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TitlePublishedFR Doc.Description
TitlePublishedFR Doc.Description
Homeland Security Department -- Removal of International Entrepreneur Parole Program2018-May-292018-11348The Department of Homeland Security (``DHS'' or ``Department'') is proposing to remove its regulations pertaining to the international entreprepreneur program, which guided the adjudication of significant public benefit parole requests made by certain foreign entrepreneurs of start-up entities in the United States. After review of all DHS parole programs in accordance with an Executive Order (E.O.) titled, Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements, issued on January 25, 2017, the DHS is proposing to end the IE parole program, and remove or revise the related regulations, because this program is not the appropriate vehicle for attracting and retaining international entrepreneurs and does not adequately protect U.S. investors and U.S. workers employed by or seeking employment with the start-up.
Homeland Security Department -- Civil Monetary Penalty Adjustments for Inflation2018-Apr-022018-06486In this final rule, the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) is making the 2018 annual inflation adjustment to its civil monetary penalties. The Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (2015 Act) was signed into law on November 2, 2015. Pursuant to the 2015 Act, all agencies must adjust civil monetary penalties annually and publish the adjustment in the Federal Register. Accordingly, this final rule adjusts DHS's civil monetary penalties for 2018 pursuant to the 2015 Act and OMB guidance. The new penalties will be effective for penalties assessed after April 2, 2018 whose associated violations occurred after November 2, 2015.
Agriculture Department -- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Eligibility, Certification, and Employment and Training Provisions of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008; Correction2018-Mar-302018-06520This document contains technical corrections to the Code of Federal Regulations regarding the final rule and interim final rule published in the Federal Register on January 6, 2017, ``Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Eligibility, Certification, and Employment and Training Provisions of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008.''
Justice Department -- Expanding the Size of the Board of Immigration Appeals2018-Feb-272018-03980This final rule amends the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) regulations relating to the organization of the Board of Immigration Appeals (Board) by adding four additional Board member positions, thereby expanding the Board to 21 members.
Labor Department -- Department of Labor Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Annual Adjustments for 20182018-Jan-022017-28224The U.S. Department of Labor (Department) is publishing this final rule to adjust for inflation the civil monetary penalties assessed or enforced in its regulations, pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 as amended by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (Inflation Adjustment Act). The Inflation Adjustment Act requires the Department to annually adjust its civil money penalty levels for inflation no later than January 15 of each year. The Inflation Adjustment Act provides that agencies shall adjust civil monetary penalties notwithstanding Section 553 of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Additionally, the Inflation Adjustment Act provides a cost- of-living formula for adjustment of the civil penalties. Accordingly, this final rule sets forth the Department's 2018 annual adjustments for inflation to its civil monetary penalties.
Justice Department -- Procedures Further Implementing the Annual Limitation on Suspension of Deportation and Cancellation of Removal2017-Dec-052017-26104The Department of Justice is amending the Executive Office for Immigration Review (``EOIR'') regulations governing the annual limitation on cancellation of removal and suspension of deportation decisions. The amendment eliminates certain procedures created in 1998 that were used to convert 8,000 conditional grants of suspension of deportation and cancellation of removal to outright grants before the end of fiscal year 1998. In addition, it authorizes immigration judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals (``Board'') to issue final decisions denying applications, without restriction, regardless of whether the annual limitation has been reached.
State Department -- Visas: Documentation of Nonimmigrants Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, as Amended2017-Sep-052017-18750This final rule clarifies procedures for waiver of documentary requirements due to an unforeseen emergency for nonimmigrants seeking admission to the United States.
Homeland Security Department -- Waiver of Passport and Visa Requirements Due to an Unforeseen Emergency2017-Sep-052017-18749This rule adopts as final proposed amendments to the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) regulations describing the procedures for issuance of a discretionary waiver, on the basis of unforeseen emergency in individual cases, of certain documentary requirements for individuals seeking admission to the United States as a nonimmigrant. The Department of State (DOS) is issuing a parallel final rule amending a similar DOS regulation published in today's edition of the Federal Register. DHS and DOS have acted jointly in this matter.
Education Department -- Teacher Preparation Issues2017-May-092017-09351Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress has passed, and the President has signed, a resolution of disapproval of the Teacher Preparation Issues final regulations that were published on October 31, 2016. Pursuant to the resolution, the Department of Education (Department) is removing applicable regulations from the Code of Federal Regulations.
Homeland Security Department -- Department of Homeland Security and Department of Labor Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Annual Adjustments for the H-2B Temporary Non-agricultural Worker Program2017-Mar-172017-05178The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) (collectively, ``the Departments'') are jointly issuing this final rule to adjust for inflation the civil monetary penalties assessed or enforced in connection with the employment of temporary nonimmigrant workers under the H-2B program, pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 as amended by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (Inflation Adjustment Act). The Inflation Adjustment Act provides that agencies shall adjust civil monetary penalties notwithstanding Section 553 of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Additionally, the Inflation Adjustment Act provides a cost- of-living formula for adjustment of the civil penalties. Accordingly, this final rule sets forth the Departments' 2017 annual adjustments for inflation to the H-2B civil monetary penalties, effective March 17, 2017.
Homeland Security Department -- Civil Monetary Penalty Adjustments for Inflation2017-Jan-272017-00605This Final Rule finalizes the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Interim Final Rule that adjusted DHS civil monetary penalties for inflation. The Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (2015 Act) was signed into law on November 2, 2015. Using the formula in the 2015 Act and guidance from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), DHS calculated adjusted penalties. On July 1, 2016, DHS published an Interim Final Rule setting forth the adjusted civil penalty amounts, effective for civil penalties assessed after August 1, 2016 whose associated violations occurred after November 2, 2015. Pursuant to the 2015 Act, all agencies must adjust civil monetary penalties annually and publish the adjustment in the Federal Register. Accordingly, this Final Rule adjusts DHS's civil monetary penalties pursuant to the 2015 Act and OMB guidance. The new penalties will be effective for penalties assessed after January 27, 2017 whose associated violations occurred after November 2, 2015. DHS also announces that it will make its required annual adjustment of civil monetary penalties in future years by publication of a Final Rule notwithstanding the notice and comment provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act.
Education Department -- Student Assistance General Provisions2017-Jan-192017-00972The Secretary amends the Student Assistance General Provisions regulations governing participation in the student financial assistance programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (title IV, HEA programs). The amended regulations update the Department's hearing procedures for actions to establish liability against an institution of higher education, and establish procedural rules governing recovery proceedings under the Department's borrower defense regulations.
Labor Department -- Department of Labor Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Annual Adjustments for 20172017-Jan-182017-00614The U.S. Department of Labor (Department) is publishing this final rule to adjust for inflation the civil monetary penalties assessed or enforced in its regulations, pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 as amended by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (Inflation Adjustment Act). The Inflation Adjustment Act requires the Department to annually adjust its civil money penalty levels for inflation no later than January 15 of each year. The Inflation Adjustment Act provides that agencies shall adjust civil monetary penalties notwithstanding Section 553 of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Additionally, the Inflation Adjustment Act provides a cost- of-living formula for adjustment of the civil penalties. Accordingly, this final rule sets forth the Department's 2017 annual adjustments for inflation to its civil monetary penalties, effective January 13, 2017.
Homeland Security Department -- International Entrepreneur Rule2017-Jan-172017-00481This final rule amends Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations to implement the Secretary of Homeland Security's discretionary parole authority in order to increase and enhance entrepreneurship, innovation, and job creation in the United States. The final rule adds new regulatory provisions guiding the use of parole on a case-by-case basis with respect to entrepreneurs of start-up entities who can demonstrate through evidence of substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation that they would provide a significant public benefit to the United States. Such potential would be indicated by, among other things, the receipt of significant capital investment from U.S. investors with established records of successful investments, or obtaining significant awards or grants from certain Federal, State or local government entities. If granted, parole would provide a temporary initial stay of up to 30 months (which may be extended by up to an additional 30 months) to facilitate the applicant's ability to oversee and grow his or her start-up entity in the United States.
Homeland Security Department -- Eliminating Exception to Expedited Removal Authority for Cuban Nationals Arriving by Air2017-Jan-172017-00915This final rule revises Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations to eliminate the categorical exception from expedited removal proceedings for Cuban nationals who arrive in the United States at a port of entry by aircraft. As a result of these changes, Cuban nationals who arrive in the United States at a port of entry by aircraft will be subject to expedited removal proceedings commensurate with nationals of other countries.
Justice Department -- Eliminating Exception to Expedited Removal Authority for Cuban Nationals Arriving by Air2017-Jan-172017-00902This final rule revises Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) regulations to eliminate the categorical exception from expedited removal proceedings for Cuban nationals who arrive in the United States at a port of entry by aircraft. This final rule conforms with a parallel Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulation. As a result of these changes, Cuban nationals who arrive in the United States at a port of entry by aircraft will be subject to expedited removal proceedings commensurate with nationals of other countries.
Labor Department -- Updating Regulations Issued Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, Service Contract Act, Davis-Bacon and Related Acts, Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, Employee Polygraph Protection Act, and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act2017-Jan-092016-31293In this final rule, the Department of Labor (DOL or Department) revises regulations issued pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts (DBRA), the Service Contract Act (SCA), Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act (CWHSSA), Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA), and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA) that include reference to the ``Employment Standards Administration'' at the DOL. The Employment Standards Administration was eliminated as part of agency reorganization in 2009 and its authorities and responsibilities were devolved into its constituent components, including the Wage and Hour Division (WHD). This action deletes reference to the Employment Standards Administration in the regulations administered by WHD. Additionally, this action updates Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control numbers associated with information collections in the appropriate regulations. WHD was assigned new control numbers by OMB and this action updates those references in the regulations to the current corresponding OMB control number. Further, this action updates cross-references that were not revised in the FMLA Final Rule published February 25, 2015.
Agriculture Department -- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Eligibility, Certification, and Employment and Training Provisions of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 20082017-Jan-062016-30663This final rule implements provisions of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (FCEA) affecting the eligibility, benefits, certification, and employment and training (E&T) requirements for applicant or participant households in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The rule amends the SNAP regulations to: Exclude military combat pay from the income of SNAP households; raise the minimum standard deduction and the minimum benefit for small households; eliminate the cap on the deduction for dependent care expenses; index resource limits to inflation; exclude retirement and education accounts from countable resources; clarify reporting requirements under simplified reporting; permit States to provide transitional benefits to households leaving State-funded cash assistance programs; allow States to establish telephonic and gestured signature systems; permit States to use E&T funds to provide job retention services; and update requirements regarding the E&T funding cycle. These provisions are intended to more accurately reflect needs, reduce barriers to participation, and improve efficiency in the administration of the program. This rule also replaces outdated language in SNAP certification regulations with the new program name and updates procedures for accessing SNAP benefits in drug and alcohol treatment centers and group living arrangements with use of electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards. This rule provides States with regulatory options for conducting telephone interviews in lieu of face-to-face interviews and for averaging student work hours. Finally, the Department is issuing an interim final rule (with a request for additional comment) that will require that drug and alcohol treatment and group living arrangements (GLA) centers to: Submit completed change report forms to the State agency when a resident leaves the center; notify the State agency within 5 days when the center is not able to provide the resident with their EBT card at departure; and return EBT cards to residents with pro-rated benefits based up on the date of their departure.
Homeland Security Department -- Removal of Regulations Relating to Special Registration Process for Certain Nonimmigrants2016-Dec-232016-30885The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is removing outdated regulations relating to an obsolete special registration program for certain nonimmigrants. DHS ceased use of the National Security Entry- Exit Registration System (NSEERS) program in 2011 after finding that the program was redundant, captured data manually that was already captured through automated systems, and no longer provided an increase in security in light of DHS's evolving assessment of the threat posed to the United States by international terrorism. The regulatory structure pertaining to NSEERS no longer provides a discernable public benefit as the program has been rendered obsolete. Accordingly, DHS is removing the special registration program regulations.
Homeland Security Department -- Classification for Victims of Severe Forms of Trafficking in Persons; Eligibility for “T” Nonimmigrant Status2016-Dec-192016-29900The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is amending its regulations governing the requirements and procedures for victims of human trafficking seeking T nonimmigrant status. The Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary) may grant T nonimmigrant status (commonly known as a ``T visa'') to aliens who are or were victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons, who are physically present in the United States on account of such trafficking, who have complied (unless under 18 years of age or unable to cooperate due to trauma) with any reasonable request by a Federal, State, or local law enforcement agency (LEA) for assistance in an investigation or prosecution of acts of trafficking in persons or the investigation of other crimes involving trafficking, and who would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if removed from the United States. In this interim rule, DHS is amending its regulations to conform with legislation enacted after the initial rule was published in 2002: the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003 (TVPRA 2003), the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 (VAWA 2005), the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA 2008), and Titles VIII and XII of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA 2013). DHS is also streamlining procedures, responding to public comments on the 2002 interim final rule, and providing guidance for the statutory requirements for T nonimmigrants. The intent is to make sure the T nonimmigrant status regulations are up to date and reflect USCIS adjudicative experience, as well as the input provided by stakeholders.
Justice Department -- Recognition of Organizations and Accreditation of Non-Attorney Representatives2016-Dec-192016-29726This rule amends the regulations governing the requirements and procedures for authorizing representatives of non-profit religious, charitable, social service, or similar organizations to represent persons in proceedings before the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The rule also amends the regulations concerning EOIR's disciplinary procedures.
Agriculture Department -- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Photo Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Card Implementation Requirements2016-Dec-132016-29841The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is updating the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or ``Program'') regulations to set implementation parameters, prerequisites and operational standards required of State agencies that intend to implement the photo Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card option provided under Section 7(h)(9) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (``the Act''). The updated regulations establish procedures to ensure State implementation is consistent with all Federal requirements as they relate to photo EBT cards, including establishing procedures to ensure: Any other appropriate member of the household or authorized representative (including any individual permitted by the household to purchase food on its behalf) who is not pictured on the photo EBT card may use the card; placing photos on EBT cards does not affect the eligibility process and does not impose additional conditions of eligibility or adversely impact the ability of appropriate household members to access the nutrition assistance they need. Failure by a State agency to adhere to the provisions of this rule may result in penalties, including loss of federal funding. The rule will also codify several other program updates to reflect the current operations of the program.
State Department -- Visas: Classification of Immediate Family Members as A, C-3, G, and NATO Nonimmigrants2016-Dec-072016-28518This rule amends the definition of immediate family for purposes of A, C-3, G, and NATO visa classifications in two ways: It revises the eligibility requirements for unmarried adult sons and daughters age 21 or older for these visa classifications, and clarifies for purposes of G-4 visa classification that the international organization employing the principal alien must recognize an individual as immediate family to be eligible for derivative U.S. visa status. Furthermore, this rule permits qualified immediate family members of A- 1, A-2, G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 nonimmigrants to be independently classified as NATO-1, NATO-2, NATO-3, NATO-4, NATO-5, and NATO-6.
Agriculture Department -- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Student Eligibility, Convicted Felons, Lottery and Gambling, and State Verification Provisions of the Agricultural Act of 20142016-Dec-012016-28520The proposed action would implement four sections of the Agricultural Act of 2014, (2014 Farm Bill), affecting eligibility, benefits, and program administration requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Section 4007 clarifies that participants in a SNAP Employment & Training (E&T) program are eligible for benefits if they are enrolled or participate in specific programs that will assist SNAP recipients in obtaining the skills needed for the current job market. Section 4008 prohibits anyone convicted of Federal aggravated sexual abuse, murder, sexual exploitation and abuse of children, sexual assault, or similar State laws, and who are also not in compliance with the terms of their sentence or parole or are a fleeing felon, from receiving SNAP benefits. Section 4009 prohibits households containing a member with substantial lottery and gambling winnings from receiving SNAP benefits, until the household meets the allowable financial resources and income eligibility requirements of the program. Section 4009 also provides that State SNAP agencies are required, to the maximum extent practicable, to establish cooperative agreements with gaming entities in the State to identify SNAP recipients with substantial winnings. Section 4015 requires all State agencies to have a system in place to verify income, eligibility and immigration status.
Justice Department -- Procedures Further Implementing the Annual Limitation on Suspension of Deportation and Cancellation of Removal2016-Nov-302016-28590The Department of Justice proposes to amend the regulations of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) governing the annual statutory limitation on cancellation of removal and suspension of deportation decisions. First, the rule proposes to eliminate certain procedures created in 1998 that were used to convert 8,000 conditional grants of suspension of deportation and cancellation of removal to outright grants before the end of fiscal year 1998. The need for such procedures ceased to exist after the end of fiscal year 1998. Second, the Department proposes to authorize immigration judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals (Board) to issue final decisions denying applications, without restriction, regardless of whether the annual limitation has been reached. This proposed amendment would decrease the high volume of reserved decisions that results when the annual limitation is reached early in the fiscal year; reduce the associated delays caused by postponing the resolution of pending cases before EOIR; and provide an applicant with knowledge of a decision in the applicant's case on or around the date of the hearing held on the applicant's suspension or cancellation application.
Homeland Security Department -- The U.S. Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Travel Card Program2016-Nov-232016-28177This rule adopts as final, with two changes, interim amendments to the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) regulations published in the Federal Register on May 13, 2014 establishing the U.S. Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Travel Card Program. The U.S. APEC Business Travel Card Program provides qualified U.S. business travelers engaged in business in the APEC region, or U.S. Government officials actively engaged in APEC business, the ability to access fast-track immigration lanes at participating airports in foreign APEC economies.
Homeland Security Department -- Retention of EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 Immigrant Workers and Program Improvements Affecting High-Skilled Nonimmigrant Workers2016-Nov-182016-27540The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is amending its regulations related to certain employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant visa programs. Specifically, the final rule provides various benefits to participants in those programs, including the following: improved processes and increased certainty for U.S. employers seeking to sponsor and retain immigrant and nonimmigrant workers; greater stability and job flexibility for those workers; and increased transparency and consistency in the application of DHS policy related to affected classifications. Many of these changes are primarily aimed at improving the ability of U.S. employers to hire and retain high-skilled workers who are beneficiaries of approved employment-based immigrant visa petitions and are waiting to become lawful permanent residents, while increasing the ability of those workers to seek promotions, accept lateral positions with current employers, change employers, or pursue other employment options.
Education Department -- Teacher Preparation Issues2016-Oct-312016-24856The Secretary establishes new regulations to implement requirements for the teacher preparation program accountability system under title II of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), that will result in the collection and dissemination of more meaningful data on teacher preparation program quality (title II reporting system). The Secretary also amends the regulations governing the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant program under title IV of the HEA to condition TEACH Grant program funding on teacher preparation program quality and to update, clarify, and improve the current regulations and align them with title II reporting system data.
State Department -- Visas: Visa Information Update Requirements Under the Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS)2016-Oct-202016-25308The Department of State is coordinating with the Department of Homeland Security on instituting a requirement for nonimmigrant aliens who hold a passport issued by an identified country containing a U.S. nonimmigrant visa of a designated category to provide required information to DHS after the receipt of his or her visa of a designated category.
Homeland Security Department -- Establishment of the Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS)2016-Oct-202016-25321This rule amends the Department of Homeland Security's regulations to establish the Electronic Visa Update System (``EVUS''). This system will allow for the collection of biographic and other information from nonimmigrant aliens who hold a passport issued by an identified country containing a U.S. nonimmigrant visa of a designated category. Nonimmigrant aliens subject to these regulations must periodically enroll in EVUS and obtain a notification of compliance with EVUS prior to travel to the United States. Individuals subject to the EVUS regulations must comply with EVUS in order to maintain the validity of their visas falling within a designated category. The Department of State is publishing a parallel rule to amend its visa regulations to reflect the new EVUS requirements.
Homeland Security Department -- Technical Corrections Relating to Issuance of Notices To Appear, Warrants of Removal, Exercise of Power by Immigration Officers, and Standards for Enforcement Activities2016-Sep-092016-21526The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is amending its regulations to update various provisions that list specific immigration officials who are authorized to perform various immigration functions, including the issuance of notices to appear, warrants of removal, and arrest warrants. The lists are outdated and do not reflect the current DHS organizational structure. DHS is updating the lists with the specific officials who are currently authorized to perform these various functions. DHS is also making some technical corrections to update nomenclature and outdated references in the affected provisions.
State Department -- Intercountry Adoptions2016-Sep-082016-20968The Department of State (the Department) proposes to amend requirements for accreditation of agencies and approval of persons to provide adoption services in intercountry adoption cases. The proposed rule includes a new subpart establishing parameters for U.S. accrediting entities to authorize adoption service providers who have received accreditation or approval to provide adoption services in countries designated by the Secretary, which will be known as ``country-specific authorization'' (CSA). Adoption service providers will only be permitted to act as primary providers in a CSA-designated country if they have received CSA for that particular country. The proposed rule also strengthens certain standards for accreditation and approval, including those related to fees and the use of foreign providers. In addition, the proposed rule enhances standards related to preparation of prospective adoptive parents so that they receive more training related to the most common challenges faced by adoptive families, and are better prepared for the needs of the specific child they are adopting. These proposed changes are intended to align the preparation of prospective adoptive parents with the current demographics of children immigrating to the United States through intercountry adoption. Finally, the proposed rule makes the mechanism to submit complaints about adoption service providers available to complainants even if they have not first addressed their complaint directly with the adoption service provider.
Homeland Security Department -- International Entrepreneur Rule2016-Aug-312016-20663The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposes to amend its regulations implementing the Secretary of Homeland Security's discretionary parole authority to increase and enhance entrepreneurship, innovation, and job creation in the United States. The proposed rule would add new regulatory provisions guiding the use of parole on a case-by-case basis with respect to entrepreneurs of start-up entities whose entry into the United States would provide a significant public benefit through the substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation. Such potential would be indicated by, among other things, the receipt of significant capital investment from U.S. investors with established records of successful investments, or obtaining significant awards or grants from certain Federal, State or local government entities. If granted, parole would provide a temporary initial stay of up to 2 years (which may be extended by up to an additional 3 years) to facilitate the applicant's ability to oversee and grow his or her start-up entity in the United States. A subsequent request for re-parole would be considered only when the entrepreneur and his or her start-up entity continues to provide a significant public benefit as evidenced by substantial increases in capital investment, revenue, or job creation. DHS believes that a regulatory process for seeking and granting parole in this business-creation context--including by establishing criteria for evaluating individual parole applications on a case-by-case basis--is important given the complexities involved in such adjudications and the need for guidance regarding the general criteria for eligibility by the start-up entrepreneurs, entities, and investors involved.
Homeland Security Department -- Expansion of Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers of Inadmissibility2016-Jul-292016-17934This final rule, consistent with the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), expands the class of individuals who may be eligible for a provisional waiver of certain grounds of inadmissibility based on the accrual of unlawful presence in the United States. The provisional unlawful presence waiver (``provisional waiver'') process allows certain individuals who are present in the United States to request from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) a provisional waiver of these grounds of inadmissibility before departing the United States for consular processing of their immigrant visas-- rather than applying for a waiver abroad after their immigrant visa interviews using the Form I-601, Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility (``Form I-601 waiver process''). The provisional waiver process is designed to encourage unlawfully present individuals to leave the United States, attend their immigrant visa interviews, and return to the United States legally to reunite with their U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) family members. Having an approved provisional waiver helps facilitate immigrant visa issuance at DOS, streamlines both the waiver and the immigrant visa processes, and reduces the time that applicants are separated from their U.S. citizen or LPR family members, thus promoting family unity. The rule is intended to encourage eligible individuals to complete the immigrant visa process abroad, promote family unity, and improve administrative efficiency.
Justice Department -- Motions To Reopen Removal, Deportation, or Exclusion Proceedings Based Upon a Claim of Ineffective Assistance of Counsel2016-Jul-282016-17540The Department of Justice (Department) is proposing to amend the regulations of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) by establishing procedures for the filing and adjudication of motions to reopen removal, deportation, and exclusion proceedings based upon a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. This proposed rule is in response to Matter of Compean, Bangaly & J-E-C-, 25 I&N Dec. 1 (A.G. 2009), in which the Attorney General directed EOIR to develop such regulations. The Department also proposes to amend the EOIR regulations that provide that ineffective assistance of counsel may constitute extraordinary circumstances that may excuse the failure to file an asylum application within 1 year after the date of arrival in the United States.
Labor Department -- Department of Labor Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Catch-Up Adjustments2016-Jul-012016-15378The U.S. Department of Labor is issuing this interim final rule to adjust the amounts of civil penalties assessed or enforced in its regulations. The Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 as amended by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (Inflation Adjustment Act) requires agencies to adjust the levels of civil monetary penalties with an initial catch-up adjustment, followed by annual adjustments for inflation. The Department is required to calculate the catch-up and subsequent annual adjustments based on the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers. The Department must publish the interim final rule by July 1, 2016, and the new penalty levels are effective no later than August 1, 2016.
Homeland Security Department -- Civil Monetary Penalty Adjustments for Inflation2016-Jul-012016-15673This rule amends Department of Homeland Security (DHS or Department) regulations to adjust DHS and component civil monetary penalties for inflation. DHS calculated the adjusted penalties according to the statutory formula in the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, which was signed into law on November 2, 2015. The adjusted penalties will be effective for civil penalties assessed after August 1, 2016 whose associated violations occurred after November 2, 2015.
Homeland Security Department -- Department of Homeland Security and Department of Labor Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Catch-Up Adjustments for the H-2B Temporary Non-agricultural Worker Program2016-Jul-012016-15679The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) (collectively, ``the Departments'') are jointly issuing this interim final rule to adjust the amounts of civil monetary penalties assessed or enforced in connection with the employment of temporary nonimmigrant workers under the H-2B program. The Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (Inflation Adjustment Act) requires agencies to adjust the levels of civil monetary penalties with an initial catch-up adjustment, followed by annual adjustments for inflation. The Departments are required to calculate the catch-up and subsequent annual adjustments based on the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers. The Departments must publish the interim final rule by July 1, 2016, and the new penalty levels must be effective no later than August 1, 2016. The increased penalty levels will apply to all penalties assessed after the effective date, August 1, 2016, for associated violations that occurred after November 2, 2015, as discussed below.
Justice Department -- Civil Monetary Penalties Inflation Adjustment2016-Jun-302016-15528In accordance with the provisions of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, the Department of Justice is adjusting for inflation civil monetary penalties assessed or enforced by components of the Department.
Agriculture Department -- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Employment and Training Program Monitoring, Oversight and Reporting Measures2016-Mar-242016-06549Section 4022 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 requires that, not later than 18 months after the date of enactment, USDA (the Department) shall issue an interim final rule implementing the amendments made by subsection (a)(2). Pursuant to that requirement, this rule implements the employment and training (E&T) provisions of section 4022(a)(2) of the Agricultural Act of 2014. Section 4022(a)(2) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 provides the Department additional oversight authority of State agencies' administration of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) E&T program. In addition, it requires the Department to develop national reporting measures and for State agencies to report outcome data to the Department. It also requires that the Department monitor and assess State agencies' E&T programs, and provides the Department with the authority to require State agencies to make improvements to their programs as necessary. Finally, State agencies are required to submit reports on the impact of certain E&T components and, in certain States, the E&T services provided to able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs).
Homeland Security Department -- Flights to and From Cuba2016-Mar-212016-06371Current U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regulations contain a separate subpart O addressing flights to and from Cuba. The provisions in that subpart are either obsolete due to intervening regulatory changes or are duplicative of regulations applicable to all other similarly situated international flights. This rule therefore amends the regulations by removing subpart O. These amendments are consistent with the President's policy promoting the normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba.
Homeland Security Department -- Improving and Expanding Training Opportunities for F-1 Nonimmigrant Students With STEM Degrees and Cap-Gap Relief for All Eligible F-1 Students2016-Mar-112016-04828The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is amending its F-1 nonimmigrant student visa regulations on optional practical training (OPT) for certain students with degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) from U.S. institutions of higher education. Specifically, the final rule allows such F-1 STEM students who have elected to pursue 12 months of OPT in the United States to extend the OPT period by 24 months (STEM OPT extension). This 24-month extension effectively replaces the 17-month STEM OPT extension previously available to certain STEM students. The rule also improves and increases oversight over STEM OPT extensions by, among other things, requiring the implementation of formal training plans by employers, adding wage and other protections for STEM OPT students and U.S. workers, and allowing extensions only to students with degrees from accredited schools. As with the prior 17-month STEM OPT extension, the rule authorizes STEM OPT extensions only for students employed by employers who participate in E-Verify. The rule also includes the ``Cap-Gap'' relief first introduced in a 2008 DHS regulation for any F- 1 student with a timely filed H-1B petition and request for change of status.
State Department -- Visas: Documentation of Nonimmigrants Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, as Amended2016-Mar-082016-05136The Department of State proposes to reinstate a temporarily suspended amendment to its visa regulations to clarify procedures for waiver of documentary requirements due to an unforeseen emergency for nonimmigrants seeking admission to the United States.
Homeland Security Department -- Waiver of Passport and Visa Requirements Due to an Unforeseen Emergency2016-Mar-082016-04741This rule proposes to reinstate a 1996 amendment to a regulation in title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations regarding a discretionary waiver of certain documentary requirements for nonimmigrants seeking admission to the United States. The 1996 amendment allowed the legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) (now U.S. Customs and Border Protection) to waive passport and visa requirements for nonimmigrants due to an unforeseen emergency while preserving its ability to fine carriers for unlawfully bringing aliens who do not have a valid passport or visa to the United States. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the legacy INS and the U.S. Department of State (State Department) did not satisfy a statutory requirement to act jointly when the amendment was promulgated. As a result, the court found that the 1996 amendment to the regulation was procedurally deficient and reimposed an earlier version of the regulation that legacy INS and the State Department promulgated in 1994. This rule proposes to reinstate the 1996 amendment with some technical amendments. DHS and the State Department have acted jointly in this matter and the State Department is publishing a parallel proposed rule to amend its regulation in today's edition of the Federal Register.
Homeland Security Department -- Elimination of Nonimmigrant Visa Exemption for Certain Caribbean Residents Coming to the United States as H-2A Agricultural Workers2016-Feb-082016-02488This interim final rule revises Department of Homeland Security regulations to eliminate the nonimmigrant visa exemption for certain Caribbean residents seeking to come to the United States as H- 2A agricultural workers and the spouses or children who accompany or follow these workers to the United States. As a result, these nonimmigrants will be required to have both a valid passport and visa. The Department of State is revising its parallel regulations.
State Department -- Visas: Documentation of Nonimmigrants Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, as Amended2016-Feb-042016-02191As a result of this rule, a passport and a visa will be required of a British, French, or Netherlands national, or of a national of Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, or Trinidad and Tobago, who has residence in British, French, or Netherlands territory located in the adjacent islands of the Caribbean area, or has residence in Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, or Trinidad and Tobago, if the alien is proceeding to the United States as an agricultural worker. In light of past experience, and to promote consistency of treatment across H-2A agricultural workers, prudent border management requires these temporary workers to obtain a visa along with most other H-2A agricultural workers. The previous rule allowing temporary workers from these countries to enter the United States without a visa presented a vulnerability. Temporary workers from these countries now require H-2A visas to enter the United States.
Health and Human Services Department -- Medical Examination of Aliens-Revisions to Medical Screening Process2016-Jan-262016-01418The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is issuing this final rule (FR) to amend its regulations governing medical examinations that aliens must undergo before they may be admitted to the United States. Based on public comment received, HHS/CDC did not make changes from the NPRM published on June 23, 2015. Accordingly, this FR will: Revise the definition of communicable disease of public health significance by removing chancroid, granuloma inguinale, and lymphogranuloma venereum as inadmissible health-related conditions for aliens seeking admission to the United States; update the notification of the health-related grounds of inadmissibility to include proof of vaccinations to align with existing requirements established by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA); revise the definitions and evaluation criteria for mental disorders, drug abuse and drug addiction; clarify and revise the evaluation requirements for tuberculosis; clarify and revise the process for the HHS/CDC-appointed medical review board that convenes to reexamine the determination of a Class A medical condition based on an appeal; and update the titles and designations of federal agencies within the text of the regulation.
Homeland Security Department -- Enhancing Opportunities for H-1B1, CW-1, and E-3 Nonimmigrants and EB-1 Immigrants2016-Jan-152016-00478In this final rule, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is revising its regulations affecting: highly skilled workers in the nonimmigrant classifications for specialty occupation from Chile, Singapore (H-1B1), and Australia (E-3); the immigrant classification for employment-based first preference (EB-1) outstanding professors and researchers; and nonimmigrant workers in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)-Only Transitional Worker (CW-1) classification. DHS anticipates that these changes to the regulations will benefit these highly skilled workers and CW-1 nonimmigrant workers by removing unnecessary hurdles that place such workers at a disadvantage when compared to similarly situated workers in other visa classifications.
Agriculture Department -- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Photo Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Card Implementation Requirements2016-Jan-062015-33053Under Section 7(h)(9) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, as amended (the Act), States have the option to require that a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card contains a photo of one or more household members. The Act and existing program regulations further provide that a State that implements a photo on the EBT card shall establish procedures to ensure that any other appropriate member of the household or any authorized representative of the household may use the card. This proposed rule would provide clear parameters on these requirements. In addition, this rule proposes to amend program regulations to codify guidance that was issued December 29, 2014, requiring States that intend to implement the photo EBT card option to submit a comprehensive Implementation Plan that addresses certain operational issues to ensure State implementation is consistent with all Federal requirements and that program access is protected for participating households. In this proposed rule, the United States Department of Agriculture (the Department or USDA) would clarify that the State option to place a photo on an EBT card is a function of issuance. Pursuant to this, State agencies would be prohibited from having photo EBT card requirements affect the eligibility process. This includes ensuring that the option is appropriately implemented in a manner that does not impose additional conditions of eligibility or adversely impact the ability of appropriate household members to access the nutrition assistance they need. Failure to cooperate may result in penalties, including loss of federal financial participation. The proposed rule would also codify other program updates to reflect the current operations of the program.
Homeland Security Department -- Retention of EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 Immigrant Workers and Program Improvements Affecting High-Skilled Nonimmigrant Workers2015-Dec-312015-32666The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is proposing to amend its regulations related to certain employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant visa programs. The proposed amendments would provide various benefits to participants in those programs, including: Improved processes for U.S. employers seeking to sponsor and retain immigrant and nonimmigrant workers, greater stability and job flexibility for such workers, and increased transparency and consistency in the application of agency policy related to affected classifications. Many of these changes are primarily aimed at improving the ability of U.S. employers to hire and retain high-skilled workers who are beneficiaries of approved employment-based immigrant visa petitions and are waiting to become lawful permanent residents (LPRs), while increasing the ability of such workers to seek promotions, accept lateral positions with current employers, change employers, or pursue other employment options. First, DHS proposes to amend its regulations consistent with certain worker portability and other provisions in the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 (AC21), as amended, as well as the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 (ACWIA). These proposed amendments would clarify and improve longstanding agency policies and procedures-- previously articulated in agency memoranda and precedent decisions-- implementing sections of AC21 and ACWIA related to certain foreign workers, including sections specific to workers who have been sponsored for LPR status by their employers. In so doing, the proposed rule would enhance consistency among agency adjudicators and provide a primary repository of governing rules for the regulated community. In addition, the proposed rule would clarify several interpretive questions raised by AC21 and ACWIA. Second, consistent with existing DHS authorities and the goals of AC21 and ACWIA, DHS proposes to amend its regulations governing certain employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant visa programs to provide additional stability and flexibility to employers and workers in those programs. The proposed rule would, among other things: improve job portability for certain beneficiaries of approved employment-based immigrant visa petitions by limiting the grounds for automatic revocation of petition approval; further enhance job portability for such beneficiaries by increasing their ability to retain their priority dates for use with subsequently approved employment-based immigrant visa petitions; establish or extend grace periods for certain high- skilled nonimmigrant workers so that they may more easily maintain their nonimmigrant status when changing employment opportunities; and provide additional stability and flexibility to certain high-skilled workers by allowing those who are working in the United States in certain nonimmigrant statuses, are the beneficiaries of approved employment-based immigrant visa petitions, are subject to immigrant visa backlogs, and demonstrate compelling circumstances to independently apply for employment authorization for a limited period. These and other proposed changes would provide much needed flexibility to the beneficiaries of employment-based immigrant visa petitions, as well as the U.S. employers who employ and sponsor them for permanent residence. Finally, to provide additional certainty and stability to certain employment-authorized individuals and their U.S. employers, DHS is also proposing changes to its regulations governing the processing of applications for employment authorization to minimize the risk of any gaps in such authorization. These changes would provide for the automatic extension of the validity of certain Employment Authorization Documents (EADs or Forms I-766) for an interim period upon the timely filing of an application to renew such documents. At the same time, in light of national security and fraud concerns, DHS is proposing to remove regulations that provide a 90-day processing timeline for EAD applications and that require the issuance of interim EADs if processing extends beyond the 90-day mark.
Education Department -- Program Integrity Issues2015-Nov-272015-30158On October 29, 2010, the Department of Education published in the Federal Register final regulations for improving integrity in the programs authorized under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA) (October 29, 2010, final regulations). The preamble to those regulations was revised in a Federal Register notice of March 22, 2013. This document clarifies and provides additional information about the October 29, 2010, final regulations.
State Department -- Visas: Interview Waiver Authority2015-Nov-102015-28578This rule is promulgated to clarify the circumstances in which a consular officer and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Visa Services may waive the requirement for a nonimmigrant visa interview.
State Department -- Visas: Procedures for Issuing Visas2015-Nov-022015-27862The Department of State is updating its regulations regarding nonimmigrant visa format, and records retention procedures. These updates reflect changes in technology, including the current practice of issuing machine-readable visas and the planned future practice of issuing visas electronically. The Department is also removing an obsolete records retention provision and a visa review provision, both of which are now addressed in the Foreign Affairs Manual.
Education Department -- Student Assistance General Provisions, Federal Family Education Loan Program, and William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program2015-Oct-302015-27143The Secretary amends the regulations governing the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program to create a new income- contingent repayment plan in accordance with the President's initiative to allow more Direct Loan borrowers to cap their loan payments at 10 percent of their monthly incomes. The Secretary is also implementing changes to the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program and Direct Loan Program regulations to streamline and enhance existing processes and provide additional support to struggling borrowers. These regulations will also amend the Student Assistance General Provisions regulations by expanding the circumstances under which an institution may challenge or appeal a draft or final cohort default rate based on the institution's participation rate index.
Homeland Security Department -- Improving and Expanding Training Opportunities for F-1 Nonimmigrant Students With STEM Degrees and Cap-Gap Relief for All Eligible F-1 Students2015-Oct-192015-26395The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposes to amend its F-1 nonimmigrant student visa regulations on optional practical training (OPT) for certain students with degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) from U.S. institutions of higher education. Specifically, the proposal would allow such F-1 STEM students who have elected to pursue 12 months of OPT in the United States to extend the OPT period by 24 months (STEM OPT extension). This 24-month extension would effectively replace the 17-month STEM OPT extension currently available to certain STEM students. The rule also improves and increases oversight over STEM OPT extensions by, among other things, requiring the implementation of formal mentoring and training plans by employers, adding wage and other protections for STEM OPT students and U.S. workers, and allowing extensions only to students with degrees from accredited schools. As with the current 17-month STEM OPT extension, the proposed rule would authorize STEM OPT extensions only for students employed by employers enrolled in U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' (USCIS') E-Verify employment eligibility verification program. The proposal also includes the ``Cap-Gap'' relief first introduced in 2008 for any F-1 student with a timely filed H-1B petition and request for change of status. This Cap-Gap relief allows such students to automatically extend the duration of F-1 status and any current employment authorization until October 1 of the fiscal year for which such H-1B visa is being requested. In addition to improving the integrity and value of the STEM OPT program, this proposed rule also responds to a court decision that vacated a 2008 DHS regulation on procedural grounds. The proposed rule includes changes to the policies announced in the 2008 rule to further enhance the academic benefit provided by STEM OPT extensions and increase oversight, which will better ensure that students gain valuable practical STEM experience that supplements knowledge gained through their academic studies, while preventing adverse effects to U.S. workers. By earning a functional understanding of how to apply their academic knowledge in a work setting, students will be better positioned to begin careers in their fields of study. These on-the-job educational experiences would be obtained only with those employers that commit to developing students' knowledge and skills through practical application. The proposed changes would also help ensure that the nation's colleges and universities remain globally competitive in attracting international STEM students to study and lawfully remain in the United States.
Homeland Security Department -- Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) Filings for Electronic Entry/Entry Summary (Cargo Release and Related Entry)2015-Oct-132015-25729This document amends the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regulations to reflect that on November 1, 2015, the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) will be a CBP-authorized Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) System. This regulatory document informs the public that the Automated Commercial System (ACS) is being phased out as a CBP-authorized EDI System for the processing electronic entry and entry summary filings (also known as entry filings). ACE will replace the Automated Commercial System (ACS) as the CBP-authorized EDI system for processing commercial trade data. This document also announces the conclusion of the ACE Cargo Release and the Entry Summary, Accounts and Revenue tests with regard to the entry and entry summary requirements that are now part of the CBP regulations.
Justice Department -- Recognition of Organizations and Accreditation of Non-Attorney Representatives2015-Oct-012015-24024This rule proposes to amend the regulations governing the requirements and procedures for authorizing representatives of non- profit religious, charitable, social service, or similar organizations to represent persons in proceedings before the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The rule also proposes amendments to the regulations concerning EOIR's disciplinary procedures.
Justice Department -- List of Pro Bono Legal Service Providers for Individuals in Immigration Proceedings2015-Oct-012015-24017This final rule adopts, as amended, the proposed rule entitled ``List of Pro Bono Legal Service Providers for Aliens in Immigration Proceedings.'' The final rule changes the name of the ``List of Free Legal Service Providers,'' maintained by the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), to the ``List of Pro Bono Legal Service Providers'' (List). It enhances the eligibility requirements for providers to be included on the List. It authorizes the Director of EOIR, or his or her designee, to place providers on the List and remove them from the List. The rule also allows the public to comment on eligible applicants and requires approved providers to certify their eligibility every 3 years.
Justice Department -- Separate Representation for Custody and Bond Proceedings2015-Oct-012015-24016This final rule adopts, without change, the proposed rule ``Separate Representation for Custody and Bond Proceedings'' as published in the Federal Register on September 17, 2014. Specifically, this final rule amends the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) regulations relating to the representation of an individual in custody and bond proceedings before EOIR by allowing a representative before EOIR to enter an appearance in custody and bond proceedings without such appearance constituting an entry of appearance for all of the individual's proceedings before the Immigration Court.
Agriculture Department -- Clarification of Eligibility of Fleeing Felons2015-Sep-102015-22763This rule implements Section 4112 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. Section 4112 amended Section 6(k) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to require the Secretary of Agriculture to define the terms ``fleeing'' and ``actively seeking'' to ensure that State agencies use consistent procedures regarding the disqualification of a fleeing felon from eligibility for SNAP benefits when the individual is fleeing to avoid prosecution, custody or confinement after conviction for committing a crime or attempting to commit a crime that is a felony under the law of the place from which the individual is fleeing (or a high misdemeanor in New Jersey) or is violating a condition of probation or parole under Federal or State law.
Agriculture Department -- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Agricultural Act of 2014 Nondiscretionary Provisions2015-Sep-032015-21906The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the Department of Agriculture (USDA) is amending Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or Program) regulations to codify certain nondiscretionary provisions of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the ``2014 Farm Bill''). This final rule excludes medical marijuana from being treated as an allowable medical expense for the purposes of determining the excess medical expense deduction under SNAP. This rule also amends multiple SNAP regulations pursuant to nondiscretionary changes under the 2014 Farm Bill related to Quality Control (QC). This rule updates the QC error tolerance threshold to no more than $37 for Fiscal Year (FY) 2014. For FY 2015 and thereafter, the QC tolerance level will be set annually based on an adjustment in the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP). In addition, this rule eliminates USDA's ability to waive any portion of a State's QC liability amount, except as provided in SNAP regulations that requires State agencies to use SNAP High Performance Bonus Payments only for SNAP administrative expenses including investments in technology, improvements in administration and distribution, and actions to prevent fraud, waste and abuse. Finally, this rule amends SNAP regulations pertaining to the use of SNAP benefits to pay for container deposit fees. The 2014 Farm Bill prohibits SNAP benefits from being used to pay for container deposit fees in excess of any State fee reimbursement required to purchase food in a returnable bottle or can.
State Department -- Intercountry Adoptions: Regulatory Change To Prevent Accreditation and Approval Renewal Requests From Coming Due at the Same Time2015-Aug-192015-20402This rule amends the Department of State (Department) regulation on the accreditation and approval of adoption service providers in intercountry adoptions. Most agencies and persons currently accredited received that accreditation at approximately the same time, which has resulted in a surge of concurrent renewal applications for consideration by the Council on Accreditation (COA), the designated accrediting entity. Permitting some agencies or persons to qualify for an extension by one year of the accreditation or approval period will result in a more even distribution of applications for renewal in a given year. By distributing renewals, and the resources needed to process them, COA will be further enabled to effectively and consistently carry out its other functions.
Homeland Security Department -- Expansion of Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers of Inadmissibility2015-Jul-222015-17794The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposes to expand eligibility for provisional waivers of certain grounds of inadmissibility based on the accrual of unlawful presence to all aliens who are statutorily eligible for a waiver of such grounds, are seeking such a waiver in connection with an immigrant visa application, and meet other conditions. The provisional waiver process currently allows certain aliens who are present in the United States to request from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) a provisional waiver of certain unlawful presence grounds of inadmissibility prior to departing from the United States for consular processing of their immigrant visas--rather than applying for a waiver abroad after the immigrant visa interview using the Form I-601, Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility (hereinafter ``Form I-601 waiver process''). DHS proposes to expand its current provisional waiver process in two principal ways. First, DHS would eliminate current limitations on the provisional waiver process that restrict eligibility to certain immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. Under this proposed rule, the provisional waiver process would be made available to all aliens who are statutorily eligible for waivers of inadmissibility based on unlawful presence and meet certain other conditions. Second, in relation to the statutory requirement that the waiver applicant demonstrate that denial of the waiver would result in ``extreme hardship'' to certain family members, DHS proposes to expand the provisional waiver process by eliminating the current restriction that limits extreme hardship determinations only to aliens who can establish extreme hardship to U.S. citizen spouses or parents. Under this proposed rule, an applicant for a provisional waiver would be permitted to establish the eligibility requirement of showing extreme hardship to any qualifying relative (namely, U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouses or parents). DHS is proposing to expand the provisional waiver process in the interests of encouraging eligible aliens to complete the visa process abroad, promoting family unity, and improving administrative efficiency.
Education Department -- Student Assistance General Provisions, Federal Family Education Loan Program, and William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program2015-Jul-092015-16623The Secretary proposes to amend the regulations governing the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program to create a new income-contingent repayment plan in accordance with the President's initiative to allow more Direct Loan borrowers to cap their loan payments at 10 percent of their monthly incomes. The Secretary is also proposing changes to the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program and Direct Loan Program regulations to streamline and enhance existing processes and provide additional support to struggling borrowers. These proposed regulations would also amend the Student Assistance General Provisions regulations by expanding the circumstances under which an institution may challenge or appeal a draft or final cohort default rate based on the institution's participation rate index.
Health and Human Services Department -- Medical Examination of Aliens-Revisions to Medical Screening Process2015-Jun-232015-15236The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is issuing this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to amend its regulations governing medical examinations that aliens must undergo before they may be admitted to the United States. Specifically, HHS/CDC proposes to: revise the definition of communicable disease of public health significance by removing chancroid, granuloma inguinale, and lymphogranuloma venereum as inadmissible health-related conditions for aliens seeking admission to the United States; update the notification of the health-related grounds of inadmissibility to include proof of vaccinations to align with existing requirements established by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA); revise the definitions and evaluation criteria for mental disorders, drug abuse and drug addiction; clarify and revise the evaluation requirements for tuberculosis; clarify and revise the process for the HHS/CDC-appointed medical review board that convenes to reexamine the determination of a Class A medical condition based on an appeal; and update the titles and designations of federal agencies within the text of the regulation.
Homeland Security Department -- Change to Existing Regulation Concerning the Interest Rate Paid on Cash Deposited To Secure Immigration Bonds2015-Jun-162015-14675The Department of Homeland Security is amending its regulations addressing the payment of interest on cash bond deposits to explicitly provide that the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) will set the interest rate. Treasury will notify the public of its interest rate determinations by publishing the rates on the Treasury Web site or via another mechanism. Under the existing regulation, the current rate of interest paid on deposits securing cash bonds is 3 percent per annum. 8 U.S.C. 1363(a); 8 CFR 293.2. This final rulemaking is consistent with the requirement of 8 U.S.C. 1363(a) that interest payments shall be ``at a rate determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, except that in no case shall the interest rate exceed 3 per centum per annum.''
State Department -- Intercountry Adoptions: Regulatory Change To Prevent Accreditation and Approval Renewal Requests From Coming Due at the Same Time2015-Jun-102015-14066This proposed rule would amend the Department of State (Department) regulation on the accreditation and approval of adoption service providers in intercountry adoptions. Most agencies and persons currently accredited received that accreditation at approximately the same time, which has resulted in a surge of concurrent renewal applications for consideration by the Council on Accreditation (COA), the designated accrediting entity. Permitting some agencies or persons to qualify for an extension by one year of the accreditation or approval period will result in a more even distribution of applications for renewal in a given year. By distributing renewals, and the resources needed to process them, COA will be further enabled to effectively and consistently carry out its other functions.
Homeland Security Department -- Changes to the Visa Waiver Program To Implement the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) Program and the Fee for Use of the System2015-Jun-082015-13919This rule adopts as final, with one substantive change, interim amendments to DHS regulations published in the Federal Register on June 9, 2008 and August 9, 2010 regarding the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). ESTA is the online system through which nonimmigrant aliens intending to enter the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) must obtain a travel authorization in advance of travel to the United States. The June 9, 2008 interim final rule established ESTA and set the requirements for use for travel through air and sea ports of entry. The August 9, 2010 interim final rule established the fee for ESTA. This document addresses comments received in response to both rules and some operational modifications affecting VWP applicants and travelers since the publication of the interim rules.
Justice Department -- Expanding the Size of the Board of Immigration Appeals2015-Jun-032015-13459This rule amends the Department of Justice regulations relating to the organization of the Board of Immigration Appeals (Board) by adding two Board member positions, thereby expanding the Board to 17 members.
Education Department -- Program Integrity and Improvement2015-May-182015-11917The Secretary proposes to amend the cash management regulations under subpart K and other sections of the Student Assistance General Provisions regulations issued under the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA). These proposed regulations are intended to ensure that students have convenient access to their title IV, HEA program funds, do not incur unreasonable and uncommon financial account fees on their title IV funds, and are not led to believe they must open a particular financial account to receive their Federal student aid. In addition, these proposed regulations update other provisions in the cash management regulations under subpart K and otherwise amend the Student Assistance General Provisions. We also propose to clarify how previously passed coursework is treated for title IV eligibility purposes and streamline the requirements for converting clock hours to credit hours.
Homeland Security Department -- Wage Methodology for the Temporary Non-Agricultural Employment H-2B Program2015-Apr-292015-09692The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) are issuing final regulations governing certification of the employment of nonimmigrant workers in temporary or seasonal non- agricultural employment. This final rule sets forth how DOL provides the consultation that DHS has determined is necessary to adjudicate H- 2B visa petitions by setting the methodology by which DOL calculates the prevailing wages to be paid to H-2B workers and U.S. workers recruited in connection with applications for temporary labor certification. Specifically, for the purposes of an H-2B temporary labor certification, this final rule establishes that, in the absence of a wage set in a valid and controlling collective bargaining agreement, the prevailing wage will be the mean wage for the occupation in the pertinent geographic area derived from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics survey, unless the H-2B employer meets the conditions for requesting that the prevailing wage be based on an employer-provided survey. Any such survey submitted must meet the new methodological criteria established in this final rule in order to be used to establish the prevailing wage. The final rule does not permit use of the wage determinations issued under the Service Contract Act or the Davis Bacon Act as sources to set the prevailing wage in the H-2B temporary labor certification context. DHS and DOL are issuing this final rule together because DHS, as the Executive Branch agency charged with administering the H-2B program, has determined that the most effective implementation of the statutory H-2B labor protections requires that DHS consult with DOL for its advice about matters with which DOL has expertise, including questions about the methodology for setting the prevailing wage in the H-2B program. DHS (and the former Immigration and Naturalization Service, Department of Justice, which was charged with administration of the H-2B program prior to enactment of the Homeland Security Act of 2002) has long recognized that DOL is the appropriate agency with which to consult regarding the availability of U.S. workers and for assuring that wages and working conditions of U.S. workers are not adversely affected by the use of H-2B workers. This rule also adopts, without change, certain revisions made to DHS's H-2B regulations, to clarify that DHS is the Executive Branch agency charged with making determinations regarding eligibility for H-2B classifications, after consulting with DOL for its advice about matters with which DOL has expertise, including questions related to the methodology for setting the prevailing wage in the H-2B program. Finally, DHS and DOL are issuing, simultaneously with this rule, a companion H-2B rule governing the certification of the employment of nonimmigrant workers in temporary or seasonal non-agricultural employment and the enforcement of the obligations applicable to employers of such nonimmigrant workers.
Homeland Security Department -- Adjustments to Limitations on Designated School Official Assignment and Study by F-2 and M-2 Nonimmigrants2015-Apr-292015-09959The Department of Homeland Security is amending its regulations under the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) to improve management of international student programs and increase opportunities for study by spouses and children of nonimmigrant students. This rule grants school officials more flexibility in determining the number of designated school officials to nominate for the oversight of campuses. The rule also provides greater incentive for international students to study in the United States by permitting accompanying spouses and children of academic and vocational nonimmigrant students with F-1 or M-1 nonimmigrant status to enroll in study at an SEVP-certified school so long as any study remains less than a full course of study. F-2 and M-2 spouses and children remain prohibited, however, from engaging in a full course of study unless they apply for, and DHS approves, a change of nonimmigrant status to a nonimmigrant status authorizing such study.
Homeland Security Department -- Temporary Non-Agricultural Employment of H-2B Aliens in the United States2015-Apr-292015-09694The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) are jointly issuing regulations governing the certification of the employment of nonimmigrant workers in temporary or seasonal non-agricultural employment and the enforcement of the obligations applicable to employers of such nonimmigrant workers. This interim final rule establishes the process by which employers obtain a temporary labor certification from DOL for use in petitioning DHS to employ a nonimmigrant worker in H-2B status. We are also issuing regulations to provide for increased worker protections for both United States (U.S.) and foreign workers. DHS and DOL are issuing simultaneously with this rule a companion rule governing the methodology to set the prevailing wage in the H-2B program.
Homeland Security Department -- Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses2015-Feb-252015-04042This final rule amends Department of Homeland Security (``DHS'' or ``Department'') regulations by extending eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident (``LPR'') status. Such H-1B nonimmigrants must be the principal beneficiaries of an approved Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140), or have been granted H-1B status in the United States under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000, as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act. DHS anticipates that this regulatory change will reduce personal and economic burdens faced by H-1B nonimmigrants and eligible H-4 dependent spouses during the transition from nonimmigrant to LPR status. The final rule will also support the goals of attracting and retaining highly skilled foreign workers and minimizing the disruption to U.S. businesses resulting from H-1B nonimmigrants who choose not to pursue LPR status in the United States. By providing the possibility of employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses, the rule will ameliorate certain disincentives for talented H-1B nonimmigrants to permanently remain in the United States and continue contributing to the U.S. economy as LPRs. This is an important goal considering the contributions such individuals make to entrepreneurship and research and development, which are highly correlated with overall economic growth and job creation. The rule also will bring U.S. immigration policies concerning this class of highly skilled workers more in line with those of other countries that are also competing to attract and retain similar highly skilled workers.
State Department -- Adoptions: Regulatory Change To Clarify the Application of the Accreditation Requirement and Standards in Cases Covered by the Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act2015-Feb-102015-02248This rule amends the Department of State (Department) interim rule on the accreditation and approval of adoption service providers in intercountry adoptions, and adopts the interim rule as final. The revisions reflect the requirement of the Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 (UAA) that the accreditation standards developed in accordance with the 1993 Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Convention) and the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA), which previously only applied in Convention adoption cases, apply also in non-Convention adoption cases. Non-convention adoption cases are known as ``orphan'' cases, defined in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). This rule also revises the accreditation rule by referring to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Convention home study regulation and deleting obsolete references, such as any reference to temporary accreditation.
Education Department -- Program Integrity: Gainful Employment2014-Oct-312014-25594The Secretary amends regulations on institutional eligibility under the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), and the Student Assistance General Provisions to establish measures for determining whether certain postsecondary educational programs prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation, and the conditions under which these educational programs remain eligible under the Federal Student Aid programs authorized under title IV of the HEA (title IV, HEA programs).
Education Department -- Violence Against Women Act2014-Oct-202014-24284The Secretary amends the Student Assistance General Provisions regulations issued under the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), to implement the changes made to the Clery Act by the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA). These regulations are intended to update, clarify, and improve the current regulations.
Justice Department -- Separate Representation for Custody and Bond Proceedings2014-Sep-172014-21679This document proposes to amend the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) regulations relating to the representation of aliens in custody and bond proceedings. Specifically, this rulemaking proposes to allow a representative before EOIR to enter an appearance in custody and bond proceedings without such appearance constituting an entry of appearance for all of the alien's proceedings before the Immigration Court.
Justice Department -- List of Pro Bono Legal Service Providers for Aliens in Immigration Proceedings2014-Sep-172014-21686This rule proposes to amend 8 CFR parts 1003, 1240, and 1241 by changing the name of the ``List of Free Legal Services Providers'' to the ``List of Pro Bono Legal Service Providers.'' The rule also would enhance the eligibility requirements for organizations, private attorneys, and referral services to be included on the List of Pro Bono Legal Service Providers (List).
State Department -- Adoptions: Regulatory Change To Clarify the Application of the Accreditation Requirement and Standards in Cases Covered by the Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act2014-Jul-142014-16294This rule amends the Department of State (Department) rule on the accreditation and approval of adoption service providers in intercountry adoptions. The revisions reflect the requirement of the Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 (UAA) that the accreditation standards developed in accordance with the 1993 Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Convention) and the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA), which previously only applied in Convention adoption cases, apply also in non-Convention adoption cases. Non-convention adoption cases are known as ``orphan'' cases, defined in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). This rule also revises the accreditation rule by referring to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Convention home study regulation and deleting obsolete references, such as any reference to temporary accreditation.
Justice Department -- Designation of Temporary Immigration Judges2014-Jul-112014-16279This rule amends the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) regulations relating to the organization of the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge (OCIJ) to allow the Director of EOIR to designate or select, with the approval of the Attorney General, temporary immigration judges.
State Department -- Visas: Documentation of Immigrants Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, as Amended2014-Jun-052014-13091Pursuant to the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005, the Department of State amends the immigrant visa classification table listed in the Department's regulations to add a symbol for an immigrant visa issued to to an alien who: is the parent of a current U.S.citizen, or the parent of a former U.S. citizen who, within the two-year period prior to filing the petition, lost or renounced U.S. citizenship status related to an incident of domestic violence or died; is a person of good moral character; is eligible to be classified as an immediate relative under the Immigration and Nationality Act; resides, or has resided, with the U.S. citizen daughter or son; demonstrates that he or she has been battered or subject to extreme cruelty by the U.S. citizen daughter or son; and has an approved petition from the Department of Homeland Security.
Legal Services Corporation -- Restrictions on Legal Assistance to Aliens; Corrections2014-May-272014-12110The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) published a document in the Federal Register on April 18, 2014, amending LSC rules governing restrictions on legal assistance to aliens. That document failed to include paragraph headings in a section. This document corrects the final regulations by revising the section.
Homeland Security Department -- The U.S. Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Travel Card Program2014-May-132014-10767This interim final rule establishes the U.S. Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Travel Card Program. APEC is an economic forum comprised of twenty-one members, including the United States, whose primary goal is to support sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. One of APEC's initiatives is the APEC Business Travel Card Program. The U.S. APEC Business Travel Card Program will provide qualified U.S. business travelers engaged in business in the APEC region or U.S. Government officials actively engaged in APEC business the ability to access fast-track immigration lanes at participating airports in foreign APEC economies. This rule sets forth the parameters of the program, the eligibility requirements, the application procedures, the duration of the program and the fee. In accordance with the authorizing law, DHS will not issue any new U.S. APEC Business Travel Cards or renew any U.S. APEC Business Travel Cards after September 30, 2018. Unless the law is amended to extend the duration of the U.S. APEC Business Travel Card Program, all U.S. APEC Business Travel Cards will expire by September 29, 2021.
Homeland Security Department -- Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses2014-May-122014-10734The Department of Homeland Security proposes to extend the availability of employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of principal H-1B nonimmigrants. The extension would be limited to H-4 dependent spouses of principal H-1B nonimmigrants who are in the process of seeking lawful permanent resident status through employment. This population will include those H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants if the H-1B nonimmigrants are either the beneficiaries of an approved Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140) or who have been granted an extension of their authorized period of admission in the United States under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty- first Century Act of 2000 (AC21), as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act. This regulatory change would lessen any potential economic burden to the H-1B principal and H-4 dependent spouse during the transition from nonimmigrant to lawful permanent resident status, furthering the goals of attracting and retaining high-skilled foreign workers.
Homeland Security Department -- Enhancing Opportunities for H-1B1, CW-1, and E-3 Nonimmigrants and EB-1 Immigrants2014-May-122014-10733The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposes to update the regulations to include nonimmigrant high-skilled specialty occupation professionals from Chile and Singapore (H-1B1) and from Australia (E-3) in the list of classes of aliens authorized for employment incident to status with a specific employer, to clarify that H-1B1 and principal E-3 nonimmigrants are allowed to work without having to separately apply to DHS for employment authorization. DHS also is proposing to provide authorization for continued employment with the same employer if the employer has timely-filed for an extension of the nonimmigrant's stay. DHS also proposes this same continued work authorization for Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)-Only Transitional Worker (CW-1) nonimmigrants if a Petition for a CNMI-Only Nonimmigrant Transitional Worker, Form I- 129CW, is timely filed to apply for an extension of stay. In addition, DHS is proposing to update the regulations describing the filing procedures for extensions of stay and change of status requests to include the principal E-3 and H-1B1 nonimmigrant classifications. These changes would harmonize the regulations for E-3, H-1B1, and CW-1 nonimmigrant classifications with the existing regulations for other, similarly situated nonimmigrant classifications. Finally, DHS is proposing to expand the current list of evidentiary criteria for employment-based first preference (EB-1) outstanding professors and researchers to allow the submission of evidence comparable to the other forms of evidence already listed in the regulations. This proposal would harmonize the regulations for EB-1 outstanding professors and researchers with other employment-based immigrant categories that already allow for submission of comparable evidence. DHS is proposing these changes to the regulations to benefit these highly skilled workers and CW-1 transitional workers by removing unnecessary hurdles that place such workers at a disadvantage when compared to similarly situated workers in other visa classifications.
Legal Services Corporation -- Restrictions on Legal Assistance to Aliens2014-Apr-182014-08833This final rule updates the Legal Services Corporation (LSC or Corporation) regulation on legal assistance to aliens. The rule implements statutory changes regarding aliens eligible for legal assistance from LSC recipients that have been enacted since the pertinent provisions of the existing regulation were last revised in 1997. Additional information is located in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section.
State Department -- Visas: Waiver by Joint Action of Visa and Passport Requirements for Members of Armed Forces and Coast Guards of Foreign Countries2014-Apr-082014-07866The Department of State is amending its regulations regarding the waiver by joint action of consular and immigration officers of visa and passport requirements for members of foreign armed forces and coast guards. Specifically, the regulation, as amended, removes the current list of countries whose armed forces members are ineligible for a such a waiver, and provides that, in every case, when entry of foreign armed forces and coast guard members is proposed under arrangements made with the appropriate military authorities of the United States and after coordination within the U.S. Government by those U.S. military authorities, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State will jointly decide whether to approve waiver of the visa and/or passport requirements.
Homeland Security Department -- Designation of Chile for the Visa Waiver Program2014-Mar-312014-07254Eligible citizens, nationals and passport holders from designated Visa Waiver Program countries may apply for admission to the United States at U.S. ports of entry as nonimmigrant aliens for a period of ninety days or less for business or pleasure without first obtaining a nonimmigrant visa, provided that they are otherwise eligible for admission under applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. On February 28, 2014, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State designated Chile as a country that is eligible to participate in the Visa Waiver Program. Accordingly, this rule updates the list of countries designated for participation in the Visa Waiver Program by adding Chile.
Education Department -- Program Integrity: Gainful Employment2014-Mar-252014-06000The Secretary proposes to amend the regulations on institutional eligibility under the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), and the Student Assistance General Provisions to establish measures for determining whether certain postsecondary educational programs prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation, and the conditions under which these educational programs remain eligible under the Federal Student Aid programs authorized under title IV of the HEA (title IV, HEA programs).
Homeland Security Department -- Standards To Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Sexual Abuse and Assault in Confinement Facilities2014-Mar-072014-04675The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is issuing regulations setting standards to prevent, detect, and respond to sexual abuse and assault in DHS confinement facilities.
State Department -- Visas: Documentation of Nonimmigrants Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, as Amended; TN Visas From NAFTA Countries2014-Feb-102014-02674The Department of State amends its regulation pertaining to The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), by removing the petition requirement for citizens of Mexico applying for nonimmigrant visa classification as NAFTA professionals. The rule reflects changes to documentary requirements authorized under the Immigration and Nationality Act, in implementation of NAFTA.
Legal Services Corporation -- Restrictions on Legal Assistance to Aliens2014-Feb-052014-02394This further notice of proposed rulemaking (FNPRM) proposes modifications to the rule under consideration by the Operations and Regulations Committee (Committee) of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC or Corporation) Board of Directors (Board). The FNPRM revises 45 CFR Part 1626, which governs restrictions on legal assistance to aliens. LSC seeks comments limited to the revisions to Sec. 1626.4(c) and the proposed program letter to replace the Appendix to Part 1626. Additional information on the requests for comments is located in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section.
Homeland Security Department -- Adjustments to Limitations on Designated School Official Assignment and Study by F-2 and M-2 Nonimmigrants2013-Nov-212013-27898The Department of Homeland Security proposes to amend its regulations under the Student and Exchange Visitor Program to improve management of international student programs and increase opportunities for study by spouses and children of nonimmigrant students. The proposed rule would grant school officials more flexibility in determining the number of designated school officials to nominate for the oversight of campuses. The rule also would provide greater incentive for international students to study in the United States by permitting accompanying spouses and children of academic and vocational nonimmigrant students with F-1 or M-1 nonimmigrant status to enroll in study at an SEVP-certified school so long as any study remains less than a full course of study. F-2 and M-2 spouses and children remain prohibited, however, from engaging in a full course of study unless they apply for, and DHS approves, a change of nonimmigrant status to a nonimmigrant status authorizing such study.
State Department -- Visas: Documentation of Nonimmigrants-Visa Classification; T Visa Class2013-Nov-182013-27303This rule is being promulgated to add a new visa classification symbol to the nonimmigrant classification table in our regulations. This amendment is necessary to implement legislation that created an additional nonimmigrant classification as described herein.
Education Department -- Program Integrity Issues2013-Sep-202013-22935On October 29, 2010, the Department of Education published in the Federal Register final regulations for improving integrity in the programs authorized under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA) (October 29, 2010, final regulations). This document makes technical amendments to those regulations in accordance with a court order.
Legal Services Corporation -- Restrictions on Legal Assistance to Aliens2013-Aug-212013-20040This proposed rule updates the Legal Services Corporation (LSC or Corporation) regulation on legal assistance to aliens. The revisions are intended to implement three statutory changes on aliens eligible for legal assistance from LSC grant recipients that have been enacted since the pertinent provisions of the existing regulation were last revised in 1997. Those three changes are described in more detail in the Supplementary Information section of this preamble. LSC seeks comments on the proposed changes to the rule. LSC also seeks comments on specific items that it has identified in this notice.
Education Department -- Student Assistance General Provisions2013-Aug-072013-19071The Secretary amends the Student Assistance General Provisions regulations governing participation in the student financial assistance programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (Title IV, HEA programs). The amended regulations implement the Office of Hearings & Appeals (OHA) Electronic Filing System, which provides a Web-based interface for the submission of documents in administrative litigation involving enforcement and compliance with requirements of Title IV, HEA programs. The OHA Electronic Filing System (OES) permits documents to be submitted electronically in an Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) directly to OHA through standard Web-based screens and prompts.
Homeland Security Department -- Extension of Border Zone in the State of New Mexico2013-Jun-122013-13946This final rule amends Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations to extend the distance that certain nonimmigrant Mexican nationals presenting a Border Crossing Card, or other proper immigration documentation, may travel in New Mexico without obtaining a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Form I-94 (Form I-94), Arrival/Departure Record. This change is intended to promote commerce and tourism in southern New Mexico while still ensuring that sufficient safeguards are in place to prevent illegal entry to the United States.
State Department -- Visas: Classification of Immediate Family Members as G Nonimmigrants2013-Jun-052013-13315This rule permits qualified immediate family members of A-1 or A-2 nonimmigrants to be independently classified as G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 nonimmigrants. It also clarifies that immediate family members of G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 nonimmigrants who have employment authorization may remain in G classification upon gaining employment that would otherwise allow them to change status to A classification. This rule is being promulgated to allow family members of employees of bilateral missions to work at international organizations in a visa status that reflects their position with the international organization.
State Department -- Visas: Documentation of Immigrants under the Immigration and Nationality Act, as Amended2013-Jun-032013-13065This rule amends the Department of State's regulations relating to adoptions in countries party to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption to include a new adoption provision from the International Adoption Simplification Act. The legislation provides for sibling adoption to include certain children who are under the age of 18 at the time the petition for immediate relative is filed on their behalf, and also certain children who attained the age of 18 on or after April 1, 2008 and who are the beneficiaries of a petition filed on or before November 30, 2012.
Homeland Security Department -- Wage Methodology for the Temporary Non-Agricultural Employment H-2B Program, Part 22013-Apr-242013-09723The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) (jointly referred to as the Departments) are amending regulations governing certification for the employment of nonimmigrant workers in temporary or seasonal non-agricultural employment. This interim final rule revises how DOL provides the consultation that DHS has determined is necessary to adjudicate H-2B petitions by revising the methodology by which DOL calculates the prevailing wages to be paid to H-2B workers and U.S. workers recruited in connection with the application for certification; the prevailing wage is then used in petitioning DHS to employ nonimmigrant workers in H-2B status. DOL and DHS are jointly issuing this rule in response to the court's order in Comit[eacute] de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agricolas v. Solis, which vacated portions of DOL's current prevailing wage rate regulation, and to ensure that there is no question that the rule is in effect nationwide in light of other outstanding litigation. This rule also contains certain revisions to DHS's H-2B rule to clarify that DHS is the Executive Branch agency charged with making determinations regarding eligibility for H-2B classification, after consulting with DOL for its advice about matters with which DOL has expertise, particularly, in this case, questions about the methodology for setting the prevailing wage in the H-2B program.
Homeland Security Department -- Immigration Benefits Business Transformation, Increment I; Correction2013-Apr-172013-08985On August 29, 2011, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a final rule to amend DHS regulations to enable U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to transform its business processes. In this notice, we are correcting three technical errors.
Justice Department -- Forwarding of Asylum Applications to the Department of State2013-Mar-292013-07252This final rule adopts without substantive change the proposed rule with request for comments published in the Federal Register on October 31, 2011, and includes several non-substantive, technical corrections. The Department of Justice (Department) is amending its regulations to alter the process by which the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) forwards asylum applications for consideration by the Department of State (DOS), Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. Currently, EOIR forwards to DOS all asylum applications that are submitted initially in removal proceedings before an immigration judge. The final rule amends the regulations to provide for sending asylum applications to DOS on a discretionary basis. For example, EOIR may forward an application in order to ascertain whether DOS has information relevant to the applicant's eligibility for asylum. This change increases the efficiency of DOS' review of asylum applications and is consistent with similar changes already made by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Education Department -- Program Integrity Issues2013-Mar-222013-06656On October 29, 2010, the Department of Education published in the Federal Register final regulations for improving integrity in the programs authorized under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA) (October 29, 2010, final regulations). This document revises the preamble discussion to the October 29, 2010, final regulations in accordance with the remand in Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities v. Duncan (D.C. Cir. 2012).
Agriculture Department -- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Updated Trafficking Definition and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations Dual Participation2013-Feb-212013-04044The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is changing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or Program) regulations pertaining to SNAP client benefit use, participation of retail food stores and wholesale food concerns in SNAP, and SNAP client participation in the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR). These changes to SNAP regulations address mandatory provisions of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, Public Law 110-246 (hereinafter referred to as ``the 2008 Farm Bill'') to allow for the disqualification of a SNAP client who intentionally obtains cash by purchasing, with SNAP benefits, products that have container deposits, subsequently discarding the product, and returning the container(s) in exchange for cash refund of deposit(s); or who intentionally resells or exchanges products purchased with SNAP benefits for purposes of obtaining cash and/or other non-eligible items. Through existing authority under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, FNS is also stipulating penalties for certain Program abuses committed by retailers. These abuses include stealing of SNAP benefits, by retailers, without client complicity, and other forms of trafficking through complicit arrangements between the retailer and the SNAP client. Examples of the latter would be the purchase, by retailers, of products originally purchased by clients with SNAP benefits and re-sold to stores in exchange for cash or other non-eligible items; or retailers taking possession of SNAP client cards and PINs, using the SNAP benefits to purchase stock for the store, and subsequently returning the card and PIN to the client with cash or other non- eligible items provided in exchange for having used the SNAP benefit. FNS is also addressing the mandatory 2008 Farm Bill provisions requiring disqualification in SNAP when an individual is disqualified from FDPIR, and under existing authority, clarifying the prohibition against dual participation in SNAP and FDPIR.
Homeland Security Department -- Standards To Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Sexual Abuse and Assault in Confinement Facilities2012-Dec-192012-29916The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposes to issue regulations setting standards to prevent, detect, and respond to sexual abuse and assault in DHS confinement facilities.
Homeland Security Department -- Designation of Taiwan for the Visa Waiver Program2012-Oct-222012-25986Eligible citizens, nationals and passport holders from designated Visa Waiver Program countries \1\ may apply for admission to the United States at U.S. ports of entry as nonimmigrant aliens for a period of ninety days or less for business or pleasure without first obtaining a nonimmigrant visa, provided that they are otherwise eligible for admission under applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. On October 2, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and with reference to the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, designated Taiwan for participation in the Visa Waiver Program. Accordingly, this rule updates the list of countries designated for participation in the Visa Waiver Program by adding Taiwan. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Homeland Security Department -- Extension of Border Zone in the State of New Mexico2012-Aug-092012-19458Under current Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations, certain nonimmigrant Mexican nationals presenting a Border Crossing Card, or other proper immigration documentation, are not required to obtain a CBP Form I-94 (Form I-94), Arrival/Departure Record, if they remain within 25 miles of the border (75 miles in Arizona). This document proposes to amend the DHS regulations to extend the distance these visitors may travel in New Mexico without obtaining a Form I-94 from 25 miles to 55 miles. This change is intended to promote commerce and tourism in southern New Mexico while still ensuring that sufficient safeguards are in place to prevent illegal entry to the United States.
Homeland Security Department -- Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers of Inadmissibility for Certain Immediate Relatives2012-Apr-022012-7698On January 9, 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced its intention to change its current process for filing and adjudication of certain applications for waivers of inadmissibility filed in connection with an immediate relative immigrant visa application. USCIS now proposes to amend its regulations to allow certain immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who are physically present in the United States to request provisional unlawful presence waivers under the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, as amended (INA or Act), prior to departing from the United States for consular processing of their immigrant visa applications. Currently, such aliens must depart from the United States and request waivers of inadmissibility during the overseas immigrant visa process, often causing U.S. citizens to be separated for extended periods from their immediate relatives who are otherwise eligible for an immigrant visa and admission for lawful permanent residence. Under the proposal, USCIS would grant a provisional unlawful presence waiver that would become fully effective upon the alien's departure from the United States and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) consular officer's determination at the time of the immigrant visa interview that, in light of the approved provisional unlawful presence waiver and other evidence of record, the alien is otherwise admissible to the United States and eligible to receive an immigrant visa. USCIS does not envision issuing Notices to Appear (NTA) to initiate removal proceedings against aliens whose provisional waiver applications have been approved. However, if USCIS, for example, discovers acts, omissions, or post-approval activity that would meet the criteria for NTA issuance or determines that the provisional waiver was granted in error, USCIS may issue an NTA, consistent with USCIS's NTA issuance policy, as well as reopen the provisional waiver approval and deny the waiver request. USCIS anticipates that the proposed changes will significantly reduce the length of time U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives who are required to remain outside of the United States for immigrant visa processing and during adjudication of a waiver of inadmissibility for the unlawful presence. USCIS also believes that the proposed process, which reduces the degree of interchange between the DOS and USCIS, will create efficiencies for both the U.S. Government and most applicants. In addition to codifying the new process, USCIS proposes amendments clarifying other regulations. Even after USCIS begins accepting provisional unlawful presence waiver applications, the filing or approval of a provisional unlawful presence waiver application will not: confer any legal status, protect against the accrual of additional unlawful presence, authorize an alien to enter the United States without securing a visa or other appropriate entry document, convey any interim benefits (e.g., employment authorization, parole, or advance parole), or protect an alien from being placed in removal proceedings or removed from the United States. Do not send an application requesting a provisional waiver under the procedures under consideration in this proposed rule. Any provisional waiver application filed before the rule becomes final and effective will be rejected and the application package returned to the applicant, including any fees. USCIS will begin accepting provisional waiver applications only after a final rule is issued and the procedural change becomes effective.
Homeland Security Department -- Establishment of Global Entry Program2012-Feb-062012-2470This final rule adopts, with some changes, a notice of proposed rulemaking published in the Federal Register on November 19, 2009, which proposed establishing an international trusted traveler program called Global Entry. This voluntary program allows U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to expedite clearance of pre-approved, low- risk air travelers arriving in the United States. This final rule establishes Global Entry as an ongoing voluntary regulatory program.
Justice Department -- Forwarding of Asylum Applications to the Department of State2011-Oct-312011-28117The Department of Justice is planning to amend its regulations to alter the process by which the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) forwards asylum applications for consideration by the Department of State (DOS). Currently, EOIR forwards to DOS all asylum applications that are submitted initially in removal proceedings before an immigration judge. The proposed rule would amend the regulations to provide for sending asylum applications to DOS on a discretionary basis. For example, EOIR could forward an application in order to ascertain whether DOS has information relevant to the applicant's eligibility for asylum. This change would increase the efficiency of DOS's review of asylum applications and is consistent with similar changes already made by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Homeland Security Department -- Treatment of Aliens Whose Employment Creation Immigrant (EB-5) Petitions Were Approved After January 1, 1995 and Before August 31, 19982011-Sep-282011-24619The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is proposing to amend its regulations governing the employment creation (EB-5) immigrant classification. This rule only proposes requirements and procedures for special determinations on the applications and petitions of qualifying aliens whose employment-creation immigrant petitions were approved by the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) after January 1, 1995 and before August 31, 1998. This rule would implement provisions of the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act.
Homeland Security Department -- Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Transitional Worker Classification2011-Sep-072011-22622On October 27, 2009, the Department of Homeland Security published an interim rule creating a new, temporary, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)-only transitional worker classification (CW classification) in accordance with title VII of the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 (CNRA). The CW classification is intended to provide for an orderly transition from the CNMI permit system to the U.S. Federal immigration system under the immigration laws of the United States, including the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). This final rule implements the CW classification and establishes that a CW transitional worker is an alien worker who is ineligible for another classification under the INA and who performs services or labor for an employer in the CNMI during the five-year transition period. CNMI employers may now petition for such workers. The rule also establishes employment authorization incident to CW status.
Homeland Security Department -- Special Immigrant Juvenile Petitions2011-Sep-062011-22625The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposes to amend its regulations governing the Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) classification, and related applications for adjustment of status to permanent resident. The Secretary may grant SIJ classification to aliens whose reunification with one or both parents is not viable due to abuse, neglect, abandonment, or a similar basis found under State law. This proposed rule would require a petitioner to be under the age of 21 only at the time of filing for SIJ classification. This proposed rule would require that juvenile court dependency be in effect at the time of filing for SIJ classification and continue through the time of adjudication, unless the age of the juvenile prevents such continued dependency. Aliens granted SIJ classification are eligible immediately to apply for adjustment of status to that of permanent resident.
Homeland Security Department -- Immigration Benefits Business Transformation, Increment I2011-Aug-292011-20990The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is amending its regulations to enable U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to migrate from a paper file-based, non-integrated systems environment to an electronic customer-focused, centralized case management environment for benefit processing. This transformation process will allow USCIS to streamline benefit processing, eliminate the capture and processing of redundant data, and reduce the number of and automate its forms. This transformation process will be a phased multi-year initiative to restructure USCIS business processes and related information technology systems. DHS is removing references to form numbers, form titles, expired regulatory provisions, and descriptions of internal procedures, many of which will change during transformation. DHS is also finalizing interim rules that permitted submission of benefit requests with an electronic signature when such requests are submitted in an electronic format rather than on a paper form and that removed references to filing locations for immigration benefits. In addition, in this rule DHS is publishing the final rule for six other interim rules published during the past several years, most of which received no public comments.
Agriculture Department -- Clarification of Eligibility of Fleeing Felons2011-Aug-192011-21194Section 6(k) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (``the Act'') provides that certain individuals are not eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Such individuals include an individual fleeing to avoid prosecution, custody or confinement after conviction for committing a crime or attempting to commit a crime that is a felony under the law of the place from which the individual is fleeing (or a high misdemeanor in New Jersey) or is violating a condition of probation or parole under Federal or State law. Section 4112 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, Public Law 110-246, amended Section 6(k) of the Act to require the Secretary of Agriculture to define the terms ``fleeing'' and ``actively seeking'' to ensure State agencies use consistent procedures to disqualify individuals. This rule proposes to define the terms ``fleeing'' and ``actively seeking'' and to establish procedures State agencies are to use in determining fleeing felon status. This rule also proposes criteria to identify a parole violator, verification procedures to establish an individual's status, and time frames for disqualifying an individual determined to be a fleeing felon or a parole violator.
Agriculture Department -- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Major System Failures2011-Aug-182011-20786This rule proposes to amend Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP--formerly the Food Stamp Program) regulations to implement the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, (``FCEA''). Section 4133, The ``Major System Failures'' section of the FCEA, amends the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (``the Act'') to require the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to determine when a systemic State error is resulting in the overissuance of benefits to a substantial number of SNAP households and the actions the Department may take if such a determination were made. This rule proposes criteria for determining if a State experienced a systemic error that resulted in the overissuance of benefits to a substantial number of households and specifies the steps that the Department may take to collect data, instruct the State to terminate claims collection from the affected households, and issue a bill to the State for the value of the over- issuances. It also identifies the review and appeal process for any such billing.
Agriculture Department -- Updated Trafficking Definition and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)-FDPIR Dual Participation2011-Jun-202011-14982The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is proposing changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) regulations pertaining to SNAP client benefit use, participation of retail food stores and wholesale food concerns in SNAP, and SNAP client participation in the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR). These changes to SNAP regulations address mandatory provisions of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (hereinafter referred to as ``the 2008 Farm Bill'') to allow for the disqualification of a SNAP client who purchases, with SNAP benefits, products that have container deposits for the purpose of subsequently discarding the product and returning the container(s) in exchange for cash refund of deposit(s) and/or resells or exchanges products purchased with SNAP benefits for purposes of obtaining cash or other non-eligible items.
Education Department -- Program Integrity: Gainful Employment-Debt Measures2011-Jun-132011-13905The Secretary amends the Student Assistance General Provisions regulations to improve disclosure of relevant information and to establish minimal measures for determining whether certain postsecondary educational programs lead to gainful employment in recognized occupations, and the conditions under which these educational programs remain eligible for the student financial assistance programs authorized under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA).
Agriculture Department -- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Eligibility, Certification, and Employment and Training Provisions2011-May-042011-10151This proposed rule would implement provisions of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (FCEA) affecting the eligibility, benefits, certification, and employment and training (E&T) requirements for applicant or participant households in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The rule would amend the SNAP regulations to: Exclude military combat pay from the income of SNAP households; raise the minimum standard deduction and the minimum benefit for small households; eliminate the cap on the deduction for dependent care expenses; index resource limits to inflation; exclude retirement and education accounts from countable resources; permit States to expand the use of simplified reporting; permit States to provide transitional benefits to households leaving State-funded cash assistance programs; allow States to establish telephonic signature systems; permit States to use E&T funds to provide post-employment job retention services; and limit the E&T funding cycle to 15 months. These provisions are intended to increase SNAP benefit levels for certain participants, reduce barriers to participation, and promote efficiency in the administration of the program.
State Department -- Visas: Documentation of Nonimmigrants Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, as Amended2011-Apr-272011-10077This rule changes Department regulations to broaden the authority of a consular officer to revoke a visa at any time subsequent to issuance of the visa, in his or her discretion. These changes to the Department's revocation regulations expand consular officer visa revocation authority to the full extent allowed by statute. Additionally, this rule change allows consular officers and designated officials within the Department to revoke a visa provisionally while considering a final visa revocation.
Homeland Security Department -- Documents Acceptable for Employment Eligibility Verification2011-Apr-152011-9152This rule finalizes without change a 2008 interim final rule amending Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations governing the types of acceptable identity and employment authorization documents (EADs) and receipts that employees may present to employers for completion of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.
Homeland Security Department -- Clarification of Countries and Geographic Areas Eligible for Participation in the Guam-Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Visa Waiver Program2011-Mar-232011-6555This interim final rule amends Department of Homeland Security regulations to clarify that individuals holding British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) passports as a result of their connection to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Hong Kong) are eligible for participation in the Guam-Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Visa Waiver Program. The Guam-CNMI Visa Waiver Program allows certain nonimmigrant aliens to enter Guam and/or the CNMI as nonimmigrant visitors for business or pleasure without a visa for a period of authorized stay not to exceed forty-five days. This interim final rule provides that beginning May 23, 2011, individuals holding BN(O) passports as a result of their connection to Hong Kong and traveling to Guam and/or the CNMI under the Guam-CNMI Visa Waiver Program on such BN(O) passport must present it and a Hong Kong identification card.
Homeland Security Department -- Registration Requirement for Petitioners Seeking to File H-1B Petitions on Behalf of Aliens Subject to the Numerical Limitations2011-Mar-032011-4731The Department of Homeland Security is proposing to amend its regulations governing petitions filed on behalf of H-1B alien workers subject to annual numerical limitations or exempt from numerical limitations by virtue of having earned a U.S. master's or higher degree (also referred to as the ``65,000 cap'' and ``20,000 cap'' respectively, or the ``cap'' collectively). This rule proposes to require employers seeking to petition for H-1B workers subject to the cap to first file electronic registrations with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) during a designated registration period. Under this proposed rule, if USCIS anticipates that the H-1B cap will not be reached by the first day that H-1B petitions may be filed for a particular fiscal year, USCIS would notify all registered employers that they are eligible to file H-1B petitions on behalf of the beneficiaries named in the selected registrations. USCIS would continue to accept and select registrations until the H-1B cap is reached. On the other hand, if USCIS anticipates that the H-1B cap will be reached by the first day that H-1B petitions may be filed for a particular fiscal year, USCIS would close the registration before such date and randomly select a sufficient number of timely filed registrations to meet the applicable cap. USCIS proposes to allow only those petitioners whose registrations are randomly selected to file H-1B petitions for the cap-subject prospective worker named in the registration. USCIS would create a waitlist containing some or all of the remaining registrations, based on USCIS statistical estimates of how many more registrations may be needed to fill the caps should the initial pool of selected registrations fall short. USCIS would notify the employers of those registrations placed on the waitlist when and if they are eligible to file an H-1B petition. Employers whose registrations were neither randomly selected to file petitions nor placed on the waitlist would receive notification that they were not selected to file petitions in that fiscal year. USCIS anticipates that this new process will reduce administrative burdens and associated costs on employers who currently must spend significant time and resources compiling the petition and supporting documentation for each potential beneficiary without certainty that the statutory cap has not been reached. The proposed mandatory registration process also will alleviate administrative burdens on USCIS service centers that process H-1B petitions.
Homeland Security Department -- Airports of Entry or Departure for Flights to and From Cuba2011-Jan-282011-2011Under Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations, direct flights between the United States and Cuba must arrive at or depart from one of three named U.S. airports: John F. Kennedy International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, or Miami International Airport. This document amends current DHS regulations to allow additional U.S. airports that are able to process international flights to request approval of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to process authorized flights between the United States and Cuba. These amendments are in accordance with the President's recent statement easing the restrictions placed on flights to and from Cuba by, among other things, providing that eligible airports may seek approval from CBP to accommodate flights arriving from, or departing for, Cuba. This statement builds upon the President's 2009 initiative to promote democracy and human rights in Cuba by easing travel restrictions to facilitate greater contact between separated family members in the United States and Cuba.
State Department -- Visas: Waiver for Ineligible Nonimmigrants Under the Immigration and Nationality Act2010-Dec-302010-32944This rule incorporates a revision to the Immigration and Nationality Act made in section 5503(1) of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 relative to the grounds of inadmissibility under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) for which consular officers or the Secretary of State may recommend that the Secretary of Homeland Security exercise discretionary waiver authority in the case of an applicant for a nonimmigrant visa.
Homeland Security Department -- E-2 Nonimmigrant Status for Aliens in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands With Long-Term Investor Status2010-Dec-202010-31652This final rule amends Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations governing E-2 nonimmigrant treaty investors to establish procedures for classifying long-term investors in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) as E-2 nonimmigrants. This final rule implements the CNMI nonimmigrant investor visa provisions of the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 extending the immigration laws of the United States to the CNMI.
Agriculture Department -- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Clarifications and Corrections to Recipient Claim Establishment and Collection Standards2010-Dec-152010-31459Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipient claims are established and collected against households that receive more benefits than they are entitled to receive. This rulemaking corrects and clarifies provisions of the final rule on recipient claims published at 65 FR 41752 on July 6, 2000. The purposes of this final rulemaking are to remove a definition and several provisions that were made obsolete by the final rule; correct the typographical errors; correct the omission of the requirement that a copy of the claims management plan be submitted to the FNS Regional Office for informational purposes; reinforce current practices and requirements in the areas of fair hearings, fees, due dates, delinquent claims, retention, claim referrals, negligence and fraud; make conforming changes needed as a result of a subsequent rulemaking pertaining to a sponsor's responsibility for overissuances of an alien household; and to remove an overpayment exception that is no longer applicable to the Program.
Education Department -- Foreign Institutions-Federal Student Aid Programs2010-Nov-012010-26796The Secretary amends the regulations for Institutional Eligibility Under the Higher Education Act of 1965, the Student Assistance General Provisions, the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program, and the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program to implement provisions related to the eligibility of foreign institutions for participation in the Federal student aid programs that were added to the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (Pub. L. 110-315) (HEOA), as well as other provisions related to the eligibility of foreign institutions.
Education Department -- Program Integrity Issues2010-Oct-292010-26531The Secretary is improving integrity in the programs authorized under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), by amending the regulations for Institutional Eligibility Under the HEA, the Secretary's Recognition of Accrediting Agencies, the Secretary's Recognition Procedures for State Agencies, the Student Assistance General Provisions, the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program, the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program in part 686, the Federal Pell Grant Program, and the Academic Competitiveness Grant (AGC) and National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (National Smart Grant) Programs.
Homeland Security Department -- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Fee Schedule2010-Sep-242010-23725The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is adjusting the fee schedule for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS conducted a comprehensive fee study, refined its cost accounting process, and determined that current fees do not recover the full costs of services provided. DHS has found that adjustment to the fee schedule is necessary to fully recover costs and maintain adequate service. In response to comments, several adjustments were made to the proposed rule published on June 11, 2010. In this final rule, DHS: increases the fees by a weighted average of 10 percent; establishes three new fees covering USCIS costs related to processing the Regional Center Designation under the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program, Civil Surgeon Designation, and DHS Processing of Immigrant Visa requests; and adjusts the premium processing service fee by the percentage increase in inflation according to the Consumer Price Index--Urban Consumers (CPI-U) published as of July 2010. This rule also finalizes the interim rule that established the premium processing service and fees.
Homeland Security Department -- Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA): Travel Promotion Fee and Fee for Use of the System2010-Aug-092010-19700Nonimmigrant aliens who wish to enter the United States under the Visa Waiver Program at air or sea ports of entry must obtain a travel authorization electronically through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) from U.S. Customs and Border Protection prior to departing for the United States. This rule requires ESTA applicants to pay a congressionally mandated fee of $14.00, which is the sum of two amounts: a $10 travel promotion fee for an approved ESTA statutorily set by the Travel Promotion Act and a $4.00 operational fee for the use of ESTA as set by the Secretary of Homeland Security to ensure recovery of the full costs of providing and administering the ESTA system.
Homeland Security Department -- Employment Authorization for Dependents of Foreign Officials2010-Aug-092010-19620The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is amending its regulations governing the employment authorization for dependents of foreign officials classified as A-1, A-2, G-1, G-3, and G-4 nonimmigrants. This rule expands the list of dependents who are eligible for employment authorization from spouses, children, and qualifying sons and daughters of A or G foreign officials to include any other immediate family member who falls within a category of aliens designated by the Department of State as qualifying. This change to DHS regulations provides the Department of State with greater flexibility when entering into bilateral agreements and arrangements with other countries that would extend employment authorization to immediate family members who are recognized as such by the Department of State.
State Department -- Visas: Documentation of Immigrants Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, as Amended2010-Aug-032010-19046This final rule amends the Department of State's regulations related to the application for an immigrant visa and alien registration, to offer a completely electronic application procedure as an alternative to submission of Form DS-230, the Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration.
Education Department -- Program Integrity: Gainful Employment2010-Jul-262010-17845The Secretary proposes to amend the Student Assistance General Provisions to establish measures for determining whether certain postsecondary educational programs lead to gainful employment in recognized occupations, and the conditions under which these educational programs remain eligible for the student financial assistance programs authorized under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA).
Homeland Security Department -- Electronic Signature and Storage of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification2010-Jul-222010-17806This final rule amends Department of Homeland Security regulations to provide that employers and recruiters or referrers for a fee who are required to complete and retain the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, may sign this form electronically and retain this form in an electronic format. This final rule makes minor changes to an interim final rule promulgated in 2006.
Education Department -- Foreign Institutions-Federal Student Aid Programs2010-Jul-202010-17313The Secretary proposes to implement provisions related to the eligibility of foreign institutions for participation in the Federal student aid programs that were added to the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA), as well as other provisions related to the eligibility of a foreign institution by amending the regulations for Institutional Eligibility Under the Higher Education Act of 1965, the Student Assistance General Provisions, and the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program.
Education Department -- Program Integrity Issues2010-Jun-182010-14107The Secretary proposes to improve integrity in the programs authorized under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA) by amending the regulations for Institutional Eligibility Under the HEA, the Secretary's Recognition of Accrediting Agencies, the Secretary's Recognition Procedures for State Agencies, the Student Assistance General Provisions, the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program, the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program, the Federal Pell Grant Program, and the Academic Competitiveness Grant (AGC) and National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (National Smart Grant) Programs.
Homeland Security Department -- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Fee Schedule2010-Jun-112010-13991The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposes to adjust certain immigration and naturalization benefit fees charged by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS conducted a comprehensive fee study and refined its cost accounting process, and determined that current fees do not recover the full costs of services provided. Adjustment to the fee schedule is necessary to fully recover costs and maintain adequate service. DHS proposes to increase USCIS fees by a weighted average of 10 percent. DHS proposes among other amendments to add three new fees to cover USCIS costs related to processing the following requests: Regional center designation under the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program; Civil surgeon designation; and Immigrant visas.
Agriculture Department -- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Quality Control Provisions of Title IV of Public Law 107-1712010-Jun-112010-13446This rule finalizes provisions of an interim rule entitled ``Food Stamp Program: Non-Discretionary Quality Control Provisions of Title IV of Public Law 107-171'' published on October 16, 2003, and a proposed rule entitled ``Food Stamp Program: Discretionary Quality Control Provisions of Title IV of Public Law 107-171'' published on September 23, 2005. The Food Stamp Program is now referred to as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) pursuant to the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (Act). This final rule codifies the provisions concerning the Quality Control system in Sections 4118 and 4119 of the Food Stamp Reauthorization Act (FSRA) of 2002. This rule finalizes the liability procedures and the deadlines for completing the quality control review process and announcement of error rates established in the interim rule. It eliminates enhanced administrative funding for low error rates, establishes new time frames for completing individual quality control reviews, establishes procedures for resolving liabilities following appeal decisions, revises the negative case review procedures, and provides procedures for households that separate while subject to the penalty for refusal to cooperate with a quality control review. This rule also adopts several policy changes and technical corrections included in the proposed rule. In addition, this rule affects State agencies' quality control review operations and alters the impact on State agencies of assessment and resolution of potential liabilities for excessive payment error rates and awarding of bonuses for superior performance. Households with cases sampled for quality control review of their cases would be minimally affected by this rule.
Homeland Security Department -- Designation of Greece for the Visa Waiver Program2010-Mar-312010-7211Citizens and eligible nationals of participating Visa Waiver Program countries may apply for admission to the United States at U.S. ports of entry as nonimmigrant aliens for a period of ninety days or less for business or pleasure without first obtaining a nonimmigrant visa, provided that they are otherwise eligible for admission under applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. On March 4, 2010, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, designated Greece as a country that is eligible to participate in the Visa Waiver Program. Accordingly, this rule updates the list of countries authorized to participate in the Visa Waiver Program by adding Greece.
Labor Department -- Temporary Agricultural Employment of H-2A Aliens in the United States2010-Feb-122010-2731The Department of Labor (the Department or DOL) is amending its regulations governing the certification of temporary employment of nonimmigrant workers in temporary or seasonal agricultural employment and the enforcement of the contractual obligations applicable to employers of such nonimmigrant workers. The Department is also amending the regulations at 29 CFR part 501 to provide for enhanced enforcement under the H-2A program requirements so that workers are appropriately protected when employers fail to meet their obligations under the H-2A program.
Agriculture Department -- Food Stamp Program: Eligibility and Certification Provisions of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 20022010-Jan-292010-815This final rule implements 11 provisions of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (FSRIA) that establish new eligibility and certification requirements for the receipt of food stamps. The provisions of the final rule will simplify program administration, allow States greater flexibility, and provide enhanced access to eligible populations. This rule will allow States, at their option, to treat legally obligated child support payments to a non-household member as an income exclusion rather than a deduction; allow a State option to exclude certain types of income and resources that are not counted under the State's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash assistance or Medicaid programs; replace the current, fixed standard deduction with a deduction that varies according to household size and is adjusted annually for cost-of-living increases; allow States to simplify the Standard Utility Allowance (SUA) if the State elects to use the SUA rather than actual utility costs for all households; allow States to use a standard deduction from income of $143 per month for homeless households with some shelter expenses; allow States to disregard reported changes in deductions during certification periods (except for changes associated with new residence or earned income) until the next recertification; increase the resource limit for households with a disabled member from $2,000 to $3,000 consistent with the limit for households with an elderly member; allow States to extend simplified reporting of changes to all households; require State agencies that have a Web site to post applications on these sites in the same languages that the State uses for its written applications; allow States to extend from the current 3 months up to 5 months the period of time households may receive transitional food stamp benefits when they cease to receive TANF cash assistance; and restore food stamp eligibility to qualified aliens who are otherwise eligible and who are receiving disability benefits regardless of date of entry, are under 18 years of age regardless of date of entry, or have lived in the United States for 5 years as qualified aliens beginning on the date of entry.
State Department -- Visas: Documentation of Immigrants and Nonimmigrants-Visa Classification Symbols2009-Nov-259-28277The Department is amending its regulations to add new classification symbols to the immigrant and nonimmigrant classification tables. This amendment is necessary to implement legislation that created additional immigrant and nonimmigrant classifications as described herein. Additionally, the Department is amending or removing existing classifications that have changed as a result of new legislation or the expiration of legislative provisions that had temporarily authorized them.
Homeland Security Department -- Establishment of Global Entry Program2009-Nov-199-27774Pursuant to section 7208(k) of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, as amended, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) proposes to establish an international trusted traveler program, called Global Entry. This voluntary program would allow CBP to expedite clearance of pre-approved, low-risk air travelers into the United States. CBP has been operating the Global Entry program as a pilot at several airports since June 6, 2008. Based on the successful operation of the pilot, CBP now proposes to establish Global Entry as a permanent voluntary regulatory program.
Health and Human Services Department -- Medical Examination of Aliens-Removal of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Infection From Definition of Communicable Disease of Public Health Significance2009-Nov-029-26337Through this final rule, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is amending its regulations to remove ``Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection'' from the definition of communicable disease of public health significance and remove references to ``HIV'' from the scope of examinations for aliens. Prior to this final rule, aliens with HIV infection were considered to have a communicable disease of public health significance and were thus inadmissible to the United States per the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). While HIV infection is a serious health condition, it is not a communicable disease that is a significant public health risk for introduction, transmission, and spread to the U.S. population through casual contact. As a result of this final rule, aliens will no longer be inadmissible into the United States based solely on the ground they are infected with HIV, and they will not be required to undergo HIV testing as part of the required medical examination for U.S. immigration.
Education Department -- General and Non-Loan Programmatic Issues2009-Oct-299-25373The Secretary amends the regulations for Institutional Eligibility Under the Higher Education Act of 1965, the Student Assistance General Provisions, the Federal Work-Study (FWS) Programs, the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program, the Federal Pell Grant Program, and the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership Program (LEAP) to implement various general and non-loan provisions of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), as amended by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) and other recently enacted legislation.
Homeland Security Department -- Application of Immigration Regulations to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands2009-Oct-289-26094The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) are implementing conforming amendments to their respective regulations to comply with the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 (CNRA). The CNRA extends the immigration laws of the United States to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). This rule amends the regulations governing: asylum and credible fear of persecution determinations; references to the geographical ``United States'' and its territories and possessions; alien classifications authorized for employment; documentation acceptable for Employment Eligibility Verification; employment of unauthorized aliens; and adjustment of status of immediate relatives admitted under the Guam-CNMI Visa Waiver Program. Additionally, this rule makes a technical change to correct a citation error in the regulations governing the Visa Waiver Program and the regulations governing asylum and withholding of removal. The purpose of this rule is to ensure that the regulations apply to persons and entities arriving in or physically present in the CNMI to the extent authorized by the CNRA.
Homeland Security Department -- Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Transitional Worker Classification2009-Oct-279-25808The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is creating a new, temporary, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)-only transitional worker classification (CW classification) in accordance with title VII of the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 (CNRA). The transitional worker program is intended to provide for an orderly transition from the CNMI permit system to the U.S. federal immigration system under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA or Act). A CW transitional worker is an alien worker who is ineligible for another classification under the INA and who performs services or labor for an employer in the CNMI. The CNRA imposes a five-year transition period before the INA requirements become fully applicable in the CNMI. The new CW classification will be in effect for the duration of that transition period, unless extended by the Secretary of Labor. The rule also establishes employment authorization incident to CW status.
Homeland Security Department -- Safe-Harbor Procedures for Employers Who Receive a No-Match Letter: Rescission2009-Oct-079-24200The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is amending its regulations by rescinding the amendments promulgated on August 15, 2007, and October 28, 2008, relating to procedures that employers may take to acquire a safe harbor from receipt of No-Match letters. DHS is amending its regulations as proposed on August 19, 2009, without change. Implementation of the 2007 final rule was preliminarily enjoined by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on October 10, 2007. After further review, DHS has determined to focus its enforcement efforts relating to the employment of aliens not authorized to work in the United States on increased compliance through improved verification, including participation in E- Verify, ICE Mutual Agreement Between Government and Employers (IMAGE), and other programs.
State Department -- Visas: Documentation of Nonimmigrants Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, as Amended; Requirements for Aliens in Religious Occupations2009-Oct-069-24089To comply with the Department of Homeland Security regulation requiring sponsoring employers to file petitions for all aliens for whom R-1 nonimmigrant status is sought. This rule establishes the requirement that consular officers ensure that R-1 visa applicants have obtained an approved U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Form I- 129 petition from the Department of Homeland Security before issuance of a visa.
Homeland Security Department -- E-2 Nonimmigrant Status for Aliens in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands With Long-Term Investor Status2009-Sep-149-21967The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is proposing to amend its regulations governing E-2 nonimmigrant treaty investors to establish procedures for classifying long-term investors in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) as E-2 nonimmigrants. This proposed rule implements the CNMI nonimmigrant investor visa provisions of the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 extending the immigration laws of the United States to the CNMI.
Education Department -- General and Non-Loan Programmatic Issues2009-Aug-219-18550The Secretary proposes to implement various general and non- loan provisions that were added to the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) by amending the regulations for Institutional Eligibility Under the Higher Education Act of 1965, the Student Assistance General Provisions, the Federal Work-Study (FWS) Programs, the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program, the Federal Pell Grant Program, and the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership Program (LEAP).
Homeland Security Department -- Safe-Harbor Procedures for Employers Who Receive a No-Match Letter: Rescission2009-Aug-199-19826The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposes to amend its regulations by rescinding the amendments promulgated on August 15, 2007, and October 28, 2008, relating to procedures that employers may take to acquire a safe harbor from receipt of no-match letters. Implementation of the 2007 final rule was preliminarily enjoined by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on October 10, 2007. After further review, DHS has determined to focus its enforcement efforts relating to the employment of aliens not authorized to work in the United States on increased compliance through improved verification, including participation in E-Verify, ICE Mutual Agreement Between Government and Employers (IMAGE), and other programs.
State Department -- Foreign Officials: Definition of Immediate Family Members, as Amended2009-Jul-229-17262As authorized the Immigration and Nationality Act this rule amends the definition of ``immediate family'' for the Foreign Government Official nonimmigrant visa category.
Homeland Security Department -- Removing References to Filing Locations and Obsolete References to Legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service; Adding a Provision To Facilitate the Expansion of the Use of Approved Electronic Equivalents of Paper Forms2009-Jun-059-13014This rule amends Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations by eliminating certain references to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) organizational structure and removing all references in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) to INS and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Offices. This rule also removes all references in the CFR to filing locations, so that USCIS may provide such information on petition and application forms and through any other means. In addition, this rule adds a definition of the term ``form'' to the CFR, which will facilitate the expansion of the use of approved electronic equivalents of USCIS paper forms; this will support USCIS' transition from a paper-based filing and processing environment to an electronic one. Overall, the rule is intended to eliminate confusion and certain obsolete references to the INS organizational structure from USCIS regulations, help the public determine where to file forms with USCIS, create a more efficient and streamlined process for future changes to filing instructions, and allow the component to better manage its workload through, among other things, affording greater flexibility to accept and process applications and petitions in an electronic environment.
Homeland Security Department -- Extending Period of Optional Practical Training by 17 Months for F-1 Nonimmigrant Students With STEM Degrees and Expanding Cap-Gap Relief for All F-1 Students With Pending H-1B Petitions; Correction2009-Jun-039-12861With this amendment, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) corrects one typographical error and corrects two inadvertent omissions from the Optional Practical Training (OPT) interim final rule (IFR) published in the Federal Register on April 8, 2008.
Labor Department -- Temporary Employment of H-2A Aliens in the United States2009-May-299-12436The Department of Labor (DOL or the Department) is suspending the H-2A Final Rule published on December 18, 2008 and in effect as of January 17, 2009. That Final Rule amended the regulations governing the certification for temporary employment of nonimmigrant workers in agricultural occupations on a temporary or seasonal basis, and the enforcement of contractual obligations applicable to employers of such nonimmigrant workers. To ensure continued functioning of the H-2A program, the Department is republishing and reinstating the regulations in place on January 16, 2009 for a period of 9 months, after which the Department will either have engaged in further rulemaking or lift the suspension.
Homeland Security Department -- Establishing U.S. Ports of Entry in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and Implementing the Guam-CNMI Visa Waiver Program; Change of Implementation Date2009-May-289-12345On January 16, 2009, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published an interim final rule that implements section 702 of Title VII of the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 (CNRA) by amending CBP regulations to replace the current Guam Visa Waiver Program with a new Guam-CNMI Visa Waiver Program and establishing six ports of entry in the CNMI. The interim final rule specified that CBP would begin operation of this program on the statutorily established transition program effective date of June 1, 2009. The interim final rule further specified that the existing Guam Visa Waiver Program for travel to Guam would remain in effect until June 1, 2009. On March 31, 2009, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that she had exercised her authority to delay the transition program effective date until November 28, 2009. This technical amendment effectuates this delay by changing the implementation date of the interim final rule from June 1, 2009 to November 28, 2009.
Homeland Security Department -- Forwarding of Affirmative Asylum Applications to the Department of State2009-Apr-069-7051The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is amending its regulations to alter the process by which it forwards Form I-589, Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal, for asylum applications filed affirmatively with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to the Department of State (DOS). The affirmative asylum process allows individuals, who are physically present in the United States, regardless of their manner of arrival and regardless of their current immigration status, to apply for asylum. The current regulation requires USCIS (formerly Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)) to forward to DOS a copy of each completed asylum application it receives. This rule provides that USCIS will no longer forward all affirmative asylum applications to DOS. Instead, USCIS will send affirmative asylum applications to DOS only when USCIS believes DOS may have country conditions information relevant to the case. This change will increase the efficiency of DOS' review of asylum applications. Additionally, in accordance with the Homeland Security Act, this rule revises references to legacy INS in 8 CFR 208.11.
Agriculture Department -- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Clarifications and Corrections to Recipient Claim Establishment and Collection Standards2009-Apr-029-7151Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipient claims are established and collected against households that receive more benefits than they are entitled to receive. This rulemaking corrects and clarifies provisions of the final rule on recipient claims published at 65 FR 41752, July 6, 2000. The purposes of this proposed rulemaking are to remove a definition and several provisions that were made obsolete by the final rule; correct the typographical errors; correct the omission of the requirement that a copy of the claims management plan be submitted to the FNS Regional Office for informational purposes; reinforce current practices and requirements in the areas of fair hearings, fees, due dates, delinquent claims, retention, claim referrals, negligence and fraud; make conforming changes needed as a result of a subsequent rulemaking pertaining to a sponsor's responsibility for overissuances of an alien household; and to remove an overpayment exception that is no longer applicable to the program.
Labor Department -- Temporary Employment of H-2A Aliens in the United States2009-Mar-179-5562The Department of Labor (DOL or the Department) proposes to suspend for 9 months the H-2A regulations published on December 18, 2008, which became effective on January 17, 2009, that amended the rules governing the certification for temporary employment of nonimmigrant workers in agricultural occupations on a temporary or seasonal basis, and the enforcement of contractual obligations applicable to employers of such nonimmigrant workers. A suspension would provide the Department with an opportunity to review and reconsider the new requirements in light of issues that have arisen since the publication of the H-2A Final Rule, while minimizing the disruption to the Department, State Workforce Agencies (SWAs), employers, and workers. To avoid the regulatory vacuum that would result from a suspension, the Department proposes to reinstate on an interim basis the rules that were in place on January 16, 2009, the day before the revised rules became effective, by reprinting those previous regulations.
Homeland Security Department -- Employment Authorization and Verification of Aliens Enlisting in the Armed Forces2009-Feb-239-3801The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is amending its regulations governing the employment authorization of aliens and the employment eligibility verification process. This rule provides for employer-specific employment authorization for certain aliens lawfully enlisted into the U.S. Armed Forces (Armed Forces), and those whose enlistment the Secretary with jurisdiction over such Armed Force has determined would be vital to the national interest. This rule also adds the military identification card to the list of documents acceptable for establishing employment eligibility and identity for the Employment Eligibility Verification Form (Form I-9), but only for use by the Armed Forces to verify employment eligibility of aliens lawfully enlisted in the Armed Forces. This rule is necessary to conform DHS regulations to existing statutory authorities regarding the enlistment of aliens by the Armed Forces.
Homeland Security Department -- Documents Acceptable for Employment Eligibility Verification; Correction2009-Jan-169-909With this amendment, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) corrects two inadvertent errors that were made in the Employment Eligibility Verification interim rule published in the Federal Register on December 17, 2008, at 73 FR 76505.
Homeland Security Department -- Establishing U.S. Ports of Entry in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and Implementing the Guam-CNMI Visa Waiver Program2009-Jan-169-942Section 702 of the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 (CNRA) extends the immigration laws of the United States to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and provides for a visa waiver program for travel to Guam and the CNMI. This rule implements section 702 of the CNRA by amending U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regulations to replace the current Guam Visa Waiver Program with a new Guam-CNMI Visa Waiver Program. Accordingly, this interim final rule sets forth the requirements for nonimmigrant visitors who seek admission for business or pleasure and solely for entry into and stay on Guam or the CNMI without a visa for a period of authorized stay of no longer than forty-five days. In addition, this rule establishes six ports of entry in the CNMI in order to administer and enforce the Guam-CNMI Visa Waiver Program and to allow for immigration inspections in the CNMI, including arrival and departure controls, under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
Homeland Security Department -- Designation of Malta for the Visa Waiver Program2008-Dec-308-30818Citizens and eligible nationals of participating Visa Waiver Program countries may apply for admission to the United States at U.S. ports of entry as nonimmigrant aliens for a period of 90 days or less for business or pleasure without first obtaining a nonimmigrant visa, provided that they are otherwise eligible for admission under applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. This rule adds Malta to the list of countries authorized to participate in the Visa Waiver Program.
Labor Department -- Labor Certification Process and Enforcement for Temporary Employment in Occupations Other Than Agriculture or Registered Nursing in the United States (H-2B Workers), and Other Technical Changes2008-Dec-198-29995The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) of the Department of Labor (DOL or the Department) is amending its regulations to modernize the procedures for the issuance of labor certifications to employers sponsoring H-2B nonimmigrants for admission to perform temporary nonagricultural labor or services and the procedures for enforcing compliance with attestations made by those employers. Specifically, this Final Rule re-engineers the application filing and review process by centralizing processing and by enabling employers to conduct pre-filing recruitment of United States (U.S.) workers. In addition, the rule enhances the integrity of the H-2B program through the introduction of post-adjudication audits and procedures for penalizing employers who fail to comply with program requirements. This rule also makes technical changes to the regulations relating to both the H-1B program and the permanent labor certification program to reflect operational changes stemming from this regulation. Although Congress has conferred the statutory authority to enforce H-2B program requirements on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), recent discussions between DHS and the Department have yielded an agreement for the delegation of H-2B enforcement authority from DHS to the Department. This Final Rule contains the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) regulations establishing the H-2B enforcement procedures that the Department will institute pursuant to that agreement. Separately, this Final Rule institutes conditions and procedures for the debarment of employers, attorneys, and agents participating in the H-2B foreign labor certification process. As discussed further below, the Department intends to exercise its inherent authority under case law and general principles of program administration to determine what entities practice before it.
Homeland Security Department -- United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology Program (“US-VISIT”); Enrollment of Additional Aliens in US-VISIT; Authority To Collect Biometric Data From Additional Travelers and Expansion to the 50 Most Highly Trafficked Land Border Ports of Entry2008-Dec-198-30095The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) established the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology Program (US-VISIT) in 2003 to verify the identities and travel documents of aliens. Aliens subject to US-VISIT may be required to provide fingerscans, photographs, or other biometric identifiers upon arrival at the United States. Currently, aliens arriving at a United States port of entry with a nonimmigrant visa, or those traveling without a visa as part of the Visa Waiver Program, are subject to US-VISIT requirements with certain limited exceptions. This final rule expands the population of aliens who will be subject to US-VISIT requirements to nearly all aliens, including lawful permanent residents. Exceptions include Canadian citizens seeking short-term admission for business or pleasure under B visas and individuals traveling on A and G visas, among others. On August 31, 2004, the Department promulgated an interim final rule that expanded the US-VISIT program to include aliens seeking admission under the Visa Waiver Program and travelers arriving at designated land border ports of entry. This rule also finalizes that interim final rule and addresses public comments received during that rulemaking action.
Homeland Security Department -- Changes to Requirements Affecting H-2B Nonimmigrants and Their Employers2008-Dec-198-30094This final rule amends Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations regarding temporary nonagricultural workers, and their U.S. employers, within the H-2B nonimmigrant classification. The final rule removes certain limitations on H-2B employers and adopts streamlining measures in order to facilitate the lawful employment of foreign temporary nonagricultural workers. The final rule also addresses concerns regarding the integrity of the H-2B program and sets forth several conditions to prevent fraud and protect laborers' rights. The final rule will benefit U.S. businesses by facilitating a timely flow of legal workers while ensuring the integrity of the program. The rule generally removes the requirement for H-2B petitioners to state on petitions the names of prospective H-2B workers who are outside the United States and reduces the existing obligatory waiting period from 6 months to 3 months for an H-2B worker who has reached his or her maximum three-year period of stay in H-2B nonimmigrant status before such person may seek an extension of nonimmigrant stay, change of status, or readmission to the United States in any H or L nonimmigrant status. The rule provides a more flexible definition of ``temporary services or labor,'' which is generally defined as a period of one year but could be for a specific one-time need of up to 3 years. To better ensure the integrity of the H-2B program, this rule eliminates DHS's current practice of adjudicating H-2B petitions where the Secretary of Labor or the Governor of Guam has not granted a temporary labor certification. The rule also prohibits H-2B petitioners from requesting an employment start date on the Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, that is different than the date of need listed on the approved temporary labor certification. The final rule requires H-2B petitioners to notify DHS when the H-2B worker fails to report for work, is terminated prior to the completion of the work for which he was hired, or absconds from the worksite. This rule also precludes employers from passing the cost of recruiter fees charged by a petitioner, agent, facilitator, recruiter, or similar employment service to prospective H-2B workers as a condition of an offer of H-2B employment. Under this rule, employers and H-2B workers may agree that certain transportation costs and government-imposed fees be borne by H- 2B workers, if the passing of such costs to these workers is not prohibited under the Fair Labor Standards Act or any other statute. Moreover, the rule enforces the existing penalties at section 214(c)(14) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) in the case of an employer who fails to meet any of the conditions of the H-2B petition, or who willfully misrepresented a material fact in the H-2B petition. Employers who fail to meet the H-2B conditions or who willfully make material misrepresentations on an H-2B petition may, under the statute, be precluded from approval for a period of up to 5 years of any H (except H-1B1), L, O, or P-1 nonimmigrant visa petition, or any immigrant visa petition described in section 204 of the INA, they may file with DHS. This rule also provides that DHS will publish in a notice in the Federal Register a list of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, as eligible for its nationals to participate in the H-2B program. Finally, this rule establishes a pilot exit control program for certain H-2B workers, by requiring them to report their departure at designated ports of entry. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will publish a notice in the Federal Register describing the procedures and requirements for participation in this pilot program.
Labor Department -- Temporary Agricultural Employment of H-2A Aliens in the United States; Modernizing the Labor Certification Process and Enforcement2008-Dec-188-29309The Department of Labor (DOL or Department) is amending its regulations regarding the certification for the temporary employment of nonimmigrant workers in agricultural occupations on a temporary or seasonal basis, and the enforcement of the contractual obligations applicable to employers of such nonimmigrant workers. This final rule re-engineers the process by which employers obtain a temporary labor certification from the Department for use in petitioning the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to employ a nonimmigrant worker in H-2A (agricultural temporary worker) status. The final rule utilizes an attestation-based application process based on pre-filing recruitment and eliminates duplicative H-2A activities currently performed by State Workforce Agencies (SWAs) and the Department. The rule also provides enhanced enforcement, including more rigorous penalties, to complement the modernized certification process and to appropriately protect workers.
Homeland Security Department -- Changes to Requirements Affecting H-2A Nonimmigrants2008-Dec-188-29888This final rule amends Department of Homeland Security regulations regarding temporary and seasonal agricultural workers, and their U.S. employers, within the H-2A nonimmigrant classification. The final rule removes certain limitations on H-2A employers and adopts streamlining measures in order to encourage and facilitate the lawful employment of foreign temporary and seasonal agricultural workers. The final rule also addresses concerns regarding the integrity of the H-2A program and sets forth several conditions to prevent fraud and to protect laborers' rights. The purpose of the final rule is to provide agricultural employers with an orderly and timely flow of legal workers, thereby decreasing their reliance on unauthorized workers, while protecting the rights of laborers. The rule revises the current limitations on agricultural workers' length of stay including lengthening the amount of time an agricultural worker may remain in the United States after his or her employment has ended and shortening the time period that an agricultural worker whose H-2A nonimmigrant status has expired must wait before he or she is eligible to obtain H-2A nonimmigrant status again. This rule also provides for temporary employment authorization to agricultural workers seeking an extension of their H-2A nonimmigrant status through a different U.S. employer, provided that the employer is a registered user in good standing with the E-Verify employment eligibility verification program. In addition, DHS modifies the current notification and payment requirements for employers when an alien fails to show up at the start of the employment period, an H-2A employee's employment is terminated, or an H-2A employee absconds from the worksite. To better ensure the integrity of the H-2A program, this rule also requires certain employer attestations and precludes the imposition of fees by employers or recruiters on prospective beneficiaries. Under this final rule, DHS also will revoke an H-2A petition if the Department of Labor revokes the petitioner's underlying labor certification. Also, this rule provides that DHS will publish in a notice in the Federal Register a list of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, as eligible for its nationals to participate in the H-2A program. These changes are necessary to encourage and facilitate the lawful employment of foreign temporary and seasonal agricultural workers. Finally, this rule establishes criteria for a pilot program under which aliens admitted on certain temporary worker visas at a port of entry participating in the program must also depart through a port of entry participating in the program and present designated biographical information upon departure. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will publish a Notice in the Federal Register designating which temporary workers must participate in the program, which ports of entry are participating in the program, and the types of information that CBP will collect from the departing workers.
Justice Department -- Voluntary Departure: Effect of a Motion To Reopen or Reconsider or a Petition for Review2008-Dec-188-30025The Department of Justice is publishing this final rule to amend the regulations regarding voluntary departure. This rule adopts, without substantial change, the proposed rule under which a grant of voluntary departure is automatically withdrawn upon the filing of a motion to reopen or reconsider with the immigration judge or the Board of Immigration Appeals (Board) or a petition for review in a federal court of appeals. This final rule adopts, with some modification, the proposed rule under which an immigration judge will set a presumptive civil monetary penalty of $3,000 if the alien fails to depart within the time allowed. However, this rule adopts only in part the proposals to amend the provisions relating to the voluntary departure bond. Finally, this rule adopts the notice advisals in the proposed rule and incorporates additional notice requirements in light of public comments.
Homeland Security Department -- Documents Acceptable for Employment Eligibility Verification2008-Dec-178-29874The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is amending its regulations governing the types of acceptable identity and employment authorization documents and receipts that employees may present to their employers for completion of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Under this interim rule, employers will no longer be able to accept expired documents to verify employment authorization on the Form I-9. This rule also adds a new document to the list of acceptable documents that evidence both identity and employment authorization and makes several technical corrections and updates. The purpose of this rule is to improve the integrity of the employment verification process so that individuals who are unauthorized to work are prevented from obtaining employment in the United States. A copy of the amended Form I-9 reflecting these and other form-related changes is being published as an attachment to this rule.\1\ ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Homeland Security Department -- Adjustment of Status to Lawful Permanent Resident for Aliens in T or U Nonimmigrant Status2008-Dec-128-29277The Department of Homeland Security is amending its regulations to permit aliens in lawful T or U nonimmigrant status to apply for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident. T nonimmigrant status is available to aliens who are victims of a severe form of trafficking in persons and who are assisting law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the acts of trafficking. U nonimmigrant status is available to aliens who are victims of certain crimes and are being helpful to the investigation or prosecution of those crimes. This rule provides that family members of a principal T or U nonimmigrant granted or seeking adjustment of status may also apply for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident. This rule also provides for adjustment of status or approval of an immigrant petition for certain family members of U applicants who were never admitted to the United States in U nonimmigrant status.
Homeland Security Department -- Special Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Religious Workers2008-Nov-268-28225This final rule amends U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations to improve the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS's) ability to detect and deter fraud and other abuses in the religious worker program. This rule addresses concerns about the integrity of the religious worker program by requiring religious organizations seeking the admission to the United States of nonimmigrant religious workers to file formal petitions with USCIS on behalf of such workers. This rule also implements the Special Immigrant Nonminister Religious Worker Program Act requiring DHS to issue this final rule to eliminate or reduce fraud in regard to the granting of special immigrant status to nonminister religious workers. The rule emphasizes that USCIS will conduct inspections, evaluations, verifications, and compliance reviews of religious organizations to ensure the legitimacy of the petitioner and statements made in the petitions. This rule adds and amends definitions and evidentiary requirements for both religious organizations and religious workers. Finally, this rule amends how USCIS regulations reference the sunset date by which special immigrant religious workers, other than ministers, must immigrate or adjust status to permanent residence.
Homeland Security Department -- Advance Information on Private Aircraft Arriving and Departing the United States2008-Nov-188-26621This rule finalizes, with modifications, amendments to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regulations pertaining to private aircraft arriving and departing the United States. This final rule requires private aircraft pilots or their designees arriving in the United States from a foreign port or location destined for a U.S. port or location, or departing the United States to a foreign port or location, to transmit electronically to CBP passenger manifest information for each individual traveling onboard the aircraft. This final rule requires private aircraft pilots or their designees to provide additional data elements when submitting a notice of arrival and requires private aircraft pilots or their designees to submit a notice of departure. Private aircraft pilots (or their designees) will be required to submit the notice of arrival and notice of departure information to CBP through an approved electronic data interchange system in the same transmission as the corresponding arrival or departure passenger manifest information. Under this rule, this data must be received by CBP no later than 60 minutes before an arriving private aircraft departs from a foreign location destined for the United States and no later than 60 minutes before a private aircraft departs a U.S. airport or location for a foreign port or place. This rule also expressly acknowledges CBP's authority to restrict aircraft from landing in the United States based on security and/or risk assessments, or, based on such assessments, to specifically designate and limit the airports where aircraft may land or depart.
Homeland Security Department -- Additional Countries Designated for the Visa Waiver Program2008-Nov-178-27062Citizens and eligible nationals of participating Visa Waiver Program countries may apply for admission to the United States at a U.S. port of entry as nonimmigrant aliens for a period of ninety days or less for business or pleasure without first obtaining a nonimmigrant visa, provided that they are otherwise eligible for admission under applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. This rule adds the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, the Republic of Korea, and the Slovak Republic to the list of countries authorized to participate in the Visa Waiver Program.
Homeland Security Department -- Safe Harbor Procedures for Employers Who Receive a No-Match Letter: Clarification; Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis2008-Oct-288-25544The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is finalizing the Supplemental Proposed Rule published on March 26, 2008 and reaffirming regulations providing a ``safe harbor'' from liability under section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act for employers that follow certain procedures after receiving a notice--either a ``no-match letter'' from the Social Security Administration (SSA), or a ``notice of suspect document'' from DHS--that casts doubt on the employment eligibility of their employees. DHS is also correcting a typographical error in the rule text promulgated in August 2007.
Health and Human Services Department -- Medical Examination of Aliens-Revisions to Medical Screening Process2008-Oct-208-24797The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), published an Interim Final Rule in the Federal Register on October 6, 2008 (73 FR 58047), updating regulations that govern medical examinations that aliens must undergo before they may be admitted to the United States. This document corrects an omission contained in the rule.
State Department -- Uncertified Foreign Health-Care Workers2008-Oct-208-24474This rule adopts as final without change the Department's interim rule published on December 17, 2002, at 67 FR 77158. The rule changes the requirements pertaining to the issuance of visas to certain health care workers. Certain foreign health care workers now need to present certificates establishing competency in a specific health care field. Certification is issued by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) or other credentialing organizations that have been approved by the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). This rule facilitates greater uniformity between the regulations of DHS and the Department of State.
Homeland Security Department -- Period of Admission and Extension of Stay for Canadian and Mexican Citizens Engaged in Professional Business Activities-TN Nonimmigrants2008-Oct-168-24600The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is amending its regulations to allow an increased period of admission and extension of stay for Canadian and Mexican citizens who seek temporary entry to the United States as professionals pursuant to the TN classification, as established by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA or Agreement). This final rule increases the maximum allowable period of admission for TN nonimmigrants from one year to three years, and allows otherwise eligible TN nonimmigrants to be granted an extension of stay in increments of up to three years instead of the current maximum of one year. In addition, this rule grants the same periods of admission or extension to TD nonimmigrants, the spouses and unmarried minor children of TN nonimmigrants to run concurrent. The rule also removes the mention of specific petition filing locations from the TN regulations and replaces the outdated term ``TC'' (the previous term given to Canadian workers under the 1989 Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement) with ``TN.'' This rule will reduce the administrative burden of the TN classification on USCIS, and will ease the entry of eligible professionals to the United States.
Health and Human Services Department -- Medical Examination of Aliens-Revisions to Medical Screening Process2008-Oct-068-23485The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is amending its regulations that govern medical examinations that aliens must undergo before they may be admitted to the United States. HHS/CDC is amending the definition of communicable disease of public health significance. HHS/CDC is also amending the provisions that describe the scope of the medical examination for aliens by incorporating a more flexible, risk- based approach, based on medical and epidemiologic factors. This approach will assist HHS/CDC in determining which diseases the medical screening, testing, and treatment of aliens should include in areas of the world that are experiencing unforeseen outbreaks of those diseases. In addition, HHS/CDC is updating the screening requirements for tuberculosis to be consistent with current medical knowledge and practice. These changes will reduce the health-security threat to the United States from emerging diseases without imposing an undue burden on either the aliens or the health-care system in U.S. resettlement communities.
Homeland Security Department -- Issuance of a Visa and Authorization for Temporary Admission Into the United States for Certain Nonimmigrant Aliens Infected With HIV2008-Oct-068-23287The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is amending its regulations to provide, on a limited and categorical basis, a more streamlined process for nonimmigrant aliens infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to enter the United States as visitors on temporary visas (for business or pleasure) for up to 30 days. Nonimmigrant aliens who do not meet the specific requirements of the rule or who do not wish to consent to the conditions imposed by this rule may elect to seek admission under current procedures and obtain a case-by-case determination of their eligibility for a waiver of the nonimmigrant visa requirements concerning inadmissibility for aliens who are infected with HIV.
State Department -- Visas: Documentation of Nonimmigrants Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, as Amended2008-Sep-308-22956This rule establishes regulatory exceptions to travel restrictions, established in the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE Act, that were put in place for Burmese nationals. The rule allows the Department to exempt certain Burmese diplomats and officials from the travel restrictions.
Homeland Security Department -- Changes to Requirements Affecting H-2B Nonimmigrants and Their Employers2008-Aug-208-19306The Department of Homeland Security is proposing to amend its regulations affecting temporary non-agricultural workers within the H- 2B nonimmigrant classification and their U.S. employers. This proposed rule would modify current limitations with respect to petitions for unnamed H-2B workers and the period of time that an H-2B worker must remain outside the United States before he or she would be eligible to seek certain nonimmigrant status again. In addition, to better ensure the integrity of the H-2B program, this rule proposes to: Require employer attestations; preclude the imposition of fees by employers on prospective H-2B workers; require reimbursement of fees paid by H-2B workers to recruiters; preclude the change of the employment start date after the grant of the temporary labor certification; eliminate the process whereby H-2B petitions may be approved notwithstanding the absence of a valid temporary labor certification; require employer notifications when H-2B workers fail to show up for work, are terminated, or abscond from the worksite; require certain H-2B workers departing the United States to participate in a temporary worker visa exit pilot program; delegate authority to enforce the terms of the H-2B petition to the Secretary of Labor (in the event the Department and the Department of Labor (DOL) work out a mutually agreeable delegation of enforcement authority from the Department to DOL); and bar nationals of countries consistently refusing or unreasonably delaying repatriation of their nationals from obtaining H-2B status. This rule also proposes to change the definition of ``temporary employment'' to recognize that such employment could last up to three years. This proposed rule would encourage and facilitate the lawful employment of eligible foreign temporary non-agricultural workers, while continuing to safeguard the rights of workers.
State Department -- Documentation of Nonimmigrants Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, as Amended: Fingerprinting2008-Aug-208-19316This final rule amends the Department of State's regulations relating to the application for a nonimmigrant visa, to generally require all applicants, with certain exceptions, to provide a set of ten scanned fingerprints as part of the application process. The scanning of ten fingerprints of nonimmigrant visa applicants has already been implemented. For the purposes of verifying and confirming identity, conducting background checks, and to ensure that an applicant has not received a visa or entered into the United States under a different name, the Department of State may use the fingerprints in order to ascertain from the appropriate authorities whether they have information pertinent to the applicant's eligibility to receive a visa and for other purposes consistent with applicable law, regulations, and Department policy.
Justice Department -- Board of Immigration Appeals: Affirmance Without Opinion, Referral for Panel Review, and Publication of Decisions as Precedents2008-Jun-188-13435This proposed rule would amend the Department of Justice (Department) regulations regarding the administrative review procedures of the Board of Immigration Appeals (Board) in three ways. First, this rule provides greater flexibility for the Board to decide, in the exercise of its discretion, whether to issue an affirmance without opinion (AWO) or any other type of decision. This rule clarifies that the criteria the Board uses in deciding to invoke its AWO authority are solely for its own internal guidance, and that the Board's decision depends on the Board's judgment regarding its resources and is not reviewable. The revision related to AWO is needed to address divergent precedent in the United States Courts of Appeals regarding the reviewability of the Board's decision to issue an AWO. Finally, this revision clarifies that when the Board issues an AWO or a short decision adopting some or all of the immigration judge's decision, the decision is generally based on issues and claims of errors raised on appeal and is not to be construed as waiving a party's obligation to raise issues and exhaust claims of error before the Board. Second, this rule expands the authority to refer cases for three-member panel review for a small class of particularly complex cases involving complex or unusual issues of law or fact. Third, this rule amends the regulations relating to precedent decisions of the Board by authorizing publication of decisions either by a majority of the panel members or by a majority of permanent Board members and clarifying the relevant considerations for designation of precedents. These revisions implement, in part, the Memorandum for Immigration Judges and Members of the Board of Immigration Appeals issued by the Attorney General on August 9, 2006.
Justice Department -- Board of Immigration Appeals: Composition of Board and Temporary Board Members2008-Jun-168-13436This final rule adopts without change an interim rule with request for comments published in the Federal Register on December 7, 2006. The interim rule amended the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) regulations relating to the organization of the Board of Immigration Appeals (Board) by adding four Board member positions, thereby expanding the Board to 15 members. This rule also expanded the list of persons eligible to serve as temporary Board members to include senior EOIR attorneys with at least ten years of experience in the field of immigration law.
Homeland Security Department -- Changes to the Visa Waiver Program To Implement the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) Program2008-Jun-098-12673This rule amends Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations to implement the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) requirements under section 711 of the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, for aliens who wish to enter the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) at air or sea ports of entry. This rule establishes ESTA and delineates the data fields DHS has determined will be collected by the system. As required under section 711 of the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, the Secretary of Homeland Security will announce implementation of a mandatory ESTA system by publication of a notice in the Federal Register no less than 60 days before the date on which ESTA becomes mandatory for all VWP travelers. Once ESTA is mandatory, all VWP travelers must either obtain travel authorization in advance of travel under ESTA or obtain a visa prior to traveling to the United States. Currently, aliens from VWP countries must provide certain biographical information to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers at air and sea ports of entry on a paper form Nonimmigrant Alien Arrival/Departure (Form I-94W). Under this interim final rule, VWP travelers will provide the same information to CBP electronically before departing for the United States. Once ESTA is mandatory and all carriers are capable of receiving and validating messages pertaining to the traveler's ESTA status as part of the traveler's boarding status, DHS will eliminate the I-94W requirement. By automating the I-94W process and establishing a system to provide VWP traveler data in advance of travel, CBP will be able to determine the eligibility of citizens and eligible nationals from VWP countries to travel to the United States and whether such travel poses a law enforcement or security risk, before such individuals begin travel to the United States. ESTA will provide for greater efficiencies in the screening of international travelers by allowing CBP to identify subjects of potential interest before they depart for the United States, thereby increasing security and reducing traveler delays upon arrival at U.S. ports of entry.
Labor Department -- Labor Certification Process and Enforcement for Temporary Employment in Occupations Other Than Agriculture or Registered Nursing in the United States (H-2B Workers), and Other Technical Changes2008-May-228-11214The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) of the Department of Labor (DOL or the Department) are proposing changes to modernize procedures for the issuance of labor certifications issued in connection with H-2B nonimmigrants admitted to perform temporary nonagricultural labor or services, and procedures to enforce compliance with attestations made by sponsoring employers. Specifically, the proposed rule re-engineers the application filing and review process by centralizing processing and by enabling employers to conduct pre-filing United States (U.S.) worker recruitment activities. In addition, the proposed rule makes changes that will enhance the integrity of the program through the introduction of post-adjudication audits and procedures for penalizing employers who fail to meet the requirements of the H-2B Program. In addition, through this proposed rule technical changes are being made to both the H-1B and the permanent labor certification regulations to reflect operational changes stemming from this regulation. Finally, although Congress has vested the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with the statutory authority to enforce the H-2B Program requirements and the Department possesses no independent authority for such enforcement, this proposed rule describes potential H-2B enforcement procedures the Department could institute in the event that DHS and the Department work out a mutually agreeable delegation of enforcement authority from DHS to the Department.
Homeland Security Department -- Period of Admission and Stay for Canadian and Mexican Citizens Engaged in Professional Business Activities-TN Nonimmigrants2008-May-098-10343This rule affects certain Canadian and Mexican citizens who seek temporary entry as professionals to the United States pursuant to the TN classification, as established by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA or Agreement). TN nonimmigrants are Canadian or Mexican citizens who obtain temporary entry into the United States as business persons to engage in business activities at a professional level. This rule proposes to increase the maximum allowable period of admission for TN nonimmigrants from one year to three years, and allow otherwise eligible TN nonimmigrants to be granted an extension of stay in increments of up to three years instead of the current maximum of one year. TD nonimmigrants (``NAFTA Dependent'') are the spouses and unmarried minor children of TN nonimmigrants. TD nonimmigrants who would otherwise be eligible for TD nonimmigrant status would be eligible to be admitted and seek extensions for the same period of time as the TN principal. The purpose of this narrow change is to remove certain administrative requirements on TN nonimmigrants and U.S. employers and U.S. entities, thereby making this nonimmigrant classification more attractive to eligible professionals and their U.S. employers. The rule also proposes to remove filing location requirements from the TN regulations and instead provides that such locations will be prescribed by form instructions in order to provide more flexibility in program administration, as well as making certain technical modifications to eliminate outdated references to prior requirements. Finally, this rule proposes to revise the text of 8 CFR 214.1(a)(2) and (c)(1) and 8 CFR 248.3 by replacing the outdated term ``TC'' (the previous classification given to Canadian workers under the 1989 Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement) with ``TN.''
State Department -- Visas: Documentation of Nonimmigrants Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, as Amended2008-Apr-298-9336This final rule amends the Department of State's regulations related to application for a nonimmigrant visa, to offer a completely electronic application procedure as an alternative to submission of the Form DS-156.
Homeland Security Department -- Collection of Alien Biometric Data Upon Exit From the United States at Air and Sea Ports of Departure; United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology Program (“US-VISIT”)2008-Apr-248-8956The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposes to establish an exit program at all air and sea ports of departure in the United States. This proposed rule would require aliens who are subject to United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology Program (US-VISIT) biometric requirements upon entering the United States to provide biometric information to commercial air and vessel carriers before departing from the United States at air and sea ports of entry. This rule proposes a performance standard for commercial air and vessel carriers to collect the biometric information and to submit this information to DHS no later than 24 hours after air carrier staff secure the aircraft doors on an international departure, or for sea travel, no later than 24 hours after the vessel's departure from a U.S. port. DHS does not propose to apply these requirements to persons departing the United States on certain private carriers or small carriers as defined herein. The exit system proposed under this rule meets the recommendations of the 9-11 Commission Report and the requirements of section 711 of the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007.
Homeland Security Department -- Adjusting Program Fees and Establishing Procedures for Out-of-Cycle Review and Recertification of Schools Certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program To Enroll F or M Nonimmigrant Students2008-Apr-218-8261The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is proposing to amend the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) school certification petition fee and the application fee for nonimmigrants seeking to become academic (F visa) or vocational (M visa) students, or exchange visitors (J visa). This proposed rule would adjust the fees for schools seeking to admit F or M students; adjust the fees paid by individual F, M or J nonimmigrants; implement mandatory review of fees collected by SEVP; set the fee for submitting a school certification petition at $1700, plus $655 for each site; set the fee for each F or M student at $200; for most J exchange visitors at $180; and for exchange visitors seeking admission as au pairs, camp counselors, and summer work/travel program participants at $35. DHS proposes to make this rule effective at the beginning of fiscal year 2009, on October 1, 2008. DHS proposes also to establish oversight and recertification of schools for attendance by F or M students. The proposed rule would establish procedures for schools to submit their recertification petitions, add a provision allowing a school to voluntarily withdraw from its certification, and clarify procedures for school operation with regard to F or M students during recertification and following a denial of recertification or a withdrawal of certification. Further, the proposed rule would remove obsolete provisions used prior to implementation of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), a Web-enabled database that provides current information on F, M and J nonimmigrants in the United States.
Labor Department -- Employment Standards Administration; Labor Condition Application Requirements for Employers Seeking To Use Nonimmigrants on E-3 Visas in Specialty Occupations; Filing Procedures2008-Apr-118-7563The Department of Labor (the Department or DOL) is publishing this Final Rule to amend its regulations regarding the temporary employment of nonimmigrant foreign professionals in order to implement procedural requirements applicable to the E-3 visa category. This visa classification was established by Title V of the REAL ID Act of 2005 (Division B) in the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005, and applies to certain Australian nationals coming to the United States solely to perform services in specialty occupations. This Final Rule clarifies the procedures that employers must follow in obtaining a DOL- certified labor condition application before seeking an E-3 visa for a foreign worker.
Homeland Security Department -- Extending Period of Optional Practical Training by 17 Months for F-1 Nonimmigrant Students With STEM Degrees and Expanding Cap-Gap Relief for All F-1 Students With Pending H-1B Petitions2008-Apr-088-7427Currently, foreign students in F-1 nonimmigrant status who have been enrolled on a full-time basis for at least one full academic year in a college, university, conservatory, or seminary certified by U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement's (ICE's) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) are eligible for 12 months of optional practical training (OPT) to work for a U.S. employer in a job directly related to the student's major area of study. This interim final rule extends the maximum period of OPT from 12 months to 29 months for F-1 students who have completed a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) degree and accept employment with employers enrolled in U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' (USCIS') E-Verify employment verification program. This interim rule requires F-1 students with an approved OPT extension to report changes in the student's name or address and changes in the employer's name or address as well as periodically verify the accuracy of this reporting information. The rule also requires the employers of F-1 students with an extension of post-completion OPT authorization to report to the student's designated school official (DSO) within 48 hours after the OPT student has been terminated from, or otherwise leaves, his or her employment with that employer prior to end of the authorized period of OPT. This rule also ameliorates the so-called ``cap-gap'' problem by extending the authorized period of stay for all F-1 students who have a properly filed H-1B petition and change of status request (filed under the cap for the next fiscal year) pending with USCIS. If USCIS approves the H-1B petition, the students will have an extension that enables them to remain in the United States until the requested start date indicated in the H-1B petition takes effect. This interim final rule also implements a programmatic change to allow students to apply for OPT within 60 days of concluding their studies.
Homeland Security Department -- Documents Required for Travelers Departing From or Arriving in the United States at Sea and Land Ports-of-Entry From Within the Western Hemisphere2008-Apr-038-6725This rule finalizes the second phase of a joint Department of Homeland Security and Department of State plan, known as the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, to implement new documentation requirements for U.S. citizens and certain nonimmigrant aliens entering the United States. This final rule details the documents U.S. citizens\1\ and nonimmigrant citizens of Canada, Bermuda, and Mexico will be required to present when entering the United States from within the Western Hemisphere at sea and land ports-of-entry. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Homeland Security Department -- Safe-Harbor Procedures for Employers Who Receive a No-Match Letter: Clarification; Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis2008-Mar-268-6168The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is proposing to amend its regulations that provide a ``safe harbor'' from liability under section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act for employers who follow certain procedures after receiving a notice--from the Social Security Administration (SSA), called a ``no-match letter,'' or from DHS, called a ``notice of suspect document''--that casts doubt on the employment eligibility of their employees. The prior final rule was published on August 15, 2007 (the August 2007 Final Rule). Implementation of that rule was preliminarily enjoined by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on October 10, 2007. The district court based its preliminary injunction on three findings. This supplemental proposed rule clarifies certain aspects of the August 2007 Final Rule and responds to the three findings underlying the district court's injunction.
Homeland Security Department -- Petitions Filed on Behalf of H-1B Temporary Workers Subject to or Exempt From the Annual Numerical Limitation2008-Mar-248-5906The Department of Homeland Security is amending its regulations governing petitions filed on behalf of alien workers subject to the annual numerical limitations applicable to the H nonimmigrant classification. This rule precludes a petitioner from filing more than one petition based on the H-1B nonimmigrant classification on behalf of the same alien temporary worker in a given fiscal year if the alien is subject to a numerical limitation or is exempt from a numerical limitation by virtue of having earned a master's or higher degree from a U.S. institution of higher education. Additionally, this rule makes accommodations for petitioners seeking to file petitions on the first day on which filings will be accepted for the next fiscal year on behalf of alien workers subject to the annual numerical limitation or U.S. master's or higher degree holders exempt from this limitation. This rule also clarifies the treatment of H nonimmigrant petitions incorrectly claiming an exemption from the numerical limitations. Finally, the rule removes from the regulations unnecessary language regarding the annual numerical limitation applicable to the H-1B nonimmigrant classification. These changes are necessary to clarify the regulations and further ensure the fair and orderly adjudication of petitions subject to numerical limitations.
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