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Trying to understand all the ins-and-outs of green cards and permanent residence? It is not as simple as it seems.

But you are in good hands. We have found and curated the latest, breaking news articles on green cards and permanent residence, from hundreds of sources, and share them with you here.

V Visas For Immigration Victims Of Crime Alive And Well

I recall when the U Visa Program was initially launched. A U visa petition requires certification that the victim, generally an immigrant without documents to live legally in the U.S. has been helpful to law enforcement.

I doubted its ability to succeed. I simply did not think many undocumented immigrants to act as a quasi-informant and embrace the notion of actively assisting law enforcement agencies combat certain forms of crime.

U visas, for those unfamiliar with them, are (a) for victims of certain crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse, (b) willing to help law enforcement authorities investigate or prosecute those crimes, and (c) require certification the victim has helped law nforcement.

In addition, during my first such encounters, law enforcement personnel were not keen on the idea of working with immigrants, whom were also law breakers in the eyes of several officers.

USCIS Approves 10,000 U Visas for 7th Straight Fiscal Year
News Alerts, U.S. Citizenship And Immigration Services, December 29, 2015

U visas are available for victims of certain qualifying crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse and are willing to help law enforcement authorities investigate or prosecute those crimes.

Congress created the U visa program to strengthen the law enforcement community’s ability to investigate and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and other crimes, while also offering protection to victims. More than 117,579 victims and their family members have received U visas since the program began in 2009.

Clearly, time has proven my assumption wrong.

Nonetheless, I still wonder how many of the immigrants, who have helped law enforcement, have been placed on a track to permanent residency.

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The Need To Fix Our Antiquated Family Visa System

The shortcomings of the family visa system have been known by Congress and Administration officials for many years. However, reform opponents have shown little interest in fixing these problems.

Instead, they have lamented the current family-based processes since the last major change to our visa change in the early 1960s.

During the 2013 and 2014 reform discussions, opponents sought changes which would convert the U.S. visa system into an employment driven approach.

Meanwhile, the waiting list keeps growing, and the time immigrants spend waiting gets longer.

Waiting List for Legal Immigrant Visas Keeps Growing
Jessica Vaughan, Center For Immigration Studies, April 2015

More than 4.4 million people are on the legal immigrant visa waiting list according to the State Department’s annual tally. That is 100,085 more people waiting for legal immigrant visas than at the same time last year. Ninety-eight percent of those waiting have been sponsored by a family member in the United States.

To read the full blog post, go here: Trapped In The 1960s: Immigrant Relative Visas

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Why The Expansion Of Family Unity Waivers Needs To Be Taken With A Grain Of Salt

Obama Immigration Plan: Provisional Waivers Expanded, USCIS Tasked to Define, Broaden Eligibility Requirements
Michael Oleaga, Latin Post, December 15, 2014

The recent decision by President Obama to expand I-601 family unity waivers on a provisional basis to more family members is a step in the right direction.

However, one big problems still lurks. How many will be able to meet the requisite extreme hardship standard?

Not ordinary hardship. Not unusual hardship.

For this reason, the public hoopla surrounding the announcement needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

For more, continue here: Why The Expansion Of Family Unity Waivers Needs To Be Taken With A Grain Of Salt

 

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Executive Action Put On Hold: Immigration Delay Or Political Deception?

Obama Will Delay Immigration Executive Action
Allen McDuffee, Yahoo News, September 6, 2014

How many rejections does it take before the political reality sets in?

Despite promising in no uncertain terms that he would take action on immigration policy in the absence of congressional legislation, merely three months ago, President Obama backtracked.

Again.

Honestly, given the president’s record on immigration reform, why did any immigrant rights activist expect anything different?

The handwriting was on the wall a few weeks weeks ago, when it was announced the president was thinking about delaying executive action to defer deportations of non-violent and non-criminal undocumented immigrants.

For more, continue here: Executive Action Put On Hold: Immigration Delay Or Political Deception?

 

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Despite Child Status Protection Act, Supreme Court Affirms Immigrants Age Out Of Green Card Lines

Imagine this scenario.

You’re the child of an immigrant, who is being sponsored by a new U.S. citizen spouse to become a permanent resident. As the child, you are a derivative beneficiary.

The family petition for your mother is quickly approved. However, the required wait to file your application for a green card takes several years. During that time, you turn 21.

Because you are no longer a minor child, you are placed in a new immigration category. Under the new category, the wait now extends your waiting time another 10 years.

Does this sound fair?

In Scialabba v. Vuellar de Osario, the Supreme Court issued a long-awaited decision regarding how the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) should be applied in such situations.

The Court decided not to freeze the derivative beneficiary’s age as a child under 21.

Opinion: On Legal Immigration, Supreme Court Gets It Wrong
Raúl A. Reyes, Fox News Latino, June 10, 2014

“It is profoundly unfair to break up families simply because the U.S. has such long wait times for visas. Not only are such delays the government’s fault, they are unfortunately quite common. According to the Department of State’s June 2014 visa bulletin, right now the government is processing some visas from China from 2001, from Mexico from 1993, and from the Philippines from 1990. People like de Osorio’s son should not lose their spot in line simply because our immigration system is so slow.”

In short, the Supreme Court decision means family separation for many immigrants and possible deportation for others.

Because the affected immigrants, upon turning 21, “age out” of their original family-based petition category, they could be deemed to be out of legal immigrant status.

Without a path to legalization in the near future, the court’s decision opens a vast potential for removal.

That’s not good.

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How The Path To Eliminating The Three And Ten Year Bars To Permanent Residence Is Blocked By Political Gamesmanship

I subscribe to the notion that immigration reform without a path to citizenship is not true immigration reform.

This does not mean, however, that I am unwilling to accept partial, piece meal proposals which reflect a net gain for immigrant families.

As a result, I was pleased to learn about Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador’s recent immigration deal, which would benefit two strands of the immigrant community seeking an opportunity to become green card holders.

Republicans Look To Loosen Penalties On Illegal Immigrants
Seth McLaughlin, The Washington Times, May 11, 2014

Republican Rep. Raul Labrador on Thursday offered a potential immigration deal to the White House, saying the GOP would agree to loosen penalties on illegal immigrants if President Obama would agree to increase visas for foreigners who work in high-tech fields.

Mr. Labrador suggested dropping the penalty period that bars illegal immigrants from reapplying to enter the U.S. legally after being deported, a period that now lasts for between three and 10 years, depending on how long they had first remained in the country illegally.

On the surface, the first aspect of Labrador’s compromise would seem to appeal to many mixed status immigrant families. Under current rules for gaining residency, immigrants who entered the U.S. without permission and lived here illegally for six months or more face bars from re-entry lasting three years, ten years, or a lifetime. Labrador’s plan would alleviate such harsh punishment for many of these individuals.

Unlike the much-ballyhooed provisional I-601 waiver, which is only a stopgap procedural change. Labrador is recommending a substantive legal adjustment for immigrants seeking to obtain valid green card status.

The second component, increasing the number of visas available for immigrants with specialized computer, engineering, and scientific training, would seem to appease conservative skeptics of immigration reform.

Yet, Labrador has been attacked by both ends of the political spectrum.

Democrats and their supporters have rejected his proposal on the basis that it is only a partial immigration reform solution to permanent residence problems.

Republicans disagree, in large measure, because softening the impact of the 3 and 10 year bars is tantamount to amnesty.

I think both sets of critics are wrong. Their views are tied to a political win/lose perspective. They do not grasp, or if they grasp, they do not care about the suffering present green card rules and regulations impose on hard-working, honorable immigrants and their citizen or permanent resident spouses and children.

Such political game playing is a sad statement on our nation’s commitment to family unity.

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Ancestry Visas: A Direct Path To Permanent Residency And Citizenship

Here’s an interesting idea for family-friendly immigration reform: Ancestry Visas.

Could this concept work under U.S. permanent residency rules? I think so.

UK Ancestry Visa
UKVisaAndImmigration.co.uk, March 30, 2014

Ancestry Visas enable commonwealth nationals who have a grandparent who was born in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man to enter the UK for a period of five years. Commonwealth nationals with a grandparent born in the Republic of Ireland prior to 31 March 1922 are also eligible to apply for a UK Ancestry Visa.

But there’s more to these visas than simply a temporary visitor-type stay.

The U.K. approach combines two separate routes to citizenship.

Generally, birth right citizenship is conferred upon individuals through their parents’ citizenship or their place of birth. Under the Ancestry Right path, the two roads are merged. If a person is the grandchild of an individual born in the United Kingdom, they can embark on a three step process to U.K. citizenship.

There is no equivalent in U.S. immigration law. The closest measure is the Doctrine of Double Constructive Retention, a set of extremely convoluted laws practically useless for most immigrants seeking citizenship.

Applying the United Kingdom model to our rules, this is how the Ancestry Visa process could work in the United States:

Step one is the approval of a temporary Ancestry Visa good for five years.

Step two is vastly different than any options provided under U.S. green card laws. At the end of the end of the authorized visa period, an immigrant would have two options. (a) The immigrant could apply for an extension of the temporary visa. (b) If the immigrant applicant can show continuous residency during the five years period, and either current employment or past employment coupled with an active job search, the applicant is eligible to seek lawful permanent resident status.

Step three is citizenship. After just one year in lawful permanent resident status, the immigrant can file for naturalization. (Current U.S. law requires a five year wait for obtaining citizenship through a parent. It’s unlikely U.S. immigration authorities would be willing to reduce the time for application eligibility.)

In a nutshell, the United Kingdom paradigm offers three, not two, paths to birth right citizenship:

  • Being born in the United States
  • Being born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent
  • Being born to U.S. citizen grandparent

In my view, Ancestry Visas provide a common sense method of reducing our immigration permanent residence and citizenship backlogs.

Let’s do it.

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A Jamaican Immigrant’s Story Of Green Card Persistence

After 20 Years, A Green Card Reunites Mother And Daughter
Mirela Iverac, WNYC News, November 25, 2013

Contrary to an image perpetuated by many public officials, media personalities, and bloggers opposed to immigration reform, not all immigrants jump the border to reunite with family members.

As most green card experts would attest, an antiquated system of allotting visas to immigrants from other countries causes an undue delay in processing valid applications to become permanent residents of the United States.

The story of Celis Wignall and her daughter, Miriam Robinson, is one such tale.

For more, continue here: A Jamaican Story Of Persistence: Why The U.S. Green Card System Needs An Overhaul

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Are Lebanese Immigrants Being Denied Visas To Enter The U.S.?

Once again, seemingly innocent immigration actions appear to have beneath-the-surface political originals.

In recent weeks, several Lebanese businessmen claim the U.S. is revoking their visas without providing any rationale for such actions.

Some have been traveling to the U.S. for many years and have never experienced any problems. Thus, the sudden loss of travel privileges is not only surprising, but also damaging to their businesses.

U.S. government officials deny these allegations.

U.S. Embassy Denies Canceling Thousands Of Lebanese Visas
The Lebanon Daily Star, Kareem Shaheen, July 16, 2013

Reports claiming that thousands of Lebanese citizens have had their visas to the U.S. revoked were “categorically untrue,” U.S. Embassy spokesperson Amanda Johnson, speaking to the media, called the reports “categorically untrue.”

She added, “The State Department has broad authority … to revoke visas if subsequent to issuance there is information that comes to light that would either make the person ineligible for a visa or inadmissible to the United States.”

Given the subtle double speak, I tend to think the Lebanese claims are likely valid.

Estimates are that up to 3,000 have had their visas revoked.

The Lebanese visa issue may be related to the civil war in neighboring Syria. There are currently over 1 million Syrian refugees who have moved into Lebanon since the start of Syria’s domestic crisis. According to the U.S. Embassy, the amount of visa requests by Syrians living in Lebanon have vastly increased in recent months.

It is not a wild guess to surmise that the Lebanese visa denials are related to the higher non-Lebanese visa requests. The question, then, becomes why the two issues would be linked in the U.S. government’s eyes.

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