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WEEKLY IMMIGRATION UPDATE 8.17.2020

20:55 17 August in News Updates
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HEADLINES

 

  1. GAO Says Appointments of Wolf and Cuccinelli to Acting DHS Leadership[ Roles Were Invalid — GAO concluded that the appointments of Chad Wolf (as DHS Acting Secretary) and Kenneth Cuccinelli (as Senior Official Performing the Duties of Deputy Secretary) were invalid. Please scroll down to view the full updates.

 

  1. USCIS Suddenly Begins Selecting New H-1B Lottery Winners — According to reports, USCIS experienced an unexpected decline in H-1B filings and therefore is selecting additional H-1B lottery winners from previous H-1B submissions.

 

  1. Reminder:  New I-765 Form Must Be Used If Postmarked On or After August 25, 2020 — USCIS will accept the current edition of Forms I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and I-765WS, dated 12/26/19, if they are postmarked before August 25, 2020. If they are postmarked on or after August 25, 2020, USCIS will not accept the 12/26/19 edition. The updated editions are dated 08/25/20.

 

  1. USCIS Extends Transitional Parole for CNMI Long-Term Resident Status Applicants — USCIS will automatically extend parole, and employment authorization if applicable, for parolees who timely applied for Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands long-term resident status.

 

DETAILS

 

1. GAO Says Appointments of Wolf and Cuccinelli to Acting DHS Leadership[ Roles Were Invalid

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a decision concluding that after Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigned in April 2019, the official who assumed the title of Acting Secretary, Kevin McAleenan, had not been designated in the order of succession to serve upon the Secretary’s resignation. “Because the incorrect official assumed the title of Acting Secretary at that time, subsequent amendments to the order of succession made by that official were invalid and officials who assumed their positions under such amendments, including Chad Wolf [as DHS Acting Secretary] and Kenneth Cuccinelli [as Senior Official Performing the Duties of Deputy Secretary], were named by reference to an invalid order of succession,” the GAO said.

The GAO said it had not reviewed the legality of other actions taken by these officials and was referring the matter to the DHS Inspector General for review, but that it was “aware that certain actions taken by Acting Secretary Wolf and his authority to take them are currently the subject of litigation.”

The GAO also noted that in March 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in L.M.-M v. Cuccinelli, 442 F. Supp. 3d 1, 29 (D.D.C. 2020) that Mr. Cuccinelli’s separate appointment as Acting Director of USCIS was illegal. On August 14, 2020, the Trump administration dismissed its appeal of the ruling.

 

2. USCIS Suddenly Begins Selecting New H-1B Lottery Winners

According to reports, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) experienced an unexpected decline in H-1B filings and therefore is selecting additional H-1B lottery winners. Some immigration attorneys say they are suddenly receiving email notifications from USCIS. The reports say that the selections are being made from previous H-1B submissions.

Those who applied for the H-1B lottery in the spring are being advised by practitioners to log in to their USCIS online accounts now to check status for new H-1B selections. Reportedly, the new notices say “August 2020 Selection of Reserve Registration” with a filing period of August 17, 2020, to November 16, 2020. Petitions must include a start date of October 1, 2020.

Contact your Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers attorney for advice in specific situations.

3. Reminder:  New I-765 Form Must Be Used If Postmarked On or After August 25, 2020

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept the current edition of Forms I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and I-765WS, dated 12/26/19, if they are postmarked before August 25, 2020. If they are postmarked on or after August 25, 2020, USCIS will not accept the 12/26/19 edition. The updated editions are dated 08/25/20.

The base I-765 fee is $410 for either edition before October 2, 2020. On or after October 2, 2020, the fee is $550.

Contact your Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers attorney for advice in specific situations.

4. USCIS Extends Transitional Parole for CNMI Long-Term Resident Status Applicants

USCIS announced on August 11, 2020, that it will automatically extend parole, and employment authorization if applicable, for parolees who timely applied for Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) long-term resident status.

This specific extension of parole applies only to current parolees who timely filed Form I-955, Application for CNMI Long-Term Resident Status, and Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and whose applications remain pending on August 17, 2020. USCIS will automatically extend their parole (and employment authorization, if applicable) without interruption through December 31, 2020, or the date on which USCIS makes a final decision on the parolee’s Form I-955 and Form I-765, whichever is earlier.

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New Publications and Items of Interest

Immigrant and Employee Rights Section webinars. The Department of Justice’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section, of the Civil Rights Division, is offering free webinars June through August for workers, employers, and advocates. For more information or to register, see https://www.justice.gov/crt/webinars (scroll down for the listings by date).

COVID-19 resources. The response of the U.S. immigration agencies to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is constantly evolving, making it difficult to report relevant information that is not rendered immediately obsolete. The list of online resources below is intended to serve as a quick reference to the most current available agency information.

General Information

Immigration Agency Information

Department of Homeland Security: DHS.gov/coronavirus

–        https://www.dhs.gov/coronavirus-news-updates

–        https://www.dhs.gov/news/2020/03/17/fact-sheet-dhs-notice-arrival-restrictions-china-iran-and-certain-countries-europe

ICE:

–        Overview and FAQs: https://www.ice.gov/coronavirus

–       Requirements for ICE Detention Facilities: https://www.ice.gov/doclib/coronavirus/eroCOVID19response

CBP:

–        Updates and Announcements:   https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/coronavirus

–        Accessing I-94 Information: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home

Department of Labor:

–        OFLC Announcements (COVID-19 announcements included here): https://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/

–        COVID-19 FAQs:

State Department: https://www.state.gov/coronavirus/

Justice Department

Agency Twitter Accounts

  • EOIR: @DOJ_EOIR
  • ICE: @ICEgov
  • Study in the States: @StudyinStates
  • USCIS: @USCIS

Immigrant and employee rights webinars. The Department of Justice’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER), of the Civil Rights Division, is offering a number of free webinars for the public in April, May, and June. These include webinars for workers, employers, and advocates. For more information, see https://www.justice.gov/crt/webinars.

E-Verify webinar schedule. E-Verify has released its April 2020 calendar of webinars at https://www.e-verify.gov/calendar-field_date_and_time/month/202004.

Government Agency Links

Follow these links to access current processing times of the USCIS Service Centers and the Department of Labor, and the Department of State’s latest Visa Bulletin with the most recent cut-off dates for visa numbers:

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This newsletter was prepared in collaboration with ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, comprised of twenty U.S. immigration lawyers who head some of the top immigration practices in the country.   Larrabee Albi Coker LLP is an active member of ABIL.

Legal Disclaimer:   This newsletter is provided for informational purposes only and does not substitute for legal advice based on the circumstances of a specific matter.

 

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