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Immigration News

DACA Processing Times: How Long Does It Take USCIS To Process DACA Applications?

Written by Immigration Help Team
Updated February 2, 2023

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program protects eligible undocumented young people in the U.S. from deportation, but it does not confer legal status. DACA recipients are eligible to apply for work authorization, or a work permit, so they can legally work in the United States. DACA status is valid for two years. Recipients may reapply every two years to renew their status and work authorization. The DACA program is being challenged in federal court, so the U.S. government is accepting, but not currently processing, initial DACA applications. This article lists the current case processing times for the two main DACA forms — Form I-821D: Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Form I-765: Application for Employment Authorization Document, as well as the accompanying worksheet Form I-765WS. It also lists the case processing times for the Advance Parole application Form I-130, which many DACA recipients file.

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February 2023 Visa Bulletin

Written by Immigration Help News Team
Updated January 18, 2023

There were very few changes in wait times between the January 2023 Visa Bulletin and the February 2023 Visa Bulletin released by the U.S. State Department this week. There were no changes in wait times in any preference category for family-based green card applicants. The backlog for employment-based green card applicants in the "Other Workers" preference category grew by two years, seven months, and one week for applicants from El Salvador/Guatemala/Honduras, Mexico, the Philippines, and all other countries. There was no change in wait times for other workers applying from China and India or for workers in any other category.

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January 2023 Visa Bulletin (Archive)

Written by Immigration Help News Team
Updated January 8, 2023

The application processing time for priority worker green cards for foreign nationals from mainland China and India has increased by five months and nine days. Application cut-off dates in all other family-based and employment-based green card categories did not change between the December and January Visa Bulletin. You can find current cut-off dates and backlog information in the charts below.

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Weekly Immigration News Roundup: December 9, 2022 (archive)

Written by Immigration Help News Team
Written December 8, 2022

Immigration news this week revealed the precarious nature of being an immigrant — documented or not — in the U.S. First, an ICE information leak earlier this week endangered an estimated 6,000 immigrants seeking protection in U.S. In better new, as SCOTUS began hearing the case 303 Creative v. Elenis, which challenges same-sex marriages, Congress passed a landmark bill to protect such marriages. We talk below about how this impacts same-sex marriage green card applicants. Finally, an increase in the number of processed and approved naturalization applications in 2022 gives some hope that USCIS is making progress addressing a backlog exacerbated by by COVID-19.

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Naturalization Numbers Increased In 2022; 3rd Highest in U.S. History

Written by Immigration Help News Team
Written December 8, 2022

- USCIS limited its services at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak to comply with government and local lockdowns, which exacerbated an already backlogged immigration system. - In the 2022 fiscal year, USCIS granted citizenship to 900,000 immigrants, or 11.25% more people than in fiscal year 2021.

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SCOTUS Hearing on Same-Sex Marriage Could Impact LGBTQ+ Marriage Green Card Petitions

Written by Immigration Help News Team
Written December 6, 2022

- There are an estimated 289,000 LGBTQ+ immigrants in the U.S. - 303 Creative v. Elenis challenges same-sex marriage and the Supreme Court’s decision on it will affect immigration benefits to same-sex couples petitioning their spouses for green cards.

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ICE Data Leak Made 6,000 Immigrants’ Information Public

Written by Immigration Help News Team
Written December 6, 2022

An ICE leak compromised the data of 6,252 immigrants fleeing from torture and persecution. ICE has said they will conduct an internal investigation as this leak was a breach of their internal policy.

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SCOTUS Hearing on Same-Sex Marriage Could Impact LGBTQ+ Marriage Green Card Petitions

Written by Immigration Help News Team
Written December 6, 2022

- There are an estimated 289,000 LGBTQ+ immigrants in the U.S.‍ - 303 Creative v. Elenis challenges same-sex marriage and the Supreme Court’s decision on it will affect immigration benefits to same-sex couples petitioning their spouses for green cards.

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Weekly Immigration News Roundup: December 2, 2022 (Archive)

Written by Immigration Help News Team
Written December 1, 2022

Two important events happened this week that could change U.S. immigration policies substantially: the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) started hearing the U.S. v. Texas case, which stems from the state of Texas’ challenges to President Biden’s current immigration priorities. Additionally, the Biden Administration is set to end Title 42, a Trump-era rule that prevented many asylum seekers from entering the United States. Read the top takeaways below as well as our pop culture roundup.

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Biden Administration Set To End Title 42: Challenges and Opportunities

Written by Immigration Help News Team
Written November 30, 2022

The U.S. government will end the implementation of Title 42 on December 21, 2022. Title 42 was introduced in March 2020 under the Trump administration. It allowed the U.S. border authorities to turn immigrants away under the guise of preventing the spread of COVID-19. More than 20 states are challenging the end of the rule in federal court.‍

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SCOTUS To Hear U.S. v. Texas: A Challenge to President Biden on Immigration

Written by Immigration Help News Team
Written November 30, 2022

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments today in the U.S. v. Texas case, which addresses Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas' decision to limit deportation of undocumented immigrants based on specific criteria.

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USCIS Announces Updates to Fee Exemptions and Expedited Processes for Afghan Nationals

Written by Immigration Help News Team
Written November 29, 2022

USCIS announced fee exemptions and expedited processes that will apply to Afghan nationals filing for certain immigration benefits. These new procedures will remain in effect until September 30, 2023. 

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Weekly Immigration News Roundup: Nov. 25, 2022 (Archive)

Written by Immigration Help News Team
Written November 22, 2022

This week we deal with the realities of immigration: backlogs exist, and Democrats have struggled to pass meaningful federal immigration reform. However, there’s good news too. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker — a Republican — publicly supports federal immigration reform. A study shows that accepting international students offers more financial benefits than previously thought. Finally, we look at some tasty immigrant contributions to pop culture, news, and food.

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All About the DREAM Act 2021

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated November 22, 2022

Millions of undocumented immigrant youth called Dreamers live in the United States without legal status. A series of proposed laws, called the DREAM Act, could fix this problem by giving Dreamers a pathway to lawful status and, eventually, citizenship. Since 2001, the DREAM Act has never been passed into law. But the DREAM Act’s most recent version was approved by the House of Representatives on March 18, 2021, and could go to a vote before the Senate. If you're looking to learn more about the history and future of the DREAM Act, this article has you covered!

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December 2022 Visa Bulletin (Archive)

Written by Immigration Help News Team
Written November 20, 2022

The U.S. Department of State released the December 2022 Visa Bulletin, which is the final bulletin of the year. Family-based green card cut-off times are the same for December as they were in November. This means the USCIS backlog — your wait time to apply for your green card — hasn’t changed either. There was more movement with employment-based green card cut-offs. The wait times for EB-2 and EB-3 applicants from China and India increased slightly. One piece of good news: The wait times for special immigrants, EB-4 applicants, decreased by 4 months and 1 day for all countries except those in Central America.

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Weekly Immigration News Roundup: November 18, 2022 (Archive)

Written by Immigration Help News Team
Written November 17, 2022

The CATO institute reports that the U.S. is unable to process visas in 67 countries, the Biden administration extends TPS protections for 337,000 immigrants from El Salvador, Nepal, and Honduras, U.S. officials announce that ICE will soon begin deporting undocumented Cuban immigrants by plane. In other great news, Massachusetts voted to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses and Arizona voters approved a proposition that allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition and have access to state-based financial aid. Let’s dive in!

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Weekly Immigration News Roundup: Nov. 11, 2022 (Archive)

Written by Immigration Help News Team
Written November 10, 2022

U.S. midterm elections were this Tuesday, Nov. 8. In a landmark effort to empower voters, two Michigan cities offered Arabic-language election ballots for the first time. This week, we’ll look at the impact election winners and voting access efforts may have on immigrants at a local, state, or federal level.  In other immigration news this week, USCIS made changes to the declaration of financial support form and to the lockbox addresses for SIJS applications. 

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What Is the American Dream and Promise Act, and What Does It Mean for You?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated November 1, 2022

A significant part of President Biden's campaign messaging was overturning the Trump Administration's immigration policies and establishing a path to lawful permanent residence and citizenship for undocumented immigrant youth called Dreamers. Soon after winning the election, President Biden reinstated the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that President Obama had started in 2012. A few months into his administration, U.S. legislators restarted conversations about granting DACA recipients green cards with the American Dream and Promise Act of 2021.

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November 2022 Visa Bulletin

Written by Immigration Help News Team
Updated October 25, 2022

The November 2022 Visa Bulletin shows few changes in cut-off dates for family green cards for applicants from most countries. The one exception is a slight decrease in several preference categories for those applying for family green cards from Mexico. There are no changes in cut-off dates for employment-based green cards in any preference category since last month's visa bulletin. Click on your preference category below to see the most current information about your cut-off date and when you can apply for your green card.

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Weekly Immigration News Roundup: October 21, 2022 (Archive)

Written by Immigration Help News Team
Written October 20, 2022

This has been a busy week in immigration news, and thankfully some of it is positive. The United States government wants to fast-track applications for Afghan asylees who helped U.S. troops, a senior living facility explains why immigration is important to the country’s economy, and the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of four nonprofits who want the right to provide legal counsel to their immigrant detainee clients for free.

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Weekly News Roundup: October 14, 2022 (Archive)

Written by Immigration Help News Team
Written October 13, 2022

The fourth quarter brings with it an array of immigration news. A few things in this week's bulletin: changes in wait times for Mexican nationals applying for family-sponsored green cards, a legal challenge to visa retrogression laws, a timeline on what to expect from DACA as litigation continues, and why Anna “Delvey” Sorokin’s house arrest matters to immigration advocates.

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Immigration Weekly News Roundup: September 30, 2022

Written by Immigration Help News Team
Updated October 9, 2022

The ever-changing immigration landscape can be difficult to navigate. As we enter the final months of 2022, there’s some good news. The Department of Homeland Security has issued a final rule that will make it easier for people with limited income to get legal permanent residency (green card). The department has also extended Temporary Protected Status for people from Myanmar. Finally, the U.S. will resume visa processing for Cubans who want to visit or migrate legally. Let’s take a closer look at recent announcements.

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Weekly Immigration News Roundup: November 4, 2022

This week brings a lot of good news: Citizenship waivers for disabled immigrants have been restored, and the ACLU and other organizations unite to limit the detention of pregnant migrants. Additionally, attorneys for TPS recipients from El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Nepal will return to a federal court and continue talks to help their clients retain their status. As midterm elections come up, both Latino voters and voters in the agricultural sector bring up their immigration concerns. Let’s read!

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Why Vaccine Passports Will Discriminate Against Asylum Seekers and Refugees

Written by Darryl Rigby
Written May 30, 2022

COVID-19 has posed the biggest threat to human life in over a hundred years, but scientists and medical experts worked tirelessly day and night to engineer a series of vaccines in record time. Thankfully, we now have some light at the end of the tunnel and the conclusion to this nightmare is hopefully in sight. With vaccinations now administered to many of our most vulnerable groups including those in the most senior age brackets and people suffering from illness, the next stage is to offer inoculation to people who are at less risk. Experts and government advisors are optimistically predicting more or less everyone residing in Western nations should have been offered a shot by the end of the year at the very latest. As such, many governments and private companies are now pushing the idea of vaccine passports – government-issued documentation which proponents argue will simplify the process of showing proof of vaccination or test results. Vaccine passports would help airlines and businesses in the hospitality sector establish whether their customers have been vaccinated or received a negative PCR test, allowing them to refuse entry to anyone deemed to pose a risk in an effort to limit potential transmission.

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All About the Dream Act

Written by Jonathan Petts
Written May 30, 2022

Millions of undocumented immigrant youth called [Dreamers](https://www.migrationpolicy.org/sites/default/files/publications/Differing%20DREAM-FS-October2017_FINALWEB.pdf) live in the United States without legal status. A series of proposed laws, called the DREAM Act, could fix this problem by giving Dreamers a pathway to lawful status and, eventually, citizenship. Since 2001, the DREAM Act has never passed into law. But the DREAM Act’s most recent version was approved by the House of Representatives on March 18, 2021 and could go to a vote before the Senate. If you're looking to learn more about the history and future of the DREAM Act, this article has you covered!‍

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2022 Immigration Predictions

Written by Jonathan Petts
Written May 30, 2022

2021 was in many ways a [disappointing year](https://newrepublic.com/article/164752/immigration-reform-dead-build-back-better/) for immigration reform. Although the White House rescinded some Trump-era restrictions on immigration, efforts to create a path to citizenship for Dreamers and undocumented agricultural workers failed. Despite these setbacks, immigration reform remains one of the Biden Administration’s top priorities for this year. This article predicts five things that will happen in immigration in 2022.

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USCIS Has Approved Over 1300 New DACA Applications Since November Ruling

Written by Jonathan Petts
Written May 30, 2022

President Obama created Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2012. The DACA program protects certain young people who entered the country illegally from deportation. DACA beneficiaries can get a work permit, a Social Security Number (SSN), and apply for a driver’s license. But, many have contested the legality of the program over the past few years. Trump administration officials argued that the program did not comply with current immigration laws.

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Over 60,000 Immigrants Still Waiting for USCIS to Approve Their DACA Applications

Written by Jonathan Petts
Written May 30, 2022

President Biden reinstated the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program soon after his election to the relief of eligible undocumented youth who missed their opportunity to get status under the Trump administration.  Many eligible immigrant youths applied for DACA six months after Biden signed the Executive Order reinstating the program. However, as many as 60,000 and more of these new DACA applicants have yet to receive approved applications from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

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USCIS Is No Longer Processing New DACA Applications - But You Can Still Apply!

Written by Jonathan Petts
Written May 30, 2022

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a vital immigration program. It allows undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children (called Dreamers) to live and work in America. DACA status keeps Dreamers free from the constant threat of deportation to unfamiliar countries. Currently, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency responsible for DACA applications, is no longer processing new applications. However, USCIS will accept your application if you choose to send it in. This article will provide a brief legal history of DACA and explain why USCIS is accepting but not processing applications. It will also explain how ImmigrationHelp can help you file for DACA for free and provide resources to learn more about DACA.

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What is President Joe Biden's Immigration Agenda?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Written May 30, 2022

Since taking office, Democratic President Biden and Vice President Harris have directed federal agencies to address immigration far differently than the previous administration. In late January of 2021, the Biden administration announced their new U.S. immigration reform plan, which focuses on increasing access to legal immigration and reforming immigration enforcement.

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Why Vaccine Passports Will Discriminate Against Asylum Seekers and Refugees

Written by Darryl Rigby
Written May 30, 2022

COVID-19 has posed the biggest threat to human life in over a hundred years, but scientists and medical experts worked tirelessly day and night to engineer a series of vaccines in record time. Thankfully, we now have some light at the end of the tunnel and the conclusion to this nightmare is hopefully in sight. With vaccinations now administered to many of our most vulnerable groups including those in the most senior age brackets and people suffering from illness, the next stage is to offer inoculation to people who are at less risk. Experts and government advisors are optimistically predicting more or less everyone residing in Western nations should have been offered a shot by the end of the year at the very latest.   As such, many governments and private companies are now pushing the idea of vaccine passports – government-issued documentation which proponents argue will simplify the process of showing proof of vaccination or test results. Vaccine passports would help airlines and businesses in the hospitality sector establish whether their customers have been vaccinated or received a negative PCR test, allowing them to refuse entry to anyone deemed to pose a risk in an effort to limit potential transmission.

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U.S. Immigration Stats - Citizenship by Naturalization

Written by Jonathan Petts
Written November 19, 2020

Every year, about 860,000 U.S. green card holders apply for Citizenship by Naturalization, the process by which a lawful permanent resident becomes a U.S. citizen after living in the U.S. for a period of time, usually 3–5 years. Like citizens born in the United States, naturalized citizens can vote in American elections and apply for American passports. And they can never be deported. Of the applications submitted each year, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves about 23%, denies about 2–3%, and leaves about 70% pending. This article covers the U.S. citizenship by naturalization process and statistics on that process.

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Weekly Immigration News Roundup: October 28, 2022 (Archive)

This week DHS announced that Ethiopians will be able to apply for temporary protected status (TPS). Also, USCIS says certain CW-1 petitions will be considered on time and Venezuelans will be able to take advantage of a new process so they can enter the U.S. Finally, Cubans detained in Florida will be released, and a new study reveals that immigrants help alleviate tax burdens in the U.S. Let’s dive in!

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U.S. Immigration Stats - What is the Current State of Immigration in the United States?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Written February 16, 2022

The immigrant population in the United States is very diverse, representing nearly every country in the world. Every year, millions of people move to the U.S., making it the country with the most immigrants in the world. Because of this, immigration features heavily in public and political conversations in the United States. In this article, you can learn about the current state of immigration in the United States and get some answers to some of the most popular questions about immigration today.

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U.S. Immigration Stats - Family Green Cards

Written by Jonathan Petts

Every year, about 810,558 immigrants apply to become U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents (“LPRs,” better known as green card holders) through family members. Of these, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) approves about 88% and denies 12%. The denial rate has been relatively consistent over the past four years. Meanwhile, the total time it takes to get approved for a U.S. Green Card (also called “Lawful Permanent Residence,” a form of legal status) has increased from 12.8 months to 19.8 months from 2016 to 2020. Family Green Card applications have four basic phases: 1) Petition, 2) Application, 3) Interview, and 4) Final Decision. USCIS or the National Visa Center may reject or deny applications at any of these phases. Whether you are applying for a Family Green Card or researching U.S. Green Card trends, this article has you covered with the stats you need to understand and navigate each of these four application phases. Keeping family units together is a core policy of US immigration law, along with such other policies as refugee resettlement, attracting skilled workers, and promoting diversity. Unlike with asylum seekers (also called “asylees”) and economic migrants, however, the United States does not limit how many spouses, parents, and minor children of US Citizens it admits each year. Even some relatives of non-citizens with green cards get green cards of their own, a system called “family preference.” Keeping family units together is central to American immigration law.

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U.S. Immigration Stats - DACA Renewal

Written by Jonathan Petts
Written February 16, 2022

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — also known as DACA — is a program that allows undocumented immigrants who came to the United States without immigration status as children ("Dreamers") to get lawful status and work authorization. In June 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the Trump Administration’s attempt to end DACA. In 2018, the United Nations urged the U.S. to save the DACA program and protect Dreamers. DACA lets Dreamers live and work without the constant fear of deportation. Unfortunately, DACA does not provide a pathway to citizenship by naturalization, the process by which immigrants can become U.S. citizens. DACA recipients also are not eligible to become lawful permanent residents under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Every year, on average, 351,072 people apply to renew their DACA status and work authorization. Of these, from 2015 to 2019, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) approved about 78% and denied or rejected about 7%, while about 14% remained pending. The denial rate  remained relatively stable during those four years, ranging from 5.6% to 9.2%. Meanwhile, the total time that it takes to renew DACA and its work authorization has decreased from 4.3 months in 2016 to 1.4 months in 2020. USCIS usually processes applications within 120 days, although processing times have gotten slower because of the COVID-19 crisis.

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