February Immigration Insights

by | Jan 31, 2022 | Immigration, Immigration Insights

Updates in filing processes and USCIS statements. The Law Office of Ify Ononogbu aims to keep everyone up to date with the latest insights in immigration news and updates for the United States.

Here is what’s happening in immigration in February 2022

 

2022 January Visa Bulletin

Visa Bulletin for February 2022

The U.S Department of State releases monthly updates to priority dates indicating when immigrant visa applicants should be notified to assemble and submit required documentation to the National Visa Center. View the latest green card waiting lists as of February 2022.

View February 2022 Visa Bulletin

 

January 31st, 2022

Entering into February, the latest immigration updates from around the U.S. 

 

The latest Bulletin from the U.S Department of State has been released for February 2022. The Bulletin shows that the waiting list for green cards has not progressed. Family-based applicants, who are not in the F-2A category, must use the “Dates for Filing” along with applicants outside of the United States, and those in the F-2A must use the “Final Action Dates.” 

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Thousands of U.S. Citizenship applications have been stuck in caves without being processed since the start of Covid-19 as the Federal Records Center facilities in Kansas City have been closed. Many immigration applications are now in ‘limbo’ since the documents need to be processed for USCIS to approve applications. 

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The backlog of immigration interviews to be scheduled is growing with almost 500,000 interviews still pending after January 2022 scheduling was completed. In 2019, an average of 60,000 interviews were pending to be scheduled every month. 

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February 7th, 2022 

Updates from The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Labor (DOL), and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 

 

DHS announced the availability of an additional 20,000 H-2B visas for the first half of the fiscal year. The additional H-2B temporary non-agricultural workers visas will be available for U.S. employers who are seeking to employ additional workers on or before March 31st, 2022. 

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The House of Representatives has passed a bill focused on advancing opportunities in the United States to attract and retain foreign talent. If the Senate adopts the America COMPETES Act, it will open up opportunities for immigrant entrepreneurs to build businesses in the United States, and provide a direct path to permanent residence for non-citizens who earn a Ph.D. from qualified institutions in certain STEM fields. 

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Texas and 7 other states are fighting the Biden Administration to halt the Central American Minors Program. The program allows some children from three countries to join parents or legal guardians in the U.S. The program was created in 2014 under the Obama administration to allow children from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to reunite with their parents in the U.S. rather than using smugglers to enter the country illegally.

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February 14th, 2022 

Updates in filing processes and USCIS statements.

E-filing is now compulsory for U.S. Immigration Courts in an attempt to tackle the backlog. The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), now requires new immigration court filings to be made electronically as of February 11th, 2022.

Two Trump-era rules that denied work authorization to asylum seekers have been removed. A Washington federal judge ruled that the timeline repeal rule, which removed the need for DHS to process asylum-seekers’ work permit applications within 30 days, and a second rule which added many restrictions for asylum seekers to receive employment authorization, has decided they were invalid.

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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced a new mission statement, to replace the previous administration’s views on immigration. “USCIS upholds America’s promise as a nation of welcome and possibility with fairness, integrity, and respect for all we serve.” 

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February 21st, 2022 

Pressure on the Biden administration. 

 

USCIS is urging eligible employment-based applicants to switch categories to first or second. There is a high number of employment-based immigrant visas available in these categories during this fiscal year. The overall employment-based annual limit for the fiscal year 2022 is approximately twice as high as usual because that limit includes all unused family-sponsored visa numbers from the fiscal year 2021, which was approximately 140,000.

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The ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy, which requires migrants to wait for their asylum hearing outside the U.S. will be reviewed by the Supreme Court. In August 2021, at the request of Texas and Missouri, a federal judge ordered the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to revive the “Remain in Mexico” protocols, ruling that the Biden administration had improperly terminated the Trump-era program, under which 70,000 migrants were returned to Mexico.

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The Biden administration has proposed to revert the ‘Public Charge Rule’ otherwise known as the ‘wealth test’ and define who is “likely to become a public charge” when applying for a green card. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a proposed rule that will return the agency to its long-standing interpretation of a policy used to decide whether immigrants who have relied on certain public benefits can receive U.S. visas or green cards.

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Get in touch today with your immigration and family law needs. Virtual and in-person consultations available in Dallas, Texas with Attorney Ify. 

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