President Trump Executive Orders – Travel Advisory

President Donald Trump has issued 3 Executive Orders that affect Immigration Law. This memo addresses travel issues that have arisen from the Executive Order signed on January 27, 2017, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.”

The Executive Order has the effect of stopping all refugees coming to the United States for 120 days, stopping Syrian refugees from entering the United States indefinitely, and stopping persons from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the United States for at least 90 days from January 27, 2017.

The following travel advisories remain in effect until further notice is given:

Citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen:

If you are a nonimmigrant from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, it is advised that you do not leave the United States, since you will not be allowed to return. If you are a green card holder from one of these countries, you are advised not to travel, even though the Department of Homeland Security has exempted green card holders from the ban. There have been reports of Legal Permanent Residents encountering difficulties at the port of entry into the U.S. If you are a U.S. Citizen from any of these countries, you should not be denied admission to the United States if you leave.

Nonimmigrants and Immigrants from Predominantly Muslim Countries:

If you are from a predominately Muslim country, it is advised that you do not leave the United States, since other countries may be added to the list of banned countries in a future executive order.

Nonimmigrants of Countries not included in the Ban:

Nonimmigrants who do not have valid visa stamped in Passport:

If you are planning to travel outside of the United States, and you do not have a valid visa stamped in your passport, we advise you not to travel, because each visa applicant is now required to be personally interviewed. This is because the Visa Interview Waiver program, which allowed a qualifying nonimmigrant visa holder to apply for a visa without attending an interview, is being cancelled. Therefore there is a delay in getting a visa appointment. Also, you may be required, in a visa interview, to present a cumbersome number of documents. This can result in very lengthy delays, and may lead to a denial of a visa. As such, do not travel if you do not have a valid visa stamped in your passport.

Nonimmigrants with valid visa stamped in Passport:

If you are a nonimmigrant who is not a citizen of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, and you are outside the United States, and you have a valid visa stamped in your passport, you will be allowed to travel to the United States and gain admission to the United States, given there are no other negative factors involved in your particular, individual circumstance.

If you are planning to travel outside the United States, and you have a valid visa stamped in your passport, we advise that you can travel outside the United States, since you will not be subject to the delays caused by attending a comprehensive visa interview, as discussed above.

Immigrants of Countries not included in the Ban:

If you are a Legal Permanent Resident of the United States (Green Card holder), there should not be a problem in your traveling abroad, and returning to the United States. If, however, for whatever reason, a Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agent, or any other Government Agent asks you to sign form I-407, Record of Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status, to abandon your green card, do not sign the form, immediately ask that the case be referred to an Immigration Judge, and that you be allowed to obtain an Immigration Attorney to represent you.

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Proposed Bill Would Allow DHS to Indefinitely Detain Immigrants

A new bill, just filed by Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX), proposes to give the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the authority to indefinitely detain immigrants. If passed, H.R. 1932, the Keep Our Communities Safe Act, would give DHS the power to detain and hold as long as it deems necessary certain “dangerous” immigrants who are under orders of removal but cannot be deported. The bill, which is co-sponsored by Jeff Miller (R-FL) and Dennis Ross (R-FL) would do the following, among other things:

(1) Remove key portions of two Supreme Court Decisions that stated an immigrant cannot be detained for a period over six months, even in cases in which the person cannot be deported.

(2) Give DHS the ability to detain immigrants for a range of offenses, including writing a bad check.

(3) Give DHS the ability to detain an immigrant for years without having to conduct a bond hearing in front of an immigration judge.

Detractors of the bill comment that, if the bill is passed, it will be challenged.

New Version of Form N-400, Application for Naturalization is announced by USCIS.

USCIS revised Form N-400, Application for Naturalization on April 13, 2016. The revised version is accessible at uscis.gov/n-400. August 9, 2016 is the last date to use the 9/13/13 form edition, if any forms submitted after August 10, 2016, it will be discarded and previous versions of Form N-400 submitted will be returned.

Eligibility Requirements

The eligibility requirement for naturalization remains the same. Visit uscis.gov/n-400 to get the information on how to complete the form, and where eligibility requirements can be found.

Revised Form Changes:

  • Removed the bar code
  • Streamlined the application process for the customer
  • Identified evidence.

Instructions to complete the Revised Form N-400:

  • Access the revised form uscis.gov/n-400.
  • Complete it electronically, then print, sign and mail it to the USCIS Lockbox listed in the instructions. Please comprise supporting papers and the correct fee.
  • If you are unable to fill out Form N-400 electronically, you may print it, or request a paper form by calling the Forms Request Line at 800-870-3676. You must complete the paper form in black ink.
  • You may also get forms and information by calling the USCIS National Customer Service Centre at 800-375-5283

US plans to talk to India about H-1B and L-1 visa fee hikes

The US has planned to hold a discussion with India in April over the recent H-1B and visa fee increase. According to the Indian media statement, it mainly disturbs the Indian owned companies in the US. The US has agreed discussions following India’s complaint against its move to raise visa fees for non-immigrant workers at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Indian Government, Ministry of Commerce is functioning with a set of legal mentors to validate that the visa rules victimize Indian IT organizations working in the US. “We want the US to see our point of view at the consultation stage itself and revoke the visa fee hike, but this is unlikely to happen. We have to be ready to fight a case at the dispute panel. Our legal team is trying to prove violation of WTO rules on both de facto (in effect) and de jure (by law) basis,” the Commerce Ministry official said.

According to Nasscom Assessment:

The change would affect losses estimated at $400 million for Indian IT firms. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said: “The MEA is intense to settle the matter during the WTO consultation process as it does not want yet another problematical situation with the US on trade and economic matters.”

This will be a challenging case for India to argue at the WTO as the legislation is applicable on all companies and doesn’t explicitly target Indian companies. Official said: “Our legal team has to prove that discrimination is taking place by providing data which shows that it is only Indian companies that are getting affected because of the increased visa fees and not the American companies”. The US has suggested April 5-6 as probable dates for consultations. We look at the readiness of our officials around that time and respond accordingly.

Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone Temporary Protected Status Stretched for Six Months.

An additional six months of extension for the designations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone for Temporary Protected Status (TPS).This extension has been done by Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security. Though there have been major progresses in the conditions in all three countries since their designations for TPS in November 2014, the enduring effects of the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak and continued recovery challenges support this six-month extension

The extended designation is effective May 22, 2016, through Nov. 21, 2016. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) encourage beneficiaries to re-register as soon as possible. TPS extension allows TPS re-registrants to apply for a new Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Eligible TPS beneficiaries who re-register during the 60-day period and request a new EAD will receive one with an expiration date of Nov. 21, 2016.

Submission Process for Re-registering for TPS:
To re-register, current beneficiaries should submit the following forms:

  • Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status (re-registrants do not need to pay the Form I-821 application fee)
  • Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, regardless of whether they want an EAD
  • The Form I-765 application fee (or a fee-waiver request) only if they want an EAD. No application fee is required if the re-registrant does not want an EAD.
  • The biometric services fee (or a fee-waiver request) if they are age 14 or older.

Submission Process for Individuals who still have a pending initial TPS Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone application:
New Form I-821 is not needed for the individuals who still have a pending initial TPS Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone application.However, if they currently have a TPS-related EAD and want a new EAD, they should submit:

  • Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
  • The Form I-765 application fee, regardless of their age and
  • A copy of the receipt notice for the initial Form I-821 that is still pending

One who fails to submit the required filing fees or a properly documented fee-waiver requests USCIS will reject that applicant’s TPS application. Applicants may request that USCIS waive any fees based on an inability to pay by filing Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, or by submitting a written request. Fee-waiver requests must be accompanied by supporting documentation. All USCIS forms are provided for free. Forms are available at USCIS website uscis.gov/forms or applicants can request forms by mail or call toll-free 1-800-870-3676.

H-1B Petitions for Fiscal Year 2017

USCIS will start accepting H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year (FY) 2017 cap from April 1, 2016. The H-1B visa program allows employers to hire foreign workers in specialty occupations that require the imaginary or practical application of highly specialized knowledge, such as engineers, scientists, and computer programmers.

The required cap on H-1B visas for FY 2017 is 65,000.The first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed for individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the 65,000 cap. The number of petitions received will be monitored and notified to the public by an agency when the H-1B cap has been met.
To Avoid Delays in Processing:

USCIS is expecting to receive more than 65000 petitions during the first five business days of this program. In order to avoid delays in processing, H-1B petitioners must follow all legal and regulatory requirements.

USCIS has developed detailed information, including an optional checklist, Form M-735, Optional Checklist for Form I-129 H-1B Filings, on how to complete and submit an FY 2017 H-1B petition. The optional checklist for FY 2017 will be available within the next week. Employers should take action as early as possible to initiate any cap-subject H-1B petitions. Cases will be acknowledged on the date USCIS receives a properly filed petition with the appropriate fees.

Mark Zuckerberg to Support Obama’s Efforts on Undocumented Immigrants

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook and other Silicon Valley leaders have advised the Supreme Court to sustain Barack Obama’s executive actions that seek to protect undocumented immigrants to stay in the US.

The Facebook founder, along with Reid Hoffman LinkedIn co-founder, PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, prominent angel investors and venture capitalists Ron Conway, Jeremy Levine and representatives of upwards of 60 companies advised the Supreme Court to support Obama’s efforts to allow millions of immigrants to stay in the U.S.

Silicon Valley Says:

The court brief released by FWD.us on Tuesday argues that the immigration system is shattered and advised the Supreme Court to allow Obama’s executive actions to be implemented for the sake of the U.S. economy. For Silicon Valley, the issue has been both personal and commercial.

Other Companies Says:

Facebook, LinkedIn and other companies say they need more visas for high-skilled immigrants. In recent times company faced a backlash in India aimed at trying to offer free mobile broadband service to some users, but only to access certain websites, such as Facebook. Many of the allusions point to theoretical studies and press trainings rather than other court cases. “Failure to address the status of undocumented immigrants and their families,” the brief says, “also wear away the long-term skills base of our workforce.”