Immigration Law Update February 2015

February 2015

USCIS to Begin Accepting Requests for Expanded DACA on Feb. 18

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will expand Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals on February 18, 2015. That will be the first day to request DACA under the revised guidelines established as part of President Obama's recent announcements on immigration.

To learn more, please contact one of our attorneys. Additional information is also available on the USCIS website.

USCIS Issues Reminder for Requesting DACA

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued the following reminder on January 20, 2015:

If you request either initial or renewal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), you must submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization and required fees. USCIS will reject your request if you fail to submit Form I-765, the required filing fee, Form I-765 Worksheet, and Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. For complete instructions on requesting DACA, go to the Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) page.

For DACA renewals, USCIS strongly encourages you to submit your renewal request between 150 days and 120 days before the expiration date located on your current Form I-797 DACA approval notice and Employment Authorization Document. Filing during this window will minimize the possibility that your current period of DACA will expire before you receive a decision on your renewal request.

USCIS' current goal is to process DACA renewal requests within 120 days. However, you may submit an inquiry about the status of your renewal request after it has been pending more than 105 days. To submit an inquiry, please visit or call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 (TDD for the hearing impaired: 1-800-767-1833).

DHS Considers 'Known Employer' Program To Aid Business Travel

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is considering a "Known Employer" pilot program to streamline adjudication of certain types of employment-based immigration benefit requests filed by eligible U.S. employers.

DHS expects to launch the pilot by late 2015 to test the program, which is designed to make adjudications more efficient and less costly, and reduce paperwork and delays for both the department and U.S. employers who seek to employ foreign workers.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will jointly implement the pilot program. A goal is to expedite or otherwise facilitate legitimate cross-border business travel along the northern border ports of entry. "Doing so is a binational commitment under the North American Free Trade Agreement as well as the U.S.-Canada Beyond the Border initiative," DHS explained.

In particular, the U.S. and Canadian governments intend to "explore the feasibility of incorporating a trusted employer concept in the processing of business travelers between Canada and the United States."

Additional information about the Known Employer program will be provided in the coming months. For background and updates, click here. DHS seeks input on the Beyond the Border initiative, which can be emailed ([email protected]) or mailed to Beyond the Border Coordinator, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Mailstop 0455, Washington, DC 20016.

HHS Updated Poverty Guidelines

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has updated the poverty guidelines effective January 22, 2015. Among other things , the poverty guidelines are used in determining minimum income requirements for Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, and Form I-912, Fee Waiver Request.

The latest guidelines were published in the Federal Register.

ABIL Global: Mexico

The new "Temporary Migration Regularization Program" took effect January 13.

On January 12, 2015, the Mexican government published an announcement in the Federal Official Gazette about the "Temporary Migration Regularization Program," which became effective the day after and will expire on December 18, 2015.

The program incorporates requirements and procedures temporarily applicable to foreigners who entered Mexico legally before November 9, 2012, and who, as of January 13, 2015, have been living in Mexico under an irregular migration status.

The program establishes that if the migration authority resolves the migration filing as approved (taking into account that the interested individual filed a migration regularization application), the authority will grant temporary resident status for four years with the possibility of requesting a work permit with authorization to perform remunerated activities in Mexico.

This program is aligned with various strategies of the Mexican government that promote specific actions that guarantee protection of the human rights of immigrants under unfavorable conditions, such as irregular status, which often represents a risk to their security, access to health services, and development in society.

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