Articles Posted in Biden administration

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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The Department of Homeland Security and Justice Department recently announced a new plan to expedite immigration court proceedings for asylum seekers who have recently arrived in the United States without lawful status.

On May 16th senior administration officials from the Department of Homeland Security and Justice Department made it known to the public that a new Recent Arrivals (RA) docket process will allow undocumented immigrants to resolve their immigration cases more expeditiously – within a period of 180 days.

Under the RA Docket process, DHS will place certain noncitizen single adults on the RA Docket, and EOIR adjudicators will prioritize the adjudication of these cases.

The RA Docket will operate in five cities: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City. Immigration judges will aim to render final decisions within 180 days, although the time to make a decision in any particular case will remain subject to case-specific circumstances and procedural protections, including allowing time for noncitizens to seek representation where needed.

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New fraud prevention mechanisms applied to the H-1B program in fiscal year 2025 have led to a dramatic decrease in the number of eligible registrations for H-1B cap visas, plunging to almost 40% from the past year.

These fraud prevention mechanisms were introduced with the final rule “Improving the H-1B Registration Selection Process and Program Integrity,” which changed the H-1B selection process to center around unique beneficiaries, preventing employers from gaming the system and unfairly increasing their chances of selection.

Starting this fiscal year, each beneficiary could only be registered under one passport or travel document to prevent the submission of multiple registrations.

Recent USCIS data suggests that these new changes to the H-1B system were successful at combating fraud. The agency recently released its selection statistics for the fiscal year 2025 H-1B cap season.

The data shows a significant drop in the number of eligible registrations for fiscal year 2025 totaling 470,342—representing a 38.6% reduction when compared to the 758,994 eligible registrations received in fiscal year 2024.

Of these eligible registrations (470,342), USCIS selected 114,017 beneficiaries, resulting in a total of 120,603 selected registrations for fiscal year 2025.

The number of workers who were registered did not change significantly at 442,000 when compared with 446,000 last year.

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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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In this blog post, we cover the newly released Immigrant Visa Backlog Report published by the Department of State. April’s report provides the latest data and statistics relating to the processing of immigrant visa applications at the National Visa Center.

This data includes information about the number of documentarily complete immigrant visa cases currently at the National Visa Center waiting for interviews, the number of cases that were scheduled for interviews by the end of the month, and the number of immigrant visa cases still waiting to be scheduled for a visa interview after interview appointment scheduling was completed.


The April Immigrant Visa Backlog Report


According to the National Visa Center’s April Immigrant Visa Backlog Report there has been an increase in the overall immigrant visa (IV) backlog from 326,415 pending cases in the month of March, to 351,624 pending cases still waiting to be scheduled for a visa interview at the end of April. By comparison, in February, there were 338,256 pending cases waiting for interview scheduling.

On the bright side, the Final Action dates in the April and May Visa Bulletin have shown substantial forward movement for nearly all family-sponsored categories. This has enabled more family-based immigrant visa applications to become documentarily complete and receive interview scheduling at U.S. Consulates and Embassies worldwide. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the employment-based categories, which have remained stagnant with little to no forward movement in recent months.

Additionally, when comparing the March and April Immigrant Visa backlog reports, we can see that the number of immigrant visa applicants whose cases were documentarily complete and therefore ready to be scheduled for an interview at Consulates and Embassies increased from 374,532 (as of February 29, 2024) to 404,459 (as of March 31, 2024). Of these cases, only 52,835 applicants whose cases became documentarily complete were scheduled for interview appointments in April 2024. By comparison, only 48,117 applicants were scheduled for interview in March.

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We are pleased to announce that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will soon publish a new temporary final rule in the federal register aimed at streamlining the processing of renewal applications for Employment Authorization Documents (also known as EADs) and increasing the automatic extension period of EADs.


What does this new rule propose?


The new temporary final rule (TFR) proposes an increase of the automatic extension period of certain employment authorization documents (EADs) from up to 180 days to up to 540 days from the expiration date printed on EADs.


Who will benefit?


This automatic extension will benefit employment-authorized noncitizens to prevent workforce interruption for those that have pending employment authorization renewal applications with USCIS, which were timely and properly filed on or after October 27, 2023.

Additionally, to be eligible for the automatic extension, the EAD renewal application must still be pending with USCIS on the date of the rule’s publication in the Federal Register on April 8, 2024.

It will also benefit any eligible applicant who files a renewal EAD application during the 540-day period beginning on or after April 8, 2024 (the date of the rule’s publication in the Federal Register).

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In this blog post, we share with you the latest regarding the controversial immigration law from the state of Texas known as SB-4.

In a stunning turn of events, on Tuesday March 19th the Supreme Court of the United States cleared the way for the state of Texas to enforce its controversial immigration law SB4, which would allow state officials to arrest and detain those suspected of entering the country illegally.

The Supreme Court rejected the Biden administration’s request to intervene and keep Texas’s strict immigration enforcement law on hold pending litigation.

The legal challenges however did not stop there. Later that day, a federal appeals court put the controversial law back on hold, just hours after the Supreme Court would have allowed Texas to begin enforcing the new law.

The order came down from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in which a three-judge panel voted 2-1 to vacate a previous ruling that had put the law into effect.

The future of the law still hangs in the balance as the 5th Circuit prepares to hear arguments over the controversial law to decide once and for all whether the law is unconstitutional.

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Without any prior notice, the U.S. government has started requiring immigrants without passports, to submit to facial recognition technology in order to board domestic flights in the United States.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently confirmed this policy change, stating that migrants who do not have the proper photo identification, must submit to facial recognition technology, to verify their identify using Department of Homeland Security (DHS) records. Those who refuse to undergo facial recognition are turned away at the airport.

This change came to light after several migrants flying out of Texas were unexpectedly required to submit to the technology.

A spokesperson for the agency further confirmed that if TSA cannot match the person’s identity to DHS records, they will be denied boarding and entry to secure areas of an airport.

This has been alarming news for immigrants who must relocate to areas where they are pursuing their immigration claims, or where they have been scheduled to appear before immigration court.

It has also caused concern for immigrants who were blindsided by the change and spent their hard-earned money on nonrefundable domestic flights.

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We are excited to report that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that they will begin fast tracking employment authorization documents (EADs) for eligible refugees after being admitted to the United States.

This new process will allow refugees admitted into the United States on or after December 10, 2023, to receive their EADs within just 30 days of entry. Eligible refugees will no longer be required to file Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization by mail. Instead, USCIS will automate the process by digitally creating a Form I-765 for arriving refugees and begin adjudicating the application as soon as they are admitted into the country.

This will provide enormous benefits for refugees since they will no longer need to wait several months before they can begin working in the United States, making the process much more seamless.

Under the new system, refugees can expect to receive their EADs in the mail in just one to weeks after the approval of Form I-765.

USCIS will also electronically provide the Social Security Administration with the information required to assign a Social Security number and mail Social Security cards to refugees.

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The Supus-supreme-court-building-2225766_1280reme Court of the United States has issued an important but temporary victory to the Biden administration. On Monday, the court temporarily halted the enforcement of a controversial immigration law from the state of Texas known as SB4, which would authorize state law enforcement officials to arrest and detain those suspected of entering the country illegally, while imposing harsh criminal penalties.

The administrative hold issued by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito blocks the law from taking effect in the state of Texas until March 13. This temporary pause will give the court enough time to review and respond to court proceedings initiated by the Biden administration. Alito has ordered Texas to respond to the government’s lawsuit by March 11.

U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar has argued that SB4 violates the law by placing the authority to admit and remove noncitizens on state law enforcement when these matters fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government, and not individual states.

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