Recent Updates to the Immigration Landscape

Last week was an eventful one for immigrants and visa applicants seeking residency in the U.S. In good news, federal judges blocked a recent proposed rule change that would have required green card applicants to supply proof that they wouldn't require income-based public benefits, which would essentially exclude low-income immigrants from getting green cards.

In another story, last week the Supreme Court heard oral arguments that could change the way immigration laws are enforced by local law enforcement. The decision of the case could result in hundreds of raids and arrests.

Learn more about these stories below:

3 Federal Judges Block Trump's New Public Charge Rule

Last Monday, the White House's new "public charge" immigration policy affecting immigrants in the U.S. was scheduled to take effect. The rule would require immigrants to prove they would not become "a public charge," i.e. would not need income-based public benefits if they got a green card. The rule would have made life more difficult for immigrants in the U.S., requiring them to turn in extensive documentation and forms.

However, federal judges have stopped the White House from implementing those new rules, thanks in part to the efforts of New York Attorney General Letitia James. As a result of the rulings, USCIS are confined to using the forms and rules from before the rule change was proposed. However, new public charge rules affecting immigrants outside the US are still set to take effect; experts expect legal challenges to these rules as well.

One of those proposed rules would require visa applicants to prove they would have the means to purchase health insurance for themselves or provide for their medical needs. This rule would take effect beginning November 3.

Read the rest of this story here.

Supreme Court to Rule on Identity Theft Cases Affecting Undocumented Immigrants

Last week, the Supreme Court heard arguments about whether a state can use information on a federal form to prosecute someone for violating a state law. The form at stake in this case is the I-9, the federal employment verification form that employers require from new hires.

When someone is hired, they usually fill out an I-9, which includes a field for someone's Social Security number. The current law says that employers are only responsible for making sure documents "appear genuine," not verify that they actually are. As a result, it's relatively easy for anyone to put inaccurate information on an I-9.

Three undocumented immigrants in Kansas were arrested under the Kansas state identity theft statute for putting someone else's Social Security number on their I-9s. They were convicted, but the Kansas Supreme Court overthrew the convictions on the grounds that state law enforcement is expressly forbidden (under federal immigration law) from using information on the I-9.

What's At Stake

While who gets to use what forms might sound like bureaucratic nonsense, this case has real stakes for thousands of immigrants nationwide. If the court rules in favor of the state's case, local law enforcement will have _far_ greater leeway to round up and arrest undocumented workers. There are already numerous counties nationwide who hope this case will free them to do workplace raids. The fate of thousands of immigrants may depend now on local laws rather than federal protections.

Read more about this case here.

If you're a green card applicant, a visa applicant, or an undocumented worker, speak with our New Jersey immigration attorneys in a free, confidential consultation. Let's discuss your options and help you take your case forward.