On October 2, 2020, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a policy alert regarding inadmissibility based on membership or affiliation with the Communist Party or any other totalitarian party. A copy of the policy alert can be found here. While this new alert does not change existing immigration law, it requires U.S. immigration officers to exert stricter enforcement when determining whether an applicant for an immigration benefit such as a visa or lawful permanent residence is inadmissible based on this ground.
While the policy alert did not mention the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) by name, experts believe that this move is being imposed as “top Trump administration officials ramp up criticism of the CCP for its role in covering up the coronavirus outbreak.”
The inadmissibility ground for membership or affiliation with a Communist Party or other totalitarian party was created by Congress to ensure the safety and security of the United States and dates back to the 1950s. However, there are certain exceptions for involuntary membership, past membership, and for immigrants who are close family members of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents who do not pose a threat to the security of the United States.
According to the Migration Policy Institute, “There were 2.5 million Chinese immigrants in the United States in 2018, or about 5.5 per cent of its total foreign-born population.” Moreover, “Almost all Chinese government officials are members of the Communist Party, as are most executives of state-owned enterprises and officials at public institutions.”
In response to this policy alert, “Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of Chinese tabloid newspaper Global Times, took a positive view of the rule change, saying the immigration restriction would help “keep more talents in China.”
While it is clear that this policy alert is part of the Trump Administration’s continued effort to eliminate immigration to the U.S., it remains to be seen how much of an impact this new guidance will have on immigrants in the future.
The Trump Administration is currently working on a proposal that would greatly expand the collection of biometric data from individuals seeking immigration benefits. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security confirmed this week that a draft policy was in progress, which would allow the government “to request biometrics from immigrants with green cards or work permits at any point until they become a U.S. citizen, in what amounts to continuous vetting.”
Currently, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires that applicants for immigration benefits provide fingerprints, photographs, and signatures. The new policy would extend biometric collection to “include DNA, eye scans, voice prints and photographs for facial recognition” as well as the collection of DNA from U.S. citizen sponsors and children under 14 years of age.
In addition, per CNN.com, “The proposed rule will allow the agency to collect DNA to verify a genetic relationship, where establishing a genetic or familial relationship is an eligibility requirement for the immigration benefit.”
This proposed policy is part of the administration’s continued effort to promote extreme vetting of immigrants. In January of this year, we published a blog post regarding collection of DNA from individuals seeking entry at the border. A copy of this post can be found here.
This new policy has already received criticism from immigration advocates. Andrea Flores, deputy director of immigration policy for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), said, “Collecting a massive database of genetic blueprints won’t make us safer — it will simply make it easier for the government to surveil and target our communities and to bring us closer to a dystopian nightmare.”
The proposed rule will undergo further review before implementation but is considered a top priority at this time by the Trump Administration.
Just a short note to let you know that we are STILL working with you on your immigration matters during the Coronavirus public health emergency. Although we are not able to see you in person at this time, we are able to work with you by phone calls, video consultations, and communications by email, U.S. mail, and any other ways that we can get the work completed. We are still actively working on your cases, and we continue to send in applications to USCIS and the Immigration Courts.
If you would like to contact us, please simply give us a phone call at (734) 369-3131, or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will be in touch with you right away. It is our pleasure to continue to provide high quality legal services during this difficult time. Thank you!
Unfortunately, many con artists make phone calls in which they impersonate officials from U.S. government agencies such as Social Security, the IRS, or the Department of Homeland Security. In these scam calls, the person on the phone usually falsely claims that you are in trouble for something, such as non-payment of taxes, or a problem with your Social Security number, or a threat that you are going to be deported from the United States.
These scam artists often try to get you to disclose highly personal and sensitive information, such as your Social Security number, and they also often try to get you to send them money, gifts cards, or other things of value.
Here are a few things to remember:
- If you receive an unexpected phone call from a person who claims to be from the IRS, Social Security, or the Department of Homeland Security, the caller is very likely to be a scam artist. You should simply hang up the phone immediately. If you are able to identify the caller’s phone number, you should block that number.
- Don’t ever give out personal information to someone you do not know. U.S. government officials would never ask you to tell them sensitive information over the phone.
- Don’t give any money or any other thing of value to someone who claims that you need to pay them to clear up your problem.
Here are a few online articles about how to avoid scams:
- Investopedia: The Most Common Social Security Scams and How to Avoid Them
- The Motley Fool: How to Avoid Social Security Scams
- Department of Homeland Security: Common Scams
Con artists make their living by scaring people and making them believe that they need to provide information and money in order to get out of trouble. Don’t let them get away with it!
Enacted as a result of the attacks on September 11, 2001, and later approved by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID law was made to establish standards in the issuance of driver’s licenses in the United States.
The objective is to eliminate terrorism in air travel by increasing requirements to obtain official documents in order to board airplanes and to enter federal offices.
State offices that issue licenses and identification cards, such as the Secretary of State (SOS), are requiring more and more documents to prove residency. In addition, new licenses will have more security features to prevent them from being falsified.
It has taken the federal government approximately 15 years to fully implement the law because each state has different rules. However, all states must comply with these requirements by October 1, 2020.
This law has begun to be more restrictive for undocumented immigrants or other immigrants who cannot prove their legal stay in the country, or lack a Social Security number to obtain standard driver’s licenses. The new standards might most affect noncitizens from certain states that previously did not require a Social Security number to obtain driver licenses, such as California, Washington, Nevada, among others.
If you do not comply with the REAL ID Act before the deadline of your state, you must show an alternative form of identification to board a domestic flight. Your best option might be a valid passport. Contact the nearest consulate of your country for more information on how to obtain your passport.
In recent months we have been posting about the many ways that the Trump Administration is changing policies to make life more difficult for immigrants. It seems like every week, and even every day, there is a new announcement of a change for the worse. Some recent examples include many changes that are making it increasingly difficult to seek asylum, making financial support requirements more difficult for applicants for permanent resident status, the end of a humanitarian program to allow persons to be here to receive medical treatment, and the expansion of the use of “expedited removal.”
The continuous announcements of new and different ways to hurt immigrants can be exhausting and demoralizing. If you are feeling this way, we understand. We are in the middle of a challenging time for immigrants, not only in the United States, but in many countries around the world. Anti-immigrant propaganda appears to be on the rise everywhere.
At our office, our commitment to you is that we will work hard with you to do whatever we can to help you in your fight. We will never sugar-coat our assessment of your situation. We always give you an honest assessment of your situation, and how we might be able to help. Sometimes there is a way forward. And, unfortunately, sometimes we need to explain that in some cases there is not a way to help you. Our policy is to listen carefully to you, ask you questions and seek documents to get a complete and realistic view of your situation, and then explain to you how we might be able to help. Then, we get to work to provide you with the best legal services that we can.
Although things are tough at this time, we are hopeful that the future will be brighter.
Whether your case involves an application for permanent residence, a waiver, removal of conditions on permanent residence, naturalization, asylum, removal proceedings in Immigration Court, a BIA appeal, a federal court appeal, a habeas corpus petition, or other federal court action, please understand that we are here for you.
We are lucky to have Gilberto Carranza as our new paralegal! Gilberto earned a Bachelor’s Degree in International affairs at Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, where he graduated with honors. He is a multilingual professional with extensive knowledge of intergovernmental processes. He moved to Michigan in 2014 to work for the Mexican Consulate in Michigan, reviewing passport and visa applications and providing immigration related affairs for individuals based on their unique needs. Gilberto garnered over 5 years of experience in that field.
He is an active volunteer for Rotary Club International, collaborating on social projects since he was 16 years old. Within a few years of joining Rotary Club International, Gilberto founded a Rotaract Club in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico and became the president of the club, Rotaract Club Mexicali Oeste.
Gilberto is fluent in Spanish, English, German, and Portuguese, and he speaks a little bit of French. His favorite hobby is traveling and he is fascinated with learning about local cultures, people, and new places. He has lived in Germany, Brazil, and Argentina. Michigan will be his permanent home since marrying a Michigander in 2018.