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Posts from March 2017.

Subsequent to President Trump’s March 6, 2017 Executive Order Suspending travel to the US of certain nationals and Presidential Memorandum directing the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of Homeland Security to implement “immediate heightened screening and vetting of applications for visas and other immigration benefits,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has issued cables (CABLE 23338, CABLE 24324, CABLE 24800, CABLE 25814) to his consular chiefs regarding the implementation of “extreme vetting” procedures. 

On March 17, 2017, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published the first installment of the Trump Administration’s FY 2018 Budget plan: “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again.”  The Budget provides details on discretionary funding proposals, with the complete Budget request being released later this year to include specific mandatory and tax proposals. The government’s 2018 fiscal year commences on October 1, 2017.

On March 6, 2017, President Donald Trump signed a new “Travel Ban” Executive Order with an effective date of March 16, 2017. The order revoked a previous executive order signed on January 27, 2017, which was blocked by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  The new order suspends entry for nationals of six countries under a "temporary pause." The order exempts permanent residents and valid visa holders as of certain dates and times, and provides for case-by-case discretionary waivers. The order also suspends refugee travel to the United States for 120 days for those not previously admitted, subject to waivers in certain circumstances.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that starting on April 3, 2017 (and to continue for up to six months), it is suspending Premium Processing for all H-1B visa petitions, including petitions for change of status to H-1B or extensions.  USCIS stated that the purpose of the suspension is to address overall backlogs in H-1B processing times and prioritize pending H-1B extension cases that have been pending for close to 240 days. 

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