A monthly publication of the International Law and Immigration Section of the California Lawyers Association.
Editor-in-Chief, Payal Sinha
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Designates Afghanistan for Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
On March 16, 2022, DHS announced the designation of Afghanistan for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months. Only individuals who are already residing in the U.S. as of March 15, 2022, will be eligible for TPS. Under this designation, TPS will also provide additional protections and assurances to trusted partners and vulnerable Afghans who supported the U.S. military, diplomatic, and humanitarian missions in Afghanistan over the last 20 years. More information can be found here.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Announces Deferred Action for Special Immigrant Juveniles
On March 7, 2022, USCIS announced that it is updating the USCIS Policy Manual to consider deferred action and related employment authorization for noncitizens who have an approved Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, for Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) classification but who cannot apply to adjust status to become a lawful permanent resident (LPR) because a visa number is not available. More information can be found here.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Announces Amendment in its Policies to Better Protect Immigrant Children Who Have Been Abused, Neglected, or Abandoned
On March 7, 2022, USCIS announced new policies that will provide better protection to immigrant children who are victims of abuse, neglect, abandonment, or similar parental maltreatment. Changes from the long-pending proposed regulations include the following: a person remains eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) if the juvenile court order terminates because of age either before or after the SIJ petition is filed; a person also remains eligible in situations in which adoption, placement in permanent guardianship, or other permanent child welfare placement is achieved; the “similar basis” standard has been relaxed to allow evidence drawn either from the state juvenile court’s opinion or secondary evidence showing that the legal basis for the order is similar to abuse, abandonment, or neglect; as to consent, the final rule allows for mixed motives in seeking the juvenile court order, saying that relief from abuse/abandonment/neglect must be “a primary reason” for the order and that the petition must be bona fide; and others.
These changes in the Policy Manual is effective May 6, 2022, and applies to eligible noncitizens classified as SIJs before, on, or after that date, based on an approved Form I-360, Petition for Ameriasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Designates Ukraine for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 Months
On March 3, 2022, DHS announced the designation of Ukraine for TPS for 18 months. Individuals eligible for TPS under this designation must have continuously resided in the U.S. since March 1, 2022. Individuals who attempt to travel to the U.S. after March 1, 2022, will not be eligible for TPS. Ukraine’s 18-month designation will go into effect on the publication date of the forthcoming Federal Register notice. The Federal Register notice will provide instructions for applying for TPS and an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). TPS applicants must meet all eligibility requirements and undergo security and background checks. More information can be found here.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Designates Sudan and Extends and Re-designates South Sudan for Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
On March 2, 2022, DHS announced a new designation of Sudan and an extension and re-designation of South Sudan for TPS for 18 months. The recent military takeover of Sudan’s government has triggered political instability, violence, and human rights abuses against civilians. A humanitarian crisis linked to unprecedented floods; food and clean water shortages; violence between the communities of Darfur, Blue Nile, and South Kordofan; and internal displacement is ongoing. DHS extended and re-designated South Sudan for TPS for 18 months based on an ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions that prevent individuals from returning safely. More information can be found here.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Preparing to Resume Public Services on June 4, 2022
USCIS is preparing some domestic offices to reopen and resume non-emergency public services on or after June 4.USCIS announced another extension to the temporary final rule (TFR) that requires certain asylum applicants to use our contract telephonic interpreters instead of bringing their own interpreters to their affirmative asylum interviews. This rule is in effect through March 16, 2023. More information can be found here.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Proposes Fair and Humane Public Charge Rule
On February 17, 2022, DHS issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that regulates how DHS applies the public charge ground of inadmissibility. The proposed rule would provide fair and humane treatment for noncitizens requesting admission to the U.S. or applying for lawful permanent residence from within the U.S.. DHS has posted an advance copy of the proposed rule. Under the proposed rule, DHS proposes to define “likely at any time to become a public charge” as “likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence.” Consistent with long-standing agency practice, DHS proposes to consider the following public benefits when making a public charge inadmissibility determination:
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI);
- Cash assistance for income maintenance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program;
- State, Tribal, territorial, and local cash assistance for income maintenance; and
- Long-term institutionalization at government expense.
More information can be found here.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Increases the Evidentiary Burden for Petitions for the O-1 and EB-1
USCIS has increased the evidentiary burden for petitions for the O-1 Extraordinary Ability visa to mirror that for the EB-1 Extraordinary Ability visa. A memorandum issued on January 21, 2022 by USCIS confirmed that USCIS has overhauled its approach to adjudicating O-1A Extraordinary Ability and O-1B Extraordinary Achievement visa petitions. The guidance increases the evidentiary burden in O-1 visa petitions to mirror the agency’s approach to adjudicating EB-1A Extraordinary Ability petitions.