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San Antonio Immigration Law Blog

ICE adjusts enforcement measures due to COVID-19 pandemic

As public health officials look for ways to slow down the spread of COVID-19, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced on Mar. 18 it will halt most arrests and deportations.

Instead, ICE says it will focus only on detaining undocumented immigrants who are “public safety risks” or those the agency describes as “subject to mandatory detention based on criminal grounds.”

Immigration appointments canceled amidst COVID-19 concerns

Immigration agencies in the United States and abroad are closing their offices to the public and suspending all appointments in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) closed all of its offices as of Mar. 18 and the agency says they will remain closed until at least April 1.

Supreme Court hears arguments in landmark asylum case

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on Mar. 2 over the rights of asylum seekers and other vulnerable noncitizens to receive judicial review over expedited deportation orders.

The debate before the nation’s highest court follows a ruling last fall by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that the U.S. Constitution guarantees that individuals deprived of liberty must receive their day in court.

Seattle immigration court shut down over coronavirus

The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) says it will close Seattle’s immigration court until at least April 10 after reports of second-hand exposure to the coronavirus, which caused a temporary shutdown earlier in the week.

The EOIR says it will also postpone other hearings which often result in large groups of people for immigrants who are not in custody. It is the first action taken in response to the rising number of coronavirus cases in the United States.

Have you received a notice to appear at a Stokes interview?

When you and your spouse decided to build a life together in Texas, you may have begun by getting married in a church or courthouse and having a celebration with your relatives and friends. Then again, perhaps yours was a simple, quiet wedding day with just the two of you and a couple close friends who acted as witnesses. Either way, getting married and starting a new life with your spouse may be a dream come true for you.

If you or your spouse happen to have emigrated to Texas from another country, married life might also include filling out paperwork for a visa or applying for a green card. Should the U.S. government request your presence at a Stokes interview, it might mean an official has flagged your application, and you will need to answer some questions before being permitted to become a permanent resident.

Appeals court suspends Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy

A federal appeals court has temporarily prevented the Trump administration from requiring asylum-seekers to stay in Mexico while U.S. immigration courts decide their cases.

A three-judge panel from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also put the brakes on another major change that denies asylum to immigrants who enter the U.S. illegally from Mexico.

Supreme Court permits new ‘wealth test’ rules for green card seekers

The U.S. grants green cards to over one million immigrants each year. Immigration officials choose who will become permanent residents based on a number of factors, including: the applicant’s health, criminal background and whether they may be a security risk.

Now, officials will also consider your wealth when determining whether you will receive a green card.

Tech companies file $350M lawsuit over H-1B visas

A lawsuit filed in late January accuses the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of overcharging technology companies fees for H-1B visas. The suit seeks $350 million in refunds, but a victory for the tech companies could be even more costly for the government.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in the District of Columbia, says the USCIS has overcharged companies for the past six years. In addition to the refund, the companies ask the court to suspend visa denials that were based on the nonpayment of the fee.

Supreme Court allows immigrant “wealth tests” to proceed

The U.S. Supreme Court will allow the Trump administration to implement so-called “wealth test” rules making it easier to deny residency for immigrants because they have used or may need to use public-assistance programs.

The 5-4 decision means the government can apply the new standards by lifting a nationwide injunction that was granted by a New York federal judge. Critics say the ruling places undue hardships on more impoverished immigrants from non-English-speaking countries.

Are you struggling to adapt to life in Texas as an immigrant?

Whether you arrived in Texas from a nearby, bordering country or traveled clear across an ocean to get here, you may have felt both excited yet nervous as you settled into your new lifestyle. If you have family members who were already living in the United States for some time, they have probably formed a strong support network to help you adjust to a new culture.

Any number of issues can arise to impede your ability to feel comfortable in your new surroundings, particularly if there's a problem with your legal status or some other immigration-related challenge exists. Several phases of adjustment are typical for most immigrants. You may relate to one or more of these stages.

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