DHS Announces Extension and Redesignation of Temporary Protected Status for Somalia: In early March, DHS announced extending and re-designating Somalia for TPS for 18 months, from March 18, 2023, through September 17, 2024.
USCIS Announces Premium Processing for F-1 Students Seeking OPT or STEM OPT Extensions: USCIS is now permitting premium processing for students seeking OPT or STEM OPT extensions, including those who have already submitted their application for employment authorization and wish to upgrade their petitions.
Immigration Court Backlogs Continue to Increase: Immigration courts recorded receiving 335,754 new cases in FY 2023 as of January 2023. In the same time, the court completed 181,994. According to court records, only 0.61 percent of FY 2023 new cases sought orders because of criminal activity, apart from illegal entry into the United States. At the end of January of 2023, there were 2,097,195 active cases.
Immigration Detention Levels on the Rise: As of February 26, 2023, approximately 20,710 individuals were in immigration detention. Of the people detained, 9,112 were arrested by ICE and 17,898 were arrested by CBP. This is a modest increase from February of 2022, where approximately 17,789 individuals were in immigration detention. In February of 2021, there were even fewer, at 13,258 detainees. It appears that as the United States removes pandemic restrictions, the willingness to keep individuals in immigration detention will continue to increase if this trend continues. However, the number of people detained is still roughly half that of February of 2020, when there were over 38,537 individuals in immigration detention. In pre-pandemic years during the Trump Administration, the total number of people in immigration detention even exceeded 55,000 during certain months of 2019.
USCIS Redesigns Green Card and Employment Authorization Document: As of January 30, 2023, USCIS began issuing new designs of green cards and work permits to provide additional protections to prevent counterfeiting, fraud, and document tampering. Changes include detailed artwork; tactile printing; enhanced optically variable ink, holographic images on front and back of cards; a layer-feature with a partial window on the back photo box, and changes in the locations of the data fields. Current green cards issued before the changes remain valid through expiration.