H-2B Cap for Second Half of FY 2023 Has Been Reached

As per the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announcement on March 2, 2023. See below.

H-2B Cap for the Second Half of FY 2023

USCIS has received enough petitions to meet the congressionally mandated H-2B cap for the second half of FY 2023. Feb. 27, 2023, was the final receipt date for new cap-subject H-2B worker petitions requesting an employment start date on or after Apr. 1, 2023, and before Oct. 1, 2023. We will reject new cap-subject H-2B petitions received after Feb. 27, 2023, that request an employment start date on or after Apr. 1, 2023, and before Oct. 1, 2023.

On Feb. 27, 2023, the number of beneficiaries for whom USCIS received petitions surpassed the total number of remaining H-2B visas available for the H-2B cap for the second half of FY 2023. In accordance with regulations, we determined it was necessary to use a computer-generated selection process intended to ensure the fair and orderly allocation of H-2B visa cap numbers available, without exceeding the FY 2023 cap. On March 1, 2023, we conducted the selection process to randomly select petitions from those received on Feb. 27, 2023. Upon completion of this random selection process, we assigned all selected petitions a receipt date and began premium processing services.

We continue to accept H-2B petitions that are exempt from the congressionally mandated cap. This includes petitions for:

Current H-2B workers in the United States who wish to extend their stay and, if applicable, change the terms of their employment or change their employers;
Fish roe processors, fish roe technicians, and/or supervisors of fish roe processing; and
Workers performing labor or services in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam (until Dec. 31, 2029).
Filing Dates for Second Half of FY 2023 Supplemental Visas

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) jointly published a temporary final rule on Dec. 15, 2022, increasing the numerical limit (or cap) on H-2B nonimmigrant visas by up to 64,716 additional visas for all of FY 2023. These supplemental visas are available only to U.S. businesses that are suffering irreparable harm or will suffer impending irreparable harm without the ability to employ all the H-2B workers requested in their petition, as attested by the employer on the DOL Form ETA 9142-B-CAA-7 (PDF). These supplemental H-2B visas are for U.S. employers seeking to petition for additional workers at certain periods of the fiscal year before Sept. 15, 2023. See www.uscis.com

Vistos de Viagem

Um cidadão de um país estrangeiro que deseja viajar para os Estados Unidos geralmente deve primeiro obter um visto para Estados Unidos. O visto é obtido no Consulado Americano ou na Embaixada America. Para obter um visto o candidato deverá preencher a aplicação do visto desejado.

O processo de solicitação de um visto varia dependendo da Embaixada ou Consulado dos Estados Unidos onde o candidato estiver. Siga as instruções específicas para o país em que você está.

Em geral, você precisará de:

1. Para preencher o formulário on-line
2. Uma foto
3. O pagar a taxa de solicitação de visto
4. Para agendar uma entrevista

Certos estrangeiros podem ser elegíveis para viajar para os Estados Unidos sem visto se atenderem aos requisitos para viagens sem visto.
Para mais informações sobre visto visite www.travel.state.gov

DHS and DOJ Issue Interim Final Rule on Credible Fear Screenings and Consideration of Asylum Claims by USCIS Officers

Elizabeth Carlson,

Joanna Mexicano Furmansk

Last Updated

April 21, 2022


Asylum and Refugee Law
Removal Proceedings

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have jointly issued an interim final rule to revise the processing of certain applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The timing of this rule coincides with the end of Title 42, a legal procedure used to expel hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers from the United States without a hearing or due process. Title 42 of the U.S. Code, section 265, was used under both the Trump and Biden administrations to prohibit the entry of individuals into the United States based on the COVID-19 pandemic. This section allows the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prohibit the entry of individuals if they present a danger of introduction of a communicable disease.

The Biden administration has announced that Title 42 will end on May 23, 2022. The goal of the new regulations is to speed up the asylum process in response to the expected increase in individuals who will seek asylum in the United States with the intention of completing the asylum process within six months.

The notable regulatory changes in the interim final rule include authorizing asylum officers within U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to adjudicate the asylum claims of individuals who receive a positive credible fear determination after being placed into expedited removal. Following a positive credible fear interview (CFI) the applicant will be provided an Asylum Merits interview in which USCIS will decide whether to grant asylum and, if necessary, determine the applicant’s eligibility for withholding of removal or protection under the CAT. Prior to this rule, those cases were decided only by immigration judges within the DOJ’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). USCIS will issue a Notice to Appear (NTA) to any noncitizen not granted asylum by USCIS after an Asylum Merits interview. The proceedings before the Immigration Judge are to be concluded pursuant to a “streamlined” processing timeline.

Summary of the Proposed Amendment to the Asylum Regulations for Individuals Subject to Expedited Removal Who Have a Credible Fear of Persecution or Torture

The interim final rule, once it goes into effect on May 31, 2022, will make the following changes to the asylum regulations:

  1. DHS and DOJ will generally return to the regulatory framework governing the credible fear screening process in place before the Trump administration’s various proposed regulatory changes that would have heightened the screening standard. Specifically, the proposed regulations will return to the intentionally low “significant possibility” screening standard in place prior to the Trump’s administration’s attempt to heighten the screening standard. The regulations also return to the historical practice of not applying the mandatory bars to asylum at the credible fear screening stage.
  2. The regulations amend the definition of “asylum application” to provide that a written record of a positive credible fear interview satisfies the asylum filing requirements for all purposes, including the one-year filing deadline and eligibility for employment authorization.
  3. The regulations also create a new Asylum Merits interview process for those who receive a positive credible fear determination. Those individuals who receive such a determination will be scheduled for an Asylum Merits interview for USCIS to consider their asylum application in the first instance.
  4. For those individuals not granted asylum by USCIS during the Asylum Merits interview process, the regulations create a new process for such asylum cases to be referred to EOIR and proceed on an accelerated timeline. There are strict rules about the timing of the commencement of proceedings, service of documents, scheduling of hearings, and granting extensions and adjournments. There are additional rules regarding the form of the asylum application, the consideration of evidence and testimony, and the weight of the USCIS determination on an individual’s withholding or CAT applications, all intended to fast-track the process.
  5. Finally, the new regulations specify that parole under INA § 212(d)(5) is the only avenue for release from detention pending the Asylum Merits interview and subsequent removal proceedings. The regulations also provide that this parole cannot serve as an independent basis for employment authorization.


CBP Releases February 2022 Monthly Operational Update

CBP’s February Monthly Operational Update reflects the continued economic rebound from the depths of the COVID pandemic, with CBP officers processing more than 2.8 million shipments in legitimate trade valued at more than $236 billion. February also registered a slight uptick in the number of encounters along the Southwest border, with most individuals arriving from Mexico and the Northern Triangle, and the majority of noncitizens expelled under Title 42,” said CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus. “CBP also continues to successfully interdict illegal narcotics through our expanded use of non-intrusive inspection technology (NII) and other strategies. As with every monthly update, February’s report highlights the tremendous breadth and scope of work that the men and women of CBP carry out every single day to safeguard our borders and support our economy.”

CBP Southwest Border Enforcement Numbers for February 2022

The large number of expulsions during the pandemic has contributed to a higher-than-usual number of migrants making multiple border crossing attempts, which means that total encounters somewhat overstate the number of unique individuals arriving at the border.

  • The number of unique individuals encountered nationwide in February 2022 was 116,678, a 2 percent increase in the number of unique individuals encountered the prior month.
  • In total, there were 164,973 encounters along the Southwest land border in February, a 7 percent increase compared to January. Of those, 30 percent involved individuals who had at least one prior encounter in the previous 12 months, compared to an average one-year re-encounter rate of 14 percent for FY2014-2019.
  • More than three-fourths (76 percent) of encounters were single adults, with 126,151 encounters in February, an 11 percent increase compared to January.
  • 91,513 encounters, 55 percent of the total, were processed for expulsion under Title 42. 73,460 encounters were processed under Title 8.
    • 83,553 encounters involving single adults (66 percent of all single adult encounters) were processed for expulsion under Title 42, with 42,598 processed under Title 8.
    • 7,773 encounters involving family unit individuals (29 percent of all family unit individuals) were processed for expulsion under Title 42, with 18,809 processed under Title 8.

Unaccompanied Children

  • Encounters of unaccompanied children increased 37 percent, with 12,011 encounters in February compared with 8,760 in January. In February, the average number of unaccompanied children in CBP custody was 520 per day, compared with an average of 295 per day in January.

Family Unit individuals

  • Encounters of family unit individuals decreased by 17 percent from 31,998 in January to 26,582 in February—which is a 69 percent decrease from the peak of 86,631 in August 2021.

CBP Nationwide Total Encounters for FY22TD through February: 967,743

CBP Nationwide Encounters for FY22 February: 189,602

International Travel and Trade

One of CBP’s core mission objectives is to enhance the nation’s economic prosperity, including through the facilitation of lawful trade and travel. CBP continues to protect America’s national and economic security by facilitating legitimate trade while rigorously enforcing U.S. customs laws and regulations.

Count February 2020 February 2021 % Feb 2021 Change from

February 2020

February 2022 %Feb 2022 Change from Feb 2020 % Feb 2022 Change from

February 2021

Air 11,695,959 2,019,030 -82.7% 6,878,917 -41.19% 340.7%


16,118,593 10,395,614 -48.2% 13,235,073 -17.89% 148.9%
Pedestrians 4,123,417 1,815,604 -56% 2,939,209 -28.72% 161.9%
Commercial Trucks 960,342 939,383 -2.2% 945,317 -1.56% 100.6%


Since travel restrictions were eased on November 8, CBP has processed increased numbers of arriving travelers without any significant delays. The new rules allow travelers who are non-U.S. persons to seek to enter the United States for non-essential travel via land ports of entry and ferry terminals, provided they are fully vaccinated and have appropriate documentation. The updated guidelines also allow most non-immigrants (non-U.S. citizens and other covered persons) who are fully vaccinated to travel by air to the United States, regardless of the reason for travel.

CBP will continue to track traveler numbers and wait times over the next few months and continue to adjust as needed to make the travel experience more efficient. In the meantime, travelers can plan by doing the following:

  • Have a valid Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative document, such as a passport, Trusted Traveler Program card, or Enhanced Tribal Card.
  • Possess proof of an approved COVID-19 vaccination as outlined on the CDC website.
  • Verbally attest to their travel intent and COVID-19 vaccination status.
  • Be prepared to present any documents requested by the CBP officer.

Accountability and Transparency

As part of the agency’s continuing effort to promote organizational accountability and transparency, CBP announced the release of its Report on Internal Investigations and Employee Accountability: Fiscal Year 2020. For FY2020, CBP leadership directed the Office of Professional Responsibility and Human Resources Management to generate a joint report combining information regarding allegation intake and misconduct investigations with information regarding disciplinary outcomes. CBP is committed to being a leader in law enforcement accountability and transparency by providing multiple ways to report incidents as well as timely, accurate and appropriate information regarding CBP-related deaths, use of force incidents, and other critical incidents resulting in serious injuries. The Accountability and Transparency page provides the public with statements, policies, reports, and other important information concerning critical incidents and related OPR reviews and investigations.

Trade Stats/Seizures – Protecting the American Consumer

CBP works diligently with the trade community and port operators to ensure that merchandise is cleared as efficiently as possible. CBP works with the trade community to strengthen international supply chains and improve border security. There are several programs by which CBP works with importers, carriers, consolidators, licensed customs brokers, and manufacturers to advance information about the shipments and expedite the inspection process at the ports of entry. CBP is available to conduct exams and is ready and willing to expand hours of operations if necessary to meet the growing demand for imported goods.

In February 2022 alone, CBP processed more than 2.8 million entry summaries valued at more than $236 billion, identifying estimated duties of nearly $7.7 billion to be collected by the U.S. government. In February, trade via the ocean environment accounted for more than 40 percent of the total import value, followed by air, truck, and rail.

Intellectual property rights violations continue to put America’s innovation economy at risk. Trade in counterfeit and pirated goods threaten the competitiveness of U.S. businesses, the livelihoods of American workers, and the health and safety of consumers.

In February 2022, CBP seized nearly 1,973 shipments that contained counterfeit goods valued at more than $225 million (MSRP).

Drug Seizures

CBP officers, Border Patrol agents, and Air and Marine Operations agents continue to interdict the flow of illicit narcotics across the border. Nationwide, drug seizures (Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Heroin, Fentanyl, and Marijuana) by weight were down 1 percent in February compared to January. Seizures were as follows:

  • Cocaine seizures increased 83 percent
  • Methamphetamine increased 97 percent
  • Heroin seizures increased 173 percent
  • Fentanyl seizures decreased 21 percent

Additional CBP drug seizure statistics can be found here.

Agriculture Stats/Seizures – Securing American Agriculture

In February 2022, CBP agriculture specialists helped protect America’s agriculture, natural resources, and economic prosperity.

  • CBP issued 5,909 emergency action notifications for restricted and prohibited plant and animal products entering the United States.
  • CBP conducted 62,350 positive passenger inspections and issued 481 civil penalties and/or violations to the traveling public for failing to declare prohibited agriculture items.

CBP COVID-19 Response

The safety of our workforce, our communities, and individuals in our care is a top priority.  CBP personnel put themselves and their families at risk with every encounter with the public.

Since the start of the pandemic:

  • More than 23,629 CBP employees have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • 64 have passed away.

CBP continues to explore adjustments to workforce posture and health protocols based on widespread vaccine access and easing public health metrics:

  • CBP provides migrants who can’t be expelled under the CDC’s Title 42 order or are awaiting processing with PPE from the moment they are taken into custody, and migrants are required to keep masks on at all times.
  • CBP works with appropriate agencies that facilitate testing, diagnosis, isolation, and treatment of migrants, including:
    • Local governments and non-governmental organizations for persons released from CBP custody;
    • ICE for testing of persons to be released from CBP custody, particularly in locations without local government or NGO testing capability; and,
    • HHS for testing of unaccompanied children.
  • DHS has developed a partnership model to test and isolate families who test positive for COVID-19, and reimburse 100 percent of the cost, provided that the state does not stand in the way.
Last modified:
March 15, 20

Introduction to Immigration Court Video

EOIR has released an Introduction to Immigration Court video as part of its “Access EOIR” initiative. The video, currently available in English and Spanish, is designed to educate and inform noncitizens about the immigration court process. Please visit the Access EOIR webpage or EOIR’s YouTube channel to watch the video.

For assistance with your immigration process, call the LAW OFFICES OF NORKA M. SCHELL, LLC at (212) 258-0713.

Release Date

In the recently published April Visa Bulletin, the Department of State advanced the Date for Filing (also known as the application date) applications for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status in the employment-based, second preference (EB-2) category for India from Sept. 1, 2013, to Sept. 1, 2014.

If you are a noncitizen who has an approved immigrant visa petition in the EB-2 category chargeable to India and a priority date earlier than Sept. 1, 2014, USCIS encourages you to consider applying for adjustment of status in April by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. You should include your Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, with your Form I-485 to save time. You are not required to file Form I-693 at the same time you file Form I-485, but filing both forms at the same time may eliminate the need for USCIS to issue a Request for Evidence to obtain your Form I-693. This may also help avoid adjudication delays if we decide that you do not need to be interviewed.

As previously announced, we continue to encourage eligible applicants to consider requesting to transfer the underlying basis of their pending adjustment of status applications in the EB-3 category to the EB-1 or EB-2 category if they meet the following criteria: a visa is unavailable to them in the EB-3 category; they have a pending or approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers; and a visa is available in the EB-1 or EB-2 category.

For more information, please see  the Green Card for Employment-Based Immigrants page and the Visa Availability and Priority Dates page at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin/2022/visa-bulletin-for-april-2022.html


U.S. Businesses rely on their ability to employ foreign nationals to compete efficiently in today’s global market. Particularly critical in this regard are the H-1B program, which permits U. S. employers to retain the temporary services of foreign professionals, and L-1 transfer managers, executives, and other employees with “Specialized Knowledge” from a foreign office to a branch office, subsidiary, or affiliate in the United States. Both of these programs permit U.S. employers to hire high-skilled foreign employees for discrete periods and, necessary, to extend their terms of employment.

Foreign nationals may remain in the United States in H-1B status for up to six years, and in L-1A and L-1B status for up to seven and five years, respectively.

Note that, federal regulations mandate that no H-1B, L-1A or L-1B petition can be approved for longer than three years. So, many U.S. employers file extension requests to enable these employees to fulfill their responsibilities.

For additional information on H-1B, L-1A, and L-1B temporary work visas, contact the Law Offices of Norka M. Schell, LLC at (212) 258-0713 to speak with our attorney.


The direction of COVID-19 variants remains difficult to predict, but the CDC now recommends lifting the travel restrictions imposed in Proclamation 10315. And, the President, Joseph R. Biden Jr. has done that.

” In light of these changed circumstances, and based on the recommendation of the CDC, I have determined that it is in the interests of the United States to revoke Proclamation 10315.  The travel restrictions imposed by that proclamation are no longer necessary to protect the public health.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including sections 212(f) and 215(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f) and 1185(a), hereby find that, except as provided in Proclamation 10294 of October 25, 2021 (Advancing the Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic), or any other applicable proclamation, the unrestricted entry into the United States of persons described in section 1 of Proclamation 10315 is no longer detrimental to the interests of the United States.  I therefore hereby proclaim the following:

Section 1.  Revocation.  Proclamation 10315 is revoked.

Sec. 2.  Review of Agency Actions.  The Secretary of State, the Secretary of Transportation, and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall review any regulations, orders, guidance documents, policies, and any other similar agency actions developed pursuant to Proclamation 10315 and, as appropriate, shall consider revising or revoking these agency actions consistent with the policy set forth in this proclamation.

Sec. 3.  Effective Date.  This proclamation is effective at 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time on December 31, 2021.

Sec. 4.  General Provisions.  (a)  Nothing in this proclamation shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b)  This proclamation shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c)  This proclamation is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-sixth.”




Dear Client and Visitors,

Please be advised that effective Monday, December 13, 2021, New York State has ordered an indoor mask mandate.

Please plan to wear a proper-fitting mask at Servcorp | 17 State Street. If you do not have one, feel free to ask the front desk.

Thank you.