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OS Provides Information on National Interest Exceptions to Several Presidential Proclamations

Proclamations 10014 and 10052, which suspend the entry of certain immigrants and nonimmigrants, may be available for H-1Bs; H-2Bs; J-1s; L-1s; H-4s, L-2s, and J-2s; and applicants who may age out. DOS also announced that certain business travelers, investors, treaty traders, academics, and students from the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, and Ireland may qualify for national interest exceptions under Presidential Proclamations 9993 (Schengen Area) and 9996 (United Kingdom and Ireland).

Despite the new rule being rescinded, international students are still being denied visas.

On July 14, ICE agreed to rescind the rule requiring students to take in-person classes this fall or else leave the country. However, a group of state attorneys told a judge on Tuesday that ICE has not yet followed through on completely ending the policy. Even after July 14, international students have been told by consulates that they need proof that their studies will not be entirely online this fall. Visa applications have both been denied and put on administrative hold as recently as July 21. In court, the attorneys were asking for “guidance” to ensure that the agreement to rescind the policy stays in place. 

A federal judge has delayed the deadline for ICE to release detained children.

On July 16, a federal judge extended the deadline for ICE to comply with an order to release detained children. District Judge Gee extended the deadline by 10 days after government lawyers said they needed “more time” and that both sides were engaged in “discussions.” Many advocates are concerned that ICE’s interpretation of the order will lead to more family separations, since ICE’s position is that it does not need to release parents with their children. Before the deadline was extended, ICE was requiring parents in detention to choose between keeping their children in detention with them or releasing them to outside guardians. The order applies to the three detention centers in the U.S. which house detained families, which are located in Texas and Pennsylvania.

An appeals court has blocked some policies that would weaken protections against asylum-seekers.

On July 17, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld parts of a lower court ruling that blocked the Trump administration from implementing policies that would bar domestic abuse victims and people fleeing gang violence from seeking asylum in the U.S. The case was brought by 12 asylum seekers through the ACLU, who successfully argued that the Trump administration was elevating asylum standards beyond Congress’ intentions.

Trump ordered the federal government not to count undocumented immigrants in the census.

Trump directed the federal government not to count undocumented immigrants in the census when allocating districts in the House of Representatives. This directive would exclude millions of people and is in conflict with the normal interpretation of the census in the Constitution. The effect of this move would very likely shift several seats from Democratic states to Republican states. However, since the citizenship question was never included on the census, it is unclear how this move would be carried out.

It is unclear if the Trump administration will comply with a judicial order to accept new DACA applications.

It is unclear if the Trump administration will comply with a judicial order to accept new DACA applications.

Last month, the Supreme Court held that the Trump administration improperly ended the DACA program, and that the program could continue. On July 17, a federal judge ruled that DACA must be restored to its full, “pre-September 5, 2017 status.” Despite the order, USCIS has said that it is currently reviewing the decision. It is unclear whether USCIS will begin accepting new DACA applications soon or if it plans to appeal the ruling. On Tuesday, several DACA recipients filed a lawsuit in New York federal court over the government’s refusal to process new applications after the Supreme Court ruling.

New Case on the issuance of an NTA

The absence of a checked alien classification box on a Notice to Appear (Form I-862) does not, by itself, render the notice to appear fatally deficient or otherwise preclude an Immigration Judge from exercising jurisdiction over removal proceedings, and it is therefore not a basis to terminate the proceedings of an alien who has been returned to Mexico under the Migrant Protection Protocols. Matter of J.J. Rodriguez, 27 I&N Dec. 762 (BIA 2020), followed.

Immigration judges have sued the Trump administration over a rule barring them from speaking publicly.

In January 2020, immigration judges received a notice from the Trump administration barring them from speaking publicly or to the press about what happens in their immigration courts. They were also barred from voicing their opinions on what should happen in immigration courts. On July 1, the immigration judges’ union filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration, arguing that the order violates their constitutional rights under the First Amendment.

USCIS has extended flexibility on responding to requests

On March 30, USCIS announced that it would grant flexibility on responding to certain USCIS requests and notices like Requests for Evidence, Notices of Intent to Deny, filing date requirements on some forms, and more. The flexibility meant that USCIS would accept responses received within 60 days after the listed response due date. On July 1, USCIS announced that it is extending that flexibility for notices issued through September 11, 2020.

The U.S. has signaled that it will resist releasing immigrant families from detainment.

Recently, a federal judge ordered ICE to release children from detention in certain detention centers. Last week, the federal government announced its position that it is not required to release entire families automatically. Immigrant advocates warn that this will lead to more family separations. Similarly, lawyers for the detained families have expressed concern that this will either push parents to release their children without them or lead to families staying in detention.

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