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Recent Blog Posts

H1-B visa denials continue to increase

 Posted on September 10, 2020 in Immigration

The Trump administration has taken a harder stance on immigration in many ways. One those is in the number of H1-B visas it’s denying. A new analysis from the National Foundation for American policy found that more highly skilled foreign-born workers have been denied H1-Bs than ever before in recent years. The analysis focused on how the administration denied new applicants H1-B visas, not employees seeking an H1-B extension.

How denials are impacting employers

In the analysis, 20 of the top 25 U.S. employers report H1-B denial rates that are 10% higher for new applicants in 2020 than in 2015. Also, information technology companies reported more H1-B denials than companies in other industries. In fact, 10 IT companies had visa denial rates 20% higher in 2020 than in 2015.

Some of the IT companies that had highest rates of new applicant H1-B visa denials were the following:

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Our Pro Bono Client Received his Green Card!!

 Posted on August 27, 2020 in Firm News

All approvals are special at our office, but some of them are held very close to our hearts. This is the case for a child we represented in his Special Immigrant Juvenile Status request. This is a special immigration benefit available to children under 21 years of age and for whom a court finds that it is not in their best interest to be reunited with one or both parents due to having suffered abuse, negligence, or abandonment by their parents.

In partnership with Human Rights Initiative, a nonprofit in Dallas, we worked tirelessly to secure the approval of our client’s case. The child, a native of Belize, entered the United States with his mother in 2014. They were undocumented after their visa stay expired, but he continued to attend school and adapt to this country. Going to school in a new environment was not an easy task, but the 14 year old took advantage of every opportunity to advance his studies. In 2017, we came into the picture. HRI assigned the case to us and we held this family’s hand throughout their whole immigration process. After dedicating long hours to the case and relentlessly fighting for our client for three years, his green card was approved this month. The success of this case would not be possible without our dedicated staff and the team at HRI, who were able to identify key legal issues and relief options for our client. Congrats!

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USCIS Furloughs Cancelled (for now!)

 Posted on August 26, 2020 in Immigration

USCIS recently announced they cancelled the plans to furlough about three-quarters of the agency’s workforce at the end of this month. The agency announced they have sufficient funds to continue normal operations until at least the end of the fiscal year, which ends in September.

By cancelling the plans, USCIS avoids what has been described as the standstill of the immigration system as we know it. This would have put a stop to immigration processes at a time that many are rushing to submit their applications before the new prices go into effect on October 2 of this year.

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USCIS Implements DHS Guidance on DACA

 Posted on August 26, 2020 in Immigration

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Why does immigration want my medical exam?

 Posted on August 19, 2020 in Immigration

Medical exams by an authorized physician are a key part of any application for an immigrant visa or green card. This is done to evaluate the applicant’s health-related inadmissibility grounds. During the medical exam, the doctor will make sure you have all the required vaccines and perform a physical exam. He or she will also review your test results and complete the required forms for the government. While many common ailments are not an issue for obtaining a green card, having a highly communicable disease or being a drug addict may pose a problem, for instance:

  • Tuberculosis (active)
  • Syphilis (infectious stage)
  • Chancroid
  • Gonorrhea
  • Granuloma Inguinale
  • Lymphogranuloma Venereum
  • Hansen’s Disease (Leprosy, infectious)

You may also be denied your benefit if you do not have the required vaccines or if you have a mental disorder that may cause you to be harmful to yourself or others. This is why it’s important to bring your immunization record with you to your medical appointment. If you don’t have of the required vaccines, a medical professional can administer them unless it’s not medically needed.

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Is new asylum restriction good for public health, or 'discrimination'?

 Posted on August 18, 2020 in Immigration

A proposed rule by the federal government would deny asylum to foreign nationals if they come from, or recently passed through, certain countries. Immigration officials say the rule would protect national security by slowing the spread of communicable diseases like COVID-19. But the American Medical Association is criticizing the proposal, calling it a form of discrimination against asylum seekers.

‘Legalize discrimination’

In a statement on the subject, the AMA quotes a letter that the group’s executive vice president and CEO, Dr. James L. Madara, wrote to federal officials. “The AMA is concerned that the proposed rule would legitimize discrimination against vulnerable asylum seekers,” Dr. Madara wrote. He also said the rule would base the determination of whether an asylum seeker is eligible on border agents who are “uninformed” about medical matters, and overall make it much more difficult for people seeking a stay of removal based on a credible fear of torture or persecution in their country of origin.

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Public Charge Rule Allowed to be Implemented in Most States

 Posted on August 14, 2020 in Immigration

On July 29, a federal court had ruled that the government could not enforce the public charge rule during the pandemic. This was a much welcomed announcement since many immigrant families are being severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The new rules would effectively hinder their changes to obtain a legal immigration benefit for which they would otherwise quality. Under the rule, and while assessing the applicant’s eligibility, the government can take into account the individual’s past use of public benefits, age, medical issues, education, and work history, among other aspects, in evaluating the person’s likelihood of becoming a public charge.

On August 12, however, the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the prior ruling should only apply to states in the Second Circuit (New York, Vermont, and Connecticut). There are still many unanswered questions on this issue, including what will happen to applicants who did apply between the window of time after July 29 and before the ruling was narrowed. Meanwhile, the I-944 form, Declaration of Self Sufficiency, which is used to demonstrate eligibility under the public charge rules, is not available on USCIS’ website.

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USCIS Fees are Going up on October 2, 2020!

 Posted on July 31, 2020 in Immigration

It is final! USCIS announced today they are increasing many application fees starting on October 2, 2020. Some of these fees are increasing significantly, including the fee for Naturalization applications, which is going from $640 to $1,160. Asylum applicants, who historically did not have to pay any fees for their applications, will now have to pay $50 in order for their cases to be considered. See our chart below for some examples of these changes.

In addition, a new fee structure will significantly increase the cost for adjustment of status applicants. Under the current rules, most adjustment applicants pay a fee of $1,140 (with an added $85 biometric fee for most individuals). The fee is lower, at $750, for children under 14 year old applying with a parent. Along with their green card applications, applicants can currently request their work and travel permits, which are renewable as long as the application is pending, for no extra fee. Under the new rules going into effect on October 2, the new fee structure will change dramatically and instead require separate fees for each application, as well as increase the fee for children. The new fee will be $1,130 for all applicants, regardless of age, plus a $550 fee for work authorizations and $590 for travel permits.

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What's an Affidavit of Support and Why do I need one?

 Posted on July 29, 2020 in Immigration

Are you requesting a green card and you are being told you need an Affidavit of Support? You’re not alone! An Affidavit of Support is a requirement for most immigrants seeking a green card and it serves to show that they have adequate financial support and are not likely to become a public charge. The document is a binding contract between the sponsor and the government to financially support the immigrant in the case that he or she is unable to support himself or herself.

Now, don’t panic! Most affidavits of support are never enforced. An affidavit of support could be enforced, however, if the immigrant requests and receives certain means-tested benefits, such as TANF (cash assistance), Medicaid, or SSI (Supplemental Security Income). Even if the immigrant meets the income requirements for these benefits, please note most would not be eligible for at least 5 years after they get their green card. Please see page 11 of this report for more information on the 5-year bar).

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My green card is expiring! What do I do?

 Posted on July 28, 2020 in Immigration

Given the current delays by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, many green card renewal applicants have seen their estimated processing timelines come and go and they have yet to receive their new green cards. A green card is essential to show that the individual is a legal permanent resident and is thus legally allowed to work in the United States, return to the country after a trip abroad, and qualify for key benefits such as unemployment. At Lawit Law, we have received a number of calls from concerned immigrants who had timely filed their applications to renew their document or requested their naturalization. Applicants may be experiencing significant delays for a number of reasons, including the closing of Application Support Centers (where they would take your picture and fingerprints), the disruption caused by the end of the contracts with at least two companies that produce the physical green cards and work permits, the seemingly impending furloughs, and, of course, COVID-19.

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