As we near the end of the second quarter of the year, things surrounding the state immigration laws seem to still be changing. I’m sure you heard the most news surrounding the controversial travel ban. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear full arguments on it in the Fall to decide if it is constitutional. However, until then, they decided to implement it partially. The supreme court has said that this partial reinstatement would only apply to foreign nationals from Syria, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, and Somalia who cannot show any relationship with a person or entity in the United States. This will not apply to anyone who already has a valid visa to enter the U.S. An example of those that could be affected by this new ban would be someone from one of those countries who is wanting to obtain a tourist visa and has no family connections to the U.S. This new partial ban is currently in effect, and critics have said that this is likely going to cause much confusion again.
Other news that has happened this quarter include:
- The executive order that President Obama signed regarding DAPA and expanded DACA has been officially rescinded. However, the ability to apply for DACA is still available for those who meet the qualifications laid out in the original DACA executive order. Also, those who have DACA are still able to apply for renewals. Advanced parole travel documents are still being issued to DACA applicants
- United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has been updating many of the immigration forms. One of the recent major forms that have been updated is the green card application, form I-485. It used to be 6 pages, now it is 18 pages. There are many questions on there that have never appeared on the green card application before. It is important to understand what they mean and how they can affect a person’s eligibility.
- The H-1B program that allows U.S. employers to hire specialty workers has again been very popular this year. Every year, Congress allows for 65,000 H-1Bs to be issued, and an additional 20,000 for those who have master’s degrees. The application period opens every April 1, which is when employers can submit petitions for the H-1B visas. In the past few years, this program has been very popular, and the cap has been reached mere days after the April 1st open date. This year was no exception. USCIS has received approximately 199,000 H-1B petitions, and which petitions that USCIS decides to process are through a lottery system that they have set up.
- The EB-5 program that allows for foreign investors to obtain their green cards if they invest $500,000 or $1,000.000 has been extended without any changes until September 30, 2017.
With the current state of immigration, I understand that it is confusing and a bit intimidating to some. As of now, many of the immigration benefits that individuals, employers, and investors can file for are still in place. If you have any questions/concerns, please feel free to reach out to me at 801-883-8204.