Later this week, I’ll talk about some positive things that happened for our clients, but I wanted to share some updates to US immigration policy that came out this month and have the potential to, at worst destroy lives, and at best to cause major inconvenience.
End of Deferred Action for Certain Humanitarian Cases
Over the years, we have had success helping families in dire situations live without the fear of removal. Humanitarian Deferred Action was an option when nothing else was. In the cases we worked on, they were typically for parents of US citizens with major medical conditions. I think about a young boy with cerebral palsy, about an infant girl with a heart defect, and another child with epilepsy. Their parents never wished these conditions on their children – and in at least one of these cases, the parents were here in legal status, but overstayed when there was no other immigration option. Going back home would have been a death sentence for the child because there wouldn’t have been adequate medical care available.
In August, USCIS announced an end to this program – forcing these families back into the shadows. Without work permits, they cannot obtain driver’s license and they can now be detained and deported at any time. I’ve used cruel many times to talk about our current policies, but this one is cruel, heartless and cowardly. USCIS’s policy to stop helping these vulnerable families is nothing short of evil.
New Public Charge Rules
I’ll admit that I’m still working through understanding all of the changes regarding Public Charge that potentially coming on October 15th. I am hopeful that litigation will stall the implementation of this new policy – a policy that will severely limit who can obtain a green card. USCIS will look at certain types of public benefits that a household member received within the last 36 months; they will put preference on those whose sponsor earns 250% of the federal poverty guidelines (currently the requirement is 125%); and on those who are ‘employable’ under their subjective standards – English competency, higher education, work history, etc.
We do know, thankfully, that cases based on VAWAs, Ts, and Us and those who have received Special Immigrant Juvenile Status will NOT be subject to these rules, but our marriage-based adjustment of status clients are going to face brand new rules and uncertainty after October 15th. If you’ve been thinking to file a family-based green card application this year, I cannot advise you strongly enough to do it before October 15th (or whenever the new policy will be allowed to go into effect).
We continue to stay on top of the constant changes in policy and assault on the legal immigration system. If you are a current client, we will let you know if/when a policy change will impact your case. We remain committed to fighting for what is right and fighting for our nation of immigrants.