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The American Immigration Council, a non-profit, non-partisan organization which advocates for immigrant rights, issued a press release on March 23, 2021, regarding the current situation at the U.S. – Mexican border. Here are five facts to know:

  1. Border arrivals have been rising since April 2020, when President Trump began expelling all individuals apprehended at the border under Title 42 of the U.S. Code. Single adults account for most of the increase. In February 2021, 71% of all people encountered at the border were single adults. The number of families arriving at the border is still half what it was in February 2019.
  2. The southern border remains closed to nearly everyone. Last month, 72% of all people encountered at the border were sent back to Mexico or to their home countries. Very few unaccompanied children and families were permitted to come into the country and challenge their deportation in court.
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The April 2021 visa bulletin has been released. It is available here.

Employment-based petitions must refer to the Final Action chart, not the Dates for Filing chart. The dates for all employment-based applicants have progressed.

The employment-based dates are as follows: EB-1 is current for all countries. EB-2 is current for all countries except China (September 1, 2016) and India (May 1, 2010). EB-3 is current for all countries except China (March 15, 2018) and India (September 1, 2010). EB-3 Other Workers is current for all countries except China (June 1, 2009) and India (September 1, 2010). EB-4 is current for all countries except El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (August 1, 2018), and Mexico (February 1, 2019). EB-5 non-regional centers are current for all countries except China (Aug 15, 2015) and Vietnam (December 15, 2017).

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On February 26, 2021, USCIS announced flexibilities for optional practical training (OPT) for F-1 students affected by delayed receipt notices for Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. These flexibilities apply only to applications received on or after Oct. 1, 2020, through May 1, 2021. Here is a list of the changes USCIS is implementing:

14-month OPT Period Flexibilities

To give F-1 students the opportunity to complete the full period of requested OPT (up to 12 months), USCIS will allow the 14-month period to commence from the approval date of their Form I-765.

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The March 2021 visa bulletin has been released. It is available here.

Employment-based petitions must refer to the Final Action chart, not the Dates for Filing chart. The dates for all employment-based applicants have progressed.

The employment-based dates are as follows: EB-1 is current for all countries except China (August 1, 2020) and India (August 1, 2020).  EB-2 is current for all countries except China (July 15, 2016) and India (January 15, 2010). EB-3 is current for all countries except China (February 8, 2018) and India (July 1, 2010). EB-3 Other Workers is current for all countries except China (May 1, 2009) and India (July 1, 2010). EB-4 is current for all countries except El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (June 1, 2018), and Mexico (January 1, 2019). EB-5 non-regional centers are current for all countries except China (Aug 15, 2015) and Vietnam (October 22, 2017).

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Two recent lawsuits have challenged USCIS rules implemented under the former administration. The rules increased processing times for H-4s and H-4 EADs.

Before March 2019, USCIS typically adjudicated H-1B petitions with any H-4 dependent petitions and H-4 EAD applications. Now, USCIS can take two years to process many H-4 applications. Current processing times at the California Service Center for I-539 H dependents are 19 – 24.5 months. Wait times increased after USCIS began requiring H-4 spouses to supply biometrics.

In Kolluri v. USCIS, filed in September 2020, plaintiffs charged that the biometrics policy was designed to make retaining or obtaining H-4 work authorization more difficult. In a motion in Gona v. USCIS, filed on February 8th, 2021, plaintiff’s counsel argues that wait times for H-4 extensions outstrip those of other extension applicants. “Regardless of which service center adjudicates the petition, the applicant is mathematically guaranteed to lose immigration status and employment authorization.”

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Today, President Biden signed three significant executive orders affecting the immigration system. The first creates a task force to reunite families separated at the border. The second reforms the asylum system at the border. The third calls for a full reevaluation of rules and regulations which the Trump administration implemented to make legal immigration more difficult. It also partially revokes and reevaluates the public charge rule, which imposed financial barriers to obtaining green card status. Please find the White House fact sheet here.

In more detail, today’s executive actions will:

  • Create a task force to reunify families. The task force will work with key stakeholders and representatives of impacted families to find separated parents and children. The task force will report regularly to the President with recommendations to reunite families and prevent future separations. This Order revokes the Trump Administration’s Executive Order that permitted separating families at the Southern Border.
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The February 2021 visa bulletin has been released. It is available here

Employment-based petitions must refer to the Final Action chart, not the Dates for Filing chart. The dates for all employment-based applicants have progressed.

The employment-based dates are as follows: EB-1 is current for all countries except China (Jan 1, 2020) and India (Jan 1, 2020).  EB-2 is current for all countries except China (Jun 15, 2016) and India (Oct 12, 2009). EB-3 is current for all countries except China (Jan 1, 2018) and India (April 1, 2010). EB-3 Other Workers is current for all countries except China (April 1, 2009) and India (April 1, 2010). EB-4 is current for all countries except El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (April 15, 2018), and Mexico (Dec 15, 2018). EB-5 non-regional centers are current for all countries except China (Aug 15, 2015) and Vietnam (Oct 1, 2017). 

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Those who filed an application or petition with a USCIS lockbox facility may experience a four to six week delay in receiving receipt notices. These delays are due to a number of factors, including COVID-19 restrictions, an increase in filings, and high postal service volume. Receipt dates are unaffected by these delays, as they are determined pursuant to 8 C.F.R. 103.2(a)(7). Delays may vary across form types and lockbox locations. Those filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, and F-1 students filing Form I-765, Application from Employment Authorization, may experience significant delays.

Contact our office at immigrationinfo@cornerlaw.com if you have any questions about receipt delays, filing an application through the USCIS lockbox, or about checking the status of your application.

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On December 31, 2020, President Trump issued a proclamation continuing Proclamations 10014 and 10052. The proclamations suspended the entry of certain immigrants and non-immigrants into the United States in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. They were due to expire on December 31 and have been continued until March 31, 2021.

Proclamation 10052 went into effect on June 24 and limits the entry of non-immigrants on H-1B, H-2B, L, and most J visas, and their spouses or children. Proclamation 10014 went into effect on April 23 and suspends the entry of those seeking admission using an immigrant visa. The restrictions apply to those outside of the US without a valid visa on the date the proclamations respectively became effective.

There are numerous exemptions, including for permanent residents, children and spouses of US citizens, and those whose entry would be in the “national interest.” Those issued other forms of valid travel documentation – such as Advanced Parole – may also be able to travel.

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The January 2021 visa bulletin has been released. It is available here.

Employment-based petitions must refer to the Final Action chart, not the Dates for Filing chart. This means that dates for EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 applicants from China or India have retrogressed.

The employment-based dates are as follows: EB-1 is current for all countries except China (Sep 1, 2019) and India (Sep 1, 2019).  EB-2 is current for all countries except China (Jun 1, 2016) and India (Oct 8, 2009). EB-3 is current for all countries except China (Dec 15, 2017) and India (Mar 22, 2010). EB-3 Other Workers is current for all countries except China (Mar 1, 2009) and India (Mar 22, 2010). EB-4 is current for all countries except El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (Mar 1, 2018) and Mexico (Dec 1, 2018). EB-5 non-regional centers are current for all countries except China (Aug 15, 2015) and Vietnam (Sep 15, 2017).

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