Question and Answers

Month: August 2010 (Page 2 of 2)

Dallas Office Of Rapid Adjustment (D.O.R.A.) Is Succeeding : Immigration Law Answers Blog

As noted in a Dallas Morning News article about the Dallas Office of Rapid Adjustment, the test program is catching the eye of Washington politicians. DORA is designed to speed up the processing of Green Card applications, and to prevent long stays in the U.S. By foreign nationals who are ineligible for legal permanent residence.

In most of the country, aliens who apply for a Green Card are given a temporary work permit while their applications are processed. The processing time can range from months to over one year. In the meantime, the aliens are permitted to live and work in the U.S. even though they may actually be ineligible for the Green Card itself.

The Dallas Office of Rapid Adjustment pilot program cuts the processing time to no more than 90 days, so temporary work permits are not required. That allows eligible applicants to get their Green Cards quicker, and allows USCIS to weed out the ineligible applicants before they are issued temporary work permits.

The newspaper article implies that one reason the two-year-old pilot program has not been implemented nationwide is that the government could lose perhaps $350 million or more in fees if it increases efficiency.

Pre-Screening for Visa Waiver Country Visitors : Immigration Law Answers Blog

Citizens of one of the 35 countries listed in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) who seek to visit the United States for less than 90 days for either business or pleasure must now be pre-screened before boarding their flights. The Electronic System Travel Authorization (ESTA) is an application system that requires travelers from these 35 VWP countries to apply for travel authorization 72 hours prior to boarding. The application is available online at: http://www.esta.us/travel_authorization.html The travel authorization is valid for two years. Currently, the 35 countries participating in the VWP are: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France,Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway,Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom. Nationals of countries that are not part of the 35 countries listed above should apply for a B-1 Business Visitor or B-2 Tourist visa. Foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States for a short period of time must show the following: ·         Limited duration of time to stay in the U.S. ·         Intent to depart the U.S. ·         Maintenance of a foreign residence ·         Adequate financial arrangements ·         Reason for trip to the U.S.

Please call us at 214-999-9999 for more information.

H-1B Cap Still Not Reached : Immigration Law Answers Blog

Posted on June 30, 2009 by Robert A. Kraft

As of June 26, 2009, approximately 44,800 H-1B petitions have been received and counted toward the 65,000 cap. USCIS continues to accept cap-subject petitions and advanced degree petitions until the 65,000 statutory cap limit is reached. More information is available at www.uscis.gov.
 

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Non-Minister Special Immigrant Religious Worker Expiring 03/06/2009 : Immigration Law Answers Blog

Home > Temporary Visas > Non-Minister Special Immigrant Religious Worker Expiring 03/06/2009

Posted on February 7, 2009 by Robert A. Kraft

On March 6, 2009, the category covering non-minister special immigrant religious workers will expire. The non-minister religious worker category includes professional or non-professional capacities within a religious vocation or occupation. Therefore, individuals under the non-minister category must adjust their status to permanent residence or be admitted before March 6, 2009. Unless there is a Congressional extension of the expiration date, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will suspend further processing of any pending applications under the non-minister category. The expiring category does not affect individuals applying under the minister category of the program. If the program is extended beyond March 6, 2009, get updates through our Web site or the USCIS website, www.uscis.gov.

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Wait-And-See Is Not An Immigration Strategy : Immigration Law Answers Blog

“…the time for comprehensive immigration reform is overdue, that our nation’s system just isn’t working.” That was the gist of an excellent editorial this week in the Dallas Morning News. Here are excerpts:

We don’t know how many times we’ll have to write that the time for comprehensive immigration reform is overdue, that our nation’s system just isn’t working. And however many times it takes, we will. Instead of getting better, our immigration problems keep getting worse, if that’s possible.

Latest is the news that Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano has suspended payments on the “virtual fence” that many reformers, including this newspaper, had hoped would increase security along the U.S.-Mexico border. The fence, so far, has been a big dud – and an expensive one.

The U.S. has paid Boeing about $1 billion so far to develop a “virtual fence” that would rely on sophisticated electronics to track people illegally crossing our border with Mexico. Among other problems, The New York Times reports, Boeing failed to design tests that would work out the kinks.

Rather than keep pouring money down that hole, it’s time to pursue an alternative. Options include the thermal-imaging devices, heat-seeking cameras and laptops that border agents want.

Of course, a real, physical fence is being built across parts of the U.S.-Mexico border. But there is no way enough fence can be built in a manner that seals the border from Brownsville to San Diego. We need some kind of electronic system to help border agents snare illegal crossers.

Some will want to use the apparent failure of the virtual fence to again do nothing on immigration reform this year, despite President Barack Obama’s promise to pursue it and the efforts last week by Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer and GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham to offer a serious overhaul.

Waiting around isn’t going to solve the problem. If Congress falls prey to more wait-and-see, the nation won’t have to wait long to see more scattershot local efforts, like the ill-advised one being pursued in the Arizona Legislature.

Some lawmakers there want to give local law enforcement the authority to charge an immigrant with trespassing if found in the state illegally. The immigrants wouldn’t have to be accused of any other offense. Cops could just stop a suspected illegal immigrant while he is walking down the street and arrest him for not having valid papers. If this sounds good to you, please explain how this would not degenerate into profiling specific ethnicities based almost solely on their skin color.

The only good thing to say about the Arizona proposal is that it provides one more compelling reason for Washington to start creating a saner immigration system so that states and local governments aren’t so tempted to take the law into their hands. 

Visas for Illegal Immigrant Crime Victims Debated : Immigration Law Answers Blog

Two little-known types of immigrant visas are the T and the U visas. The T visa is for people innocently involved in human trafficking, and the U visa is for victims of crime. The U visa’s basic purpose is to make it easier for police to prosecute those who commit violence.

Both types of visas were discussed in a recent Dallas Morning News article. Here are excerpts from the article, beginning with a discussion of the U visa:

The visas began flowing only 18 months ago and the majority have gone to domestic violence victims, say officials from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Under the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, up to 10,000 such visas are authorized annually. Illegal immigrants may receive such visas if they’ve suffered “substantial” physical or mental abuse from criminal activity and, among other things, a law enforcement agency certifies they have information on criminal activity. The visa can lead to permanent legal residency status.

The issuing of U visas comes at a tense time in the national immigration debate, amid a polarizing crackdown and potentially broader policing powers against immigrants in Arizona. And it illuminates a prickly point of justice: Should the federal government give illegal immigrants special treatment for a societal good such as fighting violent crime?

The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act created both the U visa and the T visa. They’re near the end of a complex network of visas, A through V.

T visas, for those involved in human trafficking, began flowing in 2002, but the flow of U visas was delayed as regulations on issuance were hammered out. In the last three full fiscal years, only about 250 to 300 T visas have been approved of the maximum annual allotment of 5,000.

In the last fiscal year, ending in September 2009, the federal government authorized 5,825 U visas. In the first five months of this fiscal year, nearly 5,000 such visas were given. There are about 6,600 visa applications pending, and the 10,000 allotment is expected to be reached as early as next month, said Maria Elena Garcia Upson, a spokeswoman for the immigration agency.

Important Message to Eligible Adjustment of Status Applicants Based on Special Immigrant Religious Worker Classification! : Immigration Law Answers Blog

The U.S. Department of State has released its September 2009 Visa Bulletin.   For the month of September 2009, the visa bulletin displays unavailable visas for the employment-based category – third preference category, other workers, fourth preference category, and certain religious workers. Special Immigrant Religious Workers would be categorized under the employment-based fourth preference category. Recently, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) began accepting concurrent filing of Form I-360 Religious Worker Petition and Form I-485 Adjustment of Status Application pursuant to the district court’s final order under Ruiz-Diaz v. United States. Pursuant to the order, individuals who file Form I-485 based on a pending Special Immigrant Religious Worker Petitions (Form I-360) or file concurrent I-360 and Form I-485 on or before September 9, 2009 would receive protection from the accrual of any unlawful presence and unauthorized employment that began, up until September 9, 2009.  

Under the September 2009 visa bulletin, beginning September 1, 2009, there will be no visas available for the special immigrant religious worker category – employment-based 4th preference category. It is vital that all pending or approved special immigrant religious worker petitions file their adjustment of status applications before August 31, 2009. USCIS will reject any adjustment of status applications based on a pending or approved Form I-360 seeking special immigrant religious worker classification filed on or after September 1, 2009. More information is available at www.uscis.gov.

 

Call Kraft & Associates at 214-999-9999 and we will answer your questions regarding adjustment of status to permanent residence based on a Special Immigrant Religious Workers Petition.

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