U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Announces Positive Change to Work Authorization (EAD) Extensions
There has not been very much good news recently from United States Citizen and Immigration Services for the immigrants of America and their advocates. The early days of the Donald Trump administration have already seen a variety of attacks on America’s immigrant communities, from travel bans to escalated law enforcement. Fortunately, though, the news is not all bad: USCIS recently announced a much-overdue policy change to the employment authorization process that will now allow for the automatic extension of work permits that are awaiting renewal, provided the renewal was submitted prior to the expiration of the previous authorization. Immigrants in the
Update on Expanded I-601A, Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services recently announced a rule change to the I-601A Provisional Waiver process and expanded its eligibility guidelines. The issues at hand are complex. As a result, this announcement has spurred misunderstanding, misinformation, and confusion mixed with the hope and dreams of millions of people without lawful status in the United States. We’ll do our best to clarify the changes. The Requirements Let’s start with the above-the-fold, need-to-know information. Individuals who meet the following standards are eligible to apply for an I-601A waiver under the expanded guidelines: Be 17 years of age or older. Be a spouse, child,
Visa Regression: Department of State Tries to Turn Back the Clock on Central American Juvenile Refugees, but Just Turns its Back
The United States Department of State last month issued their May 2016 Visa Bulletin indicating that the yearly EB4 visa limits have been reached for applicants from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. The EB4 visa allows certain immigrants including “Special Immigrant Juveniles,” who are unaccompanied minor who have been designated by a family court to be dependents or wards of the state as a result of parental abandonment or abuse. As a result of the “visa retrogression,” applicants from Central American countries who sought to obtain legal status through the filing of a self-petition (Form I-360) after January 1, 2010
EOIR: How We Got Here
The backlog of immigration cases pending before judges nationally is currently hovering at around 500,000. In Houston, Texas alone that number is around 40,000. There are enough reasons to go around for those high tallies, including a lack of resources, an inefficient bureaucracy, and understaffed positions. It also doesn’t help, though, that Immigration Judges like Mimi Schooley Yam were exacerbating each one of these shortcomings. Houston faces the third largest backlog of immigration cases in the country after Los Angeles and New York. The metropolis sits near the Mexican border, so it stands to reason that it would face a high volume of
Merrick Garland: Here or There?
President Barack Obama nominated Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Merrick Garland to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by Justice Antonin Scalia’s passing. If (and given Congressional Republicans’ statements, it’s a big if) Judge Garland is confirmed, it would have far reaching consequences for the Supreme Court and the country. But just what those consequences will be are the subject of much speculation. As it pertains to the issue of immigration, which rarely arises in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, one might gleam insights about his likely positions by examining
America’s Undocumented Immigrants: Giving Without Taking
A recent report by the Institute of Taxation & Economic Policy found that undocumented immigrants contribute an estimated $12 billion to the American economy annually. This contradicts the commonly accepted rhetoric, particularly articulated during presidential election season, that undocumented immigrants are a drain on the country’s economy by taking jobs and benefits without contributing back. According to the report there were approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States in 2013, 8 million of which were either employed or looking for work according to the Pew Research Center. The money that undocumented immigrants contribute back to state and local economies
ICE en la Puerta?
Para muchos inmigrantes, legales o indocumentados, una interacción con (ICE) los oficiales de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas puede ser una experiencia desgarradora y aterrador. Afortunadamente, hay una serie de derechos que todas las personas dentro de las fronteras de América tienen derecho independientemente de su estado. En primer lugar, lo más importante que uno puede hacer es ser conscientes de estos derechos para prevenir la intimidación y la manipulación. Si un oficial está en la puerta o en su casa reclamando ser de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas o un departamento de policía local lo primero que uno debe hacer
ICE At the Door?
For many immigrants, regardless of status, an interaction with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers can be a harrowing and frightening experience. Fortunately, there are a number of rights that all people within American borders are entitled to regardless of status. First and foremost, the most important thing one can do is be aware of these rights to prevent intimidation and manipulation. If an officer is at the door of your home claiming to be from either Immigration and Customs Enforcement or a local police department the first thing one should do is keep the door closed and request identification. All law
DACA/DAPA Benefits One and All
For America’s undocumented immigrant community, the hardest part is often living in the shadows. Without access to public services or basic protections that so many Americans take for granted, it is easy for such individuals to feel isolated and alone. This is doubly true for children without documentation who must suffer under the weight of their illegal status through no fault of their own, having been brought by family to the country when they were still minors, if not infants. But the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has made great strides towards integrating and protecting this vulnerable
What’s Open, What’s Closed: Details on Government Shutdown’s Impact on Immigration Services
Based upon the most recent updates, it appears that the U.S. government will shutdown at 12:01 am on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 (which is the start of Fiscal Year 2014 for the government). Assuming that no compromise is reached and the government shuts down: USCIS On Tuesday, Oct. 1, USCIS will remain OPEN. All interviews will be conducted and biometrics/fingerprints will be taken. USCIS, at least in the short term, will not suffer any major impacts as it is funded mostly by the fees that it collects. Immigration Courts All non-detained immigration court cases, both "masters" and "individuals" will be cancelled. Immigration courts handling