On March 9, 2017, Attorney Ahmad Yakzan was honored by appearing on the Consumer Quarterback Show. He discussed several immigration related subjects ranging from President Trump’s Executive Order, to the new enforcement priorities, and investment visas. He also spoke about immigration reform and the need for the United States to attract the best and brightest. To see the show, click below.
Silver Spring, MD— Resources from the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), including the Educators’ Back to School Toolkit, are featured in a new guide released Oct. 20 by the U.S. Department of Education, aimed at helping educators support undocumented students.
“Resource Guide: Supporting Undocumented Youth,” is the first of two such booklets planned by the federal agency to focus on the needs of undocumented young people. It compiles basic legal information along with background material from a variety of sources and suggests resources for helping high school and college students succeed. A second guide, scheduled for release in 2016, will focus on children at the elementary and early learning levels.
The 63-page guide includes:
- An overview of the rights of undocumented students;
- Legal guidelines for educators;
- Tips for teachers and other school personnel for supporting undocumented youth;
- Information on access to federal financial aid for noncitizens;
- A list of private scholarships for which undocumented youth might be eligible;
- Information on federally-funded adult education programs at the local level;
- Guidance for students and young adults in obtaining their school records for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program.
In addition to CLINIC’s toolkit, the guide features a link to CLINIC’s webinar for educators. All of CLINIC’s resources on DACA can be found here.
“Teachers and school personnel around the country will benefit from having material in one place that can reliably direct them in helping immigrants in their communities,” Jeanne Atkinson, CLINIC Executive Director said. “CLINIC is pleased that the Education Department collaborated with us and others who have hands-on experience in the advocacy community to create this important resource for educators. We look forward to continuing this kind of engagement and outreach to the immigrant community.”
Source: Catholic Charities
USCIS to Close the Vienna Field Office on Dec. 31, 2015
USCIS will permanently close its field office in Vienna, Austria, on Dec. 31, 2015. The last day the office will be open to the public and accepting applications is Nov. 30, 2015. The USCIS field offices in Frankfurt, Rome and Athens will assume Vienna’s former jurisdiction, which includes Austria, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Kosovo, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia. The U.S. Embassy in Vienna will assume responsibility for certain limited services previously provided by USCIS to individuals residing in Austria.
The new jurisdictional breakdown for countries in USCIS Vienna’s former jurisdiction will be as follows:
|If you are in:||You will be in the following USCIS field office’s jurisdiction as of Jan. 1, 2016:|
|Austria, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia||USCIS Frankfurt Field Office|
|Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia||USCIS Rome Field Office|
|Albania, Bulgaria, Romania||USCIS Athens Field Office|
Beginning on Dec. 1, 2015, individuals who live in Austria, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, or Slovenia must follow these filing instructions:
|Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative||
File your petition by mail with the lockbox facility in Chicago. You can find additional filing information on the Form I-130 Web page.
USCIS may authorize the Department of State to accept a petition filed with a U.S. Embassy in some limited circumstances.
|Form I-407, Record of Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status||Form I-407 may be submitted by mail to the appropriate USCIS field office according to the jurisdictional table above. In addition, the U.S. Embassy Consular Section in the country in which you reside will assume responsibility for the processing of in-person applications.|
|Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative||The U.S. Embassy Vienna Consular Section will process petitions filed in Austria. You can find additional filing options on the Form I-600 Web page.|
|Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition||If you are a prospective adoptive parent living abroad, you may file Form I-600A with the USCIS office with jurisdiction over the country in which you reside. For additional information, see the appropriate USCIS field office website according to the jurisdictional table above.|
|Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition||
All petitions must be filed with either the Nebraska or Texas Service Center depending on where the petitioner lives in the United States.
For beneficiary interviews/processing, contact the U.S. Embassy Consular Section in the country where the beneficiary resides.
|Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility||The filing location depends on the immigration benefit you are seeking. Please see the Form I-601Web page for important filing information.|
|Form I-212, Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States After Deportation or Removal||The filing location depends on the immigration benefit you are seeking. Please see the Form I-212 Web page for important filing information.|
|Form N-400, Application for Naturalization||If you are a member of the U.S. military and are stationed overseas, you and your spouse may file with the USCIS office with jurisdiction over the country in which you reside. For additional information, see the appropriate USCIS field office website according to the jurisdictional table above.|
Effective immediately, if you live in USCIS Vienna’s jurisdiction you must follow these instructions if you need to request a boarding foil because your Permanent Resident Card has been lost or stolen:
|Form I-551, Boarding Foil for those with Lost or Stolen Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)||Contact the U.S. Embassy consular section with jurisdiction over the location where you are traveling.|
General information about the U.S. Embassy in Vienna is available on the Embassy website. You may also contact the Embassy by calling 011 (43-1) 31339-0 or by mailing:
American Embassy Austria
For more information on the services USCIS provides, please contact the appropriate USCIS field office in Frankfurt, Rome or Athens, according to the jurisdictional assignments noted in the chart above.
For more information on USCIS and its programs, visit www.uscis.gov.
USCIS reminds the sheepherding industry of the upcoming expiration of the one-time accommodation giving them more time to fully transition to the three-year limitation-of-stay requirements for the H-2A nonimmigrant classification.
USCIS announced its limitation-of-stay requirements under a final rule that became effective on Jan. 17, 2009.
The agency granted a one-time accommodation for sheepherders in H-2A status in December 2009 in deference to their industry’s prior exemption from the three-year limitation. This exemption did not impact other H-2A categories.
Time spent as an H-2A sheepherder before the final rule became effective has not been counted toward the three-year maximum period of stay. Instead, USCIS started the clock on Jan. 17, 2009, for H-2A sheepherders lawfully present in the United States on that date.
All H-2A nonimmigrant workers, including sheepherders, are subject to a three-month departure requirement once they have been in the United States in H-2A status for the maximum three-year period. For example, H-2A sheepherders present in the U.S. on Jan. 17, 2009, must depart by Jan. 16, 2012, and remain outside the country for at least three months before being granted H-2A classification again.
The H-2A program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs.
For more information on the H-2A visa program and current processing times for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, visit www.uscis.gov or call USCIS’s National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283.
On Oct. 19, 2011, a USCIS Update was issued announcing processing improvements for certain naturalization and citizenship forms. USCIS has centralized intake of Forms N-336, N-600 and N-600K to the Phoenix Lockbox facility. The Dallas Lockbox facility will handle the Form N-300. This change streamlines the way forms are processed, accelerates the collection and deposit of fees and improves the consistency of our intake process.
This is a reminder that impacted forms received at local and district offices after Dec. 2, 2011, will no longer be forwarded to the appropriate USCIS Lockbox facility. Beginning Dec. 5, impacted forms received locally will be returned to the individual with instructions on how to re-file at a designated USCIS Lockbox facility.
USCIS has updated the information on our N-Form Web pages regarding filing forms at a Lockbox to clearly identify this change in procedure. Please carefully read the form instructions before filing your form to ensure that you are filing the correct form type and edition at the correct location.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today the availability of a competitive grant opportunity designed to promote immigrant civic integration and prepare permanent residents for citizenship. This year’s program will offer approximately $5 million in funding for citizenship preparation programs in communities across the country.
Through this grant opportunity, USCIS seeks to expand the availability of high-quality citizenship preparation services. Organizations selected to receive funding will offer both citizenship instruction and naturalization application services to permanent residents. USCIS expects to announce an estimated 31 award recipients in September 2012.
Since the creation of the Citizenship and Integration Grant Program in fiscal year (FY) 2009, USCIS has awarded a total of $18.3 million through 111 grants to immigrant-serving organizations, which have provided citizenship preparation services to more than 28,000 permanent residents in 30 states and the District of Columbia.
To apply for this funding opportunity, visit www.grants.gov. Applications are due by May 7, 2012. USCIS encourages applicants to visit www.grants.gov in advance of this deadline in order to obtain registration information needed to complete the application process.
We know immigrants are coming to the Southeast. But who are they, and from where are they coming? Seven of the nine U.S. states in which the Latino population more than doubled between 2000 and 2010 are in the Southeast region. Over one-third come from Mexico. Most immigrants are undocumented and of the undocumented, most are Latino (76.2%). As the numbers clearly show, Hispanics constitute the largest ethnic immigrant group in the Southeast. Yet Latinos in the Southeast have been doing more than transform the statistics: socially, culturally, and economically, the mass migration of Latinos over the course of the past two decades has profoundly transformed Southeastern society.
During the 1990s, the Southeast became one of the fastest growing regions in America, resulting in economic progress and new job creation in a variety of industries. At the same time, employers in some industries , such as food processing, faced increasing challenges to fill positions with local workers and, therefore, began recruiting immigrant workers. Combined, the region and its economy magnetically attracted immigrants. Not surprisingly, immigrants coming to the Southeast and other new-destination states were more likely than immigrants elsewhere to be of working age (the median age being 27), able to pick up their lives and move northward. These immigrants were also more likely to be male but, over time, many wives joined their husbands with children and other family members north of the border. The emergence of this Latino community in the Southeast quickly became apparent throughout suburbs and cities, in the form of everything from tiendas, selling popular Latin sweets and Spanish-language newspapers, to radio programs, playing popular Latin music. Adult Latino immigrants make up a significant part of the manufacturing, service, and construction sectors. The Latino school-age population in the Southeast grew by 322% between 1990 and 2000, which has put pressure on local officials and governments to meet and provide the social service needs for these children and their families. In Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia, Latinos now make up one out of every twelve voters.
As a result of the region’s minimal pre-existing infrastructure of Spanish-language institutions and lawmakers with little experience dealing with new, growing immigrant communities, an abundance of policies and legislation have been enacted—though often not in favor of the immigrant. Check back next week to find out more about societal changes in the Southeast and wide-spread immigrant-restrictionist sentiment.
*Lorenza Ramirez is FirstGen Fellow with the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC)
Source: Catholic Charities
USCIS offers immigration relief measures that may help people affected by unforeseen circumstances, such as disasters like the recent severe flooding in South Carolina.
These measures may be available upon request:
- Change or extension of nonimmigrant status for an individual currently in the United States, even if the request is filed after the authorized period of admission has expired.
- Re-parole of individuals previously granted parole by USCIS.
- Expedited processing of advance parole requests.
- Expedited adjudication of requests for off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship.
- Expedited adjudication of employment authorization applications, where appropriate.
- Consideration of fee waivers due to an inability to pay.
- Assistance for those who received a Request for Evidence or a Notice of Intent to Deny but were unable to appear for an interview, submit evidence or respond in a timely manner.
- Replacing lost or damaged immigration or travel documents issued by USCIS, such as a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card).
- Rescheduling of scheduled biometrics appointment.
Note: When making a request, explain how the flooding created a need for the requested relief.
To learn how to request these measures, call the National Customer Service Center at 800-375-5283 (TDD for the deaf and hard of hearing: 800-767-1833). For more information, visit uscis.gov/humanitarian/special-situations.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) honored U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel as law enforcement heroes Oct. 13 for their success in fighting against war criminals. The ADL SHIELD award specifically recognized the work of personnel from the ICE’s Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center (HRVWCC), ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C., field office, and the Department of Justice in the case of Almaz Nezirovic, 56, a former guard at the Rabic Prison Camp in the Derventa Municipality of Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Bosnian War.
Nezirovic was wanted by Bosnian authorities for committing war crimes between April and July 1992, against unarmed Serb civilian prisoners by beating, humiliating and traumatizing them, causing severe personal injuries. The Center and HSI special agents initiated an investigation after locating Nezirovic in Roanoke, Virginia, based on information developed during HRVWCC research and supplementary evidence received from the Bosnian prosecutor’s office in Sarajevo. In pursuit of the case, HSI and HRVWCC personnel conducted numerous witness interviews in Bosnia, which substantiated the charges. These efforts led to Nezirovic’s extradition to Bosnia in July 2015.
“ICE is honored that several of its personnel were recognized by the ADL as SHIELD Award recipients for their work in the Nezirovic case,” said Peter T. Edge, Executive Associate Director of HSI. “The United States will not be a safe haven to those who commit human rights abuses. Our special agents, historians, analysts, and attorneys will continue to pursue these cases to ensure that justice is served.”
The SHIELD Award honors those who have protected our nation and its values and recognizes law enforcement professionals for their service, honor, integrity, excellence, leadership and dedication. The 2015 SHIELD Awards were presented at the National Press Club in Washington, DC to: Historian Michael C. MacQueen, of the ICE HRVWCC, Special Agent Michael Tarantino of HSI Washington, D.C., and Assistant Chief Counsel Sarah Harrold of the ICE Office of the Principal Legal Advisor, as well as to Timothy Heaphy, former U.S. Attorney with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Wright of the same office.
The ADL began the annual SHIELD Awards program in 2010 to recognize law enforcement for major achievements in the fight against hate crimes as well as domestic and international terrorism, and for protecting civil rights.
“The Awards are a way for us to honor and express our appreciation to those who have protected our nation and its values and guarded our lives and freedom,” said Elise Jarvis, ADL’s Associate Director for Law Enforcement Outreach and Communal Security.
The HRVWCC investigates human rights violators who try to evade justice by seeking shelter in the United States, including those who have participated in war crimes and acts of genocide, torture, the use of child soldiers and extrajudicial killings.
Since fiscal year 2004, ICE has arrested 296 individuals for human rights-related violations under various criminal and/or immigration statutes. During that same period, ICE obtained deportation orders and physically removed more than 740 known or suspected human rights violators from the United States. Currently, ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations has more than 140 active investigations into suspected human rights violators and is pursuing more than 1,800 leads and removal cases involving suspected human rights violators from 97 different countries.
More information can be found on the Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center web page. Additionally, members of the public who have information about foreign nationals suspected of engaging in human rights abuses or war crimes are urged to contact ICE by calling the toll-free HSI Tip Line at 1-866-347-2423 or internationally at 001-1802-872-6199. They can also email HRV.ICE@ice.dhs.gov or complete the HSI online tip form at www.ice.gov/tips.
Twenty-eight years ago my mother fled her home in Nicaragua, a country embroiled in civil war. For years, her life and that of her family had been ravaged by a country with corrupt government officials and oppressed by a rebel group that brought nothing but violence to civilians like my parents. My mother saw family members and friends killed or forced to fight for a cause they did not believe in. At one point, she was taken hostage and held at gunpoint by militant groups and forced to drop out of school. After my brother was born, my mother decided to make her way to the United States in search of a better life. Four months ago, my mother became a naturalized citizen. Although undocumented for years, she was able to work and provide my brother and me with a safe home, education, and the resources to succeed.
My mother is the reason I wanted to go to the Family Detention Center in Dilley, Texas as a volunteer with the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Representation and Advocacy Project. Had my mom been an asylum-seeking immigrant today, she would be in the same situation as the women I encountered in the detention center.
Each woman was there because she had a fear of returning to her country of origin and it was our job, as volunteers, to discover that reason. An important task that the volunteers were charged with was preparing the mothers for their Credible Fear Interviews with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). During these preparations, I heard first-hand accounts as to why these mothers fled their country. The reasons varied from gang violence, death threats, sexual harassment, and vicious domestic violence. One woman had her entire house burned to the ground by a gang. The life of her child was threatened unless she fled the country at once. Another woman recounted the multiple times her husband abused her, meanwhile, her daughter listened and sobbed uncontrollably while her son tried to fight back the tears at recalling the painful memories.
The most difficult aspect of volunteering in Dilley was undoubtedly the emotional toll of seeing and hearing the experiences of these women and children. What is even more heartbreaking is seeing their current conditions in the detention centers, where the haven they dreamed of is nothing but a desert wasteland. Although I witnessed a lot of sadness during my time in Dilley, I feel blessed to have experienced incredible high points as well. I made a difference. When a detainee recounted the pain of persecution, I did my best to console them. I comforted the women with my words and tried to boost the confidence of their children.
These moments were what made every long hour worthwhile. Moreover, the volunteers during my week were an incredibly kind group of experts. I am happy to say these people became my friends. If asked if I would volunteer with the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Representation and Advocacy Project again, I would absolutely say yes.
I am thankful every day that my mother made the decision to leave her country in search of a better life. I know that one day, when these children grow up and realize the sacrifices their families have made, they too will be grateful.
*Ashlynn Planco is Legalization Administrative Assistant for the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC)
Source: Catholic Charities