Category Archives: Immigration News

NEW I-601 WAIVER PROCESS WILL BE EFFECTIVE ON MARCH 4 2013

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WASHINGTON—Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today announced the posting of a final rule in the Federal Register that reduces the time U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives (spouse, children and parents), who are in the process of obtaining visas to become lawful permanent residents of the United States under certain circumstances.

The final rule establishes a process that allows certain individuals to apply for a provisional unlawful presence waiver before they depart the United States to attend immigrant visa interviews in their countries of origin. The process will be effective on March 4, 2013 and more information about the filing process will be made available in the coming weeks at http://www.uscis.gov/.

“This final rule facilitates the legal immigration process and reduces the amount of time that U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives who are in the process of obtaining an immigrant visa,” said Secretary Napolitano. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) received more than 4,000 comments in response to the April 2, 2012 proposed rule and considered all of them in preparing the final rule. “The law is designed to avoid extreme hardship to U.S. citizens, which is precisely what this rule achieves,” USCIS Director Mayorkas said. “The change will have a significant impact on American families by greatly reducing the time family members are separated from those they rely upon.”

Under current law, immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who are not eligible to adjust status in the United States to become lawful permanent residents must leave the U.S. and obtain an immigrant visa abroad. Individuals who have accrued more than six months of unlawful presence while in the United States must obtain a waiver to overcome the unlawful presence inadmissibility bar before they can return to the United States after departing to obtain an immigrant visa. Under the existing waiver process, which remains available to those who do not qualify for the new process, immediate relatives cannot file a waiver application until after they have appeared for an immigrant visa interview abroad and the Department of State has determined that they are inadmissible. In order to obtain a provisional unlawful presence waiver, the applicant must be an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, inadmissible only on account of unlawful presence, and demonstrate the denial of the waiver would result in extreme hardship to his or her U.S. citizen spouse or parent.

USCIS will publish a new form, Form I-601A, Application for a Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver, for individuals to use when applying for a provisional unlawful presence waiver under the new process. Under the new provisional waiver process, immediate relatives must still depart the United States for the consular immigrant visa process; however, they can apply for a provisional waiver before they depart for their immigrant visa interview abroad. Individuals who file the Form I-601A must notify the Department of State’s National Visa Center that they are or will be seeking a provisional waiver from USCIS. The new process will reduce the amount of time U.S. citizen are separated from their qualifying immediate relatives.

Supreme Court Rules on Arizona’s Anti-Immigrant Law; Racial Profiling Provision Upheld for Now

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Supreme Court on Monday stroke down 3 out of 4 provisions of Arizona’s immigration enforcement law, but upheld the provision that requires local police to check the immigration status of anyone they have “reasonable suspicion” to believe is in the U.S. unlawfully. “This ruling is, on balance, encouraging, particularly because the court kept the doorContinue Reading

DHS ANNOUNCED THAT DEFERRED ACTION PROCESS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE WHO ARE LOW ENFORCEMENT PRIORITIES

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WASHINGTON— Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today announced that effective immediately, certain young people who were brought to the United States as young children, do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria will be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering intoContinue Reading

U.S. Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China Remarks Announcing New Interview Waiver Pilot Program

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U.S. ambassador in China announced today that since February 13, 2012, the United States will lauch a new pilot program that permits consular officers to waive interviews for some qualified nonimmigrant applicants worldwide who are renewing their visa within 48 months of the expiration of their previously held visa, and within the same classification as theContinue Reading

Obama’s 05-10-11 Remarks on Immigration Reform

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In a sweeping seech in El Paso, Texas, on Tuesday, President Obama rallied voters to unite in support of comprehensive immigration reform – a longstanding campaign promise on which he has yet to deliver. While immigration rights activists largely approved of the sentiment behind the gesture, many argue that more action must be taken –Continue Reading

US Labor Department announces protocols for certifying U visa applications

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor announced protocols to complete the portion of the U visa nonimmigrant status application requiring certification by a law enforcement agency that the applicant is a victim of a qualifying crime and willing to cooperate with law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of that crime. U visas, asContinue Reading

USCIS Reaches FY 2011 H-1B Cap

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WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap for fiscal year (FY) 2011. USCIS is notifying the public that yesterday, Jan. 26, 2011, is the final receipt date for new H-1B specialty occupation petitions requesting an employment start date inContinue Reading

New Application and Petition Fees Go Into Effect on Nov. 23, 2010

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WASHINGTON - U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reminds customers that its new fee schedule goes into effect Nov. 23, 2010.  Applications or petitions postmarked or otherwise filed on or after this date must include the new fee, or they will be rejected. The new fee schedule increases application and petition fees by an average of aboutContinue Reading

USCIS Implements H-1B/L-1 Filing Fee Increase

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WASHINGTON—On Aug. 13, 2010, President Obama signed into law Public Law 111-230, which contains provisions to increase certain H-1B and L-1 petition fees. Effective immediately, Public Law 111-230 requires the submission of an additional fee of $2,000 for certain H-1B petitions and $2,250 for certain L-1A and L-1B petitions postmarked on or after Aug. 14,Continue Reading

23 Arrested in New York Following Major Worksite Investigation

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NEW YORK – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) announced today charges against 26 individuals for operating an international alien smuggling ring, 23 of whom were taken in custody. The defendants allegedly participated in various facets of the alien smuggling industry, including: transportation of illegal aliens from China toContinue Reading