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BREAKING IMMIGRATION NEWS
3/1/2021 Issue
ROLLBACKS
Statue of Liberty on Island in New York with flag of the United States of America
          The foundation of our Immigration system is the Immigration & Nationality Act (INA), which was enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1965. It is very difficult to change the INA, because any change requires an Act of Congress. Such changes happen once every 10, or 20 years.
           The second level of our Immigration system are Regulations. These, too, are not so easy to change because changes require many formal steps which take time and are subject to obstacles, opposition and contradictory court rulings. Changes are possible, but take time.
           On top of these, we have a big pile of Guidelines, Policy Memorandums, Executive Orders, Presidential Proclamations, etc. etc. These are easy to change because they are done “administratively” – inside Government Agencies. When the changes are to cancel previous changes we refer to them as ROLLBACKS.
           What President Biden can do now – early and quickly – are ROLLBACKS.
NORMAL SPEEDY ADJUDICATIONS

           In our opinion, the most important rollback necessary is to bring back the normal processing times we had before President Trump ordered an intentional slowdown of adjudications of petitions and applications. President Trump called the slowdown “extreme vetting”. It is scandalous that it takes 4-8 weeks to get a Filing Fee Receipt, or 12 months to approve a simple petition or schedule an interview for an application for naturalization.
           We need a Rollback of the slow-down of processing times.

NATURALIZATION CIVICS TEST

           In its last days, the Trump administration implemented a new test of U.S. history and U.S. government as part of the application process to become a U.S. citizen. The “Trump test” was longer and more difficult and it was expected that more applicants for citizenship would fail it.
           The Biden administration just announced a rollback of the “Trump test”. As of March 1, 2021, USCIS will return to the same test that was in effect since 2008.

IMMIGRANT VISA BAN

           President Trump imposed several Visa Bans against the issuance of most immigrant visas and some non-immigrant visas. The effect was that for close to one (1) year, no consular interviews were scheduled for legal immigrants and almost no immigrant visas were issued to legal immigrants in any country.
           Last week, on February 24, 2021, President Biden rolled back this Travel Ban (with some exceptions). This means that American Consuls should begin scheduling interviews for applicants with approved petitions (Family as well as Employment-based) and begin issuing Immigrant Visas to approved applicants.
          
 What remains to be seen is how fast and how efficiently the Consuls would handle the backlog of applicants that accumulated during President Trump’s last year in office.       

ICE ENFORCEMENT

           An important Rollback that is already taking place are new Guidelines issued by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) in the matter of Removal (Deportation) priorities.
           Under President Trump, the policy of ICE was to start deportation cases in immigration court against every noncitizen who came to their attention and to execute Removal Orders against noncitizen who had such a Final Order and to be “tough” and deny most “stay” requests.
           The rollback instructs ICE officers to PRIORITIZE enforcement actions to noncitizens who fall in the following categories:
1)      National Security: Terrorists, spies, or otherwise endangering the national security of the U.S.
2)       Border Security: Those caught trying to enter the U.S. illegally on or after 11/1/2020, or those who has been in the U.S. only since 11/1/2020.
3)      Public Safety: Noncitizen convicted of an “aggravated felony”, or an offense based on active participation in a criminal street gang or after age 16 helping criminal gang activity.
All other enforcement actions require prior approval of higher levels of the ICE agency.

NEW LAW

           New Immigration Law? New Legalization/Amnesty? 
Not yet. Stay tuned.
3250 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1918
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(213) 383-3222
psg@immigrationguru.com