In a long overdue policy shift designed to help victims of certain types of crimes, the Biden Administration has announced USCIS will begin to speed up the processing of temporary work permit applications and grants of deferred action for immigrants who seek U Visas.
The program was created by Congress 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.
Its huge backlog coupled with lengthy processing times have hindered the program almost since its inception. As a result, immigrants whom the government had hoped would assist them in reducing violent crime remained vulnerable to further harm due to the delays.
Defeat in law, especially immigration law, should be taken with a grain of salt. It is not uncommon for policies and principles to change over time.
“When one door closes”, Alexander Graham Bell once noted, “another often opens.”
He could have been talking about the Temporary Protected Status program.
On June 7, 2021, the Supreme Court denied the eligibility of TPS beneficiaries to seek adjustment of their status to permanent residence without leaving the United States.
Is their hope of becoming a lawful permanent resident now gone forever?
He never went home.
He left his native county at the age of 20 to find work. Born in an impoverished area of a poor country, he left home to earn money which he could send back to his mother and eight siblings.
He ventured through, and stayed briefly at, a few countries, eventually reaching the United States.
For the next 25 years, he crisscrossed California, Arizona, and Utah, moving from crop to crop before settling in San Diego where he worked as a dishwasher at one of the city’s most prestigious restaurants.
On May 22, 2021, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security extended Haiti’s Temporary Protected Status for 18 months. This designation will enable Haitians who were on TPS to continue living and working legally in the United States, until November 2022.
The program has been on its death bed since the Trump Administration announced its plan to terminate Haiti’s TPS status in January 2018. Various lawsuits managed to keep the alive, pending the outcome of those cases.
After an exhausting up-and-down legal battle, the extension provides Haitians with the chance to once again breathe a sign of relief.
The Supreme Court has spoken.
Immigration officers can no longer place someone in immigration court hearings to face removal charges without telling them where and when to appear.
April 1, 1997.
The day IIRAIRA went into effect.
The day we entered the Age of Immigration Darkness.
A few weeks ago, President Biden signed an executive order mandating a comprehensive review of the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) programs for Afghan and Iraqi translators.
The announcement was overdue.
After risking their lives to help the United States, many loyal interpreters have been left stranded in an visa processing limbo and remain stuck in increasingly vulnerable living situations.
Immigration law has many quirky rules.
In some cases, this is because laws and customs in other countries do not match up with laws and customs in the United States.
Long condemned in the U.S., polygamy has been practiced in over 81% of societies across the world.
As a result, husbands and wives lawfully wedded abroad are often left behind when they seek permanent resident status.
The fundamental premise behind Temporary Protected Status is quite simple.
If the United States is truly the leader of the free world, it has a political obligation to lend a helping help to less fortunate nations.
Especially in their moments of crisis.
Like Syrian citizens who have escaped from a brutal civil war in their home country.
All that is gold does not glitter. Not even wedding rings, especially from second spouses.
Because marriages are one of the easier paths to winning permanent residence, they invite close immigration scrutiny.
An immigrant’s second marriage prompts extra caution. Besides assessing the authenticity of the current union, government officers probe the first marriage and divorce for indicators of marriage fraud.