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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

DOMA is Unconstitutional Initial reports say that the Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA") has been ruled unconstitutional.  When we have a chance to read the entire decision, we will post more with respect to how this impacts same-sex petitions for immigration. Here's a quote: “The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others.”

On June 17, 2013, the Department of Homeland Security announced that Syrian nationals can reapply for Temporary Protected Status ("TPS").  This means that individuals from Syria presently in the United States can apply for TPS, which will allow them to receive work authorization and remain in the U.S. until at least March 31, 2015.  This applies to both Syrians who previously registered for TPS and those who have not yet registered.  There are various requirements that must be met (notably, physical presence in the U.S. and no disqualifying criminal conviction).  TPS is often a "backup" status for individuals seeking asylum.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Proposal A so-called comprehensive immigration reform bill has been proposed.  It is over 800-pages long and, if passed, will drastically alter the legal and human landscape of the U.S.  From the first reports, it seems like there is a lot to like in the bill, but it still comes up woefully short of providing a humane, equitable, and fair immigration system.  Remember, this is just the proposed bill.  Contrary to rumors in some communities, no bill has passed and it will be at least months (if at all) before anything passes.  We will post a more detailed summary

 We've written before about the frightening number of ineffective lawyers in the immigration field. A study commenced by Robert A. Katzmann of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and published by the Cardozo School of Law, revealed that immigration judges believe that immigrants received “inadequate” legal assistance in 33 percent of the cases between mid-2010 and mid-2011 and “grossly inadequate” assistance in 14 percent of the cases. The New York Times documented that "Judge Katzmann blames predatory lawyers who are not familiar with immigration law for much of the poor representation. The immigrants who hire them often do

"Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies - or else? The chain reaction of evil - hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars - must be broke, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation." "This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy." "A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is

We’ve been fielding calls over the past two days about the new proposal by the Obama administration relating to waivers of unlawful presence for people applying for lawful permanent residency.  The issue is pretty complex, but we’ll try to give a bit of insight into what the proposal is all about.  (as a caution, this primer is very general and omits a lot of details for the sake of simplicity and coherence). A background on the terms: “Unlawful Presence” A person who enters the United States without being inspected by an immigration officer at the border (enters without inspection or “EWI”) accrues “unlawful