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3250 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1918
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Tel: (213)383-3222
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Do You Have an Immigration Problem, A Citizenship Question? Together, We'll Find A Solution
7/20/2021 Issue
              On Friday, July 16, 2021, a Federal Judge in Brownsville, Texas issued a 77-page decision that the Obama administration acted improperly, without legal authorization, when it issued the DIRECTIVE that started the DACA program in 2012.
           The decision by Judge Andrew S. Hanen permits the USCIS to continue accepting new and renewal applications for DACA, but forbids the issuance of new DACA cards to applicants who did not have one before. Judge Hanen is the same judge who blocked the implementation of the DAPA program (for parents of U.S. citizen children) several years ago.
           President Biden said that he was “deeply disappointed” by Judge Hanen’s decision.
           USCIS will probably file an appeal of Judge Hanen’s decision, but this appeal would go to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, the same court that approved Judge Hanen’s previous decision against the DAPA Program.
           The only way the Biden administration can bring a permanent solution to the DACA issue would be by legislation, through the Congress of the U.S.

   Is short, for “administrative closure” – a procedure used by Immigration Judges to stop, or “pause”, Removal/Deportation cases without actually terminating the case.
           It used to be that if an Immigration Judge saw that the non-citizen “in proceedings” has a way to legalize status, the judge would stop the deportation case and give the person time to obtain legalization outside of the court process. This was called “Admin Close”.
           Then came President Trump and his Attorney General who decided that Immigration Judges had no authority to halt, or pause, deportation cases. This put an end to “Admin Close” for several years.
           Last week came Attorney General Merrick Garland, who was appointed by President Biden, and restored, gave back, the power of “Admin Close” to Immigration Judges.
           At least some good was done.


           News broke last week about the current difficulty in getting American passports.
           It seems that the Passport office (a branch of the U.S. Department of State) is so over-loaded with passport applications, that it takes them now 12-18 weeks to process and send a passport. In other words: 3 – 4 1/2 months.
           It is possible to get an emergency appointment within 72 hours (3 days) before traveling, but only for “life or death” emergencies.
           One consolation: If you are overseas and your American passport has expired, you are permitted to board a plane and return to the U.S. on the expired passport. For this you must have in your hands an undamaged U.S. passport with original validity of ten (10) years (or 5, if you are under age 15). Warning: this accommodation expires on December 31, 2021.
           Be careful in planning your overseas travel.


           Shortly before the end of the Trump administration, the fees to file appeals and motions to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and to Immigration Courts were raised by huge amounts.
           The fee to appeal a Removal Order to the BIA was raised from $110 to $975. The fee for a Motion to Reopen or Reconsider to the BIA was raised from $110 to $895. The fee to appeal a denial of a visa petition to the BIA was raised from $110 to $595. And similar increases to other fees.
           Recently, a request was made to Attorney General Merrick Garland to reverse those fee increases, or, at least to moderate them.


           The National Visa Center (NVC) has at least 500,000 qualified applications (with completed paperwork) waiting to be scheduled for interviews at American Consulates.
           It is still unknown what steps the Department of State (US DOS) plans to take to eliminate this backlog and the harmful delays it causes.


           The first step in obtaining an immigrant visa, or a Green Card, for most Employment-based applicants, is an Application for Alien Labor Certification submitted by a prospective American employer (the Sponsor) on behalf of a prospective non-citizen employee. This system is known as PERM and it is the immigration “route” for people who cannot, or don’t want to, immigrate through a family-based petition.
           At present, it takes the U.S. Department of Labor (US DOL) approximately one year (12 months) to process such an application. This is in addition to preparatory work that must be done before actually filing the application, and which could take another 3-4 months.
           The U.S. DOL announced recently that they are making efforts to reduce the processing time to six (6) months only.
3250 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1918
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(213) 383-3222