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Miami Florida Immigration Law Blog

Trump vows to end diversity lottery in wake of terror attack

Florida residents may be aware that President Trump has vowed to end the diversity lottery program in the wake of a terror attack in New York City that claimed eight lives. The 29-year-old man who has been charged in connection with the Oct. 31 truck attack entered the United States in 2010 from Uzbekistan after being awarded a visa under the program. Trump told his cabinet that he plans to ask Congress to scrap the diversity lottery during a Nov.1 meeting at the White house.

The Diversity Visa Lottery was authorized by lawmakers in 1990 and went into effect in 1995. It was designed to encourage immigration from parts of the world that are not well represented in the United States, but Trump believes that future visas should be awarded based on merit rather than national origin. The program awards about 50,000 visas each year.

New H-1B renewal rules may cause problems

In Florida, there are individuals who work in the state using H-1B visas, which are available for highly skilled workers. A recent change by the Trump Administration may make it more difficult for workers who are working on H-1B visas to obtain renewals.

The Trump Administration has reportedly directed U.S. Customs and Immigration Services to exercise heightened scrutiny when they review H-1B renewal applications. USCIS is now supposed to subject the renewal applications to the same degree of scrutiny as it does with initial H-1B applications. Previously, workers who already had H-1B visas were granted deference in the renewal process, making it much easier for them to gain renewals.

Military green card holders face new requirements

Permanent residents of the United States living in Florida or other parts of the country who want to serve in the military will face more stringent standards. Those who have a green card will now be required to pass a background check prior to beginning basic training. Getting a certificate of honorable service generally provides a person with a faster path to citizenship. Under new guidelines, a person must pass basic training and serve 180 consecutive days before getting this certificate.

Alternatively, a person may spend a year in the reserves to get that certificate. In the past, those who served in the military could get that certificate after just a day of service. In addition to not being able to participate in basic training, green card holde without a completed background check may have their certificate revoked. It is unclear how changes in policy may impact how those already deployed may be impacted.

Technical glitch drops entrants in visa program lottery

Some immigrants in Florida succeeded in entering the United States through the U.S. Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. This program gives people a chance to win a diversity visa through a lottery managed by the U.S. State Department. People who do not have family members in the country or an employer to sponsor them can enter this drawing.

An announcement from the State Department has warned applicants who completed applications between Oct. 3 and Oct. 10 to reapply. A technical issue wiped out their entries. To give these people a second chance, the State Department urged applicants to complete new entries between Oct. 18 and Nov. 22.

Victims of abuse and immigration

Some immigrants to the United States who are living in Florida also live in fear of domestic abuse. Many of these individuals may be reluctant to report their abuse or leave their abuser because they are concerned about losing legal status to remain in the United States. However, federal law provides protection for some abuse victims who may be able to achieve permanent resident status independently of their U.S. sponsor.

Theater production imagines life with stricter immigration laws

A new Miami theater production called "Building the Wall" attempts to describe what life could be like in the future, if immigration laws continue to get stricter. The theme of the play could be of interest to anyone seeking to move to the United States, and also to employers looking to bring laborers and professionals into the country.

Understanding third preference EB-3

When it comes to employment-based immigration, it's important to understand the finer details of third preference EB-3.

Many people are eligible for third preference EB-3. Here is some information regarding skilled workers, professionals and those who fit into the "other worker" category:

Hurricanes may make it harder for DACA applicants

Those living in Florida or elsewhere in the United States who qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, had until Oct. 5 to renew their status. Anyone who reapplied by that deadline would generally be afforded the protections it offers for two more years. However, President Trump's decision to phase out the program may leave their futures uncertain if Congress doesn't take action to make DACA permanent.

Some individuals who may have wanted to reapply may have been impacted by the recent wave of hurricanes, further complicating matters. During a hearing in front of the Judiciary Committee, senators asked the Department of Homeland Security to extend the Oct. 5 deadline. They said that those who were affected by recent natural disasters should be given additional consideration at least on a case-by-case basis. Currently, individuals who were impacted by the hurricane in Puerto Rico have been granted extensions on such a basis, but those living elsewhere in the country do not.

41,000 immigration court cases pending in Florida

Are you and your family waiting on pending immigration court processes to finalize in Florida? If you are, rest assured that you're certainly not alone. There are tens of thousands of people waiting on their pending immigration proceedings in the state of Florida.

About EB-1-B petitions

People who are residents of other countries and have high levels of achievements may file an EB-1-B petition in order to work at educational or research facilities in Florida and the rest of the United States. Unlike other types of worker immigrant visa petitions, EB-1-B petitions are not subject to review by the United States Labor Department. They are also not affected by factors such as the job market, the hiring of American workers or salary matters.

EB-1-B is earmarked for outstanding researchers and professors. Those who receive EB-1-B visas are considered to be exceptional on an international scale because of their significant achievements.

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