Author: Joey Poarch

PTL Attorney Betty Stevens recognized by Federal Bar Association

Congratulations to Poarch Thompson Law attorney Elizabeth “Betty” Stevens who was recognized by the national Federal Bar Association at their annual meeting for her hard work on legislation creating an Article I Immigration Court. Betty has worked tirelessly on this issue, including reviewing draft legislation, collaborating with stakeholders, and offering compelling congressional testimony before the Immigration Subcommittee. For her efforts on this important due process and access to justice issue, the FBA selected her for the Elaine R. “Boots” Fisher Award, which recognizes exemplary community, public and charitable service by a member of the FBA. Congrats Betty, and thanks, FBA, for this prestigious recognition of Betty’s commitment to an independent immigration court.  

Attorney Rachel Thompson confirmed as President of the Salem/Roanoke County Bar Association

Congratulations to Poarch Thompson Law attorney Rachel Thompson who was recently confirmed as President of the Salem/Roanoke County Bar Association for the 2021-2022 year. Rachel Thompson along with the Roanoke Bar Association (Dan Frankl) and Virginia Women Attorneys Association (Sue Cook) presented Judge Cullen with his robe and honored his appointment as Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia.

Dan Frank, Rachel Thompson, Judge Cullen, Sue Cook

Poarch Thompson named Legal Elite

Congrats to our very own Christine Poarch and Rachel Thompson: both named Legal Elite in Immigration by Virginia Business Magazine. The Legal Elite polls lawyers licensed to practice in Virginia and asks them to name top attorneys in a variety of legal specialities.

2020 Legal Elite

For the profile on Virginia Business, click here: https://www.virginiabusiness.com/article/2020-legal-elite-immigration-law-profile/

For the full list of 2020 Legal Elite, click here: https://www.virginiabusiness.com/article/2020-legal-elite-immigration-law-profile/

City of Roanoke partners with United States Immigration Services for citizenship week

Joy Hepkins was featured in USCIS’ lunch and learn celebrating citizenship during citizenship week. Gaston Araoz-Riveros of Senator Kaine’s office and Tiffany Bradbury of the City of Roanoke were in attendance. Joy spoke about her path to the United States and becoming a US citizen. She hails from Johannesburg, South Africa and described fleeing governmental oppression during apartheid. She described her upbringing and what it was like living in a country where she could not vote, could not go to certain schools and could not live in certain neighborhoods because of the color of her skin. Due to a shortage of nurses at Temple University, Joy was accepted and looked forward to living in a democratic and free country. She described the US as a beacon of hope. She met Rohan Hepkins, a naturalized citizen from Jamaica, and he soon became her husband. They still live in the suburbs of Philly and she believe the US is the greatest country on earth. The moment most dear to her was when she was able to vote for the very first time here in the US. She is proud to call herself and citizen of the US of America.

For a quick look at see WSET Channel 13: https://wset.com/news/local/city-of-roanoke-partners-with-united-states-immigration-services-for-citizenship-week

USCIS Lunch & Learn: Let’s Celebrate Citizenship

Come learn about the 10 steps to naturalization at the next USCIS Lunch & Learn! Attorney Rachel Thompson will introduce her mother, Joy Hepkins, who will talk about her immigration journey to U.S. citizenship at this informative USCIS Washington District Office Lunch and Learn on webex: Let’s Celebrate Citizenship, Friday, September 18, 2020, 12pm–1pm, sponsored by US Citizenship and Immigration Services and the City of Roanoke and organized in part by PTL’s community partner, El Puente Legal Services (BIA Accredited Representatives).

For information on registering to attend the event and webex details, open the flyer attached below:

Washington District Flyer

 

 

PTL Attorney Jaime McGuire Recognized by the Federal Bar Association

Poarch Thompson Law attorney Jaime McGuire has been recognized by the Federal Bar Association Immigration Law Section with the Younger Lawyer of the Year award.

Jaime is on the FBA-ILS Younger Lawyers Division committee and has done outstanding work organizing informative webinars for the section.

Congratulations Jaime!

Department of State COVID-Related Guidance on Student Visas 

Department of State COVID-Related Guidance on Student Visas 

On March 9, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ICE’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) instituted a temporary exemption regarding the online study policy for the 2020 spring and summer semesters. This policy permitted F and M students to take more online courses than normally allowed for purposes of maintaining a full course of study to maintain their F-1 and M-1 nonimmigrant status during the COVID-19 emergency. 

Thereafter, on July 6, 2020, SEVP announced that international students could not take a full online course load from schools operating entirely online and remain in lawful F-1 status in the United States. On July 14, 2020, as a result of litigation, DHS agreed to fully rescind the July 6, 2020 ICE guidance, July 7, 2020 Frequently Asked Questions and all implementing guidance, leaving the March 2020 Guidance as the status quo. 

The current policy: Nonimmigrant students who were actively enrolled at a U.S. school on March 9, 2020 and are otherwise complying with the terms of their nonimmigrant status may comply with the March 2020 guidance and thereby be exempted to take online instruction. Nonimmigrant students in ‘new’ or ‘initial’ status after March 9 will not be able to enter the U.S. to enroll in a U.S. school as a nonimmigrant student for the fall term to pursue a full course of study that is 100% online. Additionally, designated school officials should not issue a Form I-20 to a nonimmigrant student in new or initial status who is outside of the U.S. and plans to take classes at an SEVP-certified educational institution fully online.

Contact Poarch Thompson Law if you have questions about how these policies affect your enrollment.

The Department of State issued recent Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that are available on their website at: DOS Guidance for Students 2020 (FAQs). Check for updates to this policy. Content of the FAQs current through August 11, 2020 is included below:

1. Do students at universities doing hybrid virtual / in person programs need to obtain a new I-20 form?

Student visa applicants should bring their latest I-20 form (Certificate of Eligibility) issued by their university to their visa interview.  International students must obtain the appropriate visa before traveling, and may still be subject to visa processing and travel restrictions due to COVID-19.  Students should check with the local U.S. embassy or consulate for information specific to their country.

2. Do students who already have valid visas but are outside of the United States need a new visa before they attempt to travel to the United States?

No, students with valid visas do not need to apply for a new visa before traveling to the United States to resume their studies.  However, students may still be subject to travel restrictions due to COVID-19.  Students should check with the local U.S. embassy or consulate for information specific to their country.

3. Will a student enrolling for the first time in Fall 2020 (i.e. the student was not enrolled as of March 9, 2020) qualify for a student visa if their coursework is 100% online?

Only students who have a valid I-20 form (Certificate of Eligibility) issued by their university may qualify for an F or M student visa.  Students and the schools that admit them should follow SEVP guidance.  For questions about compliance with SEVP guidance and SEVIS, we refer you to ICE.  Their website is here: https://www.ice.gov/coronavirus.

International students must obtain the appropriate visa before traveling, and may still be subject to visa processing and travel restrictions due to COVID-19.  Students should check with the local U.S. embassy or consulate for information specific to their country.

4. Is global visa processing still suspended? How will students make it to campus on time for the fall semester if visa services are suspended in so many locations?

U.S. embassies and consulates recently began a phased resumption of routine visa services.  The resumption of routine services is on a post-by-post basis, in accordance with the State Department’s Diplomacy Strong framework for safely returning our workforce to Department facilities. 

Student visas are a high priority, and we will make every effort to assist student visa applicants in a timely fashion, while keeping our staff and customers safe. 

Applicants with an urgent matter who need to travel immediately should follow the guidance provided on their nearest embassy or consulate’s website to request an emergency appointment.

Want to stay up to date on the latest Poarch Thompson News?

Request Consultation


GET YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED, SCHEDULE CONSULT TODAY

The results of client matters depend on a variety of factors unique to each matter. Past successes do not predict or guarantee future successes.
View Disclaimer

Contact Us

© Poarch Thompson Law. All rights reserved. Powered by Array Digital..