Immigration Law Update:
H-1b and DACA News
May 2018
H-1b Cap Reached
H-1b Cap reached: As H-1b watchers know, USCIS started accepting H-1b filings for the new fiscal year on April 2, 2018 and the cap, or quota, was reached quickly. USCIS held a random lottery to choose which of the received petitions it will process, and has issued receipt notices already for most of the petitions selected that were filed on behalf of workers with a U.S. advanced degree (“master’s cap” candidates). As of this writing, receipt notices for “regular” cap cases have not yet been sent out in large numbers, so if you haven’t received one yet, don’t give up hope. It’s hard to predict exactly when un selected cases will be returned. H-1B applicants can subscribe to the H-1B Cap Season email updates located on the  H-1B Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Cap Season  page.

Troubled Waters for H-1b spouses
A great difficulty for many employees in the U.S. on an H-1b visa is that their spouses are not usually eligible to work. In two-career couples and places where the cost of living is high, this is a significant problem. President Obama introduced a rule to allow some spouses of H-1b visa holders (those at a certain point in the green card process) to obtain work permits as an H-4 dependent.

However, the Trump administration – in a continuation of its desire to tighten oversight of the H-1b program and promote the “Buy American, Hire American” agenda – signaled its intention to end spousal work permits, perhaps in June 2018. Although some American workers herald the move, taking away the right to work from H-4 spouses would leave thousands of people without an income, thwarting their plans to buy or keep homes, save for children’s college educations, or start companies that employ Americans. Removing their employment opportunities interrupts their career trajectories, and may contribute to a decline in the number of talented foreign employees at U.S. tech companies, limiting the companies’ ability to compete.

This problem affects many H-4 spouses, but hits Indian women particularly hard. For an in depth look at the situation, read .

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): Judicial Watch
DACA allows undocumented young people brought here by their parents before 2007 (“Dreamers”) to remain in the U.S. temporarily without being deported, and to obtain work authorization, which leads to the ability to continue higher education, obtain scholarships, develop a career, obtain insurance, start a business, etc. However, the program has been the subject of whipsawing developments in federal courts.

What is the current status of DACA? President Trump announced his intention to terminate the program as of March 5, 2018. A federal court blocked this action, forcing the Trump administration to continue issuing work permits for immigrants currently enrolled; the Supreme Court declined to hear a direct challenge to this decision.  Another federal court ordered the government to accept renewals and even new applications, pending a 90 day stay to provide justification for the decision to end DACA. .

Most recently, Texas and 6 other states actually sued the administration over its failure to terminate DACA as promised, saying the program is unlawful. (Texas is one of the states that originally sued the Obama administration over the program).

Confused? If you are an employer with DACA employees or a DACA recipient, it is important to get accurate and up to the minute advice about whether it is possible to renew a DACA benefit and work permit. Mandelbaum Salsburg can provide that assistance through our knowledgeable immigration legal team.

The Immigration Law Update is presented by Laurie Woog. Laurie is Chair of Mandelbaum Salsburg's Immigration Law Practice and has over twenty years of experience in the immigration law field. She represents clients in employment and family-based immigration cases before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and U.S. consulates abroad in all areas of immigration, including temporary work visas such as H-1b, L-1, R-1 and O-1s, and green cards through family relationships, labor certification (PERM) and employment based on extraordinary ability in the arts, science and business, national interest waivers, and outstanding professors and researchers. Laurie handles many applications for green cards based on marriage, extensions of status, and naturalization. For more information, please contact Laurie at or 908-233-0076.