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Indianapolis Immigration Law Blog

Immigration courts' backlog grows during shutdown

The government shutdown is having a major impact on federal workers and their families in Indiana and across the country, but it is also affecting others as well. For example, already-massive immigration court backlogs are becoming even greater. For every week the government remains closed, the number of backlogged cases grows by 20,000. The number of delayed cases had already reached a record high, even before the shutdown began after President Trump refused to support a budget that would not fund his proposed border wall.

Since the president withdrew support for a bill to keep the government running in December 2018, over 42,726 immigration court hearings were postponed. In many of these cases, the people going to the hearings had already waited for up to four years before being scheduled in court. The immigration courts already have a backlog of over 800,000 cases, and those cancelled by the shutdown may go to the back of the line to be scheduled for a new hearing. This could pose even greater concerns for immigrants than even the continuing long delays.

Three undocumented men arrested in Chatham

ICE arrested three undocumented men in a restaurant kitchen raid in Chatham, Columbia County, New York, last week and detained them in the Albany County Jail, according to the Albany County Sheriff and local immigration activists who interviewed one man arrested and a restaurant employee.

Confusion surrounds changes to asylum practices

For those in Indiana dealing with the U.S. immigration system, reports about the Trump administration's stance on border security may be deeply concerning. Individuals may be worried about their family members as well as their own ability to enter or remain in the country. One issue that has troubled many is the announcement that the U.S. government plans to process applications for asylum from inside Mexico. According to reports, both Mexican and U.S. officials are unsure about how the plan will operate and what effects it will have on asylum seekers.

The asylum process allows immigrants to seek safety from persecution and credible threats of violence. Trump administration officials have announced a number of initiatives designed to decrease the number of asylum applications; although, some of these policies have been blocked from implementation by federal courts. Someone who is seeking asylum will face a hearing that determines whether they have a credible fear of being returned to their country of origin. In many cases, an asylum seeker will then move forward to a hearing before an immigration judge.

Legislation my remove per-country caps for employment visas

Proposed legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, named the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, may place per-country caps on visas for immigrants wishing to work in Indiana and other states. According to authors of the bill, the goal of this legislation is to create fairer wait times and reduce the green card backlog, especially for Indian and Chinese foreign nationals. A result of this change may mean increased backlogs and wait times for applicants from all other nations.

If passed, this law would be implemented by allocating most available visas to applicants from India and China. In order to avoid shutting out all applicants from other countries, a three year transition period would allow a certain percentage of non Chinese or Indian visas to be processed. If the bill works as intended, wait times will average out in about seven years after the law is enacted.

What is an EB-5 visa and how can it help your business?

There are many paths to U.S. permanent residence, and one popular option for investors or entrepreneurs from other countries is the Employment-Based fifth preference category (EB-5) visa. This option is one of five employment-based preference visa programs in the U.S.

 

Proposed rule would make changes to the H-1B process

One of the major work visa programs here in the U.S. is the H-1B program. Under this program, employers can seek out temporary work visas for specialty workers from other countries that they wish to have work in their U.S. operations. Recently, the federal government issued a proposed rule that would make some changes to the application process for this program.

For one, it would add an online registration requirement for companies planning to apply for an H-1B visa for a foreign worker. The idea behind this requirement is that companies would then only have to submit the full paperwork for applying for an H-1B visa if they are actually selected to apply.

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