DHS Publishes Proposed Rule to End Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Spouses

On February 25, 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a final rule extending eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident status.

Now, DHS has published a proposed rule to remove these H-4 dependent spouses from the class of aliens eligible for employment authorization. This would appear to reverse the 2015 H-4 EAD rule, and appears consistent with the Trump Administration’s aims under Executive Order 13788 (“Buy American and Hire American”). No details about how the reversal will be implemented have been shared at this stage.

Jewell Stewart & Pratt is monitoring developments and will post more information here when it becomes available. The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services’ Buy American and Hire American webpage can be found here. Our prior blog posts related to the beginning of the H-4 EAD rule can be found here, here, and here.

© Jewell Stewart & Pratt PC 2017


SCOTUS Allows Travel Ban 3.0 to Take Effect Immediately

Issuing two separate orders (here and here) on the Trump Administration’s Travel Ban today, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the third iteration of the ban, issued via Presidential Proclamation on September 24, 2017, to take full immediate effect. We detailed the ban in our post here. The ban is pending litigation, but the Supreme Court’s ruling allows the ban to be implemented while the litigation is ongoing.   

© Jewell Stewart & Pratt PC 2017

Ninth Circuit Reinstates Travel Ban 3.0

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today issued an order reinstating the Trump Administration’s third version of a travel ban. The ban was announced in President Trump’s September 24, 2017 proclamation and is now in effect; affected are nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria and Yemen as well as some Venezuelan government officials and their families. The Court preserved an exception to the ban for applicants who can meet a “bona fide relationship test” (to certain family members or entities) similar to the test described by the U.S. Supreme Court regarding Travel Ban 2.0. The Court will hear substantive arguments on December 6, 2017. 

© Jewell Stewart & Pratt PC 2017

Travel Ban 3.0 – On Hold by the Courts

In two separate Federal Court decisions issued on October 17, 2017, the majority of the travel restrictions set forth in President Trump’s September 24, 2017 proclamation titled “Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry into the United States by Terrorists or other Public-Safety Threats” were blocked. As a result, nationals of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Chad will not be restricted from traveling to the United States. However, all immigrants and nonimmigrants from North Korea and certain government officials and their family members from Venezuela traveling on business or tourist visas (B-1/B-2) will continue to be restricted from travel to the U.S. The U.S. Department of Justice has stated that it will appeal these rulings.  

© Jewell Stewart & Pratt PC 2017

USCIS Interviews of Applicants for Employment-Based Permanent Residence – Update

As discussed in an earlier post, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on August 28, 2017 that it will cease waiving interviews of applicants applying for “adjustment of status” (AOS) to U.S. permanent residence (green card) based on employment.  As part of the Trump administration’s plan to apply “extreme vetting” to would-be immigrants (and others), employment-based AOS applicants will be required to undergo an in-person interview at a USCIS field office. Approximately 130,000 applicants are expected to be affected per year. 

Trump Administration Announces Travel Ban 3.0

On September 24, 2017 President Trump announced an extended and enhanced version of the travel ban that was previously in place under Executive Order 13780 (EO-2). The Presidential Proclamation titled “Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry into the United States by Terrorists or other Public-Safety Threats,” a related Fact Sheet, and FAQs for the new ban are available on the White House website. As with EO-2, the ban affects immigrant and nonimmigrant visa issuance only. Therefore, nationals from the affected countries who already hold visas will not have those revoked. The U.S. Department of State has also announced that previously scheduled visa appointments will not be cancelled.

DHS Announces Visa Sanctions on Four Countries

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on September 13, 2017 that visa sanctions would be imposed on Cambodia, Eritrea, Guinea, and Sierra Leone due to lack of cooperation in accepting their nationals ordered removed from the United States. Some of the specific visa sanctions announced were:

USCIS resumes Premium Processing Service for pending cap-subject H-1B petitions

On September 18, 2017, USCIS announced that it would resume its Premium Processing Service (PPS) for all H-1B visa petitions subject to the Fiscal Year 2018 cap. The resumption only applies to pending cap petitions, not any newly-filed petitions such as for changes of employers or extensions of stay. USCIS previously resumed PPS for H-1B petitions for certain cap-exempt employers. To date, USCIS has not indicated when it plans to resume PPS for all H-1B petition types. 

© Jewell Stewart & Pratt PC 2017

Instructions for the 2019 Diversity Visa Lottery Program now available

The U.S. Department of State’s instructions for the 2019 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV-2019) are now available. Entries for the DV-2019 program must be submitted electronically between October 3 and November 7, 2017.

There are no changes in eligibility this year. Eligibility requirements and entry instructions are on the U.S. Department of State’s DV lottery web site.

The congressionally-mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is administered annually by the Department of State under Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). This law provides for a class of immigrants known as diversity immigrants, with visas made available to persons from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States. For fiscal year 2019, 50,000 diversity visas will be available.

© Jewell Stewart & Pratt PC 2017