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E-mail: psg@immigrationguru.com
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BREAKING IMMIGRATION NEWS
5/5/2021 Issue
IMMIGRANT VISAS
Statue of Liberty on Island in New York with flag of the United States of America
      Immigrant visas are issued by American Consuls in dozens of American embassies. Visas are issued after personal interviews with every applicant and after much paperwork is completed.
            Since March 2020, most American consulates stopped normal functioning, and very few immigrant visas were issued in the past 14 months. This created a big backlog of cases for all consulates.
            On April 30, 2021, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) published its system for scheduling immigrant visa interviews. The system is based on four (4) PRIORITY TIERS, based on different immigration categories. Not on PRIORITY DATES and not on FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED.
            This means that applicants in the FAMILY preferences and those who are EMPLOYMENT-BASED, would have to wait even longer. How much longer? It is unknown.
            Hopefully, the DOS will find a better – and a more fair – way to overcome the mountain of applications that have built up in the consulates.
RETURN OF COMMON SENSE (1)
 
           U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the agency controlling Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced a few days ago that it is cancelling another one of President Trump’s procedures.
           Under the Trump administration, both ICE and CBP used to send agents into State courthouses (not Immigration courts), to arrest illegal aliens (today: non-citizens) who appear in court in any capacity, as plaintiffs, defendants or witnesses. This discouraged many people from appearing in State courts.
           Now, this will stop. ICE and CBP will not conduct arrests in and around State courthouses.
 
RETURN OF COMMON SENSE (2)
 
           U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) is the unit within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) responsible for ADJUDICATIONS. All Petitions, Applications and many other types of requests go to USCIS for a decision. USCIS is conducting interviews for Green Cards and citizenships. Many types of cases come to USCIS for “repeat” decisions, such as EXTENSIONS or renewals of working visas, or REMOVAL of CONDITION FROM RESIDENCY.
            It always made sense that after an Immigration Officer made a decision – for example – that a marriage was genuine, that another Officer should not come a year or two later and decide that the marriage was not genuine. Common sense was the custom of Immigration for ages.
           Then came President Trump and issued a “guideline” that officers did not need to show deference to prior decisions on the same question. That was, actually, an “invitation” to officers to overturn and deny previous positive decisions by previous adjudicators. The result? Nobody could be sure that their status was actually what it was.
A few days ago, USCIS published a new “Policy Alert” advising officers to treat prior decisions by other officers with deference. Meaning: do not re-adjudicate what was already adjudicated in a previous round of application or petition.

RETURN OF COMMON SENSE (3)
 
           U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced a few days ago a cancellation of another procedure from the Trump days.
           During the Trump era, ICE was imposing FINANCIAL PENALTIES on undocumented or illegal aliens (today: non-citizen) who did not leave the U.S. when required to do so. The penalties were in the thousands of dollars per person.
           Now ICE determined that this was not a useful procedure. Experience has shown that burdening these non-citizens with heavy debts to the Federal government did not encourage them to leave the U.S.
 
FIRST 100 DAYS – THE BIG WAIT
 
           In matters of Immigration, the Biden administration accomplished many things during its first 100 days.
           But all these accomplishments were by way of “cancellation” – cancelling restrictions and obstacles created by the Trump administration, such as Travel Bans, Public Charge rules, Political Asylum procedures, etc.
           However, we are still waiting for any action in Congress, any efforts to pass new immigration laws, such as in the matter of DACA, or Immigration Reform, or legalization of millions of non-citizens.
           Hopefully, in the Second 100 days.
3250 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1918
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(213) 383-3222
psg@immigrationguru.com