A Chronological List of Selected Immigration Updates
In our country and our world today, questions about citizenship and immigration are hotly contested. But at Yale, we share none of this uncertainty about the critical importance of immigrant and international students and scholars. The work of the university—education and research—requires the free movement of people and ideas across national borders. On behalf of this university, I advocate for policies that will allow us to welcome students and scholars from around the world to our campus.
- President Peter Salovey
Yale College Opening Assembly Address
August 25, 2018
Travel Ban 4.0
On January 31, 2020, the Whitehouse issued a new Presidential Proclamation (“Presidential Proclamation 9983”.) Since the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ban in 2018 it cleared the way for the Whitehouse to update the travel ban by adding or removing countries from the list according to how they respond to U.S. security concerns. To keep up to date with the latest list of effected countries please refer to the U.S. State Department web site, or the NAFSA: Association of International Educators website.
Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Public Charge
On January 30th the Supreme Court upheld a new United States Customs and Immigration Services rule known as “public charge.” Public charge is an evaluation of whether an international visitor is likely to need help from the U.S. or state government while they remain in the United States. In other words, the U.S. wants to see that an F-1 student or J-1 scholar is not likely to need money or assistance. The new regulation will go into effect on February 24, 2020 and may effect how international students and scholars apply to change or extend their visa status.
District Court Puts "unlawful presence" on Hold Temporarily
Over the past year OISS offered a series of information sessions regarding a new and confusing policy effecting F and J visa holders known as “unlawful presence.” The policy was challenged in the courts, and Yale and other schools went on record expressing concerns about the policy's effect on international students and scholars. On May 9th 2019 YaleNews announced that the U.S. District Court has put a temporary hold on the policy.
Supreme Court Leaves DACA in Place, for now
The U.S. Supreme Court took no action on a request from the Trump administration to review the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, meaning the program remains in place for the time being. If the court accepts the case at a later date and follows its usual procedures, the case would not be argued before October 2019, with a decision likely issued in 2020, according to the Washington Post. To understand Yale's position on the issues please go to our DACA web site
USCIS Expands Deportation Rule
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) introduced a new policy memo which addresses a change in the usage of a procedure known as Notice to Appear. Essentially this policy expands when USCIS might begin “removable proceedings” (aka deportation) for certain individuals. It does not affect employment based visas (H-1B, O-1, etc…) but could affect students and scholars trying to change visa status inside the U.S.
Interpreting the Notice to Appear memo (from NAFSA: Association of International Educators)
USCIS Unlawful Policy Memo (directed at students and researchers)
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a policy memo which dramatically changes a 20-year standing precedent on defining “unlawful presence.” For 20 year there was a separation between “violating status” and “accruing unlawful status.” In essence USCIS would have to first notify the visa holder that they were beginning to accrue unlawful presence time based on an event. F-1 students and J-1 Exchange Visitors were always exempt of this rule. With the new policy F-1 students and J-1 Exchange visitors could be barred from returning to the U.S. for three years, ten years or even permanently depending on how much unlawful presence time they accrue.
Interpreting the Unlawful Presence Memo (from NAFSA: Association of International Educators)
State Department Tightens Rules Residence Abroad
The U.S. State Department has always required that an international student or scholar applying for a visa demonstrate that they have ties to residence in a foreign country they have no intention of abandoning. The language in the Foreign Affairs Manual has been changed to ensure the Consular Officer is satisfied that the applicant intends to depart the U.S. upon completion of the program.
Interpreting the Residence Abroad Rule (from NAFSA: Association of International Educators)
USCIS Policy Memo Enabling Denial without Warning
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a policy memo which gives the agency the right to deny an application if they feel it does not “establish eligibility.” Until now USCIS would normally issue a Notice of Intent to Deny, giving the petitioner a chance to explain the deficiencies. It is too early to know how USCIS will apply this new policy.
Interpreting the Memo on Denying Applications (from NAFSA: Association of International Educators)
Supreme Court Upholds Travel Ban 3.0
On June 26, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the travel ban making it permanent. It had already been in effect and enforced since December 4, 2017, for nationals from Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen and
Somalia. The travel ban restrictions on these seven countries are country-specific, and tailored to the situation of each individual country. The ban is designed so that it may change specific conditions, or countries listed at any time based on various factors.
Current travel ban countries and specific conditions: (from NAFSA: Association of International Educators)
Chad Removed from Travel Ban
The travel ban was amended to remove Chad as one of the affected countries. The Travel Ban 3.0 restrictions on the remaining seven countries are country-specific, and tailored to the situation of each individual country.