Dear Readers,

2024 is here and we are still expecting some major news out of Congress on immigration in the coming days. House Republicans are threatening to shut the government down (spending authorization runs out in a couple of weeks) and not fund the Ukrainian government in its fight against Russia unless their demands on immigration legislation are met. The White House and Democrats are negotiating, and the media is reporting on a variety of measures that may be included. Most deal with entries at the southwest border with some focused-on enforcement measures and others seeking to take away rights from asylum applicants.

There are also reports that the Biden Administration may have to give up some of its authority to use the parole power. The Administration has created several programs that are focused on trying to create legal pathways for people versus their coming to the US and seeking entrance illegally. The programs have been set up for Ukrainians as well as several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Under these programs, people apply for parole from their home countries and if approved, they can enter the US legally and seek employment authorization. Parole is also used for some entering the US illegally and it’s not clear whether the limitations on parole would be for the new programs or just for illegal entrants.

It’s not at all clear that a deal will happen, however. There are some in the House Republican Caucus who will likely oppose any deal even if it appears to check all the boxes on their demand list. The pressure will ratchet up over the next several days as we get closer to a government shutdown.

In firm news, we’re excited that the big generative artificial intelligence project I’ve been working on with Siskind Susser colleagues over most of the last year is finally launching on January 16th. Gen is a collaboration between and the American Immigration Lawyers Association and is powered by OpenAI’s GPT4 large language model. It has 100,000+ pages of immigration law documents, treatises and data sets and can answer most immigration law questions, provide citations and links to the documents it uses to create the answers. Unlike ChatGPT, the answers are derived only from our law library and lawyers can check the original source material to ensure the accuracy of the answers provided. Gen also allows lawyers to upload their own documents.

Aside from answering questions, Gen will draft petition letters, memos, RFE responses,

checklists, questionnaire forms, and many other kinds of documents. It also can also summarize and translate documents and if one does want to use ChatGPT, Gen allows users to do so without sharing any confidential information. To join the waiting list for Gen, go to

Siskind Susser is pleased to announce that it was listed as one of the top ten immigration law firms in the world by Who’s Who Legal in their annual Corporate Immigration Thought Leaders Guide. You can find the report at

Best Regards,

Greg Siskind

Ask Visa Law

By Robby Rubin

On December 28, 2023, USCIS published a final rule which increased premium processing fees (Form I-907) in order to “reflect the amount inflation from June 2021 through June 2023 according to the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers.”  

According to the announcement, DHS will use the revenue generated from this fee increase in order to further streamline the adjudicative processes for petitioners filing with premium processing. 

The increases, which will become effective beginning February 26, 2024, increase the premium processing fees charged by USCIS in accordance with the chart below:

To view the USCIS announcement on its webpage, click here. To view the final rule published in the Federal Register, click here

In the News from ABIL

Three Important Cases Pending Before U.S. Supreme Court

Three important cases are pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. According to observers, at stake are the legitimacy of the current U.S. immigration court system and a longstanding precedent decision. 

DOS Proposes Updates to Au Pair Exchange Visitor Program

The Department of State proposes to amend the Exchange Visitor Program regulations governing the au pair category to “clarify and modernize” the program. 

ICE Launches Online Portal for Noncitizens in Removal Proceedings

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has launched the ICE Portal, a public-facing website that centralizes communications between noncitizens who have been placed in removal proceedings and the federal government. 

CBP Will Temporarily Close Arizona Border Crossing

Beginning Monday, December 4, 2023, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Field Operations will temporarily suspend operations at the Lukeville, Arizona, port of entry. 

USCIS Expands myProgress to Forms I-485 and I-821

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it is expanding myProgress (formerly known as personalized processing times) to Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, and Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. myProgress will initially only be available for family-based or Afghan special immigrant I-485 applicants. 

DOJ Reaches Immigration-Related Discrimination Settlement Agreement With Tennessee Trucking Companies

The Department of Justice has secured a $700,000 agreement with two transportation logistics and long-haul trucking companies headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The agreement resolves DOJ’s determination that the companies violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act by routinely discriminating against non-U.S. citizen workers when checking their permission to work in the United States. 

Global Entry Program Expands to PortMiami Seaport

As of December 1, 2023, PortMiami is the first seaport to host a Global Entry Enrollment Center to assist the traveling public with completing new and renewal applications for the “trusted traveler” program. 

DHS Increases FY 2024 Limit on H-2B Nonagricultural Workers and Provides Portability

In consultation with the Department of Labor, the Department of Homeland Security is increasing the total number of noncitizens who may receive an H-2B nonimmigrant visa by up to 64,716 for fiscal year 2024. 20,000 visas are reserved for nationals of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, Colombia, Ecuador, and Costa Rica. 

DOJ Reaches Several Immigration-Related Discrimination Settlement Agreements

Following on the heels of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) $25 million settlement agreement with Apple Inc., DOJ has settled immigration-related discrimination cases with a New York City health care system and a staffing agency with offices nationwide. 

Federal Government Shutdown Averted for Now

As many know, before a deadline of September 30, 2023, Congress passed and President Biden signed H.R. 5860, a short-term funding bill to keep the federal government funded for 45 days. A shutdown is still possible after November 17. 

Apple Settles Citizenship Discrimination Allegations With $25 Million ‘Landmark’ Agreement

Under the agreement, Apple must pay up to $25 million in back pay and civil penalties, which the Department of Justice said was the largest award that it has ever recovered under the antidiscrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act 

DHS Announces Eligible Countries for H-2A and H-2B Programs; Bolivia Added

The Department of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Department of State, announced the lists of countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B visa programs next year. Each country’s designation is valid until November 8, 2024. Bolivia has been added to the list of countries eligible to participate in both programs.  

USCIS to Move Filing Location for Premium Processing Requests Filed With Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers

On November 13, 2023, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin transitioning the filing location for Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing, when filed with Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, from the service centers to the USCIS lockbox. 

December Visa Bulletin Includes Reminder About Expiring Non-Minister Religious Workers Category

No SR visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after midnight November 16, 2023, unless Congress extends the program. 

Potomac Service Center Will No Longer Accept Paper Responses

Starting November 13, 2023, the Potomac Service Center will no longer accept mailed correspondence. To avoid processing delays, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said, applicants and their representatives should instead upload their responses to their USCIS online accounts (for receipt notices that start with IOE-) or mail them to the Texas Service Center. 

OFLC Announces Annual Determination of H-2A Labor Supply States for U.S. Worker Recruitment

The Department of Labor’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) Administrator has determined that current requirements for labor supply states will remain in effect, with one modification: OFLC will no longer recognize North Carolina and Texas as traditional labor supply states for the state of Michigan. 

USCIS Releases Employment-Based Adjustment of Status FAQs

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services released frequently asked questions about employment-based adjustment of status. 

State Dept. Issues Final Rule to Eliminate Informal Evaluations of Immigrant Visa Applicants’ Family Members

Effective January 8, 2024, the Department of State is amending its immigrant visa regulations by removing the section allowing a consular officer to conduct an informal evaluation of the family members of an immigrant visa applicant to identify potential grounds of ineligibility. 

USCIS Reaches FY 2024 H-1B Cap

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has received a sufficient number of petitions needed to reach the congressionally mandated 65,000 H-1B visa regular cap and the 20,000 H-1B visa U.S. advanced degree exemption, known as the master’s cap, for fiscal year 2024. 

DHS Publishes Federal Register Notice Reiterating Extensions of TPS Re-Registration Periods for Several Countries

The Department of Homeland Security published a Federal Register notice reiterating extensions of the periods to re-register for Temporary Protected Status under the existing designations of El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan. 

District Court Rules in College’s Favor in EB-1 Case

In Scripps College v. Jaddou, a U.S. District Court in Nebraska held that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services improperly denied the plaintiff’s I-140 immigration petition when it found that the beneficiary of the petition did not qualify for an employment-based first preference visa as an “outstanding professor or researcher.”  

ETA Seeks Information on STEM and Non-STEM Occupations in PERM Schedule A

The Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration is seeking information from the public to potentially consider revisions to Schedule A of the permanent labor certification process to include occupations in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), including Artificial Intelligence-related occupations, and non-STEM occupations, for which there may be an insufficient number of ready, willing, able, and qualified U.S. workers. 

ETA Announces Adverse Effect Wage Rates for H-2A Workers in 2024

The Employment and Training Administration has announced Adverse Effect Wage Rates for H-2A workers in 2024, for range (herding or production of livestock) and non-range (agricultural labor or services other than the herding or production of livestock) occupations. 

January Visa Bulletin Released; Religious Workers Category Extended

The Department of State’s Visa Bulletin for January 2024 notes that a stopgap funding bill recently passed by Congress extended the employment fourth preference Certain Religious Workers (SR) category until February 2, 2024.  

USCIS Changes Filing Location for Form I-907 Filed for Pending Form I-140

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has begun transitioning the filing location for Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing, when filed for a pending Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, from the service centers to appropriate USCIS lockboxes. 

State Dept. Announces Pilot Program to Resume Domestic H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa Renewals

The pilot program will accept applications from January 29 to April 1, 2024. 

OFLC Reminds Employers About Deadlines for Peak H-2B Filing Season

The federal Department of Labor announced that from January 2-4, 2024, it will accept H-2B applications for temporary nonprofessional workers requesting a start date of April 1, 2024, or later. 

USCIS Updates Policy Guidance for International Students

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued policy guidance regarding the F and M student nonimmigrant classifications, including the agency’s role in adjudicating related applications for employment authorization, change of status, extension of stay, and reinstatement of status. 

State Dept. Expands Consular Authority for Nonimmigrant Visa Interview Waivers

The Department of State has determined that several categories of interview waivers are in the national interest. As of January 1, 2024, consular officers will have discretion to waive the in-person interview for those categories. 

State Dept. Advises on Passport Processing

Passport processing times have returned to the agency’s pre-pandemic norm, the Department of State said. Passport applications will be processed within 6 to 8 weeks for routine service and 2 to 3 weeks for expedited service. Processing times do not include mailing. 

Detained Workers Are Employees Due Minimum Wage in Private Facility Contracted With ICE, Supreme Court of Washington Finds

Detained workers at the private detention center were “employees” and therefore were due at least the minimum wage, the Supreme Court of Washington held. 

DHS Increases Premium Processing Fees

On February 26, 2024, the Department of Homeland Security will increase premium processing fees charged by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. 

DOJ Threatens to Sue Texas Over State Migration Bill

The Department of Justice sent a letter to Texas Governor Greg Abbott threatening to sue the state over its Senate Bill 4. The bill would create, effective March 5, 2024, new state crimes tied to federal prohibitions on unlawful entry and reentry by noncitizens into the United States, among other things. 

U.S. and Mexico Release Joint Communique Following Visit to Discuss Migration Management

On December 27, 2023, a U.S. delegation visited Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and others to discuss migration management. 

DOS Proposes Supplemental Questionnaire for Passport Applications

The Department of State seeks public comment on a proposed supplemental questionnaire to an existing passport application that would solicit information relating to the respondent’s identity. 

State Department Visa Bulletin

To view the January 2024 Visa Bulletin from the State Department: click here.

I Accept

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. If you continue using our website, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website and you agree to our Privacy Policy.