Boston has, in light of the demand for more info pass appointments, recently indicated that it will start to add approximately 30 info pass appointments a month, including some appointments on Saturdays. The added appointments will be on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and begin on June 1.
Haiti TPS Extended for 6 Months
USCIS announced the extension of the designation of Haiti for temporary protected status (TPS) for six months, from 7/23/17 through 1/22/18. The 60-day re-registration period runs from 5/24/17 through 7/24/17.
TPS Terminating for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone
USCIS is reminding the public that the designations of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone terminate effective May 21, 2017. Individuals with no lawful immigration status on May 21, 2017, will no longer be protected from removal or eligible for employment authorization based on TPS.
The Application Support Center (ASC) is Moving
Starting May 1, 2017, biometrics will no longer be taken by the Portland Street Address. The new address for the ASC is: 7b Everett Street, Revere.
New Judge Assigned to Boston
General Loretta E. Lynch appointed Sean D. Santen to begin hearing cases in April 2017. Judge Santen earned his law degree from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law. From September 2008 to March 2017, he served as an assistant regional counsel at the Office of General Counsel, Social Security Administration, in Boston, Mass. Judge Santen is a member of the Massachusetts Bar.
Travel Ban 2.0
On March 6, 2017, the President, by Executive Order, issued a new travel ban barring individuals from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days, suspending the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program in its entirety for 120 days, and dramatically reducing refugee admissions this fiscal year. Several states have filed suit against the March 6th ban. Judge Watson, of the U.S. District Court of the District of Hawai’i, issued a nationwide temporary block to the revised travel ban. As of March 17, the 3/6 Executive Order will not be implemented.
DHS Implementation Memos
On February 20, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued two memoranda with the purpose of implementing the President’s Executive Orders from January 25, 2016, titled Implementing the President’s Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements Initiatives and Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest. Please see the DHS webpage for a copy of the memos and accompanying fact sheets.
Travel Ban Victory
On February 3, 2017, Judge Robart, of the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, issued a temporary restraining order and held that significant and ongoing harm was being inflicted on substantial numbers of people, to the detriment of the States, by means of an Executive Order that the States were likely to be able to prove was unlawful. On February 9, the Ninth Circuit denied the government’s motion for an emergency stay of a temporary restraining order regarding the President’s executive order banning entry into the United States from seven majority-Muslim countries.
Presidential Executive Orders
The President, through several Executive Orders, is focused on expanding border security, erecting a wall on the U.S. southern border, expanding immigration enforcement (terminating 2014 ICE priorities), imposing a travel ban on Muslim-majority countries, and suspending refugee resettlement for 120 days. PAIR is committed to protecting immigrant rights and it’s asylum-seeker and detained clients. Please contact a PAIR staff member if you have any question about your status or your legal rights.
DHS Extends and Redesignates Yemen for TPS
DHS extended the designation of Yemen for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months, from March 4, 2017, through September 3, 2018. The 60-day re-registration period runs from January 4, 2017, through March 6, 2017. DHS also redesignated Yemen for TPS, allowing additional individuals who have been continuously residing in the United States since January 4, 2017, and have been continuously physically present in the United States since March 4, 2017, to apply for TPS. The 180-day initial registration period for new applicants runs from January 4, 2017, through July 3, 2017.
USCIS Issues New Forms and New Fees
When new fees for most USCIS forms went into effect on December 23, 2016, USCIS also published updated versions of the forms at uscis.gov/forms. They strongly encourage customers to submit these new versions, which are updated with the new fees and have an edition date of 12/23/16. All filings postmarked 12/23/16 or later must include the new fees or the form will be rejected.
DHS to Rescind NSEERS Regulation
Tomorrow, DHS will publish a final rule removing outdated regulations relating to the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), an obsolete special registration program that required immigrants from 25 Muslim-majority, Arab, and South Asian countries to register their presence in the United States. This is a much welcomed step to ending the discrimination and surveillance of the immigrant community.
BIA Says Untimely Asylum Application Can Be Found Frivolous
In Matter of M-S-B-, a precedent decision, the BIA held that an untimely filed application for asylum may be found frivolous under INA §208(d)(6). The BIA then concluded that the respondent’s asylum application was frivolous, because the respondent deliberately made a false statement when he postdated by more than two years his date of entry into the United States. The BIA held that this was a material element in determining his eligibility to seek asylum given the general requirement to file the application within one year of the date of arrival in the country.
Click here to view PAIR’s Asylum Program Newsletter (Fall 2016)
Boston Asylum Sub-Office Delays
Due to the diversion of an increasing number of asylum officers to conduct protection screening interviews for persons arriving at the border, there are significant backlogs in the scheduling of asylum interviews. Currently, the Boston Office is scheduling June 2013 I-589 receipts for interview. USCIS prioritizes asylum applications for interview scheduling as follows: (1) applications that were scheduled for an interview, but the applicant requested a new interview date; (2) applications filed by children; and (3) all other pending affirmative asylum applications will be scheduled for interviews in the order they were received, with oldest cases scheduled first. Please see the USCIS website for processing of asylum cases for more information.
Nepal TPS Extended
USCIS has extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Nepal. This allows eligible nationals of Nepal (or persons without nationality who last habitually resided in Syria) to re-register for TPS, from October 26, 2016 through December 27, 2016. For more information and for all relevant filing dates, visit the USCIS website.
DOJ Changes Rule on Defensive I-589s filings
As of October 2016, defensive applications for asylum may be filed directly at the clerk’s window or by mail. They are no longer required to be filed in open court at a Master Calendar hearing. This applies to all Form I-589s, regardless of whether the application is for asylum, withholding of removal, or protection under the Convention Against Torture.
USCIS has redesignated Syria for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and extended the existing TPS designation for the country from Oct. 1, 2016, through March 31, 2018. This allows eligible nationals of Syria (or persons without nationality who last habitually resided in Syria) to register or re-register for TPS. For more information and for all relevant filing dates, visit the USCIS website.
Asylum Office Rescheduling Update
As of July 5, 2016, the following policy will be in effect: If a request to reschedule an interview is made on or up to 45 days after the interview date, or if the interview has already been rescheduled on one (1) occasion, the applicant must establish there was “good cause” for the request. If the request to reschedule is made on or after 46 days after the interview and after a charging document or dismissal by the Asylum Office has been issued, the applicant must establish “exceptional circumstances” for failure to appear. .
On June 23, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 4-4 decision in U.S. v. Texas. The deadlocked, one-line decision upholds the Fifth Circuit’s decision preventing the implementation of DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents) and expanded DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). The decision does not change the DACA (“Dreamers”) program that started in 2012.
New Biometrics Procedure
USCIS has confirmed that biometrics for court cases will be run automatically. Attorneys should work with ICE to determine the proper process for the refreshing of fingerprints for applicants in EOIR proceedings. Call the Office of Chief Counsel (OCC), 617-565-3140, and ask if the office is able to run your client’s the biometrics. If you have a case where your client has never had biometrics, you should request a biometrics appointment by mailing a request to USCIS or making an InfoPass appointment.
New USCIS Asylum Procedures Manual
The Asylum Office’s Affirmative Asylum Procedures Manual (AAPM) has been updated. The manual provides information on how to process an affirmative asylum application within an Asylum Office and is useful to review as you prepare your client for an asylum interview. Please see USCIS for more information.
Supplementing Affirmative Asylum Cases
If you need to supplement your client’s asylum application after submitting the I-589, you should submit all supplementary materials to the Asylum Sub-office three (3) business days before the interview. Walk-in hours for document SUBMISSION ONLY are Monday – Thursday, from 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon. Walk-in hours for inquiries (including document submission) are on Fridays, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 NOON. Please note that filings documents on M-TH will take second priority to applicants being checked in for scheduled interviews.
Changes to I-589 Filing Requirement
USCIS has amended the requirement for the number of copies of Form I-589 and related documents. They are in the process of updating the instructions for Form I-589 to reflect this change. USCIS now require: (a) 1 copy of your signed, original Form I-589; (b) 1 copy of any supplementary sheets and supplementary statements; and (c) 2 copies of any additional supporting documents you choose to submit. For more information see, https://www.uscis.gov/i-589.
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