Public Charge Rule is now stopped – again – in latest round of litigation

 

A federal judge has stopped the United States Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) public charge rule which was recently allowed to proceed after an injunction was lifted by the United States Circuit Court for the Second Circuit.

Judge Gary Feinerman of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois vacated the rule after determining that it violated the Administrative Procedures Act which makes federal agencies such as DHS accountable to the public by following a detailed process in enacting regulations.

Judge Feinerman’s ruling is the latest round of litigation that has been ongoing since late 2019 shortly after DHS announced that the agency would be defining public charge for immigration purposes.  The rule requires completion of a special form and exhaustive documentation of an immigrant visa applicant’s assets, debt, receipt of public benefits and other information.  The rule has been involved in a consistent battle between immigrant advocacy groups and the Trump Administration.

For more information the latest public charge ruling and how it may affect immigrant and nonimmigrant visa applicants in Asia, contact us today at info@enterimmi.com and speak with a U.S. immigration lawyer in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Taipei.

 

Copyright 2020. This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This article may be changed with or without notice. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the Enterline Immigration only.

DOS to Allow Certain Nonimmigrant Visa Applicants to Proceed with Interviews

 

Following the United States Federal District Court for the Northern District of California issuing a narrow injunction against the United States Department of State, certain nonimmigrant visa applicants that were previously subjected to U.S. President Donald Trump’s immigration ban executive order will no longer be subjected to the executive order. Specifically, the injunction stops entry restrictions on any J-1, H-1B, H-2B or L-1 applicant that was either sponsored or petitioned by one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.  The named plaintiffs include:

  • National Association of Manufacturers;
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce;
  • National Retail Federation;
  • TechNet; and
  • Intrax, Inc.

Eligible nonimmigrant visa applicants should remain cautious that the availability to process their visas may be limited as U.S. Embassies and Consulates remain unable to operate at full capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic and specific in-country movement restrictions. Eligible nonimmigrant visa applicants may however request an emergency interview appointment by contacting the Embassy or Consulate where their nonimmigrant visa interview is scheduled.

Eligible nonimmigrant visa applicants in Asia are encouraged to contact us at info@enterimmi.com and speak with a U.S. immigration lawyer at one of our offices in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila or Taipei.

 

Copyright 2020. This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This article may be changed with or without notice. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the Enterline Immigration only.

Announcement – USCIS Premium Processing Fees to Increase as of October 19th

 

On October 19, 2020, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) premium processing fees will increase in accordance with the Continuing Appropriations Act signed into law on October 1, 2020. USCIS premium processing allows a petitioner to receive a decision within 15 calendar days by submitting a Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing. The fee for all premium processing requests will be increased from $1,440 to $2,500 with an exception of Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker requesting an H-2B or R-1 nonimmigrant status.  For petitions for those visa categories, the fee will slightly increase from $1,440 to $1,500.

Any Form I-907 postmarked after October 19th must include the new premium processing fee. Petitions received after October 19th with the incorrect fee will be rejected.

For more information, contact us at info@enterimmi.com and speak with a U.S. immigration lawyer in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Taipei.

 

Copyright 2020. This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This article may be changed with or without notice. The opinions expressed in this article are those of Enterline and Partners only.

I voted today

 

Today I completed and sent in my absentee ballot for the 2020 Presidential election and other federal, state and county elections.  In addition to the Republican and Democratic candidates, I had the option to vote for one Libertarian and three independent candidates.  My State’s ballot also included options to vote for candidates for the U.S. Congress, local representatives, local and State judges and 2 changes to the State Constitution.

As a United States citizen living overseas, I am eligible to use an online voting system and may email or fax my ballot to my county election board.   It was very easy and efficient.

So, I have voted!

I have lived overseas for more than 25 years and I am a little embarrassed to admit that has been a long time since I was inspired or angry or passionate or scared enough to bother to vote.  One of my several excuses was that, as a political science major in university, one of the biggest lessons learned in studying the U.S. government system is that the winds of change may sway left or right over the years, but only blow hard one direction when exceptional change is necessary.   Only occasionally will an issue arise that is so important as to cause more rapid or directional change.  The Patriot Act legislation after 9/11 is an example.  It is possible that we are in such a time now?

The United States is seen as the pillar of democracy. A country where freedom and free choice is a right – for good or bad (like wearing a mask or not) – and the rule of law prevails.   Sadly, the rule of law is being weakened or broken and we must all exercise our right to vote so that, in the famous words of Abraham Lincoln, the “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”.

In writing this, I mainly want to share the pride and privilege that I felt as an American with the opportunity to vote for so many candidates and some important issues of the day. An opportunity, a right, that still so few on this earth have.

If you have any U.S. immigration questions, contact us at info@enterimmi.com and speak with a U.S. immigration lawyer at one of our offices in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila or Taipei.

 

Copyright 2020. This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This article may be changed with or without notice. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the Enterline Immigration only.

Are you a Conditional Permanent Resident outside the United States because of Covid-19: I-829 and I-751?

 

Are you a conditional permanent resident waiting for the approval of a Form I-829 Petition (for EB-5 immigrant investors) or a Form I-751 Petition (for spouses of U.S. citizens) to remove the condition from your permanent resident status but have not been able to return to the U.S. because of COVID-19?  You may be wondering how you can prove you are still a conditional resident and how can you return to the U.S. if your Form I-551 “green card” has expired?

If you filed the I-829 Petition or the I-751 Petition during the appropriate filing period, you should have received a receipt notice that extends the validity period of your green card for 18 months.  Your green card with your receipt notice allows you to reenter the U.S. during the 18-month period.  However, you are still subject to the requirements that you can use your green card (and receipt notice) as a visa if you have been outside the U.S. for less than 1 year.  If you have been outside the U.S. for more than one year, you will need another document to reenter the United States.

If you have already been waiting more than 18 months for approval of your petition, you may now only have a I-551 stamp in your passport.  You will need to return to the U.S. within one year of your last departure, or before the expiration of your I-551 stamp.

If you are outside the United States and do not have a valid, unexpired I-829/I-751 receipt notice or I-551 stamp, and have been outside the U.S. for less than one year, you should file an I-131A application to apply for a new visa.

If you have been outside the U.S. for more than one year, you will need to apply for an SB-1 returning resident visa.

If you are still a conditional resident waiting for approval of your I-829/I-751 petition and are uncertain of what to do, contact us today at info@enterimmi.com and speak with a U.S. immigration attorney in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Taipei.

 

Copyright 2020. This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This article may be changed with or without notice. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the Enterline Immigration only.

Will U.S. Immigration Services Offer Special Relief to Permanent Residents Who Return to the United States After Being Abroad for More Than One Year Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic?

 

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency (“CBP”) has not announced any special relief to a lawful permanent resident (“LPR”) who has remained outside the United States for more than one year because of COVID-19 travel and movement restrictions. Currently, an LPR who was remained outside the United States irrespective of his or her reason for doing so are presumed to have abandoned immigrant status and an interviewing CBP officer may determine that he or she is not admissible for admission into the United States upon arrival at the Port of Entry (“POE.”). An LPR who has remained outside the United States for more than one year may either seek relief by applying for an SB-1 Returning Resident Visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate or may travel to the United States and request entry provided his or her Form I-551 (“green card”) has not expired. An LPR who chooses the latter option may have an increased risk of being sent into secondary inspection upon arrival at an air, land, or sea Port of Entry.

If CBP determines that the arriving LPR is not a “returning resident” because he or she has been outside the United States for more than one year, he or she may be deemed to be an “arriving alien” and may be charged as removable from the United States. Upon making such a charge, he or she has the right to request a temporary admission and to be scheduled for a hearing before an immigration judge.

A CBP officer may attempt to convince an LPR to sign a Form I-407 because of prolonged absence from the United States of more than one year. Upon signing a I-407, CBP will also attempt to have him or her returned to his or her original destination. Before signing a I-407, an LPR should note the following:

  • An LPR cannot lose his or her status solely because of time spent abroad;
  • An LPR remains an LPR unless the government proves abandonment by clear, unequivocal and convincing evidence and a final order of removal is issued by an immigration judge;
  • Form I-407 must be signed voluntarily. An LPR may refuse to sign an I-407 without any negative consequences;
  • An LPR cannot be forced to return to his or her original destination.

To avoid future travel delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, an LPR who is currently residing in Asia should consult with one of our U.S. immigration attorney in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Taipei who can advise how he or she can safely travel internationally and maintain his or her LPR status.

 

Copyright 2020. This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This article may be changed with or without notice. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the Enterline Immigration only.

DHS to Introduce New Rule Holding Immigrant Sponsors Accountable for Failing to Meet Contractual Obligations

 

The United States Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) has introduced a rule that would hold immigrant sponsors accountable for failing to meet contractual obligations that they enter when sponsoring a foreign national for an immigrant visa. The new rule comes after the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a decision (web site) allowing DHS to resume implementing nationwide public charge inadmissibility following an earlier ruling by a federal judge temporarily blocking DHS from implementing public charge findings (see this article).

The proposed rule would require American citizens and lawful permanent residents who sponsor an immigrant through an I-864 Affidavit of Support or a I-864EZ to provide credit reports and credit scores, certified copies of income tax returns for the last three years, and bank account information to demonstrate that they can maintain the required income to support the immigrant if necessary.

In addition, the new rule would require any petitioning sponsor that has received certain public benefits (see this article) within the last 36 months of submitting an I-864 or has defaulted on previous obligations to support a sponsored immigrant must be backed by a joint sponsor who has not received public benefits during the same time period of time.

For more information on the proposed rule and its effect on immigrant visa applicants in Asia, contact us today at info@enterimmi.com and speak with a U.S. immigration attorney in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Taipei.

 

Copyright 2020. This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This article may be changed with or without notice. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the Enterline Immigration only

Federal Court to Allow Public Charge Inadmissibility to Resume

 

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit lifted an injunction issued by a federal judge allowing the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) to resume public charge inadmissibility [see this article and this article].

The most recent ruling has been part of intense ongoing litigation since DHS, under the direction of the Trump Administration, started to dramatically expand the definition of “public charge”. Just days before the rule was scheduled to take effect in October 2019, a nationwide preliminary injunction was issued. Earlier this year, the United States Supreme Court upheld the rule allowing it to take effect before the rule was subjected to another preliminary injunction due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information on whether intending immigrants in Asia and their petitioning sponsor can be considered a public charge, contact us today at info@enterimmi.com and speak with a U.S. immigration attorney in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Taipei.

 

Copyright 2020. This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This article may be changed with or without notice. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the Enterline Immigration only

Announcement – New Increased USCIS Filing Fees for EB-5 Investors

 

Update: Between the writing and publication of this article, a federal judge granted a motion for a preliminary injunction against the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) fee rule discussed herein.  As long as this preliminary injunction is in place, the existing fees remain as before.

Effective October 2, 2020, all EB-5 investors will need to pay more to file Form I-526 Petitions and Form I-829 Petitions pursuant to a proposed rule by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”). The increase to the petitions in the EB-5 visa category is part of a comprehensive increase to petitions, applications and other benefits proposed by USCIS in August 2020.

The new fee for the I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor will rise to $4,010 from the previous fee of $3,675.

The new fee for the I-829 Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Residence Status will rise to $3,900 from the previous fee of $3,750.

All petitions postmarked on or after October 2, 2020 must include the new increased fees as established by the final USCIS fee rule.

According to USCIS, the increased fees are a result of increased costs to adjudicate immigration benefit requests, detect and deter immigration fraud, and thoroughly vet applicants, petitioners and beneficiaries. The rule also supports payroll, technology and operations to accomplish the USCIS mission.

EB-5 stakeholders such as the American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”) and the American Immigration Council (“AIC”) submitted comments in response to the proposed rule. In a joint statement submitted to USCIS, AILA and AIC opposed the proposed fee increases noting that if implemented as written, the proposed rule would require customers to pay increased fees for decreased services.  In recent years, USCIS case processing has slowed dramatically, due in significant part to the agency’s own inefficient policies, especially in the EB-5 visa category.  Currently, USCIS reports adjudication times for I-526 petitions at 37 to 73.5 months and I-829 petitions at 28.5 to 51.5 months.

Two lawsuits have been filed against the USCIS challenging key components of the final rule and requesting a preliminary injunction enjoining (stopping) implementation of the rule.  If the implementation of the fee rule is enjoined, it is likely that USCIS will be required to continue to use its current fee schedule and accept current versions of all forms.  However, if the court does not grant the injunction, EB-5 investors must be prepared to file petitions consistent with the new fee rule.

For more information on the fee increases in the EB-5 visa category or any other visa category fee increase, contact us today at info@enterimmi.com and speak with one of our U.S. immigration attorneys in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Taipei.

 

Copyright 2020. This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This article may be changed with or without notice. The opinions expressed in this article are those of Enterline and Partners only.

USCIS Extends Flexibility for Responding to Agency Requests

 

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) is extending the time within which to reply to certain notices and requests that is originally announced on March 30, 2020.

The extension applies to any stakeholder that is responding to the following:

  • Requests for Evidence;
  • Continuations to Request Evidence (N-14);
  • Notices of Intent to Deny;
  • Notices of Intent to Revoke;
  • Notices of Intent to Rescind and Notices of Intent to Terminate regional investment centers;
  • Filing date requirements for Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion; among others.

This extended time applies if the issuance date listed on the request, notice, or decision is between March 1, 2020, and January 1, 2021, inclusive.

The USCIS will consider a response to the above requests and notices received within 60 calendar days after the response due date set in the request or notice before taking any action and will suspend action on certain requests, notices or decision until after this 60 calendar days has passed.

Enterline Immigration and U.S. immigration lawyers can help applicants across Asia through one of our offices in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Taipei and are happy to assist you with any RFEs or NOIDs you might receive. Contact us at: info@enterimmi.com

 

Copyright 2020. This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This article may be changed with or without notice. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the Enterline Immigration only.