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Monthly U.S. immigration law news roundup: Federal lawsuit filed attempting to block upcoming USCIS fee increases

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 2024 edition of the Garfinkel Immigration news roundup:

Garfinkel Immigration Law Firm continues ‘day of service’ tradition with volunteer event at Charlotte Bilingual Preschool

Garfinkel Immigration Law Firm continued its “day of service” tradition in early 2024.

Over the course of two days in late February and early March, more than 40 of the Firm’s staff members volunteered at the Charlotte Bilingual Preschool, completing a variety of projects which included raking leaves, planting flowers, cleaning playgrounds, filing sandboxes, designing billboards, building bicycles and more.

“We are so grateful for the volunteers from Garfinkel Immigration Law Firm,” said Katie Troy, Charlotte Bilingual Preschool’s Advancement Associate and Volunteer Coordinator. “Our school looks beautiful because of their help, and I know our families will be so happy to see the new garden, decorated hallways, and playground area. Garfinkel has been a dedicated partner of ours, and it means the world to have their support.”

Read the full story here.

What is the Visa Waiver Program?

The vast majority of foreign nationals who enter the United States each year do so as nonimmigrants in the B (visitors) category. Many such visitors may also qualify to enter pursuant to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), meaning they do not need to apply for a visitors visa stamp in their passport prior to travel to the U.S.

Garfinkel Immigration’s latest blog provides further information about the Visa Waiver Program. Read the full story here.

Immigration lawsuit filed to block USCIS fee rule

This story, written by Forbes Senior Contributor Stuart Anderson, details a lawsuit filed in federal court challenging upcoming USCIS fee increases.

The lawsuit “challenges several aspects of the final rule,” according to the Forbes article.

“The Final Rule should be enjoined preliminarily and permanently because it was promulgated without appropriate notice and comment, arbitrarily forces certain businesses and individuals, but not all, to fund asylum adjudications, and unlawfully imposes fee increases of 100% or higher on foreign investors seeking immigrant status based on the creation of jobs for United States workers without first completing the fee study Congress ordered prior to changing fee,” the lawsuit read, via Forbes.

The fee increases are set to take effect April 1, unless the lawsuit is successful and an injunction is granted.

“DHS and USCIS argued when publishing the final rule that it conformed to the Immigration and Nationality Act and ‘non-statutory guidance’ and ‘accounts for, and is consistent with, congressional appropriations for specific USCIS programs,’” according to the Forbes story.

Read the full Forbes story here.

H-1B lottery overhaul to boost visa odds for foreign workers

This story from Bloomberg News analyzes some of the recent changes to the H-1B visa lottery.

The new final rule, released in January, took effect for FY2025 and specifies that each cap-subject beneficiary will only be registered for the lottery once, regardless of how many registrations are submitted in their name.

“That change, which was overwhelmingly welcomed by employers, was adopted by the agency in new regulations aimed at cutting out fraud committed by companies submitting multiple registrations on behalf of individual workers that didn’t reflect legitimate job offers,” the Bloomberg story read.

The story added: “The new process also offers a measure of hope to foreign workers who have faced increasingly daunting odds of winning one of the coveted visa slots, capped at 85,000 per year.”

Read the full Bloomberg news story here.

Lawmakers unveil $1.2 trillion government funding package ahead of shutdown deadline

Leaders in the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate unveiled their funding agreement in mid-March. If passed, the bill would fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year, CNN reported in a story published on March 21.

“The current fiscal year began more than five months ago on October 1, 2023. Lawmakers have faced a series of fiscal cliffs since then as a result of funding deadlines created by short-term extensions,” the CNN story read. “Now, Congress is finally on the verge of completing the annual appropriations package as long as it can pass this latest slate of government funding bills.”

The funding bill includes multiple provisions which could impact immigration.

“The package provides $19.6 billion for Customs and Border Protection, a $3.2 billion increase above fiscal year 2023, and includes $495 million for additional Border Patrol agents, which the Biden administration has repeatedly called for,” the CNN story read. “It does not add funding for the border wall.”

The story added: “The package also provides almost $90 billion in discretionary funding to the Department of Homeland Security, bolstering funding for additional resources. … It also provides an additional 12,000 special immigrant visas for Afghans who helped the U.S.”

Read the full CNN 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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