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 December 2023 edition of the Garfinkel Immigration news roundup:
Year in review: 2023 immigration updates and looking ahead to 2024
Garfinkel Immigration Law Firm published its newest white paper earlier this month.
In the paper, Associate Attorney Ana Delgado Hualde summarizes the state of the immigration world in 2023 and looks ahead to the prospects for 2024.
“The U.S. immigration law environment continued to evolve in 2023,” Delgado Hualde writes. “There was further stabilization from the changes put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, backlogs and delays persist. There were also new policies, procedures, proposed rules and court rulings that impacted employment-based, humanitarian and family-based immigration.”
Nonimmigrant visa domestic renewal pilot program: DOS releases details about eligibility requirements, start date and more key information
The Department of State (DOS) has released the upcoming nonimmigrant visa domestic renewal pilot program details.
The program will open on January 29, 2024, and allow particular H-1B recipients to renew their visas inside the United States rather than traveling to receive a stamp at an embassy or consulate abroad. Applications will initially be limited to no more than 20,000 and will not be accepted after April 1, 2024.
Specifically, the only foreign nationals who will be eligible to participate in the pilot program are those with an H-1B visa approved by Mission Canada with an issuance date from January 1, 2020, through April 1, 2023, or by Mission India with an issuance date of February 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021.
Foreign nationals must have an approved and unexpired H-1B visa and must qualify for an in-person interview waiver to be eligible for the domestic renewal program. Additionally, applicants must not be subject to a reciprocity fee and have previously submitted “10 fingerprints to the (DOS) in connection with a previous visa application.”
Only the principal H-1B recipient can utilize the initial domestic renewal program, as spouses and dependents in H-4 status are not included in the pilot stage.
The most inspiring immigration stories of 2023
This story, written by Forbes Senior Contributor Stuart Anderson, examines the many contributions made by immigrants in 2023.
Anderson focuses on Heman Bekele, who won the America’s Top Young Scientist award from 3M; Ke Huy Quan, who earned the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in “Everything Everywhere All at Once;” MLB rookie Elly De La Cruz; and more inspiring immigration stories.
Biden and Congress are mulling big changes on immigration. What are they and what could they mean?
President Joe Biden has been negotiating with Republican Senators over immigration reform, according to this story published by the Associated Press in early December.
In exchange for changes to immigration policy, the Senators would potentially agree to provide funding for Ukraine and Israel, according to the report.
“The Democratic president has said he is willing to make “significant compromises on the border” as Republicans block the wartime aid in Congress,” the story read.
The story continued: “Much of the negotiating is taking place in private, but some of the issues under discussion are known: Asylum standards, humanitarian parole and fast-track deportation authority, among others.”
Bill seeks to expand education and employment access for DACA recipients in Wisconsin
This story from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel examines bills proposed in the Wisconsin state legislature in early December related to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
If passed, the bipartisan legislation would “expand access to education and employment for people enrolled” in DACA.
“The proposed legislation would allow DACA recipients in Wisconsin to obtain state-issued professional licenses and qualify to pay in-state tuition to attend University of Wisconsin System schools,” the story read. “It would also create a $250 nonrefundable tax credit issued every two years to help offset the $495 biennial fee DACA recipients are required to pay to renew their status.”
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has offered temporary protection to almost 800,000 young people since it took effect on June 15, 2012. DACA recipients can receive work authorization in the United States, enroll at colleges and universities, and obtain a driver’s license. However, DACA does not provide recipients a legal pathway to citizenship.
Immigration fuels uptick in U.S. population growth
An increase in immigration led to growth in the overall United States population, according to the Associated Press, which analyzed data from the Census Bureau released in mid-December.
“The United States added 1.6 million people, more than two-thirds of which came from international migration, bringing the nation’s population total to 334.9 million,” the story from the AP read. “It marks the second year in a row that immigration powered population gains.”
The story continued: “After immigration declined in the latter half of last decade and dropped even lower amid pandemic-era restrictions, the number of immigrants last year bounced back to almost 1 million people. The trend continued this year as the nation added 1.1 million people.”