Federal District Court Blocks Enforcement of DHS Public Charge Regulation
10/11/2019 A federal district court has issued a nationwide preliminary injunction that prohibits the Department of Homeland Security from enforcing a regulation that sought to apply strict new standards for determining whether a foreign national could be considered a "public charge". For further information, please visit the Fragomen Website to read the full article.
Beware of Common Scams
9/25/2019 Be careful of common scams. USCIS has a dedicated portion of their website that describes various scams such false calls regarding winning the visa lottery or requiring money to be sent to USCIS. Please visit the common scam section of USCIS and familiarize yourself to be safe. Also, the IRS has a dedication website to discuss IRS scams, as well.
Reminder to International Community That Marijuana Remains an Illegal Drug Under Federal Law
5/8/2019 International students, scholars, exchange visitors, dependents, permanent residents, or anyone with immigrant or nonimmigrant status should avoid marijuana use, possession and all association with it because despite laws in Michigan, it remains illegal as a Schedule 1 controlled substance under U.S. Federal Law and may lead to negative immigration consequences. Even using marijuana medically, growing marijuana, and working in the marijuana industry may lead to negative immigration consequences.
Violations of federal law, such as marijuana use and possession, can adversely affect your immigration status, your ability to obtain or renew a visa, your ability to enter or re-enter the United States, and your ability to apply for U.S. permanent residency or citizenship.
Please also be reminded that marijuana in all its forms is prohibited on Western Michigan University's campus.
Related policies for students can be found in the Student Code of Conduct, Section B.6.
Related policies for faculty and staff can be found in the Employee Handbook, Section 8.
Additional links and information can be found here:
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services link: USCIS Policy Guidance
U.S. Customs and Border Protection link: CBP Statement
Inadmissibility bar: 8 USC 1182: Inadmissibility
USCIS Temporarily Blocked from Enforcing New Unlawful Presence Rules for Students and Exchange Visitors
5/6/2019 USCIS has been temporarily blocked from enforcing a new policy that penalizes F, J, and M visaholders who violate the terms of their nonimmigrant status.
On Friday, May 3, 2019, a federal court order temporarily blocked USCIS from enforcing the unlawful presence memo dated August 9, 2018 which had imposed unlawful presence and bars on F and J students and exchanges visitors who had status violations.
For further information, please visit the Fragomen Website to read the full article.
USCIS Revises Unlawful Presence rule for Students and Exchange Visitors
8/8/2018 Reminder! Starting August 9, USCIS will revise how it calculates the accrual of unlawful presence for students and exchange students who fail to maintain their F, J, or M nonimmigrant status in the United States. Students and their dependents will automatically accrue unlawful presence upon certain triggering events: on the day after completion of their course of study and applicable grace period; the day after their SEVIS record is terminated. Individuals who have accrued more than 180 days of unlawful presence and then depart will be subject to a three-year bar from returning to the United States. Those who have accrued more than 365 days are subject to a ten-year bar. Remember, if you have successfully completed your program and earned your grace period, the starting date for this will begin the day after your grace period ends. If your record is terminated, be sure to see your immigration advisor immediately to discuss your options as your unlawful presence begins on the day after your record is terminated. For more information and further clarification, please read the legal summary from Fragomen Worldwide Immigration Website. The USCIS policy memorandum dated August 9, 2018 regarding unlawful presence can be read here.
Practical Training Advisory for CPT and OPT
08/06/2018 Curricular Practical Training (CPT) advisor: Please be advised that the current interpretation under the current administration is that Curricular Practical Training is curricular, required by everyone in the program, or for credit integral to the curriculum. Also, Homeland Security states that cooperative agreements are required to be in place to support CPT between the school and the training sites.
Further, Homeland Security is requesting to see evidence that CPT is curricular and integral to the curriculum. This can by shown by the curriculum description, Registrar records, or course descriptions showing that the course has a training or practicum component. In any case, CPT is training that is required for the degree program, or for credit integral to the program curriculum.
The current CPT application reflects this interpretation. Most departments and colleges at WMU already have some type of internship or practicum course(s) as part of the curriculum which support CPT for international students. It is advised that departments which do not have any training or internship component to their programs may want to consider creating courses for credit to support a practical training experience as an integral part of the curriculum for credit towards graduation.
Optional Practical Training (OPT) advisory: For students who are in programs which offer no training or internship component integral to the curriculum, a different option is Optional Practical Training which is optional. Students may apply for OPT either pre-completion (before graduation) or post-completion (after graduation). Students are still required to maintain full-time enrollment during mandatory semesters, per the federal regulations. Use of pre-completion OPT will deduct against the total 12-month limit of post-completion OPT. If pre-completion OPT is done during a mandatory semester, students are limited to 20 hours training per week. Also, the government filing fee for OPT applications is currently $410 and takes about 90 days for adjudication by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Resources for DACA Students
Although WMU Immigration Compliance cannot advise DACA students on their personal immigration matters, as it is outside our scope, there are outside resources in the community. You may find the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center (MIRC) website to be helpful.