Dykema Gossett PLLC

Immigration Focus

Immigration Focus

Executive Order Immediately Suspends Entry to the U.S. by Restricted Nationalities for 90 Days as of January 27

What are the travel implications of the EO signed January 27, 2017?

Who is affected? The EO mentions aliens “from countries referred” to in Section 217(a)(12) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended (INA), which relates to use of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Assuming that those “aliens” affected are chosen in a similar manner to how U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) modified the requirements of the Electronic System Travel Authorization (ESTA) for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) (81 FR 8979 – 2/13/16), then those affected would be nationals of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and YemenRead More ›

President Trump Immigration (National Security) Executive Order Action

Before taking office, President Trump promised that immigration would be one of the new Administration’s first priorities within its first 100 days. President Trump is poised to sign an Executive Order (EO) on January 26 intended to enhance national security, which will have a significant impact on current immigration processes. Read More ›

Immigration Advocates Sue for Border Patrol Transparency

Samuel Damren, Detroit-based member of Dykema’s Litigation Department, authored an Op-Ed article in the Detroit Free Press titled, “Immigration advocates sue for border patrol transparency.” The article discusses a lawsuit filed by the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center and immigration researchers, who are represented pro bono by Dykema, along with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, under the federal Freedom of Information Act. Read More ›

New Smart I-9 Posted by USCIS

On November 14, 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) posted the long awaited new smart I-9 form on its website. This 11/14/16 version of the form must be used as of January 22, 2017. The new smart I-9 is not the same as an electronic I-9 software product. It does, however, contain explanations and drop down menus regarding the completion of the form. It also prevents the employer or employee from  clicking “finish” without a “review of the form” option. It also creates a Quick Response (QR) code for use by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for improved auditing by the agency. The interactive smart I-9 also will catch uncompleted blanks and section 2 of the form pulls some relevant data for the heading of section 2 of the form. For employers, section 2 is includes some useful "training wheel” elements that will hopefully reduce over-documentation and errors in documentation description. For example, if an employee produces a U.S. passport, the issuing authority is automatically populated by the smart I-9. Read More ›

USCIS to Release New Form I-9 by November 22, 2016

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it will release a new, revised Form I-9 by November 22, 2016. The current version of Form I-9 is dated March 8, 2013, and may be used through January 21, 2017. As of January 22, 2017, employers must use the new version of the form, and all previous versions of Form I-9 will be invalid. Read More ›

USCIS To Raise Filing Fees as of December 23

On October 24, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a final rule, effective December 23, which will increase filing fees for most immigration petitions and applications. Applications or petitions postmarked or filed on or after December 23, 2016, must apply the new fees or be rejected.    Read More ›

Matter of K-S-Y- and What It Means for the Athlete-Turned-Coach Pursuing Lawful Permanent Resident Status Under the Extraordinary Ability Category

In immigration law, there is a special category through which certain individuals who possess “extraordinary ability” may pursue permanent residency in the United States. Over the years, many highly accomplished foreign athletes seeking to continue their careers as coaches in the United States have been denied extraordinary ability classification because of the seeming reluctance of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to recognize achievements as an athlete as part of the extraordinary ability analysis for a coach. In a recent, albeit non-precedent decision, Matter of K-S-Y, USCIS appears to be more receptive to considering athletic achievements as part of the eligibility calculus for a coach and provides more definitive guidance as to how athletic achievements ought to be weighed.  Read More ›

Increasing Scrutiny of Blanket L Visa Applications Starting August 29 with the New I-129S Form

On August 29, 2016, U.S. consular posts of the Department of State (DOS) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will require the submission of the new I-129S form (6/2/16N version) for blanket petitions/visa applications for L-1 intracompany transferees. A USCIS form change is not always newsworthy, but the new I-129s marks some major changes in intake information which is quite burdensome. This burden seems especially inappropriate since blanket L sponsoring companies have already submitted substantial information regarding related corporate entities for potential L-1 transfers. This new information marks additional enforcement scrutiny of the qualifications of an applicant for L status. Read More ›

Significant Fine Increases for I-9 and Other Immigration Violations Start August 1, 2016

On August 1, 2016, fines for I-9 Form paperwork violations will increase from $110 - $1,100 per form to $216 - $2,156 per form due to the implementation of inflation adjustments required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 [Pub. L. 114-74] (Inflation Act). First offense penalties for knowingly hiring or employing unauthorized workers increase from $375 - $3,200 to $539 - $4,313. Read More ›

STEM OPT Rules Offer Fall-Back Option for Many Students With Designated STEM Degrees

As thousands of disappointed petitioners and their prospective employees received the news that their H-1B cap subject petitions were not selected in the lottery, there is a glimmer of hope for some unlucky students with degrees in eligible science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. As of May 10, 2016, the new STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) rule is in effect, which allows F-1 students with degrees in approved STEM fields to extend their OPT employment authorization document (EAD) for an additional 24 months (instead of the previous 17-month extension) beyond the one-year OPT period. For those students who currently hold a 17-month STEM OPT EAD, requesting an additional seven months may be possible, but the August 8 deadline for submitting extension applications is quickly approaching. Read More ›