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Photo: Diego G Diaz / Getty

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services says the agency "was never considering a regulatory change that would force H-1B visa holders to leave the United States." The statement comes after reports last week that DHS was considering ending H-1B extensions for visa holders with a pending green card.

Why it matters: Changing the practice of extending H-1B visas for workers with pending cards would have forced thousands of workers to leave the country. Industry sources told Axios that last week's reports were likely part of a trial balloon and that, following the backlash to the leaks, DHS is looking to back away from the idea. USCIS, however, says the suggestion that it "changed its position because of pressure is absolutely false."

USCIS's full statement:

“The agency is considering a number of policy and regulatory changes to carry out the President’s Buy American, Hire American Executive Order, including a thorough review of employment based visa programs. We are not at liberty to discuss any part of the pre-decisional processes; however, all proposed rules publish in the federal register and USCIS posts all policy memoranda on our website. USCIS is focused on ensuring the integrity of the immigration system and protecting the interests of U.S. workers, and is committed to reforming employment based immigration programs so they benefit the American people to the greatest extent possible."

New:

“What we can say, however, is that USCIS is not considering a regulatory change that would force H-1B visa holders to leave the United States by changing our interpretation of section 104(c) of AC-21, which provides for H-1B extensions beyond the 6 year limit. Even if it were, such a change would not likely result in these H-1B visa holders having to leave the United States because employers could request extensions in one-year increments under section 106(a)-(b) of AC21 instead.

USCIS was never considering a regulatory change that would force H-1B visa holders to leave the United States by changing our interpretation of section 104(c) of AC-21. Any suggestion that USCIS changed its position because of pressure is absolutely false.”

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  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.

4 hours ago - Health

CDC extends interval between COVID vaccine doses for exceptional cases

Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty

Patients can space out the two doses of the coronavirus vaccine by up to six weeks if it’s "not feasible" to follow the shorter recommended window, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

Driving the news: With the prospect of vaccine shortages and a low likelihood that supply will expand before April, the latest changes could provide a path to vaccinate more Americans — a top priority for President Biden.