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

2.BOILA Grant Feature Story
3.BOILA Grant Highlights
4.Self-Sufficiency or Deprivation
5.ICE Raids
6.H.R. 1044
7.USCIS Memo on Asylum Procedures for Children
8. USCIS Decrease in Processing Times
9. Supreme Court to Hear Argument over DACA
10.USCIS Expands Fee Payment System
11. California Judge Blocks Implementation of Trump's New Asylum Rule
12. USCIS Updates
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Washington, DC
2011 to 2018

Issue: #7
                July 2019
bringing immigration news updates since 2006

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.
BOILA Grant Feature


Jean Michel Tchasseu is a native and citizen of Cameroon. He first entered the United States on September 17, 2015 and was paroled into the United States in April 2016. In Cameroon, Mr. Tchasseu and his family were members of the Bamileke tribe.

Bamileke tribe members are French-speaking and it is the native group which is now dominant in Cameroon's West and Northwest Regions. The overarching Bamileke tribe is regrouped into several smaller communities ruled by a chief (also referred to as The Fon), called chiefdoms (also referred to as Fondoms). The Fon is supported by a council of generally 9 elders (also referred to as the Council Notables). The tribes in Cameroon, specifically the Bamileke, have practiced their own interchiefdom diplomacy for several centuries. The central government under President Biya and the security forces of the central government tend to stay out of tribal issues and allow the chiefs/fons to have their own security forces and set of laws and traditions.

The Bamileke tribe has a number of traditional practices that continue to be harshly enforced but that are now considered extremely harmful and hostile. The Bamileke tribe practices polygamy that has led to male members having dozens of wives and children to provide for. Harmful traditional practices also include incredibly detrimental burial ceremonies requiring widows to be enclosed in temporary structures for weeks on end with their husband's body; severe cuts placed on faces and other body parts to indicate different tribal hierarchies; female genital mutilation; forced and early marriages; harmful practices carried out by secret societies to enforce tribal tradition and rituals and conduct witchcraft to bring harm to those who are viewed as traitors to the tribe. Additionally, the Bamileke tribe enforces a patrilineal inheritance system in which the father's male line receives the inheritance of land, wealth, as well as the responsibility and care of the deceased father's wives and children.

Mr. Tchasseu's father was a notable and wealthy leader of the Bamileke Tribe, Bafang Fondom in the Bakasa village. When he began to reject harmful tribal traditions, Mr. Tchasseu's family was threatened and assaulted by those in leadership positions in the tribe. The threats became reality when Mr. Tchasseu's father was found dead in his farm. Next in line to resume the position was Mr. Tchasseu.  

Mr. Tchasseu's mother sent him away from the village to live safely.    This act to save her child brought on years of further threats, harassment, and harmful behaviors towards Mr. Tchasseu's family remaining in the village.    In Mr. Tchasseu's absence, a male relative of his father's family, who was also a police officer and member of President Biya's political party CPDM, took temporary charge of Mr. Tchasseu's father's wealth and properties. Mr. Tchasseu was completely disinherited from his father's wealth and suffered severe economic hardship and social stigma in the village. He regularly received threats, was taunted, physically harmed, arrested and shunned by villagers. Unfortunately, Mr. Tchasseu's only option to save his life was flee the country.

Mr. Tchasseu came into our office looking for alleviation from the suffering he has suffered at the hands of the Cameroonian Government. Our office were able to determinate Mr. Tchasseu's eligibility for asylum based on 1) his membership in a particular social group of members of the Bamilike Tribe who reject the tribal traditions of the village and refuse to participate in harmful tribal rituals, 2) his political opinion of being an active member of the Union of Democratic Forces of Cameroon, a political opposition party to President Biya and the controlling government , 3) based on severe economic deprivation as not only did the Cameroonian security forces and government physically harm Mr. Tchasseu, but they illegally took all his properties and lands.

With a well-documented case, witnesses and supporting documents collected and prepared by our office the judge granted Mr. Tchasseu's application for asylum by stipulation, without hearing any testimony. Now Mr. Tchasseu can remain in the United States legally and in one year he would be eligible to apply for Adjustment of Status and a Green Card.

BOILA Grant Highlights

Spotlight Stories

Mr. NN's Motion to Reopen based on exceptional circumstances stemming from the uniquely compelling hardship considerations to his U.S. citizen wife and four U.S. citizen children was granted by the Board of Immigration Appeals for the following reasons:  

1) Mr. NN has an approved I-130 with his U.S. Citizen wife; 2) Mr. NN's former attorney, Mr. Tzeuton has been disbarred from the practice of law in Maryland as of  May 25, 2010 . Further, on May 25, 2010, the Board of Immigration Appeals ordered Mr. Tzeuton suspended from the practice of law before the Board, the Immigration Courts, and DHS; 
3) Due to ineffective assistance of his former attorney, including his serious neglect, as evident by his failure to provide corroborative probative evidence prior to hearings, and the unreasonable failure to communicate on a timely basis, Mr. NN's immigration status in the U.S. has been severely jeopardized; 
4) Mr. NN fled his home country of Cameroon fearing for his life and safety due to persecution he faced based on his political activities. As a member of prominent Cameroon opposition political party, Mr. NN filed for asylum from Cameroon, however, his former attorney, Mr. Tzeuton, did not assist with identifying and submitting probative evidence to the Court in support of his claim as well as accurate details of his claim resulting in denial of his asylum claim. As such, Mr. NN cannot return to Cameroon as his life will immediately be threatened and in danger upon his return to Cameroon;
 5) His wife cannot accompany her husband to their native country, Cameroon, in the event that he is removed from the U.S. because she is an  asylee  from Cameroon, as she was granted asylum by the Immigration Court, Arlington, VA on November 8, 2005; 
6) Mr. NN is the breadwinner of his family due the main source of the family's income come from his small business, Bistro Online, which significantly benefits the community and local economy by providing employment to dozens of individuals in the community.  If Mr. NN were forced to return to Cameroon, his wife would be unable to care for their children on her own as well as pay for household expenses, medical bills, costs of children's extra-curricular activities, and other expenses; 
7) Mr. NN has four young U.S. Citizen children that will lose the financial and emotional support in their father; 
8) Mr. NN has no criminal record and is a person of good moral character; and 
9) Mr. NN has continuously resided in the U.S. since August 2000 for eighteen years.   

Mr. NN will now file for his green card with the Immigration Court and will be able to remain in the U.S. with his family if his green card is approved.

Mr. M is a native and citizen of Great Britain.  He is a minor, 16 years old,  born on October 29, 2002.  He is currently in 10
th grade in Paint Branch High School in Maryland.  He currently lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with his biological father, Mr. MM, a U.S. citizen.  His mother passed away on May 26, 2018.  He was placed in foster care and his father had to file for custody of him in Texas which was granted.  Mr. MM filed an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative on behalf of his son on March 22, 2019 which was approved
Mr. M was ordered removed 
in absentia  on October 17, 2018 much to our shock and surprise as he never received the hearing notice since he was in foster care.   We filed a Motion to Reopen which was granted by the Immigration Court in Houston Texas.  We then filed Motion to Change Venue from Houston Texas to Baltimore MD which was granted.   We represented Mr. M at his first Master Hearing in Baltimore Maryland.  He had been in removal proceedings for nine years and we were just retained in the last year.  We were successful in convincing government counsel to agree to terminate his removal proceedings (which rarely happens now with the current administration). The judge agreed and terminated removal proceedings.  Mr. M will file his green card with USCIS, he will be able to remain in the U.S. with his father, and he will not have go to immigration court any longer.

Shadai Home Health Services LLC. submitted immigrant petition under the EB 3 Skilled Worker Schedule A, Group 1 on behalf of Ms. M, a national of Cameroon.  Shadai Home Health Services LLC., would like to employ Ms. M full time as a Registered Nurse, hence the petition.  The offered position requires an Associate's Degree in Nursing plus six months experience as a Registered Nurse.  Additionally, a valid Nursing License and Driver's license is required for the position.  Ms. M is qualified for the position and petition, as she has obtained an Associate's degree in Nursing from Harrisburg Area Community College, Harrisburg, PA in 2013.  Ms. M was employed as a Registered Nurse with Colonial Park Care Center from September 18, 2013 through August 9, 2014. Additionally, she has a valid Nursing License as a Registered Nurse and a valid driver's license.  The I-140 petition was approved and Ms. M is now eligible for a green card based on her employer's sponsorship.

Mr. F , a citizen of Cameroon, was granted political asylum at the Calexico, California Immigration Court. BOILA was successful in obtaining asylum for Mr. F despite him being detained at the ICE Detention Center in Calexico, California. While in Cameroon, Mr. F was involved in advocating for the equal and better treatment of Angl
ophones. Because of his activism, Mr. F was persecuted in Cameroon. Mr. F has now been released from ICE and is living happily in Washington D.C. with his sister. Mr. F will be able to adjust to a lawful permanent resident next summer.
Ms. A, a citizen of Cameroon, was granted asylum at the Baltimore Immigration Court. Ms. A was severely persecuted in Cameroon because of her sexual orientation and her imputed political opinion. BOILA successfully assisted Ms. A throughout her proceedings and she will be eligible to adjust her status to lawful permanent resident next summer.
Ms. Z, a young woman from Pakistan, came to BOILA after she and her brother were denied naturalization. When Ms. Z was 18 years old and finishing up high school, she was approached by voter recruiters who encouraged her to register to vote, even though she was not a U.S. citizen. Ms. Z tried to explain to the government representatives that she was a not a U.S. citizen but they convinced her that it did not matter - she was eligible to vote. Because of their inaccurate information, Ms. Z not only registered to vote, but participated in voting. When it came time for Ms. Z to apply for naturalization, USCIS questioned her about her voting history. She quickly discovered that the innocent mistake she made over five years ago was going to seriously complicate her chances for naturalization. After coming to BOILA and speaking with Ms. Oswald and her team, a plan was devised to properly explain to USCIS the innocent mistake made by Ms. Z and a young and mailable age. During her interview, BOILA was able to convince the immigration officer that it was merely a mistake and show the steps Ms. Z had taken to rectify her error. Ms. Z is now a U.S. citizen!

Mr. K, a native and citizen of Togo, had been denied naturalization in the past and was determined to become a U.S. citizen. Mr. K had a long immigration history including filing for asylum, numerous errors on his adjustment application and some criminal issues. His application was further complicated by his overdue and non-filed taxes and child support. The team at BOILA had to work diligently with Mr. K to review his immigration history and outline all of his important information and guide him on paying down taxes and his financial responsibility for his child. Mr. K took that time to take English as Second Language classes to better his understanding and increase his chances of naturalizing. After a long interview with USCIS Mr. Kponnou proved his hard work paid off. He is now a U.S. citizen preparing to petition for his own family members to join him in the States.

Mr. T, a native and citizen of guinea, was in a particularly difficult situation when he came to BOILA. Mr. T had become a lawful permanent resident through his wife who had filed for him to join her in the U.S. after she'd become an Asylee. Now, nearly 20 years later, Mr. T was filing for naturalization and was told not only was he not eligible for naturalization, but he was never eligible for his green card either. BOILA was faced with a difficult situation. USCIS had no officially taken away Mr. T's green card but they were reluctant to give him a new one. We did not want to put Mr. T at further risk by requesting they rescind his green card, so we decided to have USCIS issue him a new one. If they would agree, Mr T would continue to live in the U.S as an LPR. After waiting several months to hear from Immigration, BOILA received Mr. T's new 10 year green card in the mail! And although he will still have many restrictions, Mr. T can rest at ease knowing his status remains intact.

Mr. Y, a native and citizen of Ethiopia, had been living in the U.S. without status for over a decade. He'd previously filed for asylum based on his membership in a particular tribal group in Ethiopia, but his application was denied and he was ordered removed. Mr. Y entered the U.S. using someone else's passport and name. He'd been living under the radar for man years, but he'd recently met a beautiful woman and had two children together. After they were married, BOILA encouraged his wife to become a U.S. citizen - opening a pathway for a green card for Mr. Y. Once his wife naturalized, BOILA filed an I-130 Alien Relative Petition on Mr. T's behalf. 10 months after filing, Mr. T was scheduled for his interview and his petition was approved! BOILA can now move on to the next phase of his immigration matters. He is now one step closer to his green card.

Ms. G, a native and citizen of Liberia, has been in the U.S. for over 30 years. She entered with her siblings in the 80s with diplomatic visas but due to a fire at the Embassy in Liberia and a loss passport, she was unable to recover her entry documents and was thus unable to prove she was lawfully admitted into the U.S. As a result, Ms. G was placed in removal proceedings in the early 2000s. Ms. G managed to prove to the immigration judge that she entered the country lawfully and her proceedings were terminated by the Immigration Judge in 2011. Now with adult USC children, a path for a green card has opened up for Ms. G. BOILA filed an I-130, Alien Relative Petition for Ms. G that was approved four months after filing - one of the fastest processing times we have seen! The challenges for Ms. G are not over. BOILA will continue to work with her to overcome some criminal convictions before ultimately filing for her green card.

Ms. L, a native and citizen of Peru, has been a U-1 nonimmigrant for four years, She came to BOILA wanting to file for her green card. Ms. Leon had previously filed for adjustment of status and her application was denied because she did not show that she remained in U-1 status - the basis for her green card. Her previous attorney failed to not only extend her U-1 nonimmigrant status prior to filing for adjustment, but after her application was denied, her attorney also failed to timely file her appeal. It was only by luck that USCIS ended up re-opening her case and allowing her to respond to a Request for Evidence. BOILA promptly filed a nunc pro tunc Form I-539 application to extend Ms. Leon's U-1 nonimmigrant status. Her extension application was included with a large response pack documenting not only Ms. Leon's eligibility for adjustment, but her former attorney's negligence. USCIS approved Ms. Leon's nunc pro tunc Form I-539, and we are now waiting to receive a decision on her adjustment application. But with her U-1 nonimmigrant status in tunc, we are confident that her adjustment application will be approved.

Mr. U, a native and citizen of Cameroon, came to BOILA wanting to gain lawful status in the U.S. Already in removal proceedings with a pending asylum application, Mr. U wanted to know what his options were. Originally when he came to BOILA he was married and seeking a green card, but the marriage fell through after he had been wrongly accused of rape.  Mr. U fell in love with a woman and ended up getting married. BOILA filed an I-130 Alien Relative Petition for Mr. U.  His case was approved 10 months later after a lengthy and rather difficult interview seeing as both Mr. U and his wife are deaf. Communicating took a bit longer. Now that his Form I-130 has been approved, BOILA will prepared to file for adjustment in immigration court at Mr. U's next Master Hearing.

Mr. FK,  a native and citizen of Cameroon, has been with BOILA for many years. In removal proceedings, Mr. FK has a pending asylum and wanted to file a marriage petition. His wife at the time was supposed to petition for him after she naturalized, but their relationship took a turn for the worst and they ended getting divorced. Mr. FK found love again and fell in love with a USC and ended up getting married and having a baby together. His wife ended up filing the marriage petition for him and it was approved. Mr. FK will now seek adjustment in court and will likely not need to move forward with his asylum claim. 

Self-Sufficiency or Deprivation Created By the New Immigration Public Charge Rule

People wonder if getting government benefits will hurt their chances of getting a green card or becoming a United States citizen. "Public charge" is a term used by immigration officials to refer to persons who are considered primarily dependent on the government for subsistence and is an attempt to limit government spending for poorer, non-US nationals. The proposed rule has already been implemented by the Department of State (DOS) since January 2018, and would increase what is considered a public benefit for public charge purposes also with Department of Homeland Security Citizenship and Naturalization Services ( DHS-CIS) with dire consequences for other US family members.
The Immigration and Nationality Act ( INA) does not define the term "public charge". The DHS definition comes from Field Guidance on Deportation and Inadmissibility Grounds ( 64 FR 28589) issued on May 26, 1999. Currently, both the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security ( CIS ) are affected.   The DOS implemented this rule making foreign nationals to the US inadmissible to the US, and the DHS-CIS implementation would subject those in the US to deportation.
According to the INA, a foreign national is rendered inadmissible to come to the US if he or she is likely at any time to become a "public charge" (INA 212 (a) (4). It also subjects people to deportation who are admitted to the US and then become dependent on government benefits (INA 237 (a) (5). Under this section, a person is deportable, who within five years after entry into the US becomes a public charge. Previously, "primarily dependent" on the Government for subsistence was defined as demonstrated by either receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance or institutionalization for long-term care at government expense. Public benefits that could be considered under the new proposed rule would include receiving one or more public benefits and could include food stamps (SNAP), Section 8 Housing Vouchers, broaden any use of Medicaid unless exempt, and other programs. Additionally, receipts of any type of public mean-tested benefit in the past could be used to determine whether a person is likely to become dependent in the future.
Last month, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposed changes to "mixed status families" meaning those who live with a US or permanent resident immediate relative.   While the current law allows housing assistance to this group, benefits are pro-rated so that ineligible aliens do not receive any housing assistance. Under the proposed rule, all applicants under age 62 would have their immigration status screened through SAVE, and heads of household would have to be verified as eligible.
Evaluation of public benefits would be based on the "Totality of the Circumstances" founded on five criteria: age, health, education and skills, family status, financial resources, and assets and status.   The DOS determines whether a person applying for a visa will be inadmissible under 9 FAM 302.8-2 (B)(2) (f)(a)(b)(i).   Since January 2018 when the rule was implemented, officers consider past or current receipts of public assistance of "any type" in their decision, including information of the US sponsor. This has resulted in a 316% increase of denials from 3,200 to over 13,400 denials last year.
Generally speaking, a person must be low-income and documented to have received publically funded benefits. Certain categories are exempt: such as refugees, asylees, U-visa applicants ( victims of certain crimes), Cuban and Haitian entrants under HRIFA, Amerasians seeking admission pursuant to certain Appropriations Act of 1988, juveniles under SIJS, and certain other exempt categories.
DHS-USCIS does not include public benefits by family members unless it is their sole means of support. However, DOS consular officers give broader consideration to benefits received by a family member and view it as a heavily negative factor on the totality of circumstances. An affidavit of support acting as a contract between the Government and Petitioner/ sponsor as well as visa applicant to reimburse the government for a means-tested public benefit is required.
However, the implementation of the rule by DHS-CIS would affect family members living in the same households to deportation, such as parents or children. Whereas, previously cash benefits were primarily considered for public charge purposes; now non-cash or special-purpose cash benefits generally not taken into account would be included.   These benefits are considered supplemental in nature and do not make a person primarily dependent on the government for subsistence. Thus past, current or future receipt would now impact a public charge determination if the proposed rule passes.   This determination would result in denial of lawful permanent residency, being put into removal proceedings, possible removal order and deportation, and denied entry into the US.

ICE Raids and Knowing Your Rights

U ndocumented immigrants across the country have faced an uptick in ICE raids this month . In preparation for the raids, many advocacy groups canvassed neighborhoods, handing out fliers to tell people what to do if ICE agents show up at their door. Braced with this knowledge, many undocumented immigrants protected themselves from contact with Ice by staying home from work and not answering the door. This resulted in the apprehension of only 35 immigrants as opposed to the 2,000 immigrants with removal orders that President Trump had anticipated deporting.
Though the Trump administration has said that it focuses on deporting criminals, there has been an increase in the number of people arrested by ICE without criminal records. In Trump's first year, ICE arrested 109,000 criminals and 46,000 people without criminal records-- a 171% increase in the number of non-criminal individuals arrested compared to 2016. The Trump administration is intent on continuing the raids, hoping that it will deter potential Central and South American migrants, most of which are seeking asylum, from crossing the border.

In the meantime, undocumented immigrants can protect themselves by knowing their rights if they encounter ICE agents. This includes the right to remain silent and to refuse to speak with the immigration officers, the right to speak with a lawyer before signing anything, and the right to not open the door to immigration officers unless they are shown a warrant signed by a judge. Furthermore, undocumented immigrants who are told that they have a warrant can ask immigration officers to slip the document under the door or place it against a window for them to read.

H.R. 1044: Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019

On July 10, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1044, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019, with bi-partisan support. The bill would amend the INA by eliminating the per-country numerical limitation for employment based immigrants and increasing the per-country limitation for family-sponsored immigrants, though it would not increase the overall number of green cards given each year. This would affect the employment based green card system by eventually providing equal waiting times for people of all nationalities who have applied for permanent residence in the U.S. Should the bill pass in the senate and with the president, it would apply beginning with fiscal year 2020 and would be phased in over three years.

The bill was first introduced by Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) with the idea in mind that in order for American industries to grow and remain competitive, "they must be able to recruit and retain the best talent in the world". Under the current system, immigrant visas have "per country caps" which restrict countries from receiving more than 7% of available green cards. This system does not take into account the fact that different countries have different populations and so 7% of a country with a large population such as India results in massive backlogs in waiting periods as opposed to smaller countries.

H.R. 1044 would eliminate the 7% cap for employment-based immigrant visas, creating a first-come, first-served system, regardless of nationality. This means that workers on H-1B visas would have a greater opportunity to be granted a green card. This would be beneficial for workers in a temporary status, because, as Lofgren mentions, "workers that are in a temporary status are more vulnerable to exploitation than workers that have status that allows them to negotiate or move to other employers." In other words, employment based immigrants would no longer be limited in their pursuance of a green card merely because of their nationality. This would have the largest impact on citizens of India and China, many of whom are highly skilled and have worked and contributed to the U.S. economy for years on an H-1B visa, yet face the longest green card waiting periods. Additionally, raising the family per-country cap to 15% would help U.S. citizens or LPRs waiting the longest for their close relatives in the family-sponsored preference categories.

The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019 would modernize both the employment-based and family-based green card system, making it fairer for immigrants to obtain green cards. It is unclear yet whether the bill will ultimately pass through the Senate and the President, but it seems to have garnered a good amount of bi-partisan support so far. Though other reforms are needed to create a truly impartial process, this is a good start.

USCIS Memo denying Affirmative Asylum Procedures for  Children

On May 31, USCIS issued a memo titled "Updated Procedures for Asylum Applications Filed by Unaccompanied Alien Children". This memo establishes new instructions for asylum officers making UAC determinations for individuals in removal proceedings who were deemed to be UACs at one time but later turned 18 prior to filing their asylum applications. In making UAC determinations, USCIS officers evaluate whether the applicant was under 18 years of age at the time of the first filing and was unaccompanied, meaning that the individual had no parent or legal guardian in the U.S. or at least none that was willing or able to provide care.

Beginning June 30th, asylum officers must conduct an "independent factual inquiry as to whether the individual met the UAC definition at the time of first filing the asylum application". Officers will be required to examine all available records and information and elicit any additional information from the applicant when necessary, including oral testimony and supplemental documentary evidence. The individual filing for asylum bears the burden of establishing that they have met the UAC definition, and must provide all relevant evidence to support the determination. The determination ultimately affects whether USCIS will have jurisdiction over an individual in removal proceedings as USCIS only has jurisdiction over an asylum application if it is determined that the application was filed by a UAC. Further, aside from jurisdictional concerns, this determination affects whether an individual is subject to the one-year filing deadline as UACs are precluded from this deadline.

These new guidelines give USCIS greater discretion to exclude individuals from the UAC designation, thereby revoking their access to the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act protections. Further, requiring such a rigorous investigation may result in longer detention periods for children who are required to show more evidence, which could cause more traumatization in children who remain detained.

In advance of the June 30th effect date of these guidelines, practitioners with pending cases should push for expedited interview scheduling and decisions. Beyond the effective date, practitioners may want to ensure that a child planning to pursue Special Immigrant Juvenile Status files their asylum application before obtaining a legal guardian in state court as USCIS could refuse asylum jurisdiction if it finds that the child has obtained a legal guardian and thus is no longer unaccompanied. Most importantly, practitioners should present as much evidence and as many arguments as possible in the initial filing to demonstrate that a client was a UCA at the time of the filing.

USCIS Aims to Decrease Processing Times for 
N-400 and I-485 Applications

USCIS will implement a national strategy to decrease differences in processing times for Form N400, Application for Naturalization and Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Resident or Adjust Status.

Since the end of 2015, USCIS has experienced an increase in processing times due to higher than expected volumes received during fiscal years (FY) 2016 and 2017 that did not decrease as originally projected. The increased filing volumes did not affect field offices equally, which resulted in some disparity in the processing times among field offices.

USCIS has begun to shift caseloads between field offices to decrease processing times.  Applicant's may be scheduled to appear for interviews outside of their normal jurisdiction as a result in the shift of caseloads. However, these caseload changes will not affect where applicants attend their biometrics appointments. 

USCIS remains committed to adjudicating applications, petitions, and requests for immigration benefits as effectively and efficiently as possible in accordance with all applicable laws, policies, and regulations while securing the integrity of the immigration system.

Supreme Court to Hear Argument over DACA

The Supreme Court of the United States has agreed to hear the appeals over the termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program during its next term. In its order, the Court consolidated three pending DACA appeals and granted one hour for oral argument. The Court is expected to decide, once and for all, whether the Trump administration can end the DACA program. A decision is not likely until spring or early summer of 2020.

President Obama implemented DACA in 2012. The program provides work authorization and protection from deportation to those brought to the United States as children. In 2017, the Trump administration moved to rescind DACA but three federal district courts issued nationwide preliminary injunctions, preventing the Trump administration from dismantling the program in its entirety. Since then, four federal appeals courts have ruled against the rescission of DACA. As a result, the Trump administration sought final review by the Supreme Court.

The administration is not expected to make any changes to DACA between now and the summer of 2020 unless a deal can be reached in Congress. The House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would provide a pathway to citizenship for foreign nationals who entered the United States before turning 18, but the bill is not expected to pass the Senate. In the meantime, DACA beneficiaries with valid employment authorization documents (EADs) may continue to work through the validity period of their EADs. They may also file for renewals as early as 150 days before the expiration of their EADs.

USCIS Expands Its Fee Payment System Across 16 Offices

USCIS has implemented its fee payment system to 16 additional offices. These offices will no longer accept cashier's checks or money orders for fees associated with applications and petitions.  The offices are as follows:

Albuquerque, New Mexico; 
Buffalo, New York; 
Cincinnati, Ohio; 
Cleveland, Ohio; 
Columbus, Ohio; 
El Paso, Texas; 
Harlingen, Texas; 
Hartford, Connecticut;
 Indianapolis, Indiana;
 Jacksonville, Florida; 
Louisville, Kentucky; 
Mt. Laurel, New Jersey;
Newark, New Jersey; 
Raleigh, North Carolina;
 Sacramento, California; and 
San Antonio, Texas.

The fee payment changes first started in November 2018 with the Los Angeles Field Offices. With the new fee system, applicants could still pay  by check, debit card, credit card, or re-loadable pre-paid credit or debit cards, which USCIS personnel processed through a new electronic system.

USCIS felt a new fee system  which would increase transaction security and reduce processing errors that could cause USCIS to reject applications and petitions. 

According to USCIS polls, the change in the fee system has reduced the processing time for applications and petitions by 88 percent.  Everyone submitting applications should be mindful of which field office is receiving it. Rejection notices will be sent out promptly if one of the above-named field offices receives a payment other than the approved listed forms of payment.
California Judge Blocks Implementation of Trump's New Asylum Rule

A federal judge in California blocked the implementation of a new rule yesterday that would have prevented most immigrants who arrive at the U.S. southern land border from qualifying for asylum in the United States. This decision came hours after a D.C. court ruled in the opposite direction.

The nationwide preliminary injunction issued by U.S. District Court Judge Jon Tigar in San Francisco blocks the rule from taking effect until the court fully considers the arguments on each side and issues a final ruling in the case. But the government may ask another (appellate) court to reverse this decision. In this way, a higher court can weigh in on the conflict between the lower courts.

The rule represents the Trump administration's latest attempt to unilaterally rewrite asylum law. It would have barred thousands from being eligible for asylum.
Under the new rule, announced July 15, only individuals who request but are denied asylum in a country they travel through would be permitted to apply for asylum once they got to the United States. There are two other limited exceptions, including for individuals who have been victims of "severe" human trafficking. Immigrants not able to meet these exceptions would still be able to seek other forms of humanitarian relief. But these forms of relief are much more difficult to get and offer less protections.

In his ruling, Judge Tigar found that the new rule was "inconsistent with existing asylum laws" and questioned the adequacy of the asylum system in Guatemala, the first country that many asylum seekers would be passing through on their way to the United States.  Without Wednesday night's decision, thousands of asylum-seeking men, women, and children would have been blocked from seeking asylum, with the consequences of delivering many of them back to the very harms they fled.

The lawsuit, brought by immigrants' rights groups including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), represents a victory.
The monumental decision from the west coast-which takes effect immediately-came on the heels of a separate and opposing ruling from U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly of Washington, D.C. on the same issue. Judge Kelly ruled in a case brought by two different immigrants' rights groups that also tried to block the new rule. Judge Kelly, a Trump appointee, found that the asylum ban should be permitted to proceed on the basis that "it's in the greater public interest to allow the administration to carry out its immigration policy."

President Trump was quick to announce victory during remarks to reporters outside the White House following the Washington, D.C. decision, though the victory was short-lived. Judge Tigar's decision came just hours later. Judge Tigar, an Obama appointee, had previously blocked a different rule in November, which had attempted to strip immigrants who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border between ports of entry from the right to seek asylum.

 USCIS Updates

USCIS Makes Adds Two More Applications for Online Filing

Applicants can file Form N-600 to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship for themselves or their minor children if they:
  • Were born abroad and are claiming U.S. citizenship at birth through their parents; or
  • Automatically became a U.S. citizen after birth, but before they turned 18 years old.
Applicants can file Form N-600K if they regularly reside in a foreign country and want to claim U.S. citizenship based on their parents. Applicants must secure lawful admission to the U.S. to complete Form N-600K processing. Children of U.S. service members have separate requirements for naturalization under INA Section 322.
Forms N-600 and N-600K are part of the growing number of documents that USCIS has made available for easy and convenient online filing. This list includes: 
  • Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card;
  • Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings;
  • Form N-400, Application for Naturalization; and
  • Form N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document.
To file a Form N-600 or N-600K online, an applicant must first create a  USCIS online account. Through an online account, the applicant can securely and conveniently:
  • Complete Form N-600 or N-600K;
  • Submit accompanying evidence;
  • Upload passport-style photos;
  • Pay the filing fee;
  • Respond to USCIS requests for evidence;
  • Monitor the status of their application; and
  • Manage their contact information, including updating their address.

USCIS still accepts the latest paper version of Forms N-600 and N-600K. Because military service members do not pay a filing fee when submitting Form N-600 on their own behalf, they cannot currently file this application online.

Please let us know if we can help you in any way for all your immigration needs.


Danielle Beach-Oswald
Beach-Oswald Immigration Lawyers