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New rule meant to prevent 'birth tourism' goes into effect

"This rule establishes that travel to the United States with the primary purpose of obtaining U.S. citizenship for a child by giving birth in the United States is an impermissible basis for the issuance of a B nonimmigrant visa," reads the State Department's summary of its new rule.

The B visa is available to temporary business visitors (B-1) and tourists (B-2) who come to the U.S. for business or pleasure.

The March 20 H-1B visa deadline is approaching. Are you ready?

The H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows qualified people to live and work in the U.S. for a period of three years. The visa can usually be renewed for an additional three years, too, for a total of six years. Moreover, holders of H-1B visas can be accompanied by a spouse and minor children.

There are a limited number of H-1B visas available each year, and applications must be in by March 20, 2020. Now is the time to get started.

Supreme Court allows ‘public charge’ rule to be enforced

The Trump administration has made it harder for immigrants to apply for visas and green cards if they have accepted public assistance or seem likely to do so. People who have used certain types of public assistance could be considered a “public charge,” or a burden on the government, and can be denied visas or lawful permanent residency.

As we’ve discussed before on this blog, the administration has taken an existing rule and broadened it. The Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA) already limits visas and green cards to those considered a public charge.

California Court of Appeal upholds 'sanctuary state' law

SB 54, also known as the "California Values Act" or the "sanctuary state" law, was passed in an effort to promote public safety and effective policing and to protect people's constitutional rights. It was signed into law in 2017.

The major part of the law bans local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration agents. It also creates "safe zones" for immigrants around schools, hospitals and courts, meaning that no immigration actions can be taken against people as they are accessing these services.

Why can a US visa application be denied? Can I overcome a denial?

Has your application for a U.S. visa been denied? There are several reasons this might happen.

To qualify for a visa, you must be eligible to enter the United States and meet all the requirements of the visa you apply for. Whether you meet the visa's requirements depends on the evidence you submit to the embassy or consulate, along with an interview with a consular officer.

New 'public charge' rule moves forward, but it is still on hold

In August, the Trump administration issued a new rule about which immigrants should be considered "public charges," or dependent on public benefits. Immigrants deemed to be public charges are not eligible for further visas or green cards.

Yet, when legal immigrants are hard-hit financially, they can be eligible for public assistance programs including welfare, food stamps, Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid and public housing.

Even if your DACA renewal is not due, consider renewing now

If you are currently protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, you know there has been litigation about whether the program will continue. The current administration has attempted to cancel the program and leave it to Congress to address the issue.

However, several federal courts have ruled that the effort to unilaterally shut down the program was unlawful. Those courts have ordered the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to continue processing DACA renewals but not to allow new people into the program. The USCIS is, therefore, still processing DACA renewals, and you should consider renewing right away.

Statistics reveal surprising shift in H-1B visa approvals

People navigating the immigration system in the U.S. are often told that as long as they do what they are supposed to do, their status in the country will not be an issue. However, as far too many immigrants know, this is not always the case.

This is especially true in the current political climate, as immigration laws and standards seem to change every week. What used to be a somewhat predictable system is now rife with complications and unwelcome surprises. Currently, H-1B visa holders are among those who are struggling with some unexpected barriers.

Act now: USCIS processing fees slated to go up next year

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued a proposal to raise the application fees for citizenship, lawful permanent residency (green card status) and many other services. The proposal is now in a public comment period until Dec. 16, after which the agency must consider the comments.

After that, however, the fees will almost certainly go up for citizenship, green cards, DACA renewals, asylum, Temporary Protected Status and other services.

Supreme Court to decide legality of DACA program

In 2012, President Barack Obama implemented a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. The program gave protection from deportation and work authorization to a particular group of immigrants: those who had been brought here as without authorization as children within a specific period.

Beneficiaries of the program, called "Dreamers," were allowed to come from the shadows and participate in American life.

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