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Monthly U.S. immigration law news roundup: Biden administration waives immigration application fees for evacuated Afghans, lifts rule limiting processing of asylum-seekers at border crossings

Welcome to the Garfinkel Immigration news roundup, where every month we will summarize and provide links to the latest stories impacting U.S. immigration.

Below is the November 2021 edition of the Garfinkel Immigration news roundup:

Historic settlement to change USCIS policy for H-4, L-2 and E spousal work permits

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released updated policy guidance regarding H-4, L-2 and E spousal work permit authorization.

The new policies come as a result of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reaching a settlement agreement earlier this month in the class action lawsuit Shergill, et al. v. Mayorkas and should help thousands of individuals whose case adjudications have been delayed because of backlogs at USCIS, which stem from the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors. The policies are in effect immediately.

“USCIS believes that these changes will help to avoid gaps in employment authorization and documentation for those H-4, E, and L dependent spouses with an EAD renewal application that does not first require adjudication of an underlying application,” the policy guidance reads.

The guidance continues: “This change will help not only such H-4, E, and L dependent spouses, but also their U.S. employers and other workers employed with those U.S. employers who might also feel the adverse impact of disruption in the H-4, E, and L dependent spouses’ lapse in employment authorization.”

Read the full story here.

Update regarding Facebook’s settlements with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Labor (DOL)

Facebook recently reached separate settlements with the Departments of Justice and Labor which resulted in a large financial penalty in connection with its recruitment practices during the PERM process.

The DOJ lawsuit alleged U.S. worker discrimination in the company’s use of the PERM program. Specifically, the DOJ alleged that Facebook engaged in unfair recruitment and hiring practices. It is important to note that the settlements are not an admission of liability. Facebook continues to deny any wrongdoing.

The terms that Facebook have accepted in its settlement exceed the statutory and regulatory requirements for the PERM labor certification process. Further, the suit arose from a discrimination claim rather than an allegation of violation of the DOL rules for recruitment in connection with the PERM process.

Find out more here.

U.S. reopens to international travel

This story published by the Associated Press focuses on the positive impact of the United States lifting travel restrictions earlier this month for the fully vaccinated.

“Parents held children born while they were stuck abroad,” the story reads. “Long-separated couples kissed, and grandparents embraced grandchildren who had doubled in age. The U.S. fully reopened to many vaccinated international travelers (Nov. 8), allowing families and friends to reunite for the first time since the coronavirus emerged and offering a boost to the travel industry decimated by the pandemic.”

The story continued: “On the U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada, where traveling back and forth was a way of life before the pandemic, the reopening brought relief. Malls, restaurants and shops in U.S. border towns were devastated by the lack of visitors from Mexico.”

Read the full Associated Press story here.

U.S. rescinds Trump-era rules that limited processing of asylum-seekers at border crossings

United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) lifted a rule earlier this month that limited how many asylum seekers could be processed at the southern border.

“Through a memo (in early November), Troy Miller, the interim head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), rescinded several guidelines issued during the Trump administration that upheld the so-called ‘metering’ practice at land ports of entry,” according to a story published by CBS News.

The story continued: “Using metering, U.S. officials would restrict the number of migrants who could legally ask for humanitarian protection at ports of entry. The practice began under President Barack Obama and was expanded by the Trump administration, prompting thousands of asylum-seekers to wait in northern Mexico until their numbers came up on ad hoc lists.”

Find out more via CBS News here.

Biden administration will waive immigration application fees for thousands of evacuated Afghans

The Biden administration is waiving some immigration application fees for Afghan evacuees, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) told reporters earlier this month.

The move could impact close to 70,000 people, according to the DHS.

“By providing these evacuees with access to streamlined processing and fee exemptions, we will open doors of opportunity for our Afghan allies and help them begin to rebuild their lives in communities across our country more quickly,” Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. “These actions demonstrate our ongoing commitment to Afghan nationals who provided valuable assistance to the United States over the past two decades as well as other Afghans at risk.”

DHS said the fee waivers will help facilitate the resettlement of Afghan evacuees in the U.S. “by streamlining the processing of requests for work authorization, Green Cards and associated services.”

Find out more here via CNN.

Hiring high-skilled immigrants brings a ‘Ted Lasso’ effect

In this piece, Forbes Senior Contributor Stuart Anderson discusses the effect of hiring high-skilled immigrants, linking the impact to the hit Apple TV series “Ted Lasso.”

Anderson uses data from a new study by The National Bureau of Economic Research to make the case that “companies gain by hiring immigrants, and governments should let them if they want firms to be more successful.”

“The latest research finds that preventing firms from hiring immigrants harms U.S. companies and the American economy,” Anderson writes. “The findings support the view that immigrants are valuable contributors to a company’s ability to compete.”

Read the full story here.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact Garfinkel Immigration Law Firm at 704-442-8000 or via email with any questions.

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