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OLDER ARCHIVED IMMIGRATION POLICY UPDATES

(LAST UPDATE/REVIEW: JANUARY 08, 2020)

 

The UC San Diego International Students (ISPO) & Programs Office and International Faculty & Scholars Office (IFSO) recognize that recent changes in immigration policy may raise questions and concerns in our international community. Our commitment to supporting our international student and scholar population on campus remains strong and steadfast. This page provides information and support resources for the UC San Diego community.

 


2017-2019

08/21/2019 U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Publishes Final Rule on Inadmissibility On Public Charge Grounds

Newly published regulations redefine the terms and conditions of the public charge ground of inadmissibility established earlier by INA 212(a)(4).  Under the new rule, “public charge” includes having received one or more “public benefits” for more than 12 months in the aggregate within any 36-month period (note that receipt of two benefits in one month counts as two months).  “Public benefits” include:

  1. Any federal, state, or local cash assistance for income maintenance (other than tax credits):
    1. Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
    2. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
    3. Federal, state, or local cash benefit programs for income maintenance
  2. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP; commonly known as “food stamps”)
  3. Section 8 Housing Assistance/Rental Assistance
  4. Medicaid (with some exceptions)
  5. Public Housing under Section 9 of the U.S. Housing Act of 1937

Application: The new regulations are applied somewhat differently for Nonimmigrants applying for extension of stay (EOS) or change of status (COS) versus immigrants applying for Adjustment of Status (AOS):

Nonimmigrants Applying for EOS or COS:

DHS looks backward to see if “public charge” applies.  The benefit seeker must demonstrate they have not received public benefits for more than 12 months in the aggregate within any 36-month period. DHS will only consider public benefits received on or after October 15, 2019.

Applicants for Admission to the U.S. and Applicants for AOS:

DHS must consider a “totality of the circumstances” and make a prospective, forward-looking determination of whether someone is likely at any time in the future to become a public charge.  A public charge inadmissibility determination must at least entail consideration of the benefit seeker’s age, health, family status, education and skills, assets, resources, and financial status; a regulatory provision establishes a protocol for DHS officials to weigh each of these factors.

DHS is working with the U.S. Department of State (DOS) to ensure that the Foreign Affairs Manual, used by consular officials in the visa stamp application process, appropriately reflects the standards in this rule.  The new rule goes into effect October 15th, 2019.

The International Faculty & Scholars Office and the International Students & Programs Office encourage students and scholars with any concerns about their personal circumstances vis-à-vis these new regulations to seek the advice of an experienced immigration lawyer for assistance and/or immigration strategy support/representation.

Read the Final Rule

09/12/2018 U.S. Citizenship And Immigration Services (USCIS) Change In Policy On "Issuance Of Certain RFEs And NOIDs"

Effective 9/12/2018, USCIS' new policy guidance grants discretion to adjudicators to deny applications/petitions when lacking initial evidence without issuing a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID). This policy rescinds earlier guidance that recommended the issuance of RFEs in all cases except where there was no possibility that a case's deficiency could be cured by submission of additional evidence. We can expect more stringent review of applications/petitions and it will be important for students to submit complete applications to ISPO.  Furthermore, students should whenever possible maintain an underlying nonimmigrant status while their application/petition is pending to protect them from immediate negative consequences to their immigration status should their application/petition be denied.

08/03/2018 USCIS Change in Policy on "Accrual of Unlawful Presence and F, J, and M Nonimmigrants”

On August 9th, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will change the way it determines accrual of unlawful presence in the United States for persons in F and J status.  Currently, unlawful presence accrues for F and J nonimmigrants who have been admitted with “Duration of Status” (“D/S”) only on the day after USCIS formally finds a nonimmigrant status violation while adjudicating a request for another immigration benefit, or on the day after an immigration judge ordered the applicant excluded, deported, or removed.   Under the new policy, an F or J nonimmigrant will begin accruing unlawful presence on the earliest of any of the following:

  • The day after the F or J nonimmigrant no longer pursues the course of study or authorized activity, or the day after they engage in an unauthorized activity
  • The day after completing the course of study or program (including any authorized practical training plus any authorized grace period)
  • The day after the Form I-94 expires (if admitted for a date certain rather than “D/S”)
  • The day after an immigration judge orders the nonimmigrant excluded, deported, or removed

 

Any F and J nonimmigrants who have failed to maintain status prior to August 9th will start accruing unlawful presence on August 9th.   Note that there are some exceptions, such as those for students or exchange visitors whose reinstatement applications have been approved.  We encourage you to review the policy change carefully.

Accrual of Unlawful Presence has significant negative ramifications for future immigration benefits, including three-year, ten-year, and permanent bars to admission to the U.S., depending upon the amount of unlawful presence accrued.  It is extremely important for F-1 students, J-1 exchange visitors, and F-2 and J-2 dependents to pay very careful attention to following all rules and regulations with regard to their nonimmigrant classifications, so that they do not unknowingly fall out of status and begin accruing unlawful presence. The International Students & Programs Office (ISPO) and the International Faculty & Scholars Office (IFSO) remain committed to supporting our students and scholars in their study and research programs at UC San Diego and are available for individual advising to discuss any concerns this or other new policies may create. 

06/26/2018 U.S Supreme Court Upholds Travel Ban 3.0

On June 26, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Presidential Proclamation 9645 (Travel Ban 3.0)

The Presidential Proclamation 9645 (Travel Ban 3.0) which limits entry to the United States by certain citizens of seven countries: Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen remains in effect indefinitely.

UC San Diego International Students & Programs Office continues to recommend minimizing international travel due to the changing nature of the current administration’s policies on visa and entry into the United States.

12/04/2017 Supreme Court Upholds Travel Ban

On December 4, 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States stayed preliminary injunctions that had partially blocked the travel ban issued in September 2017. Because of the ruling, the U.S. government  can now enforce the travel ban proclamation on all 8 countries, pending resolution of the government's appeal to the Ninth and Fourth Circuits, and during any further Supreme Court proceedings on that issue. The 8 countries are Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Somalia.

10/24/2017 Resumption of U.S. Refugee Program

On October 24th, 2017, President Trump issued “Presidential Executive Order on Resuming the United States Refugee Admissions Program with Enhanced Vetting Capabilities”. The Executive Order clarifies an immediate resumption of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program after the 120-day suspension ended on October 24th, 2017. The Executive Order also states that increased vetting and review of refugee applicants have been implemented.

10/17/2017 Suspension of Some Travel Restrictions in Presidential Proclamation on Visas

On October 17th, 2017 the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii issued a Temporary Restraining Order prohibiting enforcement of Sections 2(a), (b), (c), (e), (g) and (h) of the Presidential Proclamation “Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats” issued on September 24th, 2017. Visa applicants who are nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia are no longer subject to any of the restrictions or limitations under the Presidential Proclamation. However, the court order did not affect Sections (d) and (f) of the Proclamation, so nationals from North Korea and Venezuela are subject to the restrictions and limitations listed in the Presidential Proclamation, which went into effect at 12:01 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, October 18th, 2017. For more information, visit the Department of State announcement.

The Temporary Restraining Order will likely face challenges from the U.S. Government, and the situation remains fluid. UC San Diego’s International Students & Programs Office and International Faculty & Scholars Office continue to recommend minimizing international travel due to the changing nature of the new administration’s policies on visas and U.S. entry.

10/09/2017 Suspension Of Nonimmigrant Visa Services By U.S. Consulates In Turkey

On October 9, 2017, the U.S. Ambassador announced the suspension of nonimmigrant visa services at U.S. consulates in Turkey.  This suspension of services is not a “visa ban” on Turkish citizens, but rather a suspension of consideration of new visa applications.  Turkish citizens with valid U.S. visa stamps may still travel to the USA, and Turkish citizens may still apply for U.S. visa stamps at other embassies/consulates outside of Turkey.  Additionally, immigrant visas are still being processed.  For more information, read the Ambassador’s statement

If you have pending travel to Turkey, please be aware of the negative impact that this suspension of services may have on your plans. For more information, please contact the International Students & Programs Office via our Contact Us eForm.

09/24/2017 Presidential Proclamation Enhancing Vetting Capabilities

On September 24th, 2017, President Trump issued a new  proclamation “Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats,” related to the earlier “Protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States” Executive Order (March 6th, 2017).  The new proclamation restricts entry to the U.S. for nationals of eight countries.  The restrictions are country-specific and tailored to the situation of each individual country.  For additional information from government agencies, please see the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Fact Sheet and the U.S. Department of State Travel Alert.

Below is a summary of the new proclamation and its effect on individuals from the designated countries.  This information and hyperlinks to all pertinent Executive Orders are posted on the websites of the International Students & Programs and International Faculty & Scholars Offices.  Our offices remain committed to providing support to our international student and scholar population; please continue to check our websites for updates on immigration information as new rulings are issued.

AFFECTED COUNTRIES

Chad, Libya, Yemen:

Entry as an immigrant and as a nonimmigrant on B-1/B-2 visas is suspended; entry under other nonimmigrant visas is not suspended.

Iran:

Entry under valid student (F and M) and exchange visitor (J) visas is not suspended, although such individuals will be subject to enhanced screening and vetting requirements.  Entry as an immigrant and under all other nonimmigrant visas is suspended.

North Korea, Syria:

Entry as immigrant or nonimmigrant, all classifications, is suspended.

Venezuela:

Entry under B-1/B-2 visas is suspended only for officials of certain government agencies; read full text of proclamation for details.

Somalia:

Entry as an immigrant is suspended; visa adjudications for nonimmigrant entry will be subject to additional scrutiny.

Note: While Iraq is not on this list, U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommended additional scrutiny for nationals of Iraq to determine if they pose a national security risk.

EFFECTIVE DATES:

There are two effective date phases: September 24, 2017 3:30 pm EDT, and October 18, 2017 12:01 am EDT.  The 9/24/2017 effective date applies to nationals of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia who were subject to the 90-day entry ban of the March 6th Executive Order who “lack credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”  The 10/18/2017 effective date applies to all nationals of Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela, and to nationals of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia “who have a creditable claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”  An example of a “bona fide relationship” might be an employment contract with U.S. employer or letter of admission to a U.S. institution’s degree program.

EXEMPTION:

Individuals inside the U.S. as of the applicable effective date or who have a valid U.S. visa on the applicable effective date.

EXCEPTIONS:

  • Any lawful permanent resident of the U.S.
  • Any foreign national admitted to or paroled into the U.S. on or after the applicable effective date
  • Any foreign national who has a document other than a visa, valid on the applicable effective date or issued thereafter, allowing travel to the U.S. and admission, such as advance parole
  • Any dual national of a country designated under the order when traveling on a passport issued by a non-designated country

WAIVER:

Granted on a case-by-case basis, based on demonstration of (see full text of proclamation for examples):

  • Denying entry would cause undue hardship
  • Entry would not pose threat to national security
  • Entry would be in the national interest

REFUGEES/ASYLEES:

This proclamation does not apply to individuals granted asylum by the U.S. or refugees who have already been admitted to the U.S., and does not limit the ability of an individual to seek asylum or refugee status and protection under the Convention Against Torture.

08/21/2017 U.S. Dept. of State suspends nonimmigrant visa processing in Russia

The U.S. Dept. of State is suspending nonimmigrant visa processing in Russia on Aug. 23rd, 2017.  Processing will resume in Moscow only on September 1.  Plan accordingly if you intend to travel to Russia in the future and will need to renew your visa stamp.  For additional information, see the mission statement and fact sheet.

06/28/2017 Enhanced Security Measures for All Commercial Flights to the United States

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a fact sheet on June 28th, 2017 that outlined an increase in security measures for all commercial flights to the United States. The new security measures include enhanced screening of passengers and personal electronic devices and increased security protocols around aircraft and passenger areas. For more information, visit the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) fact sheet.

04/19/2017 Executive Order "Buy American and Hire American"

UPDATE 4/19/2017 - NEW EXECUTIVE ORDER "BUY AMERICAN AND HIRE AMERICAN" ISSUED 4/18/2017

On April 18th, 2017 President Trump signed a new Executive Order titled "Buy American and Hire American." With specific regard to immigration ("hire American"), the order calls for:

  • The strict enforcement of all laws governing entry into the U.S. of workers from abroad in order to create higher wages and employment rates for U.S. workers
  • The U.S. Departments of State, Justice, Labor, and Homeland Security to take prompt action in proposing new rules or issuing new guidance to protect the interests of U.S. workers in the administration of the U.S. immigration system, including through the prevention of fraud or abuse
  • The U.S. Departments of State, Justice, Labor, and Homeland Security to take prompt action in suggesting reforms to help ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries

The text of the first bullet point references specifically section 212(a)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, pertaining to "Labor certification and qualifications for certain immigrants"

In meeting the second bullet point's requirement, the listed federal agencies can propose new rules, which typically will require considerable time for writing, publication in the Federal Register for public review and comment, rewriting with consideration given to public input, and final publication in the Federal Register with an effective date in the future. Federal agencies can issue guidance at any point, which can go into effect immediately.  Both rulemaking and guidance must remain consistent with applicable laws as passed by the legislative branch of the government.

Reforms to "promote the proper functioning of the H-1B program" suggested by federal agencies can take many pathways, from administrative procedures within an agency (implemented relatively quickly, such as increasing fees, revising prevailing wage scales, or increased enforcement efforts against perceived H-1B program violators)  to making suggestions for legislative actions, which would take considerable time ultimately to go into effect.