Over the weekend, the Trump administration took steps to radically transform a little-known provision of immigration law that could have an outsized impact on legal immigration. In proposed regulations posted on Saturday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) indicated that it would redefine the legal term “public charge” to block green cards for low-income immigrants who receive non-cash public benefits such as Medicaid or food stamps. Continue reading “The Proposed Changes to Public Charge: What You Need to Know”
On September 22, 2018, the Trump administration announced the upcoming publication of a proposed rule that if implemented as written, would prevent immigrants from securing lawful permanent residence and remaining with their families in the United States, simply because at any time in the past, they received some type of basic health care support, nutrition assistance, or other vital services. Continue reading “Trump’s Proposed “Public Charge” Rule Intensifies War on Legal Immigrants”
A new Congressional report asserts that Chinese Students and Scholars Associations (CSSAs) at U.S. colleges appear to be directly subordinate to and receive political direction from the Chinese Embassy and consulates. This report raises concerns: could the U.S. government deny green cards to CSSA members?
The report, entitled China’s Overseas United Front Work: Background and Implications for the United States (Aug. 24, 2018), was prepared by staff of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a bipartisan commission made up of 12 congressional members. Continue reading “Congressional Report Raises Concerns: Could Chinese Students and Scholars Association Members Be Denied Green Cards?”
Today, the Supreme Court upheld the third, reengineered version of President Trump’s travel ban by a vote of 5 to 4. Anastasia Tonello, President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) issued the following statement: Continue reading “Supreme Court Upholds Travel Ban 3.0”
A State Department official has spoken on background to the Associated Press, saying that more Chinese applying for F-1 visas as graduate students in fields related to science and technology will need “special clearance from multiple U.S. agencies” and that such clearances are “expected to take months for each visa application.” Other nonimmigrant visa applicants seeking to visit or work in the U.S. who have backgrounds in science or technology may be subject to the same security checks. Continue reading “More Chinese Student Visa Applicants Will Be Subject to Security-Related Delays”
A new National Vetting Center is being established pursuant to National Security Presidential Memorandum 9, signed by President Trump on February 6. The Center will coordinate the way agencies use biographic, biometric, and other data used to vet applicants for visas, admission to the United States, and immigration benefits, and in enforcement and removal (deportation) actions. The Center will be housed within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Continue reading “National Vetting Center Established by Trump Administration”
An immigrant visa applicant sporting a tattoo may be questioned about it. The presence of tattoos (or evidence of their removal) is noted during the required medical exam. This may lead a consular officer to suspect the applicant has gang affiliations or has abused drugs. Continue reading “Got Tattoos? U.S. Visa Officers Want to Know”
If your visa is denied, you may be confused and frustrated. And consular officers may be unwilling or unable to properly explain the grounds for refusal and your options for overcoming the refusal. How can an attorney help?Continue reading “U.S. Visa Denied? Here are Your Options”
For the uninitiated, “administrative processing” is State Department-speak for a temporary visa refusal pending further investigation of a visa application. (9 FAM Appendix E, 404). The applicant typically learns of the temporary refusal when, at the conclusion of the interview, the consular officer issues a written notice stating that under section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act no visa can be issued until additional administrative processing has been completed. Continue reading ““Administrative Processing”: a Black Hole for Visa Applicants”
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sent four cables to consular officers between Mar. 10 and 17 with preliminary instructions for stricter vetting of U.S. visa applicants. The cables emphasize that “all visa decisions are national security decisions” and that additional screening may “may cause interview appointment backlogs to rise.” Continue reading “Client Alert: State Dep’t Begins Stricter Vetting of Visa Applicants”
President Trump has signed a revised Executive Order on “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” It goes into effect March 16. The ban fails to address the original version’s flaws and its thinly veiled scapegoating of Muslims and refugees. Continue reading “President Trump Signs Revised Executive Order on “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry””
Enforcement and interpretation of President Trump’s Executive Order (EO) on “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals” are evolving rapidly, so check back here for updates.
2017-02-16: The Trump administration plans to unveil a revised EO on immigration next week and rescind the president’s initial travel ban, which has been entrenched in legal battles throughout the country, as reported in The Hill. President Trump said during a news conference on Thursday that he would unveil a more tailored travel ban “next week sometime.” The U.S. Department of Justice similarly informed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in the Washington v. Trump litigation: “Rather than continuing this litigation, the President intends in the near future to rescind the Order and replace it with a new, substantially revised Executive Order to eliminate what the panel erroneously thought were constitutional concerns.”
2017-02-09: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has denied the government’s motion for stay of the district court’s temporary restraining order (TRO). Translation: The TRO suspending implementation of the EO remains in place. The government may appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Continue reading “Trump’s Executive Order on “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals”: Latest News and Summary”
A leaked, unsigned copy of President Trump’s Executive Order on Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals. The order takes the following steps, among others: Continue reading “President Trump to Issue Executive Order on “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals””
Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit is perhaps the most-cited legal scholar of the twentieth century. His reputations for brilliance and for rudeness are both on display in his concurring opinion in Arias v. Lynch (7th Cir. 2016). Continue reading “Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude: Judge Posner’s Blistering Concurrence in Arias v. Lynch (7th Cir. 2016)”
Did you think the Cold War was over? The U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act still makes ineligible for permanent residence and citizenship certain persons who have been members of or affiliated with the Communist Party. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has some 80 million members, so this ground of ineligibility is a key issue for immigration lawyers representing Chinese clients.
A person found ineligible for a visa may nonetheless qualify one of the various “waivers” allowing visa issuance. Often, issuance of a waiver requires that the applicant prove a qualifying relative will experience “extreme hardship” if the waiver is not granted. Continue reading “The Meaning of “Extreme Hardship” for Waiver Purposes”
Since our firm’s offices are in China, we are often asked by lawyers in the U.S. to work as local counsel for U.S. visa applications at the U.S. Consulates in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Chengdu, and Shenyang. We make it our business to know each consulate’s policies, practices, and procedures. Here are the basic tips we give most frequently to stateside lawyers: Continue reading “Special Considerations for Visa Processing at U.S. Consular Posts in China”
In a first-of-its-kind sting operation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) established a sham school in September 2013. The University of Northern New Jersey offered no classes or instructors. But for a price it offered to shady recruiters an opportunity to obtain fraudulent student visas for foreign customers. Continue reading “Univ. of Northern New Jersey: a Federal Sting Operation Targeting Student Visa Fraud”
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans to intensify its investigation of visa applicants’ social media. Our law firm advises clients to exercise caution using social media. Continue reading “Alert: DHS Intensifies Screening of Visa Applicants’ Social Media”
Chinese birth tourism agencies are commonly misunderstood as taking advantage of a “loopholes” in U.S. law. But they should be viewed as criminal smuggling operations. Continue reading “Birth Tourism Agencies As Human Smuggling Operations”