Articles Posted in Executive Action on Immigration Reform

Lately there has been a push by the Obama administration and the USCIS to encourage and celebrate US citizenship. The USCIS launched a citizenship campaign to raise awareness about citizenship and education about the naturalization process. President Obama also utilized Citizenship Day, which occurred in September, to encourage legal permanent residents and those eligible for citizenship to start the naturalization process. The USCIS has also taken steps to ease the naturalization application process, which may help to speed the process for those seeking US citizenship. These pushes may be in an effort to increase the number of US citizens in time for the next presidential election.

us-flag-in-boston-1443856USCIS Launches Citizenship Public Education and Awareness Campaign

Part of Obama’s executive action for immigration reform established last November is to increase awareness and promote easy access to naturalization. To help meet these goal the USCIS has taken steps to promote citizenship. In July the USCIS launched a campaign to increase education and raise awareness about the importance of naturalization.

Also to make sure potential applicants are aware of their eligibility, the USCIS will begin electronically notifying lawful permanent residents who may be eligible to begin naturalization. A message will pop-up on the USICS website when the lawful permanent resident replaces or renews a green card which will notify the applicant that it may be time to apply for citizenship.

Obama Urges Lawful Permanent to Seek Naturalization

Only U.S. citizens will be allowed to elect the next US President. With the 2016 Presidential Election just around the corner, Obama has encouraged those eligible to become a citizen to begin the naturalization process. On September 17th, Citizenship Day, Obama released a video encouraging legal permanent resident to take the final step in the immigration process and become a US citizen.

The USCIS has made the naturalization process easier by allowing credit card payments for the naturalization fee. The USCIS will also expand mobile services to rural communities to boost access to its resources. This may ease the immigration process and increase the number of US citizens before the 2016 election.

According to the Department of Homeland Security over 700,000 persons were naturalized in 2013. With Obama’s urging to legal permanent residents to apply for citizenship and the steps taken by the USCIS to ease the naturalization process, it’s possible even more legal permanent residence will become citizens this year in time for the 2016 presidential election.

Naturalization Process

Naturalization is the process by which a person become a US citizen. A person can become a citizen at birth, derive citizenship through one’s parents or apply for naturalization. Generally those who apply for naturalization are required to take an English test and a test on US history and government. Once the naturalization process is complete the applicant is required to turn in the legal permanent resident card, if applicable. The new US citizen can then register to vote.

Contact

To discuss how to gain lawful permanent residence or how to apply for naturalization contact the Law Office of Sweta Khandelwal. Attorney Khandewal has over 10 years experience with immigration law and is conveniently located in the Silicon Valley.

Cited Sources:

USCIS Expands Efforts to Highlight Citizenship and Immigrant Integration, September 17, 2015

Department of States Alters Recently Modified Visa Bulletin

On September 9th the Department of Homeland Security released new updated changes to the visa bulletin. These changes modernized the visa system and moved up priority dates for those applying for adjustment of status. The revisions to the visa bulletin were part of President Obama’s plans to modernize the US immigration system. Obama’s proposed changes to modernize and streamline the immigration system were detailed in a White House report released back in July.

dessert-kids-1435079Just two weeks after the updated September 9th visa bulletin was released, the visa bulletin changed again on September 25th pushing back priority dates significantly. Those affected will have to wait years longer to file for adjustment of status than previous indicated by the visa bulletin released on September 9th.

Changes to Visa Bulletin Announced September 25, 2015

The Department of State pushed back the priority dates for those waiting to apply for a green card. Those affected will have to wait several years longer in some cases.

Those affected can be summarized as:

  • EB-2 China- Old priority date was May 1, 2014. New priority date January 1, 2013. This is a 1 year, 5 months difference.
  • EB-2 India- Old priority date was July 1, 2011. New priority date July 1, 2009. This is a 2 years difference.
  • EB-3 Philippines- Old priority date was January 1, 2015. New priority date January 1, 2010. This is a 5 years difference.
  • FB-1 Mexico- Old priority date was July 1, 1995. New priority date is April 1, 1995. This is a 3 months difference.
  • FB-3 Mexico- Old priority date was October 1, 1996. New priority date is May 1, 1995. This is a 1 year, 5 months difference.

What Does This Mean?

Those eligible to apply for green cards will now have to wait longer than previously projected just 2 weeks ago. Originally the changes to the visa bulletin would have allowed many immigrants to apply for green cards several years earlier. Now in some cases, those eligible will have to wait 5 years longer. Foreign nationals from China and India will face significantly longer waits, 1 years 5 months and 2 years longer respectively.This change will impact thousands of families living in the US, who planned to receive a green card much earlier.

Additionally these actions reflect an unfortunate step backwards for the US immigration system. For several years the visa bulletin needed updating to decrease the backlog of immigrants waiting to file for adjustment of status. Unfortunately when a change finally occurred that would have dramatically decreased the wait time and positively affected many immigrants and their families, the visa bulletin was quickly reverted back to the old system of long wait times.

Contact Us

To navigate the visa bulletin, determine correct filing dates or receive assistance filing for adjustment of status contact the Law Office of Sweta Khandelwal. Attorney Khandelwal can assist with employment-based or family-based visa applications. The Law Office of Sweta Khandelwal is located conveniently in the Silicon Valley.

 

Cited Sources:

DOS Publishes Updated Visa Bulletin for October 2015, September 25, 2015, USCIS

 

 

Part of the executive action announced by President Obama for immigration reform last November was a parole program for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are extremely valuable to American business and are responsible for many start up companies in the US. To make it easier for entrepreneurs to come to the businessman-with-the-notebook-1-1362246-mUS and set up businesses, parole could be extended to entrepreneurs who qualify.

The executive action called for an additional program specifically for entrepreneurs under the “significant public benefit” parole already in force. This benefit will allow immigrants to take part in the immigration system when it is established that the entrepreneur will bring a significant public benefit to the US. The new parole program for entrepreneurs will also be an option for inventors and researchers.

Although comprehensive details have not been fully laid out, the new program will allow the DHS to extend parole on case-by-case a basis to entrepreneurs who qualify. Eligible founders of start up businesses may include those who either:
(1) demonstrate substantial US investor financing or (2) otherwise show promise of innovation and job creation through the development of new technologies.

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L-1B classification was initially created by Congress to allow multinational

companies to easily transfer employers from foreign operations to intra-company

offices in the United States. To receive L-1B classification the applicant must work

abroad for the overseas arm of the US employer for one continuous year and

demonstrate that he has “specialized knowledge” in relation to the employer’s

people-at-work-4-37060-morganization. When Congress created this

classification, “specialized knowledge”

was not well defined. The lack of guidance on the

meaning of “specialized

knowledge” has led to many denials.

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Reforms are expected to be in place for undocumented foreign nationals  applying for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), and parents of United States Citizens or Legal Permanent Residences applying for DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents).  As with all immigration changes, it’s important to educate yourself and be aware of timelines, requirements for applying,  and the potential scams that often happen when such relief measures are announced

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DACA is an immigration policy available to certain people who came to the United States before the age of 16 and lived in the United States continuously for a certain period of time.  DACA stops removal proceedings against the individual and allows work authorization for those who qualify.

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Scam artists have always targeted immigrants but with the Obama Administration’s issuance of the new Executive Order scams could be on the rise. The immigration reform has caused much confusion among immigrant populations causing some families to dish out extra money to alleged immigration attorneys scamming them into believing their immigration status is at risk.brotherhood-at-sunset-2-1361206-m

Immigration problems are very serious and can provide significant stress on immigrant families. Scam artists understand how stressful immigration problems can be and prey on the weaknesses of vulnerable immigrants. Scam artists are also aware that immigrants are not likely to report scams out of fear of being deported, making immigrants even more vulnerable.

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President Obama’s “Immigration Accountability Executive Action” proposes several changes to the immigration system many of which could affect employment-based visas. The proposed changes could be good news for employees and employers by decreasing wait times for certain classifications, allowing spouses of H-1B visa holders to work and in some cases increasing the amount of time a employee can remain on his visa.

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The employment-based changes will affect green cards, H-4, L-1B, OPT and PERM classifications.

Ex
ecutive Action re Pre-Registration for Adjustment Cases
Main proposals:

  • Decrease wait time to file adjustment of status
  • Pre-register for green card and receive green card benefits while waiting for approval
  • Allow the temporary non-immigrant visa holder to change jobs while before green card is approved

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