U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) resumed premium processing today for all H-1B visa petitions subject to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 cap.

When a petitioner requests the agency’s premium processing service, USCIS guarantees a 15-day processing time. If the 15- calendar day processing time is not met, the agency will refund the petitioner’s premium processing service fee and continue with the expedited processing of the application. This service is only available for pending petitions of FY 2018 cap.

What is DACA?

On June 2012 the Obama administration created DACA or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program that protects young people that were brought to the US illegally by their parents from deportation. It also allows them to receive permission to work, to study and obtain driver’s licenses.

There are around 800,000 DACA recipients, including 5,000 Indians, and an additional estimated 6,000 individuals from India that might be eligible for DACA.

How these young Indians became undocumented?

For most South Asian recipients, their parents had come to the U.S. on temporary travel documentation such as tourist visas to seek better opportunities. Some of these recipients sought employment visas that never came through. These are some examples of how these young Indians became undocumented once they were already in the U.S.

Becoming DACA recipients

In order to apply for DACA, applicants had to be 30 years old or younger when the program was implemented. They had to prove that they had lived in the U.S. continuously since June 15, 2007 and that they had arrived in the U.S. before they were 16 years old.

Applicants also had to show they had no criminal records and that they were enrolled in high school or college, or serve in the military. 

The application process takes several weeks and most applicants hire lawyers to help them with the process.

What will happen to Indian immigrants if DACA is not expanded by congress?

According to the Department of Homeland Security, DACA will be phase out, and will officially end in six months.

The Trump administration announced that those already enrolled in DACA will remain covered until their permits expire. However, no more applications will be accepted after September 5th.

DACA recipients whose permits expire before March 5, 2018, are eligible to renew them for another two years as long as they apply by October 5, 2017. DACA recipients, whose permits expire beyond March 5, will not be able to renew and could be subject to deportation when their permits expire. This will also apply to those that miss the October 5 deadline.

Facing deportation? President Trump said in a statement that he had advised the Department of Homeland Security that DACA recipients are not enforcement priorities unless they are criminals, are involved in criminal activities or are members of a gang.

If Congress does not act, and does not pass a bill that will provide a path to citizenship for DREAMERS, it could mean that aside from facing deportations these young undocumented people could be forced to leave their current employers, take lower wage jobs, and will not be able to pay for college or help their families financially.

However, Trump tweeted that Congress had 6 months to legalize DACA and if they fail to do so, he will revisit the issue.

 

As of September 5, 2017, the 2012 memo that allowed the creation of DACA has been withdrawn.  In doing so, President Trump has left the final decision to Congress to decide in 180 days whether to reinstate or eliminate DACA.This means that at the moment, individuals with the qualifications to apply will not be able to do so. However, individuals already benefiting from DACA with valid EADs may continue to work. If your EAD is expiring before March 5, 2018, you will have until October 5,  2017, to apply for a 2-year renewal. If your EAD expires after March 5, 2018, you will not be able to renew your EAD.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin expanding in-person interviews for certain immigration benefit applicants whose benefit, if granted, would allow them to permanently reside in The United States This change complies with Executive Order 13780, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” and is part of the agency’s comprehensive strategy to further improve the detection and prevention of fraud and further enhance the integrity of the immigration system.

Effective Oct. 1, USCIS will begin to phase-in interviews for 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 in order for their application for permanent residency to be adjudicated. Beyond these categories, USCIS is planning an incremental expansion of interviews to other benefit types.

Conducting in-person interviews will provide USCIS officers with the opportunity to verify the information provided in an individual’s application, to discover new information that may be relevant to the adjudication process, and to determine the credibility of the individual seeking permanent residence in the United States. USCIS will meet the additional interview requirement through enhancements in training and technology as well as transitions in some aspects of case management.

This change will increase the work load of USCIS and will cause a significant delay in obtaining permanent residents. Especially for the Indian immigration whose priority dates are backlogged this process is going increase the time it takes for them to get the green card.