immigrant visas from U.S. embassies and consulates abroad, while more than half a million immigrants obtained permanent residence by adjusting their status within the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”), there were four times as many immigrants who received permanent residence through adjustment of status as opposed to those who received their permanent residence by applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.

The waiting period for immigrants seeking immigrant visas is based on the date when their petition was filed with the Department of Homeland Security.  The U.S. Department of State (“DOS”) releases these “priority dates” in its monthly visa bulletin. To use the total allocated family-based immigrant visas, DOS would need to find more immigrant visa applicants who are adjusting status from within the country to take away from intending immigrants abroad who are ineligible due to the immigration ban.  The DOS could do this by advancing those priority dates forward in time to allow those adjustment applicants to become eligible for permanent residence more quickly.

For more information on obtaining an employment-based immigrant visa for applicants located in Asia, contact us today at info@enterimmi.com and speak with one of our U.S. immigration lawyers in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Taipei.

Announcement: DOS Continues to Encourage Medical Professionals with Approved Petitions to Seek an Emergency Visa Appointment

 

The U.S. Department of State (“DOS”) has reiterated its earlier announcement that despite the worldwide suspension of routine visa appointments, U.S. embassies and consulates will continue to provide emergency and critical visa services. Healthcare professionals with an approved non-immigrant or immigrant petition such as an I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Workers or an I-140 Petition for Alien Worker, particularly those working to treat or mitigate COVID-19, are encouraged to contact their nearest embassy or consulate to request an emergency appointment.

The DOS however acknowledges that local government restrictions may limit some embassies and consulates to process emergency visas at this time. In addition, applicants may be subjected to local laws, regulations and current travel restrictions.

For more information, contact us at info@enterimmi.com and speak with one of our U.S. immigration lawyers in Asia at our offices in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Taipei.

Temporary Restraining Order Filed Against Trump’s Immigration Ban In Order to Protect Children

 

The first group of litigants have filed a Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”) against U.S. President Donald Trump’s Immigration Ban. The TRO petition, which was filed in the U.S. Federal District Court in Oregon, seeks an immediate, limited order to protect family-based preference immigrants under the age of 21 from being unable to immigrate once the ban is lifted.

Family-based applicants, unlike immediate relatives, are subjected to a lengthy adjudication process which in some cases can result in a wait of up to 25 years for a visa to become available due to a Congressional numerical cap. Consequently, applicants under the age of 21 risk aging out (turning 21) rendering them ineligible to receive an immigrant visa. Specifically, these applicants include the following:

  • Children of lawful permanent residents;
  • Children where the primary beneficiary is an unmarried son or daughter of a U.S. citizen;
  • Children where the primary beneficiary is a married son or daughter of a U.S. citizen;
  • Children where the primary beneficiary is a brother or sister of a U.S. citizen.

Although routine consular operations worldwide were suspended in the middle of March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. embassies and consulates have retained the right to accept emergency visa appointments including those applicants who risk aging out. The TRO petition further alleges that including these applicants in the immigration ban would result in these applicants being unable to seek an emergency appointment and thus, be prevented from immigrating to the United States.

For more information, contact us at info@enterimmi.com and speak with one of our U.S. immigration lawyers in Asia at our offices in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Taipei.