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USCIS has reopened some offices

Starting June 4, USCIS began reopening some offices to the public. USCIS has taken some precautions against the spread of COVID-19, including providing hand sanitizer, requiring a face covering, and providing floor markings to ensure social distancing is practiced. Application Support Centers are still closed until further notice.

USCIS updated several immigration forms

 On February 24, USCIS published updated versions of several forms. For many of the forms, starting February 24 only the new edition will be accepted.

BIA Rules IJ Should Enter In Absentia Order of Removal if Individual Returned to Mexico Under MPP Fails to Appear for Hearing

In Matter of Rodriguez, the BIA ruled that if DHS returns an individual to Mexico to await an immigration hearing pursuant to the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) and provides sufficient notice of that hearing, an immigration judge should enter an in absentia order of removal if the individual fails to appear for the hearing. Visit our featured issue page for more information on the MPP and tent courts.

USCIS has adjusted the premium processing fee for some employment-based petitions.

Starting December 2, the premium processing fee will increase from $1,410 to $1,440 for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, and Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. The fee was last increased in 2018, and the increase is based on inflation. Premium processing is optional and allows petitioners to request 15-day processing.

DHS Issues Waiver to Expedite Border Construction Project in New Mexico

DHS announced that it has issued a waiver that eliminates its “obligation to comply with various laws” in the vicinity of the U.S.-Mexico border, beginning at the Santa Teresa, New Mexico port of entry and extending 20 miles westward, in order to “ensure the expeditious construction of barriers and roads.” DHS published a notice of determination regarding the waiver in the Federal Register on January 22, 2018.

Watch out for Notarios

Many immigrants seeking to gain the legal status to remain in Untied States are being victimized by notarios, individuals who represent themselves as qualified to offer legal advice or services concerning immigration but in fact have no such qualification. This ruse can result in severe implications for immigrants, such as financial difficulty, the separation of families, and even deportation. T

CNN: Trump Immigration Plan to Cost 4.6 Million Jobs, Ivy League Study Finds

CNN reports that a new study published by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School found that the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act, would result in 4.6 million lost jobs by the year 2040. It also found that the U.S. economy would be two percent smaller than it would be under the current immigration policy during that time

GOP Bill Curbs Legal Immigration disproportionately hitting nonwhite Americans

The Huffington Post reports that Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) introduced a bill last week that would bar immigrants from bringing almost anyone but their spouses and minor children to the United States, cutting legal immigration per year by half. Latino and Asian Americans, who are more likely to be recent immigrants with family living abroad, would be disproportionately affected by this change. The bill would also eliminate diversity visas, which many recent African nationals rely on as their only option for immigrating to the United States. The bill also intends to cap refugee resettlement at 50,000 people per year.

The Salt Lake Tribune: In Utah Speech, U.S. Immigration Chief Says System Is Unjust

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that USCIS Director León Rodríguez called on Congress to make the immigration system more just at a convention of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network yesterday. “The immigration system that we are working off of … was mostly built back in the 1960s, meaning that it is an obsolete and archaic scheme that does not reflect our economy, does not reflect our demographics, and does not reflect—above all—our values,” Director Rodríguez said. “Real justice will come when we have reform … that gives us a path to citizenship [for undocumented immigrants].”

The Notice to Appear and Removal Proceedings

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