May 19, 2021 Newsletter Powered by ABIL

DHS Ratifies Rule That Removes 30-Day EAD Processing Requirement
On May 7, 2021, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas ratified a rule regarding applications for employment authorization documents (EADs) filed by people who have applied for asylum.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that although the promulgation of the rule and its ratification “were necessary and justified due to operational realities, Secretary Mayorkas recognizes that work authorization is crucially important to people requesting asylum and reaffirms [DHS’s] commitment to adjudicate applications as quickly and efficiently as possible.” The Department said it “plans to engage in future rulemaking to advance this important interest.”
Details:

  • “DHS Ratifies Rule That Removes 30-Day EAD Processing Requirement and Acknowledges Importance of Issuing Timely Work Authorizations,” Dept. of Homeland Security, May 7, 2021, https://www.dhs.gov/news/2021/05/07/dhs-ratifies-rule-removes-30-day-ead-processing-requirement

EOIR Announces 17 New Immigration Judges
The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) announced 17 new Immigration Judges (IJs), including one Assistant Chief Immigration Judge (ACIJ) and six Unit Chief Immigration Judges (UCIJs).
Attorney General Merrick B. Garland appointed Megan B. Herndon, Wade T. Napier, Tamaira Rivera, David H. Robertson, Elizabeth Crites, Bryan E. DePowell, Nicholle M. Hempel, Kathy J. Lemke, Martinque M. Parker, David M. Paxton, Bryan D. Watson, Kenya L. Wells, and Mark R. Whitworth to their new positions; former Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson appointed Adam Perl to his new position; former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen appointed William H. McDermott to his new position; and former Attorney General William P. Barr appointed Elliot M. Kaplan and Jeb T. Terrien to their new positions.
Details:

  • “EOIR Announces 17 New Immigration Judges,” Executive Office for Immigration Review, May 6, 2021 (includes biographical information), https://www.justice.gov/eoir/file/1392116/download

DHS Announces Continuation of International Entrepreneur Program
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on May 10, 2021, that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is withdrawing a 2018 proposed rule that would haveremoved the International Entrepreneur parole program from DHS regulations. USCIS said the program, first introduced in 2017, “will remain a viable program for foreign entrepreneurs to create and develop start-up entities with high growth potential in the United States.”
Under the program, parole may be granted for up to three entrepreneurs per start-up entity, as well as their spouses and children. Entrepreneurs granted parole are eligible to work only for their start-up business. Their spouses may apply for employment authorization in the United States, but their children are not eligible for such authorization based on the program. An applicant must file Form I-941, Application for Entrepreneur Parole, with the required fees (including biometric) and supporting documentary evidence. The fees are $1,200 for filing the I-941 and $85 for biometrics. Additional forms and fees are required for spouses and children.
Details:

  • USCIS/DHS announcement, May 10, 2021, https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/dhs-announces-continuation-of-international-entrepreneur-parole-program
  • USCIS International Entrepreneur Parole page, which includes details on eligibility requirements, filing procedures, and links to forms, is at https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/humanitarian-parole/international-entrepreneur-parole

USCIS Temporarily Suspends Biometrics Requirement for Certain Nonimmigrants Changing or Extending Status
Effective May 17, 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will temporarily suspend the biometrics submission requirement for certain applicants filing Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, requesting an extension of stay in or change of status to H-4, L-2, and E nonimmigrant status. USCIS will allow adjudications for those specific categories to proceed based on biographic information and related background checks, without capturing fingerprints and a photograph. This suspension will apply through May 17, 2023, subject to affirmative extension or revocation of the suspension period by the USCIS director, the agency said.
This temporary suspension will apply to applicants filing Form I-539 requesting:

  • Extension of stay in or change of status to H-4, L-2, or E-1 nonimmigrant status;
  • Extension of stay in or change of status to E-2 nonimmigrant status (including E-2C (E-2 CNMI Investor)); or
  • Extension of stay in or change of status to E-3 nonimmigrant status (including those selecting E-3D).

This suspension will apply only to the above categories of Form I-539 applications that are either:

  • Pending as of May 17, 2021, and have not yet received a biometric services appointment notice; or
  • New applications postmarked or submitted electronically on or after May 17, 2021.

USCIS noted that it retains discretion on a case-by-case basis to require biometrics for applicants who meet the criteria above, and any applicant may be scheduled for an Application Support Center (ASC) appointment to submit biometrics.
Form I-539 applicants who have already received a biometric services appointment notice should still attend their scheduled appointment, USCIS said.
Effective May 17, 2021, Form I-539 applicants meeting the criteria above are not required to submit the $85 biometric services fee for Form I-539 during the suspension period. USCIS will return a biometric services fee if submitted separately from the base fee. USCIS will allow a short grace period during which USCIS will not reject Form I-539 filed with the biometric services fee. USCIS will begin rejecting paper Form I-539 applications postmarked May 27, 2021, or later (while this suspension of the biometrics requirement is in effect), if applicants meeting the above criteria submit a single payment covering both the filing fee and the $85 biometrics services fee. If USCIS rejects the paper application because the applicant included the $85 biometrics service fee after the grace period, the applicant will need to re-file Form I-539 without the biometric services fee.
Details:

  • Proposed rule, withdrawal (prepublication copy), https://bit.ly/3vVsD4D
  • “USCIS Will Suspend Trump-Era Biometric Screening Rule for Work-Permit Applicants,” Reuters, May 4, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/business/legal/uscis-will-suspend-trump-era-biometric-screening-rule-work-permit-applicants-2021-05-04/

DOL Further Delays Effective Date of Prevailing Wage Computation Final Rule
The Department of Labor has delayed a final rule on prevailing wage computations from May 14, 2021, until November 14, 2022.
The latest action includes corresponding delays in the rule’s transition dates until January 1, 2023, January 1, 2024, January 1, 2025, and January 1, 2026, respectively. For most job opportunities, the transition would occur in two steps. For job opportunities that will be filled by workers who are the beneficiary of an approved Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, or successor form, or are eligible for an extension of their H–1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000, as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act, (2002), the transition would occur in four steps.
Details:

  • Final rule; delay of effective and transition dates, Dept. of Labor, 86 Fed. Reg. 26164 (May 13, 2021), https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-05-13/pdf/2021-10084.pdf

USCIS Allows Rescheduling of Biometric Appointments by Phone
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on May 11, 2021, that applicants, petitioners, requestors, and beneficiaries may now call the USCIS Contact Center (800-375-5283) to reschedule their biometric services appointments scheduled at a USCIS Application Support Center. Previously, applicants had to submit requests in writing to reschedule their biometrics appointments.
USCIS said that applicants must establish “good cause” for rescheduling and must call before the date and time of their original appointment to reschedule. If an applicant fails to call before the scheduled appointment or to establish good cause, “USCIS may consider the application, petition, or request abandoned and, as a result, it may be denied.”
Details:

  • “Rescheduling Biometric Services Appointments by Phone,” USCIS, May 11, 2021, https://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts/rescheduling-biometric-services-appointments-by-phone



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