News from the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers Vol. 15, No. 6E • June 30, 2019
1. USCIS Expands ‘FIRST’ Digital FOIA System -USCIS said FIRST is the only system in the U.S. government that allows users to submit and track FOIA requests and receive documents digitally.
2. USCIS Extends Parole and Work Authorization for Certain CNMI Residents -USCIS will automatically extend parole, and employment authorization if applicable, for certain residents.
3. Acting CBP Commissioner To Step Down After Two Months -John Sanders, Acting Commissioner for U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), announced he is resigning effective July 5, 2019.
4. Don’t Accept Restricted Social Security Cards for I-9 Verification, E-Verify Warns -E-Verify recently reminded employers not to accept restricted Social Security cards as List C documents on the I-9 work authorization verification form.
5. New Publications and Items of Interest -New Publications and Items of Interest
6. ABIL Member / Firm News -ABIL Member / Firm News
7. Government Agency Links -Government Agency Links
1. USCIS Expands ‘FIRST’ Digital FOIA System
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is expanding its digital Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Immigration Records System, FIRST. USCIS said FIRST is the only system in the U.S. government that allows users to submit and track FOIA requests and receive documents digitally.
FOIA entitles every person access to certain information from the federal government. FOIA requests can be critical in cases where the full picture of an applicant’s history matters to the success of their immigration petition/application.
FOIA requestors with a USCIS online account can submit requests online for their own records. Soon, they will be able to submit online requests for non-A-file materials.
Details: USCIS announcement
2. USCIS Extends Parole and Work Authorization for Certain CNMI Residents
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on June 28, 2019, that it will automatically extend parole (i.e., permission to lawfully remain), and employment authorization if applicable, for certain residents of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). This extension of parole will provide relief while USCIS establishes procedures for obtaining the new CNMI Resident status created by the Northern Mariana Islands Long-Term Legal Residents Relief Act, signed by President Trump on June 25, 2019.
USCIS noted the following points:
- Parole for individuals under a previous CNMI categorical parole program expired on June 29, 2019. DHS automatically extended parole for those individuals without interruption through October 28, 2019. USCIS said this automatic extension of 120 days will provide an opportunity for individuals to submit a re-parole request.
- For parolees with an employment authorization document (EAD) expiring at the same time as their parole (June 29, 2019), USCIS is automatically extending their employment authorization through October 28, 2019.
Details: USCIS announcement
3. Acting CBP Commissioner To Step Down After Two Months
John Sanders, Acting Commissioner for U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), announced he is resigning effective July 5, 2019, after only two months on the job. He took on the role in April after Kevin McAleenan, former CBP Commissioner, became Acting Secretary of Homeland Security after Kirstjen Nielsen’s departure. The announcement follows reports of substandard conditions for migrant children being held in detention.
Mr. Sanders reportedly is expected to be replaced by Mark Morgan, who has been directing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for several months. He was formerly chief of the Border Patrol.
Details: News reports: CNN, CNBC, AXIOS
4. Don’t Accept Restricted Social Security Cards for I-9 Verification, E-Verify Warns
E-Verify recently reminded employers not to accept restricted Social Security cards as List C documents on the I-9 work authorization verification form. Form I-9 List C documents verify an employee’s authorization to work.
Employers should not accept a restricted Social Security card that is stamped with one of the following:
- Valid for work only with DHS authorization
- Valid for work only with INS authorization
- Not valid for employment
Details: E-Verify announcement; List C documents that establish employment authorization; Form I-9 acceptable documents
5. New Publications and Items of Interest
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:
- ABIL is available on Twitter: @ABILImmigration.
- Recent ABIL member blogs are at http://www.abilblog.com/.
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:
- Statutes of Liberty: (new episodes: A Prescription for Success: EB-1 for Physicians; The Best, Brightest, and Backlogged, discusses the backlog, who it affects, how to read the Visa Bulletin, and strategies for EB-1 visas)
- Code Switch Podcast: What Does It Mean To Be A ‘Nation of Immigrants‘?
- Hidden Brain: The Huddled Masses and the Myth of America
- American Pendulum I
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.
6. ABIL Member / Firm News
Stephen Yale-Loehr was quoted by Inside Higher Ed in “Waiting for Work Authorization.” The article notes that many colleges offer practicum courses through which international students can gain CPT authorization to participate in summer internships. Whereas the regulations stipulate that OPT [Optional Practical Training] can only be approved for employment “directly related to the student’s major area of study,” the regulations governing CPT [Curricular Practical Training] are stricter and say it must be “an integral part of an established curriculum.” Mr. Yale-Loehr noted that “[t]here are some ambiguities—the regulations don’t define what constitutes ‘an integral part of an established curriculum’—but more and more colleges are starting curricular practical training for international students not solely because of these new USCIS restrictions but also because work is now understood to be more integral to a person’s education generally.” The article
H. Ronald Klasko was awarded the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s highest award, the Founders Award, for the second time on June 20, 2019, at the annual conference of the American Immigration Lawyers Association in Orlando, Florida. After first receiving this honor in 1996, Mr. Klasko is now the only attorney to receive it twice. The award, presented only when there is a significant recipient, recognizes those who have had a substantial impact on the field of immigration law and policy. More information
Cyrus Mehta has authored several new blog entries: “Can the Arbitrary and Capricious Standard Under the Administrative Procedure Act Save DACA?“; and “Illogical Situation for Family-Sponsored Second Preference Spouses and Children under the July 2019 Visa Bulletin.”
7. 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