Hello everyone. In today’s article I will share with you interesting developments in world of US immigration law and hope that you find the information that I will share useful. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the enforcement arm of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is still actively conducting operations despite the Covid-19 pandemic. On the 1st of September 2020, ICE issued information to the public regarding information as to the latest operations targeting aliens.
Data supplied from ICE showed that from July 13, 2020 to August 2020 ICE officers arrested more than 2,000 at-large individuals living illegally in the US, or who are removable from the United States due to potential criminal histories. According to ICE about 85 percent of the individuals arrested had criminal convictions or pending criminal charges. What has been a continuing concern for immigration attorneys and criminal attorneys is that an individual or individuals with pending criminal charges are being detained by ICE. This interferes with their ability to be able to defend themselves properly. If an individual is detained in an immigration detention facility, it is much harder to have access to counsel and prepare for a proper defense of your case. It is important to be aware that, even with the Covid-19 virus causing problems at detention facilities, ICE is actively arresting individuals. Therefore, you should know your rights and consult with qualified immigration counsel regarding any potential problems you have and whether you are eligible to regularize yourself.
Some good news! The US Department of State has advised that, as of the 28th of August as it becomes more feasible to resume additional consular operations, US consular posts are being authorized by the Department of State (DOS), to give K visas high priority. Applicants who have pending K visa cases or who are interested in K visas should consult the website of their nearest Embassy or Consulate for updates on what services that post currently is able to offer. Please note that the I-129 F petition for alien fiancé is generally valid for 4 months, however, Consular officers have the discretion and authority to revalidate the I-129 F petition in 4 month increments. For those cases which have been impacted by suspension of routine visa services or Covid-19 travel restrictions, it will not be necessary to file a new I-129 F petition. Therefore, if you are most anxious to have your fiancé join you in the United States you should contact a qualified immigration counsel to help you accordingly.
As to student visas which are issued generally either in the F-1 or M-1 category, here is some interesting information. The student and exchange visitor program (SEVP) is a part of ICE. The total numbers of SEVP records for active F-1 and M-1 students was 1,523,758 in the calendar year 2019. Interestingly, this was a decrease of 1.7 percent from calendar year 2018. A total of 5 SEVP-certified schools each enrolled more than 15, 000 nonimmigrant students. In calendar year 2019, 8,649 SEVP-certified schools were eligible to enroll nonimmigrant students, a decrease of 287 schools from 2018.
Asia remains the number one continent of origin for nonimmigrant students with 1,137,419 student records, despite a 2.4 percent decrease in the nonimmigrant student population from Asia. In calendar year 2019, only the continents of Africa, Australia and the Pacific Islands and South America saw a growth in the number of nonimmigrant students studying in the United States. The number of students from Africa increased by 298 student records from calendar year 2018 to calendar year 2019. The number of students from Australia and the Pacific Islands increased by 110 students records from calendar year 2018 to calendar year 2019 and the number of students from South America increased by 3,564 student records from calendar year 2018 to calendar year 2019.
China with 474,497 student records, India with 249,221 students and the Republic of Korea (South Korea) with 84,071 student records sent the largest number of students in calendar year 2018 and 2019.
International students make up a vital component of the student body at universities, colleges and community colleges in the Untied States. Recently, the US Department of Homeland Security in July 2020, contemplated and, in fact, issued rather draconian regulations as to student visas as to those who would only be doing online course studies. Fortunately, there was litigation instituted by Harvard University as well as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). As a result of such litigation, there was a settlement reached. The reality is that American colleges and universities need their international and foreign students. International and foreign students pay significantly higher fees and tuition. Therefore, the Administration’s attempt to substantial reduce the international student population did not make sense. In reality foreign and international students contribute so much to the economic wellbeing of US universities and colleges that those universities and colleges would have to lay off professors, researchers and other staff if they were not able to have their foreign and international students.
If you have a question regarding immigration law or need representation in an immigration matter, please feel free to contact me. You may contact me at (305) 648 3909 or via e-mail at [email protected].
About the Author
Oliver J. Langstadt is a Jamaican American attorney admitted to practice law in the state of Florida. He was raised in St. Mary Jamaica, near Highgate. He completed his high school education at the Priory School in Kingston, Jamaica. He attended the University of Miami School of Law and graduated with his law degree in 1985. He has been practicing law and immigration law for over twenty-five years. He is well-seasoned in all aspects of immigration law, including family petitions, immigrant visas, non-immigrant visas, business visas, investor visas, waivers from removal and unlawful presence, naturalization applications, and removal defense. He may be contacted at 305 648 3909 or via e-mail, at [email protected] He welcomes the chance to be of service regarding your US immigration cases and matters.