Volume 17/ Issue 7: June 2022
Immigration Updates from BOILA
4th of July NYC
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, including, employment based immigration, VAWA and U-visas, citizenship, asylum, deportation and removal proceedings, and appellate work. 

We accept clients from all over the country. We welcome referrals from current and past clients, as well as friends and colleagues. 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.

For further information please visit our website at www.immigrationlawdc.com
or give us a call in the office at 202-331-3074.
*member since 1992
Our Recently Granted Cases
Ms. Tresor from DRC was granted her 601 waiver and adjustment of status by the immigration judge.
In 2001 she entered the U.S. as a student and was ordered removed by the Judge in 2005 based on her asylum. She then sought counseling from BOILA. Subsequently, she married a U.S. citizen former on the and her i - 130 was approved. It took 3 years to get the 601 waiver approved and get IJ to grant a hearing.  After 20 years of entering the US and having US children she is proud to have been granted by IJ Koelsch
BOILA is helping our clients navigate the immigrant visa process and the interviews at U.S.  consulates despite the delays at the National Visa Center. Our client, Ms. Cecelia, has received her immigrant visa after a 2-year process. She will come to the U.S. from Cameroon in the next few weeks. 

Client is a retired Cameroonian professional soccer play who had played on division one teams throughout Africa. His goal was to establish a fitness center to give back to the Cameroon anglophone community that had supported him during his years of play. At the beginning to 2018, client retired from professional soccer and returned to work daily at his fitness center. In early 2018, he received threats from both the Cameroon security forces and the terrorist group Amba boys. Client knew he had no choice but to escape from Cameroon. After working with several other law firms without success, client sought the assistance of BOILA in April 2022 to represent him in his upcoming immigration court trial. BOILA Attorney Colin Abbott immediately started the process of document preparation. Two weeks ago Mr. Abbott presented a detailed case to the immigration judge arguing that client qualified for asylum based on the past events he had endured in Cameroon. The Judge agreed and granted client his asylum after a 1 hour hearing. Now client will be able to bring his wife and children to the United States. Client states that it is the tireless work of the BOILA law office and Mr. Abbott that has made this possible. 

Mr. N was granted adjustment of status and a 601 fraud waiver. After being in the United States since 2004 and being married to his USC spouse for over 15 years, Mr. N, a native of Cameroon, was finally granted his green card. Mr. N and his wife have two children together, and have been waiting several years for this moment. Mr. N fled Cameroon with a false passport and was granted a waiver because of his wife’s excellent testimony relating her illnesses and the hardship his leaving would have on her and their children. The judge found that it was in the best interests of Mr. N’s wife and kids that he be granted a green card due to his wife’s illnesses, his kids schooling, and him being the sole breadwinner of the family. Mr. N had been granted Withholding of Removal in the past, but now has a pathway to citizenship.

The judge explained how if Mr. N were to stay in Withholding status forever, his future would remain uncertain as he would need to renew his work permit every year and that uncertainty would negatively affect his family’s health, especially his wife’s. 

Ms. C from Cameroon was granted asylum by the immigration judge
in San Diego where she crossed the border and still resides.  Her testimony was determined to be not credible by the IJ and despite this she  was originally granted asylum in 2019, however, the government appealed her case to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). The BIA remanded the case back to the Immigration Judge to have a new trial and enter a decision.

After a two day long trial and several complex legal arguments Ms. C was granted asylum based on her particular social group consisting of Anglophone Cameroonians alone. 
Supreme Court Agrees to Have Biden Administration End "Remain in Mexico" Policy
The Trump administration created the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) also called “Remain in Mexico,” in 2019 before it was canceled in 2021. The ruling sends the case back to a Texas federal court.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Biden administration has the right to end the MPP policy that forces asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico as their cases make their way through U.S. immigration courts.

The Supreme Court ruled against Texas and Missouri, which had argued that the Biden administration violated the law by rescinding the program, and sent the case back to the district court to determine if terminating the policy violated any administrative laws. They ultimately determined that the government’s cancellation of the MPP did not violate immigration law that Texas and Missouri had used to argue that the Biden administration illegally ended the program.

MPP was implemented in 2019 pursuant to INA §235(b)(2)(C), which applies to noncitizens "arriving on land … from a foreign territory contiguous to the United States," and provides that the government "may return the alien to that territory pending a proceeding under section 240.

The program was launched by the Trump administration in January 2019. After Biden took office, the program was suspended in June 2021. That led Texas and Missouri to sue the Biden administration in April 2021, arguing that canceling MPP violated administrative and immigration laws and that it forced the states to expend resources on migrants.

The case reached the Supreme Court after a federal district judge in Texas ruled last year that the Biden administration violated immigration law by not detaining every immigrant attempting to enter the country. In August 2021, U.S. District Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk ordered the Biden administration to reinstate the policy.

About 70,000 asylum-seekers have been sent to Mexico through MPP, leading to refugee camps on the Mexican side of the border, where many migrants became targets for kidnappers and drug cartels.

It’s unclear if the Biden administration will try to end the program immediately or wait for the lower court to rule.

The End of Public Charge
In 2019, former President Trump expanded the “public charge rule” that made it more difficult for immigrants to obtain the status of a permanent resident if they would receive public benefits, such as food stamps, housing assistance, and many forms of Medicaid. Several states challenged this expansion. In 2021, President Joe Biden officially ended that policy.  

Later that year, a group of 14 states challenged the administration’s decision in a federal court in Illinois where it was denied. The 14 states included Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Texas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, West Virginia, Montana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, South Carolina, and Oklahoma. This group of states appealed the denial to the Seventh Circuit court.

The Seventh Circuit sided with lower court and held that the states’ wish to intervene was untimely as the rule was abandoned by the Biden Administration. However, the decision allows the states to challenge the repeal of the rule under the Administration Procedure Act (APA). The states are free to start a new legal proceeding under the APA to challenge the repeal of the 2019 Public Charge rule.
Immigration Benefits for Afghans who Help the U.S. Military
On June 16, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State announced exemptions allowing certain Afghans to qualify for immigration benefits. After consulting with the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State utilized their congressionally given authority to issue three exemptions designed to protect vulnerable Afghans from being automatically denied protection or any other immigration benefits.  

These exemptions will allow former non-high-level civil servants, those who supported U.S. military interests in Afghanistan, and those forced to pay Taliban for basic needs and services to be more carefully considered for U.S. immigration services that usually would be automatically denied to them due to broad interpretation of terrorism-related inadmissibility grounds in the U.S. immigration law. These exemptions will be applied in a case-by-case basis after multi-leveled screening and vetting of applicants by various agencies to ensure that they do not pose a threat to national security or public safety. 
This is not the first time the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State have exercised this authority. They have done this over 30 times in previous years, under Democrat and Republican administrations. 
State Department Denies Employment Based Visas

Consular officers are denying applicants for employer-sponsored immigrant visas at a far higher rate than U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officers denied green cards to employer-sponsored applicants.

Since Fiscal Year 2008, USCIS has denied about 8% of employer-sponsored immigrants while the average denial rate by consular officers was 63%.
After USCIS’ approval of the employer’s petition, and if the noncitizen is in lawful nonimmigrant status in the United States, they may become a U.S. permanent resident upon USCIS approval of their application to adjust status.
Otherwise, the noncitizen must have an immigrant visa issued by a consular officer at a U.S. Embassy or consulate abroad and then be admitted to the United States as a permanent resident.

Consular officer denials increased in 1995 and have stayed extraordinarily high through the present. In Fiscal Years 2019 and 2020, consular officers denied 61% of employer-sponsored applicants. Yet in 2021, USCIS denied only 4%.
A review of the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM), which contains State Department policies and procedures, suggests the following possibilities. The FAM impresses on the consular officer that they, and not DOL or USCIS, assess the applicant in person and “have the responsibility” to resolve any doubt about whether the applicant has the qualifications for the job.

Frequently, the consular officer will be interviewing the applicant years after DOL issued the labor certification. The consular officer may question whether the applicant still intends to work for the sponsoring employer in the job offered, even though the FAM states that the officer should have “objective reasons” to believe the applicant will not comply with the labor certification.

Many immigrant visa applicants must first submit documentation to the U.S.-based National Visa Center—and only when they are “documentarily qualified” will the U.S. Embassy or Consulate schedule an interview. The National Visa Center’s Immigrant Visa Center Backlog Report states that 426,486 eligible immigrant visa applicants (family- and employment-based) are still waiting to have interviews scheduled after June 2022 appointment slots have been filled.

Congress specifically authorized H-1B (specialty occupation) workers—a category that has a “cap” unless an exemption is available—to work temporarily in the United States when they also may intend to become permanent residents. Congress, not the agencies, is responsible for which temporary visa categories are available. Congress, not the agencies, limits the number of immigrant visas available per year, and further limits the percentage per country of birth. Congress has not reconsidered these limits for over thirty years.

There is no reason why U.S. employers should forego the opportunity to hire qualified noncitizens, and noncitizens forego the opportunity to work in the United States while navigating the green card process.

Cameroonian Students Can Apply for Employment Authorization
Due to the ongoing crises in Cameroon, DHS is suspending certain requirements for F-1 status holders from Cameroon. This includes anyone with Cameroonian citizenship regardless of their country of birth. Any Cameroonian F-1 students who are facing severe economic hardship due the crises in Cameroon may request employment authorization, work an increased number of hours, and decrease their course load while still maintaining F-1 status. Under this rule, Cameroonian F-1 students who receive employment authorization will still be considered to be “engaged in a full course of study” for the F-1 requirements. This rule will be in effect until December 7, 2023.
Premium Processing Extended for I-140 Petitions
USCIS announced an expansion of the premium processing service for certain pending Form I-140 petitions. The agency will now allow applicants who previously filed under EB-1C multinational executive and manager and EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) categories to premium process their petitions. USCIS hopes that this change will help alleviate the lengthy processing delays in these immigrant visa categories. 
The agency's expansion will apply in the following phases:
  • From June 1, 2022, USCIS will accept premium processing upgrade requests for EB-1C multinational executive ad manager petitions received on or before January 1, 2021. 
  • From July 1, 2022, USCIS will accept premium processing upgrade requests for EB-1C multinational executive and manager petitions received on or before March 1, 2021, and EB-2 NIW petitions received on or before June 1, 2021. 
While this change is favorable, the improvement is marginal. USCIS has not yet extended premium processing for initially filed Form I-140 petitions in the EB-1C and EB-2 categories. The premium processing fee will be $2,500, and the processing time will be 45 days instead of the typical 15 days available for other eligible categories.
Montgomery County N400 Applicants will be Interviewed at Washington Field Office
Starting May 2022 certain N-400 applications for Montgomery County, Maryland residents will be interviewed at the Washington Field Office in Fairfax rather than the Baltimore Field Office. Applicants should pay attention to the address listed on the interview notice.

The interview will be done at the Washington Field Office, however those who are approved will have to take their naturalization oath at the Baltimore Field Office. The two offices will be working in conjunction with each other to ensure the proper files are taken to the correct field office.
DHS Announces Expansion of Citizenship and Integration Grant Program and Open Application Period
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today announced the open application period for the Citizenship and Integration Grant Program, which provides funding for citizenship preparation programs in communities across the country. 

USCIS seeks to expand availability of high-quality citizenship and integration services throughout the country under the Citizenship and Integration Grant Program:
  • Citizenship Instruction and Naturalization Application Services: This opportunity will fund public or nonprofit organizations that offer both citizenship instruction and naturalization application services to immigrants. USCIS expects to award 42 organizations up to $300,000 each for two years through this opportunity. Applications are due by Aug. 5, 2022.
  • Innovations in Citizenship Education Program: This new grant opportunity is designed to amplify innovation. USCIS will award innovation grants to organizations that foster creative approaches to preparing immigrants for naturalization and encouraging the civic, linguistic, and cultural integration of immigrants into their communities. USCIS expects to award approximately twenty-five organizations up to $250,000 each for a period of two years through this opportunity. Applications are due by Aug. 5, 2022.

USCIS Updates
USCIS Transfers Certain H1-B Petitions to California Service Center

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced today that certain H-1B petitions and fiscal year (FY) 2023 H-1B cap petitions awaiting intake at the Vermont Service Center (VSC) are being transferred to the California Service Center (CSC) for data entry and adjudication. We are transferring these cases in response to the H-1B receipt issuance delays at the VSC. Please continue to file petitions based on the addresses provided on the Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker page.

This workload transfer will help us issue receipt notices for properly filed H-1B petitions more quickly. Please allow time for the CSC to process the transferred cases and do not submit duplicate petitions out of concern that your previous submission did not arrive or has been misplaced. If your petition is transferred, you will not receive a transfer notice, but you will receive a receipt notice as soon as your petition is receipted. Petitions will be worked to completion at the CSC once transferred. For inquiries about case status, please use the petition receipt number.

We continue to experience receipt issuance delays in other workloads across some service centers. We are actively trying to reduce these delays.