DACA: Will there be life after Trump?

Even though President-elect Trump has stated that he will end DACA after he is inaugurated on January 20, 2017, nobody knows for sure what will happen with the program next year. 

Until that time, USCIS is continuing to process DACA applications and extensions, as well as travel documents. If you have an application pending or are eligible for an extension, you should be sure to pursue all of your options at this time.

The Immigrant Legal  Resource Center, has published a helpful memo on what’s next for DACA and what DACA holders and all of us should be doing now to prepare for any impending changes. 

ILRC DACA What’s Next Memo

 

 

 

 

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USCIS Seeks to Calm Immigration Fears

uscis_sig_rib_vertOn Monday November 21, 2016 at 1:20 PM USCIS sent out the following email to all of its stakeholders, trying to quell fears and answer questions about the current processing of immigration applications. USCIS is continuing with business as usual. All applications are being processed. Nothing will change, if at all until the new administration comes into office on January 20, 2017.

Many USCIS customers have been contacting us with questions regarding current immigration programs and possible future immigration policies. We continue to process all applications, petitions, and requests consistent with current statutory laws, regulations, and policies. USCIS cannot comment on what sort of policies the incoming Administration may choose to prioritize or pursue.  We remain focused on our mission to administer U.S. immigration laws and to provide a high level of service to our customers.

 We encourage the public to be extra vigilant about immigration scams. Scammers take advantage of times of uncertainty. For information on protecting yourself and your loved ones, visit uscis.gov/avoidscams. Remember, the wrong help can hurt!

 To check the status of a pending application, petition, or request, go to Case Status Online. You will need a receipt number. You can also call us at 1-800-375-5283 (TDD for deaf and hard of hearing: 1-800-767-1833) or make an appointment at a local field office at infopass.uscis.gov.

 If you need general information about immigration benefits or current policies, you can “Ask Emma” at uscis.gov.

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New Smart I-9 Form goes Live on USCIS.gov

The New “Smart”I-9 form has gone live on the USCIS.gov site, so employers are able to now use it from the USCIS.gov website.  However, the new form is not required to be used by employers until January 22, 2017. 

Below is a recent press release from USCIS with the new form information:

Changes are designed to reduce errors and enhance form completion using a computer

WASHINGTON — U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today published a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

By Jan. 22, 2017, employers must use only the new version, dated 11/14/2016 N. Until then, they can continue to use the version dated 03/08/2013 N or the new version. 

Among the changes in the new version, Section 1 asks for “other last names used” rather than “other names used,” and streamlines certification for certain foreign nationals.

Other changes include:

The addition of prompts to ensure information is entered correctly.

The ability to enter multiple preparers and translators.

A dedicated area for including additional information rather than having to add it in the margins.

A supplemental page for the preparer/translator.

The instructions have been separated from the form, in line with other USCIS forms, and include specific instructions for completing each field.

The revised Form I-9 is also easier to complete on a computer. Enhancements include drop-down lists and calendars for filling in dates, on-screen instructions for each field, easy access to the full instructions, and an option to clear the form and start over. When the employer prints the completed form, a quick response (QR) code is automatically generated, which can be read by most QR readers.

Form I-9 requirements were established in November 1986 when Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). IRCA prohibits employers from hiring people, including U.S. citizens, for employment in the United States without verifying their identity and employment authorization on Form I-9.

For more information about USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter (@Everify), YouTube (/uscis), Facebook(/uscis), and the USCIS blog The Beacon

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Immigrants Have Constitutional Rights No Matter What

President-Elect Donald Trump’s statements about immigration  are causing worry and fear in our immigrant communities.  We don’t know anything about his plans or what Congress will support once he is in office, but what we do know is that immigrants, even undocumented ones are protected by the U.S. Constitution.

As a reminder to immigrant communities, the National Immigration Law Center released a helpful guide this week which explains what individuals should do if they encounter law enforcement or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.

The reminders include:

  • You have the right to remain silent. You may refuse to speak to immigration officers.
  • Do not open your door (ICE must have a warrant signed by a judge to enter).
  • You have the right to speak to a lawyer.
  • Before you sign anything, talk to a lawyer.
  • Always carry with you any valid immigration document you have.
  • If you are worried that ICE will arrest you, let the officer know if you have children.
  • Carry a “know-your-rights card” and show it if an immigration officer stops you.

Stay strong.  No matter our immigration status, color, creed, religious belief or any other label those who want to divide us can think of, we are Americans and  the American Dream lives through us, by us and for us.

 

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Equal Justice for All…2016 Pro Bono Projects

When I am not working with my clients on their immigration matters, I am leading Duane Morris’s pro bono program. In 2016 our attorneys will provide over 27,000 hours of free legal services to the poor and disenfranchised in our communities, including veterans, victims of trafficking, immigrants, children and others. Please enjoy our 2016 report.

Duane Morris 2016 Pro Bono Report

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Final EB Job Flexibility Rule Published but doesn’t go Far Enough

On November 17, 2016  USCIS issued a long-awaited final rule to make the waiting periods for employment-based green cards easier to bear for highly-skilled immigrants and their families.  While the law does provide some relief and certainty for employers and employees when workers are changing jobs or lose employment unexpectedly, the new rule does not go far enough to address the mounting difficulties employment-based immigrants face during years long waits for visa numbers.  In the coming days, I will provide more detailed information about the details of the new regulations.

A link to the complete Federal Register notice.

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Best Practices to Avoid Immigration Related Discrimination During Hiring

The Department of Justice Office of Special Counsel for Unfair Immigration Related Employment Practices has been actively investigating and prosecuting employers for large and small violations. While fines can be minimal, the intrusion into a company’s day-to-day operations as well as the strong likelihood of a follow-on I-9 Audit and multiple years of re-auditing by both the DOJ and the USCIS should be deterrent enough to encourage employers to get their policies and practices in order.

The Office of Special Counsel recommends the following best practices  during the hiring and I-9 verification process:

Read More Here

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