Social Network Information Now Part of the Visa Application

June 4, 2019

The State Department announced this Friday that people requesting immigrant or non-immigrant visas must submit their social media and email information as part of their application. The State Department is asking a majority of those who are applying for a US visa to submit their user names on social networks, recent and previous email addresses as well as telephone numbers from the past 5 years together with their application. This measure is nothing new – since it was taken in 2017, only for people who had visited countries suspected of terrorism. Then, in March 2018, the norm was formally approved in the Federal Register, which came into force in October of that year for those applying for an immigrant visa. This Friday, May 31, the process was approved for all; both non-immigrants – that is, those who come as tourists, workers, students, etc; as to those who enter as an immigrant. On the other hand, it is important to point out that any person who lies in their use of social networks could face serious immigration consequences – which would lead to the cancellation of said visa and would penalize them for a period of 5 years until they can re-process. Those who are exempt from this measure – Diplomatic and Official Visa applicants.

Read more

New Memorandum Seeks to Collect Debt from Immigrants who receive Financial Assistance

June 3, 2019

Within the “zero tolerance” policy, President Trump has recently issued a memorandum ordering a plan to collect debt from immigrants who use public funds. The memorandum issued by the president makes reference to the law promulgated on December 19, 1997, during the Government of President Bill Clinton, where he points out that those who sponsor people who are not citizens must assume financial responsibility for the benefits of social assistance based on the value of the income received for financial assistance. Anyone who supports an application for residency of a foreigner – either through a citizen or a permanent resident, will be responsible for the amount of aid that foreigners receive from certain public benefits for up to 10 years or until they become citizens. Among the social assistance programs, that for this purpose are under the observation of the Central Government, we can mention: – SNAP Supplemental Nutrition Assistance – Medicaid – Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) The new regulation on this subject must be drafted within 90 days of its signature by the President of the United States. It will consider the procedures to recover public funds received by sponsored foreigners; procedures to consider and determine eligibility for public benefit; procedures to determine exceptions and requirements for the reimbursement of the debt, among other procedures. The new regulation will impact both the current sponsors and those who plan to sign sworn statements in support of the immigrant who wants to regularize their immigration status.

Read more

New Immigration Plan Announced

May 17, 2019

What is the immigration plan announced by the Trump Administration just a few hours ago? The plan announced by the Central Government of the USA is based on 2 fundamental supports: – Border Security – A system based on giving priority to the entry of immigrants because of their merits and not because of their family ties. Regarding Border Security, the plan does not include making a large continuous wall across the entire southern border as the Trump Administration had originally proposed – but now walls will be built on 33 strategic sections on that border. In addition, a large security technology infrastructure will be implemented at entry points and around the border to keep illegal immigrants away. In addition, resources will be allocated for the inspection of goods and people in ports of entry among other measures. Regarding the merit-based system, we can highlight that the US will be given access to people with extraordinary talents, professionals with specialized vocations, and a system of points will be established based on age, English proficiency, job offer and university diplomas. The announced plan reduces half of the visas by family bond and substantially increases the work visas. This also diminishes the granting of humanitarian visas and also contemplates the elimination of the Visa Lottery. On the other hand, the announced plan does not include the Dreamers or Young Dreamers covered by the DACA Deferred Action Program, nor the beneficiaries of the TPS Temporary Protection Status Program, nor does it answer for the legalization of 11 million undocumented immigrants. As for the viability of this plan in becoming law, chances are low due to the composition of the political forces that operate in the Congress of the USA that in reality are very divided.

Read more

Florida Legislation Ratifies Bill Against Sanctuary Cities

May 10, 2019

Laws have been discussed in the Senate and the Florida House of Representatives that will possibly ban sanctuary cities in that state. The initiative of both Legislative Chambers requires that all state agencies, municipal governments and the police department comply not only with the federal immigration law, but also work with federal agencies such as the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detect and deport immigrants. Let’s start by understanding – what is a Sanctuary City?  A sanctuary city is a city whose law enforcement officers limit their cooperation with federal immigration agents (ICE), with the purpose of creating a certain level of trust and credibility among the immigrant population. The desire is to focus their resources on arresting criminals and not necessarily undocumented immigrants. The idea of sanctuary cities emerged in the 1980s, when the church in the US provided a sanctuary for Central Americans fleeing the violence of their countries. This was amid the reluctance of the Federal Government to grant refugee status to these immigrants. It was a way to counteract excessive immigration policy particularly to detainees for minor and non-violent crimes. Most of the policies in the sanctuary cities focus on not cooperating with the application of federal law in immigration policies. Cities are considered as refuges for immigrants where the cooperation of police officers with immigration agents is basically limited because the police do not have the duty to allow the immigration agency to detain a person. Why? This is accomplished through the Tenth Amendment of the US Constitution that limits federal agents to tell state agents what they have to do. What would be the possible discord that would arise when the federal administration has to deal with a coastal city from the budgetary point of view? The discord would be that there are sanctuary cities that, by not wanting to collaborate with immigration agents, the answer they would receive from the central government is not to give them federal funds. This would be a form of pressure so that these cities do not maintain the status of sanctuaries. In the event that the cities decide to collaborate and accept the funds of the federal government and not be more sanctuary cities, a very interesting fact would occur. From the judicial point of view, immigrants who are witnesses or victims of a crime will not be able to report them to the police for fear of being arrested not only by the police, but also by immigration. In fact, there are visas that are based on these criminal cases, how the domestic violence of gangs, etc., where protection is given to those who suffer. Likewise, it would be necessary to consider the impact that this law has on the economic activity in the city. Surely it would be discouraging, since by ceasing to be a sanctuary city, many immigrant assistance programs would stop providing their services for the same reasons outlined above – “fear of being detained. “Also, the impact on schools, emergency medical services etc. This law, it should be said, is practically for the signature of the governor. Recommendations:  – First – […]

Read more

Results of the Diversity Visa Program Made Known

May 10, 2019

The Department of State announced the results of the 2020 Diversity Visa Program (DV-2020). Commonly known as a Visa Lottery, as of Tuesday, May 7, 2019, all foreigners who participated may consult through the website of the Department of State if they were beneficiaries of residency in the United States via this program. Applicants must enter their confirmation number and personal information to know the result. It is important to clarify that although a foreigner has been selected, that does not mean that they will receive their visa immediately. First and foremost, the US Department of State and the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will conduct a thorough investigation of the participant’s background before submitting the residency document. In this way, starting in the month of October, interviews will be made and the test documents will be received, among which we can highlight – academic certificates, work experience, etc. As is public knowledge, this program ran by the State Department will deliver 50,000 Visas to foreigners from countries with less representation in the US, so its call does not include citizens of Mexico, Canada, India, China and other countries.

Read more

Immigration and Citizenship Services Clarifies Consequences on the Possession and Distribution of Marijuana

April 26, 2019

The US Citizenship and Immigration Service clarified what the immigration consequences that a legal resident can carry due to possessing and/or distributing marijuana, or, dispensing or manufacturing cannabis, as it may not be considered “good moral character.” Let’s start by understanding what we mean when we speak of “good moral character.” We refer to the fact that the citizenship applicant must prove not to have committed a crime during the last 5 years, or provide false information to obtain immigration benefits. As is public knowledge, the Immigration and Citizenship Service USCIS reported on its website recently and then the media that the moral character will be in question if a legal immigrant has links to marijuana. This includes the states where it’s use has been legalized. Due to it being a prohibited substance at the Federal level – violations related to it are generally an obstacle to demonstrating good moral character for purposes of naturalization even when the conduct does not constitute a crime under state law.

Read more

Immigrants who entered the United States without inspection and seeking asylum, will no longer be eligible to be released on bond

April 18, 2019

Immigrants who Cross the Border Illegally and Plan to Seek Asylum in the US Will Not Be Entitled to Bail. As usual, the asylum seekers are sent to the Immigration court to decide if they will be deported or granted asylum once they go through their credible fear interview. Now, as they wait for the decision, the applicant will not be able to leave through a bail, but will have to be in the detention center until his/her case is finalized if the immigrant entered the country illegally (they did not appear in front of a border agent) and wishes to apply for asylum in the US This recent guideline will become effective within 90 days. According to US Attorney General William Barr, only the Department of Homeland Security has the authority to allow an undocumented asylum seeker who has entered the country illegally to leave on bail – concluding that these foreigners are ineligible for bail.

Read more

New Initiative will Allow Hondurans to Travel For Work in the United States

April 15, 2019

The Government of Honduras and the United States initiated an immigrant labor program that would allow Hondurans to travel to work in the North American country. According to press reports, the Secretary of Labor and Security of Honduras and the Consulate of the United States have formalized a plan that would allow the hiring of workers temporarily and legally in activities such as agriculture, construction, cleaning, and maintenance of facilities among others. The hiring options will be carried out under the H2 Visa, which is the one indicated for the aforementioned activities. According to the media, the recruitment will be free and without intermediaries. The program is expected to increase the number of hirings, and reduce fraud. This initiative would represent an important opportunity for companies in the US and Honduran workers.

Read more

The federal judge suspended the immigration policy of sending immigrants to Mexico who request an asylum even if they are not originally from that country.

April 10, 2019

As is known, an asylum seeker has the right to present his case in an Immigration Court while many of them are allowed to remain at liberty, while their applications are processed since the immigration authorities do not have enough places to deal with the massive arrival of people who are arriving to the southern border of the USA with Mexico, of which a large part are from Central American countries; In this regard, the US Administration agreed with the Mexican Government before Christmas last year on a program for immigrants to have to wait in Mexico, the neighboring country, for the result of their asylum application, which has provoked strong criticism within and outside the US However, on Monday of this week the Judge of the Northern District of California issued a preliminary order that will go into effect next Friday where the Central Administration of the US will not be able to implement or expand the program for sending the asylum seekers to Mexico. South border. According to sources, the decision of the Magistrate addresses the narrow question of whether the Central Government of the United States had followed administrative laws when implementing the policy to return asylum seekers to Mexico; in addition to the legal question that whether the program to stay in Mexico (MPP) is a smart or humane policy, or if it is the best approach to face the circumstances at the border. The Federal Judge also said that the Government would allow the 11 plaintiffs in the case to enter the US starting on Sunday.

Read more

New Service Informs Public of Employers Requesting H-1B Workers

April 5, 2019

The US Citizenship and Immigration Service announced a new online service that informs the public about employers applying for H-1B workers. As it is generally known, the H-1B Program allows employers in the US to temporarily hire foreign workers in jobs that require the theoretical and practical application of a highly specialized body of knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or higher in the area of specialty, or its equivalent. In this regard, the USCIS Immigration Agency has launched the new H-1B Employers Data Center, with the purpose of informing the public about the H-1B employers. This new service is part of a continuing effort to increase transparency in employment-based visa programs, allowing the public to seek H-1B petitions per fiscal year – beginning in 2009, in addition to NAICS Industrial Codes, company name, city, state and zip code. This will allow the public to calculate and evaluate the approval and denial rates and assess which employers use the H-1B Program. The individual tax years are available for download on the “Employer Data Center H-1B Records” page. To assist the public in using the Data Center and understand the terminology used in it, the “How to Understand Our Employers Data Center H-1B” page has been created. Cumulative data updates will be provided per quarter and annual data will be published, with an expectation to update the Employer Data Center quarterly. For example, data for the first quarter (October-December) of a fiscal year will be published in April of that fiscal year.

Read more