U.S. Immigration Laws in 2021

In the last few weeks, there have been several legal immigration developments made in Biden’s administration. This is the administration’s effort in revising and reviewing the policies as well as regulations of immigration.  

The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 (U.S.C. 101 and 102) is a bill that would permanently create the “Registered Provisional Immigrant” class for aliens who are eligible for permanent status. The bill is intended to provide certainty for the U.S. immigration system and the unauthorized population while recognizing that the U.S. is a nation of immigrants. The new class of aliens would be eligible to apply for an initial Green Card after living in the U.S. for five years (and meeting certain other requirements). It would be eligible for consular review of their application for permanent residence after three years.

The bill would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act by striking the term “alien” and replacing it with “noncitizen.” According to recent reports by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ acting director, Tracy Renaud issued a memorandum to every staff of the agency encouraging them to refrain from using “alien” and “illegal alien” and instead to use “more inclusive language in the agency’s outreach efforts, internal documents and in overall communication with stakeholders, partners, and the general public,” including “noncitizen” and “undocumented noncitizen” or “undocumented individual.” The term “illegal alien” is outdated. It is inaccurate, and it is hurtful.  

President Biden allowed the expiration of the Ban Entry of certain non-immigrants under the presidential Proclamation 10052. All the Visa applicants that are not yet scheduled or interviewed will be prioritized and processed with the existing phased of visa services guidance. All visa applicants that have previously been refused visas due to their restrictions can have the chance to re-apply. And submit a new application. The routine visa service resumption will prioritize after serving the U.S. citizens.

The Department of State is returning to a more normal scheduling of visa operations.  In the absence of the “temporary status” of the illegal alien, all U.S. and U.S. Citizen visa applicants should expect to receive a regular visa appointment at their nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The Department of State is scheduling a post-specific date for each post, returning them to the same regular schedule they followed before the travel ban. Although the date of peoples’ visa appointments is not yet being posted on a post-by-post basis, the Department has resumed issuing visas to applicants in the post-specific date order.  The Department has determined that the safest course of action for the U.S.

A handful of immigration laws have changed recently, and they could affect you if you are an F-1 student looking to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) ahead of the end of your F-1 visa term.  Over the past few weeks, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has offered several new options to F-1, F-2, and J-1 students who have exceeded their OPT. On May 14, DHS announced a new post-completion OPT extension option for certain students who have completed their F-1 term but are seeking to obtain a degree. The new extension option allows students who have completed their F-1 term to file for OPT after the end of their F-1 term.

As the United States continues to undergo a slow but steady process of change, one issue that we find ourselves increasingly dealing with is how to deal with foreign students who have completed their studies in the United States and wish to remain in the country. There are currently around 10,000 students who are currently in the United States on F-1 visas.

CBP has been imposing temporary travel restrictions between U.S. and Canada for several years. However, the most recent decision comes amidst a growing number of verbal attacks by the U.S. President against Canada and Mexico. The most recent attacks were related to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the North American Agreement on Security and Cooperation (NAAC).

The U.S. is a very big country, and immigration laws are difficult to understand. Many people find the procedures of entering and leaving the country confusing. The United States also has a long history of being open to people from different countries. That is why the United States has a fundamentally open and welcoming immigration policy that encourages foreign visitors to come to the United States.

 

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