NC District Court Enjoins USCIS Unlawful Presence Policy

A North Carolina District Court judge issued a preliminary injunction that prevents the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from implementing the USCIS policy enunciated in its memo entitled "Accrual of Unlawful Presence and F, J, and M Nonimmigrants," originally issued on May 10, 2018, and updated on August 9, 2018. The original memo would have penalized international students for overstaying their visas or violating status, even if they had done so accidentally. The policy would have applied to student non-immigrants (F status), exchange visitors (J status), and vocational students (M status).

A violation of status includes leaving school or working without permission. However, it was widely believed that the individuals potentially impacted by the enjoined policy would have had little to no warning that they had violated their status until it was too late to fix their situation. Under USCIS' original policy memo, individuals in F, J, & M status would have risked serious immigration consequences, including removal and the denial of future visas for extended periods due to even unintentional violations of status.

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