Gunster's immigration law practice

ICE Director Thomas Homan calls for significant increase in worksite inspections

Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director, Thomas Homan, has announced his plan to significantly increase worksite inspections. While speaking at the Heritage Foundation on October 17, 2017, Acting Director Homan said he has instructed Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the investigative unit of ICE, to increase their time spent on worksite enforcement “by four to five times” and that these inspections will notably increase this next fiscal year. Homan also added, “Not only are we going to prosecute the employers that hire illegal workers, we’re going to detain and remove the illegal alien workers.”

In light of this announcement, employers would do well to review their employment eligibility compliance programs with immigration counsel.

USCIS updates policy rescinding guidance regarding deference to prior determinations of eligibility in the adjudication of petitions for extension of nonimmigrant status

On October 23, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) instructed its officers to apply the same level of scrutiny to both initial petitions and extension requests for nearly all nonimmigrant visa categories.

The guidance states that, in adjudicating petitions for immigration benefits including nonimmigrant petition extensions, adjudicators must thoroughly review the petition and supporting evidence to determine eligibility for the benefit sought. The updated guidance instructs officers to apply the same level of scrutiny when reviewing nonimmigrant visa extension requests even where the petitioner, beneficiary and underlying facts are unchanged from a previously approved petition. While adjudicators may ultimately reach the same conclusion as in a prior decision, they are not compelled to do so as a default starting point as the burden of proof to establish eligibility for an immigration benefit always lies with the petitioner. The adjudicator’s determination is based on the merits of each case, and officers may request additional evidence if the petitioner has not submitted sufficient evidence to establish eligibility.

New USCIS form streamlines process to obtain a work authorization document and a Social Security number simultaneously

Based on a new information-sharing partnership between U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA), foreign nationals in certain categories or classifications can now apply for work authorization and a social security number using a single form – the updated Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

The revised USCIS form includes additional questions that allow applicants to apply for a social security number or replacement card without visiting a Social Security office. USCIS now transmits the additional data collected on the form to the SSA for processing. Applicants who receive their approved EADs from USCIS should receive their Social Security card from SSA within the following two weeks.

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This publication is for general information only. It is not legal advice, and legal counsel should be contacted before any action is taken that might be influenced by this publication.

About Gunster

Gunster, Florida’s law firm for business, provides full-service legal counsel to leading organizations and individuals from its 13 offices statewide. Established in 1925, the firm has expanded, diversified and evolved, but always with a singular focus: Florida and its clients’ stake in it. A magnet for business-savvy attorneys who embrace collaboration for the greatest advantage of clients, Gunster’s growth has not been at the expense of personalized service but because of it. The firm serves clients from its offices in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach, Stuart, Tallahassee, Tampa, The Florida Keys, Vero Beach, Winter Park, and its headquarters in West Palm Beach. With more than 180 attorneys and 200 committed support staff, Gunster is ranked among the National Law Journal’s list of the 500 largest law firms and has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Diverse Law Firms by Law360. More information about its practice areas, offices and insider’s view newsletters is available at

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