2013 Immigration Reform, 05/01/2013 

     

    On 04/16/2013 the Senate "Gang of Eight" introduced the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act" into the Senate. A few weeks later, on 04/30/2013, the sponsors filed an amendment to the bill that clarified and cleaned up the bill from its original version. Mark-up of the bill (amendment votes and a final vote to move the bill out of committee) will begin in the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 9th and will continue for the two to three following weeks, most likely concluding before the Memorial Day Congressional recess. 

    If the bill is able to secure a majority of the votes on the committee (made up of 10 Democrats and 8 Republicans) it will move on to the floor of the Senate.
 


DHS Announces Final Rule to Support Family Unity During Waiver Process, Effective March 4, 2013, 01/03/2013 
   

    The DHS published a regulation which will, as of March 4, 2013, allow persons who entered the U.S. without inspection (or who are otherwise ineligible to adjust their status in the U.S.) to apply for “form I-601A provisional waivers” to excuse their unlawful presence in the U.S. Once their waivers are approved by the USCIS, they will be eligible to attend their appointments for immigrant visas abroad. 


    In order to obtain a provisional unlawful presence waiver, applicant must be:   

        Immediate relative of a U.S. citizen;
        
Inadmissible only on account of unlawful presence;
        
Able to demonstrate the denial of the waiver would result an extreme hardship to his or her U.S. citizen spouse or parent.

Social Security Number - Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, 09/12/2012 


After you receive your Employment Authorization Card (I-766) from USCIS, you can apply for a Social Security number.

1.    You must visit a Social Security office in person to complete and sign an application for a Social Security number. Find your local office at www.socialsecurity.gov/locator.

2.    Y
ou must bring your USCIS-issued Employment Authorization Card (I-766) and proof of age and identity.

You must show an original document or a certified copy of one of the following as proof of your age and identity:

  • Foreign birth certificate;
  • Foreign passport;
  • U.S. military record;
  • U.S. military identification card;
  • Religious record showing age or date of birth;
  • U.S. driver's license;
  • U.S. state-issued identification card;
  • School record showing age or date of birth;
  • School identification card; or
  • Copy of medical record.

 

USCIS National Customer Service Center Saturday Hours, 08/06/2012 

 

    USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC) is expanding its hours to include Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Live agents will now be available at Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in each time zone. Call the NCSC toll-free at 1-800-375-5283.



New Online Resource Provides Immigration Information in Up to 22 Different Languages, 07/26/2012
 


    WASHINGTON - U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today launched its online Multilingual Resource Center, a new feature on
www.uscis.gov. The center provides a central location for USCIS resources in a variety of languages, to include - Haitian Creole, Polish and Vietnamese. Offering certain immigration application information in other languages helps ensure USCIS communicates across many cultures and reaches a broader audience, while also ensuring that customers obtain information directly from USCIS, and not from unofficial - and possibly unscrupulous - sources. Materials are available in up to 22 languages, covering information on USCIS application processes as well as frequently asked questions. 
    "Our Multilingual Resource Center is our most recent step in increasing customer access to important and accurate immigration information," said Director Alejandro Mayorkas. "By providing immigration information to our customers in their native languages, we improve our customers’ experience and enhance their ability to navigate our nation’s legal immigration system."    
    One of the highlights of the Multilingual Resource Center is the inclusion of a new Spanish translation of The Handbook for Employers: Instructions for Completing Form I-9 (M-274). Over the past two decades, employers have been using this resource to better understand the employment eligibility verification requirements and how to complete Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. The Handbook provides step-by-step guidance, clarifies the law, and answers frequently asked questions on completion of this form. The Spanish translation of the M-274 also will be included on the I-9 Central and E-Verify websites.     
    
Another feature of the new Multilingual Resource Center is the introduction of a collection of 13 newly translated How Do I… guides in Chinese. The English versions of these guides have been very useful to those needing help understanding immigration requirements and USCIS services. Now, sponsors, family members and friends can print out and provide these materials to the native Chinese speaker they are helping. These guides, already available in English and Spanish, are very useful for people who need help understanding immigration requirements and USCIS services. 
    The Multilingual Resource Center can be found at www.uscis.gov/multilingual.




USCIS to Centralize Filing and Adjudication for Certified Waivers of Inadmissibility in the United States, 05/23/2012


New System Will Standardize Process for Immigrant Visa Applicants Worldwide
 

     WASHINGTON—Beginning June 4, 2012, individuals abroad who have applied for certain visas and have been found ineligible by a U.S. Consular Officer, will be able to mail requests to waive certain grounds of inadmissibility directly to a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Lockbox facility. This change affects where individuals abroad, who have been found inadmissible for an immigrant visa or a nonimmigrant K or V visa, must send their waiver applications.
    
Currently, applicants experience processing times from one-month to more than a year depending on their filing location. This centralization will provide customers with faster and more efficient application processing and consistent adjudication. It is part of a broader agency effort to transition to domestic filing and adjudication; it does not reflect a change in policy or the standards by which the applications are adjudicated. Individuals filing waiver applications with a USCIS Lockbox will now be able to track the status of their case online.
    
The change affects filings for:    
·        
Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility
·
        
Form I-212, Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States After Deportation or Removal
·
        
Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion, (if filed after a denial of a Form I-601 or Form I-212).

    
Applicants who mail their waiver request forms should use the address provided in the revised form instructions on the USCIS website. Applicants who wish to receive an email or text message when USCIS has received their waiver request may attach Form G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance, to their application. 
    
During a limited six-month transition period, immigrant visa waiver applicants in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, will have the option to either mail their waiver applications to the USCIS Lockbox in the United States or file in-person at the USCIS office in Ciudad Juarez. USCIS is aware of the pending caseload for applicants in Ciudad Juarez and is taking proactive steps to work through these cases. USCIS will significantly increase the number of officers assigned to adjudicate the residual cases filed before June 4, and those filed during the interim six-month transition period. USCIS has already begun to test this process and has transferred applications from Ciudad Juarez to other USCIS offices in the United States.
  
 

 


DHS Announces Re-designation and 18-Month Extension of Designation of Somalia for Temporary Protected Status, 05/01/2012


Registration and Re-registration Period Opens May 1, 2012


    WASHINGTON—Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has re-designated Somalia for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and has extended the existing TPS designation for Somalia from Sept. 18, 2012 through March 17, 2014, allowing eligible nationals of Somalia to register or re-register for TPS in accordance with the Federal Register notice.
    Somali nationals with TPS who are seeking to re-register for TPS must file their application packages during the 60-day re-registration period that runs from May 1, 2012, through July 2, 2012. Somalis (or persons without nationality who last habitually resided in Somalia) in the United States who do not currently have TPS may apply under the re-designation during the six-month period that runs from May 1, 2012 through Oct. 29, 2012. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) encourages eligible individuals to register as soon as possible.
    During the past year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of State have reviewed the conditions in Somalia. Based upon this review, Secretary Napolitano has determined that a re-designation and 18-month extension of TPS for Somalia is warranted.
    The extension of the current Somalia TPS designation is due to the continued disruption of living conditions in the country based upon extraordinary and temporary conditions that prompted the U.S. Attorney General’s re-designation of Somalia for TPS on Sept. 4, 2001. The Secretary’s re-designation is based on ongoing armed conflict and the worsening of the extraordinary and temporary conditions, including the effects of the recent severe drought in Somalia.
    A Somali national may be eligible under the re-designation if she or he has continuously resided in the United States since May 1, 2012, and has been continuously physically present in the United States since Sept. 18, 2012.
    DHS anticipates that there are approximately 250 individuals who will be eligible to re-register for TPS under the existing designation of Somalia and estimates that fewer than 1,000 additional individuals will be eligible for TPS under the re-designation.
    Individuals applying for TPS for the first time must submit:
·         A Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status;
·         A Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, regardless of whether they want an Employment Authorization Document (EAD);
·         The Form I-821 application fee;
·         The biometrics services fee if they are age 14 or older; and
·         The Form I-765 application fee, but only if they want an EAD and are 14 to 65 years old. Those under 14 or over 65 do not need to pay the I-765 fee with their initial TPS application.
    
    Individuals re-registering for TPS must submit:
·         A Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status;
·         A Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, regardless of whether they want an Employment Authorization Document (EAD);
·         The biometric services fee if they are age 14 or older; and
·         The Form I-765 application fee, but only if they want an EAD. All individuals re-registering for TPS who want an EAD must pay the I-765 fee, regardless of age.

    TPS applicants who are registering for the first time and applicants re-registering for TPS may request that USCIS waive any or all fees by filing a Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, or by submitting a written request. Failure to submit the required filing fees or a properly documented fee-waiver request will result in the rejection of the TPS application.
    Applicants can download free TPS forms from the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov/forms or request free TPS forms by calling USCIS toll-free at 1-800-870-3676.
    Additional information on TPS for Somalia, including guidance on the application process, eligibility, and where to file, is available online at www.uscis.gov/tps. Further details on this extension and re-designation of Somalia for TPS, including the application requirements and procedures, may be found in the Federal Register notice published today.
    Applicants seeking information about the status of their individual cases can check My Case Status Online, or call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833).



R
elief Provided to Thousands of Victims of Crimes, 09/19/2011 

    WASHINGTON - U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), marking a significant milestone in its efforts to provide relief to victims of crimes, has for the second straight year approved 10,000 petitions for U nonimmigrant status, also referred to as the U-visa.
    On an annual basis, 10,000 U-visas are set aside for victims of crime who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse and are willing to help law enforcement authorities investigate or prosecute crime.
    “Providing immigration protection to victims of crime and their families while aiding law enforcement efforts to bring criminals to justice is of the utmost importance to the Agency and the public we serve,” said USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas.
    Due in large part to public education and partnerships forged with law enforcement agencies and service providers, USCIS reached the statutory maximum of 10,000 U-visas per fiscal year for the second year in a row since it began approving petitions for them in 2008. It is a significant milestone for the program created by Congress to strengthen law enforcement’s ability to investigate and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and other crimes while at the same time offering protection to victims of such crimes. More than 45,000 victims and their immediate family members have received U-visas since the implementation of this program.
    As part of this effort, USCIS adjudications officers have traveled to 30 cities, including Boston, Philadelphia, Seattle and Los Angeles to train federal, state and local law enforcement and immigrant-serving organizations on immigration protections available to immigrants who are victims of human trafficking, domestic violence and other crimes.
    USCIS will continue to accept and adjudicate new U-visa petitions, and will resume issuing U-visas on Oct. 1, 2011, the first day of fiscal year 2012. 

 

USCIS Launches Spanish-Language Version of E-Verify Self Check, 08/15/2011


Online Service Also Expands to 16 Additional States.

    WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced that
Self Check, a free online service of E-Verify that allows workers to check their own employment eligibility status, is now available in Spanish and accessible to residents in 16 additional states: California, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Washington. Today’s announcement expands on the initial launch of Self Check in March 2011 for residents who reside in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Mississippi, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
    “Self Check equips workers with fast, secure access to their employment eligibility information before they apply for jobs,” said USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas. “By offering Self Check to Spanish speakers and making the service more widely available, USCIS makes good on a promise to streamline and protect the integrity of the E-Verify process for employees and employers alike.”
    Self Check is the first online service offered directly to U.S. workers by E-Verify, a Department of Homeland Security program administered by USCIS in partnership with the Social Security Administration. Employers use the Internet-based E-Verify service to determine employees’ eligibility to work in the United States through information reported in the employee's Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification).
    When workers over the age of 16 use Self Check to confirm their eligibility to work in the United States, they enter the same information that employers would enter into E-Verify. Self Check allows users to compare their information to the same databases that E-Verify accesses, giving them an opportunity to address any existing data mismatches before they are hired by an E-Verify-participating employer.
    USCIS will continue to evaluate and improve the Self Check service, which it intends to expand nationwide by spring 2012.


18-Month Extension and Re-designation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status Update, 05/19/2011


    Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced this week the re-designation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and extended the country’s current TPS designation for 18 months—through Jan. 22, 2013. Following consultations with other federal agencies, Secretary Napolitano has determined that current conditions in Haiti support extending the designation period for current TPS beneficiaries and re-designating Haiti for TPS in order to re-establish the continuous residence date as Jan. 12, 2011. 
    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) strongly encourages Haitian nationals to review the Federal Register notice published today. Individuals who do not have TPS or a pending TPS application may begin filing immediately, and must file no later than Nov. 15, 2011. Individuals who already have Haiti TPS must wait to file for re-registration until a Federal Register notice describing the re-registration procedure is published. 
    Individuals who attempt to enter the United States illegally now will not be granted TPS and will be repatriated consistent with U.S. policy. 

Contact Person:  Arturo Franco

Bartlett & Weigle Co., L.P.A.

432 Walnut Street, Suite 1100
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
(513) 241-3992