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Updates From Our Immigration Attorneys in New Orleans, LA

Venezuela Designated for TPS

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has designated Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This provides important protection from deportation. Eligible Venezuelan nationals - and noncitizens having no nationality who last habitually resided in Venezuela - may apply for protection from removal and employment authorization. They may also be able to apply for permission to travel outside the United States

To be eligible for TPS, you must meet the following general requirements*:

  1. You must be Venezuelan or an individual without a nationality who last resided in Venezuela.
  2. You must have resided in the U.S. since March 8, 2021 and have been physically present since March 9, 2021.
  3. You cannot have a felony conviction or more than 2 misdemeanor convictions.

DATES: The designation of Venezuela for TPS is effective on March 9, 2021, and will remain in effect for 18 months, through September 9, 2022. Eligible individuals must apply for TPS by September 5, 2021. If you do not apply on time you risk losing your eligibility.

If you believe that you may qualify for this TPS designation, please click here to make an inquiry.

* Note that this is not a complete list of requirements, and you should consult with someone competent and authorized to practice immigration law before deciding whether to apply for TPS.

DACA is Back

A federal judge on Friday ordered the government to restore the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. Even people who have never applied for DACA before can now apply. In addition, work authorization cards will be valid for two years, and travel on advance parole will be more widely available.

We know there has been a lot of conflicting news about DACA, but this time we believe that this decision will not be overturned. Even if the government appeals this decision to a higher court, once President-Elect Biden becomes the President on January 20, 2021, he will ensure that the DACA program is protected.

The judge also ordered the government to post prominently on their website that they are now accepting new DACA applications. As of December 8, 2020, USCIS updated their website confirming that USCIS will now be:

  • Accepting first-time requests for consideration of deferred action under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) based on the terms of the DACA policy in effect prior to September 5, 2017, and in accordance with the Court’s December 4, 2020, order;
  • Accepting DACA renewal requests based on the terms of the DACA policy in effect prior to September 5, 2017, and in accordance with the Court’s December 4, 2020, order;
  • Accepting applications for advance parole documents based on the terms of the DACA policy prior to September 5, 2017, and in accordance with the Court’s December 4, 2020, order;
  • Extending one-year grants of deferred action under DACA to two years; and
  • Extending one-year employment authorization documents under DACA to two years.

You may request DACA if you:

  1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of filing your DACA application;
  5. Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
  6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

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Analysis of Trump’s Recent Temporary Restrictions on H-1B, H-2B, J-1, and L visas

On June 22, 2020, President Trump extended and expanded Presidential Proclamation 10014 of April 22, 2020.

The original proclamation prohibited the issuance of “immigrant” visas (required for those seeking permanent residency from outside the United States), subject to exceptions defined in the proclamation. The restrictions were to be imposed for 60 days, after which time they could be extended.

On June 22, President Trump extended the restrictions until December 31, 2020, and expanded the restrictions to certain “nonimmigrant” visas (i.e., visas for individuals seeking temporary entry into the United States for a specific purpose).

The extension was effective at the time of the proclamation and the expansion took effect at 12:01 AM this morning.

The nonimmigrant visas subject to the June 22 expansion include:

(a) an H-1B or H-2B visa, and any individual accompanying or following to join such individual;

(b) a J visa, to the extent the individual is participating in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program, and any individual accompanying or following to join such individual; and

(c) an L visa, and any individual accompanying or following to join such individual.

The proclamation only to applies to an individual who:

(i) is outside the United States on the effective date of this proclamation;

(ii) does not have a nonimmigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation; and

(iii) does not have an official travel document other than a visa (such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document) that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation or issued on any date thereafter that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission.

Please note that this proclamation leaves many individuals’ cases unaffected.

  • The proclamation is limited to the visa types specified.
  • The proclamation does not affect any nonimmigrant visas that had already been issued prior to June 24, 2020, at 12:01 AM.
  • The proclamation does not affect issuance of J-1 visas for several programs, including to scholars (research and short-term), physicians, and professors.
  • The proclamation does not impact applications for changes or extensions of status within the United States.

The stated aim of the original proclamation and its expansion is the protection of the U.S. economy. While we all wish to see the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 mitigated, we could not disagree more with the president’s method. Immigrants make vital contributions in economic areas such as healthcare, research, technology, and food production, to say nothing of the critical support they provide to their U.S.-based family and friends.

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