December 23

USCIS posted—without notice—a large number of new form versions with effective dates of 12/23/16

Today, USCIS posted—without notice—a large number of new form versions with effective dates of 12/23/16, and noted that no other version of the forms would be acceptable (with the exception of Form I-129). After AILA reached out to USCIS for clarification, USCIS stated that while it strongly encourages people to use the new version of the forms, it is aware that there may be older editions of the forms that have already been completed and are in the queue to be mailed and/or filed, and that it will be flexible and will apply discretion when receipting forms, rather than rejecting them outright.
December 21

USCIS Message: Employers Should Stop Identifying “Returning Workers” in Petitions for FY2017

USCIS notified stakeholders that because Congress has not reauthorized the H-2B returning worker program, employers should stop identifying returning workers in petitions for FY2017. Petitions requesting H-2B workers for new employment with an employment start date on or after October 1, 2016, will generally be counted toward the annual H-2B cap of 66,000 for FY2017.

December 21

The Guardian: At Immigration Detention Center, Every Child Has Same Christmas Wish: Freedom

The Guardian published the “Santa wishlists” of children aged two to nine who are spending their second consecutive Christmas in the Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania. In their cards, the children ask for toys and trinkets in keeping with their young age, but they also ask for the same gift again and again: to be released from family detention.