The New York Times: “$10 Million from FEMA Diverted to Pay for Immigration Detention Centers, Document Shows”

by Ashley Quinn


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reallocated funds for use by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for hurricanes and natural disaster relief to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in order to pay for additional detention centers and removal operations, according to a document released by Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon last week. Merkley released the thirty-nine-page document to The Washington Post as Hurricane Florence approached the East Coast. The document notes a transfer of funds, originally meant for efforts including “Preparedness and Protection” and “Response and Recovery,” that was transferred to ICE for detention beds, transportation, and removal programs.  “At the start of hurricane season – when American citizens in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are still suffering from FEMA’s inadequate recovery efforts – the administration transferred millions of dollars away from FEMA. And for what? To implement their profoundly misguided ‘zero-tolerance’ policy,” Merkley says.

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USCIS Now Accepting Copies of Negative O Visa Consultations Directly from Labor Unions

by Joseph McKeown


US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that effective immediately the agency will now accept copies of negative consultation letters directly from labor unions relating to O nonimmigrant visa petition submissions. In general, USCIS requires consultation letters from a US peer group, labor organization, or management organization for O petitions. Usually, the petitioner submits the necessary O visa consultation with the petition. While that requirement remains unchanged, labor unions should now send copies of negative O nonimmigrant consultation letters to UnionConsultationMailbox@uscis.dhs.gov.

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Visa Options for Internships and Training Programs in the US

by Elizabeth Brettschneider & Carolyn Szaiff Alvarez


For foreign students who want to boost their resume with real-world experience, or young professionals starting out their career who want to sharpen their skills, or even seasoned professionals who want to round out their global industry knowledge, internships and training programs in the US might be excellent opportunities. When foreign nationals secure internships/training programs in the US, there are three nonimmigrant visa types in particular that may be most appropriate: the J-1, H-3, or B-1. In this post, we explain the basics of each visa type and also include a chart that breaks down in more detail their differences. As always, foreign nationals should consult with an experienced immigration attorney when deciding what the best visa option is for their particular circumstances.

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The Atlantic: “The Thousands of Children Who Go to Immigration Court Alone”

by Joseph McKeown


Immigration courtrooms in the San Francisco Bay and surrounding areas have seen an increase of “unaccompanied alien children” (UAC) in court for removal proceedings. Most of these children, sometimes as young as four years old, do not have legal representation. In 2017 California had the second highest number of UACs in removal proceedings. While volunteer immigration attorneys, state funding, and organizations that provide legal aid to these immigrant children are more easily accessible in larger cities such as San Francisco, for immigrant children hundreds of miles away in the Central Valley and Fresno County areas, these resources are hard to access. “We’ve seen children from the Central Valley who have been to court four or five times without an attorney,” Katie Annand, managing attorney for the Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) organization, says. “They’ve had to pay $200 each time to get a ride up here for court, so they are coming up to court just to say ‘I don’t have an attorney.’”

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USCIS Will Increase Premium Processing Fee Effective October 1, 2018

by Joseph McKeown


US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced last week that effective October 1, 2018, the agency is increasing the premium processing fee for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, and Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, from the current amount of $1,225 to $1,410, a nearly fifteen percent increase.  With this fee increase, which is in accordance to the percentage change in inflation since the fee was last increased in 2010 based on the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers, USCIS claims they can “more effectively adjudicate petitions and maintain effective service to petitioners.” 

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