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Immigration News and Updates from the Law Offices of Marina Shepelsky – December 2nd, 2022

1. Title 42 – Immigration Restriction Blocking Immigrants from Crossing the Border Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

The Trump administration put Title 42 in place early on during the pandemic and continued under President Joe Biden. The measure allows for denying entry to any individual who is a suspected carrier of the virus or asymptomatic. To date, immigration officials have used it more than 2 million times to turn away people who are seeking to enter the United States.

Title 42 is part of the Public Health Service Act of 1944, which helps stop the country from having any more serious health problems from the COVID-19 Pandemic. POTUS Trump signed Title 42 into law in March 2020. It’s allowed the US to deport migrants without them being granted asylum by using public health as a weapon.

There is now an effective treatment for pandemic, so Title 42 is no longer relevant. A federal judge, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the U.S. District Court, has put a stop to it. The judge in the jurisdiction has noted that the 2014 policy has not been updated to account for the current pandemic situation which includes readily available vaccines, treatments and an increase in travel to and from the United States.

Sullivan’s 49-page decision prohibits families from being deported according to Title 42 guidelines. This new aimed to keep out many immigrants because they could have and/or spread the coronavirus. An updated two-page order, shared last week, is more comprehensive. This order overturns decisions made by the US Department of Health and Human Services stopping people from coming into the United States.

2. Migrants in Texas Transported from the U.S. border to wait for relocation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Yesterday on a cold Monday morning, twenty-eight immigrants arrived in Philadelphia on a bus from Texas. Governor Greg Abbott sent the bus to bring border issues to sanctuary cities all throughout the United States.

Philadelphian immigration activists believe that this is unfair treatment for illegal immigrants. This bus crossed the country on incredibly short notice, with no plans in plans to support these families upon arrival. Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney described this as “cruel.”

Locals witnessed these immigrants entering the ity on a cold morning at 6:15 in the morning. Local volunteers greeted them and offered warm clothing, blankets, and warm beverages. A majority of the immigrants are from Columbia, Dominican Republic, and Cuba. This is the second time that Governor Abbott has ordered a bus full of asylum seekers to head towards a sanctuary state.

3. H-2B Visas Needed in Light of Unskilled Worker Shortage in the United States of America 

The US is facing severe shortages of workers and this is impacting a wide range of industries. It’s one of the most pressing concerns for the country’s economy. More and more people are turning to the H-2B visa program in order to meet their needs for unskilled labor.

Nonimmigrants looking for a temporary or seasonal job can look into the H-2B visa. This program allows U.S. residents to remain in the country and do some work when workers cannot be found for the same positions. This program is really helpful for US businesses, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic brought on a labor shortage that has left businesses struggling to find employees for certain job roles.

Due to the shortage of labor in some areas, H-2B employees can help cover gaps at businesses that might otherwise not have enough staff. With this visa, foreign nationals can may come into the United States in order to work nonagricultural jobs. An H-2B temporary labor certification may be granted to employers who can prove they are lacking in adequate staff. The country has an increased need for H-2B Visas in the wake of the pandemic and it is a valuable resource for both employers and immigrants.

4. The immense backlog of nonimmigrant visas is shrinking as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have now hit a 10-year low in the amount of visa cases that are pending for backlog clearance

State department officials say the Biden administration has shortened wait times and quickened the process for those waiting on nonimmigrant visa interviews. These visas are granted to those who want to travel, work in business, seek health care, or find a job. Visa applicants typically must come in-person, however, this led to very long backlogs due to COVID-related restrictions, restricting agency capacity. As applicants piled up, two years worth of backlogs developed.

Julie Stufft, Deputy Assistant Secretary for visa services at the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, shared via press briefing that the organization had hired more staff to process visa applications. This doubled the processing speed, getting these applicants reviewed quicker than forecasted.

David Bier, a libertarian and Assistant Director of Immigration Policy at the Cato Institute believes that nonimmigrant visa processing is nowhere near to the level it used to be before the pandemic. In August, visitors to the United States had major delays with their visa applications. It took them a long time to get approved, whether the visa was for work or school. Many overseas tourists have to wait a long time to make their visa appointment–sometimes six months or more. Keeping up with requests is no easy task; the government is consistently working to process visas as quickly as possible.

5. Federal Court Pushes Back the End of Asylum Restrictions

Judge Emmet Sullivan has allowed the government to postpone its cutting back on asylum by five weeks, but reluctantly so. The administration was seeking time to prepare, however, legal representatives of families seeking refuge did not object to this delay the attorneys representing the families requesting refuge had no objections to the delay. On December 21st, the Trump administration’s policy that removes immigrants’ legal right to seek asylum due to health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic will end.

Judge Emmet Sullivan wished to end these restrictions as soon as possible. The Justice Department determined that this would be effective in a few weeks’ time (official on December 21st) with a few weeks to prepare for the changes. The American Civil Liberties Union agreed to this delay. Legal representatives of the government agreed that the addition time would be necessary in order for the Department of Homeland Security to keep the country and its border operations a safe and orderly process, as always.

Becoming a U.S. citizen – and therefore obtaining the right to legally reside in the United States, travel to and from the country, gain the right to vote, and be protected under the Constitution – can be a long and difficult process. Let us help you with your case, and give us a call.

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