Articles Posted in Americans

courthouse-1223279_1280The federal government has sued the state of Oklahoma in a new lawsuit seeking to block HB 4156 from taking effect, a new anti-immigration law that regulates the entry of noncitizens by detaining and fining migrants who are unlawfully present in the state.

The U.S. government filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma on May 21st arguing that HB 4156 is unconstitutional because the federal government maintains exclusive jurisdiction over the subject of immigration and the status of noncitizens under the supremacy clause and foreign commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Oklahoma’s HB 4156 which was slated to take effect July 1st considers the unlawful presence of a noncitizen in the state to be an “impermissible occupation” and directs law enforcement officials to arrest and jail undocumented immigrants.

The law aims to protect the state’s citizens against undocumented immigrants who could “potentially harm” its residents. Under the law, a first conviction would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in county jail and a $500 fine. A second conviction would rise to a felony and carry a sentence of up to two years in county jail and a $1,000 fine.

Those convicted would be required to leave the state of Oklahoma within three days of being released from county jail.

In attempting to enforce this law, the Justice Department argues that the state is circumventing established law and constitutional authority by trying to take matters into its own hands.

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As the 2024 U.S. presidential elections draw nearer, Biden and Mexico’s President Andres Manual Lopez Obrador, have announced joint efforts to combat illegal border crossings.

The two leaders have said that their administrations will take steps to decrease illegal border crossings by ordering their national security teams to cooperate. While specific details were not disclosed, a government official has said that immigration enforcement actions may include a crackdown to prevent railways, buses, and airports from being used for illegal border crossings.

The issue of immigration will likely sway voting age Americans who believe President Biden has not done enough to prevent illegal immigration.

Under intense scrutiny and political pressure, the Biden administration has attempted to appease these voters by getting tougher on immigration. Recently, the Biden administration attempted to include restrictive immigration policies as part of a $95 billion foreign aid package for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. Biden called the immigration reform measure the “strongest border security bill this country has ever seen.” If passed, the measure would have given him the authority to turn away migrants at the U.S. Mexico border.

Against political gridlock however, Congress blocked the inclusion of the measure from the bill. This has left the Biden administration to consider the possibility of executive action and internal policy decisions to ramp up its enforcement efforts.

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SSN Updates for New N-400 Applicants


If you have been thinking of applying for U.S. Citizenship, you may be pleased to learn that starting April 1st applicants will have the option of requesting an original or replacement Social Security number (SSN) or card and have the chance to update their immigration status with the Social Security Administration (SSA), without having to visit an SSA office in person.

This is all part of the new edition of Form N-400, Application for Naturalization (edition date 04/01/24) which will allow these requests to be made when submitting the application with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Previously, green card holders were required to visit an SSA office in person to notify them of their new U.S. Citizenship status and apply for a replacement SSN card reflecting their new immigration status.

Unfortunately, this new update only applies to applicants filing the new edition of the N-400 application (04/01/24) on or after April 1st.  Those who applied using the previous edition of the form (09/17/19) cannot take advantage of this option.


When will the new edition of the N-400 be available for use?


The new edition of the Form N-400 (04/01/24) will be available for online filing on April 1.

To file Form N-400 online, applicants must first create a USCIS online account, a convenient and secure method to submit forms, pay fees, and track the status of any pending USCIS immigration request throughout the adjudication process.


H-1B FY 2025 Cap Season Updates: What to Expect


You may be aware that the electronic registration period for the FY 2025 H-1B cap season closed at noon Eastern on March 25, 2024.

Within the next few days, USCIS will conduct a lottery to randomly select within the pool of properly submitted registrations to reach the FY 2025 H-1B annual numerical allocations, including the advanced degree exemption (master’s cap). USCIS will notify the public once the lottery has been completed.

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According to recent data released by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), applications for U.S. Citizenship surpassed pre-pandemic levels in fiscal year 2023, welcoming 878,500 new citizens from all over the world.

To be eligible for naturalization, applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements set forth in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The requirements generally include being a lawful permanent resident (LPR) for at least five years or at least three years for spouses of U.S. Citizens. Applicants must establish that they have good moral character, have continuously and physically resided in the United States as a green card holder, be proficient in basic spoken and written English, pass the required civics and English examination, among other requirements. Please note that there are other special naturalization provisions that exempt certain applicants, including certain spouses of U.S. citizens and applicants with military service, from one or more of the general requirements for naturalization.

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In continuance of the information provided in our blog post concerning additional visa allocations for the H-2B cap, we share new updates recently from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

On November 9, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Department of State (DOS), published a Notice in the Federal Register identifying the list of foreign countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B Nonimmigrant Worker Programs next year.

Effective November 9, 2023, nationals of the following countries are eligible to receive H-2A and H-2B visas:

Andorra The Kingdom of Eswatini Madagascar Saint Lucia
Argentina Fiji Malta San Marino
Australia Finland Mauritius Serbia
Austria France Mexico Singapore
Barbados Germany Monaco Slovakia
Belgium Greece Mongolia* Slovenia
Bolivia Grenada Montenegro Solomon Islands
Bosnia and Herzegovina Guatemala Mozambique South Africa
Brazil Haiti Nauru South Korea
Brunei Honduras The Netherlands Spain
Bulgaria Hungary New Zealand St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Canada Iceland Nicaragua Sweden
Chile Ireland North Macedonia Switzerland
Colombia Israel Norway Taiwan***
Costa Rica Italy Panama Thailand
Croatia Jamaica Papua New Guinea Timor-Leste
Republic of Cyprus Japan Paraguay** Turkey
Czech Republic Kiribati Peru Tuvalu
Denmark Latvia The Philippines* Ukraine
Dominican Republic Liechtenstein Poland United Kingdom
Ecuador Lithuania Portugal Uruguay
El Salvador Luxembourg Romania Vanuatu
Estonia

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In this blog post, we share with you an important update from the U.S. Embassy in Israel.

If you have a pending nonimmigrant or immigrant visa application awaiting an interview at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem or U.S. Embassy Branch Office in Tel Aviv, you should be aware that visa services have been temporarily suspended at these missions due to the ongoing conflict in the region.

The U.S. Embassy in Israel will be focusing its resources to plan the evacuation and departure of U.S. Citizens from the region.

Starting October 13th, the government arranged charter flights to assist U.S. Citizens and their immediate family members to depart Israel.

U.S. citizens in need of assistance must complete the crisis intake form here.


Applying for a Nonimmigrant Visa at a Neighboring U.S. Consulate or Embassy


If you have an urgent need to travel to the United States and do not currently have a nonimmigrant visa, you may apply for your visa at another U.S. Embassy or Consulate other than Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.

You must contact the nonimmigrant visa unit at the neighboring Embassy or Consulate to determine whether they will accept your application as a third-country national.

The U.S. Consulates in Canada allow third-country nationals to apply for visas including Israelis. Alternatively, please check with the specific Consulate regarding their instructions for requesting expedited interview appointments for emergency travel. In most cases, once you have submitted your DS-160 online nonimmigrant visa application and paid the necessary visa fees on the U.S. Department of State Visa Appointment Services webpage, you may request an expedited appointment. More information about expedites can be found on the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ portion of each country webpage by navigating to the bottom of the DOS Visa Appointment Service and selecting “Answers to Common Questions.”

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As we celebrate Labor Day, we celebrate the heart and soul of our organization – including the people who are part of our team and our wonderful clients.

Your passion and positivity fuel our success, and we couldn’t be more grateful to have your support! Each one of you brings a unique personal story to the table, and we are happy to be a part of that story. Because of our dynamic team and your continuous support, we’re setting and achieving goals we didn’t think were possible.

So in honor of Labor Day, we would like to say thank you for the energy you bring and your commitment to our mission and values. We hope you make it a memorable one.

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We start off the week with some exciting news for naturalization applicants filing N-400, Application for Naturalization.

On December 9, 2022, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced new updates to its policy guidance including a new procedure that will allow USCIS to automatically extend the validity of a Permanent Resident Card for a period of 24-months, through the issuance of an N-400 Application for Naturalization, receipt notice. This means that generally Permanent Residents with a pending N-400 Application, will no longer need to file Form I-90 to renew their green cards.

This policy is effective as of today, Monday, December 12, 2022, and applies to all applications filed on or after December 12, 2022.

Lawful permanent residents who filed for N-400 naturalization PRIOR to December 12, 2022, will NOT receive an N-400 receipt notice with the 24-month extension, and will be required to file Form I-90 if their green card expires, or request an appointment to receive an ADIT stamp in their passport to maintain valid evidence of their status as required under the law.


What You Need to Know


Previously, naturalization applicants who did not apply for naturalization at least six months before the expiration date on their green cards needed to file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, (green card) to maintain proper documentation of their lawful status.

Applicants who applied for naturalization at least six months prior to their green card expiration were eligible to request an appointment to receive an Alien Documentation, Identification, and Telecommunications (ADIT) stamp in their passport, which served as temporary evidence of their LPR status.

This policy is no more.

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On behalf of our Law Office, we would like to wish you and your family a very happy Fourth of July. We hope that you have a relaxing holiday weekend with your loved ones. We look forward to providing you with more immigration updates in the coming week.

For those who are U.S. Citizens, let us know, what makes you proud to be an American? What are you most grateful for?

For those who are not yet Americans, what is your American dream? Let us know in the comments below.

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We end the week with some new developments for United States Citizens with expired passports.

On June 29, 2022, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Carrier Liaison Program announced the end of a policy that previously allowed U.S. Citizens to re-enter the United States from abroad with expired passports.

You may recall that back in May of 2021, the State Department made the decision to allow stranded U.S. Citizens stuck overseas, to temporarily use their expired passports to make a direct return to the United States, provided their passports expired on or after January 1, 2020. The policy was to be in effect until June 30, 2022.

This temporary form of relief was granted in response to the extensive waiting period to renew a U.S. passport from abroad. Unlike Americans inside the United States, those waiting abroad have faced long waiting periods, due to the limited availability of appointments at U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide, caused by the global pandemic.

CBP has announced that as of Thursday, June 30, 2022,U.S. citizens will no longer be allowed to use their expired U.S. passport for direct return to the U. S. after June 30, 2022.

In a press release dated June 29, 2022, CBP advises officials that if a U.S. citizen overseas presents an expired U.S. passport to board a flight into the U.S., they must turn the traveler away and direct them to contact their nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to apply for a renewal.

Furthermore, CBP has stated that the Regional Carrier Liaison Group will now be responsible for implementing the scope of these new procedures.

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