The Presidents’ Office of Management and Budget, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has released the spring unified agenda for all agencies, which details proposed rules and regulations in the pipeline from Spring 2021 and gives us a glimpse of policy changes to come–especially as they relate to higher education. There are several rules affecting our immigrant and international campus members, including:
- Proposed Rule: Preserving and Fortifying DACA: Intention to “take all appropriate action to preserve and fortify DACA, consistent with applicable law.” We wrote to DHS Secretary Mayorkas in February regarding how to functionally expand eligibility for DACA, particularly surrounding adjudication, financial assistance, biometrics, renewals, expunged convictions, advance parole, parole-in-place, and more. We will also be submitting a comment in response; and create a short template comment for higher ed institutions.
- Withdrawal of Proposed Rule to Terminate Duration of Status: Intention to withdraw the Trump era proposed rule that would eliminate the more flexible “duration of status” for international students and replace it with a rigid fixed-term limit, which we opposed when it was first announced. As Presidents’ Alliance’s Miriam Feldblum pointed out for the Study Travel Network, “the news also shows the power and importance of collective action, as over 30,000 comments were submitted last year, nearly all in opposition to the proposed rule, and colleges and universities came together and advocated for and alongside their international students.” For more information, see NAFSA’s webpage on the proposed rule.
- Proposed Rule: Modernizing H-1B Requirements and Oversight and Providing Flexibility in the F-1 Program: Intention to institute several regulatory changes, including potentially addressing the “cap gap” issue and other regulatory changes.
- Proposed Rule: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Fee Schedule: Intention to rescind and replace Trump era fee increases with an alternative, yet unannounced fee schedule. We submitted a comment in opposition to the original fee schedule in 2019.
- Final Rule: Adjustment to Premium Processing: Coming changes to establish new benefit requests eligible for premium processing.
- Proposed Rule: Digital Presentation of Identity and Lawful Status Information for REAL ID Purposes: Intention to allow identity and lawful status information under the REAL ID program to be submitted digitally.
- Final Rule: Minimum Standards for Driver’s Licenses and Identification Cards Acceptable by Federal Agencies for Official Purposes: Coming change to delay the date for card-based enforcement of the REAL ID regulations from October 1, 2021 until May 3, 2023, permitting federal agencies to accept non-compliant driver’s licenses and ID cards for official purposes until the end of May 2, 2023. REAL ID requires evidence of lawful presence or citizenship, so this extension will allow undocumented immigrants to continue to use their non-REAL ID identification for federal purposes until May 2023.