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Boundless Immigration News Weekly Recap: Nov. 12, 2021

Nov 12, 2021

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Budget Reconciliation Vote Delayed, House in Recess until November 15

After passing the infrastructure bill on Friday, November 5 and delaying the budget reconciliation bill vote until sometime before Thanksgiving, the House is now in recess until November 15. In a statement, centrist lawmakers who demanded the budget bill delay as they wait for a CBO score committed to voting on the legislation “in no event later than the week of November 15th.”

Covid Travel Ban Ends as Borders Reopen to International Visitors

Monday saw the end of a pandemic-related travel ban that closed the United States to international travelers from 33 countries for more than 18 months. Under the new policy, most visitors from Brazil, China, India, Europe, and South Africa can come to the U.S. as long as they show proof of vaccination and a negative Covid-19 test. The Canadian and Mexican land borders were also reopened to nonessential travel.

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Major Settlement Changes How USCIS Decides Work Permits for Nonimmigrant Spouses

USCIS reached a settlement in a class-action lawsuit on Wednesday that will allow the spouses of L-1 visa holders to receive employment authorization as a feature of their status, without having to apply for a separate employment authorization document (EAD). The government will also automatically extend the work permits of certain H-4 spouses of H-1B visa holders whose EADs expire before their status, and file their renewal EAD applications before their current EADs expire.

Biden Says Families Separated at the Border Under Trump Deserve Compensation for ‘Outrageous’ Immigration Policy

President Biden said he strongly backed the idea of compensating parents and children who were separated as part of former President Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, saying these families deserve payment for the previous administration’s “outrageous behavior.” Negotiations are ongoing, but the settlement payments could be as much as $450,000 per person, though the amount would vary based on individual factors.

Biden Administration Waives Work Permit and Green Card Application Fees for Afghan Evacuees

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on Monday that it will waive application fees for work permits and green cards for tens of thousands of Afghans who were evacuated to the United States this summer. Government fees currently total $495 and $1700 for work permit and green card applications, respectively – a steep cost for newly arrived Afghan evacuees and their families.

U.S. Naturalizations Increase By Nearly 200k as Agency’s Promotion Efforts Pay Off

Around 808,000 permanent residents became U.S. citizens in fiscal year 2021 compared to 625,400 in fiscal year 2020 following an all-out effort by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to promote and encourage eligible immigrants to apply for citizenship. The COVID-19 pandemic caused USCIS to stop naturalization interviews and oath ceremonies, forcing tens of thousands of eligible immigrants to wait to become citizens.

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