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Updates

The White House recently issued a Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak (6/22/2020):

While the Proclamation does limit entry for certain J-1 categories (intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program),

It does NOT limit entry for:

  • J-1 Student category or its subcategories: degree, non-degree or student intern
  • J-1 Professor, Research Scholar or Short Term Scholar
  • ECFMG Alien Physicians.

For NAFSA breakdown of the Proclamation visit: https://www.nafsa.org/regulatory-information/proclamation-suspending-entry-certain-h-j-and-l-nonimmigrants.

Final Rules on Public Charge Determinations</>

Source: https://www.nafsa.org/regulatory-information/final-rules-public-charge-determinations 

Updates: 

On March 14, 2020, USCIS placed a Coronavirus alert on its public charge page, that begins: "USCIS encourages all those, including aliens, with symptoms that resemble Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (fever, cough, shortness of breath) to seek necessary medical treatment or preventive services. Such treatment or preventive services will not negatively affect any alien as part of a future Public Charge analysis." 

Agency announcements of February 24, 2020 implementation of public charge rules and forms: 

USCIS announced that it implemented its public charge rule on February 24, 2020 in all states, including Illinois. USCIS has updated its Policy Manual at Volume 8 Part G (Public Charge Ground of Inadmissibility) and Volume 2 Part A Chapter 4 (Extension of Stay and Change of Status) 

DOS announced that implemented its own public charge form and rule on February 24, 2020. DOS updated its Foreign Affairs Manual at 9 FAM 302.8 to instruct consular officers on how to apply the DOS public charge rule to applicants for nonimmigrant and immigrant visas. DOS also released a new form DS-5540 Public Charge Questionnaire to collect relevant information from applicants for immigrant visas and, in certain circumstances, applicants for nonimmigrant visas. 

On January 27, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court lifted an October 11, 2019 nationwide preliminary injunction that was preventing the administration from enforcing its public charge rule, except for Illinois. On February 21, 2020, the Supreme Court also lifted the preliminary injunction in Illinois, the final state where a preliminary injunction was still in effect. DHS is now permitted to implement and enforce its public charge rule nationwide on February 24, 2020. 

New Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of State (DOS) public charge regulations were originally scheduled to go into effect on October 15, 2019. A preliminary injunction issued by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and other district courts halted enforcement of the DHS rule. On January 27, 2020 and February 21, 2020, however, the U.S. Supreme Court lifted the injunctions in 5-4 votes, allowing DHS to enforce its rule nationwide. USCIS announced that it implemented its Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule on February 24, 2020DOS also announced that it implemented its own public charge form and rule on February 24, 2020. 

The new rules require DHS and DOS to consider the totality of the circumstances and make a prospective, forward-looking determination of whether applicants for an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa, applicants for admission to the United States, and applicants for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence are likely to become a public charge "at any time" in the future. The DHS regulation also introduces a related (but different) public benefits condition for change of status (COS) and extension of stay (EOS) nonimmigrant applicants, who will have to demonstrate that "since obtaining the nonimmigrant status" they seek to extend or change, until the date USCIS adjudicates the COS or EOS application, they have not received one or more of the listed public benefits over the designated duration threshold." 

DHS and DOS will generally only consider public benefits received on or after February 24, 2020 for petitions or applications postmarked on or after that date. 

Read the rules 

84 FR 41292 (August 14, 2019) (DHS final rule on public charge ground of inadmissibility) 

84 FR 54996 (October 11, 2019) (DOS interim final rule on public charge ground of inadmissibility) 

Update. On February 6, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina issued a permanent nationwide injunction blocking the August 8, 2018 USCIS policy memo that sought to change how days of unlawful presence are counted following a violation of F, M, or J nonimmigrant status. 

On January 28, 2019, the District Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) that blocked the Government from applying the unlawful presence memo on two named plaintiffs in the case, both of whom are MAVNI candidates. The TRO applied only to these two named plaintiffs, and had no effect on any other party. A hearing on the motions took place on April 4, 2019, and the Court issued a preliminary injunction on May 3, 2019. On February 6, 2020, the Court granted the plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment, denied the Government's motion for summary judgment, and declared the August 2019 policy invalid, set aside, and enjoined nationwide in all applications. 

On October 23, 2018, a group of colleges and universities filed suit in U.S. District Court to challenge USCIS's F, M, and J unlawful presence policy. The plaintiffs asked the court to declare unlawful and vacate the August 2018 policy memo, and to enjoin the enforcement or application of the memo. 

Read the complaint (10/23/2018). Guilford College et al v. Nielsen et al., Civil Action No. 18-891, filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina 

Amended complaint (12/14/2018) 

Plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction (12/14/2018) 

Amicus Curiae brief (friend of the court) filed by numerous institutions of higher education (12/21/2018) 

Preliminary injunction opinion and order in the Guilford College et al. v. DHS case (05/03/2019) 

Permanent injunction opinion and order in the Guilford College et al. v. DHS case (02/06/2020) 

 

USCIS Memo

Accrual of Unlawful Presence and F, J, Nonimmigrants - Updated 8/9/2018 (8pm)

Via NAFSA website

USCIS published a draft policy memorandum on May 11, 2018. On August 9, 2018, 8pm, the USCIS Feedback Updates page then published final guidance. Some "date mechanics" regarding the August 9, 2018 effective date F, J, or M nonimmigrants who failed to maintain their nonimmigrant status before August 9, 2018 start accruing unlawful presence based on that failure on August 9, 2018, unless the individual had already started accruing unlawful presence under the prior policy.

  • F, M, and J nonimmigrants who had violated status prior to August 9, 2018 and are still in the United States out of status as of that date should pay close attention to the unlawful presence clock that starts ticking on August 9, 2018 under the revised USCIS policy. 180 days from Thursday, August 9, 2018 is Tuesday, February 5, 2019, according to one common web-based date calculator.
  • For example, let's say that an F-1 undergraduate student completed her bachelor's degree on May 15, 2018, and remained in the United States beyond her 60-day grace period without taking steps to extend or change her status, or apply for optional practical training or reinstatement, and is still in the United States on August 9, 2018. In this case:
    • Although she has been out of status since about July 15, 2018 (the day after her 60-day grace period), unlawful presence for purposes of INA 212(a)(9)(B) will begin to accrue on August 9, 2018 under the new policy, since her status violation occurred before August 9.
    • If she departs the United States within 180 days of August 9, 2018, she will not be subject to the INA 212(a)(9)(B) three-year bar, since she will not have accumulated 180 days of unlawful presence.
    • Say she departs the United States on March 10, 2019, though. In that case, she will have accumulated more than 180 days of unlawful presence, and her departure will trigger the three-year bar under INA 212(a)(9)(B).
    • Say she departs the United States on August 10, 2019. In that case, she will have accumulated a year or more of unlawful presence, and her departure will trigger the ten-year bar under INA 212(a)(9)(B).

F, J, or M nonimmigrants who fail to maintain nonimmigrant status on or after August 9, 2018 will begin accruing unlawful presence on the earliest of:

  • The day after the F, J, or M nonimmigrant no longer pursues the course of study or the authorized activity, or the day after he or she engages in an unauthorized activity;
  • The day after completing the course of study or program (including any authorized practical training plus any authorized grace period, as outlined in 8 CFR 214.2), unless he or she makes a timely application to extend or change status.
Reinstatement Open
ISSS Information Sessions/ Appointments Open

Executive Order Updates:

Official Statements:

Updated Executive Order - 12/04/2017 Open
Updated Executive Order - 6/26/2017 Open
Travel Advisory Pursuant to Executive Order 13769 Open

Scams and Fraud Alerts

Dear Students and Scholars,

UIW International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) have received reports that international students and scholars in the U.S. continue to be subjected to scams involving calls claiming to be someone from a government agency including the FBI, USCIS, IRS, the Bexar County Detention Center, University Police, and even 911. The caller will demand payment with a specific method such as wire transfer or gift cards to resolve an error with your record.

These calls are completely false. In some cases, the caller:

  • Claims you did something wrong regarding your immigration status or taxes, and that you are going to be deported.
  • Claims you are under surveillance, and that you cannot contact any other individual or go to any website to confirm this issue.
  • They state that you must wire money to them to start an investigation, or to pay a fine, etc. and they ask you to provide other sensitive personal and financial information in the process including your Social Security Number, bank account information, and other identity documents.

Even if the caller already has a lot of information about you, do not share any additional personal or financial information such as your SSN, bank account, or debit/card information.

Stay informed and aware of U.S. Laws and systems:

  • No government agency or agent will call you to demand payment over the phone.Even in cases where legitimate money is owed (such as taxes) the government will communicate with you in writing, not over the phone.
  • 911 is not a number that you will receive a call from. The only time that 911 may legitimately show up as a number in your caller ID is in the case of a “Reverse 911” call (which will give safety information advising a threat in your area, and is usually a recorded message. Very similar to the RAVE Alert system).
  • The government will not demand a particular method of payment (such as wire transfer, gift cards, etc.). There will be multiple methods of payment available.
  • The government will not ask for your personal or financial information such as your SSN, bank account information, credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • The government will not threaten arrest or deportation over non-payment.
  • A government agent cannot remain anonymous- they must disclose badge information.

Scam and Fraud Alert Handout

What should you do if you get such a call? Open
What should I do if I already gave them personal information or transferred money? Open
How did they figure out I was here on a visa? How did they get my phone number? Open

UIW Resources

Emergency assistance for UIW travelers

If you are an international student traveling abroad and are not permitted to enter the U.S., please contact the International Student & Scholar Services office at 210-805-5705 during regular business hours (8am–5pm). During non-business hours, contact University Police at 210-805-6030. The UIW Police will contact an International Affairs member immediately.

Reporting an Incident

The University of the Incarnate Word provides all students, faculty, staff, administrators, and San Antonio community members the ability to bring their concerns and observations to the attention of university officials through the use of the following reporting systems.

To report a student conduct, gender/sex discrimination, general complaint, administrative, department complaint, behavioral intervention, or academic issue, click on Report an Incident tab at www.uiw.edu/campuslife/reportanincidentorgeneralconcern.html.

If this is an emergency, call 829-6030 (on campus) or 911 (off campus).

ISSS Information Sessions/ Appointments

Students with travel concerns can email intl@uiwtx.edu to schedule an Travel Advisory Appt. At this session, staff from UIW International Students and Scholars services will provide updates regarding how the new Executive Orders impact immigration status for our current students and scholars.

UIW Support Offices

International Student & Scholar Services Office

International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) provides support to international students, visiting scholars and exchange students in matters related to their non-immigrant status by complying with immigration rules and federal regulations. ISSS advisors know the demands connected with studying in another country and they support the education, social, and cultural dimension of international education at the University of the Incarnate Word. Contact ISSS at intl@uiwtx.edu or call 210-805-5705.

Schedule an appointment

Counseling Services Center

The ever challenging demands of growth, change, and the expanding horizons of learning are at times stressful, and often require an adjustment of attitudes and coping skills. We are here to help you succeed! Our staff of professional counselors are dedicated to helping you reach your goals. Counseling services are available to students enrolled at the University of the Incarnate Word and its affiliate high schools. Consultation services are available to faculty, staff, and administrators. For more information, contact the Director of the Counseling Center, Dr. Christie Melonson at melonson@uiwtx.edu. The Counseling Services Center is located in the Administration Building, Suite 438. For appointments, please make an appointment at 210-832-5656.