NC voter ID trial delayed as US Supreme Court examines case

National News

A federal trial set for January on litigation challenging North Carolina’s voter photo identification law has been delayed while the U.S. Supreme Court weighs whether legislative leaders should be permitted to help defend the law in court.

The Supreme Court said last month it would consider the request of House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger to formally step in to the case and defend the 2018 law along with state government attorneys.

The lawsuit was previously scheduled to go to trial in Winston-Salem on Jan. 24. In an order issued Thursday, presiding U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs said it makes sense to delay the start to avoid further confusion over voter ID. Otherwise, a Supreme Court ruling favoring GOP legislators could require a repeal trial.

“While the court is mindful that parties have been preparing for trial, there is no reason that such preparation must go to waste,” Biggs wrote. No new starting date was set.

Berger and Moore have argued that state attorneys led by Attorney General Josh Stein, a Democrat, have not adequately represented the state to defend the law. Biggs and the full U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals have rejected the GOP leaders’ requests.

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USCIS Adjusting Premium Processing Fee

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today it is adjusting the premium processing fee for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker and Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers beginning on Oct. 1, 2018 to more effectively adjudicate petitions and maintain effective service to petitioners.

The premium processing fee will increase to $1,410, a 14.92 percent increase (after rounding) from the current fee of $1,225. This increase, which is done in accordance with the Immigration and Nationality Act, represents the percentage change in inflation since the fee was last increased in 2010 based on the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers.

“Because premium processing fees have not been adjusted since 2010, our ability to improve the adjudications and service processes for all petitioners has been hindered as we’ve experienced significantly higher demand for immigration benefits. Ultimately, adjusting the premium processing fee will allow us to continue making necessary investments in staff and technology to administer various immigration benefit requests more effectively and efficiently,” said Chief Financial Officer Joseph Moore. “USCIS will continue adjudicating all petitions on a case-by-case basis to determine if they meet all standards required under applicable law, policies, and regulations.”

Premium processing is an optional service that is currently authorized for certain petitioners filing Forms I-129 or I-140. The system allows petitioners to request 15-day processing of certain employment-based immigration benefit requests if they pay an extra fee. The premium processing fee is paid in addition to the base filing fee and any other applicable fees, which cannot be waived.