A monthly publication of the International Law and Immigration Section of the California Lawyers Association.
Editor-in-Chief, Payal Sinha
* Contributions by Radhika Balaji
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Announces Re-Registration Process for Current Venezuela Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Beneficiaries
On September 8, 2022, DHS posted a Federal Register Notice describing how beneficiaries under Venezuela’s existing TPS designation can re-register to retain TPS and renew their Employment Authorization Documents (EADs).
Only beneficiaries of the initial designation of Venezuela for TPS who were already residing in the U.S. in March 2021 are eligible to re-register for TPS and apply to renew their EADs, and they must do so during the 60-day re-registration period from September 8, 2022 to November 7, 2022. Venezuelans who arrived in the U.S. after March 8, 2021, are not eligible for TPS.
Given the time frames involved with processing TPS re-registration applications, DHS recognizes that not all re-registrants may receive new EADs before their current EADs expire on September. 9, 2022. The Federal Register Notice automatically extends the validity of EADs previously issued under the TPS designation of Venezuela through September 9, 2023.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Extends and Expands Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) for Individuals Covered by Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Liberia
On September 2, 2022, USCIS published a Federal Register notice for the extension and expansion of eligibility for DED for Liberians and explaining how eligible Liberians may apply for EADs.
The memorandum also extends employment authorization for individuals covered under DED Liberia through June 30, 2024. USCIS is automatically extending the validity of Liberian DED-related EADs through June 30, 2024, for those who already have an EAD with a Category Code of A-11 and a card that expires on March 30, 2020; January 10, 2021; or June 30, 2022. These EADs remain valid, even though their facial expiration date has passed.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Resumes Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program (CFRP) Operations
On September 1, 2022, USCIS announced it is resuming operations under the CFRP program, beginning with pending CFRP program applications.
USCIS has begun to mail interview notices to CFRP program petitioners with instructions for the beneficiary interview. On August 18, USCIS began conducting interviews at the U.S. Embassy in Havana. USCIS has limited capacity to conduct interviews at this time, so beneficiaries should not take any steps to prepare for an interview until their petitioner receives an interview notice.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Updated its Policy Manual on R-1 Worker Visa*
Effective August 30, 2022, USCIS updated its Policy Manual relating to special immigrant religious workers. The policy details description of the filing process, verification of evidence and the site inspection processes, in addition to providing details about how the prospective employer can demonstrate that they are a qualifying organization, that the religious worker will be employed in a qualifying position and how the employer will compensate the worker. The policy also clarifies that USCIS will use the totality of circumstances to review and confirm the relationship between the attesting employer and the entity that will compensate the religious worker.
Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) Releases Updated Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and Immigration Court Practice Manuals
On August 26, 2022, EOIR released new versions of the Immigration Court and BIA Practice Manuals. Some important changes include: (i) Pre-hearing filings (including amendments to applications, supporting documents, witness lists, and other such documents) are due 15 days before the individual hearing of a represented, non-detained respondent. (IC PM Rule 3.1(b)(2)B).) (ii) The page limit for BIA appeal briefs is now set at 50 (BIA PM Rule 3.3(c)(3).) (iii) There is no page limit for BIA motions. (iv) One 21-day extension on a BIA briefing schedule is granted if timely requested. (BIA PM Rule 4.7(c)(1)(A).), and many others linked above.
Department of State (DOS) Updated Document Submission Requirements for “Diversity Visa 2023”*
On August 25, 2022, the DOS announced that selectees for the Diversity Visa program for fiscal year 2023 (DV-2023) are required to submit only their DS-260 application form for themselves and their family members to the Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) and not any of the required supporting documents with the application. After the KCC reviews the case for completeness, an interview will be scheduled at the applicable U.S. Consulate/Embassy where the supporting documents will be collected.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issues Final Rule to Preserve Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
On August 24, 2022, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced that the Department issued a final rule that will preserve and fortify the DACA policy for certain eligible noncitizens who arrived in the United States as children, deferring their removal and allowing them an opportunity to access a renewable, two-year work permit. The final rule maintains the existing threshold criteria for DACA; retains the existing process for DACA requesters to seek work authorization; and affirms the longstanding policy that DACA is not a form of lawful status but that DACA recipients, like other deferred action recipients, are considered “lawfully present” for certain purposes.
The final rule is effective Monday, October 31, 2022. However, on July 16, 2021, injunction from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas remains in effect, that prohibits DHS from granting initial DACA requests and related employment authorization under the final rule.
Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) Invests $7.2 Million to Modernize the Department of Labor’s Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) System*
On August 23, 2022, DOL issued an announcement informing that the TMF (that provides critical funding to address modernization and cybersecurity challenges across several federal IT systems) noted that a funding in the amount of $7.2 million will be invested in the DOL’s PERM Labor Certification system to modernize services and improve efficiency in addition to increasing a seamless customer experience and addressing fraud and security risks.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Updated its Policy Manual on L-1 Worker Visa*
Effective August 16, 2022, USCIS issued an update on its Policy Manual on eligibility determination for L-1 nonimmigrant workers seeking classification as managers or executives or specialized knowledge workers. The updated policy provides comprehensive guidance on eligibility requirements, filing, documentation and evidence in addition to adjudication of L-1 petitions.
Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) Publishes Memo on Hearings via Webex
Effective August 11, 2022, EOIR punished a memo on hearings via webex, referring to “internet-based hearings”. Hearings before immigration judges can be held both in-person, and with one or more participants appearing by video or telephone from different locations outside the court. Traditionally, the EOIR has used a closed video teleconferencing system when a participant appears by video. With the advent of internet-based video teleconferencing, EOIR is currently allowing participants to appear through the platform Webex by Cisco. EOIR anticipates that hearings using Webex or other, similar platforms will remain important to EOIR’s operations in the future. The memo sets guidelines to apply to such hearings across the immigration courts going forward.
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Warns about Phone Scam Impersonating CBP Officers and Agents*
On August 10, 2022, CBP issued a warning to residents nationwide that phone scammers are targeting unsuspecting residents in an attempt to gain their financial information by posing as the U.S. Border Patrol Agents or CBP Officers. The warning clarified that neither the Department of Homeland Security nor the CBP solicits money over the phone and encouraged residents to make every effort to report such incidents to the Federal Trade Commission online using this link.