In the News at ABIL

Posted on: October 3rd, 2017
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Siskind Susser is excited to announce that Lynn Susser was recently elected to ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers. ABIL is comprised of over 20 lawyers from top tier immigration practices with years of expertise and a comprehensive understanding of immigration law. For more information on ABIL, including a map of ABIL attorneys worldwide, visit their website at www.abil.com.
The following articles are excerpts from ABIL’s monthly Immigration Insider, available here on their website.

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President Orders End of DACA in Six Months, With Mixed Signals About Future for ‘Dreamers’; Two Lawsuits Challenge Program’s Termination

On September 5, 2017, President Donald Trump ordered the end of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama administration program that allowed certain people who came to the United States as children to continue to live, go to school, and work in the country, known as “Dreamers.” He said that his administration’s position is that DACA was not statutorily authorized and therefore was an unconstitutional exercise of discretion by the executive branch. The order takes effect in six months. The rescission affects nearly 800,000 DACA recipients.

Based on “guidance from Attorney General Sessions and the likely result of potentially imminent litigation,” the Department of Homeland Security’s Acting Secretary Elaine Duke issued a memorandum on September 5 formally rescinding the Obama administration’s June 15, 2012, memorandum that created DACA. Ms. Duke explained, “As a result of recent litigation, we were faced with two options: wind the program down in an orderly fashion that protects beneficiaries in the near-term while working with Congress to pass legislation, or allow the judiciary to potentially shut the program down completely and immediately. We chose the least disruptive option.” Ms. Duke said that “no current beneficiaries will be impacted before March 5, 2018, nearly six months from now, so Congress can have time to deliver on appropriate legislative solutions. However, I want to be clear that no new initial requests or associated applications filed after [September 5, 2017] will be acted on.”

President Trump’s statement about current beneficiaries not being affected for 6 months was slightly less absolute; he said that current DACA recipients “generally” will not be affected: “DHS’s enforcement priorities remain in place. However, absent a law enforcement interest—which is largely the standard that has been in place since the inception of the program—the Department will generally not take actions to remove active DACA recipients.” He said that renewal applications for DACA employment authorization documents (EADs) properly filed and accepted by October 5, 2017, for people whose current EADs expire between September 5, 2017, and March 5, 2018, will be processed. He also said that all pending applications for advance parole by DACA recipients “will be closed and associated fees will be refunded.” In a related tweet on September 7, 2017, President Trump said, “For all of those (DACA) that are concerned about your status during the 6 month period, you have nothing to worry about – No action!”

Hinting that the end of the DACA program might not necessarily be the end of the line for the Dreamers, President Trump also tweeted on September 5, “Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do). If they can’t, I will revisit this issue!”

On September 6, 2017, the attorneys general of more than a dozen states and the District of Columbia sued the government to stop the DACA program’s rescission. The lawsuit argues that the repeal of President Obama’s DACA order violates the Administrative Procedure Act, is motivated by discrimination against Mexicans, and violates due process. The University of California filed a similar suit on September 8, 2017, against the Trump administration for violating the rights of the university and its students by rescinding DACA on “nothing more than unreasoned executive whim.”

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ICE Temporarily Suspends Unspecified Enforcement Actions in Wake of Hurricanes; DHS States That Immigration Status Will Not Be a Factor During Rescues

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released a statement on September 7, 2017, that appears to temporarily suspend unspecified enforcement actions in areas affected by recent hurricanes:

While we generally do not comment on future potential law enforcement actions, operational plans are subject to change based on a variety of factors. Due to the current weather situation in Florida and other potentially impacted areas, along with the ongoing recovery in Texas, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had already reviewed all upcoming operations and has adjusted accordingly. There is currently no coordinated nationwide operation planned at this time. The priority in the affected areas should remain focused on life-saving and life-sustaining activities.

For the safety and security of our communities, ICE fugitive operations teams will continue to target and arrest criminal aliens and other individuals who are in violation of our nation’s immigration laws, in non-affected areas of the country, as part of routine operations.

A separate statement issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on September 6, 2017, states, among other things, that “DHS will not conduct non-criminal immigration enforcement operations in the affected area.” The statement also notes, “When it comes to rescuing people in the wake of Hurricane Irma, immigration status is not and will not be a factor. However, the laws will not be suspended, and we will be vigilant against any effort by criminals to exploit disruptions caused by the storm.” DHS also stated that ICE detainees from the Krome Detention Center, Monroe County Jail, Broward Transitional Center, and Glades Detention Center “are being temporarily transferred to various other detention facilities outside the projected path of the hurricane. In the event of transfers, the detainee’s attorney of record is notified, the Online Detainer Locator is updated, and the transfer is temporary in nature.

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State Dept. Changes Standard for Assessing ‘Residence Abroad’ for F-1 Nonimmigrant Students

The Department of State recently changed language regarding the way in which F-1 student visas are adjudicated. An amendment to the Foreign Affairs Manual at 9 FAM 402.5-5(E)(1) revises the “Residence Abroad Required” provision. The new provision states:

  1. Examining Residence Abroad: General rules for examining residence abroad are outlined in 9 FAM 401.1-3(F)(2). If you are not satisfied that the applicant’s present intent is to depart the United States at the conclusion of his or her study or OPT, you must refuse the visa under INA 214(b). To evaluate this, you should assess the applicant’s current plans following completion of his or her study or OPT. The hypothetical possibility that the applicant may apply to change or adjust status in the United States in the future is not a basis to refuse a visa application if you are satisfied that the applicant’s present intent is to depart at the conclusion of his or her study or OPT.

The old provision stated, in relevant part:

  1. The context of the residence abroad requirement for student visas inherently differs from the context for B visitor visas or other short-term visas. The statute clearly presupposes that the natural circumstances and conditions of being a student do not disqualify that applicant from obtaining a student visa. It is natural that the student does not possess ties of property, employment, family obligation, and continuity of life typical of B visa applicants. These ties are typically weakly held by student applicants, as the student is often single, unemployed, without property, and is at the stage in life of deciding and developing his or her future plans. Student visa adjudication is made more complex by the fact that students typically stay in the United States longer than do many other nonimmigrant visitors.
  2. The residence abroad requirement for a student should therefore not be exclusively connected to ties. You must focus on the student applicant’s immediate intent. Another aspect to consider: students’ typical youth often means they do not necessarily have a long-range plan, and hence are relatively less likely to have formed an intent to abandon their homes. Nonetheless, you must be satisfied at the time of application for a visa that the visa applicant possesses the present intent to depart the United States at the conclusion of his or her approved activities. That this intention is subject to change or even likely to change is not a sufficient reason to deny a visa.

It is not yet clear how this update will affect future adjudications of the F-1 student visa. It will be important for applicants to emphasize their intent to leave the United States at the end of their studies or optional practical training.

RELATED SECTION OF THE FAM

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This newsletter was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers (www.abil.com), of which Lynn Susser is an active member.

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