Pandemic Asylum Restrictions Lifted At Border

Associated Press— The AP reported that the border between the U.S. and Mexico was relatively calm in May, offering few signs of the chaos that was feared following a rush by worried migrants to enter the U.S. before the end of pandemic-related immigration restrictions.

Less than 24 hours after the rules known as Title 42 were lifted, migrants and government officials were still assessing the effect of the change and the new regulations adopted by President Joe Biden’s administration to stabilize the region.

“We did not see any substantial increase in immigration this morning,” said Blas Nunez-Neto assistant secretary for border and immigration policy at the Department of Homeland Security. He said the agency did not have specific numbers.

The Biden administration has said the revamped system is designed to crack down on illegal crossings and to offer a new legal pathway for migrants who often pay thousands of dollars to smugglers to get them to the border. Migrants are now essentially barred from seeking asylum in the U.S. if they did not first apply online or seek protection in the countries they traveled through. Families allowed in as their immigration cases progress will face curfews and GPS monitoring.

USCIS Extends Biometrics Suspension for Certain I-539 Applicants

USCIS has extended 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, which was initially in place until May 17, 2023, has been extended through Sept. 30, 2023.

CBP Expands Stampless Entry Pilot Program

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has simplified entry into the United States by instituting an automated I-94 process for most nonimmigrants arriving by air and sea. What began as a pilot program in certain ports of entry in April 2022, has become standard procedure across all US ports of entry.

CBP has discontinued stamping passports with an entry stamp when foreign nationals enter the U.S. Instead, each time foreign nationals enter the country, CBP creates an online, electronic entry record to record the entry, known as the I-94 record. The I-94 electronic record serves as the official record of entry into the US. The issuance of a stamp in the passport is now at the discretion of CBP.

Travelers may and should access their I-94 Arrival/Departure Records on the CBP website soon after they enter the US to ensure the accuracy of the information. To obtain the information the site requires the foreign national’s name, date of birth and passport number. The record found on the site documents each traveler’s nonimmigrant’s status, approved length of stay in the United States, and departure information. Because errors are not uncommon, there is the option of submitting an online request for corrections of the I-94 record through the CBP system. Alternatively, travelers may contact a local CBP office directly and request a deferred inspection to correct errors made at the time of entry. 

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