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 March 2022 edition of the Garfinkel Immigration news roundup:
USCIS releases further updates regarding L and E spousal work permits
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced in mid-March new policy detailing the documentation E and L nonimmigrant spouses can use as evidence of employment authorization.
USCIS said, for E and L spouses who were issued their most recent I-94 from USCIS based on an I-539 application, it will automatically mail a notice by April 1, 2022, to all E or L spouses 21 years of age or older who have an unexpired Form I-94 issued before Jan. 30, 2022. That notice, combined with the unexpired Form I-94 displaying E-1, E-2, E-3, E-3D, E-3R or L-2 nonimmigrant status, will be sufficient as proof of employment authorization moving forward.
The notices will only be sent to the impacted spouses who filed a Form I-539 for an extension or change of status, USCIS said in the announcement.
U.S. offers temporary legal status to Ukrainians, citing Russian attack
The United States has extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Ukrainians residing in the United States as of March 1, 2022. The TPS designation was prompted by the Russian attack of Ukraine in late February.
“Russia’s premeditated and unprovoked attack on Ukraine has resulted in an ongoing war, senseless violence, and Ukrainians forced to seek refuge in other countries,” Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. “In these extraordinary times, we will continue to offer our support and protection to Ukrainian nationals in the United States.”
The statement continued: “This designation is based on both ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions in Ukraine that prevent Ukrainian nationals, and those of no nationality who last habitually resided in Ukraine, from returning to Ukraine safely.”
Biden administration extends immigration relief to Afghans in the U.S.
The Biden administration also extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in mid-March to Afghans currently inside the U.S. borders.
“This TPS designation will help to protect Afghan nationals who have already been living in the United States from returning to unsafe conditions,” Mayorkas said in a separate statement. “Under this designation, TPS will also provide additional protections and assurances to trusted partners and vulnerable Afghans who supported the U.S. military, diplomatic, and humanitarian missions in Afghanistan over the last 20 years.”
The statement specified that “TPS will apply only to those individuals who are already residing in the United States as of March 15, 2022, and meet all other requirements, including undergoing security and background checks.”
About 74,500 Afghans could become eligible for TPS following the recent designation, according to CNN.
Competition bill could carry high-skilled immigration changes
A bill working its way through Congress could have a major impact on the United States immigration system, according to Roll Call.
In mid-March, the Senate voted to resolve “differences between its (U.S. global competitiveness) bill and the House-passed version.”
“Chief among those differences are a slate of immigration provisions added by the House that would create a new visa category for entrepreneurs,” the Roll Call article read. “They also would exempt foreign citizens with doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM fields, from annual green card limits.”
The story added that “senators expressed optimism the bill could serve as a bipartisan vehicle for long-awaited changes to the legal immigration system.”
U.S. announces overhaul of asylum process to begin in late spring
The United States has “finalized regulations it hopes will overhaul the asylum process along the southern border,” according to an article published by CBS News in late March. The new policies will be “implemented on a small scale” starting in late May or early June.
“A key operational change will be the authorization of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) asylum officers to approve or deny requests for U.S. refuge from migrants who pass initial interviews, as opposed to transferring those claims to the nation’s immigration courts, which have a backlog of over 1.7 million cases,” the CBS news story read.
The story continued: “The regulation changes, which are set to take effect in a little over two months, seek to reduce the timeline for asylum cases to be decided from years to 90 days, Biden administration officials said during a briefing with reporters.”