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March 2018 Archives

USCIS suspends expedited H1-B visa processing

The H1-B visa program allows employers in Texas and around the country in certain industries to hire foreign workers when specialized skills are required, but obtaining the necessary documentation is challenging for technology, engineering and research firms because only 85,000 of the employment-based visas are issued each year. Companies can pay an additional fee to speed up their paperwork and find out within 15 days whether or not their H1-B visa applications will be approved, but U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced on March 20 that expedited processing was being suspended until Sept. 10.

Economists: Family immigration a key source of healthcare workers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, seven of the 10 fastest-growing occupations require no college degree. The top two fastest-growing occupations are among them: home health and personal care aides. By 2026, those two occupations are expected to grow by 1.2 million positions.

Supreme Court to hear immigration detention case

For people in Texas facing the threat of immigration detention or deportation, a U.S. Supreme Court decision to hear a dispute over detention could carry important repercussions for the future. The administration of President Donald Trump appealed a lower court ruling relating to people who had been convicted of criminal offenses and completed their sentences before being detained for potential deportation.

5th Circuit rules most of SB4 constitutional. What happens next?

In August, the chief U.S. District Court judge for the Western District of Texas found there was overwhelming evidence that Texas's sanctuary city ban, SB4, would "erode public trust and make many communities and neighborhoods less safe" along with causing localities to "suffer adverse economic consequences." He issued an order prohibiting its enforcement.

New rules for sponsors of H-1B visas at third-party work sites

The H-1B visa is widely used to allow high-tech workers to come to the U.S. temporarily to work in so-called "specialty occupations." The nonimmigrant visa is also available for certain Department of Defense project workers and fashion models, but the controversial version of the H-1B visa is the "specialty occupation" visa.

Asylum seekers may face new rules

Those who successfully reach the Texas border can try to obtain asylum in the United States. However, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has weighed in on two cases that could have an impact on who is eligible to receive it. In one case, he vacated a ruling that would not allow an asylum claim to be rejected without a hearing. He can do this because immigration courts are run by the Justice Department, which makes them different from other types of American courts.

What the future may hold for DACA

The Trump administration had planned to let the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program come to end on March 5 in Texas and around the country. However, the program is still in effect even as Congress has not yet taken steps to revive it. There are roughly 700,000 undocumented immigrants who are protected from deportation by DACA. It is still in existence today because of a court ruling made on Jan. 10.

Did Melania Trump deserve an EB-1 visa? Legally, it's no surprise

In 2001, a model known as Melania Knauss received an EB-1 immigrant visa, allowing her to live and work permanently in the United States. The official name of the visa is "Employment-Based Immigration: First Preference EB-1," but it is often referred to as the "extraordinary ability" visa or the "Einstein visa."

ICE arrests went up in 2017, most arrestees had criminal records

After several years of decline, in 2017 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) dramatically increased the number of immigrants it arrested. The largest percentage increases occurred in Florida, northern Texas and Oklahoma.

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