Center for Religious Immigration and Protection

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Each year, the RIS staff spends time together to plan ahead for the next year. Through this two-day brainstorming session in November, team members discussed ways to improve RIS, in part by working more closely with other sections within CLINIC, as well as ways to increase our social media presence.

More than two dozen participants from as far away as Missouri, Texas and Nebraska met the staff of Religious Immigration Services in Garden Grove, California, in October for a day-long training in religious immigration.

The group included practitioners from Catholic Charities agencies and private firms as well as priests and religious, representing dioceses or religious communities.

Chris Ross joined CLINIC in January 2015. Prior to joining RIS, he worked on immigration policy. He graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law and is a member of the Maryland State Bar.

 

How would you describe your time working for RIS?

I enjoy immigration law and working directly with immigrants.

 

What inspires you to work in immigration?

There are many concerns about how immigration policy will change and evolve in the U.S. in 2017. There will be a new administration and new staff responsible for managing the laws, regulations and policies of our country. International religious workers serving the church in the U.S. will not be immune from changes that may occur. We are already feeling the effects of the sunset of the Non-minister Permanent Residence Program and soon will be affected by the increase in USCIS filing fees.

A new schedule of filing fees from USCIS takes effect Dec. 23, 2016. Applications or petitions mailed, postmarked, or otherwise filed on or after Dec. 23, 2016 must include the new fee. Below is a list of the most common petitions and applications used by religious workers and the current and new fee schedule:

Form Current Fee New Fee – 12/23/2016

I-129 Petition

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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 Miguel A. Naranjo

Director, Religious Immigration Services