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USCIS issued a statement on the Supreme Court’s DACA decision.

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that President Trump’s attempt to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was “arbitrary” and invalid, and the administration would need to go through the proper processes to end the program. On June 19, USCIS issued a statement in response to the Supreme Court’s decision. USCIS holds the position that the Supreme Court’s decision “has no basis in law” and only “delays” the end of the program. USCIS further said that DACA is not a “long-term solution,” and that Congress has the ability to reform immigration laws to allow for solutions for undocumented immigrants.

A federal judge denied a restraining order against Trump’s green card ban.

After the outbreak of COVID-19, the Trump administration implemented a ban on new green cards. The ban on new visas has now been extended to the end of the year. On June 23, a federal judge in Washington, D.C. denied a request for a temporary restraining order against the ban. The judge also denied class certification in the case, since two of the three plaintiffs have now been admitted to the U.S. and the third plaintiff’s case is not yet ripe for judicial review.

A federal appeals court has allowed a fast-track deportation policy to continue.

Last year, the Trump administration attempted to expand expedited removal to any alleged undocumented immigrant who had been present in the U.S. for less than two years. On June 23, the D.C. Circuit overturned an injunction that had blocked the policy from being implemented. This means that the Trump administration may go forward with the policy and bypass immigration judges for many deportation cases. Part of the court’s reasoning was that the policy was not covered by the Administrative Procedure Act and therefore the DHS secretary had sole discretion in this area.

The Trump administration has made it more difficult for asylum seekers to receive work authorization.

On June 22, the Trump administration published a new rule that would make it more difficult for asylum seekers to get work permits. The rule lengthens the waiting period before an asylum seeker may apply for the work permit from 150 days to 365 days. It also bars asylum seekers who entered the U.S. outside a port of entry. The rule takes effect on August 25.

The Trump administration has extended visa restrictions to nonimmigrant visas.

On June 22, President Trump signed an executive order enacting a temporary ban on many types of nonimmigrant visas. The ban prohibits the issuance of new visas to applicants of H-1B visas, H-2B visas for non agricultural seasonal workers, J-1 visas, and L-1 visas. There will be exemptions for food processing workers as well as some healthcare workers. The new restrictions took effect on June 24.

USCIS released a statement clarifying that immigrants with existing H-1B visas will not be affected by the recent ban.

On June 23, USCIS released a statement clarifying the impact of the newly released ban on new H-1B visas and other types of nonimmigrant visas. The restrictions do not affect those working in the U.S. on a valid H-1B or similar visa. Valid visa holders who are currently abroad will not be prevented from entering or reentering the U.S.

USCIS Publishes Final Rule on Employment Authorization for Asylum Applicants

Today, USCIS published a final rule making multiple changes to the regulations governing asylum applications and eligibility for employment authorization based on a pending asylum application. The rule is effective on August 25, 2020. On the Immigration Impact blog, the American Immigration Council’s Aaron Reichlin-Melnick writes that the rule “will strip most asylum seekers of the right to seek work authorization” and that, in response to concerns that the rule would force many into desperate straits, DHS suggested that asylum seekers become familiar with state homelessness resources.

Delays in the naturalization process mean that many immigrants will be unable to vote in the 2020 election.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, all naturalization ceremonies and interviews have stopped, and USCIS has not indicated that it will consider any remote alternatives. So far, tens of thousands of immigrants have been affected, and postponed ceremonies and interviews continue to pile up. For each day USCIS remains closed, 2100 immigrants will run out of time to vote in this year’s election. Advocates have noted that there is no reason why ceremonies and interviews cannot happen via video conferencing, since many other government processes do.

The Trump administration has temporarily relaxed H-2B requirements for workers in the food supply chain.

DHS announced temporary changes in the requirements for H-2B workers in the food supply chain. The two temporary changes are: an employer may employ an H-2B worker for up to 60 days while the H-2B application is pending; and the H-2B worker may stay in the U.S. beyond the 3-year maximum. These changes only apply to aliens already in the United States with valid H-2B status who work in the U.S. food supply chain. This also does not affect the H-2B cap.

ICE has transferred detainees during the pandemic without testing

In a federal court hearing on May 27, ICE admitted that it is not testing all detainees before transferring them to other facilities. ICE policy is currently to test detainees with symptoms, which may have already led to the transfer of asymptomatic detainees. The admission was made during a hearing regarding a temporary order to reduce the detainee population in South Florida immigration detention centers. Judge Cooke clarified in the hearing that the purpose of her order was not to encourage transfers, but rather reduce the detained population to limit transmission risks. She is expected to decide whether to extend the order within seven days.

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