End of 2017 Immigration Summary and Looking Ahead to 2018

This year has seen many changes for our Country and Immigration in particular. It seems that something new comes up for Immigration Practitioners every day- which it pretty much does. Keeping up is an often daunting but necessary task.

Some of the biggest changes in Immigration Policy that occurred in 2017 include:

  • The Repeal of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): Since its inception in 2012 DACA gave its approximately 800,000 recipients an opportunity to work, study and reside in the United States without fear. In September of 2017 the announcement came that DACA would be ending. Those whose work authorization expired on or before March 5, 2018 were allowed to renew it before October 5, 2017. After the announcement was made the DREAM Act came up for consideration again in Congress in order to find a more permanent solution. The end result remains to be seen.


  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS)’s Future Uncertain: After years of protection TPS status was terminated for Nicaragua, Haiti and Sudan this year. The fate of other countries with TPS protection such as Honduras and El Salvador is up in the air. TPS has offered protection to thousands of persons over the years; many who have lived in the US for decades. Many will now have to rethink their future and consider other option since in many cases their countries remain in shambles.


  • The Prosecutorial Discretion Policy: In 2014 the Department of Homeland Security released Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants. This Memorandum outlined priorities for enforcement- focusing primarily on criminal history and other variables such as threat to nation security. The memorandum also noted that the exercise of prosecutorial discretion should be used for those not an enforcement priority enforcement. On January 25, 2017 the President, via executive order, essentially removed enforcement priority and the policy of exercising prosecutorial discretion has been greatly diminished as essentially everyone is a priority.


  • The Travel Ban: Since the new administration took office there have been three (3) versions of a travel ban that originally banned immigrants from seven (7) primarily Muslim countries from entering the United. States. The original version was blocked immediately. The third version was allowed to go into effect when the Supreme Court ruled to lift the injunctions in place. However, litigation is still ongoing in lower courts and is likely to return to the Supreme Court.


  • Changes for Business Visa Applicants: Several changes took place this year in Business Immigration as well. Those applying to extend their non-immigrant visa status as workers must now be reviewed with the same scrutiny as first-time applicants. There will also be interviews for all those employment-based green card applicants. This is something that was not required before. However, just this month a Federal District Court ruled in favor of allowing parole applications for foreign entrepreneurs.

The year 2018 promises to be another big year for Immigration policy. The Dream Act is something in particular to watch out for. As Immigration Practitioners and those affected navigate this new era it is more important than ever to remain informed. Dominguez Law Firm, PLLC is committed to remaining informed and making sure the community is as well.

Here is hoping you and your loved ones have a wonderful end to 2017 and an even more wonderful and prosperous 2018! We will be back with much more in the New Year!

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