Federal Advocacy

 

CLINIC's Advocacy Guide

CLINIC wants to remind members of how its Advocacy Section can provide support and assistance.  This document outlines the advocacy related services CLINIC can provide as well as the channels through which CLINIC works with officials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to resolve individual case and systemic problems. 

CLINIC is encouraging affiliates and other stakeholders to review the proposed rule that would increase fees for certain immigration and naturalization forms and to submit comments to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by July 6, 2016. Read our analysis of the rule

 

Infographic about fee changes

Fees for more than three dozen immigration and naturalization applications or related services are proposed to increase by as little as $15 to as much as hundreds of dollars for some common categories.

USCIS is in the process of updating its existing fee schedule. The new proposed schedule will change some of the fees for immigration and naturalization applications, as well as visa petitions and nonimmigrant applications. USCIS has indicated the proposed regulation is expected to be published in the coming months (May - June).

CLINIC Comments on I-821D

CLINIC submitted the following comments on the I-821D to USCIS on April 26th, 2016. The comments reflect policy and substantive suggestions to streamline the DACA application process.

 

Model Comments on I-821D

On March 7, 2016, CLINIC submitted comments in response to proposed changes to USCIS Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. The proposals were published in the Federal Register on January 7, 2016. CLINIC’s  substantive comments focused on the proposed changes to the form instructions. CLINIC also requested that USCIS review its policies and procedures for DACA applicants seeking Advance Parole.

On March 10, 2016, CLINIC submitted comments on the policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual addressing the general policies and procedures of adjustment of status as well as adjustment under section 245(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. USCIS announced the new guidance on February 25, 2016.

CLINIC’s comments submitted February 29, 2016 in response to USCIS proposed changes to Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status, Form I-918, and Supplements A and B of Form I-918. The proposals were published in the Federal Register on January 29, 2016. CLINIC supports efforts to broaden and enhance access to the U visa program and offered comments on the proposed changes to the U petition form, supplements, and instructions.

CLINIC’s comments submitted on February 29, 2016 in response to USCIS proposed rule, “Retention of EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 Immigrant Workers and Program Improvements Affecting High-Skilled Nonimmigrant Workers.” This rule was published in the Federal Register on December 31, 2015.

CLINIC and 63 other organizations have asked the secretary of Homeland Security and the attorney general to allow asylum seekers to apply for protection from removal.

On November 23, 2015 CLINIC submitted comments to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regarding its proposed guidance interpreting the term “extreme hardship” as it is applied to certain waiver of inadmissibility applications. CLINIC’s comprehensive comments and suggestions focused on several key areas previously discussed in our summary of the draft guidance and below.

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. 

On September 30th, 2015, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR), a stop-gap measure which continues funding the government at current levels and keeps the government open until December 11, 2015. The CR reauthorized the Special Immigrant Non-Minister Religious Worker Program as well as three other immigration-related programs, the Conrad 30 Program, the EB-5 Program, and the E-Verify Program until December 11, 2015. Finding a more permanent extension for the Special Immigrant Non-Minister Religious Worker Program remains an ongoing issue for CLINIC Advocacy.

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 Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) submitted these comments to the proposed rule on the expansion of the provisional unlawful presence waiver program, published in the Federal Register on 22 July 2015.

Twenty-six states (the “states”) are challenging the government’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program (“DAPA”) as violative of the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) and the Take Care Clause of the Constitution.

 

 

Religious Organization Support for the Special Immigrant Non- Minister Religious Worker Visa Program

May 14, 2015

 

 

 

Honorable Mitch McConnell Senate Majority Leader United States Senate Washington, DC  20510

 

Honorable Harry Reid Senate Minority Leader United States Senate Washington, DC 20510

 

Dear Senators:

 

May 11, 2015

 

Laura Dawkins,

Chief, Regulatory Coordination Division

USCIS Office of Policy and Strategy

20 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.

Washington, DC 20529-2140

 

Submitted via email to: USCISFRComment@uscis.dhs.gov

 

RE: Revisions to Form I-485, OMB Control # 1615-0023, Docket ID USCIS-2009-0020

 

Dear Ms. Dawkins,

On September 9, 2014, Most Reverend Eusebio Elizondo, Chairman of the Committee on Migration of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Most Reverend Kevin W. Vann, Chairman of board of directors of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) implored Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to work with the President to authorize deferred action for deserving groups.

The interim guidance recently issued by USCIS provides much needed security for immigrant crime victims and their families.  However, as the advocates note in comments to USCIS Director Leon Rodriguez, issues still remain related to the agency’s interpretation of the two new U visa qualifying crimes -- stalking and fraud in foreign labor contracting.  Additionally, the advocates request that USCIS provide more detail on implementation of age-out provisions and grant parole to conditionally granted U visa derivatives after the U visa cap has been reached each year. 

Taking the opportunity to submit further comments to USCIS about the DACA application and renewal process, CLINIC commended the agency for the changes it did make, including extending the DACA renewal application window to 150 days, simplifying the education-related questions, and streamlining the application requirement for renewal applicants.  CLINIC also encouraged USCIS to make additional changes to the form and instructions to help both initial and renewal applicants better navigate the application process.  Among the chief concerns for CLINIC and its affiliates is ensuring that DACA

Dear affiliates,

 

USCIS recently revised its form N-400, Application for Naturalization.  The agency will now only accept the newest version of Form N-400, dated 09/13/13.

On February 14, 2014, CLINIC submitted comments to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services about the agency’s proposed changes to Form I-821D, the form used to request Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).  The proposed changes to the form establish procedures for individuals to demonstrate continued eligibility for deferred action – extending the two years of deferral originally granted to them. 

 

CLINIC's Amicus Brief to the Supreme Court

The above document is a copy of the amicus brief that CLINIC filed with the US Supreme Court in a case challenging the government’s interpretation of a part of the CSPA.

On August 5, CLINIC sent a letter to Director Mayorkas regarding what we believe to be the improper implementation of USCIS's regulations governing the provisional waiver for unlawful presence.

Click Here to read the letter.

Circuit Court Split on Constitutionality of Local Anti-Immigrant Housing Ordinances (August 2013)                                                         

Advocacy Day is Tuesday, May 21, 2013.

Get ready for your day on Capitol Hill!  Kevin Appleby, Director of USCCB's Office of Migration Policy and Public Affairs and Allison Posner, CLINIC's Director of Advocacy will speak about the Church's position on immigration reform and how to frame your "asks" when speaking with your representatives.  We will also review the agenda for Advocacy Day and provide practical tips about getting around the Hill and what to expect from the day.   

Held on May 7, 2013.

CLINIC and  the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) have shared comments with  USCIS concerning proposed changes to N-400, Application for Naturalization, and accompanying instructions.

CLINIC and  the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) have shared comments with  USCIS concerning proposed changes to N-400, Application for Naturalization, and accompanying instructions.

On January 10, 2013, CLINIC shared comments on USCIS’s policy memo, “Age-Out Protection for Derivative U Nonimmigrant Status Holders: Pending Petitions, Initial Approvals, and Extension of Status.”  CLINIC welcomes the issuance of the guidance, as this policy will provide much needed security for the immigrant crime victims and their families that CLINIC members serve.  We are encouraged by USCIS’ statement that the preservation of family unity is a benefit to law enforcement.  The policy provides important protections for U visa derivatives who age out after the approval of the principal’

On January 10, 2013, CLINIC shared comments with USCIS on its guidance entitled “Eligibility for Employment Authorization upon Approval of a Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Self- Petition; and, Eligibility for Employment Authorization for Battered Spouses of Certain Nonimmigrants.”  CLINIC’s comments addressed concerns regarding the employment authorization process for approved VAWA beneficiaries, as well as the eligibility for employment authorization for battered spouses of A, E (iii), G, and H nonimmigrants.  To read the full comments,

On January 10, 2013, CLINIC shared comments with USCIS on its guidance entitled “Eligibility for Employment Authorization upon Approval of a Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Self- Petition; and, Eligibility for Employment Authorization for Battered Spouses of Certain Nonimmigrants.”  CLINIC’s comments addressed concerns regarding the employment authorization process for approved VAWA beneficiaries, as well as the eligibility for employment authorization for battered

On January 10, 2013, CLINIC shared comments on USCIS’s policy memo, “Age-Out Protection for Derivative U Nonimmigrant Status Holders: Pending Petitions, Initial Approvals, and Extension of Status.”  CLINIC welcomes the issuance of the guidance, as this policy will provide much needed security for the immigrant crime victims and their families that CLINIC members serve.  We are encouraged by USCIS’ statement that the preservation of family unity is a benefit to law en

On December 31, 2012, CLINIC, the American Immigration Council, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association responded to USCIS’s Notice of Revisions to Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. 

On December 31, 2012, CLINIC, the American Immigration Council, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association responded to USCIS’s Notice of Revisions to Form I-131, Application for Travel Document.

On October 23, 2012, CLINIC and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops submitted comments to the Department of Health and Human Services in response to the Department’s amendment of the definition of the term “lawfully present.”  The amendment will prevent those granted deferred action under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program from accessing affordable health insurance coverage options.  Excluding DACA recipients from this program is i

On October 23, 2012, CLINIC and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops submitted comments to the Department of Health and Human Services in response to the Department’s amendment of the definition of the term “lawfully present.”  The amendment will prevent those granted deferred action under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program from accessing affordable health insurance coverage options.  Excluding DACA recipients from this program is inequitable and undercuts the spirit of the Administration’s DACA policy.

CLINIC and other organizations that help permanent residents naturalize and that promote the integration of newcomers sent the attached letter to Representative Nancy Pelosi, urging her to support appropriations funding for the U.S. Citizenship and Integration Grants Program.  Since the program began in October 2009, USCIS’s Program has helped more than 38,000 permanent residents in 30 states and the District of Columbia prepare for citizenship. Twenty-six percent of the 2012 grantees are CLINIC affiliates. 

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) signed onto this letter July 23, 2012 urging members of Congress to support the Help Separated Families Act, legislation introduced by Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA-34). The bill aims to improve the likelihood that children placed in the child welfare system as a result of immigration enforcement actions against their parents can ultimately reunify with their parents.

On January 9, 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced its intention to change its current process for filing and adjudicating certain applications for waivers of inadmissibility filed in connection with an immediate relative immigrant petition.  On April 2, 2012, the agency issued proposed regulations to allow certain applicants to apply for and receive a provisional unlawful presence waiver prior to departing the U.S.

The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) submitted these comments on March 30, 2012 in response to the Executive Office for Immigration Review’s (EOIR) proposal to amend the regulations governing the recognition of organizations and accreditation of representatives who appear before EOIR.

CLINIC and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops joined other faith-based organizations in asking Congress to permanently extend the Religious Worker Visa Program.  See the letter here.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, along with other faith-based, human rights, immigrant advocacy, and legal service organizations expressed thir support for expanding the Legal Orientation Program (LOP), a program within the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). Since its launch in 2003, LOP has generated bipartisan support because of its proven track record in reducing court processing times and making the detention and immigration court process more efficient.

The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) submits these comments in response to the request for public comment by the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) in advance of its two public meetings on the agency's proposal to amend the regulations governing the recognition of organizations and accreditation of representatives who appear before EOIR.

"We call on the administration to prioritize release of immigrant families in all cases. We
urge the administration to assign social workers to manage familiesʼ cases rather than
placing them in detention. For families without housing, the administration should
partner with non-profit shelter or child welfare organizations experienced in supporting
asylum-seeking and immigrant families to resolve any issues preventing the direct
release of families. Social workers with proven track records providing family and child

The undersigned members of the ICLN and other interested parties are writing in response to the regulations proposed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) on September 6,
2011, regarding Special Immigrant Juvenile Petitions. While we applaud the proposed
regulations’ provisions reflecting the statutory language updated by the William Wilberforce
Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, we have significant concerns about
much of the proposed regulatory language, as well as the commentary accompanying the

CLINIC offers our faith-based perspective to recommend improvements to the Secure Communities program.

The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) submits these comments in response to the request for public comments by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on Policy Memorandum, PM-602-0039, The Role of USCIS District Directors in the Board of Immigration Appeals Recognition and Accreditation Process; Revisions to the Adjudicator’s Field Manual, New Chapter 12.6, AFM Update AD 11-34. Click here (pdf) for the full letter. 

The following letter was sent to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on April 15, 2010.