Archive for August, 2013

Young Immigrant Dreamers Feel Frustrated by Deferred Action

Posted on August 29, 2013. Filed under: Immigration |

Image

DREAMer Noemi Romero can’t apply for DACA. Portrait provided by Noemi Romero.

Image by Jorge Rivas for Fusion (@thisisjorge)

 

In August 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began deferred action to provide undocumented young people who were brought to the U.S. as children with a two-year protection from deportation.

The latest statistics show that a total of 430,236 applications have been approved in the past year. These applicants will be allowed to remain in the U.S. without the threat of deportation while receiving a work permit and driver’s license. Had deferred action never become policy, these applicants with approved applications would not have these benefits.

Currently, there is no other policy that provides this sort of relief for childhood arrivals (often referred to as dreamers.) This means that if someone is not approved for deferred action, there’s really nothing else he or she can do.

This is why a lot of young immigrant dreamers feel frustrated and hopeless. They are not able to get deferred action because they can’t defend or prove their eligibility.

The deferred action eligibility requirements are:

  • Entered the U.S. before the age of 16
  • Currently be at least 15 years old and younger than 31 as of June 15, 2012
  • Physically present in the U.S. as of June 15, 2013
  • Resided in the U.S. for at least five years
  • Currently in school or have a high school degree or GED certificate or have been honorably discharged from U.S. Armed Forces or Coast Guard
  • Have no felony convictions, significant misdemeanors, three misdemeanors, or otherwise do not pose a threat to national security or public safety

For a dreamer to prove that he is eligible, he has to try to come up with documents often times not available. An undocumented immigrant lives in the shadows and may not have any documents that prove when they entered and how long they have been living in the U.S.

An applicant may have all other requirements, but if, for example, an applicant is missing one document to prove physical presence, his application willnot be accepted. An applicant has to try to come up with the documents,but often times, even after submission, he will likely not know if and when they will get approved.

It’s hard to say how long deferred action will be in place. If immigration reform passes, then it may go away, for immigration reform would give legal status to dreamers. Still, the same frustrations may remain. The eligibility requirements under immigration reform would most likely not be that different from the deferred action requirements.

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Steps On How To Apply For US Citizenship?

Posted on August 21, 2013. Filed under: Immigration | Tags: , , , , , |

Each year, the U.S. welcomes thousands of new citizens.According to USCIS, in fiscal year 2013, approximately 503,104 people have been naturalized.

What is naturalization? Naturalization is the process by which someone from another country becomes a U.S. citizen. People who were born in the U.S. or who were born in another country but had at least one U.S. citizen parent do not have to become naturalized for they are citizens by birth.

Here are the Steps on How to Apply for U.S. Citizenship:

Step 1: The first step is finding out if you are eligible for naturalization. To be eligible to apply, all applicants have to be at least 18 years. Since children automatically become citizens when their parents or guardians become citizens, they are not eligible to apply directly. Most applicants will also have to have been permanent residents (green card holders) for at least five years. The two types of applicants who do not have to fulfill that five-year requirement are spouses of U.S. citizen and military men.

Step 2: The second step is preparing your documents. If you have determined that you are eligible to apply for citizenship, the thing to do next is to prepare the documents you must submit. You are required to include:

  • 2 passport-sized taken within 30 days of application
  • A photocopy of both sides of your permanent resident card (green card)

Other documents necessary will depend on your specific case. Unless USCIS requests originals, you will only have to submit copies.

Documents that are not in English must be translated.

Step 3: The third step is completing form N-400, Application for Naturalization. The application is separated into eight parts. You will be asked to answer several questions, including questions about your eligibility and your time spent abroad. You must sign and date Form N-400 once you have filled out all the information. Be sure to check that all information is correct.

Step 4: The fourth step is mailing N-400. You have to include the current fee for citizenship, which is $595. You are only allowed to pay by check or money order. It must be payable to “The U.S. Department of Homeland Security”

Step 5: After these steps have been completed, you will wait for a notification from USCIS. USCIS will let you know when to attend your biometrics (fingerprinting) appointment, which are used to conduct an FBI background check.

After the biometrics appointment, you will have to attend an interview, during which your application will be reviewed and you will take your citizenship test.

 

Step 6: The final step of the process is finally the citizenship ceremony. This is where you take the Oath of Allegiance and promise loyalty to the U.S. After you take your oath, you will receive your citizenship certificate and be an official U.S. citizen.

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INS Form I-131 – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Posted on August 19, 2013. Filed under: Immigration | Tags: , , |

USCIS Form I-131 is the application for a Travel document.

Sometimes the form is referred to as INS Form I-131 because, previously to the USCIS, the INS was the main agency in charge of immigration forms.USCIS replaced INS and began reviewing INS forms in 2003 after the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.

If you are a permanent resident or a foreign national living in the U.S., filing Form I-131 may be necessary in case you’re leaving the U.S. for a long period of time and wish to return without any problems with immigration and customs enforcement.

If you are a permanent or conditional resident and you are leaving the country for one year or more, Form I-131 will allow you to obtain a re-entry permit. This is necessary because if you stay outside the U.S. for one year or more, then USCIS may regard it as you abandoning your permanent residency. This may lead to you having to plea you case in front of a judge.

The re-entry permit would stop the USCIS from viewing your long stay out of the country negatively.

When filing for a re-entry permit, you must file at least 60 days before leaving the U.S. The re-entry permit is valid for two years from the date of issuance.

Form I-131 is also used to apply for two other types of travel documents beside the re-entry permit:

  • Advance Parole Documentto allow travel to people already inside the U.S. who wants to travel but has an adjustment of status application pending
  • Refugee Travel Document to allow travel outside the U.S. to people with refugee or asylum status
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E-Verify’s Bringing Change, Offer US Immigrants Hope

Posted on August 1, 2013. Filed under: Immigration |

E-Verify is a free online program that allows employers to check their employees’ work authorizations.

And very soon, all companies may be required to use it.

The system is operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA), but how does it work?

It’s very simple. An employer just enters the E-Verify system online, and with the information the employee has provided on his or her Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, the employer compares the information found in the online records. If the information proves to be correct, then it means that the employee is authorized to work.

E-Verify is used by many companies but it is not mandatory for all employers. It is only mandatory for certain Federal agencies, but this could change.

If Congress passes the Senate’s proposed immigration reform bill, all U.S. employers in all industries would be required to check their employee’s work authorizations using E-Verify within three days of hiring.

With E-Verify mandatory, it would be very difficult for undocumented immigrants with no work authorizations to work illegally.

A mandatory E-Verify has support from both Democrats and Republicans and President Obama.

The senate bill, in addition to requiring E-Verify, would also grant legal status to eligible undocumented immigrants. This means they would be able to have work authorizations.

Undocumented immigrants would gain legal status through a new status called Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI). These are the general requirements for RPI status:

  • Must be inside the U.S. when submitting the application
  • Must have been inside the U.S. since before Dec. 31, 2011
  • Must have no felony convictions, no three or more misdemeanors, no offenses under current law except purely political offenses, and no engagement in terrorist activity
  • Must pay taxes and fees

The great thing about E-Verify is that it would not deny anyone on RPI status who was previously undocumented.

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