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Colorado Repeals Employment Verification Requirement |
On June 8, 2016, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill (House Bill 16-1114) repealing a state requirement that employers maintain a separate affirmation form and retain copies of documents presented when newly hired employees complete Form I-9.
Passage of the bill followed years of complaints from employers that the requirements were largely duplicative of those mandated under federal law. Colorado had fined more than 200 employers for failing to comply with the requirements, which were originally enacted in 2007.
SEC Fines EB-5 Real Estate Developer
On June 13, 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced a $1 million civil penalty against a real estate company specializing in EB-5 investment projects for using immigration attorneys to facilitate investments from potential beneficiaries.
The company, American Life Inc., allegedly paid immigration attorneys who were not registered as broker-dealers on a per transaction basis for each investment they facilitated. The President of the company, Henry G. Liebman, was separately fined $240,000.
American Life is based in Seattle.
BIA Seeks Amicus Briefs on Issues Relating to 1-Year Asylum Deadline
On June 9, 2016, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) put out a request for amicus briefs addressing numerous issues relating to the one-year asylum filing deadline, including whether applicants under age 21 should be regarded as minors who may be exempt from the requirement.
Amicus briefs are due at the BIA by July 11, 2016.
California Seeks to Open Health Care Exchange to Unlawfully Present Immigrants
On June 10, 2016, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill directing the state to seek a waiver from the Department of Health and Human Services to allow noncitizens who are not lawfully present to purchase insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
If the waiver is granted, California would become the first state to allow such noncitizens to purchase insurance under the ACA. Such noncitizens would not receive subsidies under the law, however, and would not qualify for expanded Medicaid coverage.
The bill was Senate Bill No. 10.
EB-4 Quota Reached for Special Immigrants From Mexico
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on June 8, 2016 that EB-4 visas for Mexican beneficiaries would soon be unavailable for applications submitted on or after Jan. 1, 2010.
Beneficiaries of EB-4 visas include minors who qualify for Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) status. EB-4 visa availability for fiscal year 2017 will be announced in the October Visa Bulletin.
In April, USCIS announced that EB-4 applicants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras were also subject to a final action date of Jan. 1, 2010.
USCIS Transfers Processing of Relative Petitions for Refugees and Asylees
On June 13, 2016, USCIS announced that it was in the process of transferring responsibility for adjudicating Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition, from domestic service centers to international field offices in certain cases where the beneficiaries reside abroad.
Cases involving beneficiaries who live in areas not covered by an international field office will continue to be adjudicated at a domestic service center.
According to USCIS, the transfer of responsibility will not alter processing times.
Nebraska Service Center to Accept Certain H-1B Petitions
On June 1, 2016, USCIS announced that the Nebraska Service Center (NSC) would begin accepting H-1B petitions in certain circumstances, including if the petitioner requests a “continuation of previously approved employment without change from the same employer.”
The NSC will also accept concurrently filed H-4 applications to extend or change nonimmigrant status and for employment authorization.
All other H-1B petitions should continue to be filed with the California Service Center or the Vermont Service Center.
BITS & PIECES
USCIS — U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that the Nebraska Service Center will begin processing Form I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status, in July 2016. Petitions for U status are currently handled exclusively by the Vermont Service Center.
USCIS — U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has released an updated version of Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. The new version is dated May 3, 2016. USCIS will continue to accept the versions dated Jan. 22, 2016, and March 22, 2013.
USCIS — U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has released an updated version of Form N-470, Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes. The new version is dated May 11, 2016, and will be the only version accepted starting on July 26, 2016.
[This is an excerpt from the July 1, 2016, issue of Bender's Immigration Bulletin.]
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