We are coming to the end of President Trump’s term in office, and it seems it is time to take a final tally of the administration’s record in Court. The last four years have been marked by incredible overhauls in policy at agencies across the Federal Government, and historic litigation challenging those policy changes. We’ve seen an exodus of career civil servants and a remarkable number of “Acting” heads of major agencies as these tremendous policy shifts have occurred,
For most immigrants, the only way to access their immigration records (often called “A-files”) that are maintained by the government is to file a request under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). While this law requires the government to make a determination on the request within a few weeks, most individuals and their attorneys wait many months for a response.
A recent court order by a federal court aims to remedy this problem. On December 17,
Uncertain how long order will be in effect: Immediate Action May Be Advisable
On December 4, 2020, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York ordered the government to restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in full.
USCIS was directed to publish information on its website by December 7 explaining that in accordance with the court order:
USCIS is accepting first-time requests for DACA consideration;
On September 11, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security published a proposed regulation that would greatly expand the collection and use of biometric data in the administration and enforcement of immigration laws. If implemented as proposed, this new rule would have a significant impact on any individual interacting with the immigration system. The rule would, in part:
Require that any applicant, petitioner, sponsor, beneficiary, or individual filing for an immigration benefit or associated with any immigration benefit or request,
After a hectic beginning of November, official sources have called the Presidential Election in favor of Joe Biden. With this change in administration, we can expect some fairly drastic changes to the immigration system, and thankfully the Biden-Harris has compiled a twenty-page wish list of immigration changes their administration will pursue. Notably, much of the proposals involve reversing the immigration changes of the Trump administration, and broadly the Biden-Harris team would like to implement policies in the following six categories:
Take urgent action to undo Trump’s damage and reclaim America’s values;
In July 2020, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling that the Trump Administration’s previous attempt to undo the DACA program was unlawful, Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf issued a memo barring new DACA applicants, limiting renewals to one year instead of two, and precluding DACA grantees from getting permission to travel internationally except in “exceptional circumstances.”
Now a federal court has ruled that because Wolf was not lawfully appointed to his position,
We don’t often think about the Department of Labor as being a part of the immigration bureaucracy, but it takes just one sweeping change to remind us of the massive impact the agency has on legal immigration.
On October 8, 2020, with no notice given, the Department of Labor issued an Interim Final Rule, effective immediately, that overhauled the manner in which the minimum wages that must be paid to foreign workers, known as prevailing wages,
After months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Denver Immigration Court began holding hearings on its non-detained docket on September 14, 2020. For now, the court is only holding individual (final) hearings, not master calendar (preliminary) hearings. Many of the people who had hearings cancelled during the COVID-19 shutdown have yet to receive a rescheduled hearing date.
When master calendar hearings resume, noncitizens who have lawyers will be able to appear by telephone under the currently effective standing order.
On September 11, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a decision allowing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS or “Department”) to resume implementing its new Public Charge Ground of Inadmissibility rule nationwide. The Department had previously been enjoined from enforcing, applying, implementing, or treating as effective the rule during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What does this new ruling mean for adjustment of status applications*?
Beginning October 13,
Beginning today, September 23, 2020, asylum seekers are not allowed to bring their own interpreters if they speak one of 47 languages specified in the regulation. Those languages include: Akan, Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Bengali, Burmese, Cantonese, Creole/Haitian Creole, Farsi-Afghani/Dari, Farsi-Iranian, Foo Chow/Fuzhou, French, Georgian, Gujarati, Hindi, Hmong, Hungarian, Indonesia/Bahasa, Konjobal, Korean, Kurdish, Lingala, Mam, Mandarin, Nepali, Pashto/Pushtu, Portuguese, Punjabi, Quiche/K’iche, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Sinhalese, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog, Tamil, Tigrinya, Turkish, Twi, Ukrainian, Urdu,
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