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1. SSA Resumes Issuing No-Match Letters -

The Social Security Administration has resumed mailing notifications to employers identified as having at least one name and Social Security Number combination submitted on the wage and tax statement (Form W-2) that do not match SSA's records. A no-match letter is not necessarily an indication that a person is unauthorized to work in the United States.

2. USCIS and CBP Extend I-129 Pilot Program to Canadian L-1 Nonimmigrants -

The pilot program allows Canadian citizens to request that USCIS adjudicate their employer's individual L-1 petition, or petition based on blanket L petition, before their arrival or when they arrive at the Blaine, Washington, port of entry.

3. Enforcement of Unlawful Presence Memo Targeting International Students Temporarily Blocked by Federal Judge -

A federal judge issued a nationwide order requiring USCIS to temporarily suspend the enforcement of a policy under which F-1/M-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors would begin to accrue unlawful presence as soon as they violate the terms of their visa status.

4. USCIS Expands Fee Payment Changes to Additional Field Offices -

The offices no longer accept payments in the form of a cashier's check or money order.

5. ABIL Global: Corporate Immigration for U.S. Citizens to Colombia -

Colombia has been facilitating migration processes in recent years to encourage individuals from different countries to do business and make investments in Colombia. With the increase of foreigners, Colombia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has created immigration statuses to allow them to stay and/or engage in various types of activities.

6. New Publications and Items of Interest -

New Publications and Items of Interest

7. ABIL Member / Firm News -

ABIL Member / Firm News

8. Government Agency Links -

Government Agency Links

 

 
 
1. SSA Resumes Issuing No-Match Letters
 

In March 2019, the Social Security Administration (SSA) resumed mailing notifications to employers identified as having at least one name and Social Security Number (SSN) combination submitted on the wage and tax statement (Form W-2) that do not match SSA's records. The purpose of the letter is to advise employers that corrections are needed.

A no-match letter is not necessarily an indication that a person is unauthorized to work in the United States. SSA noted that there are a number of reasons why reported names and SSNs may not agree with SSA's records, such as typographical errors, unreported name changes, and inaccurate or incomplete employer records.

Details: SSA information for employers; sample response forms

 
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2. USCIS and CBP Extend I-129 Pilot Program to Canadian L-1 Nonimmigrants
 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that they are extending the joint agency pilot program for Canadian citizens seeking L-1 visa status under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) through April 30, 2020.

The pilot program allows Canadian citizens to request that USCIS adjudicate their employer's individual L-1 petition, or petition based on blanket L petition, before their arrival or when they arrive at the Blaine, Washington, port of entry.

Details: USCIS announcement

 
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3. Enforcement of Unlawful Presence Memo Targeting International Students Temporarily Blocked by Federal Judge
 

On May 3, 2019, a federal judge issued a nationwide order requiring USCIS to temporarily suspend the enforcement of a policy under which F-1/M-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors would begin to accrue unlawful presence as soon as they violate the terms of their visa status.

Students who violate their visa status (and therefore are unlawfully present in the United States) for a certain period of time may trigger a 3- or 10-year entry bar when they leave the country.

For now, this order is encouraging news for affected students because they can rely on the prior USCIS policy of their accruing unlawful presence only after the agency or an immigration judge makes such a finding.

This order stems from a lawsuit brought by a number of universities/colleges, challenging that USCIS’ policy memo is unlawful because, among other reasons, the agency did not go through the proper rulemaking process.

Details: Preliminary injunction issued by Federal District Court; August 2018 USCIS unlawful presence memo

 
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4. USCIS Expands Fee Payment Changes to Additional Field Offices
 

In recent months, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced an expansion of fee payment changes to additional field offices. Those offices now only accept payments in the form of a personal check, attorney check, business check, debit card, credit card, or reloadable prepaid credit or debit card. The offices no longer accept payments in the form of a cashier's check or money order. USCIS said the changes are intended to "increase transaction security and reduce processing errors."

Details: USCIS notices listing the affected field offices: https://www.uscis.gov/forms/uscis-updates-fee-payment-system-used-field-offices, https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/uscis-updates-fee-payment-system-used-field-offices, https://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts/fee-payment-changes-two-uscis-los-angeles-field-offices

 
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5. ABIL Global: Corporate Immigration for U.S. Citizens to Colombia
 

Colombia has been facilitating migration processes in recent years to encourage individuals from different countries to do business and make investments in Colombia. With the increase of foreigners, Colombia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has created immigration statuses to allow them to stay and/or engage in various types of activities.

U.S. nationals may enter Colombia with an entry and stay permit (PIP), which is granted for 90 days and may be extended for another 90 days. This permit is obtained upon entering Colombia and is granted to those foreign individuals who wish to attend conferences or meetings, assist in trainings, participate in job interviews, or provide urgent technical assistance.

When the activities to be performed in Colombia take longer than 180 days or require specific conditions such as concluding a local contract, U.S. nationals may request a visa, which will authorize the person to enter and remain for up to 2 or 3 years in the national territory depending on the type of visa. When a visa is required for a stay of more than 180 days and the activities to be performed are business-related, the foreign national can opt for a business visitor visa. If the foreign national will be working in Colombia, a local contract likely will be required to obtain a migrant work visa. A foreign individual interested in obtaining an investment visa must make a foreign direct investment of 100 to 600 times the Colombian monthly legal minimum wage, which means approximately $26,000 to $174,000 USD.

 
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6. New Publications and Items of Interest
 

IMAGE forum and training. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has announced the 2019 IMAGE Forum and Training, a day of free training on the IMAGE (ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers) program, Form I-9, how to establish an immigration compliance program, proper hiring procedures, detecting fraudulent documents, the use of E-Verify, and antidiscrimination procedures. The training will be held on May 1, 2019, in Orlando, Florida. More information or to register

Immigrant and Employee Rights webinars. The Department of Justice's Immigrant and Employee Rights Section is offering free webinars to the public in April. The webinars are for workers, employers, and advocates. More information or to register

Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers:

Organizations seeking non-lawyer and lawyer volunteers. Cornell Law School has compiled a list of organizations seeking non-lawyer and lawyer volunteers to help migrants in U.S. detention and deportation proceedings. The list, which is updated on an ongoing basis

Nation of immigrants. Podcasts on U.S. immigration history and what it means to be an immigrant in America:

Advisories and tips

  • Community Advisory: Social Media, Criminalization, and Immigration has been published by the National Lawyers Guild's National Immigration Project. This advisory summarizes ways in which immigration agents may use social media against those in removal proceedings or involved in criminal cases. The advisory is here.
  • How to safeguard your data from searches at the border is the topic of several recent articles and blogs. See, for example, NYTimes and ACLU.
  • Listings and links to cases challenging executive orders, and related available pleadings, are available at lawfareblog.com.
 
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7. ABIL Member / Firm News
 

In Chambers USA 2019, a guide to leading lawyers in the United States:

  • 25 ABIL lawyers were ranked in the top bands
  • ABIL lawyers represent half of the top-ranked ("Band 1") attorneys in immigration

This means that an ABIL lawyer is over 15 times more likely to be ranked in the top band than the average immigration attorney.

More information

 
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8. 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:

USCIS Service Center processing times online

Department of State Visa Bulletin

Visa application wait times for any post

 
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