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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.

DHS Final Rule Designating Poland as a Visa Waiver Program Country

DHS published a final rule in the Federal Register designating Poland as a country eligible to participate in the Visa Waiver Program. The rule is effective Monday, November 11, 2019.

The Senate has started the process to confirm Chad Wolf’s current DHS position, which would make his acting Secretary nomination legitimate.

Chad Wolf was recently announced as the next pick for the role of acting DHS Secretary. To comply with federal law, he needs to have been in a Senate-confirmed position before he can become acting Secretary. On Thursday, the Senate took the first necessary step for confirmation of his current position, a filing of cloture to end debate. This means that the Senate could confirm him to his current position on Tuesday. Wolf would then be legally able to take over McAleenan’s role as acting Secretary for DHS.

Chad Wolf will be the replacement DHS Secretary.

McAleenan resigned as acting Secretary for DHS, but has stayed while the White House has tried to find a replacement. President Trump told reporters on Friday that he planned to install Chad Wolf as acting Secretary for DHS. The White House later reported that Wolf will take over McAleenan’s role on November 12. Wolf currently serves as undersecretary for policy at DHS, though he was never confirmed by the Senate. Wolf fulfills the legal requirements because because he held a position for more than 90 days under Nielsen, the last Senate-confirmed DHS secretary.

DHS Releases Information on Returning Certain Foreign Nationals to Mexico During Immigration Proceedings

DHS released information about the Migrant Protection Protocols it has begun implementing at the U.S.-Mexico border, whereby certain foreign nationals entering from Mexico may be returned to wait outside the United States for the duration of their immigration proceedings

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