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Immigration Law Update

May 2020

Limited Immigration Ban Imposed by Trump Administration

President Trump issued a proclamation to “temporarily suspend immigration into the United States” on April 22, 2020. Although the publicity surrounding this ban indicated that its effect would be far-reaching, the actual effect is much more limited.

The ban specifically does not apply to applicants for permanent residence who are spouses or minor children of U.S. citizens. Additionally, it does not apply to those who are applying for permanent residence from within the United States through the Adjustment of Status process. Nor does it apply to those seeking permanent residence in the EB-5 category, Special Immigrant Visas or those seeking admission on temporary visas (i.e. student visas, H-1B).

The ban, however, does suspend the immigrant visa process for those seeking permanent residence from abroad through Consular Processing who are applying through employment as well as family-based petitions for adult children, parents, and siblings of U.S. citizens and all relatives of lawful permanent residents. Additionally, the ban impacts those seeking permanent residence through the Diversity Visa Lottery who are applying from abroad.

Encouraging H-1B Developments

In recent weeks two key pieces of litigation have resulted in USCIS reversing restrictive adjudications in H-1B cases. One such matter overturns a ten-year practice of USCIS scrutinizing the employer-employee relationship in third party placement situations, as well as limiting the term of H-1B approvals in such cases.

The other case arises out of a class action lawsuit challenging the denial of H-1B petitions for market research analysts. These denials were reversed, which bodes well for future filings for market research analysts. If you have an H-1B matter that falls into either of these two categories, please do not hesitate to contact Brad Ortman or Karen Moss with your questions.

Unemployment Benefits for Immigrant Workers Is Not a Public Charge

As the unemployment rate has surged past 15%, a key question on the minds of many immigrants is whether the receipt of unemployment benefits may make immigrant workers inadmissible as a “public charge.” The answer to this question is a firm “No.” Unemployment benefits are considered to be an “earned benefit” like Medicare or Social Security. This was clarified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security when it published its final rule on public charge inadmissibility last year. It is not considered to be a “public benefit” that may make someone at risk for being considered a public charge.

Canada and Mexico Borders Closed for at Least Another Month; Travel Ban from Brazil Added

Cross-border non-essential travel between the United States, Mexico and Canada remains restricted until at least June 22, 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Essential commercial activity will not be impacted by these restrictions, particularly that which ensures a strong and secure economic supply chain. However, travel for tourism and recreation remains suspended. Additionally, the Trump administration announced that immigrants and nonimmigrants who have been in Brazil in the previous 14 days will be barred from admission to the United States.

USCIS Offices to Reopen in June

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services plan to reopen their offices on June 4, 2020 after temporarily suspending in-person services with the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. USCIS will be rescheduling biometrics appointments and interviews for those that had an appointment or interview scheduled and postponed during the time the offices have been closed.

Computer Network Migration at NGC

Our computer network will be migrated to a new cloud-based system starting 5:00 PM EST Thursday, 5/28. We will have limited access to our network from then on through for the remainder of the weekend, though we should still be able to receive emails in a limited fashion. Normal access is to return on Monday.

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If you have questions or would like to learn more about the items discussed above or other immigration topics, please contact Karen Moss or Brad Ortman of the Immigration Law Group at Nicola, Gudbranson & Cooper via email or at (216) 621-7227.

Bradley L. Ortman and Karen Gabriel Moss
Nicola, Gudbranson & Cooper LLC

This Immigration Law Update contains general information that should not be considered legal advice or legal opinion concerning individual situations. Legal counsel should be consulted for specific advice.

Copyright 2020 by Nicola, Gudbranson & Cooper LLC