Articles by CLINIC

Spring 2016 marked the one-year anniversary of the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project with some impressive data to add a bit of hope to the still steady flow of immigrants across the border. The project’s one-year statistics paint a powerful picture of the work being done by volunteers and the limited formal staff at CARA.

Miguel Naranjo, director of CLINIC’s Religious Immigration Service, has written a short analysis of the implications of the State Department’s May Visa Bulletin, released on April 12. 

International religious workers in the U.S. and abroad who are in the process of applying for permanent residence may experience significant case processing delays in the next several months, according to the State Department’s Visa Bulletin for May 2016.

CLINIC’s Training and Legal Support staff has written a short analysis of the potential implications for your clients of the State Department’s May Visa Bulletin, released on April 12.

The State Department’s May Visa Bulletin gives a “final action date” of Jan. 1, 2010, in the EB-4 category for applicants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

N-400 (Application for Naturalization Form)

The Obama Administration appealed the 5th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals ruling from Texas v. U.S. to the Supreme Court on November 20, 2015. The Supreme Court announced on January 19th, that it will take up the case which will likely be argued in April and decided by the last week in June. While the outcome of the case is pending, CLINIC recommends that qualified legal immigration practitioners continue client screenings to assist those eligible for other immigration benefits. Please see CLINIC’s useful timeline on the President’s Executive Action on Immigration

From January 2- 4, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) conducted enforcement actions targeting immigrants who arrived to the United States after January 1, 2014, and had final orders of removal. DHS picked up 121 individuals in local communities in Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas. CLINIC responded to these action by writing a a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, condemning the targeting of Central American women and children and urging an end to the practice, putting together a a backgrounder explaining the recent actions and what to do in your community, and, through its partnership with the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project, help receive stays of deportation from the Board of Immigration Appeals in twelve cases, affecting thirty-three women and children. CLINIC continues to monitor this issue and will appreciate hearing what is occurring in your community.

Calling USCIS’s National Customer Service Center (NCSC) can be time consuming. Here are some tips, for CLINIC affiliates only, on making your communications with the NCSC productive.

CLINIC’s team regularly meets with the DHS, USCIS, ICE, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and other related agencies to address problems faced by low-income immigrants and their representatives by resolving policy issues. As opportunities arise, CLINIC facilitates public engagement with key agencies. 

Read updates on: Fee Waivers (Form I-912), Expansion of the Provisional Waiver Program, Board of Immigration Appeals Recognition & Accreditation, USCIS Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, Draft Extreme Hardship Policy Guidance for Waiver Applications.

In connection with the State of Texas v. U.S. litigation, USCIS began recalling over 2,600 grants of Deferred Action Childhood Arrival (DACA) and work authorization in May 2015. USCIS increased its recall efforts dramatically following a Court Order issued on July 7. CLINIC officially registered its opposition to the recall and any resulting terminations. CLINIC worked closely with affiliates to support, advise, and assist them and their clients to understand and take necessary actions as well as to responsibly spread the word in the community. CLINIC and its affiliate efforts helped result in 99.2 percent compliance with the recall. Of the 22 terminations of status issued, 12 were reinstated.

Despite continued efforts by advocates, the government’s practice of detaining immigrant mothers and their children continues. CLINIC has been especially active in the national fight to eliminate large scale family detention centers. In late March 2015, CLINIC partnered with four other networks to form the CARA Pro Bono Project.Through this project CLINIC has been providing legal services for detained families while leading advocacy and litigation efforts to challenge unlawful asylum, detention, and deportation policies.

The October Visa Bulletin contains an important change in the timing of when family- and employment-based immigrant visa applicants can apply for adjustment of status.

On September 16, 2015, EOIR also released two final regulations relating to R&A. The first rule changed the regulation relating to appearances before the agency to allow for separate appearances in bond proceedings and other proceedings conducted by EOIR.

The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) has proposed significant changes in the standards and procedure for obtaining agency recognition and staff accreditation (R&A) from the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).

On July 6, 2015, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland issued the first reported decision in Maryland, In re: Dany G., confirming once and for all the standard of neglect applicable to cases seeking a Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) factual predicate order.

In August 2014, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reached an important class action settlement with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) over unlawful and coercive voluntary returns, a form of deportation carried out by ICE or CBP without a hearing before an immigration judge.

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced a series of reforms modifying immigration policy (“Executive Action”). On the same day DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson issued agency-wide memoranda providing specific and more detailed information regarding the proposed changes. One of these memos concerned the agency’s plans to expand eligibility for the provisional waiver for unlawful presence.

On July 24, 2015, Judge Dolly Gee of the United States District Court for the Central District of California issued a long-awaited decision applying the Flores Settlement Agreement of 1997 to the minors currently detained in Dilley and Karnes City, Texas, and in Leesport, Pennsylvania.

The response of the Catholic Church to the continued arrival of Central American children and families seeking protection in the United States has been tremendous.

The BIA has held that an adoption is valid for immigration purposes – even if the child has turned 16 at the time of the final order – if the state court has allowed the order to be backdated.

The laws regarding acquisition and derivation of citizenship have changed frequently over the years, resulting in different requirements that must be satisfied in order for a U.S. citizen to pass citizenship on to children born abroad.

The USCIS published a proposed rule in the Federal register on July 22, 2015 that would expand the current provisional waiver program in two significant ways. The agency is allowing the public 60 days to comment on the proposed regulatory change.

During July, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) undertook a number of extraordinary actions to urgently retrieve approximately 2,600 three-year work permits it claims were erroneously issued or mailed to recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and to replace them with two-year permits.

The non-minister permanent residence program that includes religious brothers and sisters (religious vocations) and other non-minister religious positions (religious occupations) is scheduled to expire on 09/30/2015 unless it is renewed by Congress. If past experience is an indicator, we have every reason to believe that the program will be extended as it has been renewed several times.

On July 5, 2015, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) issued a policy memo declaring that the “lawful status” requirements of the immigrant regulations for religious workers would no longer be considered when adjudicating the I-360 immigrant petition. In addition, USCIS will amend Title 8 CFR Sec. 204.5(m)(4) and (11) and remove the lawful status requirements from the immigrant regulations for religious workers. Prior to this change, to be eligible for permanent residence a religious worker needed to demonstrate that he/she had at least two years of experience (as a religious worker) and if that experience was gained in the U.S., the religious worker must have shown that he/she maintained lawful status (and work authorization) during that time. With this announcement, the lawful status requirement is eliminated and USCIS will not deny religious worker I-360 petitions on this basis.

An important part of the immigration process of sponsoring international religious workers to the U.S. involves a site visit from USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services). This is required per the immigration regulations and is used to verify the elements of the petition filed by the sponsor (including sponsor and beneficiary information, work location, etc.). These site visits may occur with advance notice or without any notice at all. Also, a successful site visit is a prerequisite for the sponsor’s ability to file I-129 petitions for nonimmigrant religious workers via premium processing.

The USCIS published a proposed rule in the Federal register on July 22, 2015 that would expand the current provisional waiver program in two significant ways. The agency is allowing the public 60 days to comment on the proposed regulatory change. The provisional waiver program is currently open only to immediate relatives who, upon leaving the United States to consular process, will trigger the three- or ten-year bar for unlawful presence.

Learn more about what's happening with DACA, sample this month's question corner, and find out who's now accredited. We also spotlight our affiliate Su Casa Hispanic Center.

By Jen Riddle and Jill Bussey

This month marks the 3-year anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Since DACA launched in 2012, over 664,000 individuals have been granted temporary reprieve from deportation and a work permit.  All 50 states now permit DACA recipients to apply for driver’s licenses, following policy reversals in Nebraska and Arizona due to legislative action (in NE) and litigation (in AZ). 

On Tuesday, May 26, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the government’s request for an emergency stay of the injunction issued by a Brownsville judge in February.  That injunction stopped implementation of the expanded DACA and the DAPA programs that were already set to begin. The district court found that the plaintiffs – 26 states – had standing to bring the lawsuit and it found that the government had violated the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) in failing to publish regulations before implementing the programs.

CENTER FOR IMMIGRANT INTEGRATION

By Louise Maria Puck, Intern

CLINIC’s new Center for Immigrant Integration seeks to encourage and facilitate the development of immigrant integration initiatives throughout its network through the creation of resources and trainings and through the dissemination of best practices currently present in CLINIC affiliate agencies.

 

By Ilissa Mira

Unlawful voting has serious consequences for noncitizens.  The BIA confirmed this in a precedent decision finding that a noncitizen is removable under INA § 237(a)(6)(A), regardless of whether the alien knew that he or she was unlawfully voting in violation of 18 USC § 611(a).  Matter of Fitzpatrick, 26 I&N Dec. 559 (BIA 2015).

Find out about the five most common mistakes individuals make when completing the I-8644, check out the Center for Immigrant Integration's updates for the month, and learn more about Project Hope - Proyecto Esperanza in our affiliate spotlight.

Marta is an LPR who is married with three children.  She is eligible to naturalize, but wants to know whether to proceed. She filed an I-130 petition for her husband, Pablo, and named their three children as derivatives.  The I-130 was filed on November 12, 2010 and was approved on April 13, 2011.  The F-2A priority date became current in September 2013, and everyone filed for an immigrant visa within one year. The eldest child, Diana, was born on November 24, 1992.

Carlos Jovany Medina-Rosales is an LPR who obtained his residency through adjustment of status in 2001.  Twelve years later, in 2013, he was convicted of grand larceny and was placed in removal proceedings in Tulsa, OK, charged with deportability for an aggravated felony offense.   Conceding the charge, Mr. Medina-Rosales sought to re-adjust, and to waive his inadmissibility under INA § 212(h). The immigration judge, however, found him ineligible for relief based on the Board's decision in In re Rodriguez, 25 I&N Dec.

By Susan Schreiber

When you read the words "marriage fraud,” you probably think of a marriage entered into for purposes of obtaining an immigration benefit.  Such marriages, among other things, trigger  INA § 204(c) consequences,  i.e. a bar against petition approval where the  beneficiary has previously sought status  based on a fraudulent marriage or "has attempted  or conspired to enter into a marriage for the purpose of evading immigration laws."

The DOS has amended the Foreign Affairs Manual to clarify that children under the age of 15 cannot act “willfully” and therefore cannot be found inadmissible for committing fraud or misrepresentation pursuant to INA § 212(a)(6)(C)(i). 9 FAM 40.63 N5.3 Minors. For aliens between the ages of 15 to 16, the consular officer will need to determine if the child was acting at the direction of an adult or whether the child was acting on their own. Aliens aged 17 and over are presumed to act willfully unless they can establish a lack of knowledge or capacity.

The DOS has recently announced that it will start a pilot program involving persons applying for an immigrant visa at the U.S. consulates in Cd. Juarez, Mexico (CDJ) and Montreal, Canada.  The National Visa Center will be conducting its standard review of the forms and documents submitted by the applicant, including a review of the affidavit of support, civil documents, and police certificates.  If a case file is incomplete or lacks proper documentation, the NVC will send a checklist to the petitioner or designated agent indicating what changes are needed.

The Department of State (DOS) recently confirmed that it will accept payment of the immigrant visa fee as satisfying the one-year filing requirement under the Child Status Protection Act.  In order for a child in the preference category to retain the “under 21” age status, and thus remain in the F-2A or derivative category, he or she must has “sought to acquire the status of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence within one year of such availability.”  INA § 203(h)(1)(A).  The USCIS and DOS have consistently held that this could only be satisfied by filing one of three forms: a

By Jeff Chenoweth

Across the country CLINIC and its 260-plus affiliates strive to welcome newcomers who seek to reunite with long-separated family members, work for fair wages with dignity, and find legal protections in the United States from persecution in their countries of origin. Helping our country, state, or local community to be welcoming to immigrants isn’t always easy, but it is the right thing to do. Indiana is a case in point.

On February 20, 2015 the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia responded to the desperate pleas of detained Central American women and their children. The women had been found to have a credible fear of future persecution by an Asylum Officer or the Immigration Judge yet they remained detained on account of the U.S. government’s national security-based deterrence strategy of sending a message to other women and children considering fleeing to the United States for safety.

By: Megan S. Turngren

RIS Attorney

 

At this time of the year, many of our clients are searching for supply priests to help with additional coverage during the summer months.  With many clergy members planning vacations, there is always a need for additional help between May and September.  However, it is always important to consider the immigration consequences of hiring foreign-born priests for even a short period of time.

 

On Monday, March 9, 2015 CLINIC hosted its annual Board Breakfast at the Silver Spring Office.  In celebration of the Year of Consecrated Life, the Religious Immigration Services Section invited a few of our local clients to meet with the members of CLINIC’s Board and CLINIC Staff.  The breakfast was a success, with all CLINIC Staff, eight Board members, and twenty RIS guests in attendance.  The breakfast was followed by a presentation given by RIS Director, Miguel Naranjo, about the work of RIS and also the work of CLINIC as a whole. 

By Tessa W. McKenzie

Our commitment to supporting newcomers is personal and at CLINIC, we are inspired by friends who have overcome numerous obstacles to become naturalized US citizens.  Saba Hailu is one such friend, who journeyed from aspiring citizen to new American.  Saba’s determination strengthens our resolve to ensure that the foreign-born have access to opportunities for citizenship and civic participation.

By Jen Riddle

This month, USCIS published revised versions of Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative, and the accompanying instructions. Beginning on April 13, 2015, all applicants and representatives must submit the new version of the G-28 form (edition date: 3/5/2015). 

By Martin Gauto

On March 4, 2015, the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law (CHRCL) and Public Counsel (both based in Los Angeles) reached an important agreement with the DHS that allows certain applicants for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) and SIJS-based adjustment of status to request that the USCIS reopen their cases. Perez-Olano v. Holder, Case No. CV 05-3604 (C.D. Cal. 2005).  SIJS is an immigration benefit that allows children who have been the victims of abuse, abandonment or neglect to become lawful permanent residents.

Document Production

Q.  Can you please clarify whether refugees, because they are statutorily exempt from having to pay the I-485 filing fees, are eligible to file an I-131 and/or I-765 at no additional charge when filed concurrently with an I-485 application to adjust status? Please also clarify whether a refugee may file an I-131 or I-765 at no additional charge after the I-485 initial filing, but while the I-485 remains pending.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) had planned to begin accepting applications for the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on February 18, 2015 and for the new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program on May 19, 2015. Unfortunately, DHS has delayed the launch of both expanded DACA and DAPA due to a federal court decision temporarily halting their implementation.

By Martin Gauto

One of CLINIC’s core functions is to boost legal capacity in underserved areas in the United States. An area experiencing a severe shortage in low-cost, professional immigration legal service providers is the Inland Empire (or the “IE” as it is known) region of Southern California.  It is home to over one million foreign-born persons. Fortunately, Training Occupational Development Education Communities (TODEC) is a service provider assisting newcomers with quality, charitable legal help in the IE.

By Sarah Bronstein

On January 8, 2015, the Board of Immigration Appeals issued a decision in Matter of O.A. Hernandez, 26 I&N Dec. 464 (BIA 2015), finding that the offense of “deadly conduct” under the Texas Penal Code is a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT).  The analysis of CIMTs is an area of the law that has evolved significantly in the last few years.  This decision gives us one more indication of how the Board of Immigration Appeals is viewing CIMTs.

By Minyoung Ohm

RIS Attorney

 

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced executive actions to change immigration policy.  One of these reforms will expand the existing “parole in place” program for the spouses, children, and parents of members of the U.S. Armed Forces.  That program was officially recognized and implemented by a November 15, 2013 memo that described eligibility and filing procedures for parole in place.  This FAQ summarizes that memo and the proposed expansion.

What is parole in place? 

By Tessa McKenzie

CLINIC values the dedication and commitment to service demonstrated by our affiliate agencies in their work with their communities. We wish to highlight outstanding individual agency staff in a series of profiles appearing monthly.

 

Ryan Patterson

Assistant Director

CLINIC has accepted a new subscriber, UNO Federation Community Services, Inc. in Clearwater, Florida. Ralph A. Emmanuelli, Executive Director lists staff William Sanchez and Luiz Irizarry.

CLINIC congratulates program staff and member agencies on receiving BIA accreditation and agency recognition.   

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Monterey, San Luis Obispo, California, received agency recognition from the Board of Immigration Appeals Recognition and staff Alondra Ortiz  received partial accreditation  on 11-25-14.

Question:

You just agreed to represent an F-2A beneficiary in her application for residency through consular processing.  You learn that she has a 20-year-old unmarried daughter who wants to immigrate as a derivative beneficiary. The priority date is current – in fact it's been current for almost two years.  The daughter will turn 21 in February.  Do you have any reason to worry about her aging-out, as long as she starts the consular processing in her case before her 21st birthday?

 

 

By Ilissa Mira

By Susan Schreiber

CLINIC held its annual two-day family-based immigration law conference in El Paso, Texas on November 12-13, 2014.  In the afternoon of the second day, representatives from the consulate and USCIS spoke and answered participants’ questions.  On an optional third day, participants toured the U.S. consulate in Ciudad Juarez.  The following is a summary of updated information from the conference and the tour.

 

The Consulate and How to Contact Officers

Why is the mission of Mil Mujeres so important?

Download the PDF of These Talking Points

 

  •  The administration’s decision will improve the lives of nearly 5 million people who are already here, building communities and supporting families.

As you may be aware, part of the immigration process of sponsoring international religious workers to the U.S. involves a site visit from USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services).  This is required per the immigration regulations and is used to verify the elements of the petition filed by the sponsor (including sponsor and beneficiary information, work location, etc.).  These site visits may occur with advance notice or without any notice at all. 

In 1990, I was born in Mexico into a staunchly Roman Catholic family. When I was twelve years old, my immediate family illegally migrated to California.  We have lived there ever since.

This summer, several attorneys in the Religious Immigration Section of CLINIC had the opportunity to travel and meet with their clients.  The funding for this special endeavor was provided by a grant from the Open Society Foundation.  These trips provided the attorneys with the chance to meet with clients, provide information regarding religious worker immigration and the need for immigration reform, and also help to foster understanding of CLINIC’s mission.

 

Attorney Kate Kuznetsova

By Minyoung Ohm

RIS Staff Attorney

 

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for eligible nationals of Honduras and Nicaragua for an additional 18 months, beginning January 5, 2014 and ending July 6, 2016.

Current Honduran and Nicaraguan beneficiaries seeking to extend their TPS status must re-register during the 60-day re-registration period that runs from October 16, 2014, through December 15, 2014. The USCIS encourages beneficiaries to register as soon as possible.

An LPR was convicted of a Nevada statute for possession of marihuana and placed into removal proceedings.  He was charged with violating INA § 237(a)(2)(B)(i), which is the ground of deportation for violating any controlled substance law.  That section contains an exception, however, for a “single offense involving possession for one’s own use of thirty grams or less of marihuana.”  The question before the Board was whether the IJ erred in applying the “categorical” approach set forth by the Supreme Court in Moncrieffe v. Holder, 133 S.Ct.

The BIA recently clarified that a person is ineligible for cancellation of removal if he or she is inadmissible under INA § 212(a)(2)(B) due to convictions of two or more offenses for which the aggregate sentence were five years or more.  That form of relief is not available to those who were convicted of an offense under section 212(a)(2).  The question before the Board was whether multiple criminal offenses were meant to be covered in the statutory preclusion.  The BIA looked at the plain language and concluded that it was not ambiguous.  It concluded that “convicted of an offense under

By Ilissa Mira

The Ombudsman’s Office met with CLINIC and other immigration advocates to discuss developments regarding DACA and reports from the field.  This article provides updates on a variety of issues related to DACA eligibility and adjudication.

USCIS Statistics

On October 9, 2014 the Nebraska Service Center held a teleconference on refugee/asylee issues.  The following is a summary of the discussion.

 

I-765

Q. Can a refugee who has been to immigration court for a felony charge, but has not been removed from the U.S. because his homeland refuses to admit him, apply for authorization to work?   The latest official word on his documents is “voluntary departure.”

By Tatyana Delgado

With over 6,000 unaccompanied children released from juvenile detention facilities to sponsors in Texas from January through August 2014, many legal service providers have shifted into high gear.  Over 3,000 unaccompanied children have been released to parents, relatives, or other caretakers living in Harris County, Texas, which includes Houston. 

By Sarah Bronstein

On September 10, 2014 Chief Immigration Judge Brian M. O’Leary issued a memorandum to all Immigration Judges entitled “Docketing Practices Relating to Unaccompanied Children’s Cases in Light of the New Priorities” (hereafter EOIR Docketing Memo).  This memorandum was issued in response to concerns raised by CLINIC and other agencies working on unaccompanied children’s issues at a meeting with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) on August 18, 2014. 

By Ilissa Mira

On September 30, 2014, President Obama announced a plan to allow certain children from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador to apply for refugee status within their own countries.  In fiscal year (FY) 2014, over 68,500 unaccompanied children fled violence in Central America, undertaking a long and dangerous journey to the United States.  As a response, in-country processing is aimed at stemming the surge of unaccompanied children by offering a safer alternative to traveling north alone.     

Immigration is personal; it impacts all of us. That message resonated throughout the Cambia tu Vida launch. In immigration there is no “us” and “them.” As many speakers expressed: we are all in this together, we are here to help, and we are part of this community.

As we celebrate our country’s birthday and independence on the Fourth of July, many of us will contemplate what it means to be Americans. Being an American for the foreign-born goes beyond the ability to vote in elections or obtain a U.S. passport. Many immigrants already feel American at heart long before they take their first step to becoming naturalized U.S. citizens – a pre-requisite to vote and obtain a passport. Many of them have integrated into their communities long before – going to weekly church services, volunteering in their children’s schools, and paying their taxes.

The Midwest has a history as a gateway for immigrants even if not as heralded as port cities in the east and west. Think of Chicago with its diverse ethnic population as early as the late 1800’s, especially among Eastern Europeans, that continues today with the largest Bosnian refugee population in the country. Think also of Detroit, Motor City, at the turn of the last century when Ford Motor Company attracted immigrant workers from Southern Europe and the Middle East to build the earliest automobiles. Detroit now has the largest Middle Eastern population in the United States, most recently welcoming tens of thousands of Iraqi refugees.

Since its inception two hundred years ago, the story of the Archdiocese of New York is an immigrant story – a tradition which continues today. For more than 30 years, the Archdiocese of New York has provided services to the foreign-born, including refugee resettlement and immigration legal services, through Catholic Charities Community Services (CCCS). As the immigrant and refugee population in the area has grown and changed, so has CCCS.

Each year on September 17, we come together as a nation of immigrants to celebrate Citizenship Day. This is an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of being a U.S. citizen and recognize the many lawful permanent residents (LPRs) in our communities who are on their journey to becoming U.S. citizens.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Maura Moser, Director of Communications

(301) 565-4830 or Email: mmoser@cliniclegal.org

The Department of State recently published an interim final rule changing the fees that it currently charges for certain nonimmigrant and immigrant visas, in addition to other forms and services. 79 Fed. Reg. 51247 (August 28, 2014).  The agency is authorized to establish fees for consular services and to set them based on the cost of the services it provides.  The agency recently completed a fee review using its activity-based Cost of Service Model. The new fee schedule took effect on September 12, 2014.  The agency will accept comments from interested parties until October 21, 2014.

By Tatyana Delgado

The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) recently issued a landmark decision that impacts domestic violence victims who are seeking asylum in the United States.  Asylum applicants must show that the persecution they have or will face is on account of one of five protected grounds: race, religion, national origin, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.  It is the last ground that has received the most interest and litigation.  

By Kelly Kidwell Hughes, Advocacy Intern

By Ilissa Mira, Training and Legal Support Attorney

By Jeff Chenoweth

Director, Capacity Building Section

 

By Ilissa Mira, CLINIC Training and Legal Support Attorney

 

On June 5, 2014, USCIS released the much anticipated revised Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).  The new dual-purpose form will be used to file both initial and renewal DACA requests.  As of the release date, USCIS will not accept DACA requests submitted on the old form.

The Supreme Court has now weighed in and answered one of the last remaining questions regarding the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA): do derivative children who age out before the principal beneficiary immigrates retain the original priority date when their parent becomes an LPR and files a new petition on their behalf in the F-2B category?  The answer has been no, based on a Board of Immigration Appeals decision, Matter of Wang, 25 I&N Dec.

In order to pass comprehensive immigration reform, increased awareness among the public, particularly voters, is essential.  These materials are provided to help the reader in gaining more awareness and being a public voice promoting immigration reform.

By Donald Kerwin and Laureen Laglagaron

 

Summary:

While comprehensive immigration reform may have moved to the back burner politically, Congress ultimately will need to reform US immigration policy as immigration enforcement alone will not prove effective in dealing with the nation’s estimated 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants.

By Peggy Gleason

As you know, the House and Senate are scheduled to negotiate a compromise that could produce a comprehensive immigration reform bill.  For the first time since the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986, legalization may become law.  Without knowing exactly what will pass, it is difficult to plan for our programs.  However, we know the rough outlines of the possible legislation and we can mine our own experiences for concrete preparation steps we can take now.

By Peggy Gleason

 

Regardless of what legalization program is eventually enacted and implemented, applicants will need to submit supporting documents to establish that they qualify. What documents are likely to be needed? What is the best way to organize them? How should clients now be counseled on ways to gather these documents? By looking at the prior legalization under the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986, and at the current proposals, we can estimate what may be required once a new legalization program is enacted.

By Donald Kerwin and Charles Wheeler

 

This article originally appeared in Issues in Immigration, Vol. 1 (Center for Migration Studies, 2004). It was reprinted by Bender’s Immigration Bulletin, Vol. 12, No. 3 (Feb. 1, 2007).

 

On February 4, 2014, USCIS released its long-awaited revision of the Form N-400 (Application for Naturalization). A draft of the new form was published in the Federal Register for comment on December 20, 2012 and again on March 20, 2013. CLINIC submitted comments on the draft together with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) on February 15, 2013. The comments are posted on the CLINIC website at https://cliniclegal.org/resources/revisions-to-application-for-naturaliz....

CLINIC's National Capacity Building Project, funded by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Office of Citizenship, has provided technical assistance and funding to four local affiliate agencies to establish new programs in English as a Second Language (ESL)/citizenship education and/or naturalization application assistance.

On Election Day, it can seem like a burden to wake up early and stand in line at your local polling place, but the ability to vote is a prized benefit of citizenship and an important step in the journey to full integration in the United States. The benefits of citizenship are numerous and the CLINIC network has long advocated naturalization for all eligible permanent residents.

CLINIC is working hard to bring new players into the immigration and naturalization service mix to supplement the substantial but inadequate resources that exist now.

By: Megan S. Turngren

 

With multiple agencies issuing different immigration paperwork for the R-1 process, it can often be difficult to understand the importance of each document.  However, even though it may seem complicated, it is always very important to note the expiration dates of the I-129 approval notice, the R-1 visa, and the I-94.  In many cases, these three items will each have different expiration dates.  This discrepancy is due to the fact that each of these documents is issued by a different government agency. 

It is estimated that 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school in the United States every year. These graduates face various financial barriers to pursuing a college education, including the fact that a social security number is required to qualify for federal financial aid.

 

If you represent U visa and U status applicants, you already know that immigration judges have no jurisdiction over applications for U status or for applications for adjustment of status under INA § 245(m).  By statute, USCIS has exclusive jurisdiction over theses applications, including waivers of inadmissibility under INA § 212(d)(14), the waiver provision that exclusively applies to the U status applicants.

 By Susan Schreiber

 

What if your asylee client became deportable for conviction of a crime after adjusting status?  Can you client re-adjust under INA § 209(b), along with seeking a waiver under § 209(c)?   In Matter of C-J-H, 26 I&N Dec. 284, the Board said “no” because asylees who adjust status to lawful permanent residence no longer qualify as asylees.

By Debbie Smith

There have been significant changes to and delays in the processing of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests at the three DHS sub-agencies over the past months.  On March 12, 2014, USCIS and ICE implemented an online FOIA request system, joining CBP in offering a web-based FOIA procedure.  The online request system is intended to improve the FOIA processing.  Nonetheless, the online CBP FOIA procedure continues to experience the same serious delays that plagued the paper-filed FOIA process.

Benefit of FOIA

By Jen Riddle

 

How many undocumented students could benefit from in-state tuition?

By Ilissa Mira, CLINIC Training and Legal Support Attorney

Supreme Court Leaves Lower Court Decisions on Anti-Immigrant Housing Regulations Intact

Citizenship Day (September 17) is an opportunity to celebrate the importance of U.S. citizenship and to recognize the new Americans who once immigrated to the U.S. from all corners of the world.

The Department of Homeland Security has extended its designation of Haiti for TPS for 18 months.  The extension will begin on July 23, 2014 and last through January 22, 2016.  The 60-day re-registration period for those who currently have TPS began on March 3, 2014 and will end on May 2, 2014.  Those who are eligible and timely re-register will be granted an EAD with an expiration date of January 22, 2016.  In addition, the agency will automatically extend the validity of current EADs for six months, through January 22, 2015, for those who timely re-register.

By Leya Speasmaker

Immigrant integration is the ultimate goal of the work the CLINIC network does each day as our affiliates assist eligible immigrants to pursue immigration benefits. CLINIC announces the creation of new tools designed to help your program promote and encourage immigrant integration within your community.  Two new self assessment tools are now available on our website.

By Susan Schreiber

Three recent circuit court decisions provide some good news for immigrants related to immigration consequences of criminal offenses. These decisions, summarized below, address (a) analyzing when an offense is a crime of moral turpitude; (b) LPR eligibility for an INA § 212(h) waiver; and (c) conviction finality.

By Tatyana Delgado

On February 5, 2014, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of State (DOS) announced two new exemptions from the terrorism-related inadmissibility grounds (TRIG) found at INA§ 212(a)(3).  

TRIG aims to exclude individuals who have or will engage in terrorist activities, such as providing material support to terrorist organizations or their members.  Material support includes providing transportation, communications, funds, explosives, or training, among other activities. 

By Allison Posner

On January 16, 2014, USCIS’s Nebraska Service Center (NSC) held a stakeholder engagement on issues related to processing of refugee and asylee petitions. Select questions and answers from the teleconference are below.  Please note that this teleconference was part of a series of informal monthly stakeholder calls held by the NSC.  If you wish to participate in the monthly calls, email CEO.NSC2@USCIS.DHS.GOV  with your contact information, and you will be added to the center’s mailing list.

 

By Allison Posner

The following are the unofficial minutes from a teleconference with the Nebraska Service center on February 13, 2014. Please note that this teleconference was part of a series of informal monthly stakeholder calls held by the NSC.  If you wish to participate in the monthly calls, email CEO.NSC2@USCIS.DHS.GOV  with your contact information, and you will be added to the center’s mailing list.

 

I-131 RP/RTD

By Jen Riddle

Did you know that CLINIC has recently created two new resources related to states permitting undocumented residents to apply for driver’s licenses?

Why States Should Provide Access to Driver’s Licenses to All Residents

 

Granting driver’s licenses to all residents improves public safety on our roads.

Bill/Statute: Wash. Rev. Code § 46.20

Year Law Enacted: 2004

Effective Date: June 10, 2004

Name of Document Issued: Driver’s License

 

Bill/Statute: 23 V.S.A. § 603

Year Law Enacted: 2013

Effective Date: January 1, 2014

Name of Document Issued: Operator's Privilege Card

 

Bill/Statute: UT ST § 53-3-207

Year Law Enacted: 2005

Effective Date: July 1, 2005

Name of Document Issued: Driving Privilege Card (DPC)

 

Bill/Statute: P C0900

Year Law Enacted: 2013

Effective Date: August 7, 2014

Name of Document Issued: Licencia de conducir provisional (Provisional Driver's License)

 

Bill/Statute: SB 833

Year Law Enacted: 2013

Effective Date: December 4, 2014 (assuming that Oregon voters decide to uphold the law in the November 2014 ballot measure seeking to repeal the law)

Name of Document Issued: Driver Card

 

Bill/Statute: NM ST § 66-5-9

Year Law Enacted: 2003

Effective Date: 2003

Name of Document Issued: Driver's License

 

What are the eligibility requirements?

Bill/Statute: SB 303

Year Law Enacted: 2013

Effective Date: January 1, 2014

Name of Document Issued: Driver Authorization Card (DAC)

 

Bill/Statute: MD TRANS § 16–122

Year Law Enacted: 2013

Effective Date: January 1, 2014

Name of Document Issued: Driver's License

 

     Driver’s licenses play a critical role in American society and enable us to participate more fully and productively in our communities. Most of us rely on cars to get ourselves and our families to work, school, the hospital, the grocery store, and church.  In addition to facilitating transportation, driver’s licenses enhance public safety by ensuring that all drivers are trained, tested, and qualify for automobile insurance.

Bill/Statute: SB 957

Year Law Enacted: 2013

Effective Date: November 28, 2013

Name of Document Issued: Temporary Visitor Driver’s License (TVDL)

 

Bill/Statute: B 20-275

Year Law Enacted: 2013

Effective Date: May 1, 2014

Name of Document Issued: Driver's License

 

What are the eligibility requirements?

Bill/Statute: Public Act No. 13-89

Year Law Enacted: 2013

Effective Date: January 1, 2015

Name of Document Issued: Motor Vehicle Operator's License

 

Bill/Statute: SB 13-251

Year Law Enacted: 2013

Effective Date: August 1, 2014

Name of Document Issued: Driver’s License

 

Bill/Statute: AB 60

Year Law Enacted: 2013

Effective Date: January 1, 2015 (Possibly sooner if DMV is ready)

Name of Document Issued: Driver’s License

 

GENERAL

 

1. Can DACA recipients travel abroad? 

Yes, but only if they receive permission from the government. 

By Tatyana Delgado, CLINIC Training and Legal Support Attorney

On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a memorandum allowing individuals who entered the U.S. as children and meet certain guidelines to apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).   U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting DACA applications in August 2012 and issuing DACA approvals in September 2012.  This article provides updates on a variety of issues related to DACA eligibility and adjudications. 

By Bradley Jenkins*

On December 31, 2013, the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) released guidance to the nation’s immigration judges entitled “Phase I of Plan to Provide Enhanced Procedural Protection to Unrepresented Detained Respondents with Mental Disorders.”  This guidance is the latest chapter in EOIR’s ongoing effort to reform how the agency handles the cases of persons with mental disorders who are placed into removal proceedings.

By Kristina Karpinski

On November 14, 2013, USCIS issued a policy memorandum on adjudication of Form I-485, Application to Register or Adjust Status, filed by immediate relatives of U.S. citizens admitted to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).  This long awaited guidance clarifies USCIS's position on adjudication of adjustment cases filed after the applicant's 90-day period of admission has expired and outlines when a case should be referred to ICE.

By Allison Posner

 

On November 6, 2013, USCIS held a stakeholder engagement on its new 2D barcode technology.  The new technology is part of the agency’s Forms Improvement Initiative, intended to enhance the agency’s ability to conduct intake at the lockboxes quickly and accurately.

Welcome to CLINIC

Lobby Area

I received my Green Card last week and this is a good time to recall the whole process. I came to the United States in 2011. I was born in Poland. If someone told me a few years ago that I would be living in the United States, I would not believe them.

By Nicole Bonjean

RIS Staff Attorney 

 

Once an extension of stay is denied, a foreign national must make plans to immediately depart the United States.  The Customs and Border Protection website offers guidance regarding how long a person can remain in the U.S. following the denial of the extension

By Megan S. Turngren

RIS Staff Attorney 

 

Beginning in May 2013, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) stopped issuing paper I-94 cards and instead began requiring that the foreign national access the I-94 information on the CBP website.  For the past six months, both attorneys and foreign nationals have been working diligently to try to understand the new electronic I-94 system.

 

By Minyoung Ohm

RIS Staff Attorney 

 

By Miguel A. Naranjo

Director, Religious Immigration Services

 

By Susan Schreiber

 

CLINIC conducted its fifteenth annual family-based immigration law conference in El Paso on November 12-14, followed by a tour of the US consulate in Ciudad Juarez (CDJ) on November 15.  Justin Williamson, Deputy Immigrant Visa (IV) Chief, U.S. Consulate, CDJ, gave a presentation and answered questions from participants.  The following unofficial minutes represent some of the highlights of Mr. Williamson’s presentation. 

On September 26-27, 2013, CLINIC conducted a two-day training in Kansas City on provisional adjudication of unlawful presence waivers. The training included a presentation by Robert Blackwood, Assistant Section Director for Adjudications at the National Benefits Center (NBC), who gave an update on the waiver adjudication process at the NBC and answered questions from training participants. A summary of the information he provided appears below.

BIA Addresses Asylum Grant as Admission

By Susan Schreiber

Update on Provisional Waivers Adjudication

By Charles Wheeler

New Policy on Minors and False Claims to U.S. Citizenship

By Sarah Bronstein

BIA Affirms Effect of Entry with False Claim of Citizenship

By Charles Wheeler

Recent Circuit Court Cases on Derivation and Acquisition

By Jennie Guilfoyle and Debbie Smith

Derivation of Citizenship

Derivative citizenship under former INA § 321(a) does not require LPR status prior to turning 18, as long as the individual was residing in the United States before age 18, the Second Circuit held on August 12, 2013.  Nwozuzu v. Holder (2d Cir. 2013)

On September 26-27, 2013, CLINIC conducted a two-day training in Kansas City on provisional adjudication of unlawful presence waivers. The training included a presentation by Robert Blackwood, Assistant Section Director for Adjudications at the National Benefits Center (NBC), who gave an update on the waiver adjudication process at the NBC and answered questions from training participants. A summary of the information he provided appears below.

DS-260 Online Application Now Used Worldwide
By Kristina Karpinski

Overview:  HB 1175 creates state-level penalties (suspending and revoking business licenses) for state employers who knowingly or intentionally hire undocumented workers; it also requires employers in the state to use E-Verify starting July 1, 2013.

 

Section 1

An Analysis of Montana’s House Bill 297 (2013)

Overview: This bill creates state-level penalties (suspending business licenses) for employers in Montana who knowingly hire undocumented workers; it also requires employers in the state to use E-Verify six months after the passage of the bill. 

 

Section 1:  Definitions

Overview

House Bill (HB) No. 50, introduced by State Representative David Howard, prohibits local government from enacting, adopting, implementing, enforcing, or referring to the electorate immigration sanctuary policies.  It also allows state agencies to withhold funds to local governments that do not comply with the provisions of the bill.  Additionally, a person domiciled in Montana can seek a writ of mandamus to compel compliance with the bill. 

Advance Parole for DACA Recipients

By Emily Creighton, Mary Kenney, and Patrick Taurel (American Immigration Council)

and Susan Schreiber and Tatyana Delgado (CLINIC) 

Introduction

A new edition of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) application (Form I-821D) and instructions, dated June 25, 2013, is now available on the USCIS website. After September 9, 2013, USCIS will only accept this version of the DACA application form.

A new edition of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) application (Form I-821D) and instructions, dated June 25, 2013, is now available on the USCIS website. After September 9, 2013, USCIS will only accept this version of the DACA application form.

BIA Clarifies When Derivatives May Adjust under 245(i)

By Charles Wheeler

In a recent decision the Board of Immigration Appeals held that after-acquired derivatives are not eligible to be considered “grandfathered” for purposes of eligibility for section 245(i) adjustment of status. Matter of Estrada, 26 I&N Dec. 180 (BIA 2013).  This decision clarifies but is consistent with prior USCIS memos interpreting this provision.

Court Strikes Down Regulation Limiting K-4 Adjustment

 By Charles Wheeler

Updates on Family-Based Immigration from the VSC and NVC

By Jennie Guilfoyle

Board Rejects Stand-Alone 212(h) Waiver

By Susan Schreiber

 Supreme Court Revives the Categorical Approach

By Sarah Bronstein

Appointed Counsel and Bond Hearings for the Mentally Disabled

By Debbie Smith

Sixth Circuit Finds that TPS Creates Eligibility for Adjustment Under Section 245(a)

By Jennie Guilfoyle

U.S. Capitol, Senate side

On June 27, 2013, the Senate passed Senate Bill 744: the Border Security, Economic Competitiveness, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, by a vote of 68 to 32.  The measure includes significant reforms to family- and employment-based immigration programs, provides an earned path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and provides for additional enforcement measures along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Supreme Court Strikes Down DOMA

By Jennie Guilfoyle and Susan Schreiber

More than eight months after hearing testimony in the civil trial, a U.S.

Last August, the Obama Administration began implementing its Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program – a policy through which certain undocumented individuals receive temporary permission to stay in the U.S. for two years as well as the right to apply for employment authorization. After some initial resistance to issuing driver’s licenses to DACA grantees, most states eventually decided to do so. At this time, only two states – Arizona and Nebraska – continue to deny state driver’s licenses or identification cards to DACA recipients.   

June was an important month for a small group of Washington D.C.’s residents. On June 6, 2013, at a public library in Mt. Pleasant, 20 immigrants from 11 different countries became U.S. citizens.

On Saturday May 4, 2013, nearly 150 immigrants and their families from all over the world trekked to southern Los Angeles County and eagerly waited in line for their chance to take the crucial next step to becoming an American citizen. The huge Inglewood church quickly filled with the sounds of many languages, from Spanish to Vietnamese to Hindi, as volunteers and immigrant service providers smoothly filtered and ushered groups of eligible legal permanent residents through a step by step journey through the naturalization process.

On Saturday May 4, 2013, nearly 150 immigrants and their families from all over the world trekked to southern Los Angeles County and eagerly waited in line for their chance to take the crucial next step to becoming an American citizen.

On January 3, 2013, the USCIS finalized its regulation regarding the adjudication of waivers for those who are consular processing and would be triggering the unlawful presence ground of inadmissibility.  The rule provides a process by which the agency will adjudicate these waivers before

On January 3, 2013, the USCIS finalized its regulation regarding the adjudication of waivers for those who are consular processing and would be triggering the unlawful presence ground of inadmissibility.  The rule provides a process by which the agency will adjudicate these waivers before the applicants leave for their immigrant visa interview.  The procedure would be available only to immediate relatives who are inadmissible based on unlawful presence – and no other grounds – and who can establish extreme hardship to a qualifying U.S.

With Citizenship Day on September 17th, I would like to reflect on my experience working with a national multi-organizational initiative to encourage the country's lawful permanent residents (LPR) to become U.S. citizens. In every facet of society, immigrants are integral members in the economy and the political discourse. With this in mind, CLINIC has pursued steps to reach the approximate 8 million LPRs who are eligible to become citizens.

On September 17, 2007, the Department of Homeland Security published the  long-awaiting regulations implementing the U nonimmigrant visa. The regulations are  published at 72 Fed. Reg. 53014 (September 17, 2007) and are available on the USCIS website at  www://uscis.gov, as well as on the ASISTA website at www://asistaonline.org. These are  interim regulations. Although they will become effective 30 days after publication (or on  October 17, 2007), USCIS may modify them in the final regulations.

New Law Eliminates Widow Penalty and Reduces Need for Humanitarian Reinstatement