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BIA Finds Evidence of Prior Fraudulent Marriage Precludes Approval of Subsequent Marriage-Based Visa Petition

The BIA ruled that, when there is probative evidence that a beneficiary’s prior marriage was fraudulent and entered into to evade immigration laws, a subsequent visa petition filed on the beneficiary’s behalf is properly denied under §204(c) of the INA. 

USCIS Releases Instructions on Filing Form I-589 with the Asylum Vetting Center

USCIS announced via the Form I-589 webpage that beginning November 2, 2020, asylum offices will no longer accept the filing of Forms I-589 that previously were filed directly with a local asylum office. These forms must be filed with the Asylum Vetting Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

Asylum screening guidance ruled too high a bar too early.

 a federal judge ruled that the Trump administration’s guidelines on asylum-seekers’ initial fear screenings are illegal, vacating the guidance in its entirety and ordering new fear assessments for the individuals who couldn’t clear the guidance’s asylum bar. The judge explained that USCIS had set an unlawfully high standard for individuals to clear during initial asylum screenings, instead of the “low bar” described in immigration law. The manual was vacated and the government was ordered to redo plaintiff’s credible fear interviews.

USCIS Updates FY2021 H-2B Cap Count

USCIS released its H-2B cap count for FY2021, stating that it has received 29,739 beneficiaries toward the 33,000 cap for the first half of FY2021, with 24,181 approved and 5,558 pending

EOIR Provides Guidelines for the Implementation of the Settlement Agreement in Mendez Rojas v. Wolf

EOIR released a policy memo (PM 21-01) providing guidance to assist EOIR adjudicators and administrative staff in complying with the requirements of the settlement agreement, effective nationwide, in Mendez Rojas v. Wolf, a suit involving individuals who have filed, or will be filing, an asylum application more than one year after arriving in the United States. Class members are required to file notice of class membership and any accompanying documentation, as set forth in the settlement agreement, on or before March 31, 2022.

Court Upholds Denial of Withholding of Removal to Honduran Petitioner Who Refused to Join Gang

The Fifth Circuit upheld the BIA’s conclusion that the petitioner’s proposed social groups—including Honduran women who have been targeted for and resisted gang recruitment after the murder of a gang-associated partner—were not cognizable. 

U.S. Deports Migrant Women Who Alleged Abuse by Georgia Doctor

The Associated Press reports that the Trump administration is trying to deport several women who allege they were mistreated by a gynecologist while in ICE custody at the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia. ICE has already deported six former patients who complained about the doctor, who has been accused of operating on migrant women without their consent or performing medically unnecessary procedures.

Attorney General erases duress exception for persecutors seeking asylum

AG Barr issued a decision that unwound a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) ruling that allowed persecutors to apply for asylum if they could prove they were forced into their bad acts, saying past and present legislation clashed with the exception. This decision eliminated a narrow crack in the “persecutor bar,” which prevents anyone who has participated in the victimization of individuals from seeking asylum in the U.S. This decision vacated a June 2018 order from a split BIA panel, and shifted the burden of proof from DHS to asylum-seekers.

Third federal court blocks immigrant exclusion from census.

Three federal judges in Maryland endorsed decisions from NY and CA judges, issuing another block on President Trump’s order to exclude unauthorized immigrants from the 2020 Census. In a unanimous decision, the judges found that an injunction was necessary to prevent five states from losing representation in Congress, which would occur if immigrants were cut from their population counts. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up the government’s appeal in that case, and is scheduled to hear arguments on Nov. 30.although I fear SC will agree w/ Trump

BIA Rules It Is Inappropriate for the Board to Use Discretion to Reopen and Vacate an IJ’s Frivolousness Finding

The BIA ruled that, absent ineffective assistance of counsel or a showing undermining the validity and finality of the finding, it is inappropriate for the Board to exercise its discretion to reopen a case and vacate an immigration judge’s (IJ) frivolousness finding.

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