Immigration Newsletter

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Deportations Drop as Obama Pushes for New Immigration Law - Bloomberg

Deportations Drop as Obama Pushes for New Immigration Law - Bloomberg
original by Michael C. Bender

The Obama administration has cut back on deporting undocumented immigrants, with forced
departures on track to drop more than 10 percent, the first annual decline in more than a decade.
In his first term, President Barack Obamahighlighted record deportations to show he was getting tough on immigration enforcement, which Republicans and even some Democrats have demanded as a condition for overhauling existing laws.
                                                                                            Photographer: John Moore/Getty Images

The last fiscal year was different. The government deported 343,020 people in the U.S. illegally from Oct. 1, 2012, to Sept. 7, 2013, the most recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement data show. If that pace continued through the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year, removals would reach a six-year low.
click the link to see the full article -- it explains many of the forces at work that have caused the immigration enforcement system to become so dysfunctional.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

'Parole in place': Obama's illegal-immigration order stokes amnesty worries -

'Parole in place': Obama's illegal-immigration order stokes amnesty worries -

Facing intense pressure from immigrant advocates who want the president to do more to limit deportations, the Obama administration has quietly issued a directive to help undocumented immigrants who are closely related to military personnel stay in the country.

The effort is called "parole in place," and it aims to end rampant confusion among immigration officials about how to treat the parents, spouses, and minor children of those in active duty as well as veterans and reservists. Under parole in place, these relatives no longer have to leave the country to apply for legal US status – a situation that often resulted in the applicants being barred from reentering the US for years.
Click the link to read more from the
If you think you might qualify for this program - our contact information can be found at

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Obama's uncle wins immigration battle, gets OK to stay in U.S. -

Obama's uncle wins immigration battle, gets OK to stay in U.S. -

The article says that Judge Leonard I. Shapiro handled the case. That is interesting, because I remember he handled President Obama's aunt Zeituni's case as well. If he has been here that long, maybe he did a Registry case?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

In Troubled Times How Vermont Got $600 Million From Foreign Investors | New Hampshire Public Radio

In Troubled Times How Vermont Got $600 Million From Foreign Investors | New Hampshire Public Radio
Starting around 2008, as the economy began struggling and banks got skittish about lending, foreign investors began sending hundreds of millions of dollars into Vermont.
They were attracted by a federal EB-5 visa program administered by the state of Vermont.
It allows foreigners willing to invest at least $500,000 to get green cards and live in the United States.
New Hampshire didn’t have anything like it, but the state is warming to the idea.
NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

Mark Zuckerberg, undocumented immigrants 'hack' immigration reform -

Mark Zuckerberg, undocumented immigrants 'hack' immigration reform -

SAN FRANCISCO -- Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg is bringing young undocumented immigrants with engineering chops to Silicon Valley to "hack" immigration reform.
Twenty young immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children are taking part in a "DREAMer Hackathon" on Wednesday at LinkedIn's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Immigration Reform Is Alive and Kicking on Capitol Hill | David Leopold

Immigration Reform Is Alive and Kicking on Capitol Hill | David Leopold

As it turns out, reports of the death of immigration reform were greatly exaggerated. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and other House Republicans and Democrats are reportedly working on various immigration plans, some of which, including a bill to be released next week by Issa, deal with the toughest issue of all -- what to do about the nation's 11.7 million undocumented immigrants. And Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio)says that immigration reform could get to the floor of the House before the end of the year.
Is common sense breaking out on Capitol Hill? That might be too much to ask for. But at least the GOP leadership seems to be taking a hard look at political reality.
So says David Leopold on Huffington Post -- and I hope he is right. Click the link to see his four big reasons why an Immigration Reform Bill may happen this year.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Owl’s Nest expansion wins EB-5 approval - New Hampshire Business Review - October 18 2013

Owl’s Nest expansion wins EB-5 approval - New Hampshire Business Review - October 18 2013

from NHBR click the link to see the rest of the article.

EB-5 is a government program that allows foreigners to make investments of $500,000 or $1 million in qualified American projects in return for an expedited green card for themselves and their family members. Many of the participants are looking to retire in the U.S. or send their children to American colleges.
The program has traditionally been underutilized, but less so in recent years, as traditional bank lending has grown tighter and businesses have looked to alternative lending methods to finance major projects. Each year, the government sets aside 10,000 EB-5 visas, and while that cap has never been hit, there were 7,461 EB-5 visas applications filed in 2012, more than double the number filed in 2011.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Bill Text - 113th Congress (2013-2014) - THOMAS (Library of Congress)

Bill Text - 113th Congress (2013-2014) - THOMAS (Library of Congress)

Here is a link to a Bill that is just languishing in the House of Representatives that would allow young people granted Deferred Action under DACA to enlist in the US military. I think this is a great solution for those people who want to serve and who are otherwise qualified for Military Service -- but can't because they aren't properly documented.

I don't know if anybody is even aware of this Bill -- I only looked it up because a recruiter called me with a question about a potentially strong candidate.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Diversity Visa 2015

Diversity Visa 2015

DV 2015 Program: Online registration for the DV 2015 Program began on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), and will conclude on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4).

DV-2015 Program Instructions

Select the English version of the DV-2015 Program Instructions in PDF format for your convenience and required use. The English language version of the DV-2015 Program Instructions is the only official version. Unofficial translations in additional languages will become available below. Check back later for additional translations.

Diversity Visa Program Information

See the Diversity Visa Program webpage for information about:

Given the way immigration reform is going -- this might be the last go round for the Diversity Lottery. If you were thinking about applying - don't wait.

Monday, September 23, 2013

California Gives Expanded Rights to Noncitizens -

California Gives Expanded Rights to Noncitizens -
excerpt of article by Jennifer Medina, NYT
"State legislatures across the country approved a host of new immigrant-friendly measures this year, a striking change from just three years ago, when many states appeared poised to follow Arizona’s lead to enact strict laws aimed at curbing illegal immigration. More than a dozen states now grant illegal immigrants in-state college tuition, and nine states and the District of Columbia also allow them to obtain drivers’ licenses.
With an estimated 2.5 million illegal immigrants living in California — more than in any other state in the country — some say the state has no choice but to find additional ways to integrate immigrants."
Click the link to see the rest of the story -- 
No Real ID Act for them (Live Free and Drive)

Friday, September 6, 2013

Goodlatte Demands Investigation Into Mexico Asylum Claims, Calling Them 'Fake'

Goodlatte Demands Investigation Into Mexico Asylum Claims, Calling Them 'Fake'

U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) asked the Department of Homeland Security Wednesday to investigate what he says may be fraudulent cases of asylum requests from Mexican nationals fleeing a drug war that has claimed 70,000 lives since 2006.
Hoping to raise pressure on the Obama administration to address the issue, Goodlatte speculated that Mexican asylum applicants are “being coached” on how to apply for asylum, following reports by an ABC affiliate and Fox News earlier this month.
“I am concerned that credible fear claims are being exploited by illegal immigrants in order to enter and remain in the United States,” Goodlatte wrote in the letter. A finding of “credible fear,” a legal designation referring to immigrants who have a reason to fear returning to their home country, is the first step to initiate an asylum claim.
Goodlatte points out that the overwhelming majority of Mexican nationals claiming asylum do not ultimately receive it, using statistics culled from unspecified press accounts. He implies that the applications overwhelmingly get rejected because they are illegitimate...
click the link to see the rest of the story at HuffPo
My editorial comment: 
This guy should not be in charge of immigration reform in the House of Representatives. Either he is woefully uninformed or he is being deliberately disingenuous in order to score political points.
He wants an investigation -- what does he think a credible fear interview and the asylum application process are? They are an investigation into whether or not someone has a reasonable fear of persecution in the country they are fleeing (on account of a protected ground). He asserts that most such cases from Mexico (based on drug cartel violence and government/police corruption are denied.
1. If they are being denied, why does he think it is a problem and what would an investigation change about that outcome?
2. The most likely reason that most cases are denied is not that the cases are fraudulent or "coached"; rather it is that, generally, internal criminal violence in Mexico is not a ground for Political Asylum protection. It is the responsibility of the Mexican government to protect its citizens from crime and violence. Typically, such cases do not involve political persecution unless the government is participating in the harm against the individual or is allowing the harm to occur because of the victim's race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or particular social group. Those factors are not always present in the cases made in credible fear interviews and even when they might be present -- they are not often easy to prove. That doesn't mean that the people making the claims are not being truthful or that they are not legitimately fearful for their safety -- it simply means that even so, they ultimately may not be eligible for asylum.

Rep. Goodlatte knows this (or certainly should) and therefore his comments are out of line and merely provocative. It may be time for Rep. Goodlatte to resign from the House and find his true calling on talk radio.

States Drive Positive Change on Immigration While House Is Stuck in Low Gear » Immigration Impact

States Drive Positive Change on Immigration While House Is Stuck in Low Gear » Immigration Impact

Despite the slow pace of immigration reform in the House of Representatives, it has been a banner year for legislation at the state level to help undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. As the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) explains in a new report, “Inclusive Policies Advance Dramatically in the States,” state legislatures approved laws allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses, qualify for in-state tuition, and expand worker’s rights. And states and local governments considered measures to limit involvement with immigration enforcement. This was a sharp change from previous years when officials debated measures with provisions that mimicked Arizona’s SB-1070. In the wake of record numbers of Latino and Asian voters participating in the 2012 elections, several state legislatures by and large moved in a more positive direction as lawmakers from both parties supported pro-immigration measures.
According to NILC’s report, opening access to driver’s licenses, an issue that had been dormant or moving in a restrictive direction in some states, gained traction this year. Lawmakers in at least 19 states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico introduced bills intended to allow immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses or permits. Before the 2013 legislative sessions, only Washington, New Mexico, and Utah issued driver’s licenses or driving privilege cards to immigrants regardless of immigration status. Now, seven additional states—Illinois, Maryland, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado, Vermont, and Connecticut—as well as Puerto Rico allow it. (Some of the driver’s license bills are still pending or will be revisited in other states next year.) As well as expanding access to licenses, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez’s (R) attempts to repeal her state’s license policy were unsuccessful. And governors or state officials in every state except Arizona and Nebraska have confirmed that undocumented immigrants who receive temporary legal status through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy can apply for driver’s licenses.
- See more at:

From Immigration Impact -- Click the link to see the whole article.

Friday, August 23, 2013

War On Undocumented Immigrants Threatens To Swell U.S. Prison Population

War On Undocumented Immigrants Threatens To Swell U.S. Prison Population

The more than 60,000 people convicted of immigration crimes this year are primarily guilty of one of two things: coming into the country without authorization, or doing it again -- either "illegal entry," or "illegal "re-entry." They're in a different segment of the justice system than the pool of undocumented immigrants awaiting deportation in the civil detention system, who aren't being detained for criminal immigration violations.

...this year, more than 60 percent of all federal criminal convictions have been for immigration-related crimes, federal data show. It's a momentous shift from a decade ago, when drug violations were by far the most common federal charge.

The expanding pool of federal inmates has meant steady business for the two largest U.S. private prison corporations, particularly as populations in state prison systems have begun to decline. Last year, Corrections Corporation of America derived 30 percent of its revenue from federal contracts with the U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Prisons, a total of $546 million, according to company financial statements. The GEO Group received more than 25 percent of its revenue from those two agencies last year, a total of $384 million.
Both companies have spent millions of dollars lobbying the federal government over the past decade, and four of CCA's senior executives came from the federal Bureau of Prisons. A GEO Group board member, Norman Carlson, was a former Bureau of Prisons director.

click the link to see the rest of the story at HuffPo

Follow the money....  

Now you know the real reason why Comprehensive Immigration Reform has been so hard to get through Congress for over a decade. Yes 9/11 was a factor, but for many years now the money (and by extension - the votes) has been predominantly on the enforcement first and enforcement only side of the equation. IMHO

USCIS Working to Correct CPR Cards Issued with Incorrect Expiration Dates - Drew Law Office, pllc.

USCIS Working to Correct CPR Cards Issued with Incorrect Expiration Dates - Drew Law Office, pllc.

USCIS Working to Correct CPR Cards Issued with Incorrect Expiration Dates

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 13082340 (posted Aug. 23, 2013)" 
USCIS recently alerted AILA that approximately 2,300 conditional permanent residence cards were issued with incorrect expiration dates. USCIS is attempting to rectify this by contacting affected individuals via e-mailto provide them with instructions on obtaining a replacement card. USCIS provided the following details regarding this situation:
  • Between July 22 and August 8, 2013, USCIS issued approximately 2,300 new conditional permanent resident cards with an incorrect expiration date. Instead of a two year validity period, those cards were issued with a ten-year validity period.
  • All recipients of these cards are legitimately approved conditional permanent residents; no individual received a green card in error.
  • USCIS has identified each and every conditional permanent resident who received a green card with an incorrect expiration date and has informed those individuals that they must exchange their current card for one with the correct expiration date.
  • Individuals who will need to exchange their green card do not need to file any form or pay any fee.
  • USCIS has contacted all affected individuals and provided them with options to exchange their green cards, either by mail, which is the fastest option, or in-person at a local USCIS office.
If your client received a conditional permanent residence card with a 10-year expiration date and also received an e-mail from USCIS ( with details on exchanging their green card, this e-mail is not a scam.
*** I do not know of any Drew Law Office, PLLC clients who would fall under this category (Conditional Residents [married less than two years] who received a ten year card instead of a two year card). If you think this might be you -- feel free to contact us. Missing the date for filing a Petition to Remove Conditions on Status is a big problem! ***

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Immigration Law Opponents Muted During August Recess

Immigration Law Opponents Muted During August Recess

The Stop Amnesty Tour event Aug. 12 in Richmond was to have been followed by events in other states, several of which subsequently disappeared from the Tea Party Patriots' website, according to an archived version circulated by the pro-immigrant group America's Voice. Organizers said most were going forward or rescheduled and disputed the claim by America's Voice that events were being canceled due to lack of interest.
"I think that when I heard about what happened at the Richmond event, we just look at what can we do to improve going forward, and one thing would be to give people more than 72 hours' notice," said Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots. The group is working on the events with others, including NumbersUSA, which advocates lower immigration levels.

click the link above to go to the HuffPo

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

From: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services [] Sent: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 1:37 PM To: Subject: USCIS Stakeholder Message: Recent Telephone Scams Dear Stakeholder, In recent weeks, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) learned of a new telephone scam targeting USCIS applicants and petitioners. Scammers are using a technique called “Caller ID spoofing” to display a misleading or inaccurate phone number in a recipient’s Caller ID. The scammer poses as a USCIS official and requests personal information (such as Social Security number, passport number, or A-number), identifies supposed issues in the recipient’s immigration records, and asks for payment to correct these records. If you receive a call like that, USCIS urges you to say “No, thank you” and hang up immediately. USCIS never asks for any form of payment or personal information over the phone. Do not give payment or personal information over the phone to anyone who claims to be a USCIS official. In general, we encourage you to protect your personal information and not to provide details about your immigration application in any public area. If you have been a victim of this telephone scam, please report it to the Federal Trade Commission at, or report it to an appropriate state authority. (Visit for information on where to report scams in your state.) If you have a question about your immigration record, please call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283, or make an InfoPass appointment by visiting our website at Kind Regards, Public Engagement Division US Citizenship and Immigration Services Please do not reply to this message. Contact us at or with any questions. Thanks to Olga for the heads up on this.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Backlog of Pending Cases in Immigration Courts as of July 2013

Backlog of Pending Cases in Immigration Courts as of July 2013

I cannot copy the graphics from TRACs webpage so you will have to go there to see the nice tables they have created. It is a good site with lots of immigration information so you should check it out anyway. What I can tell you is that the Immigration Court backlog has increased in fairly dramatic fashion coinciding perfectly with the Obama Administration's increase in enforcement and deportations since entering office in 2008.

The backlog of deportation (Removal) cases pending are 2007=174,935; 2008=186,108; 2009=223,809; 2010=262,799; 2011=297,551; 2012=325,044; 2013=342,189

Nativists can decry the prosecutorial discretion advanced by the Obama Admin. in DACA (after the pathetic Congressional fail that was the DREAM Act) but the facts don't leave room for argument. Enforcement is way up under Pres. Obama. Is the huge uptick in enforcement designed to provide political cover for CIR? T-Partiers would certainly think so; but then so what? All those people are just as deported; their families are just as split up as they would have been if Obama's motivations were purely spiteful.

Monday, August 12, 2013

New Procedures at National Customer Service Center

From: "U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services" <>
Date: August 9, 2013 7:16:23 AM MDT
Subject: USCIS Message: Change to NCSC Call Routing Procedures
Reply‐To: "" <>
Dear Stakeholder,
USCIS is changing call routing procedures at the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) to provide faster and
more efficient service.
Beginning August 16, attorneys and BIA-accredited representatives who need assistance with their client’s case can
quickly connect with an NCSC customer service representative, who will send the inquiry to the appropriate USCIS
office for resolution. Under this new process, the customer service representative will assess the nature of the call and
either accept a service request or transfer the call for more in-depth review.
This change will improve the management of calls and reduce wait times to provide timely, individualized customer
service to all USCIS customers and their representatives.
As always, USCIS offers its customers a number of online self-help tools. Applicants and their representatives
can check case status, find average processing times, submit a case status inquiry (e-Request), change their
address or find a USCIS office any time on the USCIS Web site at
Kind Regards,
USCIS Public Engagement Division

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Big-Name G.O.P. Donors Urge Members of Congress to Back Immigration Overhaul -

Big-Name G.O.P. Donors Urge Members of Congress to Back Immigration Overhaul -

A cross-section of Republican donors and fund-raisers signed the letter. They include Karl Rove, a deputy chief of staff in Mr. Bush’s White House; former Vice President Dan Quayle; Tom Stemberg, a founder of Staples; and Frank VanderSloot, the founder of Melaleuca Inc.

click the link above to see the rest of the story

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Implementation of the Supreme Court Ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act | Homeland Security

Implementation of the Supreme Court Ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act | Homeland Security

Statement from Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano:
“After last week’s decision by the Supreme Court holding that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, President Obama directed federal departments to ensure the decision and its implication for federal benefits for same-sex legally married couples are implemented swiftly and smoothly.  To that end, effective immediately, I have directed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to review immigration visa petitions filed on behalf of a same-sex spouse in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse.” 
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1:  I am a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident in a same-sex marriage to a foreign national.  Can I now sponsor my spouse for a family-based immigrant visa?
A1: Yes, you can file the petition. You may file a Form I-130 (and any applicable accompanying application). Your eligibility to petition for your spouse, and your spouse’s admissibility as an immigrant at the immigration visa application or adjustment of status stage, will be determined according to applicable immigration law and will not be automatically denied as a result of the same-sex nature of your marriage.
Q2:  My spouse and I were married in a U.S. state that recognizes same-sex marriage, but we live in a state that does not.  Can I file an immigrant visa petition for my spouse?
A2: Yes, you can file the petition.  In evaluating the petition, as a general matter, USCIS looks to the law of the place where the marriage took place when determining whether it is valid for immigration law purposes. That general rule is subject to some limited exceptions under which federal immigration agencies historically have considered the law of the state of residence in addition to the law of the state of celebration of the marriage. Whether those exceptions apply may depend on individual, fact-specific circumstances. If necessary, we may provide further guidance on this question going forward.

Thursday, June 27, 2013 Statement by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet ... Statement by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet ...: Statement by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano on the Supreme Court Ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act | Homeland Security ...

For Immediate Release
DHS Press Office
Contact: 202-282-8010
“I applaud today’s Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor holding that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. This discriminatory law denied thousands of legally married same-sex couples many important federal benefits, including immigration benefits.  I am pleased the Court agreed with the Administration’s position that DOMA’s restrictions violate the Constitution. Working with our federal partners, including the Department of Justice, we will implement today's decision so that all married couples will be treated equally and fairly in the administration of our immigration laws."

Tuesday, June 4, 2013 USCIS Immigrant Fee Payment Moves to USCIS ELIS USCIS Immigrant Fee Payment Moves to USCIS ELIS: USCIS Immigrant Fee Payment Moves to USCIS ELIS USCIS Immigrant Fee Payment Moves to USCIS ELIS U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service...

USCIS - Temporary Protected Status Extended for Salvadorans

USCIS - Temporary Protected Status Extended for Salvadorans

Temporary Protected Status Extended for Salvadorans

Released May 30, 2013
WASHINGTON—Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for eligible nationals of El Salvador for an additional 18 months, beginning Sept. 10, 2013, and ending March 9, 2015.
Current Salvadoran beneficiaries seeking to extend their TPS status must re-register during the 60-day re-registration period that runs from May 30, 2013, through July 29, 2013. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) encourages beneficiaries to register as soon as possible once the 60-day re-registration period begins. Applications will not be accepted before May 30, 2013.
The 18-month extension also allows TPS re-registrants to apply for a new employment authorization document (EAD). Eligible Salvadoran TPS beneficiaries who re-register during the registration period will receive a new EAD with an expiration date of March 9, 2015. USCIS recognizes that some re-registrants may not receive their new EADs until after their current EADs expire. Therefore, USCIS is automatically extending current TPS El Salvador EADs bearing a Sept. 9, 2013, expiration date for an additional six months. These existing EADs are now valid through March 9, 2014.
To re-register, current TPS beneficiaries must submit Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status. All TPS re-registrants must also submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, but no Form I-765 application fee is required if the re-registrant does not want an EAD. Re-registrants do not need to pay the Form I-821 application fee, but they must submit the biometric services fee, or a fee waiver request, if they are age 14 or older. TPS re-registrants requesting an EAD must submit the Form I-765 application fee, or a fee waiver request.
TPS applicants may request that USCIS waive any or all the fees by filing a Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, or by submitting a personal letter requesting these fees be waived. Failure to submit the required filing fees or a properly documented fee waiver request will result in the rejection of the TPS application.
Applicants can download TPS forms for free from the USCIS website at Applicants can also request free TPS forms by calling USCIS toll-free at 1-800-870-3676.
Additional information on TPS for El Salvador, including guidance on the application process and eligibility, is available online at Further details on this extension of TPS for El Salvador, including the application requirements and procedures, appear in a Federal Register notice published on May 30, 2013.
Applicants seeking information about the status of their individual cases can check My Case Status Online, or call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833).
For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit or follow us on Facebook (USCIS) , Twitter (@uscis), YouTube (/uscis) and the USCIS blog The Beacon.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

State of Initial ICE Custody, November-December 2012

State of Initial ICE Custody, November-December 2012

Am I reading this correctly? This chart says that ICE NH detained 91 persons in Nov.- Dec. as compared with 324 for MA and RI (you will note that RI says zero - but I believe that is because RI persons usually enter ICE custody in MA).

So that means almost one third the immigration detentions in a state that has nowhere near the immigrant population (not to mention general population) of its southern neighbors. How exactly does that work? This number is about 8 times the average of Maine and Vermont.

What it means is:  NH ICE is 1. Keeping busy, and 2. detaining too many people who would be released on personal recognizance or bond in other jurisdictions.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

USCIS Immigrant Fee Payment to Move to USCIS ELIS

USCIS Immigrant Fee Payment to Move to USCIS ELIS

USCIS Immigrant Fee Payment to Move to USCIS ELIS

USCIS is moving the existing online payment for the USCIS Immigrant Fee to its Electronic Immigration System (USCIS ELIS). Customers will soon pay the $165 USCIS Immigrant Fee using USCIS ELIS after they receive their immigrant visa package from the Department of State and before they depart for the United States. USCIS ELIS is easy to use and provides direct access to case status updates. New immigrants will also use USCIS ELIS to file future applications and petitions when they become available in the system.
Read the Alert.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Updates on Waiver Adjudication from the NSC | CLINIC

Updates on Waiver Adjudication from the NSC | CLINIC

By: Susan Schreiber and Charles Wheeler
On March 21-22, CLINIC conducted a two-day training in Omaha on recognizing grounds of inadmissibility and filing effective waivers.  On the second day, officials from the Nebraska Service Center (NSC) gave a presentation on the centralized filing and adjudication of Form I-601 waivers of inadmissibility at the NSC and answered questions from participants.  On March 23, participants were given a tour of the NSC building in Lincoln where they saw first-hand how the adjudication process operates; they were also allowed to ask further questions.  The following are minutes from the presentations and Q and A with Kathryn Nicholas, NSC Community Engagement Officer, Ronna Simon, NSC Supervisor, and Kelly Johnson, NSC Senior Adjudicator of I-601s.  The discussion and these minutes do not cover the new provisional waiver procedure or the Form I-601A.

Click the link above to see the full article

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

2013 Poverty Guidelines (DHHS and USCIS) - Drew Law Office, pllc.

2013 Poverty Guidelines (DHHS and USCIS) - Drew Law Office, pllc.

The Department of Health and Human Services publishes the Poverty Guidelines every year. And every year USCIS takes way too long to publish their guidelines based on 125% of the Poverty Guidelines. It has now been almost two months since the Federal Register Posting and there is still no new form I-864P on the USCIS website. You might think USCIS would get some advance notice of the guidelines from DHHS and have the form ready ahead of time -- they don't. So I have posted them here ... make sure you doublecheck my math (I rounded up)!


Persons in family/household    Poverty guideline.  (USCIS = 125%)
        1                                    $11,490                    $14,363
        2                                    $15,510                    $19,388
        3                                    $19,530                    $24,413
        4                                    $23,550                    $29,438
        5                                    $27,570                    $34,463
        6                                    $31,590                    $39,488
        7                                    $35,610                    $44,513
        8                                    $39,630                    $49,538
For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $4,020 for each additional person then multiply by 1.25
This Chart also appears on my web page under recent announcements and hopefully on Google+ as well.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Why Don’t They Just Get In Line? | Immigration Policy Center

Why Don’t They Just Get In Line? | Immigration Policy Center

A solid explanation of why the current immigration system is inadequate for the needs of the United States and for the immigrants who are here in legal status who wish to bring their family here to live with them. It is a long article with a great deal of information in it.

To me the most stunning fact in here is that the total number of persons allowed to legally immigrate to the United States is 675,000 per year including both family and employment based visas. Now that seems like a big number I suppose, until you realize that the population of the United States is about 314 million or about one person per square mile. So the annual allotment for immigration is about .002% of our current population.

At that rate we will double the US Population in a mere 465 years to 2 people per square mile. A frightening prospect perhaps for those Malthusians and other Zero Population Growth sympathizers. However, it is really just a drop in the bucket demographically, and that number could easily be doubled or tripled without ill effect if done properly.

Sometimes there is no path for those who wish to come to the United States legally; or sometimes the path requires a 12 - 20 year wait which is also effectively  "no path". Not everyone can come to live in the United States. But if someone has family here or has skills and education which are in demand -- we ought to find a way for them to get here legally in short order rather than make the choice: come illegally or don't' come at all.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

North Carolina to Give Some Immigrants Driver’s Licenses, With a Pink Stripe -

North Carolina to Give Some Immigrants Driver’s Licenses, With a Pink Stripe -

RALEIGH, N.C. — In a move some are calling a modern-day scarlet letter and others say is the best way to manage changing federal immigration policy, North Carolina this month will begin giving some young immigrants driver’s licenses marked with a bold pink stripe and the words “no lawful status” printed in red.

Click the link above to see the rest of the article at NYT.

If I were writing the headline it would have been "Petty in Pink". 

The desire to punish DACA recipients by Conservative politicians comes from a really bad place I think. Even when the US government (the body that decides immigration policy, let's remember) determines someone is allowed to remain legally in the country -- the powers that be in these states still feel some sort of passive aggressive drive to strike out at these people in whatever way they can devise. Someday politicians who claim to want a smaller role for government in people's lives, might actually stop worrying about the slightest chance that somebody they don't like might be getting a precious driver license. Until that day, I expect more petty and frankly pathetic shenanigans like this.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

USCIS - DHS Announces Redesignations and 18-Month Extensions of Temporary Protected Status for Sudan and South Sudan

USCIS - DHS Announces Redesignations and 18-Month Extensions of Temporary Protected Status for Sudan and South Sudan

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today redesignated Sudan and South Sudan for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and extended the existing TPS designations for the two countries from May 3, 2013, through Nov. 2, 2014. This allows eligible nationals of the two countries to register or re-register for TPS in accordance with notices for Sudan and South Sudan published today in the Federal Register. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) encourages eligible individuals to register or re-register as soon as possible. 
Who’s Eligible
Current TPS Status
When to File
Sudanese and South Sudanese nationals (and persons without nationality who last habitually resided in Sudan or South Sudan)
Have TPS
Must re-register during 60-day re-registration period that runs from Jan. 9, 2013, through March 11, 2013.
Do Not Have TPS
May apply for TPS during a six-month registration period that runs from Jan. 9, 2013, through July 8, 2013.
The extensions and redesignations of Sudan and South Sudan for TPS are based on ongoing armed conflict in that region and the continuation of extraordinary and temporary conditions that led to the TPS designations of Sudan in 2004 and South Sudan in 2011. Secretary Napolitano determined that extending the existing TPS designations, as well as redesignating the two countries for TPS, is warranted based on Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of State reviews of country conditions conducted during the past year.
The Secretary has further determined that it is appropriate to designate Jan. 9, 2013, as the date by which Sudan and South Sudan TPS applicants must show they have continuously resided in the United States (i.e., the "continuous residence date").
DHS anticipates that approximately 300 individuals will be eligible to re-register for TPS under the existing designations of Sudan and South Sudan, and fewer than 4,000 additional individuals will be eligible for TPS under the redesignations.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Attorneys Want Fixes to Legal Immigration System, Too

The debate over what to do with the estimated 12 million people living in the country illegally has dominated the discussion on comprehensive immigration reform. But attorneys say key fixes are needed to the legal immigration system as well.
David Leopold, the general counsel and past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said Congress needs to address a subpar visa system and the backlog in immigration cases to avoid the same surge in illegal migration that took place after President Ronald Reagan’s immigration reform effort almost 30 years ago.
“People talk about the Reagan amnesty of 1986 and how it was a dismal failure because it led to illegal immigration,” he said. “What led to the illegal immigration and the problem we find ourselves in now is that they completely failed to account for future flow and future economic needs.”
For starters, Leopold said, the country issues 140,000 employment-based visas a year — and each country receives the same number of slots.
“We have the same quota for China as we do for Iceland, and yet there is higher demand from China,” he said.
The second problem, Leopold said, is the way those visas are counted. Right now, for example, the spouse and children of a female employment-based immigrant who comes to the U.S. to work as an engineer are also counted toward that 140,000 limit.
“It’s very easy to eat up 140,000 employment-based visas when you’re not really getting 140,000 employment-based immigrants,” he said.
Changing those rules would allow not only more visas for STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — but also supply a workforce for the majority of professions that employ unauthorized workers, like the construction, agriculture and hospitality industries.
While a draft copy of the White House’s immigration proposal, leaked to USA Today last weekend, offers detailed insight about the president’s plan to deal with people currently here illegally, it did not hint at what an overhaul of the current visa system could look like. Leopold said he and his colleagues are confident such a plan will emerge soon.
What the draft does contain, however, is language that would add 140 additional immigration judges to alleviate the backlog in the current system. Data obtained through open records requests filed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University shows that almost 324,000 immigration cases are currently awaiting a resolution. The caseload in Texas courts is the third-largest in the country, with about 41,760 outstanding.
That translates into an average wait time of 393 days before detainees in Texas immigration courts see a judge, an increase of 24 days from fiscal year 2012. In Houston, El Paso and Dallas immigration courts, however, wait times are significantly higher than the state average. Detainees in Houston and El Paso wait an average of 490 and 472 days, respectively. In Dallas they wait approximately 396 days, according to the TRAC.
Leopold advocates for judges to have the flexibly they had before 1996, when the Clinton administration passed a series of laws affecting illegal immigration. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 stripped decision-making responsibilities for immigration judges, Leopold said, and added to the list of offenses that made deportations mandatory. The act also created the three- and 10-year bars — the amount of time applicants for legal status must remain outside of the U.S. before they apply for re-entry, depending on how long they were in the country illegally.
“You can have a theft offense that is considered an aggravated felony that may be a misdemeanor in state law,” Leopold said. “And that precludes the person from even getting in front of an immigration judge to ask for relief.”
While attorneys wait to see what is in store for the current legal immigration system, the border security component of immigration reform is being thoroughly debated. Democrats and Republicans have both called for an increase in border-security expenditures, despite the $18 billion currently spent on the effort annually. The talk that “more must be done” on the border has irked elected officials in those communities, who say the area is more secure than ever. They cite the record dip in the U.S. Border Patrol’s apprehensions of would-be illegal crossers as proof that fewer migrants are entering illegally.
The debate has also intensified the lobbying efforts of immigrant rights groups and opponents of the private prison industry.
On Wednesday in Austin, a coalition of 11 faith-based and civil rights groups delivered a letter to Texas’ congressional delegation asking for an end to Operation Streamline, an effort born in 2005 near Del Rio that mandates criminal prosecution of most illegal immigrants caught in certain Border Patrol sectors.
Immigration violations are a civil offense, the group argues, and initiatives like Streamline have served to disproportionately swell the ranks of Latinos in the criminal justice system at a high cost to taxpayers. They ask members of Congress and the state’s U.S. senators to end the program.
Citing data from TRAC, Amelia Ruiz Fischer, an attorney at the Texas Civil Rights Project, told reporters that 77 percent of the immigrants apprehended under immigration enforcement programs like Operation Streamline or Secure Communities, which uses fingerprint matches to identify deportable aliens, had no previous criminal records.
It also erodes trust in immigrant communities, she said, because residents there are less likely to cooperate with law enforcement agencies out of fear of deportation.
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This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at

Saturday, February 2, 2013

2011 Customs & Border Protection budget                           $3.55 billion

2011 Immigration & Customs Enforcement budget             $5.82 billion

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A video about notario Immigration fraud from the American Immigration Lawyers Association

...y aquí está en español

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Immigration Reform in 2013: An Idea Whose Time Has Come — Immigration Reform | America's Voice

Immigration Reform in 2013: An Idea Whose Time Has Come — Immigration Reform | America's Voice
by Frank Sharry cross posted on Huffington Post

To see the whole article click on the link above
...So what is likely to happen?
A broad legislative proposal, one that puts 11 million undocumented immigrants on the road to citizenship, will be championed by the president, drafted on a bipartisan basis and approved by the Senate, with bipartisan support, sometime this spring. With comprehensive immigration reform favored by the public by a 2-to-1 margin, a bipartisan breakthrough in the Senate could send those numbers as high as 3 to 1.
Then it will be up to the House of Representatives. Once again Speaker Boehner will find a bipartisan majority in the House, but not if he insists on a “majority of the majority.” And while he will feel pressure from some on the hard right to resist reform, he will feel at least as much pressure from others on the right, such as business executives, evangelicals, law enforcement officials, Latino Republicans and conservative thought leaders. In the end the House leadership will find a way. They simply will not want to bear the blame for keeping the Senate and the White House out of reach for Republicans for a generation.
The bottom line: Immigration reform is an idea whose time has come. Americans want it, Democrats have promised it and Republicans need it.

To learn about Immigration Reform legislation when it happens you can always come here or check on our other blog or better yet check out our Drew Law Office company website at
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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Opinion: Comprehensive immigration reform: The time is now - Antonio Villaraigosa -

Opinion: Comprehensive immigration reform: The time is now - Antonio Villaraigosa -

It was March of 2006. On that afternoon over one million undocumented immigrants marched on Los Angeles City Hall. For one day, one million people stepped out of the shadows – mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, grandmas and grandpas. They were hardworking people who are always told that they are to blame for the country’s problems.
They marched on City Hall to deliver a simple message – “This is our home now.” I walked out and welcomed the one million people who showed up on my doorstep. I looked out on the crowd – a mayor for less than one year – and told them “I don’t see any illegals! No human being is illegal. No human being should be illegal.” They may have come here illegally, but they also came for a better life and most have contributed much to this nation. I took a lot of heat for that. But an immigration policy that allows us to grow together and not apart is the moral and economic imperative of our time.
For too long Washington has pushed immigration reform off until the next election. Too often, the issue is punted 

to the next Congress. Now is the time for us to say enough is enough. When we reform our broken immigration 

system, we will not only restore the most basic of American covenants, we will give this economy a much needed 

shot in the arm.

When the head of a household becomes a citizen, family income rises almost 14 percent on average. For the 11 

million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. that would generate over $1.5 trillion in the next decade. And for the 

federal government that would mean $4.5 billion in new tax revenue over the next three years alone.

But the long-term effects are even greater. Today, 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies were started by 

immigrants or by the children of immigrants. These companies have combined revenues of $4.2 trillion. For those 

keeping score that’s more than the GDP of every country in the world except the U.S., China and Japan.

The success of our immigration system goes hand in hand with the success of our broader economy. That’s why 

the time to act is now. Our action should be based on our core principles and values, through six broad policy 


Read more:

Read more:

Click on the links above to see the rest of the statement from Mayor Villaraigosa on Politico.

~ I think we may actually get immigration reform this year. I have thought that before and been wrong, but this time it just might happen.