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 August 2022 edition of the Garfinkel Immigration news roundup:
USCIS announces end of Fiscal Year 2023 H-1B cap lottery
U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. A statutory cap limits the number of new H-1B petitions that may be approved in a fiscal year to 85,000 (of which 20,000 are reserved for foreign nationals who have obtained an advanced degree from a U.S. college or university, known as the master’s cap).
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on August 23, 2022, that it had received sufficient petitions to reach the congressionally mandated limit.
USCIS sent non-selection notifications to the online accounts of those registrants who were not selected in the lottery. The status for registrations properly submitted but not selected will show:
- Not Selected: Not selected – not eligible to file an H-1B cap petition based on this registration.
Backlogs and delays: Analyzing the policies implemented by USCIS to reduce burdens on the immigration system
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has struggled with backlogs and delays since the onset of the COVID pandemic in March 2020.
Recently, USCIS has enacted multiple policies that, according to the organization, are aimed at “increasing efficiency and reducing burdens to the overall legal immigration system.”
Some of those policies, including automatic work authorization for L-2 and E dependent spouses, have undoubtedly provided improvements for the beneficiaries. Others, such as extended employment authorization for H-4 dependent spouses as well as expanded premium processing currently have a much more limited effect.
Biden administration moves to formalize DACA and shield it from legal challenges
The Biden administration released a final rule designed to “preserve and fortify” the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The new final rule will take effect on Oct. 31 and:
- Maintains the existing criteria to apply for DACA
- Continues the current process for DACA recipients to receive work authorization
- Affirms “the longstanding policy” that DACA recipients are considered “lawfully present”
“Today, we are taking another step to do everything in our power to preserve and fortify DACA, an extraordinary program that has transformed the lives of so many Dreamers,” Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement earlier this month.
The new final rule was designed to protect “the (DACA) program from legal challenges that imperil its existence, according to CBS News.
“Even with the regulation, however, DACA will remain in legal jeopardy,” the CBS News story read. “U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen, who closed DACA to first-time applicants in July 2021, ruled that the policy itself violates federal immigration law, as Texas and other Republican-led states have argued in a lawsuit.”
The CBS News story added: “The ongoing litigation could keep DACA closed to new applicants and even lead to its complete termination, a scenario that would bar the program’s beneficiaries from working in the U.S. legally and render them eligible for deportation, though they would likely not be prioritized for arrest under the Biden administration.”
Canada on track to exceed lofty 2022 immigration target
Canada is expected to reach its goal of granting permanent residency to approximately 430,000 people in 2022, according to a story published by Reuters earlier this month.
“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has relied on immigration to boost the Canadian economy since coming to power in 2015, setting an annual target of about 1% of the country’s population,” the story read. “Official data released earlier this year showed Canada’s population rose to 37 million people in 2021, up 5.2% from 2016, driven mostly by immigration.”
The country has also processed more than 3.7 million “temporary residency applications” so far in 2022, according to Reuters.
Visa bottlenecks are creating headaches for employers, workers
This story from Bloomberg published in mid-August details the struggles employers and employees are facing because of extreme backlogs at USCIS.
The backlogs are leading to excessive wait times, which have created unnecessary “disruptions” for companies and individuals.
“Extreme wait times at embassies and consular offices mean those workers face a tough choice if their visa has expired: put off returning home or potentially find themselves stuck in their home country for months before they can travel back to the U.S.,” the story read.