2017 Year End Immigration Update 2017 Year End Immigration Update

2017 Year End Immigration Update

It’s been quite a year for the Trump administration and efforts to both challenge and alter the course of U.S. immigration policy. Here are a few more changes and proposals as we bring 2017 to a close.
 
1. Travel Ban 3.0. The travel ban is back on, albeit somewhat limited in its impact. On Dec. 4, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two orders staying the preliminary injunctions issued against President Trump’s Sept. 24, 2017 Presidential Proclamation. The Proclamation was the third travel ban issued by President Trump, and it imposes country-specific travel restrictions on nationals from eight countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. In addition, nationals of Iraq will be subject to extra screening measures. These restrictions began worldwide on Dec. 8, 2017. A chart summarizing the restrictions is included below:
 
Country Immigrants Visitors Nonimmigrants Enhanced Screening
Chad x x    
Iran x x X[1] X
Iraq       X
Libya x x    
North Korea x x x  
Somalia x     x
Syria x x x  
Venezuela   X[2]    
Yemen X X    
 
Specifically, the Proclamation suspends the entry of immigrants (those entering the U.S. as permanent residents) and temporary visitors on business or tourist visas (B-1/B-2) for nationals of Chad, Libya, and Yemen. For nationals of Iran, it suspends the entry of immigrants and all nonimmigrants except F (students), M (vocational students), and J (exchange visitor) visas. F, M, and J visas will be subject to enhanced security screening. The Proclamation suspends the entry of immigrants and requires enhanced screening of all nonimmigrants for nationals of Somalia. For nationals of Venezuela, it suspends the entry of certain government officials and their family members on business or tourist visas (B-1/B-2). Finally, the Proclamation suspends the entry of all immigrants and nonimmigrants for nationals of North Korea and Syria.
 
Unless an exemption applies or the individual is eligible for a waiver, the travel restrictions apply to foreign nationals of these designated countries who are outside the U.S. on the effective date, do not have a valid visa on the applicable effective date, and who do not qualify for a reinstated visa or other travel document. The State Department has confirmed no visas will be revoked pursuant to the Proclamation, but foreign nationals from the affected countries should discuss specific risks and international travel needs with their employers and immigration counsel. Generally speaking, our advice regarding avoidance of international travel for citizens from these countries remains unchanged despite some flexibility depending on individual circumstances.
 
2. Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Ending for Nicaragua, Haiti, and Sudan, with further speculation on Honduras and El Salvador. After a review of the conditions upon which these countries’ original TPS designations were based, DHS has determined these substantial country-specific conditions no longer exist. TPS was created by Congress in 1990 with the express purpose of allowing foreign nationals from certain designated countries to remain in the U.S. when country conditions at home were too dangerous (war, famine, natural disasters, etc.). An estimated 325,000 individuals reside in the U.S. pursuant to TPS with the largest numbers from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti. The agency is terminating TPS designation for Nicaragua, Haiti, and Sudan, with delayed effective dates to allow for an orderly transition prior to termination. Sudan’s final termination date is Nov. 2, 2018; Nicaragua’s is Jan. 5, 2019; and Haiti’s is July 22, 2019. Until these dates, Nicaraguan, Haitian, and Sudanese national with TPS will be required to reapply for Employment Authorization Documents in order to legally work in the U.S. until the end of the termination period.
 
Honduras’ TPS status has been extended an additional six months until July 5, 2018 due to DHS’ inability to make a determination on that country’s designation. However, there is speculation that Honduras’ designation will not be extended beyond this date, and additional speculation that El Salvador’s TPS designation will not be extended beyond March 9, 2018. As a result of these anticipated and upcoming TPS terminations, the greatest effect is likely to be felt in the construction, food services, landscaping, childcare, and hospitality industries.
 
3. An end to the H-4 EAD Program? In May 2015, the Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses rule was enacted following normal rule-making procedures and allowing certain spouses in H-4 status to apply for employment authorization. A group of U.S. workers challenged the rule, claiming the H-4 EAD rule threatened American jobs, and filed suit. Since the inauguration, DHS has sought to delay the proceedings in order to reconsider the rule. Most recently, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals granted DHS’ motion to hold the proceedings in abeyance pending further order of the court and directed the parties to file motions to govern further proceedings by Jan. 2, 2018. Given the recent criticism over high skilled immigration, it is possible DHS plans to revoke the H-4 EAD rule. If the rule is revoked, it would follow the usual notice and comment period, which should delay the rescission and give H-4 EAD holders some advance notice.
 
4. DACA updates. On Sept. 5, 2017, the Trump administration ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, arguing Congress needed to provide a permanent solution for young undocumented immigrants. Democrats, moderate Republicans, higher education, and the business community are currently lobbying Congress to pass legislation on this issue by the end of the year. Numerous House Republicans signed onto a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan urging a legislative solution before Congress adjourns for the holidays. Some supporters are advocating for a clean DREAM Act, others are lobbying for the bill to include provisions for enhanced border security and interior enforcement measures, and some want to tack it onto the spending bill. With the holidays around the corner and Congress focused on the tax bill and the spending bill, it’s uncertain that a permanent solution will be passed before the New Year.
 
Happy holidays and our sincere wishes for a peaceful 2018! If you have questions regarding U.S. immigration, please contact Jenifer M. Brown, Kristin Kelley, Christl P. Glier, or any member of Ice Miller's Immigration Group.

This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader should consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader’s specific circumstances.


[1] Except F, M, or J visa holders who are subject to enhanced security screening.
[2] Certain government officials’ entry is suspended, along with their family members entering as visitors.

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