Practice limited exclusively to Immigration & Nationality Law

Welcome to DamataLaw.com,<br>the website for the Law Offices of G. Joe D’Amata, LLC, which is owned and directed by Giuseppe (Joe) D’Amata, Esq.

Welcome to DamataLaw.com,
the website for the Law Offices of G. Joe D’Amata, LLC, which is owned and directed by Giuseppe (Joe) D’Amata, Esq.

 

The Law Offices of G. Joe D'Amata, LLC is a full-service immigration and nationality law practice assisting clients in obtaining nonimmigrant work visas, permanent resident status through family and employment based visas, and naturalization.

 

To schedule a consultation, please call 352-672-0153 or send an e-mail to  joe@damatalaw.com

Dear Friends:

The Law Offices of G. Joe D’Amata, LLC remains fully operational and available to continue to service clients and meet their needs. Our technology allows us to work remotely and operate at full capacity on our clients' cases and answer any questions they may have.

While on-site visits are on hold for the time being, we have resources to meet with you virtually – by phone or Skype. Please feel free to call or email us as usual.

As Airlines have cancelled thousands of flights and Countries around the world closed their borders, we can consult for Extensions of Stay and Employment Authorization due to economic hardship for certain individuals.

 

Immigration Update: COVID 19

 

USCIS Adjusts Fees

 

On July 31, DHS announced a final rule on the USCIS fee schedule. The rule adjusts the fees that USCIS charges for certain immigration and naturalization benefit requests. The rule becomes effective Oct. 2, 2020.  READ MORE

 

District Court Issues Nationwide Injunction on Both DOS and DHS Public Charge Regulations Due to COVID-19

 

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York issued an order stating that the motion for preliminary injunction, and temporary stay of the USCIS Final Rule on Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Rule’s application is granted. The government is enjoined from enforcing, applying, implementing, or treating as effective the Rule for any period during which there is a declared national health emergency in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The order notes, “a nationwide injunction is both necessary to redress the harms caused by the Rule and appropriate given the strong federal interest in uniformity of the national health and immigration policies at issue here.”

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a separate order stating that the motion for preliminary injunction enjoying the application or implementation of the 2018 FAM Revisions, DOS Rule, and Proclamation is granted.

The order notes, “a geographically limited injunction would be especially unworkable in a case such as this, where consular officers on foreign soil would have to determine how to apply different rules to different applicants.”

For More Information See Below.

 

DOS Phased Resumption of Routine Visa Services

 

On July 14, the Department of State announced that it will resume routine visa services on a post-by-post basis, but is unable to provide a specific date for when each mission will resume specific visa services, or when each mission will return to processing at pre-COVID levels. DOS also provided an FAQ on resumption of services. READ MORE

  

USCIS Preparing to Resume Public Services on June 4

 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is preparing some domestic offices to reopen and resume non-emergency public services on or after June 4. On March 18, USCIS temporarily suspended routine in-person services at its field offices, asylum offices and application support centers (ASCs) to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). USCIS is following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines to protect our workforce and the public.  READ MORE

 

F-1 Students Alert

 

DHS has agreed to fully rescind the July 6 ICE guidance and July 7 FAQ, and rescind all implementing guidance impacting international students. The status quo based upon the agency's prior March guidance will remain in force.

 

Presidential Proclamation Suspending Entry of Certain Non-Immigrants

 

On June 22, President Trump issued a proclamation continuing Proclamation 10014 of April 22, 2020, and suspending and limiting the entry of any individual seeking entry pursuant to any of the following nonimmigrant visas:

(a) an H-1B or H-2B visa, and any individual accompanying or following to join such individual;

(b) a J visa, to the extent the individual is participating in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program, and any individual accompanying or following to join such individual; and

(c) an L visa, and any individual accompanying or following to join such individual.

The proclamation shall apply only to any individual who:

(i) is outside the United States on the effective date of this proclamation;

(ii) does not have a nonimmigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation; and

(iii) does not have an official travel document other than a visa (such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document) that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation or issued on any date thereafter that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission.

The suspension and limitation on entry pursuant to section 2 of this proclamation shall not apply to:

(i) any lawful permanent resident of the United States;

(ii) any individual who is the spouse or child, as defined in section 101(b)(1) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1101(b)(1)), of a United States citizen;

(iii) any individual seeking to enter the United States to provide temporary labor or services essential to the United States food supply chain; and

(iv) any individual whose entry would be in the national interest as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees.

The proclamation is effective immediately, and shall expire on December 31, 2020, and may be continued. READ MORE

 

Presidential Proclamation Suspending Entry of Certain Immigrants - Extended to December 31, 2020

 

On April 22, President Trump issues a proclamation effective on Thursday, April 23, 2020 at 11:59 PM (ET), suspending the entry of any individual seeking to enter the U.S. as an immigrant who:

  • Is outside the United States on the effective date of the proclamation;
  • Does not have a valid immigrant visa on the effective date; and
  • Does not have a valid official travel document (such as a transportation letter, boarding foil, or advance parole document) on the effective date, or issued on any date thereafter that permits travel to the United States to seek entry or admission.

The following categories are exempted from the proclamation:

  1. Lawful permanent residents (LPR)
  2. Individuals, and their spouses or children, seeking to enter the U.S. on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional; to perform medical research or other research intended to combat the spread of COVID-19; or to perform work essential to combating, recovering from, or otherwise alleviating the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, (as determined by the Secretaries of State and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), or their respective designees)
  3. Individuals applying for a visa to enter the U.S. pursuant to the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program
  4. Spouses of U.S. citizens
  5. Children of U.S. citizens under the age of 21 and prospective adoptees seeking to enter on an IR-4 or IH-4 visa.
  6. Individuals who would further important U.S. law enforcement objectives (as determined by the Secretaries of DHS and State based on the recommendation of the Attorney General (AG), or their respective designees)
  7. Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses and children
  8. Individuals and their spouses or children eligible for Special Immigrant Visas as an Afghan or Iraqi translator/interpreter or U.S. Government Employee (SI or SQ classification)
  9. Individuals whose entry would be in the national interest (as determined by the Secretaries of State and DHS, or their respective designees).

Discretion. It is within the discretion of the consular officer to determine if an individual is within one of the exempted categories outlined above.

Nonimmigrant visa holders are not included in the proclamation. However, the proclamation requires that within 30 days of the effective date, the Secretaries of Labor and DHS, in consultation with the Secretary of State, shall review nonimmigrant programs and recommend to the President other appropriate measures to stimulate the U.S. economy and ensure “the prioritization, hiring and employment” of U.S. workers.

Asylum seekers are not included in the ban. The proclamation states that it does not limit the ability of individuals to apply for asylum, refugee status, withholding of removal or protection under the Convention Against Torture.

Prioritized Removal. Individuals who circumvent the application of this proclamation through fraud, willful misrepresentation or illegal entry will be prioritized for removal.

Expiration. The proclamation expires 60 days from its effective date and may be continued as necessary. Within 50 days from the effective date, the Secretary of DHS shall, in consultation with the Secretaries of State and Labor, recommend whether the President should continue or modify the proclamation.

Severability Clause. If any provision of the proclamation, or the application of any provision to any person or circumstance, is held to be invalid, the remainder of the proclamation shall not be affected.  READ MORE

 

Supreme Court Decision Blocks DACA Rescission

 

On June 18, 2020, in the case Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California, the Supreme Court held in a five-to-four decision that the reasoning the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) offered in support of its decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative was inadequate and therefore violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The Supreme Court’s decision means that, at least for the time being, the DACA initiative will remain in place, offering the prospect of continued relief from removal and work authorization to the approximately 650,000 current DACA recipients and apparently also to eligible childhood arrivals who have not previously enrolled in the program. The decision, however, is limited in particular respects. It does not prevent the Trump Administration from taking new action to rescind DACA—indeed, the decision reaffirms that the Administration has power to do so, so long as it supplies adequate justification under the APA. The decision also does not address whether DACA itself is legal; instead, it goes no further than to hold that, in rescinding DACA, DHS failed to think through important issues about the available policy options and the interests of current DACA recipients.  On June 19th, President Trump said he was renewing his efforts to rescind DACA.

In the meantime, under the SCOTUS decision, USCIS must continue to process the following types of DACA requests (as outlined USCIS guidance in place prior to the Supreme Court ruling):

  • People Who Currently Have DACA: Current DACA recipients can file a renewal DACA request.
  • People Whose DACA Expired One Year Ago or Less: Recipients whose previous DACA expired one year ago or less may still file a renewal DACA request.
  • People Whose DACA Expired More Than One Year Ago: Recipients whose previous DACA expired more than one year ago cannot file a renewal DACA request but may file an initial DACA request.
  • People Whose DACA Was Terminated: DACA recipients whose previous DACA was terminated at any point cannot request DACA as a renewal but may file an initial DACA request.
  • In order to comply with the Court’s order, USCIS will have to publish guidance on processing the following applications that were suspended under prior court orders:
  • People Who Have Not Previously Been Granted DACA: The Court’s June 18, 2020 decision requires DHS to maintain the DACA program unless and until DHS follows correct procedure to terminate it. As a result, USCIS should immediately publish guidance on processing new, initial DACA applications.
  • Advance Parole Requests: The Court’s June 18, 2020 decision requires DHS to maintain the DACA program unless and until DHS follows correct procedure to terminate it. Because advance parole based on DACA was a part of the 2012 DACA program, USCIS should immediately publish guidance on processing advance parole applications filed by DACA recipients. READ MORE

 

Joint EOIR and USCIS Proposed Rule on Procedures for Asylum, Withholding of Removal, and CAT Protection

 

On Monday, June 15, 2020, a joint EOIR and USCIS proposed rule was issued making multiple changes to the regulations governing the procedures for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). Comments on the proposed rule are due 7/15/20 and comments on proposed form changes are due 8/14/20. (85 FR 36264, 6/15/20).

DOJ and DHS propose to amend the regulations governing credible fear determinations so that individuals found to have such a fear will have their claims for asylum, withholding of removal, or protection under the CAT adjudicated by an immigration judge in streamlined proceedings rather than in proceedings under INA §240, and to specify what standard of review applies in such streamlined proceedings. The departments further propose changes to the regulations regarding asylum, statutory withholding of removal, and withholding and deferral of removal under the CAT regulations. The departments also propose amendments related to the standards for adjudication of applications for asylum and statutory withholding.  READ MORE

 

USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for Certain Petitions

 

On June 1, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services  announced that it will resume premium processing for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker and Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, in phases over the next month.  READ MORE

 

USCIS Implements Public Charge Rule

 

On Feb. 24, 2020, USCIS implemented the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule nationwide, including in Illinois. USCIS will apply the final rule to all applications and petitions postmarked (or, if applicable, submitted electronically) on or after that date. For applications and petitions sent by commercial courier (for example, UPS, FedEx, or DHL), the postmark date is the date reflected on the courier receipt. USCIS will reject any affected application or petition that does not adhere to the final rule, including those submitted by or on behalf of aliens living in Illinois, if postmarked on or after Feb. 24, 2020. READ MORE

 

DOS Implements Public Charge Rule

 

The U.S. DOS has announced that the Public Charge Rule will apply to all immigrant visa and non-immigrant visa applications adjudicated on or after February 24, 2020. You may be asked to complete a Form DS-5540, Public Charge Questionnaire. READ MORE

 

USCIS Announces Biometrics Reuse

 

On March 30, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it will reuse previously submitted biometrics in order to process valid Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, extension requests due to the temporary closure of Application Support Centers (ASC) to the public in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. READ MORE

 

USCIS Announces H-2A Flexibility

 

On April 17, 2020, The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, with the support of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has issued a temporary final rule to amend certain H-2A requirements to help U.S. agricultural employers avoid disruptions in lawful agricultural-related employment, protect the nation’s food supply chain, and lessen impacts from the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency. These temporary flexibilities will not weaken or eliminate protections for U.S. workers.  READ MORE

 

USCIS Announces H-2B Flexibility

 

On May 12, 2020, The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced a temporary final rule to change certain H-2B requirements to help support the U.S. food supply chain, maintain essential infrastructure operations and reduce the impact from the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency.  READ MORE

 

 

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