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A majority of the nation’s governors have declared that their states will no longer welcome refugees from Syria. The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to block resettlement of Syrians for an undetermined length of time, demanding that the State Department revamp its already comprehensive and strict vetting process.

Donald Kerwin, Executive Director, Center for Migration Studies
The debate over the large-scale migration of children from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico has characteristically devolved into political theater. Perversely, as the evidence builds regarding the dangers that have driven the children's flight, opposition remains high in Congress and the Administration to a fair and full review of their claims to protection under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA).

FirstGEN is a ten-week, summer program for undergraduate students who are the first in their immediate families to attend an institution of higher education. These individuals must be passionate about pursuing careers in social justice. Fellows gain hands-on experience working on civil rights matters as full time Public Policy and Social Justice interns while also participating in a parallel advocacy training program. FirstGEN creates a greater community of advocates by linking emerging leaders with existing ones and by creating a FirstGEN alumni network. Each fellow receives a $1,000 stipend.

DHS has just issued the attached tropical storm guidance, identical to guidance issued during past storms, to encourage immigrant communities to evacuate and seek shelter without fear of immigration enforcement actions. Since all the DHS technical staff have been furloughed, the department and components have no way to post this guidance on their websites. They are seeking our help in distributing it.
By Susan Schreiber and Charles Wheeler

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.

Sarah Bronstein

In two separate letters to Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Departments of State (DOS) and Homeland Security (DHS) indicated that both federal agencies are adopting a new policy regarding minors who make false claims to citizenship.

As of Monday, July 29, CLINIC’s National office will relocate from the Theological College in Washington, D.C. to nearby Silver Spring, Maryland. The new office location will allow CLINIC to offer trainings in-house and consolidate D.C.-based staff into a single location.

CLINIC’s new contact information is
8757 Georgia Avenue, Suite 850
Silver Spring, Maryland.
Main telephone: 301-565-4800
Main fax: 301-565-4824

We look forward to seeing you in our new space!

The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) commends the United States Senate for voting in favor of important changes to the nation’s broken immigration system. Yesterday, the Senate passed S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Competitiveness, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. 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.
Wendy Rhein
The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) is encouraged by today’s 5-3 Supreme Court decision to strike down three of the four provisions of Arizona’s immigration law that were challenged earlier this year.
CLINIC's new book Filing Successful Provisional Waivers: A Practitioner's Guide provides a step-by-step guide to the new provisional waiver process. The book's ten chapters and numerous sample materials guide practitioners through the process of interviewing clients, establishing extreme hardship, completing the waiver form, preparing declarations, identifying and gathering supporting documents, and filing the waiver application.
World Relief and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) co-hosted an exciting conference entitled “Building Legal Immigration Services Capacity Through National Networks and their Affiliates” at the World Relief home office in Baltimore on April 3 and 4, 2013.
Frank Malifrando

Drawing upon the success Catholic Charities of the East Bay (CCEB)  experienced running the main concession stands for the U.S. Open earlier this year, this CLINIC affiliate is now taking their game to the Oakland A's in order to provide fee assistance for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applicants.  

With over 300 volunteers from the East Bay, consisting of board members, the Knights of Columbus, parishioners, staff, clients and students, several Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of John Muir Hospital, the concession stands garnered over $20,000 for CCEB's program support during the U.S. Open.

Frank Malifrando, Chief Development and Public Affairs Officer at CCEB, explains that CCEB "learned a lot from those games:  how to manage and train volunteers in the fast food concession industry, how to coordinate such a huge event and how to grow the program as a social enterprise to benefit CCEB and its programs.”  With prayers for this new enterprise, CCEB was blessed with more hands than were needed to succeed.  Volunteers from all walks of life

Wendy Rhein

The debate on immigration reform is moving quickly.  CLINIC strives to keep its network and others informed so that they can continue to serve the immigrants in our communities with the most up-to-date information. 

This morning the New York Times published a bi-partisan statement of principles outlining four goals of immigration reform.  CLINIC welcomes this bi-partisan leadership in keeping the conversation moving.  The principles include a path to citizenship and relief for agricultural workers and highly skilled graduates.  The Senators also outline plans for continued enforcement along the border as well as a strong employment verification system.  Read the whole statement here.

Also, exciting news from Illinois last night, as it became the fourth and largest state to allow undocumented individuals to obtain drivers licenses.  See the Chicago Tribune’s local perspective here.

President Obama will be speaking tomorrow night from Nevada.  He is expected to outline the Administration’s plan for immigration reform in 2013.  While we do not know yet what the plan entails, we are encouraged that the President is

Debbie Smith and Charles Wheeler

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. citizen spouse or parent.  To be eligible, the applicant would need to have an approved I-130 or I-360 petition and have paid the immigrant visa fee bill. 

The USCIS will begin receiving and adjudicating the provisional waivers on March 4, 2013.  No applications will be accepted before that date. Applicants will be using a new Form I-601A, which the agency will publish sometime before that date. The filing fee for the waiver application is $585.  There is no filing fee waiver available for the provisional waiver or the biometrics that are required as part of the process.

Charles Wheeler

 CIS has just released interim guidance on age-out protection for U derivatives. Per the guidance:

  • U-3 derivatives will be approved for the full four-year eligibility period, allowing the U-3 to remain in status past his or her 21st birthday
  • CIS will promulgate regulations to "provide protection" for U derivatives who age-out while the 918-A is pending. In the meantime, aging-out derivatives will be considered for deferred action, which allows for work authorization
  • U derivatives whose status expired upon turning age 21 may now file for an extension of status to receive enough time in U status to allow them to apply for adjustment 

The interim guidance does not address derivatives who age-out abroad while the application for derivative status is pending. The guidance is effective immediately.

Click here for the original letter.

To the extent that Tropical Storm/Hurricane Sandy (Sandy) impacts law enforcement operations and/or the storm triggers the need for an officially ordered evacuation or an emergency government response, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) highest priorities are to promote life-saving and life-sustaining activities, the safe evacuation of people who are leaving the impacted area, the maintenance of public order, the prevention of the loss of property to the extent possible, and the speedy recovery of the impacted region.

As such, to the extent that Sandy impacts law enforcement operations and/or the storm triggers the need for an officially ordered evacuation or an emergency government response, there will be no immigration enforcement initiatives associated with evacuations or sheltering related to Sandy, including the use of checkpoints for immigration purposes in impacted areas during an evacuation. If a state or local law enforcement agency determines that individuals in their custody should be transferred or released due to Sandy, the state or local law enforcement agency should not decline to do so solely on the basis of an immigration detainer issued by ICE or CBP.

Donald Kerwin

Click here for the HuffPost blog.

On Jan. 22, 2013, President Romney or President Obama should take a dramatic step to stabilize, strengthen and promote the integration of hundreds of thousands of American families. The president should issue an Executive Order that would allow persons who have passed the first hurdle in qualifying for a family-based visa to seek a waiver before they leave the United States that would permit their return after they secure a visa. To understand the significance of this step requires a primer on our nation's family-based immigration system.

The United States awards most of its "green cards" -- roughly two-thirds -- to persons who enjoy close family ties to U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (LPRs). This process begins with the filing of a petition by a U.S. citizen or LPR for a non-citizen family member. By approving the petition, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) formally recognizes the existence of a qualifying family relationship. The agency then assigns a "priority date" or number based on the petition's filing date. When the date becomes "current" or advances to the front of the visa queue, the qualifying family member can apply for an immigrant visa. However, backlogs for persons

Megan Sahar Turngren

The Religious Immigration Section of CLINIC, along with immigration practitioners around the country, breathed a sigh of relief on September 13, 2012,when the House of Representatives passed an extension of the Non-Minister Provision of the Special Immigrant Worker Program.  Unless this extension passed, individuals pursuing religious vocations and religious occupations would no longer have been eligible to become legal permanent residents.  This would have meant that nuns, brothers, seminarians, pastoral associates, religious teachers, missionaries, and those in formation would have been excluded from permanent residency.

The incredible service that is performed by these individuals often reaches those far outside the boundaries of the United States.  By using the resources that only a country such as the United States has to offer, these “non-ministers” are able to spread their message of compassion and charity throughout the world. 

For example, sisters of various religious communities are currently serving at the United Nations.  While their ministry encompasses many areas, there is a primary focus on poverty, education, and bringing awareness to the global epidemic of human trafficking. 

Click here for the original letter in English, Spanish or Vietnamese.

In the event that Hurricane/Tropical Storm Isaac (Isaac) triggers the need for an officially ordered
evacuation or an emergency government response, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) highest priorities are to promote life-saving and lifesustaining activities, the safe evacuation of people who are leaving the impacted area, the maintenance of public order, the prevention of the loss of property to the extent possible, and the speedy recovery of the region

As such, there will be no immigration enforcement initiatives associated with evacuations or shelteringrelated to Isaac, including the use of checkpoints for immigration enforcement purposes in impacted areas during an evacuation. If a state or local law enforcement agency determines that individuals in their custody should be transferred or released due to Isaac, the state or local law enforcement agency should not decline to do so solely on the basis of an immigration detainer issued by ICE or CBP. If a state or local law enforcement agency does decide to release an individual subject to an ICE or CBP detainer based on Isaac, the agency should, wherever possible, contact the local ICE or CBP office prior to any such release to ensure that the release does not pose a danger to the community.

Susan Schreiber, Debbie Smith and Charles Wheeler

On August 14, 2012, USCIS issued the DACA "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" application form, posted a new FAQ, and held a stakeholder call that provided additional information on DACA program. The FAQ and stakeholder call, led by USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas, reviewed basic eligibility requirements for DACA as well as the education requirements, disclosure provisions and filing procedure.

This update will discuss the information released on August 14th and review details of the program previously reported in CLINIC's August 6th article on DACA. The DACA application form, Form I-821D, is available here and the FAQ is posted here

Additional resources on DACA may be found on the CLINIC website and include:

  • DACA Workshop Toolkit (working document)
  • Updated Materials  on CLINIC's DACA website including previous CLINIC webinars
  • August 23rd Webinar on Capacity Building for DACA and DACA Updates (register here)

Laura Burdick

CLINIC is pleased to announce our updated handbook, Strategies for Naturalizing the Most Vulnerable Applicants: A Guide to Helping Refugees and Immigrants Who Are Elderly, Disabled, Low-Income, Low-Literate, and Limited English Proficient.  The handbook, initially released in 2008, has been updated to reflect the latest naturalization policies and procedures.  It discusses English exemptions, due consideration, reasonable accommodations, disability waivers, oath waivers, fee waivers, and expedited processing.  It also contains approximately 30 links to various references and resources such as USCIS policy guidance and sample letters.

The handbook is available here as a free resource on the CLINIC website.

Zoe Ryan

NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER (Ryan Post): Immigration Outreach Discussed among Conference Participants

SALT LAKE CITY -- In case you haven't heard, the U.S. bishops' conference has a special campaign directed toward immigration work. And some parishes have even started committees named after the group.

David Safier

BLOG FOR ARIZONA: Catholic Bishops Pan Kobach/Romney Alliance, Support National Immigration Reform

It's significant this statement by Catholic bishops comes out of Salt Lake City, since the Utah Compact supporting a humane approach to immigration reform has been supported by the Mormon Church.

Fox News Latino

EFE: Bishops Urge Catholics to Promote Humane Immigration Reform

Denver –  Catholics should be politically active at both the local and national level to promote a humane reform of immigration law is the message coming out of a conference in Salt Lake City sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network.

Marjorie Cortez

DESERET NEWS: Immigrant Children's Access to Education, Public Assistance may be Targets of State Proposals in 2012

Absent comprehensive federal immigration reform in 2012, advocates for illegal immigrants are bracing for another wave of state legislative proposals in 2012 intended to restrict children's access to education systems and public assistance programs.

David Montero

SALT LAKE TRIBUNE: Former Bush Official Warns Against ‘Ugly’ Immigration Rhetoric

A former official in President George W. Bush’s administration said the immigration debate has been co-opted by zero-population control groups touting a brand of nationalism that’s damaging the Republican Party with Latinos.

David Montero

Salt Lake Tribune: Conference of Bishops Pans State Immigration Laws

John Wester, bishop of Salt Lake City’s Catholic Archdiocese, said Wednesday he was “sad” to hear Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney accept the endorsement of the key architect for several state-based enforcement-only immigration laws.

Zoe Ryan

NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER (Ryan Post): In Salt Lake City, Catholics Focus on Immigration

SALT LAKE CITY -- The U.S. Catholic bishops' immigration conference in Salt Lake City this morning focused on details about current laws and legislation, as well as the status of enforcement and concerns from people who work in immigration-related areas.

Marjorie Cortez

DESERET NEWS: Catholic Bishops, Advocates to Meet in Salt Lake to Discuss Immigration Reform

Fixing the nation's broken immigration system is a federal responsibility, says Bishop John C. Wester of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City.

David Montero

Salt Lake Tribune: Conference of Bishops Pans State Immigration Laws

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will hold a three-day conference on immigration reform in Salt Lake City beginning Wednesday, tackling state-initiated laws and how they impact local communities.

Karen Siciliano Lucas

This week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) chose to sever its 287(g) immigration enforcement partnership with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) based on extensive findings by the Department of Justice (DOJ) that MCSO had engaged in a pattern and practice of civil rights violations.  The Department of Justice found overwhelming evidence of discrimination against Latinos in this jurisdiction.  Sadly, these findings demonstrate the potential of these federal/state partnerships to serve as a conduit for racially-biased policing that devastates families and communities.  “Tying federal civil immigration enforcement to local criminal law enforcement is misguided.  It makes our communities less secure, endangers parental rights and family unity, and undermines the federal government’s ability to focus enforcement on truly dangerous criminals,” said Maria M. Odom, CLINIC’s Executive Director.  This is particularly true in states like Alabama, which have sought to criminalize the everyday lives and activities of immigrants.  Programs like 287(g) and Secure Communities can operate as a force-multiplier for these state efforts. 


"Standing for Truth, Calling for Justice"

 May 23-25, 2012
Omni Austin Hotel Downtown
 Austin, TX

From the basics of immigration law to the most advanced issues that arise in filing petitions, CLINIC's 15th Annual Convening will offer workshops for legal services providers and immigration advocates at any level.

CLINIC's three-day conference offers excellent updates on immigration law, insightful trainings, and opportunities for networking.

Come meet fellow advocates and learn new strategies for fundraising, program management, and advocacy.

Laura Burdick

On May 25, USCIS launched its Citizenship Public Education and Awareness Initiative. The initiative promotes an awareness of citizenship and seeks to prepare immigrants for successful citizenship.  It will use digital media, a video public service announcement, and print and radio messages in a variety of languages to direct individuals to citizenship preparation materials and other training and educational resources available through USCIS’ Citizenship Resource Center.

We find out more about the devastating human consequences of workplace raids by U.S. Immigration Officials to seek out and arrest illegal immigrants...Listen here

Source (Vatican Radio)