Immigration Law

Green card renewal denial is on the rise

In Indiana and across the U.S., the likelihood of immigrants being denied a green card renewal has been on the rise. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reports that it rejects roughly 8% of green card applications and petitions. Thousands more green card renewal applications are denied by the USCIS. Specifically, the USCIS denied an average of 30,242 green card renewal applicants per year during fiscal years 2016-2017. For fiscal years 2018-2019, the average shot up to 103,140 applicants per year that were denied green card renewals. When an applicant is denied a green card...

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How the immigration freeze will affect employment visas

Foreign nationals may be affected by immigration changes announced by the United States government on April 21. The H1-B and EB-5 visas are both exempt from the changes, but individuals who wish to move to Indiana on either of these visas may encounter other obstacles. Danger for the H-1B visa? The immigration freeze, which is supposed to last for 60 days, does not affect several other categories, including science and health professionals working on COVID-19 as well as spouses and eligible family members of lawful permanent residents and citizens. However, the U.S. government's focus on...

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Draft executive order tightens restrictions on H-1B worker visas

Employers in Indiana with foreign technology workers in the country on the H1-B visa program may soon face new restrictions and requirements. A draft executive order from President Donald Trump will place a stronger emphasis on protecting American workers. The executive order would call on technology workers already here with H1-B visas to submit updated information about their certifications. Their paperwork must indicate that they are not displacing Americans who could be doing their jobs. Additionally, the order calls for a suspension on approving entry for people seeking work visas for a...

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Video hearings become more common for detained children

The images of detained immigrant children have sparked concerns in Indiana and across the country, and some worry that the increased use of video hearings to process their cases may impose additional challenges. Video hearings, rather than in-person court sessions, are being used in more cases involving immigrant children, often those who are held in detention or who are unaccompanied minors. Many of the hearings have taken place in Houston while the judge hearing the cases is in Atlanta. However, some advocates believe that this policy may be expanded nationwide. The hearings have included...

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Immigration Agencies’ Intrusive Searches of Cell Phones, Laptops Are Ruled Unconstitutional

A federal court ruled this week that sweeping policies permitting U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to search personal cell phones, laptops, and other electronic devices without reasonable suspicion are unconstitutional. The policies that the court rejected authorized CBP and ICE officers to search the contents of electronic devices of people arriving at U.S. borders, including U.S. airports, without reasonable suspicion that those devices might have evidence of illegal activity and without a court order. Immigration officers could...

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Bipartisan support expected for Syrian interpreter visa bill

Many Indiana residents are aware that there has been controversy over President Trump's decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria. Two lawmakers are introducing a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Syrian Partner Protection Act, that would reserve 4,000 visas each year for Syrian Kurds and others who assisted the U.S. in its fight against the Islamic State. The bill is cosponsored by Republican Rep. Michael Waltz and Democratic Rep. Jason Crow. It is expected to gain bipartisan support, particularly among military veterans who are now in Congress. Waltz and Crow are retired...

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Visa applicants required to prove health insurance coverage

Rising health care costs are troubling many people seeking visas to the United States, especially after President Donald Trump signed an executive order requiring visa applicants to show that they have health insurance or the means to cover costs. The proclamation would ban immigrant applicants from entering the country if they cannot show that their health care costs will be covered. In order to receive a visa, they will need to show that they will have approved coverage or be able to manage the costs on their own, a challenging burden given the expense of American health care in Indiana...

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USCIS policy changes raise H-1B petition denials considerably

A Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought forward by the American Immigration Lawyers Association has revealed documents that detail how the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has raised the denial rates for H-1B petitions. Indiana companies that are seeking an H-1B visa for prospective foreign employees now face a much higher rate of rejection compared to a few years ago. In 2015, USCIS adjudicators denied 6% of these visa applications. During the first quarter of fiscal year 2019, the denial rate had jumped to 32%. Requests for Evidence from adjudicators have also stalled roughly...

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Immigration law change could affect legal migrants

Some Indiana residents have raised concerns about the Trump administration's approach to immigration, especially those with a personal connection to these issues. However, the administration has claimed that many of its initiatives are cracking down only on undocumented people or violations of the law. A new regulation issued by the Department of Homeland Security could drastically change the way that visa and green card applications from legal immigrants are treated, including those with all of their documentation fully in place. The administration announced its new understanding of the...

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Immigration rule may affect asylum seekers at border

Some immigrants seeking asylum in Indiana might be denied if they passed through another country on the way to the United States. A rule by the Trump administration that was set to take effect on July 16 requires people to seek asylum in countries traveled through before doing so in the United States. There are exceptions for a few people, such as victims of human trafficking. The rule comes as a surge of migrants from Central America continue to arrive at the southern border as they flee violence in their home countries. According to the TRAC Immigration program at Syracuse University,...

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