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Weekly Immigration News Update for December 11

Guidance Regarding the Travel Ban

Given last week’s Supreme Court Decision that allowed President Donald J. Trump’s executive order banning travel of nationals from six predominantly-Muslim countries to take full effect, clarifications have been issued. Some nationals from Chad, Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia will not be allowed to enter the United States.

The Department of State will not cancel previously scheduled visa appointments for nationals of those six countries as well as North Korea and Venezuela. Consular officers will make the decision as to whether applicants are eligible.

No previously issued visas will be revoked. Nationals of those countries with valid visas and/or travel documents will be allowed to travel to the United States.

Dream Act Still Possible

When President Trump announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in September, he left it to Congress to decide on the long-delayed Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (Dream) Act. The Dream Act is a multi-phase process that would allow eligible minors to take steps toward permanent residence. 

Those in favor of the Dream Act note that the Dreamers make significant contribution to American society, both economically and socially. Advocates continue to lobby for favorable resolution.

Court Order Reinstates Individual’s DACA Status

A 23-year-old Mexican national with DACA status living and working in Southern California was greeted by a team of Border Patrol agents when he went to pick up a customer as part of his work as a Lyft and Uber driver. Although released with no criminal charges, his DACA status was stripped because he was issued a Notice to Appear (NTA) in immigration court to face deportation proceedings. 

Last week, a U.S. District Court judge for the Central District of California ordered reinstatement of the man’s DACA status, noting that the removal violated the law.

DACA Updates

1) DACA requests are no longer being accepted.
2) DACA renewals requests are not being accepted.
3) Individuals who believe their DACA requests and renewal requests were sent in a timely manner, but were refused should contact Lockbox Support, explain the circumstances and request the right to resubmit.
4) If current DACA status expires before renewal is processed, individuals should not be at risk for removal.
5) If a DACA renewal request was rejected because it was not properly filed, it will not be reconsidered. However, if an individual believes he/she was improperly rejected, it is possible to contact Lockbox Support for more information.
6) If a DACA request was delivered past the deadline due to a U.S. Postal Service mail delay, USCIS will send those DACA requesters a letter invited them to resubmit their DACA request. These cases should be identified by the USPS by mid-December. Letters will go out approximately one week later.

Contact a qualified attorney or legal assistance provider for advice on all the necessary details.

Nielsen Becomes Secretary of Homeland Security

With President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in attendance, Kirstjen M. Nielsen was sworn in as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Pence administered the oath.

Nielsen is a lawyer and a cybersecurity expert. Her confirmation received much praise from conservatives. The President said Nielsen will take border security to new levels.

Deportations May Become More Common in 2018

Effective Jan. 4, 2018, the Department of Justice is amending the Executive Office for Immigration Review regulations governing the annual limitation on cancellation of removal and suspension of deportation decisions. Also, immigration judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals can issue final decisions without restriction, regardless of whether the annual limitation has been reached.

ICE Arrests Continue

Last week, 27 foreign nationals (25 men, two women) were arrested during a four-day operation in West Michigan. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said 21 of the 27 individuals had previous criminal convictions.

MLive.com reported that nationwide there has been a 40 percent increase in ICE administrative arrests. Ninety-two percent had a criminal conviction or pending criminal charge, were ICE fugitives or illegally re-entered the U.S. ICE said it has targeted threats to public safety. 

New York Attorneys Continue to Protest

On Dec. 7, attorneys in New York City held a rally to demand that the Office of Court Administration and Chief Judge Janet DiFiore bar ICE agents from New York City court property.