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On Tuesday, September 29, 2020, Federal District Court Judge Jeffrey White issued an order 2020-09-29 Order Granting dckt 98_0 enjoining US Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) and the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) from implementing proposed increases in filing fees, and the addition of a controversial filing fee for asylum, scheduled to become effective on

On March 30, 2020, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the agency would allow flexibility in responding to certain agency notices, in an effort to minimize the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on individuals seeking immigration benefits.  The agency provided an additional 60 calendar days beyond the due date for responding to the

USCIS Furloughs Postponed and Possibly Avoided

In June 2020, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) served notice on The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the union representing the agency’s 13,400 fee-based employees, that absent approval by Congress of $1.2 billion requested as part of the pending stimulus bill to make up for a precipitous

Some 70% of the 20,000 employees of US Citizenship & Immigration Services, the agency within Homeland Security that adjudicates visa-related benefits for all foreign workers, could face furloughs starting as early as August 3, 2020, unless Congress provides $1.2 billion in emergency funding. This budget shortfall was caused by a dramatic decrease in the number

In a media release issued on July 6, 2020, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) announced a rollback of the protections it afforded to foreign students in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. The July 6 release announced that foreign students will no longer be eligible for F-1 visas or to remain in the United States to participate in online-only courses of study. Coming only six weeks before the start of the fall semester, the guidance has raised serious concerns for premier US universities, for which foreign students provide one of the greatest sources of revenue, already leading Harvard and MIT to file suit challenging the sudden reversal in posture only six weeks before the start of the fall semester. Other major universities, accompanied by business groups and a number of state attorneys general, are considering challenges to the new policy.

The policy change is expected to affect an estimated more than 1 million student visa holders in the United States, as well as others presently outside the United States who have been admitted for the fall semester.  Students currently in the United States and planning to attend schools that have elected to offer online-only classes in the fall 2020 semester “must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school offering in-person instruction to remain in lawful status” per the release.


Continue Reading New ICE Directive Threatens Status of More Than One Million Foreign Students and Prompts Immediate Lawsuit

On June 22, 2020, President Trump signed Proclamation 10052, suspending four visa categories of substantial importance to US companies—H-1B, L-1, H-2B, and certain J-1 visas—for the rest of the calendar year and laid the groundwork for regulatory changes to transform when and how employers can sponsor foreign workers to work in the United States. For

Today, the Supreme Court—in a 5-4 decision—invalidated the Trump Administration’s rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program, which provides protection against deportation and work authorization for 700,000 undocumented individuals who were brought to America as children. Mayer Brown submitted an amicus brief—which the Court cited—on behalf of 143 trade associations and businesses

On April 22, 2020, President Trump issued a “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak,” to pause issuance of new immigrant visas to applicants who are outside the United States for 60 days.  As reported on this blog, although the

In a tweet late Monday, April 20, 2020, President Trump said he will issue an executive order temporarily suspending immigration  “in light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy” and the “need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens.”  The White House did not provide any immediate clarification, including when an executive order

The Canadian government has now published guidance for travelers on the scope of the US-Canada border closure. Last month, the United States and Canada announced that the two countries would jointly and temporarily close the border, until April 20, 2020, to non-essential travel in an effort to limit the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).