Expansion of the Provisional Waiver Program

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a final rule expanding the existing provisional waiver process to allow certain individuals who are family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs), and who are statutorily eligible for immigrant visas, to more easily navigate the immigration process.  The provisional waiver process promotes family unity by reducing the time that eligible individuals are separated from their family members while they complete immigration processing abroad, while also improving administrative efficiency.

This final rule builds on a process established in 2013 to support family unity.  Under that process, certain immediate relatives of U.S. citizens can apply for provisional waivers of the unlawful presence ground of inadmissibility, based on the extreme hardship their U.S. citizen spouses or parents would suffer if the waiver were not granted.  The rule announced today, which goes into effect on Aug. 29, 2016, expands eligibility for the provisional waiver process to all individuals who are statutorily eligible for the waiver of the unlawful presence ground of inadmissibility. USCIS expects to update its Policy Manual to provide guidance on how USCIS makes “extreme hardship” determinations in the coming weeks.

Until now, only immediate relatives of U.S. citizens were eligible to seek such provisional waivers before departing the United States for the processing of their immigrant visas.  Those eligible for the provisional waiver process under the 2013 rule are only a subset of those eligible for the waiver under the statute.  This regulation expands eligibility for the process to all individuals who are statutorily eligible for the waiver.

To qualify for a provisional waiver, applicants must establish that their U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouses or parents would experience “extreme hardship” if the applicants are not allowed to return to the United States.

USCIS Naturalizes 7,000 New Citizens over the Independence Day Holiday 
Citizenship candidates take the Oath at public parks and historic landmarks nationwide

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will celebrate the 240th  anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, and our nation’s birthday, by welcoming more than 7,000 new U.S. citizens during nearly 100 naturalization ceremonies across the country between June 30 and July 4.

The Department of Homeland Security announces Temporary Protected Status Designation for Yemen

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has redesignated Syria for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and extended the existing TPS designation for the country from Oct. 1, 2016, through March 31, 2018.

The Department of Homeland Security announces extension of TPS Designation for Haiti

WASHINGTON—Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has extended Haiti’s designation for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for an additional 18 months. The extended designation is effective Jan. 23, 2016, through July 22, 2017.

Current TPS Haiti beneficiaries seeking to extend their TPS status must re-register during a 60-day period that runs from Aug. 25, 2015, through Oct. 26, 2015. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) encourages beneficiaries to re-register as soon as possible once the 60-day re-registration period begins. USCIS will not accept applications before Aug. 25, 2015.

The 18-month extension also allows TPS re-registrants to apply for a new Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Eligible TPS Haiti beneficiaries who re-register during the 60-day period and request a new EAD will receive one with an expiration date of July 22, 2017. USCIS recognizes that some re-registrants may not receive their new EADs until after their current EADs expire. Therefore, USCIS is automatically extending current TPS Haiti EADs bearing a Jan. 22, 2016, expiration date for an additional six months. These existing EADs are now valid through July 22, 2016.

The Department of Homeland Security announces extension of Temporary Protected Status for Honduras
Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for eligible nationals of Honduras (and those without nationality who last habitually resided in Honduras) for an additional 18 months, effective July 6, 2016, through Jan. 5, 2018.

U.S. FILES APPEAL OF TEXAS JUDGE’S HOLD ON IMMIGRATION ACTION

The Justice Department urged a federal appeals court Monday to reverse a hold a judge placed on President Barack Obama’s immigration executive action.

In the 69-page brief, filed with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, government lawyers challenged a preliminary injunction issued in February by a federal judge in Brownsville, Texas. That decision placed on hold an executive action that could spare from deportation as many as 5 million people who are in the U.S. illegally.

Justice Department lawyers say in the new court filing that the federal government has unique authority to enforce the nation’s immigration laws and to use its limited resources to exercise discretion during the deportation process, including by deferring removal of certain groups of immigrants, such as those who do not pose a public safety threat.

The executive action was challenged by a coalition of 26 states, led by Texas, who argued that the move was unconstitutional. The states have said they will suffer irreversible economic harm if the injunction is lifted. But the Justice Department says the states have failed to show exactly how they would be negatively affected by the executive action.

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