Question and Answers

Month: July 2010 (Page 2 of 5)

Permanent Residency Based on Employment & Family : Immigration Law Answers Blog

A frequent question that arises is whether a foreign national living in the United States for a certain number of years can obtain permanent residency based on the years of living in the United States. There is no law or regulation currently in place allowing foreign nationals to automatically obtain permanent residency based on the number of years residing in the United States. There are however, many ways foreign nationals can immigrate and obtain permanent resident status. Two ways to obtain permanent resident status are based on employment and family sponsorship.   One of the ways foreign nationals can obtain permanent residency is based on employment. The U.S. employer will sponsor the employee to qualify under a certain visa category. Specifically, the foreign national may qualify under one or more of the employment-based “EB” visa preference categories that are divided into four separate categories.   The four EB visa preference categories are:   EB-1: Extraordinary Ability, Professors, Researches, or Executives, filed on form I-140 EB-2: Exceptional Ability in the Sciences, Arts or Business, filed on form I-140 EB-3: Skilled Worker, Professional, Or Unskilled Worker, filed on form I-140 EB-4: Immigrant Religious Worker, filed on form I-360

Another process to obtain lawful permanent residence in the U.S. is through family sponsorship. That is, either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident family member or as a fiancé to a U.S. citizen and subsequent marriage. The process begins by either the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident relative filing form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative or form I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Just as in employment-based sponsorship, there are visa preference categories in family-based sponsorship. Family-based “FB” preference categories are divided into four categories.   FB-1: Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. Citizens FB-2A: Spouses and children of lawful permanent residents of the U.S. FB-2B: unmarried sons and daughters of permanent residents of the U.S. FB-3: Married sons and daughters of U.S. Citizens. FB-4: Brothers and sisters of U.S. Citizens who are at least 21 years old.  

The above preference categories are subject to a numerical limitation. More information on these visa categories is available at the U.S. Department of State’s visa bulletin at:  www.travel.state.gov

Adopting A Foreign Orphan : Immigration Law Answers Blog

U.S. citizens wishing to adopt an orphan from a foreign country may do so after meeting certain requirements. The child must first meet the definition of orphan. A child, who is under the age of 16, is an orphan due to the death or disappearance, abandonment, separation or loss of both parents, or if only one parent, then the one parent is unable to provide the proper care and in writing irrevocably releases the child for adoption. INA Section 101(b)(1)(F).

To begin the process of adopting an orphan, the U.S. citizen parents must first file I-600A, which is the advanced processing application that permits adopting parents to file the orphan application. Essentially, this application will determine whether the prospective adoptive parents will provide a proper home environment, and will determine whether they are suitable as parents. The process consists of home study and fingerprint checks. Home study includes an analysis of the prospective parents’ capabilities and living conditions.

Once the advanced processing application is approved, Form I-600 is filed with the Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS). Form I-600 is the form filed for the classification of an orphan and is accompanied with the approval of the advanced processing application, the orphan’s birth certificate, and evidence that the child is an orphan. Once CIS approves the I-600 Application, the application is then forwarded to the U.S. embassy in the country where the child resides. For orphan petitions, the U.S. citizen parents need only establish that the orphan is going to be adopted abroad, or coming to the U.S. for adoption. Once the child has been residing with his or her adoptive parents for two years, the parents may petition their child as an immediate relative so long as the child was adopted before his or her 16th birthday.

To learn more about the orphan petition process, please contact us.

USCIS Accepting Concurrently Filed Religious Worker Petitions Form I-360 and Adjustment of Status Applications Form I-485 : Immigration Law Answers Blog

Do you have a pending Form I-360 Special Immigrant Religious Worker Petition? If so, you are now eligible to file an application to adjust your status to permanent resident. On June 25, 2009, in response the district court’s order in Ruiz-Diaz v. United States, No. CO7-1881RSL (W.D. Wash. June 11, 2009), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is now accepting concurrently filed Form I-360 and Form I-485 Applications to Adjustment. Applicants who filed Form I-360 religious worker petitions and are currently pending with USCIS are immediately eligible to file Form I-485 Application to Adjust Status and Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization. USCIS has posted this notice on their website and is available at http://www.uscis.gov/files/article/dkt_127-2_notice.pdf.   Under the district court’s order, if you have a Form I-360 religious worker petition that is pending with USCIS as of June 11, 2009, then you are eligible to file Form I-485 and/or Form I-765. Also, applicants filing after June 11, 2009, are eligible to concurrently file Form I-360/I-485. The order protects foreign nationals from the accrual of unlawful presence and unauthorized work since any period of unlawful presence and unlawful employment will be tolled until will be tolled until September 9, 2009.  

For additional information please see the USCIS Web site.

 

: diversity visa lottery : Immigration Law Answers Blog

The Diversity Visa lottery (DV) for the fiscal year 2011 must be submitted electronically between noon, October 2, 2009, and noon November 30, 2009. The entry form (E-DV) must be submitted online during the registration period available at www.dvlottery.state.gov.  

The DV program is a random lottery selection with 55,000 diversity visas issued each fiscal year to applicants of countries with low rates of immigration. Natives of the following countries are not allowed to participate in the DV-2011 because the countries sent a total of more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the previous five years: Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependant territories, and Vietnam. Individuals born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible. Detailed information regarding DV lottery requirements is available at www.dvlottery.state.gov.

: lottery : Immigration Law Answers Blog

The Diversity Visa lottery (DV) for the fiscal year 2011 must be submitted electronically between noon, October 2, 2009, and noon November 30, 2009. The entry form (E-DV) must be submitted online during the registration period available at www.dvlottery.state.gov.  

The DV program is a random lottery selection with 55,000 diversity visas issued each fiscal year to applicants of countries with low rates of immigration. Natives of the following countries are not allowed to participate in the DV-2011 because the countries sent a total of more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the previous five years: Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependant territories, and Vietnam. Individuals born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible. Detailed information regarding DV lottery requirements is available at www.dvlottery.state.gov.

tourist visa : Immigration Law Answers Blog

Attorney Eugenia Ponce recently had a telephonic consultation with a client who wanted to enter the United States on a B-1/B-2 tourist visa to visit various universities throughout the United States and to attend admissions interviews. He wanted to know what the student visa requirements were and whether he would face any challenges if he tried to obtain his student visa while in the United States on a tourist visa.
 

Ms. Ponce explained that foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States for the purpose of studying in the United States will need to apply for an F-1 study visa in their home country. The fact that he wanted to enter the United States to visit schools (for tourism) rather than to study, should be disclosed to the consular officer so that the officer could note “prospective student” on his I-94 card when admitted into the United States.
 

Ms. Ponce continued by explaining that the sole purpose of the tourist visa is to visit for a short period of time, and that is all. The tourist visa cannot be used if the person has the intention to work or to study. There is a specific visa for individuals seeking to enter the United States to pursue a full-time course of study. That is an F-1 student visa. Since B-1/B-2 visitors are not allowed to pursue a course of study, any change of status applications could be denied if it is found that the foreign national intended to enter the United States to study, and this preconceived intent was not previously disclosed.
 

Once accepted to a study program, it is recommended that the foreign national return to his or her home country to obtain an F-1 visa stamp. The F-1 visa is issued no earlier than four months prior to the study program’s start date.
 

Once the F-1 visa is issued, the international student will enter the United States and will be admitted for as long as the F-1 student continues the study program requirements. Essentially, an F-1 student will be admitted for “duration of status” or “D/S” and this will be reflected on the I-94 card.
 

For more information on the F-1 student visa process please call Kraft & Associates at 214-999-9999.

Immigration Consequences Of Criminal Convictions : Immigration Law Answers Blog

For non-citizens, the immigration consequences of a criminal conviction may be far greater than any punishment of jail time, probation or a fine. For those non-citizens who are convicted of crimes, particularly those given state or federal prison sentences, Immigration Services will most likely begin proceedings to deport them from the United States. In many cases deportation will result regardless of the length of time in the United States, family ties in the United States, or even the severity of the crime committed.Based on a criminal conviction, a client might be subject to deportation, and in some cases be permanently barred from the United States. In other cases, criminal conduct may preclude a finding of good moral character under the Immigration and Nationality Act, which is a requirement for naturalization.In other situations, the immigration consequences of criminal activity can include delays in obtaining visas to the U.S. and denial of immigration benefits while in the United States.To complicate matters, the Immigration and Nationality Act has developed its own definition for what constitutes a “conviction.” For example, the definition of “conviction” includes a guilty plea or deferred adjudication. This ambiguity in the definition of conviction has led to attorneys erroneously advising their clients to accept deferred adjudication believing that this would not constitute a conviction under immigration law.

Deportation Issues

An alien with a criminal record may be barred from admission to the United States. In general, among others, crimes of moral turpitude, drug offenses, multiple offenses, and engaging in prostitution or procuring prostitutes within the past ten years will be considered as criminal grounds and can make the alien subject to being barred from future legal admission to the United States.Additionally, most drug offenses under the U.S. immigration laws may result in deportation from the United States, depending on the type of controlled substance involved. This includes violations of any law or regulation relating to a controlled substance, no matter whether the law is federal, state or foreign. These laws cover persons with a past conviction or admission of committing offenses. They may also include any person that a USCIS officer knows, or has reason to believe, is a drug trafficker.

Naturalization Issues

When applying for citizenship, it is necessary to show that the applicant has been a person of “good moral character” for the past five years. If there was any criminal conviction during this period, however, it is possible that the naturalization application will be denied.

Additionally, if a criminal conviction is brought to light while applying for naturalization, a person may be placed in removal proceedings. There is a wide variety of acts (some that do not even need to result in a criminal conviction) that will result in a person’s application for naturalization being denied.

For more information about immigration news, immigration laws, immigration policies, proposed immigration laws, border enforcement, green cards, citizenship, employment visas, family visas, naturalization, and other immigration subjects, please visit Immigration Law Answers and DFW Immigration Law Blog.

Lawyers Work To Free Palestinian Family : Immigration Law Answers Blog

On September 30, 2001, a Palestinian family, the Ibrahims, entered the U.S. on tourist and business visas. They were unable to return home, however, since that would require traveling through Israel and Jordan. This was impossible since their temporary Jordanian passports had expired and Israel does not allow Palestinians to return home through that country.

Unable to return home, the Ibrahims applied for asylum, but their case was denied. A deportation order was issued for them to return home. Once again, this was impossible for the Ibrahim family. The family members were then classified as “stateless,” which implies that they have no country to be deported to.

Three months ago, however, the family was arrested during a raid at their Richardson apartment by immigration enforcement officers. The arrest came over two years after the family’s request for asylum was denied. The family, which includes Salaheddin Ibrahim, his wife and four children, are now being held in a detention facility in Taylor, Texas. Mr. Ibrahim’s wife is also five months pregnant.

Much attention has been drawn to this case since four children, who range from the ages of five to fifteen, are also being detained. Lawyers who are working to help the Ibrahims, have taken action in federal district court so that the family may be released.

The lawyers representing the Ibrahim family contend that there is no justification for the detention of the family or the young children. The petition seeking their release notes that the children have been traumatized by being held in a jail like setting and are being deprived of education. The lawyers also argue that there is no basis for detention since the family does not pose a flight risk or a danger to the community.

Immigration Law Answers Blog : November 2008

Home > November 2008

Posted on November 26, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

The Associated Press reports that the British government is issuing ID card to foreign nationals. The program will start with roughly 50,000 foreign students and spouses of permanent residents. This is a little frightening for those of us who don’t entirely trust what governments might do with the information on national ID cards. Here are excerpts from the article:

Government officials say the cards should provide a tamperproof way to determine a person’s true identity and whether they are eligible to work in Britain. They say they will be more accurate and harder to forge than passports.

Opposition lawmakers say it will be costly and unproductive, and privacy advocates complain that the British government is compiling an unprecedented database.

“This is a huge infringement of our privacy,” said Mairi Clare Rogers, a spokeswoman for the National Council for Civil Liberties.

The cards will contain a computer chip with fingerprint information and other data, including date of birth and nationality. Each will cost $45.

The last time Britain had ID cards was at the end of World War II.

Other foreign nationals living and working in Britain will not be immediately affected, but they will eventually need cards as the program is expanded.

Posted on November 24, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

News from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center:

November 21, 2008 – WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced an extension to the re-registration period for nationals of Nicaragua and Honduras who have been granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and are now eligible to re-register and maintain their status an additional 18 months. Initially, the 60-day re-registration period for nationals of Honduras and Nicaragua began Oct. 1, 2008 and ended on Dec. 1, 2008. This re-registration period is now being extended through Dec. 30, 2008. Additionally, USCIS has automatically extended the validity of Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for eligible Honduran and Nicaraguan TPS beneficiaries for 6 months through July 5, 2009.  This will allow sufficient time for eligible TPS beneficiaries to re-register and receive an EAD without any lapse in employment authorization.  The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) previously published Notices in the Federal Register on Oct. 1, 2008, announcing that the TPS designations of Honduras and Nicaragua have been extended 18 months from January 6, 2009 through July 5, 2010.  The extension will make those who have already been granted TPS eligible to re-register and maintain their status for an additional 18 months.  There are approximately 3,500 nationals of Nicaragua and 70,000 nationals of Honduras (and people having no nationality who last habitually resided in Honduras and Nicaragua) eligible for TPS re-registration.  TPS does not apply to Nicaraguan or Honduran nationals who entered the United States after Dec.. 30, 1998. Nicaraguan and Honduran TPS beneficiaries are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible within the registration period that now ends Dec. 30, 2008.  The extension of TPS for Nicaragua and Honduras is effective Jan. 6, 2009 and will remain in effect through July 5, 2010. TPS beneficiaries must submit the Application for Temporary Protected Status, Form I-821, without the application fee and the Application for Employment Authorization, Form I-765, in order to re-register for TPS. A separate biometric service fee, or a fee waiver request, must be submitted by re-registrants, 14-years of age and older.  If the applicant is only seeking to re-register for TPS and is not seeking an extension of employment authorization, he or she must submit Form I-765 for data-gathering purposes only and is not required to submit the I-765 filing fee.  All applicants seeking an extension of employment authorization through July 5, 2010 must submit the required application filing fee with Form I-765 or a fee waiver request with proper documentation.  Failure to submit the required filing fees or a properly documented fee waiver request will result in the rejection of the re-registration application.

Further details on the extensions of the TPS re-registration periods for Nicaragua and Honduras and automatic extensions of the EADs will be available in a Federal Register notice scheduled to be published on Nov. 24, 2008.  More information can also be obtained from the USCIS National Customer Service Center toll-free number 1-800-375-5283.  TPS forms are available from the toll-free USCIS Forms line, 1-800-870-3676

Posted on November 21, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

For better or worse, the The Texas Border Sheriff’s Coalition has launched a new network of Internet cameras aimed at the Mexican border in the latest effort to bolster local border security efforts with live video steaming. Here are excerpts from a Dallas Morning News article:

Much like during the monthlong test run of border cameras, users watching the cameras will be able to anonymously e-mail law enforcement to report suspicious activity. During the pilot program, 14,800 e-mails reporting suspicious behavior, suggestions for improvement, and other comments were sent to state officials.

That initial pilot project, Texas Border Watch, was riddled with technological glitches. Pictures from the cameras were grainy and some of the Web cameras were placed so high that it was difficult to distinguish from bush from a person. Images from the cameras available Thursday appeared clearer than previous pictures beamed from the border.

State officials canceled the bidding process for a new camera network – the state had hoped to place about 200 cameras along the border – after the bid deadline expired in mid-April. Allison Castle, a spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Perry’s office, said the bids “were going to do too little and cost too much.”

The deal between the border sheriffs and BlueServo will allow the company to sell advertising “to defray the infrastructure and costs of operating” the program, according to a statement from the coalition.

To view the cameras, visit BlueServo.

Posted on November 20, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

The Washington Post reports that Janet Napolitano will be appointed as Secretary of Homeland Security:

Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano (D), whose handling of immigration issues brought her accolades from fellow governors, is President-elect Barack Obama’s choice to serve as secretary of homeland security, Democratic sources said late Wednesday.

Napolitano, 50, was an early supporter of Obama and was the only elected official tapped to serve on his transition team. She was reelected in 2006 to a second term as governor of Arizona, the home state of Sen. John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee in the race against Obama. Napolitano previously served as U.S. attorney and state attorney general for Arizona; she was the first woman in both of those posts.

Posted on November 20, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

The CapitolAnnex Web site has a good summary of the immigration bills pre-filed in the Texas Legislature, for consideration when the Legislature meets in January. Fortunately for Texans, our Legislature meets only every other year. Unfortunately, 2009 is one of those years. As some of us say, No Texan is safe when the Legislature is in session. From January through May of 2009 we’ll be sweating every day as the politicians in Austin try to outdo one another in controlling our lives.

Posted on November 19, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

A few days ago I wrote about the absurd policy of the Dallas Independent School District to issue fake Social Security numbers (temporarily) to new employees. Now the Dallas Morning News has weighed in with an editorial on the subject: 

OK, let’s see if we understand this. The Dallas school district knowingly used faked Social Security numbers to make the paperwork for some foreign-born hires go through more smoothly.

Really?

And furthermore, after the Texas Education Agency found out in 2004, warned DISD that the practice was illegal and told it to stop, Ross Avenue officials kept right on falsifying records – potentially a federal crime?

Really?

According to an internal DISD investigation reported by The Dallas Morning News’ Tawnell Hobbs, the district continued the “systemic” fraudulent practice until this summer, when TEA tipped off DISD’s inspector general office. TEA’s Doug Phillips told The News: “We just knew it looked bad and smelled bad. That was the first time we’d ever heard of that one.”

We’d all like to see innovation in DISD, but that’s not the way to do it.

Seriously, the DISD administration continues to make public schooling in this city a laughingstock, and there’s nothing funny about that. The more outrageous stories like this get generated out of DISD headquarters, the harder it is for true reformers within the system and their supporters to keep the public engaged. Worse still is that stunts like this wash over any good work occurring in the classroom.

To be fair to Superintendent Michael Hinojosa, the Social Security scam started before he arrived and ended on his watch, after TEA informed the Office of Professional Responsibility – the in-house watchdog he created in the wake of the procurement-card scandal.

Fine. But we have to ask: Who in the human resources department or elsewhere at DISD had a hand in this latest fiasco – and approved it? Do these people still draw DISD paychecks?

If so, why?

Dr. Hinojosa surely knows these scandals are making him the fool, exhausting the patience of his supporters and destroying public trust. He should have on his desk today the resignations of any administrator culpable in this scam.

And if he will not or cannot, he should do us all a favor and pink-slip himself.

Posted on November 19, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

Recently, the U.S. Department of State launched a new Web site designed exclusively for intercountry adoption. The Web site, www.adoption.state.gov, provides information regarding the international adoption process, eligibility and requirements to adopt, the specific countries from which Americans can adopt children, the protections provided by the Hague Adoption Convention, and information about selecting an accredited adoption agency. Here is a statement from the site:

Posted on November 18, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

An editorial in today’s Dallas Morning News decries the decision by Harris County to release illegal immigrants who have been charged with felonies. This editorial is hard to argue with. Regardless of your position on immigration reform, surely no one believes our country is better off because we’re releasing serious criminals because of paperwork delays. Here is the editorial:

Local authorities around the country are taking the lead to tackle illegal immigration because our leaders in Washington have failed to devise a workable enforcement system. Federal deficiencies are so severe that public safety is being compromised, as a Houston Chronicle report showed this week.

Regardless of where you stand on comprehensive immigration reform, it’s hard not to be outraged by the failures the Chronicle exposed in Harris County’s jail system. Hundreds of illegal immigrant inmates charged with felony crimes – murder, rape, drug dealing and child molestation – were set free because Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities didn’t complete the paperwork to hold them for deportation.

ICE, part of the Homeland Security Department, failed to process detention orders for roughly 2,600 jail inmates who admitted they were illegal immigrants. In 177 cases, inmates committed additional crimes after being released. Hundreds had three or more prior convictions.

ICE officials say they’re doing their best with limited resources, but we’ve heard that excuse before. A year ago, ICE officials were forced to temporarily curtail the Criminal Alien Program in Irving because their staff and facilities couldn’t cope with the number of illegal immigrants Irving police were detaining.

Dallas County announced last week that it would participate in a new federal database project that is even more comprehensive than Irving’s. With growing participation by local governments, the pressure on ICE is going to grow. But ICE says it would take years and up to $1 billion to bring a new screening system up to speed and ensure the most serious offenders are deported – not released.

The heated debate in Washington over comprehensive immigration reform no doubt will resume after the incoming Obama administration addresses other pressing issues such as the economy and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ridding our cities of these most undesirable immigrants deserves top priority attention, too. Failing that, the Department of Homeland Security should consider a name change, because the criminals it is releasing onto our streets have no justification to be in this “homeland.” And when they roam free, the notion of security for Americans becomes laughable.

Posted on November 17, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

Morning Edition, on National Public Radio, had a very interesting story this morning about the potential effect of Latino voter turnout on future immigration policies. Please read the article, but the gist is the suggestion that the large Latino support for the Democrats might force Democrats to act on immigration reform or risk losing this support. And the Republicans may have to rethink the anti-immigrant rhetoric that has gained them popularity with certain segments of the electorate.

Unfortunately, the downturn in the economy may postpone any efforts at a guest worker program. Here are excerpts from the article:

In recent years, political advice on immigration in both parties has gone something like this: “It’s the third rail of politics.” “The less said, the better.” “If you say anything, talk tough.”

But with President-elect Barack Obama’s solid win — and his overwhelming support from Latinos — some think that advice may change.

“What the election showed is that the conventional wisdom on why immigration reform is too hot to handle is wrong,” says Frank Sharry of America’s Voice, a pro-immigration lobbying group.

More Hispanics than ever voted, and they voted 2-to-1 for Obama over McCain. Sharry says Latino support was decisive in helping deliver the swing states of Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and Florida. And polls show it was the immigration issue — specifically some in the Republican Party who demonized illegal immigrants — that helped drive Latinos to the Democrats.

“The large, vocal anti-immigrant vote that has hijacked the Republican Party — they have a lot of bark but not a lot of bite,” Sharry says. “They couldn’t turn elections.”

With the economic crisis, health care and energy dominating the political agenda, the Obama administration and the next Congress may well be tempted to keep pushing off immigration.

But if they do, lobbyist Sharry would urge them to think about 2012 and the decisive Latino vote that will have grown even bigger by then. Sharry believes Democrats will need to push an immigration overhaul to satisfy this now crucial constituency. And if the diminished Republican Party hopes to win back that Hispanic support, it could be harder for them to oppose it.

Posted on November 17, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

The Washington Post reports that the Department of Homeland Security will significantly scale back its planned crackdown this winter on federal contractors that hire illegal immigrants. Here are excerpts from the article:

Under a rule published yesterday, the agency said only contractors that do more than $100,000 in federal work will be required to use an electronic government system to check the work documents of new hires. Originally, officials had proposed that companies doing $3,000 in federal work must comply.

The agency also said it would require federal contractors to check only laborers used on specific contracts, instead of their entire workforce.

The revisions significantly reduce the number of companies that will be subject to the program, which will apply to federal contracts and solicitations issued after Jan. 15. The Bush administration had hoped to make the work eligibility system, called E-Verify, mandatory for nearly 200,000 government contractors, covering about 4 million U.S. workers over 10 years.

The change came after months of intense lobbying by business groups, which argued that the requirement singled out contractors, was unduly burdensome and was so big that it would overwhelm the government system. Randel K. Johnson, vice president and spokesman for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said that the Bush administration “had been responsive to a substantial amount of business concerns,” particularly by limiting the rule to large contractors, but that the chamber is reviewing its legal options.

Posted on November 16, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

The Dallas Morning News reports that the Texas Department of Public Safety has decided to drop plans to create driver’s license checkpoints on Texas highways in the face of strong lawmaker opposition and suspicions that the proposal targeted illegal immigrants. Here are excerpts:

Fifteen state lawmakers asked Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to ignore the opinion request made in September. Some suspected the purpose of the checkpoints was to crack down on illegal immigrants.

In August, the public safety commission issued new rules for driver’s license applicants to prove they are here legally.

“A state agency is making immigration policy for the state of Texas, and that is not their job,” Democratic state Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon told the San Antonio Express-News.

The state Court of Criminal Appeals ruled in 1994 that checkpoints would have to be approved by a “politically accountable governing body at the state level.” The Legislature has not passed bills outlining procedures for checkpoints.

The Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund was among those who said the proposed driver’s license checkpoints, coupled with the requirement for proving immigration status, could lead to profiling.

Posted on November 14, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

The Dallas Morning News today reports an incredible story about how the Dallas Independent School District issued fake Social Security numbers as a “temporary measure” in order to get immigrant teachers and employees on the payroll. The plan was to use the fake number until the immigrant could get a real number. Unfortunately, some of the fake numbers were turned in to the Texas Education Agency, and the ruse was discovered. Here are excerpts from the article:

Years after being advised by a state agency to stop, the Dallas Independent School District continued to provide foreign citizens with fake Social Security numbers to get them on the payroll quickly.

The practice was described in an internal report issued in September by the district’s investigative office, which looked into the matter after receiving a tip. The report said the Texas Education Agency learned of the fake numbers in 2004 and told DISD then that the practice “was illegal.”

The fake numbers were assigned as a stopgap to expedite the hiring process, the report says. The numbers were supposed to serve as temporary identification numbers until employees received real Social Security numbers. Once employees got the real numbers, they were supposed to tell district officials so the fake ones could be replaced.

Here’s how the Dallas school district’s false Social Security number process worked:

•Foreign educators on visas were assigned false Social Security numbers to get them on DISD’s payroll.

•The foreign employees were instructed to obtain Social Security numbers from the Social Security Administration and report them to the district.

•Once employees received the real numbers, the district entered those numbers in place of the fake ones in a computerized management system.

•The fake numbers were supposed to be used temporarily until real numbers were in place. But some of the fake numbers wound up being sent to the Texas Education Agency when DISD asked TEA to conduct background checks on new hires. Those numbers stayed in the system if DISD didn’t replace them with real Social Security numbers obtained by the employees.

Some of the numbers were real Social Security numbers already assigned to people elsewhere. And in some cases, the state’s educator certification office unknowingly used the bogus numbers to run criminal background checks on the new hires, most of whom were brought in to teach bilingual classes.

Posted on November 13, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

The Dallas Morning News reports that the Dallas County jail has become one of the first in the nation to use a new federal database to identify illegal immigrants during the book-in process. Here are excerpts from the article:

Normally, when prisoners are booked into jails, their fingerprints are run through a national database to check their criminal history. Under the new initiative, fingerprints also will be automatically run through a similar database to check the person’s immigration status.

If the computer shows a prisoner is in the country illegally, he or she will be referred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which will determine whether to place an immigration hold on the person. The same applies to non-U.S. citizens who have been convicted of certain crimes while in the country legally.

After the person’s criminal charges are resolved through probation or prison time, they will be referred to ICE for deportation.

Posted on November 10, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

The New York Times recently ran a very long, but important, article about medical care received in the United States by immigrants. The gist of the story is that the medical care is inadequate, regardless of the immigrant’s legal status. This is shocking – many legal immigrants in the U.S. receive poor medical care perhaps for the simple reason that they are immigrants. I urge you to read the article. Here are a few very short excerpts:

Soon after Antonio Torres, a husky 19-year-old farmworker, suffered catastrophic injuries in a car accident last June, a Phoenix hospital began making plans for his repatriation to Mexico.

Antonio Torres’s experience sharply illustrates the haphazard way in which the American health care system handles cases involving uninsured immigrants who are gravely injured or seriously ill. Whether these patients receive sustained care in this country or are privately deported by a hospital depends on what emergency room they initially visit.

There is only limited federal financing for these fragile patients, and no governmental oversight of what happens to them. Instead, it is left to individual hospitals, many of whom see themselves as stranded at the crossroads of a failed immigration policy and a failed health care system, to cut through a thicket of financial, legal and ethical concerns.

An examination by The Times of cases across the country involving seriously injured and ill immigrants shows patients at the mercy of hospitals and hospitals at the mercy of a system that provides neither compensation nor guidance. Taken together, the cases reveal a playbook of improvised responses, from aggressive to compassionate.

Posted on November 6, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

The Dallas Morning News reports today that arrests of illegal immigrants in North Texas increased 21 percent in the last fiscal year. Here are excerpts from the article:

More than 16,300 people were repatriated to their native countries, compared with 13,500 the previous fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, said Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an agency within the Department of Homeland Security.

For the nation, removals of illegal immigrants has doubled since 2004.

For the last two years, the federal government has stepped up its use of criminal law, rather than administrative law, in prosecuting immigrant workers in the U.S. illegally.

It is unclear what measures the incoming presidential administration of Barack Obama will take, and when. But Mr. Obama has been critical of raids that divide families, has urged tougher enforcement of employers who hire illegal immigrants, and has spoken favorably of a legalization program with certain qualifications.

Posted on November 6, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

That is the headline of a blog post at ThinkProgress.org. I don’t know that there is any connection, but this resignation seems quite sudden, and it does give rise to speculation.

Here is the press release from the Department of Homeland Security.

  • « December 2008
  • October 2008 »

I-131 : Immigration Law Answers Blog

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reminds individuals that they must obtain Advance Parole from USCIS before traveling abroad if they have:

    •    been granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS);

    •    a pending application for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident;

    •    a pending application for relief under section 203 of the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA 203);

    •    a pending asylum application; or

    •    a pending application for legalization.

Advance Parole is legal permission to reenter the United States after traveling abroad. Advance Parole is a rare and extraordinary measure used to allow an otherwise inadmissible individual to enter the United States due to compelling circumstances. Individuals requiring Advance Parole may not be allowed to enter the U.S. and may have their pending applications denied or administratively closed if they attempt to enter without Advance Parole. To obtain Advance Parole, individuals must file Form I-131 (Application for Travel Document), which is available on the USCIS website. Applicants should receive their travel document within 90 days of applying.

Please note that, under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, even if an alien who has been unlawfully present for certain periods of time obtains Advance Parole and then departs the U.S., he or she can be barred from admission to lawful permanent resident status. Further, those who are refugees or lawful permanent residents who were first refugees do not need to obtain Advance Parole. Such individuals should apply for a Refugee Travel Document using Form I-131 and comply with all USCIS requirements. However, asylum applicants, asylees, and lawful permanent residents who obtained that status based on their asylum status are subject to special rules regarding travel outside the United States. These individuals are strongly encouraged to review USCIS Fact Sheet regarding asylum and travel.

The USCIS also recommends that all individuals with pending applications for adjustment of status, NACARA 203, or asylum, consult an immigration attorney, an assistance organization accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals, or call USCIS Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 before making any travel plans.

For more information, please visit: http://www.uscis.gov.

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