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The Latest Updates on Immigration News: What You Need to Know

Here’s this week’s immigration news from Shepelsky Law

1. Dreamers Stand Together to Keep DACA in Place

Dreamers continue to stand together to keep the deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) policy in place following new threats. DACA is a form of administrative relief that guards against deportation for qualifying immigrants who entered the country when they were young. The program provides immigrants with a work permit and protection from deportation. It has to be renewed every two years. For many people, DACA has offered temporary relief by allowing dreamers to live and work in the United States lawfully, up until recently. Lately, DACA is coming under threat in federal court once again.

A request to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy was made by nine Republican-led states to Judge Andrew Hanen in Texas. If granted, this would prevent nearly 600,000 immigrants who were brought to the United States as children from renewing their work permits and continuing to receive protection from deportation. Since its introduction, the policy has removed the danger of deportation for about 800,000 people without legal status who entered this nation before the age of sixteen, allowing them to attend school here, work, and serve in the military.

Immigrants who have been benefiting from this policy want to do everything in their power to maintain DACA in place considering they have built lives for themselves in this nation. Most dreamers are essential workers, and they provide crucial resources and services to our economy.

2. Border Crossings Diminishes

According to recent calculations, border crossings have decreased significantly. This is an extraordinary step up, according to the Biden administration. The administration claims this is the result of new border measurements. Despite the fact that fewer migrants are entering from countries including Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Haiti, Republicans and some Democrats continue to criticize the new regulations.

President Biden visited the U.S.-Mexico border for the first time as president back in January. He had previously announced a restrictive policy to expand an immigration program called Title 42, which was created for public health and social welfare, but was widely used by the Trump administration in 2020 to regulate border crossings due to COVID-19 precautions. Title 42 gave border patrol agents the authority to expel migrants back to their home country or last country they were in, which led to over 2 million expulsions since 2020. However, this policy did not deter migrants from crossing the border as they were often sent back without any consequences. The high numbers of migrants crossing the border have overwhelmed border officials and prompted calls for federal support. The Biden administration’s attempt to end the use of Title 42 was blocked by a Supreme Court case, which requires the government to keep the program in place temporarily.

In addition to the new regulations, the Biden administration has also established legal avenues for persons from certain nations for a two-year humanitarian parole to the United States, including the option to apply for a work permit right away. Overall, these efforts to control unlawful border crossings seem to be working. 

3. Registration for H-1B Visa Starts on March 1

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it will begin accepting virtual H-1B visa registrations on the afternoon of March 1st, 2023, up until noon on March 17th, 2023. After being submitted, the USCIS will review these electronic petition applications. If the petition is granted, the H-1B visa will be issued to the set person on October 1st of this year. 

Anyone who has been offered temporary professional employment by a United States firm may qualify for H-1B visa status. The minimum educational requirement for a job within the United States to qualify for this visa is a bachelor’s degree or higher (must be in a relevant field correlating to your planned employment). Frequent professions and fields for H-1B visa holders include architects, computer system analysts, and engineers. H-1 visas, which have a six-year maximum validity, are often utilized as a transitional status between students and legal permanent residents. 

Since H-1B visas are extremely popular among many people, not just simply among international students, it is quite difficult to obtain one. Every single year, 85,000 new H-1B visas are authorized by Congress, with 20,000 of those visas reserved specifically for those with post-baccalaureate degrees from colleges within the United States. The likelihood of acquiring this visa has drastically decreased especially with recent modifications.

4. Announcement of Redesigned Employment Authorization Document and Green Card

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced new design plans for employment authorization documents (EADs) and permanent resident cards (also known as green cards). As of January 30th 2023, USCIS has actually begun giving out these newly redesigned cards to people. Although many people are receiving these new cards, some green cards and employment authorization documents issued after January 30th may still resemble the old existing design. 

The redesigned permanent resident cards and employment authorization documents include new modern technological advancements that were implemented to further protect national security and enhance customer service. Among these new design changes: a layer-reveal feature with a partial window on the back photo box, improved tactile printing that is better integrated with the artwork, enhanced optically variable ink, highly secure holographic images on the front and back of the cards, improvement in the attention to detail, and data fields displayed in different locations than on previous versions. The main intentions of these alterations are to continue taking precautions that will prevent document manipulation and/or fraud among important paperwork.

According to USCIS, new card designs are not an automatic invalidation of previously issued cards. Previously issued EADs and green cards are still good up until their set expiration date. In addition, certain earlier issued permanent resident cards are not time-limited, and therefore they will remain valid since they do not have an expiration date. 

5. 600+ Children Reunited with Loved Ones

It has been two years since the Biden administration took up the process of reuniting children with their families after the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy that separated an enormous number of loved ones at the southern border. Although the Biden administration was able to reunite around 600 kids with their parents, nearly 1,000 children have yet to see their families again. 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a statement and information sheet outlining the number of migrant children who have been reunited with their families and the number of migrant children who have not. According to the data they collected, between January 20th 2017, and January 20th 2021, the task force claimed to have identified 3,924 migrant children who had been separated from their loved ones due to the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” border policy. As of February 1st 2023, 2,926 of those separated children have been reunited with their loved ones. According to the Family Reunification Task Force, they have personally reunited 600 children with their families, and the remaining separated children were already brought back to their loved ones when the task force was originally formed in February of 2021.

This data reveals that almost one thousand migrant children have yet to be brought back to their relatives. 

Based on what the Family Reunification Task Force has said, the reason it has been such a difficult process reuniting these children with their loved ones is due to the Trump administration maintaining awful records of how many of these kids were even separated from their families in the first place. 

At Shepelsky Law, we understand the importance of staying informed about immigration news and updates, and we are dedicated to helping our clients navigate the ever-evolving immigration landscape.

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Shepelsky Law GroupImmigration Lawyers for all 50 states: (718) 769-6352