Visa Bulletin for December 2015

This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during December 2015. Section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) sets an annual minimum family-sponsored preference limit of 226,000. The worldwide level for annual employment-based preference immigrants is at least 140,000. INA Section 203(e) provides that family-sponsored and employment-based preference visas be issued to eligible immigrants in the order in which a petition in behalf of each has been filed.

See the bulletin here.

Clinton Immigration Reform Plan

Presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton announced her plans for immigration reform this week. She maintains that we must “fix our immigration system [as] this is a family issue, it’s an economic issue…[and] it is at heart a family issue…That’s why we can’t wait any longer, we can’t wait any longer for a path to full and equal citizenship.”

Specifically, Clinton will fight for comprehensive immigration reform that provides a full and equal path to citizenship, treats every person with dignity, upholds the rule of law, protects our borders and national security, and brings millions of hardworking people into the formal economy.

She will defend President Obama’s DACA and DAPA executive actions. President Obama’s executive actions that provide relief from deportation for DREAMers and parents of Americans and lawful residents would protect an estimated 5 million people.  Further, her plan will conduct humane, targeted immigration enforcement by ending family detention and closing private immigrant detention centers.

These are just a handful of the substantive items Clinton has proposed. For more information, contact ALO at 978-905-9992.

TPS Nepal Deadline

The deadline for eligible nationals of Nepal (and people without nationality who last habitually resided in Nepal) to register for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is Monday, Dec. 21, 2015. This deadline marks the end of the 180-day initial registration period. The TPS designation for Nepal runs from June 24, 2015, through Dec. 24, 2016.

To be eligible for TPS, you must demonstrate that you meet all eligibility criteria, including that you have been both “continuously physically present” and “continuously residing” in the U.S. since June 24, 2015. You must also undergo thorough security checks. Individuals with certain criminal records or who pose a threat to national security are not eligible for TPS.

For more information, contact ALO at 978-905-9992.

Fiance Visa Reviews

In light of the horrific shootings in San Bernardino, California where one of the two accused shooters entered the U.S. on a K1 finance visa, at the direction of the President, the Department of Homeland Security will be reviewing these cases. The exact nature and extent of this review is unknown, although the issue of marriage fraud will likely be a primary focus.

Currently, applicants go through an extensive vetting process, which includes national background checks, one-on-one interviews, a review of work and family history, travel history, and most relevant, a check against U.S. terrorist watch lists. Despite this however, the accused shooter was able to enter the U.S. legally as she did not present any red flags.

DHS spokeswoman Marsha Catron said DHS and the Department of State are reviewing the fiancé visa program “to assess possible program enhancements.” The administration is also reviewing the Visa Waiver Program, which allows most citizens from 38 countries to travel to the United States without applying for a visa.

For more information about how this review may impact your pending or potential case, please contact Agarwal Law Offices at 978-905-9992.

Sanctuary Policies Bill

Per the American Immigration Council:

“The Senate has rejected the motion to proceed on Senator David Vitter’s (R-LA) “Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act” (S. 2146). This bill is an enforcement-only approach to immigration and would punish cities and states that adopt community policing policies that work to make communities safer and increase communication between police and their residents. The procedural vote required 60 Yea votes to begin debate on the bill; the motion failed 54-45.”

For more information re: the issues with sanctuary cities, click here.

Torres v. Lynch

This past week, the Supreme Court heard arguments for the case of Torres v. Lynch, which centers on LPR Jorge Luna Torres who was convicted of violating a New York state arson statute. In 2007, the Immigration and Naturalization Service issued a notice charging Torres with inadmissibility as he was convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude. Further, Torres was found ineligible for cancellation of the removal order because he was a permanent resident convicted of, what the courts deemed, was an aggravated felony. The case in question examines the vast scope of crimes that fall under aggravated felonies, which state law wouldn’t necessitate and which disqualify many from relief. ALthough oral arguments were heard, a decision on the case has not been made.

Check back for more updates and/or a decision.

The Plight of Unaccompanied Immigrant Children

The Migration Policy Institue (MPI) has released a publication on “Unaccompanied Child Migrants in U.S. Communities, Immigration Court, and Schools.” This report details the roughly 102,000 unaccompanied children from Central America and Mexico who were apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection between October 1, 2013 and August 31, 2015. While many children are returned to their homes, most are transferred to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to be placed in removal proceedings. Of those children, most are released into the custody of a guardian in the United States pending their immigration court cases.

The reports documents “that communities and school districts largely continue to face challenges meeting the needs of these children and have responded in disparate ways to their arrival, some creating additional programs to address children’s particular needs, while others have made school enrollment more difficult for this population.”

See the report here.

Visa Bulletin for November 2015

This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during June. Section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) sets an annual minimum family-sponsored preference limit of 226,000. The worldwide level for annual employment-based preference immigrants is at least 140,000. INA Section 203(e) provides that family-sponsored and employment-based preference visas be issued to eligible immigrants in the order in which a petition in behalf of each has been filed.

See the bulletin here.

Syrian Refugee Crisis

Although the U.S. media has not covered the Syrian refugee crisis as it deserves, it remains one of the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time. To date, an estimated 9 million Syrians have fled their homes since the civil war in March 2011. According to the UNHCR, over 3 million have fled to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq and 6.5 million remain displaced within Syria. European countries, particularly Germany, are doing their part, whereas others such as Hungary, are closing their borders.

Those numbers appear as such that – numbers. And those facts seem startling but we move on. But each number represents a person, who has a story of struggles and triumphs just like us. The Syrian toddler who drowned and washed up ashore on a Turkish beach while fleeing – his name was Aylan Kurdi and just as our own children, he had his own personality, quirks, and habits. His young life mattered. The lives of every individual Syrian, who has been forced to flee their home and live on nothing but the kindness of their neighbor – their lives matter.

In an effort to do our smallest part, Agarwal Law Offices is extending free services to any Syrian national that comes to our office requesting asylum. Every expense – mailing, copying, translation fees, and attorney work product will be waived.