President Obama, as part of his Executive Action on immigration, has announced an expansion of the immigrants who can apply for a provisional waiver of the 3-10 year bar for unlawful presence.
Q - What is a provisional waiver?
A - Many undocumented immigrants who are beneficiaries of a family petition are required to leave the U.S. in order to apply for permanent residence. Once they leave the U.S., they are barred for 3-10 years because they have been unlawfully present in the U.S. They can apply for a waiver or "pardon" of their unlawful residence, but in the past were required to do so once they had left the U.S. and had their interview at a consulate. This resulted in prolonged family separation while waiting for waivers to be approved.
The provisional waiver program was established in 2013 to allow spouses and children under 21 of U.S. citizens to apply for a waiver while in the U.S. ("stateside"), and to spend less time separated from their family members in the U.S. in order to apply for permanent residence.
In his memorandum dated November 20, 2014, Secretary Jeh Johnson instructed DHS to amend the 2013 regulation to expand the provisional waiver program to others eligible for immigrant visas and a waiver: spouses and children of permanent residents, and children over 21 of U.S. citizens.
Q - Who can apply?
A - Undocumented immigrants who have (1) an approved immigrant petition; (2) an immigrant visa immediately available; (3) a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse or parent who will experience "extreme hardship" if they are not allowed to remain in the U.S.
Secretary Johnson also instructed U.S.C.I.S. to clarify the factors that are considered in determining whether the "extreme hardship" standard has been met.
Q - When can I apply?
A - Spouses and minor children of U.S. Citizens can apply for a provisional waiver now.
Spouses and children of permanent residents and children over 21 of U.S. citizens must wait for the regulations to be revised by U.S.C.I.S. No deadline was given for the adoption of these new regulations.
NOTE: Parents are not included in the category of immigrants who can apply for a waiver of unlawful presence, and will not be included in the provisional waiver program.
Last night, President Obama announced that he is acting administratively to improve the immigration system. One of the changes will expand the number of people who can request deferred action.
Q - What is deferred action?
A - Permission to stay in the U.S. and obtain authorization to work legally. The grants of deferred action will be made for 3 years (an increase from the 2 years previously offered for DACA).
Q - Who can apply?
A - Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) will be revised to allow immigrants who came to the US prior to their 16th birthday and before 1/1/2010, to request DACA regardless of their age at the time that President Obama made the announcement. (Currently, those who were born before 6/15/1981 can not apply). Deferred Action for Parents (DAP) will allow immigrants who have U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident children to apply for deferred action.
Q - When can I apply?
A- Those newly eligible to apply for DACA will be able to apply in 90 days (Feb. 2015). Those eligible for DAP will be able to apply in 180 days (June 2015).
I will continue to monitor the developments on deferred action and let you know what I discover.
TRACImmigration reports that there has been a dramatic drop in the number of detainers issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to local, state and federal law enforcement officials.
This 39 percent decline translates into around 9,000 fewer ICE detainers issued each month, or more than 100,000 fewer a year.
Detainers, often called "immigration holds," have been a primary tool that ICE uses in order to detain and deport individuals it is seeking. These official ICE notices ask local, state and federal law enforcement agencies not to release suspected non-citizens held at their facilities in order to give ICE an opportunity to take them into its custody and initiate deportation steps.
Critics call interior arrests unlawful; agency might be curbing their use.
Most Texans probably think of the Border Patrol as doing what the agency’s name suggests: interrupting illegal activity along the line separating the U.S. from Mexico. Yet over the last decade, agents have regularly made arrests deep inside Texas, according to an American-Statesman investigation into the little-known realm of the Border Patrol’s interior enforcement operations.
Baylor Law School will offer free assistance to immigrants who qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and for those eligible to renew DACA.
When? September 23, 25, and 30 & October 2, 2014 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
What are some of DACA’s benefits?
Get a social security number
Be authorized for legal employment
Who qualifies? Immigrants who:
Were born on or after June 15, 1982;
Came to the U.S. before the age of 16;
Have continuously resided in the U.S. from June 15, 2007 to the present;
Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a GED, or have been honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or armed forces;
And have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or more than three misdemeanors.
When you contact us, our law students will help you determine if you qualify for DACA and our services. While our services are completely free, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services charges an application fee of $465. Translators will be available. Baylor Law School will not provide additional services after the scheduled clinics. We will help with DACA renewals.
WACO, Texas - Immigrant activists from all over Texas gathered Saturday, July 12th to protest the detention of immigrants in the Jack Harwell Detention Center in Waco, Texas.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) houses 250 detainees at Harwell. The majority of the detainees are young El Salvadoran men fleeing violence at home. They have been ordered removed without the opportunity to see an immigration judge or an officer who can evaluate their fear of returning to their country. They are held in Waco until travel papers are obtained from the El Salvadoran government so that they can be returned to El Salvador. They are civil immigration detainees without criminal charges or records.
Detainees at Harwell are not provided with meaningful access to legal assistance or information about how to make a claim for asylum. Activists provided materials in Spanish to the warden of Harwell providing information about the legal system, seeking medical care and asking that they be placed in the library for detainee use.
News coverage of the rally:
News Channel 25
The Visa Bulletin for August 2014 was released yesterday. All of the family categories from Mexico EXCEPT 2A (spouses and children of LPRs) moved forward at least 2 weeks. The F2A category for Mexico remained at March 15, 2011.
The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups sued the federal government Wednesday for its failure to provide legal representation to immigrant children in deportation proceedings.
The class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of eight immigrants — ages 10 to 17 — who the ACLU says have not been able to find a lawyer. But the complaint applies to the tens of thousands of unaccompanied children who have illegally crossed the Southwest border in recent years and have ended up in U.S. immigration court.
In this country, immigration courts, unlike criminal courts, do not provide lawyers for immigrants who are fighting deportation. This leads to remarkable scenes like the one that unfolded in Courtroom No. 4 in San Antonio last week.