Immigration Reform Bill’s Big Question is Path to Citizenship

Posted on September 4, 2013. Filed under: Immigration | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Should the 11 million immigrants living undocumented in the U.S. get a path to citizenship?

That is the big question as Congress prepares to debate immigration reform & citizenship in the next few weeks.

While some House Republicans agree that undocumented immigrants should get some form of legal status, most disagree with the Senate’s plan.

The Senate immigration reform bill proposes to create a path to citizenship called Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI).

RPI would give undocumented immigrants legal status valid for six years with an option for renewal. After 10 years of lawful status, the RPI immigrants would be eligible for permanent residency, green card status.They would have to remain green card holders for three years and then they would be eligible for citizenship. The path to citizenship from RPI status to citizenship would take at least 13 years.

House Republicans say people who are living in the U.S. without authorization because they either illegally crossed the border or overstayed their visas should not be rewarded a special path to American citizenship. They say it is unfair to millions of people who are waiting in line for a green card through the current legal process.

Congress will return from its summer break the week of Sept. 9. All the focus will be on the Republican-led House of Representatives. It’s likely that the House will reject the Senate’s bill. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said recently the he did not support the bill: “We think a legal status in the United States, but not a special pathway to citizenship, might be appropriate.”

The Senate bill passed in June and aside from the path to citizenship provision, it includes provisions to increase border security and streamline the legal immigration system.

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Documents to be Submitted at the US Airport to Demonstrate Your Intention to Return to the United States After a Long Absence

Posted on October 9, 2012. Filed under: Immigration | Tags: , , , |

Being a citizen of a foreign country, you may become a permanent resident of the United States and there are a quite a few ways through which you may immigrate to the United States. You will have to be sponsored by a relative or an employer in America and undergo a lot of paperwork. That is indeed, a tiresome process. However, you may also obtain an immigrant visa, if you win the DV lottery program and if you are eligible for an immigrant visa. But the US immigration officials will allow you to enter into the country only if you are admissible into the United States. Once you enter the country with an immigrant visa, you may get a Green Card, that is issued to foreign nationals who are granted lawful status in the United States. Green Card holders are granted a variety of rights and you may also travel abroad freely with a few restrictions. But a prolonged travel may cause a lot of troubles and you may also be denied entry into the United States, if you travel abroad for a long period of time without proper documentation.

If you are found to travel abroad often with an intention of abandoning your immigration status in America, you may not be allowed to return to the United States and your Green Card may be revoked. But there are certain circumstances where you might have traveled and resided in a foreign country for genuine reasons. In such cases, upon your return, you will have to prove that you had not planned to make that foreign country your home and you will have to prove that you intend to live in the United States, through proper documentation. You may use your Green Card to re-enter the country, if you had not resided abroad for more than a year. But, if you intend to travel abroad for more than a year, you will have to obtain a re-entry permit and that permit will allow you to travel abroad for two years and less. However, a re-entry permit may alone may not be sufficient, if the US immigration officers doubt that you do not intend to make the United States your permanent home. Similarly, you will have to obtain a returning resident visa from an overseas US Embassy Consulate, if you had stayed outside the United States, beyond the validity of your re-entry permit.

In such cases, you will have to present few other documents and you need to demonstrate that you intend to reside permanently in the United States. You will have to submit proofs of your social and family ties in the country. Still, the US immigration officers will ask you about the purpose of your prolonged travel and whether you have abandoned your lawful permanent resident status in the United States, even if you submit a re-entry permit and other documents. Your employment in the United States, taxes that you had filed and your family ties will help you to prove that you intend to return to the United States and make the country your permanent home. Similarly, your US mailing address, property in the United States, your business in the United States, US driver’s license and your US bank accounts, may be considered by the US immigration officers. Such evidence may be presented in order to prove that your travel outside the country is only temporary.




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Gov. Jan Brewer signs executive order denying benefits to undocumented immigrants who received deferred action

Posted on September 14, 2012. Filed under: Immigration | Tags: , , , , , , |

Though most American states have accepted the deferred action process, that will temporarily shelve the deportation of eligible undocumented immigrants, Governor of Arizona, Gov. Jan Brewer defies the deferred action process. She has signed an executive order, that Arizona will not grant state benefits to the individuals who receive deferred action. According to that executive order, even if Form I-821D filed by an undocumented immigrant is accepted by the USCIS and if the individual is granted deferred action, that person will be barred from obtaining state benefits. This executive order was signed after the President Obama Administration implemented the deferred action process on August 15th, 2012.

The order signed by Gov. Brewer, will bar the deferred action recipients from getting state issued ID’s and driver’s licenses. There are around 1.7 million undocumented immigrants in the United States who are likely to become eligible to receive deferred action. People who receive deferred action will also become eligible to obtain federal work permits, Social Security cards and driver’s licenses. Though this process will allow the recipients to remain in the United States for only a certain period of time, many undocumented immigrants will be benefited through this process. Undocumented immigrants in the United States will not be ousted from the country for two years and their work permits will also be valid for the two-year period. This process can be renewed by the end of the two-year period.

There are around 80, 000 individuals in Arizona, who may be entitled to receive deferred action. In order to file Form I-821D, to request deferred action/Acción diferida, an individual must be between 15 and 31 years of age. And there are certain other requirements that must be satisfied to receive deferred action. Brewer states that the undocumented immigrants are not granted legal status in the United States if they receive deferred action and so the recipients of deferred action must not be entitled to public benefits. It is Arizona that had passed an immigration law that will throw out undocumented immigrants from the state and that law has not been implemented yet. Gov. Brewer has now signed an executive order denying public benefits to eligible undocumented immigrants who receive deferred action, stating that the public benefits are granted by making use of the funds that are collected as tax.

Though such an order has been signed, eligible undocumented immigrants are in the process of filing Form I-821D, to request deferred action. Along with that they are filing Form I-765 to request employment authorization. The order that was signed by Gov. Brewer conflicts with the federal law that states that the undocumented immigrants who receive deferred action will be considered to be present in the United States lawfully, provided that they will not be granted legal status. According to the federal law related to deferred action, individuals who file Form I-821D and receive deferred action will still be eligible to file applications for Arizona state identification. However, the executive order denying state benefits to the individuals who receive deferred action, signed by Gov. Brewer, has quashed the happiness of the Dreamers in Arizona, who are eligible and likely to receive deferred action.

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Does Having an Immigration Lawyer Essential to the Immigration Process?

Posted on July 20, 2012. Filed under: Immigration | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Many people around the world look forward to immigrate to the United States for various reasons. Immigration is at times considered to be a complicated process. There are various web-based resources offered by the USCIS to help the people throughout the overall immigration process. The process gets complicated only when the applicants fail to follow the instructions and when they have problems with their supporting documents. Some people who seek to immigrate to other United States may have criminal backgrounds where they might have been charged for minor crimes, in such circumstances seeking the advice of an immigration attorney will be of great help. It is because the immigration lawyers are well aware of the United States immigration laws.

Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence, is the USCIS immigration form which must be filed by a conditional permanent resident to remove conditions, if the conditional status was granted through marriage. This form must be filed jointly by the couple. That is done to ensure that their marriage is genuine. USCIS requires the couple to file the form jointly because many people who wish to immigrate to the United States, get married just to obtain lawful status in America. To avoid fake marriages, Form I-751 must be filed together by the couple. There are instances where the couple may be separated before the end of the conditional period for genuine reasons such as domestic abuse, though their marriage was entered in good faith. If the couple is separated, the spouse may not be able to file an application to remove conditions, separately and if the conditional Green Card expires, the spouse may not be able to remain in the Unites States. In such cases, if the spouse is unaware about the immigration processes, it is well and good to seek the advice of an immigration lawyer.

Similarly Form N-400 is one of the important immigration forms. Permanent residents of the United States who satisfy the US citizenship requirements may file this form to apply for US citizenship through naturalization. Eligible applicants may follow all the form instructions provided by the USCIS and file the application. Answers to all the questions in the form must be provided honestly. There are questions which require details about the applicant’s criminal history. The applicant may at times be confused whether to provide information about his background. He may try to conceal information about his criminal background, if he was convicted of a less serious crime, thinking that the US immigration officers will not take it seriously. But that is not true, when an immigrant applies for US citizenship, the USCIS officers will gather all information about the applicant’s background. If the applicant is doubtful he can always find an immigration lawyer who can help him fill and file his application for naturalization, successfully. It applies not only to the people with criminal backgrounds but also to people who have difficulties in obtaining certain civil documents which must be submitted as supporting evidence. An immigration attorney may guide the applicant throughout the filing process, because most immigration attorneys work with government offices such as the USCIS and they will be aware of immigration issues and they also may be able to resolve certain issues.

In most cases the applicants can file their applications by themselves. Most immigration forms may be filed online. Step by step instructions are be available while filing certain immigration forms online, for which the aid of an immigration lawyer may not be necessary. But remember that not all the USCIS forms are not available for e-filing and not all applicants are eligible for filing online. Hence it is always good to go through the form instructions before filing an immigration form and after that you can decide whether you require an immigration attorney or not.

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Michigan Governor Says Immigration Key to Economic Development

Posted on December 12, 2011. Filed under: Immigration | Tags: , , , |

In a speech delivered at Delta College on December 1, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder stressed the important role immigrants play in the state’s economy and vowed to encourage education- and business-related immigration.

Calling federal caps on H1-B temporary work visas “arbitrary,” Snyder urged Michigan’s congressional delegation to undertake legislation to permanently raise the work visa cap and eliminate it altogether for those who earned an advanced degree from a U.S. college or university. He said Congress should pass a “green cards for grads” bill that is being considered, which would create a pathway for graduates of science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs to obtain permanent residency status.

“It is time to enact this legislation and allow these valuable members of our higher education communities to become permanent, contributing members of our Michigan companies and communities,” Snyder said.

He also drew attention to the EB-5 immigrant investor program, which provides green cards to foreign entrepreneurs who invest capital in job-creating U.S. enterprises. Snyder said he will petition the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to renew the program, which is set to expire in September 2012. He said he would also like to see eligibility requirements change, so that those who invest $500,000 in a Michigan business and create five jobs in the state can obtain an EB-5 visa.

Snyder reaffirmed his support of the Michigan Global Initiative, which is a program to attract international students and business people to the state. However, he said immigration reform is needed at the federal level.

“While the Michigan Global Initiative can help our state recapture the entrepreneurial power of immigrants, aspects of the nation’s immigration ins laws pose needless barriers to their success,” Snyder said. “Immigration laws are established at the federal level, so it’s important that Michigan partner with the federal government to better attract highly educated foreign talent.”

Snyder delivered his speech two days after the U.S. House of Representatives voted by a wide margin to eliminate business visa per-country caps. If signed into law, this measure would not raise the total number of business visas granted, but would change the U.S. visa application system by granting these documents to immigrants on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Source:Michigan Governor Says Immigration Key to Economic Development

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Brad Bernstein: Who Qualifies for a Green Card?

Posted on November 15, 2011. Filed under: Immigration | Tags: , , , |

Listen to internet radio with sparbernstein on Blog Talk Radio

In this episode, Brad discusses several ways to qualify for a green card. He also answers immigration questions from two live callers during the show. Since 1958, Spar & Bernstein has helped over 50,000 with their immigration ins issues.

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International Students Worried About Indiana Immigration Law

Posted on August 16, 2011. Filed under: Immigration | Tags: , |

International graduate students attending Indiana colleges and universities are worried the state’s new immigration law will reduce their financial assistance, The Associated Press reports.

Officials at Purdue University and Indiana University told the AP they have not altered their funding practices since the law went into effect on July 1, and they do not believe the law was intended to make it difficult for foreign-born students to attend higher education institutions in the state. But students on F and J visas are worried because the law states only U.S. citizens or qualified aliens are eligible for public higher-education assistance, and F and J visa-holders are not considered qualified aliens.

In addition to waivers allowing them to pay in-state tuition, international graduate students often receive aid in the form of on-campus jobs, such as working as a teacher or research assistant, that provide them with crucial income while in school. Some foreign students’ eligibility for these jobs could be in jeopardy, as the new law requires applicants to provide a Social Security number or international student number as a condition of employment, a Ball State University spokesperson, Joan Todd, told the AP.

The language of the law is worrisome, Indiana University spokesman Mark Land told the AP. But both Land and Todd assured the source their universities have no plans to cut funding for international students.

Since Arizona passed a strict immigration law last year, Indiana, Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia and Utah have enacted similar legislation.

Source: International Students Worried About Indiana Immigration Law

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Fingerprints Shared with ICE Draws Criticism

Posted on August 10, 2011. Filed under: Immigration | Tags: , , |

The federal government’s program that requires the FBI to share fingerprints of all arrested individuals to US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement has drawn criticism from groups that claim the system violates civil rights. With the fingerprints, ICE will check the immigration status of everyone taken into custody.

Before this program, local police simply sent fingerprints to the FBI for background checks and American citizenship was not verified.

Many states, like New York, announced that they would opt out of the Secure Communities program, according to the New York Daily News, but a decree from Washington has disregarded those wishes. ICE director John Morton recently notified governors around the country that their signed agreements from the past were without merit. Previously, ICE sought permission and cooperation from local officials, but it appears the program is now deemed mandatory.

“Everyone is still in shock that the federal government is ignoring the wishes of New York,” Udi Ofer, of the New York Civil Liberties Union, told the publication.

According to USA Today, civil rights groups are currently considering filing a lawsuit to block Secure Communities from being required nationwide. The program has been active since 2008 as local governments chose to participate, but it is expected to be put in place across the country by 2013.

Source: Fingerprints Shared with ICE Draws Criticism

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Farmers and Workers Fear Immigration Crackdown

Posted on August 3, 2011. Filed under: Immigration | Tags: , |

Farmers in Washington state are fearful of the national crackdown on illegal immigration, saying that their businesses could not survive without the work of undocumented workers, The Columbian reports.

Farm owner Steve Sakuma in Burlington, Washington, a region in the northern portion of the state, estimates that 80 percent of his employees were in the country illegally, despite documentation provided to him that proved otherwise. If lawmakers force employers to verify immigration status of employees, he told the publication that his farm and many others would likely be no more.

According to Sakuma, these workers fill a void in the workforce.

“They’re just making a living,” he told the news source. “They’re here doing what other people won’t do. If you think that white America is going to come out here and pick these strawberries, you have been living in the dark for a long time.”

Washington state, under pressure from the public, changed one of its most liberal illegal immigration policies in December 2010. Previously, Washington and New Mexico were the only two states that allowed illegal immigrants to have driver’s licenses. Since then, the Olympian reports that the number of out-of-state driver’s licence applicants without Social Security numbers has been cut by 50 percent.


Source: Farmers and Workers Fear Immigration Crackdown

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How To Change My Address With Immigration

Posted on June 27, 2011. Filed under: Immigration | Tags: , , , , , , , |

United States is one of the few countries in the world where the opportunities for jobs and education have been always present for people the world over. It has been the center of attraction for people of all professions, looking for a brighter future and better opportunities. United States, no doubt, has made immense progress in the fields of medicine, education, technology and business support sector. For this purpose, people from different countries prefer migrating to US.


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The US, like other countries has various rules and regulations pertaining to immigration, which are the basic guideline to be followed in order to complete the process of immigration with all legalities being followed.

Being a country with one of the largest immigrant population, US immigration authorities consider it more important to keep a record of all foreigners entering through the immigration process. For this reason, they have devised a law, which requires all immigrants to report their current address to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).



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