News Bytes

Posted on: October 3rd, 2017
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Department of Homeland Security to Gather Social Media Information on All Immigrants

Federal officials are going to use immigrants’ social media accounts as a vetting tool, according to a new rule implemented by the Department of Homeland Security. The measure, which goes into effect October 18, will permit DHS to collect information on all immigrants, including permanent residents and naturalized citizens.

Critics have attacked the initiative and noted that the ambiguous nature of social media leads to questions about the efficacy of such a program. Character limitations, hashtags, and emojis can all yield shorthand communication, which can be open for interpretation in terms of the user’s intended meaning. Furthermore, the issue of identity also raises questions on such an implementation’s practicality. With no way of knowing that an individual is responsible for a social media post, can that individual fairly be judged for such posts? The announced plan comes after three pilot programs observing the effectiveness of monitoring social media accounts in determining an individual’s threat to national security were deemed unreliable.

For more information, view the full article or the new rule.

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Temporary Protected Status for South Sudan Extended for 18 Months, Sudan Set to Terminate in November

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for South Sudan is going to be extended 18-months according to a release from the acting Secretary of Homeland Security, Elaine Duke. Extending the benefit for all eligible South Sudan nationals through May 2, 2019 was granted after determining that the ongoing armed conflict and overall conditions which predicated the 2016 redisgnation necessitated such a measure. Any current beneficiaries seeking TPS designation extension must re-register, and if when re-registering they request a new employment authorization document (EAD) may receive an automatic extension of their expiring EAD within the 180-day period prior to the expiration of their current EAD. If approved, the new EAD will have an expiration date of May 2, 2019. To avoid any potential lapses in documentation of employment authorization, TPS beneficiaries are strongly advised to re-register EAD applications as soon as they can.

Acting Secretary Duke also announced TPS for Sudan will be terminated in November of 2018. After assessing the conditions in the country, it was concluded that TPS designation can no longer be supported. The benefits for beneficiaries will be protected for 12 months to permit an orderly transition prior to the November 2, 2018 end date. Current beneficiaries who wish to extend their status need to re-register. Those re-registering and requesting a new EAD may receive automatic extension for up to 180 days from the expiration date of their current EAD. If the beneficiary’s EAD request is approved, a new EAD with a November 2, 2018 expiration date will be issued. To help avoid any prospective lapses in documentation of employment authorization, TPS beneficiaries are strongly advised to re-register and file EAD applications as soon as they can.

For more information, view the USCIS release for Sudan and South Sudan.

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Microsoft vows to protect its Dreamers in court

The large software manufacturer Microsoft has gone on record with its support of DREAMERs who the company employs. The company’s president Brad Smith asserted his displeasure with the decision to end the DACA program in a blog post, describing the decision as, “a big step back for our entire country.” Smith also firmly asserted support for any Microsoft employees who will face court proceedings, saying, “If Dreamers who are our employees are in court, we will be by their side.”

The DACA program permits individuals who were brought to the country without documentation to be employed and go to school with impunity from deportation. Congress was given 6 months to either re-work or repeal the DACA program, while DACA recipients are left to wait and see how their fate is decided. Smith and Microsoft firmly support expeditious legislature that will protect the DACA program and its recipients. Smith attested, “The Dreamers are a part of our nation’s fabric. They belong here.”

For more information, view the full article.

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USCIS Updates Numerous Forms

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has released revised versions of a number of its forms and has provided information regarding when the new version will go into effect and how long the older versions will continue to be accepted. Below is a list of the updated forms and the pertinent changes made to them.


Form N-426, Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service

The new edition is dated 07/25/17. Beginning 10/27/2017, USCIS will exclusively accept the edition dated 07/25/17. Until that date, USCIS will continue to accept the 08/04/15 edition.

Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility

The new edition is dated 08/21/17. Beginning 10/27/2017, USCIS will exclusively accept the edition dated 08/21/17. Until that date, USCIS will continue to accept the 12/23/16 edition.

Form I-854, Inter-Agency Alien Witness and Informant Record

The new edition is dated 07/13/17. Beginning 10/13/2017, USCIS will exclusively accept the edition dated 07/13/17. Unit that date, USCIS will continue to accept the 03/13/15 edition.

Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions

The new edition is dated 08/04/17. Beginning 10/13/2017, USCIS will exclusively accept the edition dated 08/04/17. Until that date, USCIS will continue to accept the 08/06/15 edition.

Form N-4 Monthly Report Naturalization Papers

The new edition is dated 08/01/17, but USCIS will continue to accept editions dated 10/26/15, 01/22/13, and 11/09/09.

Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status

The new edition is dated 12/23/16. A new edition of the form is expected to be released shortly. Until that time, USCIS will continue to accept editions dated 12/23/16, and 02/20/14.

For more information, view the USCIS updated forms page.

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