Immigration Lawyer Portland Oregon News

On Wednesday, President Biden issued an executive order ending Proclamation 10014, the Trump-era ban on new green cards during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Proclamation 10014 was issued by former President Trump in April at the start of the coronavirus pandemic to bar the issuance of visas at U.S. Consulates and Embassies abroad and limit the entry of certain noncitizen classes. In June, Trump signed a new executive order (Proclamation 10052) which extended Proclamation 10014 and added new restrictions for nonimmigrant workers who supposedly pose a risk of disadvantaging U.S. workers during the coronavirus recovery. This includes nonimmigrant workers on H-1B, H-2B, J, and L visas. This order was rationalized by the need to protect U.S. jobs amid high unemployment rates caused by the pandemic. Critics of Trump have accused him of using the pandemic as an excuse to fuel his political agenda of restricting immigration. Many studies rebuke the idea that immigration threatens American jobs.

Yesterday, Biden overturned the measure by way of executive order. In his order, he wrote that rather than advancing the interests of the U.S., the Trump-era ban “harms the United States, including by preventing certain family members of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents from joining their families here.”

The Migration Policy Institute estimates that about 26,000 people monthly were prevented from getting green cards since the ban was implemented in April 2020.

Biden also denounced the Trump-era policies for harming U.S. industries that utilize expertise from individuals of various countries of origin. Proclamation 10014 has also been criticized for preventing individuals who received immigrant visas through the Fiscal Year 2020 Diversity Visa Lottery from entering the U.S., which resulted in the delay and possible loss of their opportunity to receive their visas.

Proclamation 10014 was set to expire on March 31st, and human rights advocates have been calling for Biden to overturn this measure since he took office. While its overturn is a win for immigrant rights activists, there are concerns about how DHS will process these applications. The U.S. is currently facing a backlog of hundreds of thousands of visa applicants. One immigration lawyer admitted, “that backlog may take [Biden’s] entire first term to clear out, unless he is ambitious to doing something to solve that problem.” Boundless estimated that Trump’s ban could lead to a backlog of 358,000 green cards.

Under Biden’s new order, family members of U.S. citizens and green card holders will be able to now immigrate to the U.S. This also includes individuals who were selected to get visas through the visa lottery. Note, however, Vox reports that even though Biden is reversing Proclamation 10014, many foreign workers applying for temporary visas are still barred from entering the U.S. until at least March 31st, 2021. This includes H-1B skilled workers and their spouses applying for H-4 visas as their dependents. Foreigners transferring to the U.S. office of their multinational companies through L visas, as well as scholars on J-1 visas, are still banned for the time being. It is unclear when Biden will lift immigration restrictions for these visa applicants.

Since he took office, Biden has overturned many of Trump’s most well-known anti-immigration policies, like the so-called Muslim travel ban and he has started to process asylum seekers at the southern border subject to the Migration Protection Protocols, also known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy.

After only a few days in office, President Biden has already issued various immigration-related executive orders, starting on inauguration day.

End of Muslim Travel Ban

Among the first of Biden’s executive orders was an end to the Muslim Travel ban, which could reunite tens of thousands of families who are separated across international borders. The 2017 Muslim Travel Ban of the previous Administration banned individuals from the following Muslim-majority countries from traveling to the U.S.: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. In 2020, the Trump Administration expanded the travel ban on Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Eritrea, Sudan, and Tanzania, although it only affected certain visas for residents in these countries. Biden’s Proclamation on Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to the United States emphasizes that beyond contravening with American values of tolerance, pluralism, and coexistence, these travel bans undermined the U.S.’s national security, having jeopardized the U.S’s network of alliances.

DACA and Biden’s Immigration Reform  

The Biden’s U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 addresses the causes of migration, reformulates its border management, and most centrally, proposes a new path to citizenship. A central piece of Biden’s immigration reform bill is to offer 11 million undocumented immigrants an eight-year path to citizenship. This bill would give qualifying immigrants temporary legal status and offer them the chance to apply for green cards after five years if they meet certain requirements. After three more years, they become eligible to apply for citizenship.

If they meet certain requirements, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) holders, Temporary Protected Status recipients, and immigrant farmworkers would be immediately eligible for a green card. All applicants must have been in the U.S. on January 1st, 2021 to qualify under the proposed bill, however.

Another central piece of Biden’s bill addresses the root causes of migration. The bill funds a $4 billion interagency plan constituting aid for El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras in order to bolster these countries’ efforts to reduce corruption, violence, and poverty.

Final aspects of Biden’s immigration bill include an increase of U-visa cap to 30,000. Additionally, Biden proposes to change all references of aliens to non-citizens.

Border Wall

Biden also revoked Trump’s 2018 declaration of a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border, in which he diverted billions of dollars to barrier construction. This proclamation allows for an immediate pause in border wall construction. As you may remember, Trump ultimately only built a small fraction of the promised 452 miles, most of which replaced already-established fencing, and was never funded by Mexico.

Instead, turning away from the border wall, Biden’s immigration reform bill focuses on enhanced technology to bolster security at the U.S. southern border. While officials did not release any specifics on the timeline or budget for increased technology and infrastructure at the southern border.

Deportation Pause
President Biden also issued a 100-day pause on most deportations in order to first establish a review of policies and practices of current immigration enforcement. This pause will also aim to allow the DHS to focus its resources where they are most needed.

Small Note on DHS  

President Biden has selected Alejandro Mayorkas to be the secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, as the agency’s first Latino candidate. Mayorkas stated he won’t abolish ICE, despite calls from immigrant rights activists, and that he would review pandemic-era restrictions on immigration at the border, according to Reuters. Supporters of his appreciate his moral compass, demonstrated by his opposition to separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border under the Obama Administration.

More immigration-related executive actions will likely occur in the coming week. While these immigration changes have been swift, the former president took more than 400 immigration-related executive actions, all of which didn’t have Congress’ input, which will take time to reverse.


Today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it will replace the sticker that is currently issued to green card holders to extend the validity of their Permanent Resident Card Form (I-551) with a revised Form I-797, Notice of Action for Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card.

Typically, green card holders in Portland, Oregon, file Form I-90 when their green card is close to expiration. A revised I-797 receipt notice in addition to an applicant’s Permanent Resident Card Form I-551, will act as temporary evidence of lawful permanent resident status for twelve months from the expiration date on the face of a green card. Note that the Form I-797 revision will serve as a green card holder’s receipt notice for Form I-90. This change will ensure that applicants in Portland, Oregon who have green cards with a pending Form I-90 to replace an expiring green card have identity documentation, employment authorization, and authorization to return to Portland, Oregon if outside of the country. Also, keep in mind that green card applicants who have already been scheduled for a biometrics appointment at the USCIS Field Office located in NW Portland, won’t receive a revised notice and will receive an extension sticker at their scheduled biometrics appointment.

Starting this month, green card applicants who file Form I-90 here in Oregon, to replace an expiring green card will obtain a revised receipt notice by mail approximately 7-10 days after USCIS accepts their application.

On the other hand, applicants with expiring green cards will not receive stickers from the Applicant Support Center (ASC) at their biometrics appointments to obtain temporary evidence of legal status. Instead, USCIS will send these applicants a revised Form I-797, Notice of Action, the receipt notice for Form I-90, as proof of the extension of their green card.

If you would like more information about this change, please contact us today.

The Oregon Legislature passed the House Bill 2015 called “Driver Licenses for All” during the 2019 legislative session, which removes the requirement that individuals must prove that they are legally present when they apply for a standard Oregon driver license, permit, or ID card. Eligible individuals can also apply for a motorcycle or farm endorsement without proving that they are legal residents. This means that immigrants in Portland, Oregon waiting to receive immigration benefits before applying for licenses no longer have to wait and can schedule an appointment soon.

This change will go into effect on January 1st, 2021. This bill will likely lead to increased demand for appointments at DMV offices. In preparation, DMV has opened about 200,000 new customer appointment slots for January and February 2021.

To schedule an appointment, go to, where you can schedule in-person services.

Note, however, that individuals applying for a driver license must provide proof of full legal name, date of birth, Oregon residency, and a Social Security number. If you do not have a Social Security number, you can confirm this when you apply for your card at the DMV.

If you are applying for the first time, you must pass additional requirements, like a vision test, knowledge test, and driving behind-the-wheel test.

We at Immigration Law Group, are happy to help you apply for your immigration benefits and this is another positive news that will help immigrants in the near future. Contact us today at (866)691-9894.

Immigration Lawyers in Portland Oregon can help initial DACA applicants

Yesterday afternoon, a federal district judge ordered the Trump administration to reinstate the Obama-era DACA program. Those protected under the DACA program are commonly known as “Dreamers.” This program currently enrolls about 650,000 individuals. Immigration Lawyers in Portland Oregon have not been able to help new DACA applicants apply over the past few years because of this current Administration’s limitations. Up to 300,000 additional undocumented immigrant teens and young adults could be allowed to apply to DACA under this court ruling. DACA, known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, was created by Obama in 2012. It has protected over 800,000 eligible non-citizens from deportation and has allowed these individuals to live and work in the United States legally.

In the new case of Batalla Vidal v. Wolf, Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the Brooklyn district court ordered the Trump administration to allow newly eligible immigrants to file new DACA applications. This reverses Department of Homeland and Security (DHS) secretary Chad Wolf’s July memorandum that restricted the program to only those who were already enrolled.

Judge Garaufis has instructed the U.S. DHS to publish a public notice by Monday that indicates that DHS will accept and adjudicate all new DACA petitions from eligible immigrants who are not currently enrolled in the program. Garaufis also noted that officials must grant approved DACA applicants two-year work permits, rather than the one-year permits proposed by the Trump administration this summer.

This November 2020, Garaufis issued another ruling in which he found that DHS’s acting secretary Chad Wolf did not have the legal authority to shut down DACA for new applicants or to shorten the validity of DACA-recipients’ work permits from two years to one. At the time, Garaufis said that Wold’s appointment to DHS was unlawful because it violated the 2002 Homeland Security Act. Congress’ Government Accountability Office also determined Wolf’s appointment to be invalid in August.

As we approach January 20th, President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to fully restore the DACA program after his inauguration. But if Garaufis’ order still stands, Biden’s goal would have already been completed. However, Biden continues to face pressure from immigrant rights groups to overhaul the U.S.’s existing immigration system to reform its laws to further support DACA recipients and other undocumented immigrants.

While this order is a beautiful victory for DACA recipients and potential eligible petitioners, many Republican-led states are pushing U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen to declare the program unlawful and to terminate it. Hanen has previously blocked Obama’s 2014 expansion of DACA and also blocked the creation of another program meant to protect undocumented parents of U.S. green card holders and citizens from deportation. Look out for Hanen’s hearing on this case, scheduled for December 22nd.

Furthermore, the Trump administration could appeal the ruling by Judge Garaufis in the coming days. Immigration advocates certainly hope that the administration won’t pursue this legal fight to end the program, given that a new Democratic administration is soon to take over.

If you would like to apply for DACA contact our Immigration Lawyers in Portland, Oregon, contact us soon at (866)691-9894.

Court Blocks USCIS Fee Increases

On the 29th of September, 2020, a federal judge in California granted a motion for the preliminary injunction of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) updated fee schedule. This fee schedule was set to go into effect on October 2nd, 2020, and would have increased filing fees for certain immigration and naturalization benefit requests. International studies, new U.S. citizens, and businesses would have been impacted.

DHS has originally announced the final rule on July 31st, 2020, which included a weighted average fee increase of 20 percent. Changes to filing fees included a new $50.00 fee for asylum seekers and an 80% increase for naturalization services. A $10 registration fee requirement was added for the filing of H-1B petitions on behalf of cap-subject aliens. I-765 Application for Employment Authorization fees would have increased by $140 and I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence fees would have reduced by $10 to amount to $1,130. USCIS had said that these price increases were necessary to support the agency as it suffered from a budget shortfall. Many immigration activists and human rights organizations denounced the rule soon after it was issued, criticizing that the rule pushed lower-income individuals outside of the U.S. immigration system.

Northern California U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White issued the nationwide injunction yesterday, banning Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and USCIS officials from implementing the July 31st Final Rule. Co-founder of Boundless Immigration Doug Rand explained that as long as this preliminary injunction is in place, USCIS will not be able to raise its fees as it had planned. It is likely that the U.S. government will appeal the Ninth Circuit court to obtain a stay, says Doug Rand, although it is unclear as to how long this will take.

In his ruling of Immigrant Legal Resource Center, et al. v. Chad F. Wolf, et al., Judge White wrote, “Plaintiffs persuasively argue that the public interest would be served by enjoining or staying the effective date of the Final Rule because if it takes effect, it will prevent vulnerable and low-income applicants from applying for immigration benefits, will block access to humanitarian protections, and will expose those populations to further danger.”


Judge White ruled that the case’s plaintiffs, composed of eight non-profit organizations that serve immigrants, showed that:

  1. DHS was not serving under the Homeland Security Act;
  2. The final rule violates procedural and substantive requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), which included, “failing to disclose data, relying on unexplained data and ignoring data on the record,” according to the final rule. DHS had argued that individuals would apply for immigration services no matter how expensive USCIS filing fees are, which contradicted the statements that appeared during DHS’s comment period;
  3. The final rule was arbitrary and capricious, as it failed to consider the negative impacts on low-income immigrant populations;
  4. The government did not provide reasoned justification for the policy shift in which fee waivers were eliminated and fees were increased; and
  5. By implementing a fee for asylum seekers to deter frivolous applications, USCIS relied on factors that Congress had not intended for DHS to consider. This, again, violates the APA.

Judge White rejected the Trump Administration’s request for a brief administrative stay, writing that, “A stay beyond October 2, 2020, would allow the Final Rule to go into effect, thereby altering the status quo.” Note that this ruling temporarily halts the fee increases until the merits of the case are decided as a whole. Therefore, there remains the possibility that USCIS’s filing fees will go up in the future.


On the 25th of August, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it would cancel the scheduled furlough of about 13,400 of its employees. USCIS justifies this decision by citing “unprecedented spending cuts” as well as a “steady increase in daily incoming revenue and receipts.” The agency expects to maintain operations through the end of the 2020 fiscal year. In a recently published announcement, USCIS notes that aggressive spending reduction measures will impact all agency operations and agency contracts.

The USCIS deputy director for policy, Joseph Edlow, said in a statement that, “averting this furlough comes at a severe operational cost that will increase backlogs and wait times across the board, with no guarantee we can avoid future furloughs.” The deputy director emphasized that congressional intervention is still crucial to sustain the agency through the 2021 fiscal year, particularly since USCIS averted the furloughs scheduled for August 30th. This furlough was delayed numerous times before the final cancellation.

These furloughs would have drastically halted the immigration system. Not only would they have caused a standstill to essential services, but they would also have adversely impact millions of legal immigrants and U.S. citizens. This would be a detriment to the already-stalled U.S. economy. As USCIS has received fewer immigration applications filed over the past few months, USCIS’s revenue has also decreased. This budgetary restraint has led to a pause in the printing of 50,000 green cards and 75,000 worker permits.

Previously, the slow-moving pace of Congress’ plans about the next COVID-19 relief bill discouraged USCIS, as this funding has yet to be obtained by the federal agency. Notably, USCIS originally requested $1.2 billion in funding from Congress.

Fortunately, this past weekend, the House of Representatives unanimously introduced the Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act, which would have temporarily kept USCIS afloat, although this legislation has yet to be passed by the U.S. Senate. This provides some hope that USCIS has caught Congress’ attention, and that subsequent funding may be allocated to USCIS with future bills.


Immigration Lawyer Portland Oregon

Last evening, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals limited an order that blocked the application of Trump’s Public Charge Grounds Final Rule during the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. The federal appellate court concluded that the Department of Homeland and Security (DHS) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may implement the public charge policy in every state but New York, Connecticut, and Vermont. These three states had previously sued the Trump administration over the public charge rule.

Since July 29th, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York issued an injunction of the Trump administration’s public charge rule, meaning that USCIS and DHS had temporarily reverted to the 1999 Interim Field guidance established before Trump’s Public Charge Grounds Final Rule. The N.Y. district court reasoned that Trump’s rule had deterred immigrants from seeking testing and treatment for COVID-19, as they feared such acts would negatively impact their immigration cases.

The federal appellate court’s most recent decision, briefly detailed in a one-paragraph order written by U.S. Circuit Judge Peter Hall, will revive Trump’s “wealth test” for immigrants, a victory for the Trump administration as this is one of the most extensive restrictions on legal immigration. Under this test, DHS may negatively consider immigrants’ past usage of public benefits programs, such as food stamps and housing subsidies, as well as health and education level, to determine whether they will rely on government assistance. Such a reliance would adversely impact green card applications.

In the short order, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals – a higher level court than the U.S. district court that issued the primary injunction – explained that the public charge injunction is no longer nationwide and only applies to residents of New York, Connecticut, and Vermont.

Since the nationwide injunction was announced, USCIS instructed applicants to hold off from filing Form I-944 Declaration of Self-Sufficiency for those filing on or after July 29th, 2020. USCIS has yet to publish further instructions for applicants who have already filed without the Form I-944, and USCIS has yet to update its website with the new ruling. However, because USCIS still has these instructions from July 29th on its website despite having adopted a new ruling, it may be useful to save a copy of this, along with the date, if an applicant has already filed without Form I-944.

On August 3rd, 2020, President Trump issued an executive order entitled “Executive Order Aligning Federal Contracting and Hiring Practices with the Interests of American Workers.” This order follows a trend of curtailing employment-based immigration, as Trump cites the economic crisis catalyzed by the coronavirus pandemic as a primary justification for newly adopted immigration policies. The new executive order bars federal agencies from replacing U.S. citizens and green card holders with foreign workers, accompanied by new increased scrutiny of federal contractors who use temporary nonimmigrant visas to hire foreign labor for high-skilled jobs.

The order does not require any immediate actions from federal contractors, it foreshadows a potential future order that bolsters entry restrictions and increases Department of Labor and Department of Homeland and Security audits. Furthermore, while the August 3rd order does not introduce new restrictions on H-1B visas, such a change to federal employer policy will make H-1B visas more difficult to obtain.

On August 3rd, during a meeting with U.S. Tech companies, President Trump condemned the alleged abuses of U.S. workers by the Tennessee Valley Authority, whose CEO Jeffrey Lyash recently announced that the company would replace over 200 American workers with cheaper foreign workers hired from overseas. Trump denounced that Lyash, “sadly and cruelly betrayed American workers.” Trump criticized such employers who trade American jobs for temporary foreign labor, as this supposedly reduces opportunities for American workers.

Broadly, the execuive order instructs all federal agencies to review existing contracting and subcontracting practices and to determine if these practices have adverse impacts on American workers, whether due to offshored positions or the temporary use of foreign labor. The executive order requires that federal agencies propose corrective changes to protect American workers, citing the American economy and national security as main priorities. Within 120 days of the date of the order, August 3rd, 2020, the head of each agency must also submit a report to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to highlight their findings concerning whether their specific circumstances negatively impact U.S. workers.

Finally, the order directs the Secretaries of Labor and Homeland Security to take action within 45 days of the order to protect American workers from potential adverse effects on American wages and workers caused by the use of H-1B visa holders at job sites (and third-party job sites), including measures to ensure that all employers of H-1B visa holders (as well as secondary employers) comply with the requirements of section 212(n) (1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The deep impact of this order on foreign workers is that federal agencies like USCIS and the Labor Department are now given broad discretion to assess immigration applications. This will even further delay an immigration system already in the midst of a slowdown. If a federal agency like USCIS finds reason to believe that an applicant’s immigration case will  adversely impact American workers, the applicant’s case will likely be audited or adjudicated, which further slows the painful process of obtaining a visa.

The cost of H-1B visas has already been set to increase by 75% this upcoming October from $460 to $555. Targeted by new policy, foreign employees are increasingly insecure in the United States.

In terms of impacts on immigration, the effects are drastic. It is possible that this new executive order will justify the shortening of visa durations. The entire certification process of recruitment, application, and approval certification will become more complex. While this order will not take effect for over another month, it instills anxiety and looming uncertainty into foreign workers. As they wait for clearer specifics concerning their employment, foreign workers on temporary work visas are placed in a limbo.

On July 29, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a nationwide temporary suspension of the application of the February 24th 2020 Public Charge Grounds Final Rule. The injunction of this rule will apply to any period during which there is a declared national health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As long as the July 29th decision is in effect, USCIS will only apply the 1999 Public Charge Guidance established before the Public Charge Grounds Final Rule.

On March 26th, 1999, “public charge” was defined by Immigration and Naturalization Services as a ground of inadmissibility for which an alien may be denied immigration. A “public charge” refers to an individual “primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either (i) the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance, or (ii) institutionalization for long-term care at government expense.” In August 2019, DHS announced a new rule that would alter this definition of “public charge,” so that it made individuals receiving the following benefits are inadmissible for permanent residence: Supplement Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid (with some exceptions), and certain public housing assistance. This secured self-sufficiency of permanent resident applicants, so that these individuals would not rely on American public resources. The change to the definition of “public charge” was adopted on February 24th, 2020, so that both applicants applying for permanent residents in the U.S. as well as those seeking immigration from abroad would be impacted. Until February 24th, 2020, the use of most public benefits did not have negative consequences to an immigrant’s legal status.

As long as the July 29, 2020 injunction is in place, USCIS will uphold the existing 1999 public charge guidance, rather than the Trump administration’s expanded rule.  This injunction will certainly soften the process for permanent resident applicants, and will be applied throughout the COVID-19 national health emergency.

On July 29th, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York concluded that the plaintiffs provided sufficient evidence to show that the February 2020 Public Charge Final Rule deterred immigrants from seeking testing and treatment for COVID-19, fearing that this would make them consequently inadmissible to the United States. This, of course, complicates efforts at stopping the coronavirus and even further aggravates the spread of the pandemic. An injunction, the plaintiffs argued, would be in the general American public’s interest.


This injunction applies to adjustment of status applications and to non-immigration change or extension of status. For any petition filed after July 29, 2020, the applicant or the petitioner does not need to include the Form I-944, Declaration of Self-Sufficiency. If an applicant or petitioner has already submitted this form, USCIS will not consider the information on this form regarding receipt of public benefits. Additionally, the applicant and petitioner do not need to include information on the receipt of public benefits in Part 5 on Form I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant status, Part 3 on Form I-539A, or Part 6 on Form I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker.

On its website, USCIS has announced that it will issue guidance regarding the use of affected forms.