US immigration changes you might have missed in all the hullaballoo

9/28/2017, 4:19 p.m.
In what can only be called the maddening crowd of immigration protests and discussions on whether Democrats should make a ...
Immigration Flickr/Creative Commons/Jeff Djevdet/

In what can only be called the maddening crowd of immigration protests and discussions on whether Democrats should make a deal with the devil and the details of such, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has gone ahead and quietly made changes that will have an impact on U. S. employers seeking to hire temporary non-agricultural workers, on Sudanese immigrants who are here on Temporary Protected Status and on some immigrants who previously did not have to be interviewed before adjusting their status.

Here’s what you should know:

(1) The USCIS says it is no longer accepting petitions from U. S. employers seeking to hire temporary non-agricultural workers under the one-time increase to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 H-2B cap announced in July.

USCIS has stopped accepting petitions and is rejecting any FY 2017 H-2B cap-subject petitions received after Sept. 15 because the agency says it has received a total request of 13,534 workers.

Additionally, agency officials say it is committed to protecting U.S. workers, so petitioning employers are now required to attest, under penalty of perjury, that their business would likely suffer irreparable harm if they could not hire all their requested H-2B workers before the end of the fiscal year. Some employers were also required to conduct a fresh round of recruitment efforts for U.S. workers before being allowed to petition for additional foreign workers. Petitions that have been submitted but are not approved by USCIS before Oct.1 will be denied, and any associated fees will not be refunded.

(2) Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke has determined that conditions in Sudan no longer support its designation for Temporary Protected Status. TPS for Sudanese will now end officially Nov. 2, 2018.

Current beneficiaries of Sudan’s TPS designation seeking to extend their TPS status must re-register and will be allowed one year to prepare for and arrange their departure from the United States or to apply for other immigration benefits for which they might be eligible.

(3) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will begin expanding in-person interviews for certain immigration benefit applicants whose benefit, if granted, would allow them to get a green card.

These categories include the following:

• Adjustment of status applications based on employment (Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status).

• Refugee/asylee relative petitions (Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition) for beneficiaries who are in the United States and are petitioning to join a principal asylee/refugee applicant.

Previously, applicants in these categories did not require an in-person interview with USCIS officers for their application for permanent residency to be adjudicated. Beyond these categories, USCIS is planning an incremental expansion of interviews to other benefit types.

This change complies with Trump Executive Order 13780, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.”

The writer is CMO at Hard Beat Communications, Inc., which owns the brands NewsAmericasNow, CaribPRWire and InvestCaribbeanNow.