In the last few weeks, there have been important updates in immigration law. The U.S. government has issued guidelines on Temporary Protected Status for Ukraine and Sudan that will allow citizens of Ukraine or Sudan to seek protection in the U.S.; Prosecutorial Discretion that will stop the deportation of many immigrants who meet certain requirements; and USCIS Expanding Premium Processing which will expedite processing time for some cases.
Guidelines on Temporary Protected Status for Ukraine and Sudan
On April 18, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published two Federal Register notices on Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Ukraine and Sudan. Individuals can begin filing applications for TPS for Ukraine and Sudan on April 19, 2022.
Applicants will have to provide the following documentation with their application:
- Evidence proving the applicant’s nationality.
- Evidence proving date of entry into the United States.
- Evidence proving continuous residence in the United States since the applicant’s date of entry.
- Court records if the applicant was ever arrested, charged, or convicted for a criminal offense.
Applicants can also file for Employment Authorization with their TPS application.
On April 21, 2022, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a clarifying memo on Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Court.
What is Prosecutorial Discretion?
Prosecutorial Discretion is the power that U.S immigration agencies have to stop working on an immigrant’s deportation case that is considered non-priority. Prosecutorial Discretion is used because the U.S. government has limited resources and must focus on priority cases. Priority cases include noncitizens that are a threat to national security, public safety, or border security. Noncitizens who do not match previously listed are considered non-priority. The relevant agency decides on Prosecutorial Discretion on a case-by-case basis.
Prosecutorial Discretion Benefits
Noncitizens granted Prosecutorial Discretion will have their case dismissed or terminated. While Prosecutorial Discretion does not grant noncitizens any status or allow them to apply for a work permit, it does allow them to seek other forms of relief once available.
USCIS Expanding Premium Processing
On March 29, 2022, USCIS announced it would expand on premium processing in order to increase efficiency and reduce its enormous caseload that is a result of the coronavirus pandemic and its limited resources.
What is Premium Processing?
Premium processing is an expedited process for eligible forms for an additional service fee depending on the form. USCIS guarantees to process the application within 15 days. If USCIS cannot process the application within 15 days, they will refund the premium processing fee and continue the expedited processing.
The following application will be available for premium processing:
- Eligible categories Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status;
- Application for Employment Authorization; and
- Additional classifications under Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers.