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July Newsletter from Watson Immigration Law

Dear Readers,

We hope you are staying safe wherever you are in the world. The below newsletter was sent over the last weekend. But since then, the administration has put severe restrictions on student visas (news from Monday July 6th). We’ve been busy dealing with that fall out but will write about it shortly.

In the meantime, once you read the below newsletter, keep in mind that you can file your own applications online for the following forms: I-539, I-90 and N-400.  For many, it may be time and cost efficient to file on your own. But if you need us, you know where we are.

I leave you with the following suggestions: please look after your mental health as well as your physical health. It is easy to get overwhelmed with the incessant news cycle, particularly on immigration. And, please do wear a mask. It is the only control we have over the virus.

Your passionate immigration attorney,

Tahmina

 

Watson Immigration Law Newsletter
July 2020
Dear Client, Reader, Listener, Viewer and Friends,
Happy Fourth of July Holiday! We hope you are staying safe and healthy wherever you are.
You are receiving this newsletter because we are either currently helping you, or have helped in the past.
There is so much going in the world of immigration that impacts many of you, that it is hard to know where to start. But there are a few things that will affect ALL people filing ANY application with USCIS, as we are likely to see some absolutely unprecedented times. As such, I felt it was important to alert you all.
Read on.
Tahmina
News Alert: USCIS About to Furlough 73% of Its Staff
USCIS announced recently that it is running out of funds and will need a bail-out from Congress. It is hard to know whether Congress will do so, especially as USCIS is a fee-funded agency. Furlough notices have gone out already and on paper, staff will be furloughed starting August 3rd, 2020. However, our office has learned through various immigration lawyer networks that some staff have already been furloughed. This particular information has not hit the news yet.
This is deeply concerning. Cases have been taking 2-3 times longer to process already. Some cases are at a standstill with covid19 disruptions. And while generally the backlog of cases would be a big concern, at this juncture, I am worried whether cases will even be receipted. Meaning, when we file cases, those filing acceptance receipts provide evidence that someone has a case pending and therefore are permitted to remain in the US. With 73% of staff furloughed, what can we expect? I don’t know- we have never seen this situation before.
Therefore, if you or anyone you know is waiting to file a case, you have no time to waste. Get on with it asap.
If you need to renew your work permits particularly, or extend your work visa, please prioritize your application. If your status is coming to an end, file your extension now. For ANY application really, time is of the essence.
You know where we are, if you need us- info@watsonimmigrationlaw.com.
News Alert: H1B, L1, H2B, and J visa travel ban
You may recall from our last newsletter that we were afraid a travel ban was on its way for work visa holders. That fear did come true. On June 22, 2020, Trump signed a proclamation banning H1B, L1, H2B and J visa holders – with expired visas, from entering the US.
Here is a link to our blogpost with a copy of the proclamation.
There is some ambiguity about who is actually banned. Litigation is imminent. If you have an expired visa stamp in the above categories, please do not leave the US esp. without speaking with me. The intent of the proclamation (regardless of the defective writing) is to ban anyone with an expired visa from entering the US.
All previous travel bans remain in place too (there are exemptions for certain people). We remain concerned about other visas such as student visas and whether more bans or restrictions are to follow. Please ensure you subscribe to our blog.
Free DACA Clinics!
After agonizing for months about what the US Supreme Court would do to Dreamers, a victory was handed to them. The Supreme Court allowed the DACA program to live on (for now) stating that the administration didn’t follow the proper procedures to rescind the program. While this is very welcome and happy news, it may be short lived as the administration likely cooking up its next executive order already.
Since October 2019, I have been volunteering with the City of Seattle’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, the King County Bar Association (I am a board member) and the WA chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (I am the Chair of the Response Committee) to help organize legal clinics. With covid19 challenges, there were twists and turns in organizing these, now, virtual clinics. It has been an honor and a privilege to be on the organizing team of these profound and innovative efforts.
If you know anyone who needs a free consultation with a lawyer to review their DACA renewal applications or screen for other options, have them sign up to the clinics. Links below:
News Alert: USCIS Fee Increase
Given the above furlough news, USCIS is hoping to increase filing fees as soon as possible. Fees cannot be increased without going through a rule-making process. As it happens, USCIS has gone through that process already and is poised to make the argument for implementation. Some of the fees will almost double! For example, citizenship application form fees will increase from $640 to $1170!
Here are some of our blog posts on this issue (click on the links):
We are working on an exciting series of podcast episodes! Subscribe to our podcast Tahmina Talks Immigration at iTunesSpotifySoundCloud, or any other podcast app of your choice.
Here are a couple of recent episodes:
Questions
We are working our regular full-time hours, filing cases every week, and are around to help as you need. For all questions, please reach out to us at info@watsonimmigrationlaw.com.
These are no doubt challenging times for all of us. If you have kids and are working from home with no summer camps, I’m thinking of you and wish you luck! Once in a while, one of my two daughters (8 and 10) happen to accidently appear in my zoom screens! We are all the BBC dad 🙂
Please wear a mask when venturing outside. We wish you all good health and safety.
One more time- please sign up to our blog.
Warmly,
From all of us at Watson Immigration Law
Tahmina