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Mid-Year Elections – Progress or a Stalemate?
November 8, 2022, brings the mid-term elections when Americans
will vote on all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 34
of the 100 seats in the Senate. Currently Democrats hold 10 more
seats than Republicans in the House. The Senate is comprised of 50
Republicans, 48 Democrats and 2 Independents, who commonly caucus
with the Democrats.
In this election cycle, retaining control of the House of
Representatives and securing control of the Senate is essential to
the Biden-Harris Administration’s plans for immigration reform.
During any election season, immigration is a “hot” issue
on many fronts – Dreamers and the undocumented population,
the U.S. Border Crisis, the H-1B program, and throw an ongoing
global pandemic into the mix – the election will be
Non-Legislative Immigration Actions – Creating
Enhancements or Facing Litigation?
While legislative immigration reform may not occur before the
mid-year election, the Biden-Harris Administration has quietly
taken action on regulatory and procedural matters to benefit
employers and non-citizens, and has other changes in the works.
- The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and limited immigrant visa
services by U.S. Consulates created an overflow of additional employment-based Green Cards.
Unfortunately, Green Cards for the EB5 Investor and EB-5 Regional
Center Programs are presently not available for issuance, as the
immigrant investor pilot program expired on June 30, 2021, and
requires legislative action to extend.
- The U.S. government announced it is extending, until April 30,
2022, the flexibilities for Form I-9 completion, which started
approximately twenty-one months ago. As remote working increased,
so did the U.S. government’s realization that it can achieve
the goal of verifying an employee’s identity and work
authorization by allowing employers to view the Form I-9 documents
over video link, via fax or email, or other remote viewing -
effectively bringing the 35-year old Form I-9 inspection process
into the 21st century.
- Perhaps a less desirable side effect of the pandemic and
inflation is the realization that even immigration processing may
face increased costs. U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services
(USCIS) is looking to increase filing fees, the Department of State
has also proposed substantial fee increases to
process visas at U.S. Consular Posts and the Department of Labor
has increased the civil money penalties for
willful LCA violations.
COVID-19 – A Temporary Malaise or New Reality?
As the world approaches the second anniversary of this global
pandemic, international travel will likely continue to face
restrictions and challenges. U.S. Consular Posts continue to be
overwhelmed and visa applicants are seeing delays in interview
appointment availability, as well as lengthy processing of
interview-waiver applications. Efforts by USCIS to reduce
processing delays are moving slow, even with the aforementioned
innovative solutions. We will continue provide additional
information on travel and other COVID-19 related matters as
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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