On November 20, 2014, President Barack Obama issued a much anticipated announcement regarding various immigration-related executive actions that have been the subject of media attention for the last several months. The President did not provide too many specifics during his announcement. However, within a few hours of his speech, the majority of the government agencies that are involved in the immigration process issued press releases and memoranda providing additional information. Below is a consolidated summary of the most important provisions and includes the most up to date information as of November 21, 2014. Many of these provisions remain unclear. Many agencies released memoranda on November 20, 2014 indicating that any changes that will be made will be done so via regulations or the issuance of agency policy memoranda which may take up to several months to implement.
Additional information about the implementation of these measures (including whether the USCIS introduces a regulation to allow individuals with approved I-140 petitions to file for adjustment of status even if their priority dates are not yet available, as discussed above in Point 1) will be covered in our firm's further Immigration Updates when it becomes available.
The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), under the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), increased the total number of field representatives in 21 states across the United States. These field representatives function as liaisons with the SEVP and the 9,000 educational institutions with international student enrollment. Field representatives provide support to schools in the form of education on SEVP's programs and regulations and actively work to develop the data integrity to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). The goal is to increase the number of field representatives to 60 with 20 representatives being located in three regions: eastern, central and western.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it has designated Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months due to the Ebola virus outbreak. The designation will enable individuals who are living in the United States to remain in the United States and apply for an employment authorization document (EAD). Individuals can find more information, including the applications for TPS at: http://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status-deferred-enforced-departure/temporary-protected-status
The DHS designates a country for TPS when conditions in the country are dangerous. This may be due to armed conflict, environmental disasters or other events. TPS provides certain protections to nationals of the designated country such as protection from removal from the United States, eligibility for an employment authorization document and travel authorization. TPS is not a path to US lawful permanent residence. The following countries are currently designated by the DHS for TPS: Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Syria.
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