Immigration Newsletter

Friday, March 23, 2012

*CORRECTION* USCIS Office of Public Engagement: Designation of Syria for Temporary Protected Status

*CORRECTION* USCIS Office of Public Engagement: Designation of Syria for Temporary Protected Status

Secretary Napolitano announced today the designation of Syria for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), based on deteriorating security conditions in Syria. The effective dates for the designation, as well as dates and procedures for the TPS registration process, will be detailed in a Federal Register notice that publishes next week. Applications should not be submitted until the designation becomes effective. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will be hosting a stakeholder engagement next week to discuss the process for filing TPS applications and to address questions and concerns related to the TPS application process. We appreciate your assistance in helping to inform the Syrian community in the U.S. about the TPS designation and look forward to hearing your input during the engagement next week.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

It’s About Immigrants, Not Irishnesss -

It’s About Immigrants, Not Irishnesss -

 ...excerpted here...

It’s embarrassing to listen to prosperous 21st-century Americans with Irish surnames lavish on Mexican or Central American immigrants the same slurs — “dark,” “dirty,” “violent,” “ignorant” — once slapped on our own, possibly shoeless, forebears. The Irish were seen as unclean, immoral and dangerously in thrall to a bizarre religion. They were said to be peculiarly prone to violence. As caricatured by illustrators like Thomas Nast in magazines like Harper’s Weekly, “Paddy Irishman,” low of brow and massive of jaw, was more ape than human, fists trailing on the ground when they weren’t cocked and ready for brawling.
Soon it was another people’s turn. During the 1890s, when hundreds of thousands of French-Canadians were quitting rocky farms in Quebec for jobs in New England textile towns, The New York Times wrote, “It is next to impossible to penetrate this mass of protected and secluded humanity with modern ideas or to induce them to interest themselves in democratic institutions and methods of government.”
It was bad enough to be invaded by unmoderns. But the real danger was in the numbers, because, as The Times went on, “No other people, except the Indians, are so persistent in repeating themselves. Where they halt they stay, and where they stay they multiply and cover the earth.”
I live in Maine, where these days Hispanics and Somalis, not French-Canadians, are the most visible immigrant groups. I wonder if our governor, Paul LePage, born in Lewiston, oldest of 18 children in a family of French-Canadian descent, ever came across that thoughtless article while formulating a raft of anti-immigrant policies.
After all, the governor’s grandparents were immigrants, members of a generation commonly treated as a despised minority in New England. From the Civil War through the 1950s, many if not most newly arrived French-Canadians looking for work in Maine’s mill towns or north woods were illegal immigrants. 

Well said. Click the link to see the rest of the opinion piece.

Popular Manchester, NH Mayor Ted Gatsas is seeking permission from the State House to place a moratorium on any further refugee resettlement in NH's largest city. This is not unlike what had taken place previously in cities in Southern Maine. The claim is that the refugees are becoming a too large a burden on the social services provided by the city -- to date it seems to be only that -- a claim without evidence.

Given the racially charged vandalism which happened in Concord not long ago -- we should all take care not to further the impression that immigrants and people of color are not welcome in New Hampshire. I may differ with Mr. Behrens slightly when he says St. Patrick's Day is not about Irishness -- but I definitely agree that it is about immigrants. There really is nothing more fundamental to Irish-Americaness than the history of Irish immigration to this country. That "immigrantness" has been a difficult issue for every group that has come to our shores or passed our borders -- yet America has been enriched and strengthened by every new group that has made this their home. St. Patrick's Day is an excellent time to remember that.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Another "Dream Act" Nightmare

Daniela Pelaez is practically a poster child for the Dream Act: a high school valedictorian, dreams of becoming a doctor -- and an undocumented immigrant. She’s also dredging up the depth of division over immigration issues within the Republican Party. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the chairwoman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs who stepped in to rally crucial support for presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Pelaez’s home state of Florida, is publicly breaking with him over whether the children of unauthorized immigrants should be allowed to stay in the United States. After an immigration judge denied Pelaez’s residency bid and issued an order of voluntary deportation last week, Ros-Lehtinen jumped in. She sent a letter directly to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s acting director of congressional relations, asking him to block the deportation. “I respectfully request your intervention with the appropriate agencies to ensure deferred action and a stay of deportation for 18 year old Daniela Pelaez and her sister Dayana Pelaez,” the letter said. The division within the GOP goes beyond the Pelaez case. The conservative Latino group Somos Republicanos has lashed out at Romney for his immigration stances, and is locking horns with Colorado Hispanic Republicans over a fight in that state on whether to allow in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants. Similarly, the national group Café Con Leche Republicans has battled with GOP politicians over strict Arizona-style illegal immigrant crackdown laws. “There’s a small minority of Republican politicians who are extreme on the issue and they’re very vocal," Bob Quasius, the founder and head of Café Con Leche Republicans, told The Huffington Post. "And their voice is the one that most Latinos are likely to hear." He may be right. Polls repeatedly show overwhelming support for the Dream Act from Latinos, and even from non-Hispanics. A Pew Hispanic Center poll released at the end of December put the number in favor of the Act at nine out of 10 Hispanics. A Fox News Latino/Latino Insights poll just this week found almost identical results. The poll also found nearly as strong support among Latino voters for a path to citizenship, with 85.9 percent in favor. That may be more reflective of voters in general, including Republican Party members, than the candidates appear to be acknowledging. A Fox News poll released in December found that 66 percent of registered voters support a path to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants, if they learn English, pay back taxes and successfully pass a background check. So did 57 percent of Republican voters -- under these same conditions. See the Huffington Post for the rest of the article