Immigration And Nationality Law

Updates

As a reminder, as of August 15th, 2012, DHS’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program takes effect. As of August 15th, DHS will start accepting applications for deferred action status from eligible applicants. The newly issued form, instructions and various guidance from DHS is now available. If you wish more information on this program or assistance in applying for benefits pursuant to the program we would be happy to assist you. Please contact our office for a consultation. Please find below some general information regarding the program criteria.

On Friday, June 15, 2012, President Obama announced a new U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) policy directive that will be extremely beneficial to many foreign nationals who entered the United States as children but do not currently hold a valid immigration status.

The directive involves DHS foregoing immigration enforcement actions on undocumented foreign nationals who came to the United States as children, attended school or served in the military, and established a life here as otherwise law abiding members of their communities.

Although Congress has not passed the DREAM Act, which would give foreign nationals who are the subject of the announcement a path to legal status, DHS’s new directive should have the effect of removing the threat of deportation from many individuals who would benefit from the DREAM Act.

DHS will offer what is known as “deferred action” status to foreign nationals who meet the following basic criteria:

  1. Applicant is under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
  2. Applicant came to the U.S. before reaching the age of 16
  3. Applicant has continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 until the present
  4. Applicant was physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012 and at the time of making the deferred action request to USCIS
  5. Applicant entered without inspection before June 15, 2012 or had their lawful immigration status expire as of June 15, 2012
  6. Applicant is currently in school or graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school or has obtained a GED certificate or is an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces of Coast Guard
  7. Applicant has not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more misdemeanors and does not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety

Deferred action will be available to those who are currently in removal proceedings, as well as to those who apply affirmatively.

What is deferred action?

Deferred action is a discretionary decision, based on the approval of a DHS official, not to prosecute or deport a particular foreign national. It is an act of administrative choice to give some cases lower priority. Deferred action is not an entitlement.

Foreign nationals who qualify will be granted deferred action for a period of two years, during which time they would not be subject to removal actions. Grants of deferred action would be renewable at the end of the two year period. Furthermore, if able to prove economic necessity, foreign nationals granted deferred action will be able to obtain Employment Authorization Documents (work permits).

Please note that because this policy is being implemented as a directive within the Executive Branch, it is subject to change or rescission based on the preferences of the administration in power at any given time.

What is the application process for deferred action?

Eligible foreign nationals who are not detained, including those who are in removal proceedings or are the subject of a final order or removal will apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for deferred action. Eligible foreign nationals who are detained will request deferred action from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). We would be pleased to provide further information about the specific procedures to apply for deferred action during a consultation.

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If you have questions regarding eligibility and procedures for applying for deferred action under this new directive, please contact our office for a consultation. We will be assisting people who may be eligible for deferred action by assessing whether they meet the requirements and preparing and submitting applications to the appropriate government agencies.





The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that as of November 5, 2010, approximately 46,800 H-1B regular cap petitions and 17,200 H-1B master’s cap petitions have been filed. Therefore, the annual limits of 65,000 for H-1B regular cap petitions and 20,000 for master’s cap petitions have not yet been reached and USCIS continues to accept H-1B nonimmigrant visa petitions subject to the fiscal year 2011 (FY 2011) cap.

In light of this update, we write to remind you that if there are any H-1B petitions you still wish to submit, please contact our firm immediately. Please be reminded that once the H-1B cap is met, the next time a cap-subject H-1B petition may be filed will be April 1, 2011 for an October 1, 2011 start date. We will keep you apprised of any updates received regarding the count of cap subject H-1B petitions.

Please also note that USCIS has announced changes in their filing fees effective November 23, 2010.

The new fee schedule will increase overall fees by a weighted average of about 10 percent. According to USCIS, the fee adjustment is necessary to recover the cost of services provided by USCIS and to maintain adequate continued service. The new fee schedule will increase the fees for most employment-based immigration petitions and applications, and will implement several new fees for applications and services that are currently processed without a fee.

Below we have listed the fee changes for some of the more commonly filed petitions and applications:


For a complete list of the new fee schedule please click on the following link: New Application and Petition Fees Go Into Effect on Nov. 23, 2010

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