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Welcome to our weekly update on changes in immigration regulations. In this blog post, we will provide you with the latest developments and updates regarding immigration policies and regulations. We’ll discuss how they impact individuals and communities around the world.

Uncertainty Surrounding DACA Program on its 11-Year Anniversary 

The future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program continues to face uncertainty. DACA was first established in 2012. It has since given hundreds of thousands of unlawful immigrants who entered the country as minors temporary relief. However, ongoing legal issues and political controversies have raised doubts about this critical initiative. The program was first announced under the Obama Administration, in order to shield qualifying young immigrants from deportation. It gave work permits and temporary relief from removal procedures, allowing people to participate in society and seek higher education. However, since the start, DACA has faced many critiques from a number of sources.

In fact, in 2017, the Trump Administration threatened to end the program which triggered a series of legal battles. The Supreme Court ended up intervening in 2020. It ruled that the termination was executed improperly, but this left the door open for future attempts to end DACA. The program’s long-term future continues to be unknown and causes beneficiaries to live in constant fear and anxiety. To safeguard DACA recipients and provide them a route to citizenship, several legislative ideas have been made. For DACA beneficiaries and other qualified immigrants, the proposed American Dream and Promise Act would provide a road to citizenship. It was approved by the House of Representatives in 2021. Its outcome in the Senate, meanwhile, remains up in the air. 

In general, the DACA controversy has an impact on the lives of thousands of young immigrants. This also impacts the communities they contribute to. DACA beneficiaries are vital workers who greatly contribute to the structure of the United States society. As the program approaches its 11-year anniversary, it continues to face unknowns regardless of all its positive impacts. 

Increase in International Student Rates

The international schooling industry has gotten a much-needed lift after a difficult time period characterized by travel restrictions and uncertainty. In 2022 and 2023, the number of international students enrolled has increased to pre-pandemic levels. This indicates a turn for the greater for universities and colleges throughout the globe. For obvious reasons, the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on international education. This caused a significant decline in the number of students pursuing studies abroad. As the world gradually adapts to the new reality, students are once again arriving at universities across the globe, eager to resume their educational journeys.

To be specific, there were 1,362,157 active F-1 and M-1 visa students residing in the United States in 2022. This an a 10% increase from the previous yearm, indicating that the number of foreign students is rebounding. This increase results from various factors, such as:

  • An expansion in the availability of vaccines
  • The implementation of innovative solutions by educational institutions
  • The economic benefits associated with international students pushing governments and institutions

The increase in the number of foreign students enrolling is good news for colleges and the worldwide community. International students enhance campuses and promote diverse understanding through the exchange of their cultures, ideas, and information. Overall, universities and colleges are once again prospering as centers of international learning and cooperation. This is due to a renewed commitment to provide high-quality education and improved assistance for foreign students.

President Joe Biden Extends Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Thousands

In a significant move towards immigration reform, President Joe Biden has announced the extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This affects approximately 300,000 immigrants. Temporary Protected Status is a humanitarian program that grants temporary protection to immigrants from designated countries experiencing severe conditions that prevent their safe return. It allows individuals to reside and work legally in the United States. It also offers protection from deportation and an opportunity to contribute to their communities. This decision demonstrates the administration’s commitment to providing relief and stability to individuals who have fled their home countries due to conflict, disaster, or other extraordinary circumstances.

To be specific, the TPS extension reflects the administration’s recognition of ongoing challenges faced by individuals from various countries. These include Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras, and Syria. These countries have been grappling with political instability, violence, natural disasters, and other crises. These issues make citizens’ return unsafe and impractical. However, it is important to note that TPS is a temporary solution. Long-term measures are still needed to address the underlying issues faced by these countries. The extension of TPS provides immediate relief but should moreover be seen as an opportunity to work towards sustainable solutions for those affected. President Joe Biden’s recent extension will provide 337,000 migrants an additional 18 months of living and working within the United States. 

Overall, the government is delivering a lifeline to those who have sought sanctuary in the United States by offering stability and security. This action is a critical first step toward comprehensive immigration reform. It demonstrates the administration’s commitment to honoring the principles of justice and inclusion.

Applicants Seeking to Change into F, M, or J Nonimmigrant Status Now Eligible for USCIS’s Expanded Premium Processing

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has made significant progress in simplifying the application procedure for individuals who wish to change their nonimmigrant status to the F (student), M (vocational student), or J (exchange visitor) categories. This effort aims to make the process more straightforward and accessible for applicants. Recently, USCIS announced the addition of these categories to its premium processing services. This gives applicants quicker processing and decision-making time periods. USCIS offers premium processing for allows applicants to receive a decision on their immigration petitions within 15 calendar days, for an additional fee. This option was previously unavailable to certain employment-based immigration categories. The recent expansion extends its benefits to those seeking to change into F, M, or J nonimmigrant statuses.

The decision by USCIS to expand premium processing services to the F, M, and J nonimmigrant categories is a reflection of its dedication to strengthening customer service and the immigration process as a whole. It acknowledges the value of prompt decision-making for applicants as well as the important contributions that exchange visits and overseas students make to the United States academic and cultural landscape. Additionally, the expansion of premium processing is consistent with USCIS’s wider initiatives to modernize and enhance its services. The USCIS wants to speed up processing times and provide applicants a more user-friendly experience by using technology and procedure improvements.

In conclusion, anyone looking to alter their status for trade or educational opportunities should welcome the extension of premium processing to cover F, M, and J nonimmigrant categories. With the option of accelerated processing, candidates will be able to start their academic or exchange programs without needless delays, facilitating easier transfers. 

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