APRIL 2018
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida

Immigration

Dilip Patel

By DILIP PATEL

USCIS Will Accept Credit Card Payments for Most Common Petitions and Applications

Last month, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will now accept credit card payments for 41 of its fee-based forms being processed at USCIS lockbox facilities. These forms include the I-130 petition for relatives, I-140 petitions for employees, and I-485 green card applications. The Form I-129 is not included, meaning that fees for H-1B, O, P, E, and L petitions must still be paid by check.

To pay by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover, applicants will need to use Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions. Card information is entered into the pay.gov system operated by the Treasury Department, and the Form G-1450 will be destroyed to protect the cardholder’s information.

AG May Make New Administrative Closure Rules

Systemic and crippling court backlogs are a source of frustration for all sides — ICE, immigrants, and immigration judges alike. Administrative closure is a key tool used by immigration judges to prioritize cases and manage their ever-growing case load. It allows a judge to use discretion and allows immigrants to pursue other forms of relief available to them outside of the courts.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken aim at administrative closures by referring a case from the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), the administrative appeals court, to himself, and has invited comments on four key questions: (1) Do immigration judges (IJs) have the authority to administratively close cases? (2) If so, should they? (3) Is another docket-management tool, such as a continuance, more appropriate? and (4) If the AG determines that the BIA and IJs don’t have the authority to order administrative closure, what should be done with cases that are already administratively closed?

Interestingly, the case Sessions referred to himself is of an unaccompanied minor who was not represented by an attorney. In this case, the IJ administratively closed proceedings instead of ordering the alien removed when the alien did not appear for his hearing. The judge questioned whether the government had provided his correct address and, concerned about the alien’s due process rights, chose not to order him removed. DHS appealed to the BIA. It is concerning that Sessions would pick such a case, of the many available, to review this important procedure. It does not bode well for the future of administrative closure.

TN Visa Becomes More Restrictive for Economists: USCIS recently issued new guidance on the specific work activities its officers should consider when determining whether an individual qualifies for TN nonimmigrant status as an economist. Professional economists requesting TN status must now engage primarily in activities consistent with the profession of an economist. Individuals who work primarily in other occupations related to the field of economics — such as financial analysts, marketing analysts, and market research analysts — are not eligible for classification as a TN economist.

Dilip Patel of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, a board-certified expert on immigration law, can be reached at (813) 222-1120 or email dilip.patel@bipc.com

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