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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

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

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

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

Anyone who has ever interacted with a three-year old child is aware that they are dealing with a child, legally and morally unaccountable as a result of their young and underdeveloped brain. Nearly everyone that is, because senior Immigration Judge Jack H. Weil of the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the Department of Justice agency which overseas the Immigration Courts, apparently disagrees. The longtime immigration judge, who trains other immigration judges, asserted during a deposition in federal court that three and four-year old children can learn immigration law well enough to represent themselves in court. The judge was testifying in a case

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

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

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

If you have never had the displeasure of having to communicate with someone who is in jail, consider yourself lucky for many reasons.  Not the least of which is dealing with the state-sanctioned monopoly and heavily corrupted telephone system.  In what has been widely documented, federal, state, local and private prisons award monopolies over the phone systems to a phone company, usually on the basis of which company is willing to give the largest kick back to the prison or local government.  Global Tel Link is one of the major prison phone companies that thrives at this, and as a

  A great decision for equality and justice With today's decision in U.S. v. Windsor, the Supreme Court confirmed what the majority of the world has known.  The Defense of Marriage Act served no purpose other than to discriminate.  The harm that it caused was very real and significant.  Among the thousands of benefits that same-sex spouses were denied was the right of a Lawful Permanent Resident or U.S. citizen to file a visa petition for their foreign-born spouse.  The result was simple: A straight spouse could stop his or her spouse from being deported where a gay spouse could not.  A