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In what’s becoming a regular occurrence, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has once again extended its flexibility in complying with the requirements related to Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, due to COVID-19. This is the eleventh time increased I-9 flexibility has been extended since the issuance of the initial guidance on March 20, 2020.
 

What the I-9 Flexibility Extension Means for Employers

 
The extension of increased I-9 flexibility has been a long and ongoing occurrence for employers and something we’ve detailed extensively on our blawg:  
 
 
The latest extension will run through December 31, 2021. By the end of the year, the DHS will have to decide whether to once again extend I-9 flexibility or resume “normal” operations. The DHS cautions employers to monitor both the DHS’s and ICE’s Workforce Enforcement Announcements for information about when the extensions end and normal operations resume.
 

What is Increased I-9 Flexibility?

 
The increased I-9 flexibility allows employers more maneuverability when reviewing an employee’s identity and employment authorization documents, enabling them to verify an employee’s identity and authorization documents remotely using fax, email, or a video link. Employers should enter “COVID-19” as the reason for the delay of physical inspection. When “normal” operations resume, employers have just three business days to physically inspect the documents. 
 
It’s worth noting there are different standards for who qualifies for increased I-9 flexibility depending on the date an employee was hired:
 
  • Employees hired before May 31, 2021, only qualified for I-9 flexibility if their workplaces were operating totally remotely—that is, no employees were physically present at a work location. 
  • Employees hired on or after April 1, 2021, are offered more leeway and only need to work in a remote setting due to COVID-19 precautions to qualify for increased I-9 flexibility, as the DHS and ICE made adjustments in order to accommodate for evolving workplaces.    
 
Employees hired on or after April 1, 2021, will remain exempt from physical document inspection requirements until they return to non-remote work on a regular, consistent, or predictable basis, or the increased flexibility related to I-9 is terminated. Employers returning to a hybrid office/work-from-home arrangement that completed I-9s remotely will need to verify I-9 documentation in person within three days, once return to work is initiated.  
 

Increased I-9 Flexibility Going Forward

 
It’s difficult to predict how the DHS will handle increased I-9 flexibility going forward, but given that it has been extended numerous times, and COVID-19 continues to disrupt workplaces, it’s likely it will get extended again at the start of 2022. Then again, there is a chance that the flexibility could end one day without warning. 
 

The Challenge of Increased I-9 Flexibility  

 
Increased I-9 flexibility has provided a valuable solution to employers dealing with the challenges presented by COVID-19, but it also poses some serious issues for employers. Most notably challenged are employers that have hired a large number of employees who completed their I-9s through the exception—they’ll have just three days to complete an in-person review of required documentation when “normal” operations resume. 
 
Furthermore, employers must provide written documentation of their remote onboarding and telework policy for every employee. Proactive businesses will want to have a plan in place to remain in I-9 compliance by verifying these employees’ documentation within the three-day window. 
 

GoffWilson Immigration Law

 
GoffWilson has more than 30 years of experience practicing immigration law and is a trusted partner to businesses of all sizes in I-9 compliance—assisting through comprehensive company audits, training workshops, and public training seminars. If you have a question about what the latest extension means for your business or want to develop a strategy for when “normal” operations resume, GoffWilson can help. Contact GoffWilson today to learn how we can assist your business in navigating I-9 regulations or any immigration issues. Immigration isn’t just what we do, it’s our passion.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that certain F-1 students seeking optional practical training (OPT) can file Form I-765 online beginning April 15, 2021. This creates a more user-friendly option for eligible students and will help increase the efficiencies for adjudicators. 
 
USCIS has made news recently for lengthy OPT delays and in February, 18 international students filed a class-action lawsuit against USCIS and ICE in response to delays.  
 

What is OPT?

 
OPT is a temporary employment option that allows F-1 students to work in positions related to their area of study. Eligible students can apply to work for up to 12 months before completing their studies (pre-completion OPT) or for 12 months after completing their academic program (post-completion OPT). F-1 students graduating with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math ) degrees are eligible to apply for an additional 24-month OPT extension. 
Who is Eligible to File Online?
 
Online filing is limited to F-1 students filing Form I-765 for OPT. F-1 students eligible to file online fall into one of three categories: 
 
  • Pre-Completion OPT
  • Post-Completion OPT
  • 24-Month Extension of OPT for STEM graduates
 
Filing online is not mandatory. USCIS will continue to accept the latest paper version of Form I-765 by mail.
 

Benefits of the Online Option 

 
The option to electronically file Form I-765 offers students a handful of benefits over the traditional paper form. Students filing online have 24/7 access to the status of their case and expedited communication with USCIS—notices are sent online, eliminating mailing time. Form I-765 applications are processed in order of arrival, and while online submissions aren’t prioritized over paper forms, filing online will get you in the queue more quickly.    
 

Increasing Online Access

 
The move to allow the filing of Form I-765 is a positive step toward increasing electronic options at USCIS. According to Tracy Renaud, Senior Official Performing the Duties of USCIS Director, “USCIS remains committed to maximizing our online filing capabilities.” 
 

GoffWilson Immigration 

 
GoffWilson solely practices immigration law and has a decades-long history of helping businesses, institutions of higher education, and students navigate ever-changing and complex immigration laws. If you have a question about the new online filing option, STEM OPT compliance, or any other immigration questions, contact GoffWilson today. Immigration isn’t just what we do, it’s our passion!

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has extended their Form I-9 flexibility policy an additional 60 days—it’s now set to expire on May 31, 2021. They have also altered the language of the original guidance to broaden its scope.  
 

I-9 Flexibility Timeline  

 
The guidance that expanded I-9 flexibility was originally instituted on March 19, 2020, in response to a vast swath of U.S. businesses transitioning their workforce to remote operations because of COVID-19. This is the ninth time the policy has been extended since its implementation, a process we have detailed extensively on our blawg: 
 
 
It’s also a process we continue to monitor and advise clients on as businesses look toward the future, and begin to resume “normal” operations. 
 

I-9 Flexibility Expanded Range

 
One notable change in the updated guidance alters who this provision affects. Prior to the latest guidance, eligibility was limited to “employers and workplaces that are operating remotely. If there are employees physically present at a work location, no exceptions are being implemented…” In a concession to today’s evolving workplace, the DHS and ICE have expanded the scope of whom the provision applies to, which now includes “employees hired on or after April 1, 2021” who “work exclusively in a remote setting due to COVID-19-related precautions…”
 
This change allows some flexibility for companies with only small teams working in the office—such as security or IT—while the majority of their workforce is still operating remotely. It also accommodates businesses slowly phasing onsite employees back in. It’s important to note that this provision isn’t retroactive, but only applies going forward. 
 

Looking Ahead at I-9 Flexibility

 
The latest increased I-9 flexibility provision has assuaged some concerns of employers, but questions remain moving forward, the largest of which revolves around the termination of the guidance. Employers are encouraged to monitor the DHS and ICE websites for additional updates regarding the status of Form I-9 completion flexibilities and there is some fear that the policy could end one day without warning. For this reason, we encourage employers to update I-9s in person whenever possible. 
 
We are advising employers to have a strategy for when this guidance expires and normal I-9 processing resumes. Currently, businesses will have three days after the policy ends to inspect documents, update expired List B documents in person, and ensure original forms are accounted for. We also suggest that employers first confirm they’re eligible to take advantage of the expanded scope of I-9 flexibility before moving to virtual completion. 
 

GoffWilson Immigration Law

 
The fluidity of the order makes it challenging for businesses to form and implement long-term I-9 compliance plans, but GoffWilson can help. For more than 30 years, we have practiced immigration and have been an important resource—through comprehensive company audits, training workshops, and public training seminars—for businesses of all sizes committed to remaining in I-9 compliance. Contact GoffWilson today to learn how we can help your business navigate the ever-changing I-9 regulations.

Good news for foreign-born workers and employers: the Biden administration has allowed a pandemic-related ban on a handful of temporary-worker visas to expire. This move will make a wide swath of U.S. businesses very happy—the controversial ban was the subject of a lawsuit brought by several large business groups, including the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 
 

The Worker-Visa Ban

 
The ban on temporary-worker visas was implemented last June when the Trump administration issued the Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak. The ban covered temporary employment visas such as:  
 
  • H-1B
  • H-2B
  • L-1A
  • L-1B
  • Certain J-1 
 
The ban also encompassed corresponding visas such as the H-4, which are issued to the spouses of workers on H-1B visas, and the L-2, which is for spouses of employees on L-1A and L-1B visas. Originally, the ban was set to expire on December 31, 2020, but it was extended until March 31, 2021, before President Trump left office. 
 

What the Ban’s Expiration Means for Employers

 
The most notable element of the Biden administration allowing the proclamation to lapse is the end of the moratorium on H-1B visas, a temporary-worker visa for individuals in specialty occupations that require specialized knowledge. For example, H-1B visas are frequently used by technology companies to fill their ranks of coders and engineers.
 
Tech companies have been lobbying for the elimination of this ban since its implementation. In August, some of the nation’s tech giants—such as Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Netflix, and Twitter—signed a brief challenging it. It’s also been reported that there has been pressure on the Biden administration to lift the ban since taking office. 
 
Among the many benefits of the ban’s expiration is that it allows technology companies to access much-needed skilled employees. During the height of the pandemic, while many brick-and-mortar companies struggled, technology-based businesses thrived, outpacing the pool of qualified employees. A report from the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) shows job vacancy postings increased in computer-related positions by 11% as of March 2021.
 

Affected Visas Important to Other Industries  

 
High-skilled and high-profile visas like the H-1B, L-1A, and L-1B will steal headlines, but letting the ban expire also opens up H-2B visas—used to fill temporary, seasonal jobs in non-agricultural industries, like hospitality—before a busy summer season. Regionally, Maine businesses and lawmakers have already signaled the need for these important employees ahead of what looks likely to be a bustling tourist season.
 

Other Favorable Immigration Moves

 
Allowing the ban on temporary workers to expire comes on the heels of other favorable immigration policies from the Biden administration. At the beginning of March, they revoked the previous administration’s proclamation banning legal immigration for family members of U.S. citizens and residents. 
 

GoffWilson Immigration 

 
GoffWilson has long been a partner of employers seeking to access a global labor force. From securing H-1B visas to bring the world’s best and brightest minds to fill valuable, hard-to-place positions to ensuring access to much-needed seasonal workers, put our 30+ years of experience to work for you. Contact us today—immigration is what we do!

H-1B filing season is just around the corner and if your business is hopeful to land one of these coveted visas, the time to start preparing is now. USCIS recently announced the initial registration period will run between March 9, 2021, and March 25, 2021. 
 

The H-1B Visa Application Process

 
For the second year in a row, an online registration process will be used to streamline the exchange of information between USCIS and employers. Nominal information is needed to register, such as:
 
  • Legal name 
  • Gender
  • Date of birth 
  • Country of birth
  • Country of citizenship
 
The registration will also want to know if the applicant is, or will be, eligible for the advanced-degree cap. 
 
Provided registrations outnumber the H-1B cap—there is no indication this won’t happen—prospective petitioners will be chosen via lottery, as has been the practice in prior years. The DHS announced the delay of the implementation of a Trump-era regulation that would have shifted the lottery to a wage-tiered system. 
 
USCIS will notify employers and their immigration counsel of winning registrations by March 31, 2021. On April 1, 2021, USCIS will start to accept cap petitions. It’s important to note that, while registration requires minimal information, it is imperative that businesses enter this period prepared and should work with counsel to ensure the best success for the H-1B visa. Proactive businesses will also have begun collecting the supporting information and documentation to ensure a smooth filing. Immigration counsel will walk you through what is needed. 
 

H-1B Visas

 
Only 65,000 H-1B visas are made available each year with an additional 20,000 open to individuals possessing a U.S. master’s degree or higher. The imposed quota is called the H-1B Cap. To highlight how in-demand these visas are, USCIS received about 275,000 registrations last year. Roughly 46% of all registrations were for prospective petitioners with U.S. advanced degrees.
 

Goffwilson Immigration Law 

 
GoffWilson is a valuable partner in the H-1B process, ensuring the smooth navigation of everything from registration to filing a full petition. We can also ensure that potential beneficiaries are worthy of an H-1B visa, saving businesses time and money in the long run. GoffWilson’s complete H-1B petition packages include the required USCIS forms and filing fees, a Labor Condition Application (LCA), information surrounding the employer and the offered position, and documentation regarding the employee.  
 
Do you have questions about the H-1B Visa and the application process surrounding it? Our H-1B team has assisted thousands of employers and employees with H-1B applications and we are waiting to help you. Contact GoffWilson today and set yourself up for success this H-1B season.

 
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have, once again, extended the I-9 flexibility that was set to expire December 31, 2020 for 30 more days. Following this extension, increased I-9 flexibility for remote workplaces will run through January 31, 2021.  

History of Increased I-9 Flexibility 

The DHS and ICE instituted increased I-9 flexibility on March 19, 2020, in response to the precautions employers and employees were taking because of COVID-19. This is the seventh time since the policy’s establishment that it has been extended—a process we have detailed extensively on our blawg: 

What is increased I-9 Flexibility?

Increased I-9 flexibility allows employers to verify an employee’s identity and authorization documents remotely using fax, email, or a video link. Employers have three business days to physically inspect the documents when “normal” operations resume.  

Who Qualifies?

It’s important to know that the increased flexibility only applies to employers and workplaces operating 100% remotely. There are relatively few exceptions for businesses with employees present at workplaces; however, the DHS will evaluate situations where employers or employees are subject to COVID-19 quarantine or lockdown protocols on a case-by-case basis. 

Looking Ahead 

It’s hard to predict the future of I-9 flexibility for remote employers, especially when you take into account that it has already been extended numerous times and COVID-19 cases are surging in the U.S., but it is reasonable to assume that the flexibility will be extended once again before January 31, 2021. The DHS and ICE advise employers to monitor their websites for the latest news about I-9 flexibility—particularly when it will be terminated.

GoffWilson

With a gray area around who qualifies, no clear end date, and a short window to bring documentation up to date when “normal” operations resume, it behooves employers to have a plan in place for I-9 compliance. GoffWilson solely practices immigration law and has assisted businesses of all sizes and types to develop strategies to remain I-9 compliant. If you have a question about what the latest extension means for your company, or any other I-9 or immigration questions, contact GoffWilson today! Immigration isn’t just what we do, it’s our passion.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced in a Federal Register Notice that it will comply with a series of court orders and injunctions by extending the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) of beneficiaries from six countries for nine months. The six countries covered are:
  • El Salvador
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua
  • Sudan
TPS status was set to expire for those from the aforementioned countries on January 2, 2021, and coverage will now continue to October 4, 2021. 
 

What is TPS?

 
TPS provides a safe haven in the U.S. for foreign nationals escaping from countries experiencing armed conflicts, natural disasters, and other events who may not qualify for asylum and for whom potentially dangerous situations in their home countries makes them disinclined to return. TPS allows recipients to live and work in the U.S., but it does not provide a path to permanent residence. The Secretary of the DHS must periodically review TSP status and can choose to extend it for periods of six to 18 months if conditions in the country continue to meet the requirements for designation. 
 

What the TPS Extension Means for Employers 

 
The Federal Register Notice automatically extends the expiration of all TPS-related documentation for the six covered countries through October 4, 2021. This documentation includes:
  • Employment Authorization Documents (EADs)
  • Forms I-797
  • Notices of Action 
  • Forms I-94
  • Arrival/Departure Records
More simply, the order allows covered individuals to live and work in the U.S. for the next nine months. It also spans through the Trump presidency and into President-elect Biden’s time in office. President-elect Biden has vowed to not return TPS recipients to unsafe countries.
 
Use the chart below to determine which documents a current TPS beneficiary may present, along with the new expiration date of their automatically extended EAD. 
 
If the employee’s EAD has
category code of A-12 or C-19
and a Card Expires date of:
Enter the new expiration date of
the employee’s automatically
extended EAD on Form I-9:
You must reverify the
employee before they
start work on:
07/22/2017 10/04/2021 10/05/2021
11/02/2017 10/04/2021 10/05/2021
01/05/2018 10/04/2021 10/05/2021
01/22/2018 10/04/2021 10/05/2021
03/09/2018 10/04/2021 10/05/2021
06/24/2018 10/04/2021 10/05/2021
07/05/2018 10/04/2021 10/05/2021
11/02/2018 10/04/2021 10/05/2021
01/05/2019 10/04/2021 10/05/2021
04/02/2019 10/04/2021 10/05/2021
06/24/2019 10/04/2021 10/05/2021
07/22/2019 10/04/2021 10/05/2021
09/09/2019 10/04/2021 10/05/2021
01/02/2020 10/04/2021 10/05/2021
01/05/2020 10/04/2021 10/05/2021
03/24/2020 10/04/2021 10/05/2021
01/04/2021 10/04/2021 10/05/2021

 

GoffWilson Immigration Law 

 
If you or your business have any questions about how this notice affects I-9 compliance, how to properly process I-9s for those with extended work authorizations like TPS, or have any issues with employees or would-be employees from these six countries, contact GoffWilson today. GoffWilson solely practices immigration law and is a valuable partner to businesses with foreign-born workers—helping them access a global workforce and remain in compliance with complex and ever-changing immigration law. Immigration isn’t just what we do, it’s our passion!
 
Happy holidays to employers and workplaces operating remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic—the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have extended their guidance allowing increased I-9 flexibility through December 31, 2020.
 
Through the guidance, workplaces functioning remotely are allowed to inspect Section 2 documents over video, fax, email, or other formats. 
 

Increased I-9 Flexibility During COVID-19 

 
The policy was originally enacted on March 20, 2020, and was scheduled to expire after 60 days. Since its announcement of the guidance, DHS has extended it six times (including this most recent extension). The last time the guidance was revisited was September 19, 2020, when DHS extended the policy for an additional 60 days, having it run through November 19, 2020. 
 
GoffWilson has rigorously detailed the policy and its extension over this period of time on our blawg: 
 

Who The Guidance Applies To 


Increased I-9 flexibility only applies to employers and businesses that are operating remotely. Businesses with employees physically present at the workplace do not qualify for these exceptions and must follow the normal rules and regulations to remain in compliance. 

Eligible employers taking advantage of this guidance will want to note, under the current policy, when “normal operations” resume, they’ll have just three days to verify the employment eligibility in-person of any employee onboarded remotely.
 

Looking Ahead at I-9s

 
It’s hard to predict how long employers can anticipate the increase in I-9 flexibility to last, especially given the number of times it has already been extended. It’s similarly difficult to anticipate how DHS and ICE will resume “normal operations.”  
 

GoffWilson Immigration Law  

 
Solely practicing immigration law, GoffWilson can provide businesses with clarity, help them to develop a proactive plan (for the present and future), and remain in compliance when dealing with fluid regulations such as the guidance on increased I-9 flexibility. GoffWilson is a partner to businesses operating globally and a valuable resource for staying current on complex and ever-changing immigration law. Contact GoffWilson today—immigration isn’t just what we do, it’s our passion!

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has published regulatory changes that further restrict H-1B visa eligibility. The changes are set to take effect on December 7, 2020, although they’re already facing challenges in court. Some of the key changes are:
 

Specialty Occupation

 
The rule changes the definition of a “specialty occupation” and now requires a direct relationship between the degree field(s) and the duties of the position. General degrees, such as engineering or business, without further specialization or explanation, are no longer sufficient. In cases involving degrees in multiple and dissimilar fields of study, petitioners must demonstrate how each field provides specialized knowledge and is directly related to the position. Petitioners must establish that a bachelor’s degree in a specific specialty is a minimum requirement for entry into the occupation in the U.S. by establishing that: 
 
  • The required degree is always the requirement for the occupation as a whole;
  • The required degree is always the requirement within the relevant industry;
  • The required degree is always the petitioner’s requirement for the position; or
  • The specific duties of the position are so specialized, complex, or unique that the required degree is necessarily required to perform these duties.
 

Third-Party Worksites

 
The rule adds specific definitions of “worksite” and “third-party worksite” and sets a one-year maximum validity period for all H-1B petitions in which the beneficiary will be working at a third-party worksite. A worksite is now defined as “the physical location where the work is actually performed by the H-1B nonimmigrant.” A third-party worksite is now defined as “a worksite, other than the beneficiary’s residence in the United States, that is not owned or leased, and not operated, by the petitioner.” 
 

Employer-Employee Relationship

 
The rule also changes the definitions of “United States employer” and “employer-employee relationship.” Specifically, a U.S. employer is defined as a person, firm, corporation, company, or other association or organization in the United States which: 
 
  • Engages the beneficiary to work within the U.S., and has a bona fide offer for the beneficiary;
  • Has an employer-employee relationship with respect to employees under this part; and
  • Has an Internal Revenue Service Tax identification number.
 
The employer-employee relationship is defined to be the “conventional master-servant relationship as understood by common-law agency doctrine” and is to be evaluated by USCIS through a list of eleven factors. A petitioner must also provide corroborating evidence of work in a specialty occupation at the time of filing.
 

Site Visits

 
The rule states the authority of USCIS to conduct H-1B site visits and describes the scope of inspections, which may include the petitioner’s headquarters, satellite locations, or the location where the beneficiary works or will work, including third-party worksites. The rule also specifies that failure or refusal to cooperate with a site visit may be grounds for denial or revocation of any H-1B petition for the location(s) which are a subject of inspection.
 
Contact GoffWilson today to prepare yourself and your employees for these regulatory changes. GoffWilson solely practices immigration law and is an ideal partner for navigating complex and ever-changing immigration laws.


 
A federal judge has temporarily blocked the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) increase in fees (more than 80% in some cases)—targeting individuals wanting to immigrate to and become citizens of the United States—that were slated to go into effect on October 2, 2020. 
 

Increase immigration Fees

 
The most significant issue that immigration advocates have with the USCIS rule was the proposed fee hikes, which were both sweeping and steep. Below are some of the notable price changes, along with the percentage of the increase:
 
  • H-1B visa: $460 to $555 (+21%)
  • L visa: $460 to $805 (+75%)
  • O visa:$460 to $705, (+53%)
  • P visa: $460 to $695 (+51%)
 
The cost of other visa petitions such as those for TN, E, Q, and R visas are also all marked for increases greater than 50%. Additionally, the USCIS rule seeks to impose higher fees on companies with more than 50 employees with at least 50% of their workforce in H-1B and L-1 status by imposing an additional $4,000 fee on extensions. 
 
Immigrants wanting to become U.S. citizens are not immune from the price hike; naturalization application fees would soar from $640 to $1,160—more than an 80% increase. For context, the last time the fees for naturalization rose was in 2016, when they went up roughly 20%. 
 

Setting the U.S. Apart

 
Seemingly no immigrant group would be exempted by the cost increases—the rule would also establish a $50 charge to individuals applying for asylum, as well as begin charging asylum applicants $490 for employment authorization documents (EAD), something which is currently free. This change would make the United States one of the few countries in the world to charge a fee to asylum seekers. 
 

Longer Premium Processing Times and Higher Costs 

 
The other notable proposed change halted by the block is longer premium processing times, as the USCIS would have begun processing cases within 15 business days, as opposed to the current 15 calendar days it currently operates within. Additionally, under the stopped USCIS rule, premium processing fees on services other than H-2B and R-1 petitions are slated to jump from $1,440 to $2,500. 
 

The Reason for the Increase in Fees 

 
USCIS is a fee-funded agency, meaning that a considerable portion of their funding comes from the fees it collects. The reasons for the shortfall of funding are up for debate; some cite the substantial decline in immigration applications that has resulted due to the coronavirus pandemic, while others argue that the White House’s restrictive immigration policies and anti-immigrant rhetoric, along with increased costs from their more intense application processing is responsible for the shrinking revenue. 
 
The lack of funding has forced USCIS to make spending cuts and the department has made repeated threats of furloughing a large portion of their workforce.  
 

The Ruling 

 
U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White (who was appointed by President George W. Bush) issued a preliminary injunction of the USCIS rule, finding numerous flaws in it—most notably, USCIS’s failure to sufficiently justify the large fee increases and failure to take into account the impact the significant fee increases will have. Judge Jeffrey White also questions the legitimacy of the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, as he was potentially unlawfully appointed and never confirmed by the Senate. 
 

What this Ruling Means

 
It’s always difficult to predict exactly how these rulings will translate. In the short-term, Judge White’s ruling halts the massive fee increases which is a win for immigrants in, and hoping to come to, the U.S. On the negative side, it could mean that USCIS follows through on furloughing employees, which will lead to longer processing times. 
 
In the long-term, the court striking down the legitimacy of the acting secretary of the DHS could have a ripple effect on the policies enacted under his watch, which could theoretically undo a considerable amount of the Trump administration’s immigration policies put in place over the past year and half. 
 

GoffWilson Immigration Law

 
If you’re interested in learning what this ruling means for you, your family, or your business, contact GoffWilson today. For example, fee hikes are likely coming and those who act early might save a sizable amount of money. Solely practicing immigration law, GoffWilson is uniquely qualified to help you navigate the complex and ever-changing U.S. immigration laws and develop an immigration strategy tailored to your personal needs. At GoffWilson, immigration isn’t just what we do, it’s our passion.
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