The Executive Office for Immigration Review today announced that scammers are calling individuals and pretending to be an employee of the Arlington Immigration Court as part of a fraudulent scam. The scammers will even use the Immigration Court’s main number, 703-305-1300, making the calls appear to be coming from the Immigration Court on the recipient’s caller ID.
These scammers posing as Court employees or officers advise individuals that their social security number has been compromised and request money from the victims. These calls are fraudulent; Court personnel do not call individuals regarding social security numbers or to request money.
To protect yourself, be wary of answering phone calls from numbers you do not recognize. Never give out your personal information over the phone to individuals you do not know. Please contact our office should you have any questions or concerns.
There has been a lot of movement with Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. Several changes are important and noteworthy:
DEFERRED ACTION/WORK AUTHORIZATION:
On March 7, 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it is updating the USCIS Policy Manual to consider deferred action and related employment authorization for noncitizens who have an approved Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, for Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) classification but who cannot apply to adjust status to become a lawful permanent resident (LPR) because a visa number is not available.
Deferred action is an act of prosecutorial discretion that defers proceedings to remove a noncitizen from the United States for a certain period. Deferred action does not provide lawful status. USCIS will consider deferred action on a case-by-case basis and will grant it if the SIJ warrants a favorable exercise of discretion. USCIS will automatically conduct deferred action determinations for individuals with SIJ classification who cannot apply for LPR status because a visa number is not available. A separate request for deferred action is not required and will not be accepted by USCIS. If USCIS grants deferred action, it will be valid for a period of four years. Beginning on May 6, 2022, a SIJ who has been granted deferred action will be able to apply for employment authorization for their period of deferred action by filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.
The Department of Homeland Security recently issued a final rule which will update the regulations regarding Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS); specifically, 8 CFR § 204.11, § 205.1, and § 245.1.1 The purpose of the updates is to reflect statutory changes, modify certain provisions, codify existing policies, and clarify eligibility requirements. The regulations went into effect on April 7, 2022, and overall are a positive development for SIJS petitioners.
An important change in policy, USCIS has removed marriage of the SIJS beneficiary as a basis for automatic revocation. This means the SIJS petitioner only needs to be unmarried at the time of filing the SIJS petition and the time of adjudication of the SIJS petition. This dramatic and valuable change will allow many young people to move forward with marriage while waiting for their priority date to become current. However, it is not known at this time whether USCIS will apply this change in policy retroactively to individuals who previously married after their SIJS petition was approved but before their adjustment of status application was adjudicated.
Due to the large number of SIJS applications, for the last 5-6 years, there has been a backlog for children from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Mexico. As of April 2021, there are 44,000 SIJS beneficiaries remaining in the backlog. SIJS beneficiaries from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras have waited an average of 4 years before their priority date is current to apply for adjustment of status.
SIJS visas are part of the employment-based fourth preference category. The fourth category receives only 7.1% of the 140,000 visas generally available per year. SIJS beneficiaries are also subject to annual country caps applicable to employment-based immigration: 7% per-country limit. There is an overwhelming number of SIJS beneficiaries who are also in removal proceedings: 92% of Honduran SIJS adjustment applicants, 90% of Guatemalan applicants, and 84% of Salvadoran applicants.
If someone you know can benefit from Special Immigrant Juvenile Status due to abuse, neglect or abandonment by one or both parents, please contact our office today.
ROANOKE, Va. – Congress is weighing in on a bill that could drastically change the nation’s immigration system. The nation has hit a record, with a backlog reaching nearly 1.6 million immigration cases.
From the March 2021 Roanoke Bar Review article by Rachel Thompson, Esq.
How has President Biden changed immigration? I’ve been asked that question dozens of times by family and friends. Immigration has been such a hot topic during the 2016 and 2020 elections and many individuals are curious about what has changed between the previous administration and the current one. The reality is that most of the significant changes that affect an immigration attorney’s day-to-day practice cannot be explained in an elevator speech or bullet list. This is not specific to the most recent administration change, but every time there is a change of presidency. I’ve now practiced under three different administrations and each new presidency brings with it a sea of change, and President Biden’s short time in office has proven to be no exception.
Some quantifiable changes under the Biden administration (and the answer to the question I believe most people are looking for) include the following:
It reaffirmed Deferred Action with Childhood Arrivals (DACA): new applications for DACA were suspended during the majority of the previous administration
It put a moratorium on deportations: certain deportations were banned for 100 days but it has since been enjoined by a Texas District Court
It lifted travel bans: certain Muslim-majority and African nations are no longer barred from entry into the U.S.
It protected asylum seekers: the Migrant Protection Program requiring asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for their hearing was suspended.
On Tuesday, March 9, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designated Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months, from March 9, 2021 through September 9, 2022. The reason for this designation is due to the severe political and economic crisis in Venezuela that temporarily prevents nationals from returning safely, including a complex humanitarian crisis that includes widespread hunger and malnutrition, an increasing presence of non-state armed groups, and a deteriorating infrastructure. This designation will permit eligible Venezuelans to file for TPS status and for related employment authorization documents (EADs) and advance parole (travel permission). In order to be eligible for TPS, Venezelans must be able to demonstrate continuous residence in the United States since March 9, 2021. Applicants must apply for TPS within the 180-day registration period from March 9, 2021 through September 5, 2021.
Additionally, DHS provided important information regarding Deferred Enforced Departure (DED). Pursuant to a Presidential Memorandum in January 2021, certain Venezuelans nationals who were present in the United States on January 20, 2021 and have been continuously present, may benefit for a period of 18 months from DED. The Federal Registrar notice provides details regarding how to apply for work authorization under the DED program.
Finally, DHS suggests that those covered under DED should also apply for TPS in order to preserve the option of TPS in the event that the applicant is ineligible for TPS late initial filing and in case DED for Venezuela later expires.
The information in this blog is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact our office for professional legal advice.
On December 4, 2020, a U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of New York ordered that the July 2020 Memorandum is vacated. Thus, on December 7, 2020, USCIS and DHS updated their websites to comply with the court order. The notices state that effective December 7, 2020, USCIS is:
Accepting first-time requests for consideration of deferred action under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) based on the terms of the DACA policy in effect prior to September 5, 2017, and in accordance with the Court’s December 4, 2020, order;
Accepting DACA renewal requests based on the terms of the DACA policy in effect prior to September 5, 2017, and in accordance with the Court’s December 4, 2020, order;
Accepting applications for advance parole documents based on the terms of the DACA policy prior to September 5, 2017, and in accordance with the Court’s December 4, 2020, order;
Extending one-year grants of deferred action under DACA to two years; and
Extending one-year employment authorization documents under DACA to two years.
USCIS also states in the notice that it will “take appropriate steps to provide evidence of the one-year extensions of deferred action and employment authorization documents under DACA to individuals who were issued documentation on or after July 28, 2020, with a one-year validity period under the defunct policy.”
Please note that the DACA requirements have not expanded. The DACA requirements from 2012 remain intact. Thus, you may request DACA if you:
Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
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