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Featured Immigration News

United States Citizens and Their Foreign Intended Spouses File Lawsuit Challenging the Department of State’s Refusal to Issue Fiancée Visas

September 17, 2020|Contributed by: Joseph & Hall P.C.

Today, over 150 United States Citizens and their foreign national intended spouses sued the Department of State for continued refusal to process K-1 fiancée visas. The K-1 visa allows foreign nationals to enter the U.S. and marry their petitioning fiancé(e). Although the I-129F petitions have been approved by the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (“USCIS”), the U.S. Department of State (“DOS”) has refused to adjudicate or issue K visas, or reissue K visas that expired due to beneficiaries’ inability to travel during the pandemic.

More People Enter the United States on Valid Visas and Overstay Than Those Who Cross Ilegally

March 28, 2019|Contributed by: Joseph & Hall P.C.

New estimates of the undocumented population in the United States confirm a trend that has been apparent for several years: the number of people who become undocumented each year by overstaying their visa now greatly exceeds the number who entered with no visa at all. This suggests that our immigration laws—and our immigration-enforcement mechanisms in particular—are in dire need of updating.
According to a recent report from the Center for Migration Studies, about two-thirds of people who are undocumented in the United States today did so by overstaying their visa.

Quotas Require Denver Immigration Judges More than Double Their Case Completion Rate

April 5, 2018|Contributed by: Aaron C. Hall, Esq.

New performance goals announced by the Department of Justice will require immigration judges to complete at least 700 cases per year in order to get a “satisfactory” rating.[i]  Immigration judges, after subtracting out days for training and vacation, are working on cases for a maximum of 220 days per year.  To meet their new 700 case quota, this would require them to finish 3.5 cases per day.
At the Denver Immigration Court, the six immigration judges are projected to complete 2,030 cases in fiscal year 2018.

2017 In Review

December 28, 2017|Contributed by: Joseph & Hall P.C.

This holiday season, I would like to reflect on the past year in the world of immigration law. It has been a tumultuous one, to say the least.
In late January, upon the inauguration of President Trump, there were a flurry of executive orders that aimed to restrict and isolate immigrants and further divide the United States, a country of immigrants.  The most controversial and litigated Executive Order was the January 27, 2017 Travel Ban (aka Muslim Ban 1.0). 

The Current State of Trump’s Travel Ban

November 28, 2017|Contributed by: Courtney Sommer

On November 13 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling allowing the Trump administration’s travel ban to proceed in part. A Hawaii federal judge had previously blocked the newest travel ban from going into effect, but the 9th Circuit held that the Trump administration could limit the issuance of visas to individuals from six countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. However, the decision would allow individuals from those countries who have a “bona fide relationship” to the United States to still be allowed into the country.

TPS to Terminate for Haitians

November 27, 2017|Contributed by: Courtney E. Butler, Esq.

On November 20, 2017, Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke announced her decision to terminate Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”) for Haitians.  The decision will take effect 18 months before the Haitian TPS designation terminates on July 22, 2019.
DHS made its decision to terminate TPS for Haiti after reviewing the conditions upon which TPS was based, finding that the temporary conditions caused by the 2010 earthquake no longer exist.  Acting Secretary Duke’s action follows an announcement in May 2017 by then-secretary John Kelly announcing a limited extension for Haiti’s TPS designation. 

Happy Thanksgiving

November 22, 2017|Contributed by: Aaron C. Hall, Esq.

It’s no secret that Thanksgiving 2017 comes at a time of great challenge and incredible distress for many immigrants and their families.  The anti-immigrant rhetoric and scapegoating continually flowing out the Trump Administration is matched by its harsh and restrictive policies.  The president canceled DACA and Dreamers are now left counting the days until their protection against deportation expires.  Those who have long legally resided in the U.S. with TPS are now seeing that status canceled and being instructed to prepare to leave the country. 

Updated Guidance on USCIS Solution to Erroneous DACA Rejection Notices

November 17, 2017|Contributed by: Joseph & Hall P.C.

As most people are aware, on September 5, 2017, the Trump administration announced that DACA will be rescinded on March 5, 2018. Applicants with DACA had until October 5 to deliver their renewal applications to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
USCIS received reports that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has identified USPS mail service delays that affected many DACA renewal requests. Because the DACA policy has been rescinded and individuals can no longer request deferred action under DACA,

2017 Sees Slow-Moving Processing Times for U.S. Citizenship Applications

November 2, 2017|Contributed by: Jennifer Howard

Becoming a United States citizen is a memorable and meaningful experience—one that brings with it the right to obtain a U.S. passport to travel internationally and to seek protection and assistance from the U.S. government when abroad, the ability to serve on a jury when summoned, the ability to serve the country if and when required, and the right to vote in local, state, and national elections. However, becoming a U.S. citizen is not always an easy process,

New Agricultural Guestworker Bill Proposed

October 30, 2017|Contributed by: Courtney E. Butler, Esq.

On October 23, 2017, Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) introduced a new bill, the Agricultural Guestworker Act (H.R. 4092), which would replace the current H-2A agricultural worker program with an H-2C visa program.  This new program would be a temporary agricultural guestworker program that would encompass year-round agricultural and horticultural work.  Importantly, the program would include dairies, raw food processors, and forestry-related activities.
On October 25, 2017, the House Judiciary Committee approved the Agricultural Guestworker Act by a vote of 17-16.

Somebody’s Watching Me: DHS to Collect Social Media Data from Immigrants

October 30, 2017|Contributed by: Jennifer Howard

On September 18, 2017, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published an announcement in the Federal Register that it would begin collecting the social media data of immigrants in an effort to “more effectively screen those coming to the country.” This new system went into effect on October 18, 2017, bringing with it concerns about privacy, data sharing, and the chilling effect it could have on free speech.

Naturalization Applications Surge Under Trump

October 27, 2017|Contributed by: Aaron C. Hall, Esq.

The New York Times reports that even though naturalization applications generally spike during presidential election years and then fall after the election, the volume of applications received by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for 2017 will be greater than during the 2016 election cycle:
“In the first three quarters of the 2017 fiscal year — from Oct. 1, 2016, through June 30, the latest period for which data is available — 783,330 people filed applications,

Trump Reneges on Deal by Demanding Funding For Wall and Dramatic Limits on Legal Immigration in Exchange for DACA

October 16, 2017|Contributed by: Joseph & Hall P.C.

At a White House dinner on September 13, President Trump came to an agreement with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer regarding the future of DACA. The leaders agreed, in principle, to a deal that would lay the foundation to legalize the immigration status of “Dreamers”– people eligible for DACA protections. The deal expressly excluded any funding for a border wall.
On October 8, President Trump sent a letter to Congress that outlined his priorities for immigration reform,


September 13, 2017|Contributed by: Joseph & Hall P.C.

In approximately 6 months, on March 5, 2018, the Trump administration is rescinding the DACA program. By now, more details have come out regarding the implementation and repercussions of this decision.
Pending Legislation in Congress
The good news is that there is legislation pending in Congress and more on the way to solve the issue of what to do with people who currently have DACA. The Trump administration stated that it created a six month window to give Congress one more chance to pass legislation to help the DACA population.

In Her Words: How DACA Opened Doors for Johana

September 7, 2017|Contributed by: Aaron C. Hall, Esq.

Contributed by Joseph & Hall P.C. client Johana Mejias-Beck:
We moved to the United States of America to have a life that our home country of Venezuela could not provide.  The political instability, political coercion, the violence, and constant insecurity was something my parents did not want for their two young daughters. They made the decision of leaving everything they knew, a large extended family, without knowledge of the language, and without any money to come to the land of opportunities and freedom.

The End of DACA, At Least For Now

September 5, 2017|Contributed by: Courtney Sommer

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced today that the Trump Administration is rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
DACA was created through a memorandum in 2012 which gave individuals who entered the United States as children the ability to work—and sometimes travel—for periods of two years at a time.
The program is being rescinded in six (6) months, on March 5, 2018. The administration claims it is giving Congress this time to enact legislation to protect the individuals currently protected under DACA,

“We’ve Got Your Backs”: Denver City Council comes through for the City’s Immigrant Population

August 30, 2017|Contributed by: Jennifer Howard

On August 28, 2017, the Denver City Council voted unanimously to pass the Public Safety Enforcement Priorities Act, a bill that will both increase public safety and help protect immigrants from deportation. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is expected to sign the bill this week, stating in a recent interview that “the message to Denver’s refugee and immigrant community is ‘We’ve got your backs.’”
This measure follows large-scale resistance to the increase in aggressive practices of ICE agents in recent months,

Deportations for DACA Youth, Amnesty For Sheriff Joe Arpaio

August 29, 2017|Contributed by: Aaron C. Hall, Esq.

Reports last week indicated that President Trump was likely to end DACA, the program giving protection from deportation for those brought to the United States as children.
At the same time that these youth are poised to lose all protection and face deportation by ICE, the President who famously vowed: “no amnesty” decided that amnesty was appropriate in just one case—for the infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Arpaio, amongst other things,

BALCA Issues Key Decision on PERM Labor Certification Application

July 27, 2017|Contributed by: Courtney E. Butler, Esq.

On July 17, 2017, the Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (“BALCA”) issued a key decision regarding PERM labor certification applications, or Form 9089. Section H.14 of Form 9089 requires a petitioning employer to list “specific skills or other requirements” of the job.  In Matter of Pixar, the PERM Certifying Officer had denied the employer’s PERM application because Section H.14 did not quantify the amount of experience that the position of “Technical Director” required. 

The Dream Act of 2017

July 26, 2017|Contributed by: Courtney Sommer

On July 20 two United State Senators, one Republican and one Democrat, introduced the Dream Act of 2017. If it becomes law, the Dream Act would grant permanent resident status on a conditional basis to individuals who entered the United States as children. Specifically, the law would grant status to individuals who are inadmissible or deportable from the United States or are in temporary protected status and who:

Have been continuously physically present in the United States for four years preceding the enactment of the law;

USCIS Increases The H2-B Cap By 15,000

July 24, 2017|Contributed by: Joseph & Hall P.C.

On July 19, 2017, the Departments of Homeland Security and Labor published a final rule increasing the numerical limit (“cap”) on H-2B nonimmigrant visas by up to 15,000 additional visas through the end of fiscal year (FY) 2017. These visas are available only to American businesses which attest that they will likely suffer irreparable harm without the ability to employ all the H-2B workers requested in their petition.
This is a one-time increase based on a time-limited statutory authority.

U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Travel Ban Case, Revives Limited Version of Ban While Case is Pending

June 27, 2017|Contributed by: Aaron C. Hall, Esq.

In an order dated June 26, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the government’s appeal of two lower court decisions blocking President Trump’s executive order banning travel from six Muslim-majority countries for 90 days and suspending the U.S. refugee program for 120 days. In the meantime, the order also effectively narrowed the preliminary injunctions on the travel ban for people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
The order allows the ban to take effect except for individuals “who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” Examples given by the Court of people who would likely have the required “bona fide relationship” with a U.S.

Supreme Court Issues Pivotal Decision Concerning Denaturalization

June 26, 2017|Contributed by: Courtney E. Butler, Esq.

On June 22, 2017, the United States Supreme Court issued a key decision for those facing denaturalization – it narrowed the grounds on which naturalized citizens can have their citizenship revoked.  The case centers around Divna Maslenjak, an ethnic Serb born in what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina.  In 2000, Ms. Maslenjak arrived in the United States as a refugee.  In 2007, her naturalization application was approved.  However, in 2013, a jury found her guilty of making false statements on her application,

Gender-Based Distinction for Acquiring U.S. Citizenship through Parents Held Unconstitutional

June 15, 2017|Contributed by: Courtney Sommer

Until just a few days ago, individuals born abroad to U.S. citizen parents faced different standards in acquiring their U.S. citizenship depending on whether their mother or their father were U.S. citizens.
Under section 309 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), if you were born abroad to an unwed U.S. citizen father before 1986, in order to derive citizenship through your father you would have to show that your father had ten years of physical presence in the United States prior to your birth with at least five of those years being after the age of 14.

The Impact of Mathis v. United States

July 13, 2016|Contributed by: Koby L. Polaski, Esq.

In the wake of our disappointment over the Supreme Court’s decision regarding DAPA and the extension of DACA, the Court issued another, much more favorable opinion. In Mathis v. United States, decided on June 23, 2016, the Supreme Court grappled with the categorical approach as it applies to the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA). The categorical approach appears simple enough on its face, but has caused many a headache to judges and attorneys alike. The Supreme Court defined the categorical approach in Taylor v.

USCIS Parole Program for Filipino World War II Veterans

June 27, 2016|Contributed by: Jennaweh Hondrogiannis, Esq.

On June 8, 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting applications from certain family members of Filipino World War II veterans to enter the United States on a discretionary grant of parole, so that they may wait inside the United States for a visa to become available in their preference category.  Qualifying family members must have an approved family-based immigrant visa petition and be in line for issuance of their immigrant visa.
The parole policy was announced in a White House report called “Modernizing and Streamlining Our Legal Immigration System for the 21st Century.” The report was issued in July of 2015.

Additional Invitations Issued Under the Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program

June 21, 2016|Contributed by: Courtney E. Butler, Esq.

In early June, USCIS announced that it is sending a third round of invitations to apply for the Haitian Family Reunification Parole (HFRP) Program.  The HFRP Program allows certain eligible United States citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents who have filed I-130 petitions for family members in Haiti to apply for parole, allowing their family members to enter the United States before their immigrant visa priority dates are current.  Once the family members are in the United States,

Immigrant Action Orlando Launched After Tragic Mass Shooting

June 21, 2016|Contributed by: Joseph & Hall P.C.

In the focus on terrorism and the political ramifications of the recent mass shooting in Orlando on June 12, 2016, a very important story has been glossed over by the mass media. The shooting happened at Pulse nightclub on Latino night. Among the people who frequent the club are many immigrants- both documented and undocumented. There is a huge need for immigration legal counsel for the victims and their families.
In response to this need, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Central Florida chapter and Immigration Equality teamed up to create Immigrant Action Orlando.

USCIS Sued by Thirteen Muslim Plaintiffs Because of Unlawful Delay of Citizenship Applications

May 23, 2016|Contributed by: Joseph & Hall P.C.

On May 18, 2016 thirteen Muslim plaintiffs sued United States Citizenship and Immigration Services pursuant to 8 U.S.C. Section 1447(b) and the Administrative Procedures Act (“APA”) for significant delays in the adjudication of each plaintiff’s application for citizenship (Form N-400). The government classified each of these applications as presenting a threat to national security pursuant to the Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program (“CARRP”). Although Congress has plenary power over immigration law, including citizenship and naturalization,

Obama Administration Plans New Wave of Deportation Raids

May 17, 2016|Contributed by: Koby L. Polaski, Esq.

In January, we reported an operation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to apprehend and deport undocumented immigrants across the United States. The January raids represented a large-scale effort to deport families fleeing violence in Central America. In our January blog, we outlined our recommendations for how to respond to a raid, or in the event of contact with ICE agents.
Sadly, ICE announced on Thursday its plan to begin another month-long series of raids in May and June in response to a renewed surge of women and children fleeing violence in Honduras,

USCIS Announces Proposed Fee Increases

May 5, 2016|Contributed by: Jennaweh Hondrogiannis, Esq.

The Department of Homeland Security has issued a proposed rule that would increase fees charged by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for certain immigration and naturalization benefit requests. This proposal comes as a result of a comprehensive fee review conducted by USCIS which found that the current fees do not recover the full costs of the services USCIS provides. Per the fee review, USCIS determined that if the fee structure remained as is, the agency would suffer a $560 million annual shortfall.

President Trump’s First 100 Days: DACA Rescinded and Muslims Banned from Visiting U.S.

May 5, 2016|Contributed by: Aaron C. Hall, Esq.

Against all expectations at the start of the primary process, Donald J. Trump has now sealed up the Republican nomination for President of the United States. He will face the Democratic nominee, likely Hillary Clinton, in the general election in November. Trump has long been promising to solve immigration issues with a wall along our southern border (which Mexico, he claims, will pay for). But speaking with the New York Times, he outlined in more detail what the beginning of a Trump presidency would look like:
On Inauguration Day,

U Visa Backlog Reaches All-Time High

April 21, 2016|Contributed by: Koby L. Polaski, Esq.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced this month that, as of the first quarter of fiscal year 2016, it had 108,623 U visa applications pending. This number indicates that USCIS currently has more U visas pending than it did in all of fiscal year 2015. The governing regulations dictate that USCIS may only issue 10,000 U visas in each fiscal year. Based on these numbers, we can expect someone who applies for a U visa today to be waiting approximately 5-6 years to receive a U visa.

Electronic Passports Now Required for Waiver Travelers

April 19, 2016|Contributed by: Linda Shindler

Effective April 1, 2016, individuals who are eligible for admission to the United States on the Visa Waiver Program have been required to have an electronic passport, or e-Passport.  All others will be required to apply for a visa to enter the United States.
An e-Passport has in it a chip containing all of the information found on the biographic information page of the passport, including the bearer’s name and date of birth.  These passports help to securely identify the bearer,

Potential Outcomes After Supreme Court Oral Argument on DAPA: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

April 19, 2016|Contributed by: Aaron C. Hall, Esq.

What’s at Stake?
On Monday, April 18, the United States Supreme Court heard oral argument in United States v. Texas, the case which will decide whether the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) and the expansions of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  Currently, a decision of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has blocked the implementation of these programs which were first announced in November of 2014.  The earlier version of the DACA program,

Donald Trump’s Modeling Agency Broke Federal Immigration Laws

April 13, 2016|Contributed by: Joseph & Hall P.C.

The H1-B program has become a lightning rod during the 2016 presidential campaign. Donald Trump, the front-runner in Republican primaries, has slammed this program for taking jobs away from American workers, for lower pay. It turns out Mr. Trump’s modeling agency has exploited the H-1B program by breaking federal immigration law.

The Debate Continues over the Issuance of Driver’s Licenses to Undocumented Immigrants in Colorado

April 4, 2016|Contributed by: Jennaweh Hondrogiannis, Esq.

In 2013, Colorado passed the “Colorado Road and Community Safety Act,” which permits undocumented immigrants who live and pay taxes in Colorado to obtain a driver’s license. The purpose of the Act is to make Colorado roads and communities safer by ensuring that all drivers are properly trained drivers, that they understand the rules of the road, are insured, registered and identifiable. The Act requires that individuals demonstrate that they have paid Colorado taxes and that they have established a residence in Colorado.

Undocumented Immigrants Pay Substantial State and Local Taxes

March 31, 2016|Contributed by: Courtney E. Butler, Esq.

On February 24, 2016, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy released a 50-state study titled “Undocumented Immigrants’ State and Local Tax Contributions.” The study found that the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States pay $11.64 billion in state and local taxes per year. This is an average of approximately 8{b6b8f04f7bd4b863c4cfed8339fd19419bda3e071c79bc5ac8c810cb9c52e30f} of the immigrants’ incomes, while the top 1{b6b8f04f7bd4b863c4cfed8339fd19419bda3e071c79bc5ac8c810cb9c52e30f} of United States taxpayers pay an average of just 5.4{b6b8f04f7bd4b863c4cfed8339fd19419bda3e071c79bc5ac8c810cb9c52e30f} of their incomes.

ICE Raids and Your Rights

January 22, 2016|Contributed by: Kirby Gamblin Joseph, Esq.

Starting in the beginning of January 2016, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents began an operation to apprehend and deport undocumented immigrants across the United States.  These raids target adults and children who crossed the southern U.S. border within the previous year, and represented the first large-scale effort to deport families fleeing violence in Central America.  It is perhaps worth noting that this violence is driven primarily by criminal groups whose main source of income is the consumers of cocaine,


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