Center for Religious Immigration and Protection
The non-minister special immigrant religious worker program currently has legislative authority through April 28, 2017, under a bill signed by President Obama in December 2016. The law allows non-ministers, such as religious sisters or brothers, or other lay religious workers in the religious vocation or religious occupation categories, to adjust to permanent resident status.
Religious workers from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico are unable to submit an adjustment of status or immigrant visa application at this time.
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.
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.
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 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.
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