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B-2 Extension of Status Application Filed Months Ago…still waiting for decision? : Immigration Law Answers Blog

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Posted on December 11, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

Did you enter the United States on a B-2 tourist visa, file an extension of status in the U.S., and a decision on the extension of status application is still pending? U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is currently taking eight to twelve months to adjudicate a B-2 extension of status application. Individuals with pending extension of status applications should be very cautious when leaving the United States. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will not admit individuals back to the United States if they left more than six months after the application for extension was filed. There are serious consequences and appropriate measures should be taken.  

Please contact us if you have questions about B-2 visas or any other aspect of immigration law.

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Citizenship FAQs : Immigration Law Answers Blog

Attorney Eugenia Ponce recently wrote a blog post here cautioning Lawful Permanent Residents to keep their trips abroad relatively short. Here is the text of that post: Lawful permanent residentsMore…

Lawful permanent residents (LPR) of the United States (green card holders) need to keep their trips abroad to a relatively short period of time. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)More…

At Kraft & Associates, we receive many questions from individuals and employers regarding immigration laws and procedures. Here are some of the most recent questions we’ve received, and our answers.More…

Ruben Navarrette Jr: GOP Finds New Way to Enrage Latinos : Immigration Law Answers Blog

I don’t always agree with newspaper columnist Ruben Navarrette, Jr. but his most recent column, regarding talk of altering the 14th  Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, seems so completely correct that I’m going to take the liberty of reprinting almost all of it here.

Supposedly, elephants don’t forget. But these days, when it comes to the explosive issue of immigration, I wonder if they even bother to think.

Not from the looks of it. Not when top Republicans in Congress are toying with the wacky and wicked idea of rewriting the 14th Amendment to eliminate so-called birthright citizenship.

A half-dozen prominent Senate Republicans have called for a review of Section 1, which dictates that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States,” to see if they can find a way to exclude the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has joined Sens. John Cornyn of Texas, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John Kyl of Arizona, Charles Grassley of Iowa, and John McCain of Arizona in demanding a national debate on the issue.

Given the devastating effect such a debate would have — chiefly on the GOP — one wonders whether these six Republicans and others supporting such a brainless idea are secretly working for the Democrats. They’re certainly not working for the long-term best interests of their own party.

Not in light of the fact that Latinos, the fastest-growing demographic in the country, increasingly consider the GOP brand toxic. This fight will close the deal because Latinos operate by a simple code: “Say what you will about the adults, but leave the children alone.”

Still, in a way, it must be nice to be a Republican.

You don’t have to worry about being morally consistent. You’re not tied down by any core principles. You don’t have to worry about being honest, logical or sincere. You can sell out and simply say whatever your constituents want to hear, even if it means uttering something totally different from what you used to believe just a few years ago.

For instance, how strange that a party whose members, whenever there are hearings for a Supreme Court nominee, put on a great show about adhering to a strict interpretation of the Constitution and not giving into judicial activism would now be flirting with a kind of legislative activism that defiles the very Constitution they supposedly revered.

How curious that a party whose members insist time and again that they have no problem with legal immigrants, and that they are only trying to run off the illegal variety, would destroy its credibility by going after a group of legal immigrants simply because critics don’t approve of the process by which these people obtained legal status.

Finally, how unfortunate that a party whose leaders in Congress used to have the good sense to thwart legislation written by fellow Republicans seeking to deny citizenship to the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants would now cave in to pressure from voters and pursue a course of action that they formerly claimed was unwise and unnecessary.

The GOP was right the first time. This debate is unwise and unnecessary. It’s also unseemly.

Republicans in Congress are acting like schoolyard bullies and picking on a group that, at least for the moment, can’t defend itself — children. Sadly, that’s probably part of the appeal. Think about it. Republicans like to pick on illegal immigrants and U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants because those people can’t vote.

But when Republicans have the chance to do something substantive about illegal immigration by punishing those who hire illegal immigrants, they never have the guts to follow through. Instead, to stay in the good graces of business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, they pore over immigration bills and carefully take out language calling for sanctions on employers.

It’s easier to try to punish children for the sins of their parents. After all, employers vote; children don’t.

At least not yet. Republicans are obviously worried about what’s going to happen to their candidates in the future when these so-called anchor babies grow up. The concern is that, when the sons and daughters of illegal immigrants earn the right to vote, they’ll start settling scores for the despicable way in which their parents were treated — hunted, demonized, exploited, scapegoated etc. — often with the blessing of the GOP.

That’s a lot to answer for. So naturally, Republicans are trying to put off this reckoning as long as possible. But by foolishly going down this road, they’re further enraging the current crop of Latino voters — and other Americans of good will — and thus ensuring that the bill comes due that much sooner.

Study: Illegal immigration from Mexico declines overall, but not in Texas : Immigration Law Answers Blog

 A new study by the Pew Hispanic Center says illegal entries from Mexico are declining and the total illegal immigrant population is down by about one million, but not in Texas, which has actually seen a slight increase. A map of unauthorized immigrants state-by-state is also part of the Pew report.

The Dallas Morning News ran a recent article about this report. Here are excerpts:

The report by the Pew Hispanic Center avoids naming causes for the contraction to 11.1 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. But it notes that the recession and tougher immigration enforcement paralleled a trend that “represents the first significant reversal in the growth of this population over the past two decades.”

The findings come at a time when the national debate over illegal immigration grows more vigorous and polarized. Rancor comes from Arizona’s tough new immigration law, which is being challenged in the federal courts. And while some press for a partial legalization program for those here illegally, others have called for an end to birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants.

Much of the drop the Pew reports found in the unauthorized immigrant population comes from the nation’s Southeast coast and the states of Nevada, Arizona, Colorado and Utah.

Mexican officials and others have speculated that Texas became a destination state for some immigrants from more economically battered U.S. states. Texas’ jobless rate — now at 8.2 percent — has been 1 to 2 percentage points below the national average for much of the recession.

The Pew study follows another report this week that says in Texas one out of three young students under the age of 8 has an immigrant parent. The Washington-based Urban Institute says nationwide one out of four students under the age of 8, roughly third-graders, has an immigrant parent.

And Texas continues to have one of the nation’s highest percentages of illegal immigrants in the labor force, at nearly 9 percent. Illegal immigrants account for 6.5 percent of the state’s 24 million residents, or an estimated 1.6 million people in 2009. It’s the third highest rate in the nation in a cluster led by California (with a 6.9 percent share).

The Pew center said that the unauthorized immigrant population peaked at 12 million in March 2007, several months before the recession officially hit the U.S. And the nonpartisan research center noted that 72 percent of the overall foreign-born population was in the U.S. legally in 2009.

Immigrant Students Spared As Deportations Rise : Immigration Law Answers Blog

A recent article in the Dallas Morning News discussed the relatively “hands-off” deportation policy regarding students who are in the country illegally, but only because their parents brought them here as young children. In other words, these students did not choose to break the law and enter the U.S. illegally of their own will. Here are excerpts from the article:

The Obama administration, while deporting a record number of immigrants convicted of crimes, is sparing one group of illegal immigrants from expulsion: students who came to the U.S. without papers when they were children.

The students who have been allowed to remain are among more than 700,000 illegal immigrants who would be eligible for legal status under the Dream Act, a bill before Congress specifically for high school graduates who came to the U.S. before they were 16.

Department of Homeland Security officials said they had made no formal change of policy to permit those students to stay. But they said they had other, more pressing deportation priorities.

“In a world of limited resources, our time is better spent on someone who is here unlawfully and is committing crimes in the neighborhood,” John Morton, the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in an interview. “As opposed to someone who came to this country as a juvenile and spent the vast majority of their life here.”

Still, Republicans say the authorities should pursue all immigrants who are here illegally.

The administration is debating how to handle immigration now that the chances for a broad overhaul that President Barack Obama supports have faded for this year.

An internal Homeland Security memorandum, released last month by Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, set off a furor among his fellow Republicans because it showed immigration officials weighing steps they could take without congressional approval to give legal status to some illegal immigrants – including suspending deportations of students.

But a White House official said that the administration had decided against the moratorium, preferring to push for the student bill.

“Legislation does far more for Dream Act students than deferring deportations would, in that it puts them on a path to citizenship,” said the official, who requested anonymity to discuss an internal policy debate.

Instead of a general moratorium, immigration authorities appear to be acting case by case to hold up deportations of young immigrants.

The vast majority of students who are illegal immigrants have no criminal records, and they would have to keep it that way to qualify to become legal under the Dream Act. To meet its terms, immigrants must also have graduated from high school and lived in the U.S. for at least five years, and they must complete two years of college or military service.

Lawmakers from both parties say the student bill draws wider support than the broader overhaul – but still not enough to make it likely to pass before the election.

Many young immigrants were brought to the U.S. illegally as small children by their parents. Often they only learn of their illegal status years later, when they are old enough to apply for a driver’s license or to attend college.

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