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A look at the frustrating, growing backlog in immigration courts

Currently, there are over 800,000 immigration cases waiting to be resolved by U.S. immigration courts. A majority involve people seeking a chance to stay in the U.S. rather than being deported. And, although the case backlog has been growing for at least a decade, it has jumped by almost 50 percent since 2017, when President Trump took office. Now, the average time to complete an immigration court hearing is 578 days.

Supreme Court takes no action to end DACA this year

It's only January, but the U.S. Supreme Court has already tabled any hearings on the legality of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program until at least this fall. Assuming the court sticks to its usual practices, that likely means no decision would become available until 2020.

International student suspected of a crime? Get knowledgeable help

If you’re visiting the United States on an F-1, M-1 or J-1 visa, merely being accused of a crime could have serious consequences. Some programs expel people who are charged with crimes. If you are expelled, your program is required to report it to SEVIS within 21 days. Since you are required to be enrolled full-time in school or sponsored by a program, expulsion could result in revocation of your visa even if you are ultimately cleared of the crime.

Take the election into account in your answers to the civics test

If you are preparing for the naturalization test, you should keep in mind that some of the answers changed after the last election. You will be asked to name certain officials and elected representatives. You don't want to make a mistake and name an official who is no longer in office.

Trump administration changes age for special immigrant juveniles

Special immigrant juvenile status is granted to unmarried immigrants under the age of 21 who are already in the U.S. and have an American juvenile court order taking them into the custody of a state agency or department.

USCIS now offers online submission for some immigration law forms

Wanting to live in California or other parts of the United States as a citizen can be difficult for people who have moved to the U.S. from other countries. Immigration law changes rapidly, and it is not unusual for individuals to face many hurdles as they work through the naturalization process. Some changes to the ways in which immigrants can apply for citizenship may help them complete steps more quickly.

Federal court: People can seek asylum for gang, domestic violence

In June 2018, the Trump administration announced a new "expedited removal" policy which denied people the right to seek asylum based on domestic or gang violence. Now, a federal judge has struck down that policy as being in violation of the Immigration and Naturalization Act, the Administrative Procedure Act and the Refugee Act. He also found that there was no legal basis "for an effective categorical ban on domestic violence and gang-related claims."

Diversity lottery winners, others challenge effect of travel ban

Two groups of immigrants are involved in lawsuits challenging the application of President Trump's travel ban. A group of Yemenis and Iranians who won the U.S. diversity lottery but were nevertheless barred from entering the country are suing in Washington, D.C. Here in San Francisco, a group of 36 plaintiffs argues that the waiver process in the travel ban is a sham.

Change in immigration norms drives more citizenship applications

Billy Idol recently became a citizen of the United States. The 63-year-old rock star, originally from England, was sworn in at a Los Angeles ceremony in November. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services tweeted, "it's a nice day for a naturalization ceremony."

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