Beginning March 4, 2013, certain immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who are physically present in the United States will be allowed to request provisional unlawful presence waivers prior to departing from the United States for consular processing of their immigrant visa applications. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) anticipates that these changes in the rule will significantly reduce the length of time U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives who engage in consular processing abroad.
Effective March 4, 2013, the new law will benefit the following individuals:
(1) crewman (or jump ships) who married US citizens, but do not have the benefit of Section 245(i);
(2) people who entered the US without inspection (EWI), who married US citizens, but do not have the benefit of Section 245(i); and
(3) people who entered the US on a K-1 fiancée visa, but did not marry the American who petitioned them, but instead married a different American; and
(4) immediate relatives of U.S. citizens with an approved Form I-130 found ineligible to adjust status in the U.S.
What is the current process for filing an unlawful presence waiver?
An unlawful presence waiver is required for individuals who depart the U.S. after remaining illegally in the U.S. and trigger a three-year or ten-year ban from returning to the U.S. Under current law, individuals identified in the above paragraph would not be eligible for lawful permanent resident status in the U.S. if a petition was filed by their U.S. citizen relative. Instead, these individuals would have to return to their native country, attend the immigrant visa interview, file the unlawful presence waiver at the U.S. Embassy and wait (sometimes 1-2 years) for a decision from the U.S. Embassy. If the waiver is granted then the individual can return to the U.S. with an immigrant visa but if the waiver is denied then the individual can submit an appeal (which can take 2-3 years).
What will be the NEW “provisional unlawful presence waiver” process?
The new waiver process will allow eligible immediate relatives to apply for a provisional unlawful presence waiver while they are still in the United States and before they leave to attend their immigrant visa interview abroad. It is anticipated that this new provisional unlawful presence waiver process will significantly reduce the time that U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives. The approval of an applicant’s provisional unlawful presence waiver prior to departure also will allow the U.S. Embassy abroad to issue the immigrant visa without further delay, if there are no other grounds of inadmissibility and if the immediate relative is otherwise eligible to be issued an immigrant visa. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will be rolling out a new form, Form I-601A, for this new process.
Can I benefit from the NEW “provisional unlawful presence waiver” process if I am in removal proceedings?
DHS has decided to limit eligibility for the provisional unlawful presence waiver process to individuals whose removal proceedings are administratively closed and have not been recalendared at the time of filing the Form I-601A. If the Form I-601A is approved for an alien whose proceedings have been administratively closed, the alien should seek termination or dismissal of the proceedings, without prejudice, by Immigration Court. The request for termination or dismissal should be granted before the alien departs for his or her immigrant visa interview abroad. Applicants who leave the United States before their removal proceedings are terminated or dismissed may experience delays in their immigrant visa processing or risk becoming ineligible for the immigrant visa based on another ground of inadmissibility.
Can I benefit from the NEW “provisional unlawful presence waiver” process if I have a final order of removal?
No, the NEW provisional unlawful presence waiver process will not include aliens with final removal orders. Generally, aliens who have outstanding final orders of removal may be inadmissible on a variety of grounds other than unlawful presence, such as criminal offenses and fraud and misrepresentation. In addition, any alien who is subject to a final order of removal, decides to leave the United States, and subsequently seeks admission, is inadmissible as an alien with a prior removal.
Will I be able to benefit from the NEW “provisional unlawful presence waiver” process if I entered with a fraudulent passport or have past convictions?
This provisional waiver applies only to unlawful presence that triggers the three and ten year ban from returning to the U.S. If a person has other immigration violations, such as fraud (entry with another’s passport), criminal convictions, and the like, which also require a waiver, the person would have to depart the U.S. and file the waivers after an interview at the U.S. Embassy and wait abroad for the final decision.
Can an immigrant already living outside the U.S. benefit from the the NEW “provisional unlawful presence waiver” process?
Unfortunately, individuals who are already outside of the United States must pursue a waiver of inadmissibility through the current Form I-601 process. The NEW provisional unlawful presence waiver process will remain available only to those individuals who are currently in the United States and will be departing for consular processing abroad.
How will immigration decide whether to approve or deny my “provisional unlawful presence waiver”?
For the waiver to be approved, there must be an extreme hardship determination based on a showing of extreme hardship to a U.S. citizen spouse or parent. Documentary evidence to prove the “extreme hardship” must be submitted with the waiver form, Form I-601A.
Can an immigrant with TPS benefit from the NEW “provisional unlawful presence waiver” process?
TPS applicants who are immediate relatives of U.S. citizens can participate in the provisional unlawful presence waiver process if they are pursuing consular processing of an immigrant visa abroad.
When can I file the NEW “provisional unlawful presence waiver”?
Once you obtain an approved Form I-130 then a request for the unlawful presence waiver can be filed in the U.S. by using Form I-601A and you will be permitted to remain in the U.S. during the adjudication or decision-making process. The filing fee for Form I-601A will be $585.00.
How old do I have to be to file under the NEW “provisional unlawful presence waiver” process?
Individuals must be 17 years or older request a provisional unlawful presence waiver.
What happens if I go through the NEW “provisional unlawful presence waiver” process and my waiver is denied?
The individual may depart the U.S., attend the visa interview at the Embassy and file the waiver under the current process and wait abroad for a decision on the waiver. Also, the individual may appeal or re-file the waiver is new evidence will be submitted. If the individual wants to remain the U.S. after a denial on his provisional unlawful presence waiver then they may face removal proceedings before the immigration court.
Before deciding to proceed with the NEW “provisional unlawful presence waiver” process, speak with a experienced immigration lawyer who can assess your unique situation and conclude you will benefit from this new law and new process.
As the U.S. presidential election is this week, it may be helpful for undecided voters to see where each candidate stands on immigration. Through their speeches and presidential debates, each candidate briefly describes their position on immigration enforcement and immigration reform. Presidential Obama has an established record of being tough on immigration enforcement as we have seen record deportation from the U.S. under his administration. Also, President Obama has acted through executive order to grant status to immigrant widows of U.S. citizens and grant young immigrants deferred action and temporary work authorization. Governor Romney does not have a clear record on immigration since he has not initiated any immigration policies as governor and has not voted on any immigration matters. For those who are naturalized U.S. citizens, immigration should be an important voting issue for you since you were once considered an immigrant in this country and am sure have family and friends who are still struggling as illegal or legal immigrants in the U.S. For me, the clear choice for immigration reform is President Obama but you decide based on the following statements from each candidate.
President Obama has been quoted as follows:
Des Moines Register, October 23, 2012 “We need to get immigration reform done, and I’m fully committed to doing that.” “The second thing I’m confident we’ll get done next year is immigration reform.”
Univision Forum, September 19, 2012 “I am happy to take responsibility for the fact that we didn’t get [comprehensive immigration reform] done. But I did not make a promise that I would get everything done 100% when I was elected as president. What I promised was that I would work every single day as hard as I can to make sure that everybody in this country regardless of who they are, what they look like, where they come from, that they would have a fair shot at the American dream. And that promise I’ve kept.”
Univision-Enrique Acevedo Interview, April 13, 2012 “I can promise that I will try to do it [immigration reform] in the first year of my second term. I want to try this year. The challenge we’ve got on immigration reform is very simple. I’ve got a majority of Democrats who are prepared to vote for it, and I’ve got no Republicans who are prepared to vote for it. It’s worse than that. We now have a Republican nominee who said that the Arizona laws are a model for the country; that — and these are laws that potentially would allow someone to be stopped and picked up and asked where their citizenship papers are based on an assumption.”
Governor Romney has been quoted as follows:
CNN GOP candidate debate, January 16, 2012 “Those who come into the country legally would be given an identification card, and if employers hire someone without a card, then those employers would be severely sanctioned. If you do that, people who have come here illegally won’t be able to find work. And over time, those people would tend to leave the country, or self-deport. I don’t think anyone is interested in going around and rounding up people around the country and deporting 11 million illegal immigrants into America. Let’s focus our attention on how to make legal immigration work and stop illegal immigration.”
GOP candidate debate (Reagan Library), January 30, 2008 “My plan is this, which is for those that have come here illegally and are here illegally today, no amnesty. Now, how do people return home? Under the ideal setting, at least in my view, you say to those who have just come in recently, we’re going to send you back home immediately, we’re not going to let you stay here. You just go back home. For those that have been here, let’s say, five years, and have kids in school, you allow kids to complete the school year, you allow people to make their arrangements, and allow them to return back home. Those that have been here a long time, with kids that have responsibilities here and so forth, you let stay enough time to organize their affairs and go home.”
GOP candidate debate, January 5, 2006 “I disagree fundamentally with the idea that the 12 million people who’ve come here illegally should all be allowed to remain in the US permanently, potentially some of them applying for citizenship and becoming citizens, others just staying permanently. That is a form of amnesty, and that it’s not appropriate. We’re a nation of laws. Our liberty is based upon being a nation of laws. I would welcome those people to get in line with everybody else who wants to come here permanently. But there should be no special pathway to permanent residency or citizenship for those that have come here illegally. I welcome legal immigration. Of course we need to secure the border. We need to have an employment verification system with a card to identify who’s here legally and not legally. We need to have employer sanctions that hire people that then don’t have the legal card. But with regards to those already here, it is simply not right and unfair to say they’re going to all get to stay.”
On June 15, 2012, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and President Obama announced that certain young people who were brought to the United States as young children, who do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria will be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings. Those who demonstrate that they meet the criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization.
Under this directive, individuals who demonstrate that they meet the following criteria will be eligible for deferred action, on a case-by-case basis AND can apply for work authorization in the U.S. if they meet the following criteria:
1. Came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
2. Have continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding the date of this memorandum (June 15, 2012) and are present in the United States on the date of this memorandum (June 15, 2012);
3. Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
4. Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
5. Are not above the age of thirty.
Only those individuals who can prove through verifiable documentation that they meet these criteria will be eligible for deferred action and work authorization. Individuals will not be eligible if they are not currently in the United States and cannot prove that they have been physically present in the United States for a period of not less than 5 years immediately preceding June 15, 2012. Illegal immigrant children won’t be eligible to apply for this benefit of deferred action and work authorization until they turn 16, but the officials said younger children won’t be deported either.
This policy will not lead toward citizenship but will remove the threat of deportation and grant the ability to work legally, leaving eligible immigrants able to remain in the United States for an extended period. The use of deferred action confers no substantive right, immigration status, or pathway to citizenship. Deferred action means DHS will temporarily halt any removal (deportation) proceedings against you for a certain period of time (a sort of temporary deportation waiver).
For young adult immigrants, this new policy gives them an opportunity to further their education or work skill since work authorization will grant them a social security number for enrollment in college and other certificate programs. Currently, undocumented young immigrants cannot attend college or certificate programs since most do not have a social security number. The U.S. will benefit from this policy because college enrollment may increase, military enrollment may increase, and various revenue streams such as car sales and home sales may increase with young adults acquiring purchasing power through working and obtaining social security numbers.
While this guidance takes effect immediately as of June 15, 2012, USCIS and ICE expect to begin implementation of the application processes within sixty days. So, right now there is no process set out where eligible applicants can apply for deferred action or work authorization, however, the application process will be forthcoming. Also, there has been no indication as to how long the process will take for an eligible immigrant to obtain work authorization.
For individuals who are in removal proceedings and have already been identified as meeting the eligibility criteria and have been offered an exercise of discretion as part of Immigration and Custom Removal (ICE) ICE ongoing case-by-case review, ICE will immediately begin to offer them deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal.
Though President Obama has been criticized for implementing this policy to gain political momentum among the Latino and immigrant voters, however, this initiative is the step in the right direction for our country to retain educated young adults in a time where we need skilled and educated workers.
On March 28, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an important decision, Vartelas v. Holder, No. 10-1211, rejecting the retroactive application of a provision of an immigration law passed by Congress in 1996 that has prevented many lawful permanent residents (LPRs) from returning to the United States after a trip abroad. Citing the “deeply rooted presumption” against applying new laws retroactively, the Court ruled 6-3 that LPRs who temporarily leave the country cannot be denied readmission on account of criminal convictions that occurred before the law took effect. The Justice Department argued that LPRs with certain criminal convictions may be barred from re-entering the United States any time they leave the country—even if the law in effect at the time of their guilty pleas did not make them eligible for deportation or ineligible for reentry to the United States. The Supreme Court properly rejected this argument, noting that the government’s interpretation effectively prevented such LPRs from ever leaving the country.
In sum, before Congress enacted the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) in 1996, lawful permanent residents who had committed a crime of moral turpitude could return from brief trips abroad without applying for admission to the United States. However, after enactment of IIRIRA n 1996, lawful permanent residents who had committed a crime of moral turpitude were required to reapply for admission to the U.S. and the crime of moral turpitude (even though committed before the 1996 law) would place the lawful permanent resident into removal proceedings. This U.S. Supreme Court decision concludes that a returning lawful permanent resident cannot be placed in removal proceedings for a conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude that was committed before the 1996 IIRIRA laws.
In Padilla v. Kentucky, 130 S. Ct. 1473 (2010), this Court held that criminal defendants receive ineffective assistance of counsel under the Sixth Amendment when their criminal attorneys fail to advise them that pleading guilty to an offense will subject them to deportation. The rule established through this case was that criminal defendants must be advised by their criminal attorney of the immigration consequences of a guilty or no contest plea in criminal proceedings. However, the case failed to state whether the rule applies retroactively, meaning, can criminal defendants who pled before 2010 (when the case was decided) claim ineffective assistance of counsel and challenge their prior convictions. In the State of Florida, the criminal courts have held that the Padilla decision is not retroactive and only applies to convictions after 2010.
Well, the U.S. Supreme Court will soon revisit this issue and decide whether the rule established in Padilla v. Kentucky, a 2010 decision, applies retroactively (or before 2010). The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in Chaidez v. United States to determine whether Padilla applies to persons whose convictions became final before the 2010 court decision. If the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the 2010 Padilla decision is retroactive, then noncitizen convicted before 2010 that were not informed by their criminal attorney that their plea carries a risk of deportation may have an opportunity to vacate their convictions. This would allow many noncitizens who were removed/deported or currently in removal proceedings to challenge criminal convictions where they were not properly advised of immigration consequences of their pleas.
In 2005, the Board of Immigration Appeals (Board) issued the precedent decision Matter of Lovo-Lara, 23 I&N Dec. 746 (BIA 2005). The case involved a petitioner born in North Carolina who underwent sex reassignment surgery and then amended her birth certificate, reflecting her transition from male to female. Subsequently, she married her husband in North Carolina and filed an I-130 petition on his behalf. The Board noted that North Carolina law does not permit individuals of the same gender to marry each other. The petitioner legally amended her birth certificate to reflect her change in gender designation, and the evidence the petitioner submitted to the Board included her amended birth certificate. Consequently, the Board found North Carolina considered the petitioner to be female (per sex reassignment) under its laws and deemed her marriage to the beneficiary to be a valid heterosexual marriage. Although evidence of sex reassignment surgery was submitted in the Lovo-Lara case, the Board’s decision does not require submission of evidence of surgery in order to establish a valid heterosexual marriage. Rather, the reasoning underlying the Board’s decision suggests that the federal government should defer to how the state/local jurisdiction in which a claimed marriage takes place recognizes a legal change in gender for purposes of heterosexual marriage.
In the case of a spousal Form I-130 or I-129F involving the claimed marriage between two persons of the same birth sex, the submission of evidence is required to show that one of the individuals had in fact undergone sex reassignment surgery to show a change of gender. Benefits based upon marriage may be approved on the basis of a marriage between a transgender individual and an individual of the other gender if the Petitioner/Applicant establishes 1) the transgender individual has legally changed his or her gender and subsequently4 married an individual of the other gender, 2) the marriage is recognized as a heterosexual marriage under the law where the marriage took place (Matter of Lovo-Lara, 23 I&N Dec. 746 (BIA 2005)), and 3) the law where the marriage took place does not bar a marriage between a transgender individual and an individual of the other gender.
Unfortunately, many individuals don’t know what to expect if Immigration comes knocking at their door due to an expired visa/I-94, initiation of removal/deportation proceeding due to commission of a crime, or execution of a final order of removal/deportation. Also, Immigration can visit your job and detained you at your worksite. Recently, Immigration has engaged in numerous worksite raids at corporations that hire a large number of immigrants.
So, what are the DO’S and DON’TS if Immigration comes knocking at your door or job?
1. Be Respectful: Refer to the Immigration Officer as “Sir” or “Madam” or “Officer.” Though the Immigration Officer may not treat you with respect, you should show respect because the decisions regarding your detention, issuance of bond, or release initially rest in their hands.
2. Get the name of the Immigration Officer: ask the officer for his/her business card. If he/she is not willing to give you a business card, then casually ask for his/her name. Make a mental note or write down their name.
3. Ask the Immigration Officer where you are being taken: this is very important because in most states, Immigration has more than one detention center. As an immigration lawyer, I find it difficult to locate my clients when the family members cannot tell me where my client is being held. Sometimes, it takes 2-3 hours to call every detention center in the state to locate my client. Immigration is not always very helpful.
4. While being processed-ask to use the phone: the first place Immigration will take you is to an office where you will be fingerprinted and photograph. They will also ask you questions about your status and family member and create a “Record of Proceeding”. Also, they will serve you with a “Notice to Appear,” which initiates the removal/deportation process. Politely ask the Immigration officer if you can use the phone to call your family member to let them know you are safe.
5. Inform family member where you are & name of Immigration Officer: Once you get to speak with your family member, give them the name of the detention center you will be taken to and the name of the Immigration officer. This information will be helpful to the immigration attorney hired to represent you.
6. Do Not Sign any Documents: The Immigration Officer will present numerous documents to you for your signature. DO NOT SIGN ANY DOCUMENTS. Simply write, “Refuse to Sign” in the signature block. There have been numerous cases where immigrants sign documents not knowing that they are waiving a judicial hearing and choosing expedited removal/deportation. Once an attorney is retained to represent you, the attorney will review the documents and advise you of the legal ramifications of each document.
7. Do Not Submit to Threats by Immigration Officer: I have heard stories of Immigration Officers making threatening remarks such as “If you don’t sign these documents or cooperate, we will hold you here for 6-9 months” or “If you hire an attorney, we will deport you tomorrow”. Do not believe these statements. Removal/deportation is a process and takes at least 2-3 months with a final order or removal/deportation. Immigration Officers don’t like to see you hire an attorney because you will be advised of reliefs and waivers that will allow you to remain in the U.S. Additionally, they know that when an attorney is involved, they must be on their best behavior because the attorney will not hesitate to speak with their supervisor or file a complaint against the Department of Homeland Security.
8. Exercise Right for Bond Hearing: The Immigration Officer will ask you if you want a hearing to determine bond – always answer, “Yes”. Contact your family members and tell them to hire an immigration attorney to represent you at the hearing.
9. Be Patience: It is tough to be held in a detention center and to be away from your family. I always urge my clients to be patience with the process and don’t rush to give up and opt for removal/deportation without a hearing. In most cases, my clients that are held in detention are eligible for some type of relief from removal/deportation but we can only apply for such relief in immigration court. There is a 1-2 years backlog in the immigration court but when you are in detention center, your case can take 3-6 months.
10. Inform Immigration Officer of Special Dietary Needs or Medical Conditions: If you have special dietary or food needs (such as vegetarian), make sure you inform the immigration officer so they can make the proper arrangements for your food. Also, if you have any medical conditions and require daily medicine, advise the immigration officer so they can have your family bring your medicine or make arrangements for you to have your medicine at the detention facility.
Remember, at the end of the day, though Immigration Officers try to make you feel that they are trying to help you, they are more concerned with their job security and showing statistically that the U.S. is safer due to increased removal/deportation. The only person who has your best interest in mind is your immigration lawyer. Our office is available 24/7 to assist in these types of detention emergencies – if you get the voicemail message, simply hit “1” to be connected directly to the lawyer’s cell phone.
On August 18, the Obama Administration announced the formation of a high-level working group to review approximately 300,000 pending removal cases and administratively close proceedings against individuals found to be a “low” enforcement priority. The review process, which will be conducted by members of the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, is intended to ease the tremendous backlog in the immigration courts and to ensure that government resources are focused on cases involving the government’s highest immigration enforcement priorities—public safety, national security and border security. In determining whether to exercise prosecutorial discretion, working group members will take relationships of LGBT families into account, just as they will all other family ties. Although no category of cases will receive a blanket exercise of favorable prosecutorial discretion, certain categories of individuals—including veterans, long-time permanent residents, minors, the elderly, individuals who have been present since childhood, individuals with serious disabilities or health issues, nursing or pregnant women, and victims of domestic violence or other serious crimes—will receive particular attention. Respondents whose cases are administratively closed will be eligible to apply for an employment authorization document through USCIS.
When a lawful permanent resident is returning to the United States from a visit abroad, s/he is required to “apply for admission” by presenting a valid passport and lawful permanent resident card (green card) to the U.S. Custom and Border Protection Officer. A visitor presenting a tourist visa (B-1/B-2) or any other non-immigrant visa is also required to “apply for admission” by presenting a valid visa and a valid passport. In both cases, it is at the discretion of the U.S. Custom and Border Protection Officer to decide whether he will allow entry by the lawful permanent resident or visitor. Again, the mere possession of an entry document does not guarantee admission to the United States. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the U.S. immigration laws, the Officer can apply section 212 entitled “General classes of aliens ineligible to receive visas and ineligible for admission” to deny entry to a lawful permanent resident or visitor.If the U.S. Custom and Border Protection Officer denies entry to a visitor, the s/he will be requires to board a plane back to his or her native country. In the case of a lawful permanent resident, if the U.S. Custom and Border Protection Officer finds the lawful permanent resident inadmissible under section 212 of the INA, then the Officer will confiscate the lawful permanent resident card (green card) and issue a parole document, temporarily allowing the lawful permanent resident into the U.S. with the condition of him/her reporting to a U.S. Custom and Border Protection Office for further inspection or appear in Immigration Court for removal or deportation proceedings. My officer has represented many residents and visitors placed in these types of proceedings.It is important for lawful permanent residents (or green card holders) to understand that merely returning to the U.S. once a year for a few days or even very often does not “automatically revalidate” a green card where the lawful permanent resident actually resides abroad. The U.S. Custom and Border Protection Officer can independently determine that the lawful permanent resident status has been abandoned based on evidence obtained during questioning at the border.
Many newly admitted permanent residents do not know their rights while living in the United States.Follow link to this guide to understand your rights and responsibilities as a lawful permanent resident.http://www.uscis.gov/files/nativedocuments/M-618.pdf
According to the January 2011 visa bulletin, the U.S. Department of State was issuing immigrant visas (or green cards) to siblings of U.S. citizen who filed a petition on or before January 1, 2002. However, the March 2011 visa bulletin indicates that there has been a retrogression and immigrant visas to siblings to U.S. citizens are being issued for petitions filed on or before January 1, 2000. This means there has been a halt to issuance of immigrant visas in the 4th preference category-siblings of U.S. citizens.In general, there are only 65,000 visas available for siblings of U.S. citizens. If this retrogression is an indication that all 65,000 have been exhausted, then new visas will be available on October 1, 2011. This is unwanted news for siblings of U.S. citizen who have applied for adjustment of status or have their petitions pending at the Embassy. The fiscal year for issuance of immigrant visas is Oct. 1st to Sept. 30th.What is visa retrogression?Sometimes, a priority date that is current one month will not be current the next month. This is called visa retrogression, which occurs when more people apply for a visa in a particular category than there are visas available for that month. Visa retrogression most often occurs when the annual limit has been reached. When the new fiscal year begins on October 1, a new supply of visa numbers is available and usually, but not always, brings back the dates to where they were before retrogression
In the midst of the present economic crisis, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced an increase in the filings fees of all applications except the naturalization application.USCIS is a primarily fee-based organization, with about 90 percent of its budget coming from fees paid by applicants and petitioners for immigration benefits. The law requires USCIS to conduct fee reviews every two years to determine the funding levels necessary to administer the nation’s immigration laws,process immigration benefit requests and provide the infrastructure needed to support those activities.USCIS’s fee revenue in fiscal years 2008 and 2009 was much lower than projected, and fee revenue in fiscal year 2010 remains low. While USCIS received appropriations from Congress and made budget cutsof approximately $160 million, this has not bridged the remaining gap between costs and anticipated revenue. A fee adjustment is necessary to ensure USCIS recovers the costs of its operations while also meeting the application processing goals.
As of May 10, 2010, the appearance of the I-551 card or green card will change. The production of the new Permanent Resident Card will commence on May 10th and will be the only version of the I-551 that will be issued. See sample image.
If you returned home with your Form I-94 (white) or Form I-94W (green) Departure Record in yourpassport, it is possible that your departure was not recorded properly. If you departed by a commercial air or sea carrier (airlines or cruise ships), your departure from the U.S. can be independently verified, and it is not necessary to take any further action, although holding on to your outbound (from the U.S.) boarding pass – if you still have it – can help expedite your reentry next time you come back to the United States.If you departed by land, private vessel or private plane, you will need to take steps to correct the record. If you do not validate your timely departure from the United States, or, if you cannot reasonably prove you departed within the time frame given to you when you entered, the next time you apply for admission to the U.S., Customs and Border Protection (CBP) may conclude you remained in the U.S. beyond your authorized stay. If this happens, your visa may be subject to cancellation or you may be returned immediately to your foreign point of origin.If you failed to turn in your I-94 Departure Record, please send it, along with any documentation thatproves you left the United States to:DHS – CBP SBU1084 South Laurel RoadLondon, KY 40744To validate departure, CBP will consider a variety of information, including but not limited to:1. Original boarding passes you used to depart another country, such as Canada, if you flew homefrom there;2. Photocopies of entry or departure stamps in your passport indicating entry to another country after you departed the United States (you should copy all passport pages that are not completely blank, and include the biographical page containing your photograph); and3. Photocopies of other supporting evidence, such as:Dated pay slips or vouchers from your employer to indicate you worked in another country after you departed the United States, Dated bank records showing transactions to indicate you were in another country after you left the United States, School records showing attendance at a school outside the United States to indicate you were in another country after you left the United States, and Dated credit card receipts, showing your name, but, the credit card number deleted, for purchases made after you left the United States to indicate you were in another country after leaving the United States.We strongly urge you to keep a copy of what you send to DHS-CBP and carry it with you the next time you come to the United States in case the CBP Officer has any questions about your eligibility to enter. Carrying those materials with you will also allow your record to be corrected at the time of entry if, for some reason, the London, Kentucky office has not yet done so.
January 15, 2010 (5:00pm EST) – Statement By Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano“As part of the Department’s ongoing efforts to assist Haiti following Tuesday’s devastating earthquake, I am announcing the designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian nationals who were in the United States as of January 12, 2010. This is a disaster of historic proportions and this designation will allow eligible Haitian nationals in the United States to continue living and working in our country for the next 18 months. Providing a temporary refuge for Haitian nationals who are currently in the United States and whose personal safety would be endangered by returning to Haiti is part of this Administration’s continuing efforts to support Haiti’s recovery.“At this moment of tragedy in Haiti it is tempting for people suffering in the aftermath of the earthquake to seek refuge elsewhere. But attempting to leave Haiti now will only bring more hardship to the Haitian people and nation. The international community has rallied to deliver relief to Haiti. Much has already arrived and much more is on its way. The Haitians are resilient and determined and their role in addressing this crisis in their homeland will be essential to Haiti’s future.“It is important to note that TPS will apply only to those individuals who were in the United States as of January 12, 2010. Those who attempt to travel to the United States after January 12, 2010 will not be eligible for TPS and will be repatriated.
For an Original Driver License or Identification Card, Florida law requires proof of identification, social security number and proof of residential address from all customers before a driver license or identification card can be issued. The name assigned to the social security number must match the name that will appear on the Florida driver license or identification card. If you have recently changed your name, update your records with the Social Security Administration before you apply for your license or identification card. Each applicant who applies for an original driver license or identification card must submit:IMMIGRANTS:I. Primary Identification – Each immigrant who applies for an original driver license or identification card must submit:Valid Alien Registration receipt card, (Green card, Form I-551); orI-551 stamp in passport or on I-94; orImmigration Judges Order, with the customer’s A-number, granting asylum; orI-797, with the customer’s A-number, stating the customer has been granted asylum; orI-797 or another form from the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, with the customer’s A-number, stating the customer’s application for Refugee status is approvedII. Proof of Social Security NumberIII. Proof of Residential AddressNON-IMMIGRANTS:I. Primary Identification – Each non-immigrant who applies for an original driver license or identification card must submit:Employment authorization card issued by the United States Department of Justice (Form I688B or I-766); orProof of nonimmigrant classification provided by United States Department of Justice (Form I-94, not expired, with required supporting attachment(s).If in doubt regarding required documents, please bring all of your US BCIS documentation with you.). I-94s must be accompanied by a Passport. Certain classifications require additional documentation.II. Proof of Social Security Number (if issued) Non-Immigrants who have never been issued a Social Security card are not required to obtain a letter from the Social Security Administration.III. Proof of Residential Address
Washington D.C. – Today, Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) introduced the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act of 2009 (CIR ASAP), in the House of Representatives. The 87 original co-sponsors of the bill include members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Black Caucus, Asian Pacific American Caucus, and Progressive Caucus.The necessity of comprehensive immigration reform stems from a long-neglected immigration system that has failed to keep up with our nation’s changing needs, resulting in breakdowns that have crippled our ability to regulate immigration adequately, protect our borders, reunite families, and foster economic opportunity.The CIR ASAP bill includes many of the elements necessary to bring our immigration system in tune with the current social and economic demands of our nation including, family reunification, restoration of judicial discretion, a generous legalization program, sensible law enforcement, and creative, if untested, answers to future immigration flows.”Our current immigration system fails to reflect the realities of 21st century America, and CIR ASAP begins to deal with these failings and sets us on a path towards enacting fair and humane immigration policies,” said Mary Giovagnoli, Director of the Immigration Policy Center. “We need to move forward, even in tough economic times, if we wish to ensure the future growth and prosperity of our nation. Introduction of this bill jump starts the New Year, providing a vehicle for other lawmakers to react to and build upon. We expect many more proposals in the Senate and House in the coming months and urge lawmakers to make this a fact-based debate with the goal of passing reform in 2010.”"While the Gutierrez bill doesn’t have all the answers, it begins the dialogue in Congress,” said Ben Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council. “The bill reflects the political realities within the House of Representatives, and as such does not include some of the necessary reforms for ensuring economic prosperity which Gutierrez has long supported. It is clear that what makes good policy does not always make good politics. However, the bill makes a significant contribution to restoring due process and discretion to the immigration system, and serves as a starting point for bringing more voices to the table.”