January 2013 Newsletter
Filing an H1-B case in the upcoming 2014 Fiscal Year
Starting on Monday, April 1st, 2013, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will be accepting H1-B cap-subject filings for the 2014 fiscal year.
In comparison to the 2012 fiscal year, the H1-B cap was met very early for the 2013 year. The cap was met on June 11, 2012 for the 2013 fiscal year. There is no way to definitively predict the time it will take for the cap to be reached, as there are many influencing factors. However, it can be observed that the amount of time it is possible to file a cap-subject H1-B case is reducing and it is probable that the cap for H1-B filings will also be reached early.
Although April 1st, 2013 is months away, it is imperative to begin the process early. There is a lot of work that is required to file a H1-B case, and it can be done in advance. Getting a head start can help you not only avoid stress, but also increase the chance of approval of your petition. Rani Emandi and her staff are very experienced in filing employment-based immigration cases, and can provide you with guidance during this process. Emandi Law Firm PC is currently accepting H1-B applications towards the 2014 fiscal year.
Citizenship Pathway – A Future Possibility for Illegal Immigrants
Immigration reform has become a top priority in Congress, for both parties. President Obama and the Democrats want to make significant changes to the current immigration system, which includes a path to citizenship for most of the illegal immigrants in this country. The nature of this path is what is under dispute.
Obama’s plan will be better outlined in the upcoming weeks, and will include the payment of back taxes and fines before legal status can be obtained. Critics do not want this path to citizenship to be like a grant of amnesty for illegal immigrants. Republican Senator Marco Rubio proposes a different path to citizenship; his proposal is comprised of criminal background checks, the payment of back taxes and fines, proof of longtime residence, and knowledge of English before earning legal status. Only then would they be allowed to apply for permanent residence and citizenship. Regardless of what the end result will be, this seems to be a promising prospect for the 11 million illegal immigrants.
Push for Driver’s Licenses for Illegal Immigrants in Various States
In Arizona, New Mexico, and North Carolina, the debate continues over allowing individuals who have been granted deferred action to obtain driver’s licenses. On one side, policy makers insist that the grant of deferred action has allowed these young men and women to live and work in the United States, so therefore, they should be allowed to drive, as well. The opposing side contends that the grant of deferred action does not provide legal status, which is required in obtaining a driver’s license. They assert that a driver’s license provides access to state and federal benefits, to which a recipient of deferred action should not have access as they do not have a legal status or citizenship.
In California, the governor signed legislation allowing individuals who have been granted deferred action to obtain driver’s licenses in October, 2012. Currently, legislation has been introduced that would allow anyone who can prove that they pay taxes to acquire a driver’s license. Proponents assert that this bill will provide illegal immigrants with the proper training, testing, and insurance to make the roads safer for everyone. Others contend that if this bill was passed, it would be a grave threat to national security.
In Illinois, a bill to allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses has passed the state senate and house, and will be signed by the governor. This legislation allows illegal immigrants to acquire Temporary Visitor Driver’s Licenses, which are granted for a period of 3 years and cannot be used as a form of ID. Many illegal immigrants feel relieved and happy, as they no longer have to be scared of deportation when driving without a license or using inconvenient public transportation for their commutes.
APPLICATIONS FOR DEFERRED ACTION ARE ACCEPTED BY THE USCIS
THIS IS YOUR CHANCE TO AVOID BEING ILLEGAL AND/OR BEING DEPORTED!
· Are under the age of 30;
· Had entered the US when you were 15 yrs of age or under;
· Have resided continuously and physically in the US since the last five years before 6/15/2012;
· Have been enrolled in school, completed a high school diploma, GED diploma, or honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or US army;
· Have not been convicted of a DUI, felony, significant misdemeanor, or 3 + misdemeanors;
THEN YOU MAY APPLY THROUGH OUR LAW FIRM TO PROCESS YOUR APPLICATION
The DREAM Act Helps Young Educated Illegal Immigrants
In June 2012, President Obama issued an executive order allowing non-legal residents who were brought to the U.S. as children to apply for renewable two year deferrals, protecting them from deportation proceedings. While the executive order has been signed, still it could be challenged by the congressmen on the basis that it violates the Separation of Powers under the US constitution.
Under the executive order, individuals need to be at least sixteen years old and no older than thirty to be eligible for the deferred action policy. They need to have been brought to the United States before they turned sixteen and have resided in the country for at least five consecutive years before their application. They also need to be currently in school, or to have graduated from high school or gotten a G.E.D., or have been honorably discharged from the military.
Though this policy is effective immediately, senior administration officials said it would take about 60 days to set up the application process.
At that point, individuals not already undergoing deportation proceedings can voluntarily come forward to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), to which they must provide documentation showing that they meet the required criteria for deferred action. People already undergoing deportation proceedings need to present their documentation to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Individuals will be ineligible if they have been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor, or multiple minor misdemeanors, or pose some other threat to national security.
After receiving a grant of deferred action, people can apply to USCIS for work authorizations, which will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
After two years, people have who received a grant of deferred action can reapply through USCIS. People under age sixteen will be able to “age in” to the program, provided a future administration does not institute a new policy in the meantime. Administration officials said anyone who receives deferred action will be safe from prosecution for two years, no matter what.
This policy will not lead toward citizenship but will remove the threat of deportation and grant the ability to work legally, leaving eligible immigrants able to remain in the United States for extended periods.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on Arizona’s immigration law sets an important precedent
Immigration has become a high profile issue in last few years. In support of a certain group of immigrants, on June 15, 2012, President Barack Obama, through an executive order, announced that illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children will be able to apply for work permits and avoid deportation
The U.S. Supreme Court rendered its decision on June 25, 2012 which struck down most of the controversial Arizona immigration law, including the requirements which require all immigrants to carry immigration registration papers; making it a state criminal offense for an illegal immigrant to seek work or hold a job; and allowing police to arrest suspected illegal immigrants without warrants. However, The U.S. Supreme Court sustained a provision on the police rights to stop aliens on reasonable suspicion. In upholding the requirement, the police ask to see people’s immigration papers, if suspects, the court emphasized that state law enforcement officials already possessed the discretion to ask about immigration status, hence the provision falls within power of the state. The Arizona law merely makes that inquiry mandatory if the police have reason to suspect a person is an illegal immigrant
The Supreme Court’s decision in Arizona v. United States is a resounding defeat for state anti-immigration movements. Justice Kennedy stated, "Arizona may have understandable frustrations with the problems caused by illegal immigration while that process continues, but the State may not pursue policies that undermine federal law”. The courts’ decision puts an end to state efforts to enforce federal immigration law and creates mini-state immigration systems, and emphasizes that federal law prevails over state law in the area of immigration.
President Obama stated, “No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like,” Mr. Obama said in a statement, adding that he was “pleased” about the parts that were struck down.
In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on Arizona's immigration law, states should be cautious about their "enforcement-only" approach. Instead, they should model realistic immigration reform that moves our nation forward, together.
THE VALIDITY OF GREEN CARDS WITHOUT EXPIRATION DATES
Some permanent residents of the U.S. who are currently residing with Alien Registration Cards I-551, also known as a Green Card, have Green Cards that are issued without expiration dates. They are legal in this country; however, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will now be terminating any residents that do not have an expiration date on the actual Green Card.
On August 22, 2007, the USCIS announced a proposed rule that all lawful permanent residents with cards with no expiration date must apply and obtain new "Green Cards. As of September 2011, the Federal Government issued a 120-day application period for permanent residents to file form I-551 to replace their permanent resident cards without an expiration date.
After the expiration of the 120-day application period(which is currently the case), an alien who fails to file the form I-90 will still hold the status of an alien who has been lawfully admitted for permanent residence, until the status is terminated by entry of a removal order against the alien.
Residents who hold Green Cards without expiration dates have a 120-day application period to apply for a replacement card. An LPR who fails to obtain a new Form I-551 by the I-551 termination date would not be in possession of a valid Form I-551. As a result, he or she, may experience difficulties in meeting other requirements where valid documentation is necessary. Moreover, at the port of entry, the officer may direct the individual to obtain a new card.
Permanent residents who possess these cards may continue to use them as proof of permanent residency when traveling, when seeking employment, and at any time such proof is required. However, the USCIS is seeking to terminate "Green Cards" without an expiration date. USCIS believes that the replacement of these cards is vital to the security of the immigration process. The change would allow USCIS to issue more secure, tamper-resistant permanent resident cards, update cardholder information, conduct background checks, and electronically store applicants' fingerprint and photographic information so as to provide better evidence of the identity of the cardholders.
With this new rule in effect, it will allow issuance to more aliens, update cardholder information, conduct background checks, and electronically store the applicants’ biometric information for biometric comparison and authentication purposes consistent with the goals of the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002.