Beach-Oswald Immigration Law Associates
Beach-Oswald Immigration Law
News Update
In This Issue . . .

2. USCIS No Longer Providing Deference
3. Fast Track Deportations
4. Imigration Judges as Assembly Line Workers
5. Increase in Federal Immigration Jails
7. Trump's Travel Ban
8. USCIS Updates
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Washington, DC
2011 to 2017

Issue: #10
                October  2017


Beach-Oswald Immigration Law Associates, PC
 is a Washington, D.C. boutique firm devoted exclusively to immigration law. We have the highest possible rating for lawyers for legal acumen and ethical standards, and we have been practicing law since 1981. We are well versed in all aspects of immigration law, particularly, employment based immigration, citizenship, naturalization, asylum, deportation and removal, and temporary visas. 

Our top-notch lawyers represent professional workers, business owners, families, and asylum-seekers from all over the world. We provide the absolute best professional service possible to our clients and aid them in every step of their immigration processes. We prioritize ensuring our clients are not only assisted with their immigration cases but are thoroughly educated about the processes, laws, and requirements. All of our attorneys and legal staff at Beach-Oswald have a genuine desire to help those in need. We ensure the highest quality of professionalism and legal expertise.
Read on!


Mr. M-F, a native and citizen of Honduras, was granted Special Immigrant Juvenile status by USCIS. BOILA assisted Mr. M-F in applying for Special Immigrant Juvenile status after helping his mother, who lives in the United States, obtain physical and legal custody over him and after obtaining a determination from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia that it would be unsafe for Mr. M-F to return to his home country of Honduras.
Mr. V-C, a native and citizen of El Salvador, was granted Special Immigrant Juvenile status by USCIS. BOILA assisted Mr. V-C in applying for Special Immigrant Juvenile status after helping his cousin, who lives in the United States, obtain guardianship over him and after obtaining a determination from the Circuit Court for Prince George's County, Maryland that it would be unsafe for Mr. V-C to return to his home country of El Salvador.
Ms. S-M, a native and citizen of Cameroon, was granted her lawful permanent resident status by USCIS. Ms. S-M was previously granted asylum after a compelling case where she not only disclosed her sexual orientation, but admitted that due to her sexual orientation, she married a gay man in order to flee the persecution she was suffering in Cameroon. After her asylum grant, Ms. S-M was ready to apply to adjust her status. She ran into some complications with the processing of her application and hired BOILA to assist her reply to the Request for Evidence she received. After filing a I-602 waiver of Grounds of Excludability accompanied with affidavits from Ms. S-M and her partner, USCIS granted her application and she received her green card. In four years, she can start the process to apply for naturalization.
Ms. M, a native and citizen of Cameroon had her I-730, Asylee Relative Petition approved. After Ms. M was granted asylum, she petitioned to bring her daughter to the United States from Cameroon.  Now that her I-730 has been approved, she can move on to the second phase of the application process which will be working with the National Visa Center and the U.S. Embassy in Cameroon. After her daughter goes for her interview, she should approved and be able to arrive in the United States as an asylee derivative through her mother.
Mr. N , a native and citizen of Cameroon, was granted approval of his I-485 Application to Adjust Status and has become a permanent resident of the United States. Mr. N story is one of the most inspiring as he had left Cameroon after being severely persecuted because of his sexual orientation. Last year BOILA helped him throughout the asylum application, and he was granted asylum by the Immigration Judge. In four years, he will be able to start the process to apply for naturalization. 

Mrs. A & her husband, both natives and citizens of Mexico have been granted Cancellation of Removal for certain Non-Permanent Residents.  They were given this status as BOILA was able to prove to the satisfaction of the Immigration Judge that Mrs. A & her husband had resided in the United States for at least ten years, they were both persons of good moral character, and most importantly that should they be removed from the United States, their US Citizen child, who was born prematurely and has a number of health concerns would suffer exceptional and extremely unusual hardship.  Mrs. A & her husband are now eligible to receive their lawful permanent residence status and remain in the United States indefinitely to care for their US Citizen daughter. 
Mr. L, a native and citizen of Guatemala was granted Special Immigrant Juvenile status by USCIS.  BOILA assisted Mr. L in applying for Special Immigrant Juvenile status after helping his uncle, who lives in the United States, obtain physical and legal custody over him and after obtaining a determination from the State of Maryland that it would be unsafe for Mr. L to return to Guatemala. 
Mrs.F, a native and citizen of Cameroon was granted asylum in the Dallas Texas Immigration Court.   Mrs. F fled Cameroon due to her as well as her father's political involvement in an opposition political party.  Mrs. F was arrested and harmed many times due to her political opinion.  Although Mrs. F came to BOILA after the first half of her individual hearing had occurred at the Dallas Texas Immigration Court more than two years ago, BOILA was successful in completing the case and resolving all the errors made in the first half of the hearing.  Mrs. F may now become a lawful permanent resident in one year and can remain safe in the United States to practice whatever political opinion she chooses. 
Mr. JF, a native and citizen of South Africa was granted his I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility.  Mr. F was brought to the United States without lawful status as an infant child and lived in the United States until adulthood.  Upon a visit to South Africa Mr. F was not allowed to return to the United States due to his having lived here without lawful status.  BOILA was successful in establishing to USCIS that Mr. F's U.S. Citizen spouse would suffer extreme hardship should he not be able to return to the United States.  Based on this approval, Mr. F is now eligible to return to the United States to reunite with his U.S. Citizen spouse and adjust status to that of a lawful permanent resident.   

USCIS No Longer Provides Deference to Prior Adjudications of Nonimmigrant Petitions

USCIS issued a new policy memorandum on October 23rd that supersedes and  rescinds prior guidance on providing deference to prior determinations of eligibility in the adjudication of petitions for extension of nonimmigrant status.

The updated guidance is effective immediately and applies to all USCIS employees. 

The 2004 memorandum titled "The Significance of a Prior CIS Approval of a Nonimmigrant Petition in the Context of a Subsequent Determination Regarding Eligibility for Extension of Petition Validity,"  directed adjudicators to defer to prior determinations of eligibility. The 2015 memorandum titled "L-1B Adjudications Policy"directed USCIS adjudicators, in the context of L-1B petition extensions, to give deference to the prior determinations of eligibility by USCIS. 

In addition to rescinding the two previously issued guidance memorandums, USCIS is also providing updated guidance that is both more consistent with the agency's current priorities and also advances policies that protect the interests of U.S. workers.

In the new memorandum, USCIS outlines the the need for adjudicators to review petitions and supporting evidence to determine the eligibility of the benefits sought and not rely on past approvals. One of the main issues with the 2004 memorandum was that it put the burden on USCIS to prove eligibility instead of on the petitioner. The new policy specifically outlines the burden being on the petitioner. 

Attorney General Sessions Call for Fast-Track Deportations
During an appearance at the Department of Justice, Attorney General Jeff Session requested that Congress curb due process for immigrants by making it difficult for an individual to seek asylum and to increase the deportation process.
Sessions accused the current asylum system of being subject to rampant abuse and fraud and the asylum seekers of abusing loopholes in our governments system.
Sessions also focused on the backlog in immigration court cases. He's called for an expansion of expedited removal so that immigration officers can quickly deport certain non-citizens who are in the U.S. undocumented without bringing them before an immigration judge.  This is something normally only done to those apprehended within two weeks of arrival.
Since many of the changes the Attorney General is looking to make would require legislative action, Session has urged Congress to pass laws  in order to effectuate them.

DOJ to Turn Immigration Judges into 'Assembly Line' Works
The Department of Justice (DOJ) is planning on implementing numerical quotas on judges as a way of tracking their  and evaluating their performance. Currently, immigration judges are not rated based on the number of cases they adjudicate. The DOJ is currently in negotiations with the National Association of Immigration Judges to remove those safeguards and declare a need to increase the number of deportation in order to reduce to court's backlog.

If the proposed quotas is imposed, immigration judges will be under an immense amount of pressure to adjudicate cases  more quickly putting them at risk for  deporting those with valid claims for immigration benefits.  The Justice Department  has major concerns about the 60,000 case backlog pending in immigration courts and may see this numerical quota as an immediate solution to reduce that number.

Tying the number of cases completed to the evaluation of an individual immigration judge's performance  could violate their duty to be fair and impartial when deciding cases and will be at the risk of due process.

The White House has Decreased Refugee Admissions to a Record Low
The White House announced that the U.S. will only admit 45,000 refugees for Fiscal Year 2018.  This will be the lowest refugee admissions ceiling ever set by the U.S. government. The  limited refugee visas will be allocated with 19,000 for Africa; 17,500 for the Near East/South Asia; 5,000 for East Asia; and 2,000 for Europe and Central Asia, according to Immigration Impact. Unlike in previous years, there won't be a "unallocated reserve" for unexpected refugee flows. 

This new cap represents a 59 percent decrease in the ceiling previously set by the Obama administration. The U.S. has had a longstanding commitment to sustaining a robust refugee program. One of the main reasons being it strengthens relationships with countries and regions
where the United States has sought to build partnerships. For many  Americans, there is a strong moral obligation to provide safe haven to the persecuted, stemming from the legacy of World War II and the Holocaust, when many Jews were turned away  and returned to their deaths.

Accepting fewer refugees from countries in crisis is the equivalent  to slamming the door on individuals whose lives hang in the balance.  This is not how the United States has been represented in the past, and it undermines the efforts to tackle and collaborate on resolving complex humanitarian crises going forward.


Trump Plans Massive Increase in Federal Immigration Jails
In recent weeks, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement ( ICE) agency has put out requests to identify privately-run jail sites in Chicago, Detroit, St. Paul, Salt Lake City and southern Texas.  Currently, ICE houses between 31,000 and 41,000 detainees each day in federal prisons, privately-operated facilities and local jails. 

Trump supporters say the new jails are necessary to combat the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants

ICE still has a long way to go before any new facilities open.  As of now, they have simply issued "Request for Information" to start the federal contracting process and scoping locations for possible jails. The most likely candidates to land any new contracts are two private prisons groups that have dominated the market and donated heavily to Trump.  

Trump's Travel Ban Blocked for Third Time

 A federal court in Hawaii blocked Trump's travel ban stating that he went beyond what Congress allowed him to do.

This (third) version of the travel ban would have suspended the entry of millions of immigrants from six Muslim- majority countries.  The court, did however, allow for the ban to go forward with its ban on entry for certain Venezuelan government officials and all North Korean immigrants.

Now that the majority of the new travel ban has been blocked, it is likely that the Supreme Court will once again be asked to intervene. Until then, the third travel ban remains on hold with respect to individuals from Chad, Libya, Iran, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Meaning, most individuals from those six countries should be able to travel to the United States through normal process. 

 USCIS Updates

Changes to Direct Filing Address for Form I-129 Petitions

Effective October 12th, USCIS changed the direct filing address for certain I-129 Petitions. 
The changes are as follows:
  • Petitioners will now file Form I-129 according to the state where the company or organization's primary office is located. Previously, petitioners filed Form I-129 based on the beneficiary's temporary employment or training location.
  • Petitioners located in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Texas will now file Form I-129 at the California Service Center.
Starting November 11th, USCIS may reject petitions that are filed at the wrong service center. 

I-485 Adjustment of Status Form Changes

USCIS introduced a new version of the I-485, Application to Register Permanent Resident or Adjust Status on June 26, 2017.  The revised version has been substantially updated in both content and length, going from 5 pages to 18 pages.  There is new wording which is much more specific and much more intrusive.  This process is becoming much more arduous than before with a longer form and inevitably longer processing times, with the potential to create a backlog.  For those applying based on employment, the new interview requirement will be a substantial change. 
The Criminal Acts and Violations section, in particular has been significantly expanded.  Many of the questions are more typical of a Naturalization application and many of the questions appear to go to the discretionary element.  USCIS is now requesting arrest and police records that are not necessarily allowed in immigration court.  These records can often be misleading and wrong so this is very concerning and appears to be an overreach. 
New questions which ask about benefiting from the trafficking of any controlled substances or being a relative of a foreign national who illicitly trafficked a controlled substance are problematic.  It can be very difficult to determine a direct benefit from illicit dealings; a child for example may have no knowledge or even relationship with a family member involved in illegal activity in another country.  Further questioning regarding engaging in activities that "could have potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences" may be construed in troublesome ways.  For example, a DACA recipient who has been openly vocal on Facebook against US government on foreign policy decisions can be perceived as guilty. 
We urge all individuals looking to file Adjustment applications to read all the questions very carefully and to consult a lawyer with any doubts or questions.  For those Spanish-speakers, as of this writing there is no Spanish language translation available online yet.  These are confusing and oftentimes difficult legal questions, so we encourage all applicants to talk to someone who can clearly explain the content.  
Please let us know if we can help you in any way for all your immigration needs.


Danielle Beach-Oswald
Beach-Oswald Immigration Lawyers