December 2022 Newsletter

by | Dec 13, 2022 | News

USCIS Announces Certain Afghan and Ukrainian Parolees Are Employment Authorized Incident to Parole

Congress has recently passed laws relating to certain Afghan and Ukrainian parolees that have included language providing that parolees covered by the legislation “…shall be eligible for resettlement assistance, entitlement programs, and other benefits available to refugees admitted under section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1157)….” Under DHS regulations, refugees are authorized employment incident to status, and under current USCIS policy and practice, refugees are not charged a fee by USCIS for their initial Form I-765, Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Parolees, however, are not employment authorized incident to status and must pay a fee (currently $410) for their EAD, unless the fee is waived or exempted.

Changes to USCIS Policy Manual Affecting Religious Workers

On August 31, 2022, USCIS issued an updated Policy Manual guidance relating to Special Immigrant Religious Workers. In 2020, USCIS consolidated and incorporated the agency’s guidance from the Adjudicator’s Field Manual into the Policy Manual and on August 31, 2022, update reorganized the manual’s Religious Workers sections (Vol. 6, Part H, Ch. 2 on Special Immigrants and Vol. 2, Part O, Ch. 3, on R-1s), providing more detailed information and analysis. Many of the changes reflect practitioners’ experiences in recent years. However, the most noteworthy change in this guidance is its clarification of “the circumstances under which certain related petitioners may meet the compensation requirements for the position, even if the attesting employer is not the entity that will directly compensate the religious worker.”

USCIS Extends Flexibilities for Responding to Agency Requests until January 24, 2023

USCIS announced an extension of flexibilities for the agency to respond to certain requests and for filing Forms I-290B and N-336 through January 24, 2023. The flexibilities apply to requests or notices issued between March 1, 2020, and January 24, 2023, inclusive.

USCIS Issues Updated Guidance for Naturalization Applicants with Disabilities

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced updated policy guidance to clarify and conform with the revision of Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions. Consistent with this administration’s goal of removing barriers to legal immigration under President Biden’s Executive Order 14012, Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans, Form N-648 has been shortened and simplified, and new telehealth guidelines further remove barriers for applicants and medical professionals. The form revisions are also in response to this administration’s goal to remove barriers for underserved populations under Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial and Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government

Federal Judge Temporarily Allows DACA Protections to Continue

A federal judge in Texas on October 14, 2022, extended an order temporarily allowing hundreds of thousands of young immigrants enrolled in a program to work and study in the U.S. without fear of being deported. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of Houston had ruled last year that the decade-old Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was unlawful but allowed it to stay intact as advocates appealed his ruling. In a decision last week, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case back to Hanen, saying he should consider whether a new rule issued by the Biden administration impacts his findings. The Biden Administration’s revised version of DACA, aimed at codifying and strengthening the protections, is set to go into effect on October 31.

DHS extended and redesignated TPS for Haiti for 18 months

DHS extended TPS for Haiti for an additional 18 months, through 8/3/24, and also redesigned Haiti for TPS to allow Haitian nationals residing in the U.S. as of 11/6/22 to apply for TPS. A Federal Register notice with full details will be published soon.