Arrivals: This Week in Immigration News (10.1.2018 – 10.5.2018)

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THE STORY: Thousands of international students who are recent graduates could lose their jobs because of delays in the processing of their H-1B visa applications.

THE CONTEXT: Foreign nationals who study in the U.S. are required to get a work visa after their student visa expires if they wish to continue working in America, and more often than not, that work visa is the H-1B visa. The problem is, securing an H-1B visa in a timely fashion is getting harder. Immigration lawyers are noticing increased scrutiny and long delays on what they say used to be routine visa applications and the Trump administration has suspended expedited processing for H-1B visas until early 2019. These changes are part of the Trump administration’s broader push to slow down the amount of legal immigration coming into the U.S.

WHAT’S NEXT: While some recent graduates were granted something called a “cap-gap” extension which allowed them to continue working on the OPT portion of their student visa, the “cap-gap” period just ended on October 1st. That means since October 1st, thousands of recent grads have not been able to work as they are still waiting on a decision on their H-1B applications. The Trump administration’s policies are making it increasingly more difficult for foreign nationals, especially those who went to school here, and their employers. The increased difficulty of securing work visas for recent international graduates could end up having a longer-term effect on people’s decision to come study in America.

Read further in this article from Axios.

THE STORY: A U.S. District Court judge in the Northern District of California has issued a preliminary injunction, which for the time being halts the federal government’s plan to end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for citizens of El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Sudan.

THE CONTEXT: TPS is a form of relief that allows non-citizens from designated countries to remain in the United States, without risk of being removed, and gives them the right to work legally during the designated TPS period. The U.S. designates countries for TPS based on major natural disasters, wars, conflicts, and other upheavals. Recently, the Trump administration announced that it would phase out TPS for several previously designated countries, because it felt conditions had improved there.

WHAT’S NEXT: It is important to note that the decision by the U.S. District Court judge is a preliminary injunction. All it does is temporarily halt the Trump administration’s plan to end TPS for those four countries, until more final decisions are reached through further litigation. Because TPS rulings affect so many people, this matter will likely go past the district court level, into the circuit courts, and possibly all the way to the Supreme Court.

Read further in this article from Reuters.

THE STORY: One of Trump’s top immigration aides, Stephen Miller, tried to put an end to all Chinese student visas.

THE CONTEXT: Stephen Miller has been credited with being a major proponent of President Trump’s most controversial immigration policies, from separating children from their families at the border to decreasing the number of refugees the U.S. accepts every year. Now, according to an article in the Financial Times, Miller tried to push Trump to end visas for Chinese students in the spring of 2018. The president was ultimately dissuaded, in part because of protest from the current U.S. Ambassador to China, Terry Branstad. Branstad warned that the visa ban would negatively affect small colleges in the U.S.

WHAT’S NEXT: Although Miller’s hard line policy didn’t see the light of day, the U.S. is already putting restrictions on Chinese students. In June, the Trump administration shortened the length of Chinese student visas for students in certain disciplines like robotics and aviation. With the Trump White House ratcheting up tensions with China, it’s unclear at this point whether the all out ban on Chinese student visas will go back on the table.

Read further in this article from Forbes.