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DHS Extends Flexibility in Requirements Related to Form I-9 Compliance

DHS announced that it has extended the flexibilities in rules related to Form I-9 compliance during the COVID-19 pandemic by an additional 30 days. These flexibilities include prosecutorial discretion to defer the physical presence requirements associated with the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) under section 274A of the INA and an additional 30-day extension for NOIs served in March 2020. DHS also provided information regarding acceptable documents for Form I-9 verification of lawful permanent residents.

DHS Publishes Final Rule Delaying Date for Card-Based Enforcement of REAL ID Regulations

DHS issued a final rule delaying the date for card-based enforcement of the REAL ID Act regulations from October 1, 2020, to October 1, 2021. Beginning on October 1, 2021, federal agencies may not accept a state-issued driver’s license or identification card for official purposes from any individual unless such license or card is a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card.

Recent Announcements from USCIS, DHS, and DOS

Last week, USCIS announced that for certain types of requests and notices issued between March 1 and July 1, 2020, inclusive, USCIS will consider responses received within 60 calendar days after the response due date set in the request or notice before taking any action. DHS announced that beginning May 1, 2020, Form I-9 List B identity documents set to expire on or after March 1, 2020, and not otherwise extended by the issuing authority, may be treated the same as if the employee presented a valid receipt for an acceptable document for Form I-9 purposes. DOS announced that starting June 1, 2020, the National Visa Center will no longer accept or respond to inquiries through mail, and all inquiries will need to be submitted through the online Public Inquiry Form.

DHS Issues Final Rule Revising Regulations on Service of Process

DHS published a final rule revising procedural requirements in the regulations related to service of process of summonses, complaints, and subpoenas. The rule is effective today, April 23, 2020.

Greyhound will stop allowing immigration checks on buses.

On February 21, Greyhound announced that the company will no longer allow Border Patrol to conduct immigration checks on buses. To facilitate this, Greyhound said it would notify CBP and DHS that it does not consent to searches and train employees on the updated policy. Border Patrol agents who do not have a warrant cannot board the buses without the consent of the company.

Senators have pressed DHS for details on the visa approval for the Pensacola naval base shooter.

On December 6, a Saudi Arabian citizen killed 3 people and injured 8 in a shooting at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida. Ahmed Mohammed al-Shamrani was in the U.S. on an A-2 visa for military training. 3 Republican senators sent a letter to DHS asking for details on the vetting process for al-Shamrani, including specific vetting actions and any interviews he went through. The letter also asks about any social media monitoring done, and how often A-visa holders have been refused entry into the U.S. by CBP.

DHS has backed off on proposing facial recognition screening of all travelers at the border and airports.

DHS had proposed a rule to expand biometrics at the border, including requiring facial recognition screening of all travelers to include U.S. citizens. On Thursday, DHS retreated from the idea, saying it has no plans to expand facial recognition to U.S. citizens. Privacy experts questioned the accuracy of facial recognition in general and have concerns that such an expansive system is susceptible to hacks or improper use of data. In response, DHS has decreased the amount of time it will retain photos from 14 days to 12 hours. Facial recognition is currently used in more than a dozen U.S. airports.

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