In this edition, find the latest news on DOS Managing Regional Migration, USCIS Temporary Suspensions of Biometrics and more!
DHS, DOS Announce New Actions to Manage Regional Migration
On April 27, 2023, the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and State (DOS) announced new measures “to further reduce unlawful migration across the Western Hemisphere, significantly expand lawful pathways for protection, and facilitate the safe, orderly, and humane processing of migrants.” DHS said the measures will be implemented “in close coordination with regional partners, including the governments of Mexico, Canada, Spain, Colombia, and Guatemala.”
DHS noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) temporary Title 42 public health order will lift at 11:59 p.m. on May 11, 2023, and that the United States will return to Title 8 immigration authorities at that time. Individuals who cross into the United States at the southwest border without authorization or having used a lawful pathway, and without having scheduled a time to arrive at a port of entry, would be presumed ineligible for asylum under a new proposed regulation, absent an applicable exception.
The measures announced on April 27, 2023, include imposing stiffer consequences for failing to use lawful pathways; humanely managing migration flows with regional partners; and facilitating safe, orderly, and humane processing of migrants, DHS said. Some key measures and additional lawful pathways being implemented include:
- Expanded access to the CBPOne mobile application for migrants in Central and Northern Mexico, who can use it to schedule an appointment to present themselves at a port of entry rather than trying to enter between ports;
- New family reunification parole processes for El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, and modernizing existing family reunification processes for Cuba and Haiti;
- Doubling the number of refugees admitted from the Western Hemisphere;
- Continuing to accept up to 30,000 individuals per month from Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Haiti under expanded parole processes;
- Opening regional processing centers across the Western Hemisphere to facilitate access to lawful pathways; and
- Launching an aggressive 60-day anti-smuggling campaign in the Darien corridor.
- “Fact Sheet: U.S. Government Announces Sweeping New Actions to Manage Regional Migration,” DHS (Apr. 27, 2023). https://bit.ly/3LmW7Sq
USCIS Extends Temporary Suspension of Biometrics for Certain Form I-539 Applicants
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 19, 2023, that it has extended through September 30, 2023, the temporary suspension of the biometrics submission requirement for certain applicants filing Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, requesting an extension of stay in or change of status to H-4, L-2, or E nonimmigrant status. The previously announced suspension was in place until May 17, 2023.
USCIS said it will allow adjudications for the specified categories to proceed based on biographic information and related background checks, without capturing fingerprints and a photograph. However, the agency said it retains discretion, on a case-by-case basis, to require biometrics for any applicant.
Form I-539 applicants meeting the biometrics suspension criteria are not required to submit the $85 biometric services fee for Form I-539 during the suspension period. USCIS will return a biometric services fee if submitted separately from the base fee but will reject paper Form I-539 applications if the applicant meets the above criteria and submits a single payment covering both the filing fee and the $85 biometrics services fee.
USCIS said it plans to establish a permanent biometrics exemption for all Form I-539 applicants in the coming months.
- USCIS alert (Apr. 19, 2023). https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/alerts/uscis-extends-temporary-suspension-of-biometrics-submission-for-certain-form-i-539-applicants
CBP Requests Comments on Trusted Traveler Information Collection
On April 28, 2023, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a 30-day notice requesting comments on revisions to its information collection for its “Trusted Traveler” programs. They include the Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI), which allows dedicated processing at specified southwest land border ports of entry; the Free and Secure Trade program (FAST), which provides dedicated processing for known, low-risk commercial drivers; and Global Entry (GE), which allows pre-approved, low-risk, air travelers dedicated processing clearance upon arrival into the United States.
The purpose of all of these programs is to provide prescreened travelers dedicated processing into the United States. The benefit to the traveler is less time spent in line waiting to be processed. This information collection also includes the U.S. APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) Program, which is a voluntary program that allows U.S. citizens to use fast-track immigration lanes at airports in the 20 other Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member countries.
These collections of information include the data collected on the applications and kiosks for these programs. Applicants may apply to participate in these programs by using the Trusted Traveler Program Systems website (TTP) at https://ttp.cbp.dhs.gov/ or at Trusted Traveler Enrollment Centers. After arriving at the Federal Inspection Services area of the airport, participants in Global Entry can undergo a self-serve inspection process using a Global Entry kiosk, which are being transitioned to GE Portals. During the self-service inspection, participants have their photograph and fingerprints taken, submit identifying information, and answer several questions about items they are bringing into the United States.
Comments must be submitted by May 30, 2023.
- CBP notice, 88 Fed. Reg. 26325 (Apr. 28, 2023). https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2023-04-28/pdf/2023-09024.pdf